Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

Posts Tagged ‘heroism’

Never forget, and teach those too young to remember

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2017

Sixteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. That means most of this year’s college freshmen were two. They have no memory of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!” They may have seen some brief video or images, but they didn’t live it. And I suspect that their parents and teachers, in many cases, didn’t spend much time on this topic.

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them. If you know such a person, share your memories from that day. Show them this post and other information about what happened and why. Maybe watch United 93 with them.

 

Sixteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Fifteen years have passed, but we must never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2016

Fifteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Many millennials have no meaningful recollection of it, and apparently their parents and teachers did nothing to inform and educate them. They haven’t seen the video or images (or saw just fleeting glimpses with no context) of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!”

That might explain (but not excuse) a mattress store advertising its “twin towers” mattress sale with a spoof in which two “towers” of mattresses collapse. Nothing can explain or excuse what Comedy Central did, as reported on Twitter by Tabitha Bliss, since apparently mature adult entertainment industry professionals approved and aired it. I refuse to view it and hope you won’t either, but here is her tweet:

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them.

But before moving on to that portion, let me suggest that you read an Esquire article by Tom Junod entitled The Falling Man. It’s about one of the most horrifying aspects of that horrifying day. It’s about something that to this day wrenches my gut and makes my eyes well up when I think about it or see images of it, and which caused me some years ago to struggle to create lyrics for a song in my head that, if I had any musical talent, would have been recorded by now. It’s about this picture, and the countless others who did what the man in it did, but perhaps not quite as well.

falling man

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Fifteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2015

Fourteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Malala Yousafzai for Person of the Year

Posted by Richard on December 4, 2012

From ACT! for America (via email) (emphasis in original):

Time Magazine is currently accepting votes for their 2012 “Person of the Year.” One of the nominees is fifteen-year old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student activist who was viciously shot two months ago by the Taliban’s radical Islamists while riding her school bus.

Why? Because Malala fights tirelessly for young Pakistani girls to have the right to an education.

Amazingly enough, another of Time’s nominees is Egypt’s current President, Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohamed Morsi, who is doing his best to turn Egypt into a hard line sharia-governed Islamist nation.

We think the right choice is abundantly clear and we need your help putting little Malala over the top and in the winner’s circle. After all she has endured, it’s the least we can do and it also will demonstrate to the world the type of character and individual who should be highlighted as a “person of the year”—and who should not.

The deadline for votes is at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on December 12th.

The winner will be announced on December 14th.

Will you help make Malala Time’s 2012 “Person of the Year?” Here’s how you can!

*** 2 Important Action Items ***

 

  1. Please take just one minute today to click HERE and cast your vote for Malala Yousafzai as Time Magazine’s 2012 Person of the Year.
  2. Then, click HERE to vote “no way” for Mohamed Morsi’s selection as Person of the Year.

 

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2011

Ten years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Our hero dead

Posted by Richard on May 30, 2011

"Flags In" for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetary. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

  

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

 
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

 

Today, please remember those who died "that liberty shall live." I'm remembering my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs — who, in the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, "answered his country's call even before the phone rang." I miss you, Papa. 

If you have friends or relatives — or maybe an elderly neighbor down the street — who are veterans, thank them now. Don't wait until they have a marker over their head. 

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Son of Hamas coming to Colorado

Posted by Richard on January 21, 2011

I mentioned Mosab Hassan Yousef in a post last March about Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the delusional thinking of Tavis Smiley and members of the Obama administration regarding Islamists. Yousef is the son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the founders of the terrorist organization Hamas. He didn't follow in his father's footsteps.

For ten years, Yousef worked as an undercover agent for Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency, providing vital information about Hamas operations that saved countless lives. He's a convert to Christianity and the author of Son of Hamas, which has received astonishingly good reviews on Amazon. From Colorado Jewish GOP:

Yousef claims that his doubts about Islam and Hamas began forming when he realized Hamas’ brutality, and that he hated how Hamas used the lives of suffering civilians and children to achieve their goals.

Yousef was held by Shin Bet agents in 1996. He claims that while in prison, he became appalled as he compared the Shin Bet’s methods with how the Hamas tortured suspected collaborators.  He decided to accept a Shin Bet approach to become an informant.  Since his release from prison in 1997, Yousef was considered the Shin Bet’s most reliable source in the Hamas leadership, earning himself the nickname the “Green Prince” – using the color of the Islamist group’s flag, and “prince” because of his pedigree as the son of one of the movement’s founders. The intelligence he supplied Israel led to the exposure of a number of Hamas cells as well as the prevention of dozens of suicide bombings and assassination attempts on Israeli figures. He has claimed that he did not inform for money but rather that his motivations were ideological and religious, and that he only wanted to save lives.

