united-states-flag_2188_130213397[1]I know this year Veterans Day fell on Friday, the 11th of November–the actual day of the holiday. But did you know that if it falls on a Sunday, it’s celebrated on Monday, and if it falls on a Saturday, it’s celebrated on Friday?  So, that being said, since we are “in the ballpark”, I couldn’t let this day go by without talking about the meaning of Veterans Day and how it came to be in our country. When I was a young child, I remember asking my parents about Veterans Day–but my mom always called it “Armistice Day”. When she told me the story about “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month”, it always seemed like a magical spell–and maybe that’s what the world hoped it would be–the war to end all wars had already been fought, and so there wouldn’t be anymore. But there were.

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

The Last Two Minutes of FightingSoldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect. It’s called “THE LAST TWO MINUTES OF FIGHTING”.

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”


WWI Scottish PiperThe original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of    peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.


An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

united-states-flag_2183_58326922[1]From 1971-1978, Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25. In 1975, then-President Gerald Ford signed a bill that would return it to November 11 again starting in 1978.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Do you remember the poem by Canadian John McCrae “In Flanders Fields”? Many of us had to memorize this in elementary school. McCrae was a physician/surgeon during WWI–he died of pneumonia not long before the war ended. Take a minute to listen to this recitation of “In Flanders Fields” by the late Leonard Cohen. It is haunting.



CREDIT GIVEN TO:  Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs website for much of the text and one picture in this post.


My Research Travels Take Me to Montana and a Giveaway!


Charlene Newsletter Banner2

My very next novel will be pre-set in Marietta, Montana.  That sounds like a real place, doesn’t it?  Yet, it’s not located on any map that we know of.  What I mean by pre-set, is that this town already exists in many other author-related books, so in a sense it’s real.  There are café’s and schools, a chocolate shop, and a sheriff’s office all in the small town of Marietta.  Characters live there, either in town, or near Copper Mountain or in Paradise Valley, doing what normal folk ordinarily do, ranching, banking, baking, dining and romancing!

For my new adventure, I’ll be one of four authors writing a romance about when the Rodeo comes to Marietta. My bronc-riding hero (who has no name yet—would love for you to name him) returns to his roots and meets up with his deceased brother’s widow—the very same girl he dumped for the excitement of the rodeo.  Said heroine, wants nothing to do with him, until he reminds her of the unrequited passion they’d once shared.

So my research begins learning about Montana.  I’ve never been, and usually I set my stories in places I’ve traveled, so this will be a bit of a challenge.   Here’s some fun facts about Montana:


montanaflag (1)

The State flag is stunning: Rocky Mountains, cliffs and rivers under the big sky.

Montana’s Motto:  Oro y Plata  (Spanish-Gold and Silver)

Montana is the Spanish word for “mountainous”.

The state nicknames are:  Big Sky Country and Treasure State

Montana became a state in 1889

It’s the 4th biggest state in the US

But 44th most populated with just over 1 million people


So now I ask you to help me come up with my hero and heroine’s names?  I’m really at a loss, usually I have a clear vision of their names, but right now I’m coming up blank. Both are Montana born and bred and have worked on ranches.   Give me your suggestions and you’ll be in a random drawing for a really cool 2 in 1 book.  The Cowboy’s Pride by Charlene Sands/The Paternity Proposition by Merline Lovelace


Also available for PRE-ORDER is my newest Desire  (releases on July 1st)  Isn’t it pretty?

The Billionaire's Daddy Test




This came to me in an e-mail and I wanted to share with you all. I never knew that the folds of the flag from a soldier’s coffin had specific meanings–did you? This is something that is too odd–and too rare–not to share and make people aware of.

When I had a Girl Scout troop, I studied up on how to dispose of the flag honorably. Thankfully, one of my co-leaders was a Girl Scout through and though and new everything by heart. We had a flag burning ceremony and distributed the ashes to our scouts in small, round film canisters (that’s how long ago it’s been–you could still by film for your camera!) But I never knew about the folds of the flag.

So today, that’s what my blog post is about. A ritual that we must never forget or lose sight of; one that honors the fallen, but one that has specific meaning in each fold of the flag that is finally handed to a loved one.

Flag draped coffin 1

Meaning of the Flag-Draped Coffin

All Americans should be given this lesson.  Those who think that America is an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought.  Our founding fathers used GOD’s word and teachings to establish our Great Nation and it’s high time Americans get re-educated about this Nation’s history.

Pass it along and be proud of the country we live in and even more proud of those who serve to protect our ‘GOD GIVEN’ rights and freedoms.

Here is how to understand the flag that  laid upon it and is surrendered to so many widows and  widowers.

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Flag draped coffin 2

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times?  You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.



Flag draped coffin 3 (first fold)




The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.


