28 October 2005

Happy Birthday, Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

View the Statue of Liberty live via EarthCam here.

Update: Appropriate ways to celebrate here and here, or read this here.

Liberty Enlightening the World, commonly known as the Statue of Liberty, stands at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor as a welcome to all: returning Americans, visitors, and immigrants alike.

The goddess of liberty holds a torch in her right hand and a tablet in her left. The tablet shows the caption "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI", the date of the Declaration of Independence. One of her feet stands on chains. The seven spikes in her crown represent the seven seas or seven continents.

French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with the year 1876 in mind for completion to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.

The idea for the commemorative gift grew out of the political turmoil which was shaking France at the time. The French Third Republic was still considered as a "temporary" arrangement by many, who wished a return to monarchism, or to some form of constitutional dictatorship which they had known under Bonaparte.

The idea of giving a colossal representation of republican virtues to a "sister" republic across the sea served as a focus for the republican cause against other political opponents.

The Statue was completed in France in July, 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885. On October 28, 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by U.S. President Grover Cleveland took place in front of thousands of spectators.

From Wikipedia.

24 October 2005

Friday Night at Walter Reed

Here's the latest from GunnNutt on the Friday night show of support for our recovering Heroes at Walter Reed.

More photos and full report at FreeRepublic.

Thanks to all who make sure the troops see more supporters than protesters each Friday night at Walter Reed. It means more than you know to the patients here in Germany who are headed back home.

21 October 2005

Beirut, October 23, 1983


"Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I’ve watched all your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they did hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers-in-arms"

From Brothers-in-arms: 'They came in peace' by Lance Cpl. Jeffrey A. Cosola. Read the rest here.

More on the anniversary of the terrorist bombing of the Marine Corps building in Beirut at Iraq War Today, Blackfive, Hundreds of Fathoms, Small Town Veteran, and via Blackfive, Personal Protection.

20 October 2005

Support Soldiers' Angels While Shopping Online

Soldiers' Angels has recently become a partner of Buy for Charity, which allows you to donate money to the charity of your choice without costing you a penny.

It works like this. When you access an online merchant through the Buy for Charity portal, they receive an affiliate fee which is then split with your charity or cause. This can result in anywhere between 1% and 35% of the transaction amount being credited to your charity.

You register at Buy for Charity once and define your charity. Look for Soldiers' Angels under the category "miscellaneous" or enter "angels" in the search box.

Over 350 merchants are currently Buy for Charity affiliates, including Apple Store, iTunes, Dell Home and Business Systems, Hickory farms, The Gap, WalMart, Old Navy, and many more, including some of our Angels' Favorite Shopping Sites for Soldiers.

This is a timely development as we are all suffering from "donor fatigue" in the aftermath of Katrina and Rita. Donations to Soldiers' Angels are sadly at an all-time low.

So next time you order something online - please register at Buy for Charity first!

19 October 2005

Coming Home

Dear Soldiers’ Angels,

I'd like to say thank you to everyone that has mailed items, cards, pictures, and anything else over the past few months.

Most of our unit has moved on, and I leave in a month. I think it's best if we drop my posting on Soldiers’ Angels. I wouldn't want the packages and letters to get delivered here, then be lost or go unused.

It's a great thing, what people back in the states are doing. It makes us feel good to get something in the mail, and troops here really get a feeling that there's a groundswell of support for military people involved with the anti-terror operations.

I think organizations like Soldiers’ Angels are accomplishing everything they set out to do... they're connecting concerned people in the states with troops that want to have some feedback. Support for me was great, thank you once again.

If I'm ever in Iraq again, I'll be sure to sign in, at Soldiers’ Angels!!!


On a related note, see Mudville Gazette's post on Holidays for Heroes here.

And thanks to SMASH at The Indepundit for the Open Post.

18 October 2005

Progress Update: Marine Jeff Dugan

Some very good news today on Jeff Dugan, the injured Marine we've been following since he was medevac'd to Landstuhl hospital here in Germany.


