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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 9, 2011 / 3 Adar II, 5771

It Is What It Is

By Tom Sileo


Fallen soldier Andrew Carpenter and wife Crissie Carpenter



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Moments after making the most difficult decision of her life, Crissie Carpenter thought she heard her husband's voice, softly whispering in her ear.

"It is what it is," he said.

A simple saying, it was also Lance Cpl. Andrew Carpenter's favorite. And it gave comfort to his wife, eight months pregnant, as she made the crushing choice to remove him from life support from roughly 4,500 miles away, unable to fly to Germany with her due date so near.

"I told his mom to hold his hand and that I didn't want to be on the phone when it happened," the Marine's widow told The Unknown Soldiers. "I spoke to him three different times — they put the phone up to his ear for me."

Five days earlier, on Valentine's Day 2011, the love of Crissie's life was shot through the neck by an enemy sniper in Afghanistan. It was a tragic moment that her husband knew was coming, as evidenced by their final conscious phone call, which occurred three weeks before he was shot.

"We said 'I love you' 20 times before hanging up on that last phone call because I wouldn't say goodbye," Crissie said. "I have a feeling that he knew."

Andrew, 27, told his wife that he was often at the front of combat patrols while serving in Afghanistan's volatile Helmand province with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. He fought valiantly, but was also deeply worried about what would happen to his wife and unborn son, Landon, after he was killed.

I hope the events of Feb. 28 in Columbia, Tenn., put the fallen hero's fears to rest. On that gray, somber Monday, I witnessed a city of 38,000 stand shoulder to shoulder with the Carpenters in a seminal display of genuine compassion and resounding patriotism. The funeral home's chapel and overflow room were packed beyond capacity. Thousands of citizens, including children and the elderly, stood in the cold mist to salute the hometown Marine's funeral procession.

"It means so much to me," Crissie wants her fellow Tennesseans to know. "Andy was a hero — he is a hero. Having everyone's support, even people I don't know, it makes you stronger. It's indescribable."

In a memorial service full of touching moments, I learned about how Andrew, himself a child at heart, adored kids. He still collected action figures, even keeping the harmless secret from his wife. He loved to play soccer with his nephew, Caleb, an activity he missed deeply in Afghanistan, where millions of children still suffer in the shadows of terrorism.

"He loved kids, and I really liked that about him," Crissie said. "He had a great, awesome personality — a very nice, genuine person. I never heard him say anything mean about anyone."

The only comforting aspect of the last three weeks' devastating events is that Andrew got a head start on meeting his little boy.

"He isn't here yet," Crissie poignantly wrote of baby Landon in his father's funeral program. "Right now he's still in heaven with Andrew."

I asked Crissie what she would tell Landon about his dad.

"I want him to know how excited (Andrew) was about him, what happened in Afghanistan and why his father is a hero," she responded. "When he writes a school paper about who his hero is, I want him to write 'my dad.'

"The simple fact of knowing what type of person Andy was, I think, will make Landon a better person, too," Crissie continued.

The last song played at the celebration of Andrew's life was Sarah McLachlan's 'Angel,' which brought about 500 people, from battle-tested Marines to funeral home employees, to an authentic moment of reflection.

"You are pulled from the wreckage

Of your silent reverie

You're in the arms of the angel

May you find some comfort here."

"Prayer and G0d are the main things getting me through this," Crissie said. "I feel at peace with the way it was supposed to be."

To sum up this overwhelming post-9/11 ordeal of tragedy, selflessness, bravery and sacrifice, Crissie Carpenter returned to her husband's motto.

"It is what it is."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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An award-winning journalist who worked in local and national newsrooms for more than eight years, Tom Sileo is a Phillips Foundation journalism fellow. Immediately after leaving CNN in 2009, Sileo launched The Unknown Soldiers, an innovative, deeply personal military blog dedicated to spotlighting the extraordinary men and women serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. In April 2010, Sileo, the site's editor-in-chief, won a 2010 Milblogging.com award for best military-themed blog run by a U.S. reporter. Now the official blog of Vets for Freedom, The Unknown Soldiers has attracted large followings on Facebook and Twitter.

Before his independent writings began appearing on the websites of Vets for Freedom, Military.com and the USO, Sileo was a copy editor for CNN, where he helped launch CNN.com Live, an anchored broadband news service. Prior to joining CNN, he was a newscast producer for Tribune, WSPA-TV and WTVM-TV. He has also worked for The Associated Press. Sileo has a B.A. in journalism and mass media from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. He lives in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

© 2011, Creators Syndicate

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