Sunday, December 20, 2009

Alexis Smith With Some People Who Love Her

Click on the picture to go to a clickable collage of photos of Lexie and family and friends.

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Can You Be With Us?

videoThe 2nd time Alexis and I met, we talked. She asked me "Can you be with us?". But being an old man, I either didn't hear her clearly, or couldn't process the meaning so my mind translated "Can ... beach with us?"

Once I realized what she had asked me, the words jolted my heart. What had I done to earn this little girl's trust? Nothing. We had spent only a few minutes of our lives together. How did I deserve the affection of this little child? I didn't.

A few months have passed now. She'll never walk up to me again holding her hand out wanting me to count her fingers. We won't eat pretzels, clinking them together like champagne glasses. We won't roll a ball to each other again. But I still see her, and I still feel her, and I still hear her words. Those are gifts I get to keep forever. So now I try to tell myself maybe I did something to deserve the beautiful memories Alexis has given me.

Six months ago I was told Alexis existed. And that she was my step-granddaughter. And that she had Leukemia.

I remember that cold anger in my heart thinking that God had afflicted an innocent child. And cold anger knowing that God was torturing my step-son with his daughter's illness. I wanted to get into the fight. So I sent the only ammunition I could provide. $4000. What good would that do, I thought. Proabably not much.

And it didn't work. We lost the fight. Now anger remains. And Lexie's love remains. And I dream that Lexie now knows what was in my heart the moment I learned she existed. That I instinctivly wanted to save her and wanted her always to be surrounded by happiness. Maybe she knew that as she gave me the gift of "Can you be with us?"

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Little Angel Alexis Smith

I walked outside and stood there. Lexie walked over toward me and started to climb onto the cooler. I timed the picture perfectly just as she looked up and I fell in love at that moment.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I Wish I Were A Marine


Because I would probably sit up straighter in my office chair. And I would more appreciate the safety you guys buy for my family, not to mention the whole country.

I think it’s true that the more you pay for something, the more you value it. Most Americans never had to work for their safety or freedom. It’s all been given to us. Which explains the widespread lazy cynicism these days. But you guys escaped this easy life and walked straight into the middle of the world that I hope stays on the other side of my television. You lucky bastards. You’re Marines.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Century Is Heading In The Wrong Direction


Wow. Caramba. Welcome to the United States North America. Home of the brave slave laborers. Land of the free anyone who wants to spit on us.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Toast to Freedom

I think it was transparent honesty that I saw through the T.V. whenever Lyn appeared during the 80's and 90's. I was always curious what he thought about current political issues, so I would read his "musings" on his personal website. In one item several years ago he noted that he was having some sort of problem receiving email at the address he had posted. So, being a computer guy, I figured out what was wrong with his website and emailed him the fix. A couple days later he had fixed his website and he posted a note acknowledging the help that I sent. It was kind of funny when he referred to me as a Reagan fan from a left-wing west-coast university who must remain unidentified for my own good. Funny because I was never shy about defending Reagan, the fight against the Soviets, the entire 1980's for that matter, nor the big poster of Reagan on my office wall.

It hurt this evening to hear that Lyn had died. But I have to believe that whatever they're serving in heaven, Lyn and Ronnie are drinking together tonight.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bravery and gratitude


In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful

To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.

The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.

God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.

Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.

NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI
Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq

Sunday, November 27, 2005

A Real Warrior


Ronald Reagan, 1983-March-8:

During my first press conference as President, in answer to a direct question, I pointed out that, as good Marxist-Leninists, the Soviet leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is world revolution. ...

Well, I think the refusal of many influential people to accept this elementary fact of Soviet doctrine illustrates an historical reluctance to see totalitarian powers for what they are. ...

Yes, let us pray for the salvation of all of those who live in that totalitarian darkness -- pray they will discover the joy of knowing God. But until they do, let us be aware that while they preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man, and predict its eventual domination of all peoples on the Earth, they are the focus of evil in the modern world. ...

So, in your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride -- the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.