Marine taking steps to recover
2004 RMHS graduate won’t lose his leg after injury in Afghanistan

For the first time in 17 days, Marine Lance Cpl. Jeff Dugan got out of bed Monday.

It was painful as the blood rushed to his left leg, which was broken in multiple places Sept. 30 by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. The blast, which detonated under the Humvee he and three other Marines were riding in on a narrow mountain road, blew the 19-year-old out of the vehicle. He landed by the right rear tire, his broken left leg hanging over a cliff.

His first victory was surviving the blast. His second was the news that five surgeries to clean the wound saved his leg from amputation. Another victory came Monday.

“It was painful at first, of course,” Dugan said from his bed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. “I didn’t really get too far. I had all the blood rushing around my body. It was pretty painful, but I stood up, so that was a pretty good accomplishment."

Read the whole thing.

Jeff received one of our Blankets of Hope made by Soldiers' Angel JoAnne in an SA backpack while in the hospital. Because personal belongings take a while to catch up with injured soldiers, it was one of the few things he had with him upon arrival in the US.

Thanks to Mudville Gazette and The Indepundit for the Open Posts.

17 October 2005

Blackfive Visits Walter Reed

Blackfive, milblogger and great friend of Soldiers' Angels, visited patients at Walter Reed on Saturday. Go over and read about his visit and meet some true American Heroes.

16 October 2005

Thank You for Defending the Defenders

THANK YOU to bloggers GunnNutt and Andi, who regularly spend their Friday evenings in front of Walter Reed Medical Center supporting our wounded Heroes.

For months, the radical anti-war group Code Pink have been demonstrating in front of Walter Reed.

Other citizens like Andi and GunnNutt, many of them FreeRepublic readers, have made sure that supporters outnumber deomonstrators.

Andi's photo essay from this past Friday is here, and GunnNutt's can be found here.

GunnNutt also points to this post from fellow counter-protester and Iraqi-born Jesse, who witnessed his parents' murder by Saddam's Fedayheen as a child.

I soon found myself with a large crowd in front of me all quiet except for the rants in the background. So I asked them, "Why do you exercise your right to freedom of speech and expression while you want to deprive the Iraqis of theirs? How can you say Iraqis cannot have democracy and call George W. Bush the racist? How can you look an Iraqi in the face and claim to speak for him when he is on the other side of the fence?"

Several turned away in shame, as they should.

That weekend has reminded me and helped heal me of many of the scars of my past. I have seen the steadfast of the American people and above all the American soldiers who vow that they will never allow the mission to not be completed.

I know their message is true from first hand experience and soon the rest of the despot dictators of the world will know this as well.

Read the whole thing.

It's an honor to stand with you all.

Medical Command Claims Two of the Army's "10 Greatest Inventions"

New bandage can stop bleeding in less than a minute.

Two of the Army's top 10 greatest inventions for 2004 come from units that belong to the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, according to this AMEDD press release of August 2005.

Unstoppable bleeding is one of the leading causes of death on battlefields. But now, soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have a way to reduce bleeding when they're wounded. In "War Bandages", ScienCentral News writes that these new bandages contain chitosan molecules, extracted from shrimp shells.

Created by researchers at the Oregon Medical Laser Center using a research grant from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, the 4-inch by 4-inch chitosan dressing is well suited for the battlefield and a vast improvement over gauze and pressure bandages currently used to stop extreme bleeding.

Over nine of 10 combat deaths occur before evacuation, and a little more than half of those are caused by uncontrolled hemorrhage. For centuries, battlefield wounds have been dressed with gauze, which can soak up blood but is incapable of stopping bleeding - bleeding which can result in death within minutes.

First field-tested by Special Operation Forces in Afghanistan in early 2003, medics now have a bandage that is actually able to clot a bullet wound in less than a minute. Researchers also believe the chitosan bandages could potentially save limbs because they limit the amount of time a tourniquet is needed.

