July 2, 2023

This week’s one hour radio broadcast begins as host Dale Throneberry welcomes Josh and Kerry Brenneman, with their Operation Song titled “THIS LIFE”. Our second guest is Navy man Trae Zipperer, founder of By Memorial Day, a non-profit organization that promotes restoration of veteran headstones in cemeteries.

Operation Song Featuring The Brenneman Family

Operation Song® empowers veterans, active-duty military members, and their families to tell their stories through the process of songwriting. Those served need no musical or writing skills, only a willingness to share their stories and, with the help of professional songwriters, transform them into song.

For More Information about Operation Song

Kerry and Josh Brenneman 2023

The Brenneman Family in 2023

Kerry and Josh Brenneman 2015Josh Served in the US Army for 7 years – from 2012 to 2019. He had 2 deployment to Afghanistan.

Josh enlisted as E-5, went to Officer candidate school and left the Army as First Lieutenant (1st LT).

The Brenneman Family in 2015

THIS LIFE – Written by the Josh and Kelly Brenneman and Songwriters Peter Sallis and Jamie Floyd

THIS LIFE performed by Pete Sallis and Jamie Floyd

Photo Credit – Today in Nashville – Peter Sallis and Jamie Floyd

THIS LIFE – MP3 Audio Track

Lyrics to THIS LIFE

This Life
(Kerry & Josh Brenneman/Pete Sallis/Jamie Floyd)

Fighting who I am
And the man that I can’t change
I’ve laid my weapons down
But I’m still fighting every day
From a uniform to suit and tie
From Kabul to the Tennessee country side
Oh how do I
Go from that life to this life

From never being alone
To always missing you
You’re out there changing the world
While mine is changing too
From the three of us to just me and her
To knowing you’re alive
To waiting on the word
Oh It hurts
To go from that life to this life

This life will break your heart
Surprise you with the hardest parts
Ask you to be stronger than you think you are
How do I TAKE this hurt in me
And let it be a memory
I guess I’ll take it one day at a time
To go from that life to this life

We both have battle scars
And all they are is proof
Of how we survived
I MADE my way back to you
From being to scared to death
To coming back to life
We could’ve given up
A million times

This life will break your heart
Surprise you with the hardest parts
Ask you to be stronger than you think you are
How do I TAKE this hurt in me
And let it be a memory
I guess I’ll take it one day at a time
To go from that life to this life

It’s been one hell of a ride
From that life to this life

By Memorial Day with Navy Man Trae Zipperer

THE MISSION: Promote perpetual care for all veteran headstones

Trae’s website and YouTube channel have the full story on the protocol, as provided by the National Cemetery Association, for cleaning headstones and videos to show volunteers how to remove the lichens and dirt or grime from a veterans headstone.

For more information on By Memorial Day


Navy Veteran Trae Zipperer is leading a nationwide effort to clean every veteran headstone by Memorial Day, in perpetuity. To accomplish this goal, he founded the non-profit By Memorial Day, Inc. to encourage Americans to  respectfully care for the graves of military veterans buried in local cemeteries. Veteran headstones and grave markers shipped to hometown cemeteries across America by the National Cemetery Administration number in the Millions, but the exact figure is unknown. To get involved visit ByMemorialDay.com and VeteranGraves.com.

The mission to clean veteran headstones began in September 2019 when Trae sought permission from the City of Fort Myers, FL to clean the government-furnished headstones marking the graves of veterans buried within the  Segregated African American cemeteries. The goal was limited in scope to clean about 120 veteran headstones. He was told by the Cemeteries Manager permission could not be granted to clean the veteran headstones, because he was not family. Not one to take no for an answer, Trae pressed on with the phone conversation as a veteran brother of the veterans buried there until the City Clerk got on the line and accused him of trespassing. That threat of being arrested for simply seeking permission to clean veteran headstones was the catalyst which expanded the scope to clean them all, every veteran headstone in America.


Trae set out to identify the reasons why veteran headstones were covered in disgraceful biological filth and to remove all barriers preventing the cleaning of veteran headstones. He successfully lobbied the National Cemetery  administration to create the first ever best-practices protocol for how to properly clean a government-furnished headstone.

Turns out, these government-furnished veteran headstones remain federal property!


Trae Zipperer’s veteran headstone cleaning videos on YouTube have been viewed 5,000,000 times, his YouTube channel Honor Your DNA has 26,000 Subscribers, and he was featured on national tv as the Good News Story of the Day on Memorial Day 2021 by the #1 daytime talk show LIVE with Kelly and Ryan. His videos have been viewed around the world with citizens of other countries answering the call to clean the headstones of their military veterans.


Like many Americans, Trae Zipperer descends from a long line of warriors. His 11 th great-grandfather was a charter member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts in 1638. To date he has documented 45 grandfathers who served as Patriots during the American Revolution, 88 family members who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg, and 187 family members who died during the Civil War. His mother’s father landed at Utah Beach with the 79 th Infantry Division and fought his way across Europe earning two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. His dad’s father was aboard the USS Sepulga in route to Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and served throughout the  Pacific Theater. His great-grandfather flew the Hump across the Himalayan mountains. And, his great-uncle was Killed In Action aboard the SS Susana during the Battle of the Atlantic.

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