Friday, December 18, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
I gazed 'round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts...
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers.
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother...
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall."
"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."
Monday, December 7, 2009
So I woke up this morning very much still intoxicated. I talked to Tex in the car and she gave me a farewell, have fun...kind of talking to. I can't remember everything that was discussed during that conversation verbatim...however, I do remember laughing a lot.
Anyways, I am now on a bus on my way to do some vicarious living because I am such a nice person. With that said, I am going to attempt a nap on the way to my destination...the "DMZ".
Wake up damnit...we are here.
Between countries, there are three security perimeters. The first one is an anti-tank well that runs from coast to coast. The second is a live mine field that runs from coast to coast. The third is a chain link fence with a guard every 100-200 meters. There are also rocks placed into the links of the fence. These are tamper devices, if the fence has been tampered with then a rock will fall and a passing guard will notice.
There are 126 white stakes to show the military border.
X number of years ago, the North Koreans wanted to add a third level to their freedom house to block the old one located just behind it. When this came about, North and South Koreans held many many meetings with engineers to ensure that the measurements for the freedom houses located on each side of the border were exactly the same height.
The military guy...whom we will call Soldier because that is what he is...keeps saying to not point or make gestures. Supposedly the North Koreans take offense to this and might start shooting or something and we don't want that...might break the camera. It got a bit annoying. The thing that was annoying wasn't that he kept saying it, but that he kept saying it because people don't effen' listen. Anyways, on each side of the border, the soldiers are present outside while the tours are going on. However, when the tours are not at the border, the ROK Army soldiers return inside of the freedom house. I am not 100% sure but it appears that the North Koreans keep bodies outside such as on the roof, etc...at all times. The soldier said that it was not necessary for us to do this because we have more than enough cameras at this location.
As for the tours, there are 7 English tours, 6 Japanese tours, and 6 Korean tours...every day!
Between the North and South Korean Freedom Houses, there are conference rooms. These rooms are centered and built on the border. When inside these conference rooms, representatives sit on their respective sides. Believe it or not, there is a line down the middle of the table, room, and building.
In 1984 a soldier made a dash to S. Korea through the small tower, which once stood where the freedom house now stands. This was followed by a 20 minute firefight. This firefight took place on the grassy area where the statue/monument stands...called the sunken gardens.
National Geographic has done many surveys of the area that hasn't been touched by man in Korea in 50 years. They have found over 2900 types of plants/wildlife. One of the odd creatures is known as the vampire deer. Instead of antlers, they grow tusks in front of their mouths, which they use to root around on the ground. Also, they are almost completely blind. They can not see clearly past five feet. So these animals tend to run at you to see you better.
We have found 4 tunnels so far, we are going to tunnel 3 which is 73 feet under ground. These tunnels are 2 meters wide and narrower at some points. It really sucks for tall people as well because the tunnels are low in height. The way that the tunnels were found was...
The South Koreans heard noises under the ground. They then filled up the area with water to study it and the water drained out. Therefore they began to dig. When they dug, they found the first tunnel. This tunnel was found in 1974, it was 2 km from the DMZ. It is believed that there are still more tunnels.
We walked down 358 meters at an angle to get into the third tunnel. The walk down/ up is very steep.
OMG...are we there yet? So...we finally made it into the tunnel. Now we are ducking the low ceilings. I have been hunched over for quite some time now.
To build the tunnels they used dynamite sticks evenly spaced out, so the roof is very jagged. We reached the other end of the tunnel. At the end, there is a locked metal door with a gun hole for shooting. Ok...time to head back up.
Fucking shit hole...I just power walked the whole way up. Talk about an effen' work out. I am now sweating my ass off and my legs are pissed. Regardless, it was an awesome work out. I must say that when I reached the world again, that first step on level ground was amazing.
Thinking back on what I just said...I would like to clarify that my legs were pissed as in mad...I did not walk so fast that I pee'd all over my legs.
North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. The war lasted 3 yrs and 1 month. Then a cease fire treaty agreement was created.
The DMZ is undergoing a new development for the preservation.
Just finished lunch, I had bulgolgi again. It was good but I think what I ate the other night was better because of the sauce that was used. Alright, now a pit stop and then to the observation platform.
So, we are almost to the platform and the woman told us that we can only take photos on the platform, not from within the building. Also, while on the platform, we can only take photos from behind the line...not in front of it.
On the North side of the border, there are roughly 35,000 laborers employed. These workers make clothing, shoes, watches, and small electronics. These items are then imported into South Korea and sold in the markets. These workers only get a salary of about five dollars.
In North Korea there are around 200 statues of their leader. They believe that Kim Sung Chun (or whatever his name is) is the greatest leader of all time.
Holy shit, I am standing in South Korea...watching it snow in North Korea. Fuck...it's coming this way. Gotta get out of here.
