The Empty Chair

No  tears  can  fall  from  my  eyes.
So,  why  does  my  heart  ache?

Could  it  be,  the  empty  chair?

I  shouldn’t  whine.
Many,  no  longer  have  their  soldiers  with  whom  they  dine.

The  empty  chair,  always  there.

Thanksgiving  is  a  day  to  pause  and  reflect  on  all  we  are  grateful  for.

For  me,  Thanksgiving,  is  every  day.

Every  day  I’m  grateful  for  all  who  have  served  us.
Veterans,  brave  souls.

I’m  grateful  for  all  who  are  serving.

I  want  to  tell  my  son  how  much  I  miss  him.
He  doesn’t  want  me  to  be  sad.

I  want  to  hear  his  laughter.
Life  is  so  hard  over  there.

He  never  complains.
I  do,  about  the  damn  empty  chair.

Although  I  am  grateful  for  much,
I  will  be  most  grateful  for  the  day  the  empty  chair,
is  empty  no  more.

by  Karen  Estrada  (@milhealth) is proud to be working with   This is a poignant poem written by Karen Estrada when her son was away during the holidays on his 5th deployment to Afghanistan.  This poem  provides all of us a glimpse of the sacrifices made by those who serve and their loved ones.  The families of our fallen carry this grief during all holidays with their own “Empty Chair”.  Veterans Day has past but let us remember those who serve our nation and their families 24/7.   Next time you see a soldier, try a random act of kindness.  Perhaps thank them for their service, buy them a cup of coffee or even pick up their check if you are able.   Remember we are able to live the lives we live in the greatest nation in the world because of the sacrifices of less than one percent.

Victoria’s Secret Helps National Guard is in awe of our Citizen Soldiers who are there to help in times of disaster, such as assisting victims of Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.   We all need a little help from our friends, and Victoria’s Secret proved to be a company with more to offer than just lingerie and beautiful women. Victoria’s Secret was there to help the New York National Guard so that they could complete their mission, and help those affected by the damage from Hurricane Sandy.   We commend Victoria’s Secret, and salute our Citizen Soldiers who are there, 24/7.

Soldiers with the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry regiment found themselves in a precarious situation after Hurricane Sandy struck. Like the people they were trying to assist, they were without electricity or hot water, stuck in the city, and supplies were quickly running out.

But for a change, the guardsmen, who are usually the angels that help others, had a guardian angel of their own-Victoria’s Secret! The company, which was scheduled to have its annual fashion show at the New York Army National Guard’s armory in Manhattan, had eight 500-kilowatt generators with them. Happy to put the generators to good use, Victoria’s Secret was able to once again provide the soldiers with power and hot water. Then the Guardian Angel made sure that the solders’ communication systems were up and running, despite the local cell towers being down. Victoria’s Secret’s producer Dave Shapiro had leased a T1 line, which he generously allowed the armory to use.

The National Guard is extremely versatile, enabling troops to respond to domestic emergencies, combat missions, and reconstruction missions, with speed, strength and efficiency. “We just had one of our patrols come back, and they were just in one of the worst-hit areas of Staten Island, helping to distribute food, water, some much-needed clothing and blankets, especially because the weather is getting much colder out here,” said Air Force Captain Ryan Abbott of the New York Air National Guard’s 152nd Air Operations Group. Whether the call is from a state governor or the president of the United States, Guard Soldiers are always ready, and always there.

Since the National Guard is state-funded, their armories are usually just bare-bones storage facilities. Once again, the National Guard had to turn to the Victoria’s Secret crew—this time to borrow their fork lift to process the tractor-trailers full of emergency supplies delivered by FEMA. Thanks to Victoria’s Secret, the soldiers were able to repackage and distribute the supplies to those in need. Members of the New York National Guard continue to distribute critically needed fuel throughout the New York City area, as residents and local authorities continue with cleanup and recovery efforts.