Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

It Is The Soldier, Not The Preacher,
Who Has Given Us Freedom Of Religion.
It Is The Soldier, Not The Reporter,

Who Has Given Us Freedom Of The Press.
It Is The Soldier, Not The Poet,

Who Has Given Us Freedom Of Speech.
It Is The Soldier, Not The Protester Who Burns The Flag,

Who Has Given Us The Freedom To Demonstrate.
It Is The Soldier, Not Lawyer Or Judge,

Who Has Given Us The Right To A Free Trial.
It Is The Soldier, Not The Politician,
Who Has Given Us The Right To Vote.
It Is The Soldier Who Salutes The Flag ...

Who Serves Under The Flag...
And Whose Coffin Is Draped By That Same Beloved Flag
When His Tour Of Duty On Earth Is Over.

May God's Blessings be with all of our military. Amen.

Written by Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Sergeant, USMC

Memorial Day has always been important in my family. From my youngest years, Grandpa would talk to me about the honorable men who fought for and died for our country. We would go to the cemetery, and, as a small child, I would count the flags. I didn't truly comprehend what it all meant, but it gave me the foundation that told me that it was important - truly important. As a teen, Puna would take us to the military cemetery at Punchbowl. He would say, "You walk here and you read the names so that their names are called up for their dedication to something bigger than themselves, something that lets you enjoy each day." Again, it was foundation - something I never forgot. As Memorial Day rolls around each year, I am dismayed at the thoughtlessness of Americans. Everyone is running to a 'three-day-holiday' with no concern for the meaning. While I was doing my weekly shopping on Friday, I was asked several times if I had 'big plans' for the holiday. My response really caused people to give me the 'crazy old lady' look - "yes, we will watch the ceremony from Arlington and then we will reflect on all that our military has given to us." God Bless those who have given all for us.


Poem is ©Copyright 1970-2005 by Charles Michael Province

Note: "It Is The Soldier", which has, for several years. been attributed to Father Denis Edward OBrien, USMC. Mr Province has advised that Father O'Brien once sent a copy of the poem to "Dear Abby" and it was printed erroneously giving credit to Father O'Brien for writing it. It is at that point that the authorship became clouded, and I reproduce this information in the hope of ensuring Mr Province receives full, appropriate and most deserved credit for his wonderful piece.

Charles M. Province, a veteran of the US Army, is the sole and single Founder and President of The George S. Patton, Jr. Historical Society. He is the author of "The Unknown Patton", "Patton's Third Army", and "Patton's One-Minute Messages" More details are displayed on his website, particularly at where this poem is displayed.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Armed Forces Day

Today is an important day in our nation - one most Americans don't even know about - it is Armed Forces Day. This is a day to show our support to our military, to honor them for all that they do for us. To our many friends who are serving - thank you! We will ever be grateful for all you do to keep us safe and free!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Hero to Remember ~ Sgt Maj Bradley Kasal

In this age of calling the false - celebrities, sports stars, politicians - heroes, this is a real one you should never forget! Thank God we still have men like this in our country.

MCB Camp Pendleton, CA. - Sergeant Maj. Bradley A. Kasal feels he did what any good Marine would’ve done. That includes taking enemy rifle fire on Nov. 14, 2004, absorbing a grenade blast and refusing medical attention inside Fallujah’s “House of Hell” during Operation Al Fajr (New Dawn).For his extraordinary heroism and leadership in Fallujah, Iraq, as the Weapons Company first sergeant for 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Kasal was awarded the Navy Cross during a ceremony here Monday.

“The word hero is tossed around pretty loosely these days,” said Maj. Gen. Michael R. Lehnert, Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations West, after awarding Kasal with the Naval service’s second-highest decoration, in front of an audience that included the 1st Marine Division’s past and present commanding generals, Lt. Gen. James N. Mattis and Maj. Gen. Richard F. Natonski, respectively. "Some may call a basketball player a hero for scoring the winning goal or a celebrity for donating a small portion of their earnings to a good cause, but Kasal is a true American hero.”

