Neon Yellow

Together working as a team we are stronger than the strength of our parts. We often celebrate team accomplishments as we marvel in our collective impact. We celebrate at work when completing a successful project and countless other ways. Maybe the places we most readily identify with team work is our school and sports. Who among us has not identified with their schools colors and taken some pride in its accomplishments?

Did you have to be on the team when they won the game to be proud? We rally around our affiliation usually displayed with the school colors. I still remember the green and white all the way back to my youth playing Pop Warner football on the Shamrocks almost 50 years ago. For 26 years my team wore camouflage. One small player on a nations team of patriots.

Born to a war orphan the team in camouflage was always a part of my life. Another son in a line of family who played for this team, at times in camouflage and others in OD green or brown bombers jackets. Time and branch of service would change the uniforms but not the team. No place exists where the importance of unity of effort and solidarity in purpose and commitment are more important than for this team. The battles endured even when victorious are costly. The cost is not fully known until long after the team returns home. Despite this uniform difference colors of unity for our team remained. Those colors call to me as I type, they are Red, White and Blue. The colors of a nation long in history of their championship team in camouflage serving as freedoms guardians. History has shown our people rally for these colors and cheer for their team whenever they are called upon. The challenge becomes the battle at home for our team in camouflage.

When the Thunderbird, a B-29, was shot down over Japan during WWII it put events in play that would be part of my life daily. In fact my name is Mark in memory of the grandfather I never knew, Mark Miller, killed on that day. Like a story from a fiction book, the sole survivor returned following his release by the Japanese to marry my grandmother. He did his best to raise my mother as his own child, or as Mark would have liked. Survivors guilt strong in his veins, the memories of that day and his time held captive even stronger in his mind. Funny how in reflection to the days of my youth I understand Cliff better now. The sting of battle was stronger for Cliff than for me, so I am sure our outcomes will be different. But once you feel the sting hard enough to leave a mark, you can recognize the mark on another man. Cliff was a tremendous role model and may be the wind under the wings of my life's current journey.

The battle on the home front walked every step with Cliff. I believe part of that journey is to unite us as a nation behind our team in camouflage for the battle on the home front. I think we need a color. In the spirit of the yellow ribbon, fueled by a sense of alarm, in the face of a national epidemic, I ask your support that that color be neon yellow. Safety green they call the color on shirts. The epidemic must be stopped. The casualties can not speak for the cause.

On the 10th of September I ask that you wear a neon yellow shirt in a display of unity to win the battle on the home front. If you are an organization dealing with the emotional scars of war with Veteran please include the color in your promotions. Because together we can make a difference. Cliff died at his own hand, fighting the war at home. We lose 22 Veterans every day just like Cliff. If for no other reason than there are children who need their role models.