They say “time heals all wounds.” But even as they heal, wounds leave scars.

It was seventeen years ago. That’s a lot of years. A lot of time. For some, however, 9/11 seems like yesterday. Where were you on 9/11? (Most of the following originally appeared in 2016 under the title, Where Were You? A 9/11 Remembrance.)


Where do we get such men? They leave this ship and they do their job. Then they must find this speck lost somewhere on the sea. When they find it, they have to land on its pitching deck. Where do we get such men?

– RAdm Tarrant, The Bridges at Toko-Ri

September 11, 2001 was like every other Indian Summer day in California, the Golden State. Gallons of sunshine poured out of a flawless azure sky. Temperatures hovered in the nineties. The long, lazy days of summer washed into another school year like breakers on Sunset Beach. In other words, the day was practically perfect. Until two airliners tore into the Twin Towers.

And America has never been the same.


Neck-deep in other responsibilities, I hadn’t tuned in to the news all day. “Turn on the TV” my husband said that evening.

“Why?” I asked. “What’s going on?”

“Didn’t you hear?”

“Hear what?”

“About New York.” Blank stare.

“Two planes flew into the Twin Towers this morning.”

“Was anyone hurt?”

I thought he meant two Cessnas with engine trouble. Someone got confused. Strayed off course. An accident.  Minor injuries and a dozen insurance claims. Turning on the TV, it took about five seconds for reality to sink in.

NPS/Public Domain

Amid the shock, confusion and grief of that terrible, tragic day and its immediate aftermath loomed an unnatural quiet.

Southern California skies usually hum with air traffic of all shapes and sizes. Everything from thundering commercial flights to lumbering military cargo planes to the mosquito whine of light aircraft. It was all gone on September 11, 2001, when the FAA ordered all flights grounded. The result? A suffocating silence, terrible in its unnatural eeriness.

Years Later

Years later, this event and those responsible are household words. Oceans of ink have been spilled on the subject of 9/11. Documentaries have been produced. Testimonials shared. Solemn memorials observed.

And we remember.

Many Americans set September 11 aside as a “day of infamy” – and something else. We mourn the lives lost. But we also remember the heroes. And in remembering, we honor the sacrifices of first responders – law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS. Scores of “ordinary” Americans who were anything but. On that Indian Summer day in 2001, we saw countless Americans go above and beyond the call of duty to protect and serve others.

It’s been a few years, but the events of that September morning still reverberate. They aren’t quiet. They touched a chord.  For those who looked, the immediate aftermath of 9/11 showed America at her best: Generous. Selfless. Resourceful. Resilient and resolute. United. Uncowed.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri is set during the Korean War. But RAdm Tarrant’s question lingers: Where do we get such men and women?

We get them from Texas oil rigs. Iowa corn fields. Virginia coal mines. From Wall Street to Lombard Street. From football fields and baseball diamonds to basketball courts and hockey rinks. From blue collars to white. From New England fishing fleets. Florida citrus farms. Illinois’ windy city. From the Bay State to the North Star State to the Evergreen State. And all points in between.

From the courage and commitment of Navy pilots and first responders to the generosity and compassion of ordinary citizens, we “get such men and women” from all across the fruited plain.  Scars remain. So does the spirit of America. We saw it in the aftermath of 9/11. Americans at our best: Generous. Selfless. Resourceful. Resilient and resolute. United. Uncowed.

It’s who we are. Remember?



When the night seems to say
All hope is lost, gone away
But I know, I’m not alone
By the light she stands.

There she waves, faithful friend
Shimmering stars, westward wind
Show the way, carry me
To the place she stands.

Just when you think it might be over
Just when you think the fight is gone
Someone will risk his life to raise her
There she stands.

There she flies, clear blue skies
Reminds us with red of those that died
Washed in white by the brave
In their dream she stands.

When evil calls itself a martyr
When all your hopes come crashing down
Someone will pull her from the rubble
There she stands.

We’ve seen her flying torn and tattered
We’ve seen her stand the test of time
And through it all the fools have fallen
There she stands.

By the dawn’s early light
And through the fight, she stands.

Michael W. Smith is a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter. He’s sold more than 15 million albums, scored twenty-eight No. 1 hits, earned three GRAMMYs and more than 40 Dove Awards.

* Today is Patriot Day. In case you forgot.


Independence Day and a Rare, Rich Treasure

There’s just something about Independence Day. Maybe it’s the summer sun. The chance to get outside and soak up some rays after a long, gloaming winter. Getting together with friends and the fam. Breaking out the barbecue – if you can find it. Fireworks. History. Patriotism. Pride.

Whatever else Independence Day may be, it’s a uniquely American holiday.  I love it!

