Wednesday, June 30, 2010's about time....

Good Morning – after last weeks donut search I decided not to post anything for a few days...several people commented "what happened?" ... well suffice to say the Chinese folks who own the local Dunkin Donuts “know” my name! I think they said "no more donut for you" but I could not be sure!

I got an email from my eldest today and a link to follow to the Freelance Star in Fredericksburg. It was a small blurb but one worth chatting about…Jake’s all-star recognition.

When I say it was a small was…but that is not the point. It was the recognition that comes from a job (or in this case a sport) being well done. To see his name in print and to get that level of recognition means quite a bit. Many times in matter how hard you try you never seem to get the recognition you deserve. I applaud the local news outlet for taking the time to recognize not only my son but all the lacrosse players recognized as all-stars.

My father commented that “it’s about time” when attending Jake’s recent graduation…he thought that graduating in mid June was too late…wait till he finds out that the lacrosse season and school year have been over for almost a month before this recognition hit the papers!

Enjoy the weather wherever the breeze takes you today!


Web link:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

24 Hours and then some….

Well I went on a diatribe last night about NOT being able to get a Dunkin Donut at midnight…suffice to say I have NOT recovered…there is much happening in DC and yes...people are talking about the new show...Housewives of DC...but I could care less...its well after midnight and I still can't get a good donut...I have not reached the point where I am considering moving BUT I am still taken back at everything else that is open 24 hours in this area EXCEPT the donut shop;

Toys-R-Us is open 24 hours – the kids all use to go late at night…why??? I have no idea BUT my point is that they are open 24 hours…who finds the need to shop for toys at 2AM?

Most of the gas stations in Northern Virginia are open 24 hours…I get that one!

Taco Bell, McDonalds and Wendy’s are all open 24 hours…however the thought of eating a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese just kills me at 3AM

I remember Black Friday 2009 when the kids wanted to go to Toys-R-Us at midnight…of course we were skeptical…however they went…free gifts will entice young people to do stupid things that educated (albeit tired) adults would never do…like walking to Toys-R-Us at midnight. When they came back…still…no donuts!

But I digress…right now Diners, Drive-ins and Dives is on the Food Network…a great show but again…no donuts!

I will be up early…thanks in part to the modern medications I am taking…I plan on asking the GM at each Dunkin Donuts about going 24/7…I feel I may run into problems as the Dunkin Donuts over by the mall is run by the Chinese who have NEVER gotten my order right and BARELY speak English…however they do smile a lot…and the folks at Rte 1 Dunkin Donuts are from Pakistan and they…well…they don’t speak English AT ALL.

When the time is right I will send the kids back to Toys-R-Us…it will be good practice for all of them running the night shift at my own Dunkin Donuts! I think it is the only way to rectify this situation!

Enjoy...and Good Night!


Friday, June 25, 2010

What I Wouldn’t Give…For a Donut!

Its past midnight and I have a hankering for a donut…and not just any donut…it has to be a Dunkin Donut!
The problem in this area is that you can’t go out at midnight and get a donut…Dunkin Donuts is not open 24 hours!

What to do?

Say no to Krispy Kreme! Way too sweet…just not a good taste…especially at midnight!

No to Denny’s! They don’t do donuts and to be honest…I just hate that place after finding hair on the plate during my last trip to the one in Alexandria

No to IHOP! Again…they don’t do donuts!

I would really just like a donut!

As of a couple of months ago we use to head out and get the kids donuts on the weekend…it was amazing to watch them all devour 12 donuts within minutes of walking in. I left the kitchen on one such weekend…I was gone for less then 2 minutes and when I returned…they were all gone…including my selections. The kids all looked and said...”you snooze; you loose”

I grew up on donuts…they were a mainstay in the morning…Mister Donuts still resonates so clearly with me…but it does not help me tonight! Somewhere in the world there is a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts calling my name…but alas…not here in Northern Virginia.
Perhaps I should just open one!

Good Night!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What happens at the Pool...stays in the Pool

What a Day….!

So as many of you know Thursday is usually the day I head in and get my vitals taken and talk with the Doctor about various issues and complications associated with my condition. I was able to meet with a great friend this AM and talk about some of the poetry I have written as well as talk about the future…I called and asked the Doctor to reschedule based on this meeting she agreed…so we are on for Friday morning.

Now it’s approaching 100 degrees here in DC and suffice to say…it’s a hot day. I figured I would go to the pool…makes sense right…but for the last two days some little kid decided that the pool is the perfect place to PUKE…yes I said puke! Come to find out this is the second day in a row...same kid…same pool!

Now I don’t blame the kid…far from it…his Mom though…she needs to know that at 100 plus degrees little Johnnie is NOT going to last long eating Twinkies and Pizza without “tossing his lunch” into the pool all the while sitting in the sun. Which leads me to the second part of the story...

Now you might think this is bad but one of America’s finest 16 year old lifeguard who was sitting at the desk telling me this story goes on to state ...”but you can still go sit in the sun” - I maintained my composure and thought to myself….yes I came to the pool to sit in the sun on a hot summers day…you idiot…what a window licker!

I should have called the kids and come by with the “Sock-em Boppers” and teach this would be “rocket scientist” a lesson...but I did not!

I digress…

All is not lost…I just finished watching a great show on NHL Television…it was called “A Ref’s Life” and it follows both AHL and NHL officials across the country as they prepare for and ultimately officiate crucial games in these hockey leagues. Fantastic cinematography coupled with some of the greatest officials who have ever laced up the skate makes for a great show.

Enjoy the day…can’t wait to see what the kid does over the weekend at the pool….use your imagination!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Washington DC...the Potomac...and a Great General's Demise

What an interesting day in Washington DC. A great General in American history has been seconded to the sidelines and forced to step aside…and another…more politically correct one has been called in to take his place.

I had the pleasure and distinction of serving for then Colonel McChrystal at Ft Bragg, North Carolina back in the mid 1990's. Besides being a considerate and compassionate soldier he was also a statesman and scholar…one of the finest and most brilliant officers our Nation (and West Point) has ever produced. His operational forte and his mannerisms were the stuff of legend…and many an officer can say that they learned directly from his actions. His second in command (a Brigadier General from Ft Bragg) was at the finish line last year when I completed the Army Ten Miler...we talked for a few minutes and he stated that working for "the Man" was the most rewarding assignment he ever had.

