Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter Messages to our Troops

An important message about an easy way to send messages of support to our troops. I just re-found this in my inbox (yes, I am always playing catch-up!) but seems to me, this is good for any time of year.

From Sponsor the Troops:
Can you take a few minutes to type out a message to deployed troops? What kind of message? Well, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza are all coming up. It’s a tough time for the Troops since they are so far from home, friends and family. A warm holiday message with thanks for their serving, any words of your own to assure them that strangers here in the states care about them, to let them know we are thinking about them and want them to know we support them and haven’t forgotten them over the holidays.

You can sign just your first name with your city and state; OR, you can include your snail mail or email addy. A bunch of us have heard from troops we didn't even know who read our message in the newsletter. I recently got an email from a troop that is home, but she remembered our newsletter and how much it meant, so she wrote to thank me. They are so grateful that strangers took time to send them a message.

Sponsor The Troops is a non-profit org so as part of its tax exempt status it can't mention any particular politics or religion. That doesn't mean you can't say "I'll be praying for you and hoping God watches over you", or words to that effect.

This is so important for the morale of our troops…to know that YOU give a damn about them. PLEASE send a message! The goal is to have many messages as soon as possible so the newsletter can be assembled in time to be mailed to troops for the Holidays. As I did in July, I’ll compile the newsletter and send you a copy in a PDF file so you can share it with any troops you are writing to, or put it in a package you send.

If you are a procrastinator like me, then just do it right now while you are on the computer reading this. Believe me you will help many troops smile because this will be passed around to their friends and fellow Troops.
Feel free to share this message with your family and friends and encourage them to participate.
I need your reply by November 13th. Just type it into an email; and send it to:
Jane Conrad
Improving Morale One Card, Letter or Care Package at a Time.

Yes, I know it is overdue on that November 13 deadline I seem to have procrastination down to a fine art - but I am SURE Christmas messages are being accepted.

For more on the work Sponsor the Troops does, go here.

Taliban Leader Threatens Obama

From Veterans Today:

Special Report: Taliban Leader Threatens Obama
Posted on November 28, 2009 by higgins

Afghanistan & Pakistan talibanstinger_150By Bruce Riedel The Daily Beast

Mullah Omar, the elusive leader of the Afghan Taliban, has released a bold message to the White House, warning that any plan to boost troop levels in Afghanistan could lead to "bitterness and pain." The Daily Beast's Bruce Riedel decodes the chilling message.

On the eve of President Barack Hussein Obama’s announcement of troop levels in Afghanistan next week, his enemy Mullah Mohammed Omar has thrown down the gauntlet. In a major message to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha this week, the commander of the Afghan Taliban addressed “the rulers of the White House” about their plans to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan and to pursue “illogical strategies” that he promises will only lead to “bitterness and pain.”

The self-styled "Amir of Believers," meaning the commander of all the faithful in Islam, tells Obama that he and the Afghan people are experts in defeating empires, having destroyed the English and Russian empires before the invasion of the “imperialistic American crusaders.” In short, Omar welcomes the coming fight with a larger NATO army, and he lays down in this message his no-compromise strategy for victory.

A man educated only in the strictest of fundamentalist Islamic schooling, Mullah Omar has developed a more complex understanding of his enemies in the last year.

To give him his due, Mullah Omar has staged one of the most remarkable military comebacks in history in the last decade. Utterly defeated in late 2001, he retreated into the mountains of southern Afghanistan and the borderlands with Pakistan to regroup. Thanks to George W. Bush’s failure to finish the job then, the Taliban recovered and now controls much of the south and east of the country and is attacking deeper into the north and west every day. With the benefit of a sanctuary in Pakistan, Omar now believes the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will be restored to power in the next couple of years.

He is a remarkably secretive man who has met with less than a handful of non-Muslims in his life and prides himself on his piety and simple life. Badly wounded fighting the Soviets, he practices remarkable operational security. His location is a closely guarded secret; reports recently put him in Karachi to escape CIA drones. Normally taciturn, his Eid message is his longest ever, a reflection of the importance of the moment.

Read more at The Daily Beast

You mean it is not just Buuush they hate? *Gasp*!!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Daniel Pearl's dad also sickened by trial in NY decision

From the NY Post:

Daniel Pearl's dad is sickened by Obama's 9/11 trial decision

Last Updated: 12:29 PM, November 14, 2009

Posted: 3:15 AM, November 14, 2009

The father of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl slammed the Obama administration's decision to hold a public trial for admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- who boasted of killing his son in Pakistan.

Judea Pearl said he was "sick to the stomach" when he heard that the Justice Department decided to prosecute Mohammed in Manhattan federal court.

"I don't want to hear every morning in the papers what KSM did," Pearl told The Post last night. "Danny was killed once. Now he will be killed 10 times a day. Leave him alone."

His son's beheading in 2002 was caught on a gruesome video that shocked the world.

"The 21st century saw three shocks," Pearl said. "The first was 9/11. The second was the killing of my son. And the third was the shock today."

The reporter's outraged father, a UCLA professor, said a public trial would allow the admitted mass murderer to "boast about his cruelty" and encourage other terrorists to inflict harm.

Pearl said the prosecution of Mohammed should be done in closed session to avoid giving terrorists a platform.

