Monday, July 31, 2006

Supporting Our Troops - My Journey (Part Four)

September Eleventh. (I can't bring myself to abbreviate it into numbers - it deserves the full force of the words, for it was a day which carried the full force of evil.) I believed that we were going to be at war. I didn't know where, I didn't know when, but I believed it was going to happen. I knew that we had the best military in the world - the best trained, the best equiped, the best character. Young men and women were going to be going to a foreign land, to do what the rest of us wouldn't have to. They were going to have to put everything they had trained for into practice. Some would be wounded. Some would die far from home. This was war.

On September 20, President Bush came before a joint session of Congress to address the nation. In that memorable speech, he said:

"I have a message for our military: Be ready. I've called the Armed Forces to alert, and there is a reason. The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud."

Now, I knew what I believed was going to come true. At the end of the speech, K and I sat and discussed what we could do for our troops. And, I do believe that Mom was smiling down. Thus began our journey to do more than put a ribbon on our car or fly a flag out of the window. We wanted to reach out and make a difference.

We have been actively involved in troop support projects ever since. I believe that we have made a difference, but what we did not expect was the difference that it made in us. These fine young men and women have come into our lives - some for brief moments and some for lifetime friendships. We have been blessed by knowing them. We will ever be grateful for what they have given to us - our freedom, the blessings of liberty, the joy that comes from sleeping safe each night. You have "made us proud." God Bless You, All. And, Thank You!!!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Supporting Our Troops - My Journey (Part Three)

Throughout the Vietnam War, I wrote numerous letters and sent them off to "Any Soldier" - occasionally, I got a response. I built up a relationship with one young soldier - then, one day the letters stopped. I learned later that he was killed in Da Nang. When I learned of his death, it was so personal to my young soul. I didn't really know him, yet I missed him terribly. This was my first direct experience with a war death, though not my last. Suddenly, in my mind, all of the men and women who had sacrificed for our country became real to me. Our December 7 visits to the Arizona in Pearl Harbor were different, the Memorial Day visits to Punchbowl were different, even watching the old WWII movies was different. I saw everything with new eyes. Years later, I came to realize that after WWII, Americans were insulated from this experience. Most Americans will never know someone in the military and most don't know someone who does. Yet, they freely make assumptions about who these men and women are. How sad for us as a nation that so few take the time to know any of these amazing people.

As life and career became all consuming, my letter writing reverted to the holiday cards and letters. It was always uplifting once I carved out a space of time and got it done. After my Mom passed on, it was more difficult for me to do. It made me miss her even more.

September eleventh, two thousand one. Life changed for all of us. That evening, amidst the tears, I saw my Mom's face at the tarmac at the Honolulu airport over thirty years ago, and knew that I was going to go on a similar journey - one letter at a time - one package at a time - one soldier, marine, airman or sailor at a time. I was going to fight this fight as best I could, by uplifting those who were in harm's way.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Supporting Our Troops - My Journey (Part Two)

Supporting the troops has always been part of our family tradition. When I was a little girl, in November, my Mom would sit us down and have us "draw pretty pictures for the soldiers". She would explain that many were far, far away from home for the holidays and we needed to cheer them up, because they were far away so that we could all be together. So, we drew pretty pictures for the soldiers. My Mom, adding a letter of her own, would bundle them up and send them off. My Mom came of age during WWII - she lost friends, she worked on projects for the troops, rolled bandages at the Red Cross, she wrote letters and sent them off to Europe and the Pacific. She never lost the need to do something for those who were giving so much for us. And, she instilled in me that obligation to do the same thing.

As I aged, she would gently remind us that it was time for letters to the troops. But, wisely, she left it to us to participate or not. A gentle woman, she went on with her support activities quietly, while raising the two of us as a working, single mother (not something seen often in the early sixties). I remember in high school (remember how smart we all thought we were??!!) I decided with the great wisdom of youth that I was anti-war. This gentle woman nodded her head and said, "I need you to help me with something this weekend."

