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Before yesterdayCarpoolDaze

How I feel When I Look at the Stars

31 January 2022 at 17:19

A good #DailyPrompt. It makes me smile inside and out.

During summer, when were are in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, and it’s a clear night, we head outside to the dock with pillows for some stargazing. We have a mountain behind us and a stunning 180-degree view of the glacier-made mountain lake.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

As we listen to the water gently lap beside us, we witness a spectacular view of the stars and Milky Way above us. The sky is dark and stars bright because there is no light pollution. You can almost see the curve of the earth. You can easily see the constellations, and we always see shooting stars. Sometimes, the Northern Lights.

It is magical.

As I researched our grandfather’s journey in WWII Pacific, for our book Old Breed General, many who served in the Pacific wrote about the beauty and serenity of the stars above them on clear nights when they had a blackout on ship (no lights).

They saw a pure, vast blanket of stars that gave a much-needed sense of peace and awe.

To see this majesty one remembers Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of the Lord.”

amypeacock

How I feel When I Look at the Stars

31 January 2022 at 17:19

A good #DailyPrompt. It makes me smile inside and out.

During summer, when were are in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, and it’s a clear night, we head outside to the dock with pillows for some stargazing. We have a mountain behind us and a stunning 180-degree view of the glacier-made mountain lake.

Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

As we listen to the water gently lap beside us, we witness a spectacular view of the stars and Milky Way above us. The sky is dark and stars bright because there is no light pollution. You can almost see the curve of the earth. You can easily see the constellations, and we always see shooting stars. Sometimes, the Northern Lights.

It is magical.

As I researched our grandfather’s journey in WWII Pacific, for our book Old Breed General, many who served in the Pacific wrote about the beauty and serenity of the stars above them on clear nights when they had a blackout on ship (no lights).

They saw a pure, vast blanket of stars that gave a much-needed sense of peace and awe.

To see this majesty one remembers Psalm 19:1

“The heavens declare the glory of the Lord.”

My Favorite Quote

21 January 2022 at 21:58

Our father shared this quote with me by Theodore Roosevelt.

Years ago, when I was a young girl.

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
It is not the critic who counts; not the
man who points out how the strong man
stumbles, or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better. The credit
belongs to the man who is actually in the
arena, whose face is marred by dust and
sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and
again; who spends himself in a worthy
cause; who at the best knows in the end
the triumph of high achievement, and
who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails
while daring greatly, so that his place shall
never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.

amypeacock

My Favorite Quote

21 January 2022 at 21:58

Our father shared this quote with me by Theodore Roosevelt.

Years ago, when I was a young girl.

THE MAN IN THE ARENA
It is not the critic who counts; not the
man who points out how the strong man
stumbles, or where the doer of deeds
could have done them better. The credit
belongs to the man who is actually in the
arena, whose face is marred by dust and
sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and
again; who spends himself in a worthy
cause; who at the best knows in the end
the triumph of high achievement, and
who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails
while daring greatly, so that his place shall
never be with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.

Random Thoughts from #Bloganuary Daily Prompts

19 January 2022 at 16:23

I am a tad behind. Again, working on my Old Breed General book launch and more. So, I am picking a few posts I can take a shot at.

Day 9. What do People Incorrectly Assume About Me?

People may assume I am all about me, or want all the credit for a project. Or, that I am so strong emotionally and like to go at it alone.

Well, as someone who knows myself, has done Myers Briggs, Strength Finders and other personality tests, I can tell you, they are wrong.

You see, I am an activator, a catalyst, a proactive leader, and a daughter of a US Marine, who expected this and more.

And, I care deeply. If I see something that needs to be done, or is not being done fast enough, I often jump in to help get the job done.

When I was a teen my friends always said I was “so responsible.”

My dad would say I was “sensitive.”

Later a therapist told me, “Your type A, we just need to get you to be a good Type A. You’re a blur.”

Being an activator and catalyst can also make you be perceived as a maverick leader. And, sometimes you are by nature.

So you need to be aware of this perception, slow your ass down, and partner up for the best result.

Perhaps with this energy and feeling of personal responsibility one could do it all, but I am not an expert in everything. Tis’ much better to focus on my strength as an activator and work with others different strengths for a win-win, as I have tried to do.

As someone responsible and sensitive to others’ emotions, I also want people to get along and communicate openly. I want to help connect people. I want to understand what’s going on in your lives and be understood. To be open and build trust.

#JustDoIt 🙂

Day 10 Name Five Things You are Grateful For. Only 5?

  1. My health and fitness. 2. My family to love and support 3. My belief in God. 4. A roof over my head. 4. Healthy food to eat. 5. Friends to cherish. Add: 6. Hot showers!

Day 11 What Does it Mean to Live Boldy?

Trust and follow your instincts. Take action on your dreams and goals everyday. Be honest. Be authentic. Do what brings you joy. Be proactive. Show others you care. Make that call, send that text, give that hug. Be that light in someone’s darkness.

Day 12: What is a Challenge You’ve Overcome?

I guess the biggest two challenges in my life was losing our father to cancer when I was 21, and, our mother getting ALS and dying of it in 2004, when I was 34.

The biggest challenge I overcame was grief.

It was devastating to lose our father Patrick Hill Rupertus to Agent Orange related cancer. This tall, handsome, friendly, smart and giant of a personality was our beloved dad and a friend to many.

I had no time to grieve (Truthfully? It was too tough emotionally to allow myself to go there) because I had to go back to school at UGA. I lost my faith. I felt alone. It felt odd not to have a dad – all of my friends had theirs.

Then I was too busy working after college to deal with it. Add marriage.

So, I never processed the grief of losing my father! I kept it packaged up to “deal with it” when I had time.

Then our beautiful mom, Gail Rupertus, got ALS eight years after our dad died!!! When she got this ALS out of the blue, then died, it was like a double whammy.

All of the sudden my sisters and I were the adults in the room. Where did our parents go?

And, then I was a busy mom with two little cherubs.

Ugh, add a few more key losses of loved ones those years. That’s some grief load. It took a long time to realize I could not run away from it, though I tried. I finally realized I had to face it my own heath and longevity. I had to break the glass walls of grief with a wrecking ball.

The hardest part? Forgiving myself for holding on so long. And, to do the work in community with others.

Perhaps we hold on to grief because it is something we can feel.

That connection keeps you close to your loved one. Ya now?

But would they want that for us?

I’ve also learned there is 100% no time table for the stages of grief, despite what some experts say.

And, everyone hurts sometimes. We are all in this together.

Psst. Writing has been an enormous help.

About Dad: https://carpooldaze.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/my-pal-my-dad-audience-of-1/

About Mom: https://carpooldaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/come-talk-to-me/

amypeacock

Random Thoughts from #Bloganuary Daily Prompts

19 January 2022 at 16:23

I am a tad behind. Again, working on my Old Breed General book launch and more. So, I am picking a few posts I can take a shot at.

Day 9. What do People Incorrectly Assume About Me?

People may assume I am all about me, or want all the credit for a project. Or, that I am so strong emotionally and like to go at it alone.

Well, as someone who knows myself, has done Myers Briggs, Strength Finders and other personality tests, I can tell you, they are wrong.

You see, I am an activator, a catalyst, a proactive leader, and a daughter of a US Marine, who expected this and more.

And, I care deeply. If I see something that needs to be done, or is not being done fast enough, I often jump in to help get the job done.

When I was a teen my friends always said I was “so responsible.”

My dad would say I was “sensitive.”

Later a therapist told me, “Your type A, we just need to get you to be a good Type A. You’re a blur.”

Being an activator and catalyst can also make you be perceived as a maverick leader. And, sometimes you are by nature.

So you need to be aware of this perception, slow your ass down, and partner up for the best result.

Perhaps with this energy and feeling of personal responsibility one could do it all, but I am not an expert in everything. Tis’ much better to focus on my strength as an activator and work with others different strengths for a win-win, as I have tried to do.

As someone responsible and sensitive to others’ emotions, I also want people to get along and communicate openly. I want to help connect people. I want to understand what’s going on in your lives and be understood. To be open and build trust.

#JustDoIt 🙂

Day 10 Name Five Things You are Grateful For. Only 5?

  1. My health and fitness. 2. My family to love and support 3. My belief in God. 4. A roof over my head. 4. Healthy food to eat. 5. Friends to cherish. Add: 6. Hot showers!

Day 11 What Does it Mean to Live Boldy?

Trust and follow your instincts. Take action on your dreams and goals everyday. Be honest. Be authentic. Do what brings you joy. Be proactive. Show others you care. Make that call, send that text, give that hug. Be that light in someone’s darkness.

Day 12: What is a Challenge You’ve Overcome?

I guess the biggest two challenges in my life was losing our father to cancer when I was 21, and, our mother getting ALS and dying of it in 2004, when I was 34.

The biggest challenge I overcame was grief.

It was devastating to lose our father Patrick Hill Rupertus to Agent Orange related cancer. This tall, handsome, friendly, smart and giant of a personality was our beloved dad and a friend to many.

I had no time to grieve (Truthfully? It was too tough emotionally to allow myself to go there) because I had to go back to school at UGA. I lost my faith. I felt alone. It felt odd not to have a dad – all of my friends had theirs.

Then I was too busy working after college to deal with it. Add marriage.

So, I never processed the grief of losing my father! I kept it packaged up to “deal with it” when I had time.

Then our beautiful mom, Gail Rupertus, got ALS eight years after our dad died!!! When she got this ALS out of the blue, then died, it was like a double whammy.

All of the sudden my sisters and I were the adults in the room. Where did our parents go?

And, then I was a busy mom with two little cherubs.

Ugh, add a few more key losses of loved ones those years. That’s some grief load. It took a long time to realize I could not run away from it, though I tried. I finally realized I had to face it my own heath and longevity. I had to break the glass walls of grief with a wrecking ball.

The hardest part? Forgiving myself for holding on so long. And, to do the work in community with others.

Perhaps we hold on to grief because it is something we can feel.

That connection keeps you close to your loved one. Ya now?

But would they want that for us?

I’ve also learned there is 100% no time table for the stages of grief, despite what some experts say.

And, everyone hurts sometimes. We are all in this together.

Psst. Writing has been an enormous help.

About Dad: https://carpooldaze.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/my-pal-my-dad-audience-of-1/

About Mom: https://carpooldaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/come-talk-to-me/

Bloganuary Days 1-5

5 January 2022 at 15:44

Hello! It’s been a few years since I posted here because I put all my writing towards finishing my book.

WordPress put this challenge out in January to get us writers back to blogging in 2022 with their daily prompts. I am in, but playing a little catch up as I’ve had to – you guessed it – focus on the book which is coming out in February, 2022. Here goes.

Day 1: What would you tell your teen self?

It’s all going to be okay. 

Be strong, be you, be courageous.

Be the friend you need.

Don’t participate in gossip.

Be kind. You never know what the other person is going through.

Look people in the eyes.

Trust your intuition to do the right thing, then do it. You’ll avoid living with regret.

Your reputation is important and will follow you. Don’t make bad choices or actions to damage it.

Tell the truth. It’s easier than wiggling out of a lie that can hurt both parties. 

Triple check your alarm is set for an important meeting (mine was with a US Senator)! 

Let teachers, principals and staff know how much you appreciate them.

Let those you love know you love them too-before its too late.

Say please and thank you. And, say sorry when you need to.

Write thank you notes for gifts and meetings.

Ask for help.

Don’t judge yourself or others harshly. 

If you fail, work hard to seek lessons learned from the failure or loss. This way, you get a win from the loss. Oh yeah! Learn from it and fail forward.


 Day 2: What is a road trip you’d love to take? Rolling through Tuscany with wind in my hair. 


