Memorial Day 2013
By: Edwin J. Feulner From: Heritage.org
When we think of heroes, what comes to mind? Some fictional good guy flying around in the latest big-screen comic-book adventure? Perhaps, but with the arrival of another Memorial Day, I’d like to suggest someone more fitting: a U.S. Navy SEAL named Mike Monsoor.
As former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld reminds us in his new book, “Rumsfeld’s Rules,” the SEALs go through the toughest training of any military unit in the world. It shows. Consider what happened with Mike.
Mike hailed from a family that knew a thing or two about service. His father was a Marine, and his mother was a social worker. He grew up fighting asthma, but persevered in high school to make the football team and become a superb athlete.
In March 2001, Mike made the courageous decision that millions of men and women, his father included, have made: to serve our country. He enlisted in the Navy.
Three years later, he passed the rigorous training that less than one-third of his fellow trainees finish to become a Navy SEAL. He was now a frogman, one of the members of the Navy’s elite forces. In spring 2006, he was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, where he served as a machine-gunner and a communications operator in military operations against insurgents.
Through 35 heated firefights, his SEAL team remained undeterred by the enemy. On Sept. 29, 2006, Mike was providing security at a sniper lookout post with some other SEALs and eight Iraqi soldiers. As Mike and his team scanned the area for the enemy, an insurgent threw a fragmentation grenade at the team’s position.
The grenade hit Mike in the chest before falling to the ground. In an instant every man on that roof could have died. But Mike would not let that happen.
President George W. Bush described this SEAL’s act of courage at Mike’s Medal of Honor ceremony:
“Mike had a clear chance to escape, but he realized that the other two SEALs did not. In that terrible moment, he had two options — to save himself or to save his friends. For Mike, this was no choice at all. He threw himself onto the grenade and absorbed the blast with his body. One of the survivors put it this way: ‘Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, you cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.’”
Mike died 30 minutes later from wounds sustained from the blast. He’d saved the lives of his two teammates and the Iraqi army soldiers on that roof. This courage was not lost on his SEAL brethren. Mike’s funeral is thought to be the largest public gathering of SEALs in the history of the United States.
As the casket was taken from the hearse to the grave site, SEALs lined the path and slapped their Tridents, a pin with the official symbol of having completed SEAL training, onto the top of Mike’s coffin. Mr. Bush said, “The procession went on nearly half an hour, and when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.”
No one really understands how the bold colors of a hero’s soul are formed, but we do know that without heroes, our nation would not endure. As Winston Churchill said, “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because it is the quality that guarantees all others.”
Americans are courageous in many ways. There were the firemen who ran into the burning towers on Sept. 11, 2001, lugging their gear up dozens of flights of steps in an attempt to do what they’d sworn to do — protect and serve. There are the police and the military, running toward danger when others run away.
Few of us have that level of courage. Yet we demonstrate it in different ways. We say what we think, and we stand up for our beliefs. We’re willing to risk the criticism and the scorn of people who don’t share our ideals. When we’re wrong, we admit it.
When we think of the example of Mike Monsoor — and others like him, out there risking their lives for us, day after day — can we do any less?
"Promise me that you won’t think of Chris solely as a hero. He wouldn’t want that.
"Instead, I ask you to see him the way he would’ve wanted you to see him. As just an everyday boy who did his best at what he loved, growing into an everyday man, loving his God, loving his country…and loving his family."
Chris Kyle's wife, Taya, gave a wonderful message at the NRA event this week.
Chris was killed in February when he was shot by a veteran who was going through a tough time. Chris devoted himself to trying to help soldiers heal from emotional or physical wounds they received while serving in the military.
Chris Kyle truly loved and cared for his brothers in the military and gave his life to help them.
Picture Courtesy of The Patriot Post (PatriotPost.US)
Need a smile? Celeste and Sydney, Boston Marathon amputees, received a heartwarming visit from Marines who suffered similar injuries.
Watch these awesome marines offer hope and encouragement to two incredible, courageous women.
