Family’s Sacrifice in the War on Terror
Today is Gold Star Mother’s Day, a day our nation proudly express’s our love, sorrow, and reverence towards Gold Star Mothers and their families. Move America Forward has had the honor to work directly with so many amazing Gold Star families over the years, we thought it would be a great time to share some of these courageous stories.
Today we bring you the story of Matthew J. Holley, a combat medic in the 101st Airborne whose parents John and Stacey Holley fought for all military families to make sure all of our fallen warriors return home with the honor and respect they deserve.
John Holley was one of the Gold Star Parents we were able to take with us to Iraq in 2006. A trip he credits with helping him honor his son and move forward in his life. We have had the pleasure of working with John and Stacey Holley ever since and are so grateful for all they have done for other military families. Please take the time to read the story below and learn about their son.
~The story of Army SPC. Matthew J. Holley~
On a cool autumn afternoon in November 2005 the world seemingly ended for John and Stacey Holley. With the ringing of the doorbell and the appearance of uniformed military strangers on the porch of their North Idaho home, their quiet lives were shattered by the news that their son and only child SPC. Matthew J. Holley had been killed along with three other soldiers by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Taji, Iraq. He was a Combat Medic with the 101st Airborne Division out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
Growing up, Matthew was the child that most parents hope for; he was charismatic and talented both athletically and artistically. By the age of 18 he was a three time U.S. National Karate champion and a talented amateur artist. For most who knew him, Matthew was a person of few words, choosing instead to let his actions speak much louder. He thrived on the challenge of being the best he could be.
When Matthew made the decision to become a soldier he was following in the footsteps of four generations of family members before him, including both John and Stacey. He was driven by a few valued lessons in life that he was raised on. The first to know and respect “that to whom much is given much is expected” and second that whenever the opportunity availed itself “to take his eyes off of himself and to put them on to others.”
Etched on SPC Matthew Holley’s gravestone are the following words, “To Serve a Cause Greater Then Myself”. Profound words spoken by a profound young man to his mother and father for his reason to join the United States Army and become a Medic. Matthew’s zest for life was to apply those valued lessons handed down to him and in doing so share a little of that freedom so many in our nation take for granted, or a little of that free spirit we all have.
Like so many who feel called to serve our nation, Matthew loved the Red, White and Blue. He loved the freedom it exudes and offers anyone who lives in the United States of America. As many in our generation, most will always remember that fateful Tuesday in 2001 when the towers fell. Matthew was just one week short of his 17th birthday, but as his mother reflects back, she believes that day was as much a catalyst for his decision to serve our nation as any. It was on that day that he saw the cause for freedom and all he had been raised to believe in challenged, and he expressed that “if there was one thing worse than dying, it was being alive and not being free.”
Even in the midst of their grief, John and Stacey knew that they were not the only parents who would face such a crisis. They were not the only American family destined to hear the ringing of a doorbell, or to learn the news of a loved one’s ultimate sacrifice from the lips of complete strangers.
Unbeknownst to them John and Stacey’s sorrow would quickly turn to horror when they discovered that Matthew’s casket would return to San Diego’s Lindbergh Field as common freight.
There would be no honor guard to welcome their fallen hero back to his hometown.
Instead, Matthew Holley’s remains would be carted around by forklifts and baggage handlers, like a crate of auto parts. Determined to welcome their son home with honors befitting his sacrifice to our nation, the Holley’s embarked on a quest to challenge the law, and to begin a journey of healing that would touch the lives of Gold Star families across our nation.
In 2011 the Holley’s released their co-authored book, Medals, Flags and Memories. In the book they share the story of their struggle in the weeks and months following Matthew’s death, as they fought to enact the law known today as “The Holley Provision” or as some have come to refer to them as “Angel Flights.” John and Stacey chose not to write simply a memoir of grief and loss.
Rather their desire was to share a journal of personal transformation, a guidebook for anyone who finds themselves struggling in the storm of their lives. It’s a journey of faith, love, and ultimate perseverance. But beyond all of these things, it’s an unmistakable demonstration of the American ideal in action.
Today each fallen heroes casket is met by honor guards in white gloves and crisp uniforms, instead of baggage handlers with forklifts. The legislation, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in October 2006, and enacted by the Pentagon in January 2007.
Faced with the entrenched bureaucracy of our government, the Holley’s proved that an ordinary family can tip the scales of American justice. And, in an age where many people feel alienated and powerless, the Holley’s have shown how ordinary citizens can impact the change in federal law, and transform the world we live in.
In a sense, one world ended for John and Stacey Holley in November 2005, when Matthew died to preserve the American dream. But another world opened up, as the Holley’s discovered the power of prayer, determination and belief in the values that our great country was founded on. John and Stacey have honored Matthew’s death by reminding us that his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all those who serve our great nation is not in vain or without the honor due. That the American dream is still very much alive and well, and it is within the grasp of each citizen who dares to reach out and claim it.
Copies of Medal’s Flags and Memories can
be purchased online through www.amazon.com
Now Featuring KONG Brand!