My cousin chatted with me online today…the question was what do I think about the McChrystal issue…I responded then as I do now…with a simple statement…”General McChrystal does not do ANYTHING without fully understanding the implications of his actions.”

Some will ponder why he said the things he said and why he allowed the men serving under him to mock the civilian chain of command back in Washington…again…General McChrystal does not do anything without fully understanding the implication of his actions…or his words.

Now while all this is going on I had the great pleasure of watching the movie Munich over the past 48 hours. It is a breathtaking piece that shows the primal aspect that resonates in all of us when we feel we are done wrong…revenge.

For those of you who have never watched this cinematic effort, it is about a group of Israeli assassins who scour the world killing those responsible for planning the 1972 Olympic Games massacre. More importantly…and based on what has transpired with General McChrystal…the movie graphically demonstrates that the Israeli Mossad and the beloved Golda Maier did not place politics above doing what was right. It’s a lesson that this and other Administrations will need to learn in going forward in the War on Terror!

The film transcends the current Israeli-Palestinian feud and focuses on the kidnapping of 11 Israeli athletes at the hands of several Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. All 11 athletes and most of their captors were killed in a botched rescue attempt by the German GSG-9 Counter-terrorism Force.

This movie is not as much about reenacting the tragic events, but instead focuses on the Israeli government's secret decision to bring a group of five men together to travel around Europe and assassinate the men responsible for planning the attack. The men proceed with the killings, working off a list of names without any knowledge as to how involved each man was with the Munich massacre. As time goes on, they begin to question their killings - after all, what is the difference between assassination and murder? Was the evidence conclusive that these men were involved? Does the killing of eleven men really do anything for the Israeli state?

The cast assembled for this movie is first rate. Eric Bana, best known as a loner in Blackhawk Down leads other renowned actors including Daniel Craig (James Bond) and Geoffrey Rush. Bana is fantastic and he successfully pulls off a character who is wrestling with the construct of revenge. He believes what he is doing has to be done, but at the same time he is killing men he doesn't know out of revenge for his country.

The movie is powerful and moving…and very long! For those from the intelligence community you can relate between the powerful covert action and suspense to long sequences of contemplation and discussion. While the "good guys" are Israelis, the movie's intention is to show that this constant fighting and killing will lead no where except to more fighting and killing...and that is the problem with revenge…it really never leads anywhere. The movie never takes away from the outright tragedy that was Munich, but at the same time it does not defend Israel in its supposed right to kill off anyone who knew anything about the attack or posed a threat to the state.

I am sure the internet as well as the country will be abuzz over the next several days based on what has happened in DC today…suffice to say…I will wait on the book…if the comments captured in the Rolling Stone article are any indication look for a title such as …”Afghanistan…and the Weenies in the White House” … in the interim buy or rent Munich... it’s well worth viewing.


Monday, June 21, 2010

The Past...and Moving On

"You will never know true happiness until you have truly loved, and you will never understand what pain really is until you have lost it."

I had a wonderful discussion with a friend tonight on the topic of life and love...of loving not only another... but also taking care of oneself. This friend was able to put into context what has happened in my life and how my actions have impacted - both in a positive and negative light - many people.

I look back and I can’t begin to tell you the number of dysfunctional relationships that I have had myself involved in and refused to let go of ... but there comes a point when you realize that it is a cycle…and this is what my friend was stating…that it is a cycle that needs to be broken. There comes a time when you have had enough of living in such instability...and more importantly...insanity.

I realized a long time ago that only I can correct such situations and prevent myself from experiencing them over and over…I took a stand and said NO MORE. Of course it was HARD…I felt like crap for quite some time, but, it was worth it. Eventually the sickness in my stomach went away; the nervous butterflies vanished, and suddenly I had found myself again, only much wiser and quite a bit stronger.

I remember early on in my doctorate studies I was dealing with a lot of couples…and each of them stated the same thing…relationships are not easy friends…it's not like you are going to meet someone and it's just going to fall in place. They take commitment, trust, communication, stability, consistency, and honesty. Simply saying I love you does not cut it…it’s the actions that follow those words prove them to be true…and I know that!

Thank you my friend…it meant more coming from you then you will ever know.



I Sit and Wonder

I often sit and wonder

In life just where I’d be

To touch her face just one more time

In love…so much I see

She is an eternal blessing

Her heart shone ever true

I lay awake and think at night

My love…she never knew

My life has changed so much

That time beats ever still

In months…oh so it seems

I climb that rocky hill

I search the darkness for the light

In a world that knows only pain

But when I find my one true love

Lest my search be not…in vain

I often sit and wonder

In life just where I’d be

Without her love to follow

Lost…is what I see  

I’ll love her till the end

Of time…they say it’s true

My love for her is certain

In all…I say and do

Sunday, June 20, 2010

You Can’t Pay for This Entertainment….!

The graduation ceremony for my eldest was an incredible event and well done by the Colonial Forge Staff…top notch. We were able to secure seats in the shade and had a very good morning…when Jake went back in I received a phone call from him…and he needed to see me quickly…I ran to the entrance where we met up…”Dad I need 40 dollars or they wont let me graduate…I lost a text book” - 40 bucks later...Jake is officialy DONE with High School!

After securing the diploma we went back to the house…the kids had a party and with my Dad, my brother Kevin and his son Logan in tow... we enjoyed the HOT summer day. Very good food and good company…thanks to Tim for some amazing barbecue and catfish…some of the best I have ever had.

We were on our way out when the call came in…”man down…man down” – I ran out to the jousting pit to see Ian writhing in pain…his head was being held by an EMT who was at the party...phones were out and 911 was notified...8 minutes later the ambulance and firetruck arrived…a trip to Stafford Hospital…X-Ray’s and several specialists…an MRI revealed no major damage…he has suffered a severe case of whiplash and is on some heavy duty medication…groggy is an understatement! Three hours later...back home and moving slowly...he was trying to get comfortable.

We thought Jake would be the first to break in the new Stafford County Hospital…but Ian won that lottery. He will be fine…it will take time and he will be sore…but he can look back and learn from the experience.

The boys are on vacation…looking forward to a summer free of this kind of entertainment…we shall see!

Have a great week!


