Sunday, September 19, 2010

Celebrating the Air Force Legacy - The Wild Blue Yonder

Today is the 63rd birthday of the United States Air Force.  It was born aboard a Douglas C-54 Skymaster when President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947.   The Air Force literally breathed life in the air.  The history-making Skymaster was affectionately nicknamed the Sacred Cow.

File courtesy of Frank Lowe

To celebrate the Air Force's birthday this weekend, Airmen will don their Mess Dress and attend the Air Force Balls at their bases.  The evening will include singing the Air Force Song: 

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun now!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

In honor of the Air Force's birthday, I asked authors connected to the Air Force what those words mean to them. 

Anne Elizabeth, Navy Spouse, RT Columnist, and SOS partner,,

“When I hear the Air Force song, it reminds me of my uncle who retired as a Lt. Colonel. He has always been a man of great kindness and strength. In his name and those wonderful souls who serve or have served, hearing the Air Force song reminds me of great bravery, dignity, and innovation.” ~ Anne Elizabeth

Susan Grant, USAF pilot, Rita Award Winner, and New York Times' Bestselling author,, "I just love our Air Force song! Guts and glory and never give up--that's what it means to me."


Larissa Ione, Air Force Meteorologist, Coast Guard Spouse, and New York Times' Bestselling author,, "The Air Force song always gives me chills. It's incredibly uplifting, and to me it means that the sky is the limit when it comes to how far our fighting men and women will go to defend our country and our families."

Merline Lovelace, Air Fore trailblazer, Rita Award Winner, and USA Today's Bestselling author,, "That song is in my blood--literally. My dad served in the Army Air Corps in WWII and stayed to make a career of the Air Force. I grew up at Air Force bases all around the world, joined right out of college and met my handsome husband my second day on active duty.

      So when I hear the Air Force song, I just about bust my buttons with pride when I think of all the brave aviators and maintainers who went before us, the veterans and men and women serving today who put their lives on the line to keep us safe, and the families who sacrifice so much while their loved one serve." 

Catherine Mann, Air Force spouse, Rita Award Winner, and USA Today's Bestselling author,  "The Air Force song speaks to me of patriotism, camaraderie, bravery, sacrifice and tradition, whether sung by my grandfather or by my husband.  Both of them Air Force aviators who served many years apart, they embody the same timeless heroic spirit captured so well in the last lines of the final verse, 'In echelon we carry on.  Nothing can stop the US Air Force!'"

Thank you, Anne Elizabeth, Susan, Larissa, Merline, and Catherine, for your Air Force service!

To learn more about other Air Force veterans, log onto and click on the Company Roster.  Or check out the "Before and After" photos.   You might be surprised to learn your favorite author is a military veteran!

To celebrate the Air Force's birthday, I am giving books from authors related to the Air Force on a first come, first service basis.   To request a book:

1.  Leave a comment about the Air Force and/or the authors connected to it.

2.  Send me your top three requests and mailing address to

3.  When you receive the books via media mail (slow boat on Pacific cruise), please e-mail the author to thank her for supporing SOS.

This book giveaway is only open to US residents.  But I will send an Air Force treat to any US or international reader who sends their mailing address to

Join us on Sunday, September19, as I share my family's connection with the Air Force.    

Fly, fight, win ... and read!


Kim in Hawaii

Books available for Air Force Giveaway (mulitple copies of most titles):

Anne Elizabeth,, Air Force niece (and Navy spouse)
For Your Heart Only, Holiday Op

Victoria Alexander,, Air Force Brat
The Perfect Wife  

Cindy Dees,, Air Force Veteran
The Longest Night

Delores Foseen,, Air Fiorce Veteran
The Intrigue Collection wtih Debra Webb and Alice Sharpe

Alissa Johnson,, Air Force Brat
Tempting Fate

Catherine Mann,, Air Force Spouse 
Awaken to Danger, Defender, Private Maneuvers, Pursued, Renegade

Friday, September 10, 2010

September 11 - Let Freedom Ring

Photo by Thomas Franklin, The Bergen Record

This weekend, Americans will reflect upon an event that defined our  future. On that fateful day, I was living in Florida with our children while my husband was working in Japan.  I watched in horror as the second plane crashed into the World Trade Center.

But America picked itself up, brushed off the dirt, and went back to work. We mourned the deaths of innocent families and resolved to protect our freedom. The terrorists did not deter America.

One month later, my husband came home for scheduled leave. We attended the Air Force/Navy football game in Annapolis. As the National Anthem was played, a formation of older Navy aircraft flew over the stadium. The older aircraft meant that the newer aircraft were otherwise engaged. The retaliatory strikes began the next day.

One year later, we moved to the Netherlands. My husband worked for NATO and coordinated the deployment of multinational troops to Afghanistan for security assistance. As part of community outreach, NATO personnel asked the international spouses to collect items for Afghan orphanages. I shipped the items donated by the American community except for the paperback books with English text.

