What’s the state of your union?

Okay. I agree, that’s personal. Share if you want. What’s the state of OUR union? Tonight we get one perspective on that and I’m already feeling grateful that I won’t be watching that particular broadcast up at Lost Loon Lodge with the Bud and Jan Show. Their new big screen TV will be lucky to escape unscathed.

Here at home we know, we believe, we feel, we intuit- whatever- the situation is bleak. Michigan is at the bottom of the pile but this whole Union of States is suffering mightily. And I’m not happy about it. The worst part is the legacy of international ill-will, military conflict, tarnished and ozone depleted environment and massive debt that we will leave for our children. It saddens me.

In the meantime, my super-hero is over there in Baghdad, trying to do the best he can to help ordinary people build hospitals, vote, and get safely to school and work. You’ll recall that my brother-in-law Bill was a few months into a well deserved retirement after a lifetime of service to his country when he was called back for another two years in Iraq. At 56 years of age. Bills_place

Dan is here, composing on the piano, but he took a break for dinner and got interested in what I was posting. He had several observations: "Oh, I would love being with Grandma and Grandpa (Bud and Jan) for the State of the Union! It’s worth leaving now, driving all night, sleeping tomorrow and getting up for the fireworks!"

He also commented on Bill’s short haircut, the low profile insignia of his high rank, his kind and open face and added: "he has the family cranium."  It’s a general observation that these four brothers, born in four years, all have a lot of gray matter packed in up there. As I write this, the evening news is on, with the lead stories about losses in Iraq, mostly related to IEDs. Dan said, "I’m just so sick of hearing about this month after month." Me, too.

Finally, he notes that hostage CSM journalist Jill Carroll, a fellow townie from Ann Arbor, is little older than himself.

I had this idea that while you weigh the words of the nation’s
leaders this evening, today you might want to leave a few words of
encouragement and goodwill for Bill and the hardworking men and women
of the 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade. They’ll read your comments and
appreciate them. (hello and welcome to all of the kind readers of Hoss who are trooping over here after reading HIS typically clever and funny plan for reconstruction in Iraq. A heart felt thank you!)

It’s another "SAY HI to BILL AND THE 322d CIVIL AFFAIRS Brigade" DAY!Monk

59 responses to “What’s the state of your union?

  1. B.I.L. Bill and people of the Brigade: Your efforts to bring some peace and love to the citizens of Iraq are appreciated beyond measure. Good luck.

  2. Old Hoss sent me over. Good luck to you, Bill and the rest of the Brigade. I don’t know anyone over there, but know so many who do have family, friends there so I’m also concerned about your safety and welfare.

  3. Hoss sent me. Bill, the work you do in Iraq will not be forgotten. Before you go back home, do stop for a tour of My Country (Israel). We’re sympathetic, regardless of opinions about the President of the US.

  4. Hey Bill and 322d! Thank you very much for being willing to serve in our military. When we are involved in a war, the people who remain in the military to serve obviously love all of us (IE, Americans and America) very much to be aware of the great sacrifices that they could have to make, yet continue onwards. I admire and respect all people who are willing to give up everything for their convictions, beliefs, and ideals. We appreciate you guys! Thanks again!

  5. Hello Bill. And thank you.

    P.S. I’m here via Old Hoss

  6. Hi Bill – I am a friend of Vicki’s, and I have followed your story in Iraq through her. If my son or daughter were in Iraq, I would want them serving under you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your willingness to give up so much so that you can serve our country and the people of Iraq. Be careful, be safe, be blessed.

  7. I’m here via Hoss and would like to add my sincere best wishes to Bill and co and may they keep safe.

  8. Hello Bill! I’m not very creative this early in the morning so that’s all I got, a great big hello. Thank you for everything.

  9. Hoss sent me, Bill, but I would have gotten here eventually on my own, since I visit Vicki everyday.

    We appreciate your service to our country. Please be safe and come home to your families unscathed.

  10. Dear Bill – There are just no words adequate enough to convey the gratitude we have for your service. It’s selfless, brave and a very loving thing to do. I know it sounds odd to combine the concepts of love and war in the same thought, but love of country transcends all of our more wordly feelings.
    With thanks, Patti and Rodger

  11. Thanks to Bill and all of the wonderful men and women serving oversees to protect our country. Return safely.

  12. Hi Bill!
    Thanks for doing all that good work over there in Iraq. We, here at the Crossing, appreciate all you and our boys are doing to keep our country safe and to make Iraq better for the Iraqi people. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. Hi, Bill and Company – My kids and I are grateful for your service – we thank you for enduring what has to be a massive disruption of your own lives in order to help rebuild the lives of others.