My Mom, this graceful lady, and her sixteen year old hippie-wanna-be daughter drove out to the airport. You see, my Mom worked with the USO to greet troops arriving in Hawaii. In those days, the planes were greeted with stair ramps, people deplaned into the open air and there was an observation deck where you could stand outside and watch people come and go. I walked out onto the tarmac with her as the stair ramp was being secured to the plane. Above me, on the observation deck, was a group of rowdy looking people holding nasty signs and chanting hateful things. When the passengers began to deplane, and the military uniform was spotted, the rowdy group became loud and vile. "Baby killer" was a common epithet and there was spitting, throwing of lit cigarettes and trash - an extremely ugly representation of humanity. I turned to look at my Mom who had her arm around this young soldier, barely eighteen. She was smiling at him and talking to him as a Mom does. I will never forget him grabbing her hand, much like a small boy would and allowing himself to be led away from the vile and into the comfort of a stranger who cared ~ he was coming from VietNam to attend his father's funeral. We stayed there all day, greeting soldiers who were arriving and escorting some who were departing. Each was harangued by this vile group of people.

Through it all, my Mom remained a lady, remained supportive of these young men, in spite of the spit that had landed on her dress and her hair on multiple occasions. She stood beween the vile and the honorable - and, with her protective and calm demenor kept these young men from responding in a way that would have ruined their lives. By example, my Mom taught me a great lesson about choosing sides. I knew I wanted to be on the side of the supportive and the caring, not on the side of the vile. Later, she explained to me that no one likes war, that deep down we are all anti-war, but that sometimes, brave men must wage war so that we will have peace, and that it is our job as citizens to care for them while they are doing the hardest job of all, for they are doing it for us.

My Mom, never lectured me, never argued with me, she always taught by example - believing she had children who were smart enough to figure it out on their own if they were shown both sides of the issue. Up until her death, we still sat down and wrote those holiday cards and letters, and mailed them off, knowing that somewhere far, far away someone would smile and feel special because we cared. It took me many years to understand that the only pacifist on the tarmac that day was my Mom - the one who was assaulted with vile language and spittle, the one that maintained her composure, the one that smiled and cared. She was a pacifist because she did the right thing, she did it kindly and gently and she did not respond to violence with violence. I am still so very proud of her all of these decades later.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Supporting Our Troops - My Journey

Supporting our troops is a way of life for me. It comes from my family, from my experiences, from my value system. To me, it is part of being an American, because without our military securing everything we hold dear, there would not be an America.

My first war as a "thinking person" was Vietnam. At the time, I lived in Hawaii which was an R&R location for troops serving in Vietnam. It was impossible to go anywhere or do anything without meeting troops who were in my peer group. They had a different perspective on the war than I was hearing from the media of the day. I also watched politicians try to micromanage the war, rather than allowing the military to manage their own battles. Without ever losing a battle, we tucked our tail between our legs and ran away, because the only battle we had lost was the biggest battle of them all - the battle for public opinion in America. So, Vietnam fell and, as a result, millions were slaughtered in Vietnam and Cambodia. But, Americans no longer cared about those deaths, we were safe at home.

As I watch the War on Terror, I see the same larger battles being played out. President Bush has thus far prevented politicians from micromanaging the battle space. And, I think that this is the reason that his detractors really hate him. Our press is notoriously bizarre, and they seem to enjoy creating problems, leaking secrets and being on the opposite side of any issue. Since Americans are lazier than ever about gathering information and making informed decisions, it is easier to let the press (with all of their agendas) form their opinions. Worries are expressed with great outrage regarding "collateral" death, but no one cares about the mass graves, the murders in the stadiums for the slightest affront. But, this time, if we quit, they will come after us and they will kill us. They have set us up as the "Great Satan" - they have used us as a control mechanism for the under-educated, unemployed, unfed and unhappy. They hate us all. They hate our way of life, they hate our version of civilization, and for those of you who think they can be "talked to and understood", they hate you, too, and will kill you just as dead as they will me.

