Category: Patriotism

I will never forget …

A day that is forever seared into my memory.

I still remember driving to work at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and hearing Phil Williams, a local radio celebrity talking about a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers. I remember thinking … what a horrible accident … those poor people in the plane.

I was thinking a small private plane had accidentally hit one of the towers …

But Phil kept talking, and I could not believe what I was hearing. Then I remember thinking, it must be some kind of a practical joke! But it would have been a horrible joke. I just could not fathom what was happening.

Then, when I got to work and entered the Student Center, I saw that crowds were gathered, staring at the many TV monitors located throughout the lobby area. I saw the second jet hit a tower. It was a day that changed my life forever. It was an attack on Freedom … and the American way of life.

Americans are certainly not perfect, but the ideals America was founded on are …

America is not just a country. It is an idea, and it is an idea that is worth fighting for … the Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. These are more than just cool-sounding words from the Declaration of Independence. These are the core values that are then enshrined and protected by the U.S. Constitution.

It saddens me how many Americans today have no understanding of, or appreciation for, the gift our Founding Father left to us. Far too many spend their time caught up in perceived petty grievances and playing the victim card and miss out on the fantastic opportunities that only this country provides.

September 11, 2001

That day created a patriotic fervor that was shared by many across this great country. In me, it has not lessened since. It reminded me, like nothing else ever had, of the oath I took on July 17, 1979.

I, Darren C Gilbert, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I just went back and rechecked … that oath has no expiration date.

The United States of America has been a force for good for most of its 244 years. While mistakes have been made, no other county sacrificed so much for the betterment of mankind around the globe. Any errors that have been made are due to the imperfect nature of Americans being human, and that is something we should all be able to forgive.

I will end my post with two of my favorite quotes by William Wallace from the movie Braveheart.

Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

We all end up dead, it’s just a question of how and why.

William Wallace, Braveheart

God Bless The USA!

I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here!

And, if you like reading an award-winning action & adventure thriller, check out my newest novel, Montagnard. It also got a great review from Kirkus Reviews!

Janine’s Mission 43– Veteran’s Last Patrol Volunteer

I like this organization. There has been a link to it on my blog for some time now. I am sending out a card, how about you?

e-Quips

Art AlumA few missions back, we sent out cards to the vets that Veteran’s Last Patrol works with.  I recently learned that one of their volunteers could use some ‘get well’ messages from all of us. Here is what Veteran’s Last Patrol founder, Claude Schmid shared with me about Art Allum:

One of Last Patrol’s earliest volunteers, Art Allum, has been a rock and a gentleman. Art’s a submariner who did 20 years in the Navy. He visits veterans in hospice to provide that end-of-life friendship we’re all about. He’s also gone the extra mile to help at least one track down an important personal record. Beyond that, Art has made food can goods deliveries to veterans unable to leave their homes, he’s participated in numerous honor ceremonies, and has driven disabled, solitary veterans to medical appointments. (The last two have been over 100 miles away.)

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago…

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American Crusade: Our Fight to Stay Free

Is this a good read?

Well, let me just say that I started with the audiobook, but two-thirds of the way through it, I had to go to Barnes and Noble to get a hardcover edition. Not only is this book a great read, but it is also an excellent reference.

Book Description

Join the political and cultural fight for America’s freedom — and learn how to protect our nation from the leftist agenda — with this essential guide from Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth.

In American Crusade, Pete Hegseth explores whether the election of President Donald J. Trump was a sign of a national rebirth, instead of the final act of a nation that has surrendered to Leftists who demand socialism, globalism, secularism, and politically-correct elitism. Can real America still win? And how?

Hegseth is an old-school patriot who is on a mission to do his part to save our Republic. This book celebrates all that America stands for while motivating and mustering fellow patriots to stand ready to defend — and keep — our great country. As he travels around the country talking to American citizens from all walks of life, Hegseth reveals the shared wisdom of average Americans — and how ready they are to join the cultural battlefield. Now is that time, and Hegseth has written the playbook.

American Crusade is written with the same insight, politically incorrect candor, and humor that has made his television show one of the most highly-rated in America.

