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Memorial Day: God Bless Our Fallen Troops

History does not long entrust the care of freedom
to the weak or the timid.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

God bless our fallen troops!! They have sacrificed so much so that we can wake up with the knowledge that we live free because of their selfless actions. I am so thankful that they cared so much they would be willing to put their lives on the line to protect such a gift.

We recognize these heroes once a year - at least on paper. I thank God for their sacrifices each and every day.


The Birthplace of the Process of Illogical Logic linked with Memorial Day
LiveLeak Pusses Out

Oh, well. The Jawas have uploaded it in God knows how many places. Here’s my Google Video version:


Can You Believe It?

The Navy SEALs need our help! They’re conducting a fundraising drive to build a memorial to their fallen comrades.

We have officially entered into the UDT/SEAL Memorial fundraising campaign. This memorial will be dedicated to all of the Naval Special Warfare men who have sacrificed their lives over the past century.

I think I can dig up some loose change somewhere, how about you?


September 11, 2001

Following is the complete version of a post I put up regarding September 11, 2001. It was a post I put up two years ago, on the anniversary of 9/11. Much has changed since that post was up, but much has remained the same.

My son is now 10 and my daughter is 6. We are still fighting the war on terror, but continue to fight a bigger war at home…those who would much rather we withdraw than ensure we have the situation under control. The MSM, Hollywood idiots, and the Dems who voted for the war but will now tell you they were fooled….all of these people are bound and determined to increase the blood loss in the WOT. How soon they forget the thousands of lives lost that day, including A. Todd Rancke!! How soon they dismiss the hundreds of reports of good coming from Iraq, Afghanistan. Will they report THAT? Will Hollywood write a movie about the thousands of Iraqi children receiving education? Hell no, they single-mindedly would rather destroy our military’s image along with the pride of each and every soldier out there…and for what? Their almighty wallets. Their fucking American Express Cards. Their drug habits. Their $3000 purses and their attorneys to combat the nude photo leaks to the tabloids. The politicians know an election is coming and will do everything in their power to get as far away from the war as possible, even forgetting what platform they may have been voted into office on. I’m sick of the bullshit. Do people realize that if we pull out of Iraq the terrorists have won? Do they realize that we may be “ending” one war, but inviting yet another in our own back yard? Does it take another few tumbling buildings to remind them what happened six years ago?

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I asked my son if they talked about September 11 in school today. He said they hadn’t; I told him to ask his teacher to talk about it tomorrow. This is not something that should be shoved into a corner, put in a box and forgotten. We have to remember what happened that day, we need to honor not only those who lost their lives in the WTC, Pentagon and Shanksville, we need to honor and support the soldiers who go to battle for our freedom every day.

What were you doing and thinking on that fateful day six years ago? What will you do today? What will you be doing six years from now?

September 11, 2005

As anyone would probably tell you, September 11, 2001 started out as any other day for me. It was a Tuesday and just two days after my son’s fourth birthday. My daughter, born on May 1, 2001, was only slightly over 4 months old, and fussing for her morning bottle. Working nights, I was always tired, but woke up like any other day to get the day rolling. My routine in those days was to get my daughter’s bottle ready first, then go to her room and change her diaper, then settle down to feed her while I watched the morning news on Fox. At the push of a button, that day was no longer “routine” or “ordinary.”

Timing seemed to be everything. At the point I had turned on the news, they weren’t showing images of the planes, but just the explosions. I immediately got a feeling of extreme doom in my heart. My first thought? We were being attacked by missiles or something similar. My second was of complete distress…what kind of world will my kids grow up in if we are, indeed, being invaded? About that time, my husband burst through the front door and all I could muster was “What the HELL is happening?!?!?!?” …a moment etched in both of our minds forever.

As the day unfolded, there were many tears shed and as many moments of sheer anger. And grief. I had to go find the pictures of the World Trade Center - I felt so fortunate that I had a chance to see those amazing buildings during a trip to New York. I felt that I had to look at them just to let the whole idea that they were gone sink into my heart and my head.

Before I knew it, the time had come for me to go to work. It was so hard to peel away from my family, and from the news, but I thought that work could bring just a bit of “normalcy” to my day. Of course, I was wrong.

