Anthony & I attended a Wounded Warrior Project conference not too long ago and the highlight of our entire weekend by far was the speech given by Medal of Honor Recipient, 2 time POW survivor as well as Purple Heart recipient Rubin Tibor. His biography on the page was enough to make everyone who’d read it prior to him even getting up on stage stand out of respect and reverence for his service. The stories he told were of dedication in the face of discrimination and disrespect, commitment in the face of defeat and despair and love of country even when it could be looked at as if his country had forgotten about him. It was just so incredible to see such passion from a man of 85 years. He could emotionally stir a room and make them laugh hysterically within a few sentences. His daughter even spoke a little bit and just said he wants other generations to know that basically with everything that you fight for there will be more obstacles but keeping your head high and a sense of humor helped him tremendously. He wants to tell his story so that others who face injuries and adversity could maybe learn something and be inspired to know that Mr. Tibor still has the same commitment to his country now than ever before and wants to share his experiences so that others may be inspired as well. I hope very soon that we’ll have a chance to hear him speak again since he is such an exceptional gentleman.
The Army citation for the Medal of Honor reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners.
So as you can see he is definitely our hero and we couldn’t thank him enough for coming out to do the seminar and share his stories with us. Complete bad ass?! I think so! This man inspired me to look into our own backyard and see what hidden gems are within our own family tree. I found quite a bit and now and going to tirelessly work on crafting another blog dedicated to our families military history and anything they have to say from the past and for the future generations to pass on their knowledge so that it is not lost through time.
Did you know that our Marine Corps is older than this country? It’s only older by 8 months or so but that still that says something about the good timing of the founding father of the Marine Corps. Growing up and even now people associate 4th of July with fireworks, bar-b-que’s and family reunions but where did this tradition come from?
Basically the prominent people in the free states in America had gotten pretty ticked off with the British King and wanted to let him know their intent to separate from Great Britain. They did just that by writing the declaration of independence and using many reasons and justifications for separating from the monarch even calling the King’s rule ‘a history of repeated injuries’. They defined the King as ‘a Tyrant who was unfit to be the ruler of the free people of the United States of America’. The legal separation from the monarchy occurred and went into effect when the congress voted to approve a resolution of independence on July 2, 1776. After voting on that congress then debated, wrote and revised the declaration of independence and finally approved it on July 4. What I found interesting was that John Adams thought that July 2 would be infamous and that the succeeding generations would honor the anniversary of the nations’ independence and he was right about it being an honored for years to come but he chose the wrong date. The July 2 date was not known to most Americans in 1776 since the approval for independence was a closed session of congress; everyone went by the date signed on the declaration.
From the very first anniversary of our nations independence it has been celebrated; which has included everything from thirteen gun salutes to double shots of rum for General Washington’s soldiers in 1778 and today we line streets with flags and shoot fireworks in time with patriotic songs. If not for these courageous founding fathers we would be a completely different nation. Those men risked everything they had like our military does every day in order to make a better future for generations to come. I think this holiday we all deserve a double shot of rum for each and every American who gets to celebrate this holiday just as Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and many others did so long ago!
This time last year for us Anthony was in the sandbox. My mom was visiting us in California and we decided to head down to meet the Angela & Justin at the beach where Camp Pendleton puts on their annual festivities and fireworks display. Overall it was an unusually overcast day with spurts of sun darting through a very thick cloud bank. It was too cold for the adults except Angela who is a big kid at heart. She played all day with our girls even in that chilly Pacific Ocean. Justin, mom and I just read, relaxed and talked through all the comotion of the day. All in all it was an exceptionally relaxing day and we all had a great time just being together. Unexpectedly Anthony was able to call me to check in on how we were, give me a new care package list and to see how the day was going since he knew it was around a holiday. Getting that phone call as most of you know is such an adrenaline rush you just feel giddy and like a cop interrogating a witness all at the same time. I was so ecstatic he’d called and then immediately turn to the barrage of questions like “do you need anything at all? Hot cheetos, socks, hot sauce packets, ect?” He didn’t really know if he’d called at the right time frame or day but they let him call so he did. He sounded tired but he sounded content in hearing our voices from thousands of miles away. He told me of all of the weight he had lost in just a short time of being there, how the weather was and how he was getting the hang of being out in that environment very quickly. We did our normal routine of the terrible Afghanistan phone connection hang ups and after the conversation said our, “I love you’s and talk to you soon love’s…”
All of the questions and answers in the world could not have predicted what would happen only 27 days later or the next set of questions after that phone call. If I would have known then what I know now I don’t know what I would have done but you never know when that last phone call is going to be your last phone call. It’s a hard to shake thoughts of ‘what if’ from your thoughts and nightmares looking back sometimes. What if he his guardian pack wouldn’t have saved him from being shot that first time in the back? What if the smoke canister wouldn’t have shielded him from being shot the next time in the back? What if it wasn’t just his leg and the sniper wouldn’t have missed a center mass or head shot? WHY did Anthony keep getting up and didn’t just stay down the first or second times he was shot?! We just know it could have been something extremely more serious than what he’s going through now and are just so humbled knowing what could have occurred that day.
