Tag Archives: America

Patriotism Alive in an Oklahoma School

February 24, 2012

Earlier in the week one of my grandsons asked me to pick him up for school about 15 minutes earlier than normal. Mrs. Cheri Robinson’s 5th grade class at Claremont Elementary School in Claremore, Oklahoma was putting on a program for their Sunrise Assembly, an event held every Friday morning. He needed to be there early to get into his costume for the program. He didn’t say much else and I didn’t really ask any questions. I naturally thought of it again this morning and asked him what they were doing. “We’re having a ‘President’s Day’ play”. Okay, this should be interesting. Probably a cute little skit to start everyone’s day, I thought. I go to events involving all of my grandchildren when I can, and even go out of my way to attend. I am glad I went to this one.

A few days ago I read about a school somewhere, don’t remember or care where, that had a ruckus over children being taught to sing and chant praises to Barack Obama. Parents were outraged and put a stop to it. This is not the first time I have heard about this kind of thing happening in recent years. It seems to have become pandemic in our nation’s public school system, but has it?

For those of us born in the immediate post World War II era, this has a chilling effect. I remember my parents talking about, and remember growing up seeing newsreel films about, elementary school children in cute little swastika adorned uniforms giving the Nazi salute, and singing and chanting praises to Adolph Hitler. The school children singing and chanting praises to Hitler in the newsreels were the young adults who implemented the Holocaust. This is beginning in our own country.

Outrage is the proper attitude of parents at this kind of indoctrination. This kind of school activity is what gets reported in all of the national news, they love it. This promotion of the adoration of Obama, or any politician, is what the media is interested in for the most part.

The incident I just related to you isn’t the end of the story. I have another story to tell you- set in the “Bible Belt”, the “Breadbasket of America”, “flyover country”, the land of “bitter people clinging to their Bibles and guns”. This is the story of a much different message being taught to our children.

Let me take you back to tiny Claremore, Oklahoma on a windy and chilly Friday morning; and the 5th grade class of Mrs. Cheri Robinson, Claremont Elementary School. The Sunrise assemblies are held in the school gymnasium/cafeteria, probably the one area in any structure in this entire nation that has no acoustic values at all. In this gymnasium every child’s whisper sounds like a shout and every shuffle of an elementary student sounds like a load of books being dropped.

Trying to hear and understand lines from nervous students who are speaking very softly and meekly into the microphone in this environment isn’t a walk in the park for these old ears. As I walked in I saw my grandson, his teacher, and his classmates on the stage, all decked out in colonial looking costumes, some with construction paper hats depicting the style of the time.

The program started out with the Pledge of Allegiance, a salute to the flag of the State of Oklahoma, the school creed, the 8 steps of character building , and the teacher’s creed; all led by Mrs. Robinson’s students. I noticed the children around me during the Pledge of Allegiance. Each of them stood razor straight, hand over heart, looking at the flag, and saying the pledge like they meant it. These are K-5th kids, 5-11 year olds. This all finished up and a student stepped up to the microphone.

As the first student began to speak you could have heard a pin drop. About 300 or so kids 5-11 years old sat riveted like what was being said was important and mattered. The students stepped up to the microphone, each at their time, and spoke clearly, concisely, loudly, and sincerely about the flag of The United States of America and those men and women who gave us this great nation.

Their tribute to our flag, our nation, our founders, and our veterans brought tears to this old soldier’s eyes and a lump the size of a basketball to his throat. I was so proud at that moment to be a grandfather, to be a veteran, to be a guest at this assembly; and most of all, proud to be an American. I was particularly proud of my grandson, Jacob. He stood so tall, and spoke with such volume, clarity, and meaning. The expression on his face and the way he carried himself when he spoke showed a genuine sincerity in his heart. This was a boy of 11, one of about 25 children, all with a genuine joy in their hearts to be doing this, to be honoring those who gave so much for freedom.

I have tried to instill an appreciation and a love of this nation in all of my children and grandchildren. I have talked a lot with this particular grandson about our nation’s past, present, and future; sometimes much to the chagrin of his mother and grandmother. I am often told, “too much information for an 11 year old”. I have wondered how much of it really got through and how much was “okay, Grandpa, that’s great, can I go play now?” Today I found out.

I was also once again reminded that I am not alone in my quest to see my grandchildren grow up with a love and appreciation of our founders, our heritage, and for those who keep us safe and free. This is not an isolated case in the Claremore School System. This is very much the rule here. This needs to be the rule rather than the exception in every school. Mrs. Robinson is teaching our children the true values that made this nation great. I can’t say “THANK YOU” strongly enough.

I hope this program of patriotism at Claremont Elementary School gets as much, or more, national attention as the activities of a school promoting dictatorship, and the worship of a ruler. Claremont’s play from this morning is the kind of activity we need to be publicizing. These students weren’t paying tribute to a leader or a political party, or even a flag. They were paying tribute to an idea, a concept of freedom, to a value system, and to the great men and women who “pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their Sacred Honor” for future generations. This is what students are taught in the Claremore Public Schools.

I submit this in the name of the Most Holy Trinity, in faith, with the responsibility given to me by Almighty God to honor His work and not let it die from neglect.

