Archive for the ‘Heroes’ Category

I hold those who serve our great country in uniform in high regard. One day of recognition and observation barely scratches the surface of the sacrifice our servicemen and women selflessly give.

I hope those of you veterans bask in the glow of your service and sacrifice. As an ordinary Joe, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

NOTE: I used the picture of the Marines planting the Stars and Stripes on Mt. Suribachi as recognition for the Marines birthday this past week.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

If you are a regular reader, you already know that I hold those who selflessly serve our country in high regard. Check out this guy — he nails our current Occupy whiners situation.

Although I truly believe that he is more than 1% of 99%. There are a large majority of folks who are too busy working to mess with this protesting stuff. Therefore, I am officially going to start calling them the ninety-whine percent. The label totally fits.

The occupy wall st protesters are the ninety-whine percent! I like it!

God bless our military!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Dave Ramsey had the best response I have seen so far to the misguided, immature, entitle-ists who are whining and blathering about the work ethics and capitalist mechanisms that have built and made this country greater than any other in history. I will call it half-ideas and half-wits.

Dear Occupy Wall St
By Dave Ramsey

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Yeah, that’s great. But what do you want? What are your goals? What are your demands? What result are you looking for?

The beauty of being vague is that anyone who has any emotion can get caught up in the excitement and join your crusade. They’ll just get mad at something and assume that you’re both mad about the same thing. Put a few hundred of these people together, and boom. You’ve got a crowd, a headline and a lot of attention … but no message.

A lot of people on Twitter are saying I totally agree with the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demands and goals. The only problem is that I have no idea what their demands and goals are. And neither does anyone else. If all you ever do is stomp around, yell and hold up signs protesting a million different things, sure you’ll get some attention, but over time, you’ll just look foolish. You end up coming across like a three-year-old having a temper tantrum.

This is what’s happening to the OWS movement. They’re being discredited because no one has stepped forward and really stated what it is they’re after. The whole group is just coming across like a bunch of jacked-up, jobless, wannabe hippies. That’s not going to change anything in this country. You’ve got to state your goals clearly if you want to accomplish something.

So in the absence of any clear goals, let me comment and offer some helpful advice in some areas that seem to be getting a lot of disorganized OWS attention.

“No Government Bailouts!”
Banks and big companies should not receive taxpayer money for a bailout while their CEOs are making hundreds of millions of dollars. If that’s your gripe, then you’re protesting in the wrong location. Pack up and head to Washington, D.C., to deliver your message to the current administration. Don’t get me wrong—I totally support a company’s freedom to pay their leaders well. I just don’t believe that I, as a taxpayer, should subsidize those huge salaries in the form of taxpayer bailouts. I pay my own team members; I don’t need to pay everyone else’s too.

By the way, you may be shocked to learn that the Tea Party agrees with you on this one—and so do I.

“Down With Corporate Greed!”
Gordon Gekko was wrong. Greed is not good. Greed is bad—very bad. It’s a spiritual disease, and it is a disease that sadly affects a lot of companies across the country. If you believe a specific company is acting purely out of greed, then don’t just get mad—do something. Point out where and how they’re greedy and let the world know. Stop doing business with them. If enough people listen to you, the company will get the message because you’ll hit them where it hurts: the bottom line. If they don’t get their act together, then they’ll go out of business and another business will take their place.

But if you’re saying that all businesses are greedy and that capitalism itself is evil and ineffective, then I’m sorry—you’re just being stupid. You’re being misled and misinformed by some of the louder voices around you. Are you wearing clothes? Have you eaten any food lately? Do you have an iPhone in your pocket to check in with Twitter and Facebook while you’re out marching around? Good. All of those products and services are brought to you by quality companies dedicated to serving you well in a capitalistic system that works just fine.

“Wall Street Is Evil!”
If you have this painted on a sign, well, now you just look ignorant. Wall Street is a street that people drive on. The New York Stock Exchange is a building where people exchange stocks in New York. This is the flea market of the financial world. Don’t turn Wall Street into some terrible monster attacking American citizens. It’s just a road with some buildings on it.

But here’s what happens. Sometimes when people don’t understand something, they start to fear it. And as the fear grows, it turns into anger. But just because you don’t understand something, you shouldn’t see it as bad or frightening or a conspiracy. You should just think of it as an opportunity to learn something new—something that could actually be a blessing to you.

For example, imagine a group of natives out in the jungle in the farthest part of the world. I mean, picture a group of people who have never seen anyone outside of their tribe and have certainly never seen any kind of machine. What would they think if they saw a Red Cross helicopter land near them? And what would they think of the strange-looking men and women who jump out of the chopper and start walking toward them? They’d be freaked out! They wouldn’t know or care if the Red Cross was there to help them with food or medicine. They’d think it was the end of the world or something because their minds would be totally blown!