More from the ScienCentral article:

Since Operation Restore Hope in Somalia ended in 1993, Army researchers have been making strides toward making uncontrolled battlefield hemorrhage a distant, horrible memory.

"I got involved out of my experiences in Somalia in 1993 with soldiers who were bleeding," says Army surgeon LTC John Holcomb. "As an army surgeon I found that frustrating, and I've really devoted the last 11 to 12 years now to helping decrease blood loss on the battlefield. That was, in many respects, a life-changing experience that altered the track of my career, to go into the research environment, and to work on hemorrhage control and hemostasis and resuscitation issues."

The chitosan bandages are being manufactured by HemCon, Inc. of Oregon, where many of the original researchers are now employed.

The Chitosan Hemostatic Bandage

This is an exciting medical breakthrough that doctors estimate could have saved up to 5000 soldiers' lives in Vietnam. Once approved for cilivian use, it could save thousands of civilian lives as well. Uncontrollable hemorrhage accounts for up to 80% of civilian trauma fatalities within the U.S.

Honored for their work with the Chitosan Hemostatic Dressing were: Anthony Pusateri, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; Angel Delgado, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; Col. John Holcomb, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; Kenton Gregory, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Lisa Lucchesi, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Jeff Teach, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Maria Anderson, Oregon Medical Laser Center; Simon McCarthy, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Todd Campbell, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Jim Hensel, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Col. (Retired) William Weismann, HemCon Hemorrhage Control Technologies; Col. Robert Vandre, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command; Ronald W. Palmer, U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity.

More on the medical advancements of the last decade at Andi's World here.

15 October 2005

Veteran's Day Support Activities at Walter Reed


The "MOAB", mother of all banners.

Each Friday evening a group of FreeRepublic readers and other patriots gathers in front of Walter Reed to show support for our recovering heroes. They have been doing this for months to counteract the demonstration of radical Code Pink protesters.

Since 2003, the Washington, DC restaurant Fran's has been hosting WR patients for dinner each Friday night. (Read a great article about Fran's here, via Sarah at trying to grok. Did you know, for example, that former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz attended these dinners almost every week during his term?) As the bus returns to WR from Fran's, the troops are greeted by this wonderful group of supporters.

Read the full WR Veterans's Day report with lots of photos at The Gunn Nutt, who got to meet Carren and Chuck Ziegenfuss!

Progress Update: Rodney the Medic

Morning MaryAnn,

Rodney was moved yesterday to another base. He will be evaluated to determine if he needs more surgery.

The plastic surgeon who stitched his chin did a wonderful job. My thought is: We all have scars - some just show worse than others!

Rodney is in good sprits and doing well.

He can eat soft food, but no fried chicken yet :-) He has a problem drinking, so he uses a straw.

I will keep you posted. May God bless you.


Rodney was sustained injuries on September 16 when his vehicle struck an IED. His wife Vicky subsequently contacted Soldiers' Angels to thank us for the Blanket of Hope Rodney received.

Soldier Speaks out about "Staged" Bush Media Event

SGT Ron Long, blogger and Medic in Iraq, participated in the event and shares this perspective:

Yesterday, I (bottom right corner in the picture) was chosen to be among a small group of soldiers assigned to the 42ID's Task Force Liberty that would speak to President Bush, our Commander-in-Chief.

The interview went well, but I would like to respond to what most of the mass-media has dubbed as, "A Staged Event."

First of all, we were told that we would be speaking with the President of the United States, our Commander-in-Chief, President Bush, so I believe that it would have been totally irresponsible for us NOT to prepare some ideas, facts or comments that we wanted to share with the President.

Read the whole thing.

Via Instapundit and Michelle Malkin.

Update: SGT Long thanks readers for their support.