  14. Hi Bill and all in the 322,
    Thanks for all you do. I appreciate it–for myself and for my kids.

  15. Dear Bill,
    We are friends of Vicki and Rich here in Ann Arbor. Knowing you through them brings the war close to home for us, and that is a good thing, to keep in mind what you and your men and women are doing for your country and to help the Iraqi people come through this terrible time. We are so proud of your courage and dedication. Please know that the hearts of the people at home are with you and that we pray for your safe return and successful mission. Thank you for all you do.
    Susie and Ted.

  16. Yet another well-wisher via Hoss, here to salute Bill and the 322nd CAB. Thank you, and godspeed.

  17. Hey Bill! Y’all keep up the good work….we’re rooting for you.

  18. Hello Bill and the 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to this country and the Iraqi people. Your courage and bravery are amazing. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  19. Hi, Bill, and everyone in 322,
    Our heartfelt thanks for all you do. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. Take care.

  20. I’ll read your post instead of watching the address, Vicki. Good on you (and Hoss) for honoring Bill!

    God’s continued Protection and Peace, Bill!

    P.S. You could audioblog one of Dan’s compositions, you know. Is there a blog in his future?

  21. Of course Bill knows how I feel already. It was first said during Vietnam: The few, being led by the incompetent, to do so much for so many, with so little. But the great news is that even when the press is not trying to “help”, they show pictures of American Armed Forces showing respect for the people and the ways of another nation; showing love and tolerance that is not always shown by our own country’s leaders. It is the integrity, the dedication and the clear mission focus of the individual men and women of the Armed Forces that makes it possible for Iraq to rise from the ashes and look toward a future of self determination and, eventually, relative peace. The Armed Forces of today are ethical, committed and great ambassadors of the United States. I don’t care what they say during the state of the union or the rebuttal, if there is anything good to say about what is happening in Iraq, it is due to individual members of the Armed Forces who have taken on the impossible mission assigned to them. You folks are just awesome!

    I can’t wait for you to come home to a ticker tape parade, a new and improved GI Bill (I’m still a dreamer) and a smooth and quick transition to life with your family and other loved ones.


  22. Hello to Bill and the 322! God bless you all and keep you safe!

  23. Hello Bill and the 322nd. There are no words adequate to express how grateful I am for the job that all of you do every day. You are the reason that we in the U.S. enjoy the freedoms we have. The U.S. would not be the country it is without soldiers, like you, willing to fight for it.

  24. Hello Bill (and all of you) Close your eyes, and feel big warm hands reach around either side of your cheeks. Nod your head down, and recieve a gentle kiss on that bald head of yours. Repeat every morning and evening.

  25. Many, many thanks goes to you, Bill, and everyone serving their country! God Bless!

  26. Hello Bill and the 322. It’s men like you (and their father!) that I want my sons to grow up and be like – honorable, true and valiant. Thank you so much for being where you are and doing what you’re doing. We do appreciate it.

  27. Bill and the 322nd–

    It takes special men like yourselves to show the world what America stands for. And it’s not always the guns and bombs. It’s the well meaning gestures of peace and re-building as well.

    P.S. Hopefully, this will post today. My post yesterday seems to have disappeared. I think Vicki deleted it for some reason. Maybe because I’m an Ann Arbor-ite as well and there’s only room in this here town for one blogger.

  28. I have come by way of Mr. Hoss, and just wanted to say to Bill and the 322nd: Thank you for everything, and good luck! God bless all y’all do!

  29. Hi, Bill, and everyone with you. Best wishes, and get back safely.
    My best friend’s husband just left yesterday for his 4th trip to Bagdhad (in a civilian capacity.) There’s nothing easy about what ya’ll are doing over there. Please know that we do appreciate you over here, even if many of us (including me) are against this stupid war. We DO appreciate YOU GUYS!

  30. Hi, Bill – Please know that I appreciate what all of you are doing for our country. I’m thinking of you daily. xo Beth

  31. Thanks Bill, and your guys and gals, for ALL that you do :o)
    Kath from Texas

    sent by http://patspastimperfect.blogspot.com, and Old Horsetail

  32. Hi Bill and the 322nd! Huge hugs and thank yous for the fine and essential work you’re doing. You make me proud.

  33. Hello Bill and the 322nd! Thank you ALL for the work you do to keep our country safe and to help the Iraqi people get on their feet. You could personally see the pride of the people there when they first got to vote, and how much they risked for that vote. You made this possible for them. It sort of puts all of us back home to shame with all our bickering, whining and complaining. You do make us very proud.