Bob Russell
Claremore, Oklahoma
February 24, 2012

Hey Obama Stop Trying To Help Me

Obama gave another speech on T.V. recently where he went on and on about how he has helped the middle class and started naming all the programs he has put in place that has made it easier for all Americans. If Americans look around at their situations and that of those around them, here’s what they are likely to find:

  • Credit Card reform was supposed to protect the average guy. So what happens? As soon as they pass it, our interest rates go up. COST MORE.
  • Bank reform. As soon as they passed it, the free checking account I had is no longer free. Now there is a monthly charge. COST MORE
  • In addition, now if you go into the bank to cash a payroll check (that is if you are lucky enough to have one,) and you do not have an account at that bank, you get charged a check-cashing fee. COST MORE.
  • I know someone that has an all cash business. Now when he goes to the bank to make a deposit, they charge him a counting fee. You get that, they charge him a fee to count his money. COST MORE
  • Health Care. They passed a health care law (which the majority of the American people were against, and still are) that was supposed to provide health care to more people and lower everyone’s cost. So far, rates are going through the roof, people are being kicked off the insurance they already have, and our children are being kicked off policies because the insurance companies can’t afford to keep them on with the new rules and regulations the new law is proposing. COST MORE.
  • Cash For Clunkers. Well at least he named it right; it certainly was one big clunker of a program. First, it gave away $4,500 to every new car buyer- COST MORE, But according to Edmonds it actually cost the government about $24,000 per car.- COST WAY MORE, Instead of taking the cars that were traded in and selling them, they had to destroy them. The only thing that did was drive the price of used cars up. Moreover, for the people that could not afford a new car and have to buy used cars- COST MORE. What about the wholesalers that buy and sell used cars? These people make their living off used car trade-ins. How much money did it cost them? Not to mention, all the money it took out of the economy. COST MORE.
  • Obama has just come out with his fourth program designed to help homeowners who are under water on their homes. The other three programs did not work, what makes him think this one will. I am not an economist, but even I know we have to let the housing market hit bottom and correct itself. A rubber ball bounces up, only after it hits the floor. Who pays? – COST MORE
  • Gas Prices Up. Not Obama’s fault. He does his usual, cry, complain and blame. He says drilling is not the answer, well than what is Mr. President. For the rest of us: COST MORE.

The government has a habit of trying to fix things that are not broken. In addition, every time they do, they just screw it up, big time.
I have only one message for Mr. Obama. STOP TRYING TO HELP US; WE CAN’T AFFORD IT ANY MORE.

This is one man’s opinion

Fair? Who Ever Said Life Was Gonna Be Fair?

Fair.. a word being thrown about endlessly this political season – especially by our president and the democrats. Fair share and economic fairness seem to come up in all talking points and speeches. Every time I hear that word fair I always start wondering, what is fair and who determines what is fair? I’m sure if you ask a hand full of people what is fair you would get a handful of answers. And just who determines what is fair. The president? The congress? What I think is fair, might not be what you think is fair. Well I have news for everyone LIFE NEVER WAS, IS NOT NOW, AND NEVER WILL BE FAIR. And that’s a good thing.

Over the past few decades we have tried to make all things fair for all people, we are now learning what a disaster it has been. A case in point, firefighters in a town in New York take a test for promotions, no blacks pass the test so they promote no one. Why? Because someone determined it’s not fair. The test must have been race biased they said. I’m still trying to figure out how a test can be race biased. Last I checked 2+2=4 no matter what your race is. Affirmative Action is supposed to make things more fair. Show me how? The man that aced the test studied night and day, went to night school and got a tutor. Busted his hump to pass that test, but because no blacks passed the test he was out. Now I want someone to explain to me how that is fair? A man invests all his time an energies, sacrifices time with his family so he can better himself and he’s told you got the highest mark on the test, a 98% but sorry we still can’t promote you. Fair?

Another case, years ago some liberal brain-e-ack decided that we must not hurt our children’s feelings. There should be no winners or losers. Instead we are all winners, because that is the fair thing to do. I wish I could find the one person that started that, because I would love to give him a big slap across the head. He could tell me how unfair that is. Children play sports, the winners get trophies, but also the losers get trophies. Now again, can someone explain to me how that is fair to the winners? They practice, sacrifice time to make themselves winners, but get nothing special, because the losers got the same thing they did. Also the losers are thinking why should we practice or sacrifice our time we are going to get a trophy no matter what. And WA-LA we now have a generation thinking everything is owed to them. Fair?

When I was a kid we would choose up sides and play ball. When we lost, we would say “O.K. We’ll get you next time.” You see the difference? By losing, it made us want to strive to better ourselves. Try to make ourselves better than before. Children need to sample life, the good as well as the bad. If we hide the bad from them, we are doing them more harm than good.

It’s been proven over and over again, liberal views and policies just do not work.

This is one mans opinion.

Gee, I Guess I Must Be A Racist?

As of this writing, I am 59 years old, and I have to tell you in all those 59 years I have never heard the word racist as much as I have in the past 4 years. As a matter of fact I use that word nineteen times in this article and it is still more times than I have heard the word prior to the past four years.

It seems like every time I watch T.V. someone is calling someone else a racist for one reason or another. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s someone on the left calling someone on the right a racist. It seems if you disagree or have a different view than someone on the left, you are labeled a racist. I am convinced that the left uses that as a weapon to try to shut you up and make you back down from whatever the discussion might be. It’s funny though, I have noticed that someone on the left can say the same thing that someone on the right would be called a racist for, but they seem to get a pass. I guess people on the right are the only ones that can be racist.

So I decided to take a look at myself and low and behold I am a racist. (Well according to the left any way.) Here is a list of why I am considered a racist, according to the left.
1. I did not vote for Barack Obama. RACIST
2. I think he is doing a terrible job. RACIST
3. I am against affirmative action. RACIST
4. I hate rap music. RACIST On this I really think they should play rap music at Gitmo instead of water boarding, to me rap music is much more painful.
5. I have no black friends. RACIST I guess the left would like me to run around the city trying to find black people to be friends with. You know like George Castanza did in that Sienfield episode.
6. I believe illegal immigrants should be deported. RACIST

I am sure that the left can compile a much longer list. Just being a white, Catholic, republican, male is in itself reason enough to be called a racist these days. So it occurred to me no matter what a white, Catholic, republican, male says, he is going to be called a racist. So I said to myself why fight it? In my 59 years on this earth I have learned that everything is perception, One person is going to perceive you a racist, while another person (one with common sense) will perceive you not to be. So I have come to face the fact that no matter what I do I will be a racist. So I have decided that any time someone on the left calls me a name, I will wear it as a badge of honor. I believe the only reason the left calls people names it’s because they know it bothers them. Well I’m making a stand here and now. Call me what you will and I will agree with you. Whatever they call me, I will say “that’s right, what else have you got.” If they see it doesn’t bother you, eventually they will stop. I remember when I was a kid we had a saying, sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Ah to be a child again.
This is one man’s opinion.

