My heart was saddened as I watched from an airport window in comfort and safety. I felt that I wanted to know this soldier: to know his name, see his face, and meet his family. I wanted him to know that I appreciated his sacrifice. I wanted to tell him that after five years I still don't understand this war, but that I am proud of him for committing his life for my freedom.
I wanted to say "thank you." I wanted to say that his actions demonstrated Jesus' words, "greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13)
I wanted to say that even though I didn't think he had been handled with extreme care by our government's decision makers, I would do what I could to make sure that his comrades in arms would know how much his homecoming affected me. I wanted him to know that I would write letters, light candles and pray that none of his friends came home the way he did.
See here for the rest of the story.
AND THEN ANSWER US TALLAHASSEE, FSU FOOTBALL OR SERVICEMEN!Add to Technorati Favorites
When I first read this story on the Tallahassee Democrat:
Officers' deaths affect TPD, LCSO Okaloosa deputy, Fort Myers officer slain in line of duty
I must admit to a bit of outrage at the attention they got as opposed to the attention a service man gets:
"Less than three hours before Widman was buried, more than 2,500 mourners attended a stirring ceremony at McGregor Baptist Church, where he was eulogized as "as a delightful young man who touched us all," by police Lt. Dennis Eads, one of six speakers at the 72-minute service."
"Rows of Fort Myers Police Department officers stood shoulder to shoulder from the church to a hearse about 100 yards away as fellow law enforcement agencies passed by and filled in behind them.
While most stood stone-faced, some wiped either tears or sweat from their eyes.
The only sound heard was a police helicopter hovering above."
At 12:24 p.m. police were given a signal and all put a hand on either their heart or to their head in a salute." Read the rest of the story by hitting the above link."He also thanked Southwest Florida for support as people donated money for the Widman family. He said his sister is in the process of setting up a trust fund for her three children."
But then, as it is difficult to do at times, one has to step back and try to look at a situation objectively.
Though the concept of Brotherhood has taken beating in many circles, including the biker arena, it has not been lost among police officers. They can not be blamed for that. In fact, I will admit to being envious of it.
That the community turns out in mass to honor an officer who has fallen and not a serviceman, if not acceptable is at least understandable.
Police officers are not in a far off land where they can be forgotten about. They live daily lives in the community. Attend their churches and whatever other organizations they may belong to.
They have daily relationships here at home and do not have to rely on letters and the occasional phone call to remind people other than family that hey, "remember us".
Police officers do not die in the line of duty as often as soldiers. So when it does occur locally it is felt immediately. Not so with the soldiers who die in numbers reported daily on the news to the extent that we not only become inured to their deaths but come to expect them and go on about our daily business.
No, we can not blame the officers or the community for turning out for one of there own and should encourage it.
But what we must do is demand the same for those who are in those far off lands facing death and meeting it daily. Who, if they come home alive are home physically or emotionally scarred beyond repair. This we must do.
For if we do not honor them with equal if not more respect, if we do not parade them down main street to remind every father and mother of the insanities of war, then wars without just cause will continue be waged by politicians with no personal stake in them other than their re-electability and their pocket books.
Then, when the just war comes (it will, it always does) where we need every individual who can tote a gun to keep us free and the response is, "Hell no, I won't go". Look how you treated those who went before us. Look how soon you forgot their sacrifice. Look how quickly you turned your head the other way. Remember when you could not stop for 5 minutes to allow us to return home unimpeded.
You see soldiers also have a brotherhood. They also understand what is to lay their life on the line for you? God help us, if through our own disrespect, they abandon us or turn us. I for one would not blame them for a minute.
Brotherhood is earned not just by standing for your brother, but by suffering his pain with him.
Do not stand in the way of men who have learned that.Add to Technorati Favorites
Yalanda Parrish, of Jeffersonville, was indicted Monday for her involvement in a June 17 road-rage incident.
The grand jury charged the 39-year-old Parrish with aggravated battery, a class B felony, and criminal recklessness, a class C felony.
