A close friend of mine sent me the writing below and ask that I pass it on. Just before we celebrate the 4th of July, our great Independence Day, I am happy to do so. They are definitely “tough words.”
As we look back at what it cost to free ourselves, as a nation, from England, in order to gain independence….our American flagstands for all the freedoms we enjoy and all that it has cost since then. This includes the freedom of speech…for those who speak out for or against a certain action.
The following are not my words, but I believe they speak the feelings of many Americans who love their sports and the players, but not some of their actions or attitudes. You be the judge.
“TO THE NFL (NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE) and ITS PLAYERS:
If I have brain cancer, I don’t ask my dentist what I should do. If my car has a problem, I don’t seek help from a plumber! Why do you think the public cares what a football player thinks about politics? If we want to know about football, then depending on the information we seek, we might consult with you, but even a quarterback doesn’t seek advice on playing his position from a defensive tackle!
You seem to have this over inflated view of yourselves, thinking because you enjoy working on such a large scale stage, that somehow your opinion about everything matters. The NFL realizes the importance of its “image” so it has rules that specify the clothes and insignia you can wear, the language you use, and your “antics” after a touchdown or other “great” play. But somehow you and your employer don’t seem to care that you disgrace the entire nation and its 320 million people in the eyes of the world by publicly disrespecting this country, its flag, and its anthem! The taxpaying citizens of this country subsidize your plush work environments, yet you choose to use those venues to openly offend those very citizens.
Do you even understand what the flag of this country means to so many of its citizens before you choose to “take a knee” in protest of this “country” during our national anthem?
You may think because you are paid so much that your job is tough, but you are clueless when it comes to tough. Let me show you those whose job is really tough.
You are spoiled babies who stand around and have staff squirt GatorAid in your mouths, sit in front of misting cooling fans when it’s warm, and sit on heated benches when it’s cold. That’s not “tough” that’s pampered.
You think that you deserve to be paid excessively high salaries, because you play a “dangerous” game where you can incur career ending injuries. Let me show you career ending injuries!
You think you that you deserve immediate medical attention and the best medical facilities and doctors when injured. Let me show you what it’s like for those who really need and deserve medical attention.
You think you have the right to disrespect the flag of the United States, the one our veterans fought for, risked limbs and mental stability to defend, in many cases died for. Let me show you what our flag means to them, their families, and their friends.
You believe you are our heroes, when in reality you are nothing but overpaid entertainers, who exist solely for our enjoyment! Well, your current antics are neither entertaining nor enjoyable, but rather a disgrace to this country, its citizens, all our veterans and their families, and the sacrifices they have made to ensure this country remains free. You choose to openly disgrace this country in the eyes of the rest of the world, yet with all your money, still choose to live here rather than in any other country. People with even the slightest amount of “Class” will stand and respect our flag. Where does that put you? You want to see heroes… here are this countries heroes!
You canprotest policies, the current government, or anything else you choose, that is your right. But when you “protest” our flag and anthem, you are insulting the nation we all live in and love, and all those who have served, been injured, or died to keep it free. There is nothing you can do or say that can make your actions anything more than the arrogance of classless people, who care about themselves more than our country or the freedoms for which our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much, to ensure you have the “right” to speak freely. Our country is far from perfect, but if you can point to any other country where your freedom and opportunities are better than they are here, then you just might want to go there and show respect for their flag!”
In the midst of evil, one man would not give up on saving the lives of hundreds of children in Czechoslovakia. His name is Nicolas Winton.
What this man did was remarkable and courageous. The parents of Prague were crying for help from any country before the invasion they knew was coming. Only England responded and said to send the children to them.
The heart wrenching decisions that the Jewish parents had to make in order to save their children is told in a film about Winton’s life. It is definitely worth watching…as we learn of not only the parent’s courage, but that of a man who could have walked away from the situation. He left his job with the London Stock Exchange to do what he believed to be most important…save young lives. Many of those parent would die in the concentration camps.
In the film, Nicky’s Family, a mother puts her two daughters on the train for England.
It is 1939 and Europe is on the brink of war. Hitler has invaded Czechoslovakia, threatening the lives of the Jewish population. Nicholas Winton, a young British stockbroker, decides he will do everything possible to save the lives of as many Jewish children as he can. This film, transmitting on Holocaust Memorial Day, tells the extraordinary story of how Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from the clutches of the Nazis, bringing them by train to Britain. (Berta film)
Young Nicholas Winton with a rescued child.
A few of the hundreds of children he saved in Prague.
Shortly before Christmas 1938, Winton was planning to travel to Switzerland for a skiing holiday. He decided instead to visit Prague and help Martin Blake, who was in Prague as an associate of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia then in the process of being occupied by Germany, and had called Winton to ask him to assist in Jewish welfare work. Winton established an organization to aid children from Jewish families at risk from the Nazis. He set up his office at a dining room table in his hotel in Wenceslas Square. In November 1938, following Kristallnact in Nazi-ruled Germany, the House of Commons approved a measure to allow the entry into Britain of refugees younger than 17, provided they had a place to stay and a warranty of £50 was deposited for their eventual return to their own country. (Wikipedia)
An interesting fact of Winton’s early life is as follows: Winton was born on 19 May 1909 in Hampstead, London. His parents were German Jews who moved to London. The family name was Wertheim, but they changed it to Winton in an effort at integration. They also converted to Christianity and Winton was baptized as a Christian. (History)
After World War II was over, Nicolas took up his own life and it wasn’t until his wife found an old scrapbook in the attic that she knew of the hundreds of children that he had helped save. This is probably the greatest example of his humility.
The life of this man, who with determination, skill and fortitude, proves how one decision can change a world. Generations have learned that they are alive because their grandparents were saved as children.
Sir Nicolas Winton lived to be 106 years old and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
Winton lived to be 106 years old.
Sir Nicolas Winton
The trailer below will make you want to see the entire film. It is available on Amazon Prime…Nicky’s Family. May the world learn from his great example of giving of self and determination. We certainly need it today.
While living part-time in Virginia, my husband and I were honored to interview a number of veterans of the Blue Ridge Mountain area. Many had never been interviewed about their service and were happy to finally tell their stories. This led to the writing of our book entitled Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Their stories were amazing. We were honored to meet Sharon Plichta and her husband who served in Vietnam. Sharon was a military nurse who earned the Bronze Star for her bravery caring for the wounded under fire.
Sharon receives Bronze Star
The veteran that I’d like to share with you from this book is Myron Cardward Harold of M.C., as he was called. He served in Korea with the U.S. Army’s 40th Division, 22nd Regiment. He was 21 years old as he fought across Heartbreak Ridge.
Here is a part of the chapter featuring this soldier of Valor in Korea:
Myron C. Harold, better known as “MC” has an amazing story of bravery when he served his country in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was a Staff Sergeant who almost lost both his legs. The fighting had been so terrible in the middle of winter on what is known as Heartbreak Ridge and they were walking and fighting at night through the mountains. His legs were beginning to freeze and he was picked up in a truck and taken to a field hospital at the Yalu River. When he arrived at a medic station, the soles of his shoes were worn out and flapping. By this time, both legs had frozen. The surgeons said, “We must take these legs off now. It can’t wait. We must do it now.” MC was prepared to face whatever he had to in order to live. He says he does not remember getting to the medics. Now they were about to remove his legs and send him back to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they had large fruit orchards that his father had started years before. The surgeon that day in Korea wanted to help MC stand on his legs one more time before performing the operation. When he did, MC recalls with tears in his eyes, “It felt like a shot had gone all through my body.” Immediately the surgeon recognized that the blood had started flowing throughout MC’s legs. Removing the legs would not be necessary. “That was my miracle,” MC said with tears in his eyes.