When then-1st Sgt. Kasal assisted one of his platoons with an over watch inside Fallujah that day, intense gunfire broke out in an Iraqi home to his immediate front.Seconds later, Marines were rapidly exiting the building, known as the “House of Hell.” “That house was a death trap,” said Maj. Gen. Lehnert. “It was set up for one purpose: to kill United States Marines.” Kasal could have easily stayed out of the house.” When he found out that there were Marines still pinned down inside the infamous house, nothing the insurgents could put on the table would stop him from rescuing his Marines. “Going in for them was the right thing to do,” said Kasal, 39, who hails from Afton, Iowa. “They’re Marines, and I’m a Marine. We look out for each other.” Upon entry of the house, Kasal found himself face-to-face with an insurgent who he neutralized at extreme close range. Shortly afterwards, AK-47 gunfire was coming from all directions, and Kasal was hit from behind.“While I was in that house, I made three life or death decisions,” Kasal explained. “I never thought I would live through any of them, but I did what I did to help the other Marines.” The first decision Kasal made was to expose himself to enemy fire in order to pull another wounded Marine out of the line of fire. Kasal took more enemy fire doing this. While both Marines were under cover, they assessed their wounds. Both had multiple injuries, but there were only enough bandages for one of them to live. Kasal made his second decision to forfeit his medical supplies to the other Marine. “It made more sense to use all of the bandages on one of us then to split the supplies and have us both bleed to death,” Kasal said. The insurgents deployed a hand grenade to get the Marines out of cover, and it landed within a few feet of the two bleeding Marines. Kasal then decided to use his own severely wounded body to protect the Marine from shrapnel. By the time he was carried out of the house by Lance Cpl. Chris Marquez and Lance Cpl. Dan Shaffer as Lucian M. Reed, an Associated Press photographer snapped the iconic photo displayed at Marine Corps installations all over the globe, Kasal had lost approximately 60 percent of his blood from more than 40 shrapnel wounds and seven 7.62 mm AK-47 gunshots.

One day prior to being awarded the Navy Cross Kasal’s father passed away. However, a live video teleconference feed to Kasal’s hometown provided his mother, family members and friends an opportunity to watch him receive the Navy Cross, be promoted to the rank of sergeant major and reenlisted for three years. “It’s been a very emotional week,” Kasal said. “I am blessed to recover from my injuries, which the doctors thought would never happen, and regain my place in the Marine Corps. I would take the pain of surgeries any day over the pain of being away from my Marines.”

To read all of A Hero to Remember Tributes, click here.

To read the book review of My Men are My Heroes, click here.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Fifth of May

Fortunately, we do not live in a part of the country that is annoyed by Cinco de Mayo celebrations, though our restaurants - like they do everywhere - like to use the "holiday" for monetary gain. This year, I have noticed far fewer ads for the event - it wasn't on the LA news and the MSN home page doesn't mention it at all - do you think that, just maybe, sensitivities are high after the disgusting display on
May 1 ??????? I've always enjoyed asking people what Cinco de Mayo was - after the blank stares, usually you get a blubbered Mexican independence day - WRONG! Cinco de Mayo was the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, in which the Mexican forces defeated the French army. Beware - here come the rest of the facts - on May 8, the French forces overran Puebla and made their way to Mexico city. What was the fuss about? It seems that Mexico decided not to repay the French (British and Spanish, as well) for loans that Mexico had gotten from them, and the French weren't about to be shorted. So, it was not a day of independence, not a day of dancing and mariachi music. It is now just an excuse to celebrate.

Phone Call from Camp

L called tonight - she's at Leadership Training Camp in South Carolina for the completion of her SGT rank. She graduates on Saturday!! Hooah!!

A year ago, we sent some books to L while she was in Iraq - she had placed a request on the Books for Soldiers site. We immediately became connected. We've written long letters, we talk on the phone - the first time she called from Iraq!!! - and, in July, we will finally meet face to face! I'm excited! She so reminds me of myself at her age. We have so much in common and I value her perspective on the world! She has become a friend, and family!

It was great to talk to her tonight - tried to talk while I was cooking dinner - burned the first batch of pilaf!! Oh, well!! It is good that K has a great sense of humor! - which includes laughing at me when I deserve it - what a great guy! He started the seasonal "moving pipe" tonight - so dinner will be later through September. It's great to have the water on - love the sound of the irrigation sprinklers ticking in the night!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The National Day of Prayer

The first Thursday of May is the National Day of Prayer in our country.

This year, we had a service in our community for the event. It was held at a church I had never been to, and it was a beautiful experience. It was a memorable experience to sit in a room full of Americans and celebrate the foundations of this country - the religious principles that have guided us since the beginning. We formed a prayer circle and lifted our prayers for our government, our military, our teachers, our judges. I was able to add CPT Guy in Afghanistan and SGT James in Iraq to our circle of prayer. They are in my daily prayers, but today they received the prayers of other Americans. I am pleased to have been able to attend.

May God continue to Bless this country and to guide her.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Beautiful Day!