Show Support by Writing to the Troops - But No Packages, Please

News Release

NR - 09.094 - October 27, 2009

OTTAWA – As the holiday season approaches, many Canadians will be thinking of the troops deployed overseas. Director General Personnel and Family Support Services (DGPFSS) would like to remind the public that even though the military appreciates any show of support, the collection of gift boxes and packages for shipment overseas is not practical.

“Support for our troops has been tremendous over the years, and this year, Canadians again want to know what they can do to help,” said Jim Peverley, Director of Deployment Support at DGPFSS. “We appreciate that Canadians want to share their time and generosity with our troops, but unfortunately, we do not have the capability to send individual donations overseas.”

As the flights that re-supply CF personnel in places like Afghanistan are filled with priority items such as combat supplies, vehicle parts, equipment and mail from families, there is very limited space for any items that are not critical to the mission, including donations from the public.

One easy way for Canadians to show their support is through e-mail messages on the Canadian Forces website (, using the “Write to the troops” message board. Also, postcards and letters without enclosures which are addressed to “Any CF member” will be accepted, although similarly addressed care packages will not be.

In addition to care packages from family and friends, each CF member deployed on operations over the holiday period will receive a package through DGPFSS’ Operation Santa Claus. These care packages are made possible through the generous donations of companies from across Canada.

Canada Post will be providing free regular parcel service this year for family and friends of deployed military personnel, from 26 October to 15 January 2010. The “Write to the troops” website has mailing guidelines to assist families and friends in preparing their letters and parcels for delivery to CF personnel overseas.

There are many other ways to show support to CF personnel and their families. To learn more, please visit the Director General Personnel and Family Support Services website at

[Brat emphasis]

- 30 -

For more information, contact DGPFSS Public Affairs Officer SLt Greg Menzies, at (613) 996-4620 or

H/T Lynnis

Denis Avey: Witness to Auschwitz

The man who smuggled himself into Auschwitz

Children in Auschwitz
More than a million people died in Auschwitz

By Rob Broomby
BBC News

When millions would have done anything to get out, one remarkable British soldier smuggled himself into Auschwitz to witness the horror so he could tell others the truth.

Denis Avey is a remarkable man by any measure. A courageous and determined soldier in World War II, he was captured by the Germans and imprisoned in a camp connected to the Germans' largest concentration camp, Auschwitz.

But his actions while in the camp - which he has never spoken about until now - are truly extraordinary. When millions would have done anything to get out, Mr Avey repeatedly smuggled himself into the camp.

Denis Avey: "They knew they'd only last five months"

Now 91 and living in Derbyshire, he says he wanted to witness what was going on inside and find out the truth about the gas chambers, so he could tell others. He knows he took "a hell of a chance".

"When you think about it in today's environment it is ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous," he says...

I could write a long column about this that I found on the BBC. Really, there is no need of any words from me. Read the rest of this important story here.

Every Day Hero

Lance Bombardier gunning for the Taliban in Helmand

A Military Operations news article

27 Nov 09

Six weeks into his deployment to northern Afghanistan, Lance Bombardier Michael McClarence is using one of the Army's powerful artillery guns to keep the enemy's head down.

Lance Bombardier Michael McClarence

Lance Bombardier Michael McClarence beside an L118 Light Gun in Afghanistan
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

Lance Bombardier (LBdr) Michael McClarence from 1st Regiment Royal Horse Artillery is based in Forward Operating Base Inkerman in Helmand province.

He works as the Second-in-Command on a 105mm Light Gun, one of the powerful artillery pieces used to give firepower support to the troops on the front line. He said:

"My primary task is to make sure the Light Gun fires quickly and accurately when called upon to assist ISAF troops in contact with the enemy insurgents.

"Often the troops need help on the ground, either high-explosive rounds to attack the enemy or non-kinetic help such as providing smoke so they can extract, or illuminating shells at night so they can see."

"As Gunners, our primary role is to find and, where appropriate, strike the Taliban to disrupt their ability to menace the population.

"Our primary difficulty is that for much of the time they look exactly like the rest of the population, so patience and focus are the keys to success....

There is much more on this hero over at the MoD here.

Music and Me

Under the category of: Carpe Diem...:)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

POV: Mr Obama - Shape up or ship out

95 Year Old WWII Battleship Sailor Tells OBAMA to "Shape Up or Ship Out!"

WW II Battleship sailor tells Obama to shape up or ship out !

This venerable and much honored WW II vet is well known in Hawaii

for his seventy-plus years of service to patriotic organizations and causes

all over the country. A humble man without a political bone in his body,

he has never spoken out before about a government official, until now.

He dictated this letter to a friend, signed it and mailed it to the president.

Dear President Obama,

My name is Harold Estes, approaching 95 on December 13 of this year. People meeting me for the first time don't believe my age because I remain wrinkle free and pretty much mentally alert.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1934 and served proudly before, during and after WW II retiring as a Master Chief Bos'n Mate. Now I live in a "rest home" located on the western end of Pearl Harbor, allowing me to keep alive the memories of 23 years of service to my country.

One of the benefits of my age, perhaps the only one, is to speak my mind, blunt and direct even to the head man.

So here goes.

I am amazed, angry and determined not to see my country die before I do, but you seem hell bent not to grant me that wish.

I can't figure out what country you are the president of.