Getting to work was a challenge. We shared an office building with a local radio station and the parking lot, as well as the roads in, were clogged with cars. People were donating money to aid the victims and their survivors. I had *no* issue with being late that day because of this. Once I got into the office, you could feel the distinct change in atmosphere. A place normally abuzz as hundreds of employees talk with customers on the phone, an eerie quiet was in the air. We barely were getting phone calls, which makes complete sense. Those that did call in felt guilty, and said as much. Then there were those who called in because they just needed to talk with someone. Those were the hard calls, because America’s people were grieving whether the knew anyone affected by the events at the WTC, the Pentagon, or in Shanksville. A wonderful lady who reported to me was at work, even though a very close cousin of hers was missing, working in the Pentagon. She asked me if it would be okay if she kept her cell phone on, which is usually not something we allowed on the production floor. Of course I told her okay, but also encouraged her to be home with her family. She came to work, she said, because she had worried all day and wanted something to take her mind off of it. I cried for her. I didn’t know what else to do but offer her support and prayers. Finally a moment of sheer joy hit our production floor when she got that cell phone call. Her cousin, while seriously injured, was found and okay. It didn’t matter if a customer was on the phone, the whole room burst out in cheers, clapping and tears.

We were all still focused on the news. Everyone had the Internet up, checking on the news. We made sure the break room had a television on. I had been very used to eating at my desk over lunch and taking breaks at my desk, but decided in those days to eat and break in the break room. I remember the speeches by GWB and how everyone, no matter their political affiliation or background, was inspired and touched by Bush’s words, and more importantly, his actions.

pennsylvania.jpg

In the days that followed, when there was no air traffic, I tended to get spooked out. Late at night, for about an hour, I was the only person in the building I worked in. It was so quiet, you could hear every noise, every rattle, every creak. And a few nights, you could hear the jets taking off from Offutt AFB (we were in the midst of their flight path). Imagine yourself, already spooked, sitting alone in a huge building late at night, knowing planes aren’t supposed to be flying. At that most panicky moment, that’s when the large jet managed to zoom past the building. The first night that happened, I swear I was under my cubicle, thinking I was about to die. Then when I ran and looked out the window, I did the whole “DUH” thing (slap on forehead included), but proceeded to pack up my stuff and got the hell out of there. My heart was still racing - even when I pulled into my driveway. That’s when I realized, that for such a “distant” attack, it had even changed *my* life forever.

I remember the day that Bush declared we were at war with Afghanistan. I remember thinking “Hell, yeah….those bastards deserve everything we’ve got!” …and got it, they did. I remember watching the footage each night and day, an eerie green-hued Steve Harrigan etched into my mind. I would stay up until 3-4am, just to watch the footage, only to start it up the next day. I remember my 4-year-old son asking if Osama bin Laden was going to kill us. My son, I will say, is brilliant. At the age of four, he was asking me about the news, and the mastermind behind a major terrorist plot - but at the same time, my very sensitive son had fear on his face - he was genuinely concerned. I explained to him that the army guys were “beating him up” and he’d never be able to hurt us. From that day on, “Army guys” were my son’s heroes.

marines911.jpg

Each year, there have been vigils and memorial services to remember those lost in the 9/11 attacks. They have served, for me, as a reminder of what we have lost.

emilybradleypatriots_1.jpg

They have also served to keep my beliefs and ideals firmly in place, especially when I watch my young children participate in these services. This is a world they are inheriting - not by anything they have done, but at the hands of extremists who hate our country.

There was a unity for some time in this country. Flags flying, people crossing the aisle to say “let’s work together and support this cause.” We don’t see that anymore - at least on the outside (i.e. the media). We have the Michael Moores and Cindy Sheehans of the world who will tell you that GWB and anyone who believes in his leadership is putting soldiers in harms way for no reason. However, most “every day Americans” have faith that the Bush Administration is leading us in the right direction in the War on Terror. President Bush has never said that road would be easy, and he never said the war would be swift, no matter where the war took us. He did let us know these efforts will preserve our freedoms and that soldiers would die for this cause. That’s what war is - freedom has a price. 3000+ Americans paid a heavy price on 9/11 and I believe in assuring their deaths were not in vain.


Blue Star Chronicles linked with In Memory of Lt Michael Warchola
This Goes to 11 linked with My 9/11 Memory
Thanks To M

The “Special thanks to M” I put at the end of my videos pays homage to the owner of this blog, my wifey poo. She gets special thanks for putting up with me hunched over the ‘puter, churning out goofy shit like this:



I Recommend This New Reading!

Perhaps I should package a few for our friends in Hollywood?

Update: Hubby liked it so much, he even posted it over at Jawa.


Our Soldiers are Heroes!

