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Category Archives: Current Events

Seoul Pride Fest, June 2016

Prior to heading out to the festivities on Saturday morning, 11 June, I had searched for more details on Google about the activities that would take place so I could send the address and event line-up to some friends stationed at other camps here in South Korea. In doing so, I read that over 30,000 people attended the pride parade in 2015. I was amazed because I had never been to a pride that large (to my knowledge). I don’t know whether the prides in Georgia or Florida I’d been to had held nearly as many attendees. It made me more excited because I knew this was going to be a huge event with lots of big entertainment and plenty of people from all over the world. It ended up being even more than I imagined.

That morning we had a nice little brunch at The Baker’s Table before heading over to Myeongdong. Once we arrived at the area where Seoul Plaza was at, which is near City Hall, I started to realize something as we came around the corner towards the event location. The streets were lined on both sides with hundreds of police men and women, many of which were holding riot shields. It was so overwhelming that I didn’t even realize they were actually in place for the event WE were headed to attend. There were older civilian people gathered sitting on the sidewalks holding up signs as well as people in suits talking into megaphones. But it was all in Korean so it took me and my American companions a bit to realize these were the anti-gay and Christian protesters, and that the police were there to protect people. Never in my life…

Most people around us that were walking to the fest as well didn’t seem phased at all by whatever the protesters were saying, which is another reason why I didn’t realize that their efforts were aimed at us. We’re in a city and hey they could’ve been protesting anything, I thought. The closer we got to the entrance of the festival, the worse it got. Protesters seemed more angry, combative, and aggressive going toward the fest. But the worst of it all in my opinion was the yelling and moaning of a pastor across the street over a loud speaker. It sounded like the voice of a demon or ghost wailing over the audio system, and at times it was louder than the actual concert we were at inside the fest. These people protesting were causing more of a ruckus than the attendees! It truly stirred my soul. We even saw a car try to drive into the crosswalk as we were crossing. Luckily, the crosswalks were also lined with police officers and they quickly jumped in to make the car back up off of the crosswalk lines.

These protesters that held up crosses and pictures of Jesus Christ and their Holy Bibles were the same ones growling and gritting their teeth at us like they were a pack of wild dogs. I honestly didn’t feel safe and I remember telling the person next to me, “My mom would not like this. If she knew I was at a place like this, she wouldn’t be happy about it.” And I actually wasn’t referring to the type of fest. A “queer” fest. I was moreso referring to the situation in which our safety was at risk…

I have never felt threatened like this. And it’s a shame! The people who called themselves Christians at this event were ready to spit on people walking to and from the event. I made eye contact with some of them unfortunately, and it said to me, “If I could kill you and get away with it, I would.” I’m not even exaggerating. Not one bit. Such an event where people from different nations and backgrounds come together to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual was interrupted by evil, hateful persons who used the name of Jesus to throw curses upon the guests. I feel bad for both sides – the people attending the event who don’t know God as well as the people who were protesting who claim they know God. No one is going to win. They’re only going to push away the gay community with their rioting and curses. They are being everything but Godly. And I’m not saying I’m a saint. And I’m not saying homosexuality is not a sin. I’m saying that there are people using Christ as a means to hate others. I personally have never seen anything like this.

And then to wake up two mornings later to hear that 50 people were killed in a gay club in Orlando, Florida is horrific. So far I have not heard that anyone I know personally was in that club at the time. But the first thing that came to mind was that could have been us. An anti-gay shooter or terrorist could surely have emerged from the crowds at any time and injured or killed any of us on Saturday.

This is all so gross and evil. I am shaking just remembering how much hate was outside those festival gates on Saturday, on top of thinking of all the people that were killed at Pulse yesterday. No one deserves to suffer or die by your hand because you don’t believe what they believe in. Leave that up to the real judge when we all have to answer to Him at the end of our lives. It isn’t anybody’s job to kill someone else because the color of our skin, the person we worship, or the people we are in love with.