Day 3: Write about the last time you left your comfort zone?

Lately, it’s every day for a variety of reasons.

Most importantly, after over five years of researching, assimilating massive amounts of military data and writing and rewriting, I have just co authored a narrative non fiction historical book.

The book is called Old Breed General, and it is about my Marine grandfather, Major General William H. Rupertus. It’s coming out February 1, 2022. So now I have to focus on book marketing, which is a whole new world for me.

Our grandfather was the Marine legend and WWII leader we heard about, but never met. We still have his trunks, photos, uniforms, guns, etc. He is best known for authoring “My Rifle the Creed of a US Marine,” aka “the Riflemans Creed,” in 1942 after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor and thrown in WWII.

And, he led the First Marine Division in the islands of the Pacific during WWII, and was the namesake for the USS Rupertus, DD851. He was born in 1889 and died in 1945 so did not get to see the war end.

And his second wife, our grandmother Sleepy, died in 1955 at the young age of 42.

I never met either of our grandparents so it was a luxury to go back in time to get to know them.

Looking back, it felt like time traveling and it sure wooed me in.

The book is available everywhere online for preorder and will be released February 1, 2022.

I now have to get out of my comfort zone, try to market Old Breed General and myself on social media, and book stores, podcasts, museums and military history groups. I’ll have to hone my public speaking too. Whew.

Whenever I need mojo, I think about my grandfather and the Marines in the Pacific charging onto embedded islands with the enemy firing at them, or being on the water in a naval ship when an enemy sub could take you out.

Erhem. Onward.

Day 4: What was your favorite toy as a child? A USNA Navy goat stuffed animal. I loved it. Still can picture squeezing it for comfort.

Day 5: What is something you wish you knew how to do?

I wish I knew how to sew. I mean, I can sew a button onto a piece of clothing, but I really mean sew anything my heart desires.

When I was younger, I began to learn sewing each Christmas. My sisters, mom and I loved to make our Christmas gowns or skirts. We’d purchase patterns from the sewing store. Then, our mother Gail would bring out her sewing machine, and put it on the family navy issued wool blanket she had laid across our old mahogany dining room table.

Mom and my two sisters would make our beautiful Christmas skirts from taffeta while I looked on. The final result- we felt like princesses in our ball gowns. And one year, we made Christmas aprons, with Velcro for hand towels to be attached. So functional!

Those days of me learning to sew disappeared as we got older and I went off to college. Though,I still love a little glam. But our dad died and mom got ALS and died (Summarizing. But I have already blogged about all that hurt). My sister got the sewing machine and I never thought about it again.

My mother-in-law, Gail Peacock, was southern and ALL things creative. She was also a great sewer, who assumed as her new daughter in law, I could somehow sew drapes, so she gave me a sewing machine!

Humbling. I had know idea how to begin, so I took class at the local college and tried to learn to sew and make a Christmas apron. Once I did that, the drapes.

The fabric and unfinished apron are still in my closet. And, my mother in law made our sons drapes.

Embarrassing!

Can someone make a sewing machine that’s more user friendly? Hint – no bobbin!

The good news? Our amazingly talented daughter Avery taught herself to sew when she wanted to sew bandanas into an American flag. So, maybe she can teach her momma to finally sew.

There is hope.

amypeacock

Bloganuary Days 1-5

5 January 2022 at 15:44

Hello! It’s been a few years since I posted here because I put all my writing towards finishing my book.

WordPress put this challenge out in January to get us writers back to blogging in 2022 with their daily prompts. I am in, but playing a little catch up as I’ve had to – you guessed it – focus on the book which is coming out in February, 2022. Here goes.

Day 1: What would you tell your teen self?

It’s all going to be okay. 

Be strong, be you, be courageous.

Be the friend you need.

Don’t participate in gossip.

Be kind. You never know what the other person is going through.

Look people in the eyes.

Trust your intuition to do the right thing, then do it. You’ll avoid living with regret.

Your reputation is important and will follow you. Don’t make bad choices or actions to damage it.

Tell the truth. It’s easier than wiggling out of a lie that can hurt both parties. 

Triple check your alarm is set for an important meeting (mine was with a US Senator)! 

Let teachers, principals and staff know how much you appreciate them.

Let those you love know you love them too-before its too late.

Say please and thank you. And, say sorry when you need to.

Write thank you notes for gifts and meetings.

Ask for help.

Don’t judge yourself or others harshly. 

If you fail, work hard to seek lessons learned from the failure or loss. This way, you get a win from the loss. Oh yeah! Learn from it and fail forward.


 Day 2: What is a road trip you’d love to take? Rolling through Tuscany with wind in my hair. 


Day 3: Write about the last time you left your comfort zone?

Lately, it’s every day for a variety of reasons.

Most importantly, after over five years of researching, assimilating massive amounts of military data and writing and rewriting, I have just co authored a narrative non fiction historical book.

The book is called Old Breed General, and it is about my Marine grandfather, Major General William H. Rupertus. It’s coming out February 1, 2022. So now I have to focus on book marketing, which is a whole new world for me.

Our grandfather was the Marine legend and WWII leader we heard about, but never met. We still have his trunks, photos, uniforms, guns, etc. He is best known for authoring “My Rifle the Creed of a US Marine,” aka “the Riflemans Creed,” in 1942 after we were attacked at Pearl Harbor and thrown in WWII.

And, he led the First Marine Division in the islands of the Pacific during WWII, and was the namesake for the USS Rupertus, DD851. He was born in 1889 and died in 1945 so did not get to see the war end.

And his second wife, our grandmother Sleepy, died in 1955 at the young age of 42.

I never met either of our grandparents so it was a luxury to go back in time to get to know them.

Looking back, it felt like time traveling and it sure wooed me in.

The book is available everywhere online for preorder and will be released February 1, 2022.

I now have to get out of my comfort zone, try to market Old Breed General and myself on social media, and book stores, podcasts, museums and military history groups. I’ll have to hone my public speaking too. Whew.

Whenever I need mojo, I think about my grandfather and the Marines in the Pacific charging onto embedded islands with the enemy firing at them, or being on the water in a naval ship when an enemy sub could take you out.

Erhem. Onward.

Day 4: What was your favorite toy as a child? A USNA Navy goat stuffed animal. I loved it. Still can picture squeezing it for comfort.

Day 5: What is something you wish you knew how to do?

I wish I knew how to sew. I mean, I can sew a button onto a piece of clothing, but I really mean sew anything my heart desires.

When I was younger, I began to learn sewing each Christmas. My sisters, mom and I loved to make our Christmas gowns or skirts. We’d purchase patterns from the sewing store. Then, our mother Gail would bring out her sewing machine, and put it on the family navy issued wool blanket she had laid across our old mahogany dining room table.

Mom and my two sisters would make our beautiful Christmas skirts from taffeta while I looked on. The final result- we felt like princesses in our ball gowns. And one year, we made Christmas aprons, with Velcro for hand towels to be attached. So functional!

Those days of me learning to sew disappeared as we got older and I went off to college. Though,I still love a little glam. But our dad died and mom got ALS and died (Summarizing. But I have already blogged about all that hurt). My sister got the sewing machine and I never thought about it again.

My mother-in-law, Gail Peacock, was southern and ALL things creative. She was also a great sewer, who assumed as her new daughter in law, I could somehow sew drapes, so she gave me a sewing machine!

Humbling. I had know idea how to begin, so I took class at the local college and tried to learn to sew and make a Christmas apron. Once I did that, the drapes.

The fabric and unfinished apron are still in my closet. And, my mother in law made our sons drapes.

Embarrassing!

Can someone make a sewing machine that’s more user friendly? Hint – no bobbin!

The good news? Our amazingly talented daughter Avery taught herself to sew when she wanted to sew bandanas into an American flag. So, maybe she can teach her momma to finally sew.

There is hope.

#VietnamVeteransDay

29 March 2019 at 19:16

Hey there.

Being Vietnam Veterans Day, I was inspired to write about our Dad. Because our DAD, who I LOVED, was a USMC aviator who served in Vietnam.

We lost Dad to Agent Orange Cancer in 1991.

For the past few years I have been on a journey back in time to discover more about my Dad, Marine aviator Captain Patrick Hill Rupertus, and his father, Marine Major General William H. Rupertus. These beloved men were snatched from our lives too soon, and like so many veterans, their stories have never been told, which can leave confusion about ones roots, and a gaping hole in our hearts and history.

The book is about our Dad’s father, but I originally dedicated a long chapter on the other family legends, especially our beloved Dad, the General’s son. It was suggested to me that I leave out the legends in the book about the General. Ugh, word count.

So…about our Dad…Daddy…Schmoopee (my fav. term) who served in Vietnam…..

My sisters Heather and Kimberly, my children, and I would not be here if Dad had not persevered after he lost his parents, and the war in Vietnam. He was born a Marine with his own father’s tenacity of purpose.

Patrick Hill Rupertus

USNA 1962, Marine Corps, A-4 Aviator, 2 Tours of Vietnam, Husband, Dad, Developer, Friend.

He was a true lion.

He was born on August 18,1939, in Washington, DC when his father, Major General William H. Rupertus was then CO of the Marine Barracks at 8th and I.

At age five, his father died of a heart attack.

At age 16, his mother, Sleepy, died of Leukemia.

Dad went to Sidwell Friends School and Landon High School in Bethesda, Maryland, where he played football.

In 1962 he graduated from the United States Naval Academy, became a USMC aviator, and flew A-4 Skyhawk off aircraft carriers. 

Can you say BadASS?  

Handsome too. Our Dad’s nickname in his Marine squadron VMA 332 was “Mr. Clean.” He was known as a good aviator and did two tours in Vietnam with citations for bravery: Service to his fellow Marines despite peril to himself. 

Dad was an only child. With his father at war in the Pacific, his parents did not have much time together to give him siblings.

He never talked in detail to my two sisters or me about his parents, his time at USNA, or his service in Vietnam, which I personally never had the guts to question further. 

As an adult in this discovery process, I wish I had prodded. As a result of not asking the BIG questions I could have, I have had to piece all this together.

#Lessonlearned

But I can tell you what my adolescence experience was like with my Dad. He was funny and a love.

On the tough stuff? I certainly was not knowledgable or brave enough at the time to dive deep into his history. But I wish I had been more courageous.

Thank goodness he had the support of his mother’s sisters, Jo and Dixie, extended family, friends, and his father’s Marine Corps friends.

And Vietnam?

Well, well.

We know how our veterans were treated when they came home. 

Dad did not define himself as a Vietnam Veteran as far as we know. But what did we know? He never talked about his time in Vietnam or the Marine Corps – at least to me.

As of 2019, many of those who served on both sides are still trying to silently heal from the agony of what they witnessed, friends they lost, enemies they killed, and the shockingly unwelcome return home. Or, they quietly cope with that and service-related illness like my Dad did. 

Dad must have had tunnel vision after his mother’s death to get through Landon High School while playing football and go on to apply for and be accepted to the United States Naval Academy. 

He started his plebe year at the Academy in 1958. I can only imagine the initial excitement, then how tough it was to go through the torture of plebe year so soon after losing his Mom. 

Yep. He ended up repeating the plebe year. If you know about plebe year or went through it at USNA as he did, I imagine one does not want to do it twice. But he did. He had the grit to persevere to get what he wanted or had to accomplish. Sounds like a damn good Marine in the making, eh? 

He hunkered down and graduated USNA Class of 1962 with a Bachelor of Science and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the USMC. He met our mother, Gail Bennett (another Legend), fell madly in love, and married her on October 16, 1962. Then they went off to flight school to get his wings, and begin their tours of duty for the United States Marine Corps. 

