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Archive for the ‘Honor’ Category

       September 11th used to be just another day.  Then, it became my son’s brother’s birthday.  Nine years later…September 11th became something else.  September 11th, 2001 became the day of the destruction of American innocence.  It became a day controlled by terrorists and their plot of destruction.  It became a day of horror and fear.  It became a day of mourning.  Then, it became a day of rememberance. 

         Each year the day brings anxiety, fear, sadness and depression…but it also, becomes a measure of time.  It becomes, almost a before and after measure in our country and in our lives.  The military men and women, the everyday people who traveled on the jets, the business people who worked in the World Trade Center, the people on the street…every life that was lost was precious; and the grief never becomes anything less than what it should be!  The grieving process is different for everyone…but, it is the bridge from a place of denial to an acceptance of a life that has been changed, due to a loss of the life of a loved one.  At some point, you either become a person cocooned in pain and loss or you move towards a place of healing and acceptance.

        How much time has passed since that tragic day.  How many things have those people who’s names are called out in the roll-call missed.  How many sons and daughters have marked milestones in their lives without parents?  How many spouses have witnessed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births & deaths without their partners by their side to support them?  How many parents, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends have been forced to bear witness to life without those who were such a part of their lives?

          For those who have valiantly tried to heal from the deep wounds of September 11th; some have found some way of marching into the future…one difficult footstep at a time.  Others have been forever stuck in that moment of loss.  For those who have been able to move forward painfully…there is no lack of a sense of guilt, for surviving and beginning to enjoy the blessings in life again. 

          Each milestone of survival is marked by loss…that can’t be forgotten; and yet, to choose not to enjoy what’s left in life to enjoy; is a slap in the face to those who’s lives were lost.  Which of them, if given a choice would choose to live a life without thanksgiving, without joy, without celebration… of all the good things before them; if they were able to live again?  It does those who were lost no honor, to allow the terrorists to have more “dead” victims than they already stole from the world.

          So while we honor those who were lost…let’s not forget those who were left behind to survive.  Let’s honor the loved ones, of those who were lost in the attack.  At some point, peeling back the scab over and over again can only serve to prevent long-term healing.  When, might September 11th become just another day again?  Can it ever become just another day…probably not?  Should it ever become something else besides an acknowledgement of the terrorists deeds?  Or are we forever bound by loss and respect to the lives lost, to always carry the scar of history ?  Is it possible to take back some of the power that the terrorists stole from us by reclaiming that day as just another day?

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       Labor Day is celebrated traditionally on the first Monday in September every year in the United States.  The original idea came about in 1882; it is a bit of a controversy who came up with the idea but most agree it is one of these two men, Peter J. McGuire a carpenter or Matthew Maguire a machinist brought the idea to the American forefront.  The reasoning behind a Labor Day was to celebrate the men and women in this country who work so hard to contribute to the infrastructure of our country by the manual labor and the sweat of their brows.  This Day is to honor them by giving them a day off from work and to recognize all that they do for their families, their employers, and their communities.

        It has become a national holiday, that over the years …the reason for the celebration has been diluted by the activities surrounding it.  There are picnics, festivals,tele-thons, fireworks, cookouts, parties and get-togethers…all of which are wonderful.  However, the reason for the Labor Day needs to once again be brought to the forefront; as people work harder than ever to build businesses, products, and services…but, seemingly the American Worker gets farther and farther behind in their earnings and their savings.

         Today, it was announced in the news that personal incomes dropped by 0.7% in the month of July alone…this is the most noteable drop in income, in over three years.  This comes as a disappointment as the government had issued those tax incentive rebate checks that were supposed to stimulate the economy.  It just goes to show that the fine balancing act that is the American economy, is more than just a little off kilter.

          The American worker works longer hours, and has more financial burdens than they need; and, are saving less than ever before.  The uncertainity of job security hangs over everyone’s heads as corporations and businessess outsource work to citizens from other countries, or outright move their businesses overseas to save money.  It costs more to do business now just as it costs workers more to exist. 

            The cost of living seems to be raising the stakes as workers struggle with rising gasoline, food prices, health care, education costs, home heating fuel and fluctuating mortgage payments, foreclosures, and bank failures. 

            Business companies and workers alike need to come back to the idea of the solid  American work ethic and the celebratory rewards from their employers for loyalty of service to their employees by investing back in the American economy.   CEOs and Administrators need to stop demanding and expecting so many perks and rally up behind some sacrifices that pump some new lifeblood into the network of reliable work histories of the American people.  Workers need to work hard to build up the assets of their employers.  We can learn alot from our forebearers in how they earned, saved, and how this country was built from the ground up.  The American worker who went before, often worked in unsafe working conditions. 