More: http://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=3019869&cloc=joongangdaily%7Chome%7Cnewslist1

 
 

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What is AT? Besides Absolutely Tragic

Something has recently been brought to my attention that has greatly disappointed me to the depths of my little soul…

I personally hate to get involved in any gossip, rumors, or drama. And I find ZERO entertainment in these “reality” shows that feature nothing but the worst of cat fights, infidelity, profanity, and baby mama drama to the tenth degree. You know which ones I’m talking about. “Love and Hip-Hop,” etc.

Well I just learned that there is a R E A L L I F E “Bad Girls Club” on Facebook. There is a page that I will refer to as “AT.” (I’m not willing to mention the actual name because the LAST thing I want to do is advertise for it. If you don’t know what it is, don’t go searching for it. It’s not worth it.)

I don’t know how old or new this Facebook page is but there are over 3,600 members. This is a private and exclusive group where you can only be added by someone who is already a member. I was added by a friend who wanted to show me a male Soldier that I know that became a victim of the site. But once I saw all the other nonsense, I removed myself from the madness.

SO WHAT IS IT?

It’s upsetting and it’s humiliating. Most of the content in the group are women posting about their boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, husbands, ex-husbands, new romantic prospects, baby’s daddies, etc. exposing these men as well as exposing their own personal information. It is disgusting. These women are thriving on being “petty” and seem to be very excited to get involved in each other’s personal affairs. In just seconds of scrolling, you can see women posting screen shots of private text messages conversations between them and their men (yes, to include his phone numbers), women posting their baby daddies’ home addresses to have other group members go and “check on him” at his house, women posting photos of their ex-spouses’ new girlfriends to bash her, etc. They even post pictures of their men in their Army uniforms (rank and name all exposed) so other females on the page can “SPILL THE TEA” about him. Like, “Oh I know him! My aunt’s neighbor’s God-daughter used to date him. He has an STD. Don’t date him!” These posts literally have hundreds of comments and I realized after scrolling through a few comments that these women check-in regularly with their popcorn in hand to stay updated on certain situations they may find interesting. Just like you would do to catch up on your favorite TV series. Just as you would do to catch up on the latest celeb gossip in a tabloid or magazine. But these are REAL PEOPLE in real life situations! Real life tire-slashing, weave-pulling, baby-daddy-hunting, new-wife-bashing situations. What in the world?!

This AT page reminds me of Juicy Campus, but on steroids. If you don’t know what Juicy Campus is, don’t worry about that either. I think I just showed my age, lol.

Anywho, this group is full of women doing nothing but talking sh** about each other and about the men in their love lives. Nothing but digital attacks and rumor-spreading. How degrading!!! If there is anything on earth more ratchet than this, I might just die. (I’m exaggerating because unfortunately I’m sure there is worse than this. I’m not that naïve.)

The women in the group seem to enjoy every little bit of the drama too. It’s like they are waking up early and staying up late at night just to feed off of the negative energy and laugh with each other at other people’s personal dealings. They are unknowingly betraying every ounce of loyalty left in their bodies. By publicizing their private home life, they are revealing information to strangers about their children and themselves… Such as personal matters included in their divorce decrees and details about their child support cases.

It honestly breaks my heart that they are spending so much time and energy on this page digging and investigating and fighting and laughing. Why has drama become so entertaining? Why are these women so motivated to tear each other apart? When did it become cool to expose what’s going on in your love life? And to expose it to almost four thousand women you don’t even know and will never even meet? Why has being “petty” become such a competition? Like they are determined to be crowned the pettiest woman on earth?

And the saddest part about it all… These ladies, NO, these GIRLS are in the military or are veterans. From what looks like age 18 on up to 50, a majority of them are serving or have served. Yet they log into Facebook and forget what it means to have respect and bearing, ethics and discipline, loyalty and honor. We are professionals. We are leaders. We are ambassadors. What happened to that? I’m not saying don’t go out and make friends and have some fun. But this…this is just beyond a disgrace. IN MY OPINION.

