Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Stand up for America


We would like to show our support for our troops in the Iraq war and in here we are listing communications we receive at the Family Tree and the Odom Library to share with our visitors.

Lee MarvinCaptain Kangaroo turned 75 last year, which is odd, because he's never looked a day under 75. (Birthday 6/27/27.) It reminded me of the following story.

Some people have been a bit offended that Lee Marvin is buried in a grave alongside 3 and 4 star generals at Arlington National Cemetery.

His marker gives his name, rank (PVT) and service (USMC). Nothing else.

Here's a guy who was only a famous movie star who served his time, why the heck does he rate burial with these guys?

Well, following is the amazing answer:

I always liked Lee Marvin, but did not know the extent of his Corps experiences. In a time when many Hollywood stars served their country in the armed forces, often in rear-echelon posts where they were carefully protected, only to be trotted out to perform for the cameras in war bond promotions, Lee Marvin was a genuine hero. He won the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima. There is only one higher Naval award ... the Medal Of Honor. If that is a surprising comment on the true character of the man, he credits his sergeant with an even greater show of bravery.

Dialog from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson: His guest was Lee Marvin. Johnny said, "Lee, I'll bet a lot of people are unaware that you were a Marine in the initial landing at Iwo Jima ... and that during the course of that action you earned the Navy Cross and were severely wounded." Lee Marvin replied -- "Yeah, yeah... I got shot square in the behind and they gave me the Cross for securing a hot spot about halfway up Suribachi ... bad thing about getting shot up on a mountain is guys gettin' shot hauling you down. But Johnny, at Iwo I served under the bravest man I ever knew... We both got the Cross the same day, but what he did for his Cross made mine look cheap in comparison. He actually stood up on Red beach and directed his troops to move forward and get off the beach. That Sergeant and I have been lifelong friends. When they brought me off Suribachi we passed the Sergeant and he lit a smoke and passed it to me lying on my belly on the litter and said, 'Where'd they get you Lee ?' I said "Well, Bob ... if you make it home before me, tell Mom to sell the outhouse !' And Johnny, I'm not lying... Sergeant Keeshan was the bravest man I ever knew..... Bob Keeshan... You and the world know him as Captain Kangaroo."

IT'S A SHAME THE HOLLYWOOD STARS WE KNOW TODAY DON'T SHINE TODAY LIKE THEY DID IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Be Proud of America


Ruling by Judge William Young sentencing the "Shoe Bomber"

January 30, 2003 United States vs. Reid. Judge Young: Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you.

On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General.

On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive with the other. That's 80 years.

On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million.

The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment.

The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statues. It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.  Let me explain this to you.

We are not afraid of any of your terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here. And I say that to everyone with the utmost respect.

Here in this court, where we deal with individuals as individuals, and care for individuals as individuals, as human beings we reach out for justice, you are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist.

And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders.

In a very real sense Trooper Santigo had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and he said you're no big deal. You're no big deal.

What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you. But as I search this entire record it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose.

Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom. They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom. So that everyone can see, truly see that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely.

It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their, their representation of you before other judges. We are about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden, pay any price, to preserve our freedoms.

Look around this courtroom. Mark it well. The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow it will be forgotten. But this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done.

The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged, and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America. That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. You know it always will.

Custody Mr. Officer. Stand him down.


TRYING TO HELP - ARTICLE IN WICHITA FALLS PAPER BY DENNIS MILLER

ALL THE RHETORIC ON WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD GO TO WAR AGAINST IRAQ HAS GOT MY INSANE LITTLE BRAIN SPINNING LIKE A ROULETTE WHEEL.

I ENJOY READING OPINIONS FROM BOTH SIDES BUT I HAVE DETECTED A HINT OF CONFUSION FROM SOME OF YOU. AS I WAS READING THE PAPER RECENTLY, I WAS REMINDED OF THE BEST ADVICE SOMEONE EVER GAVE ME. HE TOLD ME ABOUT THE KISS METHOD ("KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID!) SO, WITH THIS AS A THEME, I'D LIKE TO APPLY THIS THEORY FOR THOSE WHO DON'T QUITE GET IT. MY HOPE IS THAT WE CAN SIMPLIFY THINGS A BIT AND
RECOGNIZE A FEW IMPORTANT FACTS.