Here are a few comments on the video:
"There are a million reasons why this is the most incredible kickass thing I have ever seen. If you are not swayed by this then you are missing the point of life. Listen to what that guy is saying -- he's lifting her up in a way only he can. They go from devastated to feeling better- why is it so friggin hard for us to realize that this is what we're all supposed to be doing."
"Wow beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this, thanks to the Marines and all others like him who don't give up and spread their courage on, and lots of love and encouragement to Celeste and Sydney. I'm so sorry to you both and for what it is worth, I am rooting along with millions of others for you to be healthy and happy."
"It's incredible what humor and a strong will can do for someone. This video, I think, captures a lot of what I feel the nation is experiencing now. It threw us off, but we'll be all right. I'm angry as hell that such a beautiful woman and her daughter have had to experience this pain; but I'm relieved knowing that this marks a new phase in their lives. I wish them the best."
"Iraq vet here, makes me proud and honored to see wounded soldiers with such strong character, and lets face it... Probably a heck of a lot more love for life than I have. God bless them and these woman, all the victims, in recovering not just from the physical wounds, but from the emotional wounds as well. As he said, this is the start, the new beginning."
"Amazing folks all of them. I am proud to be an American."
This message has been floating around Facebook.
Couldn't find an author, and it's too meaningful not to share.
I don't want to know his name. I don't want to see his face. I don't want to know his life's history, his back-story, who his family is, where he went to school, or what he liked to do in his spare time. I don't want to know what "cause", if any, he was fighting for. I don't want to know why he did it, or may have done it, or what possessed him to carry out his actions. I don't want to know.
Because that's what he really wants. I'll be damned if I'm going to give him what he wants.
Put him on trial, but don't cover it. Tell me when you decide to jail him for three lifetimes - because that number matters. That's the number of lives he has to now pay for. That's all I want to know about him. Nothing else.
Instead, tell me about the first responders who ran towards the fray, within seconds, fearless. Tell me about the ones wearing the yellow volunteer jacket, or the neon police vest, or even the ones in the regular everyday t-shirt who became a helper.
Tell me the story about the first responder who held gauze over a wound until they made it to the hospital.
Tell me the story about the volunteer who held the hand of the injured spectator until they got into the ambulance.
In six months, tell me the story of those who lost a limb, who beat the odds, pulled through countless surgeries, and are learning to walk again.
Tell me the story about the love, the compassion, and the never-ending support of thousands, millions, of people who support the victims here. Tell me their stories. Tell me everything you can, because they are the ones that matter.
Tell me of the good that they have done, are doing, and will continue to do, regardless of... No, not regardless of, in spite of. In spite of that someone who would do them harm. Because that's what freedom in this country means.
It means coming together in the hardest of times, even in the face of unfathomable adversity, to make life better for all those around us.
Tell me the good stories. That's all I want to hear.
As Great Britain's only woman prime minister, and a world leader with vision and courage, Margaret Thatcher holds an important place in history.
Her book, The Downing Street Years, is an enlightening account of her eleven years as prime minister. Shortly after publication, she sat down with Brian Lamb and discussed her book and her years in office.
The interview lasts almost an hour, and has golden insights throughout!
Heritage Mourns Loss of Lady Margaret Thatcher, "Intrepid Warrior for Freedom"
By: Ed Feulner From: Heritage.org
Great Britain and the world have lost a great leader. The Heritage Foundation, like all of America, has lost a faithful ally. And, speaking personally, my wife and I have lost a dear friend.
Lady Thatcher now takes her place in history alongside Sir Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington and all the other great British heroes who defeated enemies of their island nation.
An intrepid warrior for freedom and human dignity, Prime Minister Thatcher stood with her “noble friend,” President Ronald Reagan, to confront the Soviet empire when it was at its peak.
Her courage and steadfastness earned the respect of her fiercest foes. It was, after all, the Russians who dubbed her the Iron Lady.