As Spring was so late in arriving, we are even more gladdened by the beauty of the late Spring we are having. It still isn't very warm, and I find myself in long sleeves more often than not, but the sun and blue skies are beautiful!! The fields are greening up, the bulbs are blooming, the perennials are peaking up - a late Spring, but Spring nonetheless! K spent the day getting the irrigation system up and running. Putting out the pipes - first cleaning out the critters who have made homes there - checking the spigots for blockage - all time consuming, but it is up and running now. Of course, with this joy comes the weeds! So, we are on weed patrol!! The never ending quest to keep the weeds out of the fields and the flower beds! My fingers are sore from pulling them out, but it feels so good to have my hands back in the dirt! Still, I have a lot of catching up to get even with them!

What glorious gifts God gives us when we choose to see!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Revisiting May Day 2006 or Wake Up, America!

I left the news channels on all day to watch the "festivities" play out across the country. All I felt was emptiness and sadness for my country. When K came home from work - at a college, mind you - he said that no one seemed to know that anything was going on. WAKE UP, AMERICA! Take the selfishness and your self-absorbed reality out of your ears and your eyes. If any of the values of our country mean anything to you, you better start defending it now. There are two easy steps you can take right now - write your congressman and senators and let them know you don't want millions of unassimilated people to become citizens of this country AND don't hire them. This includes those "under the table" nannies, housekeepers, yard workers, etc. The largest employer of the illegals is the average American paying them cash under the table.

The time seems to be right for ILLEGAL residents to take over this country. They function like sheep, answering the call of the Spanish radio and television stations - they are told what to do and they do it. Can you imagine getting 200,000 assimilated Americans to show up for anything, let alone hours of standing in the streets while speeches are delivered that can't be heard beyond the first few feet of people? It just wouldn't happen. They are coming at us with a far leftist agenda, no sense of democracy, no sense of the republic they want to control. They don't evaluate their own actions, they just do what they are told. If we don't stand up now, it will be too late. Because our politicians have lost the interest in doing what is right for the country. I think the only bipartisan thing they do is to screw all of us in the quest for their personal power.

In my lifetime, I have seen so many rights and freedoms taken away from us. It goes back to Madeline Murray O'Hare. She was the woman who managed to get our Supreme Court to remove prayer from the schools in the 1950's. Now, we've lost the Pledge of Allegiance in most places, the right to call Christmas - Christmas, the Ten Commandments, the mention of God in public. You can show porn and speak with a trashy mouth, but don't say God! Now we are losing the right to expect people to enter the country with our permission or be thrown out. As we loose these things, we loose the fabric of our nation. You can't pick and choose what you want the law to be - unless you want anarchy. I fear we are headed there.

Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty - I fear for your endurance in these times.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day! That is, Happy May Day of my youth!

Once you've exceeded the half century post, you realize that terms and holidays take on a life of their own if you don't clarify what you mean. As a child, we celebrated the fullness of the Spring and the coming of Summer. In school, we made May Baskets and picked flowers to go in them. We left them on the door steps of our neighbors ~ especially conscientious to remember the older people in our community. It was a day of goodwill and good neighbors. In high school, I lived in Hawai'i. There, May Day was Lei Day. It was a day to celebrate the flowers of the islands (fullness of Spring, again) and to share their beauty (back to neighbors and community.) We would gather flowers, make leis and present them to friends and neighbors. As an adult, it is the time that our full days of farming begin. Days that we begin the planting (fullness of Spring) and working towards the harvesting (bounty of Summer), the battle with the weeds and the longer days which mean much shorter nights for resting, but longer days for helping other farmers, though there are fewer of us these days as the farms are turned into McMansions, the pastures into lawns (neighbors and community.) So, this is what I wish all that I know ~ the fullness of Spring, the bounty of Summer and the joy of friends, neighbors and communities.

Polluted by the world, this lovely holiday has been hijacked, as most lovely holidays are, by far too many others, and used for political or cultural agendas. This year is by far the worst. First, the day was used by the socialists to demand 'workers rights' - translate "redistribution of wealth." The Nazis used it as a day to show strength and might. In the Soviet Era, the government used it as a day to parade its military might ~ they called it "workers day", but people still starved and were exploited and the parades were of nuclear missiles. Now, the illegal residents of this country are using it to DEMAND specific rights and treatment from our government. They don't like the laws we have, they didn't obey the laws we have, so they are demanding laws they have no right to have. Any hope they had of moving me towards their side, they killed off by flying flags from foreign governments. A flag is a symbol of a country and demands loyalty and respect. Flying foreign flags on the streets of the United States is disturbing, in the least. The message it sends me is "do what we want or else, and, oh by the way, our loyalty is to another government, but you owe us free citizenship, medical care, schooling, and anything else we can get."

I wish all a Happy May Day (of my youth!)

Gazing at the Flag

This is the view out of my window. The seasons change, but the flag remains - as constant and steady as the values that it represents. I can get lost watching it wave in the breeze. If a waving American flag doesn't bring joy and pride to your heart, you have my sympathy.