"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


~Author Unknown~  

"I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite -- not to tell stories or look at old pictures; not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who acted at their best; men who suffered and sacrificed; men who were stripped of their humanity.

I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the military. But, I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another.

As long as I have my memory, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades ... such good men."

** Let's remember this Thanksgiving and Christmas when we're eating our dinner, smiling and laughing, that in other houses there are empty chairs where heroes should be sitting. 

They gave up their lives so we could sit with our families. So light a candle for the heroes who did not make it back and for those who are still serving in Afghanistan, Iraq or any other place.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Desks

This is a lesson that should be taught in all schools and colleges.  Oh, and it's true.

Back in September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a Social Studies teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, did something not to be forgotten.

On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal, and the building supervisor, Ms. Cothren removed all of the desks from her classroom.  When the first period students entered the room they discovered there were no desks.

"Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?"  The students asked, puzzled. 

She replied, "You can't have a desk, not until you are able to tell me how you earned the right to sit at a desk."

They thought and whispered among themselves.  One student held up her hand and then asked, "Well, maybe it's our grades.  Do we have to get an A to get a desk?" 

"No."  Ms. Cothren answered.

"Then maybe it's our behavior." Said one boy in class who was, more often than not, in trouble.  

The teacher shook her head.  "No, it's not even your behavior."   

It went on like this the whole day long.  Students came in, heard Ms. Cothren's query and, with no answers, at the end of the period, the students left.  They arrived for the first period, second period, then the third period. Still there were no desks in the classroom, nor the proper answer to Ms. Cothren's puzzling riddle.

By early afternoon, television news crews had started gathering in Ms.Cothren's classroom to watch and then report what they could about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the deskless classroom, Martha Cothren said, "Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he/she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom. Now I am going to tell you."

At this point, you could've heard a pin drop in the classroom.  Martha Cothren walked over to the door of her classroom and opened it wide. Twenty-seven U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into the classroom, each carrying a school desk.  One by one, each Veteran replaced a school desk, row by row, and then walked over to take his place beside the other Vets along the wall. 

By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place, the students finally understood, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Ms Cothren stood silently looking into each student's face and then she spoke, "Understand, you didn't earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you. They placed the desks here for you. Now, it's up to you to sit in them. It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, and to be good citizens. They paid a dear price so that you could have the freedom to get an education. Don't ever forget that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned for us by U.S. Veterans."

Thank you, Veterans.  Welcome Home.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lunch with Friends

This came to me today from a friend that I value very much.  After you read this, I think you'll understand ...

Two Scoops of Chocolate Ice Cream
"One day I had lunch with some friends. Bob, a short, balding golfer-type about 69 years old, came along with them.  All in all, it was a pleasant bunch of guys.

When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, all except for Bob who said, "Ice Cream, please -- two scoops, both of them chocolate."

At first, I wasn't sure my ears heard him right, and the others were aghast, as well. "Oh, and along with some heated apple pie." Bob added, completely unabashed.

We tried to act quite nonchalant, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders were brought out, I found that I didn't enjoy mine.  I couldn't take my eyes off Bob as his pie a-la-mode went down. I noticed that the other guys couldn't believe it either. They ate their lunches silently and grinned suspiciously.

The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Bob. I lunched on white meat tuna and whole grain bread. He ordered a parfait. when I smiled, he asked if he amused me. I answered, "Yes, you do, but also you confuse me. How come you order rich desserts for lunch, while I feel I must be sensible?"

Bob laughed and explained, "I'm tasting all that is possible.  I try to eat the foods I need, and I do the things that I should do so I'll be healthy, but listen, life's so short, my friend! I hate missing out on something good. This year I realized how old I was."  He smiled, thoughtfully.  "I haven't ever been this old before.

Before I die, I've decided to try those things I had always ignored. I haven't smelled all the flowers yet; there are trout streams I haven't fished; there are more hot fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown over my head in the wind. There are too many golf courses I haven't played, and I've not laughed at all the jokes yet. Oh, and I've missed a lot of sporting events ... and potato chips ... and cokes.

Wading Barefoot
I want to wade barefoot again in puddles and feel the ocean spray on my face. I want to sit in a country church one more time and thank God for everything. I want peanut butter spread every day on my morning toast; I want un-timed long distance calls to all the folks I love the most.

I haven't cried at all the movies yet, or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel wind on my face, and I want to be in love again. So, my friend, if I choose to have the dessert, instead of having dinner, then if I die before night fall, I'll be able to say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart's desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired.  I would die a happy man."

With that, I called the waitress over. "S'cuse me, Ma'am. I've changed my mind. I want what he's having -- only add even more whipped cream!"

This is my gift to you -- let's make this our annual Friends Day. The rest of the year, we'll live well, love much and laugh often -- in other words, we'll be happy.  And we have to be mindful that happiness isn't based on possessions, power, or prestige. It's all about relationships with the people we like and love and respect.

Money might talk, but chocolate ice cream sings ...

Thank you, Craig Latham! Many hugs, my friend.

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Definition of a Traitor

BARBRA WALTERS WRITES: "The definition of a traitor is Jane Fonda"

Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam.

The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll.

In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the ' Hanoi Hilton.'
Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American 'Peace Activist' the 'lenient and humane treatment' he'd received.

He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp Commandant 's feet, which sent that officer berserk.

In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied application of a wooden baton.

From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the ' Hanoi Hilton',,, the first three of which his family only knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a 'peace delegation' visit.

They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it, in the palm of his hand.

When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: 'Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.

She took them all without missing a beat.. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper ...
three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day.

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam , and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia ; and one year in a 'black box' in Hanoi . My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Banme Thuot , South Vietnam , whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs)

We were Jane Fonda's 'war criminals....'

When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi , I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with her ... I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received ... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as 'humane and lenient.'

Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weight placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.

These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of '100 Years of Great Women.' Lest we forget....' 100 Years of Great Women' should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots.

There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can.. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.

USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron,
Chief of Maintenance DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

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