Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you, my friends. Happy Thanksgiving.


I cannot imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner in a mess hall.
In a foreign country.
In a hostile foreign country.
Away from family.
Away from friends.
Away from all I hold dear.

I cannot imagine wondering whether this meal might be my last.
Or the buddy sitting next to me won't always be with me.
I cannot imagine going through what our soldiers go through every day.
But, especially "this" day.
When we should all give thanks.

But, they barely have the time to eat.
Before they're back on the line.
Back protecting us.
We who debate their role.
Some of us who even mock their cause.
This isn't about war.
This is about those who fight it.
And live through it.
In a place we forget.
On a day we should not.

I am very lucky to have this day with my family.
My creature comforts are secure precisely because theirs are not.
It's not fair.
It's not right.
It just is.

They are due our thanks every day.
Our prayers all days.
But they are due both, especially this day.
It's amazing to me that those paid so little, give so much.
Never complaining.
Always giving.
So that we can sit down in peace.
While they stand guard, in war.

Thank you, my friends.
And, Happy Thanksgiving.

-Neil Cavuto, Cavuto on Business, FoxNews

Painting by Norman Rockwell, 1945

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Heroes ~ Marines Toys for Tots Program

L/Cpl. Samuel Joyce

U.S. Marine Corps.

Lance Cpl. Samuel Joyce, from Boston, accepts a bagfull of toys during the Toys For Tots 5k Run at Fleet Activities Yokosuka. Runners donated new toys to the local Marine's Toys for Tots program.

To learn more about Toys for Tots or to make a contribution

http://www.toysfortots.org/


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.

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Valour IT - Please Help


Project Valour IT

Can't you help our wounded warriors?

click here

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sign the Christmas Card for our Wounded Troops




Don't let Christmas feel like just another day for our brave heroes
who have already sacrificed so much.

Add your name to the VFW Christmas card to wounded troops
at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Fort Lewis, Washington.

A VFW volunteer will be delivering the Christmas card in person.
Add your name by midnight December 5th to send a message of support and cheer.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quotes ~ John Adams


"Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."

-John Adams, letter to Benjamin Rush, April 18, 1808

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Project Valour-IT


Project Valour IT

Can't you help our wounded warriors?

click here

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Hero ~ General Ann E Dunwoody

Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody
Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody
55 years old from Fort Belvoir, Virginia
U.S. Army

Ann E. Dunwoody, after 33 years in the Army, ascended Friday to a peak never before reached by a woman in the U.S. military: four-star general.

At an emotional promotion ceremony, Dunwoody looked back on her years in uniform, said it was a credit to the Army—and a great surprise to her—that she would make history in a male-dominated military.

"Thirty-three years after I took the oath as a second lieutenant, I have to tell you this is not exactly how I envisioned my life unfolding," she told a standing-room-only auditorium. "Even as a young kid, all I ever wanted to do was teach physical education and raise a family.

"It was clear to me that my Army experience was just going to be a two-year detour en route to my fitness profession," she added. "So when asked, `Ann, did you ever think you were going to be a general officer, to say nothing about a four-star?' I say, `Not in my wildest dreams.'

"There is no one more surprised than I—except, of course, my husband. You know what they say, `Behind every successful woman there is an astonished man.'"

You can read the rest of Gen. Dunwoody's story here.




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.

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Valour IT - 2008 Fundraiser.


Project Valour IT

Fourth Annual Project Valour IT Fundraiser

Can you help???

Every cent raised for Project Valour-IT goes directly to the purchase and shipment of laptops
and other technology for severely wounded service members. As of November 2008, Valour-IT has distributed over 2700 laptops to severely wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines across the country, and is now expanding its mission to include other technology that supports physical and psychological recovery.