14 October 2005

Keep Sewing, Keep Sending, and Keep Loving these Soldiers!

From Soldiers' Angel JoAnne:

I recently showed my friend and client Kim a thank you email I received from a soldier in Iraq. He had received one of the Blankets of Hope I made.

Kim began to cry and explained that one of her employees had called in earlier that day to say she would not be coming to work. The employee’s son had been injured and was on his way to Germany.

I got his name so I could contact our beloved Angels in Germany to see if they would make sure Jeff got a backpack.

Today I received this email from Kim.

Wanted to pass this on to you about Jeff, the injured Marine.

He was sent to Germany, then to a hospital in Maryland for further repair and rehab. His folks were flown to Maryland last Wednesday and returned Sunday.

At work the next day, his Mom told me Jeff had his BLANKET with him! She said that it was practically the only thing he had with him when he arrived in Maryland.


God Bless you for making sure he got one of your blankets.

You're a blessing to those soldiers and for that I love you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Keep Sewing, Keep Sending and Keep Loving these Soldiers!!!!

Well done, JoAnne! Thank you and everyone else who contributes to the Blankets of Hope project.

Canine Correspondence


Dear K-9 Heroes!

Hello, my name is Bandido and I am a Collie mix dog from Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean. I am now living in Palm Beach, Florida and happy to be here. I am 12 years old this month!

I started off as a stray. My mother was a street dog and I did not know my father, she could not care for me, so I was left to fend for myself... I was only a couple of weeks old when my owners found me abandoned near the ocean in some cactus bushes.

They were so kind to take me home, and I behaved like an angel so that they would keep me. Stella my owner, fed me, bathed me and gave me tons of love.

We came back to the States from living in Aruba, five months ago, and I love it here. The airco is my favorite. I miss chasing iguanas and lizards, but chasing squirrels is kind of neat too, there are none in Aruba.

I wanted to write to thank all of you K-9s for all the great things you are doing over there with your soldiers, because of you, dogs like me can live a free and happy life here back home. You are true heroes to all of us in the animal world and the human world too! My owner Stella talks about the brave soldiers all the time... and of you guys sacrificing so much for all of us back home. Its an honor to salute you paws up!

Thanks for all you do and we hope you return home safely to some good treats soon.

Your four-legged friend,



Dear Bandido,

Hi my name is Polo, I am a Military Working dog. It has always been my dream to become a K-9 war hero just like many of my other relatives.

It took me a little while to get adjusted to military life which my first handlers can attest to. Now at 7 years old, myself and SSgt A. have been working together for 2 years. We have grown to be a very solid team together and think as one now, which I have learned is key to being a great team.

SSgt A. takes very good care of me by making sure I'm fed everyday, bathing me when I need it, playing with me, making work fun and giving me lots of fun. Although I just turned 7 this month I still act like a puppy, I am full of energy and a love for life which my handler shares with me.

I am on a strict diet for K-9s but I enjoy an occasional doggy biscuit when I’m good. I love to chase and chew on just about anything. I work very hard for a ball or a kong when I’m working, but when it's my free time I love jumping and catching my Frisbee. It’s a fun game me and my handler like to play. People say I'm too big to be a Frisbee dog but I think I am better than most.

My handler loves playing this with me because he says it makes me run faster and able to jump and take down the bad guys better. I also love to bite bad guys but only when my handler tells me to. I will protect my handler at all cost just like he would do for me.

Once again we are deployed to a far away place that is nothing like home and it is very hot. I try my best to get used to the heat and do my job under the stressful conditions. I just keep in mind how important our job is to protect the public and the base. My job is to sniff out any explosives or weapons that could hurt people and I get my favorite toy when I find it.

I also thank you for your support out here where it is very much appreciated that people care about what we’re doing. Receiving great touching letters like yours gives us motivation to keep doing our job every day to the best of our abilities. The thought of laying our lives down on the line for our country is made easier when we know people like you can enjoy your way of life.

