Friday, May 15, 2009

Heroes Applauding Heroes

A Hero is one endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his/her bold exploits, and favored by God.

A lifelong Hubbard friend sent me this article from the McClatchy Newspapers.


Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals. This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a year long tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website. "It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here. This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.

10:36 hours: The clapping starts. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway. A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheel chair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class. Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel. Behind him come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30. They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet fora private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. No man in that hallway,walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to see better. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past. These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home.

This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years. Did you know that? The media hasn't yet told the story. And probably never will.

Thanks to McClatchy News for telling this story.

Think about it,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Short and Sweet Note on Torture

"I would rather be waterboarded, any day, than to be a bond holder in either Chrysler or General Motors".

Lightning Sledge
Local Champion Bass Fisherman and Philosopher
Hubbard, Texas

Think about it,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Don't Mess with the Hubbard Kids

We all have our priorities when it comes to things like politics. For example in Hubbard you can get in a debate about National Politics. You can get in an argument about State and Local Politics. And, you can easily get into a fist fight when it comes to the Local School Board Election.

Why? Because small towns are really into the well being of their children. Outsiders really shouldn't mess with them.

In general, Hubbard Folks say “it just makes sense” to take care of four things when it comes to their kids:

1. Protection: Interestingly, this starts with the unborn. The Andersen’s all have large families, and believe that if life doesn’t start at conception, then it certainly does in the first 90 days of a pregnancy. They told me, “they know, because they have seen the pictures”. The folks feel strongly about protecting all children including the unborn.

2. The Family: Aunt Tris just became a Great, Great, Great Aunt (count em that is three). She is a former 4th grade school teacher and the niece of Hall of Fame Baseball Star, Tris Speaker. She has observed generations of children and has personal case studies. These studies prove children "turn out better" when they have both a real Mother and a real Father, who stay together in a family. Hubbard folks strongly support anything that strengthens the family and oppose anything that weakens the family.

3. Education: When I grew up in Hubbard there was a labor union. The members of the labor union consisted of teachers, parents, and the local town’s people. In other words, the only non-union members were-- we the students, and we did the labor. This union’s sole purpose was to ban together to educate and prepare us for the things we would face in this world. The co-operation was air tight. If I was disciplined at school, that discipline was doubled when I got home. The next day all the store keepers heard about it and didn’t hesitate to call it to my attention.

Contrast that with today’s two political parties involvement with public education. One supports the teacher’s union in public schools, at the student and tax payers expense. While the other party works to opt out of the public system by using things like Vouchers. Why do we adults “politicalize” our educational system to the detriment of our children?

4. Inheritance of their Parent's National Debt: The Conservatives at the Hubbard City CafĂ© were furious when President George Bush’s administration ran huge deficits for eight years. He was assisted by a Republican Congress (6 years), and then a Democratic Congress (2 years). They were so mad some even decided to vote for Obama and an even larger Democratic Congress in 2008.

Now they are in disbelief that in just one year the deficit will add as much to our children’s debt as it took the Bush Administration seven years to create. Folks in Hubbard like to “pay as you go and even put a little away for the kids”. As Butch Jackson says, “this shit ain’t right”.

Speaking of making sense:

“Horse sense is the thing that a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.” W.C. Fields

Think about it.