They Stood The Watch


(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)

This weekend, the Memorial holiday weekend, marks the traditional beginning of the American summer.  It signals to most to dust off the grill, clean the boat, get a new swimming suit, re-condition the waters skis, work on your sun tan, and for some work on your basal cell carcinomas, but mostly just enjoy the freedom of the outdoors.  Yes it is a time for friends and family to have fun.

This weekend most families will gather in backyard, the beach, the lake, the river, at their relatives houses, having fun, grilling, and enjoying their freedom.

There is that word again, freedom!  That word is one of just a few that continuously seems to find its way into the vocabulary of American culture.  We have the freedom to go where ever we so desire.  We have the basic freedom of speech.  We enjoy freedom of religion, or freedom not to participate in an organized a religion.  We have the freedom of the press to print all the news that is fit to be the news, without fear of recrimination!

It would appear that we have it all, and we do.

Notwithstanding, all those freedoms that we, as Americans, have the privileges of enjoying, comes with a very high price tag.  Someone must provide those freedoms by defending our culture and way of life when necessary.  Those defenders are none other than some of “us”.  The “us” that I am talking about comes from our finest young men and women this country has to offer.  These defenders are our sons and daughters, our moms and dads, our aunts and uncles, our brothers and sisters.

It is odd that we call upon our youth to defend our principles, our culture, and our way of life.  We call upon these people to train as warriors in order to defend our freedom by fighting aggression, terrorism, and tyranny worldwide.  Unfortunately, these fine young people sometimes to pay the ultimate price for our freedom by giving their life!  As we all know, there is a very huge price for our way of life.

There are two very important principals to remember this weekend:

1.  Freedom is never free!

2.  These are ordinary folks doing extraordinary things!


Together, across the years of our nation’s history, they answered the call.

They stood the watch.

They looked neither left nor right.

They did not search for an exit.

They walked steadily and unafraid into mortal danger, knowing all the risks and all the costs.


This weekend is a holiday designed to recognize the men and women in our military.  However, it is really a time to honor those who have paid the ultimate price for freedom, laying down their life so that our way of life will continue to thrive.

To all my family and friends who have served in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard, I salute you!

To all those who have lost loved ones while defending our country, your loved ones will never be forgotten!  I salute you as well!

I will leave you with this from John 15:13

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his country/family/brothers/friends”

I hope that you will listen to the words of this chilling song by Trace Atkins and the West Point Choir.

Say a prayer for peace for our daughters and our sons!


A Promise Made, A Promise Kept!

The 9/11 attacks

(UAL Flt 175 prior to impacting The World Trade Center Bldg.)

On September 11, 2001, we suffered the worst terrorist attack in the history of the USA.  It was a moment that reverberated around the world instantly.  Within just a few days our government issued a promise that “we would do whatever it takes to bring the individual(s) to justice”.

The USA put into a plan, worldwide, to hunt down, apprehend, and bring the individual(s) to justice.

As the days turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months, and the months turned into years, the idea of keeping that promise seemed to fade into the distant past.  It appeared that the Taliban and Saddam Hussein had replaced Osama bin Laden as the prime focus in our war on terrorism over the past nine and one half years.  Rarely would the name of Osama bin Laden come up on newscasts or in newsprint.

However, out of the clear blue, on Sunday night May 1, 2011, Osama bin Laden’s name re-appeared front and center in the news like a bolt of lightening.  On that evening the news organizations, worldwide, initially reported that the USA had found, captured, and killed Osama bin Laden in a city not far from the Pakistan capital city of Islamabad! It now appears that bin Laden had lived in that compound for the last 5-6 years!

How can it happen that the world’s most wanted terrorist could live, without any detection, in a large city in Pakistan, an ally of the USA?  The city of Abbottabad, Pakistan has a large military presence, both active duty and retired, living in this city.  As a matter of fact, Osama binLaden’s compound was situated less than 10 minutes from Pakistan’s equivalent of West Point Military Academy! Is that incredulous or what?

I find it inconceivable that the world’s most wanted terrorist could hideout within plain sight of thousands of people!

Nevertheless, to the people who died on September 11, 2001, in the World Trade Center buildings, FDNY firefighters, the NYPD, innocent bystanders on the ground, and all the flight crewmembers, May 1, 2011, has culminated in the death of the orchestrator of that devilish terrorist plot that has defined the first decade of the 21st century.

Notwithstanding, the threat of terrorism still rages on worldwide!  However, the USA has delivered a huge blow to terrorism with the elimination of Osama bin Laden!

So to my friend and coworker, Captain Jason Dahl, and to all his crew on UAL flight 93 that crashed in a field in PA, to the crewmembers of UAL flight 175 that crashed into the World Trade Center, and lastly to the crewmembers of both AA flights 11 and 77……..