Thanks again,
Military Working Dog

More K-9 stories at Andi's World here and here.

Linked to the Mudville Gazette, where you should go now and wish the Greyhawks a happy anniversary!

Soldier's Angel - Holly Aho has her first Open Post up. Way to go, Holly!

12 October 2005

Remembering the USS Cole and Bali


Five years ago today, the US Navy destroyer USS Cole was attacked by suicide terrorists who powered a small boat packed with explosives alongside the ship as it was refueling in the Yemini port of Aden. The explosion tore a 40 ft-wide hole near the waterline of the Cole, killing seventeen sailors and injuring 39 others.

Blackfive and Michelle Malkin have roundups.

The Cole incident was one of a series of terrorist attacks in the 1990s such as the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia of 1996, and the US Embassy bombing in Nairobi, Kenya of 1998.

Today also marks the third anniversary of the Bali terrorist bombings in which 202 civilians were murdered. VOA News reports:

As survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2002 Bali terrorist bombings marked the third anniversary with a somber ceremony, anger among the local population boiled over. A Balinese mob tried to break into a prison where some of the convicted bombers are being held, shouting for their death.

11 October 2005

"These Backpacks are Great!"

On the Soldiers' Angels message board today, from ReneƩ:

I wanted to share with you what my adopted Soldier told me.

He was injured in Iraq and is now in a VA hospital in the states. He was in Germany first before they brought him state side.

I asked him if he received one of the backpacks while he was in Germany and he said yes.

Then he said, “You guys do that?” and I told him, “Yes, Soldiers Angels does the backpacks”.

He thinks that what we do is so amazing and that what he does is nothing important. He is the first Soldier that I have had that was hurt and I want to make sure that he knows how special he is.

He has been visited by other Angels in the area and is grateful for the company as am I.

I like knowing that although I can’t be there someone else is to keep him company. It means a lot and the backpacks are great.

Thank you all who help fill the backpacks!

Rhein-Main Air Base Returned to Germany

After 60 years filled with historic events, the U.S. formally handed Rhein-Main Air Base over to the German government yesterday. The closure, which has been under discussion for about 10 years, was agreed in 1999 and also included upgrades to Ramstein and Spangdahlem Air Bases.


The C-17 Globemaster III "Spirit of Rhein-Main" - S&S Photo

From Stars & Stripes, who have lots more photos:

“It feels like a funeral,” Gail Halvorsen said after the ceremony. “We’re here to celebrate rather than be real sad about it.”

Halvorsen and thousands of others took part in the greatest airlift operation to date. From June 1948 to September 1949, tons of food, fuel and supplies were flown to West Berlin to thwart a Soviet blockade of the city. Rhein-Main was the primary launching point for the airlift.

Halvorsen — the so-called “Candy Bomber” — gained fame for attaching candy to little, handmade parachutes and dropping them to young Berliners. He calls himself the “Chocolate Pilot,” instead, though some fans like “Uncle Wiggles” because of the way he’d wiggle his wings to tip the kids off that he was coming.


Colonel Halvorsen at yesterday's ceremony - dpa Photo

hr-online.de have a roundup article (in German) with events timeline and a great photo gallery.

Update: Personal recollections at Austin Bay Blog, and a great post with lots more on Halvorsen at the Mudville Gazette.

10 October 2005

Who is Angela Merkel?

Angela Merkel, AP Photo

Deutsche Welle has a nice writeup, "Kohl's Girl" Makes Good.

The young woman from eastern Germany was lacking the attributes long associated with political success. She did not work through the ranks as a political foot soldier, had no support network of troops in key positions, and little eloquence or media charisma.

Angela Merkel, now in her second marriage -- to a chemistry professor, Joachim Sauer -- is proud of her Christian roots, which she says, only grew stronger growing up in communist East Germany.