Friday, June 18, 2010

A Note to My Eldest Son Jake…on the eve of your High School Graduation…

"There are no secrets to success. It is a matter of preparation, hard work and learning from failure"

General Colin L. Powell

As I sat here this past evening I started looking back over the past 18 years that led up to this moment…so many memories…memories that I treasure…hopefully these bring back some smiles for you as you sit read this…

You wont remember these…but I do…I remember the hour you were born; your first steps; the countless military moves; California and Bakers Square in the convertible; roller hockey; skiing and winter sports; snowed in at Lake Tahoe; tractor towing in the snow at Fort Bragg; Cub Scouts; rocket launches at work; swimming in the unit pool on post; haircuts on Saturday mornings; fireworks; the dogs; Luther the rabbit; the 3 wheeler; the 4 wheelers; the beach trips; new bikes in West Virginia; skateboarding out by the pool; learning to drive the cars as a 10 year old; Holy Cross; watching Monster Garage on Monday nights; Rusty, Renegade, Ranger and Sherman; Snowboarding; Ian’s Superman at Gunstock…these are all moments that made me proud and happy to your Dad.

Others inluded your academics; the first time I saw you play lacrosse; coaching you in soccer and hockey…going undefeated in the season at the Ice Park; your last High School Lacrosse Game…..the All Star Game…your Eagle Scout Ceremony…traveling to Ferrum College…moments that I will never forget…and that I will forever hold close to me.

Something that was given to me by my grandparents the day I graduated and hopefully you will pass this on…I think you will understand its meaning and its significance…as you know that your Great-grandfather was a fisherman and this story was very close to him and Nana…and to me

Many years ago, fishermen from the town of Boston would pray, "Keep me, oh God for my boat is so small, and the ocean is so wide" before launching their boats into the Atlantic. Their prayer reflected two things that they had experienced in their lives as fishermen…that each day was filled with uncertainties and that they were dependent upon God to bless their labors.

As you are graduating from Colonial Forge there is a parallel (ask Dakota what that means!) that can be made between you my son and these fishermen…you stand on the shore ready to launch your boat into the ocean of life. And like the fishermen of Boston you face an uncertain future.

You do not know what you will confront each day, nor the dangers and temptations that lurk in your paths. You do not know whether you will achieve success or experience failure…but I can tell you that you will experience both. You do not know what disappointments you will be called upon to bear…but above all there is endless opportunity that now lies before you!

As you walk across the stage and take it all in you will soon ask…”what will happen now?

As your Dad I know you are filled with excitement and optimism, looking forward to the future…a future full of anticipation…expecting to achieve success and to live a happy life. This was most likely the same case with the fishermen that my grandparents told me about. These men learned from experience that life is filled with uncertainty and difficulties…and that to be successful you have to be able to persevere (again…ask Dakota!)

Now my son you will also face some disappointments and you will be given some great opportunities that will lead to great experiences…and you will be required to continually learn from these experiences…and I know you are smart enough to know this…and smart enough to understand.

I love you Jake…and I have never been more proud of you then I am right now…you have so much to give…and I know you will make great contributions in a world that will need it!

Well done my Son!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PTSD...and Poetry...the Nexus.......

Its 16 June 2010 here in Washington DC and I am finishing some re-writes today as well as some dissertation work. The reality of this is it looks like another couple of weeks of writing before I can re-submit the abstract to my dissertation. That said there is a lot of good research currently being executed by the armed services in regards to PTSD studies.

There was an interesting article in the Psychology Today Blog back in December, 2009. The article(s) exemplified the manner in which many in the military looked at PTSD…”be a man and get through it” … in the end that is NOT the approach to deal specifically with PTSD…quite the opposite. I will attach the link so that you can read through the article and link to the Boston globe article as well.

The below listed piece of poem is for a second work that I am currently penning…the difference from my first work and this new initiative is that these poems are set in contemporary America and are not rooted in service to country but in thought of day to day essence the thoughts of the day and what a man thinks of as the hours tick by. More to follow!

Enjoy the day!


What it meant to Love you…

Your gentle touch and warm embrace

Carried me on high

You kept my heart within your soul

I knew…I wouldn’t die

And when I wake to feel your breath

Upon my face…so near

I’ll pull you close and ask the Lord

Let our life be free of fear

Of living without each other

In a world…so full of pain

You given me a purpose

And for that…I shall remain

Always true to your heart

Forever…I promise thee

To hold your hand…and keep you close

For this…I do decree

That when I said that I loved you

I meant that…and so much more

You are the life given to me

For then…just as before

You will be my sunshine

My life…and all that’s true

Whatever the amount of time I have

I give it all…to you

Monday, June 14, 2010

PART II ..... War Crimes...and my personal history

This is Part II of a Blog that I initiated earlier last week - several had commented and wanted to hear more about this sad and tragic period in history. Make sure you watch the movie via the link at the end of this posting  It was originally published on The WITNESS Blog and can bee seen at the following link:



In July 1995, over 8,000 Muslim men and boys were systematically slaughtered on grounds of ethnicity in and around Srebrenica in roughly 72 hours by units of the Bosnian Serb Army. Since then, more than 6,000 victims exhumed from eighty mass graves have been identified. In a lingering atmosphere of denial, which allows for the chief executioner of the genocide, General Ratko Mladić, to remain still at large, the Open Society Archive decided to give an answer to the “who did what to whom” question, without which it is impossible to come to terms with a human failure of such magnitude. The exhibit, Srebrenica-Exhumation, opened June 2 at the OSA Archivum in Budapest.

The true scale and the predetermined and careful organization of the genocide are best revealed in the documents which have been produced as the result of the meticulous investigative work of police officers, homicide detectives, and federal agents employed by the Office of the Prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The map of war crimes created with the help of these “exhibits” provides compelling evidence as to the identity of the perpetrators and serves as a basis for their indictment and judgment. For example, part of the documents exhibited, including military orders, transcripts of intercepted radio communication, and fuel logs seized from various units of the Bosnian Serb Army, were used in the trial of General Radislav Krstic, the Commander of the Drina Corps, who was the first perpetrator in a Srebrenica-related ICTY case to be sentenced (to 35 years in prison) for aiding and abetting genocide. A precise yet somewhat detached analysis of documents and data, however, reveals that it is as important for the victims, who were given only codes and numbers in the various exhumation records, to regain their identities and have a proper burial and final rest.

Consequently, OSA’s reconstruction (see video) builds primarily on forensic reports, autopsies, military maps, site sketches and photos, aerial images from spy satellites, reflections of the investigators and forensic experts, testimonies by survivors and excerpts from films, which are presented partly in traditional forms and partly in computer installations in a reconstructed model of a mass grave, created with the tools of land art. The procedure is somewhat similar to that of a courtroom’s, where, as one observer noted, “The case is fleshed out with [documents], photographs taken from many angles and video evidence whose contemporaneous commentary is clinical and relentless.”

