Canadian’s Life at Sea-Lt. Cdr. Joseph C. Marston’s Memoir 1930-1945

This story excerpt is reposted with permission from the Vancouver, Canada-based Afro News, a publication for which Military Success Network’s Managing Editor, wrote this original article about the memoir of Lt. Cdr. Joseph C. Marston, RCN, CD, DSC. The Canadian Navy officer, born in May 1916, wrote meticulous notes in his lifelong journal. After more than 50 years of continuous service on the seas, he retired. On his passing, his journals remained to be edited by his son J.C. Marston, Jr. who felt it might appeal to veterans and their families. In reality, it is a record for anyone interested in the events and conditions that impacted sailors on board ships in the service of Canada in both wartime and peacetime – with specific reference to the years 1930-1945. [Read more…]


Tragedy to Transformation a Personal Post 9/11 Story

Here we are just days after the official remembrances of the events of 9/11, now 20 years passed. This week the covers of national magazines no longer feature photos and stories of the survivor families all grown. All the familiar networks with the greatest reach have moved on to screening other stories or audio programming. Social media profile photos have moved on to illustrate some other cause, to capture another emotion in their frames.

Jennifer Bankston

Yet, everyone was impacted by those moments – near and far. Today, our post features the transformation one woman, a civilian, Jennifer S. Bankston experienced as a result of the mirror 9/11 put up for survivors, and those on the periphery of the situation. She pulled herself out of the depressed condition we all felt and learned slowly, to live again, and even more fully.  

Here is her story, shared in her own words. Perhaps you see yourself in it?    

[Read more…]


Film Director & Military Spouse at Work on 2nd Feature on Veteran Transition Supports

Military Success Network features Journey Back to Normal is a documentary that follows veterans' return to civilian life with the help of natural therapies to calm their PTSDVeterans’ return to civilian life is the focus of the work of film director, Nicole Amelio-Casper.  Her dedication to supporting the transition phase comes from seeing the need in her communities, in her work in news video reporting and editing as well as her role as a military spouse. In an interview with Military Success Network, she shared her current and upcoming film project. She began by expressing great gratitude for the support she has received for her award-winning film – “The Journey Back to Normal – A Look at Complementary Therapies to Combat PTSD”. It is now available online and on her website. Links and details below

“The Journey Back to Normal” film documents therapies that can aid in the healing process in a holistic way and shows how community heroes step in and step up to help our warriors in their hour of need. [Read more…]


Free admission at all National Park Service sites to honor MLK Jr. Day

Today’s post and photo comes directly from the efforts and public posts of the National Park Service of the USA.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. King’s speech was the grand finale of the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” His words have endured as one of the signature moments of the civil rights movement.

In honor of the Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Park Service sites offer free admission for everyone on Monday, January 20, 2020, as the first fee free day of the year. Commemorated on the third Monday of January, it is also a day of service when hundreds of volunteers participate in service projects at parks across the country. Learn more at this National Park Service site    

Image: The “I Have a Dream” speech was given from this spot in the photo, now etched on the Lincoln Memorial steps at National Mall and Memorial Parks.

[Read more…]


Veteran student at Yale as bridge builder

 This article first appeared in Medium on Dec 21 and is written by the Veteran, James Hatch. It is a fascinating read of about 11 minute and highly recommended for its real life, real time lessons learned by the author who describes himself as: Retired Serviceman-combat wounded veteran. Fortunate Freshman at Yale University. Founder of Spike’s K9 Fund.


 My Semester With the Snowflakes

At 52, I was accepted to Yale as a freshman. The students I met there surprised me.

Photo: Robert Holmes/Getty Images

InMay of 2019, I was accepted to the Eli Whitney student program at Yale University. At 52, I am the oldest freshman in the class of 2023. Before I was accepted, I didn’t really know what to expect. I had seen the infamous YouTube video of students screaming at a faculty member. I had seen the news stories regarding the admissions scandal and that Yale was included in that unfortunate business. I had also heard the students at Yale referred to as “snowflakes” in various social media dumpsters and occasionally I’d seen references to Ivy League students as snowflakes in a few news sources.

