Friday, February 19, 2010

Team Rubicon

Those of you who have been with me from the beginning of this blog will remember that, for quite some time, I followed the exploits of Jake Wood, who blogged on "Jake's World," and linked to his blog from mine. I started following Jake when he was a young Marine in Iraq during the early stages of the "surge." One of my motivations for starting this blog was the desire to join the conversation that was led by people like Jake.

Jake has left the Marine Corps, but he's still making an impact. After the earthquake in Haiti, while many of us were wondering how we could help (beyond sending money), Jake, and seven others, actually did something. They created "Team Rubicon." Team Rubicon, or TR as they call themselves, is a group of former Marines, medical professionals, and first responders who got together, and despite discouragement from the big international aid agencies, went into Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake and made a difference. Team Rubicon and their efforts in Haiti are highlighted in Foreign Policy magazine. Check it out....it's worth your time. Then head over to Team Rubicon's webpage and get involved by volunteering or donating. These are truly "the good guys."

Hero in Austin

Somewhere amid all the Olympic news came a report that a disgruntled man had flown a small engine plane into the IRS building in Austin, Texas. Fortunately, the suicidal man took only one life besides his own. Disasters of every kind, man-made like this one or naturally occurring, bring stories of heroism and kindness. This disaster at the IRS building is no different. FoxNEWS has a report of one of the heroes present that day: Robin Dehaven. Mr Dehaven is a glass glazer, who just happened to be driving by the IRS building when the small plane hit. Unlike a lot of people, he didn't keep going. He stopped. He saw a situation where he could help, and he took action. As he said, "I immediately drove my truck over there, got the ladder off, went up to the side of the building and I saw people up on the second floor with their heads out the window for air because the room was filled with smoke." Mr Dehaven extended his ladder up the side of the building to try to help people get out of the burning inferno, but the people inside couldn't secure the ladder properly. So he went up the ladder, into the building, helped the people inside to break another window, and secured the ladder the best he could. Even though the ladder "slipped a little bit," he helped five people to get down the ladder, buy going down with them and holding their backs "so they wouldn't fall if they slipped."

Now, in my book, Mr Dehaven is a real hero. He ran to help when help was needed. He didn't have to, but he did. Mr Dehaven's boss wasn't surprised at Mr Dehaven's actions; he thinks it was just a Mr Dehaven's character, to help others. Oh....did I say that Mr Dehaven spent six and a half years as a Combat Engineer in the Army? I'd bet dollars to donuts that Mr Dehaven's Army experience formed a large part of the character he demonstrated at the IRS building. He's a hero.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dancin'

I want to be like these guys when I grow up!

New Ideas for Congressional Democrats

Last week, Washington DC suffered from the worst snowstorm in decades. The Government was closed, schools closed, roads blocked, power out...so what did Democrats in Congress do when they didn't have to go to work? Well, check it out:

From FoxNews Photo-op....by Greg Detrich from Alabama.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wanna Go to Afghanistan?

Kentucky Woman, over at "Little Drops....," is going to Afghanistan.....want to join her? I am. It seems that two Air Force journalists are taking a 3o-day swing through the country and documenting their trip. You, too, can sign up for updates and "virtually" tour the country with them. They're posting on Facebook and on the ISAF website. Here's what KyWoman says about the effort:

Now the why... So many of 'Our Guys' and 'Gals' have spent a good portion of their lives in the past 8 years working, fighting and paying the ultimate price with their life for our freedoms in the land called Afghanistan. There are many negative images of the country, people and the reason we're there and what we're doing. This 30 day trip being videoed by these two Airmen will perhaps give everyone who is curious and questioning a better understanding of what our soldiers see everyday. It's like taking a trip without ever leaving your home. Not quite how I like to travel, but sure beats reading the newspapers accounts and opinions.

Now isn't this a great idea, and a wonderful way to support those young men and women who are still serving?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Flyover Country

I love where I live. It's always been home to me, even though I was a military brat and moved every three years, this place was a constant in my life. My grandparents lived here, and we would try to visit them every summer as I was growing up. After I left home and started my own family, I still tried to come back as often as possible; not only because I wanted to see my grandparents, but because I needed to be here. I wanted my family to love this place as much as I did, because, this is the place where I feel more "in touch" with just about everything. I feel "real" here. This is the place where I feel a spiritual connection that's hard to explain. For me, it's "home" in every meaning of the word.


While this place is home, it is remote. Flyover County, in Flyover Country, is in a high mountain valley (most of the County is above 7,000 feet), about 50 miles from the nearest Walmart. In the last census (2000), the County had 2,509 people, eight small towns (the largest of which has about 550 people), two National Forests, one National Park, and no US highways. It's wonderful! As an example of how wonderful....yesterday, on my way over the mountain pass to the nearest Walmart-town, I saw this:

There he was, just sitting on a rock along side the road, sunning himself and looking around...all majestic and proud. What a beautiful sight! I love Flyover County!

