I have created this blog to hopefully inspire average, everyday Americans to do their part in supporting our troops by being “An American Worth Dying For.” If you are new to the site, please read oldest to newest.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pay Your Respects for the Right Reason

There is a small group of people in this country who I pay no mind to and I won't even mention their name or affiliation because they don't deserve the airtime. Many of you are aware of what they sometimes do at the funerals of our Fallen Heroes. I will refer to them the same way the Patriot Guard Riders do, calling them Uninvited Guests or UGs. This week the UGs must have had a good laugh at the innocent people who were spreading their hateful propaganda for them.

As I prepared for the service of HT2 Justin McNeley, USN, KIA Afghanistan, I was bombarded with emails of people warning that the UGs had posted on their website and sent flyers out saying they were going to be at this service preaching their hate. So what did everybody do? They kept clicking on their website and forwarding this email with the attached flyer to all their friends urging them to please be at the service to counter the UGs' protest.

What's wrong with that, you ask? Number one, all the UGs had to do was print up an ugly little flyer and throw it into cyberspace and within literally hours, it was all over the country with little or no effort on their part. Surely they were laughing at all the seemingly do-gooders who inadvertantly spread their message of hate and bigotry. UGs are like terrorists, they feed on people's fear and anger. They were well fed this week, let me tell you. So what if they post on their website, that they are going to protest a funeral? The Patriot Guard Riders, if invited by the family, will always protect and shield the family from these domestic terrorists. Of the 40 or so Fallen Heroes' funerals we have attended, the UGs posted they would be present at nearly all of them and only showed once. They don't have to show, we spread the word for them.

The other thing that really bothers me is folks were telling people to attend the funeral because the UGs were going to be there. That is NOT the reason to attend the funeral of a Fallen Hero. We should be attending these services to show our RESPECT and SUPPORT for the Fallen and their families for their sacrifices on our behalf.

So please, next time this comes up, don't spread their hatred. Don't mention their name. Don't go to their website. Don't get angry. Don't talk about them. Don't give them one iota of your time or thought. Instead send an email to all your friends and tell them that an American Hero gave his or her life for their freedom and they can choose to attend the service to pay their respects.

"Be an American Worth Dying For" and please, "Don't Feed the UGs."

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Debt of a Nation

The National Debt became immeasurable to me today. I'm not talking about the financial debt. I am talking about the moral debt of each and every American in this country, from 1 day old to 110 years old.

Today the Johnson family lost not one but two sons in less than 24 hours to IEDs. This is on top of a 3rd son lost in Iraq in 2007. I am told there are more family members serving as well. I have dealt with many families who have lost a child to these wars, even a family that lost two sons. But I never dreamed I would hear of a family losing two sons in one day and three total.

I cannot fathom the faith and fortitude it will take for this family to endure the pain of this. But from the little I know of their patiotism and duty to country, they will endure and they will honor their fallen and continue to be the consumate example of what it means to be a Patriot.

Now I must look within myself and tear apart my definition of patriotism. I used to tell folks it didn't cost a dime to be patriotic. How can I look at this family and make a comment like that? What I now realize is that it doesn't cost a dime to be a good citizen. We can all do good deeds for our neighbors and even strangers, but that is not patiotism. That is just our moral and civic duty.

Patriotism is not displaying the flag in front of your house. Patriotism is not putting a yellow ribbon on your car saying you "Support our Troops." Patriotism is not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the National Anthem at a football game. That is just our moral and civic duty.

Patriotism is not donating a horse-drawn hearse for military funerals. It is just my moral and civic duty.

Patiotism is shedding your blood for your country. Patiotism is losing your life for your country. Patriotism is giving up a child for your country. Patriotism is holding your chin up as you watch your loved one leave for a war you are not sure he or she will return from. Patriotism is raising a family of warriors. Patriotism is fighting in the trenches of war and watching your brothers and sisters fall and doing all you can to save them, with no regard for your own safety or pain. Patriotism is something most Americans will never truly understand. The Johnson family must truly understand patriotism and its price.

As for the rest of us, we can only humble ourselves and strive to be "An American Worth Dying For."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Somebody's Mother"

The woman was old, and ragged, and gray,
And bent with the chill of a winter's day;
The streets were white with a recent snow,
And the woman's feet with age were slow.

At the crowded crossing she waited long,
Jostled aside by the careless throng
Of human beings who passed her by,
Unheeding the glance of her anxious eye.

Down the street with laughter and shout,
Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"
Come happy boys, like a flock of sheep,
Hailing the snow piled white and deep;
Past the woman, so old and gray,
Hastened the children on their way.

None offered a helping hand to her,
So weak and timid, afraid to stir,
Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet
Should trample her down in the slippery street.

At last came out of the merry troop
The gayest boy of all the group;
He paused beside her, and whispered low,
"I'll help you across, if you wish to go."

Her aged hand on his strong young arm
She placed, and so without hurt or harm,
He guided her trembling feet along,
Proud that his own were young and strong;
Then back again to his friends he went,
His young heart happy and well content.

"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know,
For all she's aged, and poor, and slow;
And some one, some time, may lend a hand
To help my mother-you understand?-
If ever she's poor, and old, and gray,
And her own dear boy is far away."

"Somebody's mother" bowed low her head,
In her home that night, and the prayer she said
Was: God, be kind to that noble boy,
Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy."

Faint was the voice, and worn and weak,
But the Father hears when His children speak;
Angels caught the faltering word,
And "Somebody's Mother's" prayer was heard.

Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)

This is one of my most favorite poems that my mother shared with me when I was young. I've thought of it often throughout the years and found it in an old "Reader" when I went to Fort Lewis to this spring to visit my nephew who was home on leave. It's weighed heavy on my heart lately as I think of so many mothers with so many sons and daughters off at war.

I hope as we all make our way through our busy daily lives we stop to help those in need and remember they are somebody's mother/father/son/daughter. There is a pretty good chance that their "own dear boy is far away," fighting for your freedom.