You fly around the world telling our friends and enemies despicable lies like:

" We're no longer a Christian nation"

" America is arrogant" - (Your wife even

announced to the world,"America is mean-

spirited. " Please tell her to try preaching

that nonsense to 23 generations of our

war dead buried all over the globe who

died for no other reason than to free a

whole lot of strangers from tyranny and


I'd say shame on the both of you, but I don't think you like America, nor do I see an ounce of gratefulness in anything you do, for the obvious gifts this country has given you. To be without shame or gratefulness is a dangerous thing for a man sitting in the White House.

After 9/11 you said," America hasn't lived up to her ideals."

Which ones did you mean? Was it the notion of personal liberty that 11,000 farmers and shopkeepers died for to win independence from the British? Or maybe the ideal that no man should be a slave to another man, that 500,000 men died for in the Civil War? I hope you didn't mean the ideal 470,000 fathers, brothers, husbands, and a lot of fellas I knew personally died for in WWII, because we felt real strongly about not letting any nation push us around, because we stand for freedom.

I don't think you mean the ideal that says equality is better than discrimination. You know the one that a whole lot of white people understood when they helped to get you elected.

Take a little advice from a very old geezer, young man.

Shape up and start acting like an American. If you don't, I'll do what I can to see you get shipped out of that fancy rental on Pennsylvania Avenue. You were elected to lead not to bow, apologize and kiss the hands of murderers and corrupt leaders who still treat their people like slaves.

And just who do you think you are telling the American people not to jump to conclusions and condemn that Muslim major who killed 13 of his fellow soldiers and wounded dozens more. You mean you don't want us to do what you did when that white cop used force to subdue that black college professor in Massachusetts, who was putting up a fight? You don't mind offending the police calling them stupid but you don't want us to offend Muslim fanatics by calling them what they are, terrorists.

One more thing. I realize you never served in the military and never had to defend your country with your life, but you're the Commander-in-Chief now, son. Do your job. When your battle-hardened field General asks you for 40,000 more troops to complete the mission, give them to him. But if you're not in this fight to win, then get out. The life of one American soldier is not worth the best political strategy you're thinking of.

You could be our greatest president because you face the greatest challenge ever presented to any president.

You're not going to restore American greatness by bringing back our bloated economy. That's not our greatest threat. Losing the heart and soul of who we are as Americans is our big fight now.

And I sure as hell don't want to think my president is the enemy in this final battle.


Harold B. Estes

Thank YOU, Mr Estes!

H/T Diane

POV: David Beamer re 9/11 Trials

Mr Obama? Mr Holder? Hellooooooooooo? We are NOT going away. Just sayin'..

H/T Mike

Friday, November 27, 2009


THANKS TO LT. DAN - Army Sgt. Maj. Robert Prosser, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team sergeant major, shakes actor Gary Sinise's hand after presenting him with the American flag and a special unit coin on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 2009. Sinise visited wounded soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after performing with his band, "The Lt. Dan Band." U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Chris Florence

Celebrities thank troops at Thanksgiving concert

Posted 11/24/2009 Updated 11/24/2009

11/24/2009 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Gary Sinise and the Lieutenant Dan Band made their first appearance in Afghanistan performing for hundreds of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Coast Guard members Nov. 23 here.

This visit is one in a long line of entertainment and celebrity visits to boost morale of servicemembers who are away from home and their loved ones during the holidays, said Col. Edward Shock, the Armed Forces Entertainment director.

That sentiment of thanking the troops during the holidays was echoed by the visitors.

"We understand and appreciate your sacrifice. We do not take you for granted," Mr. Sinise told the crowd. "We're grateful for you and your service and the sacrifice of your loved ones back home. Your families sacrifice so much, so often and we know they miss you. Thank you."

Mr. Sinise also visited a remote Army outpost near the Pakistan border where he met with Soldiers and distributed humanitarian supplies to more than 50 Afghan children.

While Mr. Sinise visited the remote outpost, other actors visited the Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield to meet the staff and visit with patients.

"You all have a first-rate facility," said actor Mykelti Williamson, also known as Bubba from the "Forrest Gump" movie. "You're using equipment and techniques that we're not even seeing in the states.

"I am so grateful for their sacrifice," he continued. "I pray to God daily for the men and women who go through there."

Comedian Kevin Farley, actress Kristy Swanson and television personality LeeAnn Tweeden visited troops. The visit was a partnership between AFE, the USO and American Airlines.

"I think it's really good they're here supporting the troops," said Staff Sgt. Henrie Young, from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Safety Office before a thunderous applause from a cover of Neil Young's "Teenage Wasteland."

The Lieutenant Dan Band has traveled all over the world playing popular music and visiting servicemembers and families, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Korean Demilitarized Zone and many other remote military bases. The band name was chosen because Mr. Sinise was constantly recognized by a character he played in the movie "Forrest Gump" called Lieutenant Dan.
(source) Oh, and of course, don't go looking for this on the msm!


My favourite stories:

Abingdon town welcomes home RLC soldiers

A History and Honour news article

26 Nov 09

To mark their return from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, 300 soldiers from both 3 and 4 Logistic Support Regiments marched through the town of Abingdon in Oxfordshire yesterday, Wednesday 25 November 2009.

Soldiers of 3 and 4 Logistic Support Regiments marching through Abingdon

Soldiers of 3 and 4 Logistic Support Regiments march through Abingdon to mark their return from operations in Afghanistan and Iraq
[Picture: Cpl Russ Nolan RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

The soldiers were exercising their freedom of the town and marched carrying rifles with fixed bayonets and with colours (regimental standards) flying and were greeted by the townsfolk who were waving flags and welcoming placards.