Giving Thanks for…. 4%

This is Thanksgiving Day in the United States of America. By proclamations of pioneers, framers and Presidents long since past, we have consecrated this final Thursday of November to be a day that we give thanks for all of the persons and things we hold dear to our hearts.

Of course, this started out – and for most Americans continues to be, a time of giving thanks to GOD. From the first Thanksgiving of famous lore to the ones we will have today, we have been grateful for many things.

Topping the list for most is family, friends and the like. Others, who share the mental depth with a standard kiddie pool, may think of toys, big and small. But for me, other than for my relationship with the Lord Almighty (shhhh! That’s protected speech….) I am grateful the most for one thing – 4%.

Four percent, you say? Of what? Is that what you made off your munies last year? I wish… Maybe 4% body fat? HA! One of my cheeks has 4% body fat (not telling which one either…). Four percent APR on your home re-fi? Much better than the ‘70’s for sure, but no…

I GOT IT! Four percent unemployment! Uhhh nope. Haven’t even been in the vicinity of that since the year 3 B.O. (that would be Before Obama. 2005 on the old calendar).

No, the 4% I am talking about is the statistically minuscule chance that I would be born in the greatest country the world has even seen – America! Now, I know how cheesy that sounded, but think about it. If you are a natural born American, there was a 96% chance that you would have been born in another country. Not that being born in countries like England, Canada, France (…well) are necessarily bad, but what of the billions born into true and abject poverty? And I am not talking about American poverty either. Someone square in the middle of the American poverty class (about 10k) would qualify to be in the top 13% of wage earners around the world! Our poverty line – at about $20,000 for a family of 4 – would vault you into the 90th percentile. In some countries, you would be royalty!

And while the basic, and most worthwhile things to be thankful for – life, family, friends – are a universal blessing to most, being in this 4% offers opportunities to add descriptors to the afore mention gifts. The 4% provides us with not only life, but a chance for a good life; not just a family, but a happy, prosperous family; and not just friends, but trustworthy friends. Plus one thing the most of the world still lacks – LIBERTY!!

America is not all wine and roses, far from it, but despite press coverage that might suggest otherwise, it is still the United States that the world turns to for help. It is still America and her Constitution that other counties try to emulate. It is this 4%, that many in the other 96% will move heaven and earth, leave everything they know behind to travel to a land that still holds the promise of prosperity.

So I am grateful to be a part of this 4%, for because of this, I have many more things to be grateful for!

These OWS Protestors Aren't "Poor"

We’re about four weeks into Occupy Wall Street, and one of the common themes we hear is the protestors are dissatisfied with the 1% of Americans who are said to hold “all the wealth”.  Well, I will say that they have one point…. it is odd that “fat cats” are getting salary bumps during a recession.  I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you fall on, it seems weird that a company would fire thousands of employees and then pay their executives higher salaries.  That’s not a partisan observation on my part; it’s an honest one.  I’ll give Liberals and Occupy Wall Street Protestors that much, but I wrote this piece to focus on the plight of the 99% of people who “aren’t rich”.  Primarily, I want to focus on what it means to be “poor” in 2011.  I think some perspective is in order, because many people don’t seem to know what “poor” is.  Let’s begin.

When it comes to understanding poverty in America, there are two camps:  People who remember the 1970’s and 80’s, and the people who don’t.  Allow me to offer perspective.

You can be poor today and still live a comfortable life.  You can have internet, heat, air conditioning, 3 meals plus snacks, your own bedroom, medical care, and you can still do recreational activities like going to an amusement park or the movies.  As someone who grew up in the 80’s and was “poor” in the early 2000’s, I have some critical perspective that I think many are missing today.

I remember what poverty felt like in the early 80’s.  I hear it was worse in the 70’s, but my data banks don’t go back that far.  I remember winter mornings in the Midwest.  My parents’ car (singular) had plastic seats.  The kids at Occupy Wall Street can’t fathom what I’m going to describe next.  We lived in the kind of neighborhood where you don’t leave you car running unattended, so we would sit in it as it “warmed up”.  Cars had carburetors back then.  You couldn’t start them and drive away.  You could try, but the engine would keep stalling out, and eventually, you would be so frustrated that you would pull over and let the engine heat up like it wanted to.  So I sat there on plastic seats that were so cold that they hurt my bones.  I could feel the coldness even through my coat.  Not that it was a good coat.  See, technology has come a long way today, but in the 80’s, the cheap coat at Kmart was about “worthless”.  So I sat there on the cold seats and watched my breath make little clouds in front of my face.  That’s another thing… Car heaters back then didn’t really “work” until the car had been driven a certain distance, but we couldn’t drive yet, because the engine was still heating up.  So we sat.  We didn’t have anything on our iPhone to distract us, because iPhones didn’t exist.  And if they did, they would probably cost about $4,000, so it’s not like we would own one anyway.  We did have an FM stereo though, but it didn’t have presets.  It had big mechanical knobs, and you could feel tension when you turned them.  You could feel metal bands winding their way through the rectangular box as you chose your stations.  So we sat there looking at our breath while waiting for the car to be warm enough to be driven away.  You knew it was warm enough, when it “kicked down”.  Yeah, that’s a quirk about carburetors you might not know about.  The engine would run (loudly) at a really high RPM until it was ready to “kick down”.  You kicked it down by stomping on the gas pedal.  It usually took 2-5 minutes before it would go from “VRRRRRrrrrrrrrooooooMMMmmmmm” to “chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug”.  The engine chugged and sounded like it might want to stall because it was still too cold, and it probably had something to do with the density of the cold air outside.  I don’t know.  I was 8, and I hadn’t really figured out the internal combustion engine yet, but I remember what it was like.