At home, Lady Thatcher’s free-market reforms were revolutionary – and salutary. Using deregulation and privatization, she restored Great Britain, once dismissed as the “sick man of Europe,” to its position as a world power. Indeed, her policies led the way and inspired other nations – including those in newly free Eastern Europe – to adopt similar reforms to boost their economies.
Characteristically clear-eyed, she called Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein “psychopaths” in a Washington speech to members of The Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club on Dec. 9, 2002 – 15 months after the September 11 attacks.
Lady Thatcher, who visited Heritage more than a few times, was in town that evening to receive the Clare Boothe Luce Award, our highest honor for contributions to the conservative movement. Despite her achievements, though, she never lost a gracious personal touch.
The day after her address, she spoke to our staff. But she insisted it not be in a formal setting. She wanted a room and a microphone – and she got it. She then delivered a speech with Heritage employees crowded around her, as if she were a soccer coach giving a pep talk to her team on the field.
That is how I will remember Lady Thatcher: in the middle of things, working to advance freedom, inspiring others to join her.
I not only had the privilege of visiting Lady Thatcher and being introduced to some of her closest allies in Britain, but of returning the courtesy by introducing her to some of Heritage’s best friends in America. To the end, as embodied in the Iron Lady, age only strengthened the storied “special relationship” between our nations.
The Heritage Foundation is honored that she chose us to be the only American public policy institute with a Thatcher Center
, and the only one that could officially call her “patron.”
We will do our best to live up to Margaret Thatcher’s example of principled leadership and iron will.
Birthdays of heroic leaders give us powerful opportunities to introduce our children to some of the wonderful men and women who helped make America great.
February 12th is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
When he was born, there was nothing to distinguish him from other babies.
As a young boy he enjoyed walking, running, wrestling, reading, and doing math.
Rising from the humblest of beginnings, he was elected President of the United States at a time of great national turmoil and division. His leadership was a key factor in the eventual unity and restoration that took place. He was a man with a mission, and that made all the difference.
Abraham Lincoln Resources Abraham Lincoln’s Life Stories The Civil War Speeches Proclamations Possible Activities to Enjoy on President Lincoln's Birthday
(Choose the activity (or activities) that you think could be fun and meaningful for your family.)
- Young Abe enjoyed wrestling, walking, running, and an early form of baseball. Spend some time enjoying one of these, or another sports activity your family enjoys. Talk about the importance of wholesome recreation.
- Abe loved cats. He adopted orphaned kittens, and enjoyed playing with them. He also enjoyed dogs and horses, and his family had two goats when they lived in the White House. You could spend some time enjoying your family pet(s), get a kitten for your family, spend some time with horses, or visit a local pet store.
- Abraham Lincoln loved collecting and telling jokes and stories. Each family member could find one or more stories or jokes to share with each other.
- Abe's favorite hobby was to read and learn.. Have a family read-a-thon complete with fun snacks and soft pillows to relax on. Abe loved to read so much that he sometimes borrowed books from others. You could go to the library and "borrow" some fun books to read -- maybe something about Lincoln -- or read some of the stories above. Or you could do some activities from the Resource and Activity Book to learn more about Abraham Lincoln.
- Abes favorite foods were fruit salad, cheese, and crackers. You could enjoy these for a fun snack while you participate in your activities.
- Abraham Lincoln had more than his share of struggles and failures. You could watch "Famous Failures" and talk about how our failures can help teach us what we need to know to succeed. Or you could tell a couple of experiences Lincoln had when he struggled with depression, and discuss how our struggles can help us grow.
- When he was president, Abraham Lincoln wrote a number of speeches and addresses that expressed his feelings. You could memorize or recite one of his speeches, like The Gettysburg Address, or The Emancipation Proclamation, or you could write something that expresses your feelings about America.
- One of the great accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln's life was helping to bring freedom to the slaves. You could watch this short video and talk about why that was so important.
- As an adult, President Lincoln enjoyed going to plays. You could go to a play together, or enjoy a modern day variation -- go to a movie, or watch a good video at home. You could include this one minute summary of President Lincoln's life.
