Monday, May 31, 2010
Memorial Day weekend is never a good weekend. An old Army buddy said that to me years ago. It resulted in an hour of quiet contemplation between us. It needed no introduction and it needed no explanation.
For most, it’s a day that involves barbecuing, family, friends and a much-needed reprieve from work and school. I cannot be cross with people for enjoying the day like any day off. I know that they can enjoy this day, and that’s all any of us should want.
For some of us, however, Memorial Day weekend is a dour and heart-wrenching affair.
Most never think of the actual point of Memorial Day. It was created after the Civil War to honor the Union’s war dead and is celebrated near Unification Day. It was expanded after WWI to honor all war dead.
To honor those brave souls who paid the ultimate price for America’s freedom, that small echelon of society who placed their friends, family and the American Dream (hollowed and forboding as it is currently) above life and limb, is the least we can do. It is the most noble and charitable of acts.
These are the truly human among us. These are the ones we must never forget.
When we as a nation are in a prolonged foreign war, Memorial Day is the most
important day of the year.
As I am a veteran, Memorial Day brings up a bag of mixed feelings: pride, survivor’s guilt and a great deal of remorse.
I feel pride to know that I briefly served among the ranks of these heroes. Survivor’s guilt because our roles were not reversed; that instead of my friends — the best friends I ever had and people I consider family — dying in that godforsaken desert, it should have been me. Why wasn’t I more like them? Why them, specifically? What forces sent them and kept me? I was just as willing.
I feel remorse because they are gone forever and the world will never know their greatness. The world will never know what they had to offer. The world will never know them like I did.
The world I live in is a sleeping hell, awoken but once a year to the tune of the bittersweet symphony of what I have lost and what we have gained. It is not a weekend during which I can touch alcohol, but my cigarette intake will jump from one to two or three packs a day.
These heroes’ names aren’t on any wall. I can’t even go and read them. I can’t afford to make a pilgrimage to their graves. So every Memorial Day weekend that I can, I visit the names of the heroes who came before them. Heroes who gave their lives just as willingly and without regret. I hope that it is enough to honor them in the way that they deserve.
Come Memorial Day morning, I visit the war memorials in Springfield and Albany — they are both dedicated to the Vietnam War. I read the plaques and every name on the walls aloud, then salute the flag. I drive up to Wilsonville and read every name on the Korean War, the forgotten war, Memorial’s wall, and then salute the flag.
Patriotism and respect for the war dead is ingrained within me. I come from a long line of military men who have served during almost every major conflict the U.S. has fought. My great grandfather was an Army sniper in WWI. My grandfather served on a naval destroyer that ferried supplies through U-boat territory to England in WWII. Then he re-enlisted and served in Korea. My father and both uncles served in the Army during Vietnam. The generational gap meant that a Dewar was not present during the first Gulf War, but I served during the War in Afghanistan and the Second Gulf War as a member of the U.S. Air Force, for far too short a time. That is my only regret in this life.
At these memorials, only one thought is on my mind: Any one of us could have had their names on those walls.
Take the time this Memorial Day weekend to thank a veteran or visit a memorial. Look into their eyes or up at that flag waving in the spring breeze and say, “Thank you.” If you don’t, spend this Memorial Day freely and at your own discretion, and think of those who preserved what we, as a nation, have. That’s all it takes. That’s all that really matters.
As I finish this off with a tear in the corner of my eye, I would like to leave you with a single quote from Rev. Aaron Kilbourn: “The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.”