I should give a bit of background information. [Read more…]


D-Day 75 years on still evokes great emotion

Is there anything we can add to the great sea of sentiment and ocean of information that surrounds D-Day? It seems that some Canadians, their national radio-CBC, and our American site co-founders do have something to add, or to process with you, dear reader.

General Eisenhower visiting paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division the night before D-Day

Eisenhower at 101st Airborne Div. June 5, 1944. Photo: — National Archives and Records,College Park, Md.

June 6, marks the day described by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his address to the nation, as the moment in which the eyes of the world was upon the allies. The Canadian, American and British forces, whose brothers in arms trained and joined to stage the largest amphibious assault in  history.

Under General Eisenhower’s command and that of British General Bernard Montgomery, Allied troops landed on five beaches, code named Omaha, Gold, Juno, Sword, and Utah. [Read more…]


5 Simple Ways to Make Every Day Valentine’s Day

Even on this international day of love, where we are encouraged to focus on another – a love interest, a significant other – a spouse, loving ourselves might just be our greatest gift, to others.

Military service members display admirable care for those they served with and the home team, however it looks, that support them.

Transitioning to hometown expectations of the big V Day and letting the love seep into your everyday isn’t a complex task according to the expert on happiness featured today.  We don’t need to radically transform the way we live and love.  What we need to do is to pay attention to the details and the moments that are the building blocks of life and love.

“It has great benefits for ourselves,” says international happiness expert and renowned Harvard positive psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar. By making your real-life relationships better, you’ll automatically boost your own happiness by default.

Here are Tal’s tips:        5 Simple Ways to Make Every Day Valentine’s Day

By Tal Ben-Shahar

We all have our image of the ideal relationship. For most of us, it’s about constantly supporting each other and being tender, adoring, and happy together. After all, this is the promise inherent in “living happily ever after,” isn’t it?

It turns out though, as anyone who’s been in a relationship for longer than a few months knows, that happily ever after takes work. The truth is: your partner isn’t perfect. But there’s another problem that’s equally true: your partner’s partner isn’t perfect either.

So given the curse—or blessing—of imperfection, how do we make our relationships thrive? Or what do we do when the initial spark that ignited our relationship is no longer there, when the passion that carried us over the horizon goes down like the sun?

Many people believe that the answer lies in generating extraordinary relationship experiences, something as grand and powerful as a wedding or honeymoon. Perhaps the secret to a happy long-term relationship lies in buying our partner a multi-carat diamond ring, or taking a trip together around the world, or raising Pavarotti from the dead to serenade us in our bedroom? While the above are undoubtedly wonderful gestures, a more important ingredient of a happy relationship is the consistent sprinkling of “love moments.”

The famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details.” Similarly, I would argue that “love is in the details.” Love lies in the warm embrace and silly face, the kind word and approving smile; we nurture our relationships when we go out for a romantic meal or take time to make love, when we write a lust letter or remind our partner how much he or she means to us.

Love moments are the building blocks of every relationship. These ordinary moments, tended to with love and care, are what make a relationship extraordinary. But how do you begin to incorporate them into your life?

Look for inspiration. Make a list of past experiences you and your partner have shared. Which ones, no matter how small, stand out as being special? Was it the time you went to a concert together? Or when you surprised your partner with a massage and movie night?

Commit to future love moments. Make general commitments—and particular commitments—for future love moments. For instance, as a general commitment, you might set a calendar alert to seek and initiate more love moments in your relationship. Memorialize particular commitments by making a list, such as going to a play with your partner, embracing him or her when you get home in the evening, or finding a nice word to say before you leave for work.