I hope these women get a grip on reality before they end up ruining their husbands’ or boyfriends’ careers…or much worse ruin their own by digging their own graves full of social media harassment, bullying, and the exposure of PII (personally identifiable information).

According to Army Regulation 600-20 (Army Command Policy), “the Army is a values-based organization where everyone is expected to do what is right by treating all persons as they should be treated…Bullying and other behaviors that undermine dignity and respect are fundamentally in opposition to our values and are prohibited. Soldiers who violate this policy may be subject to punishment under the United States Code of Military Justice.”

And worse, I’m sure there are NCOs and Officers on the page as well. The Creed of the Noncommissioned Officer states, “No one is more professional than I…I will at all times conduct myself so as to bring credit upon the Corps, the military service, and my country regardless of the situation I which I find myself…I will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget that we are professionals…”

Somebody on that page is just bound to screen shot a social media mishap and email it to someone’s Commander or First Sergeant. I am sure of it. I can foresee so many demotions, reliefs-for-cause, and extra duties.

I can’t allow myself to associate with this page nor with any female who finds this crap fascinating, cool, or humorous. I hope an act of God comes down on this group and turns it into a page based on empowering each other, networking, and mentoring. Sort of like “Beauties in Boots” (144K members) or “Female Bosses Link Up” (116 members) or Heather Lindsey’s Pinky Promise for instance.

I honestly don’t know how to end this blog post on a good note. The only thing I can say is that I will continue to focus on myself and continue to love on the women that I have in my small circle. I love them and they have remained in my life this long because of the support and friendship we give each other. Especially my female mentors.

Hopefully soon I find my calling and it involves making an inspirational impact in other women’s lives. People, I am far from perfect. But I am slowly but surely grooming myself to become something special. I’m excited to find my purpose. I just hope other women can get back on the right track to pursuing their purposes as well. Especially those that made the decision to live by the Soldier’s Creed.

JS

 

Climate change affecting Army training

By: C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 27, 2016) — For the Big Green Machine — America’s Army — climate change, efforts to prevent it, or to at least adapt to it are about more than saving Mother Earth or even the whales. It’s about training, training space, how the Army fights, how often the Army will be called upon to fight in the future, and where.

Last Friday, April 22, was Earth Day. The day has been observed annually since 1970. In conjunction with that observance, Richard G. Kidd IV, who serves as the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for energy and sustainability, along with his counterparts from the Navy, the Air Force and the Department of Defense discussed service-related perspectives on climate change during a panel discussion, April 26, in the Pentagon.

CLIMATE CHANGES TRAINING

A very visible effect of climate change on Soldiering, Kidd said, involves how weather affects a unit’s ability to prepare for its combat mission.

Kidd said the Army needs to train. Following 14 years of counter-insurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is looking to build readiness across the “full spectrum of operations,” also referred to as “decisive action in support of unified land operations.” That readiness has been tagged as the No. 1 priority for the Army by its chief of staff, and large-scale training at the Army’s combat training centers are a key part of that effort.

“Without access to ranges and land, the Army’s readiness suffers,” Kidd said. “One of our key areas of training is Fort Irwin, California, where we do bridge-level maneuvers.”

Kidd said Fort Irwin suffered three years of drought, and so the ground there was unprepared for substantial rainfall. “Then suddenly we got all that water — in one day. It washed out brigade-sized live-fire training complexes across Fort Irwin.”

The rain at Irwin, Kidd said, “exceeded the ability of the land to absorb that water, it created flash floods and erosion which destroyed the ranges: control towers, firing platforms, and target berms that come up. Much of that was destroyed. We couldn’t use those ranges for training. And that’s a unique asset in the Army. It affected the training cycle. And there was a significant cost to fix that.”