Valour-IT accepts donations in any amount to support our mission, but also offers a sponsorship option for laptops. An individual or organization may sponsor a wounded soldier by completely funding the cost of a laptop and continuing to provide that soldier with personal support and encouragement throughout recovery. This has proved to be an excellent project for churches, groups of coworkers or friends, and members of community organizations such Boy Scouts.
Originally Valour-IT provided the voice-controlled software that accompanies the laptops, but now works closely with the Department of Defense Computer/electronic Accommodations Program (CAP): CAP supplies the adaptive software and Valour-IT provides the laptop. In addition, DoD caseworkers serve as Valour-IT’s “eyes and ears” at several medical centers, identifying patients in need of laptops and other technological support for their recovery. Wounded military personnel can also directly request a laptop through the sign-up form or through the Valour-IT/Soldiers' Angels representatives at the following medical centers:

* Balboa Naval Hospital
* Brooke Army Medical Center
* Madigan Regional Medical Center
* National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda Naval Hospital)
* Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton
* Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital (29 Palms)
* Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Thanks to the efforts of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, Valour-IT is also able to reach patients in VA hospitals who would benefit from a Valour-IT laptop or other technology to support their recovery and independence.













Can't you give a few dollars to help those who have given so much for us?

Bloggers - can you help spread the word? Join here

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Mom and 'Her Guys'


This is my friend, Knottie, and a group of soldiers from the 101st Airborne. Over Veteran's Day, they returned home after a long deployment in Iraq.

One soldier did not return with his unit - SPC Micheal "Pokey" Phillips was killed in action on 24 February 2008. But, his mother never stopped supporting and loving her guys, and she was there when they got home. And, she shares her story...

On Nov. 11th, Veteran's Day, we packed our car and loaded up the family to head to Ft. Campbell. The men my son served with were on their way home from Iraq, two months early, and I was finally going to get to meet and hug these men who have become so important in my life.

As we drove on Veteran's Day I thought about how lucky the people in this country are to have the men and women of our military. Between it being Veterans day and where we were heading I had no choice but to see things from a perspective most Americans fail to look at. We drove without fear of IEDs. There were no check points. We could stop along the way and not fear snipers or suicide bombers. When we were hungry we had a multitude of options. And I knew without a doubt that these freedoms and this security are due fully to the fact we have such an outstanding group of people who made the choice to wear the uniform and defend these things.

I realized also.. we have WON in Iraq....

To read the rest, go here - http://knottiesniche.blogspot.com/2008/11/theyre-home.html
And, please, leave a message for Knottie.....


SPC Micheal "Pokey" Phillips

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Troops in Afghanistan Become Citizens

Robert Looney, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Bangkok District Office, administers the oath of naturalization to 77 servicemembers on Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2008.


Bill Wood, U.S. Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, gives a certificate of naturalization to a U.S. Army soldier on Bagram Air Field, during a Veterans Day ceremony, Nov. 11, 2008.

Troops Become Citizens on Veterans Day in Afghanistan

By Army Spc. Scott Davis
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2008 - This Veterans Day was like no other for 77 service members who took the oath of allegiance and officially became U.S. citizens while deployed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan.

The U.S. Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, William Wood attended the naturalization ceremony as the guest speaker, along with Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Schloesser, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-101 and Regional Command-East commander.

"For some of you, it probably seems like it was just yesterday when you raised your right hand and said that you would support and defend the constitution of the United States and serve in the Armed Forces," said Schloesser. "Today, you are going to raise your hand again and become a citizen of the country of that constitution."

After Schloesser said a few words, he introduced Wood as the guest speaker for the ceremony.

Wood's speech recognized the hard work and dedication of the 77 service members who stood in front of him.

"You've served with honor, and you've served with skill, and you've served with dedication to the country that you so proudly make yours today and we so proudly offer to you," Wood said. "Your decision to defend the freedoms that the United States were founded on stands as a testament to your dedication."

Wood concluded his speech and introduced Robert Looney, district director from the United States' Citizenship and Immigration Services, Bangkok District Office, who said a few words to the service members and administered the oath of allegiance.

"In a few moments I'm going to formalize a process that you started many years ago. I consider all of you already to be American citizens; you were American citizens when you put on your uniform. This will formalize that process and give evidence to the decision you have already made," Looney said. "Raise your right hand and repeat after me."

After the Oath, each service member received their Certificate of Naturalization by Wood and Schloesser. The new American citizens then lined up to get handshakes and congratulations from their peers.

Spc. Carol Bell was one of them. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica, who came to America with her family in her early 20s. Now deployed with the 101st Sustainment Brigade, she explained how she felt during ceremony.

