Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years later ... Never Forget...

September 11, 2001... 10 years later ...

I stare at my white screen as I wonder what to write.  For those who know me, this is surprising, I normally have to be told to shut-up, not asked questions to get me talking. But somehow the horrors of that day, the highest lost of lives on American soil in one day since the battle of Antietam in the Civil War, puts me at a lose for words.

For me, and I think I'm safe to say all old enough to clearly remember that day ten years ago, it seems as if it were yesterday.  We will never forgot where we were or what we were doing when we first found out. Me? It was about 8:30am in the morning Pacific Time when our neighbor called to tell us the news.  I had just finished working out with my mother and we quickly got our little tiny TV and put it on the top floor of our home, next to the only window that the bunny ears would get reception from in rural Idaho.  Like most Americans, we were glued to the TV.  It was several days before we no longer had it turned on 24/7. That night from the White House, defying the terrorists themselves and portraying the strength of Americans, President Bush address the American people.

I was 15 years old at the time but will never forgot the images coming through on the TV screen.  It was seared into my memory and seems like it can't have been ten years.  A few weeks ago at church, the speaker was referencing Pearl Harbor, and the little girl sitting next to me leaned over, whispering, asked me what Pearl Harbor was.  In an instant I responded that it was when the Japanese attacked to the US to begin WWII and that it was kind of like September 11. Then it struck me, she's only about seven or eight, she was not born ten years ago.

It was amazing to watch as not just Americans pulled together following the attacks, but the world came behind us too. It was seen in so many aspects of life, from politics to sports. People either love or hate the New York Yankees, but that fall the Yankees were America's team, everyone rooted for them.  Sports, particularly baseball, was a relief from all the pain.

This is a clip from one of my favorite documentaries, "Nine Innings From Ground Zero," showing President Bush's first pitch in New York during the 2001 World Series.

We are Americans and as we have done so many times, we rallied, we came behind our troops, we were proud to be an America, to chant USA, to sing God Bless America. There were memorial services all across the country. A few days following the attacks, President Bush visited Ground Zero and spoke words that were so true...

The following month, October, the rest of the world did hear us as we attacked Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in the mountains of Afghanistan. It took us 9 1/2 years but we finally did get him, thanks to months of intelligence and the US Navy Seals.

The following March (2002), I remember driving through New York City at night and seeing the blue lights which outlined where the two buildings had stood as they reached into the sky as far as the eye could see, and Lady Liberty keeping watch as she has for so many years. The Empire State Building stood there as the tallest building now in the skyline outlined in red, white, and blue.

Looking back ten years later, we're strong, we've done good--no more attacks on our soil.  The bad thing about this? Many people have forgotten the horrors of that clear, blue, cloudless day, the reasons we are fighting for.  Yet, that is also the proof we are strong, Americans have gone back to their life, a few minor inconveniences (like when we fly), but overall life has returned to normal.  And this is a very good thing.

 This weekend there will be many memorial services across the country, but one in particular I want to share. The one in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where President Bush spoke.

We just never can forget.  Forget the innocent men and women who died, forget the brave rescue workers who ran into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon to save lives, forget the courageous passengers of Flight 93 who saved numerous more lives, forget the soldiers fighting oversees, forget the images of that day. NEVER FORGET!!!

So many amazing terrific patriotic country songs have been written, both before and after September 11. I can't just post them all (ok, I could, but you might not want to hear them all), and so I had to choose, narrow it down.  There would Billy Ray Cyrus' "Some Gave All," or Alan Jackson's "Where Were You," or Toby Keith's "American Soldier," or Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," or Trace Atkins "Arlington," or maybe Darryl Worley's "I Just Came Back From A War" or many more. But it came down to two Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue," and Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten."  I couldn't chose which one so here are both.  They speak volumes about that day and America's strength and resilience.



I am proud to call myself an American and I will always remember that freedom isn't free, I will never forgot.