Kidd also pointed to flooding at Fort Eustis, Virginia; to melting permafrost up in Alaska which affected the ability of Soldiers there to use firing platforms; and to erosion of tank trails at Fort Benning, Georgia.

At Fort Benning, “a lot of the tank trails on the installation have eroded significantly,” Kidd said. “We’ve always had an erosion problem. But it’s accelerated in the past year due to the shift in rain patterns and the amount and intensity of the rain fall.”

TOO HOT TO TRAIN

Soldiers, Kidd said, are subject to heat stress, and their performance decreases with increased heat.

Army Technical Bulletin MED 507 spells out various temperature categories and the level of intensity of activity that can safely be performed during those temperature conditions. A “Category IV” temperature condition, for instance, is defined as being between 88-89.9 degrees. A “Category V” temperature condition is above 90 degrees.

The bulletin offers specific types of activity that can be performed during different temperature conditions, as well as recommendations for durations for those activities. Such activities include patrolling, calisthenics, low crawling, field assaults, walking on loose sand with a load, and construction of defensive positions.

Climate change affects the number of days in certain regions of the country that are classified as either Category IV or Category V days. And that affects the Army’s ability to train in those areas.

Citing a temperature chart for Fort Stewart, Georgia, Kidd said “if you take a middle-road estimate of future climate change, we’re going to go from around 80 days a year of Category IV or Category V weather to 130 days a year of Category IV and Category V.”

Fort Stewart is just 150 miles south-east of Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where the Army trains as many as 35,000 basic trainees each year.

“Can we really train Soldiers if roughly half of our training days are going to be Category IV or Category V, where we have to curtail or eliminate their outdoor activity?” he asked.

MORE FIGHTS POSSIBLE; ARC OF INSTABILITY

The phrase “win in a complex world,” is all over the Army. Factors that make the world “complex” include population growth, increasing consumption, urbanization, transitions in energy, and the spread of technology, for instance.

“But the one item that cuts across all of those trends is climate change,” Kidd said. “For the Army what does that mean for plans and operations?”

Kidd pointed out that in any particular state, “governance capacity” describes the ability of a government to provide public goods and services to their citizens and constituents.

The effects of climate change, he said, such as rising sea levels, or scarcity of fresh water, for instance, can overwhelm the capacity of a government to provide the services it is supposed to, and that makes for failed states.

“If a state can’t meet those requirements, it tips over,” Kidd said.

Areas with failed states, or other “ungoverned” areas, Kidd said, leave a vacuum that is ripe for takeover by terrorists. “These are the spaces that are the petri dishes that nurture these threats.”

Kidd referred to the area from sub-Saharan Africa up into central Asia as an “arc of instability.”

“These are the same countries that are going to be the most adversely affected by climate change,” he said. “The effects of climate change, along with other global trends, have the potential to overwhelm the governance capacity of states in this region. And when that governance capacity gets overwhelmed, you have the opportunity for insecurity — an unstable, uncontrolled space. And from that could come terrorism, crime, civil war and all of these other security threats.”

When that happens, he said, “The decision will have to be made by the civil command authority: is that worth the intervention for the U.S. military?”

Climate change, he said, can mean increased engagement by American Soldiers.

With that in mind, Kidd said, such problems can be inoculated against with the Army’s regionally aligned forces concept, with development of host-nation capacity, strategic engaging by combatant commands, as well as with involvement by other government agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development. All are examples of how America can contribute to bolstering governance capacity to avoid future failed states.

WHERE ARE THE BULLETS?

In 2011, a tsunami, triggered by an earthquake, caused the failure of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Eastern Japan.

Japanese manufacturers who relied on power produced at Fukushima were themselves responsible for producing a small plastic part that is used to attach automobile dashboards to the chassis.

“Every car has these grommets in them,” Kidd said, adding that Japanese manufacturers of those parts produced the preponderance of them, globally. “So When Fukushima went out, BMW lines in Europe shut down.”

Kidd said that today, major consulting firms in the private sector now consider supply chain resiliency for the companies they consult for.

