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You don’t have to support the war to support the troops

Earlier today I learned of these numbers today from Mature Landscaping:

Salary of retired US Presidents ……………$180,000 FOR LIFE
Salary of House/Senate ……………………..$174,00​0 FOR LIFE
Salary of Speaker of the House …………….$223,500 FOR LIFE
Salary of Majority/Minority Leaders …… $193,400 FOR LIFE
Average Salary of a teacher ……………….. $40,065
Average Salary of Soldier DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN $38,000


I had been feeling unsettled by a gnawing sense of guilt and shame ever since. That’s probably why when we caught a glimpse of the evening news, I suddenly blurted out,

Did you know how much a soldier that is currently fighting in the war is paid? A year? $38,000. That’s how much!

The boys immediately were feeling just as outraged. “That’s not a lot of money right?” The Teenager got a bit emotional. “And they are risking their lives over there!”

8-year-old Mr. Monk got up on the coffee table and pontificated as he’s wont to.

You know what? What we need is for the economy to get better!

I swear I have no idea where he got this (or any others). We seldom watch TV, let alone news. I wonder whether this has anything to do with his endless viewing of The Simpsons. In fact, he watches The Simpsons so much he’s able to quote some of the episodes the way The Husband is able to quote The Princess Bride.

You know how you can tell the economy is getting lower?

(He is, after all, only 8 years old…)

The free ice cream at ______ Burgers is now so small that you only get the bottom part. It used to be as big as the Dairy Queen’s!

Hold the thought while I contact The Economist about the Ice Cream Index idea.



The project is a series of portraits of people who have gone on this journey. Each portrait is accompanied by words chosen by the person pictured. Posthumous portraits are included in this group and for these portraits the families have chosen the words which accompany the painting.


In 2005, as he watched the news of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Matthew Mitchell, a painter in Amherst, MA, felt disconnected and feared that the memories of the soldiers, like the news, would soon fade.

“The big danger that we have is that we can forget about war.”

He decided to do something about it. His project, 100 Faces of War Experience, is exactly that: he will paint the portraits of 100 veterans and each portrait will be accompanied by the personal statements of the soldier. So far Mr. Mitchell has completed 38 of the 100 portraits, and this project has turned into something that is a lot more powerful than he has anticipated.

Currently the portrait of Sgt. Rick Yarosh is in the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. Sgt. Yarosh suffered severe injury when his vehicle was hit by an IED with 60% of his body burned, including his whole face. Looking at his face, you would be surprised to hear him speak because he sounds upbeat and positive and proud.

I’m lucky and blessed to be here, I’m able to share my story with others.

That day started the same as every other day, but that day has never ended.

You could learn more about this from NPR’s program on the 100 Faces of War Experience project, Washington Post’s article on Sgt. Yarosh and his portrait, or this YouTube video from the U.S. Army.



We owe our freedom to the men and women in the military.

past. present. future.

Thank you.