Additional archival sources offering an insight into the prehistory and afterlife of Srebrenica are also available: documents, books and audiovisual material from OSA’s extensive relevant collections are displayed for consultation in a research room attached to the main installation. Thus visitors, who wish to continue the exhumation by doing their own archival research, will become part of the exhibition themselves. A series of carefully selected documentary films on Srebrenica are being screened in conjunction with the exhibition.

And this evidence continues to support the ongoing struggle towards justice: just this month two of Mladić’s high-ranking officers were convicted by the ICTY of genocide, extermination, murder and persecution, for their role in the Srebrenica massacre.

The video can be found at the following address:

Reality...from Afghanistan

Good Afternoon ! It is 14 June 2010...I received the following story from a friend was relayed to her from a ground commander in Afghanistan and was also carried in the Times. It details graphically what life is like for those in combat. I apologize if it is a bit strong BUT it is what our men and women face daily...and what you won’t find as headline news today between World Cup action and High School Graduations throughout the area.

In combat the human toll can be immense; but the psychological toll is often times greater…and this story makes that abundantly clear. I don't think in recent days or months you will find a story with so much emotion; so much grit and so much courage...courage that is not only meausured...but also also displayed with such regularity.


The Marine had been shot in the skull. He was up ahead, at the edge of a field, where the rest of his patrol was fighting. A Black Hawk MEDEVAC helicopter flew above treetops toward him, banked and hovered dangerously before landing nearby. Several Marines carried the man aboard. His head was bandaged, his body, limp. Sgt. Ian J. Bugh, the flight medic, began the rhythms of CPR as the helicopter lifted over gunfire and igzagged away. Could this man be saved?

Nearly nine years into the Afghan war, with the number of troops here climbing toward 100,000, the pace for air crews that retrieve the wounded has become pitched. In each month this year, more American troops in Afghanistan have been killed than in any of the same months of any previous year. Many of those fighting on the ground, facing ambushes and powerful hidden bombs, say that as the Obama administration's military buildup pushes more troops into Taliban strongholds, the losses could soon rival those during the worst periods in Iraq.

Under NATO guidance, all seriously wounded troops are expected to arrive at a trauma center within 60 minutes of their unit's calling for help. In Helmand Province, Afghanistan's most dangerous ground, most of them do. These results can make the job seem far simpler than it is. Last week, a Black Hawk on a medevac mission in the province was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade, and four members of its crew were killed. And the experiences in May and early June of one Army air crew, from Company C, Sixth Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, showed the challenges of distance, sandstorms and Taliban fighters waiting near landing zones. It also showed crews confronting sorrows as old as combat. In a guerrilla war that is turning more violent, young men in nameless places suffer wounds that, no matter a crew's speed or skill, can quickly sap away life.

For Company C's detachment in Helmand Province, the recent duty had been harried. Over several days the crews had retrieved a Marine who had lost both legs and an arm to a bomb explosion; the medic had kept that man alive. They had picked up two Marines bitten by their unit's bomb-sniffing dog. They landed for a corporal whose back had been injured in a vehicle accident.

And day after day they had scrambled to evacuate Afghans or Marines struck by bullets or blasted by bombs, including a mission that nearly took them to a landing zone where the Taliban had planted a second bomb, with hopes that an aircraft might land on it. The Marines had found the trap and directed the pilots to a safer spot. A few days before the Marine was shot in the skull, after sandstorms had grounded aircraft, another call had come in. A bomb had exploded beside a patrol along the Helmand River. Two Marines were wounded. One was dying.

For hours the airspace had been closed; supervisors deemed the conditions too dangerous to fly. The crews wanted to evacuate the Marines. "I'll go," said Sgt. Jason T. Norris, a crew chief. "I'll walk."

A crew was given permission to try. Ordinarily, medevac flights take off with an older, experienced pilot in command and a younger aviator as co-pilot. The two take turns on the controls. From Kandahar, the brigade commander, Col. William K. Gayler, ordered a change. This flight demanded experience. Chief Warrant Officer Joseph N. Callaway, who had nearly 3,000 flight hours, would replace a younger pilot and fly with Chief Warrant Officer Deric G. Sempsrott, who had nearly 2,000 hours.

Afghan sandstorms take many forms. Some drift by in vertical sheets of dust. Others spiral into spinning towers of grit. Many lash along the ground, obscuring vision. Powdered sand accumulates like snow. This storm had another form: an airborne layer of dirt from 100 to 4,000 feet above the ground. It left a low-elevation slot through which the pilots might try to fly. The Black Hawk lifted off in dimming evening light. It flew at 130 knots 30 to 40 feet above the ground, so low it created a bizarre sensation, as if the helicopter were not an aircraft, but a deafening high-speed train.

Ten minutes out, the radio updated the crew. One of the Marines had died. The crew chief, Sgt. Grayson Colby, sagged. He reached for a body bag. Then he slipped on rubber gloves and sat upright. There was still a man to save. Just before a hill beside the river, Mr. Callaway banked the Black Hawk right, then abruptly turned left and circled. The helicopter leaned hard over. He looked down. A smoke grenade's red plume rose, marking the patrol.

The Black Hawk landed beside dunes. Sergeant Bugh and Sergeant Colby leapt out. A corporal, Brett Sayre, had been hit in the face by the bomb's blast wave and debris. He staggered forward, guided by other Marines. Sergeant Bugh examined him inside the Black Hawk. Corporal Sayre's eyes were packed with dirt. He was large and lean, a fit young man sitting upright, trying not to choke on blood clotting and flowing from his mouth.

The sergeant asked him to lie down. The corporal waved his arm. "You're a Marine," the sergeant said. "Be strong. We'll get you out of here." Corporal Sayre rested stiffly on his right side. Sergeant Colby climbed aboard. He had helped escort the dead Marine to the other aircraft. The Black Hawk took off, weaving through the air 25 feet off the ground, accelerating into haze.

The corporal was calm as Sergeant Colby cut away his uniform, looking for more wounds. Sergeant Bugh suctioned blood from his mouth. He knew this man would live. But he looked into his dirtied eyes. "Can you see?" he asked. "No," the corporal said. At the trauma center later, the corporal's eyes reacted to light.