Fortunately, in this war, we have more communication with the battle space. We have milbloggers, faster mail delivery, email, chat and other technological wonders. For those who want to know, they can find the information. Unfortunately, most Americans are too lazy, too selfish, too unconcerned to find out the information. They just spew forth the talking points the press has given them without thinking about how they came to that conclusion.

I am proud to say that I write to the troops, I email the troops, I spend time with the troops, I read the milbloggers (and, if I ever learn how to do it, will post links to some of the blogs I depend upon for news!) So, I don't buy into the media version of the news. I rely on the best reporters of them all - those that are on the ground, living the experience.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Neil Cavuto Presents Wayne Newton!

OK - you are probably scratching your head and wondering what I am thinking ... well, bear with me a moment. I want you to meet two remarkable men who quite openly and proudly show their support for the troops!

I watch Neil Cavuto on Fox News almost every day (1pm PST - 4pm EST) - but, not because of the financial news. I admit that I "just don't get it" and feel that everyone else does! I watch Neil because he has the most amazing guests on his show and because of his brilliant daily commentary, which is centered around the good and the greatness of this country. (If you can't watch, it is worth the daily read.) He has military men and women on regularly. He gives a public platform to their stories and to their good works. He puts on support groups and gives out the information on how to become involved. Neil is a good guy!

Yesterday, when I had Neil in the background, I heard him announce Wayne Newton would be on next. So, I settled in to watch. You see, Wayne Newton is a personal hero of mine. His music is OK, and I understand that seeing him perform will make you feel like you got more than your money's worth. But, those are not reasons for him to be a hero. He's my hero because of who he is as a person, for the great and admirable things he does with his celebrity. When Bob Hope was nearing the end of his life, he asked Wayne Newton to become the Chairman of the Celebrity Circle of the USO, the job Bob Hope had for so many years. Wayne was well qualified to do this because of his lifelong relationship with the USO.

From the USO site: Mr. Newton's relationship with the USO is as long as his career. Over the years, he has entertained in every military conflict since and including the Vietnam War. He performed for nearly 25,000 service members aboard ships off Beirut in 1983, soon after the bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks. He was the first USO performer to go to Afghanistan. Mr. Newton led a tour to Bosnia and Kosovo, and participated in the USO's first tour to Iraq. Since October 2001, he also has served as Chairman of the USO Celebrity Circle, with unparalleled dedication, assisting in the recruitment of other celebrities to entertain troops and helping to increase awareness of the USO. Whether he is celebrating July 4th with troops in Korea, comforting a wounded soldier in Iraq, signing autographs on his annual holiday tours or calling a soldier's wife to let her know her husband is fine, he has ensured that service members know they are not forgotten.

It was an amazing interview of an amazing man. When he speaks about our military, it will make you teary-eyed. You can tell that they are his heroes, too. He will always refer to them as the finest of our country, of their generation. He also speaks about our obligation to them - REGARDLESS of our political feelings about the Commander-in-Chief or their mission, for without our military we would not be America. Of course, I was pleased when he stated that he believed in President George W. Bush and felt that history would see him for the great man that he is. Wayne Newton first performed for President Truman. He has met and performed for all of our Presidents since President Nixon - save one. Can you guess who? You won't be surprised if you think about it.

Neil tried to get him to talk about the things that he does for the military. But, he kept it all in the public realm and the USO work. It was obvious that Neil knew of the many, many quiet and private things he has done over the years. I know of several, but allow me to share one, and it is something amazing!! Recently, a milblogger, CPT Ziegenfuss, who was severely wounded in Iraq, went to Las Vegas with some friends. When he got to the Bellagio, they made quite a fuss over him that he couldn't understand. It seems that Wayne Newton had changed the arrangements! Read this amazing story!!! Warning, tissue required!!!! Is Wayne Newton on your hero list yet?!! This is the kind of story that we hope to hear and never do from celebrities. But, for Wayne Newton, this is his way of life. That is why Wayne Newton is my hero!