About the Author

Pete Hegseth is the co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend, a Fox News senior political analyst, and frequent commentator across Fox News and Fox Business platforms. He is also the author of the highly-acclaimed 2016 book In the Arena. Pete served in the U.S. Army for twelve years, doing tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, earning two Bronze Stars and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He lives in New York, NY.

My thoughts …

Let me start by saying that 91% of the reviews of this book are 5 Star. I did look at a few of the negative reviews, and I have to say that I suspect many of them never read the book.

For example, one review starts off with, “As a liberal, I was not aware that my ultimate goal was to erase ‘America’s soul, culture, and institutions.'” This reviewer, a Disney denizen, goes on to state the book is “very negative, bitter, insulting, and offensive.” However, Pete Hegseth goes way out of his way to distinguish between classical liberals and liberalism (as in Libertarian) and the Leftists that have hijacked the term ‘liberal’ for their own use.

I found that American Crusade provides an extraordinarily balanced, and insightful view of the current situation in our country. But then I am a proud and patriot American and a veteran. I understand that, despite the failings of human beings, the ideals behind our founding are unique and worth keeping, and yes, fighting for. I have read quite a few books by conservative writers and found this one to be much less reactionary and polarizing, and more uniting and explanatory. But I can certainly see that if it was your goal to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America into just another European-modeled socialist nanny state, that this would be a book, you would seriously dislike.

Hegseth makes the point, and I have said this myself in the past, that real Americans have much more in common with the Brexit crowd in the UK, the protestors in Hong Kong, and the freedom fighters in Poland than the rank-in-file of today’s Europeans.

Americanism, like nationalism, is not a dirty word. In fact, it is the only practical way for peace to occur on a global scale. Each nation’s citizens must love their own country enough to not want to see it destroyed in senseless wars, corrupt political gamesmanship, or disastrous goals such as world-domination, i.e., Russia and China.

Hegseth spends a lot of time outlining why America is unique, what beliefs and concerns motivated the Founding Fathers, and why it is worth fighting and yes, even dying for. He draws contrasts between Liberals and Leftists (as I mentioned earlier). Pete compares globalization (good) and globalism (bad). He examines the difference between Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Religion as well as the actual and measurable differences (real science) between man and woman that the new radical Leftist feminists all want us to either ignore or forget.

So yeah, if you’re a Leftist, you are truly going to hate this book. If you are an American, concerned about the future of this county and preserving the greatest experiment in self-government the world has ever seen, you will want to read this book. You may not agree with everything Pete Hegseth says, but I am betting you will nod your head at most of it.

We really are in dire need of more 100% Americans, and less of these squishy Americans who love the benefits of being American but just can’t seem to stand up and be counted when needed. Before I am a member of any political party (which I actually am not), I am an American. I love my country and will defend her, despite her shortcomings, until my last breath. Because, despite, those same shortcomings, she is still the greatest country on this planet.

I hope you will take a few minutes and check out some of my other blog posts by clicking here! And check out my new novel, Montagnard, on Amazon.com!

The Soul of American Exceptionalism

Yes, I agree. America is not perfect!

I try hard not to get political on my blog. But lately, I am really bothered by things I see happening in this great country, the country I love, and volunteered to defend. I see us heading down a road to a fork. And we can only go in one direction or the other. There is no compromise between Americanism and the radical Leftwing ideology that has been gaining strength in our country.

Let me begin by admitting that America is not perfect. Yes, America has problems. But I challenge you to show me another country without problems, or that has done so much good in so little time.

American is a country and thus is comprised of people. It is the human condition that people are not perfect. So yes, people make mistakes. Some people are ambitious, some are lazy, some are easy-going, some are intense, many are good, and unfortunately, some are evil. Any country made up of people will be flawed because people are flawed. But that has nothing to do with the idea of America, the grand experiment in individual freedom that we in serious danger of losing to the radical Leftists in this country.

However, the ideals behind Americanism are perfect.

