All too often, our friends in the legacy media sensationalize the actions of rogue soldiers in the U.S. military who act against express orders or in a manner at odds with their training. More often than not, our service members perform their duties bravely — and with honor.
And sometimes, they go beyond the call of duty and do something truly heroic. One man who did just that was Sgt. Dennis Weichel who “died in Afghanistan last week as he lifted an Afghan girl who was in the path of a large military vehicle barreling down a road“:
Weichel, a Rhode Island National Guardsman, was riding along in a convoy in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan when some children were spotted on the road ahead.
The children were picking up shell casings lying on the road. The casings are recycled for money in Afghanistan. Weichel and other soldiers in the convoy got out of their vehicles to get them out of the way of the heavy trucks in the convoy.
The children were moved out of the way, but an Afghan girl darted back onto the road to pick up some more casings that lay underneath a passing MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle. The huge armored trucks can weigh as much as 16 tons and are designed to protect the troops they carry from roadside bombs.
Weichel spotted the girl and quickly moved toward her to get her out of the way. He succeeded, but not before he was run over by the heavily armored truck. The girl was safe, but Weichel later died of his injuries.
Dennis Weichel helps define the greatness of this nation. He risked — and gave — his life to save a young girl in harm’s way.
Our hearts go out to his children. His example inspires us all.
Today we honor Nathan Hale and the countless patriots who followed him, giving their lives for our freedom
Every Memorial Day as I try to craft a post to remember those who gave their lives so that we might be free, I find myself struggling for words. How can one man use language to convey the power of other men’s deeds, those who made the greatest sacrifice, not just for their own families, but for their country. Particularly in this day of an all-volunteer military, we are all humbled by their sacrifice as we’re grateful for what they accomplished through that sacrifice.
Today I recall the youthful braggadocio of one of the first patriots to give his life for our freedom, Nathan Hale who regretted that he had but “one life to lose for my country” at a time when his country wasn’t even five months old. How many men (and women) in the ensuing 235 years have recalled Hale’s bold statement as they set out to fight for his, for their, for our country, knowing that they too may have to lose their life for its cause to triumph.
And that is true courage, knowing that they might have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
There are signs, Walter Russell Mead writes,”that we are aiming to repeat a compromise of that kind [made after Vietnam] when it comes to the war in Iraq.” “Regardless of the merits of the war, those who did honorable service in it or laid down their lives at their country’s call, deserve our respect and our thanks.”
Those who opposed the war and those who supported it can unite in tribute to the loyalty, the courage and the sacrifice of those who served there.
That is something, but it is not enough. The Americans who served, suffered and died in Iraq — and who still serve there today — changed the world and won a great and a difficult victory. No account of their service, no commemoration of the dead that ignores or conceals this vital truth is enough.
Good evening everyone from Music City, USA. If you follow me on Twitter you know that PatriotPartner and I are on vacation in Nashville, TN.
Our normal Nashville trip is in June for the CMA MusicFest. But we decided to come during Christmastime because of Garth Brooks. Garth is having a series of charity concerts to raise money for victims of the historic floods that hit Middle TN this past May.
Tonight is the concert for us, but Garth will have had about 20 shows over 10 days when it’s all done. News reports say the effort has raised over $3.5 million.
Thanks Garth. And Merry Christmas Nashville!!
Good Sunday morning. Nothing like waking up with The President. Reagan, that is.
GAYPATRIOT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:
Alexander McCobin from Students For Liberty
The Student Activist Who Spoke Up FOR GOProud At CPAC
Alexander McCobin from Students For Liberty
The Student Activist Who Spoke Up FOR GOProud At CPAC
GayPatriot readers, let me introduce you to Alexander McCobin from Students For Liberty. Alexander was one of the student activists who spoke from the main CPAC stage yesterday. He spoke up IN FAVOR of CPAC’s including GOProud BEFORE Ryan Sorba’s tirade a few minutes later.
THIS IS THE PART OF THE STORY THAT HASN’T BEEN TOLD YET.
UPDATE at 5:00PM – I’ve learned a couple of important facts that shed some more light on this whole incident. First, folks have emailed pointing out that there were boos when Alexander spoke (see video) below. But the boos were quickly and resoundingly overtaken by applause. Secondly, the booing was started by none other than Ryan Sorba and it is quite possible he was THE ONLY one booing since he was onstage and near a microphone.
From Students For Liberty on the CPAC kerfuffle:
Secondly, I have found out that Ryan’s outburst was a publicity stunt. Ryan is hawking a new book called “The ‘Born Gay’ Myth”. That pretty much speaks for itself and the CPAC crowd rejected Ryan’s message and tactics resoundingly.
The first video is Alexander’s remarks yesterday.