Beth over at Yeah, Right, Whatever did an outstanding tribute to our men and women in uniform. It is a must read and will remind you of what we take for granted and what they are doing to protect our freedoms! A quote from her piece:

Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze and sleep for another 10 minutes.
He stays up for days on end.

…and another…

You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they’ll ever meet.

Sure makes ya think twice when you complain about rush hour traffic, doesn’t it?


2996 Tribute: A. Todd Rancke


I’m certain his day probably started out like every other work day. September 11, 2001. The sky was clear, and the sun’s reflection likely shimmered all over the windows of his building, World Trade Center South, on the 104th floor, in the office of Sandler O’Neill & Partners. Do I know Todd Rancke? I never met him, which is certainly my loss. I feel as though I’ve learned a lot about this man because of the tragic event that drew Americans together that day. I hope I can do some justice in sharing what I know about Todd through the posts and memorials I read about him. On the highest level, Todd was a husband, a father, a brother, a friend. It’s evident he touched many lives well before his tragic passing on 9/11. He is survived by his wife, Deborah; his daughters, Christina and Brittany; his son, Todd; two sisters, Pamela Rancke Schroeder and Cynthia Rancke Biennmann and many other family and friends.

When family and friends heard of the attacks, and knew that Todd would be in the building, they called him to see if he was okay and to also encourage him to evacuate to safety.

When we heard of the attacks and knew his office was located in one of the Towers-we immediately called him and heard a busy signal or got connected into his voicemail. We left several messages asking him to call us back-hoping he was running behind schedule — late for work that day.

Todd was on the phone with his wife, Debbie, when the first plane hit One World Trade Center, the other tower. He had called, as he did daily, at about 8:45 a.m. to wish her and their three children a good day, and he told her about the plane crash.

I called Todd shortly before 9:00 a.m. to check on him. He described a “smoky ticker-tape parade” outside of his window. He had just finished speaking with his wife, Debbie, on the phone and was obviously aware of the plane crash in the North Tower. Todd said that he was alright and that the public address system in the building had advised that they were safe. He had decided to stay in the building. I told him to keep his head down and stay out of trouble, and with that he spoke to me for the very last time and said “thanks for thinking of me buddy.”

Deborah’s statement to those watching an episode of “60 Minutes” soon after 9/11, as she continued the search for her husband: “please find him — he’s my whole life.”

Todd had a strong impact on many during his life.

Todd was always an awesome guy, popular with everyone. I knew Todd as a Christian young man, and I know in later years he grew to become an influential part of the church we spent all those youthful years in. I remember church youth group, watching Todd play sports in school, and school student coucil. He was always involved!

I spent that summer babysitting for Todd’s two beautiful little girls, Christina and Brittany…At the time Mrs. Rancke was pregnant with little Todd. I remember the girls would be so excited at the end of the day when their dad would arrive home from work. They would always ask me if it was “the weekend yet” because that was when they had dad for a full two days…I also remember how very happy he was the day his son was born. I remember he gave his wife flowers that day and the card read “thank you for our beautiful son”…that always stuck with me. He was such a nice man and a great father.

I know he’s looking down at us and is frustrated at not being able to take our sadness away-he was such a cheerful soul. I think he would like us to remember him with a smile, and as a loving husband and father more than for his working role (although he was very good at what he did). Again, I am convinced he has not entirely left us and am comforted by it.

Todd had a teasing sense of humor that played on people’s flaws but did not generate any ill will, said his sister, Cindy Bienemann. “He could crack on you in a way without making you feel bad,” she said.

Todd was a Duke graduate, earning his degree in ‘81. Todd’s sister Pamela, also a Duke graduate, shared these thoughts about Todd - thoughts that really helped me better understand how great a loss it is that he is gone:

Duke was so special to Todd. He was married in the Duke Chapel. Our family was there for that, and to have had a wedding down there was special. His in-laws live outside of Durham, about a half an hour out, so he was able to come back to Duke quite often, and go to Chapel.

Duke was a special place. He had a lot of great memories. He did meet Debbie there—she did not go to Duke, she went to another school in Carolina. Then they met seven years later on a business trip; they were both up in Canada and saw each other again. The wedding was beautiful.

It was always a special place, to have a wedding there, and to go back and go to Easter Sundays there, and I think Todd was lucky that his in-laws lived there, he could just go back and walk around and share with his kids and go to Chapel and go to baseball games. For his children to run on the quad with their cousin—it’s just such a special place.

