Tag Archives: patriotism

The Way of George Washington

George Washington
Image via Wikipedia

and it may truly be said, that never did nature and fortune combine more perfectly to make a man great.

– Thomas Jefferson, about George Washington, 1814

By age sixteen George Washington had copied, by hand, the 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. Based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits, they were most likely copied by a student Washington as part of an exercise in penmanship. A study of Washington’s life will show that the rules, and the environment that fostered these beliefs played a large role in the sort of man that Washington became.

To today’s ears, many, if not all of these rules, may sound somewhat silly. It’s easy to dismiss them as relics of an age gone by, believing that our society has moved past the 18th Century and all that they thought and believed in.

However, if one takes the time to read and ponder on these 110 Rules, they will quickly see that their focus is on other people rather than on our own self-interests. A focus that too many of us seem to subscribe to these days and perhaps a fault that bears reconsideration.

I believe that many martial artists and people interested in martial history become so enamored with exotic philosophies and cultures that they miss the richness of history available in their own countries traditions. I mentioned in a previous post that the M4 rifle and pistol are the equivalent of the Katana and companion sword to todays warrior. Perhaps the Kentucky Rifle and the Tomahawk are the ancient weapons of the American Warrior and Rodgers Rangers Standing Orders and the 110 Rules are our Hagakure and Budoshoshinshu?

THE 110 RULES:

1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

2nd When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usually Discovered.

3rd Show Nothing to your Friend that may affright him.

4th In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

5th If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkerchief or Hand before your face and turn aside.

6th Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.

7th Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Dressed.

8th At Play and at Fire its Good manners to Give Place to the last Commer, and affect not to Speak Louder than Ordinary.

9th Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.

10th When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.

11th Shift not yourself in the Sight of others nor Gnaw your nails.

12th Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs roll not the Eyes lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

13th Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexterously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.

14th Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.

15th Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Showing any great Concern for them.

16th Do not Puff up the Cheeks, Loll not out the tongue rub the Hands, or beard, thrust out the lips, or bite them or keep the Lips too open or too Close.

17th Be no Flatterer, neither Play with any that delights not to be Play’d Withal.

18th Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unasked also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.

19th Let your Countenance be pleasant but in Serious Matters Somewhat grave.

20th The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.

21st Reproach none for the Infirmities of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.

22nd Show not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

23rd When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always show Pity to the Suffering Offender.

24th Do not laugh too loud or too much at any Public Spectacle.

25th Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremony are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.

26th In Pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen & make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Person. Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom.

27th Tis ill manners to bid one more eminent than yourself be covered as well as not to do it to whom it’s due Likewise he that makes too much haste to Put on his hat does not well, yet he ought to Put it on at the first, or at most the Second time of being asked; now what is herein Spoken, of Qualification in behavior in Saluting, ought also to be observed in taking of Place, and Sitting down for ceremonies without Bounds is troublesome.

28th If any one come to Speak to you while you are are Sitting Stand up though he be your Inferior, and when you Present Seats let it be to every one according to his Degree.

29th When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight place to give way for him to Pass.

30th In walking the highest Place in most Countries Seems to be on the right hand therefore Place yourself on the left of him whom you desire to Honor: but if three walk together the middest Place is the most Honorable the wall is usually given to the most worthy if two walk together.

31st If any one far Surpasses others, either in age, Estate, or Merit yet would give Place to a meaner than himself in his own lodging or elsewhere the one ought not to except it, So he on the other part should not use much earnestness nor offer it above once or twice.

32nd To one that is your equal, or not much inferior you are to give the chief Place in your Lodging and he to who ‘is offered ought at the first to refuse it but at the Second to accept though not without acknowledging his own unworthiness.

33rd They that are in Dignity or in office have in all places Precedency but whilst they are Young they ought to respect those that are their equals in Birth or other Qualities, though they have no Public charge.

34th It is good Manners to prefer them to whom we Speak before ourselves especially if they be above us with whom in no Sort we ought to begin.

35th Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.

36th Artificers & Persons of low Degree ought not to use many ceremonies to Lords, or Others of high Degree but Respect and highly Honor them, and those of high Degree ought to treat them with affability & Courtesy, without Arrogance.

37th In speaking to men of Quality do not lean nor Look them full in the Face, nor approach too near them at lest Keep a full Pace from them.

38th In visiting the Sick, do not Presently play the Physician if you be not Knowing therein.

39th In writing or Speaking, give to every Person his due Title According to his Degree & the Custom of the Place.