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
1. Find a renter or buyer for my rental house. (True)
2. Win the Illinois lottery. (True)
3. I enjoy cold wet rainy weather. (False)
4. I want to find out why Christopher and my wife sent me information on buying Canadian viagra. (False)
5. I want to ride the cycle with my buddies. (True)
6. Got to have me a Jerry's pizza. (True)
7. Want to help bro Mark wet/dry vac his basement. (True)
8. I wanted my family to miss me. (True)
9. I miss mowing a yard. (False)
10. I missed turning on the heater part of my thermostat. (False)
11. I missed dodging Mercer County potholes. (False)
12. I got tired of lounging at the beach. A flooded dirty field sure beats the sand and surf. (False)
13. Fine dining got boring in St. Pete. Now all I want is frozen Wal-Mart burgers. (False)
Friday, May 21, 2010
If you are tired of the same old forensic TV show, or bored with the same formulaic laugh-track sitcom, then watch Friday Night Lights this Friday and get hooked on quality TV. Did you just read that correctly? Quality and TV in the same sentence? Yes, this series is starting its 4th season and it has been clinging on the cliff of cancellation since year one. That proves its quality. Lets face it, if its in the top 10 in ratings its dumbed-down TV. Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, CSI and NCIS dominate the ratings. Pablum for the masses. Watch a show that doesn't always end easy, or safe. Damn good adult drama that you'll want to get the previous episodes on Netflix. Or you can sit safely in that easy chair and watch lousy people dance, mediocre people sing or solve-a-murder-in-an-hour.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
1966 chrysler imperial - $3500 (springfield/ohio)
Date: 2010-04-09, 6:38PM EDT
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
this is a 1966 chrysler imperial rare car to find like dis one there really werent dat many made back then only like 500 i herd but this is clean on the inside and out for its yr not much really wrong wit it jus needs a little tender love and car i jus need the money right now for a smaller vehicle but this ca runs and drives great i love it drives like cadilac they say lol but hit me up at 937-926-xxxx or at home 937-284-xxxx
3. Go to the Tyrone Square Mall fairly often to see Kenzie at her New York & Company store. Contrary to Galesburg's Sandburg Mall, it is full of people. A common sight is young men holding their penises or a portion of pants close to their penises. From behind the pants are below their ass cheeks. Now imagine
7. What's up with people who start a sentence by saying "I mean". "I mean" is a claritive phrase to correct what you have already stated. How can you correct something not yet said? "I mean", "like", "you know", are the new "uhmmm" or "well" which seem to have been the sentence starter in the past. I have found myself doing it and I'm doing my damndest to stop. I will pause and formulate what I want to say and say it, without all those junk words. You all have permission to slap me when I fail. Slap gently.
8. How about people who are so cool, they keep their sunglasses on the back of their heads while they eat.
9. Something I see in every baseball game: a player hits a homer, or strikes out the side to win the game or even an RBI, and they raise their eyes to the sky and make a beseeching gesture with their arms to God/Jesus/passing cloud. I applaud these players and their close relationship with their Maker, but this is a game they are playing, not attending church.
10. I'm beginning to think I may be a little introverted.
11. Had a problem with possible ID theft (why anyone would choose me boggles the imagination) with a credit card and in my two calls talked to people obviously not from the U.S. I found myself saying yes, yes, yes, to things I didn't understand. Hard telling where my fraud claim will end up now. I'm told you can request someone who speaks English, but I didn't.
12. What about those poor Highland Park, Illinois basketball girls' team that can't go to Arizona to play because of "safety" reasons involving the new immigration laws there. Geez, these girls live in Chicago, can they be be less safe in Phoenix?
13. I almost always rip the packaging in cereal boxes so I have cereal going all over the place when I tip it over the bowl. It's aggravating. We can send men to the moon 40 years ago but we cant come up with sealable inner wraps for breakfast cereal.
14. People in positions of authority hate to have to change their positions.
15. What's all this about fruits and vegetables being the basics for good health? Pizza Hut, red meat, ice cream and chocolate are my favorites and never spent a day in a hospital.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This is 12 year old Greyson Chance. Pretty impressive voice. He is a 13 year old 6th grader, and has just signed a record deal based on this rendition of Lady Gaga's
"Paparazzi". He has been playing the piano for three years but never had singing lessons.
Coincidentally, I do a similar, if more mature version, in the shower. Some of you may know that I was destined for a singing career myself but decided to work with juvenile delinquents instead. Mrs. Free, my high school chorus teacher thought it best to change the world one kid at a time rather than pursue a life of fame and riches.
PS. This was a talent show. I feel sorry for the poor soul that had to follow this.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Married couple walking identically with arms behind their backs. But why is she 30 paces behind?
This lady was of a "certain age". Concensus of the group was she was wearing a swimsuit perhaps a little bit skimpy.
Some people should NEVER EVER wear speedos.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Mackenzie about to eat a squid or octopus or some such thing.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Rained pretty good yesterday (April 25th) and you can tell my buddy Spencer was wanting to get inside. This was followed by more thunderboomers later around midnight. I love "weather", especially down here where it tends to be an endless and boring warm and sunny every day.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Cinco de Mayo is today. Besides the fact that I am heading to BFE, there are other reasons to celebrate. Because the origins of Cinco de Mayo are in Mexico, many Americans are fairly misinformed about what Cinco de Mayo actually is and why it is celebrated. Here, then, are 13 fun facts about Cinco de Mayo. File these away and see how many margaritas you can win in trivia contests this May 5th. This is from The Presurfer website.
1. Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence Day. In America, we say “The 4th of July” when talking about our Independence Day. It would seems natural, then, that “The 5th of May” would be the Mexican equivalent. Not so. Actually, Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of an 1862 battle between an under-armed, under-manned Mexican army against a well-armed French Army led by Napoleon III. Clearly, the Mexican army won, hence the celebration every 5th of May.
