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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's a special day every year, probably my favorite holiday for reasons I've written about before. This year I'm especially grateful for this news from Iraq. And as always find it special to read the President's Thanksgiving Day proclamation. My church always reads it during the morning Thanksgiving Day service so it's always been a part of my Thanksgiving Day memories. Hope you are sharing this day with some special someone's or at least get to chat with them. As I got in an email from a family friend yesterday who lives overseas: "“nothing compares to home sweet home”! Free elections, the best possible medical care, religious freedoms, material wealth beyond belief even after the subprime crisis, and the list is almost endless. Talk about God’s blessings!"

I couldn't agree more.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Annual Valour-IT Fundraiser - Go NAVY! *BUMPED*

It's a tough time for fundraising, but your donation - large or small - is MUCH appreciated.

The 4th annual blog-based fundraiser for Soldiers' Angels' Valour-IT program got underway on Veterans Day. To make it fun, there is always a *friendly* inter-service competition. The feud, I mean, fun ends on Thanksgiving Day.

I'm on the Navy team in honor of my baby sister (who of course is no longer a "baby"), an Annapolis grad and former LT in the US Navy. Yes, as I told Admiral Larson on Parents Weekend after her Plebe Summer, I'm still insufferably proud. :-) GO NAVY!

Plus, it was to her Navy friends that I sent my first, pre-Soldiers' Angels care packages.

ANYWAY, for those unfamiliar with the Valour-IT program, go HERE (make sure you scroll down to read the testimonial from LtCol X).

I've had the pleasure of watching the inspiration and the very first recipient of a Valour-IT laptop present the 1000th laptop to another recovering wounded soldier at Walter Reed Regional Medical Center. I've also had the pleasure of delivering one myself, to a marine at our National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD last December.

While many injuries create challenges that take months or years to overcome, the beauty of Valour-IT is that it offers a short cut. Hands in bandages or arm in a cast so they can't type? or maybe a permanent injury so that they'll never type again? How about a laptop with voice-activation software or an adaptive keyboard or mouse? A short cut to blogging, emailing, or IM'ing with family, buddies, or the world at large. And now, the program is expanding to offer other techie-enabled therapy or independence.

It's a worthy cause, so give as generously as you are able. Every $1 helps. Really.

Hit the "Donate" button under thermometer in the upper right corner of this blog or click HERE.


To be fair.... and to prompt you to donate even if your loyalties lie elsewhere....!

A Coast Guard supporter is HERE
A Marine Corps supporter is HERE
An Air Force supporter is HERE
An Army supporter is HERE

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Mechanic's Blog (ISTP)

Mudville did this, so I figured, what the heck.

My blog is a little different than me...
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.
The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.
First part is not far off, but the "enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters"...not so much. I know my limitations.

Navy is the coolest!

See photo HERE. Now that you're convinced, make your donation to Valour-IT viaTeam NAVY.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Victory in Iraq Day 2008

Victory is sweet. Please savor it.

Join me in passing along buckets of thanks to our veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom for a most excellent job done. I've met so many of you - way to go!

As well, thank you, Mr. President, for not backing away before attempting to win.

And, most assuredly, thank you, Generals Petraeus and Odierno, for your foresight and fortitude in the face of so many naysayers.

Finally, congratulations to all Iraqis - you're on your way.

In case you missed all the preparations (and the reason's we're celebrating), it's Victory in Iraq Day.

Doubt it? Here's independent combat reporter, Michael Yon, via Instapundit:

"There's nothing going on. I'm with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I'm with haven't fired their weapons on this tour and they've been here eight months. And the place we're at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there's nothing going on. " November 14, 2008
Update via Instapundit:

"MORE: Yon emails this correction: "'Actually, NONE of them have fired their weapons in combat during this tour, and about half of them are combat veterans from Afghanistan and/or Iraq.' Sorry, I had misunderstood that bit."

More links about the win HERE.

P.S. And the political part (HT: The Corner) of the solution is looking pretty good too. ANYTHING that mullah Muqtada Sadr and Sadrists oppose is good for Iraq, because it means Iran doesn't like it. The cleric who matters - "country's most influential Shiite cleric", Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani - has given the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) his blessing. The AP and Sadr are spinning it for all they're worth (at second link):

"...al-Sistani, has indicated the agreement would only be acceptable if it passes with a big majority."

""If the agreement passes with a small majority, it will be a defeat for those who sponsored it," said Salah al-Obeidi, al-Sadr's spokesman."

Notice that the AP has a direct quote from a Sadrist, but puts words in Sistani's mouth.

