Bravery

Bravery —  at its finest!

In today’s world, where you are sometimes left shaking your head as you observe people’s indifferences towards each other — it is the dramatic story of two U.S. servicemen, traveling with an American student, that fills your heart with hope, inspiration, admiration and gratitude.

As we speak, there are an undisclosed amount of people that were on board the express Thalys train yesterday as it sped through the Belgium countryside between Amsterdam and Paris that owe these men their lives.

Also aboard that train was an alleged 26-year-old Moroccan with Islamic ties, armed with a Kalishnikev assault rifle, nine magazines, a Luger semi-automatic pistol, and a box cutter who, according to his own admission, had the intent to rob the passengers.  Quite the arsenal for a train robbery.

It began when an unnamed French national walked toward the men’s toilet and came face-to-face with the Moroccan who had the assault rifle slung over his shoulder.  The Frenchman reacted quickly, trying to take the gunman down and, in the struggle, a shot was fired.

The two U.S. servicemen — young Spencer Stone, a member of the U.S. Air Force — and Alex Skarlatos, a member of the Oregon National Guard — quickly ducked down upon hearing the shot.  Then, adrenalin and military training immediately kicked in.  Alex, just returning from Afghanistan, looked towards his friend Spencer and simply said, “Let’s go.”  Spencer jumped to his feet first, and ran 30 feet directly towards the still-armed gunman, before tackling him.  In the struggle that followed, the gunman used the box cutter to cut Spencer’s neck and thumb severely while trying to thwart the attack.

Alex, several seconds behind Spencer, joined the fray and pulled a Luger from the gunman’s hand, throwing it aside.  The assault rifle now was on the floor at the feet of the gunman.  Alex lunged for it, retrieved it, and began to “muzzle-thump” the gunman about the head while Spencer’s strong arm squeezed the gunman’s neck until he lost consciousness.  With the help of other passengers and their American student friend, they tied the gunman’s hands and feet to further restrain him.

The shot that was fired had hit another passenger and, with the gunman now subdued, Spencer went to aid the passenger — in spite of the fact that he was bleeding badly from his own wounds.  Some say he saved that passenger’s life.

In an odd twist, Alex found that the gunman had either failed to load the Luger, or lost its magazine.  As to the assault rifle, only one shot was fired because the primer on the second round was defective, which caused it to misfire.  An extraordinary stroke of luck.

The train pulled into the City of Arras where the young men were awarded an honor by that city.

Since that time, President Obama and the U.S. European Command Commander, General Philip M. Breedlove, have sung high praises for these brave young men, as well they should.

Interestingly, the motto of the U.S. Air Force is “Aim high … Fly/Fight/Win.”

And the motto of the Oregon National Guard is “When we are needed, we are there.”

Mission accomplished, gentlemen …..

 

Just Another Day At The Office

With the election cycle slowly cranking up again, it takes my thoughts and concerns to the American economy.

The world needs a little economic stability in the coming years as other countries who have been oppressed ache to be free of the economic shackles of the Old Guard who, unjustly and for a very long time, lived off the backs of many of their countrymen.  The world needs to welcome them to a better place.

China is struggling as an economy and, as a result, so is their stock market.  Greece has been all over the European map begging for assistance.  The Saudis are borrowing money (who would have thought?) because of the low oil prices.  Turkey is struggling to stand up in an extremely volatile area.  And then there are the emerging markets like those in Asia, Latin America and even some in Africa.  Last year, investors pumped $50 billion (with a “B”) in mutual funds that are investing in developing countries.  We should welcome them, too!

The tides of the world economy are changing and for that reason, America needs to tread lightly and, at the same time, stay strong.  Teddy Roosevelt used to say, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”  He was actually quoting a West African proverb: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”  Good advice then — good advice now.

Why does it matter?  It matters because there are millions of folks that have worked and contributed greatly to the American economy for decades.

We believe in America and we are vested in America.

I, for one, have devoted most of my life to working hard and I guess I would just like to be assured that with the right leader, the view from the office which vibrates with such prosperity will stay the same.

The Corner Office
The Corner Office

 

 

 

 

Business at its Best
Business at its Best

 

 

 

 

 

 

… We have much to think about in the coming days …

Happy 4th of July!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the USS Theodore Roosevelt and I wondered how they were celebrating the founding of our great nation.  I will share with you what I found as the last thing on this post.

But first, let me wave my flag and salute all of those brave men and women who have made sacrifices beyond what we will ever know — and who have stepped up and continued to serve our great country.  Thank you … such small words … for the great deeds you have done.  Thank you for keeping us safe.  Thank you for keeping us free!

From Rota, Spain:

ROTA, Spain (NNS) — Service members assigned to Commander, U.S. Naval Activities Spain gathered around the flagpole to raise the American flag during the annual flag-raising ceremony July 2.

More than 800 service members, civilians, families and guests joined together for the special occasion, traditionally held just once a year. Located on a Spanish naval base, the American flag can only be raised with special permission from the Spanish base commanding officer.

“It’s a rare moment like this where we can all come together and watch the raising of an iconic symbol that has united our fellow Americans for generations,” said Capt. Greg Pekari, commander, U.S. Naval Activities Spain. “Having our Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Soldiers from our 35-plus tenant commands, from our family, having them gathered together in front Building 1 and seeing our American flag wave proudly overhead, makes this event very poignant and special.”

Pekari spoke of the “melting pot” that makes up America and has given us freedom for 239 years. “Two hundred thirty-nine years ago this Saturday, America was born on a unique notion that all men are created equal. When the rest of the world had long ago dismissed that idea, our forefathers, in crafting our Constitution, knew that the principal of diversity would be our advantage,” he said.

The flag will stay hoisted through Monday before it will be taken down until another approved event or Fourth of July.

“When we look upon our stars and stripes, we are reminded of what it means to be an American. We are reminded of our nation’s commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Pekari said.

USS Theodore Roosevelt, July 2015
USS Theodore Roosevelt, July 2015

Happy and Safe 4th, Everyone!!

About Honor In Life

As I scanned the headlines in Reuters today, I was drawn to slides posted from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a U.S. aircraft carrier commissioned in October of 1986.  It now sits in the waters of the Gulf near Bahrain.  Officially, it is there to ensure that the shipping lanes remain open and free to travel.  Unofficially, of course, it is there to show a signal of strength to the inhabitants of a restless and chaotic region.

As many of you know, my/our first book, Esperance, was centered around a very real U.S. Naval ship christened as the USS Boise.  She was a light cruiser who, along with other ships in the area, fought a daring and dramatic battle in the darkness of one night in October of 1942, off the Cape of Esperance in Guadalcanal.  While the journey of this great ship was entirely accurate (and took 7 years of research to accomplish), the Captain and crew of that ship were entirely figments of my and my husband’s imaginations — except for one person — a Machinist Mate by the name of Bobby Blunt.  He had only a cameo role in Esperance, but he had a leading role in my life.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge all those great fathers out there that lived an honorary and exemplary life and became the largest hero a son or daughter would ever have.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!Dad US NavyRobert H. Blunt – July 1921-January 2005, U.S. Navy

 

Information

So, this week is National Freedom of Information Week.  That gave me some pause.  Where would we be without this cause that was so important to James Madison?  As an author, may I say that the freedom to express ourselves — without recourse — should always be at the forefront of our journey.

Selma

Let’s none of us forget the sacrifices that many people made in this country 50 years ago.  Those that dreamed of equality, respect, and to be given what they had justly earned.  Obama said today that “they gave millions courage.”  To possess courage in the face of adversity is, indeed, the highest form of courage.