40th Strive not with your Superiors in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.

41st Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Professes; it Savours of arrogance.

42nd Let thy ceremonies in Courtesy be proper to the Dignity of his place with whom thou converses for it is absurd to act the same with a Clown and a Prince.

43rd Do not express Joy before one sick or in pain for that contrary Passion will aggravate his Misery.

44th When a man does all he can though it Succeeds not well blame not him that did it.

45th Being to advise or reprehend any one, consider whether it ought to be in public or in Private; presently, or at Some other time in what terms to do it & in reproving Show no Sign of Cholar but do it with all Sweetness and Mildness.

46th Take all Admonitions thankfully in what Time or Place Soever given but afterwards not being culpable take a Time & Place convenient to let him him know it that gave them

47th Mock not nor Jest at any thing of Importance break [n]o Jest that are Sharp Biting and if you Deliver any thing witty and Pleasant abstain from Laughing thereat yourself.

48th Wherein you reprove Another be unblameable yourself; for example is more prevalent than Precepts.

49th Use no Reproachful Language against any one neither Curse nor Revile.

50th Be not hasty to believe flying Reports to the Disparagement of any.

51st Wear not your Cloths, foul, ripped or Dusty but See they be Brushed once every day at least and take heed that you approach not to any Uncleaness.

52nd In your Apparel be Modest and endeavor to accommodate Nature, rather than to procure Admiration keep to the Fashion of your equals Such as are Civil and orderly with respect to Times and Places.

53rd Run not in the Streets, neither go too slowly nor with Mouth open go not Shaking your Arms kick not the earth with your feet, go not upon the Toes, nor in a Dancing fashion.

54th Play not the Peacock, looking every where about you, to See if you be well Decked, if your Shoes fit well if your Stockings sit neatly, and Cloths handsomely.

55th Eat not in the Streets, nor in the House, out of Season.

56th Associate yourself with Men of good Quality if you Esteem your own Reputation; for ‘is better to be alone than in bad Company.

57th In walking up and Down in a House, only with One in Company if he be Greater than yourself, at the first give him the Right hand and Stop not till he does and be not the first that turns, and when you do turn let it be with your face towards him, if he be a Man of Great Quality, walk not with him Cheek by Joul but Somewhat behind him; but yet in Such a Manner that he may easily Speak to you.

58th Let your Conversation be without Malice or Envy, for ‘is a Sign of a Tractable and Commendable Nature: And in all Causes of Passion admit Reason to Govern.

59th Never express anything unbecoming, nor Act against the Rules Moral before your inferiors.

60th Be not immodest in urging your Friends to Discover a Secret.

61st Utter not base and frivolous things amongst grave and Learned Men nor very Difficult Questions or Subjects, among the Ignorant or things hard to be believed, Stuff not your Discourse with Sentences amongst your Betters nor Equals.

62nd Speak not of doleful Things in a Time of Mirth or at the Table; Speak not of Melancholy Things as Death and Wounds, and if others Mention them Change if you can the Discourse tell not your Dreams, but to your intimate Friend.

63rd A Man ought not to value himself of his Achievements, or rare Qualities of wit; much less of his riches Virtue or Kindred.

64th Break not a Jest where none take pleasure in mirth Laugh not aloud, nor at all without Occasion, deride no mans Misfortune, though there Seem to be Some cause.

65th Speak not injurious Words neither in Jest nor Earnest Scoff at none although they give Occasion.

66th Be not froward but friendly and Courteous; the first to Salute hear and answer & be not Pensive when it’s a time to Converse.

67th Detract not from others neither be excessive in Commanding.

68th Go not thither, where you know not, whether you Shall be Welcome or not. Give not Advice without being Asked & when desired do it briefly.

69th If two contend together take not the part of either unconstrained; and be not obstinate in your own Opinion, in Things indifferent be of the Major Side.

70th Reprehend not the imperfections of others for that belongs to Parents Masters and Superiors.

71st Gaze not on the marks or blemishes of Others and ask not how they came. What you may Speak in Secret to your Friend deliver not before others.

72nd Speak not in an unknown Tongue in Company but in your own Language and that as those of Quality do and not as the Vulgar; Sublime matters treat Seriously.

73rd Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.

74th When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended.

75th In the midst of Discourse ask not of what one treateth but if you Perceive any Stop because of your coming you may well intreat him gently to Proceed: If a Person of Quality comes in while your Conversing it’s handsome to Repeat what was said before.