Debbie just told me that somebody is getting her tickets to a Duke basketball game (in New York) with the children. The kids were all telling me that they’re going to a Duke basketball game. He used to take them to that game. He was a big fan.

His sister also reflects on life without Todd in their lives.

Still, when I see things on TV, I still will sit there and the tears just come. It’s going to take us a very long time to realize that they’re truly gone. They’re young, and he was just so full of life, and with his children… it just breaks your heart to see those children. It’s just sad how their lives have changed so quickly. They’ll be okay—hopefully they’ll be okay. They would ride bikes with him, he could take them everywhere, he’d bring them to the football games, he’d bring them anywhere with them on his back, he coached the basketball, he coached the soccer… he was really a hands-on father.

Little Todd, when something comes up, I can see him wipe at his eye, and I think he’s afraid a tear might come and he can’t go there. We’re surrounding them. Debbie, she doesn’t think she can do it but I’ve told her, you can do this.

Todd was full of life. And he danced. We teased him about that, because our husbands can’t dance. His sisters loved to dance with him.

A former classmate and roommate at Duke hadn’t been in touch with Todd for awhile, but Todd’s passing left a lasting impression on him.

I somehow feel his death places a greater responsibility on me to live my life—and maybe on you, too. I now understand—really understand—that tomorrow may not come, and that what I do today needs to be done so that I have no regrets if there is no next day.

How? First, I must pursue the career, the activities, and the people that evoke passion in me. It is so easy to fall into a career, for example, that is comfortable, or begets comforts, yet is uninspiring. I was trained to achieve, to succeed, and the process of getting there was of secondary importance. September 11 and Todd’s death make that not good enough any more.

Second, I need to do more to nurture my relationships, because I know more than ever that it’s the people in my life that make it special. Todd was one of those people, but we both let things fade as we pursued career and family on opposite sides of the country. I wish I’d called.

The final realization I have is the need to make sure I’m giving something back to others. Todd gave me a lot—he was upbeat, enthusiastic, and nonjudgmental. That he should be taken away, that someone so positive should disappear for no good reason, leaves me grasping for a way to fill the void. As I look now at my two-year-old son, so excited by each day, so constantly curious, I’m reminded to do more for those around me. I have no illusions about changing the world, but rather the need to make sure I’m doing my part to make it better.

I think his thoughts hit home with me and why I feel loss for a victim of this attack that I’ve never even met.

Why did Todd not survive that day? The family and others who knew him believe that, despite being urged by his wife to escape, it’s likely the Eagle Scout chose to help others get out of the doomed skyscraper. It sure seems that how he lived likely influenced him to help others live that day. Todd was a hero, but likely never thought twice about getting others to safety.

Being so far away from the tragedy here in the Midwest, emotions were raw and people were deeply affected.

The Rancke’s pastor, Richard Kannwischer, summed up the confusion, the sadness, the grief and, yet, the hope we all had that day…

The last house I went to was of a good friend and elder, Todd Rancke. The door to the house was open and I walked into the entryway. Because I am about the same height as Todd, his wife, Debbie, mistook me for her husband. With relief she sprang up to hug me, but reality slowly crept in. She collapsed in my arms, saying, “Oh, my God! I thought you were Todd. I thought he came home! Where’s Todd? You’ve got to find him.” I have never felt more helpless as a pastor.

Todd, the husband, the father, the brother, the uncle, the Eagle Scout, the church elder, the hero…Heaven became an even better place the day Todd arrived. I can only hope and pray that God has laid His healing hands upon Todd’s family and friends so they can have some peace in their hearts. I know I cannot begin to understand their loss, but in writing this tribute to him, I have done a bit of grieving on my own…me, a perfect stranger.

I knew no one who died on that day, but it has profoundly affected who I am. I think many of us changed that day.

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9/11 Remembered…Part I, Reflections

I was looking back at my blog and came upon the post I put up to remember the anniversary of 9/11 last year. I remember being so full of emotion, four years after these barbaric acts. Nothing has changed this year, a year that marks the five year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on our country.

This picture speaks volumes to me and sums up so much about what I feel about 9/11.

How do I feel about 9/11?

We aren’t safe anymore.

What will my kids see in their lifetime? Will they have freedom their whole life?

These acts mean war. GWB had it right…the road will be hard and long. This isn’t a war on Afghanistan or Iraq. This is a war on terror - a means to protect us from thugs who do not have a soul.