  34. Hello, and thank you to Bill and the 322nd.

    We’re proud of you!


  35. Thank you Bill, and the 322nd for all you do, for this country and the Iraqis.

  36. Hello to Bill. Hoss sent me. You look like one hard-working dude. I am glad we send over the best! Good luck and best wishes.

  37. Hoss sent me over! I’m happy to drop by and say THANKS to Bill. Good luck in all you are doing in Iraq!!!!!

  38. Bill – all the best to you, your brigade, and your cranium.

  39. A huge thank you to Bill and all those people like him who have given up everything here to serve far away in a distant, and dangerous land. (which by the way, I don’t believe we should be in, but it doesn’t take away my respect and admiration for those who are there)

  40. Old Hoss sent me, and I’m so glad he did. This is a special thank you to Bill and all the others who are in our armed forces. We can sleep at night because you often can’t. We can eat family meals together because you often don’t. We have luxuries because you often forgo those luxuries in order to serve and protect us all.

    I don’t believe we should be in Iraq any more, though I think we certainly needed to go there initially. But I will admit that you’re doing the job you were sent to do, and I admire and greatly appreciate it. Perhaps I’m wrong, and we still belong there. I’m not perfect, I realize I may be mistaken. But I do know this: you have a great deal in you that I admire. You make me proud to be American.

  41. Bill, and the 322nd, Thank you all for what you do for our country! As a military wife, I am all too aware of the sacrifices you are making! Be safe.

  42. Hi there, Bill, and thank you!

  43. We appreciate all you are doing for our country! Even though I would prefer that you are all home safe, soon. Take care and God bless!

  44. Hello to Bill and all the folks in the 322nd. Thank you for the work that you’re doing to help build something of lasting value for the people of Iraq. May God keep you well, and see you safely home.

  45. Old Horsetail Snake sent this Lurker to you to wish you guys good luck.

  46. hey..i am here because Hoss sent me. SO…

    Hey there and good luck. Keep up the good work and come home soon.

  47. Bill we’re proud of you and your men. Thank you for what you do each and every day. I know it doesn’t make the news but it counts where its really important, with the future generations of that country. Pass this along to all your troops and give them a thumbs up for us.

  48. Bill, Vicki and Rich speak so highly of you. I hope that you and your troops come home quickly and safely to good health care and to an expanded G.I. Bill (no pun intended). Godspeed.

  49. Hi Bill! You rock! Good luck to you!

  50. June cannot come soon enough. This is an entire period of holding our collective breath waiting for you and the rest to be able to come home. And enough time has passed in this that it’s far too easy for what you are doing to be moved to the back of our societal consciousness. I never want to take for granted what you are risking and willingly investing for your country and for me. I am proud of you Bill, and honored to be able to say I am your brother and you are mine.

    Much love and continued prayers for you and everyone there.


  51. Hello Bill. You are beautiful. We are waiting for return with open arms and wishing you well. Thank you for all you do and have done.

  52. To Bill and all the men and women of the 322nd: THANK YOU! You are heroes.

  53. Hi Bill! Thank you so much for all you are doing. Thank you for your dedication, your loyalty, your bravery, and your sacrifice.

  54. Hello Bill and the 322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, thank you for your service and sacrifice. Hope you know you are appreciated and admired for the work you are doing over there.

  55. To Bill and the 322nd! Your example of courage and responsibility is humbling. I am grateful beyond words for what you do.

  56. Dear Bill, men and women of the 322nd, and all who serve with you,
    You are our Emissaries and Diplomats more than our warriors now, and thank God for that. The daily struggle to help the Iraqui people rebuild their lives, in the face of constant and random danger, is the very thing, over time, that regains our country the respect and moral high ground we’ve always stood for. We know that in this role, you and your troops are shining exemplars, and know too that the whole world sees this. Can’t wait to have you home.
    Bruce Aller.

  57. Hi Bill, I actually have met Vicki personally since we live in the same town.

    Thank you for all your hard work and that’s to you and all of the 322nd 🙂
    You are true superheros!

  58. dear bill and buddies, blessings on you all for what you do! as one of vicki’s fellow michiganders, be assured that there are those who wish you well from the great lakes. chris

  59. Oh dear Bill and the 322nd, you just rip our hearts open, put the lump in our throats with how you put yourselves on the line. You care so much. We humbly thank you.

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