Friday, June 29, 2007

The Email surge is working!

We have an update today from the Fightin' 6th Marines. The email count is now almost at 9,000 - and still growing!

That is Awesome, folks. But when you think about it, that is still less than 2 emails per Marine. Keep it UP!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The wisdom of children

How true ...

Dear God...

Cheerfully borrowed from Wayne, who has a whole collection of these.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

We have a winnah

Early this morning a visitor arrived here out of the blue (no referrer), apparently decided they were in the wrong place, and zoomed off to places unknown. That was my 50,000th visitor. The only thing I can tell is that they are located in Billings, MT ... and whoever it is likes to get up much earlier in the morning than I do! {Hugs} to you, anonymous visitor!

So Amy of Gentle Whisper, and John of Castle Argghhh! ... you got close, but no ceegar.

Over the two-plus years that I've been exploring the blogosphere and feeding the blog monster (sometimes on a starvation diet), I've met some great folks. We've talked about ideas large and small, cheered on our troops and honored their sacrifices, ranted against the inequities of the world, played meme games, and raised virtual glasses in joy, and to honor those who are no longer with us.

This occurs largely in the virtual sense, being spread out around the world as we are. Sometimes the virtual spreads into the physical world, and real margaritas can replace virtual ones - and life is even better.

Not that virtual friends are less than real, as has been discussed before in this space.

... friends are friends - whether we met first through the internet or in person matters not. Secondly, I think that not only can we form true friendships without meeting one another, it may lead a purer form of friendship.

We didn't form these friendships because we happened to work together, live next to one another, etc. We formed them because we shared ideas with each other, and came back for more. As long as we have been honest, then the bonds between us are not based on age or physical parameters, or on other accidents of location. Instead the bonds are based on how we think - and that is a better, stronger bond to me.

Getting to meet any of you face to face will just be the icing on the cake!

I'm glad you came by, drop a comment in the box if you're so inclined. Come back anytime ... And when you get to the Pacific Northwest (Hi Chuck!), leave a comment so the virtual and real worlds can intersect.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Wow - sometime Saturday night or Sunday my sitemeter will tick over 50,000 visits, recorded over two and a half years.

It's been a ton of fun! Sorry ... no prizes for pushing the counter past the milestone. You'll get a mention here, though, as will the blog that you came from. And a big virtual {Hug} from me for helping the meter to tick over!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Kaziah's Gift

Artist Kaziah Hancock gives her talents and time to honor fallen troops by painting portraits for their families. I was introduced to her efforts by this video (thanks for the link, Beck!). She has completed almost 200 paintings since 2003, and does it all without accepting any payment from the families themselves. This is her Thank You gift to our fallen heroes, and to their loved ones.

Here's one example of her talent and devotion ...

Portrait by Kaziah Hancock

Marine Sgt. Adam Cann was killed in Iraq in January of 2006, but he is alive in the hearts of his friends and family, and again in this portrait.

Artists like Kaziah, and like Michael Reagan, who I profiled last year, give freely of their talents and their time to keep alive the spirit of these fallen heroes. Neither of them will accept money from the families who request the portraits, so if you have a few dollars to spare, visit Kaziah and Michael to help them continue in their missions:

Kaziah - Portraits of Heroes

Michael - Fallen Heroes Project

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Marines of the Fighting 6th need You!

How can you help the Marines of Regimental Combat Team 6? I'm glad you asked! How about starting out with an email to tell them you support them...

We have a golden opportunity to make a direction connection with the help of Grim and Blackfive (with a tip of the hat to Kat), you can even do it right from your computer. How easy is that?!

Just sit down and tell these warriors at the tip of the spear that you care, and that you support them and their mission. These are our Marines, putting it all on the line every day - thousands of miles from their homes and families. So take 10 minutes of your day to tell them you care.

Then send another email to all of your friends and family who support the troops. And tell them to do the same thing. Let's make certain that these Marines know we support them, and completely flood their email box!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Happy Birthday, US Army - and Happy Flag Day

This date has dual significance to US citizens. First, it is the 232nd birthday of the US Army.

Happy Birthday, US Army!June 14, 1775 - Recognizing the need to form a unified army to fight Great Britain, the Continental Congress creates the Continental Army and unanimously votes George Washington of Virginia as its commander. Organizing the army from the militia units gathered outside Boston, Washington led the Continental Army for the duration of the war. Following the Treaty of Paris in 1783, most of the army was disbanded. The following year on June 3, Congress authorized the formation of United States Army to take the place of its revolutionary predecessor.
(From About.Com : Military History)

Today is also Flag Day, in honor of which I offer you my own flag.

I'm working today, but I have a special event planned for Friday. If you're curious, the details are at the American Legion of Washington site. I won't actually be on base at Fort Lewis, just close to it. But I expect to get to meet 'n' greet some soldiers. If I get pics (and permission), I'll post them up this weekend. Hope you all have fun as well!

*** UPDATE ***
Yippee! I just found out that Walt Gaya will be at the golf event tomorrow, to take pictures. Yay! If that name doesn't ring any bells, you need to read Mike Yon's post Americans Among Us and Angels Among Us for lunch, and then read A Piece of Cake for desert. I will be honored to once again get to see and talk with Walt.

Monday, June 11, 2007

This humbles me ... Again

While every story of our brave men and women in uniform has the dual effect of inspiring and humbling me, the stories of Major Doug Zembiec, the "Lion of Fallujah", maxes both impacts for me. I thought that I could not be more inspired after reading his story at Blackfive. I was wrong.