76th While you are talking, Point not with your Finger at him of Whom you Discourse nor Approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.

77th Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others.

78th Make no Comparisons and if any of the Company be Commended for any brave act of Virtue, commend not another for the Same.

79th Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not.

80th Be not Tedious in Discourse or in reading unless you find the Company pleased therewith.

81st Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.

82nd Undertake not what you cannot Perform but be Careful to keep your Promise.

83rd When you deliver a matter do it without Passion & with Discretion, however mean the Person be you do it too.

84th When your Superiors talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh.

85th In Company of these of Higher Quality than yourself Speak not til you are asked a Question then Stand upright put of your Hat & Answer in few words.

86th In Disputes, be not So Desirous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.

87th Let thy carriage be such as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others Say.

88th Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressions, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse.

89th Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.

90th Being Set at meat Scratch not neither Spit Cough or blow your Nose except there’s a Necessity for it.

91st Make no Show of taking great Delight in your Victuals, Feed not with Greediness; cut your Bread with a Knife, lean not on the Table neither find fault with what you Eat.

92nd Take no Salt or cut Bread with your Knife Greasy.

93rd Entertaining any one at the table, it is decent to present him with meat; Undertake not to help others undesired by the Master.

94th If you Soak bread in the Sauce let it be no more than what you put in your Mouth at a time and blow not your broth at Table but Stay till Cools of it Self.

95th Put not your meat to your Mouth with your Knife in your hand neither Spit forth the Stones of any fruit Pie upon a Dish nor Cast anything under the table.

96th It’s unbecoming to Stoop much to ones Meat Keep your Fingers clean & when foul wipe them on a Corner of your Table Napkin.

97th Put not another bit into your mouth till the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big for the jowls.

98th Drink not nor talk with your mouth full; neither gaze about you while you are drinking.

99th Drink not too leisurely nor yet too hastily. Before and after drinking, wipe your lips; breath not then or ever with too great a noise, for its uncivil.

100th Cleanse not your teeth with the table cloth napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done without a peep to them.

101st Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.

102nd It is out of use to call upon the company often to eat; nor need you drink to others every time you drink.

103rd In the company of your betters, be not longer in eating than they are; lay not your arm but only your hand upon the table.

104th It belongs to the chiefest in company to unfold his napkin and fall to meat first, but he ought then to begin in time & to dispatch with dexterity that the slowest may have time allowed him.

105th Be not angry at the table whatever happens & if you have reason to be so, show it not; put on a cheerful countenance especially if there be strangers, for good humor makes one dish of meat a feast.

106th Set not yourself at the upper of the table; but if it be your due or that the master of the house will have it so, contend not, least you should trouble the company.

107th If others talk at the table, be attentive but talk not with meat in your mouth.

108th When you speak of God or his attributes, let it be seriously & with reverence. Honor & obey your natural parents although they be poor.

109th Let your recreations be manful not sinful.

110th Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.

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American Hero

 

Rescorla Memorial in Hayle, Cornwall
Image via Wikipedia

Rick Rescorla was an interesting man. Rick was a retired United States Army officer of British birth. He served with distinction in Rhodesia as a British soldier and in the Vietnam War as an American officer. For those who read the book or saw the movie, “We were soldiers once, and young”…he was there (as a matter of fact the cover of the book is a photo of him). The author called him “the best platoon leader I ever saw”. There are mentions of him and his bravery in numerous books about that battle and the war in general. He became a US citizen AFTER Vietnam.

Rick was employed as the security chief of Morgan Stanley in the World Trade Center. Being the warrior that he was, Rick anticipated attacks on the towers and had implemented evacuation procedures and drilled employees on them. This served him well on 9/11

As he was evacuating people from the towers he reminded them “…be proud to be an American …everyone will be talking about you tomorrow”, and sang God Bless Americaand other military and Cornish songs over his bullhorn to help evacuees stay calm as they left the building, including an adaptation of the song Men of Harlech:

“Men of Cornwall stop your dreaming;
Can’t you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors’ pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Cornwall stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!”

After he evacuated most of Morgan Stanley’s 2700 employees he went back in to save others. When somebody told him to get out and save himself he said:

“As soon as I make sure everyone else is out”

Rick was killed when tower 2 collapsed. Reports state he was observed as high as the 72nd floor assisting in the evacuation of other people. As a result of Rescorla’s actions, all but 6 of Morgan Stanley’s 2700 WTC employees survived. Four of the six included Rick and three of his deputies who followed him back into the building – Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde. Who are heroes in their own right.

