Saturday, June 4, 2011

Maxine and Gold Star Families: The Battle of Hearts v. Dollars

A few days ago, Hallmark stepped on a metaphorical landmine when their Maxine cartoon referred to Memorial Day as merely a day off, and made no mention of what the actual point of that most solemn day is supposed to signify. I wrote my initial thoughts on the whole disgusting aftermath here. Even after the admins of the Maxine page on FaceBook issued their non-apology apology, the rabid (with apologies to dogs...) fans/readers of Maxine continued to insult and cruelly abuse any Gold Star Family member who had the gall to try and explain why that Maxine cartoon had wounded them. We saw active duty troops, a veteran, military supporters, all add their voices to the melee, in an attempt to educate on the significance of Memorial Day. All to no avail, as the ugly - and they truly WERE ugly - insisted on confirming that they really were rude, ignorant, obscenely lacking in any kind of compassionate hearts, as they insisted that our Gold Star Families' sacrifices really warranted no respect, nor understanding, since their fallen Heroes - their loved ones - CHOSE to join the military, chose to go to war, chose to lay their lives on the line, to protect even moronic Americans' rights to such things as freedom of speech. Those filthy-mouthed 'fans' of Maxine (because, yes, there was also a proudly proclaiming 'inbred hick' of a Canadian in the lynch mob) amazed and appalled some of us, as the bile they spewed proved that even in America the beautiful, there are many with no heart at all...

Hearts. As my regular readers know, I am blessed to know and love a few Gold Star Families, and I have seen their hearts in full force, as they inspire me daily, with their dignity, their grace in the face of unimaginable loss...

During the fracas, I talked to a few of the Gold Stars, and I promised them that I would make sure (as I often try to do) that their voices were heard, and that I would use my right to freedom of speech to ensure that their loved ones would be remembered and honoured. So today, I want to share with my readers the real HEROES - unlike the computer-generated cartoon character who inspired such depraved disrespect of the sacrifices made by families in this Global War on Terror.


Jason Arnette

That's Jason and his mom Mickey.

This is one of my favourite pictures of Jason. Mom Mickey posted her thoughts on Memorial Day as she - in vain - tried to educate the potty-mouthed, heartless 'fans' about Memorial Day:

Let me give you just a small amount of EDUCATION this AM... and this is for education only... so you may now how the truth is.

Do any of you know what a Gold Star Mom is? Or the true meaning of Memorial Day? I doubt it. 1st Memorial Day is a Somber Day of Remembrance of those who gave their lives for all this Free Speech you speak of. And yes we ALL have the Freedom to Speak freely. (as we all have {guilty}) I realize that most of you do not realize What a Gold Star Mother or and Gold Family is or what they endure every single day of their lives. 2ndly We (I am a Gold Star Mom)live with the loss of our loved one who fought for our Freedoms including speaking Freely as we all have in this thread and others. 3rdly, My Son (you know flesh and blood came from the love a man and women ) left his blood on a battle field doing what he truly believed was and is the right thing to do, so that we can almost live the way we are comfortable with. As did many many many before him. Oh by the way he is a VOLUNTEER, to ONE of the lowest paying and thankless jobs in this country for the type of work he performed daily for over 6 years. He liked it so well he re-enlisted while on the battlefield.

these theads, on this site are not about the Disrespect of a Cartoon Character they are about the ignorance of a Day to Remember those who laid their lives down for our country. The rest of those who really don't care about most things except their own little and I mean little corners of life are the DISRESPECTFUL ones.

These are the people I have and so have others tried to educate them what Memorial Day is about. I am not attacking anyone. The moderator of this site should have monitored it better and them it would not have come to all of this. Hallmark should have had a better handle this.

i do like Maxine's humor most of the time. sorry for the spelling and grammar errors I was typing to fast and am only human and not a certified teacher.... I am just a MOM who son died not just for me but you as well. [emphasis mine]

Memorial Day is a Day of Sober Remembrance of our Fallen who gave their lives for us and our Freedom. these post are no longer about the cartoon they are about What Memorial Day stand for and what a Gold Star Family really is and what disrespect the fans here and at Hallmark have given to the many of us. Not the cartoon.

"...just a MOM..." Oh, no, to me MOMS like Mickey are far more than just a MOM, and those arseholes on that page that day could learn a great deal from American heroes such as Jason and you.