A book with a blue cover and red tartan caught my eye - Cathy Maxwell's A Marriage Contract. Her story spotlighted a clan's struggle for survival following the Jacobite rebellion. The afterward featured the hero's descendants attending the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999. Cathy's story reminded me that the struggle for freedom has spanned many ages. Three years later, I met her when we moved to Baltimore. I was pleased to learn that Cathy is a Navy veteran, spouse, and mom. Her book converted me to romance - a genre that believes in Happily Ever After (HEA).

Freedom guarantees that we all have a HEA.

September 11, 1297 – Battle of Stirling Bridge

William Wallace led Scottish patriots to defeat the English Calvary during the War of Scottish Independence.

”We come here … to set our country free.”

700 years later, on September 11, 1997, Scottish voters overwhelming approved a referendum to create an independent Scottish Parliament, the first step to fulfilling William Wallace's dream of a free Scotland.

September 11. 1709 – Battle of Malplaquet

John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, led the Allied Forces to defeat the French Army during the War of Spanish Succession. Six generations later, Marlborough’s nephew would rally the English people in their darkest hour.

”We shall never surrender,” Winston Churchill during the Battle of Britain.

September 11, 1814 – Bombardment of Baltimore

After burning Washington DC, the British fleet sailed into the Baltimore Harbor. Two days later, the British bombarded the city, inspiring Frances Scott Key to write a poem about Old Glory flying over Fort McHenry:

“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave, O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

September 11, 1814 – Battle of Plattsburg

Navy Commandant Thomas MacDonough repelled the British forces from Lake Champlain, securing the US’s northern border during the War of 1812.

"Impressed seamen call on every man to do his duty,"

September 11, 1941 – The Army breaks ground to build the Pentagon.

September 11, 2001 – Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon

September 11, 2008 – President Bush unveiled the Pentagon Memorial

”America will never run … and we will always be grateful that liberty has found such brave defenders.”

In memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 and during the global war on terror.

In appreciation of the Americans and our allies, military and civilians, who tireless work to defend our democracy.

We are indebted to you for the freedom you give us.


Kim in Hawaii

WTC Flag in Afghanistan

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Pledge to the Flag - Honoring Our Freedom

News alert!  I have addresses of deployed service members!  If you'd like to be a pen pal with an individual or support a unit, please contact me at

And for today's blog .....

Marines raising Old Glory on Iwo Jima
Photo by Joe Rosenthal

On September 8, 1892, Francis Bellamy published the Pledge of Allegiance in the Youth's Companion.

In 1923, the words, "of the United States of America" were added.

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower encouraged Congress to add the words "under God," creating the 31-word pledge we say today.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation, under God,
with liberty and justice for all.

The original Bellamy salute began with a military salute, and after reciting the words "to the flag," the arm was extended toward the flag.

In World War II, the Bellamy salute resembled the Nazi salute, so it was changed to keep the right hand over the heart throughout the pledge.

Most schools offer children the opportunity to recite it in the morning, but do not require the pledge.

And that's the beauty of our democracy - you have a choice. 

Today my son is turning in a Social Studies project about the Bill of Rights.  The project gave us an opportunity to learn together - when was the last time you read the Bill of Rights? 

As we researched court cases for the first ten amendments, we were sometimes exasperated by the "unpatriotic actions" of free speech, including flag desecration.  In one example, the infamous Westboro Church burned a flag while protesting outside a soldier's funeral.  As a military family, this is a tough issue to discuss.  But as I shared with my son, the flag is a symbol.  It leads our troops in battle to defend our freedom.  It rallies communities as we celebrate our democracy.  But it is just a symbol.  A burning flag is a sad sight but it does not take away our freedom.  It only reinforces it.

It is also sad that the Westboro Church has so much hate in their hearts to protest near the funerals of fallen soliders.  But America mourns with the soldiers' families - one nation under God.  We stand behind them as they are presented with a folded flag that draped their loved one's casket - indivisible.  A flag that symbolizes the freedom we will never give up to hate - liberty and justice for all.  

To celebrate the freedom that our flag represents, I an giving away flag ornaments donated by the USO.  In turn, I ask all SOS readers to consider how you can support the USO,  The USO is more than airport lounges.  It is a network of outreach centers to comfort military personnel and their families until "everyone comes home."   I volunteered with the USO Outreach Center at Fort Meade and I've enjoyed their concerts here at Hickam AFB.  I know first hand the USO makes a difference.

To receive a flag,

1.  Leave a comment about Old Glory.

2.  Send your mailing address to

3.  The next time you see a flag, think of the military personnel around the world who defend the democracy that it represents.

Please join me on Friday, September 10, as we remember 9/11.  My blog will also be posted on:
- Romance Roll Call,
- Romantic Times' Daily Blog,

Kim in Hawaii

Marines raising Old Glory in Iraq