So, I attempted to take a photo from behind the line but it is too far from the wall on the edge of the mountain. I held the camera up but I was a no-go at this station. I did get some good photos of the bell on the mountain. I am glad that I got to see this because I have seen many souvenirs of this bell and now...I know where it is.
So, my adventure has come to an end...we are back on the bus heading to Seoul. It was an interesting day.
All in all...the Koreans in the North and the South struggle for power! It is all about being better. That is why they keep things the same. Such as the flag sizes, building heights...blah blah blah. By doing this it leaves no margin for one side to come up with a reason to get pissed.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
1) There are some talk show hosts, and media members on the right, that called Obama’s speech at the military academy, a publicity ploy. Before he spoke, they said that the only reason he was doing it there was for publicity, and that it was nothing more then a cheap stunt. Those same people are now calling out Chris Matthews for saying that the military academy was “the enemy camp” and saying that Obama had every right to speak there.
Don’t get me wrong, I am utterly disgusted that anyone, let alone a member of the media, would mention “enemy camp” while talking about a military academy. These are men and women who are prepared to die for their country. Regardless of how you are trying to phrase it, you should never call the men and women who protect your freedoms, “the enemy”.
2) These same talk show hosts, from the political right, are making light of the fact that before Obama’s speech, the Commandant of the Academy reminded the students how to greet the President, and warned them against acting out. I am sure that this was part of a general speech divulging that the President was coming, and was not a specific warning. I can guarantee, that although the talk show host would say otherwise, the very same speech was given when Bush was going to be speaking.
I guess what irks me the most about this part is that these talk show hosts are clearly showing their lack of information about the military and how it works. Every time I was involved in a briefing that involved anything higher than an O-5, I was given a review of how to act. I have been presented awards by, inspected by, and had breakfast with many officers during my military career. Just because I was reminded how to act, did not mean I did not already know how to act. To make light of this situation insinuates that our military members needed to be reminded how to act when their Commander in Chief was present. Frankly, that is a slap in the face. Our men and women in the service are apparently much more professional then some would give them credit for.
The Left (Don’t think you’re getting off that easy)
1) When President Bush was in office, there were many on the left that would poke fun at his military record. They called him a draft dodger, said his daddy called in favor’s for him, and even made fun of the fact that he served in the Reserves, and not Active Duty. You will notice that these same people, elected someone with absolutely no military experience and he is tasked with making decisions about our military.
2) When it comes to crime and punishment, the political left is the dictionary definition of hypocrisy. Honestly, it is disgusting the way they manipulate the justice system to do what they want with it. As most of us know now, they are going to put the 9/11 conspirators on trial in New York City. The reasoning behind this is that we need to show the world that if you break the laws, you will be tried, and you will be punished. Really?
Maybe someone should tell that to the gentleman who was beat up by two members of the SEIU, simply because he was selling Don’t Tread on Me flags at a tea party rally. I’m sure you’re thinking, many witnesses, probably cameras, that’s an open and shut case. Well, you’d be wrong. In a symbolic kick to the nuts, the DA’s office has decided to charge these two men with a civil disobedience charge, instead of a Felony Assault charge.
Don’t get me started on the fact that he was a black man, and Jesse Jackson’s race-baiting ass isn’t anywhere to be seen. (Note: I am not a racist. I hate it when the Race card is played, and I despise Jesse Jackson, but if you are going to do something, at least be equal about it, otherwise, you look like an idiot. )
Maybe you should also mention it to the voters who were intimidated by the New Black Panther Party. Some of you may have heard of this story. Basically, two black men, claiming to be members of the “New Black Panther Party” stood outside a polling station with clubs, and basically attempted to intimidate anyone who walked into the polling place. These men were charged with Voter Intimidation, which is a serious crime, and thanks to the left’s new buddy Eric Holder, the charges were dropped.
Better yet, how about we take a look into ACORN, and their illegal activities. You know, the company that was giving advice to two actors about how to set up an illegal child prostitution ring? How to use Government money, the money we pay in taxes, to set up a house to operate a brothel out of. These people even educated them on how to hide the earnings, and how to claim some of them to still be legit. Some of you are starting to scream at the monitor, or your Kindle, and say, but Bunny, they cut off all funding to ACORN. It was an effort by both sides of the political spectrum. As much as I would love for that to be right, there are already lawmakers trying to funnel money back to ACORN.