Oh - the President that did not invite Wayne Newton to perform at the White House - did you guess right? - Pres. Jimmy Carter. When Neil asked Wayne why that was, Wayne actually sneered, but did not say anything disrespectful.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Miss Mona

You are missed!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

It's a Beautiful Day! But, Evil Lurks

Mr. Boots


I always love the mornings in the summer. As I walk outside to let the cats out, we all are in our early waking, stretching and yawning mode. We sit on the deck and the cats come for petting and love, then set off on their day of hunting and sleeping. I sit and look at the beauty around me...see the flag flying free, notice the flowers in bloom, remind myself to feed the birds before I go in, enjoy watching the goats in the pasture. This morning it is crisp and clear. The dew is glistening on the plants that are still in the shade, but the promise of a warm day is in the air. The hay is cut and you can smell it drying. This is the most peaceful moment of the day - before I turn on the news to hear the latest atrocity in the world, the latest venom from the politicians, the general stupidity of the world - the ugliness is for later in the day. But, first, I restore my soul with this momentary peacefulness.

Unfortunately, these peaceful moments are no longer as peaceful as they used to be. There is an anxiety about the moment and the rest of the day. Two weeks ago, the moment was shattered as a neighbor shot Wagon while he was lying in the sun in our driveway. That horrible moment when a yowling cat spurting blood from his chest came towards me is still vividly imprinted on my mind. The vet was able to save Wagon - at no small cost. In April, Miss Mona was murdered. Whenever I take the cats out now, there is a fear that this evil man will start shooting again. I know I cannot follow the cats around all day, and keeping them in all day is hard on all of us and reeks of unhappiness and misery...having gone through ten days of keeping Wagon in while his wounds healed, I can testify to how unhappy we all were.

I don't know why this man has turned into this evil murdering fool. When he killed Miss Mona, she was on his property - ten acres of weeds and derelict vehicles and junk - hunting vermin. When he shot Wagon, the cat was on our property. This is the same neighbor who used to let his dogs run wild, including chasing our livestock. We never killed or harmed the dogs, though we had the legal right to. He's never said anything about the cats. It just started and it is evil.

You may be thinking, "you should call the police." Well, we did. And, yes, it is illegal. And, yes, we can file a report. So, we filed the report and nothing has been done or ever will be. They have never picked up the vet report, the witness (yes, witness) report. They won't follow through. Guess my ongoing support for our Sheriff's department has completely eroded. To know that someone can fire onto our property without worrying about consequences is frightening.

I've discovered that for law abiding people, our favorite placebo is "I'll call the police." I now have a different view of that action. I now have a new understanding of people who take matters into their own hands when the police wouldn't do anything. You know, I would have rather the officer said, "Sorry, ma'am, we can't do bothered..bye-bye." I always prefer honesty to deceit. Right now, I don't have a good feeling about our law enforcement.

So, "the boys" and I have our morning ritual. But, there is a haunting thought, wondering if I will ever see them again, that happens throughout the day. It is so evil to intentionally kill something that someone loves.

So, we pray that God will shed his light on us. We pray for this evil man.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Burning the Flag

Recently, the Congress took on the Flag Burning Amendment to the Constitution. Once again, it did not pass. I have mixed emotions about it. I hate to see the Constitution muddied by little amendments that dictate proper behavior. I do NOT believe that flag burning is "freedom of speech" anymore than cross burning or campaign contributions are. It is a reprehensible act which attacks the symbol of all of the best of this country. People who do it should be shunned for the dispicable act and the lack of patriotism it invokes. I wouldn't even mind an ordinance with a fine for the act. But, I am not comfortable with a Constitutional Amendment. I am also not comfortable that we have an educational system which goes out of its way to avoid teaching about the symbols of this country, what they stand for and the price that was paid for them.

