Standing Up, Rube Goldberg & Greta Friedman

On this solemn day, September 11th, I pray for the thousands who lost their lives fifteen years ago…for their families, loved ones and others impacted on that tragic day. There are no words that can heal…only the promise to Never Forget! And as the official NFL season comes to a start today I cannot help but be angered by the few that won’t “stand” during our national anthem. Yes, we live in a country that provides the freedom of expression, and our country is divided more than ever…far from the unity we all felt 14 years and 364 days ago, but please…for those who can’t “stand”, either physically or because they have left this world, show the dignity & respect the American Flag and our National Anthem deserves and STAND! Stand up at attention because you are ABLE to stand. Raise your right hand and place it over your heart. Raise your hand because you are ABLE to raise your hand. You have been afforded the opportunity of freedom due to the ultimate sacrifice of many men & women who protect that freedom. So…Stand up because you CAN!

Ryley continues to make improvements on a daily basis and is slowly moving away from the “sip & puff” equipment towards more arm (shoulder) control mechanisms. Although a bit Rube Goldberg-ish, the tools and training provided by Ryley’s OT’s (Occupational Therapists) & PT’s (Physical Therapists) at Shepherd are phenomenal! With each mechanism, each customized tool, each movement, it gives Ryley more and more freedom of independence. Things that you and I take for granted…scratching an itch, swatting away a fly, using a fork, wiping you face with a napkin, etc…all must be done with assistance of others…24/7. Of course we will always be there for him, but as a 19-year-old young man…achieving some independence is MAJOR motivation for Ryley! His spirits remain high and his schedule continues to become busier and busier with PT, OT, & training. He is both eating and sleeping well and looks forward to showing you all what he can accomplish!

Our family continues to stay #HopperStrong as we try to get back to some routine with Will and Colby heading back to college and high school. I want to thank all the people who have provided dinners for Colby and I during the past week. Super helpful and super yummy! The adjustment to temporary Mr. Mom has been interesting and let’s just say the house is at least standing! Between work, insurance discussions, researching home modifications and accessible automobiles, morning school rituals, volleyball games, laundry, etc. the week has been a blur. But who am I to complain….at least I’m at home. This has been the longest time I’ve been away from Kim in a very long time and I miss her dearly. And as I heard about the passing of Greta Friedman, from the famed V-J Day in Times Square picture, my thoughts immediately jump to Kim in Atlanta. A “V-J Day” dip and kiss is a common occurrence in the Hopper household and I can’t wait to get one soon babe!

So stand up folks when the national anthem is played today and pay homage to those who lost their lives 15 years ago and to those that protect our freedom each and every day! And while you’re up, grab your significant other and V-J Day em…because you CAN!

We love you all!

#PrayForRyley

#TheFight4Ry

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Caption from the August 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. "In the middle of New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers."
Caption from the August 27, 1945, issue of LIFE. “In the middle of New York’s Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers.”