Combat Hero in a Library

Note from Raymond

[This was first published in 2008. It seems fitting today.]

by Burr Deming

Last evening he reacted with amazement. “You gotta be kidding me!” I had just mentioned I was writing about him. I thought for a moment he might object. As it is, I hope he forgives me for the details I may have gotten wrong.

It was one of several encounters I had happened upon with this impressive, self-deprecating man. I often stop by the local library, and that’s where we kept bumping into each other. The first time, he was trying to recover a lost file on a library computer. I tried to help him, unsuccessfully as it turned out. We talked about the coming election. He was for McCain, I for Obama.

Then he told me a little of himself. He is a war hero from the Vietnam era. That’s my description not his. He seems hesitant as he talks about it, and he talks about it sparingly. “I just went a little crazy,” he says. His “craziness” saved others who were in mortal danger, pinned down and taking enemy fire. He was later awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. That medal is awarded for any of several acts, but when earned for bravery in combat, it is the fourth highest possible military citation given by the U.S. Armed Forces.

For years, modesty and uncertainty of how it might be regarded prompted him to keep the award stored out of view. He would not expose this symbol to derision. It was his father who changed his mind. His dad had served in the Air Force in World War Two, flying over the Empire of Japan with General Curtis Lemay. He confessed to his son that he felt just a little envious. The younger veteran was incredulous and so his father explained, it was that hidden Bronze Star. The son objected. The old man was a hero many times over. He pointed to the many ribbons, medals, and awards the elder hero had on his own wall. “But I never earned a Bronze Star,” the father stated simply.

They are everywhere, these heroes who have our lasting thanks and admiration, earned in far off lands. They are lucky to have made it back, and we are blessed in having them back. A choir director, members at church, workmates, and casual acquaintances are among them. There are many more unknowingly met in bank lines and pharmacies, the routine encounters that are part of everyday life. I have a letter from a onetime coworker, recently assigned to Afghanistan. He has my prayers until the moment he returns.

My friend in the library had a special relationship with his dad. They each shared an admiration of the other, quiet and well deserved. The last act of that regard came as the son gazed into an open casket. He placed next to his father the Bronze Star that had been awarded for an act of desperation decades ago in a land far away.

The father had chosen his son well.

A Blue Wave of Wins

found online by Raymond

From Infidel753:

Take that, wingnuts. Northam beat Gillespie in Virginia by 54% to 45%, a much bigger margin than the most recent polls predicted. In the state’s House of Delegates, where Republicans had a 66-34 majority, Democrats have picked up at least 14 seats and may manage another 3 to take the majority. Maine approved Medicaid expansion by referendum, 59% to 41%. In perhaps the sweetest result of the day, the Republican state legislator who wrote Virginia’s anti-trans “bathroom bill” was defeated by Danica Roem, a transgender candidate. A round-up of our wins nationwide is here.

The wingnuts quickly began devouring their wounded. Breitbart repudiated Gillespie as an “establishment Republican” leading a “band of virtue-signalling Bush loyalists”, while Trump said that he “did not embrace me or what I stand for”, even though in fact Gillespie had been endorsed by Bannon and had run a Trumpesque campaign full of dog-whistles about illegal aliens and Confederate statues. RedState, which these days is unenthused with both the Trump and establishment brands of Republicanism, declared the day “a bloodletting of the Republican party of a kind unseen in a generation”.

One of the striking things about this election was turnout.

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GOP Tax Plan Delivers Double Dose of Pain to Blue States

found online by Raymond

From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:

Thursday’s release of the House GOP tax plan will be greeted with a flurry of “hot takes” about its “winners and losers.” So, for everyone’s sake, let’s keep this simple. Unsurprisingly, the biggest winners from what the President called a “big, beautiful Christmas present” are people named Trump and those like them. Just as predictable, the real losers are the tens of millions of Americans who live in blue states generally governed by Democrats.

As I’ve documented previously, Donald Trump’s 2015 boast that his tax plan would “cost me a fortune” was a lie from the moment it passed his lips. We know the abolition of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will be a huge windfall for Trump; it accounted for 82 percent of his $38 million tax bill in 2005, the only year for which we’ve seen even partial IRS records. Slashing the tax rate to 25 percent for “pass-through” businesses is another payday for the Trump Organization, which happens to be comprised of 500 of them. And the phase-out of the estate tax after six years means the Trump heirs will get to keep all the candy–and billions of dollars–after Donald Sr. passes from the scene.

