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May 2, 2011. Operation Neptune Spear is underway. Two Stealth Blackhawk helicopters descend out of the moonless night sky in Abbottabod, Pakistan. Minutes later, the silence is interrupted by loud explosions and sporadic gunfire, as approximately two-dozen commandos from the group known as SEAL Team 6 raid a 3 story compound, the alleged holdup of the world’s most wanted criminal. 15 minutes later, a single word is uttered on the radio waves of the SEALS: “Geronimo.” With that, their mission is accomplished: Osama Bin Laden is dead.
In the weeks that follow, the sagging morale of our troops overseas is lifted. Gunnery Sgt. Ben Holmes says, “[Bin Laden’s death is] a huge shot in the arm to remind us what we are doing and that we are making a difference.” As the armed forces proceed with renewed vigor and purpose, the level of pride in military service rises. Unfortunately, the pride doesn’t last. After the thrill of catching this high-profile terrorist wears off, discouragement, loneliness, and lack of pride once again set in. By their second or third tour here in Afghanistan, many have experienced far too many deaths of comrades and missed the experiences of far too many family events.
Despite all the discouragements, I say to all of our armed forces, you ought to be proud of serving in the military.
I asked Vietnam Veteran Ray Barber if he thought there was pride in serving. His answer was a resounding, “Oh, yes,” citing esprit de corps. This “group spirit” is well-evidenced wherever the military is seen – in every uniform, motto, and boot camp graduation. Clearly, each soldier, sailor, airman, or marine possesses that spirit of union and comradeship.
But, military service amounts to more than uniforms, slogans, and people who are tough. You in the military have much more reason to be proud of your service than those things.
You ought to be proud because of the character you’ve shown. Sacrifice, Courage, and Valor are among the many qualities that define our armed forces, and make them so worthy of our emulation. Truly, these qualities make these gallant men and women the best of the best of us.
You ought to be proud because you carry on a legacy of victory from the troops gone before you. They stopped the Axis from the takeover of the world. They gave to many Korean people freedom in their own country and to many Vietnamese people freedom in America. They passed the baton on to you; you have continued their legacy of victory. You foiled Hussein more than once, toppled his regime, and rebuilt the country of Iraq. You have successfully taken the wars of this nation to the enemy, and not once has our county been invaded since the war of 1812. Just like the Germans, the Japanese, and the Communists haven’t defeated us, terrorism hasn’t either—and it won’t because of you.
You ought to be proud because you voluntarily answered the call to defend this country. Unlike some in our past, you didn’t run from war but ran towards the sound of the battle. Despite criticisms, you responded to the clarion call to combat tyranny and encourage freedom. Yet there is one final trumping reason for military pride.
You ought to be proud because at the heart of your military service is the willingness to sacrifice personal gain to defend this country. You have sacrificed time to invest in relationships, you have sacrificed the opportunity to make more money, and yes, you have even been willing to sacrifice your own life. You ought to be proud because you showed the greatest love that could ever be shown: you were willing to lay down your life, not just for friends, but for strangers. On August Sixth, Two Thousand Eleven, while en route to reinforce Army Rangers in a fire fight, 30 American Troops—including 15 members of SEAL Team 6—were killed in the line of duty when their Chinook helicopter was shot down by an RPG. After many dangerous missions, these men paid the highest price for the cause of freedom. As one of the SEALS’ step dads put it, “[My son and] all the SEALS are our heroes. They are the best of the best of us. And we can never thank them enough for the sacrifice that they have made.” He’s right. This country is free, and it will always be free—as long as men and women like them and men and women like you answer the call to defend it.

Christmas literally means festival celebrating birth of Jesus Christ; virtually every one agrees on this.  Christmas is not a word in crisis; even Wikipedia Free Encoder(known to have a liberal tint in matters of religion) says that the 25th of December has been set aside as a festival to commemorate the birth of Christ.  Christmas is only recognized by western countries that at one point had a Judeo-European influence.  In countries that do celebrate it, Christmas has often become the most popular holiday.  People often celebrate by the giving of gifts in memory of Jesus.  So it should be no wonder that people don’t like to use the word “Christmas” and put other words in its place, like “ Merry Merry” and “Happy Holidays.”  These saying are not inherently wrong; it is the fact that they are a replacement for the truth in an attempt to make people forget the true definition of Christmas.

New Short Story

Read the latest short story from TryingAuthor “Soldier’s Touch: A Thanksgiving Story” here: http://tryingauthor.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/soldiers-touch-a-thanksgiving-story/

This is an account of but one of the many adventures two children found awaiting them in the great outdoors of their back yard.