A Race to Treatment

Now the crew was in the air again, this time with the Marine shot in the skull. Sergeant Colby performed CPR. The man had no pulse. Kneeling beside the man, encased in the roaring whine of the Black Hawk's dual engines, the sergeants took turns at CPR. Mr. Sempsrott flew at 150 knots - as fast as the aircraft would go. The helicopter came to a rolling landing at Camp Dwyer. Litter bearers ran the Marine inside.

The flight's young co-pilot, First Lt. Matthew E. Stewart, loitered in the sudden quiet. He was calmly self-critical. It had been a nerve-racking landing zone, a high-speed approach to evacuate a dying man and a descent into a firefight. He said he had made a new pilot's mistake. He had not rolled the aircraft into a steep enough bank as he turned. Then the helicopter's nose had pitched up. The aircraft had risen, climbing to more than 200 feet from 70 feet and almost floating above a gunfight, exposed.

Mr. Sempsrott had taken the controls and completed the landing. "I was going way too fast for my experience level," the lieutenant said, humbly. No one blamed him; this, the crew said, was how young pilots learned. And everyone involved understood the need to move quickly. It was necessary to evade ground fire and to improve a dying patient's odds. Beside the helicopter, inside a tent, doctors kept working on the Marine.

Sergeant Colby sat, red-eyed. He had seen the man's wound. Soon, he knew, the Marine would be moved to the morgue. Morning had not yet come to the United States. In a few hours, the news would reach home. "A family's life has been completely changed," the lieutenant said. "And they don't even know it yet."

Barreling Into a Firefight

A few days later, the crew was barreling into Marja again. Another Marine had been shot. The pilots passed the landing zone, banked and looked down. An Afghan in uniform crawled though dirt. Marines huddled along a ditch. A firefight raged around the green smoke grenade. The Black Hawk completed its turn, this time low to the ground, and descended. Gunfire could be heard all around. The casualty was not in sight.

"Where is he?" Mr. Sempsrott asked over the radio.

The sergeants dashed for the trees, where a Marine, Cpl. Zachary K. Kruger, was being tended to by his squad. He had been shot in the thigh, near his groin. He could not walk. The patrol had no stretcher. A hundred yards separated the group from the aircraft, a sprint to be made across the open, on soft soil, under Taliban fire. Sergeant Bugh ran back.

Sergeant Colby began firing his M-4 carbine toward the Taliban. Inside the shuddering aircraft, the pilots tried to radiate calm. They were motionless, vulnerable, sitting upright in plain view. The Taliban, they knew, had offered a bounty for destroyed American aircraft. Bullets cracked past. The pilots saw their medic return, grab a stretcher, run again for the trees.

They looked this way, then that. Their escort aircraft buzzed low-elevation circles around the zone, gunners leaning out. Bullets kept coming. "Taking fire from the east," Mr. Semsrott said. These are the moments when time slows. At the airfield, the crews had talked about what propelled them. Some of them mentioned a luxury: They did not wonder, as some soldiers do, if their efforts mattered, if this patrol or that meeting with Afghans or this convoy affected anything in a lasting way.

Their work could be measured, life by life. They spoke of the infantry, living without comforts in outposts, patrolling in the sweltering heat over ground spiced with hidden bombs and watched over by Afghans preparing complex ambushes. When the Marines called, the air crews said, they needed help. Now the bullets whipped by.

A Hot Landing Zone

Cobra attack helicopters were en route. Mr. Sempsrott and Lieutenant Stewart had the option of taking off and circling back after the gunships arrived. It would mean leaving their crew on the ground, and delaying the patient's ride, if only for minutes. At the tents, Mr. Sempsrott had discussed the choices in a hot landing zone. The discussion ended like this: "I don't leave people behind." More rounds snapped past. "Taking fire from the southeast," he said. He looked out. Four minutes, headed to five. "This is ridiculous," he said. It was exclamation, not complaint.

His crew broke from the tree line. The Marines and Sergeant Bugh were carrying Corporal Kruger, who craned his neck as they bounced across the field. They fell, found their feet, ran again, fell and reached the Black Hawk and shoved the stretcher in. A Marine leaned through the open cargo door. He gripped the corporal in a fierce handshake. "We love you, buddy!" he shouted, ducked, and ran back toward the firefight. Six and a half minutes after landing, the Black Hawk lifted, tilted forward and cleared the vegetation, gaining speed. Corporal Kruger had questions as his blood pooled beneath him. Where are we going? Camp Dwyer. How long to get there? Ten minutes.

Can I have some water? Sergeant Colby produced a bottle. After leaving behind Marja, the aircraft climbed to 200 feet and flew level over the open desert, where Taliban fighters cannot hide. The bullet had caromed up and inside the corporal. He needed surgery. The crew had reached him in time. As the Black Hawk touched down, he sensed he would live. "Thank you, guys," he shouted. "Thank you," he shouted, and the litter bearers ran him to the medical tent.

The pilots shut the Black Hawk down. Another crew rinsed away the blood. Before inspecting the aircraft for bullet holes, Sergeant Bugh and Sergeant Colby removed their helmets, slipped out of their body armor and gripped each other in a brief, silent hug.

Friday, June 11, 2010

PTSD....and "Dear John" ... a Great Story

Its 11 June here in Washington, DC…projected to be another fine day weather wise here in the Nations capital.

I have been up since early morning working on my dissertation; the rewrite is exhausting…as is the research. As I mentioned in a previous posting the VA had sent this document back to me with over 70 pages of “extreme edits” that I am plodding through. Suffice to say it is mind numbing!

To give you some idea of the depth of research going on today in PTSD studies across the county…last year when I began my dissertation I reviewed approximately 21 pieces of ongoing research from various universities and government forward to 2010…there are now over 50 (fifty) national level studies that have direct application to the work I am currently doing.

I just finished reading the book “My War; Killing Time in Iraq” …it was a suggestion from the advisory team from the VA and I must say it was well worth the read. It provides both an overview of combat operations as well as an in-depth look at what a soldier goes through in both the preparation for combat as well as the reintegration back into society.

The book details Iraq War Veteran Todd Vance's life and was also the genesis for the movie "Dear John" which detailed the real experiences as an Army team leader for a Stryker Brigade in some of the most critical and violent areas in Iraq in 2004.

The rationale for reading the book and some of the additional materials sent from the VA was that Vance has successfully recovered from PTSD as a result of counseling he underwent in the VA health care system. It is this counseling methodology that will be incorporated into my dissertation to provide a more balanced approach to treating returning veterans.