              We have come a long way in making working conditions safer due to labor unions and the worker creating an awareness about those issues, as well as child labor laws.  We can learn from both the good and the bad.  People who work hard and are reliable and trustwory as well as dependable; should be rewarded with job security, appropriate income, and benefits.  Companies who value their workers and develop stability should be praised and encouraged.  Together they are what this country needs to get the balance back where it needs to be.  We need to encourage more teamwork between employers and employees.

               So this weekend, as you celebrate your well earned time off to spend with your friends and family with a variety of R & R…let’s keep our priorities straight.  Celebrate and honor the traditions of those who came before and helped to trailblaize for the American worker of today; when you work…work hard and give your best quality.  Companies…if you have workers who don’t do their jobs and don’t give of the appropriate level of work…let them go…there are plenty of workers out there who will. 

                America has become a bit off balance.  There are those who work hard and are proud to do so…and there are slackers who are proud to be slackers.  There are companies who struggle to provide good products, and services who honor their workers with appropriate rewards and there are companies who don’t.  Unions sometimes will get behind a worker who shouldn’t necessarily be backed up if they are in the wrong.  There are occasions where it is hard for a company to dismiss a worker who isn’t working up to the appropriate standard of employment…don’t back up the worker who is in the wrong…it costs the company money, it costs the laborers in morale and it takes jobs away from workers who really want to work and would work hard for what they earn. 

                The next American President needs to create more opportunities for workers to have jobs and not just in the large metropolitan areas…there are plenty of potential employees who live in the suburbs and in the country areas who need good paying jobs.  We need to teach our young people how to work, how to take pride in a job well done and how to respect those in authority over them so that they learn how to be a good employee.  Maybe the next American President could take a page out of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legacy and create something like the CCC or Civilian Conservation Corps which created an environment of employment, did amazing things for our environment, provided for families, and built a generation of dedicated hard working individuals who gave something meaningful to their country and their communities.  That would be amazing!

                We want to celebrate the best of the best.  Whether you are an executive, a laborer, a clerk, a stock person,a doctor, professor, janitor, or a truck driver, etc…it doesn’t matter, it is about the quality of person that you are; your integrity, and the willingness you have to earn what you are paid for. So what does Labor Day mean to our country today?  It could very well mean the difference between building up our economy or the total collapse of the very infrastructure that this country was founded on.  Buy American… Happy Labor Day weekend!

           

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          What are your thoughts on a person who has worked hard to earn a law license; who then, down the road faced multiple felony charges against them?  Should they be able to retain their law license, while the legal process weaves itself through the system, if they agree to some kind of a deal with a prosecutor?

          I mean,  i am not in any way associated with the legal system, but the way i understand it; lawyers are officers of the court.  As officers of the court, aren’t they obligated to uphold the law?   I thought as officers of the court they were held to a higher standard of behavior or conduct.   If they do in fact violate the law, should they then be allowed to practice the law in the future or should they be disbarred?   Would anyone actually use the services of a lawyer who had been charged with multiple felonies, even if they were not prosecuted because they accepted a deal instead of being convicted?

        I ask, because there is some speculation that behind the scenes wrangling, in Michigan of the Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick case, in some reporting or comments that i have read are suggesting that he may be holding out on making some kind of deal; that would allow him to keep his law license and maybe even avoid jail time. 

         I don’t know if that is possible with 10 felony charges against him at the moment; although, i read that there was a plea deal offered to him and his legal team last week friday.  The offer was, to have one of the felony assault charges against him dropped; if, he were to agree to resign before Sept 3.   So far, no resignation has been announced; although, there has been plenty of pressure applied by a variety of people through the media.  This whole political mess is making history…but, it is a sad history for the state Michigan and for the future of one of the largest cities in Michigan.

         For those readers who have not been following this case, Sept 3 is when Govenor Jennifer Granholm will be conducting a hearing on whether Mayor Kilpatrick should be removed from his position for misconduct.   What do you think on this issue? 

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     Nine years is a relatively short amount of time to change lives, community, and environment.  Luckily, Franklin D. Roosevelt didn’t let that thought stop him when he created the Civilian Conservation Corps through his impactful New Deal which created over 59 agencies that worked to help America get out of the Depression Era.