“Private industry is thinking about the potential disruptions to supply chain,” Kidd said. But for the Army, he said, “we don’t think enough about our supply chain and our suppliers and their vulnerability to disruptive events. Where are the vulnerabilities in the Army supply chain, to extreme weather, or in particular, to water-driven events?”

“We need to get a better understanding of the vulnerabilities in our supply chain,” Kidd concluded.

Kidd said the Army does spend a great deal of time and effort on ensuring the adequacy and security of its supply chain.

“But we need to integrate climate change considerations into our ongoing processes,” he said. “We have initiated this effort within the last two years. Specifically, we have developed and are constructing a range of water savings features across our industrial facilities focused on the very large amount of water used in manufacturing.”

EARTH DAY FOR THE ARMY

“For the military, it’s about national security,” Kidd said of Earth Day. “The effects of climate change and environmental degradation are going to increase our requirements while also imposing more constraints on our training and readiness and use of scarce dollars. The sooner we get started, the more prepared we will be, and the less costly it’s going to be to adapt.”

Source: http://www.army.mil/article/166803/Climate_change_affecting_Army_training/

 
 

Burt of Burt’s Bees Dies at 80

bb

Burt Shavitz, co-founder and namesake of natural personal care company Burt’s Bees, has passed away at 80.

“We remember him as a wild-bearded and free-spirited Maine man, a beekeeper, a wisecracker, a lover of golden retrievers…” the company said in a statement. “Above all, Burt was always Burt — an uncompromising individual of his own invention.”

Shavitz died of respiratory complications in Maine, and was surrounded by family and friends.

Burt’s Bees started by chance — Shavitz, a bearded beekeeper who sold honey from a roadside stand, pulled over one day in 1984 to pick up hitchhiker Roxanne Quimby. The two hit it off, and Quimby started making candles from Shavitz’s beeswax.

The pair made $200 at their first craft fair selling the candles, and within a year, pulled in $20,000, according to a company timeline. Soon, they started making all kinds of other products — featuring Shavitz’s face and beard on the labels — including Burt’s Bees’ iconic beeswax lip balm.

Burt’s Bees was sold for $1 billion to Clorox (CLX) in 2007.

The company remains one of the most recognizable natural care brands in the U.S.

Sophia Yan, CNN

 

Lawmakers Want Clearer Army Breastfeeding Rules

bf-army

House lawmakers want clearer rules on breastfeeding in the ranks, a few weeks after the issue of public nursing caused an uproar at an Idaho Air Force Base.

In an amendment to the House Armed Services Committee’s defense authorization bill draft, lawmakers required the Secretary of the Army to “develop a comprehensive policy regarding breastfeeding” for female soldiers that addresses the availability of facilities and allows for work breaks for pumping milk.

The measure — sponsored by Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass. — also specifies that areas with “adequate privacy and cleanliness” for breastfeeding should include electrical outlets to allow use of breast pumps. “Restrooms should not be considered an appropriate location.”

The move comes just days after the commander of the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho was forced to rescind a policy requiring mothers breastfeeding in public areas on base relocate to a private room, use a nursing cover or leave the premises.

The policy applied to civilians and off-duty civil service employees, but not to active-duty service members or on-duty civilian employees. But it caused a public uproar, and a promise from officials to look for ways to better accommodate those mothers.

The Army is the only of the four services not to have a specific, service-wide breastfeeding policy.

The authorization bill will have to survive months more of House and Senate debate and be signed by the president before the Army breastfeeding requirement would become law.

Leo Shane III

 

WeStoop.com: Black Man Down (Knowing Your Rights With Law Enforcement)

Guest Blog: WeStoop.com
Author: Jordan Wooten

I didn’t want to write this. I mean I REALLY didn’t want to write this, but it has come to my attention that my African American brothers literally have NO idea how to act during police encounters. Furthermore, they have NO idea what their rights are when being confronted by an officer. This brief essay will explain what to do and what rights you have when being confronted by an officer. PLEASE TAKE NOTE.