"I do not think we can ignore that Europe was fundamentally influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition, and that a large part of Europe has its roots there," she said. "Most of Europe experienced the period of Enlightenment and that was a very important phase in the development of Christianity. We cannot simply ignore this and say we are neutral. What, then, would be the source of our values?"

The cabinet seats have been divided up between the leading parties and now the next round of political games begins: Coalition talks to form a government. As this is not a political blog, I won't give you my opinion. I'll just share a quote from former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, also from Deutsche Welle.

Deutsche Welle: Two years ago, you said: "Grand coalition means grand stalemate." Now it seems likely we'll soon see a grand coalition of the Christian Union parties and the Social Democrats in government. What's your view of the immediate future?

Genscher: My opinion is unchanged: A grand coalition always means a two-way blockade culminating in wrong decisions. Today when people talk about how federalism reform is necessary, it's actually the call to finally undo what the grand coalition of 1966-1969 did wrong. That does not inspire confidence.

More from David's Medienkritik.

Marines Have the Watch

From Iraq:

I’m glad that you took a moment of your time to write to me. It was a nice surprise to get a letter from you. I hope this e-mail finds you in good spirits and all is well in that beautiful country of ours.

Thanks for the nice words in your letter. I really am no hero but I know that I would fight and die for my country. I have travelled all over the world and ours is by far the best! And I think that is worth fighting for.

All is well over here. Marines have the watch.

Take care and write soon.

In memory of them.

09 October 2005

Some of my Favorite German-Americans

As promised, in honor of German-American Day.


John Augustus Roebling was born in Germany in 1806, studied engineering in Berlin, and came to the United States in 1831. He was a pioneer in the building of suspension bridges, and built the Allegheny Suspension Bridge, the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge, and the Cincinnati and Covington Bridge over the Ohio. His most ambitious project was the Brooklyn Bridge. It was scarcely begun when Roebling, directing operations, was injured in an accident and died a few days later.

His son Washington Augustus Roebling had assisted his father in building the Allegheny Suspension Bridge. During the Civil War he joined the Union Army as a private, was transferred to Irvin McDowell's engineering staff, and rose to the rank of colonel. After his father's death he directed the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Because of continuous underground work he was stricken with decompression sickness in 1872, but despite his illness directed the project until the bridge was opened to traffic in 1883.


Albert Einstein began traveling to the United States in the 1920s and on his third visit in 1932, he was offered a post at Princeton. One month after his immigration, the Nazis came to power in Germany and Einstein never returned.

The same year, Einstein wrote in “Mein Glaubensbekenntnis” (My statement of faith): “I always respect the individual and have an insurmountable antipathy against violence and against the obsession with joining organizations. For all of these reasons, I am a passionate pacifist and anti-militarist and reject every form of nationalism, even when it is disguised as patriotism.”

With the rise of fascism Einstein abandoned his pacifism. In 1939 he sent a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and urged the United States to develop an atomic bomb before Germany did. The letter was one of many exchanged between the White House and Einstein, and it contributed to Roosevelt's decision to fund what became the Manhattan Project and led to the development of the atomic bomb by the United States.

The Beer Barons


Busch, Pabst, Schlitz, Ruppert, Ehret, Miller, et al

By the mid-1870s, the number of breweries operating in America had grown to an astounding 4,000. Over the next twenty-five years, the nation's beer production soared from about 10 million barrels (31 gallons per barrel) to nearly 40 million barrels per year.

Initially, the early German brewers in America brewed only English style brews like ales and stouts. With the arrival of bottom-fermenting lager beer yeast from Europe in the 1840s they began producing the Bavarian-style lagers and golden pilsners that would ultimately become their trademark in America.

The Beer barons were flamboyant men who enjoyed their wealth and positions in American society.

One famous New York brewer, Jacob Ruppert, bought the New York Yankees in 1915 and transformed the struggling baseball team into the American League powerhouse of their day. Using his vast beer profits, the Colonel built Yankee Stadium and bought talent like Babe Ruth and Waite Hoyt.