HERE ARE 10 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN VOICING AN OPINION ON THE IMPORTANT ISSUE OF IRAQ:

1) BETWEEN PRESIDENT BUSH AND SADDAM HUSSEIN ... HUSSEIN IS THE BAD GUY.

2) IF YOU HAVE FAITH IN THE UNITED NATIONS TO DO THE RIGHT THING KEEP
THIS IN MIND, THEY HAVE LIBYA HEADING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND IRAQ HEADING THE GLOBAL DISARMAMENT COMMITTEE. DO YOUR OWN MATH HERE

3) IF YOU USE GOOGLE SEARCH AND TYPE IN "FRENCH MILITARY VICTORIES," ONE REPLY WILL BE "DID YOU MEAN FRENCH MILITARY DEFEATS?"

4) IF YOUR ONLY ANTI-WAR SLOGAN IS "NO WAR FOR OIL," SUE YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR ALLOWING YOU TO SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS AND ROBBING YOU OF THE EDUCATION YOU DESERVE.

5) SADDAM AND BIN LADEN WILL NOT SEEK UNITED NATIONS APPROVAL BEFORE THEY TRY TO KILL US.

6) DESPITE COMMON BELIEF, MARTIN SHEEN IS NOT THE PRESIDENT. HE PLAYS ONE ON TV.

7) EVEN IF YOU ARE ANTI-WAR, YOU ARE STILL AN "INFIDEL!" AND BIN LADEN
WANTS YOU DEAD, TOO

8) IF YOU BELIEVE IN A "VAST RIGHT-WING CONSPIRACY" BUT NOT IN THE
DANGER THAT HUSSEIN POSES, QUIT HANGING OUT WITH THE DELL COMPUTER DUDE

9) WE ARE NOT TRYING TO LIBERATE THEM.

10) WHETHER YOU ARE FOR MILITARY ACTION OR AGAINST IT, OUR YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN OVERSEAS ARE FIGHTING FOR US TO DEFEND OUR RIGHT TO SPEAK OUT. WE ALL NEED TO SUPPORT THEM WITHOUT RESERVATION.

I HOPE THIS HELPS.


Here's something for us 'right-wingers'.

The Hollywood group is at it again. Holding anti-war rallies, screaming about the Bush Administration, running ads in major newspapers, defaming the President and his Cabinet every chance they get, to anyone
and everyone who will listen. They publicly defile them and call them nameslike "stupid", "morons", and "idiots". Jessica Lange went so far as to tell a crowd in Spain that she hates President Bush and is embarrassed to be an American. So, just how ignorant are these people who are running the country? Let's look at the biographies of these "stupid","ignorant", "moronic" leaders, and then at the celebrities who are castigating them:

President George W. Bush: Received a Bachelors Degree from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He served as an F-102 pilot for the Texas Air National Guard. He began his career in the oil and gas business in Midl and in 1975 and worked in the energy industry until 1986. He was elected Governor on November 8, 1994, with 53.5 percent of the vote. In a historic re-election victory, he became the first Texas Governor to be elected to consecutive four-year terms on November3, 1998 winning 68.6 percent of the vote. In 1998 Governor Bush won 49 percent of the Hispanic vote, 27 percent of theAfrican-American vote, 27 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of women. He won more Texas counties, 240 of 254, than any modern Republican other than Richard Nixon in 1972 and is the first Republican gubernatorial candidate to win the heavily Hispanic and Democratic border counties of El Paso,Cameron and Hidalgo. (Someone began circulating a false story about his I.Q.! being lower than any other President. If you believed it, you might want to go to URBAN LEGENDS.COM and see the truth.

Vice President Dick Cheney: Earned a B.A. in 1965 and a M.A. in 1966, both in political science. Two years later, he won an American Political Science Association congressional fellowship. One of Vice President Cheney's primary duties is to share with individuals, members of Congress and foreign leaders, President Bush's vision to strengthen our economy, secure our homeland and win the War on Terrorism. In his official role as President of the Senate, Vice President Cheney regularly goes to Capital Hill to meet with Senators and members of the House of Representatives to work on the Administration's legislative goals. In his travels as Vice President, he has seen first hand the great demands the war on terrorism is placing on the men and women of our military, and he is proud of the
tremendous job they are doing for the United States of America.

