Thursday, February 24, 2005

What's going on in San Felipe?

This morning I am driving down to San Felipe, Baja California, Mexico. It seem odd to write the state and nation of such a legendary town. Here is San Diego everyone knows what and where San Felipe is. Every year thousands of College and High School students leave the U.S. and head south for "Spring Break". San Felipe is a top destination. During those weeks of March (occasionally early April) many young folks spend drunken days and nights of foolishness in the quiet and beautiful town on the Sea of Cortes. Many never return home, casualties of the foolishness that lured them there in the first place.

But this is not March and not Spring Break. No, this is February, time for the just as legendary SCORE "San Felipe 250". "What is that?" you say. It is the most fantastic off road race imaginable. Days of racing and pre-running in the desert finished off with meals of the best fish tacos on the planet are awaiting me, so I say "hasta la vista".

When I return I will fill in all the blanks and explain just what it is we do down there.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Florida's Death Penalty

A couple of weeks back my mother, who is 71, called me to talk about her upcoming knee replacement surgery. She needed to name someone other than my father as the person who would make medical decisions for her in case she was unable. My dad was named first, and I was to be named second, as long as I would follow her instructions that if she were "braindead" she did not want to be kept alive by instruments of modern technology. I had no problem with that request, so she used me as my dad's backup. She probably figured she needed to ask me if I agree to her wishes since she knows I am radically anti-abortion (pro-life in her jargon)

Tomorrow Terri Schiavo may be put to death in the state of Florida. She was found guilty of being "brain damaged" and in need of a feeding tube. Supposedly she had told her husband that if she was in the hospital and needed food, do not provide it, for it is better to die than to eat hospital food. You think I'm trying to be cute? Well, ok, sort of. But I find it very difficult to talk about this in serious terms. A husband wants his wife to die because she is in a comatose state and needs a feeding tube to survive. She is not going to die from her injuries. In fact, she may get better if she gets treatment, but the courts already ruled that the husband can withhold treatments, even though they had 1.3 million dollars for her care and treatment. I can't believe this is even a discussion. How did we ever get so careless about life? Don't we care for our needy, or have we grown into a nation that believes the saying "We shoot horses don't we?"?

How can a Judge order a woman's death when she has committed no crime. I don't think Judges can order someones death even when they have committed a crime. Suppose a Judge orders Governor Jeb Bush to execute all death row inmates tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. Would Bush be obliged to do it, and would he need to go to court to overturn the order? Or would he be within his rights as Governor to say "No, I don't think I'll do that. In fact I think I'll revoke any State funds that support your courtroom"

If I were the Governor of Florida I would order the State Police to go get the offending Judge, take him to the womans hospital room, and while her parents watch in horror, make him pull her feeding tube himself. Then I would put the tube back in and charge the Judge with attempted murder.

I guess you now know where I stand on this issue.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"Have I told you lately........."

My wife Clyrinda and I just watched "What A Girl Wants" with our 8 year old son Joshua. I would have preferred to watch "Old Yeller" or "Where The Red Fern Grows" but the idea was to spend some time together, and Joshua picked the movie. He likes movies with singing and dancing. This movie ends with a wedding scene where the "Father/Daughter" dance is to the Van Morrison song "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?"

About a year ago a good friend of ours, Vincent Wujek, died from the flesh eating disease whose name is too hard to remember and even harder to pronounce. It is a form of Strep infection. He went into the hospital on a Tuesday afternoon thinking he had the flu. He went to sleep and never woke up, diying 17 days later.

Vincent was remembered as a good husband and father. He was also a hard worker and good employee. Everyone at church remembered him for something he used to do and say. Vincent would walk up to his friends and loved ones with a big crooked smile on his face and say........."have I told you lately that I love you?" (he would actually say "have I told you that I love you lately", but grammer was not his strong suit, and we all knew what he meant). Those who knew Vincent knew he loved them.

Make sure you today that you have told the ones you love......."I love you", then ask them tomorrow "Have I told you lately that I love you"

A life that mattered

This morning the internet brought sad news into our home. US Marine Cpl Kevin Michael Clarke was killed in action in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq.

