Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Tribute: To Our Servicemembers and Their Families

You stay up for hours,
He stays up for Days,
You take a hot shower to wake up,
He goes days without running water.
You complain of a headache,
…………He sees others get shot and keeps moving forward
You wear anti-war shirts
He fights for your right to wear that shirt.
You make sure you have your cell phone,
He clutches his cross and dog tags.
You talks trash on your friends,
He knows he may never see his again.
You walk down the beach looking for hotties,
He patrols the streets looking for terrorists.
You complain about how hot it is,
He doesn’t dare remove his gear to wipe his brow.
You kiss your lover,
He holds a letter close and tries to smell her perfume.
You criticize your government,
He sees the innocent killed by their own people.
You see only what the media wants you to,
He sees the broken bodies lying around him.
You crawl into a soft bed,
He tries to sleep but is awakened by the sound of mortars.
You’re angry because class went over by 5 minutes,
He is told he will be held over 2 months.
You go to the mall to get your hair done,
He doesn’t have time to brush his teeth today.
You hear jokes about the war,
He hears bombs, gunfire and screams of the wounded.
You complain about the laundry,
He wears the same thing for days.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bumper-Stickers Seen On Military Bases

"When In Doubt, Empty The Magazine"

"Marine Sniper - You can run, but you'll just die tired!"

"Machine Gunners - Accuracy By Volume"

"Except For Ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism and Communism, WAR has Never Solved Anything."

" U.S. Marines - Certified Counselors to the 72 Virgins Dating Club."

" U.S. Air Force - Travel Agents To Allah"

"Stop Global Whining"

Naval Corollary: Dead Men Don't Testify.

"The Marine Corps - When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be Destroyed Overnight"

"Death Smiles At Everyone - Marines Smile Back"

"What Do I Feel When I Kill A Terrorist? A Little Recoil"

"Marines - Providing Enemies of America an Opportunity To Die For their Country Since 1775"

"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It"

"Happiness Is A Belt-Fed Weapon"

"It's God's Job to Forgive Bin Laden - It's Our Job To Arrange The Meeting"

"Artillery Brings Dignity to What Would Otherwise Be Just A Vulgar Brawl"

"One Shot, Twelve Kills - U.S. Naval Gun Fire Support "

"My Kid Fought In Iraq So Your Kid Can Party In College"

"A Dead Enemy Is A Peaceful Enemy - Blessed Be The Peacemakers"

"If You Can Read This, Thank A Teacher.. If You Can Read It In English, Thank A Veteran"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Veteran to Veteran

When a Veteran leaves the 'job' and retires to a better life, many are jealous, some are pleased, and others, who may have already retired, wonder if he knows what he is leaving behind, because we already know.

1. We know, for example, that after a lifetime of camaraderie that few experience, it will remain as a longing for those past times.

2. We know in the Military life there is a fellowship which lasts long after the uniforms are hung up in the back of the closet.

3. We know even if he throws them away, they will be on him with every step and breath that remains in his life. We also know how the very bearing of the man speaks of what he was and in his heart still is.

These are the burdens of the job. You will still look at people suspiciously, still see what others do not see or choose to ignore and always will look at the rest of the Military world with a respect for what they do; only grown in a lifetime of knowing.

Never think for one moment you are escaping from that life. You are only escaping the 'job' and merely being allowed to leave 'active' duty.

So what I wish for you is that whenever you ease into retirement, in your heart you never forget for one moment that you are still a member of the greatest fraternity the world has ever known.

NOW... Civilian Friends vs. Veteran Friends Comparisons:

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having the last time you met.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have cried with you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will stand by you no matter what the crowd does.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Are for life.
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences...
VETERAN FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no citizen could ever dream of...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will take your drink away when they think you've had enough.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will look at you stumbling all over the place and say, 'You better drink the rest of that before you spill it!' Then carry you home safely and put you to bed...
CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will ignore this.
VETERAN FRIENDS: Will forward this.
A veteran - whether active duty, retired, served one hitch, or reserve is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The Government of the United States of America ' for an amount of 'up to and including my life'.

From one Veteran to another, it's an honor to be in your company. Thank you for your service to our country and defending the freedoms we enjoy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Motorcycle Riding Explained

I didn’t write this. But when I read it I knew that would be the best explanation to that age old saying about riding... "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand"


There is cold, and then there is cold on a motorcycle.

Cold on a motorcycle is like being beaten with cold hammers while being kicked with cold boots, a bone bruising cold. The wind’s big hands squeeze the heat out of my body and whisk it away; caught in a cold October rain, the drops don’t even feel like water. They feel like shards of sharp bone fallen from the skies of Hell to shred my face. I expect to arrive with my cheeks and forehead streaked with blood, but that’s just an illusion, just the misery of nerves not designed for highway speeds.

Despite this, it’s hard to give up my motorcycle in the fall and I rush to get it on the road again in the spring; lapses of sanity like this are common among motorcyclists. When you let a motorcycle into your life you’re changed forever. The letter “M” is stamped on your driver’s license right next to your sex and weight as if “motorcycle” was just another of your physical characteristics, or maybe a mental condition.

But when warm weather finally does come around all those cold snaps and rainstorms are paid in full because a summer is worth any price.

A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life. We spend all our time sealed in boxes’ and cars are just the rolling boxes that shuffle us from home-box to work-box to store-box and back, the whole time, entombed in stale air, temperature regulated, sound insulated, and smelling of carpets.

On a motorcycle I know I’m alive. When I ride, even the familiar seems strange and glorious. The air has weight and substance as I push through it and its touch is as intimate as water to a swimmer. I feel the cool wells of air that pool under trees and the warm spokes of sun that fall through them. I can see everything in a sweeping 360 degrees, up, down and around, wider than Pana-Vision and IMAX and unrestricted by ceiling or dashboard.

Sometimes I even hear music. It’s like hearing phantom telephones in the shower or false doorbells when vacuuming; the pattern-loving brain, seeking signals in the noise, raises acoustic ghosts out of the wind’s roar. But on a motorcycle I hear whole songs: rock ‘n roll, dark orchestras, women’s voices, all hidden in the air and released by speed.

At 30 miles per hour and up, smells become uncannily vivid. All the individual tree- smells and flower- smells and grass-smells flit by like chemical notes in a great plant symphony.

Sometimes the smells evoke memories so strongly that it’s as though the past hangs invisible in the air around me, wanting only the most casual of rumbling time machines to unlock it. A ride on a summer afternoon can border on the rapturous.

The sheer volume and variety of stimuli is like a bath for my nervous system, an electrical massage for my brain, a systems check for my soul. It tears smiles out of me: a minute ago I was dour, depressed, apathetic, numb, but now, on two wheels, big, ragged, windy smiles flap against the side of my face, billowing out of me like air from a decompressing plane.

Transportation is only a secondary function. A motorcycle is a joy machine. It’s a machine of wonders, a metal bird, a motorized prosthetic. It’s light and dark and shiny and dirty and warm and cold lapping over each other; it’s a conduit of grace, it’s a catalyst for bonding the gritty and the holy.

I still think of myself as just another rider, but by now I’ve had a handful of bikes over a couple dozen years and slept under my share of bridges. I wouldn’t trade one second of either the good times or the misery. Learning to ride was one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Cars lie to us and tell us we’re safe, powerful, and in control. The air-conditioning fans murmur empty assurances and whisper, “Sleep, sleep.”

Motorcycles tell us a more useful truth: we are small and exposed, and probably moving too fast for our own good, but that’s no reason not to enjoy every minute of the ride.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010