They Gave – A Tribute to America’s Veterans

Gayle_BozemanFamilyChristian_smallThis post by Gayle M. Irwin


Today is Memorial Day, remembering the men and women who died in service to America.

Families have been horrifically affected by war, including the American Civil War in which more than 650,000 people were killed or injured. Since 1900, more lives have been affected. More than 320,000 men and women were killed or wounded in World War I, and more than one million during World War II. During the Korean conflict more than 136,000 were killed and wounded, and in Vietnam the tally was more than 200,000. During the first Gulf War, 760 were killed and injured, and, according to an investigative Huffington Post report, more than 6,600 have been killed and 50,000 battle-wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Additionally, the report notes, more than 253,000 have received brain injuries, most of which can be considered moderate to severe.

JohnMandJimB_Army_croppedMy father’s father served in World War II as did my godfather. One of my uncles served in the navy and another was a chopper pilot in Vietnam who was shot down three times. Though those men survived combat, none talked much about it. Many service members who survive the wars in which they’ve engaged come home scarred and wounded not only physically but also emotionally. Experts say one in five veterans returning to the states from the Iraq/Afghan war are diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Our veterans, and their families, have given so much in service to their country – it is only right we honor them. America’s veterans sacrifice for all of us. Billy Ray Cyrus has a song titled “Some Gave All” – that is so true. They have either given their lives in the physical or in the emotional for their nation and for their countrymen and women.

I was fortunate to meet Luis Carlos Montalvan, a former Army captain who served 17 years, including two tours in Iraq. Luis and his service dog Tuesday came to Casper last year at the invitation of our library. The captain spoke of what transpired prior to and since being partnered with Tuesday. His memoir, Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, is touching and endearing, as are the man and dog which encapsulate the book. The two are making an incredible impact on our country for veterans’ causes and for companion animal causes, and I feel humbled, honored, and blessed to have made their acquaintance. Tuesday was honored last year by the American Kennel Club with an Award for Canine Excellence (ACE) for his service to Luis and communities and organizations around the country. And, tomorrow, May 27th, the release of Luis’ new book, a story for children titled Tuesday Tucks Me In, will be released.

Many of us know the emotional healing power of dogs – those who visit hospitals and nursing homes as therapy pets, those who are partnered with blind and physically challenged people, and our own companion animals. Our veterans have given everything for us and we need to honor and help them. Dogs like Tuesday can be vital in their healing so when we see a service dog, may we remember that the person with that animal may have served us in service to his/her country.

Especially in late of the VA scandal currently in the news, I challenge each of us to do something today to honor and remember our veterans… whatever you feel compelled to do to recognize and remember these heroes, do it!

Jasmine Journey_Bookcover DraftThe dog rescue story I’m working on includes a pilot as a character – my pilot who transports Jasmine part-way to her new home is going to be a former Airman who has a love for dogs as well as for flying. Pilots’n’Paws is a real organization that flys rescue dogs across the country – I’d bet some of those guys and gals are former servicemen and women; the one in my upcoming book certainly will be! I am working on that story again today and have been mindful of the two- and four-legged ones who serve and have served our country.

To Luis and Tuesday and to all the servicemen and women, I take a moment to say THANK YOU! Because of you and those who “gave some and gave all”we Americans have freedoms that many around the world only dream of. I salute you with humbleness and thanksgiving!

soldier and flag

Gayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God. She is also a contributing writer to editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, to articles in Creation Illustrated and Our Town Casper magazine, as well as the Casper Journal and River Press newspapers. Her latest work is a Kindle book to help owners of blind dogs. Learn more at

Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014    Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final    Walking_FrontCover_small   SageBigAdventureFront-small


13 thoughts on “They Gave – A Tribute to America’s Veterans

    1. Thank you for your comment, Doris. I’m glad I had something appropriate to post, with a bit of “tweeking.” I’ll be in your area mid-August and hope to catch up with you over lunch or dinner!


    1. Thank you, Abbie, for taking time to stop by and read my blog post. I hope your Memorial Day weekend has been enjoyable shared with your brother! See you soon at WW, Inc. conference!


  1. Excellent post, Gayle, and I love the sound of your new story. It is a sad indictment that lives are still being lost to war all over the world.


    1. Thank you, Nancy, for stopping by at my “last minute” post. I am excited to continue working on my manuscript, and I am hopeful many will find find advice and guidance with my latest Kindle book. Best wishes in London!


  2. Very good post Gayle. I am happy that you mentioned meeting Luis Carlos Montalvan – I wish I had been with you! I read his book “Until Tuesday” when it first came out. I was so impressed with his honesty and the incredible true story he told. Everyone should read the book – it certainly gives you a whole new look at what dogs can do for those in need. I suppose war will always exist somewhere in the world. How sad. Glad you included the link to the Billy Ray Cyrus song “Some Gave All”. Powerful in it’s own right. We all need to remember those who serve or have served our country. It’s why we live in the land of the free.


    1. Linda, I felt so honored to meet Luis and Tuesday, and I just ordered his new book today. He and I are friends on Facebook and I am blessed each time I read a post or see a photo of Tuesday. Yes, war exists, sadly, and therefore, we must honor and care for our veterans for truly, they give all. Thank you for your comments. Blessings to you always!


    1. Thanks, Mike! If I can weave a canine story somehow, I will! LOL Seriously, though, I was SO IMPRESSED with Luis and Tuesday and I’ve done additional research on service dogs and dogs in the military, as well as therapy and other working dogs — they are SO AMAZING! So are our human veterans. Thanks for reading and commenting.


  3. Great post Gayle. I read the book on Luis and Tuesday also, and learned some things from it–like post traumatic stress syndrome can happen or be enhanced by feeling betrayed or not supported when you are giving your all, which could include your life, for a cause. It gave me some new sights. Important knowledge for character development in books and life. Good post for memorial day!


  4. Gayle, what a beautiful and heart-felt Memorial Day tribute to those who have served and those still serving our country. I will definitely read Luis Carlos Montalvan’s Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Gold Retriever Who Saved Him. There is definitely a reason a dog is called Man’s Best Friend. Thank you for this wonderful post.


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