This was a tragic event that bridged many gaps, brought patriotism out of most people. This was an event that favored one political party. This patriotism, this unity didn’t last long enough. It seemed as though the first anniversary of these acts marked the end of this for many.

We need to get that building up in NYC. We need to do it now and it needs to be stronger and taller than the WTC buildings combined.

We are too complacent as a society now, five years later. We should show the videos of the buildings and the planes crashing in them. And the people losing their lives at the hands of these evil, vile, disgusting pigs. And we should see them frequently so we don’t forget.

We should never dishonor the lives lost this day, nor any life that is lost protecting our freedoms. People like Dumbass Nagin and Michael Moron should think twice about the harm they cause in a matter of minutes. And leave Rummy the FUCK alone…do something that makes a difference, like shoring up our borders or improving homeland security. And for those of you with your idiotic conspiracy theories - yes, the ones that presume that the Bush Administration somehow planted bombs and did this intentionally - shut up and shove your theories up your ass. You are as bad, if not worse than these terrorists.

Our troops are the strongest and the bravest human beings I’ve ever known. Their willing and passionate support of our freedoms and our country should NEVER be forgotten. Five years later, people, they are fighting for what YOU AND I take for granted every day. I can wake up every day without fretting about whether my spouse will be murdered by my government, without worrying about whether I will be raped and then slaughtered, without worrying about having to cover my hair, face and body in shame. If I want to go to school, I can…my kids have this priviledge each and every day. I can work, I can vote and I’m free to do what I want. FREE. I have freedoms that MILLIONS of people in this world will never know. And I have our troops to thank for this. I am awestruck by their bravery and dedication. And supportive of those family members who stay on the homefront and support them every day.

See this picture? What does it mean for you?

For me it means we need to step up and protect our freedom before it is too late. For me, it represents a day that thousands of people, innocent people, lost their lives for a reason that remains so unconceivable to me I cannot possibly articulate it. It means sacrifice for many, both at home and at war. But it also means resolve, bravery and patriotism.

This day, five years later, I still experience sadness, but I’m finding that I am angrier NOW than I was a year ago. There’s still much to be done and the media can’t seem to turn their ear away from the voice of dissent. A larger, louder voice needs to be heard - that of the majority of us…Americans who GET it.


Dixie Chicks Reaping What They Sowed?

Perhaps a cost of isolating your fans, Dixie Witches?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Several concerts on the Dixie Chicks’ “Accidents & Accusations” tour have been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has replaced them with other dates.

Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick’s Web site.

Other shows, including Nashville, Los Angeles, Denver and Phoenix, have been pushed back to later dates.

The Midwest and the South are the areas that are experiencing “lackluster sales.” It appears that bashing President Bush and their patriotic fans have sent them across the border to cover for the cancellation of their Midwest and Southern shows:

Group spokeswoman Kathy Allmand said Monday that the total number of North American dates remains the same, with several Canadian cities added in place of the U.S. shows.

Anyone up for helping them cancel some more U.S. stops? Heh.


Post-Independence Day Thoughts

Of course I know that the number one reason we celebrate Independence Day is to commemorate our freedom, those who fought for our freedom and those who continue to fight so we can have the gifts of freedom. I do think of those things on a daily basis, honestly. We usually celebrate the day with a cookout and fireworks, and this year was no different. We did the hamburger and brats thing, and I surprised the kiddies with this fun cake (which tasted awesome, by the way!):

Ain’t it cute? Look at the inside:

I love Jell-o and what it can do. :-)

We wrapped up the night with some fireworks. The neighborhood was illuminated with tons of fireworks, but we had a great show, too, including this big daddy finale, which was no less that 1 foot in diameter and close to 3 feet tall. Put it this way, I had a hard time carrying it outside!

Hubby said that watching the kids kinda brought him back to the past a bit, and I wouldn’t disagree. They had a great time and we’re ready for next year already! I won’t mention the 2 pitchers of mango fruity drinks I downed, either. Heh.


Happy Birthday, America!

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

If tomorrow all the things were gone I’d worked for all my life,
And I had to start again with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars to be living here today,
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.

From the lakes of Minnesota, to the hills of Tennessee,
across the plains of Texas, from sea to shining sea,

From Detroit down to Houston and New York to LA,
Well, there’s pride in every American heart,
and it’s time to stand and say:

I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.
And I’d gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land God bless the U.S.A.
~Lee Greenwood “God Bless the U.S.A.”

God Bless America! Happy Independence Day!

UPDATE: Something special, below the fold…(thanks Wild Thing!)

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