Archive for veteran

Tear Jerker

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 8, 2010 by juliannah

I ran across this story via Twitter and I just had to reblog it. It originally appeared in the St. Petersburg and online at

WWII Vet And Wife Are Finally At Rest

BUSHNELL — The two teenagers got to the cemetery first.
He wore his dark green dress uniform from the National Guard. She wore a long black dress.
They stood on the edge of the road, across from rows of matching military headstones, waiting for the funeral of the man they had never met.
Mike Colt, 19, and his girlfriend, Carol Sturgell, 18, had driven more than an hour from their Tampa homes on Wednesday to be at Florida National Cemetery.
They weren’t really sure why they had come. They just knew they had to be here.
“It’s kind of sad, huh?” asked Sturgell, scanning the sea of white gravestones.
Colt nodded. “Yeah, but it feels kind of important.”
At 12:20 p.m., a Tampa police car pulled up, then a white Lincoln Town Car. Another police cruiser followed. Two officers stepped out.
“Thank you for being here,” Colt said, shaking both of their hands.
“No, thank you,” said Officer Dan College. “If it weren’t for you guys, none of us would be here.”
• • •
Three weeks ago, on the last Saturday of November, the young couple was hanging out at Sturgell’s house when her brother rode up on his bike, all excited. He had found two fishing poles in this huge pile of trash. Come check it out, he said. So they did.
At the edge of the trash mound, sticking out from beneath a box, Sturgell spied a worn green folder.
She pulled it out, brushed off the dust. Across the top, bold letters said, “Department of Defense.” Inside, she found retirement papers from the U.S. Army; a citation for a Purple Heart issued in 1945; and a certificate for a Bronze Star medal “for heroism in ground combat in the vicinity of Normandy, France … June 1944.” In the center of the certificate there was a name: Delbert E. Hahn.
Why would anyone throw that away? Sturgell asked.
And who is that guy? Colt wanted to know. Must be old, a World War II vet. Looks like he served at D-Day!
That night, they took the paperwork back to Sturgell’s house and searched Delbert E. Hahn on the computer. Nothing. They talked about who he might have been, the life he might have led.
The next morning, they went back to the trash heap and searched for more clues. They rummaged through boxes, overturned furniture, picked through piles of the past. Colt moved a ratty couch — and something fell out. A metal vase, or box, some kind of rectangular container about a foot tall. On the base was the name: Delbert E. Hahn.
“It’s him,” Colt told his girlfriend. “This must be him, in his urn.”
Sturgell screamed. She didn’t want to touch it. It was kind of freaky, she said, discovering the remains of some dead guy.
“He shouldn’t be here,” Colt said. “No one should be thrown away like that, just left in a parking lot.”
The dead man wasn’t alone. Under the couch, the couple found two more sets of remains: a cylinder-style container with Barbara Hahn printed on the bottom and another urn, which had no name.
• • •
Tampa Police Cpl. Edward Croissant had just reported for the night shift that Sunday when his officers showed him the urns. This kid and his girlfriend had found them and brought them to the station.
Then an officer told Croissant about the Purple Heart. The Bronze Star. And the Normandy invasion.
And Croissant became irate. He had served eight years in the Navy. He’s in the Coast Guard Reserve. “I had three uncles in World War II. That was the greatest generation. If it wasn’t for those men, we would have nothing,” he said.
“That man saw combat. And someone just dumped him there? He deserves a better ending.”
Police called the Department of Veterans Affairs and learned Hahn had died in 1983, at the age of 62 — and was a highly decorated war hero. The staff sergeant had served in the infantry and been honored with five Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.
Barbara Hahn, they learned, was the soldier’s wife.
So how did their remains end up in that mound of garbage? Where was the rest of their family, or friends, anyone who would want their ashes? And who was in that third urn?
• • •
Neighbors filled in some of the story: Barbara Hahn had been a widow forever, they told police. For years, her mother had lived with her. Her mother’s name was Barbara, too.
The elder Barbara had lived to be more than 100. They thought she died around 2000. That third urn, neighbors told police, must be her.
The younger Barbara, the soldier’s wife, got sick in 2003. A couple came to care for her, and she wound up willing them her mobile home. When she died, the couple moved in, took out a mortgage, then didn’t make payments.
The bank foreclosed on the trailer late last year.
In November, officials sent a maintenance company to clear it out. The workers must have just dumped everything behind the vacant building on Busch Boulevard, neighbors told police. Including the remains of three people.
• • •
Just before 1 p.m. Wednesday, the two teenagers led the car line through Florida National Cemetery. Police followed, then the funeral director who had the urns. Outside a wooden gazebo, two rows of National Guardsmen stood at attention.
The funeral director handed the first soldier a flag, the next one the cylinder with Barbara Hahn’s remains, the third one the brass urn with Delbert Hahn.
(Barbara’s mother’s remains are still in the evidence room of the police station. Since she wasn’t a veteran or married to one, she wasn’t entitled to be buried in the military cemetery.)
“Let us open the gates of the Lord,” said a military chaplain, who led the procession of strangers into the gazebo. “Let us remember,” said the chaplain, “none of us lives only unto himself.”
The teenagers sat on the front bench. Three officials from Veterans Affairs sat behind them. They had spent weeks searching for the Hahns’ relatives, any distant kin or friend, someone who might want their ashes — or at least want to come to their burial.
They couldn’t find anyone. Even the couple whom Barbara Hahn had willed her home to didn’t show.
By the time the chaplain lifted his head from the Lord’s Prayer, a long line of men had wrapped around the gazebo. Wearing blue denim shirts and work boots, they clasped their caps in their hands and bowed their heads. Dozens of groundskeepers from the cemetery had left their Christmas party to come pay respects to the man who, in death, had been so disrespected.
A bugler played taps. The riflemen fired three shots. And 56 people watched the honor guard fold a flag over the urns of the man and woman they never knew.
News researcher John Martin contributed to this story.