Other things I remember are that we had one TV.  Just one.  And 25 inches was “big” for the 80’s.  So that’s what we had.  A lot of people had smaller TV’s in our neighborhood.  So imagine seven people watching a 25 inch box that was almost too heavy to pick up.  You know, a lot of you are reading this on an iMac that has a 27 inch screen.  Chew on that.  Heck, an iPad just about has a 10 inch screen.  Anyway…

Most kids I knew didn’t have their own room.  They shared one.  Sometimes they shared the same bed.  The lucky ones had bunk beds.  I was in the military before I ever got to sleep in a bunk bed.  In case you wondered, it’s really not as fun as it looks, but they are quaint.  Most of us brown bagged our lunch or had a lunch box.  My mom made me take food to school in a Tupperware container.  I really wished I had a lunch box.  I don’t know the economics of the 80’s, but apparently, it was cheaper to make your own food than to buy it from the school then.  I think it’s cheaper to buy it from the school today.  (but again, I haven’t priced out what a “brown bag” would cost)

For most of my childhood, we didn’t have air conditioning, at least not central air.  When I was 7, we got a window unit that kept the dining room cold, but our bedrooms still felt like crap.  If winter mornings sucked, summer nights might have sucked worse.  It was hard trying to sleep when you sweated in your bed.  They sold box fans back then, but in all honesty, it felt like they made more noise than they did the circulation of air.  So I didn’t sleep much during the summer.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to lay awake until 1 in the morning.  Central air conditioning would have been nice.

Our car didn’t have air conditioning either.  You ever hear of the “460 air conditioning” system?  A lot of people said that they had that back then.  You drive 60 miles an hour with all four windows down. (hence “460 air system”)  Air conditioning in our car would have been nice.

Since I’ve talked so much about cars, I may as well throw this out there… By the time I was 15, almost everyone I knew had to have a car’s engine rebuilt by then.  You don’t really hear about that very much anymore.  Transmissions, sure, but engines, not so much.  Today, when people blow an engine, they usually just get a different car.  That was a fantasy when I was growing up.  I personally rebuilt three by the time I was 18.  One of them was mine.  The others belonged to family members.  I don’t really think many kids at OWS would know how to do that.  I’m speculating, and I could be wrong, but this is my hunch.

I mentioned having your own bedroom earlier in the post.  I don’t know what getting government assistance was like back then, but I know some things about what it’s like in California today. (not from personal experience, mind you)  I’ve talked to some of my neighbors with 4 and 5 bedroom houses and found out that in California, if you have the right mix of boys and girls (and enough of them), then when they assist you with housing they HAVE to give you enough money to rent a house that has “enough” bedrooms.  It’s an interesting little clause, because that means these people get to live in nice houses while living on the government dime.  Think about it… most apartments don’t have 4-5 bedrooms, and the ones that do are pretty expensive/nice.  And most houses that have 4-5 bedrooms are also pretty expensive or nice.  So a lot of “poor” people I know live in nicer houses than my friends that work and went to college.  That’s another thing you might want to chew on.  Food stamps (or EBT)) out here in interesting too.  You get “about” $200 per person for food stamps.  The people in the 5 bedroom houses are getting close to $1000 a month in food stamps.  That’s not bad, especially because food stamps will buy many more things than they did in the 80’s.  My dad was out of work and got food stamps for about 2 months when I was growing up.  I remember there were many restrictions on what we could buy.  Today, you can use an EBT at Taco Bell or a strip club.  Times have changed for “poor” people, my friends.

Even on the more reasonable spectrum of things, the “working poor” have it better than my family did growing up.  I rented an apartment in 2001 that had air conditioning, a dish washer, a nice patio, a decent community gym, pool, and 24 hour maintenance.  It was actually pretty nice.  The cost?  $420 a month.  That was with no government assistance.  It was just what a cheap apartment went for in the Midwest in 2001.  I live in California now, and affordable apartments are about $800-$1300 a month for everything I described above.  In the scheme of things, that’s a lot of comfort for a price that most people with a job can afford.  Those options didn’t really exist when I was a kid.  The cheap places to live had no air conditioning, dishwashers, gyms, etc.  Sometimes they weren’t even what you would call “clean”.

And that’s the thing…  There used to be a really big difference between the “haves” and the “have nots”.  The “haves” didn’t sit in a frozen car staring at their breath.  They had multiple televisions.  Their kids got their own bedrooms.  They had air conditioning.  The had dishwashers.  They had the internet.  They had computers.  (poor people did not have computers… there was no such thing as a $200 netbook… computers were well over $1,000)  And minimum wage was less than $5 an hour.  Poor people in the past were lucky to have a clean place to live.  A lot (or all) of the kids at Occupy Wall Street don’t know these things.  They don’t know what poverty feels like.  They don’t know what fixing their own car feels like.  They didn’t eat peanut butter sandwiches out of a Tupperware container at school.  Folks, potato chips were a luxury to me.  I was jealous of the kids that got them.  Most of these protestors don’t know what “hard” is.

The most beautiful irony of all is this…. “Protestors” at these “occupy” rallies can read this blog and tell me that I’m a “stupid douche bag” from a cell phone that they’re using while they “camp” out.  It’s freaking hilarious.  In 2002, only the “rich” people had camera phones.  Nine years later, these brats can surf the internet and blog about how terrible “rich” people are from a device that fits in their pocket.  I love it.