Flag draped coffin 4 (2nd fold)




The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

Flag draped coffin 5 (3rd fold)





The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

Flag draped coffin 6 (4th fold)




The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, ‘Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.’

Flag draped coffin 7 (5th fold)




The 6th fold is for where people’s hearts lie.  It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the  United States of America , and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with  Liberty and Justice for all.


The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic..

Flag draped coffin 8 (7th fold)




The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

Flag draped coffin 9 (8th fold)




The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers.  For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.


The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

Flag draped coffin 10 (10th fold)



The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Flag draped coffin 11 (11th fold)



The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.


The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their Nations motto, ‘In God We Trust.’

Flag draped coffin 12 (13th fold) last pic



After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning.

In the future, you’ll see flags folded and now you will know why.

Share this with the children you love and all others who love what is referred to, the symbol of ‘ Liberty and Freedom.’


Flag draped coffin final graffic

Events That You Remember by Charlene Sands …


Dear Readers,Flags-Dedicated-to-Sept-11

Today is a day that will forever be ingrained in our memories.  So I couldn’t post my blog today without remembering what happened to our country on September 11th, 2001.   I remember a flood of tears running down my face.  I remember thinking for the first time in my life that the future of our country might be compromised and I remember days and days of sadness and despair.

I would guess you remember where you were when you heard the news about the Twin Towers going down.  It was the same for me when President Reagan was shot, when President Kennedy was assassinated and when O.J. Simpson’s verdict came in.   I could tell you exactly where I was, what time of day and who I had spoken to about it.  It seems that only horrible events mark our memories.

But events to remember don’t always have to be sad and discouraging.   On this day of mourning, I have some happy news to share with you.  It’s a fun personal story of a day (or days) to remember that will always stay with me.



Here’s a special message I wrote to my friends recently and am allowed to share with you today:

Imagine our surprise several weeks ago, when Jason and Lindsay (our son and daughter-in-law) had us over for lunch and handed us a gift box. Inside was a note attached to a pacifier telling us to hold onto it for safekeeping as their new (second) baby would be arriving and would need it. They were 5 weeks along and since it was so early in the pregnancy, they asked us not to tell anyone.  Naturally, we were thrilled and promised to keep their secret!baby2

Then less than a week later, Nikki and Zac (my daughter and son-in-law) came to visit .. little Everley had made us a picture card and it was important that we open it together. We did to find 4 stick figures drawn depicting a family.  The fourth little person had a bubble message above it that read. “I’m new”. We were thrilled and overwhelmed.  They wanted to keep it a secret until more time passed and asked innocently if we could keep their secret.

Well, by then our smiles were bigger than ever and we started chuckling. The irony was too much.  Personally, I was ready to bust all my seams, my mind was spinning like a hamster wheel. Inadvertently each one of our kids asked us to keep their secrets! Well, finally after minutes of smirking and grinning like fools, Nikki guessed that Lindsay was also pregnant. My daughter was also about 5 weeks along!  After seeing the doctor and finding out all was well, Nikki and Lindsay found out they are due on April 6th and April 8th respectively! Can you imagine, two days apart.

I guess I’m the Double Whammy Grammy!! For hubby and me, it’ll be like having twins!

Priceless Surprise:

So five weeks later, our kids decided to tell the rest of the family their good news. (Yes, we kept both of their secrets from everyone else for those weeks)  They had a onesie printed on both sides, the front side announcing one family’s news and due date and the back side announcing the other. Our little girls, Everley and Kyra handed a gift bag to my sister whose birthday we were celebrating and when she lifted the onesie from the bag, she read the front side, while the rest of the family were reading the backside.  Everyone screamed, not knowing what the other side said, until my sister turned the onesie around.  Then everyone shouted and cried.  So, they pulled off a unique surprise and it was so much fun being in on it!baby 3

That’s a memory that I’ll always have ingrained in my memory. So hug a friend or family member today and try to remember the good times, while never forgetting the bad. Post a comment today and let me know what you’re thinking.  I will be donating a good sum to the Wounded Warriors program on this day…I’m especially grateful to all who serve, have served and hope my donation will help.

Here’s a fun photo my daughter-in-law and son took to tell their friends about baby #2 coming along. Did it make you smile?kyra eviction


Charlene Newsletter Banner2







State Trivia ~ Gems of Missouri

State Trivia Logo 03.25.14


Good morning & good Monday!

I’m excited to kick-off our STATE TRIVIA WEEK here at Petticoats and Pistols! The Fillies live all over the place, and, at the suggestion of one of you, our readers, we’re going to introduce you to our states. Mine?