Other moms shared their children's lives on FaceBook, as they attempted to put a HUMAN face to the sacrifices made, which allow the stoopid among us to run their mouths, all in the name of freedom of speech.

Spc Clay Patrick Farr

Clay's mom, Silver, wrote this on the Maxine thread:

Allow me to introduce my son ... Spc Clay Patrick Farr US ARMY.
He was killed in action, one month after his 21st birthday. He loved our beautiful Country, and swore to defend the freedoms and liberties of all of her citizens.
GOD Bless America!

One of the rights my son died defending, was the right to freedom of speech. Considering that, I thought it would be fitting to introduce him in light of the recent conversations here on Maxine's page.

Freedom of speech is one of our inalienable rights. Attacking grief stricken parents/families when they ask for consideration of their feelings, is cruel. If Hallmark removed defensive posts by family members of the Fallen, they should ALSO... have removed the hurtful posts, made by those who were attacking them.

Those are the facts, nothing else can be achieved by running it into the ground. I would hope, that reasonable people, with considerate hearts, could put this behind them and move forward. I honestly do not believe that this forum is made up of Soldier Haters.

Silver Farr, Proud Mother of
Spc Clay Patrick Farr, US ARMY
KIA, February 26, 2006
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Silver's beloved son, Clay, a HERO among men, lies here now, but he lives on in his mother's heart. He WILL be remembered and honoured by those of us who understand that freedom is not free.

Michelle J West is a Gold Star Wife
who was also the target of abuse as she tried to show the difference between the cartoon character, and the real life flesh and blood - heart - of her Fallen Hero husband Laurent:

This picture of the two of us was taken in April of 2007, just two months before he deployed.

This is the fourth Memorial Day where Laurent was one of the Fallen Heroes that were honored on this day. This has been the hardest due to realizing how many Americans have no clue what the true meaning of Memorial Day is.

The Maxine cartoon was posted on a friend's FB page. I had to read it several times to actually comprehend what was in front of me. Thinking that I had not understood the "humor" I showed it to our 15 year old daughter and she said "not cool".

How can a 15 year old realize this but so many Maxine fans and Hallmark not? Yes, I believe in Freedom Of Speech but I am a firm believer that it is our duty as Americans to understand that behind every freedom or right we are blessed with, there is RESPONSIBILITY.

The hateful words of those that thought the First Amendment only applies to them went beyond a civil debate. The most Amazing Man I know died while defending a Country we love and far too many Americans can not even spend one day to honor the sacrifice of our Fallen Heroes. I pray that there are more Americans who DO understand and respect Memorial Day than those that don't. For the day I am in the minority is the day America looses.

Michelle J West
The Proud Wife Of American Hero SSG Laurent J West
KIA March 11, 2008

This one above is my FAVORITE of SSG Laurent J West. Taken just 3 days before he was killed.

As mentioned above, the ignorance on display on the FB Maxine page, was not restricted to Americans. A couple of Canadians felt the need to prove that morons live among us, that ignorance does, indeed, know no geographical boundaries. Just for them, here are a couple of Canadian Fallen Heroes and their Hero families.

I have written about Cpl James Arnal a few times, and believe me, not only is James a Hero, but his mum Wendy is, too:

Cpl James Arnal

Cpl Arnal's mother Wendy and brother Andrew besides James' plaque in Afghanistan.

Those pictures head a column I posted that Wendy wrote called "I was the middle of Nowhere." If you missed that heart-wrenching account of her journey to KAF to smell and taste the air that her son James breathed as he gave all in service to Canada and freedom, go here. In another column about James and Wendy called "A Mother's heart" I had this:

"We were like best friends. We talked about everything. He was an ambassador for life. He embraced life with every breath," said Wendy Hayward-Miskiewicz.

"Soldiering was so befitting to him, to protect the very freedom to live life to its fullest."...

"I will be honest. I had reservations about his second tour and I actually asked him to reconsider. But James's reply was, 'Mom, it's the right thing to do,' and I couldn't argue with that," Hayward-Miskiewicz said.

"He was raised to care about the things that mattered and to make a difference. He certainly didn't have to die to make us proud."

You can read the rest here. If you put James' name, or Wendy's, in the search thingie above, you will find more stories on how this mother continues to honour her son's life. She is no ordinary woman doing extraordinary things (the mission of the non profit CarpeDiem88 set up to continue James' mission.) She is an extraordinary woman, who every day shows us all the true meaning of honour and integrity...

