Keeping the home fires burning

April 30, 2014
How do you say good-bye to someone who is leaving for military deployment, especially those headed into harm’s way?

How do you say good-bye to someone who is leaving for military deployment, especially those headed into harm’s way? How do you stay positive on the outside to keep your loved one’s spirits up when you’re worried beyond all comprehension on the inside?

We have a plethora of examples of joyful reunions when our troops return. From the ticker tape parades of World War I to the famous Times Square World War II Victory Day Kiss photo to innumerable YouTube videos of returning vets today, we know how to celebrate the safe return of our veterans.

The best advice for military families saying goodbye to those being deployed or joining the service may be best captured by the World War I-era song, “Keep the Home Fires Burning.” The song was revived in the television series “M*A*S*H,” one of the highest rated shows in U.S. television history and the longest military-themed series (1972 – 1983).

In its memorable episode “War of Nerves,” (Oct. 11, 1977), the staff of the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) 4077, stationed “somewhere in Korea,” lights a cathartic bonfire of all their troubles. The camp’s commanding officer, Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan, 1911-2011), begins to sing the song and his staff joins in:

“Keep the home fires burning,

While your hearts are yearning.

Though the Boys are far away

They dream of home.

There's a silver lining

Through the dark clouds shining,

Turn the dark cloud inside out

Till the Boys come home.”

AASA staff includes family of current military service personnel. Accompanying this article is a photo of U.S. Army Captain David Norwood and his wife, Katie. They are the son-in-law and daughter of AASA Vice President Chris Gardner and his wife Miriam. Capt. Norwood is a West Point graduate who has served terms in Iraq and Afghanistan. This summer, the Norwood family will depart for a three-year overseas deployment.

The history of the North American motor vehicle parts industry is indelibly entwined with that of the military – and for 110 years, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association has served those suppliers. Whether light vehicle or heavy duty, on- and off-highway commercial vehicle markets for the original equipment or aftermarket industries, motor vehicle parts manufacturers have been and continue to serve as suppliers to the U.S. military. The parts suppliers represented by the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) and MEMA also have “kept the home fires burning” in the past through today by providing jobs to innumerable veterans and military families.

AASA and MEMA are proud to count among its past and present staff those who have served our country, and we salute you for your service:

· Bob McKenna, retired MEMA president and CEO: U.S. Army.

· Tim Kraus, HDMA president and COO: U.S. Marine Corp.

· Frank Hampshire, retired AASA senior director of market analysis: U.S. Army.

· Jim Connor (deceased), MEMA vice president, U.S. Marine Corp.

AASA also includes staff members whose families “kept the home fires burning” through the distinguished service of family members:

· The late Arthur J. Hanvey, father of AASA Vice President Bill Hanvey: U.S. Army Infantry, Korean War; two-time recipient of the Purple Heart.

· Rich Pike, father of AASA Vice President Dan Pike: U.S. Air Force.

· Walter Beck, father of AASA Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Margaret Beck: U.S. Air Force, Korean War.

We join our nation in supporting Chris and Miriam Gardner, and all those who have family serving our country, in keeping “the home fires burning” for our loved ones’ safe return.

AASA exclusively serves manufacturers of aftermarket components, tools and equipment, and related products. It is a recognized industry change agent – promoting a collaborative industry environment, providing a forum to address issues and serving as a valued resource for members.

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