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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pausing To Remember

Hey Everyone,
  Wow.  Ten years ago today, the World Trade Center Towers were brought down in an evil, cowardly act of, not only terrorism but an act of war.  As we stop to remember all of the friends, neighbors, and loved ones who were murdered on that day (let's call it what it is), we all think about where we were and what we were doing, what was  happening in our lives that in an instant was dwarfed by what we were witnessing when we turned on the television set that bright sunny September morning.
  I was 24 days away from my wedding.  My biggest worries were cakes, flowers, and my first dress fitting scheduled for the following Saturday.  It seems selfish now, compared to the sacrifice made by so many others that day, but my first thought was, "The world can't be coming to an end, I'm getting married in three weeks!"
  So much has happened in the ensuing ten years.  How many terror plots have been thwarted that the American people know nothing about?  Are we safer as a nation since Sept. 11, 2001?  Anyone who flies on a regular basis has some pretty straightforward opinions on that I'm sure.  We do know that Osama Bin Laden is gone. I'm guessing that there are no virgins where he is at, imagine his surprise.  Al Quaida has been shattered into a million pieces thanks to the awesome men and women of the U.S. Military. The Freedom Tower in New York City is rising ever higher, scheduled to open sometime next year.  A massive tribute to the strength, resilience, and refusal of  Americans not to let a bunch of thugs have the last word.
  As I watched the 9/11 programming this morning I was struck by one thing.  These terrorists lived and worked among Americans for years as they were plotting this horrific event, but apparently, they never learned anything about us.  As people wept and mourned the loss of their loved ones, and those they did not know, the Police, Firefighters, EMS, and scores of other first responders, as soon as an American flag was unfurled, or the Star Spangled Banner began to play, they yelled, cheered, and pumped fists in the air, they chanted, "USA USA!" They did not learn that even in our grief, we are fiercely proud of America and being Americans, and that maybe we were down for a moment in time, but we were coming right back, and when we did, not God, nor Allah, nor anyone else was going to be of help to them now. In fact, if we had anything to say about it, they were going to meet one or all of them very soon.
  The best way I can think of to sign off today, is to say Thank You to the Men and Women of the U.S. Military, Police, Firefighters, and EMS crews who risk their lives everyday to keep us and our country safe.
  God(dess) bless the U.S.A!            

Sunday, September 4, 2011

End Of Summer Already?

Hey Gang,
  Yes, I know, here we are, Labor Day.  The traditional end of Summer for many.  As is the case with Memorial Day it is an extra day off to get in that last bit of vacation, swimming and barbecue.
  But, as is also the case with Memorial Day, there is a deeper meaning to this day that seems to get lost.
  The first Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 by the Central Labor Union of New York. It became a Federal holiday in 1894 after a Pullman strike where several workers were killed by the U.S. Military and U.S. Marshals.  After the incident, President Grover Cleveland made fostering better relations with the Labor Movement a top priority for his administration.  Fearing that there would be more conflict, Congress passed legislation making Labor Day a National holiday just 6 days after the end of the strike.
  Because Americans are a unique breed, we also have a unique work ethic. America was founded on the idea of hard work and it's rewards.  Most of us learn early on that if we want it bad enough, we will have to work for it.  We all look back at those first jobs a little more fondly with the passing of time.  We may have hated every minute of it, but the lessons it taught us we use to this very day.  It is because of this work ethic that Americans have the highest standard of living in the world. Americans not only work hard to support ourselves, but we also feed and clothe a good portion of the world.
  On this paricular Labor Day, it is hard not to think about so many Americans who are unemployed right now, who have been unemployed for quite some time. With so many American jobs going overseas many people wonder just where the Company loyalty went for employees who stayed with one job for all of their working lives and retired from that company.  It does not happen anymore.
 We can only hope that the environment for small businesses to grow and prosper and massive regulation on larger corporations will end soon and make it possible for them to hire more people and expand.
  Looking back, sometimes those burger-flipping, dishing out of movie popcorn jobs maybe don't seem so bad now.