At Abingdon's Market Place the town's Mayor, Councillor Patricia Hobby, Chairman of the Vale of White Horse District Council, and Brigadier Chris Murray, the Director of the Royal Logistic Corps (RLC), addressed the parade and presented Operational Service Medals to the troops.

Private Paul Young, aged 20, from 4 Logistic Support Regiment (4 LSR), said:

"When you see all the people it makes you think the whole country supports you. It was special."

Speaking before the parade, Mayor Hobby said:

"The parade gives the people of Abingdon a chance to show their appreciation of the work the troops have been doing to help make our country more secure.

Jacqueline Trivett welcoming her husband Raymond

Jacqueline Trivett welcomes home her husband, Private Raymond Trivett
[Picture: Cpl Russ Nolan RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

"We are also thinking about those who have died in this conflict and hope their families eventually find some peace in the sacrifice their relatives have made."

You know there is more, and you can read it here.



Navy swimmers scoop 48 medals

A Training and Adventure news article

26 Nov 09

Royal Navy swimmers have recently torpedoed through the water, battling against competitors from 92 different countries, to bring home a haul of 48 medals from the World Masters Games in Sydney.

Portsmouth-based members of the Royal Navy Swimming Club

Portsmouth-based members of the Royal Navy Swimming Club who between them won 48 medals at the Sydney World Masters Games - from left: Sarah Buchan, James Warwick, Gary Thomas, Stuart Mantle, Andy Grundy and Steve Berry
[Picture: LA(Phot) Pete Smith, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

The 28-strong Navy swimming team from the Royal Navy Swimming Club won 16 gold, 19 silver and 13 bronze medals, rounding off a phenomenal year of success in which they also scooped four Inter-Service titles competing against the RAF and the Army.

Assistant Sports Officer for Navy Swimming, Gary Thomas, said:

"This year has been an exceptional year for us. Before we went out to Sydney we set 30 medals as the target so we were well in excess of that - it is fantastic and a great boost for the team.

"In our five-year plan we target this as one of our major events and, as far as possible and deployment-depending, we ramp up our efforts to gain the maximum achievement possible.

"In fact, if the 3k [kilometre] open water race hadn't been cancelled I believe we would have come back with 50 medals."

The World Masters Games are an international competition similar to the Olympics, but instead are open to athletes over the age of 25 who compete at a world class level in their sport.

This year more than 28,000 people competed in 28 different categories ranging from swimming to cycling to running.

Leading Physical Training Instructor Stuart Mantle of HMS Nelson, Portsmouth Naval Base, came away with one of the largest haul of medals - three gold and three silver. These were in the 200-metre freestyle, two relay events and three backstroke categories. He said:

"I'm over the moon. I've been swimming all my life - I started as a kid and then when I joined the Navy at 18 I just continued with it. I really enjoy it and work hard at my training, so to win so many medals at once is a great feeling. Everyone did well out there though, it was a team effort."

The Royal Navy Swimming Club is open to both serving and ex-serving personnel and has 60 members based at Poole, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Faslane. It consists of both swimmers and water polo players. (MoD here)


This video was actually on the msm (KOMO4) but I found it on FB on the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker) page:

Then I found the following, NOT on the msm:

Thanksgiving meals sent to deployed Troops

Thursday, 26 November 2009 American Forces Press Service release

PHILADELPHIA — How do you plan Thanksgiving dinner for 180,000 people more than 6,000 miles away? If you’re a food buyer at the Defense Logistics Agency, you start by making a shopping list in April for meals to be served to U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Providing superb meals to our U.S. troops is a critical mission of the Defense Logistics Agency, and one we put a great deal of effort into,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Chambers, commander of the DLA Philadelphia field activity, which provides all the food for U.S. military personnel worldwide, 365 days a year.

“It’s very important to us to give our troops a taste of home during the holidays, so we start planning the traditional Thanksgiving meal even before Memorial Day rolls around,” Chambers said.

DLA employees in the Philadelphia-based subsistence supply chain start their Thanksgiving meal planning early to make sure that food items and ingredients will arrive overseas in time for the holiday. Many ingredients for the meals are on hand at prime vendor locations by September, and bigger dining facilities start receiving high-volume items, such as turkeys and large beef roasts, in October.

Navy Capt. Ed Rackauskas, who leads DLA’s subsistence directorate, said deliveries began in Iraq and Afghanistan in mid-October to allow for unexpected changes or possible redistribution due to movement of troops.

“No matter where troops are stationed, they can expect DLA to provide the best possible meal for Thanksgiving,” he added.

He said putting together these meals is challenging, particularly in supplying some of the bigger dining facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan where holiday meals are served all day to accommodate service members working different shifts.

Here is a breakdown of quantities and dollar values for Thanksgiving meals for service members in Iraq:

-- Raw and precooked whole turkey: 225,980 pounds, $795,359.08;

-- Turkey white meat: 77,648 pounds, $416,969.76;

-- Turkey dark meat: 73,296 pounds, $236,013.12;

-- Ham: 40,826 pounds, $135,020.26;

-- Beef: 23,536 pounds, $128,019.30;

-- Shrimp: 28,764 pounds, $180,062.64;

-- Stuffing mix: 37,107 pounds, $87,421.94;

-- Potatoes: 41,515 pounds, $102,362.32;

-- Sweet potatoes: 9,702 cans, $60,799.20;

-- Vegetables, corn, green beans: 59,435 pounds, $80,771.42;

-- Cranberry sauce: 7,188 cans, $52,448.44;

-- Pie: 26,946 pies, $245,320.33; and

-- Cake: 13,544 cakes, $220,915.68.

