Category Archives: Patriotism

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

WE CAN ALL SUPPORT OUR TROOPS!

What can an individual do to support our troops?

1200px-25th_Infantry_Division_CSIB.svgWhatever we can do to support our troops, we should!  I was messaging with my nephew who is with the 4/25th and currently stationed in Afghanistan. He is attached to my old unit … the 1/501st Parachute Regiment.  The 1/501st was airborne during WW II. However, when I was serving post-Vietnam, it had transitioned to the 1/501st Air Assault Regiment (Geronimo).  I guess they have now switched back to airborne. Things change.

My daughter periodically puts together packages and sends them to his unit when it is overseas. She has made quite an art of it, including weird things … however, things that they really need such as flea collars. I guess for sand fleas? I got to thinking about what I can send.

Soldiers often love to read!

support our troopsI did. I read all of Louis L’ Amour’s books at least twice when I was serving in the Army! I also read many other books by many authors. My nephew was telling me that his Dad had sent him a copy of my book and how much he really enjoyed reading it.  He also said that all the members of his platoon were waiting their turn to read it.  Maybe even some soldiers from the 1/501st wouldn’t mind reading it!  Then it hit me.  I can send them several copies of my book. So, that is what I am doing. I am putting together a shipment of my books to send over to his unit in Afghanistan. It is a small part I can play to support our troops and I think they really will enjoy it!

What can you do to support our troops!

I am sure you can think of something you can do … even if it is just thanking them for their service when they get home!

A Poem on PTSD by U.S. Marine, Frank Lazzaro

PTSD and the Vietnam War!

A former Marine I recently met, Frank Lazzaro, who’d served in the Vietnam war. shared this poem he’d written on PTSD some time ago. He told me I could share it if I wished to. I did think it was pretty good and definitely worth sharing, so I decided to post it here. I hope you enjoy it.

 

PTSD

Shadow

 

What is it I see in the recesses of my mind?

A form, eerie and frightful,

From which there is no escape.

A shadow that follows me

From age to age

Haunting me, beckoning me,

Seducing me with its dream-like call.

Never ceasing, always present,

Chilling me to my very core.

 

Twilight to dawn this shadow waits,

Eager to pounce once more,

To render me scared and helpless. 

I resist to tears but to no avail

For this shadow is fearsome and relentless.

It has no face that I can see,

No form of hate.

A vapor not human, yet all too real

Ever there … haunting, haunting.

 

In the night it touches me,

Rousing me from sleep.

Sweat, like a mist, covers me.

Tears flow with soundless screams not heard

Like the dead that surrounds me.

I jump to met my adversary

But it’s only a shadow.

 

A memory of long ago

When youth was changed,

And time stood still.

Of death and loss so vivid.

Of war so fearfully fought so far away.

Now only a shadow that haunts me

In the recesses of my mind.

 

~ Frank Lazzaro

 

 

Remembering Today: 9/11 and Hurricane Irma

Remembering Today

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma & 9/11My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in the path of Hurricane Irma. I have relatives in both Orlando and Tampa, Florida … and so far, they seem to be okay. I must say I have never seen such an outpouring of support and help being offered to victims of this Hurricane like what is being offered via Facebook. It is amazing to me.

I also think the communication between Federal, State and Local governments helped lessen the catrostophic impact of this hurricane. While certainly still bad, the planning pre-positioning of equipment and supplies was amazing to see and well thought out. President Trump, his administration, FEMA, Governors, State Police, Local Law Enforcement and First Responders, the U.S. Military and volunteers … all showing why America is such a great country. You are all owed an immense debt of gratitude!

 

September 11, 2001

Hurricane Irma & 9/11

September 11, 2001 … a day we, in America, must never forget. I remember hearing a description of the first jet hitting the twin towers on the way to work at the University of Tennessee that morning. I thought, at the time, it had to be a hoax. When I got to campus however, crowds were standing around TV screens in the University Center watching events unfold. I learned it was not a hoax. And, I watched the second plane hit the tower. There are not words to express the way I felt at that moment in time.

 

We must never forget and we must remain forever vigilant. Freedom is never free! I have had ancestors and family members fight in every American conflict since the American Revolution. To squander away what our ancestors purchased for us with their own blood would be unforgivable. Think about that as you rush to deprive another American of their God-given rights … whether it be the right to free speech, or to protect themselves from danger, to worship in the way they choose, or to pursue life in a land of equal opportunity.

Can We Have an Honest DACA Discussion

Some DACA Honesty … Please?

DACACan we have an intelligent discussion about DACA? The Left now blasting President Trump for his decision to phase out DACA. However, what he did is put the decision back where it RIGHTFULLY, LEGALLY and CONSTITUTIONALLY belongs … in the hands of Congress. Of course, if you hate America, the U.S. Constitution, the Rule of Law, and everything this country stands for, you would be blasting this decision … no matter who made actually made it

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What did President Trump Say?

The President Trump’s administration announced its decision on DACA Tuesday.  They will implement an “orderly wind down” of this Obama-era executive order.  The unilateral order gave a deportation reprieve to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. In addition, President Trump gave Congress 6 months to come up with a legislative solution to the issue. Congress, not the President, writes the laws. They don’t teach that in school anymore? It is almost as if our schools are preparing our kids for a more “authoritarian” form of government.

I often wonder were all the vocal critics and protestors when, under the Democratic controlled legislature, Obama couldn’t get this done through legislation? Remember, Obama is the one who took the unconstitutional path and imposed it unilaterally by executive order … not President Trump.

What About Being A Society built on Laws?

It has become fairly clear that neither the establishment politicians of both parties nor the media care about the rule of law. 25 States sued the previous administration in Federal Courts with Federal Judges ruling that DACA (and DAPA) were unconstitutional executive actions. Did you hear about this in the left-wing mass media? Nope? I sure didn’t. I think I heard it on Fox news though! That must be why the Left hates Fox News so much. Furthermore, it is simply more evidence of the mass  media’s  “enemy of the people” status perhaps?

President Trump is Heartless, Evil, Racist, and Cruel!

I don’t think so. First of all, I think this decision weighed heavily on his mind.  Look at what he said and think about what it really means. What is the message behind President Trumps words?
I do not favor punishing children, most of whom are now adults, for the actions of their parents. But we must also recognize that we are a nation of opportunity because we are a nation of laws.

And What of Barack Obama?

Yesterday, Obama went on the attack, saying President Trump’s ending of DACA is “cruel”. Yet, he once said he did not have the authority to do what he later did. Either Obama has a very short memory or his is being very disingenuous in his attack on President Trump. Furthermore, I remember when Obama stated this was not amnesty or immunity. Obama said it was not a path to citizenship. He stated himself this was not a permanent fix … calling it a temporary stopgap measure.

Just maybe, what President Trump is doing … is actually fixing the gap!