As a Marine aviator, he was trained to fly A-4 Skyhawks on and off aircraft carriers and clear the vegetation in Vietnam with Agent Orange to support the infantry on the ground. He also spent time on the ground with the infantry as a forward air controller.

My sisters, Heather and Kimberly, were born during this time he was on active duty. Heather at the naval air station in Kingsville, Texas. Kimberly in Bryn Mawr, PA, while Dad was deployed. I was born in Pittsburg, PA, right after he entered the reserves and took a job with Westinghouse. 

We moved around a bit and lived outside Chicago until I was ten. He resettled us in Virginia in 1980 with a new career he loved as a builder, bringing us closer to his family and roots in Washington, DC. He found the parachute he needed mid-life to reconnect and heal. Thank God. 

A whole bright new world opened up. We spent many weekends as a family visiting Aunt Jo and other relatives in the Washington, DC, area. We visited Annapolis and later attended his class of 1962 reunions. We enjoyed the concerts on the lawn of the US Capital on Memorial Day and July 4 and the evening parades in the summer at the Marine Barracks at 8th and I.

As a young girl, I was enamored by the Marines’ manners and mesmerized by their appearance and how they marched smoothly without showing a bead of sweat while conducting dangerous rifle drills with utter precision. They got it done no matter how hot or humid it was in DC. Quite a thrill to behold. 

We knew about “Arlington,” where the relatives and friends lived along Glebe Road, and the other Arlington, the beautiful Arlington National Cemetery where our military and many family members rest that overlooks Washington, DC. And where our parents are now buried.

In the late 1970s and 80s, movies about Vietnam came out. Imagine watching them with our Dad, the USMC Aviator, and Vietnam veteran…The Dear Hunter, Apocalypse NowTop Gun, and the Great Santini. He would watch the screen engaged and become very animated whenever a jet roared into the scene. 

With his arms demoing the flight pattern, he’d discuss the pilot’s view from the cockpit. Whoosh. In the movie theatre! It was highly embarrassing to this young daughter at the time. Believe me, as a rising teen, I slid way down in my seat. 

Now I would sit tall, laugh, and smile. 

When the movie Platoon by Oliver Stone came out in 1986, Dad was hesitant about the idea behind the movie, Oliver Stone, and going to see the film. Then one Saturday afternoon, out of the blue, he decided to go see the film, and he wanted me to go with him.

I am unsure I had a choice, but I sensed he needed a pal. I joined him so he would not be alone. It was a tough movie to watch and a quiet drive home. I remember feeling something sad I could not put my finger on. Dad was pensive. I was happy to get away from that intense feeling to meet up with my friends. 

In the early 1980s, a monument to honor Vietnam Veterans was proposed for the mall in Washington, DC. The Vietnam War Memorial wall was designed by architect Maya Lin. My oh my, did it cause an uproar. Looking back, I am astounded and sad that the mere idea of a monument honoring the men and women who fought, died, and went missing in the Vietnam war was such a problem for some people.

Later I learned the war itself was controversial… in so many ways. 

We were there when The Vietnam Veterans Wall opened 

By November 1982, the wall was finished, and a great dedication was set for November 13 with an unveiling and parade. 100s of veterans were going to be attending and marching in the parade.

The media pumped up the controversy in the newspaper and on TV, which enhanced the anticipation for the unveiling of the Vietnam Veterans Wall. It was like one side had been gasping for air for this while the other side was still trying to snuff them out. The silent wall stood as a firm statement in the middle.

Despite their extended unwelcome home, despite the losses, our Vietnam veterans finally won the battle for honor. With the memorial, they had something that valued their time in Vietnam and those they lost or went missing. 

This was our Vietnam veterans’ time to shine. The wall was something solid veterans and we civilians could see, touch, and feel. A monument like none other in Washington DC at that time began the long road to reconnecting and healing if one could. 

Dad heard about the parade and decided he should go check it out…with us. So my sister Kimberly and I joined him on that rainy day in November to keep him company. We were slightly interested, too, as it was all over the news. We thought it would be a quick tour of duty from our home in McLean, Virginia. I pictured it. Do this with Dad, whip down GW parkway to Pennsylvania Avenue, see the wall, then get back home asap, so I can hang out with my friends. 

Time seemed to stop as we drove there.

Why was Dad driving so slowly? I can still sense the unusually quiet and dense atmosphere of that day. Everything was moving in slow motion, including the Potomac River. 

The parades in DC, like most cities, were always full of pomp and circumstance. You could hear the bands warming up, and good luck finding parking nearby. The sidelines would be so packed you had to squeeze your way in front to get a view. 

When you don’t hear the bands, there is room to park near the parade path and no vast crowd. It will be a unique parade. 

We parked near Pennsylvania Avenue, and as we got out of Dad’s sedan, the mist turned into light rain. A chill was in the air. We walked toward the parade route and memorial, unsure of what to expect of this “Wall” that caused so much angst and debate. 

It was such a bleak November day for a celebration…the sky was dark gray, and we needed light. I wrapped my sweet puff jacket tightly around me as we walked ahead toward a lantern’s light inside an old brown canvas tent. We said hello to the few intimidating non-chatty veterans who oversaw a table of information about Vietnam POW/MIA. We were looking for information about the wall. There was none. 

These men were focused on those left behind. 

As we moved toward the sleek black marble wall, I was overcome with emotion. The people I saw seemed so sad. They were kneeling by the wall, looking for names, pointing and crying when they found the name and leaning their cheeks against it, making a long-lost connection. Many had foreheads tipped down against the wall in prayer as their hands lay gently against the cool black marble. Others were choking out cathartic tears while etching the name of their loved one onto a piece of paper. 

Dad seemed like he was in a trance. He kept walking silently back and forth along the wall.

God knows this was deep. 

For the first time ever, I could not read him. I had always been sensitive to my Dad’s moods. If your father or mother was military, especially a Marine, you might be ultra-sensitive too. Sometimes you walk on eggshells, right? There are no words or room to talk. This was one of those times as a tween; my thoughts echoed inside my head. 

My Dad could be the life of the party. No jokes, laughter, or smiles at this event. He was quiet. His brow was tense. His beautiful light blue Irish eyes were so red. Should he stay at the wall? Join the parade?  

I wanted to hug him but was too scared to interrupt his thoughts. Now I would hug him anyway.

What was he thinking about? Was he transported back to Vietnam…seeing a friend die, on the ground calling in support for the infantry while under fire…or in his A-4 spreading Agent Orange to clear the vegetation? Or trying to land on the aircraft carrier in a storm? 

We watched the parade in silence. Unlike most parades I had seen while growing up around the country, especially the nation’s capital, this one had zero pomp and circumstance. There were no proud marching bands with horns blowing and drums beating, no majorettes, no bright floats, no clowns, no pretty lipsticked beauty queens, no sexy sports cars with stiff-haired waving politicians. Nor were there thousands of spectators and young kids looking for candy. 

It was pretty heavy and grim for a parade. 

The men marching in the parade consisted of a large infantry of Vietnam veterans of all races and backgrounds marching together down the street, many wearing their old green uniforms and carrying company flags or the American flag. 

I am guessing most of the men marching would have been in their 30s and 40s. Yet, they looked older, worn out. Even as a young girl, I could sense their emotional burden, yet there was a flicker of a strengthened resolve by marching together. 

As shown in Ken Burns and Kim Novak’s 10 years of study and related documentary, The Vietnam War, the American government saw a communist threat in Vietnam and engaged. Our military rose to the occasion to defend freedom and democracy. 

Our government made mistakes in navigating the threat going into the war until it ended. The American leaders pressed the military on in Vietnam in a growing cold war grab that the French, who had been there for 100 years, had been unable to win as occupiers and left themselves. 

Our military continued their duty to fight for freedom as the war went on. 

Many were killed or imprisoned as POWs. One of those prisoners I know, USAF aviator Quincy Collins was in prison for seven years along with Senator John McCain and brutally treated. 

All this while the American people comfortably at home protested the war. When American actress Jane Fonda visited the Hanoi Hilton, she refused to meet with the American POWs, including Quincy Collins and John McCain.

Americans protested the war and the warriors while our men and women served, while they were captured and brutally treated as POWs and went missing in action. They protested when the warriors came home, and some people spit on our veterans and often would not pick them up in a cab, particularly if Black. #Awful 

The protests continued, causing dismay, distraction, and finally violence and death at Kent State. 

Ahh, to forgive. 

To move onward. 

They did not always call the fog of the 1970-1980s PTSD back then, but it was. Many Vietnam veterans experienced loss and unresolved grief due to the war. As did the families who loved them. As with all warriors at war, memory softens, but the feelings, sights, sounds, smells, and experiences of loss remain in one’s heart.

Today after years of our military doing multiple tours at war in the Middle East, we know how to better identify PTSD. At least, we are trying harder every day as citizens to help them. 

Those who had no connection to serving in the Vietnam war or military may never understand the commitment to service over self, deep camaraderie, or the impact of “The Wall” and other war monuments.

We did not handle our fellow Americans with the care and attention they deserved. For this, I am sorry. But! This sleek black wall, built in 1982, with its sharp lines and angles, began to cut through that hazy, shitty PTSD fog. The shiny monument and parade marking the opening made a grand statement to America and the world. We will prevail. We will honor those who sacrifice. 

And it was a step toward healing and setting our Vietnam veterans and their families free. 

My Dad would joke with my sisters and me about us “God Damned Civilians” (Did he pick that up in the USMC or the movie The Great Santini?). Do us GDCs truly understand the sacrifice our soldiers make to protect our right to live, work, practice religion and protest in peace? 

Dad was my hero. He tucked away the pain of the memories and began to move on in his late 30s. He loved my mother and his family dearly and pursued his passions in his career and life. 

As the youngest, I spent a lot of time with my Dad while my Mom worked in real estate on the weekends. We were buddies. 

He played guitar for me. He took me to the bakery to get those giant yellow smile cookies. He took me shopping and to his barber for my haircut. He was scary strict at times and disciplined me when I deserved it. Though, I got off way lightly, according to my sisters.

Dad made us all push hard, have humility and laugh at ourselves. 

I sensed his emotions like my own. We were so alike. Sometimes when he looked at me, he would grab my square jaw, look into my eyes and say, “Ahh, it’s just like looking in the mirror.”  

Our Dad was still a young, funny hunk of a man at 49 when I was 19 and home from college biking with him on the O&D Trail in Virginia. We always loved getting outside, exercising, and grabbing lunch before heading home.

I looked forward to biking with him along that trail. He would race ahead of me, grinning with his blue eyes lit up over the joy of competition and speed. His legs had remained lean and powerful like the Marine he was. It amazed me how he was always faster than me biking and sprinting down the street, though I was much younger. 

One gorgeous day when I was home for fall break, we were heading back home on our bikes after a late lunch, and dusk was setting in. I was thrilled to be racing ahead and expected him to speed up to startle me. Yet, when I peeked back to see where he was, I realized he was far behind. I stopped biking to wait for him before a crosswalk. As I watched him come closer he seemed tired. 

He pulled up beside me, and we biked along slowly. “Hey Daddy, you okay?” I asked. 

“I am fine. I just had to slow down for a bit. I’ve had this pain in my hip for a few weeks. It flared up.” He said. 

“Have you talked to a doctor about it?” I asked.

“No, not yet. I will check it out when you return to UGA (University of Georgia). Just don’t tell your Mom, okay?” 

Not tell Mom? That was odd. Those lovebirds seemed to share everything. I returned to Athens the next day and soon was consumed with school, soccer, and social. Of course, I do not think about Dad’s hip too much.

When I came home for Thanksgiving break, Dad called me into the living room almost as soon as I arrived, saying he had to talk with me about something. 