The second video is my interview with Alexander this morning.
If The Great American Philosopher were here, watching the State of Our Union I do believe he would reflect upon words he wrote hundreds of years ago:
1775 June 26-July 6. “Our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty.” (Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms, B.1.215)
1787 Nov. 13. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” (to W. S. Smith, B.12.356)
I recalled the ‘tree of liberty’ quote when I wrote the James O’Keefe piece yesterday. While luckily no blood was shed, I would submit that O’Keefe did spare some of his individual liberty in the cause of the greater good: protecting the rest of ours.
If only all of us were as brave to stand up to the tyrannical Federal Government that has taken so much of our freedoms away for the past several decades.
I’m not sure how I feel about President Obama’s reversal of George W. Bush’s policy of disallowing media coverage of the return of fallen military members to Dover AFB. Perhaps I’ll never really settle in on how I feel about such an emotional subject. I give myself that latitude.
But I definitely want to take the opportunity today to give the president credit for the classy way in which he welcomed my falled brethren early this morning.
Jake Tapper has the details.
This is a “repost” from my Twitter account:
$50 says Jacko is still alive and will burst out of his casket with Bubbles and Macaulay Culkin and burst into song while fireworks explode.
I half-expect it to happen. Only MJ could get away with it too. Mostly.
In the meantime, real heroes are dying in ever increasing numbers in Afghanistan — Obama’s War.
“Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media,” Martha Gillis wrote to the Washington Post. “Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week?”
Gillis’ nephew, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, died in Kheyl, Afganistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Bradshaw, of Steilacoom, Wash., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska. He was one of at least 13 U.S. soldiers to die in Afghanistan since Jackson’s death on June 25.
Since January 20, 2009, over 70 American servicemen have died in Afghanistan.
When Beowulf slew the foul monster Grendel who had been ravishing the Hall of Hrothgar, King of the Danes, he showed he understood what the first man to welcome him to Denmark met when that diligent harbor guard reminded the brave hero of the distinction between words and deeds.
With those words and that hero’s record in mind, take a gander at the words of the two most prominent Democrats in our country today and ask if their actions in office have matched up to the words they spoke as they prepared for higher office.
Here’s Nancy Pelosi, currently Speaker of the House, commenting on her party’s winning control of Congress in 2006:
The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.
Barack Obama, currently President of the United States, making the case why he would be a good steward of our nation’s finances as he campaigned for the office he now holds;
But there is no doubt that we’ve been living beyond our means and we’re going to have to make some adjustments. Now, what I’ve done throughout this campaign is to propose a net spending cut.
Here is the photo of a true American hero. It isn’t a photo that is being run 24/7 on NBC, CNN, CBS or even FOX News.
This is a man who, along with this family, volunteered to serve his nation in a time of war and paid the ultimate price on his nation’s own soil. It is believed to be the first Islamist terror attack on US soil since 9/11. And so far, President Obama has had nothing to say about the death of Pvt. Long and the shooting at the recruiting center.
Those who are honoring a doctor who aborted 60,000 fetuses need to see what a real hero looks like.
The American Liberal mouthpieces on TV and the internet have not only ignored the Islamist’s terror attack in Little Rock, but they seem more upset about the murder of Dr. Tiller than they did about the attacks of 9/11/2001.
Army Pvt. William Long – RIP
After “a swift firefight that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding” Captain Richard Phillips “for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa,” the U.S. Navy freed that kidnapped man and captured the surviving kidnapper.
Kudos to the heroes of our armed forces.
Since President Obama signed off on this mission, I congratulate him on acting decisively to release the captain without agreeing to any of the pirates’ demands. Kudos, Mr. President, you got this one right.
Blogger Tigerhawk (via Glenn) has two questions: “What will we do with the prisoner? Do we believe that this action is sufficient to restore deterrence against piracy?”
While we need do much more to keep the sea lanes open and free from such threats, we should be celebrating today. Credit is due to our armed forces and the President. He ordered the rescue plan; they executed it. It’s a good day for America.
Let’s hope the President’s success today spurs him to act so aggressively when similar threats arise and to prevent them from happening.
UP-UPDATE: Drawing on his knowledge of ancient history, Victor Davis Hanson alerts us to what we must do next. “To end Somali piracy, disproportionate measures against the shore should be takenâ€”for every one pirate assault, a lethal air assault should immediately follow“:
Pompey’s victories over the Cilician pirates, the Venetian clean-up of the Mediterranean sea-lanes, and the British success in stopping Caribarrean piracy were all predicated on going ashore, destroying the docks, headquarters, and homes of the pirates.
UP-UP-UPDATE: Looksl like the Captain is himself a hero of his own rescue. “Reports say Captain Phillips jumped overboard again, and the US Navy moved in â€” killing three of the pirates and taking one into custody.”