I hate to say it, but a lot of OWS protestors are just about as uninformed as those jungle natives when it comes to how the American financial system works. A road and an office building. That’s Wall Street.

“Wealth Redistribution Is the Answer!”
I’ve heard a lot about wealth redistribution over the past few years, and I’m sure you’ve heard it too. Call it whatever you want, but this is how it usually sounds to most Americans: “We are the 99% of Americans who don’t have as much as the 1%, so we’re mad and think the government should take their wealth and property away so that I can have a piece of it. Wealth inequality is a moral breakdown! We should all spread the money around so everyone gets a fair share!”

I have my toughest critique for those who believe this: You are a thief. When someone takes my money and gives me no say in the matter, that’s called theft—whether they’re using a gun or the government. At the core of this demand is envy. And that’s not the same as jealousy. Jealousy just says, “I want what you have.” Envy is a different beast. Envy says, “I don’t think I can ever have what you have, so you shouldn’t have it either.” Decades of horrible economic teaching and the politics of envy have kept this monster alive and growing and moving forward.

This way of thinking makes you assume that all rich people are evil and have scammed their way into wealth. That may be true in the tale of Robin Hood, but I choose to live in the real world. Sure, there are some scoundrels, but the vast majority of successful men and women got that way by working hard and serving people—lots of people. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates changed the world in ways we’re just now starting to realize. Their positive impact on the world has helped all of us live better lives, and they made fortunes for themselves by doing so. Why is it that you’re holy if you help one person but evil if you help a million? That’s just stupid.

A good friend of mine is a country music legend. He’s made a bazillion dollars over his career, and he just bought a $400,000 car. He’s worked like a crazy person his whole life, spending decades in tour buses, writing songs in the middle of the night, and entertaining enormous crowds of cheering fans. He paid a price to get there, and I’m happy for his success. Would it be right for me to walk into his house and demand my “fair share” of his wealth? Heck no! I’m a terrible singer! I didn’t do one thing to contribute to his success, so why would I be entitled to a share of his wealth? He’s given me years of entertainment through his music. That’s my fair share of his hard work.

My problems aren’t his fault. And my problems aren’t McDonald’s fault or Home Depot’s fault or Walmart’s fault, either. My problems are my fault! And the more people these companies serve, the more money they make—and that’s none of my business! If you don’t like McDonald’s, then here’s an idea: Don’t eat there. But don’t walk into the restaurant and demand a portion of their proceeds for the day.

When you scream, “I’m in the 99%!” you just look like a whiner. Those of us willing to pay the price to win look at you and shrug. Heck, when it comes to the music business, I’m in the 99% myself! But that doesn’t mean I have to tear Toby Keith, Brad Paisley or even Kanye down. Oh, and a special note just for Kanye: Capitalism has been pretty good to you. I celebrate your success, but you look a little hypocritical protesting capitalism while wearing a $50,000 watch.

Celebrate the Land of Opportunity
This is the greatest country on the planet, but even here, you’re not guaranteed wealth, talent, fame, a full head of hair or six-pack abs. Those things are not in the Constitution. You are, however, guaranteed the freedom to make your life what you want it to be. And when you do that, when you build your life around your dreams and passions and hard work, you’re guaranteed the right to keep it. No one has the right to take it away from you.

So to summarize, I’m not very impressed at the moment. I’m not impressed by your temper fit. I’m not impressed at your lack of goals and focus. I’m not impressed by the fact that the only thing I see about your movement is ignorance, immaturity and envy. Grow up—and get a job.

Yes, there are jobs out there. There are jobs out there that haven’t even been invented yet. Go create the next Facebook or Weed Eater. Go pick up so much dog poop that you can start your own fertilizer company. And stop complaining that companies are TOO RICH while also complaining that they aren’t RICH ENOUGH to hire you! I’ve seen a lot of you guys. I wouldn’t hire you, either. But if you take all of that energy and excitement and pour it into something new and creative, you’ll get the chance to serve a whole lot of people really well, and over a decade or two, you’ll get to become the very thing you’re now protesting: rich people who actually earned their money.

I could not have said it any better. The only thing I would add is an exclamation mark “!” .

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Last night after service I blogged about Ben Koier and the tragedy affecting his family that was transformed by our merciful God into a powerful change in other people’s life. Well, I promised another story about our Father taking broken pieces and pain and creating beauty and glory from them.

Rachel Beckwith turned 9 years old back in June. For her birthday, instead of the normal presents and celebration, she asked her friends and relatives to donate to a charity for clean drinking water for developing nations. Her goal was $300.

Her birthday came and went and she fell short of that goal only raising about $220 or $230.