Independence Day is like Christmas, Veterans/Memorial Day, the first day of summer, Thanksgiving, and a ginormous birthday party all rolled into one. To me, Independence Day means:

  • Parades and patriotism
  • Fifty stars and 13 stripes
  • Rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air
  • Apple pie, potato salad, hot dogs
  • Baseball! (sorry ‘bout that, soccer fans. Naw. Not really.)
  • Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin
  • J.P. Sousa and The Stars and Stripes Forever
  • A statute in New York Harbor
  • Lexington and Concord. Gettysburg. Belleau Wood. Iwo Jima. Tarawa. The Chosin Reservoir. Khe San and Hue City. Fallujah. Mosul.
  • Telling King George III to go jump in a lake.
  • Margaret Corbin. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Harriet Tubman. Joshua Chamberlain and Ulysses S. Grant. Mary Walker (Medal of Honor winner). Sergeant York. John Basilone. Audie Murphy. Carl Brashear. Lewis B. Chesty Puller. Chester Nez. Angie Fox.
  • The biggest “I’m proud to be an American” party of the whole year.
  • Semper Fi!

Indeed, Independence Day is a day to pull out all the stops and celebrate this great, good country of ours. To reflect on our national history. To humbly remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty.

Our family tradition is to take turns reading the entire Declaration of Independence out loud. On our tippy-toes.

If I had to sum up “Independence Day” in one word, however, I’d probably choose “sunshine.” This may seem self-evident to those of you in the Sun Belt. And I’m insanely jealous. But for those of us who reside in the Pacific Northwest’s Rust Belt, where moss and mushrooms sprout overnight and mildew coats everything that doesn’t move in ten minutes, sunshine is a rare, rich treasure. Like this beautiful, magnificent country of ours and the freedom and liberty that are our birthright.

Like the sun, Independence Day means or is:

  • Warmth and generosity
  • Cheer
  • A blazing beacon
  • Eliminating shadow, gloom, and darkness
  • Powerful
  • Bright and shining
  • Always there, even when you can’t see it
  • Life-giving
  • A source of energy and optimism
  • A blessing. Remember the first words of Genesis 1: “Let there be light.”

I used to think John Wayne’s “America: Why I Love Her” was kind of sappy. Maybe it is. Know what? I don’t care. Because it still sounds like “Happy Birthday” to me:

Now then, the rust belt has loosened its grip on the Fourth. The sun is shining. The sky is pouring out a flawless curve of blue.  It’s a perfect day for a birthday party.

Meanwhile, does anyone know how to get mildew off a dog?



Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

*This post originally published in 2015.

Hoquiam Middle School Gets Memorial Day Right

Memorial Day and Veterans Day are frequently confused. They are not the same. Hoquiam Middle School students know the difference. And they’re showing it with a public memorial.

Located at the school entrance, the public memorial is “dedicated to the memory of those who served and protected their country.” It’s bordered by mini American flags in the shape of a U.S. map. The memorial includes markers with names of fallen heroes who died defending our country. Dates range from WWI to the Iraq War.

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Can you imagine the amount of time and effort it took to put this display together? HMS gets it.

While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. The November holiday largely focuses on thanking living veterans for their service, and underscoring the fact that all who’ve served have sacrificed and done their duty. It is a day for thanks and appreciation.

Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. Although the weekend is often seen as an opportunity to play ball, barbecue, or hit the beach, Memorial Day is indeed “the most solemn” of American holidays.

So fire up that grill. Grab that glove, kite, or second ice cream cone. Take in a concert. Hug your kids. Watch a parade. Welcome summer. When you do, however, be sure to take a few moments to reflect on the high cost that’s been paid to secure your freedom and liberty. While you’re at it, find a veteran and thank him or her for his/her service. Do both with respect.

God bless the Hoquiam Middle Schoolers and those who made this public memorial possible. Makes me proud to live in a town that “gets” it.

Pass the tissue.


See more at the HMS Facebook page.

Yes, Virginia, The Kum Ba Yah Credo Is Indeed Lame – Here’s Why

Flickr - Oakley Originals. CC License.
Flickr – Oakley Originals. CC License.

It’s a New Year. Time to get a few things straight, right off the bat. Here’s one: If I hear the Kum-Ba-Yah Credo (KBYC) one more time related to politics, I’m gonna throw up.

Heard that credo? It’s a reaction to all the heat and smoke and prickliness surrounding politics. Usually issued during or right after election season by good people who mean well, the typical KBYC bemoans all the “division” within the nation and how “we continue to add to that division on a daily basis” to create a false sense security for some and downright hatred for others.” It may also opine:

We think we are helping, we are informing the misinformed, we are standing up for what we believe in, its the American way….right?? In reality all we are really doing is pointing fingers at the “other side” and tearing them down. So, who exactly is the other side right now? Apparently it’s white, black, male, female, transgender, straight, gay, republican, democrat, Christian, non-Christian and even law enforcement. It all depends on where you are standing. The truth is that everyone of these groups contains beautiful, loving, and compassionate souls standing right next to the haters and the violators.…

 We are now saying, “hey you, good person….you’re choosing to stand in line with the haters and therefore you are guilty by association”. Well guess what? That is EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US! We all find ourselves in the midst of good and bad no matter where we are and what we are doing. It is not our job to destroy them and we are not responsible for them. Our battle is not with them, the true battle that we should be fighting is within ourselves!… We don’t have to agree, but we all have the ability to chose love over hate, to let our light shine or add to the darkness with our own anger and ugliness. … Life is short, spend it in love!