Surely I was in trouble. Where was Mom? 

What did I do wrong? I scanned my brain.

I soon learned it was not me in trouble; it was Dad. 

When I sat down alone with him, he said those dreaded words nobody wanted to hear: 

“Amy, I have cancer.” 

Oh, my God. 

That was not what I expected him to say. I choked up and tried to stay strong, but my lungs burned, and my eyes were brimming with tears. I sat there stunned. Silently asking, “How could THIS happen to our Dad?” 

Agent Orange-related lung cancer, the doctor said. Many Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese were affected by this powerful chemical. 

By the following summer, Dad had lost a ton of weight, yet surprisingly looked healthy in his bright sweaters and new smaller clothes. He seemed his same positive self and calm. Mom and Dad were working with his doctor to get him into the trial of the new drug Taxol at NIH. They seemed in control. Dad was going to win this battle. 

With the chemo pump on his hip, he returned to flying and would surprise me that summer of 1990 in the halls of the US Senate where I was interning.

Dad was himself and kept his humor during cancer. We were the ones going crazy. Sixteen months after he was diagnosed with cancer, he lost the battle. He died at our home late at night, surrounded by my mother, sisters, and me.

I saw him take his last breath. My Dad was a skeleton by then. It was brutally hard to see this happen to him. He died on March 6, 1991. 

He was only 51. I was 20. 

The church was packed at his funeral, standing room only. Blurry tears were full of heartache. People loved our Dad like we did. Dad’s casket was next to us as my mother, sisters, and I turned out of the front pew to leave the chapel when his service ended. 

I did not want to leave Dad’s casket. 

My heavy hands laid on it, all my energy attached to his casket, not wanting to let go of my Dad. I would have laid on his coffin and been carried out with him if I could have. I can still sense that energy today.

Our Aunt Jane had to pull me away. 

People at the reception said we girls were all so strong. Maybe, but I think we were all in total shock. 

Daddy was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with his parents. His funeral and burial were tough. And to this day, my memory will not open up about it. 

I do know dear friends and family were there. 

I know Dad was buried with full military honors. 

Beautiful sleek black horses led his caisson. 

There were rifle shots. 

Words spoken. 

A flag was given to Mom. 

Complete heartache. 

Our beloved Dad, Patrick Hill Rupertus, was laid to rest. 

But what he taught us about life and family will live on for generations. 

A week after the funeral, a large manilla envelope arrived at our house for Mom. Inside were fabulous glossy black and white photos taken at the funeral. Who were they from? A small note was inside written by one of Dad’s best friends from USNA who had worked at the CIA for years. 

Thank you, LN! We did not even see you.  

Dad is buried with his father, the general, our mother Gail, and more family on a peaceful hill overlooking Washington, DC., right beneath the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Semper Fidelis.

Discovering My Grandfather

20 September 2019 at 15:49

#FlashbackFriday

Three years ago in 2016, Don Brown, a former Navy Jag officer, practicing attorney, and author of several books whom I met through politics, messaged me this photo from 1937, and posed a tantalizing question.

“Hey Amy, is this your grandfather in this picture?”

“Yes, that is him on the left,” I messaged back. 

Don said he had come across my Grandfather, Major General William H. Rupertus, as he was researching his book on Jerry Yellen, “The Last Fighter Pilot” from WWII. 

Then Don wrote, “He was a hero. You need to tell his story.”

The photo he found online was of a special time in history. My Grandfather was next to our beautiful Grandmother Sleepy. They were with thier friends at an embassy party when they were serving in Shanghai China, 1937 with the 4th Marine Regiment, known as the China Marines. 

(Top row) US Marine Captain Zern. (Next row down, L-R) Captain J.H. Griebel, Mrs. S.C. Zern, and (unknown gent). (Next row down, L-R) Lt. Col. William H. Rupertus, Alice ‘Sleepy’ Hill Rupertus, Lt. Col. H.C. Pierce, Dorice Kengla Masters, and 1st Lt. James M. Masters Sr (slightly behind).

I joked that I have been thinking about writing the story since my mom died (over twelve years earlier). Unbelievable how time flies, right?

What would my Marine Dad or Grandfather say about that?

Well, I know what my Dad would say,

“Get the damn job done.”

A month after Don reached out to me on Facebook, we met in person for lunch in Charlotte. After getting to know him better, I suggested Don, a published author, write the book about my grandfather. He did not even blink as he looked me straight in the eyes, and leaned toward me.

“You are his granddaughter. You have to write it. Write it for your family and history. Really, start it this year. Why wait?”

Was that a challenge or what? Why wait any longer. He was right. But between kids, work, politics and life, there never has been the perfect time to take a deep dive into our history, both the good and sad, and hang around for awhile. Would I go there? Could I? It seemed too decadent, too luxurious.

This picture was worth a thousand words. Maybe millions of words.

Oh my God, it may set me back. It may make me cry about my parents and all our family legends and miss them more. Going back? Ouch.

What will be lost if I don’t do it?

The story will never be told. And the next generation may throw away all of the albums and military documents we have, or gasp, put them and the medals on Ebay.

That was all the motivation I needed to get it done. So, I committed to figuring out how to tackle this enormous project, and my sisters got on board.

I soon learned being a civilian and non historian trying to write about the military and history would take rolling up my sleeves and sitting my ass in the chair. Yet, I never thought this process would so totally consume me.

Since 2016, I have obtained our grandfather’s 700 page PEP file from the National Archives and his service record from the Marine Corps and spent thousands of hours researching and writing to connect what we have in our hands today with history….and challenge scuttlebutt.

I reached out to military and history researchers in the US, England, and China, and have talked or met with WWII Pacific veterans and their children.

By spring 2018, I needed to call in team Rupertus’s help to get all our family and ancestory content in one place, and then figure out how to organize it.

My sisters and I have used most any excuse to get together for fun since our parents have been deceased, so I sounded the rally call to see if they could come to Charlotte by May.

My sister Kimberly flew in from California with the family albums, and our sister Heather drove down from Virginia, with cases of history in her car. My husband was out of town and Kimberly’s son Gunner was in town and with the kids, so I could focus on the task at hand, and enjoy my sisters and our investigation.

Once we got together and settled, we carefully put all the letters, documents, telegrams, albums, etc, out on the long mahogany table originally belonging to our Grandparents, and the rest all over the dining room chairs. We got up early each morning and worked all day until late at night.

In doing this we discovered gems and intriguing correspondence never before seen by ourselves or mentioned by historians or writers and began to tie things together.

Here I am with Heather trying to decipher Grandfather Bill’s handwriting on this long letter he wrote while while on the ship to Sleepy and our dad Pat. The date on the letter is September 14, 1944, the eve before d-day on Peleliu.

In January 2019, my sisters and I met up at Quantico to do more research. Boy did we have fun together and felt welcome the minute we stepped on the base and into the doors of the Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons Marine Corps History Center.

Immediately we bumped into General Bill Bowers, who at the time was the President, Marine Corps University and Commanding General, Education Command. He seemed to know quite a lot about our Grandfather and gave us an enthusiastic welcome. He also helped carry our heavy containers of albums we trekked in from the parking garage across the snow.

In reflection, this was a fabulous coincidence meeting him right as we walked into the building, as our Grandfather’s last position after returning from the Pacific was Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools (now the Marine Corps University).

Finally meeting Annette Amerman and her team at the USMC History Division and meeting Alisa Whitley and her team at the USMC Archives Division was an honor.

These USMC historical divisons have been enormously helpful and supportive since I began this book journey.

The Archives team actually found film of our grandparents and grandfather with our young dad running around Quantico, and in tanks, planes and holding rifles. And, they discovered film from when our grandfather and the 1st Marine Division was on Pavuvu. Both of these films they kindly put onto DVDs for all three of us.

Thank you Annette and Alisa!

We also visited the spectacular Marine Corps Museum and got an exclusive tour by Scott Gardiner. It was interesting to see the Marines history so closely tied to our United States history. And, we had an an unexpected surprise (or another coincidence?) as we looked above in the Vietnam War section and saw an actual A-4 Skyhawk! This is what our dad flew. So cool.

We talked to other Marines and on the morning of our last day, we met my contact who runs the China Marines website. We sat in our hotel lobby and talked for two hours, sharing many stories and photos. Grandad was with the China Marines twice, once in Peking (1929-1931) then again in Shanghai (1937-1938).

Want to know more about this significant chapter in the Marine Corps and history? Check out his excellent site: http://www.chinamarines.com

We got so much done, but it is clear to me now, before this book is complete, I may need to make another trip to Quantico and dive into those archives.

Pardon our exuberance. 🙂

In Spring 2019, my super supportive husband and I went to New Orleans to visit the WWII Museum. Wow! I highly recommend this fabulous museum that covers World War II – both the war in Europe and the Pacific. I could have spent days there. They recently built a hotel right across from the museum, which is super convenient. I’d love to go back.

Check it out: https://www.nationalww2museum.org

They have a few fabulous restaurants with bars inside to help keep up your stamina. And, did you know that if you have a World War II veteran in your family, they will work with you to fly them to New Orleans and get them to the museum for free? #Honor

In addition to all of the above, I have read books about the battles in the Pacific and the men who served there. I have watched vidoes and listened to or read many, many oral histories of Marines who served with our grandfather and the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific.

Dont get me started on Ancestry.com. How it can lull you in. But I used that and Fold3, and accessed online library databases and newspapers from across the US and world.

I often listen to 1940s music for fun while writing and have a Facebook page for the book called Discovering my Grandfather and a Twitter account for him too where I have made great connections. @MajGenRupertus

His story made me laugh and really cry. I often became so memerized it was hard to leave certain chapters behind. I literally had to push myself away from the desk.

I have no problem with writers block. There is so much to learn and share about this jaw-dropping time in our history.

I can work hours without a break -often late into the night. I have spent nights tossing and turning in bed thinking about it, how he persevered after losing his entire first family and seeing his fellow Marines perish, or how this book, written by a civilian, will be perceived by the military.

As days go by, how did I get here?

As September, 2019, the manuscript about our Grandfather, his family and World War II is now over 30 chapters and 350+pages.

It was and is still a decadent, luxurious, and emotional journey to research and write this. But thank God I did it.

It has helped me get to know and love my grandparents, whom I never met, and whom my father lost at an early age. It made me realize we are not so far away from the wars over the past 200 years, who served in them, and the impact on society; countries, warriors, and civilians.

I discovered facts I never learned in school. It has left me in awe of our young country and the bravery in war.

It all makes sense now. God, how I wish we could have presented this to Dad before he died. Maybe my friend Stuart knew because when he prodded during his podcast interview, I teared up.

Maybe I am writing this for Dad.

So, this is why I took a break from blogging. Well, from a lot of things. There are days when all I want to do is work on this book. Crazy, right?

As I learned from my grandfather, you have to have a laser focus – with a tenacity of purpose – to reach your goals in life, and achieve the mission before you.

There is more work to do, yet one day soon, this manuscript will be published for my family, history, and the Marine Corps. Then we can finally get the record straight and fill in gaps for our generation and more.


Ahh, there is so much satisfaction in that.
Thank you for the inspiration, Don.

Semper Fi.

amypeacock

Discovering My Grandfather

20 September 2019 at 15:49

#FlashbackFriday

Three years ago in 2016, Don Brown, a former Navy Jag officer, practicing attorney, and author of several books whom I met through politics, messaged me this photo from 1937, and posed a tantalizing question.

“Hey Amy, is this your grandfather in this picture?”

“Yes, that is him on the left,” I messaged back. 

Don said he had come across my Grandfather, Major General William H. Rupertus, as he was researching his book on Jerry Yellen, “The Last Fighter Pilot” from WWII. 