Yousef has stated that he supplied intelligence only on the condition that the “targets” would not be killed, but arrested. This led to the detention of several key Palestinian leaders, including Ibrahim Hamid, a Hamas commander in the West Bank, and Marwan Barghouti. Also, Yousef claims to have thwarted a 2001 plot to assassinate Shimon Peres, then foreign minister and now President of Israel. “Many people owe him their lives and don’t even know it”, says his former Shin Bet officer.

When I wrote about Yousef (now known as Joseph) last March, the Obama administration, for some insane, inexplicable reason, was trying to deport him. Fortunately, at the end of June, they dropped their effort, and an immigration judge granted him asylum. Had he been deported, it would almost certainly have been a death sentence. 

In early February, Yousef will be making two appearances in the Denver area:

February 9

6:30pm

Faith Bible Chapel

6210 Ward Road
Arvada, CO 80004

February 10

7:00pm

Hebrew Educational Alliance 

3600 South Ivanhoe Street
Denver, CO 80237

*Sponsored by Americans Against Terrorism, Faith Bible Chapel, and Stand With US and endorsed by a coalition of over 20 groups, synagogues and churches. For more information on sponsorship, please call 303-437-3144

 For more information, or to donate towards the purchase of radio and print advertising with the above message, click here

(Perks are available for large donors)

If you're in the Denver area and at all concerned about Islamist jihad, it behooves you to attend one of these events. If you can't attend, you may want to check out Son of Hamas, which Claudia Rosett said "reads with the page-turning ease of a great thriller." (I confess I haven't read it. I have a sizable stack of unread books in my house, and promised myself I wouldn't buy more until I significantly reduced the size of that stack.)

Oh, and if you can spare a few bucks to help promote these events, please click the "here" link above to donate. I have. 

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Heroic feline

Posted by Richard on January 13, 2011

I'm back! Did you miss me? (Did you even notice I was gone?) Sorry for the long absence, and a belated Happy New Year. It was a combination of way too much work, too little motivation, and a major computer meltdown that took forever to resolve.

In the last couple of weeks, there have been a bazillion things about which I should spout off. But for now, I'll just give you a little feel-good story you probably missed (unless you're in Chattanooga, TN). At least, it's a feel-good story for those of us who are cat lovers: 

At 4 a.m., Cornett was awakened by the loud and repeated meows of the family's cat. Bustopher Jones, named after a character in the musical "Cats," wouldn't shut up — meow, meow, meow, meow.

"I was a little annoyed, and I raised up and thought, 'What is that cat doing?'" she said.

What he was doing was saving the lives of the entire family.

Awake on the sofa, she smelled the smoke. The smoke alarm hadn't even gone off, and Talullah, Lexiss and Seamus, the Cornetts' three dogs, were asleep, not making a sound. 

Bustopher, a shelter cat, saved the lives of Angi Cornett, her husband, three children, and three dogs. And instead of thanking Bustopher, one of the dogs viciously attacked him, causing nearly-fatal injuries. 

Fortunately, the Cornetts got him to a veterinary hospital, and he survived: 

Jones came home Friday from an animal hospital in Cleveland. The bill was $241 and left the family with about $30 in their checking account.

But Cornett said she doesn't regret anything.

"He fought back from the brink of death," she said. "I just want Jones to be recognized."

He was. The McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center, from which Bustopher Jones was adopted, has awarded him the "McKamey Purple Paw certificate of meritorious conduct." 

Good for you, Bustopher Jones! And I think you should lord it over those useless dogs from here on out. 🙂 

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

Nine years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

Last night, I watched a compelling one-hour retrospective by Fox News that refreshed my memories of that day. It will be shown again later today (see my previous post), and I'll watch it again, and this time record it. It refreshed my memory in disturbing, but valuable, ways. No, those weren't bodies falling from the towers — they were living human beings with their arms and legs flailing as they fell. It's important, I think, that these details remain clear.

We must not let ourselves forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

I have nothing more to add to last year's 9/11 post, so with one minor edit, it appears again below.

Never forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

As I have on previous September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end. 

And never forget.

