Beauty through Loss….this will touch your hearts……

Military Town, Ft. Walton Beach, FL

Eglin Joint Base Command located near Ft. Walton, Florida, is presently the largest Military Complex in the world and encompasses a large contingent of Air Force units, Naval Warfare units, and the 7th Army Special Forces and 6th Army Rangers.

My home is exactly 5 miles outside the main gate of Eglin AFB.

Most folks in the USA don’t live in a Military Town, with lots of guys in uniform walking the streets and jets overhead daily.  They go on with their lives unaware of what a Military Town is all about.  And that’s OK… but I want to share with you what it’s like to live in a Military Town.  We see guys in uniform all the time, we have state of the art, high-performance aircraft in the air nearby all day long.  We hear the SOUND OF FREEDOM when an F-22 or F-35 streaks over the house… and we read in the local paper, some times daily, but at least weekly, of the loss of one of our own in combat in the Middle East.

And that is what brings me to the reason for this email.

Staff Sergeant Mark De Alencar was 37 years old, had a family and was a Green Beret with the 7th Army Special Forces stationed here in the Fort Walton area.  He was killed on April 8, 2017, while fighting Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan.  In January of this year, he was deployed for the second time to Afghanistan.  He promised his adopted daughter, Octavia, that he would be home for her High School Graduation.  He didn’t make it.  But she went to graduation anyway.  And in the audience were eighty (80) US 7th Armed Special Forces soldiers from her dad’s unit in full Parade Dress Uniform.  Additionally, they brought THEIR FAMILIES to be with them, as well.

And as Octavia ascended the steps to the stage to receive her diploma THEY ALL SILENTLY STOOD UP.  And when she was presented her diploma they ALL CHEERED, CLAPPED, WHISTLED… and YES, CRIED.  Everyone in attendance then stood up and cried and cheered.  Octavia had graduated and yes she had lost her Dad… but she had 80 other DADS to stand there with her and take his place.  I just wanted to share this moment with you… and remind you that THIS IS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO LIVE IN A MILITARY TOWN.  This is the real America we all love… and I’m proud to be part of it.  May God bless our men in uniform and their families who give so much.

(Take a second to pass this along to someone you know.  It’s the least we can do for Octavia and SSgt Mark DeAlencar, 7th Special Forces, United States Army.)

*Thanks to our reader, SilverLady, for emailing me this.   Such a beautiful story.   God bless the De Alencar family and those 80 soldiers who stood by the daughter of their fallen member.



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30 Responses to Beauty through Loss….this will touch your hearts……

  1. bocopro says:

    Since 1959, all I’ve ever lived in has been a military community, often in military housing, in military towns: San Diego, Long Beach, San Francisco, Great Lakes (Illinois), Charleston (S.C.), Pearl Harbor, Subic, Pensacola . . . .

    I’d be disoriented and rudderless living in some place where I didn’t hear the National Anthem played over loudspeakers at 0800 and Evening Colors on the bugle at sunset every day . . . where I didn’t see smiling brown faces with black hair shopping at the Commissary . . . where there were no mixed-race kids out doin what kids are s’posed to be doin, together, happily . . . where EVERYbody — even if they rarely speak or socialize — shares common knowledge and common experience with everybody else . . . where a bunch of old guys will sit and argue all day over which branch of service is best while waiting to get their medications from the pharmacy but will join together to kick anybody’s ass who dishonors the flag . . . where nobody will watch a movie with Jane Fonda . . . where we’re STILL waiting for John Kerry to release his medical records from ‘Nam . . . where Wounded Warriors Program is MUCH more important than resettling Muslim “refugees” in the heartland . . . where people have missed countless birthdays and holidays and graduations but would gladly go back and do it all over again . . . where The Wall is crucial for national security in SO many ways but “safe spaces” on college campuses are counterproductive to everything . . . . .

    Aahh, hell . . . now I’ve gone and upset myself and it ain’t even 0600 yet. Oh, well . . . at least I know fer shure what my rant’s gonna be about t’day — my take on “What Happened!!”


  2. What can you say when the post and the Perfesser have said it all?


  3. Mustang says:

    This story touched me deeply; thank you.


  4. I have several military families in my homeschool classes. The brotherhood is obvious and such a beautiful thing to observe!


  5. Mal says:

    This is a touching story, Z. I’m sure similar acts of love happen a lot all around the country.

    We live about 7 miles West of Nellis AFB and constantly hear the roar of jets flying overhead. They generally fly In pairs, or two sets of pairs, during their training. Annually they have a group come in from around the world for joint exercises which really turns up the volume, but nobody complains. Its the sound of freedom.
    Wife and I walk a lot and when there is a pair streaking across the sky, we say there goes Maverick and Goose (from Top Gun).


