Category: Patriotism

Boundaries: Please respect mine?

boundaries

Personal Boundaries

We all have our boundaries. And we expect people to respect them. For instance, people should respect the privacy of your home. You have the right to lock your doors and windows, not because you hate what is outside, but because you love what is inside … your spouse, your children, your dog, your car, your DVD collection. Whatever it is, you have a right to secure and protect it.

Your personal boundaries protect the inner core of your identity and your right to choose

Gerard Manley Hopkins

You might even put up a fence to contain and protect your dog. Or, you may want to keep intruders out. Perhaps it just serves as a privacy screen. However, it is your right to put up your fence and it is not, in any way, an immoral act.

Thoughts on Scale

Boundaries are not complete inviolable. You have neighbors. You might take a casserole over to a neighbor who is ill, or share your grill for a neighborhood July 4th block party.

boundaries

On the other side of the coin, if you see your neighbor’s house being burglarized you might call the police. If you see the neighbor’s children having a spat, you might observe just to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand. If somebody is about to get hurt, you might even step in to cool things off. In a worse case scenario, where a child is being abused, you might step up and go to the aid of the child. It is nice to be able to look at yourself in the mirror.

What is the difference in personal boundaries and those between countries? It is only a difference of scale. Why? Because countries are made up of people. People need their boundaries. And, so do countries.

Boundaries are a Separation of Ideas!

I recently heard someone say, “Boundaries are a physical manifestation of the line between good and bad ideas. That statement really struck me. And, after thinking about it, I had to agree. Here is an example of what I mean.

In the controversy over our border with Mexico, some have compared the wall being built along sections of our border to the wall around West Berlin, which was finally torn down.

To put it plainly, this is a terrible and totally dishonest comparison.

At the end of World War II, Europe was carved up into two portions. One portion was allowed to continue on as before. However, the other portion fell under the control of the Soviet Union. This was done to placate Joseph Stalin, whose military forces had indeed helped defeat Adolf Hitler’s armies.
As part of the peace plan, Stalin was granted half of Germany and half of Berlin. However, Berlin was deep inside what would become known as East Germany

boundaries

The Berlin Wall, or Berliner Mauer in German, was a barrier that surrounded West Berlin and prevented access to it from East Berlin and adjacent areas of East Germany during the period from 1961 to 1989. From 1949 to 1961, approximately 2.5 million East Germans fled from East to West Germany. This included many skilled workers, professionals, and intellectuals. Their loss threatened to destroy the economic viability of the East German state. In response, East Germany built a barrier to close off East Germans’ access to West Berlin and hence West Germany.

The original wall, built of barbed wire and cinder blocks, was subsequently replaced by a series of 15 foot concrete walls, topped with barbed wire and guarded with watchtowers, gun emplacements, and mines. By the 1980s that system of walls, electrified fences, and fortifications extended 28 miles dividing the city of Berlin into two parts, and extending a further 75 miles around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany.

The point is the Berlin wall was not built to keep illegal immigration under control, or to try and block shipments of drugs, or to help prevent human and child sex trafficking by criminal cartels. It was built to keep East Germans in! Nobody, with the possible exception of western spies or the occasional crazies, was ever shot trying to get into East Germany or East Berlin. However, between 1961 and 1989, over 239 people were killed trying to get out. As a child, I remember we would get occasional letters from a relative trapped in East Germany. I remember when the letters stopped. We have no idea what happened.

The Berlin Wall separated ideas of freedom, democracy, and individual rights from the iron hand of totalitarianism. collectivism. and individual subjugation.

A Lack of Boundaries Invites a Lack of Respect

Mexico has a fascinating history and culture, and one that should be respected and appreciated. Then again, so does the United States. But, our cultures are different.

Most Americans would probably say they do not want the Unites States to become another Mexico. Despite Mexico’s interesting history and culture, the country has a long history of governmental corruption and criminal cartels engaged in drug smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and human trafficking. Hopefully, improvements are being made, but only the passage of time will tell.

Human Trafficking is an abomination. In my opinion, anyone who “just cannot seem too understand” the role border security plays in helping to prevent human trafficking (or any of these other crimes) from occurring is either willfully ignorant or has another agenda, one that is not in the best interests of the United States and its citizens. Or, the victims of these horrific crimes.

borders

Legal … Not Illegal Immigration

Yes. America is a country built on immigration. It was built by immigrants. My ancestors came here from Germany and Switzerland, and possibly England. They worked hard to become good Americans. They did not try to turn America into another Germany or Switzerland; … because they believed in the American dream and wanted to be part of it. Not destroy it!