The Corp has a web site dedicated to supporting the parents and wives of US marines. The Marine Parents webste has been a great source of help to my wife and I as we maneuver through our daily lives during our son's first deployment to the war. Online we have met many other marine parents and wives who were online seeking or lending support to others. It was through this website that we met Barbara, mom of Lcpl Kenny, who helped us get a phone card to our son so he could call home. She also taught us to use Yahoo Instant Messenger so we could chat with Tyler. Barbara used the website to communicate to the other parents when Kenny was wounded by a sniper. It is though the website that we are getting information about the return of our marines, and planning a wonderful homecoming.

Yesterday one family posted a message about another type of homecoming. The parents of Cpl Kevin Michael Clarke, known on the parents website as KEVSFOLKS, posted a message that their son had been killed on 2/19/05, and that he is home with the Lord Jesus Chirst. You see, Kevin is a christian, as are his parents. Kevin believed that the death of Jesus on the cross paid for his sins, and that by believing, he would spend eternity with Jesus and all other believers. Christians, by faith, are all looking forward to a great homecoming with God. Jesus Christ said "In my fathers house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." KEVSFOLKS are now resting in the promise of God that they will join Kevin one day, and that Kevin's life and death will be used by God for good things here on earth as well as in eternity.

It must be a horible thing to lose a son or daughter; I can only imagine, and in my imagination it is a nightmare. For marine families it means that two marines in dress blues arrive at your home. They need not speak, for you know why they are there, but they bring consolation along with grief, the comfort of knowing that your marine's death was for a good cause, a cause only a marine can understand, for only a marine understands dying for the Corp. The marines in dress blues bring with them the gratitude of the nation, the corp, the marines, the battalion, the company, the platoon, the squad, the fire team.

We are so proud of Cpl Clarke, and of his parents, KEVSFOLKS.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Iwo Jima

Greetings (I reckon that's an acceptable way to begin the firt post in my weblog)

Today is the 60th anniversary of the battle for Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima is the premier battle in the annals of wars the U.S. has fought. Many other battles engender thoughts of heroism, but none like Iwo Jima. The photograph of the flag raising on the top of Mt. Suribachi is engraved in the minds of all americans. But there is much about the battle folks do not know. One fact that has always impressed me is that the famous flag raising was not the first flag raising. The first flag raised was "too small" to be seen all over the Island, so another was raised, and the most reproduced photograph of all time was born. There is another great photo of the flag exchange atop Suribachi. Another fact is that While Mt. Suribachi had many Japanese guns on it, the move up the mountain itself was not as deadly as expected because shelling and bombs from the US kept the Japanese hunkered down. The beach landing was far more deadly for the marines. Many heros of the battle were rewarded with medals; most were not. But heros were they all, every one of them.

Which brings me to my thoughts this morning. My son is a US Marine PFC serving in a remote part of Iraq. Daily he faces attacks by AIFs (anti Iraq forces). Daily he does his job. Mortars, snipers, IEDs (improvised explosive devices..........booby traps), mines, Rockets, unfriendly Iraqis of the Baath persuasion, foreign Jihadists have no affect on his doing of his job. He stands his post outside his base, or in a OP (observation post) in town, or on a corner, or next to a wounded marine, or in a convoy, or on a chopper to Al Asad or Fallujah, or wherever his commanding officer says he should be, because he is a marine. He stands in the very place a friend of his was standing when hit by a sniper's bullet, and does not cower. He takes a knee beside another wounded friend exposing himself to the enemy, while a corpsman does battle repairs, and calmly fires his rifle only when he "has a target". He sits in the back of a 7 ton truck riding through the desert knowing that 3 out of 4 convoys hit mines, and says "we're pretty well armored". One man's son is another man's hero. Yet he's my hero too.

In one letter home (one of only 3) he wrote that "things are not too bad here" and that he is overwhelmed by thoughts of marines past who had to suffer much more than he does. He believes that comparatively he has it "easy". During one 3 week stretch of incredibly cold winter he had no heat and no hot water. Yeah right.......real easy. He simply joked about how the "guys get used to the smell" of their unshowered fellow marines.

I could go on and on about the US Marines of today, and how they are indeed as heroic as those of yesterday, but today is a day to remember yesterdays, those of 60 years ago, who did what they did because they were US Marines

If I knew how to post links and photos, I would post the photo, and links to great historical articles.....but you all know how to google