The total dollar value for Thanksgiving meals in Iraq is $2,741,483.49.



Spc. Adam Butler, of Summersville, W.Va., passes a pre-packaged bag of food to Saad Hawas Salim, at a mosque in the Zaydon marketplace, Nov. 23. American troops delivered 100 bags for distribution to the needy just in time for Eid al-Adha. Photo by Spc. Ruth McClary, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team.

Orphans receive holiday food donations

Thursday, 26 November 2009 By Spc. Ruth McClary
30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team

BAGHDAD — Military vehicles carrying a harvest of pre-packaged foods pulled up to the Salim Molaw Abu Hathafa Mosque in the Zaydon marketplace here, Nov. 23, just in time for Eid al-Adha.

U.S. troops delivered 300 packages containing cooking oil, flour, tortillas, beans, canned meat, canned tomatoes, and powdered milk; purchased for distribution to needy families in the 150th Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team's area of operations.

Squadron Soldiers unloaded 100 meals as Saad Hawas Salim, whose family runs the mosque, and a few men from the marketplace, helped stack the bags on the steps of the facility.

Salim's grandfather is the head of the mosque where the meals will be handed out after services there. According to Salim, there are quite a few orphans in the area.

"There are about 300 to 500 kids with no mother or father here," said Salim. "Some of them live with their cousins and some live at a station set up by the shaykhs."

The mosque, with its graffiti covered walls topped with barbed wire, sat unobstructed in the middle of the marketplace; a safe haven for the children the meals were brought there to help.

"Tell your grandfather this is a gift from U.S. forces for those who need it and we wish them good will," said Capt. Thomas Mills, of Winfield, W.Va.

Salim, of the al-Zobaai tribe, thanked Mills and reassured him that he would keep his promise of giving the meals out after the noon day prayer.

When the troops were about to load up to leave for another mission, groups of children, making their way home from school, approached. The Soldiers dug into their pockets, and pulled out candy, gum, pencils and pens.

As the Soldiers handed out the small gifts, the children accepted the treats and moved on as if it were an everyday occurrence.

"They were the most well behaved children I have ever seen over here," said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Phillips, of Oak Hill, W.Va. "I almost wish I had more to give them." (MNF1 here)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, America!

From Patriot Post:

Account of the First Harvest Feast and Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Some historians note that the first thanksgiving was recorded on December 4, 1619, when 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred on the north bank of the James River about 20 miles upstream from Jamestown, the first permanent Colony of Virginia settlement established on May 14, 1607.

The charter for the settlers at Berkeley Hundred required "We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."

To that end, Captain John Woodleaf led that service.

However, the first harvest feast and thanksgiving was at Plymouth Colony in 1621, and it is that iconic event that is now considered, the First Thanksgiving.

President Ronald Reagan often cited the Pilgrims who celebrated the First Thanksgiving as our forebears who charted the path of American freedom. He made frequent reference to John Winthrop's "shining city upon a hill."

As Reagan explained, "The phrase comes from John Winthrop, who wrote it to describe the America he imagined. What he imagined was important because he was an early Pilgrim, an early freedom man. He journeyed here on what today we'd call a little wooden boat; and like the other Pilgrims, he was looking for a home that would be free."

Who were these "freedom men," and how did they eventually blaze the path of true liberty?

They were Calvinist Protestants who rejected the institutional Church of England, believing that worshipping God must originate freely in the individual soul, without coercion. Suffering persecution and imprisonment in England for their beliefs, a group of these separatists fled to Holland in 1608. There, they found spiritual liberty in the midst of a disjointed economy that failed to provide adequate compensation for their labors, and a dissolute, degraded, corrupt culture that tempted their children to stray from faith.

Determined to protect their families from such spiritual and cultural dangers, the Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on 6 September 1620, sailing for a new world that offered the promise of both civil and religious liberty. After an arduous journey, they dropped anchor off the coast of what is now Massachusetts.

On 11 December 1620, prior to disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they signed the Mayflower Compact, America's original document of civil government. It was the first to introduce self-government, and the foundation on which the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were built. Governor William Bradford described the Compact as "a combination ... that when they came a shore they would use their owne libertie; for none had power to command them."

Upon landing, the Pilgrims conducted a prayer service and quickly turned to building shelters. Under harrowing conditions, the colonists persisted through prayer and hard work, but the Winter of 1621 was devastating and only 53 of the original party survived.

However, with the help of the indigenous "Indians" in the region, by Autumn of 1621 the Pilgrims had enough produce to hold a three day feast and time of thanksgiving.

Plymouth Colony's governor, William Bradford, recorded in his history of the Colony: "They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion."...

I came across this piece by 'coincidence', and it seems a really good time to share with my American 'family.' Go read the rest of this great column here.

Give thanks, America, as I give thanks for all of you!!!

Kenneth Nixon: Giving Thanks for My Eternal Hero

Two years ago today, I wrote a piece on Tanker Bros milblog about a very special American Hero. For reasons known only to God, Kenny is always on my mind and in my heart.