I’m not saying that poverty doesn’t exist, and I’m not saying that inequality doesn’t exist either.  I’m not even saying that it’s prudent to raise salaries for executives while firing thousands of employees.  I’m not saying any of that.  I am saying, however, that most of these protestors aren’t “poor”.  They don’t know what poverty is, and a lot of hard working capitalists have created this comfortable world that coddles them.  If anything, they should hug a rich person, not hate them.  And if any of them wants to hear what being poor is really like, I’m more than happy to show them my photo album.  Oh, wait… we couldn’t afford a camera when I was growing up.

 

John Wayne: The Hyphen

I remember growing up getting into my Dad’s old records and the John Wayne "America, Why I Love Her" album was my favorite. There is only one other actor that I might say was as patriotic as John Wayne, and that would be President Ronald Reagan. Now days the liberals have pretty much taken over Hollywood. John Wayne was known for not only his acting, but also his patriotism and straight shooting personality. If only everyone in America would realize the truth John Wayne puts in this song and the entire album.

 

We Made Our Voices Heard

Americans remember where they were on September 11, 2001. The stories are varied and unique, just like Americans. But they were also the same, just like Americans. E Pluribus Unum – out of many, one. What our five senses recorded in those minutes and hours could play out like a wall of monitors in a news control room, dancing about with different sights, sounds and speeds. Eventually though, they all would focus on the same thing – a country, a President, a flag.

Fleeting as it may be, unity in a free society is a commodity more valuable than all the gold, silver, bronze and platinum put together, and in that moment, it was ours.

As it should, over the days, weeks, months and years, the monitors returned to their own stories, yet on those brief occasions, we see the same image – perhaps from different angles, perhaps with different lighting, perspective, depth and focus, but the same nevertheless. And nothing helps us focus on a common image quite like music does.

Ten years ago, I was a band director; a small band in a small town, about 20 miles west of the University of North Carolina and Duke University. Mebane, in Alamance County was a bedroom community for the triad area and Eastern Alamance High School had a small group of musicians, about 40, who would make the commitment to lug instruments back and forth to school along with all of their other textbooks, rehearse all week and perform for a halftime crowd that was more interested in getting a hot dog that watching a little band. We had been working on an entertaining little show for the 25 people who would actually paid attention – and then the planes hit, lives were lost, many taken, some given. Without words, we knew our world had changed, forever. Still we got instruments out and attempted to practice, yet nothing came out, no music, only sobs. We comforted each other the best we could, but the gift of music that God had bestowed upon would not flow that day.

But only that day.

As true to the American Spirit, we came off the canvas swinging. We finished out the season, playing our entertaining show to the best of our ability. Yet like so many, we didn’t know how to respond to the attacks, to our trepidation about the future and to the voices of those who could no longer speak.

That would change.

The following spring we began work on a new composition. One we knew would not be performed by anyone but us, something to which we could claim total ownership. At first they were notes, then they became phrases, then sections, then movements. Finally a composition forged from pain, anguish, anger, sorrow, vengeance, compassion, determination, love and tenacity was born. American Heroes – Fallen and Risen was premiered in Mebane, at Eastern High in the spring of 2002 and over the next months it transformed itself into a field show, not just penned by one composer, but by 43 students and several staff and parents who contributed passion, energy and time to their new creation – their voice. It was premiered one year to the day of the most vicious attack perpetrated on American citizens. For the next 3 months, we found our voice and shared it with thousands of people, not just for halftime crowds (much more that 25 now), but for veterans, active personnel and even those who lost someone on 9/11.

We didn’t change the world, just our little part of it and, perhaps the way we view it. Moreover, we found the voice that had eluded us on that fateful day. It was our counterstrike, it was our contribution. It didn’t have an impact on the vast majority of those who were living on planet Earth at the time, but it had an impact on us.

We never received national attention, just local, but that was never our intent. We just wanted to do what citizens of this great nation have always wanted to do from her creation – let our voices be heard.

There are stories of 9/11 that are more dramatic, more heroic and more significant, but this is ours and no one… no one, will ever take it away. It is emblazoned into our hearts, just like that day, but where there were nearly 3,000 less voices in the world, there were 43 voices, in a small town in North Carolina, who spoke and continue to speak for them.

Live for those who no longer can do so for themselves. E Pluribus Unum.

The following is a compilation video of media coverage of our premiers and performance and American Heroes – Fallen and Risen.

Brian D. Cook
Director of Bands, Eastern Alamance High School, 2001

You Will Never Be Forgotten

A bright and beautiful Tuesday morning, 8:46 am was the moment the world we knew ceased to exist. Sixteen minutes later, there was no doubt in any of our minds that America The Beautiful was under attack! It was indeed a day like no other!

Ten years ago, our world was forever changed. Two strong towers that the we would never have imagined could fall fell mere minutes after impact. One fell in less time than most have for their lunch hour- 56 minutes; the other in less time than the average movie- 102 minutes. When they started to fall, it took only 12 seconds. We looked on in disbelief that this was reality- the news- and not the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

The official number of those killed in the attack is 2,819. This number alone is staggering! It is nothing less than mass murder, no matter how you try to explain it. The statistics are overwhelming!

Many have tried to make excuses for the mass murderers, but there is no acceptable excuse. Murder is murder, whether it’s under the guise of ‘misguided beliefs’ or not. Political Correctness may try to gloss over the facts, but we will never allow it!

The memory of these lives will never be forgotten! Never!

Here are just a few of the statistics from that fateful day. It is a part of America’s history that we must never allow to be diminished.

