my wife and I are on vacation! So here’s bit of this and that from our travels.
spending time at my brother’s in Virginia, and then heading for the cabin in
Maine. Part of the fun of these summer family get-togethers is that we do a
variety of things. So allow me to fill you in on some of the more interesting
and novel outings we have experienced thus far.
has cropped up in recent years a wonderful tradition here in Great Falls,
Virginia where my brother lives. It started with a handful of “gearheads” deciding
they liked getting together to talk about their cars. In the downtown shopping
center of Great Falls they began to meet in the parking lot outside of a local
eatery early on Saturday mornings to drink coffee, while standing around talking
and admiring at each other’s cars. Over the past half-dozen years or so this
handful of guys (and gals) and their cars has grown into a car show all its
own. The parking lot is now full of cars of every imaginable make and design,
mostly from a previous era. Lots of folks come down just to check out the
scene. I have written about this in prior articles, but last Saturday was
brother and I arrived about 6:40AM to an already packed gathering of car
aficionados and their commensurate selection of choice cars. We went inside
Katie’s for a cup of coffee where we met up with John’s son, Josh. We then struck
up a conversation with one of the car owners who is a mainstay each Saturday.
Bob Shawn is 92 years old and is one of the last of a rare breed of
individuals. He is a three-war veteran having served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam
as a fighter pilot, starting out with the old Army Air Corps, changed in 1947
to the U.S. Air Force. Each Saturday Bob fires up his old Willeys Army Jeep
which he has restored, complete with a mounted .50 caliber machinegun and all,
and drives it to Katie’s. He’s small in stature, but oh my, is he full of
stories. We sat and chatted with him for well over an hour. One of his stories
from WWII was the time he was shot down – by the French! He was chasing a
German Messerschmitt in his P51 Mustang while at the same time the French
forces on the ground were taking aim on the same plane. Instead, the French
gunners shot Bob’s plane out of the air. He crash-landed and spent the next
four days drinking brandy with the same French soldiers who shot him down. Since
he hadn’t reported back to his command, it was assumed that he was dead, so his
wall locker was emptied and his bunk was vacated. There are many more stories
from Bob, but it will have to wait for another time. He did say that his
brother was also shot down over Belgium, but was picked up by the underground
and spent the remainder of the war blowing up German bridges.
Sunday evening I took Isaura to the Wolf Trap which is an open outdoor stage
not far from downtown Washington, D.C. We purchased tickets to attend the final
performance of Riverdance in North
America. These Irish dancers have been touring the United States for the past
sixteen years, performing some 5,500 times. The program was exceptional!
Besides the famous Irish straight-bodied perpendicular tap dancing routines
usually performed in various precision formations, there were other performers
of differing tap dancing styles. One was the stunningly spectacular dancing of
the Spanish Flamenco dancer. Now, I was previously stationed in Spain, so I was
familiar with this style of dance. But this lady was exceptional! The other
dance style was that of two African-American guys who performed street tap with
flips and splits, providing a wonderful contrast. When all three forms of dance
were going on at the same time it was something to behold.
Monday Isaura and I drove to Charlottesville, Virginia where we enjoyed a quick
lunch at Chick-fil-A, a favorite Southern Fried Chicken restaurant chain in the
South (there are some in northern California, but none close to where we live).
We then began the 105 mile drive up the Skyline Drive of the Blue Ridge Mountains
in western Virginia. The fog decided to roll in about the same time, which
restricted our view. But the drive was beautiful despite the fog, which, in
actuality, enhanced the experience. This is located in the Shenandoah National
Park system. On the drive back to Great Falls last night, Isaura and I stopped
for dinner at the Cracker Barrel. Yum! Sure wish they had some of these
restaurants in California!
stop: Maine and fresh lobster!
What is it that our service members
fight for? FREEDOM!
When you study history you will see
that almost without exception armies are raised to conquer other nations or
territories so as to expand their territory, subduing cultures and peoples to a
new way of living. That is, only if the conquerors allow the people they have
conquered to live!