Im not ashamed to say that I get misty eyed when I think about that man on that day. It makes me sad, angry and proud all at the same time. The man was a Warrior, an American and a Hero. There are many not worthy to carry his boots. We should be reminded everyday about 9/11 lest we forget…and frankly its why I get so pissed off at the apologists, the “understand them’s” and the conspiracists. Rick Rescorla is probably one of the best Americans whom you have never heard of..as shameful as that is. Where was the media coverage on him?

An article in The New Yorkerwas published about Rick and his life. It concludes with a statement from his second wife, whom he met late in life, and a reply to that statement from a long time friend of Rick’s who fought and survived in the Ia Drang with him.

“What’s really difficult for me is that I know he had a choice,” Susan says. “He chose to go back in there. I know he would never have left until everyone was safe, until his mission was accomplished. That was his nature. That was the man I loved. So I can understand why he went back. What I can’t understand is why I was left behind.”

Dan Hill says that Susan will understand someday, as he does. “What she doesn’t understand is that she knew him for four or five years. She knew a sixty-two-year-old man with cancer. I knew him as a hundred-and-eighty-pound, six-foot-one piece of human machinery that would not quit, that did not know defeat, that would not back off one inch. In the middle of the greatest battle of Vietnam, he was singing to the troops, saying we’re going to rip them a new asshole, when everyone else was worrying about dying. If he had come out of that building and someone died who he hadn’t tried to save, he would have had to commit suicide.

“I’ve tried to tell Susan this, in a way, but she’s not ready yet for the truth. In the next weeks or months, I’ll get her down here, and we’ll take a walk along the ocean, and I’ll explain these things. You see, for Rick Rescorla, this was a natural death. People like Rick, they don’t die old men. They aren’t destined for that and it isn’t right for them to do so. It just isn’t right, by God, for them to become feeble, old, and helpless sons of bitches. There are certain men born in this world, and they’re supposed to die setting an example for the rest of the weak bastards we’re surrounded with.”

God speed Rick. May the mead never run dry in Valhalla.

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a good cause

Wounded Warrior Project
Image via Wikipedia

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the Wounded Warrior Project.

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) began when several veterans and friends, moved by stories of the first wounded service members returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq, took action to help others in need. What started as a program to provide comfort items to wounded service members has grown into a complete rehabilitative effort to assist warriors as they recover and transition back to back to civilian life.

Read more: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/content/view/415/876/#ixzz1MkkHALbG

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An American Hero Passes

God Speed Major Winters.

January 21, 1918 – January 2, 2011

  • Distinguished Service Cross
  • Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Purple Heart
  • Presidential Unit Citation with one Oak Leaf Cluster
  • American Defense Service Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 3 service stars and arrow device
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal
  • Croix de guerre with palm
  • French Liberation Medal
  • Oorlogskruis with palm
  • Belgian WWII Service Medal
  • Combat Infantryman Badge
  • Parachutist Badge with 2 combat stars
  • Medal of the City of Eindhoven

Blood Upon the Risers

don’t forget our sisters in arms

In honor of  man and country.
Image by Globetoppers via Flickr

 

A site dedicated to our female warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

http://www.nooniefortin.com/iraq.htm

Killed in Iraq or in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom:

2003: 12 US Military women, 1 US Civilian woman

2004: 18 US Military women, 3 US Civilian women

2005: 18 US Military women, 5 US Civilian women

2006: 16 US Military women, 1 US Civilian woman

2007: 27 US Military women, 2 US Civilian women

2008: 11 US Military women, 1 US Civilian woman

2009: 3 US Military women, 0 US Civilian women

2010: 6 US Military women, 0 US Civilian women

Total a/o 10 Aug 10:

111 US Military women, 13 US Civilian women

124 US women killed during OIF

Never forget.

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remember….

 

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

 

Day is done
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills
From the sky All is well,
safely rest.
God is nigh.
Fading light Dims the sight
And a star Gems the sky,
Gleaning bright From afar,
Drawing nigh,
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh. 

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manly poetry

Rudyard Kipling, the famous novelist was a res...
Image via Wikipedia

For verse that doesn’t leave you feeling like a effeminate, eggheaded, effete, nobody did it better than Rudyard Kipling.

I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:

O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.

Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ‘eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;

While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.

For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool — you bet that Tommy sees!