It was Nicholas who climbed to the top of the slide and stood, with his hands on his hips, awaiting the arrival of Sara, his younger sister, who was scrambling up behind him.   “Ha, look at this rain come down, my daughter!” he said putting his arm across Sara’s shoulders.  “I haven’t seen a storm like this in 40 years!”  As he spoke his childish face was changed to the weathered face of a man who had lived a long life on the sea.  His beard was speckled with white but the eyes which shown out from under the bushy eyebrows were still filled with youthful light.  Sara, standing next to him, was now a young lady and her sun-browned face gleamed with excitement as she looked out at the storm.  It was true; she had never seen a storm as violent as this one.  The strong winds hurled the surf at the jagged rocks and sent the salty spry 100 feet into the air.  The rain lashed the New England landscape viciously and the dark clouds lay in so thick that the night’s blackness was impenetrable.  “Well, my dear,” the aging father again addressed his daughter, “I doubt that any ship has ventured out on a night like this, but even so we must refill and light our lamps for the rocks out yonder are even more treacherous in a storm.” They both turned at this thought and began to busy themselves with the task of filling the important instruments.  As they worked the light from their lamps seemed to burn away the heavy mist and the clouds lifted to reveal the angry sea spreading out below them.

Their work done Nicholas began to descend the ladder to the cozy dwelling at the base of the lighthouses but his progress was checked by a gasp from Sara who had lingered behind for one last look at the storm.  “Nicky, come look!”  With a furrowed brow her brother’s head reappeared.

“What is it?”

“Out there.” Sara pointed to the spot where the rocks lay hidden beneath the waves.  With a quick movement her brother was again at her side.

“A ship has smashed on the rocks!” he exclaimed, “What was she doing out on a night like this? Come quickly we must rescue the sailors!”

With this new turn of events they rushed down the ladder and out into the storm.  The wind and rain took Sara’s breath away and flattened her against the wall of the lighthouse.   Nicky was calling for her to hurry and with an effort she ran for the old skiff he was already climbing into.  Sara jumped in after him and Nicky pushed the small vessel into the frigid, turbulent waters.

At that moment a voice broke through the raging storm, “Hey guys, it’s time to come in.”

With that short but weighty decree the entire landscape reshaped itself.  The rain and wind stopped, the light house was again a slide, the treacherous rocks a stump and their little skiff the old wagon missing one tire.  As they climbed out of their little vessel and headed for the house Sara gave one last look to where the ship had been and wondered dimly if without their help any of the sailors had survived.

Charlie takes a moment to read his riveting best-seller to a riveted audience

In a rare and riveting personal interview, Charles Dickens speaks candidly of his hopes and expectations for his Christmas story A Christmas Carol, of his personal connection to the story, and of what he thinks of current trends . . . such as socialism and remakes of his stories.

(you can find the interview at this location:http://share.shutterfly.com/share/received/welcome.sfly?fid=b00595a8acd19196&sid=0IasWTdoyas3Qg)

Mr. Scrooge posing for the cover of Forbes

This in-depth interview provides Mr. Scrooge with an opportunity to talk openly about his past, the changes that have made him what he is today, and the accuracy of Mr. Dickens’ famous Christmas story.

(You can find the interview at this location: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0IasWTdoyas3Uw)

Fish Fry on the We’re Here

Are you unsatisfied with life? Do your old man and lady drive you crazy to the point that you do things just to annoy them? Do you like going out with friends to games and parties? Then experience the party that will change your life. Join me at the boat We’re Here at 7:00 on Tuesday and meet the crew of people who taught me my scruples: the big man Captain Disko Troop, his trusted son Dan, tall-tale-loving Long Jack, dancing Tom Platt, silent foreigner Manuel, cantankerous Uncle Salters, and his mad companion Penn. We’ll give you stories that will curl your spine. We’ll also give you a take-home copy of our stories in Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling. Hear from a boy who fell off a ship and was picked up from sea by our dories. Hear from the captain what to do when someone calls you a thief. Hear from a superstitious cook the story of two of our boys who fished a dead man from the sea. Hear from the entire crew why wealth and fame are not the most important things in life. Learn how to truly take pride in your work. Come together with us to celebrate our status as the #1 schooner in the Grand Banks for 5 years running. And above all, come learn the true meaning of manhood, and in so doing, win the respect of those around you.

Where:  Gloucester, Massachusetts, aboard Disko Troop’s fishing schooner the We’re Here (We’re here. Are you?)

What to Bring:  Strong Stomach, Spirit of adventure & willingness to do your part, clothes you don’t mind getting wet

When: Late 1800s

R.S.V.P.  Harvey Cheyne

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