Flowers for Mom

For Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day, flowers are almost a given – they’re a time-honored symbol of love and gratitude!

Luckily for all of you FTD Flowers has paired up with the USO to provide some unique (and patriotic!) ways to show you care while supporting our troops and their families! Just shop their USO Collection for beautiful arrangements and gifts and FTD will donate 15% of the sales to the USO!

And, in case you had a specific arrangement in mind, any purchase made through will result in a 15% discount and 5% donated to the USO!

But wait, there’s more! If you like or share this FTD World’s Greatest Mom picture on Facebook, they’ll also donate to the USO! For each of the first 5,000 shares and likes they’ll donate $1 and, then $500 for every 5,000 more.

The USO Dance That Changed His Life

Today we celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  And our guest blogger tells the kind of tale that we love at the USO, and it seems especially appropriate with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday.

Earl Ladewig was a young soldier heading into World War II when a chance encounter at the USO changed his life.  This is his story…

Earl and Freda Ladewig on their wedding day, May 18, 1942.

I was drafted into service on Nov 7, 1941 from Harvey, IL.  I was sent to Cheyenne, Wyo for basic training.  On Jan 1, 1942 I was sent to Lowry AFB, Denver, Co.  The greatest impact that Denver had on me was this:  I rode into town on the Colfax streetcar, and as we passed the capitol building and headed downhill to Broadway there was the City & County building of Denver lit up in all its Holiday splendor.  I had never seen a sight like that before. (Never around Chicago, were I grew up)   About two weeks after my arrival in Denver I read a notice, on the bulletin board, that the USO was sponsoring a Square Dance at the University of Colorado campus near Colorado Blvd.  I had been a square dancer for several years and loved it, and I knew that people who square danced were friendly outgoing people.  The dance was scheduled for 17 January.  I decided to go, and go I did.  During the dance I met 3 sisters who were volunteers for the USO trying to do good for the lonely servicemen.  One sister, “Freda” was exceptionally friendly and I danced almost every dance in their square.

During our talking I learned that the girls were also scheduled to attend ballroom dancing at the old Rainbow ballroom (USO sponsored).  I indicated that I would try to be there also.  I went to the dance (18 January 1942, also my 23rd birthday).  Lo and behold two of the sisters were there but Freda was not.  I was disappointed, because it seemed we were very compatible.   However, Freda had told her sisters that if I was there they were to bring me home.  (The sisters didn’t tell me why Freda wasn’t there.)  When they told me Freda asked them to bring me home, I jumped at the chance.  Turns out Freda had a date and skipped the dance.  (Incidentally I had a girl back home whom I had asked to marry me, but she said we needed to wait until I got back from service.)

So to make a long story short, I started visiting with Freda and her family every night, always had supper with them.  Freda and I became very close friends.  After we became extra close while visiting Cheesman park in April 1942, I asked her to marry me.  She hesitated and so I told her I should think about it.  A week later I asked her again and she said yes. (At this point I did not feel I had a commitment to the girl back home, these were two different personalities and Freda’s by far was most compatible to me.)  At about this time I learned that our company, to which I was assigned at Lowry, was going to be shipped out, had no idea where. (Remember WWII started on December 7, 1941)  Freda set the date to be married on May 18, 1942. (Later I learned it was her mother’s birthday.)  It was such that “We would get married on he 18th if I was still here, otherwise we would wait.”  We did get married on the 18th of May 1942 and I shipped out on the 6th of June 1942. I had a 3-day pass and we spent our honeymoon in Colorado Springs. Our company was sent to Fairbanks Alaska.

Freda and I had nine children, seven of whom are still living.  Freda died in 1996. The 54 years we had together was a wonderful loving experience.  I wish every day that Freda was still with us.   And although I know I am forgetful these days, I can not remember Freda and I ever having an argument or saying cross words to one another.

Our children are grown now, and believe me, they are a true blessing to me at age 91. just as their mother was for 54 years.


Mother’s Day Across the Miles

The good folks at Baghdad USO have forged a great relationship with Operation Write Home, a volunteer organization that has approximately 2,500 talented crafters across the USA making unique greeting cards for the service members at Sather Air Base in Baghdad.  OWH supplies cards for every occasion, whether Birthday, Anniversary, Miss You – or holidays including Easter, Mother’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day.  Sather AB has received over 600 Valentine’s Day cards and every single one was used!  They were also very fortunate to have one of their volunteers, who happens to be a master woodworker, make a beautiful card rack to display the cards in the reception area.

To commemorate Mother’s Day, Operation Write Home asked Baghdad USO to take pictures of our wonderful troops for their website.  They hope to ensure that all Mothers will receive a card from their service members who are passing through Sather AB.  USO Baghdad recently provided photos that are included in Operation Write Home’s video tribute to Moms everywhere, shown below.

Happy (early) Mother’s Day…we hope you enjoy!

4Troops Special Presale Offer

The group 4TROOPS performed the National Anthem at NASCAR's Food City 500 on March 21 in Bristol TN.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and what better gift than the new CD from 4Troops?  Okay, so since it’s only available for pre-sale on Amazon right now she might not get it in time for the actual holiday…but we have a special coupon code that will save you $2 off the retail price!