Because today IS American Thanksgiving - where we especially give thanks for our veterans and our currently deployed troops - I am compelled to share this special man with you again:
Monday, November 26, 2007

My Eternal Hero

On November 11, 2007 - Veterans Day in America - Kenneth Val Leroy Nixon passed away. While large crowds across the continent honoured our servicemen and women, our heroes, my eternal hero Kenny quietly slipped away in a care facility in Columbia, Missouri, with our friend Kassie by his side. Kenny's beloved Baby K was quietly nuzzling on his chest.

Kenneth Nixon 1941-2007

Kenneth Val Leroy Nixon, 66, of Columbia passed away Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007,

at West Village Manor.

Mr. Nixon was born on Sept. 17, 1941, in Washington, Mo.,

to Orville and Callie Hyatt Nixon.

Kenneth is survived by many relatives and close friends,

and his absence will be greatly felt in their lives.

Online condolences for Mr. Nixon’s family may be
left at

I was priviledged to 'meet' Kenny at the beginning of November. No, we never met in person, and we didn't need to. As it turns out, Kenny and I do "know" each other's hearts very well. It started out as an ordinary enough phone call from Kassie, as she told me about Kenny. Kenny was in an assisted living facility, dying, but hanging on, not wanting to leave, because he was sure God would not accept him. I asked Kassie if I could call Kenny, to share with him, talk to him - to ease his heart and mind. Kassie agreed that she would talk to Kenny about me, and I know she did. Over the coming days, Kenny was on my mind a lot, was always in my heart, as Kassie gave me updates on his physical fragile state. Kenny and I never actually spoke physically, but I know he got my messages, assurances, from Kassie, and I know his heart heard mine telling him that God had always accepted him.

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Kenny was a veteran. A Marine. He was in Vietnam 1968-69, but he had no military funeral. No hero's burial in Arlington. He was cremated. His wish. I don't know much about Kenny's military history, but I will always honour every soldier who went to Vietnam. They will always be heroes to me. For me though, it is how Kenny lived his last days on this earth that make him an amazing hero in my heart. He battled demons that most of us will never meet, and he won! When Kenny finally left us, he had been clean and sober for 75+ days.

Even as Kenny knew his time had come in Columbia, Missouri, his concern was for the wellbeing of his precious Baby K, and that his family were taken care of. Kenny's huge family had many flaws (don't all families?), and Kenny loved them.

Tommy Pearl, a long time friend of Kenny's, shared with me:

"When we met about five years ago I adopted him as a big brother. Kenny was a good guy who loved life. He was an avid reader of mysteries and history. He had a great sense of humour, and would do anything for anybody. He loved Baby K so much. Towards the end Kenny was worried about being in God's Good Book. I told him he was already in there."

Kenny loved movies. Kassie took him lots of movies for those last long nights when Kenny couldn't sleep. Westerns and military movies were favourites. He was a huge John Wayne fan. (Wonder what he and John Wayne said to each other when they met in the great corral in the heavens? lol) Kenny had a beautiful smile. I know this.

On the questionnaire that Kenny filled out when he arrived at his last home he noted that he loved driving around. On November 10, Kassie took Kenny out to drive around. No particular destination, but just to be doing something that Kenny enjoyed. At one point, Kassie turned to Kenny and said "Happy Birthday." She reminded Kenny that November 10 is the Marines birthday. Kenny - thrilled - gave a big grin and "OOORAH!" He made a huge effort, and by sheer willpower, found the strength to raise his arm in a salute. To be acknowledged as the Marine he will always be brought a spark of life into him, said Kassie.

November 11 was a sunny day in Columbia, Missouri. Kassie went to see Kenny. He made it known that he wanted to get out of his bed and go sit outside. The staff said he was too weak to get up, but Kenny was adamant and Kassie insisted, because that was what Kenny wanted.

They sat in the late afternoon sunshine, and Kassie put her hand on Kenny's and supported Baby K on Kenny's chest as the hero and the dog found absolute contentment with each other. With the sun shining on them, Kassie and Kenny talked....well, Kassie talked and Kenny, too weak to speak, listened. Kassie again reminded him what I had said. What was said is between Kenny, Kassie and me, but Kassie assured Kenny that "BritBrat said it, so I know it's true, and you can believe it too."

About that time, in another time zone miles a way, I was aware of a stillness. It was as if the world had stopped for one shining moment. Kassie felt and saw Kenny BE at peace, as his body, which had held him back, finally released his sweet, sweet soul to God's care. As the sun set in Columbia, Missouri, so too did the sun set on my hero's stay on this earth. The last thing Kenny said? "I'll pray for you."

Kenny? "All is well, Safely rest. " Freedom to fly is yours! You know how I feel, but I have to say: Told ya soooooooo. See you!


On the original post, which you can find here, I posted a video of Taps.

Today, I am choosing a different video. Kenny was a HUGE Johnny Cash fan, and in a separate post about him, I used THIS video:

Aaaaah, Kenny, what a beautiful Angel you are...

Today and every day - I give thanks for you. With love..

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

These killers don't deserve the rights of Americans

From Family Security Matters:

November 25, 2009

These killers don't deserve the rights of Americans

Stop the trial, Mr. President

Excerpts from Peter Regan's remarks yesterday at a press conference on protests against the "9/11 trial" being held in New York.

I AM here today to express my opinion on this administration's recent decision to put terrorists from a foreign land on trial in a civilian court of law of the United States of America.