IF BEING PULLED OVER:

1. Always remain calm. NO matter how intense the situation may get, never raise your voice or curse. Some police officers will try to provoke you to get you out of your comfort zone. Just take deep breathes and remain calm, cool and collected.
2. Keep everything in plain sight. As the officer approaches the window, make sure you and all passengers keep their hands in plain sight. It’s safest for the driver to keep his hands on the steering wheel.
3. Present your Driver’s License. If the officer asks you for your license, present it to them. It is illegal to drive without a valid DMV issued driver’s license or permit.
4. Do not submit to any searches and seizers without a warrant. (4th Amendment) If the officer asks you to step out of the car, you should fully comply. However, that does not give him permission to search your car or anything on your person. A police officer has to have a warrant or probable cause (the automobile exception. see: Carroll v. United States) to perform a search without your consent. As you are getting out of the car, you should roll up your windows, lock the door and place the keys in your pocket. This should deter the officer from “accidently” entering your car without permission. Officers can get really tricky. They can make false statements and even passive aggressive threats to get you to waive your rights. Just remember to calmly state, “Officer, I do not consent to any searches.”
5. You have the right to not self-incriminate. Any question you do not feel comfortable answering, you do not have to answer. This may make you appear evasive so exercise this law with caution. Be aware that you have the right to remain silent even if you are NOT being arrested.
6. Ask if you are free to go. Some officers don’t like to be challenged, and exercising your rights can feel like a challenge to them. They may start to lecture you, persuade you, or even intimidate you. If this starts to occur, it may be a good idea to calmly ask the officer, “Am I free to go?” The officer can either reply with yes or no. If they say yes, then slowly get back in your car and drive off. If they say no, then remain calm until you are free to go. It’s not about actually leaving, but more about letting the officer know and setting the tone that you are ready to leave. This goes a long way if indeed you need to file a law suit for unlawful detainment.
7. Remember as much as you can. If at the end of the police encounter you feel you have been treated wrongfully or unlawfully detained, it is important to write down as much of the information as you can as soon as you can. Information like badge number, the officer’s name (they must provide that to you if you ask them) and the squad car number are very important when filing a formal complaint to the police department. Contact any witness who may have seen the occurrence and obtain any additional information that would help your complaint.

IF BEING STOPPED ON THE STREET:

1. Always remain calm. Again, no matter how intense the situation may get, never raise your voice or curse. Just take deep breathes and remain calm, cool and collected.
2. Do not submit to any searches and seizers without a warrant. Since the state of Georgia is a ‘Terry Stop’ State police have the right to stop you and frisk you if they reasonably suspect you of committing a crime. Frisking does NOT include emptying out your pockets, going through your wallet or bags, and asking you to remove articles of clothing. Officers must have a warrant, or probable cause to perform a search like that. This right is protected by the 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
3. Know your rights. This is where it gets a little dicey. You are definitely going to want to research how your rights can be exercised BEFORE you try to flex your rights on a police officer. Each state varies in its own laws, but it’s important to note that no state legislature can override your U.S. Constitutional rights.
4. Right to privacy. (4th amendment) as per the case of Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada you only have to present your ID if the police officer is detaining you or if the officer reasonably suspects you of committing a crime. Detainment can ONLY occur if the officer suspects you of committing a crime. If an officer asks you for ID, you have the right to ask if you are being detained. If he says no, then you then should ask if you are free to go. However, if you ask if you are being detained and the officer replies yes, then you have the right to immediately as what crime they suspect you of committing. If said officer cannot clearly articulate the crime you are committing, then you may ask if you are free to go.
5. Right to not self-incriminate. (5th amendment) At all times, you have the right to remain silent or not answer any question an officer is asking you. This is especially true if you are being questioned by an officer who has no valid suspicion of you committing a crime. Questions like, “where are you going”, “what is your name” or even “how old are you” are not required to be answered if the officer does not suspect you of committing a crime.
6. Right to free speech. (1st amendment) This is a basic right that often gets overlooked. This is important because this right extends to you recording an on duty police officer without their consent (Unless in the state of Illinois or Massachusetts) as long as you are not impeding their job. All you need to do is inform the officer that you are recording them. They may give you flack, but it is perfectly legal to record the police.
7. Remember as much as you can. Just like I mentioned above, If at the end of the police encounter you feel you have been treated wrongfully, or unlawfully detained, it is important to write down as much of the information as you can as soon as you can. These complaints do not go unheard and are your best avenue for ensuring justice in the future and reprimanding for the unjust officer.