Move America Forward is very proud of our K9 Care Packs! When most people think about the U.S. military, it conjures up images of America’s bravest men and women, but most people don’t think about the furry friends that serve alongside our troops on the front lines.
Military Working Dogs have been used for years by our men and women in uniform deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Our K-9 care packages include special dog-goggles to protect their eyes from dirt and debris. And we’re proud to announce that we’re now including KONG Brand durable dog toys in our K9 packs. We are very proud and thankful to the Kong company for helping us get these KONG dog toys into our boxes.
Donating a care package is the easiest way to give them the comforts of home they are so far away from while they are making such enormous sacrifices. Each box also has a wonderful array of high quality food, snacks, and hygiene items for the human soldier as well.
These handlers and dogs are highly trained and are instrumental in sniffing out IEDs, bomb making materials, patrolling, and standing guard. It’s as dangerous for these K9’s as it is for our soldiers, especially in the harsh environment of Afghanistan. IED’s threaten our troops as well as the local Afghan civilians, so every bomb found by a K9 warrior means innocent lives are saved.
While on deployment, our troops really miss the basic items and comforts of home. That’s why our Care Packages are always stuffed with a wonderful array of high quality items that our troops consistently request and come with a personal note of support from you to make sure they know they are not forgotten.
Live Streaming Now: Volunteers Busy Packing Hundreds of Packages for the Troops!
Here at Move America Forward we are extremely proud of the work done by our team of committed local volunteers. With our Troopathon fundraiser over, these volunteers are busy packing up thousands of care packages sponsored by YOU.
If you didn’t donate during our Troopathon, you can still make a donation today and get your package in as part of this huge shipment being prepared TODAY. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW!
Here are some great photos of our care package volunteers working hard to pack boxes for the troops NOW.
These local volunteers just love putting together boxes filled with great items our troops will appreciate. Click here where you can view a live stream of what’s going on inside our Care Package Center right now!
Recently, there has been a BIG surge in our Soldier Sign-up Program on our website. This program allows soldiers to sign-up to receive care packages from us.
With so many troops still overseas fighting the War on Terror, there is still an enormous need to support our men and women in uniform. There are up to 18,000 troops now deployed in Iraq (5,000) and Afghanistan (13,000), as well as some 500 special forces in Syria.
We are working hard to fulfill all the soldier sign-up requests and make sure that all our brave men and women of the military receive the care package that they requested.
Just last week, we sent out a big 650 package shipment. Our volunteers are currently working on putting together another big batch of care packages for later this week. Donate NOW to make sure your package in included in this upcoming shipment!
As part of our Soldier Sign-Up Program, the troops can leave a message with some of their thoughts and feelings and share a little bit about themselves. Below are some recent notes and care package requests from troops on the front lines. They convey what it means to them personally, to serve and to receive support from you
Real Notes from Deployed Troops
For our troops deployed in combat roles on the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq, a daily patrol consists of miles and miles of walking through dusty and rocky villages with bad roads or no roads at all. In this harsh terrain and with the demands of long 10 hour patrols on a daily basis, boots and socks wear out fast.
You simply can’t do a 10 hour patrol with defective socks, even just a few holes can mean painful blisters and sore heels. Socks wear out fast, but they are an absolute necessity to keep our troops GOING, literally!
With this problem in mind, we set out to find a good source of socks that we could provide for the troops in these care packages that would not increase the cost of sending packages. We are pleased to report that we found a great source of high quality socks.
These boot socks are THICK. They can take a BEATING and keep on ticking!
And now these awesome, strong boot socks are now included in every care package through Move America Forward.
Along with these comfortable boot socks, here’s a list of everything the troops will receive when you sponsor a care package.
After Orlando Terror Attack, Obama and Democrats Choose to Go After Gun Rights Instead of ISIS
We know many of you have been following the news since our first email and you probably already know that the death count in the horrible Orlando shooting has risen to 49 after initial news reports said 20.
We also now know the killer’s name, Omar Mateen, and we know without a shadow of a doubt that he was a Muslim extremist who pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Why then does our President not want to talk about terrorism or Islamic extremism? In his speeches after the attack Obama completely ignored the killer’s religious motivations and attacked gun rights.This is not the first time Obama has refused to recognize the Islamic extremist roots at the heart of killings. After San Bernardino and Paris as well, Obama refused to label the enemy as an Islamic extremist.
He did not promise to track down any connections the shooter may have had to extremist Imams or ISIS collaborators. He did not promise any retaliatory air strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq or Syria (as French President Francois Hollande did after the Paris terror attack).
Instead immediately shifted the conversation to the sovereign 2nd Amendment rights of American citizens. He’s now calling for bans on some guns that he calls “assault weapons” and a ban on citizens who come up on the no-fly list.
In France they have the strictest gun laws. Did that stop the terrorists from getting weapons and killing innocent men, women and children? The problem is Islamic terrorist who are against western democracy and tolerance. This is an attack on our way of life; it is not a problem that will be solved with more gun laws that hamper loyal American citizens.
President Obama has such a severe lack of proper priorities. He is willfully ignoring the threat of Islamic terror and playing politics with gun control while putting Americans at risk by trying to be politically correct instead of more determined to wipe out Islamic extremism.