9/11 by the Numbers

Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

Number of NYPD officers: 23

Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60

Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402

Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614

Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115

Bodies found “intact”: 289

Body parts found: 19,858

Number of families who got no remains: 1,717

Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000

Total units of donated blood actually used: 258

Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609

Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051

Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20

Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200

Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98

Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124

Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100

Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6

Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81

Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion

Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million

Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion

Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion

Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion

Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million

Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered “inappropriate” to play after 9/11: 150

Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000

__________

Source:

9/11 By The Numbers

America: At a Moral Crossroad

crossroadWe have a major moral issue brewing in America today. The issue is that the vast majority of people considered ‘leaders’ (i.e. political, social, educational and even religious leaders) in America have strayed a long way from the moral, personal responsibility teachings of the One true God of the Bible and have replaced the wisdom of God with the foolishness of man’s wisdom. The Founding Fathers who established this amazing country did not rely on their secular wisdom to establish America’s initial rules and laws. They were on their knees daily seeking the very face of their Creator God asking Him for His wisdom as they tried to establish this country.

Psalm 113:4 —-For the Lord is high above the nations;

His glory is far greater than the heavens.

Now this once great country has never been perfect. The wise people who worked night and day for years to initially establish this country’s rules and guidelines were imperfect sinners. And it was this personal understanding of their lack of inner imperfection and partial darkness that drove the Founding Fathers to understand that this nation could not be properly established (and maintained) if it was not grounded with biblically based moral laws. I am not going to list the hundreds of moral quotes and biblical convictions that these people had. However, I will list a few in order to help the ignorant. (I know a lot of you government educated people were deceived by anti-God, anti-American teachers who never taught you the truth about the biblical founding of this country.) I would encourage any of the rest of you anti-God, anti-American liberals who have more brains than a French fry to do a little research and see that our Founding Fathers clearly saw the absolute necessity of running their newly established government on biblical principles.

John Adams

2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”
–Adams wrote this in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776.

The brilliant men who founded this nation clearly saw that if this Christian nation (i.e. her people) strayed from the absolute moral truths of the Bible (has it has today) and instead tries to establish its own nonbiblical ‘do whatever feels good or whatever the people want’ morals, it would not be long before the entire American governmental system would fail!

1st U.S. President George Washington

“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to addcornerstone foundiing fathers the more distinguished character of Christian.”
The Writings of Washington, pp. 342-343.

As I write this America is at a moral crossroad. Even though there is a group of genuine political patriots trying to resolve this nation’s economic problems it will not last without also re-establishing America’s moral compass. The leaders in this nation must once again publicly put the Divine One (who initially helped the Founding Fathers establish this country) back on His throne in America. Many in positions of leadership in America have kicked God out of the house. We have kicked Him out of the amoral and immoral, failing government school system. We have kicked the Lord out the same hallowed halls of our government’s political system where He was once publicly revered and honored.

Proverbs 12:2 —–The Lord approves of those who are good,

but He condemns those who plan wickedness.

If the fiscally conservative political leaders of this nation do not recognize that the All-Knowing, All-Powerful Creator God of this universe needs to have eminence in all we do in this nation even the plans of these political patriots will fail. Without the Lord being the head of this nation we will never be able to re-establish this once great country’s place of political and social superiority. So simply trying to re-establish economic responsibility in this country will not save America from falling! A balanced and fiscally responsible budget is great, but it will never succeed if we do not also re-establish this nation’s social and spiritual heritage.

Proverbs 16:25 —-There is a path before each person that seems right,

but it ends in death.

 We the people must stop listening to the promiscuous cries of a sinful people who desire nothing more than to live in their wanton pleasures when we try to establish biblically based moral laws and rules in this nation. If this nation is going to survive, American loving patriots needs to publicly rebuke the historically ignorant idiots who cry out, “Separation of church and state” every time biblically moral people try to establish moral accountability in our government. (P.S. There is nothing in our constitution which demands that our government keep religion out of its everyday practices. From day one our country’s governmental buildings were adorned with Bible verses and moral quotes. From day one the political leaders of this land constantly quoted the Bible as they talked to their people. It is only in recent times that human secularists (people who deem themselves smarter and wiser than our Founding Fathers) have tried to push God out of our government. It is only in recent times that anti-God atheists have tried to mislead people into believing that the Lord of the Bible does not belong in any aspects of our government.)

I would love to run these secular miscreants out of the country. I would love to silence their arrogant, deceiving amoral or immoral mouths. Unfortunately I cannot. This is the problem we run into when freedom and liberty have no moral basis. If these miscreants are American citizens they have to right to live here; they have the right to freedom of speech; have the right to their own opinions; they even have the right to thrust their views on others. And as a result when we allow amoral, immoral and unprincipled people to live and rule in a country (that is supposed to be running on God’s moral absolutes) they will always end up doing what is right (i.e. self-pleasing and self-satisfying) in their own eyes.

(Remember, the Lord told us that people who live only to satisfy their own desires love the darkness rather than the Light. Simply being religious does not make one right in God’s eyes!)

The God of the Bible does not play a part in the decision making process of an amoral or immoral secularists. Amoral or immoral people see no problem with murdering a baby that is still in its mother’s womb so they will push for legalization of just that. Amoral or immoral people have no sense of biblical morality so they will want to legalize self-satisfying things like: drugs, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, gay marriage, underage sex, polygamy, pornography etc. etc. And it will only be a matter of time before it these immoral behaviors become legal. After all, if God’s Word is not going to be used as the litmus test for what is moral what will be used? There is nothing else to use but the feelings and opinions of a sinful people. And if we humans are left to decide what feels right or wrong we will never have moral absolutes. (P.S. Again, Jesus said that people who reject God (i.e. God’s ways) and instead live for themselves seek the darkness rather than the Light.)