After returning from Korea, MC and his son grew many acres of apples in the Blue Ridge. Today, as an elderly man, he is a resident at the V.A. hospital in Virginia. He had survived to tell his story of God’s miracle in a land far away.
Other veterans of the Blue Ridge interviewed served in Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. They stand proud with all their comrades in arms who have faithfully served.
Rob Redus ( In submarines…Vietnam)
Dr. Tom Whartenby (Vietnam)
Clinton Moles (World War II)
Leonard Marshall (Survived the sinking of the USS Gambier by the Japanese)
Troy Davis (World War II and recently passed away in Spain)
Elmo McAlexander as an Army Medic during the Cold War
Frank and Sharan Plichta (Vietnam)
Paul Childress (World War II under Patton and guarded Dachau prisoner)
Tommy Ellis (Served in the Marines and regularly is in an Honor Guard for those veterans who pass away.) Roy McAlexander also has served hundreds of the fallen at funerals.
To those who may be interested in the many stories of honor and courage in Men and Women of Valor in the Blue RidgeClick here
I would like to share, in part, a couple of these dog heroes with you and some extraordinary pictures. The pictures show the devastation, but also the handlers and dogs who deserve so much credit.
“Search and rescue dogs are some of the unsung heroes of 9/11… However, these determined animals were indispensable to the rescue efforts and saved countless lives. What’s more, they brought back a sliver of hope to a nation under attack and reeling from the horror. One Twitter user gave canines the attention they deserve in an incredibly profound and viral thread that once and for all proves that dogs really are our best friends”
“Some of these heroic dogs were awarded The Dickin Medal which, according to BBC Radio 4, is the animal equivalent of the Victoria Cross. One of the dogs who received the medal was the aforementioned New York Police Department dog Appollo; the award was meant to recognize the dutiful efforts made by all SAR dogs during 9/11…
Two guide dogs were also awarded the medal for leading their owners more than 70 floors out of the World Trade Center immediately after the attacks in New York. Since 1943, over 60 animals have been awarded The Dickin Medal, including pigeons, horses and a cat (not just dogs). They were recognized for their services which led to people’s lives being saved during wartime.”
Boyer Writes gives honor to all the Hero Dogs of 9-11
The video below is the story of Michael Hingson, a survivor on 9-11 and his dog, Roselle. (Turn up sound)
One never knows where evil lurks! The terrorists of 9-11 most likely walked or rode bikes by our home in Venice, Florida. This was the beginning of their journey to murder as many people as possible and to die.
Venice is a peaceful, quiet place situated on the Gulf of Mexico in the U.S.A. Families enjoy the beautiful beaches that are quiet and serene, especially as the sun begins to set in the West. Yet, evil was among them.
Venice Beach in Florida, USA
Late one evening, my husband and I walked down to take a look at the sunset. A group of young people from Italy were there. As we listened to them speak in Italian, we asked them if they were tourists. They replied, “No, we are training at the Venice Airport.” It was not uncommon to have people from around the world, who in good faith wanted to learn to fly in the U.S
Yet, no one would have dreamed that evil was lurking there behind the controls of the small aircraft. The pilot trainee was learning to fly in order to murder not only Americans, but thousands from different countries… even people from their own country, who were simply doing business here. On leaving Venice, they planned to go on to other airports in Florida to learn to fly large aircraft. Coming to the U.S. through Hamburg, Germany, they blended in and were like many other foreigners who had trained in Venice.
We were told that the employees at the airport were kind to the foreigners and even offered for two of them to stay in their home until they could find a place of their own during training. Because they were so rude to the employee’s wife, they were asked to leave.
A Christian friend of ours was a flight instructor at the Venice Airport. Unfortunately, he had been given the assignment to train these men. After much frustration with them, he decided to complain to the airport managers. The men wanted to learn to fly, but oddly did not want to take instruction on landing. Another instructor took over. Neither the Venice Airport or local authorities in the area had been warned by federal agents about the men’s possible connection to the terrorist group Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden. Yet, here they were in the small town of Venice, ready and willing to learn, take their time and then strike like great, poisonous snakes for their Jihadist cause.
Do we remember their names? No…a thousand times NO! Their names are not worth remembering!
We do remember, however, the honorable, decent human beings who were the first responders, volunteers, and people from around the world who cared about humanity.
A Fireman rests while others pray
Honoring the fallen
We remember and pray for those men and women who are still sick from exposure at the 9-11 sites and the families of those who will forever grieve here and around the world.
We must never let our children forget.
We giveHONOR to the victims of 9-11. (Slide presentation)
It has been some time ago that the world, through their TV channels, watched the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris fall into the blazing fire and smoke below. Yet, a cross that hung in the cathedral survived.
It may be time now to think about the power of the cross as a symbol of hope. The cross is not a symbol of hope fo everyone. Yet it is powerful, whether they think so or not. There may have been some who rejoiced as the cathedral burned because they wished any symbol of Christianity to be destroyed. Just as terrorists wanted the World Trade Towers to no longer be the symbol of economic power, their evil minds set out to destroy them. Symbols, in themselves, do have power to renew our minds and thoughts to something that can become even greater. That is true of the two symbols that are written about in this blog post. The cross being our greatest hope…not wealth, but faith.
A Cross was erected from the rubble of 9-11
In place of those fallen towers, where thousands died…Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and many others with faiths… as well as atheists and agnostics, a great new tower was built. A grand memorial to all who died and suffered that terrible day now stands deep in the belly of the new, grand building.
We remember also over 2,000 First Responders who have died or sick years afterward from illnesses that came upon them trying to reach the victims. This has led President Trump to sign the 9-11 Victims’ Fund to those still suffering.
Tragedies often bring about in the human spirit a desire to rebuild, to remember and to fight against such atrocities and those who propose them.
First Responders in front of St Paul Chapel
St. Paul Chapel became a resting place and prayer for first responders. (Associated Press)
Instead of shocking, deliberate attacks, such as those on the World Trade Center, Pentagon or the intended attack on the White House, a few are accidental as the burning of the great Cathedral of Notre Dame. The world was dismayed for another reason as we recognized the value of a great work of architecture that had stood for over 850 years, having taken 200 years to build. It was a prize of history, being one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. This church was not only a symbol of Christianity but of the culture and the magnificent antiquities of France.
In the Cathedral of Notre Dame hung a cross, which was only exposed after the fires were put out. Miraculously, it still hung as did some of the magnificent stained glass windows. The French are determined to rebuild this great church and in doing so, we also can believe that it will be a revival of a great symbol of renewal, endurance, and hope. The world needs symbols of hope and none is more powerful than the cross and the great buildings in which a cross is lovingly placed.
Recently, I saw a video of a church standing on an island in Japan. Inside was a great cross, stained glass and though the island is now almost deserted, the church still survives in an unlikely place. Someone build it years ago and it is a symbol of their faith.
Fire ruins of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris
For all Christians, the real symbol of hope was never burned in that terrible fire in Paris…the great cross of Christ. That cross, shining bright, amid the ruins of the cathedral, sent the message around the world that the cross of Christ is the true symbol of hope for the world.