All Ya Need Is Love?

Aside from the infinitestimal assumptions in play, I’m not even sure what some of that means. But here’s a variation on that theme:

Continue reading “Yes, Virginia, The Kum Ba Yah Credo Is Indeed Lame – Here’s Why”

10 New Year’s Resolutions for MTV


The rocket scientists at MTV apparently thought they’d make the season dreary and trite by cooking up a batch of 2017 Resolutions for White Guys. Released on YouTube on December 19, the video sent the idiot-o-meter soaring into the stratosphere while igniting a social media firestorm. (The vid lasted about two days before being disabled. It’s now marked “private.”)

In case you missed it, this stroke of MTV genius featured a bunch of brain surgeons painting “white guys” as clueless, coddled, cave-dwelling Neanderthals while offering unsolicited pearls of wisdom to same like…

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‘Baby, It’s Bold Outside!’

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Temperatures are dropping. It’s cold outside. Right on cue, the Perennially Outraged/Coloring Book Crowd is showing uwhy anyone with an I.Q. above a potted plant is gagging on their latest Outrage Du Juor. (Kind of like the average reaction to  Aunt Gertie’s brick mortar disguised as “fruitcake.”) The Crowd’s latest target as soon as the mercury dips downward? That evil, sinister seasonal chestnut: Baby, It’s Cold Outside. The charge? The tune promotes date rape.

Yes, friends, this Christmas classic has a double-meaning placing it high on the Naughty List. We know this is true because Leftistas say so. Here’s the Bing Crosby/Doris Day version, for your listening outrage. Brace yourself:

Clearly “icky.”Sinister.” Especially compared to, say, four dead Americans in Benghazi. The Clinton Foundation. Basement email servers. Bill Clinton and Co. Anthony Weiner. Hamilton Electors. (Btw, if my falling snow screen offendeth thee, my profound apologies. In a pig’s eye.)

To be sure, the tune is smarmy. Not exactly “merry and bright.” But neither is Nancy Pelosi.

So, if we’re going to ban everything that sounds sycophantic or colors outside the PC lines, let’s at least be consistent. And no more pussy-footin’ around, okay? Be bold. Like deep-sixxing:

  • We Three Kings – Numeric discrimination, gender exclusive
  • O Come, All Ye Faithful – No participation ribbons; “triumphant” sounds too bellicose
  • Jingle Bells, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear – Climate insensitive, offensive to AARP, sexist
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Check out verses two and four. Sexist! Imperialistic! (Never mind that these lyrics are among the most profound in any hymnal. E.g., waaay over the head of your average Leftista)
  • White Christmas – Racist!
  • Let It Snow! Geez Louise.

While we’re at it, can we also eliminate Away In a Manger? Certainly PETA or some other overzealous busybody with too much time on their hands (Hi, Alec Baldwin) will find a way to decry the extemporaneous use of a barnyard feeding trough. Ditto anyone on The View – or both its viewers – blathering about a lack of cribs for baby beds.

Don’t even get me started on Rudolph or I Saw Mommy Kissin’ Santa Claus. Oh, the horror! Ditto mistletoe. It is a parasite, ya know. Much like your average Leftista.

And, lo! If there’s a valid charge related to Baby, it’s that its lyrics are among the most brainless in all Yuletide-dom. After all,  “I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell” is now a hanging offense, right? Tip: If you don’t like the sappy song or find it otherwise offensive, Don’t Listen. Translation for Leftistas: If you don’t like the sappy song or find it otherwise offensive, Don’t Listen.

Behold. Not even Dieffenbachia takes The Coloring Book Crowd seriously. In the meantime, I hear Wal-Mart is having a two-fer sale on crayolas.  Let me know if you need help stalking up (that’s not a typo). Or tracking down Aunt Gertie.

One more thing. As long as we’re being “bold,” it doesn’t get much better than this.

So suck it up, snowflakes:


How To Tick Off a Lib This Holiday in 3 Easy Steps

Public domain
Public domain


    First things first. Can we kindly lose the “Happy 4th of July” thing? C’mon. The 4th of July is a date. A place on the calendar. China has a “4th of July.” American patriots don’t celebrate a calendar date. We celebrate Independence Day. There’s a difference.

    Now that we’ve got that straightened out  – do you want to tick off a lib this Independence Day weekend? Then:
1) Add some defiance to your celebration by watching one or more of these patriotic movies. It’s sure to drive libs nuts. What could be more fun than that?
I’d add …
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