Captain Frederick Pabst was always at his best when showing off his Milwaukee brewery to visiting dignitaries. During a visit by New York Governor Roswell P. Flowers, the Captain sought to demonstrate the strength and fitness of his men:

"You see that fire bucket hanging on the wall?" asked Captain Pabst. "Any of my men can fill that pail with beer and drink it down as you would a glassful." Turning to a nearby employee to prove it, the Captain said in a raised voice, "Isn't that so, Pete?"

"Ja, Herr Captain," replied the worker, "but would you excuse me just one minute?"

The worker retreated to an adjacent room and upon his return, filled the fire bucket with beer, hoisted it to his mouth, and proceeded to drain it in one long pull. Impressed by the feat, the Governor and the Captain congratulated the beaming employee and proceeded with their tour of the brewery.

When the Captain later asked the worker why it had been necessary to leave the room before emptying the bucket the employee replied, somewhat embarrassed, "Vell, Captain, I didn't know for sure could I do it. So I just went to try it first."


My grandmother, Florence von Erhardt, born one of 13 children to German immigrants in New York City in 1906.

06 October 2005

Letter Writing Team Sends 30,122 Letters to Deployed Soldiers in Q3

From Linda D. of the LWT (Letter Writing Team) at Soldiers' Angels.

Hi Everyone,

A great end of the 3rd quarter for the LWT as follows:

Total 3rd Quarter, 2005: 30,122 letters

Total Letters January - September, 2005: 73,656 letters

A gigantic "THANK YOU" to all of you and your great team writers.

Linda D.

The Soldiers' Angels LWT sends letters to soldiers and units needing extra support. This is over and above the letters and packages regularly sent by many thousands of Angels to their adopted soldiers.

If you would like more information, please contact Linda with "Non-Registered SA Information for Joining LWT" in the subject line.

Linked to the Mudville Gazette's Open Post.

05 October 2005

"Your Support Was Invaluable To My Healing"

If you need another reason to support Project Valour-IT, here it is.

During his second deployment in Iraq Cpl. Alex Sargent took part in the Battle for Fallujah. He describes what happened while making a second sweep of houses for insurgents and weapons:

I went in with a few other guys to clear this one house... we went in and there was a guy waiting for us and he saw us before we saw him.

The two Marines with Sargent were killed. Sargent was hit in the arm and leg with AK-47 fire.

Sargent consequently underwent numerous surgeries to repair the damage to his right arm.

When he passed through Landstuhl, he received a Transitional Backpack from Soldiers' Angels.

My name is Alexander Sargent and I am a corporal in the United States Marine Corps. Many months ago, while in the hospital recovering from a combat injury, I received your letter.

Although my period of healing has been long and the skies have yet to clear up for me, I can say most assuredly that I wouldn’t be the same without the support and appreciation of people like you.

You’ve affirmed me that my sacrifice, and even graver sacrifices of some I cared deeply for, have not gone unnoticed.

I know your letter was one of gratitude; a thanks for what I did. Your support was invaluable to my healing.

Thank you.

Alexander Sargent

What are you waiting for?

You can donate via the PayPal button here, or by sending a check to:

Soldiers Angels
Valour-IT Marine Fund
1792 East Washington Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91104

Visit the Valour-IT blog and Fuzzilicious Thinking for the latest project updates, including the wonderful new Valour-IT cartoon created by Cox & Forkum.

04 October 2005

The Candy Guy - Part XI

Finally got some pictures of the kids from Richard's buddy Cedrick!

Hey Sara,

Here are some of the kids that we contribute the items to that you sent.

The lil' girls left but the boys stayed around for awhile. So we shot a couple of pics of them...

Hope you enjoy...

Cedrick on the left with SPC Lee, SGT Smith, and "their" kids.


If you would like to send some hard candy or toys for Richard's buddies to hand out please email me.