Yes, the cathedral will be rebuilt eventually, but the message of Christ in the cross will still shine after the burned rubble is cleared away. The message it brings is forgiveness, a renewed life, and the promise of life eternal through Christ, the Son of God.
The message in the clearing away of the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York City is that out of the ashes rises the great Phoenix of hope, freedom, democracy and renewal. Even in that terrible attack, St. Paul’s Chapel next door to the towers was not destroyed even though the debris fell all around it. The 1st President of the United States, George Washington, worshiped in this church.
It was not the first time, however, that this Christian church had escaped being destroyed. In the first days of the American Revolution, the invasion of British troops sparked the Great Fire of 1776, which destroyed 432 structures in New York. The fire spread to St. Paul’s Chapel and very nearly overwhelmed it, but a bucket brigade managed to squelch the fire. It is now named as the oldest surviving church in Manhattan.
Symbols are important in our lives. Some are international, national, or even personal, but they are often a message of joy, inspiration or hope.
(ABC News tour video) Important: In order to hear sound on the video, you will have to unclick sound symbol.
Member of the Coast Guard leaps onto a homemade sub-boat to make an arrest of drug smugglers (Photo Coast Guard)
Bales of Cocaine seized
Boat seized after the arrests (Photos by U.S.Coast Guard)
Not enough credit is given to our Law Enforcers, Military and especially our Coast Guard. They are trying their best to keep harmful drug runs and smugglers away from our shores. Their apprehensions of these criminals keep thousands more Americans from dying from these dangerous drugs. The Coast Guard is truly a group of dedicated heroes.
The greed and delivery by those who market these drugs to our people come in the most unusual forms. See below a video of a brave Coast Guard member trying to get a specially made boat to surface. He is yelling over and over a command, that in English means, “Raise your boat now!!!” At his own peril, the Coast Guardsman jumped on the top of the vessel to make the arrests of five smugglers. Below is the Coast Guard report:
“The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro stopped the alleged smugglers in the eastern Pacific Ocean on June 18, according to a press release. Five people were detained and an estimated 17,000 pounds of cocaine were seized in the operation. The sub, which the Coast Guard characterized as “a purpose build smuggling vessel,” was “designed to hold large quantities of contraband while evading detection by law enforcement authorities,” the Coast Guard said. Coast Guard officials on Thursday offloaded some $569 million worth of drugs, including 39 tons of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana — at San Diego’s Naval Air Station North Island that had been seized from 14 vessels off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America since May. (Lee Moran of Huffpost)
The next time you say your prayers, remember those who serve in such a dangerous way and prevent another assault on our citizens through illegal drugs.
Video below (U.S. Coast Guard) Click twice
.@VP is welcoming back the crew of CG Cutter Munro as they turn over 39K lbs of cocaine from drug seizures like this one from a semi-submersible off South America to federal agents. We will be live-streaming the offload on Facebook in a few hours. More: https://t.co/5eQRbQpxw5pic.twitter.com/9bMRorDC4I
We, at Boyer Writes, wish all the lovers of FREEDOM and those who have served to give us lasting freedom, a very HAPPY 4TH of JULY!
Enjoy Music by: Jenny Oaks Baker is a Grammy-nominated American violinist and pianist, Condoleezza Rice who served as the 66th U.S. Secretary of State. Rice was the first female African-American to serve in this position. She also was the second female to serve as the National Security Advisor, after Madeleine Albright. (Wikipedia)
In 2015, I posted this tribute to those who serve. I think it is good for another year and maybe many more to come….for we must not forget.
On this MEMORIAL DAY, Boyer Writes honors all those who responded to the call of duty to country and all freedom stands for….especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
After viewing the slide presentation, you may want to look at the different wars throughout history where and when the United States has sent troops to fight. We are just one country. Multiply this country and all wars of all countries in the world ….to make us one big, warring globe.
There are reasons, of course. Some fight for their independence. Others fight to maintain their freedom. Many fight to rule over the weak, sick, and impoverished.
There are those who fight and murder in the name of God…religious wars. Read your history and you will not be surprised for it happened when Muslims fought Christians; Christians fought in the Crusades; nations have tried to rid the world of Jews.
The Holy Scriptures tell us that we will call for “Peace…Peace….but there is no peace…” Those who make predictions believe that before the coming of Christ to the earth a second time, there will be the greatest of all wars….in the Middle East. This is not something for optimism. Nevertheless, we are also told to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”….and the world. We cannot control governments, groups, or individuals who hate and destroy…but pray we can do.
General MacArthur, the great general of World War II made this statement about war.
” I pray that an Omnipotent Providence will summon all persons of goodwill to the realization of the utter futility of war. We have known the bitterness of defeat, the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned that there is no turning back. We must preserve in peace, what we won in war. The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery has in fact now reached a point that revises the traditional concept of war. War, the most malignant scourge, and greatest sin of mankind, can no longer be controlled, only ABOLISHED! We are in a new era. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable means of settling disputes between nations, Armageddon will be at our door…”
A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE
( Click on arrow; turn on sound and enlarge picture for best viewing. Music by St. Olaf Choir) Warning: disturbing scenes of war wounded)
Choose and click on a war listed to read information.
The on-going war on terrorism The War on Terror (also known as the Global War on Terrorism) is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign which started as a result of the Sept 11,2001 terrorist attack on the United States. This resulted in an international military campaign to eliminate al-Qaeda; other militant organizations and jihadi groups. The United Kingdom and many other NATO and non-NATO nations participate in the conflict.
This post is in honor of all veterans and their families who have given so much for the country they love, the United States of American. God Bless You!
A Military Honor Guard carries the casket of late Senator John McCain, a prisoner of war, after a funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. 01 Sep 2018 Photo by REX/Shutterstock (9843284ac)
VIDEO: Passengers on an airline witness the bringing home one of our bravest and finest. Thank you to all USA Veterans, for your service.
Are most people frightened to some extent about “diversity”? If someone looks different from ourselves…speaks a language we don’t understand or in some way doesn’t fit our own mold…yes, there is fear. The actual definition is “the inclusion of different types of people, such as people of different races or cultures.” During War Time…or in peacetime when people of different cultures and languages storm our borders (or threaten an invasion which may result in large camping tents and holding places), the lessons of history flash in our minds and brings us back to another day and time…Japanese internment camps.
There was mistrust throughout the U.S. of anyone Japanese or looked Japanese. Eventually, internment camps began to grow as Americans became unsure of whom they could trust. Fear was definitely in the air.
Japanese-Americans interned at the Santa Anita Assembly Center at the Santa Anita racetrack near Los Angeles in 1942.
Japanese Americans continued to salute the flag even in internment.
“After World War II was over, it took until 1988 for Congress to attempt to apologize for the action by awarding each surviving intern $20,000 when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act. While the American concentration camps never reached the levels of Nazi death camps as far as atrocities are concerned, they remain a dark mark on the nation’s record of respecting civil liberties and cultural differences.” (Wikipedia)
Let’s take a look at what diversity among people was able to do during those bleak years. Perhaps it can give us some hope for the loyalty of diverse peoples who may seek citizenship in the future.
Interpreter Kazuo Yamane
You may never have heard of Kazuo Yamane or even the word, Nisei. However, the diversity that he represents in our society is of greatest importance.