In the last year Anthony’s injury and experience has changed our lives so much! We went from a distant young married couple who knew each other but not really to very close soul mates, confidants and companions. After something so devastating you either close yourself off emotionally to others or cherish life more than ever and love in a whole new perspective and I am so very thankful that we’ve both taken the latter of the two options. This entire year has been a learning curve for the both of us. It has been a test of our strengths and weaknesses regarding his physical abilities, mental preparedness for setbacks and being humble enough to let me take care of him. He was able to let me be his advocate and fight for him but not degrade or disrespect him. We just fell in love with each other all over again by really understanding the person you knew you loved for years but may have let life wedge in between somehow. There were times and still now where I wanted to throw my hands up of the whole situation when people tried to push their way in and screw everything up that we’d built up together. It takes so much trust, love and commitment to have someone by your side through literally thick and thin and our limits were tested on more than one occasion. As with anything worthwhile being able to overcome and persevere through such life altering challenges takes time, patience and plenty of alcohol. As a small bonus for me Anthony was on heavy medication when he first got home so I didn’t have to share my wine and White Russians with him!
Learn from our almost last phone call and live this 4th of July and everyday like it is your last, cherish the little things you may overlook and be madly in love with the person you have by your side because there are many who don’t get to and will never get that chance again. Happy Independence Day!
Memorial Day for most Americans meant great shopping deals, the start of summer vacation season, fireworks, traveling, warmer temperatures, the Indy 500 and pool openings. Yet think for a second how you would feel if your father or brother had died in the war and people were out enjoying their time off and never for a second stopped to understand why they are off in the first place.
Memorial Day is a sacred United States federal holiday which remembers and honors service members who’ve died while in service to their country. This date itself has been changed over the years but is now observed on the last Monday of May. Originally it honored Union and Confederate soldiers following the Civil War. Three years after the Civil War ended the head of Union veterans established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. This day was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The day of honor was extended after World War I for anyone who has died in all wars. Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the civil war, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day became the occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people began visiting the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. There are memorial services at national cemeteries all over the country for service members who’ve given the ultimate gift for our freedoms.
When I researched a little for this piece I found something I didn’t know. On every Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time a long standing tradition encourages Americans to partake in a moment of silence to remember and honor those brave Americans who have died in wars. I think this is one of those small gestures in a huge impact kind of things. Imagine if everyone at 3 p.m. would have stopped whatever they’re doing to just be silent and still for our service members and their sacrifice. It’s an excellent way to honor and show respect to those brave individuals who gave up so much for you and me.
Also if no one noticed the flag was raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remained only until noon. It was then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolves not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all. This also lets us keep in our minds the ones who are deployed now in harm’s way now and in the future.
For most of us with any form of military influence in our lives this day means so much more than beach days and fireworks. Our lives are saturated in patriotism daily so the majority of us on bases across the world take the time out to pause in reverence out of respect, honor and admiration. We remember those who we know who are at war in harm’s way constantly at this very second fighting for us back in the states. We remember those who’ve died in past wars and made it possible for the military men today to enlist and serve their country as they did long ago. We remember those who we know who’ve recently lost their lives in the war which make this lifestyle all the more real to us. All of these outstanding and courageous service members who gave their lives in support for this country do so willingly to protect our country’s future. This unconditional commitment to duty and country is why I love the military life; cherish my husband, our Marine family & the Marine Corps.
–I couldn’t write this without putting in here a small portion for the families. It is hard enough being a family member or loved one of a service member and having them wounded, ill or injured is even harder. Yet for those who’ve lost that second half of themselves completely is something no one can fathom or imagine unless you’ve been there. My heart aches for these wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, of these service members. As the days go by I hope for peace of mind and heart knowing you’ll meet again someday. For my friend who lost her Marine in the war almost a year ago I love you and can only tell you that you are a brave and courageous who has a very loving and adoring guardian angel watching over your family. Whether you know it or not you have the strength that most women cower from in times of struggle and grief. You are so loved and have such a circle of affection and support around your family. I hope you’re getting stronger every day and can trust you’re gaining knowledge, strength, support and comfort from other Gold Star wives.