America has become a force for good on this planet. Does that mean we have never made mistakes. Of course not. But more Americans have given their lives in the defense of other people and countries than any nation on this planet. More American taxpayer dollars have been spent in foreign aid than any other countries. And of course, America should continue to be a force for good! But there is nothing wrong in asking other countries to step up and do their share.

boundaries

It is neither economically nor physically feasible for the United States to become the refugee camp for the entire planet.

The people of Honduras, El Savador, Guatemala, Venezuela, Syria, Iran, and Somalia, or any other country need to stand up and fight for their country and their people’s interests, just as Americans did over 243 years ago.

America and other countries can certainly help, just as France helped us. But there is an old saying, “You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.” That saying still holds true today.

Keep America Healthy and Strong

boundaries

You also cannot help anyone if you are sick, unstable, emotionally, or intellectually bankrupt yourself. The same holds true for a country. In order to be a force for good on the planet, America must be healthy and strong. That means economically, militarily, and emotionally.

Patriotism is not a bad thing.

Patriotism is the driving force behind the success of any country. Patriotism is also what allows a people to withstand periods of trouble and turmoil for the good of the nation. Do you remember the victory gardens or Rosie the Riveter from WW II?

And, perhaps more importantly:

Patriotism is not obedience to government. Patriotism is obedience to the principles for which the government is supposed to stand.

Howard Zinn

The Circle is Complete …

So America needs to be healthy to maintain its role as a force for good on this planet. America is a defender of freedom, liberty, and human rights around the world.

Boundaries are healthy, normal and necessary for people. This would also include groups of people … and even countries. Boundaries (and borders) are neither immoral nor a “manhood thing” as some want to suggest. They are essential to the health of this Nation.

Clear and healthy borders keep us from selfish desires and wanting to control others. They also protect us from those who lack self-control and yet still want to control us.

American Women Warriors: A Salute.

Women can certainly be mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives. Each is a vitally important role in American society! But, while being all of these amazing things, women can also be fierce and capable warriors. Throughout history, and all around the world, women have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with men, facing their common enemies and fighting battles for survival. Though often outnumbered by their male brothers-in-arms, many brave female warriors have left their indelible mark on American history.

Historic Figures

Before changes in the modern U.S. Military, women were not allowed to serve in combat roles. We still had great examples of strong women, who were warriors in their own way, women who effected positive change in America through their bravery, dedication, and hard work.

Here a just a few examples:

Harriet Tubman

A courageous American hero, abolitionist Harriet Tubman, proved to be one of the most effective conductors on the Underground Railroad. “Conducting” was a dangerous job for anyone, doubly so for a former female slave. However, Harriet Tubman lived by a simple creed, “I can’t die but once.”

Susan B Anthony

The words of Thomas Jefferson, “Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God,” were often quoted by suffragist Susan B. Anthony at her trial in 1873 for voting. She was fined $100 for her act of civil disobedience. Though she didn’t literally take up arms, no one can deny that Susan B Anthony fought the good fight for woman’s suffrage and helped pave the way for the passage, 14 years after her death in 1906, of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, extending the right to vote to women.

Rosa Parks

A founding mother of the U.S. civil rights movement, Rosa Parks, stood her ground and stated, “No, I’m not moving to the back of the bus.” Her refusal to budge helped launch the Montgomery bus boycott and reshaped the American civil rights movement forever.

However today, the “no women in combat” rule has changed. I do believe in equal rights and status for all Americans. And, as long as any individual can pass the test and meet the required physical standards to perform a job at an efficient level, that individual should be allowed to perform that job

Today’s Female Warriors

Back in 2011, Congress mandated that the DOD conduct a review of its combat exclusion policy. Two years later, President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, announced plans to rescind the Direct Combat Exclusion Rule.

In December 2015, his successor, Ashton B. Carter, declared that all military jobs would be opened to women as long as they could qualify. The first field artillery cannoneer positions became available to enlisted women in January of 2016.

Jordyn Wallace, one female warrior, enlisted at the Castle Hayne recruiting center one month later.

While there are too many to list, I have selected a few random samples I found online as representative examples of our American female warriors.