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Church Murders – Far Too Many Guns in the Wrong Hands!

found online by Raymond

From Jack Jodell at The Saturday Afternoon Post:

These senseless MAIMINGS and MURDERS of innocent people have got to STOP!!!!!

The murderer used a semi-automatic weapon to accomplish his despicable deed, had purchased several other firearms in the past few yeats, but was simply exercising his Second Amendment rights to own and use a gun – if you believe the pure bullshit being peddled constantly by the gun-happy, paranoid extremists who run the NRA. NORMAL people, who aren’t deathly afraid that our government will seize all our guns, ban hunting and target practice, and then enslave us by putting us all into concentration camps immediately thereafter, know that the time for massive tightening of gun ownership in this country is long overdue!

We have heard all the excuses – that guns don’t kill people, people do; that the Constitution forbids any attempt to deprive citizens of guns; that if everyone had a gun there would be far less shootings; etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

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Something Interesting Happened Tuesday

found online by Raymond

From tengrain at Mock Paper Scissors:

Short version: Team Donkey gave Team Elephant the blues.

By now, everyone knows that last night was a big night for the Dims, and a bad night for ex-Preznint Bannon and Preznint Stupid. There is no doubt that the outcome in Virginia was a pimp-slap of Trump.

One) Ed Gillespie ran as Hair Führer’s mini-me and was beaten like a red-headed stepchild on a rented mule. Ralph Northam walloped race-baiting Ed Gillespie, 53.7% to 45.1%.

And b) 50% of voters interviewed in exit polls said that they wanted to send a message to Preznint Stupid.

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NFL Anthem Protest Reaches NJ High School

found online by Raymond

From libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara:

It doesn’t seem that these protesting players have thought the issue through.

The junior Joshua Pemberton asserts “No one’s being treated fairly.” What is meant by not “treated fairly?” Not treated fairly how? By whom? In personal circumstances, or by the law? How does he define “fair?” It’s vague, and thus meaningless.

His father Herb sheds some light on this; “That’s what I taught him to do — stand up for rights for himself and others.” Then why kneel for the National Anthem? America is founded on certain principles, the most basic being individual rights, held equally by everyone.

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We Should Make It As Hard As We Can To Be A Mass Killer

found online by Raymond

From Mark Paserwark at MadMikesAmerica:

The bells of Sutherland Springs toll for us all, each and every American. The dead at their church, on a Chicago street, in an Aurora theater, in a Columbine high school or in a Sandy Hook grade school were all Americans; some old, others so young that their instinct for self-defense was to assume the fetal position and extend their arms to break a fall, not to pull the trigger on Glock 19 Gen 5.

The rate of death by firearms in Sutherland Springs will now forever exceed that of Chicago.

Firearms, those who use them, and those who die by them cross the state and city lines of our country every hour of each day. Chicago or Sutherland Springs acting by themselves cannot assure their citizens the safety deserved by Americans.

The Good Man with a gun–sometimes there, most often not–is less needed when there are simply fewer guns.

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Your Purpose in Life is to Testify to the World That God is Great

found online by Raymond

From The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser:

Your calling is you are on planet Earth to put a telescope to the eye of the world. That’s why you exist. By your behavior, your parenting, the way you do your job, the way you worship, and the way you handle your things in life, everyone should read off of your life, “God is great.” That’s why you exist.

— John Piper, Why Am I Here?

Evangelicals such as Calvinistic Fundamentalist John Piper have a reductionist view of the world. In their minds, the sum of everything is the Christian God. Everything traces back to God. He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and the beginning and the end. God is in believers, they live their lives through him, and to him go all praise, honor, and glory. This God is a jealous deity, demanding that his followers worship him alone. Worshiping other Gods or no God at all brings upon people his wrath and judgment. This God demands that believers in him devote their entire being to him. He is not only the hub around which everything turns, he is also the rim, tube, and tire. Simply put, from birth through eternity, life is all about God.

After Evangelicals have spent their entire lives worshiping God, guess what they get to do after they die? More of the same.

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