Are you a Constitutionalist? An originalist? Do you believe that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land? That is great. However, that is not enough.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This phrase from the Declaration Of Independence, written thirteen years earlier, is the soul of Americanism. It is the basis for two key elements that define Americanism: 1) Individual Freedom, and 2) Equal Treatment Under the Law.

This phrase in the Declaration of Independence is the foundation on which the U.S. Constitution stands. The two documents are codependent and inseparable. It is the belief that all mankind is created equal and that all mankind inherits from their creator the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that makes the U.S. Constitution the tremendous and timeless document that it is.

This is what defines Americanism. It is the belief in these fundamental principles that made our Founding Fathers, flawed humans though they were, great. It’s the fact that this country was founded on these principles that make this country a shining beacon on the hill, even though it is inhabited by flawed people who do sometimes make mistakes, occasionally even terrible ones.

It is these ideals that the flag represent, and to equate that flag to the flaws of a few human beings show a real lack of understanding. That is why I will always stand for the flag, I believe in those ideals even as I understand the flawed nature of the human condition.

Election 2016

One result of the 2016 election is that this division, this war, in American has been brought out into the open. The two sides have stepped out into the light. Most Americans believe in the principles this country was founded on; some don’t. Most Americans believe in individual freedom, while others want to create another “Marxist” nanny state. I guess they all feel that the uber-rich Left-wing elites will make room for them all in the “ruling class.” Of course, you’d have to pretty much be a moron to think that would ever actually happen.

What do you believe in?

It is time for those who believe in Americanism to step up. Those words from the Declaration of Independence are the soul of Americanism. The U.S. Constitution is the body. If you believe in the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence, then you understand that the U.S. Constitution can never be a “living document” that changes with the times. That is because, my friends, those core beliefs that define Americanism, do not change with the times.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Which part of this phrase changes with the passing of years. Explain that to me. Defend that position. The only way you can do that is if you do not believe in Americanism.

How far do you go in defense of your country?

I had a friend say to me once, “But, you wouldn’t take up arms against your government, would you?”

My answer was, “I certainly would not want to. I certainly hope it would never come to that.” I hope that my government would never back me into that corner. However, it has happened before. And, history has shown us time and time again that the first step in instituting an authoritarian regime is to disarm the populace. Just ask Venesualans!

Sadly though, I see that possibility grow more real over time as the Left becomes more relentless in dismantling the fundamental structure of this great nation, and especially if Trump loses the 2020 election. For all Trump’s brashness, unfiltered statements, lack of perfected talking points, obsessive tweeting, and refusal to not punch back when attacked, it is clear he loves this country and Americanism. Trump doesn’t fight for this party or that party. He fights for the country he loves. He fights for Americans … all Americans. That is the core of America First. You don’t have to like him or his manner. But he is a fighter. And, at this moment in time, he is what America needs. Once the radical left is no longer a threat, we can go back to squabbling over minor details. ‘

Do you think for one minute that Putin doesn’t put Russia first, or Xi doesn’t put China first? Some of you “woke” people need to wake the hell up!

I am certainly not advocating violence. I hope and pray with all my heart and soul that more Americans will wake up, and it will not come to that. But I will not live under a Left-wing authoritarian dictatorship with its thought police, equal misery for all, the erasing of American history and culture, and total disregard for the rule of law. I will not live in a country where I have no freedom and cannot protect those I love from criminal elements. And, I also swore an oath to protect the U.S. Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. That oath had no expiration date on it.

Historically, that is the reason for the Second Amendment. It was not about muskets or assault rifles, and it was not about hunting. To argue those points, you have to willfully ignore a ton of written and documented evidence to the contrary. No, it was to ensure another fundamental ideal stated in the Declaration of Independence.

“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

It is time for Americans who believe in Americanism, who believe that all men are created equal and have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to hold their noses if necessary and make sure that the radical Left does not gain power in the 2020 election. I predict that, if they do, we will see a heck of a lot more blood in our streets.

Again, I am not advocating violence. I am just stating what I see happening in the future if the radical Left gains more power in this country.

Or, maybe you want to live in a country where the police are defunded and the streets are patrolled by Antifa?

Mainer v. Pritzker: Let Liberty Ring!