      The Great Depression was a devastating period of time in America that impacted every facet of family life.  Food was in short supply, jobs were scarce, families were large and hope was wanning. 

       The year 1933 began to change that…the Depression had already dumped four years of hardship on families and the country.  Franklin D. Roosevelt became the President and promised the country a New Deal.  He created many agencies that would ultimately turn the country around…but those things took time. 

         When he created the Civilian Conservation Corps it was intended to take young men out of the city who were on the “help” line or what would today be called welfare.  The CCC did in fact help many young city men to leave the city life and got plenty of young men out of an environment of trouble.   When some of the young men/boys didn’t want to leave the city…boys from the country also went.  If the young men couldn’t work during this time, they were a drain on the family food supply; the CCC provided a solution to that by sending the young men to the camps…not only didn’t their families have to feed them…they could in turn, send home money helping to support their family at home. The requirements were such that the young men were supposed to be 18 years of age, collecting help or welfare benefits, and were willing to leave their families to go to the CCC camps.

         The work was hard.  The environment was sometimes empty lands that the “boys” had to clear and build their own shelters that would eventually become the camp barracks.  The discipline was tough because it had to be.  The camps often were blending boys from city life with boys from country life.  The times were tough…and many men and boys came without much clothing.  The camps provided uniforms to wear, food to eat, a place to stay, and a purpose for the young men and boys during a time when left to their own devices, many were prone to get into trouble.  The uniforms helped to instill pride in the work that they performed…for their families, their communities, and their country.

         The work that the CCC did was varied around the country…but, basically, they built roads, dams, installed telephone lines, paved roads, built state and national parks, built dams, constructed fire breaks to help control fire damage, planted forests and so much more.

          In return for the priviledge of being clothed in uniform and taking pride in the work that they were able to accomplish, the young men had to agree to the payment plan.  That payment included three meals a day, housing, clothing, and $30 dollars a month…the men were allowed to keep $5 dollars of that money and the rest was sent home to help their parents; or, if they were married with dependents, then they sent home the $25 to their spouse to help take care of their responsibilities.  Many of the young men had to not only leave their homes but some even had to go to camps out of their home states.

          This program, the CCC was wonderful at rebuilding a sense of pride in young men who did not want to take help from the government…it allowed them to feel as though they were once again restoring their families by the manual labor that they did.  At the same time, the CCC used the young men to construct projects that impacted the country in ways that; to this day, we are able to reap the rewards from.  The work ethic that the men exibited during this time was to set a standard for generations to learn from.  It was run with a military type environment…not quite a boot camp…but strong discipline and lots of physical labor.  Often, the men went on to join the armed forces and used the skills they learned through the CCC to help the military in other areas around the world. 

          Many of the parks and dams still exist and are enjoyed.  The CCC camps lasted 9 years; this year honored the celebration of its 75 anniversity.  The CCC put over 2.5 million young men and boys to work.  They planted over 200 million trees…my own grandfather was a part of that.  In the area where he worked…they planted pine trees that still stand to this day.  In the area where he worked…those trees were instrumental to helping to stop the progression of a 10 acre parcel of desert which turned into over 1000 acres before the trees were able to do their job.  That gave farming families a chance to regain their farm land which provided their families a place to live and plant their food supply.  

          All of the men who joined the CCC did work to be proud of.  They worked hard, they sacrificed time away from their families and they provided for other members of their families by doing so.  Many formed long lasting friendships with their co-workers and all had stories to tell when their time was done.   It is a legacy that should not be forgotten.  All of the work was important and should be honored. Many of the workers are gone now…some are living still and to them all…we owe a big thank you!   Do you know anyone who worked for the CCC?  How did it impact their life?  How does it affect the environment where you live today?  Should we organize something similar today to help our economy, our youth, and our country?  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/impact-action-team-makes-a-difference-in-the-world-through-boot-camp-training/

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       Have you heard about the Presidential Dollar Coins?  The US Mint is honoring our Presidents in the order of their service to our country; by producing coins with their likeness on them.  The goal is to honor the Presidents, and to save the country millions in production costs that the paper dollars incur just by the wear and tear that they receive during their use.  The coins are expected to be more indestructible.   By lasting longer than the traditional paper dollar; it will save the United States, a good chunk of change 🙂  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist saying that!

       This year’s coins are:  Presidents, Monroe, Adams, Jackson and Van Buren.  On the back of each coin is an image of the Statue Of Liberty.  Along the edges of the coins are the words, In God We Trust and the year as well as the minting mark.  You can check out their site here:  http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/%241coin/ and there you can find out the release schedule as well as how to direct order the coins and coin boards.  Most banks or credit unions either have the coins or can get them for you as well. 