Amen.

Find more of Kipling’s work here.

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diversion from the usual…

U.S.
Image via Wikipedia

I typically avoid political issues here, but the recent turn of events in our Congress leaves me concerned. If passed, this new health care legislation would be a major shift towards the government assuming more power than I believe the Constitution allows. While I do believe that our health care system does indeed need an overhaul, the government believing that they have the authority to mandate that we ALL must purchase a product as part of our citizenship seems blatantly unconstitutional on it’s face. They like to point to auto insurance, but ignore the fact that if I don’t want to pay auto insurance I simply do not drive a car.

The “interstate commerce clause” and the “general welfare” statement will probably be their attempt to legitimize this power grab. I can but hope that the “checks and balances” of the Senate or the Supreme Court perform their duties as they were intended.

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i pledge allegiance…

I remember a teacher that I had, Now I only went through the 7th grade, I went through the 7th grade… I left home when I was 10 years old because I was hungry… I used to, this is true, I’d work in the summer and go to school in the winter. But I had one teacher who was the principal of the Harrison School in Vincennes Indiana. To me this was the greatest teacher, a real sage, of my time anyhow. He had such wisdom. And we were all reciting the pledge of allegiance one day, and he walked over this little teacher, Mr. Lasswell was his name. He says I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the pledge of allegance, all semester. And it seems as though it’s becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you, the meaning of each word.

I ; me, an individual, a committee of one.

Pledge ; dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self pity.

Allegiance ; my love and my devotion

To The Flag ; our standard, old glory, a symbol of faith, where-ever she waves, there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts that freedom is everybody’s job.

(of the) United ; that means that we have all come together.

States (of America) ; individual communities that have united into 48 great states. 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries yet united with a common purpose, and that’s love for country.

And To The Republic ; “republic” a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern, and government is the people, and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people…

For Which It Stands;… (no explanation was necessary)

One Nation ; one nation, meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible ; incapable of being divided

With Liberty ; which is freedom, the right of power to live one’s own life without threats, or fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice ; the principal or quality of dealing fairly with others.

For All ; for all, which means boys and girls, it’s as much your country, as it is mine.

And now boys and girls, let me hear you recite, the pledge of allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the pledge of allegiance; “Under God. ”

Wouldn’t it be a pity, if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools too?

godspeed shifty

shifty_powers

I don’t know if this is an urban legend e-mail yet, snopes lists its authenticity as mixed, but nevertheless it’s a great sentiment about a great man.

Darrell “Shifty” Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the “Screaming Eagle”, the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he’d been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said “Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . ” at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said “I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?” At this point my heart stopped.

I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said “I also made a second jump into Holland , into Arnhem .” I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France , and he said “Yes. And it’s real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can’t make the trip.” My heart was in my throat and I didn’t know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I’d take his in coach.

He said “No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy.” His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center .

No wall to wall back to back 24×7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

Let’s give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

“A nation without heroes is nothing.”

A local paper had this to say about Shifty:

…Powers, who got the nickname “Shifty” playing basketball as a youngster, served three years in the Army during World War II and later worked as a machinist for Clinchfield Coal Corp. He found renewed notoriety when his military experiences were depicted on film and in the Stephen Ambrose book of the same name.

“He actually hadn’t talked about it, his war years, until the book came out,” said his daughter-in-law, Sandy Powers. “He gets fan mail from all over the world, and calls.”

“For me and my kids, it’s just amazing that our regular, sweet uncle was such a hero,” said his niece, Cheryl Gilliland of Roanoke. “It sure changed his life in later years. He went places and met people he never would have otherwise.”

Darrell Powers met a German soldier in 2005 who had fought against him at the notoriously brutal siege of Bastogne during the winter of 1944.

According to his son, Wayne, he had in September been scheduled to travel to Iraq to meet with U.S. soldiers, but health problems prevented it.

“He was so disappointed. He wanted to meet with the soldiers so badly,” Sandy Powers said.

One of his closest friends, Earl McClung, of Colorado, in 2001 called Darrell Powers “a heck of a good soldier and a heck of a good shot.”

“And he was there every time I looked up,” he added.

“Our family had four boys and one girl, and I’m the only one left,” said Powers’ sister, Gaynell Sykes of Roanoke, on Wednesday. “He was a great brother. I know he was great at a lot of other things, too — great father, great son, great husband.” -The Roanoke Times

They are all leaving us now…

May they never be forgotten.

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