America Helping Heroes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2009 by juliannah

I received a direct message on Twitter today from Angela Alegna. She is a singer and a patriot. She is involved with America Helping Heroes. This is charity that helps returning veterans deal with the aftermath of war. They believe that the troops that have sacrificed for us should not be forgotten, instead should be helped to have happy, productive lives.

After Vietnam the vets were left to deal with the frustrations of fighting in a war by themselves. On top of that, they were not even thanked for the sacrifice they made. Thank goodness that is not the case with our returning military today.

America Helping Heroes has chapters all over the country in each state. The help returning military with healthcare, legal matters, raise funds for military in need and even help with employment for vets. Please visit America Helping Heroes and see if you can help.

This is Angela’s Christmas video thanking the troops. You can follow her on twitter @ahheroes

Honoring Those Who Sacrificed For You

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on November 11, 2009 by juliannah

Veteran’s Day comes once a year. On this day, we stop to honor those people who served in our military. We have parades and ceremonies with flags and marching bands. Veterans young and old come out and we honor them each and every one. Some are disabled bearing the outward sacrifice. Others carry the scars inside.

It is important on this day that we remember to honor the men and women who served our country. From intense training in boot camp to serving on the front lines, each veteran sacrificed every day of their service. Some continue to sacrifice for the rest of their lives.

These veterans exemplified John F. Kennedy’s quote,

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

President Kennedy not only spoke these words, he lived them, as he was a veteran.

Our veterans of past and future are not only veterans on November 11. They are veterans on November 12 and every day of the year. Remember to honor them tomorrow and each day. They deserve it and we owe it.



Many Veterans Exposed to Asbestos and living with possible Ailments

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on July 22, 2009 by juliannah


The twentieth century brought us the start and end to many wars for Americans, all of which were fought mainly overseas. In that time many soldiers were killed or brought back injuries through their sacrifice. Much of the military returned healthy. But this does not mean there are not a variety of issues if you dig a little deeper. One often overlooked issue is mesothelioma cancer, which results from asbestos exposure.

Roughly 30-40 percent of all reported mesothelioma patients in the United States are former members of the military.  Asbestos is an excellent fire retardant that in many ways protected veterans throughout the years. In addition to being dangerous if the fibers are ‘lose’ and breathed in, it is fairly cheap and effective. This fiber was used in every branch of the military up until the late 1970’s and was specifically valuable to the Navy, which used it in engine and boiler rooms and other areas below the deck for safety reasons.  It was used in the tools they used and the rooms where they slept.

In particular, veterans who served from the 1930s and 1970s have the greatest risk of getting mesothelioma, with the disease not settling in sometimes up to 50 years after asbestos exposure.

Pursuing compensation for mesothelioma and other breathing ailments that can result is not easy. VA Claims sometimes can help but you must prove that you were only exposed while in the military. The military does not list mesothelioma as a service-related disease. Some think that the Obama Administration will push through policies to make the VA Claim process easier. Another avenue to take is to sue the manufacturer of the product (not Uncle Sam) but litigation is typically tough because diagnosis often occurs many years after exposure.

It is safe to say that asbestos is one of the worst corporate catastrophe’s of the 20th century because manufacturers knew about the dangers since the 1920s and the mesothelioma survival rate equating to almost certain death within a short time (varies but typically within a couple years). The full breakdown of mesothelioma facts is interesting, to say the least. Most Americans think that asbestos is an old issue but veterans are still reporting cases at a frequent pace, reminding us of era that brought many wars and poor industrial standards.

Military Monday (a day late) Honor Flights

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by juliannah

Yes I know it is not Monday but I have a good excuse. Since adopting Lucie (see the post below) on Saturday I have taken her on a few walks. Now let’s just say that she is a little leash ignorant and tends to almost take me for a walk. So when I got up Monday morning I could hardly move because I was so sore. So needless to say I spent the day laying on the couch and taking hot showers to relieve the soreness. After a day of Iburprofren and rest I feel a little better. No major muscles are pulled. This is either going to be really good for me or kill me.

So anyway here is the post that I planned to put up on Monday.

Honor Flights is a charity that provides free transportation to World War II veterans that have never been to Washington DC to see the WWII Memorial.  There are flights out of most US major cities several times a month.

The reasoning behind this charity is that based on recent 2008 statistics, we are losing World War II veterans at the rate of approximately 1,000 per day. There are plans in place to eventually be able to provide this service to Korean and Vietman war vets.

The first Honor Flight took place in May of 2005. Six planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio taking twelve World War II veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington, DC.

Honor Flight’s website can be found here. I found out about Honor Flights through the Chicago Tribune. See a video about a recent group of vets from the Chicago are that were able to travel to the nation’s capital and see thier memorial.  There a more pictures here.

If you are a vet, give this trip some thought. Afterall it is your memorial and you deserve to see. I did and I was humbled and I am not even a vet. Just a daughter on one and mother of two.