( The word Nisei means a native-born citizen of the United States or Canada whose parents were Japanese immigrants.)
Had it not been for Kazuo Yamane and thousands of Japanese Americans nisei like him, from Hawaii, we would have had a difficult time winning World War II. An award-winning film, Proof of Loyalty, has been made about his struggle as an educated Japanese to overcome the divisions that also separate us and ultimately to use his own native language talents as a trusted interpreter for the American military during some of the worst days of the war.
Kazuo Yamane, a Japanese American Soldier
Thousands of Japanese Nisei join the U.S. military to fight in WWII
Where did it all begin for Kazuo Yamane?
From the PROOF OF LOYALTY film:
“Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii tells the story of a Japanese American who played a crucial strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawaii combatted prejudice and discrimination to loyally serve their country. Their extraordinary service, mostly untold, ultimately changed the course of U.S. history.
Kazuo Yamane’s father, Uichi, came to Hawaii in the late 19th century with nothing and built a successful family business. His eldest son, Kazuo, first educated in the discriminatory school system in Hawaii, eventually graduated from Waseda University, the Harvard of Japan, and returned to Hawaii just before the Pearl Harbor attack. Drafted just before the war he became part of what would be the War Department’s most successful social experiment, taking Nisei troops from Hawaii and forming the 100th Infantry Battalion, a unit made up of a group entirely related to a country we were at war with. Their success was spectacular, but Kazuo was plucked from their ranks for his exceptional knowledge of Japanese, which would lead him to the Pentagon, to a secret facility in northern Maryland, and finally to serving under Eisenhower in Europe. Most importantly, he would identify a secret document which would help to shorten the war in the Pacific.
The absolute loyalty of the Nisei to America in World War II, despite discrimination and incarceration, provides an insight for us today. These American citizens used whatever skills they had to protect their beloved country, even while many Americans suspected them of being the enemy. The War Department trusted them and through them gained both a military advantage by strength and sacrifice on the battlefield to important intelligence behind the lines. Diversity powers America, but also keeps us safe — one only has to look at the Nisei to provide ample proof.
The story of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii is a unique one, and as with any unique story, it is difficult to tell in a way that is both comprehensive and personal. But PROOF OF LOYALTY manages to do just that, using the inspiring story of World War II hero Kazuo Yamane as a window into the Japanese-American experience in Hawaii.
During World War II, the United States interned over 100,000 Japanese-Americans in camps. But of the over 150,000 Japanese-Americans in Hawaii, less than 2,000 were interned. In fact, a select group of a few hundred Japanese-American men in Hawaii were recruited to translate Japanese for the American Army. These troops, known as the 100th Infantry Battalion, were seen as an experiment that would prove whether any Japanese-Americans could truly be trusted to be loyal to the United States.
These men proved not only to be loyal, but also instrumental to winning the war.
Men like Kazuo Yamane are a reminder of what truly makes America great. Japanese-Americans had no obligation to love the United States during World War II. The discrimination they faced is a stain on American history, revealing the darkest, ugliest impulses of American society. Yet the brave Japanese-American soldiers we see in PROOF OF LOYALTY risked everything for their country and ended up saving countless lives through their translation work. They prove that America’s strength comes not from military might, but from diversity. This film may be about men from decades past, but it couldn’t be more relevant.
(quoted from the Asian American International Film Festival)
There is one very interesting point brought out in the film. The thousands of Nisei received military training while in Hawaii. They were ready to fight. One day a ship arrived. The men were told to meet the ship, remove their weapons, and board. They did. When they found out that they were headed to the U.S. mainland, they feared the worse. Perhaps they were going to be placed in the internment camps. However, that was not the plan. The men were to form their own units to fight with the other Americans. The 442 Regimental Combat Team, which was composed primarily of Japanese Americans, served with uncommon distinction. Many of these U.S. soldiers serving in the unit had families who were held in the internment camps in the United States while they fought abroad. They fought with bravery and many died…as the Americans they were.
New York City remembers those lost in the 9-11 terrorist attacks
September 11, 2001 is a date that we must NEVER forget. The world has known evil during World War II and the Holocaust and many other times when the innocent have been destroyed. The attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City is also one of those times.
These are the devastating facts:
A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
At the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers, or as a result of the crashes.
Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority.
The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years. Approximately 75-80% of the victims were men.
At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. It is believed that the hijackers crashed the plane in that location, rather than their unknown target after the passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the flight deck.
Because of illness since the attack, a number of the rescue and first responders have also died. Others, including the canine helpers, lived on but with some continued illness.
Brooklyn Memorial to the First Responders
Bretagne, the last known 9/11 rescue dog, is pictured with owner Denise Corliss
A Personal Note: The men who flew the planes into the towers probably walked or biked by our house many times as they trained at a small airport in Venice, Florida. A young pilot attending our church was in charge of training one of the men. He could not understand why the student did not want to pay attention when he tried to teach the landing techniques of flying. Finally, having enough of the attitude, he asked to be released from his duties as an instructor. The student was given to someone else. Later, the terrorists who had learned the basics in small aircraft went on to south Florida to learn more about flying large, commercial planes. Had our U.S. government officials been sharing information on persons of interest with the local police force, these men who trained here to do their horrible deed would have been caught. How tragic.
Just before 9-11, my husband and I went to New York to celebrate our anniversary. We took in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Sitting near us was a group of young firefighters, having a great time. Little did they know that evil was going to take some of their lives within days.
We rode the bullet elevator to the top of the twin tower to get a spectacular view of the city. It was a beautiful day and at around 9:00 am. We were the only ones up on the top except for a woman who offered to take our pictures. It was only from June until September that we could only imagine that there was probably another tourist standing where we stood to also enjoy the view….when the plane came in for the crash. How tragic and how evil.
There were a number of planes up in the air at the same time on 9-11. Two went into the towers and one into the Pentagon. Little did the terrorists flying over Pensylvania know that they had strong, American men on their airplane who loved American freedom and their lives. They were going to do anything to stop their plane from going into any other buildings where innocent people were living their everyday lives. We’ll never forget the bravery when the words “Let’s Roll” were shouted and the plane was brought down in Pennsylvania instead of their planned destination. Their bravery is beyond what we can say here. To the families of all those who lost loved ones that terrible day, we promise that they will never be forgotten…not this year or any year to come.
9-11 Memorial at Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Evening 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA
In 2017, my husband and I went back to New York City to once again walk around the memorial and read the thousands of names etched in marble. With the sound of the water and flowers laid next to names with a birthday that day, it is beautiful. We also went to St. Paul’s Chapel which is situated next to where the twin towers stood. Amazingly, with all the buildings falling and debris everywhere, it was not destroyed. Even the steeple on the church remained. St. Paul’s Chapel took care of the first responders through their long hours of working in the rubble.
St. Paul’s Chapel with the new One World tower behind
The victims of 9-11 WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN. We would urge all Americans and anyone making a trip to the USA to make this holy place a definite destination.
Men and women from many countries, nationalities and religious faiths were working in the buildings destroyed or riding on the planes on 9-11. With that in mind, it was also an attack on the people of the world. Those who might be tempted to turn a blind eye to what are the goals of terrorists should take a look at the video here as a reminder.