Greece, Rome, China, Russia, Germany,
Britain, and so on, all wanted to add to their kingdoms. The United States, on
the other hand, has a history of defeating its enemies and then rebuilding that
aggressor nation from the ground up. We have defeated Germany twice in the past
100 years, along with Italy, and Japan. We have engaged in wars and skirmishes
in Central and South America also during that same period of time. We have
acquired other nations from defeated foes like Spain in 1898. As part of the
war settlement, we were given control of much of Spain’s vast acquisitions,
namely: Puerto Rico, the Philippine Islands, Guam, and Cuba. Each of these
countries was eventually granted its independence. In the case of the Philippines,
we have liberated them twice from conquering nations. First, from Spain in
1898; and second, from Japan in 1945.
The United States has had the muscle
and the technology to conquer as much of the world as we could want – yet we
have not done so. We have been accused of being imperialistic – but are we?
Imperialism is “the policy of extending a nation's authority by territorial
acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over
In one sense we are imperialistic, but
for a reason. We have maintained bases in countries that are friendly to us in
order to protect not only that country from another aggressor nation, but to
also protect America and her interests around the world. The formation of NATO
(North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was developed to protect Europe from the
aggression of the former Soviet Union. If there were no other threats, then we
would be content to leave those countries. Even after driving the German army
out of France twice last century, the French government asked us to leave which
we did in the 1970s. The same thing occurred with the Philippines in the early
Today we are faced with many
challenges to our nation. War and rumors of war abound. Our State Department is
acknowledging that we are prepared to stop the bloodshed occurring in Syria;
and that we have the capability and the willingness to halt the advances of the
nuclear development of bombs by a rogue nation, Iran.
Calvin Coolidge, circa 1925, said this insightful quote regarding patriotism, “Patriotism is easy to understand in
America; it means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.”
Marine commanding general in Afghanistan read this letter on Memorial Day
written by Marine sergeant, William Stacey, who left this for his family in the event of his
"My death did not
change the world; it may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all,"
Allen wrote. "But there is a greater meaning to it. Perhaps I did not
change the world. Perhaps there is still injustice in the world. But there will
be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their
home country to come to his. And this child will learn in the new schools that
have been built. He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his
leader's henchmen are going to come and kidnap him. He will grow into a fine
man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. He will have the
gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long. If my life buys the safety
of a child who will one day change this world, then I know that it was all
means always faithful. Always faithful to God, Country and Corps. Always
faithful to the principles and beliefs that guided me into the service. And on
that day in October when I placed my hand on a bible and swore to defend the
constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, I
Patriots are never in abundance. We
need them every bit as much today as when George Washington was tasked with
raising the Continental Army.
Our freedoms come at great cost. It is
the blood of patriots that has purchased our liberties.
Such patriotism is needed today.
Please, speak of the heroics of our fallen to your children and grandchildren.
They need to hear about this from your lips. That is how it must be passed on
if our freedoms are to be defended into the future.
God bless you, and God bless America!
article for this week and next is from a speech I gave on Memorial Day a couple
of weeks ago. I was invited to be the guest speaker by the folks at Cherokee
Memorial Cemetery in Lodi, California. They have a wonderful remembrance on
Memorial Day honoring our fallen, of which more than 7,000 are interred there.
There are on average between 600-800 people in attendance. American flags are
placed on all veteran burial sites, and large American flags line the roads
throughout the grounds. It is a visual feast. There ceremony concluded with a
missing-man formation fly-over. The remainder of this article is the first half
of my speech entitled, “Sacrifice.”
nation has borne the burden of sacrifice from its earliest days, taking up arms
against an oppressive British monarchy that cared little for the personal
desires of the colonists. The longing of those early Americans was simply to be
free from tyrannical rule by a king thousands of miles away across the
Atlantic. From the first shots fired at Bunker Hill in Massachusetts to the
latest battles in the mountains of Afghanistan, American men and women have
always stepped up to the fight. Personal sacrifice has been the requirement.
Our American fighting men and women have never failed to answer that call.
Henry’s famous words ring as true today as they did in 1775:
“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.
Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually
begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the
clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we
here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so
dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty or give me death!”
believe the reason Americans have always answered the call to arms is found in
our spiritual DNA. A people desiring freedom to worship came to this land
nearly four hundred years ago. That desire to be free to worship continues to
this day. And the greater desire for freedom in all aspects of life yet
is my contention that the present-day Tea Party is the rebirth of the spiritual
freedoms embodied in each of us. We dare not lose this precious desire to be
free regardless of any personal cost or the cost to our nation.
