Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Good Bye....

To all who have enjoyed and learned a little about war and life through this site I thank you. To those others who would choose to use it against me, shame on you. Home is calling.

Paul

Thursday, April 20, 2006

DUTY, HONOR, COUNTY...

My Father sent me this, MacArthur's speech at the graduating class at West Point, 1962. Such eloquence is far removed from the daily garbage strewn about by the politicians of our time. It takes a soldier, a man who has been branded by the fire of battle to realize fully the impact of sending our young men and women off to war. Let these words be a mantra for the warriors of our time for the message is just as strong and uplifting as they were some fourty five years ago.





Duty, Honor, Country
Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.

Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the Nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.


What the Words Teach
They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease.

They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me; or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.

But when I think of his patience in adversity of his courage under fire and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.





Have I told you lately that I love you?,.... I do!

Dad

Thursday, April 13, 2006

THE HOPE OF AFGHANISTAN...




I wanted to place a coupla pictures I have taken of the children of A-Stan since I have been here in country. Not only are they insatiably curious but they happen to be the future of this country.

This is one of my favorites taken at the Herat boys school. There are 3,500 boys ages 6-16 here trying to get an education despite the conditions under which they have to study. The main building is an empty windowless shell givin to the kids by the Afghan national police. Behind it you can see the tomb of Alexander's daughter dating back to the second century with it's minerets stretching to the sky. Upon seeing us arrive ,we caused kind of a stir, the headmaster called the school day over and the mob of children decended upon us like a swarm of locusts. Smiling and waving, shaking hand after hand and laughing like lunatics we basked in the love of these kids who just wanted to see the soldiers and their cool toys. As I was trying to get back through the crowd a boy of about twelve turned to me and said

"America...Yes, thank you...thank you." I reached out my hand and the picture was taken. We two humans, so different yet so alike. A finer moment I cannot recall. Bless them all.

Some of the others were taken at the girls school outside Herat at Jabra'il. There I got my first look at the young women of A-stan with out the manditory burka. These girls were fearless and walked right up to me and started asking me my name, age, was I married, did I have kids etc...typical girls....how about that! They were and always will be a wonderfully memorable moment of my time here.
Some of the elders who have lived throught he worst of the Soviets, Taliban, and the tribal warlords have the wisdom to accept the help and assistance of the outside international community but it is these children who dare to dream of a free land without the pain and anguish of another war. It is my prayer that in some small way I have helped them to gain that goal.









My Lieutenant Mike Shank giving out candy and pencils



Me "entertaining" the troops






What happens
When children find out
Forever isn't ever
and mares eat oats
and does eat oats
mean nothing
The walls fall in
on their backyard worlds
Who saves the child from himself?
Who tells him the world rests
on other shoulders?
A childs life is too
Laugh...
Play...
Sing...
Away from the horrible games
adults play
They don't play fair
Always changing the rules
I choose the children
Adults are no fun to play with