Natan Sharansky, 2004-June-7:

In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten-foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an ‘evil empire.’ Tapping on walls and talking through toilets, word of Reagan’s ‘provocation’ quickly spread throughout the prison. We dissidents were ecstatic. Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth - a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us.

At the time, I never imagined that three years later, I would be in the White House telling this story to the president. When he summoned some of his staff to hear what I had said, I understood that there had been much criticism of Reagan’s decision to cast the struggle between the superpowers as a battle between good and evil. Well, Reagan was right and his critics were wrong.

Those same critics used to love calling Reagan a simpleton who saw the world through a primitive ideological prism and who would convey his ideas through jokes and anecdotes. In our first meeting, he told me that Soviet premier Brezhnev and Kosygin, his second-in-command, were discussing whether they should allow freedom of emigration. "Look, America's really pressuring us," Brezhnev said, "maybe we should just open up the gates. The problem is, we might be the only two people who wouldn't leave." To which Kosygin replied, "Speak for yourself."

What his critics didn't seem to understand was that the jokes and anecdotes that so endeared Reagan to people were merely his way of expressing fundamental truths in a way that everyone could understand.

Reagan's tendency to confuse names and dates, something I, too, experienced first-hand, also made him the target of ridicule. In September 1987, a few months before a summit meeting with Gorbachev in Washington, I met with Reagan to ask him what he thought about the idea of holding a massive rally of hundreds of thousands of people on behalf of Soviet Jewry during the summit. Some Jewish leaders, concerned that if the rally were held Jews would be accused of undermining a renewed hope for peace between the superpowers, had expressed reservations about such a frontal challenge to the Soviet premier.

Seeing me together for the first time with my wife Avital, who had fought for many years for my release, Reagan greeted us like a proud grandparent, knowing he had played an important role in securing my freedom. He told us about his commitment to Soviet Jewry. "My dear Mr. and Mrs. Shevardnadze," he said, "I just spoke with Soviet Foreign Minister Sharansky, and I said you better let those Jews go."

Not wanting to embarrass the president over his mistake, I quickly asked him about the rally, outlining the concerns raised by some of my colleagues. His response was immediate: "Do you think I am interested in a friendship with the Soviets if they continue to keep their people in prison? You do what you believe is right."

Reagan may have confused names and dates, but his moral compass was always good. Today's leaders, in contrast, may know their facts and figures, but are often woefully confused about what should be the simplest distinctions between freedom and tyranny, democrats and terrorists.

The legacy of president Reagan will surely endure. Armed with moral clarity, a deep faith in freedom, and the courage to follow his convictions, he was instrumental in helping the West win the Cold War and hundreds of millions of people behind the Iron Curtain win their freedom.

As one of those people, I can only express my deepest gratitude to this great leader. Believe me, I will take moral clarity and Shevardnadze any day.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Anti-Warriors

A U.S. Senator, who during his youth was the victim of torture as a POW in Vietnam, has started a debate by insisting that the U.S. should promise never to do to anyone what the communists did to him.

The relevant news item is the accusation that the CIA maintains prisons worldwide where, supposedly, special things are done interrogating special people.

The debate reminds me of the guy who I walk by occasionally on the street corner in front of the Federal Building on Wilshire. He screams accusations at the top of his lungs with false certainty about news headlines. I regard him with the same respect that I regard the ‚“anti-torture‚” faction. That is - no respect.

The ‚“anti-torture‚” club is just as morally vacuous as the ‚“anti-war‚” club. They have no real-world relevance.

This is a serious issue, and it is how do we prevent the murder of civilians by people who have subscribed to a cult of murder and suicide? How do you change the behavior of people who are not impressed with our feelings of self-esteem?

There are no answers to those questions. It is a case-by-case, human-by-human problem. In a real fight, where your arm just got broken by the guy laughing at you, or your friend just got shot in the back, or the car-bomb is driving toward a school, or the guy sitting in the garage where the car-bombs were won‚’t tell you where the other cars went ‚… - there are no rules. And the spectators, who have lots of self-esteem, but who don‚’t have blood on their faces and haven‚’t buried friends and children, have no wisdom.