Parrish admitted to shooting Wesley Mosier Jr., 52, of Corydon after he got off his motorcycle and approached her SUV at 10th Street and Allison Lane in Jeffersonville.
“I wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion,” said Prosecutor Steve Stewart, who said he did not make any recommendation to the grand jury, which began hearing evidence just more than a week ago. (Go here to read the rest of the story).Add to Technorati Favorites
Panama City News Herald devotes space to the "Battle of Tallahassee" yet no answer from Tally politicos, FSU football or Patriots?
I am a volunteer ride captain for the Patriot Guard Riders here in Bay County. On July 12, I had the distinct honor to organize and lead a group of fellow PGR members from this area and to Tallahassee where we joined up with numerous other riders for the sole purpose of standing in honor for an American hero. This hero's name is Master Sgt. Shawn Simmons. He was an Army Special Forces sergeant recently killed in action in Afghanistan and was from the Tallahassee area. The PGR ride captain from the Tallahassee area, Mike Donohoe, had the duty of organizing this "mission," and we were there to participate and lend support as needed.
Before each mission, we conduct a briefing for everyone to outline the details. It was during Mike's mission briefing that he informed us of Tallahassee's policy not to provide any type of police escort for a funeral of any kind in the city. Mike said he had been told it was because of insurance reasons.
Now, folks, I know we might be spoiled a bit by the outstanding support the PGR receives from all of the law enforcement agencies here in Bay County, but this seemed to be totally outrageous. An American soldier, overseas, defending this great county in armed conflict, is killed in action and the political leaders of Tallahassee deny him and his family the honor of a police escort for his funeral.
I cannot begin to tell you how "terrifying" it was for a group of approximately 55 motorcycles and an estimated 75-100 automobiles to traverse Tallahassee from the south side of town, where the funeral was held, to the northeast side where the cemetery was located, without a single law enforcement vehicle leading us. This procession went straight through the heart of Tallahassee, a good eight or nine miles with heavy traffic the entire way. Mike Donohoe and his people did an outstanding job of getting us all there in one piece............(Go here to read the rest of the story)
And we still wonder when the politicos will answer, "FSU Football or Servicemen?"Add to Technorati Favorites
This letter was forwarded from Connie PGR Road Captain Mike Donohoes wife and loyal PGR rider:
Words alone cannot express mine and my families heart felt appreciation for yours, Doc's, Big Sams, Gabbies and the rest of the PGR's out poor of sympathy and support. I have rode many PGR rides but God only knows I would have never thought I would be doing it for my baby brother. It was an incredible and moving not to say emotional mission. Big Sam and Gabby did an incredible job with the mission. I had so many family members and friends to include active duty and retired military that have heard or never heard of the PGR and never had an understanding of what we do, comment on how awesome, beautiful just to use a couple of words they conveyed to me to describe what they had witnessed with the flag line and the funeral escort. My wife rode with Dawn my sister-in-law to the cemetery and she said she just broke down when we got to the cemetery and seen all the bikes together how beautiful and breathtaking the flags were on the bikes during the escort. One of my more emotional and proud moments were when people would tell me how wonderful the PGR was and refer to them as "your people" it made me fell proud to be a member of such an outstanding organization of people. Myself and Dawn would like to post a letter of appreciation on the site if you could give me a few tips on how to add one. I will contact Doc also and Big Sam and Gabby to send my thanks there is also one other special individual that stood out that I truly appreciated being there and that was Fred "wrongway" fried. He was so great in what he did by photographing the event and was so respectful in how he went about doing it. Once again I wanted you to personally know how much it meant to me for you and the PGR to be their at my families time of grief. Myself, Dawn and most important for all, my baby brother thank and salute each and every PGR member that made this chapter in my brothers life a beautiful memory such as the many he had left behind. My deepest thanks again.
Tom Ostermeyer & Family
GOD BLESS THE PGR AND EVERYONE THAT SUPPORTS THEM AND THIER MISSION.
OF course our THANKS goes to Toms brother and our prayers and sympathies go out to his familyAdd to Technorati Favorites