As the people in a nation become more and more immoral, it is plain to even see today in America, that our country’s laws will also become more and more immoral. Today in America, there are biblically immoral things being done that are now legal.  These same immoral behaviors would have put a person in prison a hundred years ago! If we are not going to use the absolute moral truths of God’s Word as our gauge, then it will be soon be anything goes because people will soon say, “Who are we to judge the morals of another?” If we as a nation are not going to use the perfectly designed, engineered and authored Word of God to determine right from wrong then who or what will decide what is right from wrong? Again, without the hindsight and knowledge of God’s Word there is nothing to stop amoral and immoral people from passing laws which make the most wicked and vile things imaginable ‘legal.’

John Adams in a speech to the military in 1798 warned his fellow countrymen stating, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion . . . Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Those of us who are truly concerned about this nation must see and agree to repair not only America’s economic issues but also her moral issues. America the nation needs to repent of her tolerance of sin. The God of the Bible tells us that not only are things like: lying, cheating, stealing and greed wrong, but so are socially acceptable things like: adultery, casual and flippant divorces, fornication, witchcraft, mind altering drug abuse and drunkenness, etc. If those who are trying to re-establish this nation politically are not willing to publically and privately re-establish this nation biblically, they will fail—no matter how good or sincere their intentions.

“I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”
The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, p. 385.

 As I said before, this nation was not established out of a vacuum. This nation did not happen by accident. All true fundamental Christians believe that the hand of God played an incredible part in establishing America the Nation. And what was the reason God supernaturally intervened? The people trying to establish America were continually going to God in prayer as they sought His wisdom in establishing America’s rules and regulations. (Again, I am not going to debate the idea of how biblical and God-searching America’s Founding Fathers were. It is a ‘no-brainer’ historical fact. Research it yourself or keep your mouth shut!)

Patrick Henry
Ratifier of the U.S. Constitution

“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, p. iii.

“The Bible … is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.”
Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry, p. 402.

 A Bible based godly peer pressure needs to be re-established once again in America. People need to understand the freedom and liberty without biblical morality leads hedonism! If sinful people are given absolute freedom and liberty without moral absolutes anarchy and moral depravity will eventually lead to not only the individual destruction of people but also to national destruction of that country. We once again need to have people in America see that acts like adultery, fornicators, casual divorce and unwed pregnancies are shameful things. I am afraid that a large percentage of conservative, God-fearing Americans really do not want to go back to using the Bible as America’s moral compass. (I hope I am wrong!) I know many fiscally conservative patriotic people and politicians want to ‘right the economic ship’ in America. My concern (as a constitutional Christian), is do these same people also want to ‘right’ America’s moral ship using the absolute morals of God’s Word? Or are they going to continue to tolerate the foolish secular psycho-babble doctrines and philosophies of sinful humanists?

This country needs to stop ‘encouraging’ and/or promoting pornography as a freedom of speech. It is destroying the moral fiber of our children! How spiritually stupid and spiritually blind have ‘we the people’ become when we ‘see’ pornography as an American freedom or as a right to free speech? True patriotic Americans needs to shout from the streets that liberty and freedom are demoralizing and destructive in a society where the moral absolutes of God’s Word are not only ignored but ‘legally’ stifled! Patriotic Americans need to re-establish the idea that it is no longer going to be socially acceptable to use illegal or mind-altering drugs (which would include casually using illegal drugs for ‘medical’ reasons) and prescription drugs as tools of pleasure. In the Bible the Lord uses words like witchcraft, sorcery and drug usage synonymously. America has become a society of dope-heads. There are very few families in America these days that have not seen the devastating effects of mind altering illegal or legal drugs.

More Americans need to understand the absolute absurdity in pushing God out of our country. Who would have ever thought that there would be a day in America when God would be pushed out of our country’s government arena? Do these anti-religious idiots really comprehend how stupid they look in the eyes of God? These anti-Bible Americans think that things like the Bible and God are a joke or fairy-tale. These secular fools actually believe they are smarter than the One who created them!

 

Jesus-picJesus Himself asked, “Why do you call Me Lord and not do as I say?”

We have a lot of people in America who go to some type of church/religious service without any desire to worship the God of the Bible. We have church/religious people ‘worshiping’ (in one form or another) everything animals, trees and even angels.  The Mythical ‘Mother Nature’ or ‘Mother Earth’ has replaced the one True Creator God of the universe. And yet we wonder why America is failing. The God of the Bible will not help those who chose to worship (false) pagan gods or secular ways. Our God is a jealous God. And He has the right to be. After all, He is the One who created all this. God demands that we serve Him or else there is a consequence!  God will never bless a nation (or a people) when they reject Him for the ways of mythical or secular philosophies.

American loving citizens need to see that America is in a fight for her very survival! This once God-loving, Bible-preaching country is going the way of other once great Christian nations which went secular—into moral and economic decay! The Bible says that the nation which fears God will prosper in all that it does. God promises to honor those societies or nations that honor His moral code. On the other hand, the same Bible says that the Lord laughs at those societies and/or nations which fall to ruin because they devised ways that were not God’s ways. The Bible says that God is not mocked. Whatever a person/society/nation sows it what it will reap.

Look at the moral mess we have in America today! The sacred God-given act of marriage between one man and one woman is no longer considered sacred but an option. America has become a society where a large percentage of Americans see nothing wrong with ripping a living baby out of its mother’s womb and throwing it in the garbage like a piece of rotten meat. This one, vile, disgusting legalized baby killing practice gives God enough reason to wipe America off the map! It used to be in this nation that any woman who was willing to have sex with whatever came along was called a whore or prostitute. Today, ‘sleeping around’ is not only acceptable is it promoted, pushed and glorified! We have over fifty types of sexually transmitted diseases being passed around these days. Immoral behaviors that were for many years hidden in the dark closets (by those who practiced them) are now not only tolerated they are publically encouraged in the name of freedom and liberty! These behaviors are a result of amoral and immoral freedoms and liberties in a country that once used God’s Word as its moral compass!

 

Thomas Jefferson said

“The only foundation for useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion.”