Some background….

The "Dear John" movie was the brainchild of novelist Nicholas Sparks…author of other best-selling books such as "Message in a Bottle" and "The Notebook" …after hearing Vance talk about his combat experience in Iraq Sparks felt it was worth writing a script…and the movie was born.

Within the book, Vance also talked about the significance of getting letters from home from his then girlfriend. Some aspects of his relationship with the girlfriend and the time frame were changed between the book and movie. While the fictional character in the movie is wounded in battle in the movie, Todd Vance did not suffer any physical wounds. After Vance returned safely from Iraq in 2004, he went back to Fort Lewis and then settled in the San Diego area. At first, things seemed all right…but then the problems started.

While not physically wounded, Vance had witnessed severe human suffering during his time in Iraq, ranging from seeing fellow soldiers killed from blasts from IEDs and sniper fire to scenes in which Iraqi children were blown up. His experiences had taken a toll and he needed help. By his own words…."three or four months into it, I just had a crash…the nightmares got to a point where I could not function."

Enter the VA….and the mental health team…

Vance received intense psychotherapy for several years in order to get his life straightened out. His is a prime example of how educational outreach to family, friends, and significant others can work.

The significant issues addressed by the VA in regards to Vance were making him realize that by avoiding life situations that reminded him of his military experiences and avoiding his memories…he was avoiding the life in front of him…and more importantly he was hurting others. Vance’s life was continually impacted by nightmares, poor sleep, hyper arousal and vigilance…all of which impacted interpersonal relationships. It is these relationships that pose the core of my own research…and henceforth the reason for reading the book and watching the movie.

Todd Vance has reintegrated into society and is currently a college student, a part-time employee and a personal trainer in San Diego. He speaks with Veterans about his recovery and treatment at VA, and often refers Veterans to seek counseling and services.

If you have time I recommend the book…if you’re short on time then I recommend the movie…but either way you will get a good overview of what happens to a soldier who is exposed to combat…and then understand the National issue that is growing as a result of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan…PTSD

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

War Crimes...and my personal history

Good Morning!

It is 10 June 2010 here in Washington, DC. It has been a couple of very difficult days based on the flare-up from Reiters as well as continued difficulties with medications…another round with the doctors today so hopefully it will all work out. Suffice to say I don’t want another repeat of yesterday.

I sat up this morning and read the daily news. Buried deeply within the context of the online “paper” was a story that probably won’t see the light of day unless you are actively following it like I am…two Bosnian Serbs were convicted this morning of genocide and sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1995 massacre of Muslims in Srebrenica. It was the harshest judgment ever delivered by the U.N. war crimes tribunal on the Balkan wars…but to be quite honest…these sentences handed down by the tribunal allowed these killers to get off easy.

Mr. Vujadin Popovic and Mr. Ljubia Beara, convicted of the worst crime in the war crimes statute, were high-ranking security officers with the Bosnian Serb Army that overran Muslim forces and thinly armed U.N. troops in the Srebrenica enclave. In the same trial a third individual Drago Nikolic was also convicted of aiding and abetting genocide while serving as a brigade security commander. All three were in the chain of command of General Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb commander who remains a fugitive 15 years after his indictment.

To give you some idea of the significance of this heinous act let me try to put it in perspective for you…the deliberate slaughter of some 8,000 Muslim's by these men was the worst massacre on European soil since World War II. Tens of thousands of civilians were evicted from their homes, in what the U.N. court has called a deliberate attempt to wipe out the Muslim community from that area. General Wesley Clark who was in charge of the theater of operations commented at the time:

“By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica, a group which was emblematic of the Bosnian Muslims in general. They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity”

The most violent of the aforementioned acts was initiated by Beara who was accused of participating in a joint criminal enterprise led by General Ratko Mladic with a goal of capturing and then summarily executing by firing squad thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys aged 16 to 60 from the Srebrenica enclave from 12 July 1995 until on or about 19 July 1995. Having personally seen the mass graves exhumed in and around Srebrenica I can tell you that his actions stand in stark contrast to civilized and compassionate military units.

According to the indictment, Beara was said to have personally participated in the beheading of 80 to 100 Muslims on 12 July 1995 with the criminal intent and the state of mind to destroy a part of the Muslim population of Bosnia, as a national, ethnic or religious group which constituted a crime of genocide. In addition, he was also said to have persecuted the Srebrenica refugees on political, racial or religious grounds, to have forcibly displaced them, and finally to have exterminated them.

Now some of you will ask why I am so “close” to this issue and to be quite frank it hard to discuss without becoming emotional.

In the later part of the 1990’s I was assigned to a specialized element within the Department of Defense that was responsible for “hunting” individuals who were responsible for atrocities committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following is taken from an award that was given upon completion of the operations:

“Throughout his 16 months in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Major Hayes conducted specialized intelligence and targeted capture operations that resulted in the subsequent detention of three other high value targets (HVT) for which NATO, The US Embassy in Sarajevo and The International War Crimes Tribunal issued sealed indictments for war crimes…at great personal risk to not only his men but also himself, Major Hayes upheld the principles of morality, personal integrity and justice and with flawless interpretation and commanded these inherently dangerous, complex and vital operations on behalf of the United States and NATO.”

Included in the aforementioned were operations to find and detain Serbians Mr. Vujadin Popovic and Mr. Ljubia Beara for their actions and participation in the Srebrenica Massacre in 1995. Although we never found or apprehended them I would like to think that our actions kept them on the run and continually looking over their backs. Both criminals finally succumbed to continued NATO operations and finally turned themselves in 2005.

Looking back on that time in my life I remember vividly the operations; the men assigned and the overall sense of despair of the people who suffered greatly at the hands of these "animals" ...these are images and thoughts that I will never forget.

It is a shame that this article and the events surrounding it will only receive a cursory review from the general public today before we all go back to our vacations, the soccer games and the other events that currently define our lives. Lost are the lives of countless individuals who were exterminated based solely on a religious belief and taken were the dreams of countless others who live with the vision of these horrors.

On 10 June 2010 a measure of justice for these people was handed down…but there is still much more to do.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another Day...Away from Me

8 June 2010 in Washington, DC…it is very much a nice day here. I am on my way to the hospital to chat with the doctor regarding medications. As many of you know I use to take several types of medicines that helped me deal with my Reiters Syndrome effectively however based on the new heart medicines that I am on I am no longer able to take them. The net result is that my “Reiters” is coming back in full force. It’s amazing what the medication was able to do over the past 10 years in allowing me the opportunity to ski, skate and run…now those activities as well as just day to day functionality are in jeopardy.

