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!



The Rain Reins Supreme!

2009 Daytona 500 146 

(photo by Leon Hammack)

NASCAR had a long and very contentious bout with the rains this weekend and lost!  The Coca Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest race of the year, was washed out on its traditional starting day of the Sunday.  Not a problem, they just delayed the start of the race to Monday at noon.

So the much anticipated running of the 50th Coca Cola 600was turning into a marathon event, rather than a 600 mile NASCAR  race!  As the start time was approaching on Monday, the forecast was for more rain showers off and on all day long.  That is exactly what happened!!

With several stops for rain showers, the last rain shower occurred on lap 222 and the yellow flag was unfurled.  The 13 lead cars all ducked into the pits in preparation for the race returning to green flag racing soon.  David Reutimannin the #00 Michael Waltrip Toyota was running 14th and decided to stay on the track in hopes that the rain would not let up for the remainder of the evening.  After running 5 laps under the yellow flag the race was halted with David Reutimann in the lead.  The rain continued to came in waves and never really allowed the track officials to get the track in racing condition.

After more than 2 hours in the final rain delay,and the race was past the halfway point,  NASCAR officials called the race official at lap 227.  David Reutimann and the #00 Michael Wlatrip Racing  Toyota were first time winners at the Cup level!  So now Reutimann’s new found nickname “The Franchise” has been fulfilled!!


Memorial Weekend is jammed packed with activities every year.  It is the official start of the summer.  It has the two greatest car races of the season, The Indianapolis 500 and The Coca Cola 600.  But there is so much more to it than that.  It is about honoring our servicemen and women!  Monday NASCAR really showed respect to our military yesterday!

At just before 3pm EDT, NASCAR threw the yellow flag followed by a red flag to stop the race.  The race officials decided to bring the race cars down pit lane, stop the race, shutdown the motors, and get all the crewmen lined up.  By doing this the entire racetrack population stood and honored our military personnel who are serving our country. More importantly, the race fans paid their respect to those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom! 

After all Memorial Day was established to pay tribute to and honor those who have allowed all of us to do, whatever it is that we do, without fear of retribution!  It is all of the G.I.’s, both past and present, that are wearing and have worn “THE UNIFORM”, that are the true heroes of this country.  It is this writer’s opinion that we should be eternally grateful everyday of the year for what these fine men and women do for us, not just on Memorial Day!

USAF– “We live in fame and die in flame!”

USMC-“Sempre Fi”


USN-“Anchors Aweigh”

You are the true heroes!!!  God bless you all!!!