Appreciating Military Appreciation Month

Tales Of Nightingale Lynn

BACK IN 1969, I graduated from high school, and instead of accepting a scholarship for dress design, I choose to get married and not go for the scholarship. The young man I Big_Red_One-vietnamwould marry one month after graduation, at the age of 18, had already done 3 tours in Viet Nam (Big Red 1 / 1st Infantry Division), and was given an assignment to avoid a third sign up, was assigned to the Presidential Honor Guard, in Washington D.C.

While in Viet Nam, my fiancé had ordered a 69 GTO to be delivered upon his return home. We were married on July 5th, 1969, and began our drive to D.C., where my then husband would be assigned to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. “The Presidential Honor Guard.

As a young Army wife stationed in off-base housing, we lived on the 5th floor, no elevators, just a metal staircase. Groceries, laundry, trash, you name it was taken up and down those stairs. Thank God for youth.

I remember my first day on the base, watching the men in platoons running in formation, Military jeeps visible everywhere you look, Military police checking on the ID’s of everyone entering and leaving was something a young military wife was in awe over. Viet Nam was raging still, but now this Army wife would watch her husband go through the drills, so beautiful at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. Precise Rifle dances that entered the air in an eloquent toss, keeping step and never a step out line, so mesmerizing.

Each morning I would wake at 4:30 a.m. and begin my day, ironing fatigues, making breakfast, while soon after saying goodbye for the day to my husband. I would have to hurry and get dressed, make my way down to the bus stop, rain, snow or shine, to wait for the bus that would take me into the district for my days employment. If I did not make it to the stop before 7:30 a.m., I was late for work as I was not the only one waiting, so it was usually a free-for all to get on the bus and get a seat, for the 1 ½ hour drive into the District from Arlington, VA.

I grew up quickly as the military wife of a man who had seen way too much in his 3 tours of Viet Nam. I learned how post traumatic stress changed the life of both of us. I was 3000 miles away from anything I knew as home. My friends became those who wore uniforms or those who’s wives I came to counsel in hard times.

ArlingtonWhen I would want to get out, I would go to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider and sit and watch until the changing of the guard. I would hear what was happening in reports coming from South and North Vietnam, for our military deployed. It was a war that took the lives and minds of way too many of our men and women, who gave us and continue to give us our Freedom.

From Viet Nam till today there have been several more wars, and women have come into the mix. Afghanistan, Iraq, Desert Storm; wars that have escalated and taken the lives of military men and women, mothers, fathers, fiancés, daughters, son’s, just way too many lives.

So I hope that those who have served, and are alive today all the way back to World War I, if any still remaining, please know that you are all appreciated, prayed for, thought of, memories remain, grave’s decorated.   Know that you are loved and prayed for because you gave and continue to give us our Freedom. For those serving now you are in our hearts. For those who lost limbs, and became a Wounded Warrior, God keep close to you. You are loved and appreciated more than you realize.

As a young military wife I grew up quickly and I knew that life would never be the same, it changed mine and it changed his, but the war also changed America.


Lynn Forrester-Pitocco
Lynn Forrester-Pitocco
LYNN is Retired from Law Enforcement as a Police Officer, with a background in nursing and previously a member of the Search and Rescue Team with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, A retired member of the Orange Police Department, she became the first female SWAT member on an elite team while becoming a member of the Olympic Shooting Team during the early years on the department. A mother and a grandmother, a devout Catholic who currently resides in Houston, Texas. Her hobbies include writing, painting, and a contemplative prayer life. She is in love with her faith, but the love she carries for her two grown children and grandchildren who rest in her heart surpasses everything except her faith in God. Since retirement, Lynn has done private investigation, worked as a gang counselor with middle schools, A member of Bl. Mother Teresa’s Order called the (Lay Missionaries of Charity), she is also a pro-life advocate, often called upon to give testimony and speak to youth groups, as well as adult forums. She has published a children’s book entitled “The Children’s Garden” and is currently working on two additional children’s books. She is currently working on the major one focused on her experience in Law Enforcement entitled “Heels and a Badge”. (copyright). Her paintings and sketches, writings, can be viewed on her Pinterest boards (click on the Pinterest ICON below). Her dream is to one-day write a movie for Hallmark. Dreams do come true … See Lynn’s entire collection of thought-provoking Articles by clicking on her byline. Lynn is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change.