  6. geeez2014 says:

    Mal, is all of your family okay up there by Olympia? The train accident is horrible!

    Mustang, I’ll bet it does touch you. Christmases aren’t easy when we’re lost loved ones…you’ll be in my prayers.

    bocopro…Oh, to hear the Anthem every evening…..what a shock to MY system….to say nothing about how it’d go over with the libs around me! 🙂


  7. geeez2014 says:

    A dear friend lost her amazing police officer son about six years ago…the funeral was packed with officers…they did the whole funeral at a park, barbecued, supplied everything.
    I had to laugh when I went into the Women’s Room and saw a holster with a gun sticking out of it thrown over the stall door! THAT was a first for me 🙂
    My friends still laugh at my comment “Wow! A lot of good looking testosterone at this funeral!”

    David Garcia was such a hero….he had awful neuropathy in his feet from the chemo for liver cancer…he still went to work, barely able to squeeze his feet into regulation shoes….painfully going about his business because he needed to support his wife and new born child. Still calling on elderly just to make sure they were safe in their homes and feeding the stray cats he’d see all over town.
    They’d frozen his sperm when he was diagnosed with cancer a month after their wedding…when he was terminal, the wife asked if they could ‘use it’ and he finally allowed it. She got pregnant immediately and he lived long enough to hold his baby in his arms in their living room hospital bed for her baptism. Again, many cops there to support him….and they still support Mommy and six year old daughter (born on my birthday) The home health people said lights opened by themselves in the night, doors opened, ….David saw angels…the homestay nurse said he saw the angels. It’s an experience unlike most I’ve heard in my life. I wish I could remember all the amazing things that happened as David passed on. David was a hero beyond words.


  8. bocopro says:

    No, military installations play the anthem at morning colors, or reveille, and procedures and ceremonies differ from branch to branch as well as from base to base. Some actually play the anthem only on special days or national holidays.

    I’m not entirely certain about it, but I think the Army’s morning ceremony establishes the beginning of the work day and is often called “Reveille.” When the flag is lowered in the evening, “Retreat” is sounded.

    All Navy bases raise the flag at 0800 unless directed differently by district or base commanders. The common name for the ceremony is “Morning Colors,” which is short for “Render Honors to the Colors [the flag]”. At sundown, Navy bases lower the flag, which is commonly referred to as “Evening Colors,” at which time a bugle version of “Retreat” is usually sounded on the P.A. system.

    But all services call for everyone not covered by a structure or operating a moving vehicle, whether in uniform or civilian attire, to stand at attention and face either the flag itself (if visible) or the source of the music, at both morning and evening ceremonies. Hand salute is rendered by those in uniform. Vehicles on military reservations are to come to a stop during honors to the flag, both morning and evening, unless the sound is not present.


  9. geeez2014 says:

    Bocopro…whatever time it plays, I’d be happy. I wonder if kids all over this country would take a knee? !!!
    “Retreat!?”: WE DON’T RETREAT 🙂


  10. geeez2014 says:

    “se reveiller” , of course, means WAKE UP in French


  11. bocopro says:

    Well, us Murkans doesn’t alweez foller them Yuro-Peean thangs to th’ letter.

    “Retreat” is fairly standard throughout the US military for “end of work day” or sundown. Originally, it was a bugle call telling sentries to begin challenging anyone approaching ’cause it was gittin dark.

    It’s not partic’larly the same as Monty Python’s King’s “Run Away! Run Away!”

    For them what never served, here’s what it sounds like:


  12. bocopro says:

    Fergot t’ mention — all Navy bugle calls which require coming to attention and/or saluting, such as rendering honors to passing ships or to the flag, are followed by “Carry on” to signal completion:

    I won’t bother y’all with the bo’sun’s pipe calls, ’cause they’re unique to the sea service.


  13. geeez2014 says:

    From BB Idaho:
    “The Army retreat is performed by the post or unit Officer and NCO of the day and enlisted personnel assigned that day. Retreat is played, a howitzer fired and To The Colors is played
    as the flag is lowered, folded and recovered. Been there and done that, having enlisted on 2-22-64, receiving a direct commission to Lt halfway through basic, was OD a few times and in that
    short fast career ended up TDY at Elgin AFB which at that time was STRIKE command HQ. Sat at a huge oak table on red carpet as facility advisor to as much brass as I’d ever seen in one place.”


