down home America

Early on a Saturday morning there is a booming knock on my front door.  I corral the dogs and answer, seeing a crew cab pickup on the street.

A large, bald man wearing an un-tucked golf shirt, says, “Hi, I’m..” so and so, “a Lee County deputy, and I’m running for Sheriff”.

He’d left a leaflet in the door when I didn’t answer immediately and it had fallen into my hands.  Holding back investigative canines, I tell him I’ll read it.

Lee County has a good Sheriff, I wouldn’t have looked at other candidates.

I looked at this man who braved my guard dogs to speak to me.  He made eye contact, made no attempt to sell himself and looked me in the eye when he sincerely said, “Thank you for your son’s service’, before he turned to walk away.

The encounter left me thinking my grandfather probably voted for people he met on his front porch.

It left me thinking it may be time for change. After all, hasn’t life shown me “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” often means, “it’s good enough not to be worth the fear of change”.

It left me feeling a large respect for this young man who believes in something enough to knock on doors to introduce the prospect of change.

“Change creates the threat of loss and the threat of loss creates resistance”. – author unknown

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Nine Eleven

On September 11, 2001 I recall exactly where I was, who broke the news, the feelings of disbelief followed by horror, then terror that it wouldn’t end, later the hope survivors would be found, then hopelessness.

I resisted the urge to gather my family, but called the high school to ask if I should pick up my son and they reassured me he was safe. Some time later he called from school. He’s reluctant to tell anyone where he was and what he was doing, but when I remember his voice in that first conversation I now know it was a fork in the road that changed our lives forever.

On September 11, 2001 my 16 year old son was in an auditorium at the high school taking a test proctored by a group of active duty military – the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) – the entrance exam for the military. He said, “Mom, their cell phones all started ringing at once and they were scrambling around whispering. They never told us what happened and we finished the test, but were told if our scores were low they would be scrapped and we could take it again.”

Captain Blaise Morgan aced the ASVAB on September 11, 2001.

Freedom to celebrate

I’m going to church now, where I go many Sunday’s and never take for granted my freedom to do so. And when I get back I’m going to write something about my grandfather, who flew a flag on his front porch and taught me respect for that flag, who told me stories of his immigrant grandparents who were so proud to be in this great country they never allowed their native German to be spoken again. I’m going to examine where my patriotism came from and why I effortlessly passed it on to my children, why I have rudely defended our military decisions, long before my only son joined the US Army. I’m going to try to explain to my son why this country celebrates and lives seemingly carefree lives while he sleeps with a weapon, and remind him that in our darkest hours we come together fiercely, as Americans, as the greatest country in the world and why that will always be the case. I’m going to remind my son of the heated discussion we had over his willingness to die to defend the rights of Americans to burn their flag and carry signs that say, “God loves dead soldiers”. I’m going to convince him that includes celebrations of taking out the enemy and celebrating Patriot Day to memorialize and remember one of our darkest days. The average American is not a trained soldier, the average American is what it’s always been – a farmworker, a steelworker, a factory worker and we revel in victory for our country be it large or small. Today we turn off the reality TV and we watch planes crash into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon and a PA field, even though it’s been ten years. We don’t forget. We don’t want to forget. American’s are reliving ten years ago with tears in their eyes and are very aware that brave men and women continue to fight terrorism in an effort to keep it far from our shores, and have succeeded for ten long years.

Military Appreciation Month

To My Son, & all his “guys” in the 4-4 Cav:

When I sleep in my bed,  I remember you.  I remember you sleep in a tent, in range of rocket attacks, never safe.

When I drive through Starbucks, I remember you.  I remember everything you don’t have, and think of the little things I take for granted but need to send you.

When I sit at my desk, I remember you.  I remember that you work around the clock and never relax.

Always, I remember with overwhelming pride the lifestyle you sacrifice so I may live it; the life you risk so others may live without terror.  I remember why you are there; I thank you, and all our military.

God Hates Hate

God does not attend the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.
They protest military funerals with signs that proclaim, “God Loves Dead Soldiers”.
My son is sacrificing his life for their right to carry that sign,

and the Supreme Court just upheld their right.

Until I watched him walk away…

I was always excited to watch him follow his dreams. Until I watched him send everything he owns off in a moving van. Until I watched him walk out of his empty apartment to turn in his keys. Until I watched him get up from his desk & leave the office with his title on the door. Until I watched him leave his beloved Mustang in his reserved parking spot. Until I watched him walk away wearing a rucksack & machine gun.

Feelings, Not Thoughts, On War

My grandfather, who had the most influence on my early life, was very patriotic. His grandparent’s were immigrants and had a great impact on him. I was raised to believe America is the greatest country in the world and I feel very proud that we help the oppressed and terrorized every where. Perhaps that influenced my son. I feel confident in our military experts and would never dream of questioning where they need to act.

One of the saddest moments in history is General Patton’s death in a car accident; he should have died in battle. Blaise is a warrior; a calm and safe life is not his destiny. He is prepared to die in combat, expects that he will and has, in no uncertain terms, demanded that I deal with that. Should he be injured or die I am not to dishonor his memory with hysterics to the media, I am not to speak out against the war, I am to be nothing but proud of my son’s sacrifice for freedom and justice. We have discussed it all at length.

I would be devastated to lose my son and never be the same again. But fearful for his life or grieving his life, I will above all act in a way that honors him. My feelings of pride in his life and his choices will rise above fear or grief. I am prepared for that, he expects it of me and he is worthy of no less.

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