Secretary of State Colin Powell: Educated in the New York City public schools, graduating from the City College of New York (CCNY), where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in geology. He also participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation in June 1958. His further academic achievements include a Master of Business Administration Degree from George Washington University. Secretary Powell is the recipient of numerous U.S. and foreign military awards and decorations. Secretary Powell's civilian awards include two Presidential Medals of Freedom, the President's Citizens Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Secretary of State Distinguished Service Medal, and the Secretary of Energy Distinguished Service Medal. Several schools and other institutions have been named in his honor and he holds honorary degrees from universities and colleges across the country. (Note: He retired as Four Star General in the United States Army)

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: Attended Princeton University on Scholarship (AB, 1954) and served in the U.S. Navy (1954-57) as a Naval aviator; Congressional Assistant to Rep. Robert Griffin (R-MI),1957-59 ; U.S. Representative, Illinois, 1962-69; Assistant to the President, Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, Director of the Cost of Living Council, 1969-74; U.S. Ambassador to NATO, 1973-74; head of Presidential Transition Team, 1974; Assistant to the President, Director of White House Office of Operations, White House Chief of Staff,1974-77; Secretary of Defense, 1975-77.

Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge: Raised in a working class family in veterans' public housing in Erie. He earned a scholarship to Harvard, graduating with honors in 1967. After his first year at The Dickinson School of Law, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served as an infantry staff sergeant in Vietnam, earning the Bronze Star for Valor. After returning to Pennsylvania, he earned his Law Degree and was in private practice before becoming Assistant District Attorney in Erie County. He was elected to Congress in 1982.! He was the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran elected to the U.S. House, and was over whelmingly re-elected six times.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice: Earned her Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver in 1974; her Master's from the University of Notre Dame in1975; and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver in 1981. (Note: Rice enrolled at the University of Denver at the age of 15, graduating at 19 with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science (Cum Laude). She earned a Master's Degree at the University of Notre Dame and a Doctorate from the University of Denver's Graduate School of International Studies. Both of her advanced degrees are also in Political Science.) She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from Morehouse College in 1991, the University of Alabama in 1994, and the University of Notre Dame in 1995. At Stanford, she has been a member of the Center for International Security and Arms Control, a Senior Fellow of the Institute for
International Studies, and a Fellow (by courtesy) of the hoover Institution. Her books include Germany Unified and Europe Transformed (1995) with Philip Zelikow, The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin, and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984). She also has written numerous articles on Soviet and East European foreign and defense policy, and has addressed audiences in settings ranging from the U.S. Ambassador's Residence in Moscow to the Commonwealth Club to the 1992 and 2000 Republican National Conventions. From 1989 through March 1991, the period of German reunification and the final days of the Soviet Union, she served in the Bush Administration as Director, and then Senior Director, of Soviet and East European Affairs in the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign R! elations, she served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1997, she served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender--Integrated Training in the Military. She was a member of the boards of directors for the Chevron Corporation, the Charles Schwab Corporation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the University of Notre Dame, the International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan and the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors. She was a Founding Board member of the Center for a New Generation, an educational support fund for schools in East Palo Alto and East Menlo Park, California and was Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula. In addition, her past board service has encompassed such organizations as Transamerica Corporation, Hewlett Packard, the Carnegie Corporation, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Rand Corporation, the National Council for Soviet and East Europe! an Studies, the Mid-Peninsula Urban Coalition andKQED, public broadcasting for San Francisco. Born November 14, 1954 in Birmingham, Alabama, she resides in Washington, D.C.

So who are these celebrities? What is their education? What is their experience in affairs of State or in National Security? While I will defend to the death their right to express their opinions, I think that if they are going to call into question the intelligence of our leaders, we should also have all the facts on their educations and background: 

Barbra Streisand : Completed high school Career: Singing and acting
Cher: Dropped out of school in 9th grade. Career: Singing and acting
Martin Sheen: Flunked exam to enter University of Dayton. Career: Acting
Jessica Lange: Dropped out college mid-freshman year. Career: Acting
Alec Baldwin: Dropped out of George Washington U. after scandal. Career: Acting
Julia Roberts: Completed high school. Career: Acting
Sean Penn: Completed High school. Career: Acting
Susan Sarandon: Degree in Drama from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Career: Acting
Ed Asner; Completed High school. Career: Acting
George Clooney: Dropped out of University of Kentucky. Career: Acting
Michael Moore: Dropped out first year University of Michigan. Career: Movie Director
Sarah Jessica Parker: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Jennifer Aniston: Completed High School. Career: Acting
Mike Farrell: Completed High school. Career: Acting
Janeane Garofelo: Dropped out of College. Career: Stand up comedienne
Larry Hagman: Attended Bard College for one year. Career: Acting