Then we have Mishelle Brown, now widow of WO Dennis Brown, another of Canada's flesh and blood heroes:

On March 4, 2009, I had a column about Mishelle Brown:

Canadian Hero who also serves: Mishelle Brown:

Mishelle Brown, widow of slain Warrant Officer Dennis Raymond Brown, holds a news conference in St. Catharines, Ont., on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. (Frank Gunn / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

In that column I quoted Mishelle Brown:

“I love my husband. Not loved, LOVE! I never took Dennis for granted — not even for a second,” she said.

Brown was a reservist with the Lincoln and Welland Regiment in southern Ontario who served as a police special constable in civilian life.

“He chose to go on this tour, and he fought really hard to get time off from his job with Niagara Regional Police to do it, and I supported him every step of the way — and I still do,” his wife said.

“When I asked him why he wanted to go on this tour, Dennis said, 'If we don’t get them in their back yard, they’re sure to get us in ours.’ ...


"We talked about everything . . . some people say, 'I wish I had one more thing to say to them,' but I said everything, I don't have to say one more thing, I said it all when he was alive," she told reporters in St. Catharines, Ont. "Everyday I spoke to him I reminded him how important he was to me and how lucky I was to have him."


Mishelle Brown said she wanted "the whole world to know what an amazing man he was."

"That's what's keeping me strong, I met my dream come true. Nobody can take that away from me. No roadside bomb can take that away from me. "..

Read more of what this hero had to say here. My heart is full to overflowing with the lives and loves of our fallen heroes, no matter what flag they serve, and it could take me MY lifetime to honour each of them here.

There are the Danes, heroes like Konstabel Mikkel Keil Sørensen & 1st Lt. Steen Rønn Sørensen, Royal Life Guards Royal Danish Army, who gave selflessly of themselves so that the heartless among us could daily prove their ignorance. There are the Australians:


Lance Corporal Andrew Jones

Handout shows Australian Sergeant Brett Wood ...

Commando Sergeant Brett Wood, MG

Read more on these two here, if you really want to know how they lived and loved, and were/are loved.

Forever honoured by me will be the two Canadian medics who gave their lives as they went to save their comrades:

Master Cpl. Kristal Giesebrecht and Pte. Andrew Miller

Find out more about these heroes - whose smiles break my heart every time I look at them, as I do often - here.

You can find mention of a few more of my heroes here, in a year-end column in I did called MY Heroes of the Year. You can also learn more about the REAL heroes if you put "Some Gave All" in the search engine thing at top left.

I would be really remiss if I did not include Mike Stokely and his family here, as real heroes:

Sergeant Michael Stokely: Duty. Honor. Country.

I have written about Mike and his precious family more than a few times. One time I posted a video that his sister Abbey made to honour her beloved brother:

Mike and his family. Heroes every one.

Robert left a comment on my previous Maxine post:

late jumping in as I have been on the move, and maybe better so. When my son and a million other sons, daughters, brother, sisters, husband, wives, dads and moms gave their lives - their forever in some cases as my son had no children - they did it for America. Unfortunately, they did it for the good of America, and those who could care less. It is easy to be thoughtless and insensitive when you have not experienced that which you are thoughtless and insensitive about. You can not know how much you love someone, especially your child, until you lose them. May those who are so insensitive and thoughtless about Memorial Day, and for that matter may all who have not suffered such a loss, never know how much you love someone. And if someone thinks it makes me feel better knowing they have a day off because my son and one million others like him died for America, then they are mistaken, seriously mistaken. They have no sense nor do I think they are capable of understanding

robert stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

If nothing else I read on Maxine's infuriated me, that Robert had to read the bilge here, and comment as he did, just about broke this brat's heart - again. However, there for me - in a nutshell - is the difference between the idiots and our Gold Star Families and their most beloved Fallen Heroes.

they did it for America. Unfortunately, they did it for the good of America, and those who could care less. It is easy to be thoughtless and insensitive when you have not experienced that which you are thoughtless and insensitive about. They have no sense nor do I think they are capable of understanding DUTY HONOR COUNTRY.