Video1st video only from 60 minutes Over-time…”rare footage from Ground 0″ (turn on sound and give it a second or two to load) 1st video only Click link below:
Thank you for your service to the United States of America, Senator McCain
In case you missed the ceremony in Arizona, one of the speakers told a story about an incident in the Senator’s 5-year imprisonment in Vietnam: “At one point, John McCain was being tortured for hours with his hands tied tightly behind his back. Left there to linger, a guard walked in late in the evening and loosened the ropes. At about 4 am, the same guard returned and tightened them again. Most likely so that it would not be known what he had done earlier. Later, McCain saw the same man and recognized him. This guard walked over to the sand…and with his foot drew a cross for McCain to see. He smoothed over the sand and walked away.”
God never leaves us even in the worst of places.
Mrs. McCain and the Secretary of Defense at the Vietnam Memorial
Today is a good day! I am looking forward to a new book to hold in my hands and share with others. Over a year ago, my husband, a retired Navy Chaplain, and I started interviewing our American veterans in the Blue Ridge mountains for a new book called, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge. This week I sent it to the publishers. We are excited to share this news with our readers. Stay tuned for a special availability announcement of the book hopefully in the next couple weeks on Amazon.
We think the people whose stories were shared with us will be a real inspiration…and their stories needed to be told. Some are in their 90’s and are in nursing homes. We are losing our American World War II veterans and those of our allies at an alarming rate. Hopefully, there will be many books that share their stories. During the terrible battles to keep freedom alive, hope often seemed dim as the bombs dropped and men and women died. There were many prayers for miracles. Our book covers other men and women who served in Korea and Vietnam. It gives honor to those serving their country in the fight against terrorism in more recent battles.
Below is a video of some beautiful children singing in honor of all World War II veterans as they walk on the very ground where furious battles were fought.
One Voice Children’s Choir, under the direction of Masa Fukuda, performs “When You Believe.” Filmed on-location at Omaha Beach and Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, France. Performed in English, Hebrew and French. This song is dedicated to all the soldiers who fought in World War II, including those who fought at Normandy’s Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword Beaches in the D-Day Invasion; and to the millions of Jewish victims who lost their lives during the Nazi Holocaust. (video credit)
We add our appreciation and honor for American and Allied veterans in all wars since WWII.
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are small towns with people who will never forget those brave men and women who left their farms and home places to fight for our country and freedom in the world. Throughout the rolling countryside and along the blue colored ridges of the mountains… filled with cattle, fields, and beautiful wildflowers, one will find small family graves with an American flag. This will always indicate that the person buried there served in an American war.
Military Memorial at Galax, Virginia
On this Memorial Day, the young Military Science students and the older men and women of this Blue Ridge area remember the Fallen of all wars and pray prayers for the many POW-MIA’s who are still missing. (Slide show below)
As my husband and I joined in this day of Remembrance, I’m in the midst of writing a new book about American military veterans, entitled Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge, which should be on Amazon by July, 2018.
My interviews with those who went to serve during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been eye-opening. These are people of great courage and fortitude. Millions did not return, but for those here in the Blue Ridge, these men forged new lives and continued to make our FREE America an even better place.
One chapter in my book will feature the Childress family in the Blue Ridge who had four men in the military at once during World War II. Paul (upper right picture and with wife and baby) served in Patton’s Command in France.
The women of the Blue Ridge served as well, including Francis Childress, a cousin to Paul. Other chapters will take notice of a female military nurse who was awarded the Bronze Star. The Bronze Star Medal is a decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, valor, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
As I read memoirs and listened, I learned that fighting on Heart Break Ridge in Korea with legs frozen, slipping out of camp at night in France during World War II to find food for hungry soldiers, spending weeks in the confines of a submarine, fighting off boredom and jungle heat in Vietnam or losing limbs in Afghanistan or Iraq were difficult and in most cases horrible experiences. It was their part of life that they were willing to share with me and I am grateful because I will never look at a veteran again in the same way.
This is why I write this blog to encourage you to take an hour or so on Memorial Day from your interest in sports events, picnics or other activities to give our military the honor they so deserve. Your freedom today is what they did to keep us free. It is important that our children and grandchildren are taught history and the meaning of our national Memorial Day. I was amazed to see that since the last Memorial Day ceremony of 2017, in the small town of Galax, VA. that 90+ people had died who were veterans in this part of the Blue Ridge. We are rapidly losing those who fought in World War II and their stories should be told.
To those whose lives and deaths were the ultimate sacrifice….there is not enough thanks in heaven or earth to give to you…but we will try.
To the gravely wounded warriors who have come home and forged new lives, we give you honor. We have contacted this brave warrior for an interview that will shed light on all those who have suffered so much.
On April 7, 2011, J. B. Kerns, a combat engineer, and fellow Marines moved into the notoriously dangerous Ladar Bazaar in Afghanistan to attempt to clear it of improvised explosive devices. A soldier near Kerns stepped on a pressure plate and triggered an IED. (Credit to Roanoke Times full story)
Thank you to all veterans…men and women. We give tribute to all the wives and families that were left behind to faithfully live and wait for their loved ones to return home.
VIDEO Turn up sound (Credit “American Soldier” by Toby Keith)
There is one person in our American history whom you probably do not know. His name is Hiram Bingham IV. Some may recognize the name of his relatives, however.
“Hiram Bingham IV was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 17, 1903. His mother, Alfreda Mitchell, was a granddaughter of Charles L. Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany & Co. Harry’s father, Hiram Bingham III, had no interest in following his parents as Protestant missionaries in the South Pacific. Starting in 1911, he led a series of expeditions to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes; his travelogue, Lost City of the Incas, made him world-renowned. After his South American adventures, the senior Bingham entered the Army in 1917 as an aviator, achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel and was a flight instructor in France. A Republican, he served Connecticut as lieutenant governor and U.S. senator, and he was chairman of the McCarthy-era Civil Service Commission Loyalty Review Board.” (by Peter Eisner in the Smithsonian Magazine)
Hiram Bingham IV’s descendants found documentation about his bravery and decided to let the world know what he would not. A Distinguished diplomat, Hiram lost his job as a diplomat from the State Department for daring to go against regulations. Yet, years later he was honored by the same U.S. State Department. Colin Powell presented the family with the honor entitled Constructive Dissent in 2002. A U.S. stamp was made in his honor and his son, Robert Bingham Sr, has written a book called Courageous Dissent.
These are some words of Hiram’s son, Robert, taken from an interview and from the Hiram Bingham website concerning him: 1)Harry’s personal motto, taught to his children, was relevant: “Give the Best that You Have to the Best that You know.” During the Holocaust, saving lives was “the best that he knew.” 2) He believed there is a “spark of divinity” in each human being. He saved not only luminaries but also many ordinary refugees. It was painful for him to remember the long lines of individuals outside the consulate desperately seeking exit visas. He once told me he thought they were “treated like cattle.” He could not talk about his experience without displaying agony and a deep frown on his face. 3) His family’s missionary “zeal” may have augmented his motivation: Hiram the 1st led the first missionaries to Hawaii in 1918 (he was depicted as Abner Hale in Mitchener’s “Hawaii”); Hiram II was also a missionary in the Sandwich Islands who single-handedly translated the entire Bible into written Gilbertese; Hiram III was a public servant who also became an explorer (who discovered Machu Picchu in Peru) and later became a US senator of Connecticut. Hiram IV neither converted souls nor entered politics, but, with equal zeal of his forbears, he “quietly battled to save lives” from the Holocaust…”
This story of a man who stood for those who could not stand for themselves. It says much to all of us today. There are times when we have to do the right thing regardless of the cost. Coming from a Christian background, Hiram Bingham believed that every human has worth. He knew what he had to do…and did it.