Then Don wrote, “He was a hero. You need to tell his story.”

The photo he found online was of a special time in history. My Grandfather was next to our beautiful Grandmother Sleepy. They were with thier friends at an embassy party when they were serving in Shanghai China, 1937 with the 4th Marine Regiment, known as the China Marines. 

(Top row) US Marine Captain Zern. (Next row down, L-R) Captain J.H. Griebel, Mrs. S.C. Zern, and (unknown gent). (Next row down, L-R) Lt. Col. William H. Rupertus, Alice ‘Sleepy’ Hill Rupertus, Lt. Col. H.C. Pierce, Dorice Kengla Masters, and 1st Lt. James M. Masters Sr (slightly behind).

I joked that I have been thinking about writing the story since my mom died (over twelve years earlier). Unbelievable how time flies, right?

What would my Marine Dad or Grandfather say about that?

Well, I know what my Dad would say,

“Get the damn job done.”

A month after Don reached out to me on Facebook, we met in person for lunch in Charlotte. After getting to know him better, I suggested Don, a published author, write the book about my grandfather. He did not even blink as he looked me straight in the eyes, and leaned toward me.

“You are his granddaughter. You have to write it. Write it for your family and history. Really, start it this year. Why wait?”

Was that a challenge or what? Why wait any longer. He was right. But between kids, work, politics and life, there never has been the perfect time to take a deep dive into our history, both the good and sad, and hang around for awhile. Would I go there? Could I? It seemed too decadent, too luxurious.

This picture was worth a thousand words. Maybe millions of words.

Oh my God, it may set me back. It may make me cry about my parents and all our family legends and miss them more. Going back? Ouch.

What will be lost if I don’t do it?

The story will never be told. And the next generation may throw away all of the albums and military documents we have, or gasp, put them and the medals on Ebay.

That was all the motivation I needed to get it done. So, I committed to figuring out how to tackle this enormous project, and my sisters got on board.

I soon learned being a civilian and non historian trying to write about the military and history would take rolling up my sleeves and sitting my ass in the chair. Yet, I never thought this process would so totally consume me.

Since 2016, I have obtained our grandfather’s 700 page PEP file from the National Archives and his service record from the Marine Corps and spent thousands of hours researching and writing to connect what we have in our hands today with history….and challenge scuttlebutt.

I reached out to military and history researchers in the US, England, and China, and have talked or met with WWII Pacific veterans and their children.

By spring 2018, I needed to call in team Rupertus’s help to get all our family and ancestory content in one place, and then figure out how to organize it.

My sisters and I have used most any excuse to get together for fun since our parents have been deceased, so I sounded the rally call to see if they could come to Charlotte by May.

My sister Kimberly flew in from California with the family albums, and our sister Heather drove down from Virginia, with cases of history in her car. My husband was out of town and Kimberly’s son Gunner was in town and with the kids, so I could focus on the task at hand, and enjoy my sisters and our investigation.

Once we got together and settled, we carefully put all the letters, documents, telegrams, albums, etc, out on the long mahogany table originally belonging to our Grandparents, and the rest all over the dining room chairs. We got up early each morning and worked all day until late at night.

In doing this we discovered gems and intriguing correspondence never before seen by ourselves or mentioned by historians or writers and began to tie things together.

Here I am with Heather trying to decipher Grandfather Bill’s handwriting on this long letter he wrote while while on the ship to Sleepy and our dad Pat. The date on the letter is September 14, 1944, the eve before d-day on Peleliu.

In January 2019, my sisters and I met up at Quantico to do more research. Boy did we have fun together and felt welcome the minute we stepped on the base and into the doors of the Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons Marine Corps History Center.

Immediately we bumped into General Bill Bowers, who at the time was the President, Marine Corps University and Commanding General, Education Command. He seemed to know quite a lot about our Grandfather and gave us an enthusiastic welcome. He also helped carry our heavy containers of albums we trekked in from the parking garage across the snow.

In reflection, this was a fabulous coincidence meeting him right as we walked into the building, as our Grandfather’s last position after returning from the Pacific was Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools (now the Marine Corps University).

Finally meeting Annette Amerman and her team at the USMC History Division and meeting Alisa Whitley and her team at the USMC Archives Division was an honor.

These USMC historical divisons have been enormously helpful and supportive since I began this book journey.

The Archives team actually found film of our grandparents and grandfather with our young dad running around Quantico, and in tanks, planes and holding rifles. And, they discovered film from when our grandfather and the 1st Marine Division was on Pavuvu. Both of these films they kindly put onto DVDs for all three of us.

Thank you Annette and Alisa!

We also visited the spectacular Marine Corps Museum and got an exclusive tour by Scott Gardiner. It was interesting to see the Marines history so closely tied to our United States history. And, we had an an unexpected surprise (or another coincidence?) as we looked above in the Vietnam War section and saw an actual A-4 Skyhawk! This is what our dad flew. So cool.

We talked to other Marines and on the morning of our last day, we met my contact who runs the China Marines website. We sat in our hotel lobby and talked for two hours, sharing many stories and photos. Grandad was with the China Marines twice, once in Peking (1929-1931) then again in Shanghai (1937-1938).

Want to know more about this significant chapter in the Marine Corps and history? Check out his excellent site: http://www.chinamarines.com

We got so much done, but it is clear to me now, before this book is complete, I may need to make another trip to Quantico and dive into those archives.

Pardon our exuberance. 🙂

In Spring 2019, my super supportive husband and I went to New Orleans to visit the WWII Museum. Wow! I highly recommend this fabulous museum that covers World War II – both the war in Europe and the Pacific. I could have spent days there. They recently built a hotel right across from the museum, which is super convenient. I’d love to go back.

Check it out: https://www.nationalww2museum.org

They have a few fabulous restaurants with bars inside to help keep up your stamina. And, did you know that if you have a World War II veteran in your family, they will work with you to fly them to New Orleans and get them to the museum for free? #Honor

In addition to all of the above, I have read books about the battles in the Pacific and the men who served there. I have watched vidoes and listened to or read many, many oral histories of Marines who served with our grandfather and the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific.

Dont get me started on Ancestry.com. How it can lull you in. But I used that and Fold3, and accessed online library databases and newspapers from across the US and world.

I often listen to 1940s music for fun while writing and have a Facebook page for the book called Discovering my Grandfather and a Twitter account for him too where I have made great connections. @MajGenRupertus

His story made me laugh and really cry. I often became so memerized it was hard to leave certain chapters behind. I literally had to push myself away from the desk.

I have no problem with writers block. There is so much to learn and share about this jaw-dropping time in our history.

I can work hours without a break -often late into the night. I have spent nights tossing and turning in bed thinking about it, how he persevered after losing his entire first family and seeing his fellow Marines perish, or how this book, written by a civilian, will be perceived by the military.

As days go by, how did I get here?

As September, 2019, the manuscript about our Grandfather, his family and World War II is now over 30 chapters and 350+pages.

It was and is still a decadent, luxurious, and emotional journey to research and write this. But thank God I did it.

It has helped me get to know and love my grandparents, whom I never met, and whom my father lost at an early age. It made me realize we are not so far away from the wars over the past 200 years, who served in them, and the impact on society; countries, warriors, and civilians.

I discovered facts I never learned in school. It has left me in awe of our young country and the bravery in war.

It all makes sense now. God, how I wish we could have presented this to Dad before he died. Maybe my friend Stuart knew because when he prodded during his podcast interview, I teared up.

Maybe I am writing this for Dad.

So, this is why I took a break from blogging. Well, from a lot of things. There are days when all I want to do is work on this book. Crazy, right?

As I learned from my grandfather, you have to have a laser focus – with a tenacity of purpose – to reach your goals in life, and achieve the mission before you.

There is more work to do, yet one day soon, this manuscript will be published for my family, history, and the Marine Corps. Then we can finally get the record straight and fill in gaps for our generation and more.


Ahh, there is so much satisfaction in that.
Thank you for the inspiration, Don.

Semper Fi.

#VietnamVeteransDay

29 March 2019 at 19:16

Hey there.

Being Vietnam Veterans Day, I was inspired to write about our Dad. Because our DAD, who I LOVED, was a USMC aviator who served in Vietnam.

We lost Dad to Agent Orange Cancer in 1991.

For the past few years I have been on a journey back in time to discover more about my Dad, Marine aviator Captain Patrick Hill Rupertus, and his father, Marine Major General William H. Rupertus. These beloved men were snatched from our lives too soon, and like so many veterans, their stories have never been told, which can leave confusion about ones roots, and a gaping hole in our hearts and history.

The book is about our Dad’s father, but I originally dedicated a long chapter on the other family legends, especially our beloved Dad, the General’s son. It was suggested to me that I leave out the legends in the book about the General. Ugh, word count.

So…about our Dad…Daddy…Schmoopee (my fav. term) who served in Vietnam…..

My sisters Heather and Kimberly, my children, and I would not be here if Dad had not persevered after he lost his parents, and the war in Vietnam. He was born a Marine with his own father’s tenacity of purpose.

Patrick Hill Rupertus
USNA 1962, Marine Corps, A-4 Aviator, 2 Tours of Vietnam, Husband, Dad, Developer, Friend.

He was a true lion.

He was born on August 18,1939, in Washington, DC when his father, Major General William H. Rupertus was then CO of the Marine Barracks at 8th and I.

At age five, his father died of a heart attack.

At age 16, his mother, Sleepy, died of Leukemia.

Dad went to Sidwell Friends School and Landon High School in Bethesda, Maryland, where he played football.

In 1962 he graduated from the United States Naval Academy, became a USMC aviator, and flew A-4 Skyhawk off aircraft carriers. 

Can you say BadASS?  

Handsome too. Our Dad’s nickname in his Marine squadron VMA 332 was “Mr. Clean.” He was known as a good aviator and did two tours in Vietnam with citations for bravery: Service to his fellow Marines despite peril to himself. 

Dad was an only child. With his father at war in the Pacific, his parents did not have much time together to give him siblings.

He never talked in detail to my two sisters or me about his parents, his time at USNA, or his service in Vietnam, which I personally never had the guts to question further. 

As an adult in this discovery process, I wish I had prodded. As a result of not asking the BIG questions I could have, I have had to piece all this together.

#Lessonlearned

But I can tell you what my adolescence experience was like with my Dad. He was funny and a love.

On the tough stuff? I certainly was not knowledgable or brave enough at the time to dive deep into his history. But I wish I had been more courageous.

Thank goodness he had the support of his mother’s sisters, Jo and Dixie, extended family, friends, and his father’s Marine Corps friends.

And Vietnam?

Well, well.

We know how our veterans were treated when they came home. 

Dad did not define himself as a Vietnam Veteran as far as we know. But what did we know? He never talked about his time in Vietnam or the Marine Corps – at least to me.

As of 2019, many of those who served on both sides are still trying to silently heal from the agony of what they witnessed, friends they lost, enemies they killed, and the shockingly unwelcome return home. Or, they quietly cope with that and service-related illness like my Dad did. 

Dad must have had tunnel vision after his mother’s death to get through Landon High School while playing football and go on to apply for and be accepted to the United States Naval Academy. 

He started his plebe year at the Academy in 1958. I can only imagine the initial excitement, then how tough it was to go through the torture of plebe year so soon after losing his Mom. 

Yep. He ended up repeating the plebe year. If you know about plebe year or went through it at USNA as he did, I imagine one does not want to do it twice. But he did. He had the grit to persevere to get what he wanted or had to accomplish. Sounds like a damn good Marine in the making, eh? 