3) This one is more of a personal experience, but it highlights my point and it is what made me want to write this piece. A girl I used to know in the military recently hurt her knee. She was complaining that the military doctors would only give her pain meds, and wouldn’t MRI it. She was upset that she would have to wait two weeks, and then if there was still pain, they would look at it more, and consider surgery. She ended it with WTF?!?!?!? My response to her was, “Thank goodness for government run health care. Good thing you get to leave that behind with the military, right? Oh wait… There’s that whole Universal Health Care thing…. Ooops.” Instead of maybe admit that I had a point, and that she hadn’t considered that (She happens to be a Democrat, and voted for Obama) her response was, “I actually think that private insurance would put up more of a fight with denying pre-authorizations and stuff. Just found out that a MRI costs over $1500, which actually is very costly. On a side note, pain killers make me happy.”
For starters, that flip-flop was so fast I almost got whiplash. And 2, I recently had a baby with my wife, and during her pregnancy, she had to go to the ER. She had an ultrasound done, in the ER, and we didn’t pay a penny for it. I, of course, have private insurance, and they never said a word about it.
The point of all of this is this: If you are going to pick a side, stick with that side. It is stupid, and makes you look ignorant, if you flip flop your position, simply because you can not admit you are wrong. Having said that, it is time for me to eat a little humble pie. I mentioned yesterday that the only thing I disagreed with on Obama’s strategy was waiting so long to make a decision. According to reports I have heard, none of the plans presented by the Generals on the ground involved troops going into country before the 1st of the year anyway. So I am retracting that comment based on new information.
One last thing before I go, and this is a little off topic. Don’t we want a President who gives a speech that includes the words “win” or “victory”. If you were given a pep talk by your coach before a game, don’t you want to hear “win” and “victory”? I am sure that even the coach of the New Jersey Nets, who are 0-18, still tells them they can “win” and to strive for “victory”. President Obama didn’t use either of those words in his speech. I’m glad he’s devoting the manpower to the war, but are we even focusing on winning anymore? I don’t think there should be any other goal on our minds, but victory.
Ok, so maybe this isn’t exactly like the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961, but didn’t we just let the terrorists know our endgame? Last night, on national television, Barack Obama announced that we will be sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and will be starting a withdrawal in 18 months.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Bay of Pigs was a failed attempt to liberate Cuba during John F. Kennedy’s term as President of the United States. The CIA trained some Cuban exiles and was going to help them invade Cuba and overthrow the regime of Fidel Castro. Due to numerous intelligence leaks, the Cuban’s knew that the attack was going to take place. When the exiles tried to invade Cuba, they were slaughtered. Some estimates place the number of exiles captured at 1,100. While not an incredibly large number, only 1,500 took part in the invasion.
What does that have to do with our strategy in Afghanistan? Put simply, President Obama just told the terrorists how long they have to wait. No country should ever go into a war with a set date for a pull out. Nobody enjoys war, but if there is one thing that must be done right, no matter what the cost, it is ensuring the freedoms and safety of this great nation.
Only time will tell his decision to announce an end date will work. All we can do now is hope that the Afghani’s will take responsibility for their country. I hope the decisions he has made are the correct ones, because if we fail at this, we will never recover.
Before I finish, I would like to discuss one more thing. I am a Republican to the core. Anyone who knows me. knows this. However, there are some things that Republicans are doing that are really pissing me off. I listen to a lot of talk radio, due to the hour long drive to and from work. I hear non-stop these Republicans, bashing on Obama, for things that they WANTED HIM TO DO. The biggest one I have noticed is his decision to send 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. When General McChrystal wanted 40,000 troops, every Republican stood up and said Obama needed to listen to his Generals on the ground. Now that he has made the decision to send them, the Republicans are still finding fault with it. Don’t get me wrong, I think this decision could have been made much sooner, however, I still think it was the correct decision, and I am willing to admit it.
For any liberals out there reading this, don’t be thinking I’m going soft. We(the Republicans) are still much cooler then you, and we would totally destroy you at Dodgeball, any day of the week.
I think it is important if we all take a dose of humble pie every once in a while. Granted President Obama has done a lot of things I disapprove of, at least he has done one that I agree with. And being a man, I can admit that.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
I am thankful to have that voice of reason at times like this. As you all have read, this blog has become filled with hate speech. There are those that bash Fluffy and I because of what we believe in, and then there are my responses. Although I believe the first shot was when I was called a woman-hater, I am considering this battle finished. I am sure that the other side will take some solace in this cease fire. They will claim victory, and may even trash me in others forums. I am ok with this.
Fluffy reminded me today that starting an internet war is not what this blog is about. It was started after the Philly Taco story, and once I started answering my critics, it turned into something I am not proud of. Therefore, from here on out, Fluffy and I will not answer our critics. Write what you want, its cool. We won't respond. With that being said, if you wish to retort, I will still accept emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will still paste the VERBATIM.
I hope that for those readers out there that have not enjoyed these petty fights, that you will stick with us and let this become something greater then that. I thank every person reading this for their support. I hope that in the future, we will bring a smile to your face, or a tear to your eye.