I am an American. I am a United States Marine, a New York City firefighter and the son of a New York City firefighter killed on 9/11.

As an American, I believe in the Constitution of the United States. I believe that the rights it guarantees are reserved for American citizens -- not handed out freely to people serving a destructive ideology. The rights that Americans have fought to protect for Americans should not be gifted to people who seek the destruction of this nation.

posted by : Nancy Kennon on November 25, 2009 (here)

Is anybody listening? Mr Obama? Mr Holder?

Wednesday Hero

Rear Adm. Ned Deets
Rear Adm. Ned Deets
U.S. Navy

Rear Adm. Ned Deets speaks with Frank Chebatar, president of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, at the conclusion of the base consolidation ceremony. The two bases consolidated to form Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Fort Story.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sarah Palin: The Real Deal

By Dewey Whetsell, Alaskan Fisherman.

The last 45 of my 66 years I've spent in a commercial fishing town in Alaska . I understand Alaska politics but never understood national politics well until this last year. Here's the breaking point: Neither side of the Palin controversy gets it. It's not about persona, style, rhetoric, it's about doing things. Even Palin supporters never mention the things that I'm about to mention here.

1. Democrats forget when Palin was the Darling of the Democrats, because as soon as Palin took the Governor's office away from a fellow Republican and tough SOB, Frank Murkowski, she tore into the Republican's "Corrupt Bastards Club" (CBC) and sent them packing. Many of them are now residing in State housing and wearing orange jump suits. The Democrats reacted by skipping around the yard, throwing confetti and singing, "la la la la" (well, you know how they are). Name another governor in this country that has ever done anything similar.

2. Now with the CBC gone, there were fewer Alaskan politicians to protect the huge, giant oil companies here. So she constructed and enacted a new system of splitting the oil profits called "ACES." Exxon (the biggest corporation in the world) protested and Sarah told them, "don't let the door hit you in the stern on your way out." They stayed, and Alaska residents went from being merely wealthy to being filthy rich. Of course, the other huge international oil companies meekly fell in line. Again, give me the name of any other governor in the country that has done anything similar.

3. The other thing she did when she walked into the governor's office is she got the list of State requests for federal funding for projects, known as "pork." She went through the list, took 85% of them and placed them in the "when-hell-freezes-over" stack. She let locals know that if we need something built, we'll pay for it ourselves. Maybe she figured she could use the money she got from selling the previous governor's jet because it was extravagant. Maybe she could use the money she saved by dismissing the governor's cook (remarking that she could cook for her own family), giving back the State vehicle issued to her, maintaining that she already had a car, and dismissing her State provided security force (never mentioning - I imagine - that she's packing heat herself). I'm still waiting to hear the names of those other governors.

4. Now, even with her much-ridiculed "gosh and golly" mannerism, she also managed to put together a totally new approach to getting a natural gas pipeline built which will be the biggest private construction project in the history of North America. No one else could do it although they tried. If that doesn't impress you, then you're trying too hard to be unimpressed while watching her do things like this while baking up a batch of brownies with her other hand.

5. For 30 years, Exxon held a lease to do exploratory drilling at a place called Point Thompson. They made excuses the entire time why they couldn't start drilling. In truth they were holding it like an investment. No governor for 30 years could make them get started. Then, she told them she was revoking their lease and kicking them out. They protested and threatened court action. She shrugged and reminded them that she knew the way to the court house. Alaska won again.

6. President Obama wants the nation to be on 25% renewable resources for electricity by 2025. Sarah went to the legislature and submitted her plan for Alaska to be at 50% renewables by 2025. We are already at 25%. I can give you more specifics about things done, as opposed to style and persona. Everybody wants to be cool, sound cool, look cool. But that's just a cover-up. I'm still waiting to hear from liberals the names of other governors who can match what mine has done in two and a half years. I won't be holding my breath.

By the way, she was content to return to AK after the national election and go to work, but the haters wouldn't let her. Now these adolescent screechers are obviously not scuba divers. And no one ever told them what happens when you continually jab and pester a barracuda. Without warning, it will spin around and tear your face off. Shoulda known better.

You have just read the truth about Sarah Palin that sends the media, along with the democrat party, into a wild uncontrolled frenzy to discredit her. I guess they are only interested in skirt chasers, dishonesty, immoral people, liars, womanizers, murderers, and bitter ex-presidents' wives.

So "You go, Girl." I only wish the men in Washington had your guts, determination, honesty, and morals.

I rest my case. Only FOOLS listen to the biased media.

"Attitude starts with a KICK."

The friend who sent me this said, in part:

...I haven't checked to see if this authentic but then I don't believe it matters. What does matter is the fact that Sarah Palin is the genuine article. She brings a degree of honesty to the table that holds no party lines. The lady is what I deem a true American. That's what people respond to....

I DID check who this Dewey Whetsell is, and what a wealth of knowledge he has.. One of his sites says this:

I am a 34-year veteran with the Cordova (Alaska) Volunteer Fire Department. The 40-member fire department provides structural, and marine fire protection, level-threeEMS, underwater rescue and recovery, and search and rescue services for the north coast of the Gulf of Alaska...

Interesting man, and well worth reading the stuff he has written here. He IS prolific!
On another site - here - he has links to other ventures. A poet, a firefighter, an Alaska resident, he is more than qualified to have an opinion about Sarah Palin.