2. So What Is Mexico’s Independence Day? Mexico celebrates its Independence Day – the day it declared its independence from Spanish Rule – on September 16th every year. Mexico declared its independence in 1810, more than 50 years prior to the battle that we commemorate with Cinco de Mayo.
3. The Battle of Puebla was short. When we think of war in a modern sense, we think of prolonged battles that last days, or even weeks, with ground forces trudging forward. The Battle of Puebla commemorated on Cinco de Mayo, however, featured about 12,000 soldiers combined (8,000 French and 4,000 Mexican). Yet, the entire battle lasted just about two hours and changed the course of history in North America.
4. So wait, what were the French doing in Mexico in 1862? Think of them as an armed collections agency. After declaring their independence in 1810, Mexico went through decades of infighting, as well as fighting with America. this cost a lot of money. In 1861, Mexican President, Benito Juarez, declared a 2-year moratorium on loan repayments to foreign nations, including Spain, England, and France in an attempt to avoid bankrupting the country. All three nations invaded Mexico to collect on debts. While Spain and England left, France tried to stay and take over the country. Obviously, it didn’t work out for the French as we celebrate Cinco de Mayo and not Cinq mai.
5. Cinco de Mayo must be HUGE in Mexico! Not really. While the Batalla de Puebla helped to unify Mexico around one event, the major celebrations of Cinco de Mayo has largely been contained to the village of Puebla, about 100 miles east of Mexico City, where the original battle took place. In reality, Cinco de Mayo is much more popular in America, where citizens of Mexican descent (and those who just like a good margarita) hold festivals from sea to shining sea.
6.Just How Popular is Cinco de Mayo in America? In a word: VERY. Annual Cinco de Mayo festivals in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, and St. Paul, regularly draw hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, the world’s largest Cinco de Mayo celebration is the Festival de Fiesta Broadway held in Los Angeles, California. It routinely draws about 600,000 people to partake in song, spirit, and dance!
7. My grandparents say they don’t remember celebrating Cinco de Mayo when they were kids. What gives? Cinco de Mayo, as we know it today in America, didn’t begin until 1967. Some students from California State University noticed that there weren’t any Mexican holidays celebrated in America like there were for citizens of other descent, like St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest, or Chinese New Year. So they chose Cinco de Mayo as the day to celebrate and gathered Chicano students in unity and celebration. It has gotten a little bigger since then.
8. So they don’t party so much in Mexico, huh? Whoa, hardly. In fact, Cinco de Mayo is just one of more than 365 festivals that are celebrated by Mexicans and people of Mexican descent. No wonder Mexico is such a popular spring break destination!
9. Do they celebrate Cinco de Mayo anywhere besides Mexico and America? While the celebrations aren’t as large or as well-publicized in other nations, some nations mark the day in their own special way. In Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, for example, a particular sky-diving club holds their annual Cinco de Mayo jump. Meanwhile the Mediterranean island nation of Malta simply encourages the enjoyment of Mexican beer on Cinco de Mayo.
10. Have margaritas always been the unofficial drink of Cinco de Mayo? Hardly. While Tequila holds a long and storied place in Mexican and Mexican-American celebratory traditions, the margarita didn’t even exist in 1862! While tequila, ice, lime, and sugar all existed in 1862, they weren’t brought together in the form of a margarita until about 1930. Maybe that’s another day that deserves celebration. Just sayin’.
11. Are there any traditional Cinco de Mayo songs? While there are no songs specifically for Cinco de Mayo, there are plenty of songs with Cinco de Mayo in the lyrics, including “Isis” by Bob Dylan and “Mexico” by Cake. In fact, the following bands/artists all have songs titled “Cinco de Mayo”: War, Liz Phair, Senses Fail, and Herb Alpert.
12. The banks are open in Mexico on Cinco de Mayo. Because Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday, and not technically a Federal holiday, the banks stay open. It’s sort of like Arbor Day, but with more tequila.
13. Why Cinco de Mayo still matters. As any celebratory holiday, it is important to honor those moments in a nation’s history when it overcomes tremendous odds. That alone would be reason to keep remembering Cinco de Mayo. The other noteworthy element of Cinco de Mayo is that it represents the last time a foreign army waged aggression in North America… 148 years ago.
There it is, 13 fun facts about Cinco de Mayo. Feel free to add more in the comments section. And, just a reminder: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo responsibly. If you have had too many margaritas or cervezas, please don’t drive. Call a cab or one of your amigos.