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Just looked back at that April 15 Column. The first paragraph has an embarassingly incomplete sentence. After the part about us having those brothers in our education system, the rest of the sentence was supposed to say that they set off explosives at the Boston Marathon.
Forgive me. I wrote that after 18 hours of travel from Southwest Texas. That trip followed three days of rising very early and hunting all day. I was pretty wiped out. And no I didn’t bag anything. Boo!
This was written after the second night of the Republican National Convention and published last weekend. Sorry, I am just now getting it on the blog.
Many of you have already read this story. This was my first published work and I am so proud that it was published as the centerpiece story in the 25th anniversary edition of Turkey Call. It is still my favorite column. Not sure I will ever top it. I am proud that today it was re-published at Patriot Outdoor News. Don’t worry, it is much more than a hunting story. Non-hunters will enjoy it just as much. Here is the link.
My Memorial Day 2012
I always try and make sure that I don’t treat Memorial Day like just another day off. Two years ago, I attended a Memorial Day parade. Last year I did a “Band of Brothers” marathon at my house. What a powerful movie. It makes me appreciate just a bit more what our veterans go through on our behalf. This year I sat down during the hot part of the day and watched some internet video of the Changing of the Guard at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After that, as a true patriotic American, I flipped on the TV to find a war movie. That way I could feel I did my part to remember. Instead, I channel surfed by the Memorial Day concert at the capital. And there I was stopped cold.
Bridgette Cain, a wife of a soldier, Norman Cain had written a letter about her husband and the father of her children. Specialist Cain won’t be coming home. He died in the line of duty. I won’t attempt to recreate the letter here. It was recited very poignantly by the actress Selma Blair who I now have a new respect for. If you haven’t seen this concert (it was broadcast by PBS) I strongly urge you to find it and watch it.
However, this piece is not to celebrate the entertainers, singers or the bands, each of whom did a wonderful and inspiring job. This is an article about a little girl, a little girl like the one I once had before she grew up. Following the letter, Trace Adkins sang a song for the Cain family and Norman Cain’s little girl cried and cried. She was only five years old. She cried with great heaving sobs, they showed pictures of her being read to by her Daddy before he left for war. They showed pictures of him holding her and her looking up at him with adoration.
She will cry more. She will cry often, just like all those family members all around this nation who suffered this Memorial Day in ways that most of us cannot imagine. I cried as I watched. Now, maybe I understand a little clearer what the cost of freedom truly is.
Dear God, my God, please send your comfort to that little girl and to all the little boys and girls this day who have lost a parent or a brother or sister to these seemingly never ending wars. Heavenly Father, let the loss of fine brave young men and women like Norman Cain not be for nothing. Somehow, in all this bloodshed let something…somehow…let something good result. Heavenly Father I pray that those still serving all over this world and in particular those in harm’s way would be blessed. Bless them Father that they may be led once again by men who have at least as much honor as the service men who they are in charge of.
Lord, let the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen, experience a time where their leadership, especially at the highest levels will be occupied by men who truly understand the meaning of the words, freedom and liberty. Raise up leaders for these men and women who do not see these only as words worn out from misuse. Let them instead understand them in the context of your Divine inspiration and truth, to understand them in the way in which they were intended.
Raise up leaders for these servicemen Lord who will recognize that Democracy can only be shared with a people who have a basis upon which Democracy can be built. Let these leaders realize the folly of sending our young people to die in a foreign land for the freedom of others while our own political leadership cedes the freedom of our homeland as they force upon our population a State that is ever more powerful in its authority yet ever more incompetent in the application of that authority.
Dear Lord, let the freedom that these men fought for reign supreme once again in the nation that they fight for. And we pray Dear Father that this nation which you built shall honor and glorify you again and that this land of free people shall not perish from the Earth.
And here is my most recent article on Patriot Update. This will be a two part column. The concept of what I am writing about here will be important for our culture and our nation on a whole host of topics.
I am now also writing for Examiner.com. However our relationship my not last much longer. Examiner broke the story of boxer Manny Pacquiao regarding homosexual marriage. Pacquiao rightly came out and said that as a Catholic he believed that marriage is between a man and a woman. The fallout has been ridiculously over the top with the LA Times and others calling Mr. Pacquiao a homophobe and with the leftist organizations calling on Nike to abandon their contract with the boxer. I don’t know how dirty Examiner.com is on this. I will monitor the situation and go from there.