Finally, a judge who understands the U.S. Constitution, the Law, and Common Sense and how they work together.

I do not have the words to describe what I felt reading this excerpt from Judge McHaney’s ruling. Hopefully, someday our courts will all have live media access, and we could hear this decision in the judge’s own voice complete with any accompanying emphasis and emotions. For now, we will have to accept the transcript of Judge McHaney’s ruling yesterday against Governor Pritzker.

Here is the meat of his decision, Page 75, beginning at line 17.

“Since the inception of this insanity, the following regulations, rules or consequences have occurred:”

  • I won’t get COVID if I get an abortion, but I will get COVID if I get a colonoscopy.
  • Selling pot is essential, but selling goods and services at a family-owned business is not.
  • Pot wasn’t even legal, and pot dispensaries didn’t even exist in this state until five months ago, and, in those five months, they have become essential. Still, a family-owned business in existence for five generations is not.
  • A family of six can pile in their car and drive to Carlyle Lake without contracting COVID but, if they all get in the same boat, they will.
  • We are told that kids rarely contract the virus, and sunlight kills it, but summer youth programs, sports programs are canceled.
  • Four people can drive to the golf course and not get COVID but, if they play in a foursome, they will.
  • If I go to Walmart, I won’t get COVID but, if I go to church, I will.
  • Murderers are released from custody, while small business owners are threatened with arrest if they have the audacity to attempt to feed their families.

These are just a few of the examples of rules, regulations, and consequences that are arbitrary, capricious, and completely devoid of anything even remotely approaching common sense. State’s attorneys in this state, county sheriffs, mayors, city councils and county boards have openly and publicly defied these orders followed by threats to withhold funding and revocation of necessary licenses and certifications unless you obey.

“Our economy is shut down because of a flu virus with a 98 percent-plus survival rate. Doctors and experts say different things weekly. The defendant cites models in his opposition. The only thing experts will agree on is that all models are wrong and some are useful. The Centers for Disease Control now says the virus is not easily spread on surfaces.”

“The defendant in this case orders you to stay home and pronounces that, if you leave the state, you are putting people in danger, but his family members traveled to Florida and Wisconsin because he deems such travel essential. One initial rationale why the rules don’t apply to him is that his family farm had animals that needed fed. Try selling that argument to farmers who have had to slaughter their herds because of disruption in the supply chain.”

“When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. Make no mistake, these executive orders are not laws. They are royal decrees. Illinois citizens are not being governed, they are being ruled. The last time I checked Illinois citizens are also Americans and Americans don’t get ruled. The last time a monarch tried to rule Americans, a shot was fired that was heard around the world. That day led to the birth of a nation consensually governed based upon a document which ensures that on this day in this, any American courtroom tyrannical despotism will always lose and liberty, freedom and the constitution will always win.”

A copy of the transcript can be downloaded at this link .

A Memorial Day Celebration

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is an American holiday dedicated to honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. It became an official federal holiday in 1971 and is observed on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day has a history dating back to the Civil War and Decoration Day, a day initially set aside to honor those who died during the Civil War.

While honoring and remembering veterans is always a good thing, Memorial Day is a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their country. You probably won’t offend any veterans by wishing them a happy Memorial Day, but we should remember that this is not the purpose of this holiday.

This year, Memorial Day occurs on Monday, May 25.

Many people take weekend trips, go camping, throw parties, or cookouts on Memorial Day weekend. For many, it unofficially marks the beginning of summer. And that is fine. I hope these people will also take a few minutes to observe and remember the reason behind their long weekend.

Each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time. Maybe you could take a quiet break in your festivities to observe this solemn moment?

Cities, towns, and homes throughout the United States hold celebration activities, fly the American flag, or hold Memorial Day parades. These parades often include uniformed military personnel and/or members of veterans’ organizations. The largest parades take place in cities such as Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.

Many Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. I like to do this and have helped a few boy scout troops place American flags at grave markers over the years. And, some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae

Please remember the reason for this particular day and take a moment to honor those who have sacrificed their lives so you could live the life you choose.