What exactly does sacrifice mean?
Sacrifice is taken from a Latin word, sacrificium, which is a compound word
meaning “to make sacred.”
The dictionary offers several
definitions for the various uses of the word sacrifice. The one that applies to
our fallen heroes is also the definition that applies to Jesus. Here’s what I
“To forfeit (one thing) for another
thing considered to be of greater value.”
Sacrifice means something determined
to be of lesser value is exchanged for something that is of greater value.
Let’s personalize this. When a man or woman steps up and takes an oath “to protect and defend the Constitution
against all enemies foreign and domestic,” they are, in essence, stating
that their life, as an individual, is of lesser value than the lives of those
they choose to defend. That Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman
in uniform that you see is publicly announcing that you, their fellow American,
is of greater worth and value than their personal life. Furthermore, your
freedom and the freedoms enjoyed by our nation are worth defending.
Some might say that we should be able
to “just all get along.” War is terrible, it’s true. So why can’t we just all
get along? One word answer: SIN. Adam and Eve opened a Pandora’s Box when they
sinned in the Garden of Eden. Sin has warped and distorted the image of God in
each and every human ever since. We’re never satisfied. The grass is always
greener. We want what someone else has. Jealousy, envy, covetousness, and a
host of other ungodly attitudes and desires cause us to be leery of each other.
Motives are questioned. Trust is hard to come by. Is it any wonder that we need
Because sin puts us at odds with each
other, we need to have people who will stand up against those who would take
our land, our freedoms, and yes, our very lives. Sin causes us to think and act
This is why on Memorial Day we must
remember that of the more than one million Americans who have died for our
freedom, we dare not forget. By their sacrifice they have declared that we who
yet live are of greater worth.
The next presidential election, as if
you did not know, is Tuesday, November 6th.
Because of the seriousness of this
election, I have drawn a list of information regarding the Republican
candidate, Mitt Romney, for your perusal. As I have mentioned before, the
Mainstream Media (MSM) failed to properly vet Barack Hussein Obama, either when
he was the presidential hopeful of the Democratic Party in 2008, or during the
intervening four years.
The MSM will vet Mitt Romney, to be
sure. However, their vetting will be to cherry-pick information that thy can
use against him. Since you are not likely to read or hear about anything
positive, allow me to share information provided by an organization called, Freedom Squad. Their web site is www.freedomsquad.org.
Name: Willard Mitt Romney
March 12, 1947 (65 years old)
George W. Romney, former Governor of the State of Michigan
in: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
to: Ann Lois Romney (née Davies) since 1969; they have five sons
Education: B.A. from Brigham Young University, J.D. and M.B.A. from Harvard
Religion: Mormon – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS)
high school, Romney spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.
going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he
passed the Michigan bar, but never worked as an attorney.
1984, he co-founded Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm, one of the
largest such firms in the United States.
1994, he ran for Senator of Massachusetts and lost to Ted Kennedy.
· He was
President and C.E.O. of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
2002, he was elected Governor of the State of Massachusetts where he eliminated
a $1.5 billion deficit.
Interesting Facts about Romney:
Capital, starting with one small office supply store in Massachusetts, turned
it into Staples; now over 2,000 stores employing 90,000 people.
Capital also worked to perform the same kinds of business miracles again and
again, with companies like Domino's, Sealy, Brookstone, Weather Channel, Burger
King, Warner Music Group, Dollarama, Home Depot Supply, and many others.
· He was
an unpaid volunteer campaign worker for his dad's gubernatorial campaign for
· He was
an unpaid intern in his dad’s governor’s office for eight years.
· He was
an unpaid bishop and stake president of his church for ten years.
· He was
an unpaid President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee for three years.
took no salary and was the unpaid Governor of Massachusetts for four years.
gave his entire inheritance from his father to charity.
Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men in our country, but has given
more back to its citizens in terms of money, service and time than most men.
Romney is Trustworthy:
will show us his birth certificate.
will show us his high school and college transcripts.
will show us his social security card.
will show us his law degree.
will show us his draft notice.
will show us his medical records.
will show us his income tax records.
will show us he has nothing to hide.
more will come out about Romney leading up to the election, but at least you’ll
know some basic information as you determine who to vote for in November.