"Let's Roll"
Todd Beamer, Flight 93

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Obama's Job Speech

 I could just summarize in two words Obama's speech and it would be enough -- Campaign Speech! But, I'll try and add a bit more. Oh wait, there isn't.  It was a campaign speech about raising taxes. It sounded like a broken record.  He attempted to spew Republican, conservative rhetoric, telling Congress to do the things that they have been trying to do and he and his follow democratics will not allow, consequently,  making himself sound like the pot calling the kettle black.  But intertwined, was just the same old things he has said over and over.  He kept telling congress dozens of times to pass the American Jobs Act, but the catch? He hasn't written it. And all it will do is raise more taxes.

Reagan Library GOP Debate

Each debate I watch is interesting, because sometimes it involves different people (exit Pawlenty and enter Perry), and as the polls change, the dynamics change.

In Wednesday night's debate, there did not seem to be as clear of winners and losers as in previous ones. For the most part each candidate had strong moments and weak moments. They did also seem to unite around going after the policies of the current president versus attacking each other as much.  There was a little "pinata" smacking with Rick Perry as he himself called it.  Though, most people I believe, expected his polices to be attacked some since he is the "new kid on the block."

There were several great lines during last nights debate, such as when Newt Gingrich again called out the media, this time in reference to the moderator attempting to engage the candidates in attacking each other or Mitt Romney's comment that there were certain things Perry could not take credit for unless he wanted to sound like Al Gore taking credit for inventing the internet.  My favorite line though came from Hermain Cain when he said that "If 10% is good enough for God, 9% is good enough for government."

The newcomer, Rick Perry, seemed relaxed and at ease, though occasionally came across as choosing his words a little too careful and not just going with the flow. His plan for securing our borders was one of the best of heard. By using actual boots on the ground and surveillance drones, it allows for human intelligence in the process. He was also very strong on military and defense which I expected.  He shined when it came to his view of capital punishment and stating that execution is the ultimate justice.

Perry and Ron Paul did have some sparring, and the best was Perry's reference to a letter Paul wrote to Ronald Reagan, apparently not supporting him. Perry also dueled it out with Mitt Romney in a relaxed, but decisive way.

Newt Gingrich is brilliant, and has excellent ideas.  He is always strong on the issues, he just does not have what it takes to be president.

Rick Santorum was strong on the positivity of immigration, but only when it is done legally. I agree, it was how our country was built and what makes us so great. Mitt Romeny also made a good point that illegal immigrants are attracted like a magnetic to our country because of those who are willing to hire them.

Ron Paul did make a great point that school lunches and the kids' nutrition is not the responsibility of the government. He came out against any mandate whatsoever, that they should all be abolished. However, the ones that need to be abolished are the mandates that no one has any out of such as health care, some like a driver's license are needed.  But if a person doesn't want to get a license, then they have the option of just not driving. The choice is in the driving, not the license to operate a vehicle. He showed a bit more of his isolationist view point on the topic of immigration.  But his biggest error was when he sticking his foot in his mouth by stating that the air conditioning for our troops overseas should be turned off for two reason: 1) help fix our debt, and 2) so the troops will come home.  REALLY??? Turn the A/C off to get the troops home.  It is one of the dumbest anti-American, anti-military comments I've heard.

Oh and in case you are wondering about Michele Bachmann and Jon Huntsman, well they neither shined nor flopped.  There was nothing memorable about their response, particularly with Bachmann.

So, in summary, everyone had strong moments and some had very weak moments.  Personally, Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney are a bit too smooth for me.  I will take a rugged Alaskan or Texan over the slick Mormans.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dodgers vs. Rockies - My America!

During my very short break between summer and fall semester a few weeks back, I spent the day reveling in America's pastime -- BASEBALL!!!  It was the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Colorado Rockies. I was rooting for the away team, which also happens to be by second favorite team, the Dodgers.  It was a thrilling game which went into extra innings, 13 to be exact.  The Dodgers took a 2-run lead in the top of the 12th, but sadly the Rockies tied it in the bottom of the 12th and then won it in the 13th.  The highlight of the game was a rarity to witness in the top of the 12th -- an inside-the-park home run. It was extremely thrilling.

On the left -- "Donnie Baseball" ie. Don Mattingly
Dodger Manager and former New York Yankees 1st Baseman

 Dodger Bullpen

Jason Giambi
Rockies Pinch Hitter and former Yankee 1st Baseman