Accentuate the positive. In 1945, Johnny Mercer’s song “Accentuate the Positive” was number one on the Billboard charts—and Johnny’s advice is essential. Make a list of things you can do with (or for) your partner that will increase the positivity-to-negativity ratio in your relationship. This could be sending a brief text message, or going out for a meal together, or just spending some time talking and offering support. Keep adding to the list and keep it with you so that you can consistently boost your ratio.

Don’t eliminate the negative. The second part of Johnny Mercer’s advice is to “eliminate the negative.” Here Mercer is not entirely correct. You’ll want to reduce the negative, but not eliminate it. If there is a recurring conflict in your relationship, think of ways to deal with it. Commit to being present in the conflict without hostility and contempt. Recognize that differences are inevitable and can actually deepen your relationship.

Remind yourself in writing. Take a minute or two to appreciate your partner, yourself, and your relationship. Remind yourself, preferably in writing, what you fell in love with in the first place. Write down the things you love about your partner now. Relationships are a gift, not because they provide us with constant happiness and joy—they don’t—but because they provide us with cherished moments as well as moments from which we can learn and grow.

Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, taught the largest course at Harvard, Positive Psychology, and the third-largest, The Psychology of Leadership, attracting 1,400 students per semester—approximately 20 percent of all Harvard undergraduates. For the last fifteen years, he has taught leadership, happiness, and mindfulness to audiences around the world. He is the co-founder of the Happiness Studies Academy and author of six books, including his newest release, Short Cuts to Happiness, and the international bestsellers Happier and Being Happy, which have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Learn more at talbenshahar.com.


What to say to Vets in Crisis at Christmas or Anytime

What DO you say to a Veteran in trouble at times when glad tidings and well wishes for the new year are on everyone’s lips? What CAN you say at any time of the year to our military members who served with strength – yet may now be struggling, silently in our midst in the aftermath of their service an in overwhelm of their life, stateside?

Here are some valuable notes that might save a life in your community.  They are in this full article by Duane K. L. France – a clinical mental health counsellor and 22 year veteran with multiple deployments. It was published in Task & Purpose in February 2017. …………….. [Read more…]


Canada’s Secret #2 Construction Battalion

Canada’s international role and image as a peacekeeper force were just being formed in the 1960’s by our then Prime Minister, Lester B. Pearson. That’s when I arrived as the youngest in an immigrant family. It would be a long time coming yet, before exceptional moments in my new country’s history, in particular, military history would cross my mind or that of others Canadians.

To my child’s eyes, life immediately around me seemed pretty uniform. A working class area with what they called post war-time housing. These were quickly built single homes occupied by white people.

Statistics Canada listed the majority population in my province at that time, in descending order percentages, as being of British origins, then German, then Ukrainian.

The French and their descendants since their co-founding of the Dominion of Canada formed an appreciable majority in pockets of the country. Black people, however, and their contribution to Canada, among other cultural identities, were scarcely noted. Their stories like many military footnotes in history, were yet to be recognised, never mind celebrated.

For a long time in contemporary life, white was the colour of achievement. Of aspirations. Of history made. Time and experience have impacted how we see Canada’s social fabric. We are a visibly multicultural landscape and now have landmarks and special days that preserve past contributions of many more of Canada’s early peoples. One of these is the 100th anniversary of a group of black Canadians who had to fight just for the right to participate in military service to their country. Please enjoy this fascinating account of about the #2 Construction Battalion – a secret no more, taken directly from the pages of The Canadian Immigration Museum at Pier 21:  [Read more…]


Lt. Dan’s 8 life lessons as seen in Forrest Gump

Legendary in both military and entertainment spheres Lt. Dan, played by Gary Sinise,  is a symbol of transition’s phases in the film: Forrest Gump.

The now 62-year-old actor is celebrated for his role as Dan Taylor embodies resilience and personal evolution in the 1994 Academy Award winning film. In real life, he is appreciated for his tremendous support of military men and women and his activity on behalf of veterans.

In this post’s “box of chocolates,” we lift the lid to reveal 8 life lessons writer Alex Licea has artfully selected from the scenes in Forrest Gump. [Read more…]