Contributed by:
Sara of Soldiers' Angels USA and Cedrick from Iraq

03 October 2005

German Unity Day

On October 3, 1990, the reunification of Germany became official. For over 45 years, West and East Germany existed side-by-side but in two different worlds. In a matter of months, the umimaginable became reality.


It was the stuff movies are made of and it was a Hollywood actor who would start a steamroller that didn't stop until German reunification. Former movie star and American President Ronald Reagan was determined to weaken the Soviet Union to the point that the world's second superpower would cease to exist -- and he was unloved by many Germans for some of his policies to achieve that goal, particularly the stationing of Pershing missiles in Europe.

From a roundup at Deutsche Welle which also includes an interview with one of my favorite politicians of the era, Hans-Dietrich Genscher.

For decades, we Germans had to live apart against our will in two very different political systems. That's no longer the case. The future is a common future. To hold our own in the face of this challenge is also a shared challenge and a shared purpose.

From the German Embassy's website:

Genscher will always be remembered as the "Foreign Minister of Unification," a fitting tribute for a man who left his hometown of Reideburg near Halle in the German Democratic Republic in 1952 for the freedoms and opportunities of the West, but who never abandoned the hope that his homeland could be unified peacefully.


In his memoirs, Genscher describes the day in 1989 when he announced to East German refugees camped out in the Federal Republic of Germany's Embassy in Prague that they would be allowed to travel to West Germany as the most moving time of his life. The words Genscher spoke from the balcony of the Embassy on September 30 to the more than 4,000 refugees crowded on the grounds were heard round the world:

"Dear Fellow Citizens, I have come to you today to inform you that your journey into the Federal Republic of Germany is now imminent!"

For Genscher the announcement was the culmination of tense days of negotiations to allow the refugees, including others at the Embassy in Warsaw, to travel directly to West Germany.


Negotiating Table: Foreign Minister Genscher, left, Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev, center, and Chancellor Kohl during negotiations in the Caucasus in July 1990.

On September 12, 1990, the "Treaty on the Final Settlement With Respect to Germany" was signed by the two German states and the four allied powers, the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union.

I crossed the border between West and East Germany for the first time in March of 1981. I remember the barbed wire, the dogs, the vehicle searches and, at the risk of sounding dramatic, the fear.

I remember the grey deadness of East Berlin with its empty streets and empty stores.

It's hard to believe now that it all was real, but 1,065 people died trying to cross that border.

Because people want to be free.


Lots more pictures of the wall here.

02 October 2005

Welcome Home, 3/25 Marines - We Will Always Remember

As the 3/25 Marines return home and memories of the very high price they paid come back to us all, there is no better time to take a look at the accomplishments made in the Anbar province over the last several months.

Along with units of the 2/2 Marines, the 3rd CAR, 82nd Airborne, and others (48th BCT, 28/2nd BCT, 2/69AR, etc.) the 3/25 participated in search and destroy operations such as Matador and Spear, which paved the way for the more recent operations such as Restoring Rights and Hunter, or the current Iron Fist.

The Anbar province has long served as a hiding area for terrorists and their supply lines from Syria.

These and similar operations in Anbar and Ninewa provinces have resulted in the death or capture of hundreds of terrorists. This has led to actionable intelligence, which in turn led to the capture or killing of many high value targets.

The killing of Abu Azzam al-Iraqi, the top al Qaeda deputy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi on Monday is a good example.

As the "Emir of Baghdad" he is estimated by Iraqi officials to be responsible for the deaths of over 1200 civilians in Baghdad through car bombings and other attacks.

For much of 2004 he was the "Emir of Anbar Province" and led the largest group of al Qaeda in Iraq fighters in Falluja.

We've had the chance to meet some of those involved in the Anbar Campaign duing our visits to Landstuhl in Germany and thank them personally.

Please consider finding a way to thank them, too.