As President, Thomas Jefferson not only signed bills which appropriated financial support for chaplains in Congress and in the armed services, but he also signed the Articles of War, April 10, 1806, in which he:

“Earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend divine services.”

 The bottom line is that if America the Nation continues to push the absolute morals of the one true God of the Bible out of its everyday governmental and everyday personal life practices, the Lord will leave us to our own demise.

Psalm 33:12 — Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…..

 Our American Constitution and our Bill of Rights are amazing documents. However, they do not even come close to the incredibly perfect Word of God! A lot of very wise and intelligent human beings worked night and day for years to establish these amazing documents. However, these wonderfully crafted humanistic documents do not come close to the unfathomable depth of the writings of the Bible. And from what our Founding Fathers have clearly said, neither of these documents will survive if they are not controlled by the laws of God’s Word.  Man, even at the highest secular levels of intelligence do not come close to the wisdom of God.

John Adams
2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence said

“Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Utopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.

So again, freedom and liberty are wonderful blessings in any nation–when they are used in morally righteous ways. When people begin to use their freedoms and liberties to do whatever feels good or seems right in their own eyes (like same sex marriage) we will fall as a nation. And when ‘we the people’ begin to use our freedoms and liberties to sell, make or do whatever helps us to prosper financially (like legalized pornography) it will not be long before wickedness, corruption and debauchery will prevail in every part of that nation. Darkness and light cannot exist together. The Lord of the Bible tells us in Scriptures that because all humans are born sinful, with need the Lord’s guidance and wisdom in all that we do. When ‘we the people’ chose to walk away from the guidance and wisdom of the one who Created us–no matter how sincere we are and no matter how strong our convictions are about what we believe to be right and wrong we will walk in darkness. Americans, we need to walk back towards the Light! The ways of the All-Knowing, All-powerful Creator God of the universe are our only hope of survival.

What Does The Pledge of Allegiance REALLY Mean?

Without a doubt this is familiar to everyone of us, young and old alike:

I pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.
I pledge of Allegiance to the flag of
the United States of America and to the Republic
for which it stands, one nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.

On any given day, these days, it is nothing to read about yet another school that is “banning” the Pledge of Allegiance; a Home Owners Association (HOA) prohibiting the American Flag to be flown; or someone, somewhere, offended by our beautiful Stars and Stripes.

Although I am sure we are all very familiar with the pledge, I wonder how many people actually know what they are saying when they recite it.

This article will outline exactly what our Founding Fathers planned for the future of this great nation and exactly what the Pledge of Allegiance means to each of us.

Let’s break this down, so we can better understand what our government actually is. We will go line by line- often, word by word.

“I”- This infers ownership.  A person speaking is “inferring to himself or herself” when they say “I”. It is personal.

“Pledge”- “A solemn promise or agreement to do or refrain from doing something.” The person speaking is promising or agreeing to what they are saying.

“Allegiance”– Loyalty, dedication, devotion, fidelity, honor, obedience, homage

“to”- A preposition used to express motion or direction toward a noun (person, place or thing), rather than motion or direction away from a noun (person, place or thing.)

“the flag”- A piece of cloth that can be an shape, size combination of colors and design that is customarily attached on one edge to a pole or cord. Common uses of a flag is to represent a nation, state, or organization.

“the United States of America”- An area of land which is governed as a federal republic that is mainly in North America. Fifty (50) individual states and the District of Columbia have come together as one. The nation was colonized primarily by the English and French in the 17th century. During this time, the native Indians were gradually defeated and displaced. Under the British rule there were 13 colonies that declared their independence from Britain in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the colonies. After the War of Independence the nation officially became The United States of America. During the Civil War (1861-1865) the northern states defeated the South. The United States of America is the world’s most productive industrial nation, and exports agricultural products as well. The land consists of the Rocky Mountains in the west, the Great Plains in the center, the Appalachian Mountains in the east, deserts in the southwest, and coastal lowlands and swamps in the southeast. English is the predominant language spoken; Christianity is the largest religion base; the dollar is the currency. The Capital of the nation is Washington, D.C.

“and”– in addition

“to”– A preposition used to express motion or direction toward a noun (person, place or thing), rather than motion or direction away from a noun (person, place or thing.)

“the Republic”- A form of government in which the powers of sovereignty are authorized and entrusted in the people and are executed by the people, either directly, or through representatives chosen by the people, to whom those powers are specially appointed.

“for which it stands”– the position or opinion of someone

“One”– Single, alone, only, solitary

“Nation”– A country with its own government

“Under”– Covered by

“God”– King of kings, Lord of lords, Adonai, Divine Creator, Holy Father

“Indivisible”– Impenetrable, inseparable, joined, permanent,unbreakable, unified indissoluble

“with”– Accompanying, including

“liberty”– Freedom, independence,

“and”– In addition to

“justice”– Lawfulness, fairness, honesty, integrity

“for”– As long as [it’s]

“all”– Entire, total, complete

In breaking things down as we have, it makes perfect sense why there are many who refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. To these people I say- find another country!

Our Founding Fathers knew exactly what they were doing! They knew that it would be all too easy to become complacent with the nation we have.

Abraham Lincoln said it best:

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Sadly, we are seeing this very thing come true. If you do not PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE to this great nation, and do everything in your power to fight to protect and keep the freedoms we have been so blessed with, you are part of the destruction.

____________________________

Sources:

Dictionary.com

Thesaurus.com

 

 

 

Herman Cain Releases New Video – “America is Ready”

Herman Cain has a gift for exciting those that have felt downtrodden by the current administration. In the spirit of the founding fathers, Cain challenges prospective voters to become “defending fathers”. The video is set to music and is yet another inspiring campaign effort from Herman Cain.

“We don’t need to re-write the constitution, we need to re-READ the constitution”

Read Herman Cain’s CDN presidential profile HERE.

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