While comparing the education and experience of these two groups, we should also remember that President Bush and his cabinet are briefed daily, even hourly, on the War on Terror and threats to our security. They are privy to information gathered around the world concerning the Middle East, the threats to America, the intentions of terrorists and terrorist-supporting governments. They are in constant communication with the CIA, the FBI, Interpol, NATO, The United Nations, our own military, and that of our allies around the world. We cannot simply believe that we have full knowledge of the threats because we watch CNN!! We cannot believe that we are in any way as informed as our leaders.

These celebrities have no intelligence-gathering agents, no fact-finding groups, no insight into the minds of those who would destroy our country. They only have a deep seated hatred for all things Republican.
By nature, and no one knows quite why, the Hollywood elitists detest Conservative views and anything that supports or uplifts the United States of America. !

The silence was deafening from the Left when Bill Clinton bombed a pharmaceutical factory outside of Khartoum, or when he attacked the Bosnian Serbs in 1995 and 1999. He bombed Serbia itself to get Slobodan Milosevic out of Kosovo, and not a single peace rally was held. When our Rangers were ambushed in Somalia and 18 young American lives were lost, not a peep was heard from Hollywood.  Yet now, after our nation has been attacked on its own soil, after 3,000 Americans were killed, by
freedom-hating terrorists, while going about their routine lives, they want to hold rallies against the war.

Why the change? Because an honest, God-fearing Republican sits in the White House. Another irony is that in 1987, when Ronald Reagan was in office, the Hollywood group aligned themselves with disarmament groups like SANE, FREEZE and PEACE ACTION, urging our own government to disarm
and freeze the manufacturing of! any further nuclear weapons, in order to promote world peace. It is curious that now, even after we have heard all the evidence that Saddam Hussein has chemical, biological and is very close to obtaining nuclear weapons, their is no cry from this group for HIM to disarm. They believe we should leave him alone in his quest for these weapons of mass destruction, even though it is certain that these deadly weapons will eventually be used against us in our own cities.

So why the hype out of Hollywood? Could these celebrities believe that since they draw such astronomical salaries, they are entitled to also determine the course of our Nation? That they can make viable decisions concerning war and peace?

Did Michael Moore have the backing of the Nation when he recently thanked France, on our behalf, for being a "good enough friend to tell us we were wrong"? I know for certain he was not speaking for me.

Does Sean Penn fancy himself a Diplomat, in going to Iraq when we are just weeks away from war? Does he believe that his High School Diploma gives him the knowledge (and the right) to go to a country that is controlled by a maniacal dictator, and speak on behalf of the American people? Or is it the fact that he pulls in more money per year than the average American worker will see in a lifetime? Does his bank account give him clout?

The ultimate irony is that many of these celebrities have made a shambles of their own lives, with drug abuse, alcoholism, numerous marriages and divorces, scrapes with the law, publicized temper tantrums, etc. How dare they pretend to know what is best for an entire nation!

What is even more bizarre is how many people in this country will listen and accept their views, simply because they liked them in a certain movie, or have fond memories of an old television sitcom! It is time for us, as citizens of the United States, to educate ourselves about the world around us.

If future generations are going to enjoy the freedoms that our forefathers bequeathed us, if they are ever to know peace in their own country and their world, to live without fear of terrorism striking in their own cities, we must assure that this nation remains strong. We must make certain that those who would destroy us are made aware of the severe consequences that will befall them.

Yes, it is a wonderful dream to sit down with dictators and terrorists and join hands, singing Cumbaya and talking of world peace. But it is not real. We did not stop Adolf Hitler from taking over the entire continent of Europe by simply talking to him. We sent our best and brightest, with the strength and determination that this Country is known for, and defeated the Nazi regime. President John F. Kennedy did not stop the Soviet ships from unloading their nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 with mere words. He
stopped them with action, and threat of immediate war if the ships did not turn around.

We did not end the Cold War with conferences. It ended with the strong belief of President Ronald Reagan... PEACE through STRENGTH


Last week (4Mar2003) , the Shelby County Alabama Legislative Delegation hosted a "Stand Up for America Rally." More than 1,200 (newspaper article states 250 people)  people attended including featured speakers Chief Justice Roy Moore, Adjutant General Mark Bowen and Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman.