I am sitting here thinking of my grandfather Mike (Papa)who suffered immeasurably at the hands of arthritis…and how my grandmother took care of him from thetime I was a youngster up through his passing. We have advanced so far from the standpoint of medicine and treatments for arthritis from where my grandfather stood 25 years ago…yet we still have so far to go. Another campaign…for another time.

Jake and Ian have their Colonial Forge Lacrosse Dinner this evening and I will be in attendance. Very much looking forward to Jake’s All Star Selection announcement as well as Ian’s nod to Varsity Goalie for the 2010-2011 season…should be a great evening.

I spent several nights wide awake till 2 AM and beyond revising the poem below. It was originally submitted to the publisher however it was sent back several times for revision. It’s absolutely amazing in working with a publisher…especially one that has never done a modern piece of poetry previously…how do these companies stay in business?

This morning I received an email from Ms. Jehanne Dubrow. For those of you who don’t know her (and up till last week I did not either!) she is a published author of three poetry collections; most recently Stateside which depicts her experience as a military spouse through poetry. I had heard her speaking last week while listening to NPR and given the title and subject matter of my book thought she might be interested in discussing the similarities as well as differences between writing as a spouse (her work)versus as the actual soldier on the ground (my work)…all the while using poetry as a medium. After explaining the trials and tribulations of working with a publisher her parting comment…”welcome to the club” ...follow-on discussions should be lively!

You can read about Ms. Dubrow at

Enjoy the day…and warmest regards


Away From Me

Each day passes
Often slow
I miss this woman
But does she know

That the time
We’ve been away
I’ve missed her with
Each passing day

We were one
In heart and soul
Together always
Our lives were whole

We walked a path
That bought us near
To the things we loved
And held so dear

She was a ray
That shined so bright
I loved this woman
Both day and night

To be a couple
That time could see
I needed her so
And on one knee

I’d make her mine
In all I do
Our love was one
For this she knew

Monday, June 7, 2010

Off the Grid...

“You don’t have to grow up and be famous…you just have to grow up and make your Mom and Dad proud!”
Ms. Meryl Streep; Commencement Address; Barnard College, 2010

I spent the day working on my dissertation as well as some house cleaning. When done I pulled out the Warren Miller ski film collection and watched some extreme skiing in from my least favorite country….France! The video was a series of clips from the WESC (World Extreme Skiing Championships) over the past 10 years. A staple in those films was a great American hero…Doug Coombs…who died in La Grave, France in 2006 while trying to rescue a fallen friend skiing what is commonly known as “fall-and-you-die terrain”

Doug was a former extreme skiing champion and considered by many of his peers to have been the finest big-mountain skier in the world. He operated steep-skiing camps in Alaska, Jackson Hole, and La Grave prior to the accident. To put his contributions in perspective Doug Coombs was often considered the Wayne Gretzky of skiing.

If you’re looking for background on extreme skiing then there are two key pieces for your collection. The first is an excellent book on extreme skiing out by Bill Kerig’s…The Edge of Never. The second is the mind-bending film Steep and Deep which offers extraordinary footage of extreme big mountain skiing, historical background on the French roots of the sport, and glimpses of Doug Coombs’ dignified, fearless, and steadfast career.

I own both of these great works but I wish I was a better writer so that I could tell you just how good the book and movie really, truly do portray the extreme skiing world. Some of the greatest big mountain skiers laying it all out, dreaming up what they want to accomplish...and being brave!

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of skiing some extremely steep runs with Jake and Ian (and their good friend Travis) in Utah – the ski patrol had just cleared the area of avalanche threats when – after a short hike up - we “jumped in” at almost 10,000 feet…in some of the most challenging terrain in North America. It was exhilarating chasing the boys down the mountain as the first time they had ever been at the altitude as well as on that type of terrain…and they nailed it.

In watching the movie today something resonated with me that I had not thought about recently…I remember watching the boys help a young kid who had “crashed and burned” midway down that mountain run. After digging him out they helped him put on his skis and pointed him in the right direction to get down to the lodge. On the lift heading back up the mountain the boys commented on how that rescued kid will be a great skier someday … all I could think of was how proud they had me…and how hard I have to ski to keep up with them…and just like Doug Coombs…how they went out of their way to make sure that others were taken care of…first and foremost!


Friday, June 4, 2010

Cover Art...and working with publishers!

4 June 2010

Originally penned in 2006 and finished in May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "Our Pain” from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

Good Morning – I just found out the Ice Road Truckers is back this weekend…great show on the History Channel!

I spent a portion of the morning working with the publisher on several pieces for the upcoming book. Not many more changes…but that is what they said last week! Each day a poem (or two) comes back with changes from the Mill City Publishing and each day I resubmit…it’s a painful process!

A good friend sent me some suggestions for cover art that I had not previously thought about. I shared with her the attached silhouette of my time on operations overseas…now looking to utilize this picture as the cover art for the book…still working on colors but suffice to say I am very excited about the preliminary results. Thanks Karen!

Enjoy the weekend…looks like it should be great weather!


Our Pain

In my life
I have known
A pain that was so deep

It stole my heart
And crushed my love
For now…I never sleep

Throughout our life
We’ve come to know
Many places, thoughts and things

But in this life
What matters most
Is the love…a loved one brings

She put her heart
Out on her sleeve
No questions ever asked

In her place
I stole that love
And in its warmth…I basked

I gave her not sincerity
What did I do…?

I stole her love
And then she asked
“For what am I…to you?”

To let her know
She means the world
Forever and a day

My heart is broken
Yet…deep inside
I find the courage to say

You mean the world
And all it takes
Forever…no one like you

I have seen the past
And the present
And in the end…I knew

The pain I hide
Deep within…
It echo’s everyday

You are the love
Of my life
Forever…I do and say

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Some Final Thoughts...and another work of Poetry

From May 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "To Love Her” from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

It’s 3 June 2010 and I am on my way to the hospital. It’s a scheduled visit but one that I am in desperate need of. The medication I have been taking has been causing an inordinate amount of heart palpitations; some of them quite strong. Although I have been having these previously the last several days have been an eye opener. My hope is that it is merely a complication which stems from the new ACE inhibitor…we shall see.