He hunkered down and graduated USNA Class of 1962 with a Bachelor of Science and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the USMC. He met our mother, Gail Bennett (another Legend), fell madly in love, and married her on October 16, 1962. Then they went off to flight school to get his wings, and begin their tours of duty for the United States Marine Corps. 

As a Marine aviator, he was trained to fly A-4 Skyhawks on and off aircraft carriers and clear the vegetation in Vietnam with Agent Orange to support the infantry on the ground. He also spent time on the ground with the infantry as a forward air controller.

My sisters, Heather and Kimberly, were born during this time he was on active duty. Heather at the naval air station in Kingsville, Texas. Kimberly in Bryn Mawr, PA, while Dad was deployed. I was born in Pittsburg, PA, right after he entered the reserves and took a job with Westinghouse. 

We moved around a bit and lived outside Chicago until I was ten. He resettled us in Virginia in 1980 with a new career he loved as a builder, bringing us closer to his family and roots in Washington, DC. He found the parachute he needed mid-life to reconnect and heal. Thank God. 

A whole bright new world opened up. We spent many weekends as a family visiting Aunt Jo and other relatives in the Washington, DC, area. We visited Annapolis and later attended his class of 1962 reunions. We enjoyed the concerts on the lawn of the US Capital on Memorial Day and July 4 and the evening parades in the summer at the Marine Barracks at 8th and I.

As a young girl, I was enamored by the Marines’ manners and mesmerized by their appearance and how they marched smoothly without showing a bead of sweat while conducting dangerous rifle drills with utter precision. They got it done no matter how hot or humid it was in DC. Quite a thrill to behold. 

We knew about “Arlington,” where the relatives and friends lived along Glebe Road, and the other Arlington, the beautiful Arlington National Cemetery where our military and many family members rest that overlooks Washington, DC. And where our parents are now buried.

In the late 1970s and 80s, movies about Vietnam came out. Imagine watching them with our Dad, the USMC Aviator, and Vietnam veteran…The Dear Hunter, Apocalypse NowTop Gun, and the Great Santini. He would watch the screen engaged and become very animated whenever a jet roared into the scene. 

With his arms demoing the flight pattern, he’d discuss the pilot’s view from the cockpit. Whoosh. In the movie theatre! It was highly embarrassing to this young daughter at the time. Believe me, as a rising teen, I slid way down in my seat. 

Now I would sit tall, laugh, and smile. 

When the movie Platoon by Oliver Stone came out in 1986, Dad was hesitant about the idea behind the movie, Oliver Stone, and going to see the film. Then one Saturday afternoon, out of the blue, he decided to go see the film, and he wanted me to go with him.

I am unsure I had a choice, but I sensed he needed a pal. I joined him so he would not be alone. It was a tough movie to watch and a quiet drive home. I remember feeling something sad I could not put my finger on. Dad was pensive. I was happy to get away from that intense feeling to meet up with my friends. 

In the early 1980s, a monument to honor Vietnam Veterans was proposed for the mall in Washington, DC. The Vietnam War Memorial wall was designed by architect Maya Lin. My oh my, did it cause an uproar. Looking back, I am astounded and sad that the mere idea of a monument honoring the men and women who fought, died, and went missing in the Vietnam war was such a problem for some people.

Later I learned the war itself was controversial… in so many ways. 

We were there when The Vietnam Veterans Wall opened 

By November 1982, the wall was finished, and a great dedication was set for November 13 with an unveiling and parade. 100s of veterans were going to be attending and marching in the parade.

The media pumped up the controversy in the newspaper and on TV, which enhanced the anticipation for the unveiling of the Vietnam Veterans Wall. It was like one side had been gasping for air for this while the other side was still trying to snuff them out. The silent wall stood as a firm statement in the middle.

Despite their extended unwelcome home, despite the losses, our Vietnam veterans finally won the battle for honor. With the memorial, they had something that valued their time in Vietnam and those they lost or went missing. 

This was our Vietnam veterans’ time to shine. The wall was something solid veterans and we civilians could see, touch, and feel. A monument like none other in Washington DC at that time began the long road to reconnecting and healing if one could. 

Dad heard about the parade and decided he should go check it out…with us. So my sister Kimberly and I joined him on that rainy day in November to keep him company. We were slightly interested, too, as it was all over the news. We thought it would be a quick tour of duty from our home in McLean, Virginia. I pictured it. Do this with Dad, whip down GW parkway to Pennsylvania Avenue, see the wall, then get back home asap, so I can hang out with my friends. 

Time seemed to stop as we drove there.

Why was Dad driving so slowly? I can still sense the unusually quiet and dense atmosphere of that day. Everything was moving in slow motion, including the Potomac River. 

The parades in DC, like most cities, were always full of pomp and circumstance. You could hear the bands warming up, and good luck finding parking nearby. The sidelines would be so packed you had to squeeze your way in front to get a view. 

When you don’t hear the bands, there is room to park near the parade path and no vast crowd. It will be a unique parade. 

We parked near Pennsylvania Avenue, and as we got out of Dad’s sedan, the mist turned into light rain. A chill was in the air. We walked toward the parade route and memorial, unsure of what to expect of this “Wall” that caused so much angst and debate. 

It was such a bleak November day for a celebration…the sky was dark gray, and we needed light. I wrapped my sweet puff jacket tightly around me as we walked ahead toward a lantern’s light inside an old brown canvas tent. We said hello to the few intimidating non-chatty veterans who oversaw a table of information about Vietnam POW/MIA. We were looking for information about the wall. There was none. 

These men were focused on those left behind. 

As we moved toward the sleek black marble wall, I was overcome with emotion. The people I saw seemed so sad. They were kneeling by the wall, looking for names, pointing and crying when they found the name and leaning their cheeks against it, making a long-lost connection. Many had foreheads tipped down against the wall in prayer as their hands lay gently against the cool black marble. Others were choking out cathartic tears while etching the name of their loved one onto a piece of paper. 

Dad seemed like he was in a trance. He kept walking silently back and forth along the wall.

God knows this was deep. 

For the first time ever, I could not read him. I had always been sensitive to my Dad’s moods. If your father or mother was military, especially a Marine, you might be ultra-sensitive too. Sometimes you walk on eggshells, right? There are no words or room to talk. This was one of those times as a tween; my thoughts echoed inside my head. 

My Dad could be the life of the party. No jokes, laughter, or smiles at this event. He was quiet. His brow was tense. His beautiful light blue Irish eyes were so red. Should he stay at the wall? Join the parade?  

I wanted to hug him but was too scared to interrupt his thoughts. Now I would hug him anyway.

What was he thinking about? Was he transported back to Vietnam…seeing a friend die, on the ground calling in support for the infantry while under fire…or in his A-4 spreading Agent Orange to clear the vegetation? Or trying to land on the aircraft carrier in a storm? 

We watched the parade in silence. Unlike most parades I had seen while growing up around the country, especially the nation’s capital, this one had zero pomp and circumstance. There were no proud marching bands with horns blowing and drums beating, no majorettes, no bright floats, no clowns, no pretty lipsticked beauty queens, no sexy sports cars with stiff-haired waving politicians. Nor were there thousands of spectators and young kids looking for candy. 

It was pretty heavy and grim for a parade. 

The men marching in the parade consisted of a large infantry of Vietnam veterans of all races and backgrounds marching together down the street, many wearing their old green uniforms and carrying company flags or the American flag. 

I am guessing most of the men marching would have been in their 30s and 40s. Yet, they looked older, worn out. Even as a young girl, I could sense their emotional burden, yet there was a flicker of a strengthened resolve by marching together. 

As shown in Ken Burns and Kim Novak’s 10 years of study and related documentary, The Vietnam War, the American government saw a communist threat in Vietnam and engaged. Our military rose to the occasion to defend freedom and democracy. 

Our government made mistakes in navigating the threat going into the war until it ended. The American leaders pressed the military on in Vietnam in a growing cold war grab that the French, who had been there for 100 years, had been unable to win as occupiers and left themselves. 

Our military continued their duty to fight for freedom as the war went on. 

Many were killed or imprisoned as POWs. One of those prisoners I know, USAF aviator Quincy Collins was in prison for seven years along with Senator John McCain and brutally treated. 

All this while the American people comfortably at home protested the war. When American actress Jane Fonda visited the Hanoi Hilton, she refused to meet with the American POWs, including Quincy Collins and John McCain.

Americans protested the war and the warriors while our men and women served, while they were captured and brutally treated as POWs and went missing in action. They protested when the warriors came home, and some people spit on our veterans and often would not pick them up in a cab, particularly if Black. #Awful 

The protests continued, causing dismay, distraction, and finally violence and death at Kent State. 

Ahh, to forgive. 

To move onward. 

They did not always call the fog of the 1970-1980s PTSD back then, but it was. Many Vietnam veterans experienced loss and unresolved grief due to the war. As did the families who loved them. As with all warriors at war, memory softens, but the feelings, sights, sounds, smells, and experiences of loss remain in one’s heart.

Today after years of our military doing multiple tours at war in the Middle East, we know how to better identify PTSD. At least, we are trying harder every day as citizens to help them. 

Those who had no connection to serving in the Vietnam war or military may never understand the commitment to service over self, deep camaraderie, or the impact of “The Wall” and other war monuments.

We did not handle our fellow Americans with the care and attention they deserved. For this, I am sorry. But! This sleek black wall, built in 1982, with its sharp lines and angles, began to cut through that hazy, shitty PTSD fog. The shiny monument and parade marking the opening made a grand statement to America and the world. We will prevail. We will honor those who sacrifice. 

And it was a step toward healing and setting our Vietnam veterans and their families free. 

My Dad would joke with my sisters and me about us “God Damned Civilians” (Did he pick that up in the USMC or the movie The Great Santini?). Do us GDCs truly understand the sacrifice our soldiers make to protect our right to live, work, practice religion and protest in peace? 

Dad was my hero. He tucked away the pain of the memories and began to move on in his late 30s. He loved my mother and his family dearly and pursued his passions in his career and life. 

As the youngest, I spent a lot of time with my Dad while my Mom worked in real estate on the weekends. We were buddies. 

He played guitar for me. He took me to the bakery to get those giant yellow smile cookies. He took me shopping and to his barber for my haircut. He was scary strict at times and disciplined me when I deserved it. Though, I got off way lightly, according to my sisters.

Dad made us all push hard, have humility and laugh at ourselves. 

I sensed his emotions like my own. We were so alike. Sometimes when he looked at me, he would grab my square jaw, look into my eyes and say, “Ahh, it’s just like looking in the mirror.”  

Our Dad was still a young, funny hunk of a man at 49 when I was 19 and home from college biking with him on the O&D Trail in Virginia. We always loved getting outside, exercising, and grabbing lunch before heading home.

I looked forward to biking with him along that trail. He would race ahead of me, grinning with his blue eyes lit up over the joy of competition and speed. His legs had remained lean and powerful like the Marine he was. It amazed me how he was always faster than me biking and sprinting down the street, though I was much younger. 

One gorgeous day when I was home for fall break, we were heading back home on our bikes after a late lunch, and dusk was setting in. I was thrilled to be racing ahead and expected him to speed up to startle me. Yet, when I peeked back to see where he was, I realized he was far behind. I stopped biking to wait for him before a crosswalk. As I watched him come closer he seemed tired. 

He pulled up beside me, and we biked along slowly. “Hey Daddy, you okay?” I asked. 

“I am fine. I just had to slow down for a bit. I’ve had this pain in my hip for a few weeks. It flared up.” He said. 

“Have you talked to a doctor about it?” I asked.

“No, not yet. I will check it out when you return to UGA (University of Georgia). Just don’t tell your Mom, okay?” 

Not tell Mom? That was odd. Those lovebirds seemed to share everything. I returned to Athens the next day and soon was consumed with school, soccer, and social. Of course, I do not think about Dad’s hip too much.