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  1. Lynn, I read and re-read you story and along with you pray to God for special blessings on anyone who serves in the military. My heart hurts for wounded warriors’ it breaks for families who have lost loved ones because they were courageous enough to serve our country. My grandson is deployed right now – and I assure him every day that I love him, he’s awesome, I pray God’s protection over him. I feel so bad for men and women who literally give up their freedoms and comfort so we can have ours. As I sit here in my home I know at any time I can go get a cup of coffee, watch a show on TV, decide to go out for a walk, run to the store, shop at the mall, pick up a copy of my favorite magazine, see a movie and have popcorn. I can pick up my cell phone and call someone or text them. If I get bored I can play around on Facebook, take a shower, work on a hobby, or take a bike ride. If I have a job I don’t like, no problem. I can look for another one. I can quit and usually draw unemployment till I figure out my next employment. What I just described is the antithesis of what troops in the military can do. They have none of those options. I just mailed my grandson a pillow so at least he could have a bit more comfort when he sleeps.

    If you know someone in the military – thank them. We can’t understand the gravity of what they go through unless we go through it too.

    • Jane,I will keep your grandson in my prayers specifically, and let him know how thankful we are for all he does. I will always pray for him, What is his name.

  2. Danny, and Len, my heart goes out to anyone who fights and dies for our Freedom here. Our decline in the military is in my opinion the result of those who cannot see the gift to protect and serve. I fear for our children and grandchildren, their futures, but above all I leave it to the poor choices made by men who have never served in our current Administration.

    • Exactly, Lynn. “poor choices made by men and women who have never served their country”. Their idea of serving is hosting a dinner party.

  3. Lynn – First, thank you for being a supportive military spouse. So many overlook that fact that when our military goes into harm’s way, they leave behind their spouse and children to put their lives on the line for our American way of life. The pressure on the spouse to keep a brave face and be supportive so the children and family of the veteran can be reassured hides the fact that at night they cry to sleep because of the fear of losing someone they love. This sacrifice is never discussed or recognized. But I know that my 20 years in the Marine Corps were successful because of the support my wife provided behind scenes so I could focus on the mission and my Marines and not worry about the home front. So again, thank you.

    For all veterans, I say thank you. Having walked in your shoes, I am proud of each man and woman with whom I have served and for each veteran who has served at any time who is my brother and sister in arms.

    But this country (i.e. our government) that has depended on the unselfishness of our military members to keep American the land of freedom needs to live up to the commitment of taking care of these brave men and women with proper health care (a VA system that works because it is dedicated to our veterans) and a commitment to keep the promises made concerning medical retirement and regular retirement. If this county really wants to show its appreciation to our military, don’t give us a “month”, give us your commitment to respect your promises and reward our service by honoring your commitment.

    Thanks, Lynn, for this wonderful post.

    • ” If this county really wants to show its appreciation to our military, don’t give us a “month”, give us your commitment to respect your promises and reward our service by honoring your commitment.

      Thanks, Lynn, for this wonderful post.”

      AMEN, Len!!

  4. All true, Lynn, we should do more to show appreciation for those that serve, not only in the military, but also as police and other first responders.

    The vets from Vietnam suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome are tragic. However, that issue has been with us from all wars, just under different names. After WW II it was known as shell shock. I had a cousin’s husband that cam back from that war with it. If the phone rang, or someone knocked on the door he would crawl under a table or into a corner and assume a fetal position. War is synonymous with tragedy.

    • “we should do more to show appreciation for those that serve, not only in the military, but also as police and other first responders.” Yes, Ken. This should be what we do!