After his death, Hiram Bingham IV was also awarded posthumously the Medal of Valor along with Sir Winston Churchill and Pope John Paul II. More than 450 supporters of the Simon Wiesenthal Center gathered for the 2011 Humanitarian Award Dinner.
Now that you have read about the awards and honors, you may be asking, “How exactly did he save the lives of so many people? The video below will give you the full details.
As we have just had the Holocaust Remembrance Day, this would be a worthwhile story to share with your family to remember history and one who bravely did what was right.
VIDEO: Simon Wiesenthal Center video Tribute to Hiram (Harry) Bingham IV on March 28, 2011 (Turn up sound)
Put down your phones…and give this some thought. This post is especially for the young people of our country.
When you look at older people in a restaurant or some other place, what do you see? Would it occur to you, as a young person, that this person may have made it possible for you to sit there playing with your phone? Yes, I know all the Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (and more) founders are young. However, I’m not talking about them. I am talking about those who didn’t become rich, but gave their all for us and liberty.
What do I mean? I’m going to tell you because it is possible that you have missed knowing some of the greatest people in the world because you have not learned the art of asking questions. What kind of questions? Something like….”What did you do when you were my age and didn’t have cell phones?” That person with the grey hair and a limp may have something very interesting to share with you. In fact, it could change your life more than anything you might see or learn on social media.
Another thought ran through my mind as I began to write this post. A neighbor’s husband had passed away. She had a set of encyclopedias that belonged to a distant relative who would have experienced World War II. They were written in German. When asked about them, I heard a story of a family who emigrated to America after the horrors of that war. She said that none of her children wanted any of the things that were part of their history.
I have been hearing this statement many time recently…that the young families don’t want anything that belonged to Grandma or Grandpa…or even their own parents. Why? It is “old stuff.” Is family history not as important to our youth and their parents as their cell phones?
You will notice that I have mentioned electronics several times. This is because more often than not families who have gone out to spend time together are rarely doing so. The children are playing their games or texting. The parents are checking emails or answering their phones. Little time is actually spent talking to one another. Don’t get me wrong. Cell phones have their place, but I would encourage you to put them down for a while and experience life around you. If you know an older person, ask a few questions that will give you special insight into life. They are often the brave who left everything to keep us a free nation.
When I took students to Auschwitz in Poland, the one thing they learned was this…“Those who do not remember history will live it over again.” Too much was sacrificed to let that happen. Young people, there have been many sacrifices for you. I hope you are asking right now…what do you mean?
Men and women fought and died to prevent aggression into our country. They are still doing that.
Men, such as Dr. Martin L. King Jr., fought to give all people civil rights.
Mothers and fathers have worked hard to give you the things of life that you need. That may include your cell phone…but food and a warm bed are more important. Remember that you are not entitled, but blessed.
By the way, if you see a person wearing a uniform or a hat that reads where they served, don’t be shy. Go right up to them and say, “Thank you for your service.” That will make their day…especially coming from a young person. This also includes policemen, medics and fire fighters.
In the video below, you are going to hear a song about an Old Army Hat. There may be one in your house or it could be an American flag neatly folded and displayed in a wooden box. Ask about it. There is a story there. Then, if you must, use your phone and tell someone about what you have learned…or better still, tell them face to face. That way they can see you smile and point to something important to you and your family history. If your family member with the grey hair is still living, let fly the questions. I bet you’ll get amazing answers that could change your life.
On Valentine’s Day, when the world was hearing about the terrible tragedy in a Florida school, a ceremony and a Missing Man Formation fly over was happening for a hero at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. The ashes of a brave military veteran were being laid to rest.
Sometimes we have to stop and think of those who have been extraordinarily brave as they paid a price for FREEDOM. This is why I want to write about Col. Leo K. Thorsness, a recipient of the Medal of Honor in the U.S.A.
The Medal of Honor is presented by the President of the United States for valor in service to his country. Col. Leo K. Thorsness received that honor and what made it extremely special to him was that he was nominated for the honor by his peers.
This is his story as a patriot and POW (Prisoner of War) who spent years of torture and abuse at the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. Because he understood personally what a POW goes through, he spoke out that President Trump owed all prisoners of war an apology when the President said, concerning Senator John McCain, that he “liked those who weren’t captured.”
COL. LEO K. THORSNESS
“Col. Thorsness joined the Air Force in 1952 and was sent to Vietnam in 1966 as a member of a squadron known as the Wild Weasels, whose mission was to destroy surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) based in North Vietnam. On April 19, 1967, Col. Thorsness was the lead pilot in a strike force of four U.S. F-105 fighter-bombers attacking SAM positions near Hanoi. He and his electronic warfare officer, Harold Johnson, knocked out one site with a missile and scored a direct hit on another with bombs. But they soon realized that one plane in their group had been hit, and the crew members had ejected. While flying in circles over the parachuting airmen, Col Thorsness spotted an enemy MiG-17 fighter jet and shot it down. As U.S. rescue helicopters approached, Col Thorsness heard through his radio that another MiG formation was nearby. Despite being low on fuel and ammunition, he flew through anti-aircraft fire and single-handedly engaged four MiGs in aerial combat for 50 minutes. Col Thorsness pursued one MiG, “flying right up his tailpipe,” he said later, and damaged it with cannon fire. Flying as low as 50 feet above the ground and as fast as 900 MPH, he chased the other MiGs from the area. As he returned to his base, he was about to refuel from an airborne tanker when he learned that another F-105 in his group was in even greater need of fuel. Col. Thorsness let the other plane go to the tanker, hoping he could glide back to safety on fumes. When he touched down, his fuel tanks were empty.
Major Thorsness and Captain Johnson flew this Republic F-105F-1-RE Thunderchief, 63-8301, on 19 April 1967. It was one of 61 F-105Fs that were upgraded to the F-105G Wild Weasel III configuration beginning in late 1967. It survived the Vietnam War, but was destroyed 20 December 1974 when, assigned to the 35th TFW at George AFB, California, it crashed at the Cuddeback Lake Gunnery Range after an engine failure. (U.S. Air Force)
Eleven days later, on April 30,1967, Col Thorsness was shot down over North Vietnam on this 93rd mission. Ejecting from his plane at 600 mph, he suffered serious leg injuries before he and Johnson were taken prisoner. For the first year, Col Thorsness was held in solitary confinement and tortured almost every day. His back was broken in four places. Another Air Force pilot, Fred V. Cherry, was tortured for teaching Col. Thorsness and other POWs a system of communication by tapping on walls. While at the Hanoi Hilton, Col Thorsness shared a tiny cell with John McCain and two other men. “Other than when they took you out to beat you or interrogate you, you were together 24 hours a day,” Col. Thorsness told the Huntsville Times in Alabama in 2008. “You get to know each other so well, talking about your families, failures, weaknesses, hopes and dreams, everything.” He and McCain were released in 1973. Later that year, Col Thorsness received the Medal of Honor from President Richard M. Nixon; he then retired from the military…While at the Hanoi Hilton, Col. Thorsness and other prisoners measured their cell, calculating that one mile equaled 225 laps around the cell’s 23-foot circumference. By walking 60 miles a week, Col Thorsness figured that he could cover the distance to the United States – 10,000 miles – in about three years. “All of a sudden it became 100% real to us,” he said in 1992. “If we could walk home in our cell, we knew whatever had to happen in the world would happen, and we really would get home.” Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Leo K. Thorsness died May 2, 2017. He was 85. Survivors include his wife since 1953, the former Gayle Anderson; a daughter; and two grandchildren. (taken in part from a comment on video shown below)
VIDEO INTERVIEW OF COL. LEO K. THORSNESS (turn up sound)
What is a Missing Man Formation?
