Monday, May 31, 2010
Today is Memorial Day. Folks get the day off from work and school. There's going to be barbeques, pool parties, and games on the beaches and lakes across our country. And all this fun is due to the somber side of this day.
Today we should all take a moment to acknowledge and remember those who have and are currently serving our armed forces and who voluntarily put their lives at risk to for the sake of our freedom.
But we should also take another moment to a moment to acknowledge and remember those who have and are currently serving our armed forces with their unwavering support and love. I'm talking about all the families.
In 2005, Bear in the Big Blue House got a "spin-off" series called "Breakfast With Bear." Bear went to the actual homes of real children who showed him how they would start their day. We did them in NY and LA and visited homes in apartments, the suburbs, even the Big Apple Circus. But the one I remember the most was the visit to Fort Irwin.
Ft. Irwin is situated in the middle of the Mojave Desert and is the largest training facility in the U.S. It is roughly the size of Rhode Island and even has it's own "village" for the military to practice in. It also has it's own town for the families of the enlisted to live. It's got a supermarket, movie theatre, even a hotel.
"Jonathon" was the boy we got to visit, whose dad was stationed in Iraq. In fact, while we were shooting the breakfast scene, he called home and his wife said she couldn't talk now because "Bear is in the kitchen" and hung up. "Call the man back!" Bear insisted, "It's OK! We'll wait!"
While we were at Ft Irwin, I did "meet n' greets" for the families to get photo ops and chat with Bear. Just before we left, we were asked if Bear could go "across town" and visit that neighborhood, in particular one family who's husband/father had been killed two weeks prior. "Absolutely," I said, "but don't tell me which family it is." Bear rode in the back of a hummer over (so cool by the way) and met everyone there and after we left I asked which ones they were.
I have always wanted to go back with Bear, even tried organizing a visit with other Disney characters but to no avail. But this past week, I found out that I can have copies of my puppet making book shipped there for free and with my upcoming book tour in the fall that includes California, asked if I could go back and visit. The people there are wonderful, hard working, loving, and just like any other family trying to do the best they can each day...... with of course that one exception: the loved one(s) are away.
So here is to all the brave souls who serve the military and our nation abroad ––– and right here at home.