Go read the letter this fine Marine wrote to the family of another fallen Marine. Take the hanky with you. You'll need it.

Captain Doug Zembiec in Fallujah, April 2004
Zembiec Family Photo - Captain Doug Zembiec, April 2004

*** Update ***

Just when I cleared the blurriness from my vision, my blog-son brings it back again, with the simple word Friend. Go read
Living With Our Scars to see how far Major Zembiec's words reach.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

How I remembered D-Day

Imagine my excitement last week when I saw that I would be able to attend a special event today at work. In honor of the 63rd anniversary of D-Day, and in the spirit of Memorial Day, we were going to host a special guest. Buck Compton, a member of the E (Easy) Company, known to most as the Band of Brothers, would come to our work campus to speak.

Let me set the stage for this event a little. Within the company are many social organizations, and among these are two groups - those who are military veterans, and those who are reservists. They were the organizers of the event, and of the 300 or so folks in the lecture hall, I'd guess at least 75% were members of these two groups - or their guests. The organizer, Paul, is a veteran, and he introduced another veteran, Chris, who has been a co-worker for a year since retiring from the Marine Corps with 2 stars.

Chris started off with a moment of silence in honor of our fallen troops, as this was also a Memorial Day observance. That was followed by a playing of the Star Spangled Banner, and then Chris provided the background on just who this Buck Compton fellow is. And I learned many things I didn't know.

For all those who have read Stephen Ambrose's book, Band of Brothers, or enjoyed the mini-series, the name Lynn "Buck" Compton should be familiar. As one of the members of E (Easy) Company of the 506th PIR (Parachute Infantry Regiment) of the 101st Airborne Division, Buck made the jump into Normandy on D-Day, and was awarded a Silver Star for his actions in disabling a German gun emplacement.

But before he put on the uniform of an Army officer, there was college. Buck attended UCLA, where he played baseball with Jackie Robinson, and joined the UCLA football team in winning the Rose Bowl in 1943.

After the war ended, Buck became a police officer in L.A. and started a family. He decided to became a lawyer and moved on to the District Attorney's office as a Deputy D.A., where he led the team which prosecuted Sirhan Sirhan for the murder of Robert F. Kennedy. He was then named to the California Court of Appeal, where he spent 20 years as an associate justice.

He retired to the Pacific Northwest, and ended up the neighbor of a co-worker. And it turned out, when asked, that he was happy to come to speak to us in honor of the day. Which was our good fortune, because Buck is equally comfortable talking about the events of 63 years ago or the current war front in Iraq. He can tell tales of the past, but he doesn't dwell there.

Right off the bat, Buck made us chuckle, as he pointed out the uniqueness of being introduced by a former Major General. He noted that in his career, he hadn't had much exposure to General officers! This set the tone well, as he proved to be very down to earth and matter of fact about his experiences. As with other WWII vets I've known, he feels that what he did was nothing special. In fact, he pointed out that having a book based on Easy Company was pure chance, partly founded from the relationship between Walter Gordon, a member of Easy Company, and Stephen Ambrose - as they were neighbors.

I would need a transcript of the hour he spent with us to remember all of the topics he covered - everything from current politics and the war in Iraq, to the differences between Reality as he recalls it versus the movie version of events. After telling a few tales to illustrate some of the artistic license, I had to grin when someone asked him, "But you did get shot in the butt, right?" - and Buck chuckled and said "Oh, yeah. That happened."

Buck made an incredibly important point, however, that I shall never forget. He talked about how people will walk up to him and thank him for 'fighting for our freedom'. Because he is certain that many, probably most, of the people who do so are not really thinking about what all of those freedoms are. They think of Freedom of Speech (and the evidence is how many people spout off ... *grin*), but they ignore equally important freedoms and rights that we have in this country. Freedom to associate with those we choose to, the right to own property, a free market economy, and so on. These are all part of what makes America special, and we have seen way too much nibbling at them over the years.

It was also quite refreshing to hear him denounce the 'so-called' government leaders who play politics with the troops, and worry too much about whether the NSA is listening to their phone calls. And music to my ears when he referred to Madame Pelosi as traitorous. If he were running for office right now, I'd be voting for him!!

Both before and after the event, Buck generously signed autographs and allowed photos. Since we wanted to get good seats, the Hubster and I did not pause on the way in to buy a copy of Ambrose's book, and on coming out afterwards, I found that they were all sold out. I bought a copy of the book "Biggest Brother", by Larry Alexander, instead - and had that autographed instead, along with a poster for a friend.

I came to shake the hand of one of the Band of Brothers, and instead I got to meet a wonderful American ... priceless.

By the way, I couldn't resist doing a little web searching afterwards - after learning so much more about the rest of Buck's busy life. He may be retired, but he isn't sitting around doing nothing. He has a regular radio gig for a station in Anacortes (north of Seattle, for those east of the Rockies), commenting on current events and political topics. Better yet, he has a blog where one can listen to his previous commentaries. If you're interested - wander over to Buck Compton Online, and tell him Barb sent you!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Reports from the Sandbox

There's a few people from my sidebar who are currently in Iraq or Afghanistan, or have family in country. Go drop them a comment or two if you have a moment, and let them know you're thinking about them.

Jack Army went out on Patrol the other day, and listened to the silence (Not!) of the lambs.

Partamian scowled while en route to the 'Stan.

Amy of Gentle Whisper blogs and misses her hubby Joel, who is in Afghanistan as well.

Homefront Six shares a video she made while she waits for MacGyver to come home safely.

The Bastidge is no longer in the military, he's in Iraq as a civilian contractor.