When I came home for Thanksgiving break, Dad called me into the living room almost as soon as I arrived, saying he had to talk with me about something. 

Surely I was in trouble. Where was Mom? 

What did I do wrong? I scanned my brain.

I soon learned it was not me in trouble; it was Dad. 

When I sat down alone with him, he said those dreaded words nobody wanted to hear: 

“Amy, I have cancer.” 

Oh, my God. 

That was not what I expected him to say. I choked up and tried to stay strong, but my lungs burned, and my eyes were brimming with tears. I sat there stunned. Silently asking, “How could THIS happen to our Dad?” 

Agent Orange-related lung cancer, the doctor said. Many Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese were affected by this powerful chemical. 

By the following summer, Dad had lost a ton of weight, yet surprisingly looked healthy in his bright sweaters and new smaller clothes. He seemed his same positive self and calm. Mom and Dad were working with his doctor to get him into the trial of the new drug Taxol at NIH. They seemed in control. Dad was going to win this battle. 

With the chemo pump on his hip, he returned to flying and would surprise me that summer of 1990 in the halls of the US Senate where I was interning.

Dad was himself and kept his humor during cancer. We were the ones going crazy. Sixteen months after he was diagnosed with cancer, he lost the battle. He died at our home late at night, surrounded by my mother, sisters, and me.

I saw him take his last breath. My Dad was a skeleton by then. It was brutally hard to see this happen to him. He died on March 6, 1991. 

He was only 51. I was 20. 

The church was packed at his funeral, standing room only. Blurry tears were full of heartache. People loved our Dad like we did. Dad’s casket was next to us as my mother, sisters, and I turned out of the front pew to leave the chapel when his service ended. 

I did not want to leave Dad’s casket. 

My heavy hands laid on it, all my energy attached to his casket, not wanting to let go of my Dad. I would have laid on his coffin and been carried out with him if I could have. I can still sense that energy today.

Our Aunt Jane had to pull me away. 

People at the reception said we girls were all so strong. Maybe, but I think we were all in total shock. 

Daddy was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery with his parents. His funeral and burial were tough. And to this day, my memory will not open up about it. 

I do know dear friends and family were there. 

I know Dad was buried with full military honors. 

Beautiful sleek black horses led his caisson. 

There were rifle shots. 

Words spoken. 

A flag was given to Mom. 

Complete heartache. 

Our beloved Dad, Patrick Hill Rupertus, was laid to rest. 

But what he taught us about life and family will live on for generations. 

A week after the funeral, a large manilla envelope arrived at our house for Mom. Inside were fabulous glossy black and white photos taken at the funeral. Who were they from? A small note was inside written by one of Dad’s best friends from USNA who had worked at the CIA for years. 

Thank you, LN! We did not even see you.  

Dad is buried with his father, the general, our mother Gail, and more family on a peaceful hill overlooking Washington, DC., right beneath the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Semper Fidelis.

amypeacock

Patrick Hill Rupertus

Need Change? Be The Change.

13 March 2017 at 16:44

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I put on this shirt FiA yesterday that was created in honor of Charlotte’s Ruth Samuelson to go walk our dog. She must have whispered to me out there! While walking I felt a little voice inside telling me to update this post here and repost on FiAnation.com, our female fitness group.

Was she really whispering to me? With all that is happened the past 2 years in FiA, F3 and our country, I think maybe she was! #PoliPower. We have seen so much change and need change.

With all this change are you inspired to change something?

We are more than half way into 2017. Better get changing.

Why not do a half-time assessment?

To give you some ideas, I wanted to tell you about a conversation on change I had with Ruth.  Ruth was a living example of how “being the change” in small and big ways can positively impact ones family, community and politics.

She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mom, grandmother, community leader and public servant. Ruth was athletic and loved to workout at 5:15am with her daughter Joy, who we know and love (FiA Santiago) and FiAs. When she suddenly got diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer May 2016, and we found out the cancer had spread, it was a complete shocker to everyone who knew and loved her. Ruth?

Though now gone, I feel she will always be with us in the many lessons she taught, and the good, gutsy and crazy things she did we remember. I personally will always remember her genuineness, that bright smile, willingness to connect and her simple advice.

About 3 years ago, Ruth and I were having lunch together in Charlotte talking about life and change. I was at a crossroads trying to figure out where to best focus my activator type A energy. Should I stay focused on my work and community fitness efforts or launch a female start-up to stop the division in our politics and party? (Ha, ha. I had good intentions!).

When I asked Ruth for some guidance on this, she gazed at me for a pensive moment. You know that gaze if you knew Ruth. She said, “I like that FiA thing.” On stoping division and negativity in this political climate? With her pirate eyes and beautiful smile, she said:

From my experience, you can’t make others change. You have to be the change.

I will always remember this clarifying moment with Ruth. No matter her viewpoint, she was always so calm. So matter of fact. She sure loved ruffling us up by engaging change. She wanted change in her city so she put herself in the arena. She put name on the ballot, got elected, and went into politics where she could get engaged with others to contribute to the change she wanted to see in the community and state.

Unlike Ruth, I was not ready to run for office or to force change.

Force change. Nobody likes that.

Want change? The key is you have to step up in your life to engage change.

It’s like Ruth putting her name on the ballot. One small step forward may lead to dramatic change. So let’s do a half-time assessment:

What line in the sand do you need to step over this weekend to create change?

3 ideas to spark movement:

  • Re-organize your busy life: The days and years fly by really fast! Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us. Assess: Are you living the life you imagined or is your life a blur? Get focused and planning. What and who matter most to you? Eliminate the junk and take action on what brings you joy. You will avoid living with regret.
  • Be the life-changer: We are our brothers and sisters keepers right? What positive impact can you make today? Make a decision to turn your pain, anger, frustration or sadness into a mission for change. Look up. Say hello. Be the smile, humor and patience you need. Be the calm in someone’s storm. Be the friend in someone’s loss. Be the mentor in confusion. Be the strength in weakness. Be the light in darkness. Be the bridge to conversation. Be the doer of good we need in this world.
  • Pray it up: As forward focused change agents we need to exercise, pray it up, give thanks, and thenlet it go to avoid the stress that can pull us backwards. Ruth prayed a lot everyday and is probably still praying for us in Heaven. Pray it up to Ruth. She loves to talk! Pray it up to God and your family in Heaven. Have quiet conversations at home, in your car, on a walk, etc. Let God worry about your worries. He is vast. We are so small.

#BeTheChange

Written in honor of #PoliPower #LatiniStrong #CoopStrong #CheechStrong #RapunzelStrong #NashStrong #SydneyStrong #SharretStrong #TaylorStrong #Dadstrong #MomStrong and all you all.

#LiveLoveLead

Fin. Amy Peacock

June 30, 2017

 

amypeacock

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What is Within You? Find out.

24 February 2017 at 15:44

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So many people, experiences and events came together to inspire this post.

It may even be you reading this!

Without going into great detail, I had to sum it all up to 2 thought provoking quotes.

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Jesus Christ

“For David….served his Purpose of God in his own generation.”  Acts: 13:36

What is in me? In You?

Will we bring it forth in our generation?

If we don’t, will it hurt us?

Loaded questions but worth exploring, especially these days.

It’s seems a lot of people I have talked to are at a point in their lives where change has happened suddenly, is happening currently, or has to happen to move them forward.

Change rattles the norm. It shakes up our little world. It also presents an exciting opportunity to reflect on the direction of our life, and do something different, or more meaningful.

So what is in you?

Will you bring it forth in your generation?

This is not to say you need to do more than you already do…just something else.

Perhaps God wants you and I to redirect our lives.

To live with more passion and purpose everyday.

It’s time to jump over the line in the sand you set for yourself.

You see, I believe God’s got glorious plans for you on the other side.

Yep.

To be his experience on earth.

To bring out that light that is deep inside you.

So that you can use it for good, on his earth, in your lifetime.

Just imagine.

He needs your help to inspire change.

And, look after his people.

You ARE here for a reason.

Your passion and wisdom of experience is a torch we need to light the path ahead.  If you let the flame go out and walk away, we (Gods people) are left in the dark.

So, get it? You matter to humanity!  We need you to find your light again and trust it.

Here is a simple life reboot assessment I learned from John Maxwell, a minister and worldwide leadership coach you might use to get clear on your next mission:

Tell me what you want, what you really really want.

What do you sing about? What makes you HAPPY? Your heart soar like an eagle?

What do you cry about? What makes you SAD?

What do you dream about doing or becoming? What is your VISION for your FUTURE?

The answers should come quickly.

They are the keys to your next chapter.

Pursue what you sing about. What do you love to do?  Bring it forth and pursue it. You will gain unbridled happiness and it will be magnified to those around you. Just imagine a musician, artist, athlete or entrepreneur pursuing their passion. They inspire us and make our lives richer.

Turn that sadness into purpose. Turn your pain into purpose to help others.  By sharing your experience of failure, loss, or sadness over a situation, you heal yourself and let others know they are not alone. Your lessons learned may inspire a book or a  new non profit or business to heal the word around you.

Go after the dream that been tugging at you for years…now. Why wait anymore?Write the book, start that blog, start that new biz, start a new tribe, book that dream trip, sign up for that rave race, run for office. The years fly by and our days are not guaranteed.  Why wait, why wait, why wait anymore?

Shine like Heaven in your generation.

In closing, I leave you with this quote by Blake Mycoskie, founder of the wildly successful Toms company, and the One to One business model:

“I believe each of us has a mission in life, and that one cannot truly be living their most fulfilled life until they recognize this mission and dedicate their life to pursuing it.”

Fin. Amy

PS. Let me know if you need some help on this. You may also enjoy reading the short book How to Find Your Mission in Life, by Richard Nelson Bowels who also wrote the life changing book, What Color is My Parachute.

amypeacock

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Begin the day with Gratitude in 2017

4 January 2017 at 12:34

A new year. Hello 2017!

The possibilities of each day are within this year for each of us.

Aren’t you excited? I am.

I have decided to let go of the long list of resolutions and keep it simple for 2017.

I am setting 3 goals and committing to them.

Here they are.

#1 Begin each day with gratitudes and a positive lead.

#2. Finish 1st round of my book by Dec. 1.

#3. Focus on achieving my best health ever.

Today I will focus this post on #1: Gratitude.

I am going to start the day with more gratitude and lead with the positive. Having been doing this off and on for years, I have witnessed instant benefits in my attitude, happiness and impact on others.

So how do we turn the ordinary dawn of a new day into the extraordinary?

Use awe as a catalyst. What gives you awe?

Our church minster, Joe Clifford at Myers Park Presbyterian in Charlotte, NC  spoke about this concept in a sermon where he recited a beautiful poem I had never heard before.”I thank you God for this amazing” by EE Cummings.

Here it is along with two verses and one very powerful video that was done over  Christmas. That should help put us in a positive mindset for 2017.

“i thank You God for most this amazing” by E.E. Cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

 

Isaiah 40:28-31 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak….31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 

The creative director at Forest Hill Church did this funny video over Christmas.  20 million have already viewed this video. Have you? Click here: Funny video on Gratitude

Want to join me on this road to glory in 2017?

For the next 21 days start your day with gratitude.

First, say this before you get outta bed every single morning.

Psalm 118:24 “This IS the day the Lord has made, Rejoice and be glad in it!”

I bet it will light a tiny spark of mojo to get you going.

Keep a journal by your bed. In the quiet of the early am write down what or who you are thankful for that day.

Then do a “power lead” into the day by keeping your first comments, texts, posts or emails to your family then friends, neighbors or co-workers positive.  Be intentional on this. You may have to bite your tongue! It’s worth it.