Over the 4th of July weekend, a small group got together for the Santa Cruz's 2nd Annual Old Time American Flag Burn. The pictures show people gleefully burning flags in a burn barrel on the beach...disgusting. Their statement reads "Long may she burn. Fan the raging flames of freedom. One of the most patriotic symbols we share is our magestic flag. A symbol of our freedoms, like the right to free speech which includes the right to burn this patriotic symbol. Which makes a burning flag our most patriotic symbol. Sunset burn ritual and beach party in celebration of free speech." If you can get logic out of this, you are doing better than I is too convoluted for me.

Of course, we live in a time where few practice respect - for one another, for their community, for their neighbors, for their children, for their parents, for their teachers, for their military. It shouldn't surprise me that they have no respect for our flag or for the greatness of this country. But, it does break my heart and wound my soul.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Protest - ???

One of the potentially sad things that was set to happen at PFC Thomas Tucker's memorial service was protest. I will never see how protesting a funeral is relevant. But, the Westboro Church and Fred Phelps were set to protest - then didn't show up.

For several days, it was the battle of the protesters. When Westboro's intentions became clear, it was countered with the Gay and Lesbian group planning to counter protest. In stepped the Patriot Guard Riders, who would ride to the Memorial Service and then on the cemetery. As all of these groups made their intentions known, plans began to change.

The Patriot Guard Riders, the Oregon Veteran's Riders and other motorcycle groups planned to coordinate their arrival and departure. They were invited by the family and were working in concert with the police department. If you don't know about this group, go here. They attended the service with flags flying high. They escorted the caravan with large flags flying to the cemetery. They made me proud!

The gay and lesbian group realized that although Westboro deserves to be challenged at all times, the service was NOT the place to do.

And, Westboro - well, they didn't show up. Their statement was that they wouldn't be allowed to protest where enough people could see or hear them. I'm expecting a lawsuit. But, I think they were intimidated away by the number of people that would be there. I won't give you a link. You can google them if you really want to be disgusted.

I will never understand how beliefs about gays has anything to do with fallen soldiers. This is twisted logic at the extreme. These people are heinous for attacking grieving families for any reason. What they do is EVIL.

I am thankful that the only ones who showed up were the Patriot Guard Riders and other motorcycle groups. It was an incredible display of the USA at its finest.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Farewell, PFC Thomas Tucker

PFC Thomas Lowell Tucker
B Company, 1st Battalion,
502nd Infantry Regiment,
2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
May 5, 1981 - June 16, 2006

As you all know, we lost three fine young men in Youssifiyah, Iraq - PFC Thomas Tucker, PFC Kristian Menchaca and SPC David J. Babineau. SPC Babineau was killed in the initial ambush. PFC Tucker and PFC Menchaca were kidnapped, brutalized to a point that the only way to identify the body parts was through DNA testing, then left with their remains booby-trapped. In the search to recover them, another soldier was killed and several were wounded. The following statement was released at the time: "We announce the good news to our Islamic nation that God's will was executed and the two crusader animals we had in captivity were slaughtered"..."And God has given our Emir, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, the good fortune of carrying out the legitimate court's command in person." Are you angry yet? If not - why not? This is what these creatures would like to do to each and every one of us, regardless of our politics. We need to be outraged.

I cannot speak to the lives and burials of PFC Menchaca or SPC Babineau, but I can speak about PFC Thomas Lowell Tucker. He was from a tiny town here in Central Oregon - a town my husband went to school in - at the same high school Tom went to (though many years apart). We have enjoyed the same country, the same air, the same special spots. Tom pumped gas at a gas station during high school, at which I stopped at frequently...I wonder how many times that young man filled my tank and washed my windows? Odds are, he did. (In Oregon, you can't pump your own gas - don't ask why!) We were part of the same community. His wish was to find more meaning in his life - to do something important. So, he joined the Army. In a bit less than a year, his family says that his life took on new meaning. In one of his last messages home he left this on the answering machine, "Be proud of me Mom, I'm defending my country." His murder rocked our least for those who were paying attention. Why aren't more Americans paying attention?