Rachel and her family were involved in a large car wreck in Bellevue, WA and she died as a result on Saturday, July 24. As in Ben’s story, this could be the end and the worldly perspective blankets the future with pain, sorrow and grief. And Rachel’s family was thrown into that picture. However, her small dream was used by God to bring about more than any of us could ever have imagined. Her pastor communicated her dream to her church which made it’s way onto Facebook which went viral which was picked up by media outlets.

When I first heard about it on KLOVE, it was the Monday or Tuesday after her death and the amount raised by this small child’s compassionate heart was at $56,000! I was blown away! Her small goal of $300 was multiplied many times over. The following day I heard an update that it was at $82,000. It was amazing to see how many folks felt compassion for her family and wanted her memory and wish to be kept alive.

Now fast forward to last week. I had traveled for business and forgotten about the story even though I had intended to blog about it. But God wasn’t done with the story. When I heard a following update on KLOVE, the charity total was over 1/2 a million dollars!!!!! I was moved as was my son. Looking at her charity water fundraising site, my son and I saw that it wasn’t corporations or rich folks that were giving hundreds or thousands of dollars to her vision. It was many, many normal folks who were giving 9 dollars at a time — in memory of her 9th birthday wish. My son wanted to donate and brought down 9 one dollar bills he had earned from mowing. I matched his gift and we logged on to join her cause. At that time it was at $526,000!!!!! How merciful and mighty is our God! And while her family is definitely still grieving and experiencing pain of her loss, they can be comforted in the hope that so many people who do not have clean drinking water will benefit by Rachel’s vision.

Go check it our yourself. As of this blog post, Rachel’s clean charity water is just over $810,000!!!!! Go here to see where Rachel’s donation efforts are now — and also give to her cause.

Will you be the one that helps her get to over a million dollars.

Here also is a news link to an early article on the tragedy.

But in the pain and broken pieces, God is faithful.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Today I hope you take the time to be thankful for all that God has blessed you with. And if you live in the United States, you have additional liberties, rights and privileges that other’s elsewhere in the world do not — which calls for more thanks.

I love hearing our national anthem — the “Star-Spangled Banner“. I love the fact that they play it before sporting events. I love seeing others give it the same respect and reverence as I do — standing, removing their hat, and saluting or putting their right hand over their heart. However, I did not know until today that there were additional stanzas. How cool is that? And the fourth one is particularly impactful.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation.
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust;”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Here is a video of an old, proud Marine singing it.

Because freedom isn’t free!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Turn on the evening news, hit up an internet news site, or open up a newspaper, and you will have reason after reason to be pessimistic about the future of our country. There seems to be no end to the stupid, violent, or pathetic stories that color our society. From Casey Anthony to Weiner to removing God from our Pledge of Allegiance, the vibe from today’s society paints one of the more depressing and pessimistic views of where we are headed as a nation in regards to values, ethics, unity, and beliefs. I could probably sum it up with the quote “Ask not, what your country can do for you? Ask what you can do for your country.” being replaced with the quote “What’s in it for me?”.

However, this weekend a small sliver of light and hope flashed in front of me. You see, I spent four days camping with the Boy Scouts and then finished the weekend at a Chrysalis closing. Both these organizations are properly centered on values and skills (Scouts) and Christ (Chrysalis). Both organizations are dedicated to growing our youth on those bedrocks rooted in a faith perspective. The Scouts are a faith based group tirelessly teaching our young boys how to be real men. Men who know how to tie a knot one minute, and dress a wound another. How to build something and how to serve others. How to respect nature and how to honor the God who created it. Chrysalis, on the other hand, focuses on building our youth’s relationship with Christ. They are given tools to further their walk and deepen their faith. They are then loved, encouraged, and equipped to go out into our world to love and serve others.

I cannot think of two organizations that are doing more for our very challenged youth of today. And because these two organizations are infusing faith and values into our youth, I actually have a bit of hope for the future of our nation.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d planned to speak to you tonight to report on the state of the Union, but the events of earlier today have led me to change those plans. Today is a day for mourning and remembering. Nancy and I are pained to the core by the tragedy of the shuttle Challenger. We know we share this pain with all of the people of our country. This is truly a national loss.

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, we lost three astronauts in a terrible accident on the ground. But we’ve never lost an astronaut in flight. We’ve never had a tragedy like this.

And perhaps we’ve forgotten the courage it took for the crew of the shuttle. But they, the Challenger Seven, were aware of the dangers, but overcame them and did their jobs brilliantly. We mourn seven heroes: Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe.

We mourn their loss as a nation together.

For the families of the seven, we cannot bear, as you do, the full impact of this tragedy. But we feel the loss, and we’re thinking about you so very much. Your loved ones were daring and brave, and they had that special grace, that special spirit that says, “Give me a challenge, and I’ll meet it with joy.” They had a hunger to explore the universe and discover its truths. They wished to serve, and they did. They served all of us.