Meanwhile, I don’t care from some of the provocative photo’s that they put beside my first two articles there.
This is submitted as a column on Patriot Update. I am not supposed to post it yet because they have not ran it. But I am going to go ahead here on the blog. Please dont copy or forward so that I don’t cause them problems.
This was supposed to have been romantic. Instead not much had gone right and we were riding as far apart as we could possibly get without falling out of the car. We were both thinking the same thing, “Isn’t this typical of our lives?” Neither of us had said much but my wife and I were thoroughly annoyed with one another. And yet here we were, returning to the scene of the crime.
We were driving along the Shenandoah Skyline Parkway in Shenandoah National park. Twenty-two years prior we had camped here on our first vacation. My wife was six months pregnant at the time with our daughter. It was a camping vacation, not because we loved camping in a tent, but because we couldn’t afford hotels. That vacation had culminated in a miserable night of a torrential downpour, a soggy bologna sandwich, and a tent invasion perpetrated by what we thought was a bear but turned out to be a raccoon. It took a long time for us to reach the, “we will laugh about this someday stage,” but we eventually did.
Now, we were in Shenandoah once again for the first time since that night. The day was bright and sunny with only a few fluffy white clouds. I was pleasantly surprised that my wife, not an out-doorsy kind of gal, wanted to go for a hike. As we walked we held hands for balance. We did so reluctantly. Finally we reached a beautiful waterfall. However, just as we began to enjoy the view, a menacing rumble of thunder drew our attention skyward. A threatening black cloud was coming over the nearby peak where moments before only blue sky had been.
A soft mountain shower that evoked nostalgic stories of our raccoon adventure rapidly became much more. First, the rain came down harder, and then the lightning began. Lightning would strike seemingly right beside us with horrible claps of thunder following instantly. The deep valley we were in created an echo affect and magnified the intensity.
One particularly terrifying strike elicited a scream from my wife. She began to cry. She was beyond frightened at this point. And in that instant, in that peal of thunder, a spell was broken. Suddenly gone were thoughts of, “Oh great, typical for us, another trip turns to disaster.” Gone was my frustration. As my wife clasped her hands to her mouth, I could see that they were shaking. In that moment reality hit me hard, “This woman is my wife, she gave me my daughter and son and I love her very much.” From that point, my entire focus was to nurture her through this and help us get safely back to the car.
I prayed silently, for it is beyond my power to protect us from that which is so much larger than ourselves. Now I held her hand tighter than before. Unfortunately, with the rain, each step on the trail was steep and slippery. Despite wanting to run madly from the lightning we had to be careful and methodical.
On and on we walked, step after careful step and as we did, I came to a realization. This hike was a metaphor for life. In life’s journey, we only see the steps as we are taking them, some more hazardous or frightening than others, some quite easy. Then, suddenly it seems, we reach a point where we look back and only then realize we have climbed a great mountain.
As a couple, our journey began twenty two years before on that soggy night in a tent and then… step-a few weeks later our daughter was born. Step- we worked hard and bought a house. Step-(this one is really steep and slippery) our son was admitted to Intensive Care with a life threatening respiratory illness. He was only eight weeks old. Step-he runs track now and will enroll in Seminary soon.
Life is like that and our hike was like that, one careful step followed by another. After four hours and with both of us soaked, we finally heard a car. We were within yards of the parkway. It was only after we completed the long treacherous “step-at-a-time” hike that we reached the mountaintop. Only then were we able to look back and see what we had accomplished together.
We turned and took in a breathtaking view. The fog was lifting down in the Shenandoah Valley and though it was still dark and cloudy at our elevation, the sun’s rays were bursting through to bathe the valley below.
And that is where we are now, fellow patriots. Our nation truly is in crisis. We are all, each of us, on a socio-political path that is unfamiliar and treacherous. If we are not careful, the challenges ahead will embitter us. They will drive us to forsake that which is truly important. We must resist this.
Perhaps we have never walked this trail before but we have walked other difficult trails many times. Now, with God’s guiding hand and unyielding diligence and dedication to the principles of liberty and freedom we must walk step by step in the direction that we know is right. Sometime, perhaps soon, we will look back and see clouds lifting, bright sunshine breaking through and we will be amazed at the mountain we have climbed.