       I have been seeing television commercials encouraging the use of the Presidential Dollar Coins.  In fact, there seems to be an experiment going on by the US mint to try four test marketing communities.  There are four cities that are being used to test the public’s willingness to use the coins in their daily lives.  Those four cities are:  Austin-Texas, Charlotte- North Carolina, Grand Rapids-Michigan, and Portland-Oregon.  These cities will be urging their citizens to use the coins for everyday tasks; business owners will also be part of the plan of encouragement.  It is hoped that this experiment will increase the demand from other cities to trade paper dollars for coin. 

       I wonder though, if technology will keep up with the experiment.  Will vending machines, automated car washes, pay telephones, parking meters, toll booths, and the like accept the coins, in place of the traditional paper dollar?  Will you be more likely to use the coins, use traditional dollars, or, use the coins for collecting purposes?

       

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      Once again the term an honor killing, has hit the news.  A  Pakistani father, Chaudhry Rashid living in Georgia, who had arranged a marriage for his 25 year old daughter Sandeela Kanwal, is being accused of killing her when she expressed that she no longer wished to be married to the man (who she had not seen in recent months as he lives in Chicago). 

      Sandeela Kanwal was unhappy with the arranged marriage and wished to divorce.  Her father allegedly strangled her to death out of a cultural sense of family honor that was in jeaparody in his mind.   He was so angry that he chose to end her life, rather than admit that a marriage he had helped to arrange was not working out well. 

       Did he put so little value in his daughter’s happiness that he put his own sense of embarassment, about the failure of the marriage, ahead of her life?  Obviously she respected her father’s wishes and married the man her father had picked out for her.  There must have been a compelling reason for her to wish to leave the marriage. What I want to know is…how is family honor preserved by killing one’s own daughter?  How is it more honorable to murder than it is to divorce; in any culture? 

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       The countdown has begun, we have an 8 measly days to prepare for the fourth of July.  How do you plan to celebrate the freedoms that you have, that were purchased by the men and women of our country’s military?   All branches of the armed forces deserve to be honored.   How about along with those picnics and parades, you carve out a litle time to make and send a card to thank them for their sacrifice?

       Did you know that there are many service people who don’t get words of encouragement or support from anyone?   Oh, alot of our military men and women have their own friends and family who are strong in their support…but some really and truly don’t.  Some are lonely or sad; some are on their own, away from home for the first time.  When my husband was in the Marine Corps years ago; he was blessed to have a mother who wrote to him daily, all four years of his service.  My husband had a roomate who never received any cards or letters.  Out of compassion, my mother-in-law sent him a letter; it moved that roomate to tears.  He said to my husband…you do not know how much this means to mean to get this.  It was a moment of support that that young man desperately needed.   Here is a program that i heard about and loved the idea of from the very moment I heard about it.  It is a non-profit organization called, Make 2 Tell 2.

       The whole idea behind make2tell2 is to make two cards of encouragement, good wishes or support; and then, telling two others about the program and getting them to do the same.  The organization will collect the cards and then send them on to our military personel in Afghanistan and Iraq.  There isn’t much time left, we only have 8 days including today!  Can you help?  These are our sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers…they are sacrificing time away from their own support systems to serve our country.

        How about sitting down the children who are out of school; let them unleash their creativity.    By this point, the newness of being out of school for the summer has set in and they are complaining of having nothing to do.  This is a great craft project for them.  Once they get started they won’t want to stop.  Or, do you know someone who is a scrap booker and loves to use their skills to make their own cards and such?  This is a perfect project for them.  Use your imagination as far as who would be willing to help…this really is a wonderful way to celebrate the fourth of July and celebrate all that we are blessed with here in America.

          For those service people who are overseas…this will help them to feel appreciated and a little less alone.   Here is the contact information for the program.  Feel free to include your contact information, on those cards and letters if you feel led.  Or if you are uncomfortable with that…make them, and just sign your name; either way, this is a great way of serving your country.   It is such a small sacrifice of your time but it can have an amazing impact on someone.   Make 2 Tell 2
991 Road 325
Harvard, NE  68944
        I am doing this myself, with my children today…and I am asking you to do the same.  Make a little time to give back to the greatest country in the world.  Celebrate the veterans of yesterday, today and tomorrow…who knows…they just might be one of your very own loved ones!

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