I can’t believe I have never posted this speech at GayPatriot before.Â Perhaps the time wasn’t right.Â Until now.
â€œNo man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at the truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.
â€œMr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.
â€œI have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?
â€œTrust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.
â€œThere is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free – if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending – if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained – we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable – and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
â€œIt is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace – but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!â€
Where are today’s Patrick Henrys?Â Or Thomas Jeffersons?Â Or Abraham Lincolns?
Instead, we have and Oprah-fied President in the White House.
Over the past decade, while the state of Florida has often been hit hard with hurricanes, few complaints were heard about the quality and speed of government relief efforts. Many have credited the immediate past governor of the Sunshine State, Jeb Bush, for his hurricane response program.
Part of that good man’s administrative expertise was putting the right men and women into the right jobs, a quality which oftentimes distinguished him from his elder brother. In 2001, the younger Bush tapped Craig Fugate to head Florida’s Division of Emergency Management. Bush’s successor Charlie Crist, to his credit, kept Fugate on.
Now, President Obama is bringing that Bush appointee to Washington, nominating him to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Smart move. Given that state officials are the first responders to any catastrophe, it helps to have a man who has been on the front lines of relief efforts.
He’ll be well suited to coordinate a national effort and help whip the various state agencies into shape so they’re better prepared to face the next disaster than was Louisiana in 2005.
Kudos, Mr. President. Fugate’s a good pick. We can been pretty confident he’ll serve the nation as well as he served the Sunshine State.
For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Chester County, Pennsylvania.Â Home of Longwood Gardens, Valley Forge, the Mushroom Capital of the World (Kennett Square), and for any of us who went to public school in the county — the Brandywine River Museum.
The Museum was THE PLACE for school field trips once a year.Â It is such a gem in Southeastern Pennsylvania that I am sure most of its residents, as I did, take it for granted.Â We used to groanÂ when we knew the Brandywine River Museum was our “day away from school” destination, instead of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia — or some other “cool” place.Â
In reality,Â the BRM was the place that introduced me to art.Â Real art.Â Paintings of naked women art.Â Â You know, classy stuff.Â Stuff a kid from my background would most likely not appreciate, and perhaps snicker at, at that age.Â Timeless pieces of art and beauty created by man.
One of the reasons the BRM was started in 1971 was to honor and hold the collections of the Wyeth family, who made their home in Chester County.Â Â Yesterday, one of the most famous American contemporary artists, Andrew Wyeth, passed away.
AndrewÂ Wyeth was as famous as famous is in Chester County.Â Â His father, N.C. Wyeth, was known around the world as a painter and illustrator.Â Andrew learned his craft in his father’s workshop.
As a kid growing up in Chester County, the Wyeth family’s importance in the art world was embedded into our studently consciousness.Â AndÂ Andrew was mysterious.Â It was rumored he came in with the crowd somtimes at the Brandywine River Museum, but no one ever remembers actually seeing him.Â He was like our version of the Wizard of Oz.Â Really important, all-encompassing, never seen but through his work.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy honored Andrew Wyeth by giving him the President Medal of Freedom — the first time it had ever been given to an artist.Â Â Amazing.
I just wanted to acknowledge this morning the passing of this great American artist and patriot.Â And thank him for opening the world of art to a lot of stupid kids who appreciate him a lot more as they got older.
By any and all accounts of measuring success (including the American liberals’ ever changing goals),Â we can finally mark the day that America can finally declare “Victory In Iraq.”Â Â A number of bloggers were declaring 11/22/2008 (last Saturday) as “V.I. Day” — and that date is as good as any.
But it was this week that, militarily and politically, the Armed Forces of the United States of America Officially Won The War In Iraq.Â
BAGHDAD — The long, costly story of American military involvement in Iraq moved closer to an end Thursday when Iraq’s parliament approved a pact that requires all troops to be out in three years, marking the first clear timetable for a U.S. exit since the 2003 invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
The vote followed months of talks between U.S. and Iraqi negotiators that at times seemed on the point of collapse, and then days of dealmaking between ethnic and sectarian groups whose centuries-old rifts had hardened during the first four years of the war.
Three United States heroes are primarily responsible for Victory In Iraq:Â General David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the Commander In Chief, President George W. Bush.Â
However… the ultimate credit and praise goes to the nameless and faceless:Â Â The many, many American heroes in uniform (some still fighting; some never coming home), the American civil servants in the Green Zone, the countless Americans volunteering in IraqÂ out of compassion, and millions of ordinary Iraqis stepping up out of the dust clouds and raising their voices for freedom.