Specialist Jordyn Wallace

Jordyn Wallace served with the Second Battalion, 12th field artillery regiment (2-12 FA) … part of the First Stryker Brigade Combat Team. These soldiers support infantry troops from miles away with powerful M 777s, also known as howitzers.

Wallace is a professional soldier who giveS her mission her all. She has earned the respect and admiration of her team and her superiors.

female warriors

Spcs. Vanessa Bolognese and Aimee Collver

“Bolo’ and “Collver” are two combat medics with Personal Security Detachment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. They kept all their male counterparts healthy and operationally ready, and did so “outside the wire,” their team often operating as an independent element.

“Bolo” and “Collver” are respected by there combat team both for their skills as medics and their professionalism as soldiers. When outside the wire, they move with the team, however when the rest of the team gets to take a break, these two warriors are just beginning to do their jobs.

female warriors

Maj. General Dawn Dunlap

Maj. General Dunlop is among the most accomplished female fighter pilots in the Air Force’s history. A 1988 graduate of the Air Force Academy, Dunlop has logged more than 3,500 hours flying aircraft including F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-22 fighters.

female warriors

All I can say is “Hooah” … and we, as Americans, owe women such as these a great deal of respect and gratitude.

Navy SEALs Swim Hudson River to Honor Military Vets

Fox News host and Army veteran Pete Hegseth joined a group of Navy SEALS as they swam across the Hudson to show support for our military veterans and their families.

This is the kind of event that makes me so proud to be an American and to have such respect for those who serve. I think back to the day I raised my right hand and swore my oath, and seeing things like this makes me realize that, if I could, I would do it all again.

seal Swim hudson
Fox News Photo

The SEALs routed their swim with stops at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, before ending the swim at Battery Park. At each scheduled stop, the SEALs performed a number of pushups and pullups to honor America’s legacy of liberty and diversity, and those who have fought and even paid the ultimate price to preserve them. We owe them so much.

While Fox News host Pete Hegseth is an Army veteran, he bravely jumped into the Hudson River with the Navy SEALS and completed the swim. Hegseth did admit he had a bit of help in the first leg of the swim from one of the SEALS, Kaj Larson, when he got caught up in the strong currents, but he completed the other two legs of the swim just fine.

All I can say is “Hooah” to these amazing Navy SEALS and to Fox New’s Pete Hegseth for showing us all what it means to be a true American Patriot!

All photos courtesy of Fox News.

For more Navy SEAL action, check out my military action thriller titled Serpents Underfoot. It is currently available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats, and will soon be out in audio as well.

For interesting post by DC Gilbert, click here!

CELEBRATE AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE

July 4th, 2019: 243 Years of American Exceptionalism

The 4th of July is just around the corner. Take a minute and think about what that means, and think about how many patriots gave their lives so that we have the opportunities we do have as Americans.

America is a land of equal opportunity. Nobody has the right to tell you how to live, what you can be, how you have to think, what you can say, or whether or not you can protect yourself or your loved ones.

In this country, you have the opportunity to be whatever you choose to be. Yes, you may fail a few times. But you get to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again.

That is America. And, it is an America we all need to fight to protect from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Anyway, that’s my political 2 cents for the day.

To help celebrate the 4th of July, check out my great Kindle sale!

On July 4th only …. just .99 for 1/2 day, then 1.99 the second half of the day.

If you are looking for great tales to share around the campfire, then Adirondack Bear Tales is for you. If you are looking for a patriotic action thriller that you won’t be able to put down, then Serpents Underfoot is for you! Get yours at these great holiday prices!

Sophie would certainly appreciate it. It helps keep her in kibble and biscuits!

July 4th

Vietnam Veteran’s Day in Raleigh, NC

Vietnam Veteran’s Day Weekend!

Vietnam Veteran'sI went to the Vietnam Veteran’s Day Weekend held in  Raleigh. It was sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History & The North Carolina Vietnam Veterans, Inc. This turned out to be a very moving day. First, I will say it was a real honor to talk to several of these veterans. I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1979, so the Vietnam War had been over for 4 years. However, several of the drill instructors I had in Basic and AIT were Vietnam Veterans home from the war. As a young trainee, I was in awe of these veteran warriors.