  14. Mal says:

    Everyone in our family is fine up there, Z, as far as I know. I know exactly where this is, too. Dupont is South of Fort Lewis, which is South of Tacoma and not far from Lacey, which is like a part of Olympia (Olympia, Lacey & Tumwater). As you must realize, I-5 is THE major North-South Freeway from border to border and is completely shut down. The only alternate route I can think of is Yelm Hwy. which is only a 2 lane road so its gotta be a nightmare. We’ve gone over this route many dozens of times over the years.
    I was stationed at Ft. Lewis for my last 4 months in the Army (Dec. ’52 thru Mar. ’53) during which time I met my Joni (I knew her aunt and uncle). After only dating twice, I was discharged and went home to L.A. She and her aunt came for a visit 5 months later and I asked her to get married on the second day of her visit! Only dated twice. But it’ll never last because we didn’t move in together for a couple of years to see if we were “compatible”, right? Well, on Jan. 8 we will be celebrating our 64th anniversary. I guess we were “compatible” after all!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. bocopro says:

    Ahh, yes . . . old-timeys. Andrews sissies.

    I go back and pull up the old stuff from time to time, Andrews Sisters, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller . . . partic’larly “Sing, Sing, Sing,” “In The Mood,” “Boogie Woogey” . . . . .

    And here’s wunnamy all-time faves, Rita “Stayin Alive” — and Phil Silvers hoofin right along with the maestro:

    Now THAT’s DANcin!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Mal says:

    Bocopro, don’t forget Woody Herman and the Herman Herd. And Stan Kenton’s Artistry in rhythm.
    aka Progressive Jazz.


  17. bocopro says:

    Yeah, well . . . I gotta leave some time for Mozart, and Waylon Jennings, and Chopin, and Johnny Cash, and Beethoven, and Brad Paisley . . . . . . . . . you know, heavy puu-puus followed by palate cleansers, kinda like beef tenderloin au jus and a longnecker.


  18. geeez2014 says:

    I was never big on Rita, but she was very beautiful …that’s for sure. And I have seen this. It’s fun!

    Mal, that’s my parents’ anniversary, too! It would have been their 67th but Dad’s been gone many years now 😦 You’re VERY lucky, you and Mrs. Mal 🙂 So happy for you.
    Glad your family’s fine!


  19. geeez2014 says:

    just saw the Polish holiday greeting on tv again… really nice


  20. Kid says:

    LOVED the Stayin Alive video. And the BeeGees too (as a very big exception to my uninterest in pop music) That was some darn good video procurement and editing.

    Well, what can be said that hasn’t been said…. The military folks are the best. Sure there are some bad apples, but every time I see a former Marine or other replying to some butthead comment on a washington times article for example, they do it courteously and informatively. They, more than anyone else must have a real bead on how dumb our population has gotten and what is the sense of lowering oneself to their level.

    Motorcycle accident in 68 made me 4F. If I come back here, I want to go full bore Marine or Naval Avaitor of some damn thing and if I’m taken on the first day of deployment so be it. You guys have lived 1000 times more than us keyboard commandos.


  21. bocopro says:

    My last motorcycle (Kawasaki dirt bike) accident was in ’74. Damned thing came down on top of me when I tried to go vertical on a climb, and the exhaust pipe caught my pantleg on fire. Wife actually laughed at me. Then she said words to the effect, “Next time you ride one of those you’re gonna die, ’cause I’m gonna kill you!”

    Haven’t straddled a 2-wheeler since, except the ol’ Schwinn. And even THAT’s gettin dangerouser and dangerouser these days for a 77-yr-old in traffic with all those idiots workin their damned cellfones.


  22. Kid says:

    Broke my leg on my brother’s Harley 250 (actually an Itallian aermacchi labeled as Harley – [a relative image was not immediately available for viewing..])
    2nd time I rode a motorcycle.

    Afterwards I rode a 72 BSA Rocket 3 for about 15 years and a Suzuki GS750 for another 5 before putting the cycle thing away for good.

    And No way in you know what would I ride a motorcycle in Cincinnati or even in 2017 for that matter. I swear 80% of the people I see driving here have their hands in the 10-2 position in the wheel and their eyes in the wrong position. And what is with that dirving 20 mph on the freeway with 50 car lenghts of open road in front of them.. Hey don’t get me started.


  23. Jersey Jack says:

    Despite New Yorks recent TV ad campaign touting how great it is to do business in New York…

    “A new international report has found that due to the burden of regulatory overreach and the highest taxes in the nation, California ranks 49th out of all 50 U.S. states in economic freedom. Only New York is worse.

    When Canada’s Fraser Institute published its 2017 “Economic Freedom of the World” survey in September, the index surprisingly found that the United States suffered the third-worst plunge in economic world freedom (EWF) between 2000 and 2015, by falling 7 places from number 4 to number 11.

    The index measures individual components for 1) the size of government and tax rates; 2) impartiality of the legal system and protection of property rights; 3) sound money and inflation; 4) freedom to trade; and 5) regulatory reach and costs.