Who are you going to believe about Sarah Palin? The msm or people like Dewy Whetsell?

'Nuff said. Thank YOU, Mr Whetsell.

A Soldier's Prayer

H/T Mike...

American Soldier I Salute You

A beautiful song written by Sally Mudd:

Monday, November 23, 2009

For Noah: The newest Angel

Our Angel

Posted 1 hour ago

After a long battle with Stage IV Neruorblastoma cancer, Monday morning at 8:02 AM, Noah Biorkman passed away at his home in South Lyon, Michigan.

Scott and I, along with our families, would like to thank everyone for the continued support over the past few years during Noah’s illness. As most of you know, Noah has received more than one million Christmas cards over the past few weeks. The outpouring of love and compassion has been remarkable and we are extremely grateful.

We are now asking for everyone please respect our privacy during this very difficult time. The funeral services will be for family only. We are asking that instead of sending cards and flowers to Scott and me; please make a donation in Noah’s name to either of the organizations below. With your donation, Noah’s legacy will live on for many years to come, if not forever. Thank you so much for your support and love.

The Biorkman Family

Please send donations to the following: Department of Pediatrics and Oncology
University of Michigan
1500 East Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-5718

Checks payable to: The University of Michigan – Noah’s Pediatric Oncology Fund OR Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan
230 Huron View Blvd.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
Checks payable to: Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan – Memo: Noah Biorkman

Thanksgiving Letter to the Editor

The following was sent to me by Pastor Ed of Do The Right Thing. Written by Susan Kaminski, it would be a good thing if it was sent to every editor in America. Maybe BO would see it, too. Read on:

Dear Editor:

While I'm eating my Thanksgiving dinner with my family this year, I'm going to have a hard time enjoying it knowing that our President is willingly allowing our men and women in Afghanistan to die while waiting for him to make up his mind whether or not to give them the resources they need for survival.

I was heartsick while reading a chat room that is sometimes visited by soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan, ask us to please pray for their safety because each day things get worse, and they don't know when they are going to get the help they need. Pastor Ed Boston, Of Hope Wesleyan Church in Hope, IN works with deployed soldiers and veterans through an on-line ministry called Do The Right Thing. He has confirmed the stories and the concerns of those currently serving.

These brave men and women went where they were told to go and are doing their very best, so how deranged is it to send them there as sitting ducks while the elite politicians play golf in between paying off their friends for political favors.

There is something so seriously wrong with our government allowing the Secretary of the Treasury to get away with funnelling obscene amounts of money to his friends in the auto unions, not to mention the developing corruption story coming out of the Goldman Sachs relationship. Simultaneously, this administration is obsessed with taking over 1/6 of our economy through socialized healthcare! All the while, as if they are invisible, the President is completely ignoring our brightest and best who are literally dying in Afghanistan.

These same politicians campaigned on how Afghanistan was the war we "should" be in, and most Americans agreed with them, and yet they have absolutely no conscience at allowing these men to be slaughtered when it is within their power to protect them. It is beyond me how they sleep at night.

So we'll eat our Turkey and be grateful that we live in the greatest country on earth, but first I'll call and write to all of my legislators and plead with them not to sit down to their dinner until they have gotten our military the support they need, and stop sending our children to slaughter like the bird they are about to consume.

"It's a special thing to be the first in the world,..."

From the MoD:

RAF pilot has 'best job in the world'

A People In Defence news article

20 Nov 09

A Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant has become the first pilot in the world to reach 1,000 flying hours on the Eurofighter Typhoon.


An 11 Squadron RAF Typhoon
[Picture: SAC Scott Lewis, Crown Copyright/MOD 2009]

Antony 'Parky' Parkinson landed his jet at RAF Coningsby earlier this week and emerged from the cockpit having just clocked up the 1,001st hour during a 90-minute training flight.

Greeted by colleagues from 29 (Reserve) Squadron, Flight Lieutenant Parkinson said:

"It's a special thing to be the first in the world, and that's a historic milestone, not just for me, but for the Typhoon.

"It's taken five years of flying to reach 1,000 hours - almost exactly five years to the day - and it's a privilege to be the first pilot to get it."

Flt Lt Parkinson joined the RAF in 1983, aged just 18, and in the last 25 years he has had an amazing flying career, in which he admits he has been very lucky:

"This is my fourth 1,000-hour badge," he said. "I had 1,000 on the Phantom, then with the Tornado F3 before joining the Red Arrows and completing 1,000 hours in the Hawk."...

A very cool story, and you can read the rest here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

STS 129 Atlantis

A Partial View

Backdropped by the blackness of space, a partial view of Space Shuttle Atlantis' payload bay, vertical stabilizer, orbital maneuvering system pods and docking mechanism are featured in this image photographed by the STS-129 crew from an aft flight deck window.

Image Credit: NASA

Go take a look here....Amazing real time footage, from the booster camera video.

From: NASA News Services
Sat, 21 Nov 2009 03:48:07 -0600

Today’s wake up music was “Voyage to Atlantis” by the Isley Brothers, played at 3:58 a.m. EST for Atlantis Mission Specialist Robert Satcher.

...Set sail with me
Misty lady, set my spirit free...
set sail with me
To a paradise out beyond the sea...

Atlantis (Is back to you)
I’ll always (Come back to you)
Atlantis (Is back to you)
I’ll always (Come back to you)...