Dec 21-05

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: December: Dec 21-05
Snow-covered    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Joyce Tormala
Blue Star Flag    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Joyce Tormala

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 06:09 am:

Looking at my Pasty Cam Calendar, I noticed it says, "Winter Begins" today. What with 113.5 inches in Houghton County and 114.5 inches in Keweenaw County fallen so far this year, I think the calendar is a bit behind. Just take a look at the pile of snow on the birdbath Joyce Tormala spotted. Sure looks like winter has MORE than begun. Joyce also has a frosty Blue Star Flag in her window, letting folks know she has a son (Jay) serving in the Armed Forces. Since I also have a son (Greg) serving (and a flag hanging), I thought this would be a good time to remind everyone to keep our young men and women in your thoughts and prayers, as they spend the Christmas Holidays away from home.

A bit of trivia about the Blue Star Flag: The tradition began in 1917, with WWI. The Congressional Record stated: "The world should know of those who give so much for liberty. The dearest thing in all the world to a father and mother---their children." The blue stands for hope and pride, which us parents are filled with.

P.S. The 2006 Pasty Cam Calendars are available now with your New Year's Eve Pasty order or by themselves too!

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 06:25 am:


I never heard of the Blue Star Flag. My son is
in the service too, but thankfully, he will be
home for Christmas, and we can't wait! He's
anxious to see family and friends, but also
looking forward to going ice fishing.

Blessings to all of our service people.

By Smfwixom (Trollperson) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 06:27 am:

Certainly does look & feel like January down here, too, and not the first day of winter!

By NKR (Nkr) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 06:29 am:

Good morning from Mishawaka IN. I would like to start off by thanking Joyce, Mary and all parents who have children serving in the Armed Forces. My prayers are with you and your children. The first day of Winter! I'm with you Mary. I feel like winter has been here for a month. Stay warm everyone.

By lz (Llamamama) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 07:29 am:

Our servicemen and women are in my thoughts and prayers daily. Thank you for explaining the Blue Star Flag!
Happy welcome to winter and the daylight hours getting longer again.

By Kathyrn Laughlin (Kathyl) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 08:03 am:

Actually, I think the ancient Celts had it right; winter started at what we now call Halloween (too early in the morning for gaelic), and this is mid-winter.

I'm looking forward to getting out on my cross-country skiis during the holidays; regardless of labels, it is indeed winter now. Yeah!

By Charlotte, Mishawaka, IN (Charlotte61) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 08:19 am:

Thanks to all who have children serving this country. All of them, children and parents, are in my prayers daily.

The picture of the snow is so peaceful.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 09:51 am:

We have several in the service too. God keep them safe. First day of winter marks us getting back up to where we normally are this time of year--start the day at 30 and work our way up to 60.

By Mike B. Wishin I was back in the Yoop (Mikeb) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 10:19 am:


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack; brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "It’s really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."

"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

“My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures; he's sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.

"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.

I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother...
…who stand at the front against any and all,
to ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?”

“It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.

To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled

‘Tis payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.


By Margo (Margo) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 10:45 am:

Mike B What a tribute to our soldiers and their families. God bless them all. Thank you for sharing.

By happyooper (Trigal) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 12:21 pm:

Aww, Mikeb. You went and made me cry at work. What a beautiful poem to remind us of the many loved ones protecting our freedom while we enjoy the holiday season. May God be with them and their families.

By WishingIWasInDaUP (Sur5er) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 01:08 pm:

Mike, What a beautiful and insightful poem. I only wish I could have included it in my Christmas cards, when I sent them out last week.

God bless those who are serving our country...and their families. And let us never take for granted what those in the military and their families have sacrificed for our freedoms and safety.

By Lorelei (Lorelei) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 02:24 pm:

This poem touched me in a way that surprised me. With a tear in my eye, I am printing it and making copies to hand to my family so they can read it. We must never forget the sacrifice our soldiers have made and continue to make. This also includes their families.

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 05:26 pm:


I'm going to make a copy of the poem to give
to my dad. It is a tear jerker.

By Paul Oesterle (Paulwebbtroll) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 05:32 pm:

I remember the Blue Star flags in the windows during World War II. I had a GreatAunt and GreatUncle who lived in Howell, Michigan. We lived on a farm a few miles west of there. They had a son in the service (Army) who was in Europe. They had a Blue Star flag in their window. If I remember correctly, there was also a Gold Star flag for those families who lost loved ones while serving. Does anyone else remember that or is that another figment of my imagination? I would occasionally spend a couple of days with them in town. There was a street light right in front of their house. It would shine in the bedroom window where I was trying to sleep. Being from the farm, I wasn't used to light coming in my bedroom and I would have quite a time getting to sleep!

By Hank Morgan (Hank) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 06:21 pm:

Silver star for WIA, Gold star for KIA.

By Butch (Butch) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 07:44 pm:

There are a number of "Blue Star Memorial Highways " across the country. Sad to think most people don`t know the meaning behind them.

By Capt. Paul & Dr. Nat in Texas (Eclogite) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 08:08 pm:

Most people don't know the meaning of the blue star because, like most important facts about American history, simply isn't being taught in school anymore....

By 69 TOOT (Flyindamooney) on Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - 11:56 pm:

I found an old trunk in a basement in inner city Detroit with a "Gold Star Mother" proclamation presented to a mother. There was also a small flag wound around a pole in a blue tube which the ladies would take to parades and wave. I still have the proclamation as the mother is long gone but I can not part with it. The tiny flag I donated to an inner city Veterans bar to be displayed with hundreds of other items. Two tiny items that symbolize major changes in many lives. I always wondered about Marie Holden, whose long abandoned trunk I found.
A 1970 draftee who went kicking and screaming and now believes everyone should participate....

By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 07:47 am:


I'm glad you told us about this and very glad
that you donated the flag.

There must be a (probably sad) story behind
how that flag and proclamation got left behind.
There certainly has been for you!

By Walter P McNew (Waltermcnew) on Thursday, December 22, 2005 - 08:19 pm:

never to early for gaeilge geimhreadh go maith dia do bheatha cailin i remain walter p

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