    Co-author Fred McMahon commented, “The freest economies operate with comparatively less government interference, relying more on personal choice and markets to decide what’s produced, how it’s produced, and how much is produced.”

    Researchers at the Fraser Institute teamed with the U.S.-based Independent Institute’s Center on Entrepreneurial Innovation to gain insight into how much of America’s dismal loss of competitive standing was caused by California’s two-decade lurch to the left.

    What they found is that California is now the second-least economically free state, with a score of 5.8 out of 10. That is about 30 percent lower than New Hampshire — America’s most economically free state, with a score of 8.3. New York continued to capture the booby prize for the least economically free with a score of 5.3.

    To give a sense of just how far California has fallen, the nation of Mexico has a score of 6.17, or about 6.4 percent higher than California.

    Independent Institute Senior Fellow Dr. Lawrence J. McQuillan stated that California has become so toxic for economic opportunity that 10,000 businesses left the Golden State, reduced operations, or expanded elsewhere over the last 7 years. Census data reveal that 3.5 million residents left California for greener pastures from 2010 to 2015.

    Breitbart News recently reported that California continues to lead America in poverty, with 20.4 percent of residents in poverty, according to data released by the Census Bureau. With about 46,686,000, or 14.7 percent, of U.S. residents living in poverty, California, with 7,946,000, accounts for about one in six U.S. residents living in poverty.

    According to David J. Theroux, Founder and President of the Independent Institute, “The 2017 report shows the public, news media, and policymakers in Sacramento what changes need to be made to make California competitive in the future.”

    Question…so why do the illegals continuue to take over the state of California and on the way to a totallly succesful invasion?



  24. geeez2014 says:

    and the best news we hear here is how people are LEAVING CALIFORNIA! HOORAH! This might work out very well!

    Such a great state!


  25. Mal says:

    Yep, Z. And a lot of ’em are comin’ to Vegas for nicer homes that cost a whole lot less and no state income tax! And lotsa good, inexpensive resturants, too!


  26. Mal says:

    You’re 77, Bocopro? Aw. Just a puppy.


  27. Jersey Jack says:

    “and the best news we hear here is how people are LEAVING CALIFORNIA! HOORAH! This might work out very well!…”

    Z…you’re funny. But really….who are they being replaced by? An indisputably gorgeous state which of which I have many fond memories of…. and have been to and traveled throughout with many happy and memorable vacations. From the Northern border with Oregon to San Diego. And then theres the breath taking Sierra Nevadas…Yosemite to Napa Valley and St. Helena wine country.
    The coastal highway to I5 up and back. From 6 trips in rented RV’s of of San Jose to just plain renting my friends cab for all day excursions chauffered allover SanFrancisco with my wife and daughter. And my favorite San Fran friend and the ultimate savvy San Fran cabbie, Marcel to places that most tourists don’t ever get to see or know about! John Muir, the Redwoods to Pebble Beach to Mount Shasta to Garapatta Canyon to stay with my photographer friend, Cole Weston. Walking the beautiful streets of Carmel hoping to bump into the mayor!! LOL Walking the Embarcadero and the funky tourist traps along the bay and the Piers. Soaking in all the weirdness, funkiness, honking seals and rows of T-shirt dumps that are only surpassed in its tackiness by NY’s 42nd Street! And loved every minute of it. Lombard to Geary to the bridge and back and to do it all over again every time I visited.
    California can’t afford to lose the people it needs most only to have it’s extreme wealthiest survive. Because its rapidly losing its entire middle class to be replaced by multi-millionaire tech giants to illegals and poverty on the other end. Just how much more are you willing to suffer with smothering taxes to support the masses who depend on your generosity? From what I see it’s almost damn near impossible to own a home any longer. And that goes for New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and all the libs who have ruined California and those other states. I think I know enough about California and Jersey and NY to have an opinion that’s based on experience and facts. Lastly…I won’t even go into the multitude of times I’ve landed at SFO, Oakland, John Wayne, LAX, SanJose or San Diego in my years as a Commercial Pilot. Trust me Z….I love the California I used to know and I’m not singling it out either. I really could go on and on about my fondness for California. Just as I used to love the Jersey of my youth too.


  28. Mal says:

    J.J., I’m with you 100%. Having been born there and spending the first 58 years of my life there, I’ve seen just about all the places you’ve mentioned…..and MORE. It’s so sad what has happened but I guess it was inevitable ’cause beauty such as it has can only remain unnoticed for so long. I can truly say I saw the best years in California.


  29. Jersey Jack says:

    Thanks Mal…I’m sure we both could have listed more too…but I don’t even get a drive-by except from you. Funny…some here are quick to be offended by any negativity about the state…but don’t bother to chime in when it’s being defended or admired by a nonresident. Thanks, again Mal.


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