"It was emotional for me, especially when they played 'God Bless the U.S.A.' When I say the Soldiers' creed and when I say, I am an American Soldier, after taking my oath, I can say deep down from within, I am an American Soldier," Bell said. " So today meant a lot to me."

(Army Spc. Scott Davis is assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 101.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pittance of Time

On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a drug store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the stores PA asking customers who would still be on the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.

Terry was impressed with the stores leadership role in adopting the Legions two minutes of silence initiative. He felt that the stores contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable.

When eleven oclock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the two minutes of silence to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect.

Terry's anger towards the father for trying to engage the stores clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, A Pittance of Time. Terry later recorded A Pittance of Time and included it on his full-length music CD, The Power of the Dream.

Thank You to the Royal Canadian Legion Todmorden Branch #10 and Woodbine Height Branch #2 for their participation in the Video.

Please visit www.terry-kelly.com

Wednesday Hero ~ SPC Kenneth W Haines

Spc. Kenneth W. Haines
Spc. Kenneth W. Haines
25 years old from Fulton, New York
2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
December 3, 2006
U.S. Army

Spc. Kenneth Haines joined the United States Army in September 2000 as a fire support specialist and had been assigned to his unit for just over three years. He deployed to Iraq in October of 2006.

During his time in service, he received several military awards and decorations, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and National Defense Service Medal.

Spc. Haines was killed by an IED that was detonated near his vehicle while on patrol in Abu Hishma, Iraq.


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.

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day 2008


Remember them we should,
Remember them we must,
Thank them, always.

*******************

IT IS THE SOLDIER

It is the Soldier, not the minister
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 campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.

It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair 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 beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

-Charles M Province, US Army

The War to End All Wars..... 90 years ago


The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month....

It was the end of WWI - 1918 - we had fought the War to End All Wars.

At Eleven AM, pause and give a moment to remember
those who fought and those who died.

Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Poppy Day.


Previous Posts:

http://gazingattheflag.blogspot.com/2007/11/eleventh-hour-of-eleventh-day-of.html

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, United States Marine Corps



Founded on November 10, 1775

Happy Birthday United States Marine Corps

Thinking of my Marine Friends Today!!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Friday, November 07, 2008

Navy Teachers


11/03/2008 - U.S. Navy Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Andrew Bryson, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), teaches Sister Helena of the Carmelite Sister Convent how to use the Internet in Belmont, Trinidad and Tobago, Nov. 3, 2008. Kearsarge is deployed in support of the Caribbean phase of the humanitarian and civic assistance mission Continuing Promise 2008, an equal-partnership mission involving the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Nicaragua, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana.
DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Joshua Adam Nuzzo,
U.S. Navy/Released

If this doesn't make you proud, I can't imagine anything will!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Place for Children to Play


BAGHDAD — “As I drove by the Army canal every day, I saw this park, and I said this is something we can do to help the citizens,” said Col. John Hort, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

Dover Park, as it is known by Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers, sat abandoned for years; located in the Qahira neighborhood of the Adhamiyah District of Baghdad, its carnival rides were unusable and the land was overgrown with weeds.

“It was your typical abandoned park here in Iraq,” said 1st Lt. Rosita Rodriguez, a civil affairs team chief with Company C, 404th Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B.

Thus, the mission to rehabilitate the park became Rodriguez’s mission. Two months later, the refurbished park was completed and handed over to the local neighborhood council, Oct. 28, 2008.

“This is our first park in Qahira. We never had one before,” said Mohamed Madaloom, the Qahira Neighborhood Assistance Council chairman.

The park has a small pond with a generator-run fountain with a flock of geese as well as benches, solar lights, several swings, slides and seesaws. There is also a tiled path lined with flowers and new grass has been planted. A gardener and a security guard, he added, will be hired.

The park is intended to be self-sufficient, and seven small kiosks will be rented to vendors. The rent will provide an income stream to buy fuel for the generator, pay the salaries of the staff and any other expenses.

“Everybody admires the park. I know the families are so excited to get here,” said Madaloom, who, along with fellow local officials and Coalition leaders, gathered for the official hand over. Iraqi officials and Col. Hort raised the Iraqi flag to symbolize the opening of the park as doves were released. Some families and their children couldn’t wait – they were already on the rides.