- Abe enjoyed people and loved to visit with friends and neighbors. You could visit some friends or invite them to join you for some activities in your home. You could even bake a birthday cake and have a birthday party for Abraham Lincoln where you tell a little about him (see above), enjoy a few activities, sing Happy Birthday, and have cake and ice cream.
Abraham Lincoln's birthday is coming up on February 12th.
This is a great time to learn about him and tell stories to our children.
Below are some experiences from his childhood. They are from the book Four Great Americans
by James Baldwin. It is a wonderful book to read with children and is available in the public domain.
Amazon has Four Great Americans
available on Kindle and it is currently free of charge.
The Kentucky Home
Not far from Hodgensville, in Kentucky, there once lived a man whose name was Thomas Lincoln. This man had built for himself a little log cabin by the side of a brook, where there was an ever-flowing spring of water.
There was but one room in this cabin. On the side next to the brook there was a low doorway; and at one end there was a large fireplace, built of rough stones and clay.
The chimney was very broad at the bottom and narrow at the top. It was made of clay, with flat stones and slender sticks laid around the outside to keep it from falling apart.
In the wall, on one side of the fireplace, there was a square hole for a window. But there was no glass in this window. In the summer it was left open all the time. In cold weather a deerskin, or a piece of coarse cloth, was hung over it to keep out the wind and the snow.
At night, or on stormy days, the skin of a bear was hung across the doorway; for there was no door on hinges to be opened and shut.
There was no ceiling to the room. But the inmates of the cabin, by looking up, could see the bare rafters and the rough roof-boards, which Mr. Lincoln himself had split and hewn.
There was no floor, but only the bare ground that had been smoothed and beaten until it was as level and hard as pavement.
For chairs there were only blocks of wood and a rude bench on one side of the fireplace. The bed was a little platform of poles, on which were spread the furry skins of wild animals, and a patchwork quilt of homespun goods.
In this poor cabin, on the 12th of February, 1809, a baby boy was born. There was already one child in the family—a girl, two years old, whose name was Sarah.
The little boy grew and became strong like other babies, and his parents named him Abraham, after his grandfather, who had been killed by the Indians many years before.
When he was old enough to run about, he liked to play under the trees by the cabin door. Sometimes he would go with his little sister into the woods and watch the birds and the squirrels.
He had no playmates. He did not know the meaning of toys or playthings. But he was a happy child and had many pleasant ways.
(If you are unable to see the rest of the story, please click the tiny "Read More" link below.)
102 years ago today, an ordinary baby was born (if any baby can be called ordinary).
His parents named him Ronald Wilson Reagan.
He was born in a simple home, to an obscure mother and an alcoholic father.
No one could have predicted he would become one of the greatest presidents of the United States! But he did!
Many attribute Ronald Reagan's success to his mother, Nelle, a gentle, hard-working, compassionate woman of faith.
E.T. Sullivan could have been describing Nelle and Ronald Reagan when he said:
"We fancy that God can only manage his world with battalions, when all the while he is doing it with beautiful babies. When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent needs opening, God sends a baby into the world…perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother's heart, and she puts it into the baby's mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies."
As Patriotic Moms, we have a great privilege and opportunity. Our responsibilities will require our best efforts, no more and no less. And when we feel like we are falling short, we, like Nelle Reagan, can rely on God to make up the difference.
My birthday gift to President Reagan is to try to be a better Patriotic Mom. I believe we are raising patriots and leaders who, like President Reagan, need to be prepared to preserve America’s legacy of liberty.
This video was made to celebrate President Reagan's 100th birthday.
Today is the 100th anniversary of Rosa Parks' birthday. At the time of her birth, on February 4, 1913, no one could have predicted the great influence her life would have.
Her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus has given strength to millions as they work for much-needed changes in our society.
Little did Rosa realize the impact her courage would have. Though difficult and full of setbacks, Rosa's work continues to be an example for all Americans today.
These two videos tell about Rosa's life and work. I especially love the second one. Produced by high school kids, it is inspiring and well done. How wonderful for young people to be a part of such significant projects!