Talking to Vietnam Veterans

Vietnam Veteran'sFrank Lazarro was there with a display. Frank is a Marine Corps veteran who wrote a poem about PTSD that I posted on this blog some time ago. I also talked to a veteran who was talking to visitors about the Huey chopper. Kids and adults were having a great time climbing on the chopper and sitting in the pilot’s seat. It brought back memories of my experiences flying over the jungles in Panama when I was with the 1/501st Air Assault. I also talked to a veteran who had published a book and we exchanged some writer’s “tips.”

One Vietnam Veteran’s Dioramas

Vietnam veteran'sI found myself admiring several dioramas depicting scenes from the Vietnam War. A man came up and said if I had any questions about them, he would be happy to answer them. His name was Ron Harris. He had built the dioramas. They were all good, but the one depicting the tunnel complex at Chu Chi really intrigued me. The  tunnel system built and utilized by the North Vietnamese and their Viet Cong allies is simply amazing. Ron stated he had been back to Vietnam since the war, and the tunnels at Chu Chi have been converted to a major tourist attraction, albeit enlarged a bit to fit the frames of western tourists.

Etchings in Stone

We started talking about his dioramas and other topics and I mentioned my novel, Serpents Underfoot. I guess because its narrative begins in the jungles of Vietnam. Ron was interested in my writing and said he would have to get the Kindle version of my novel. I hope he enjoys it.

Ron then told me that the play, Etchings in Stone, they were showing a filmed presentation of in the auditorium was written by him. I decided I needed to see it. So, after viewing a few more displays, I went into the auditorium to watch the film. It was, simply put, amazing.

It opened with the playing of Taps. Then the audience finds themselves having the unique perspective of somehow being inside the black wall of the Vietnam War Memorial and listening to the thoughts and words of visitors to the memorial. An officer who lost men, a buddy, a girl friend, a Gold Star Mother, a Gold Star Father, the wife of an MIA, an Amerasian girl, an Antiwar Protester, and others. You participate in their emotional healing, their asking for forgiveness, their searching for answers, and longing for lost family members. Several of the scenes brought tears to my eyes.  The heart-touching scenes are interspersed with photos from the Vietnam War and very moving music, mostly by Country-style artists … and very well done.

My Father

Vietnam veteran'sThe scene that really got to me the most involved an Amerasian orphan. She approaches to the wall and talks of her birth parents. Her mother is a Vietnamese woman she has never met and who gave her up for adoption. Her father was an American soldier in Vietnam who was killed in action before he could marry her mother and take her back to America. The girl came to American, adopted by loving American family who has taken her into their hearts and home, and given her everything they could. She loves them dearly, but still sometimes wonders about her birth parents.

Now older, she goes back to Vietnam to try to locate her mother and perhaps find out who her father was. She manages to find an aunt, only to learn that her mother died in the 1980s.  Her aunt tells her that her mother would never talk about the American GI who was her father. The young woman returns to America and next seeks the help of other Vietnam veterans to try to determine who her birth father was. But, there is simply not enough information.

So finally, the young woman comes to the Wall to choose a name to be “the name” of her birth father. However, she is overwhelmed. There are over 50,000 names on the Wall. How can she choose one? She decides to choose them all! She will come back to visit them often and when she does, if anyone asks her if she knows someone whose name is on the wall, she will simply answer yes, “My father.” It was all I could do to keep from crying.

On the way out, I stopped to tell Ron Harris how much that play had affected me and how much I enjoyed it. It was really quite an amazing day.

 

 

Photographer Mike Powell’s Bald Eagles

Do you like Bald Eagles!

I love Bald Eagles and I really enjoy Mike Powell’s wildlife photography.  He does a lot of fantastic shots of many species of birds, but I especially like his great Bald Eagle pictures.  I guess it is just the patriot in me. If you are a bird watcher, you may really enjoy his blog. Check it out!

Click the link below to visit his blog!

via Dirty-headed eagle

Also, take a minute and check out my book, Serpents Underfoot, available online on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million. It is doing pretty well. I had my first book signing on Feb 27th at McKay’s Used Books & CDs in Knoxville, Tennessee. It went pretty well. I will be posting some pictures soon.

Great Post by GP Cox on Pacific Paratrooper!

Memorials are important historical signposts. While the frantic fringes in our country are trying to eradicate history and tear down memorials, in other countries some are working hard to preserve them. This article posted by GP Cox on his blog, Pacific Paratrooper, tells the tale of one such hard-working patriot in the Philippines.

via Current News – Bataan Mile Markers