“The Gateway to the West”

MO flag

Missouri was the 24th state in the USA, joining the union on August 10, 1821.
State Nickname – “The Show Me State”
State Motto – “Salus populi suprema lex esto ” – The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law
State Song – Missouri Waltz   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtgS3_YQ5E4
State Capital – Jefferson City
Name for Residents – Missourians
Major Rivers – Mississippi River, Missouri River, Osage River
Major Lakes – Lake of the Ozarks, Table Rock Lake, Clearwater Lake, Lake Wappapello
Highest Point – Taum Sauk Mountain- 1,772 feet (540 m) above sea level
Number of Counties – 114 (plus one independent city, St. Louis)

Those are some of the “stats” of the state. But here are a few of the “gems”:

St. Charles, located on the Missouri River, was the location of the first state capitol. The site is a State Park: http://mostateparks.com/park/first-missouri-state-capitol-state-historic-site.  Old St. Charles features many historic buildings from the early history of the state. Check out The Lewis & Clark Boathouse: http://www.lewisandclark.net/

President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar (near Joplin) on May 8, 1884 (he was the 33rd US President, serving from 1945 to 1953). He retired in Independence, in the house his wife, Bess, owned.


Samuel Clemens In TophatSamuel Langhome Clements (right), better know as Mark Twain, was born in Florida, MO, and  grew up in Hannibal. His most well-remembered character, Huckleberry Finn’s home is Hannibal. Colonel Potter’s, too, for you MASH fans

Independence was a jumping off point for many wagon trains heading west. I had so much fun exploring the museums in this delightful town.


The Gateway Arch
The nation’s tallest monument at 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide at the base, the Gateway Arch was completed in October, 1965. The vision of renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the Gateway Arch commemorates Thomas Jefferson and St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States.

St. Genevieve
French settlement on the Mississippi River, established in the early 1700s as part of the Illinois Country of the Upper Louisiana Territory. http://visitstegen.com

The second battle of the Civil War, The Battle of Wilson’s Creek, took place near what is now the city of Springfield, MO.

The Gratiot Street Prison, run by the Union, was in St. Louis during the Civil War. The site is now the Ralston Purina headquarters.


The Lake of the Ozarks has more shoreline than California has coastline.

Missouri has so many Caves we’re known as “the cave state.” There’s Bridal Cave, Meramec Cavern, Fantastic Cavern, Onondaga, Cathedral… Check out all 6400 known caves– http://www.visitmo.com/missouri-travel/missouris-show-caves.aspx

I’ll stop now. But there are just so many cool things about my state!

Anyone of you readers live in Missouri? What did I miss?

Leave a comment and I’ll pick a name from the hat to win reader’s choice of the anthologies Wishing For a CowboyHearts and Spurs AND a Missouri keepsake keychain.



The Many Flags of Texas

The Lone Star State has a proud heritage, being the only US state to have once been an indepenent nation. However, as I did a little more research, I was fascinated by the different flags Texas used throughout its revolutionary history.

The most famous Texas flag, is of course, the Lone Star Flag. This iconic design was adopted on January 25, 1839 as the official national flag of the Republic of Texas. It continued on as the state flag when Texas joined the Union in 1845.

However, during Texas”s formative years, as they struggled to gain freedom from Spain and Mexico, there were several different revolutionary flags used to inspire its citizens. I”ve picked a few of my favorites to highlight.

The Lone Star and Stripes Flag – used primarily by the Texas Navy through the time of the Texas Revolution up until annexation. Its ressemblance to the United States flag gave an added benefit of protection for those ships flying this flag in coastal waters. There is also evidence that the Lone Star

and Stripes was used at the battles of Goliad, the Alamo, and San Jacinto.



The Come and Take It Flag – created by the people of Gonzalez, Texas featuring the image of the town cannon Mexican forces had demanded they turn over. In 1831, the Mexican Army had given a small cannon to the town to protect them against Commanche raids. Over the next four years, however, the political situation in Mexico deteriorated, and they demanded their cannon back to deal with the revolts. Texians gathered to battle the dragoons sent to reclaim the cannon and were successful. The Battle of Gonzalez was a small, insignificant skirmish, but it became the first battle of the Texas Revolution and inspired countless Texians to make a stand against Mexico.



The Alamo Flag –  Historians doubt that this flag actually flew over the Alamo during the famous battle, but it came to represent what the Battle of the Alamo stood for – Freedom. This flag was used when Texas was still Coahuila y Tejas, a Mexican state fighting for freedom from Spanish rule. Most likely it derived its name as the Alamo Flag from the persistent belief that it was raised during that famous battle, even though there is no evidence to support the claim. Davy Crockett”s journal clearly states that the Lone Star and Stripes flag was what had been raised.


  • So what do flags mean to you? Patriotism, state pride?
  • Do you ever fly flags for personal events in your lives? I remember after the birth of our first child, my mother-in-law planted a pink flag in our yard bolding proclaiming that we had just welcomed a little girl to our family.
  • Do you have flags in your home for decoration or commemoration of a loved one? The sure are powerful symbols, aren”t they?