June 15, 2016
by Marc. A. TheissenAccording to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, who spent hours interviewing Obama about his foreign policy doctrine, the president “has never believed that terrorism poses a threat to America commensurate with the fear it generates” and “frequently reminds his staff that terrorism takes far fewer lives in America than handguns, car accidents, and falls in bathtubs do.”
That’s right, our commander in chief sees the mass shooting of 49 people in Orlando as akin to a slip in the tub.In his 2016 State of the Union address, Obama blithely dismissed the Islamic State as “fighters on the back of pickup trucks” who he said, in typical strawman fashion, “do not threaten our national existence.” In a 2015 BBC interview, he said , “If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100.” In other words, no big deal.
We are trying to do our part by supporting the troops. We send care packages, we try to bring our troops overseas some comfort and show that Americans back home support them. Right now we’re desperately trying to raise money for our Troopathon Summer care package effort. This attack comes at a time when we don’t want to take our eye off the ball and distract from the effort currently underway, please help us make a donation to keep Troopathon on track so that we do not lose sight of our goal.
SUPPORTING OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN AFGHANISTAN!
Happy Memorial Day.
Today we remember the millions of Americans throughout history who have sacrificed their lives to fight for freedom, liberty and the American way. Whether it was in World War II, or Afghanistan, we must never forget to honor those who fell in the line of duty to protect us back home.
With summer slowly creeping in, many use this three-day weekend as an opportunity to enjoy the luxuries that surround us. Are you participating in a Memorial Day parade or ceremony? Maybe you are gathering with friends and family for a day at the beach or making hamburgers on the grill.
The warm sun and extra time away from work could make it easy to forget what this day represents. Since the creation of our great nation, men and women have laid down their lives in order to protect us – for that we should be forever indebted. We can’t forget that Memorial Day is about honoring those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
We have over 18,000 troops serving in Iraq (5,000) Afghanistan (13,000) and Syria (500),
waiting for care packages from home to remind them of what they’re fighting for and why they are making such enormous sacrifices.
The deployment of a family member or friend is a trying time for anyone – they will often tell you that one have the happiest days of their life is when their soldier walks through the airport doors, returning from a long deployment abroad. It is usually a deeply emotional reunion in which the unspoken sacrifices that have been made are released. Memorial Day honors those soldiers that were unable to experience that reunion – the fallen heroes that sacrificed everything in defense of our nation.
On September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden and his extremists organization, Al Qaeda, woke a sleeping giant. For the past decade American soldiers, under the orders of their superiors, have taken the fight to the doorstep of the enemy – they have taken the threat away from civilians and put themselves at an increased danger.
Today, this Memorial Day, help us thank those troops that are still fighting the battle against Islamic Extremism in Afghanistan.
Now, more than ever, our troops need to see your support. They need to know that though they may be half a world away, they have an entire country behind them.
Whether you spend this weekend doing yard work, watching the big game on TV, spending time with family, or bar-b-qin’, don’t forgot to appreciate what this weekend really is about. America is the greatest nation in the entire world, made possible by the bravest soldiers in the world – soldiers that are willing to put their life on the line in order to defend this country.
Make sure to take some time and honor the sacrifice of these heroes. CLICK HERE TO SEND A CARE PACKAGE
to the troops who are still in harm’s way – the ones who are carrying on where their fellow troops left off.
Congratulations! Move America Forward has earned a spot on the 2016 Top Rated List! Your community has shared their inspiring stories about your work. We congratulate you on all of your accomplishments.
You’ll be featured on our site, our 2016 Top-Rated List, and distributed to media and corporate foundations. The official 2016 Top-Rated List will be announced after October 31.
Be sure to use your new Top-Rated badge and share the good news. Keep up the good work!
Don’t let yourself be distracted by the media’s obsession with the horse race of Presidential Election politics, we still have the pressing threat of ISIS and our troops fighting them in Iraq!
Recently it was revealed that we already have more troops in Iraq than we previously thought. With 5,000 troops currently in Iraq, far more than the official total of 3,870.
Now there is speculation that even more troops could soon be headed to Iraq to shore up our forces there, and expanding our role in the fight against ISIS, officials said the next big objective is to retake the critical Iraqi city of Mosul.
| Obama could decide on greater troop presence in Iraq soon: general
Reuters March 30, 2015
By Gary Cameron
WASHINGTON D.C. – The extra troops would bolster the capabilities of Iraqi forces preparing for a major offensive against the Islamic State militant group in Mosul, U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news briefing.U.S. and Iraqi military officials have been discussing a plan to retake Mosul, which fell to Islamic State in June 2014, and how U.S. forces could support their efforts, Dunford said.
“Those recommendations are being made and the president will have an opportunity to make some decisions here in the coming weeks,” Dunford said. “I brought it to the secretary (Defense Secretary Ash Carter). The secretary will engage with the president.”
Don’t forget about our troops on the front lines! With 15,000 troops over in Iraq & Afghanistan, with more on the way, it’s just as important as ever to continue supporting our troops!