One of the themes (amidst all the vile abuse) that was prevalent on the Maxine wall the other day, was the misguided belief that Memorial Day is a day to remember all who have died, not only to honour those who have Fallen in service to their respective countries, on the battlefield.. I told you ignorance was on full display, and so it was as some insisted on interjecting that they remembered their Uncle Tom's dog's third cousin twice removed as their focus for Memorial Day. No matter how many of us tried to educate the masses, (and yes, even this foreigner is fully aware of what Memorial Day actually means,) it was very disheartening to witness not just the insults, but the wilful ignorance.

War on Terror News addresses this in a column he has just posted:

Is a Soldier's Death More Important?

Freedom from fear1 Each year, in the United States, approximately 40,000 people are killed on American roads. Over the last few years, approximately 40,000 people have been killed in Drug Cartel crimes in Mexico. Recent Tornado's killed approximately 140 in the American South. The final count on deaths from Tsunamis in Japan and previously Thailand will never be known for certain, but thousands and more than a 100,000 are conservative estimates. Thousands of Afghan civilians and Thousands of Iraqi civilians are killed by terrorists every year.

Yet, the MSM doesn't publish the daily body counts in the Mexican Drug War, those of Iraqi based terrorists, Palestinian based terrorists, Afghanistan based terrorists, Pakistan based terrorists, civilian suicides, or those killed on American roadways, not even those killed by drug-crazed or drunken drivers. They do give the daily body count of any American Servicemember remotely connected to Afghanistan (and used to do so on those remotely connected to Iraq). Conversely, they'll use hours of broadcast time to tell the life stories of journalists that are killed in a combat zone, even if due to their own decisions to be in places of known extreme risk, as if the journalist were a saint.

War On Terror News does not report Fallen Soldiers as mere numbers, but by name. Conversely, we also don't report on numbers or names of civilians killed by cars, or suicide. This bears the question: Is a Soldier's Death more important than a Civilian's?

Yes, as always, this IS a must read here.

Truth of the matter is that EVERY loss hurts those of us left behind. That's a fact. However, Memorial Day IS a day when the least we can - and must - do, is remember and honor our Fallen Heroes and their families who, as every picture here so clearly shows, lived their lives overflowing with joy. That fact is in stark contrast to the so obviously miserable pixel FB 'fans' of Maxine that felt the need to abuse our Fallen Heroes families, and the memories of their loved ones.

In light of the mishandling by Hallmark/Maxine as the moronfest gathered momentum the other day, I am now proudly displaying a new logo in my sidebar here at Assoluta Tranquillita:

As those nasty nasty people discovered the other day, when you attack OUR Fallen heroes, when you dare to tell our Fallen Heroes Families that their sacrifices are irrelevant, and that they need to "get a life, "lighten up, laugh", and "get over yourself," there are those among us who will take you to task every single time.

And that is my continuing mission and commitment: I will NOT "shut up," I will NOT be silent. I WILL always and forever stand WITH and FOR our Heroes and their families.

THAT you can bank on.


kate said...

Standing "O"! Thank you for such a wonderful reminder of ou heroes, of their families, and why we remember them on Memorial Day. Maxine who? ;)

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for standing up for us, with us, on Memorial Day. Maybe we can continue to try and educate more people as to its true meaning. It should have started in the education system but re-enforced at home. I am grateful for the teachings of my family on this subject matter, but even more so to the people who fought and died for my right to say so. Gold Star families, I remember. I remember. CJBSRN

yankeemom said...

A big Thumbs UP, Brat!!!!!
And an appreciative HUG~~~

Anonymous said...

Way to drop kick their butts Brat. Thank you for standing up for us.

robert stokely
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

brat said...

I made a promise, Robert, that as long as I breathe, your son Mike, and ALL our Fallen Heroes, and you the families, will ALWAYS be remembered and HONOURED.

That will NEVER change.

Off-Broadway Valerie said...

As I've heard from many of our veterans, Memorial Day can actually be a difficult day for them. The last thing we need are ignorant people belittling the sacrifices of their brothers and sisters, making things harder for our troops.

Cricket said...

I am in tears, and so very humbled. Allow me to explain why: I tend to forget that other nations have sacrificed their sons and daughters, and I don't stop to think about them. Thank you for reminding me, and enlarging my heart. They are part of us for having duty, honor and love in common.

My son read the Maxine comic and immediately said "That was crass and tasteless. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and gratitude, and that is for our allies too." That was a couple of days ago, and then I ran across this. Thank you so very much for your gentell graciousness and good example.