“I’m so pleased; our kids aren’t able to go many places because of the security situation. I am so pleased that we have such a park in our neighborhood,” said Aum Achmed, who was there with her daughter and a niece. “It’s important for every kid to have a place to go to.”

“It’s good. It used to be awful before. I wouldn’t even look at it before,” said Mostfa, a 3-year-old Iraqi child, before running off to a nearby slide.

(By Sgt. Jerry Saslav, 4th Infantry Division)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday Hero ~ Cpt Gussie M Jones

Cpt. Gussie M. Jones
Cpt. Gussie M. Jones
41 years old from Raleigh, Arkansas
31st Combat Support Hospital
March 07, 2004
U.S. Army

Cpt. Gussie Jones was born in Arkansas and was one of eight children. She began her Army career by enlisting in 1988 as a personnel clerk and climbed to the rank of a sergeant.

In 1986, Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arkansas Central University. She was selected to attend the Army Enlisted Commissioning Program and earned her second bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in 1998. It was in nursing.

Her career as a registered nurse and a commissioned officer began in September 1998 at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. In 2002, after completing a course in critical-care nursing, she was assigned to Beaumont Army Medical Center, where she became a mentor.

"She was a very dedicated person and was always smiling, said a co-worker and friend, Capt. Susan Gilbert. If anyone asked her to do something, she would do it. And she was very kind and gentle and patient with the patients."

Cpt. Jones died of a heart attack while on duty in Baghdad, Iraq. During her 15 years of military services, Jones received a Joint Service Commendation medal, four Army Commendation medals and three Army Achievement medals.

"She was so much a part of their team, and so her death must really affect their morale," Gilbert said. "I'm very worried about the other soldiers because they've lost their battle buddy."



All Information Was Found On And Copied From MilitaryCity.com

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.

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

VOTE!




VOTE

The Ideological Battle is On.
Take a Stand.
Cast Your Vote.

Monday, November 03, 2008

VOTE! ~ Renew Your Right to Gripe!

RENEW
YOUR
RIGHT
TO
GRIPE
VOTE!


My grandpa used to always begin any political discussion with, "Did you vote in the last election?" Since voter turn-out in this country is so low, more often than not, the answer would be "NO". Grandpa would smile and say, "Well, then, you forfeited your right to any opinion or criticism, didn't you." Grandpa always got his point across and eliminated a lot of silly discussions that way. But, his larger point was always the OBLIGATION OF CITIZENSHIP. He believed that since many great men had conceived, fought for and risked everything to create this country, that we had an obligation to VOTE. He also believed that if we all took that obligation seriously, politicians would get away with less dishonesty, fraud, corruption and general bad behavior. On my 21st birthday (OK, I'm old, but you used to have to be 21 to vote), he sent me a picture of Arlington Cemetery and a note that said, "If you don't vote, they gave their lives for nothing. Vote, always vote, and remember the greatness of your country when you do."

Please vote, and please ask your candidate, "Do You Want America to Win?" Vote as if your country depends upon it, because it does!

"The fact is that for some on the far left, their belief in America as a force fo evil and destruction in the world makes them believe that the American military is the agent of that evil and destruction. Their whole approach is to blame America and demean our fighting men and women, not the enemies who threaten us.

"The far left believe themselves to be the intelligent and cultured elite who possess the only opinions that matter. They become apoplectic when reality collides whith their misguided worldview. The fact is that the average young man and woman serving in Iraq today is better educated than the average civilian American their age and comes from a higher income level than the average civilian American their age. The fact is that our troops are exemplary young men and women serving our country for patriotic and decent reasons. But instead of accepting these facts about our troops, they call them stupid, desperate and worse." -Newt Gingrich



Please think about this when you VOTE!
I wrote this two years ago, but it is just as relevant now... you're in my thoughts Grandpa!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dear Mr. Obama

A reminder before we vote.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Fast-Roping


10/22/2008 - Special forces members disembark from CV-22 Osprey aircraft assigned to the 8th and 71st Special Operations Squadrons during a fast-roping demonstration at Hurlburt Field, Fla., on Oct. 22, 2008. The simulation provided members of Congress with a realistic view of special operation missions during their tour of the base.
DoD photo by Senior Airman Sheila DeVera, U.S. Air Force. (Released)