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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Film to Watch: "Warriors... in their own words"

I first wrote about the film when I got an email with a link to the trailer clip back in the spring.

This film isn’t about Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s about those who step up to serve as warriors - as our “sheepdogs” - who do not only their best, “but what’s necessary”.

[Milblog readers may have read about “sheepdogs” before, here and here.]

Through interviews and quotations, from warriors from American history and all the way back through ancient history, this film speaks of what it is to be a warrior… and why we need them. The following quote from John Stuart Mill, economist and philosopher, is included and might be considered the Cliff Notes version of the film:

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

John Stuart Mill, 1862

In my opinion, this film is a reminder of why we need to respect what our warriors volunteer to do, regardless of our political persuasions.

This is a film that should probably be picked up by high school civics, government, and history teachers. Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm plus our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are interviewed in the film. Ilario Pantano (contributor and Associate Producer) will be a familiar name and/or face for many. Kelsey Grammer is a terrific narrator, and Neil Argo’s soundtrack is terrific.

It’s 84 minutes well spent. Order a copy and then grab a seat and a tissue.

Thank you, gentlemen, for your service and your sacrifices – I’m a grateful and humble beneficiary.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Supporting Our Wounded Warriors [bump]

The very first thing that I did as a member of Soldiers' Angels was join the "Wounded TLC Team". I'd submitted my information to adopt a troop, but there was a delay and I was anxious to participate. So I joined the team that writes to our wounded troops who are recuperating at state-side hospitals or in their homes. That was November, 2004, and I still get those weekly emails with names to write to. Their names are submitted to Soldiers' Angels by family or friends or colleagues who think they need a little extra support. Interested in writing letters? GO HERE. Or maybe you know a wounded warrior who could use some encouragement? CLICK HERE.

Since those first efforts, I occasionally have sent special care packages to our medics in theater or to our Medical Center in Landstuhl, Germany. Any member of Soldiers' Angels can find out how to support our medics by monitoring postings on the Soldiers' Angels Forum. Scrowling through some blog posts by Roger (Angel of All-Things-CSH-Support) at his blog will give you some idea of the things that get sent. The rocking chairs are still my favorites. Last year, I wrote about some of what I've sent.

If you're not a member of Soldiers' Angels, there is another great opportunity to support our wounded warriors. Angel MaryAnn (who I mention frequently!) ring-leads terrific support for our ill and wounded who get sent to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for treatment. On her blog, you'll find links to more information as to where to write to troops or what items you could send to make things a little nicer for those that often arrive with nothing more than the shirts on their backs - if that. These patients will eventually get a chance to purchase their own supplies, but if it were you, wouldn't you like to get one of these while you were getting settled? Depending on the situation, a troop might be given one of these backpacks in theater, at Landstuhl, or at places like Bethesda National Naval Medical Center or Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the Washington, DC area.

Last Saturday, I met the parents of a Marine who had received one of those backpacks. His mom mentioned it while she stopped by the hospital lounge to get a sandwich courtesy of Soldiers' Angels. Among many things, Soldiers' Angels sponsors a lunch at Bethesda once a month for patients and their family and friends. It's not an elaborate endeavor, usually just the fixings for a deli sandwich, but there's not much open for visitors on the weekend, and many times our fixings entice those who've been reluctant to eat hospital food - or any food for that matter - to have a bite to eat. We had a couple of those last weekend, and the Navy medical staff eagerly collected whatever they thought their patients would eat. Sometimes it's the fresh veggies, or the potato salad. Or a turkey sandwich (we've found a great local deli). Or a cookie (duh). Whatever, it's such a pleasure to provide a "treat" that hits the spot. In other cases, it's a handy, fresh meal for family members who have dropped everything to be with their warrior.

There are Angels that provide even more support at Walter Reed, and they've started blogging about it over here.

So if you've ever wondered what your donation to Soldiers' Angels gets used for, buying cold cuts and cookies is on the list. Each and every person that joins us for lunch passes along a thanks to all who provide the financial support for these efforts.

As someone who gets to see the impact of your gift, thanks.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

[Updated] Please Read: Error Fixed!!! Any site with sitemeter...

...is/was crashing for anyone trying to view the site with Internet Explorer, versions 7 and older.

I downloaded a new, free browser, Firefox, from Mozilla which doesn't have a problem (I know lots of people who have been using Mozilla products for a while). I couldn't get to some my favorite blogs (Long War Journal, Mudville, Blackfive, MichaelTotten) without the new browser.

So, I removed sitemeter.com code so that others wouldn't have a problem reading my blog if they use IE. :-)

Update: Sitemeter.com has fixed their problem :-)