Armed Forces Day

This is a day to celebrate all six branches of the U.S. military

Nations across the world observe some kind of Armed Forces Day to honor their military forces and the men and women who serve to protect their country. Armed Forces Day is a joint celebration of all six branches of the U.S. military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and the newly created Space Force.

Today, and every day, we reaffirm our unwavering support for the millions of American patriots who fill the ranks of our Armed Forces. We are eternally grateful for every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman, and member of the Space Force, and we deeply appreciate the sacrifices their families and loved ones make on our behalf. As one Nation, we pledge to always honor this service and this devotion given to our great country.

President Donald J. Trump

It is a day to display the flag of the United States at your home and your businesses. I urge my fellow patriotic American citizens to learn more about our Armed Forces and their dedicated service members by attending and participating in your local observances of this day.

Remember those who protect our great nation

National Day of Prayer

The President announced this day of prayer on Friday shortly after declaring the United States was in a state of emergency over the fast-spreading virus.

In our times of greatest need, Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty. As we continue to face the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are unable to gather in their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship. But in this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones. I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.

President Donald J Trump

I would just like to add that …

I do hope the media and some of our smaller-minded politicians (wherever they fall on the political spectrum) can put aside politics, the hate, and the hyper-partisan bickering and come together to work toward resolving this national crisis. I believe far too many are doing much more harm than good!

And for Pete Sakes, enough with the toilet paper hoarding!

Smooth Sailing, Stephen Stormer

It is hard losing a friend. Unfortunately, it seems to happen more frequently as we get older. I met Steve Stormer through mutual friends and would see him at gatherings, holiday dinners, and on the occasional night out with the guys. A mutual good friend told me Steve was ill. Pancreatic cancer, I believe. Then, a few weeks later, he is gone.

We did have some interesting conversations over the five or six years I knew Steve. Stormer was a Vietnam-era U.S. Navy veteran and since I was an Army veteran (a bit later), we’d swap yarns about our time in the service. We also shared a common interest in the occasional good Tequila.

I only regret not having the time to get to know Stormer better. But, I will remember him as a good man, a friend, a fellow veteran, and a man with a great sense of humor.

I wish you smooth seas and a steady breeze, Stormer. Go with God.

You will be missed.

A Salute to an American Hero!

December 17, 2019 was a sad day. As a long-time dog lover, stories like these always touch my heart. I have had dogs my whole life. Beagles, Dobermans, Labs, Plott Hounds, mutts, and currently … an amazing German Shepherd named Sophie. You could not ask for a truer, more loyal friend than a dog.

And while stories like this do sadden me, I realize that these amazingly loyal and courageous dogs unhesitatingly put themselves between their human partners and danger. That is a true bond of unconditional love, and I suppose in some ways, may be similar to the bonds of brotherhood forged by soldiers in combat.

So, Rest in Peace Agent Bulder. Your loyal service and willing sacrifice will be remembered. Thank you for your service. You are a hero in the true sense of the word.

Below is the story as reported by American Military News:

Border Patrol K-9 killed Tuesday in shootout identified as Agent Bulder

Agent Bulder
Agent Bulder, a CBP K9 officer killed in the line of duty on Dec 17, 2019.
(US Border Patrol Special Operations Group/Released)
DECEMBER 21, 2019 | AARON MARTINEZ – EL PASO TIMES

Agent Bulder, a U.S. Border Patrol K-9, was the dog killed Tuesday during a shootout when a suspect fired multiple shots at law enforcement.

According to FBI El Paso Division officials, Agent Bulder was killed in the line of duty as he was helping law enforcement execute search and arrest warrants at a Northeast El Paso home.

U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, along with FBI, U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit agents and El Paso Police Department officers, executed the warrants about 6 a.m. Tuesday at a home in the 4500 block of Capricorn Drive in Northeast El Paso, police officials said.

The suspect, who has only been identified as a 62-year-old man, confronted agents in the backyard of the home and allegedly fired several shots at agents.

Agent Bulder was struck by a bullet and died at the scene.

Law enforcement then returned fired and killed the suspect.

Officials said that the warrant was related to illegal federal firearm charges.

No further information has been released.