4Troops is a singing group comprised of 4 US Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans, who sing uplifting songs on behalf of troops everywhere.  You may have seen them on Good Morning America and Fox & Friends…and our blog!

Starting today – Tuesday, April 27 – and running until the day before in-store sales begin on Monday, May 10, simply type in the coupon code uso4troo when you pre-order the CD and get this special discount.  We’ll also remind you that Sony Music will donate 50 cents from each sale of the 4TROOPS album in the United States to charity. The donation benefits the IAVA, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and – our favorite! – the USO.

We’re honored by 4Troops’ support and hope you enjoy the video below, when the group performed with Lee Greenwood at Bristol before the NASCAR race…

more about “4Troops Videos | The Official 4Troop…“, posted with vodpod

Operation Petal Power – Push the Petal for Military Moms

by Michael Schindler, President of Operation Military Family

Print our this flyer to share "Petal Power" with friends and family!

“Push the petal” in your community! My friend Bruce McNichol, a nationally renowned author, came up with that clever saying as we approach May 7th, the official Military Spouse Appreciation Day when schools, businesses, churches and neighbors are encouraged to honor and appreciate military spouses across their communities – and perhaps the world.

Operation Military Family, headquartered in the Seattle area, teamed up with the USO, headquartered in Arlington, VA to bring “Operation Petal Power” to life. So, what exactly is “OPP?”

Simply put, it is a very simple and effective way for friends, families, neighbors, associates to say “thank you” to our military spouses on May 7th, by dropping a virtual flower on the door step of a military spouse – all in the tradition of May Day.

A little back story on May Day:  May Day dates WAY back, even before the time of Christ; it really is a centuries old tradition that was embraced by the Romans. See, the beginning of May was a very popular feast time for the Romans. As one website shared, “It was devoted primarily to the worship of Flora, the goddess of flowers.” (In Seattle, we embrace the month of May just because we see the sun!) It was in her honor a five day celebration, called the Floralia, was held. The five day festival would start from April 28 and end on May 2. The Romans brought in the rituals of the Floralia festival in the British Isles.

Throughout Europe children would celebrate the days by moving back and forth around the “May Pole” with colorful streamers, choosing a May queen, and hanging May baskets on the doorknobs of folks.

Have kids print out and color this for a Military Mom, or share it virtually for Mother's Day!

Here in the states, though this celebration wasn’t widely embraced, when I was a little trouble maker, I remember dropping flowers on the neighbor’s door step, banging on their door and running like mad – it made for good, clean fun. And so the USO and OMF are encouraging children and adults alike to embrace an old tradition in honor of our military spouses.

So help us honor and salute military spouses on May 7th by leaving a flower on a military spouse’s doorstep, mailing them a paper flower made by your children or school, or emailing them a virtual flower – you can download all the information and the “flowers” from both or

All of us who have served our country know that often it is the spouse at home that deserves just as much, if not more, recognition for their service and sacrifice – so, “Push the Petal” and bring a smile to a deserving military spouse on May 7th.

Michael is the president of Operation Military Family, a defense contractor that provides military relationship strengthening workshops, seminars and curricula, a Navy veteran, contributing writer to several national publications, and the author of the book “Operation Military Family” which is endorsed by Gen (ret) Tommy Franks, former C-I-C U.S. Central Command.  He also serves as the Director for Military Marriages and Healthy Relationships under the Foundation for Healthy Relationships, a non-profit started by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, nationally recognized relationship experts.  The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Michael Schindler and do not necessarily reflect those of the USO.

Hallmark Channel’s “Meet My Mom Virtual Wall” Connects Families for Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, Hallmark Channel, America’s premier family-friendly entertainment company, is pulling double duty in not only celebrating the moms we love, but also the soldiers who protect our freedoms every day with the Hallmark Channel in HD Original Movie “Meet My Mom,” premiering Saturday, May 8 (9p.m. ET/PT, 8C).

As the film’s premiere approaches, Hallmark Channel is seizing the opportunity to celebrate moms and, in particular, military families, Hallmark Channel’s Facebook page will play host to a unique ‘Meet My Mom Virtual Wall,’ where not only viewers, but soldiers serving in all parts of the world, can submit photos, testimonials and videos as a tribute to their own moms.

Beginning March 17, soldiers can go to and upload photos of them and their moms, 60 second videos or text testimonials.  The interactive forum will go live on April 19 for all to see, and is just a small way to connect families who are far apart this Mother’s Day.
“90210” and “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin stars in the impactful story as Dana, a recent divorcee whose son becomes pen pals with Vince, a solider serving overseas.  When Vince returns stateside on leave, he visits his young friend, only to fall for Dana.  But with another tour of duty on the horizon, Dana must decide if she has the strength to love someone whose life is constantly in harm’s way.“Meet My Mom” starring Lori Loughlin, Stefanie Powers and Johnny Messner premieres Saturday, May 8 (9p.m. ET/PT, 8C) exclusively on Hallmark Channel.