I have Jake’s All-Star Game later this afternoon and am very much looking forward to that. This will be his last “formal” game prior to his graduation. I am sure Ian and I will be seeking shelter from forecasted rain showers while sitting in the stands!

This will be one of the last poems from my collection penned in 2009-2010; I have been “arguing” with the publisher several times a day on how many poems will actually be in the book…they want more however 25 seems like a good number based on other publications…again…we shall see.

The inspiration for this piece was quite simple…a loss.

Many times in our life we meet people who we feel…may be the one…and then we sit back and continually question how the decisions we have made previously will impact the future…and what we need to do to change…for it’s the change that will make the difference...and hopefully dampen the loss.



To Love Her

To love her so
I have to be
Not what I was
But what she’ll see

When I return
And daylight leaves
She’ll see the man
Who truly believes

That life is full
Of so much more
As love embraces
Just as before

When time stood still
And we were one
My lover and I
We had begun

To make our life
And so much more
A love so strong
We couldn’t ignore

Just what it meant
And how we felt
You made me laugh
And made me melt

I felt just like
I needed to be
With you forever
As time will see

To love her so
I must be
What I’ve become
What she will see

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story

“The growth of the game and urban programs are about serving neighborhoods that did not previously know the game...that is what City Lax is about.”

Good Morning

Just the other night I was able to sit with Jake and Ian and watch a brilliant documentary entitled “City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story” … on the surface it was a look at inner-city lacrosse, however it was so much more including an intensely personal narrative that exhibits the hardships of growing up in the inner-city of Denver and what it means to be a member of a disadvantaged family in today’s society.

When the boys and I first started watching this piece we were immediately introduced to Mr. Erik Myhren’s and his dilapidated passenger van. He is the main character and in the first several minutes all you see is his shuttling future “lax” players around Northeast Denver; the preverbal “soccer Mom” … you quickly surmise that he is a very special person.

Erik Myhren’s life is a story in resilience itself. After a bout with an undiagnosed illness that almost took his life, Erik, a longtime teacher goes on to dedicate a large portion of his time away from the classroom to providing less fortunate students with experiences that they would not have otherwise had the chance to enjoy.

Now the operative question most will ask is…Why would he do it? Without giving away the whole picture...suffice to say...its a very rewarding pursuit!

He tells of how on one such occasion, he introduced a handful of his 5th graders to some lacrosse sticks, and that these primarily minority students took to the sport much quicker than even he could have imagined.

From line drills in the schoolyard to the team’s first game against a local American Indian youth program, the viewer is given a visually stunning portrayal of the development of a number of these individuals with lacrosse employed as the catalyst in assisting them in breaking from the cycle of drugs, gangs, violence and ultimately, imprisonment or premature death.

In order to show what Erik and his assistant coaches are up against, the film perfectly illustrates the multitude of traumas that many of these 11 and 12 year olds have had to overcome, most notably failings in the classroom, the incarceration of parents and the death of immediate family members.

When viewed as the sum of all its parts its amazing to see what this sport can do in helping kids realize hidden talents and this documentary (and the sport) gives them a platform to perform while attempting to rescue them from the uncertain future that many kids in the inner-city face .

City Lax is truly nothing short of inspiring and captures the essence of not only a great sport…but the efforts of select few who have a made a difference for kids who might not ever have been given a chance.

When it comes back on a station near you take the time and watch it…and not just for the lacrosse...and thanks for the picture (above) Jake!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Setting Sun...A Memorial Day Discussion

From June 2010 in Washington DC...a Poem...titled "The Setting Sun" from the upcoming Mill City Press Release by Brian Hayes

It's June 1, 2010 here in Washington, DC and it was an in incredible last couple of days. I was able to travel to Ferrum College with Jake and Ian over this long weekend to participate in freshman orientation. Jake is a lucky guy given all that this college has to offer. I was actually reflecting back on my college days with both boys on the nearly 4.5 hour ride out to the campus…which I might add is in the middle of “nowhere” – I never had an orientation nor did I travel 4.5 hours to get to school! It was the Blue Line to Government Center in Boston and then about a quarter mile walk to the fabled Suffolk University on Beacon Hill...but I digress.

Being that far off the beaten path is going to be a bonus for Jake…and he knows it. The school prides itself on its academic and athletic achievements and that attitude permeates through the faculty directly to the students. It was interesting watching all the lacrosse players that Jake has played against here in Northern Virginia recognize each other as well as recognize the fact that they will all be on the same team here come August. I took solace in the campus police presentation which denounced alcohol, drugs, pre-marital sex and just about any other activity that could get a student into trouble!

As you know it was also Memorial Day weekend…and a time for reflection…I received many emails and calls from friends and service members with well wishes and war tales from “down range” ... Memorial Day affords us the opportunity to look back at the sacrifices made not only during our lifetime but from the standpoint of the generations that have fought and died since the inception of our Nation. A few tears were shed as I personally remembered some of the fine men that I had the great pleasure of serving with who are no longer with us.

One great thing about Memorial Day is the fact that all the great military movies are run pretty much all weekend. I sat home yesterday for a bit as I watched “Where Eagles Dare” and “Heartbreak Ridge” … yes I know…maybe not on par with “Midway” and the “Big Red One” but entertaining none the less! If you have never watched the movie “Where Eagles Dare” then you owe yourself a two hour break…Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood are both charismatic and believable in this epic WWII picture…and no Memorial Day would be complete without viewing “The Devils Brigade”…another classic WWII movie and well worth the watch!

The below poem is entitled The Setting Sun…I penned this several years back but just finished its review this morning. I hope you like it!


The Setting Sun

I wake every morning
To the sun…fresh on my face
I gaze…deep at your picture
And feel its warmth and grace

I wonder where you are
Where you go…and what you think
I miss the touch…of your hand
And in the moment…I start to shrink

I miss your love…but most of all
I ache…for your embrace
To hold you close…don’t let go
Please take me from this place

You are the one…that I love
To no other…I would be true
From that moment…our eyes met
I hoped…it would be you

For we will be together
No one takes that away
We walk the earth side by side
For with you…I must stay

Forever…to you true
Is what I promise thee
As we move…on through life
For all the world to see

I can’t imagine looking
On the sun…setting low
Without your love to guide me
And my love…to bestow

Upon you everyday
As we spend our life as one
To love, honor and cherish
As we watch...the setting sun