Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Red Fridays

A good friend sent this message to me. I think that's it's really important, and an easy thing to do to try to make a difference in this country. I think that some Americans in aggressively asserting their first amendment rights have gotten so tangled up in politics that they have forgotten the people who are involved in war, who have been made to feel that their sacrifice is not important because they were on the wrong end of a political opinion. It doesn't matter how you feel about politics, war, or the military; which policy you support or whether or not you think that entering the war was wrong; the fact is that there are people risking their lives every day because they feel so strongly about our country that they are willing to fight and possibly die for it and we owe them. It is not a question of politics for them, but an issue of love of country, love of people, and love of freedom. Please read this and spread the word. It's time for something positive to unite and uplift people.

As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.'

Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He knelt down and said 'hi.'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her Daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek. The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the
young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.

We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions.. Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear some thing red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Winter Camping

I think that I have been officially initiated to Wisconsin. Mary and Adam took me camping this weekend, and let me tell you, you've never been camping until you've gone in Wisconsin in the month of November! Luckily, we had a warm snap come through and the lows were only in the 40's! But, I have to say that with a LOT of layers, and a LOT of fire, it wasn't that bad. Winter camping survival tip #1: Bring more clothes than you think necessary! For sleeping I had on two pairs of socks, leg warmers, long johns, insulated pants, an under armor shirt, t-shirt, sweatshirt, gloves, ski ear muffs, a hat and I slept in a mummy sleeping bag, and it was STILL cold! It wasn't too bad though, my face was about to fall off, but once I fell asleep I didn't really notice. Winter camping survival tip #2) DON'T drink a lot of water because waking up and having to climb out of your semi-warm sleeping bag into freezing cold air to go use the bathroom is NOT pleasant! Winter camping survival tip #3) Bring self-heating hot chocolates (you can buy them at Walmart for $1) for immediate warming up after you wake up and while waiting for the fire to start. Which brings me to the final tip. Winter tip #4) Bring a boy scout to start your fires for you! haha.....
Saturday morning we made french toast and bacon for breakfast. YUM-O! After clean-up we headed from our camp Mirror Lake to Devil's Lake where we went hiking for most of the afternoon. We climbed to the top of a hill/mountain? I'm not sure what the elevation was, but it was HIGH! and so much fun! The weather was perfect for hiking-in the upper 50's, and the trees were still beautifully full of fall colors! The lake was gorgeous and the sky was wonderfully blue

All in all, the cold was totally worth surviving through, because this was a really fun experience. There's nothing better than sitting around a campfire late at night and being able to look up through the trees and see a clear sky spotted with stars, hear no noise pollution from the city and know that there is beauty all around you!

Happy Camping!