We’ve grown used to wonders in this century. It’s hard to dazzle us. But for twenty-five years the United States space program has been doing just that. We’ve grown used to the idea of space, and, perhaps we forget that we’ve only just begun. We’re still pioneers. They, the members of the Challenger crew, were pioneers.

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s take-off. I know it’s hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

I’ve always had great faith in and respect for our space program. And what happened today does nothing to diminish it. We don’t hide our space program. We don’t keep secrets and cover things up. We do it all up front and in public. That’s the way freedom is, and we wouldn’t change it for a minute.

We’ll continue our quest in space. There will be more shuttle flights and more shuttle crews and, yes, more volunteers, more civilians, more teachers in space. Nothing ends here; our hopes and our journeys continue.

I want to add that I wish I could talk to every man and woman who works for NASA, or who worked on this mission and tell them: “Your dedication and professionalism have moved and impressed us for decades. And we know of your anguish. We share it.”

There’s a coincidence today. On this day three hundred and ninety years ago, the great explorer Sir Francis Drake died aboard ship off the coast of Panama. In his lifetime the great frontiers were the oceans, and a historian later said, “He lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it.” Well, today, we can say of the Challenger crew: Their dedication was, like Drake’s, complete.

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”

Thank you. — President Ronald Reagan

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

This is a personal thanks to one of the greatest generations that lived. Thank you for your sacrifice, your selflessness and your duty to God and country. May those who served and those who lost their lives be always remembered for their sacrifice.

Below is the speech FDR gave following that cowardly attack.

Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.

Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.

Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.

Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.

This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounding determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, Dec. 7, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Today a friend of mine left for his deployment to Afghanistan. He is a C-130 pilot for the Kentucky Air National Guard and he and his crew departed SDF at 10am this morning. He is a wonderful disciple, husband, dad and friend in addition to serving our country.

So my prayer for him is that he would be guided and protected during his deployment. That he is kept safe from all harm and alert to being used by God. That he return safely to his husband and family role here stateside. That his family is comforted during his absence. That they are supported by the church and the community. And that their reunion is sweet, cherished and longed for.

Thank you for adding to the prayers for Charlie and his family.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

The post below is a repost from 2008. But because I have had to repost all old blogs due to my web hosting transition back in Jan from suckie HoDaddy to wonderful American Discount Web Hosting, I haven’t gotten to it yet and today is a good time to revisit it.

Bernard Curtis Brown II…..

Every year for the 9/11 anniversary I try to make it special by honoring those who died by flying my flag at half staff, reflecting on the tragic events of the day and what we can do to make the world better, and hugging my family and letting them know I love them as a tribute to those who can no longer do the same.

However, what I am afraid of as we continue to add to the number of years from that tragic day, is that it will become a day of rote tribute kind of like Memorial Day where we fly the flags and have picnics.

So this year I decided to try something different and personalize the day. I spent some of the anniversary researching one of the victims so I could put a personal face on the tragedy. Not in a sick sort of way, but as a way to keep it human and as a reminder so we always remember.

We tend to watch the video of the planes colliding into the buildings, the buildings collapsing, the hole in the Pennsylvania field, and the Pentagon collapse and fire as events. I would rather we focus on the fact that there were some great human beings whose future and potential was cruelly cut short at that moment. There were moms, dads, sons, daughters, neighbors, church members, and co-workers on those planes and in those buildings.

Well, here is the story about one of those great people.

Bernard Curtis Brown II

Bernard was 11 years old and an energetic sixth grader at Leckie Elementary School who loved school and basketball. A tribute page says that he bounded out of his house every day and “lived to go to school”. In fact, he was headed to Los Angeles, CA to represent his school at a National Geographic Society-funded marine research project at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary near Santa Barbara. He had gained his teachers’ attention by his improvement over 4th and 5th grades and was selected to participate. Because of that accomplishment he and other school members and teachers were on American Airlines flight 77 that hijackers crashed into the Pentagon — the same building his dad works in. Thankfully, Bernard Brown Sr. was not in the building that morning. However, he lost many co-workers, friends, and a son.

The Military Child Education Coalition has set up a space camp scholarship honoring Bernard. The Bernard Curtis Brown II Memorial Space Camp Scholarship will allow other military children the opportunity to attend space camp and pursue learning opportunities.

Look at Bernard’s picture. Look at that glowing smile and youthful enthusiasm. I am glad to know a bit more about him now and wish I could have met him. He would have been 18 years old now and probably a freshman in college. Throughout the day yesterday, I prayed for his mom, dad and family that they have healing and hope and that they might know that strangers out there care about their son. They are lucky to have had him for 11 years and I pray that they put hope and faith into their future reunion in heaven.

God bless the Brown family!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot com