A C-130 Hercules prepares for takeoff from the Bagram Airfield flightline
A UH-60 Blackhawk manuevers from the Bagram Airfield flightline
The first thing I see when I look out my window is my flag of the United States of America blowing in the breeze. Often, I will sit and gaze at the flag - great focus for thinking. These are my musings and ramblings, and, on occasion, rants... I am unapologetic in my support of our military, our country and my devotion to God. I will honor them and pay tribute to them here. Along the side bar you will find tributes to Oregon's fallen warriors.
The Tuskegee Airmen, the 332nd Fighter Group, were honored today with the Congressional Gold Medal. Over 300 of the pilots and support crew were in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol Building for the ceremony.
This group of men were the first Negro pilots in the United States Army Air Corps. They flew as bomber escorts in the European theater, and have the distinction of being the only escort group to never loose a bomber to enemy fire in over 200 missions.
Yet, they were subject to segregation and discrimination - both during the war and afterwards. It was common for salutes not to be given or returned.
President Bush said he would like to "offer a gesture to help atone for all the unreturned salutes and unforgivable indignities," saluted the airmen. The airmen stood, returned the salute and applauded.
Dr. Roscoe Brown, a former commander of the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, thanked the President, the House and Senate for "voting unanimously to award this medal collectively to the the pilots, bombardiers, the navigators, the mechanics, the ground officers, the enlisted men and women who served with the Tuskegee Airmen."
President Bush added, "I benefited from what you and so many others did. It is a rich history. I stand so proudly before you today, but I know in the depth of my heart that the only reason I'm able to stand proudly before you today is because you stood proudly for America 60 years ago."
The combat record of the Tuskegee Airmen speaks for itself:
This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Kathi
I was just honored by Sarge Charlie with his Great American Award
Chely Wright just returned from a 10 day tour of Kuwait, Iraq and Germany on a "Thank You Tour" for the men and women serving overseas.
She stopped at: Camp Beuhring, Kuwait; Camp Slayer, Camp Liberty, Camp Prosperity, Balad Air Base, Camp Speicher, Al Asad Air Base, Iraq; and Ray Barracks, Germany. This was her fourth tour to the middle east.
"As long as there are boots on the ground and boots in the air, there are a bunch of us that just want to say thank you," Chely Wright told her audience. "I am commited to coming here as long as we have troops in Iraq. The folks back home pray every day for you, and I just want to thank so many who have asked me to come over here."
She always sings "Bumper of My SUV" for her military audiences. But, getting through it without being emotional is difficult.
Thank you to all of the entertainers who take the time to entertain our military!
The pictures above have been floating around the internet all week. They were proudly posted - along with a hundred others - at Indymedia following the protests. If you wish to see all of them they are at portland - dot - indymedia - dot - org/en/2007/03/355964.shtml - sorry, you'll have to type it in, I refuse to post a link to this ___ (put whatever expletive in you would like to - obviously, you couldn't possibly offend them.)
This march took place in Portland, Oregon - the 'crown jewel' of Oregon - a beautiful city near the Willamette and Columbia rivers with Mt Hood standing proudly above it. It has become the home to the liberal elite, and through numbers controls the politics of the entire state. The majority of the colleges are private and incredibly expensive - did you know that this is what your tuition money was paying for, parents?
At the anti-war protests, these people decided to prove once and for all, that they really don't support the troops. To do so, they burned an American Soldier and an American Flag in effigy. In case you think this was folly, look at the face of the man in the black shirt in the top picture - pure glee. This is representative of their desire to see the government of the United States overthrown. Many of them are anarchists. The city government pretty much allows them to do what they want to do in the guise of "Free Speech." I find it hard to believe that advocating the overthrow of the government is what the founders had in mind. We have lost a sense of decency when we defend these types of actions. They may be free to say and do reprehensible and disgusting things, but I have a right to call them by those names.
To top off their day, they broke out the windows of the recruiting station. Again, free speech. Free to destroy private property. This recruiting office has been beseiged by the Code Pink Grandmas for years. And, it is free speech, don't you know?
Prior to the protests, I was interviewed by the major paper in the state, the Oregonian. the article was titled "War Supporters Feel Adrift as Tide Turns" - if they had told me the title, I would not have done the interview. My interview was distilled into a few sentences - http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/03/gathering-of-eagles-we-each-did-what-we.html For that I received some rather vile email - "You should be stoned for this!" "You're working for the devil if you believe that our mission in Iraq is moral." It went on and on. As a follow-up the paper printed the letters to the editor condemning us. They were especially hard on Gold Star Mother Elfriede Pulmondore. They believe she is deluded because of her grief over the loss of her son. By that rationale, doesn't it prove that Cindy is deluded?
Then, we have our local activists. I wrote about them here - http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/03/peace-protestors-prove-they-are-not.html
This week, they got extra creative. The Code Pink Grandmas took over US Representative Greg Walden's office. Here they are singing John Lennon's 'Give Peace a Chance" - how creative. They stayed for 12 hours demanding that he defund the troops. During this time, they are said to have sang, prayed (what? - don't they know anything about Code Pink?) and read the names of the US service members who have been killed in Iraq. Rep. Walden tried to speak with them via conference call from Washington, DC, but they refused. After the office's closing time, they wanted to leave to use the restroom, but wanted to come back in. When they were told that if they left, they could not return, they chose to urinate in bottles. They were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespass.
In the meantime, Code Pink has been picketing Nancy Pelosi's home in San Francisco. Even Pelosi is not liberal enough for them. Perhaps that is why she was really so gleeful over the disgusting pork bill that the House passed today - Code Pink might go away.
Protest, Free Speech - yes, valuable rights that we enjoy every day. But, everything can be misused and over done. I think these people have lost the value of these things and make a mockery of it all.
To top it off, the Oregon state legislature has wasted untold amounts of time and money holding hearings and debating their non-binding Iraq War Resolution. No one in Oregon voted for these people to do anything but pay attention to Oregon - oh, yeah, that's right, we have zero crime, perfect roads, the best educational system in the country - I think not. I wrote to my representatives and told them to get back to work, that this was not in their job description. They did not bother to reply to me. They did pass their bill demanding withdrawal from Iraq.
Like I said, some days, it is hard to be from Oregon.
Postscript - Currently 950 Oregon National Guard are serving in Afghanistan. Additionally, thousands of fine Oregonians serve in all branches of the military. They have given up time with their families, bled and died (see the sidebar) for us. They deserve more respect and admiration than they get here.
UPDATE: For Video of the Effigy Burning go to: http://www.nicedoggie.net/2007/?p=364
It is incredibly disturbing, but it is a true portait of who these people are.
I won the award from Sgt Dub - who is currently in Afghanistan. Thank you, sir!
Since the idea is to list blogs that make you think, this is hard for me, as most of the blogs I read serve that purpose. I am listing people who I think will "play" and haven't already been tagged.
Soldier's Mind - http://soldiersmind.com - A beautifully written site by Anthony and Terri that focuses on our military.
GunzUp - http://gunzup.blogspot.com - Written by a Gold Star Mom, it is a combination of tribute to her Marine son, a story of her military life, a history lesson on the battles of America, and a thoughtful and warm site.
Cop the Truth - www.copthetruth.typepad.com - A wonderful summation of the important and often overlooked news stories.
Yankeemom - www.yankeemom.com - A blog by the mother of a soldier, it is also the journey of her fight against the left in her northern California town.
Bear Creek Ledger - http://bearcreekledger.com - A military supporter and defender of the borders, this blog gives you much to think about each day.
Cluttered Eclectic Mind - http://clutteredeclecticmind.blogspot.com/ - a great blog written with great insight into the everyday and the world of politics.
OK - so that's six - too bad!
Congratulations, you have won a Thinking Blogger!
These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
Tell them of us and say,
For their tomorrows,
We gave our today.
-- The Kohima Epitaph
This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll.
These magnificent pictures of scenes from Oregon are a sample of the packets that were sent to the Oregon National Guard in Afghanistan by an Oregon printing company - Shelton Turnbull Printers in Eugene. The employees wanted to do something for the 950 National Guard Soldiers.
Operation Memories of Home provided each of the Soldiers a packet. The packets include twelve 9 x 6 photos and a letter from the employees of Shelton Turnbull Printers:
"Our hope is that you do not forget why we call Oregon home; the scenic beauty, the quality of life and the wonderful people. Shelton Turnbull's employees wish you a safe return home and hope that the balance of your tour is completed quickly."
The response has been overwhelming. Thank you notes have poured in from the soldiers. "A lot of the guys talk about when they saw or were at any given place a photo was taken, and the memories it brings back to them. Again, I thank you for sharing the treasures of home with us."
Much gratitude to Shelton Turnbull Printers! A simple thing has become a prized possession!