Flag still stands

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9/11: Timeline of Terror

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

I just finished watching "9/11: Timeline of Terror" on Fox News, an uninterrupted hour-long recap of the events of September 11, 2001. I'm emotionally drained. But I'm so very glad I watched it. It will be shown again on Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain). I strongly encourage you to watch this powerful, moving program.

Nine years have passed. Memories have started to fade. Some of you reading this today may have been too young then to fully understand. Some of you may have never seen much of what is chronicled in this hour. The horrific scenes, the reactions of the people as they happened, the recollections of the survivors — this is compelling viewing. We owe it to ourselves to see this, whether it's again or for the first time. We owe it to ourselves to keep this fresh in our memories.  

Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain), the Fox News Channel. Watch it. Record it. Remember. 

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Our hero dead

Posted by Richard on May 31, 2010

"Flags In" for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetary. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

  

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

 
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

 

Today, please remember those who died "that liberty shall live." I'm remembering my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs — who, in the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, "answered his country's call even before the phone rang." I miss you, Papa. 

If you have friends or relatives — or maybe an elderly neighbor down the street — who are veterans, thank them now. Don't wait until they have a marker over their head. 

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Ordinary people acting courageously

Posted by Richard on December 26, 2009

As I write this, reports are still sketchy about the attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. Apparently, Nigerian Abdul Mudallad tried to detonate a bomb he said he got from al Qaeda in Yemen. Either the device was defective or he screwed up — instead of exploding, it just burst into flames.

But that doesn't detract from what struck me about the story. Without a moment's hesitation, the passengers around Mudallad sprang into action

An Ohio man who witnessed the attempted destruction of a Northwest Airlines flight to Metro Airport said he's proud of how passengers reacted.

Syed Jafry of Holland, Ohio, who had flown from the United Arab Emirates, said after emerging from the airport that people ran out of their seats to tackle the man.

Jafry was sitting in the 16th row — three rows behind the passenger — when he heard "a pop and saw some smoke and fire." Then, he said, “a young man behind me jumped on him.”

Jafry said there was a little bit of commotion for about 10 to 15 minutes. The incident occurred during the plane's descent, he said.

He said the way passengers responded made him proud to be an American.

Actually, the passenger who jumped on Mudallad reportedly is Dutch. But I understand what Jafry meant. He's proud to be part (by his own choice, I'm guessing) of a culture that embraces individual responsibility and that rejects barbaric 7th-century anti-human, anti-freedom, anti-life beliefs. 

Scott Beamer and the other passengers and crew on United Flight 93 were heroes — no question. But they weren't extraordinary or unique. They were simply the first to learn that the conventional wisdom of the day regarding hijackers and terrorists — remain calm, don't take any action, do as you're told, let the authorities handle things — was no longer an option. Now everyone knows it. 

It's no longer easy to hijack or blow up an airliner. The world is full of people able and willing to take responsibility for their own safety and that of those around them — people who, when the need arises, act with courage, decisiveness, and no hesitation. In any given planeload of two to three hundred people, there will be many of them. Apparently, there were several in the immediate vicinity of Abdul Mudallad on Flight 253. Bravo to them!

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Such men

Posted by Richard on October 5, 2009

This past weekend, eight American soldiers were killed and 24 wounded at Camp Keating, a remote outpost in Afghanistan. The Taliban forces used a mosque and a village as cover, and set a wildfire to force U.S. forces to retreat from their perimeter. 

Karen Russo of ABC News, on a MEDEVAC helicopter flying into the camp, was the only journalist on the scene. She reported (emphasis added):

Flying into the besieged Afghan base during a nighttime firefight this weekend was a harrowing mix of overwhelming noise, stomach dropping maneuvers and shadows hurrying through the gloom.

When the chopper lifted off moments later with three wounded soldiers, it left behind others who were wounded but refused to be MEDEVACED out of the combat zone so they could return to fight with their buddies.

That moved me. And it reminded me of a Ronald Reagan quote. This is from 1974, when he was governor of California: 

Where did we find such men? They are typical of this land as the Founding Fathers were typical. We found them in our streets, in the offices, the shops and the working places of our country and on the farms.

Indeed we did. And, I sincerely hope, we always will. RTWT.

I only wish we had a commander in chief with the same courage, fortitude, and commitment to victory as those brave soldiers at Camp Keating.

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2009

Never forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

Eight years ago today, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

As I have on previous September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end. 

And never forget.

Flag still stands

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Our hero dead

Posted by Richard on May 25, 2009

"Flags In" for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetary. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

  

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

 
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

 

Today, please remember those who died "that liberty shall live." And thank the veterans who are still with us.

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