The missing man formation (sometimes instead flyby or flypast) is an aerial salute performed as part of a flypast of aircraft at a funeral or memorial event, typically in memory of a fallen pilot, a well-known military service member or veteran, or a well-known political figure. Several variants of the formation are seen. The formation most commonly used in the United States is based on the”finger-four” aircraft combat formation composed of two pairs of aircraft. The aircraft fly in a V-shape with the flight leader at the point and his wingman on his left. The second element leader and his wingman fly to his right. The formation flies over the ceremony low enough to be clearly seen and the second element leader abruptly pulls up out of the formation while the rest of the formation continues in level flight until all aircraft are out of sight. In an older variant, the formation is flown with the second element leader position conspicuously empty. In another variation, the flight approaches from the south, preferably near sundown, and one of the aircraft will suddenly split off to the west, flying into the sunset. In all cases, the aircraft performing the pull-up, split off, or missing from the formation, is honoring the person (or persons) who has died, and it represents their departure. (from Wikipedia)
We agree with Col. Thorsness that our most precious commodity in this country is FREEDOM.
Below is a video example of the Missing Man Fly Over at Arlington Cemetery
The couple you are going to meet has decided to meet life head-on. They have faith that could have been shattered, but they didn’t allow it to happen. Serving his country, the unthinkable happened. He would be blind for the rest of his life. Hear his story and the words of his beautiful wife. Be inspired and realize that at times the joy we receive in life has to be worked for. This is how they are finding their joy.
Who are those who come to the rescue when a tragedy hits your life? It may be the fireman, policeman or a good friend. Regardless of who it may be, we have seen the work to rescue, help and literally save lives when credit has not been given.
It is easy to criticize police and those who battle crime on a daily basis, but you want them when you need them. Carrying you out of a burning house could be your next hero. Let’s give them all the respect that they deserve. It’s a hard job that most would not be willing to do. Yet, they choose to be there for you and for me. Even if these firefighters get out safely, their health may be effected in the future…just as our 9-11 workers who breathed in elements that caused cancer and killed many.
All we can say is THANK YOU! THANK YOU for being there and making it possible for people to live another day.
As thousands of acres and homes are destroyed in California, as well as many lives lost… with more missing and unaccounted for, the following video shows the heroic effort to save a disabled woman and her husband. The body cam of Sherriff’s Office ( Sonoma County deputy) shows that they are rescued at the last second. You will hear the rescuer coughing. His life and health are also in danger. (BBC News)
Football players make extremely high salaries…more than many CEO”s and other professionals. This is the country that gave them the opportunity to be the best at what they do…play football. Why it is hard to be thankful to those who spent hours teaching and training them in a free environment that has given this privilege, is hard to understand. Politics aside….just LOVE your country….PLAY your best ball…and keep politics or personal “beefs” out of it.
Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva …who served three tours in Afghanistan,
It appears that the fans and those who buy football paraphernalia may feel the same way, according to the recent article by Greg Norman.
“Football fans across America were clamoring for the jersey of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva on Monday, a day after the former Army Ranger broke team orders by being the only player to come out of the locker room for the national anthem. Villanueva, who stood alone while “The Star-Spangled Banner”was being played Sunday in Chicago, currently has the #1 selling jersey on the NFL’s web store, ahead of top players including Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Derek Carr.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin appeared to take a swipe at the Bronze Star recipient’s decision in a post-game press conference. Tomlin told the media that, prior to kickoff Sunday, the Steelers held a team meeting and decided, though not unanimously, to not come out of the locker room for the national anthem.
“Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team,” Tomlin said when asked about Villanueva ignoring the order and coming out for the anthem.
Tomlin added the intent was to have his team focus on the game and not President Trump’s comments blasting players who chose to protest during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“Many of them felt like something needed to be done. I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing,” Tomlin said after the game. “They discussed it for an appropriate length of time and they couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it. They were not going to be disrespectful in the anthem so they chose not to participate, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the president.” Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, decided to stand his ground instead and placed his hand over his heart while the anthem played. He has not spoken publicly since Sunday’s game.
One of Villanueva’s teammates, Cam Heyward, said “We support our guy Al. He feels he had to do it. This guy served our country, and we thank him for it,” Heyward told ESPN. Tomlin said Sunday that the team is not “politicians” but “coaches and professional athletes.”
My husband is the big football fan in this household, but we just came back from talking to a Korean War (Conflict) vet, who just about had his legs amputated because they were frozen. His shoes were so worn that they flapped when he walked. Men died all around him. Just as the surgeons were preparing him, they said for him to stand up just one more time. That was when the miracle happened. He felt a rush of blood fly through both legs, saving them from the knife. He believes God gave him a chance to do much more in life, which he has done. He could have died for his country or been an invalid the rest of his life. He said that he can no longer watch T.V. programs on war.
It is my opinion that he may also have to decide if he will watch football if there is no more respect by some players for the National Anthem of his beloved America. Head Coach, Mike Tomlin, said he wanted them “to be respectful to the team”. I would challenge that by asking if respect for the team’s overall wishes takes priority over respect for the country? It appears that we are mixing up freedom of speech (or political dissent) with rights and privilege for something we can never regain if it is lost…RESPECT FOR COUNTRY.
Thank you, M. C. and Alejandro. You probably know something about the real love of country more than any of us. Thank God because of you and the veterans of all wars, the fighters against terrorism and all patriots that we have a free country in which to PLAY BALL.
Post Comment: Since writing this “thank you” to Alejandro, he seems to want to play down what he did that was right…coming out and standing for the National Anthem. NO, You did not “throw your teammates under the bus. You honored your country. Don’t do a dishonor by trying to resend what you did in order to go with the flow or be politically correct. In Afghanistan, you would have stood alone if you had to in order to do what you thought was right. Fortunately, you probably had a unit in your Army Rangers that would die, if need be, for their country. I’m not sure about your football team. Thankfully, their choices are not a matter of life and death.
VIDEO (Turn up sound) The True Story of why Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner
All the verses, that you may not have heard, of our National Anthem.
Help is pouring into Florida from many states around the country. Not only are they the National Guard but also Power Companies that have staged hundreds of trucks ready to move. As of 9-16, there are still people in Florida without power, but they are continuing work diligently on it. This must be very hard for many after this many days since Irma went through the state.
Thank you! Thank you for all the help.
Here are a few pictures of the devastation and suffering of the people who have lost so much when Hurrican Irma hit Florida and moved further up the Eastern U.S. Some reports feel that the loss of life and property was not as severe as it could have been. Nevertheless, those who lived through it and have little left are getting help as quickly as possible thanks to the quick response around the nation. It is greatly appreciated
POWER COMPANIES TRYING TO RESTORE POWER
STAGING IN GEORGIA READY TO GO TO FLORIDA WHEN STORM PASSES
WISCONSIN NATIONAL GUARD LEAVES TO HELP FLORIDA
Examples of the National Guard’s readiness and movement toward Florida is shown on the video below. The Guard came from many areas.