The most important thing to remember about encounters with police officers is to use common sense. Be smart and analyze the situation before you decide how you want to proceed. Never…and I repeat….NEVER resist arrest. Even if you are being unlawfully detained or arrested, you should never resist an officer trying to arrest you. This could result in serious injury. Just simply say in a clear even tone, “Officer, I believe I am being unlawfully detained/arrested”. The battle you should try to win is the one in a court room. Not the one on the street. Small statements like that can go a long way in helping you to win a civil suit against unlawful arrests.

For more information on your rights when encountering police officers, please visit http://www.flexyourrights.org/

Thank you and God Bless

(CREDIT: WeStoop.com, Jordan Wooten)

 
 

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Love Never Ends, Fort Hood

Love Never Ends, Fort Hood

“…love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things… It was love for country that inspired these three Americans to put on the uniform to join the greatest army that the world has ever known. Sergeant First Class Daniel Ferguson, Staff Sergeant Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez, Sergeant Timothy Owens…”
POTUS Barack Obama

The afternoon of April 9th was a long and hot one. The sudden deaths of three great soldiers made for a most heartbreaking event today to say goodbye to their fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, and fiancé. There is no way I can begin to understand even just a fraction of their sorrow, but let’s just continue to pray for them, to have strength and peace, every day and every night. This senseless tragedy literally could’ve happened to any unit on any base in any military branch. So if you’re reading this, stop to thank God that he spared our lives again and gave us another chance.

I was honored today to be in the presence of the Army Chief of Staff, General Ray Odierno, the Secretary of the Army, Honorable John McHugh, and our Commander-in-Chief, President Obama and The First Lady. In addition, there were several others who flew in to attend this memorial, to include members of the Texas congressional delegation.

But I was moreso very honored to be there to pay my respects to these fallen heroes…who stood in front of a door to protect a room full of fellow soldiers and who walked bravely toward the shooter in effort to calm him down. If this is not the epitome of the Army Values, of bravery and courage, loyalty to the Warrior Ethos, I don’t know what is! I can only hope for myself that I would be this courageous if I ever found myself in this situation, God forbid. I joined the Army well-aware that I will be put into harm’s way at any given time. But these three men made the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE and thought not of self, but of safety. Safety — for their comrades and not for themselves.

Let’s not forget to include the victims that survived their gunshots, the soldiers who hid fearing for their lives not knowing if they’d see tomorrow, the officer who broke windows for his people to escape, the healthcare professionals at Darnall and at Scott & White, the MP who undoubtedly and bravely risked her life at the scene,… And last but NEVER least, the family members. To the parents, spouses, sons and daughters, siblings, and relatives, you SHARED your men with the U.S. Army for a collective total of nine deployments within 50 collective years of service. That alone is commendable — your undying support and love, throughout their careers. But we thank you and grieve with you and pray for you…for having to give up your men one week ago for America.

Before I close, let me add that I also felt quite honored to have members of my unit performing in the 1st Cavalry Division Band as well as singing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “Amazing Grace.” You all did a beautiful job! Thank you to each individual, the band as a whole, and band commander CW5 Pace. I’m a proud Maverick.

FIRST TEAM!

(Jasmine Stewart)

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Army Life, Current Events

 

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