But as Amir Taheri comments (at first link):

"With the SOFA so obviously popular in Iraq, Tehran has softened its opposition to it these last few days. Most Iraqi observers now expect SOFA to pass with more than a two-thirds majority."

Add your prayers to many others; we've won the war, now we need the Iraqi elected government to continue to succeed.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This blog will be supporting Victory in Iraq Day, November 22nd 2008

In the past, I've posted to links on this topic by those "more in the know" than me. Based on their most recent assessments, we're long over due for this special day.

So, on Saturday, November 22nd, this blog will be celebrating Victory in Iraq day along with all the other blogs listed HERE and all the rest that zombietime hasn't had time to add.

Go HERE or HERE or HERE or HERE to read why we all think this day has come.

You've got a little over 24 hours to prepare.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cool Cartoon... just remember to donate to Team NAVY!

If you haven't seen Cox & Forkum's Valour-IT editorial cartoon, go see it HERE (HT: Blackfive.net). NOTE: Auction of that artwork took place in 2005 - sorry!

And go see the quote from then Capt Chuck Ziegenfuss (below the cartoon), the first recipient of what is now called a Valour-IT laptop. (but! come back here to donate to NAVY!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ha! Late night Coast Guard shenanigans...

A formidable opponent indeed. Coast Guard has boarded and taken control of the opposition's donation vehicles.

Since Navy and Coast Guard buddy up anyway.... and if you're feeling bad that Navy is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO far ahead, you could donate to Coast Guard instead (see link at bottom of previous post).

If not, just donate to Navy HERE.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From Families United: A Veteran's Day Video

A friend just forwarded the link to this video, which I think is really terrific:

Info about the sponsoring organization, Families United, is HERE. Go see their Veterans Day message (lower right of homepage).

Monday, November 10, 2008

With gratitude to all our veterans

There are no words that seem adequate.

When you read stories link this. (HT: www.Blackfive.net)

Or meet people like this.

Or listen to folks like these.

Or when you understand how true this statement is...

“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

Or, keeping it really pithy, when you realize that (HT: www.MudvilleGazette.com):
"Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell
...you can only resolve to make sure that they never doubt your support.

Sending out endless gratitude to those who've served.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

2008 Soldiers’ Angels Benefit Gala

Last week, during a very partisan week in Washington, DC, two US Congressmen did a very non-partisan thing: they co-hosted a fundraising gala for Soldiers’ Angels.

My sincere thanks to Representatives Roy Blunt of Missouri and Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

I had the pleasure of attending the event, which of course gave other Angels and me an excuse to shop for new dress up clothes. Within the Angel/Milblog world, there were quite a few familiar faces. I got a hug and hello from Patti Bader (founder of Soldiers’ Angels), chatted with Monica, Joe, and Maureen (our crew of regular Angel volunteers at Walter Reed), and said hi to Kassie (who volunteers at Bethesda, too, and who leads our Hero Flights effort as well). I chatted with LDR and Roger (two of our Wounded Team leads), plus Lisa, AnaMarie, and Kathleen. I bumped into Matt Burden, founder of Blackfive.net, while lining up in front of the bar (surprise!), and saw Laughing Wolf from a distance, but didn’t get a chance to say hello, darn it. But I did get to say hi to Carren and Chuck, who are both amazing.

But most importantly, the event gave us all a chance to talk to others about Soldiers’ Angels, to people who really knew very little about the organization before that night. I chatted with a representative from Peabody Energy, one of the corporate sponsors for the event, and his wife, as well as a table full of young congressional staffers and their friends, including some from Rep Blunt’s offices and one from the office of Senator Kit Bond.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave the keynote. Not bad, huh? I even got to shake his hand and thank him for being there after he was nice enough to get his photo taken with one of the folks at my table. ADM Mullen was carefully doing the rounds of the room, making sure that he said hello to each of the service members in attendance; a number of our wounded who are recovering at Walter Reed had made the trip downtown for the evening. To me, his careful attention to those who’ve made a very physical sacrifice in their service to our country was an extension of his keynote remarks. He noted that our government is doing a better job of taking care of those who serve or have served, but that there is still room for improvement. And he also noted that a key aspect of our efforts is to make sure that our men and women never return home from war to a public reception like they got during the Vietnam War; one that lingered for years.

That aspect of his remarks resonated with me because that was the driving motivation that led me to become a member of Soldiers’ Angels, four years ago this week.

I feel as strongly today as I did then: I don’t ever want anyone who serves our country with such honor and dedication to doubt my appreciation and admiration of their service.

As I’ve written in so many cards and letters, I’m so grateful and so very proud to call them “ours”.