I had the honor of attending Tom's Memorial Service. It was a memorable event - I will never forget it. It was a hot here in the high desert. The service was held in the Events Center - dead center in the fairgrounds - a long hike from parking. At the entrance, many VFW members greeted us and gave us each a bottle of ice cold water. The community was seated in the upper level of the arena, and the floor was seating for the family and military. Most of the available seating in the arena was taken. At the far end of the hall, the various veterans groups and Patriot Guard Riders were seated. They were holding numerous large American flags and during the service two stood holding a large American flag and a large Oregon flag. Along with about 5,000 others, I found a seat and waited in silent contemplation and prayer. Since Oregon no longer has a military base, the Oregon National Guard was in attendance and Chaplain John Dinsmore conducted the service. An honor guard from the ONG brought the flag covered casket to the dais. There were prayers, a Eulogy from Tom's own pastor, speeches by politicians - the Governor and our Congressman showed up - Brigadier General Gregg Martin told the story of the Fallen Soldier Memorial and officers from several areas of the Army kneeled, prayed and placed Commander's Coins at the Memorial. Tom's sister spoke and his mother's friend sang a song she had written for Tom. The lights dimmed and we were treated to a slide show of pictures of Tom throughout his life. The lights came up to the strains of a bagpipe playing Amazing Grace. He walked to a formation of the Portland Police Highland Guard, and they played as the casket was placed in the hearse. Then, they led the way out of the arena. The thirty mile drive from the arena to the cemetery had a caravan of motorcycle riders - about 400 - and numerous cars - about eight miles long. At the cemetery, the Highland Guard played and the Honor Guard was from the 101st Airborne. Tom was celebrated with all of the honors he deserved. His parents were presented with his Bronze Star and Purple Heart. It was an incredibly emotional service. You could feel the presence of God and his Angels. I saw every branch of the military in uniform, young ROTC cadets in uniform and Veterans from many wars. They had come to pay tribute as I had. Each of us was touched with tears and a heavy heart. We all felt the loss. But, we also felt the amazing grace of God touching us.

I, for one, will NEVER forget what PFC Thomas Tucker and PFC Kristian Menchaca endured for us that day. And, I will never forget their sacrifices and the sacrifice of SPC David Babineau.

I would like to share the poem that his family had printed in the service program:

The Eagle
The eagle now is truly free
Soaring through eternity
He found his wings and began to climb.
He was yours for but one moment in time.
You cradled him upon your breast
and nurturing him
You were truly blest.
You gave him values beyond measure
He gave you memories to treasure.
And now he soars happy and free
Still yours through all eternity.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

There are MANY great posts on the internet today about our country. I have decided to post a couple of my favorites.

I am always saddened by how much so many DON"T know about our history...about how we became a country, about who we are and what we stand for. Somewhere along the line, we lost our history, lost our soul. I do see it in the hearts and minds of the young men and women we have "adopted" in the military. They give me hope for the future. I believe they will teach their children and set examples in their communities. I know that they are the best that America has to offer and they make me proud.

For those of you who have forgotten your history, Independence Day is the day the Declaration of Independence was ratified by the Continental Congress. We still had a long, hard slog through years of war to become a country, to write a Constitution, to elect a government - it was the day intent for freedom and liberty was stated. Today we commemorate the 56 brave men who stood up to oppression and tyranny. They risked everything for our future. Here are their stories.


Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. Many lost their lives, more lost their fortunes, but none lost their honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire. The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife’s bedside as she was dying. Their thirteen children fled for their lives. His fields and gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

Some of us take our liberties for granted, but we shouldn’t. So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots. It’s not much to ask for the price they paid. Then, thank the many down through our history who have fought for us, thank the men and women who are serving our country today., who fight for us, sto that we will not have to.

Remember: Freedom is Never Free! Patriotism isn’t a Sin! The Fourth of July has more to it than beer, picnics and baseball games.

And, another great quote, which reminds us of how oppressive governments celebrate their national days:

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. ~Erma Bombeck

Isn't this a GREAT COUNTRY!!!!

Where, oh, where?

I haven't posted in a while, not because I haven't had anything to say, but because I've had too much to say about too many things. Soon, I will go through them!