Again, we thank all the FIRST RESPONDERS and VOLUNTEERS from the state of Florida and every state that has come to bring help. There is so much to be done to recover.
A new book by former First Lady, Hillary Clinton, has just come out. She is making her speeches, giving interviews and signing her autograph concerning it. The one thing that is probably not in the book (since I have not read it as of yet) is the fact that “cutting back” on security was only a part of the problem as well as the top leadership decisions that resulted in the death of four Americans. For Mrs. Clinton to write or mention Benghazi as a likely reason for her political decline or failure to become the first woman President of the United States is appalling. It is no wonder that their family members are upset because the terrible loss of these men’s lives is not about her career as a politician.
This blog is written just after we have remembered 9-11 and all the victims. Today, we honor the four men who lost their lives in Benghazi. They too must never be forgotten.
U.S Consulate in Benghazi
Burned out U.S. Consulate
Brad Owens and Jerry Torres, of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, were the men interviewed recently about the circumstances of how they were called upon too late to clean up the security mess at Benghazi. The fact of “silencing” them at the time should be a real concern to all Americans. Below is the full article on the events of Benghazi and the plea for security which came too late for the four men who are pictured above.
Author’s Note: This is a reprint of the full article by Catherine Herridge, Pamela Brown and Cyd Upson on Sept. 2017. (If you are unable to read with an unbiased opinion because you do not agree with Fox News, just read the words of these men interviewed who were professionals called upon by our government at the last minute. They say they were silenced until now. )
Contractors: ‘We were pressured to keep quiet on Benghazi’
EXCLUSIVE: Security at the State Department’s Benghazi compound was so dire that another contractor was brought in to clean up the mess just two weeks before the 2012 terror attack – and was later pressured to keep quiet by a government bureaucrat under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to two men from the American security company.
Brad Owens and Jerry Torres, of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, say they faced pressure to stay silent and get on the same page with the State Department with regard to the security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans.
Jerry Torres, CEO of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, shown here in Afghanistan.
They spoke exclusively with Fox News for “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” revealing new information that undermines the State Department’s account of the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, where Islamic militants launched a 13-hour assault from Sept. 11-12 that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALS Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty.
Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions provides security for U.S. Embassy and consulate personnel around the world in some of the most dangerous locations spanning Africa, the Middle East and South America, according to the firm.
Jerry Torres remains haunted by the fact that specific bureaucrats and policies remain in the State Department after the Benghazi attack despite the change in administrations. “A U.S. ambassador is dead and nobody is held accountable for it. And three guys … all died trying to defend him,” said Torres, the company’s CEO and a former Green Beret.
Asked if there was a specific effort by a senior State Department contracting officer tosilence them, Torres said, “Absolutely, absolutely.”
Owens, a former Army intelligence officer, echoed his colleague, saying those “who made the poor choices that actually, I would say, were more responsible for the Benghazi attacks than anyone else, they’re still in the same positions, making security choices for our embassies overseas now.”
In 2012, Owens was the American company’s point man in Libya with extensive experience in the region. After the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in the fall of 2011, Owens stressed to Fox News it was well-known that Islamic radicals including Al Qaeda-tied militias were pouring into the region and security “had deteriorated considerably.”
Owens, who had personally visited the Benghazi compound to assess security, was shocked. “Blue Mountain U.K. is a teeny, tiny, little security company registered in Wales that had never had a diplomatic security contract, had never done any high threat contracts anywhere else in the world that we’ve been able to find, much less in high threat areas for the U.S. government. They had a few guys on the ground,” he said.
According to Torres, the Blue Mountain Group came in 4 percent lower than their bid – and they challenged the decision, claiming the American company should have been preferred over the foreign one.
Torres said State Department contracting officer Jan Visintainer responded that the State Department had the “latitude to apply” that preference or not.
And there was more: The Blue Mountain Group hired guards through another company who were not armed.
Problems soon arose. One month before the attack — in August 2012, with The Blue Mountain Group still in charge of compound security — Ambassador Stevens and his team alerted the State Department via diplomatic cable that radical Islamic groups were everywhere and that the temporary mission compound could not withstand a “coordinated attack.” The classified cable was first reported by Fox News.
“They came back to us and said, ‘Can you guys come in and take over security?’ Owens said. “So we were ready.”
But Torres emphasized that time was against them, saying it would have taken two-to-three weeks to get set up.
Twelve days later, the ambassador was killed. Torres learned of the attacks by watching television. He called the circumstances leading up to the tragedy “bad decision-making from top to bottom.”
“There was nothing we could’ve done about it. If we’d had one month warning … who knows what might’ve happened,” Owens said.
In the chaotic days following that attack, the Obama White House blamed the attacks on an anti-Islam video and demonstration which was not accurate. As a former Green Beret, Torres was stunned: “Coming from a military background, I would expect the administration to tell the truth. So I bought into it for a minute. But I didn’t believe it in the back of my mind.” He said they later figured out the video was not the culprit. The attack was a coordinated terrorist assault which included a precision mortar strike on the CIA post in Benghazi.
But as the Obama administration and Clinton’s team struggled to answer questions about the attacks, Visintainer apparently took it one step further — summoning Jerry Torres from overseas to attend a meeting at her government office in Rosslyn, Va., in early 2013.
Torres took Fox News back to the Virginia office building where he recalled that day’s events.
“[Visintainer] said that I and people from Torres should not speak to the media, should not speak to any officials with respect to the Benghazi program,” he said.
Torres said he was afraid for his company – and hasn’t spoken publicly until now.
“We had about 8,000 employees at the time. You know, we just didn’t need that level of damage because these guys, their livelihood relies on the company,” he said. “I trust that our U.S. government is going to follow chain of command, follow procedures, follow protocols and do the right thing.”
Another part of that conversation stuck out to Torres. He said Visintainer told him “in her opinion, that guards should not be armed at U.S. embassies. She just made that blanket statement. … And she said that they weren’t required in Benghazi. So I was kind of confused about that. And she said that she would like my support in saying that if that came up. And I looked at her. I just didn’t respond.”
The State Department declined Fox News’ request to make Visintainer available for an interview, or have her answer written email questions.
The Blue Mountain Group did not immediately respond to questions from Fox News.
Torres and Owens said repercussions against their company continue to this day – and that of the 20 security force contracts they’ve bid on since that conversation, they’ve lost 18.
Torres and Owens are concerned another attack like the one in Benghazi could happen again because the same State Department employees responsible for the Benghazi contract remain in place and the contracting rules are outdated.
“In 1990, Congress passed a law that required contracts of this nature to go to the lowest bidder that’s technically acceptable,” Owens explained. “Now, what that has created is a race to the bottom, is what we call it. So basically, every company tries to cut every corner they can for these contracts.”
The men say they are hopeful that changes will come with the Trump administration’s promise to “drain the swamp.”
“Let’s just say there’s been a change at management at Department of State,” Owens said. “I feel now that, given that the politics has been taken out of the Benghazi situation, now that there’s no longer a candidate or anything related to it, a change of administrations, that actually, we have an opportunity here to fix the problems that made it happen.”
On the fifth anniversary, Torres said he thinks about the four families who lost a father, a brother or a son in the 2012 attack, and feels sorry “for not bringing this up earlier. For not actually being there, on the ground and taking care of these guys.”
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