This is a copy of Mrs. Chapman's speech, which resulted in five standing ovations, tremendous applause and an encore. It's a short read and well worth it. I hope you enjoy it as we continue to "Stand up for America!" [Michelle Gagner] ( I found some of the speech paraphrased in the Shelby County Newspaper..whether she really said it all or not I agree with what is written here!) 

Stand Up for America Rally Speech By: Beth Chapman
I'm here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for my freedom. I am not here tonight because Sheryl Crowe, Rosie O'Donnell, Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Jane Fonda, Janine Garafolo, or Phil Donahue, sacrificed their lives for me.
If my memory serves me correctly, it was not movie stars or musicians, but the United States Military who fought on the shores of Iwo Jima, the jungles of Vietnam, and the beaches of Normandy.
Tonight, I say we should support the President of the United States and the U.S. Military and tell the liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippy, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and music and whine somewhere else.
After all, if they lived in Iraq, they wouldn't be allowed the freedom of speech they're being given here today. Ironically, they would be put to death at the hands of Sadam Husssein or Osama Bin Laden.
I want to know how the very people who are against war because of the loss of life, can possibly be the same people who are for abortion?
They are the same people who are for animal rights but against the rights of the unborn.
The movie stars say they want to go to Iraq and serve as "human shields" for the Iraqis. I say let them buy a one-way ticket and go.
No one likes war. I hate war! But the one thing I hate more is the fact that this country has been forced into war-innocent people have lost their lives - - and there but for the grace of God, it could have been my brother, my husband, or even worse my own son.
On December 7, 1941, there are no records of movie stars treading the blazing waters of Pearl Harbor.
On September 11, 2001; there are no photos of movie stars standing as "human shields" against the debris and falling bodies ascending from the World Trade Center. There were only policemen and firemen - -underpaid civil servants who gave their all with nothing expected in return.
When the USS Cole was bombed, there were no movie stars guarding the ship - where were the human shields then?
If America's movie stars want to be human shields, let them shield the gang-ridden streets of Los Angeles, or New York City, let them shield the lives of the children of North Birmingham whose mothers lay them down to sleep on the floor each night to shelter them from stray bullets.
If they want to be human shields, I say let them shield the men and women of honesty and integrity that epitomizes courage and embody the spirit of freedom by wearing the proud uniforms of the United States Military. Those are the people who have earned and deserve shielding!
Throughout the course of history, this country has remained free, not because of movie stars and liberal activists, but because of brave men and women who hated war too. However, they lay down their lives so that we all may live in freedom. After all - "What greater love hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friend," or in this case a country.
We should give our military honor and acknowledgement and not let their lives be in vain. If you want to see true human shields, walk through Arlington Cemetery. There lie human shields, heroes, and the BRAVE Americans who didn't get on television and talk about being a human shield - they were human shields.
I thank God tonight for freedom - - those who bought and paid for it with their lives in the past - - those who will protect it in the present and defend it in the future.
America has remained silent too long! God-fearing people have remained silent too long!
We must lift our voices united in a humble prayer to God for guidance and the strength and courage to sustain us throughout whatever the future may hold.
After the tragic events of Sept. 11th, my then eleven -year-old son said terrorism is a war against them and us and if you're not one of us, then you're one of them.
So in closing tonight, let us be of one accord, let us stand proud, and let us be the human shields of prayer, encouragement and support for the President, our troops and their families and our country.
May God bless America, the land of the free, the home of the brave and the greatest country on the face of this earth!



PRIDE

The average age of the Infantryman is 19 years.

He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy.  Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country.  He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father's; but he has never collected unemployment either.

He's a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away.

He listens to rock and roll or hip hop or rap or jazz or swing and 155mm Howitzers.

He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.

He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less-in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop or stop until he is told to march.

He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.

He is self-sufficient.  He has two sets of  fatigues he washes one and wears the other.  He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.  He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.

He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you're thirsty, he'll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He'll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.  He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.  He can save your life - or take it, because that is his job.

He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay and still find ironic humor in it all.  He has seen more suffering and death then he should have in his short lifetime.

He has stood atop mountains of dead bodies, and helped to create them.

He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to 'square-away' those around him who haven't bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking.  In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.  He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.


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