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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving


The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving
by: Edgar Albert Guest

It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell
Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;
But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know
A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,
When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,
With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,
The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,
With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

It may be I'm old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day
We're too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;
Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;
It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.
It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;
There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,
Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,
Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad
To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;
The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,
And whether living far or near they all came trooping in
With shouts of "Hello, daddy!" as they fairly stormed the place
And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face
Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,
Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;
From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;
All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,
The struggles we were making and the hardships we'd gone through;
We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly--
It seemed before we'd settled down 'twas time to say good-bye.
Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew
When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.
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Friday, November 9, 2007

Remembering Our Heroes


What is a Veteran?

On Veterans Day, November 11th, we pause to remember and to honor the men and women who selflessly and bravely served in America’s armed forces to keep our nation strong and our freedoms secure.

Veterans Day traditionally is a day of celebration when communities large and small demonstrate their respect and appreciation for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have sacrificed so much for the cherished causes of liberty and peace.

This Veterans Day, however, will be a more somber occasion as we pay tribute to not only those who served in past wars, but honor America’s sons and daughters on active duty in Iraq and in the war against terrorism being waged around the world.

Observance of Veterans Day – or Armistice Day as it was known then -- began 84-years ago, in 1919, when Americans gathered to celebrate the first anniversary of the peace agreement that ended the first world war – the war to end all wars.

Today, many wars and conflicts later, we continue this tradition of paying tribute to those who have worn the uniforms of our armed forces. Our servicemen and women have freely given of themselves throughout our history to preserve the precious liberties and freedoms enjoyed today by Americans and people worldwide. We are the fortunate beneficiaries of their vigilance and determination.

The courage of America’s veterans has been passed down from generation to generation. Our veterans have proudly and bravely battled tyranny and oppression in the world wars, Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East.

And, today, our men and women in uniform once again are at war, bringing freedom to the people of Iraq and standing vigilant against brutal and ruthless terrorists who kill innocent people in their blind hatred of America and our special way of life.

Through their service, today’s veterans have joined a long line of patriots willing to risk all to preserve our freedom and the American way of life.

To the families of others who have made the supreme sacrifice – we extend our heartfelt gratitude, acknowledging we cannot measure the value of the freedoms secured by their supreme sacrifice. Their losses, however, will not be in vain, as our nation will emerge victorious in these wars and the world will be a better and safer place.

We are a nation blessed with an abundance of citizens willing to take up arms to secure, defend and maintain the principles put forth by our forefathers. Since the founding of our nation, nearly 50 million men and women have served America in uniform.

Half of them – some 25 million – are living today. They are our grandparents, parents, sons and daughters, co-workers, friends and neighbors – ordinary citizens who have served in extraordinary ways to preserve the greatness of America.

It is our duty as citizens of this great nation to remember the service of our veterans, their sacrifices and their commitment to America and its citizens. We should do so, not just on Veterans Day, but every day of the year.

That is the least we can do in recognition of the inestimable debt we owe for what they have done for us, and continue to do to make a better and safer tomorrow for generations of Americans, who will enjoy the promise of freedom and happiness as the legacy of the selfless service of countless patriots.

A few years after the end of World War I, President Calvin Coolidge cautioned Americans that “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.” The admonition is as timely today as it was then.

On Veterans Day 2006 let us join together in remembering our veterans and giving thanks for all they have done for us and our great nation. And, let us pray for the safety and well being of our men and women in uniform, and wish them success as they fight for the cause of freedom and peace.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU." Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.

"It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier,
Who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag."

Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC






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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Welcome Home

Sgt Brent Massey is home today. He will be here for 30 days. Then he returns... to Iraq. His fourth, yes FOURTH tour. He already has the Army Bronze Star. He IS a hero.

Sgt. Massey was awarded the "Army Bronze Star" medal for his actions taken on two missions in support of "Operation Iraqi Freedom". He led his soldiers on more than 60 missions. His expert ability to lead under fire was demonstrated on two separate missions in which his section was ambushed. His valorous actions and cool demeanor during these missions ensured the safety of his soldiers and led to the successful clearing and securing of the ambush sites.
He was also a vital asset in securing two highways that were used as supply routes by coalition forces rebuilding Iraq. His tireless efforts and outstanding operational stamina were key in keeping these highways open for coalition convoys and Iraqi civilians.

Last night, 2 PGR members met Sgt. Massey, his parents and a family friend (also a PGR member) at the airport. 3 bikes, 2 large flags and an escort from Indy’s west side to the east side. From comments I heard there, he was impressed... flattered.

Unknown to him or his parents, there were 8 more of us at his house. 4 more bikes and flags, the typical PGR style 3x4 flags. We lined the street for about 100 feet and waited.

Three bikes pulled in and a car... out jumped a Sergeant. Emotionally moved to just about run up and down our ranks and thank everyone of us with a firm hand shake and a hug. He thanks us.... It truly was our honor SIR (YES, I know you work for a living. See Softails post)

Indianapolis, there is a hero in town, a true, Bronze Star recipient war hero. God bless him and keep him safe. We will be there to escort him when he returns back to Iraq and again when he returns home.

Thanks to Lloyd for the flags. Thanks to everyone that made it out. Thanks to Bruce and Maverick for the Airport escort. Thanks to Dan and Jon for RCing the separate parts of this mission.

And SgtMoon... it was GREAT to see you again!!
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