Are you in? Let me know how it goes for you.

Cheers to 2017.

Let’s make it AWEsome and spread some cheer.

 

 

 

 

 

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amypeacock

How to Get fit #ShredIt

2 May 2016 at 11:53

The shredding I am thinking about today is leaning out and toning up.

Want to counteract age and sitting related atrophy and weight creep?

Me too.

Confession:

I have not been following my own advice as a mom or trainer. I have been missing meals. Having dinner way too late. Sitting more while reading and typing. Staying up even later to binge watch Netflix, to check email or gasp…social media!

Does this sound like someone you know?

Here is my 4 point plan to #Shred it.

1. Sculpt Thy Body Perfect:

I have been doing body-weight exercise, running and spinning for the past few years. I can see it’s time to lift iron again to avoid atrophy.

And, no wimpy weights.

I recommend a total body strength workout using dumbbells twice a week. It tones all major muscle groups to create a balanced body and saves time. It’s great for burning calories, losing fat, and getting lean. Plus, life is just easier when we are in balance and stronger.

Your challenge: Add 2 -3 20-25 minute strength training sessions a week. Remember to check your form. You must challenge yourself to lift heavier weights if it gets to easy.

Upper Body:  5 exercise, 10 reps, 5 sets.

Bicep Curls, Shoulder Press, Triceps Kickback, Chest Press, Reverse Fly

Lower body: 5 exercise, 10 reps, 5 sets:

Squats, Lunges, Sit-Ups, Deadlift, Standing Calf Raise

-Xtra Shred Credit: Do the #21DayPushUpChallenge for our Vets.

2. Boost Calorie Burn with Interval Training:

Want to burn calories even faster? High-intensity cardio rocks. Short 20-25 minute sessions on a cardio machine, biking or running outside is all it takes.

This, along with lifting can make you feel fitter and leaner within a week.

And, it works for beginners and advanced.

Your challenge: Add 3 20-25 minute sessions of heart pumping interval training sessions per week. Shred it tip: Add music, go faster.

I have used this 20 minute Cardio Interval Plan many times over the years.

You can also try this easy 25 min. cardio option:

2 Minutes Walking, 2 Minutes Jogging, 1 Minute Running/Sprinting. Repeat 5x.

3. Sit Less

Reading this while sitting down? Stand up.

Sitting at your desk all day? Then drive, fly or Uber it home and sit more? It’s almost as bad as smoking. Sitting a lot increases your risk of atrophy and many diseases like diabetes and cancer. Slows down your metabolism too.

Research suggests that even shorts bursts of activity during the day make a difference.

Ideas: Set a timer like the Tomato Timer and get up every 25 minutes to take a lap around home or the office, make a cup of tea, fetch a glass of water.

Walk the dog. Walk or run at lunch and after dinner. Play Twister, dance or play ball with your spouse or kids. Do jumping jacks and squats while binge-watching. Act like you have ADD. Whatever. Let’s just move more.

4. Eat Dinner Early:

Heard the buzz on Intermittent Fasting (IE)?  Research show it is an effective eating pattern to boost weight loss. And, has load of bonus benefits.

You eat within a smaller window of time a few days a week.

I consulted my talented friend Barret Butler, RD, LD, MPH for her professional advice. She tested a bunch of diets on her friends and clients a few years ago. Out of ALL the diets, the most weight loss was with her plan, a version of IE, which she has kindly provided for us below.

1. Eat 3 meals a day and one afternoon snack.

2. Avoid alcohol during Monday-Friday.

3. Two nights a week prep dinner early and finish eating by 5pm.

Example Day:

Eat Breakfast (protein, healthy fat, fruit or toast)

Eat Lunch (protein, healthy fat, big salad)

Eat Snack (handful nuts and kombucha or green tea)

Eat Dinner (protein, steamed, boiled, grilled veggies or big salad).

Summary:

· Add 2-3 20 minutes of strength training a week. 

· Add 3 20-25 mins interval training a week.

· Move a lot more during day and evening.

· Commit to Barret’s simple eating pattern. 

That’s it!

Fit this #Shredit challenge into your freaking busy life? Ha.

I know how you feel.

You have too much to do. You don’t need yet another freaking challenge. You don’t need yet another must-do to squeeze into your hopelessly busy schedule.

But hey, we want to get fit and lean for summer, and life.

Here’s my simple advice …

Start small.

Commit to #JustDoIt for a 1 week test.

Then, assess the data. Do you feel leaner, stronger, happier? Are you sleeping better?

Yes?

Add another 2 weeks.  You got this.

amypeacock

How a Friend & Music Got Me Running

13 April 2016 at 15:16

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer

One of my goals this year is to start thanking the people in my life who cared for people I know and love, as well as myself.

Today I want to thank my friend “Bo” who got me started running.

I was in junior high-school when I first “ran” just to run. In the past the only time I had to run was in soccer.

Just “going for a run” was definitely not on my “to do” list. Never felt the pull.

Yet, I began running because of Bo, my childhood friend and neighbor.

One day as we were chatting after school, he invited me to join him running that weekend. How nice, right?  He must have realized I needed or wanted to lose weight.

That Saturday we met for our first run. It was Bo, his black Sony Walkman, and me.  In his Walkman was a mixed tape of his favorite Led Zeppelin music. We said hello to each-other, then he put the earphones in his ears and off we went.

Uphill. 

Can we stop, I said?

I was out of shape and not a “runner.” I began huffing and puffing. Bo must have sensed my misery! About 5 minutes into our run, he stopped running.

He looked concerned (or maybe just annoyed) then smiled at me.

He took off his earphones and handed them to me along with his Walkman.

“Amy, you gotta listen to music…it will make your run better!”

I took him up on the offer and put the earphones in.

I had heard “Stairway to Heaven” at many school dances (the parents and teachers loved to waltz around slowly to that song), but really never listened to any other Led Zeppelin music.

I figured any music would work to ease the pain of the run! The first song on his playlist was “Black Dog.”

“Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move / Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove…”

I started running and it did seem easier.

I survived that day thanks to Bo and Led Zeppelin.

And I am still running today!

Now, every single time I hear a Led Zeppelin song…I feel like I just gotta run!

Crazy.

So, thank you!

You never know what a little kindness can do!

Who knew I would learn to LOVE running?

Who knew I got back to running because of the iPod?

Who knew I would run so many races in so many places?

Who knew I would then go on to teach people how to run and earn money doing it?

And who knew I would own a dog named Finnegan who also loves to run?

The greatest of gratitude to Bo.

Thanks for the spark!

Fin. Amy

amypeacock

The Power of Community: Koinonia

10 March 2016 at 12:54

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I recently read the “The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life” by Rick Warren, D.Min,  Dr. Daniel Amen M.D, and Mark Hyman MD.

The book is about  changing ones life though Faith, Fitness, Food, Focus and Friends.

As the authors of the book rolled this program out in their churches and expanisve networks, they began to discover one very interesting thing.

The key to success was not the diet or workout….it was community.

Yes. Small communities were the “secret sauce” to success.

It seems people of all sizes, races and backgrounds are more likely to get through a major life change or weight-loss if they have others beside them.

In community, we become out brothers and sister keepers.

We also learn we are not alone in our crazy ways!

“Koinonia” is a cool ancient greek word they refer to in the book from the New Testament about the power of the early church’s deep community with one another.

This word Koinonia reminded me of some ancient wisdom from Jesus.

Remember what he said when he was asked by a Pharisee what the greatest commandment was?

Jesus looked at him and answered:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.

And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Got it Jesus.

Love God, love friends & neighbors.

Yet look around.

How are we doing loving each other?

What is the last thing you said or did to your family, friend, coworker, animal, co-worker or political rival?

The last thing you tweeted or posted?

The last thing you read or saw in the news?

It is time for change.

To come together again.

To build communities of connections.

To re-engage with our current communities.

To share stories and gain wisdom and understanding.

To ban loneliness, heal, open new doors, to increase health, happiness and longevity.

To expand dreams and innovation.

I am absolutely convinced God wants us to connect.

(To love God and others is a divine connection then. Right?).

The Universe wants us to connect.

The Earth wants us to connect. (Erhem, Earthing will be another blog).

The Internet was built for us to connect.

It is all about connections!

Yet, it is so easy to look the other way.

To avoid.

To drift.

We need courage to get back in the game.

To be more vulnerable.

To ditch shame.

To be brave enough to ask for advice.

To ask for help when we are lonely or confused.

To reach out versus shout out.

To provide wisdom of age to brighten the way for others.

Life is calling. People need healing.

We need each other.

We need you!

Connect today.

#Togetherisbetter

 

Fin. Amy Peacock

amypeacock

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Thrive.

1 March 2016 at 12:25

A few years ago my husband and I had the great opportunity to meet Dan Buettner who is a world cyclist, adventurer, researcher and author of health books The Blue Zones and Thrive.

His talk was about his research into the healthiest communities in the world.

He started out by asking the audience of 100 adults a powerful question:

“Did you walk or bike to school as a kid?” Every one of us raised our hand.

“Do your kids walk or bike to school now?” Not one person raised their hand.

That got our attention Dan!

His research was inspired by the Danish Twin Studies, among others, which established that only 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words almost 80% of how long and how well you live is up to you. 

Beginning in 2004 Dan, along with longevity geneticists, medical researchers, anthropologists, demographic scientists, epidemiologists funded by National Geographic, identified pockets of people across the world who live the longest and are the happiest.

Then they went to visit them!

They were searching for evidence-based common denominators among all places.

They termed these healthy pockets “Blue Zones.”

In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States! And they have astoundingly low incredible lower rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, those big and nasty killers in the US. Here is what else they found.

9 common traits in Blue Zone members:

1. They move naturally all day.

The world’s longest-lived people don’t just pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about.

Think: Do I really need to drive to the library or grocery store? Can I walk or ride a bike? Can I get a stand up desk? Take a walk at lunch outside? Get a dog and walk it?

2. They know their Purpose. 

The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans in Costa Rica call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy!!!

Identify what you are passionate about and pursue it as your purpose daily.

3. They take time to Down Shift.

They experience stress like we do. But they take time to relax every day. Okinawans take a few moments each day in the am to remember their ancestors, Seventh DayAdventists (Lomo Linda, CA) pray, Ikarians (Greece) take a nap and Sardinians (Italy) do happy hour with friends.

Take time to relax, meditate, and give thanks daily. We know stress leads to chronic inflammation which contributes to very major age-related disease. Why feed the monster?

4. They stop eating when they are just 80% full.
“Hara hachi bu” –Is the  Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals which reminds Okinawans to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.

Think. Do you really need that extra helping?

5. They eat a lot of beans and plants.

They have a “Plant Slant.” They eat what they grow too. Vegetables and beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the basics of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month.

Start small: Double daily intake of beans and veggies.

6. They enjoy wine moderately. 

People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly with friends and/or with food. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers in these zones. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine says Dan).

If you can drink just 1 or 2, do.

7. They have a faith-based community. 

All but five of the 263 centenarians they interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy!

We need God and each other. Find a faith community and connect.

8. They put loved ones first. 

Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of elders and children).  Neighbors of all ages are also active in visiting other families and learning from elders.

Have you talked to or hugged your family lately? Checked in with your neighbor?

9. They have like-minded friends

Dan said,

“The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life.

Research from the Framingham Nurses Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.”

Connect with a healthy, caring tribe daily.

It is so interesting that 6, 7,8 and 9 are all about the power of connecting in community.

Try to apply some of these tips today and let me know how it goes.

Check out Dans new mission – Creating Blue Zones across the US! http://www.bluezones.com/live-happier/thrive-centers/

Fin! Amy

amypeacock

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