Fun in Flyover Country

I just thought I'd post this to show you one of the many ways we have fun in "Flyover Country."


video

"A Class Act"

Smiley sent this to me, and I'm posting it just as it appeared in the email....so I have no idea who I'm quoting; but it's a nice thought and a wonderful video:

"I once said, that some people take their football and the fighting for their alma mater way too serious in the "big" picture of life, a game should be a game with good sports, no hard feelings and being an adult. This was sent to me by a friend, and sort of points that out.

Just prior to the start of the Air Force-BYU football game, Sept. 22, 2009, this video was broadcast in the BYU stadium in Provo, Utah. Later, the USAF Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen Gould, showed this clip to the faculty and staff. He told everyone that BYU ran it minutes before the kickoff at the game. He was clearly moved by it, as were those who watched it. BYU is a class act."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Worldwide Threat Levels

CJ, who blogs on the "You Served" blog, has a wonderful analysis of the rise in current worldwide security levels. Jump on over there and read it....it's not only educational but something that I'd characterize as a "must read!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"The Final Inspection"

Like a lot of people, I get those chain-emails that go around and around the "e-verse". Some of them are laugh-out-loud funny, some of them are silly, and some of them are real tear-jerkers. Unless the email message is really good, or really funny, I usually don't pass them along....at least not since my son told me he really doesn't read "Mom Spam." When I do pass them along, it's only to a select few that I know will appreciate the humor or will be touched by the message.

Having said that....today I got an email from a very good friend. I know I've seen this email before, and was touched by it then. I don't remember if I passed it along, or not, but for some reason I feel compelled to post the email's poem....so here it is:

THE FINAL INSPECTION

The Soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass..

'Step forward now,Soldier ,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
'No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear...
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

'Step forward now, you Soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.'

Author Unknown~

h/t Mutt & Jeff

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Memorial Bracelets

I grew up in the 1960's and 70's. The Vietnam War was in full swing. It wasn't a "popular" war, and for some people, that unpopularity flowed over onto our military. We've all heard the stories of returning servicemen being spit on, called "baby killers," and treated with disdain. Even though the War and our servicemen and women were "unpopular," the American public still supported those who were missing-in-action or who were prisoners-of-war. We proudly bought and wore our metal POW-MIA bracelets, hoping that the person with the name we wore on our wrists would make it home safely. I had one. "My" serviceman didn't come home. As far as I know, he's still MIA.

Today, while the War against Terrorism might not be popular, it is necessary. I believe the American public knows this. I believe that's why we "support our troops." We all recognize that our fighting men and women stand between us and those who would harm us, our country, and our way of life. It is only fitting that we honor these men and women who give so much for us. There are a number of things we can to do give our military their due; volunteering for Soldier's Angels, sending packages to "Any Soldier," donating to charities that support the families of those who gave their lives, or by simply saying "thank you" to anyone you see in uniform.

My Marine Son has pointed out another way to honor those who have given all; a memorial bracelet. These bracelets are similar to the POW-MIA bracelets of the '70s. Like those bracelets, a memorial bracelet is a simple way to keep the sacrifice of those who "gave all" in the forefront of our minds. They're a way to remember. You can order a memorial bracelet at MemorialBracelets.com. You can order a bracelet with the name of someone you know, someone from your hometown, or home state. You can order a bracelet to memorialize someone who gave their life in Iraq, Afghanistan, or Vietnam; or someone who was the victim of terrorism. It's not hard to order, and wearing the bracelet is another way to show support for our military.

I ordered two bracelets today. I ordered them to remember two young men that I didn't know. I may not have known these young men, but I will honor them forever; not only because they gave their lives for this wonderful country, but because they served with my son. He knew them. He said they were "good kids." He mourns them. So to honor him, and to honor them, my husband and I will proudly wear these bracelets in memory of LCpl Leopold F. Damas of Floral Park, New York, who was 26 years old when he died in Afghanistan on the 17th of August 2009, and for LCpl Javier Olvera of Palmdale, California, who was only 20 years old when he died in Afghanistan on the 8th of August, 2009. May God Bless them both, and may God Bless their families.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kaboom: He's Back!!!!

I have some fantastic news! For those of you that have read this blog from the beginning, you've heard of LtG (a.k.a. Matt Gallagher) and his "Kaboom" blog. Just to recap, LtG was a blogging as a platoon leader in Iraq, recounting the "adventures" of his unit (which he named the "Gravediggers"), when he was ordered to stop blogging. LtG's posts were pithy, informative, descriptive, sometimes sarcastic, and always entertaining. I, among many, was extremely disappointed when he was forced to shut down the blog.


Well, here's the good news....LtG is back! A book based on his blog and his experiences in Iraq is scheduled for publication on April 1st. (He swears this is not an April Fool's joke.) Based on LtG's blog writing, I'll recommend this new book to you, sight unseen. (You can pre-order it on Amazon.com by clicking this link.) He's also posting on Kaboom, again! Good luck LtG!!!
h/t RedBull Rising