The War Against Islamic Fundamentalism is far from over.Â But the forces of evil suffered a known defeat in the sands of Iraq at the hands of Western liberal democracies.Â It wasn’t pretty — but war is hell.
AMERICA SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF THE VICTORY IN IRAQ.Â Â Yes, it came at a terrible cost, as all marchesÂ toward freedom do.Â But history shall be the ultimate judge of how the Post-9/11 world is safer because Saddam Hussein was not a part of it.
These are America’s true heroes. Not the sports figures, celebrities or politicians.
As Morris Udall, a long-serving Democratic Representative from Arizona, like John McCain, lay dying from Parkinson’s disease in a veterans hospital in Northeast Washington, one man would stop by to pay his respects on a regular basis:
Udall is seldom conscious, and even then he shows no sign of recognition. McCain brings with him a stack of newspaper clips on Udall’s favorite subjects: local politics in Arizona, environmental legislation, Native American land disputes, subjects in which McCain initially had no particular interest himself. Now, when the Republican senator from Arizona takes the floor on behalf of Native Americans, or when he writes an op-ed piece arguing that the Republican Party embrace environmentalism, or when the polls show once again that he is Arizona’s most popular politician, he remains aware of his debt to Arizona’s most influential Democrat.
. . . .
A nurse entered and seemed surprised to find anyone there, and it wasn’t long before I found out why: Almost no one visits anymore. In his time, which was not very long ago, Mo Udall was one of the most-sought-after men in the Democratic Party. Yet as he dies in a veterans hospital a few miles from the Capitol, he is visited regularly only by a single old political friend, John McCain. “He’s not going to wake up this time,” McCain said.
There is a term we Jews have for the type of man who does what John McCain did: mensch. I can still remember when my Dad first used the term and I asked him what it meant. It was the best compliment you could pay to a person, a fully realized human being.
Earlier today, Republican presidential nominee John McCain in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, mentioned openly gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham in his statement commemorating the day
No American living then should ever forget the heroism that occurred in the skies above this field on September 11, 2001. It is believed that the terrorists on United Flight 93 may have intended to crash the airplane into the United States Capitol. Hundreds if not thousands of people would have been at work in that building when that fateful moment occurred, and been destroyed along with a beautiful symbol of our freedom. They and, very possibly I, owe our lives to the passengers who summoned the courage and love necessary to deny our depraved and hateful enemies their terrible triumph.
I have witnessed great courage and sacrifice for America’s sake, but none greater than the sacrifice of those good people who grasped the gravity of the moment, understood the threat, and decided to fight back at the cost of their lives.
I spoke at the memorial service for one of them, Mark Bingham. I acknowledged that few of us could say we loved our country as well as he and all the heroes of September 11 had. The only means we possess to thank them is to try to be as good an American as they were. We might fall well short of their standard, but there is honor in the effort.
In the Gospel of John it is written, ‘Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ Such was their love; a love so sublime that only God’s love surpasses it. I am in awe of it as much as I am in debt to it. May God bless their souls.
“The U.S. Army has provided me such a wonderful opportunity to realize my dreams to go to college and see parts of the world that I had only read about in schoolbooks. I’ve been to countries that many only dream about. Walked the streets of Europe: Paris, Greece, Spain, Germany, England, Italy, Czech Republic. I’ve seen Asia, South America, and, of course, the Middle East. . . . As you know I’ve been raised in the Church and have always had a love, reverence, and fascination for God. I am blessed to be saved by His grace, and so I know that I am going up yonder to be with my Lord. Please tell those who remain not to grieve too much but to have a big party and celebrate. . . . My only regret is that I have never found that special one to grow old with and watch the sunset with.” — US Army Major Alan G. Rogers.Â KilledÂ in actionÂ - Jan. 27, 2008.
I am posting this after just reading a lengthy story about Major Rogers in the August 4 edition of The New Yorker.Â It is a very moving piece and I’mÂ thrilled that the reporter, Ben McGrath, took the time to learn all of the aspects of Major Rogers’ life, friends and personal struggles.Â
I was made aware of Rogers’ sexual orientation shortly after his death and I struggled how to report on it at the time.Â I think it is much more appropriate that McGrath’s profile puts some time between Rogers’ death.Â Most importantly,Â the articleÂ doesn’t just focus on one aspect of what made Major Rogers a special man.
The words I have quoted at the topÂ are Rogers’ own from an unfinished letter he was writing to the executor of his will.
I urge you to read the entire article.Â Rogers was a very complex man who served this country honorably and was by all definition a true American hero and patriot.
Also, please stop by his remembrance page at the Washington Post’s Legacy.com site.Â If you have any doubt how this man impacted those he knew, and those of us he protected, just read the tributes to him.
[RELATED STORY - Remembering Alan Rogers on Memorial Day - GayPatriotWest]