Memorial to September 11, 2001 Tragedy
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Real Men Wear Flight Suits!
"An American is not delineated by a particular skin color or a way of life. He is a person from many places, with many shades of skin; of different sizes and varied energies. He has a Masters' Degree, or he may never have finished high school. He may drive an expensive automobile, or perhaps he relies two mules to carve his living out of the earth. But regardless of what he is, lacing the different physical features together is a bond of strength in traditions which exemplifies the American way; a way which was born when the bells tolled of independence, and which has released the adrenalin of his nation time and time again when its existence was threatened by an aggressor.

An American does not view armed conflict as a means of getting what he wants, but rather a means of protecting what he has. He is one who loves the very concept of Peace for all nations, but will not hesitate to fight on the shores of others to protect his own. An American sees the knowledge of experience in his past, feels pride in the accomplishments of the present, and has hope for the future of the world even when others would view the days to come with dismay. But  a realistic American finds no guarantee of freedom or security in the future solely because he has always ha it in the past.

An American recognizes the faults of his system and seeks to correct them through a process unknown to many nations A process which does not promise absolute perfection, but one which allows for peaceful change, if change is needed.  That process is democracy, and an American holds that word so dear, that he stands ready at a moments notice to lay down his life for its perpetuation.

An American finds nothing at all unusual about getting cold chills when his flag passes in review for his flag has always been a source of inspiration, when the smoke cleared over Fort McHenry, when it sheen was reflected on the sands of  Iwo Jima, and when the colors glistened on the side of the craft which took the first man to the moon.  An American sees nothing strange about getting a lump in his throat when the National Anthem is played, or weeping unashamed when taps is played for one who paid the ultimate price for his freedom.  He realizes that the only thing that exceeds that price is the freedom itself.  An American never forgets the indebtedness he has because of that sacrifice, for with out it, his freedom would only be an unreachable concept in some philosopher's mind.

An true American is the essence of pride in a way of life. What is an American, you say? He is fortunate."
~Michael Brown

"The apostle of Christianity and the infidel can meet without a chance of a quarrel; but it is never safe to bring together two men who differ about a saint or a surplice."
~Anthony Trollope

"It's not the critic who counts or how the strong man stumbled and fell or where the doer of deeds could have done better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, and spends himself in a worthy cause; and if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly; so that he'll never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
~President Theodore Roosevelt

"Never, in the field of human conquest, has so much been owed by so many to so few"
~Winston Churchill on the Battle of Britain

"The Navy can lose us the war, but only the Air Force can win it. The fighters are our salvation, but the bombers alone provide the means of victory"
~Winston Churchill

"The ordinary air fighter is an extraordinary man and the extraordinary air fighter stands as one in a million among his fellows"
~Theodore Roosevelt

"It takes a remarkable person not just to say a Creed and memorize a Creed, but to live by a Creed."                            
~S. Shughart

"When you reach the point when you can no longer be silent, start doing what is needed, then what you can. Soon you'll be doing the impossible"
~Kurt Muse

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

"People say I am ruthless. I am not ruthless. And if I find the man who is calling me ruthless, I shall destroy him."
~Robert F. Kennedy

“The secret of a leader lies in the tests he has faced over the whole course of his life and the habit of action he develops in meeting those tests.”
~Gail Sheehy

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
~Edward Burke

". . . and yet we have this consolation with us. That the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph.  What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value."
~Thomas Paine

"We must always fear the wicked. But there is another kind of evil that we must fear the most, and that is the indifference of good men."
~Monsignor, The Boondock Saints

When in England at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush.  He answered by saying that, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders.  The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."  It became very quiet in the room.

"The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten."
~Calvin Coolidge

"If the hill has its own name, then it's probably a pretty tough hill."
~Marty Stern

"Most men stop when they begin to tire.
Good men go until they think they are going to collapse.
But the VERY BEST know the mind tires before the body,
and push themselves beyond all limits.
Only when all these limits are shattered, can the unattainable be reached".
~Dan Gable

"For those of us who have fought for it, Life has a special flavor the protected never know."

"War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is the sooner it will be over"
~William Tecumseh Sherman

"Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don't have that problem"
~Ronald Reagan

"We make war that we may live in peace"

“We pray for peace, but train for war.”

"Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war"
~Ernest Miller Hemmingway

"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier"
~Samuel Johnson

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"
~George Orwell

"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation: Excellent. I am attacking!"
~Ferdinand Foch

“Our citizenship in the United States is our national character.  Our citizenship in any particular state is only our local distinction.  By the latter we are known at home, by the former to the world.  Our great title is AMERICANS…”
~Thomas Paine

“I shall know but one country.  The ends I aim at shall be my country’s, my God’s and Truth’s.  I was born an American; I live an American; I shall die an American.”
~Daniel Webster

“Sometimes people call me an idealist.  Well, that is the way I know I am an American.  America is the only idealistic nation in the world.”
~Woodrow Wilson

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”
~John F. Kennedy

“America was established not to create wealth but to realize a vision, to realize an ideal – to discover and maintain liberty among men.”
~Woodrow Wilson

“Great has been the Greek, the Latin, the Slav, the Celts, the Teuton, and the Anglo-Saxon, but greater than any of these is the American, in which are blended the virtues of them all.”
~William Jennings Bryan

“What constitutes an American? Not color nor race nor religion. Not the pedigree of his family nor the place of his birth. Not the coincidence of his citizenship. An American is one who loves justice and believes in the dignity of man. An American is one who will fight for his freedom and that of his neighbor. An American is one who will sacrifice property, ease, and security in order that he and his children may retain the rights of all free men.”
~Harold Ickes

“Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults.  I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.”
~John Wayne

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature, and has no chance of being free unless made or kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
~John Stuart Mill

“Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
~Haile Selassie

“In forty hours I shall be in battle; with little information; and on the spur of the moment will have to make the most momentous decisions; but I believe that one’s spirit enlarges with responsibility and that; with God’s help; I shall make them; and make them right.”
~General George S. Patton

“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
~George S. Patton, Jr.

"My attitude has always been...if it's worth playing, it's worth paying the price to win."
~Paul "Bear" Bryant

"It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
~Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Sgt USMC

"I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong."
~Leo Rosten

"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America."
~William J. Clinton

"I regret that I have but one life to give for my country."
~Nathan Hale

"The greater the difficulty, the more the glory in surmounting it."

"Speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts every thing you said to-day."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that ... I believe in what I do and I'll say it."
~John Lennon

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
~Henry David Thoreau

“When once you have tasted flight, you will always walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward for there you have been and there you will always be.”
~Leonardo DeVinci

On 12 Nov, Ms Cindy Williams (from Laverne and Shirley TV show) wrote a piece for the Washington Times, denouncing the pay raise(s) coming service members' way this year -- citing that the stated 13% wage was more than they deserve.
A young airman from Hill AFB responds to her article below.  He ought to get a bonus for this!

"Ms Williams:
   I just had the pleasure of reading your column, "Our GIs earn enough" and I am a bit confused.  Frankly, I'm wondering where this vaunted
overpayment is going, because as far as I can tell, it disappears every month between DFAS (The Defense Finance and Accounting Service) and my bank account. Checking my latest leave and earnings statement (LES), I see that I make $1,117.80 before taxes.  After taxes, I take home $874.20.  When I run that through Windows' Calculator, I come up with an annual salary of $13,413.60 before taxes, and $10,490.40 after.
I work in the Air Force Network Control Center (AFNCC), where I am part of the team responsible for the administration of a 5,000-host computer network.  I am involved with infrastructure segments, specifically with Cisco Systems equipment.  A quick check under jobs for Network Technicians in the Washington, D.C.  area reveals a position in my career field, requiring three years experience with my job.  Amazingly, this job does NOT pay $13,413.60 a year, nor does it pay less than this.  No, this job is being offered at $70,000 to $80,000 per annum.  I'm sure you can draw the obvious conclusions.
Also, you tout increases to Basic Allowance for Housing and Basic Allowance for Subsistence (housing and food allowances, respectively) as being a further boon to an already overcompensated force.  Again, I'm curious as to where this money has gone, as BAH and BAS were both slashed 15% in the Hill AFB area effective in January 00.
Given the tenor of your column, I would assume that you have NEVER had the pleasure of serving your country in her armed forces.  Before you take it upon yourself to once more castigate congressional and DOD leadership for attempting to get the families in the military's lowest pay brackets off AFDC, WIC, and food stamps, I suggest that you join a group of deploying soldiers headed for AFGHANISTAN, I leave the choice of service branch up to you.  Whatever choice you make, though, opt for the SIX month rotation: it will guarantee you the longest possible time away from your family and friends, thus giving you full "deployment experience."
As your group prepares to board the plane, make sure to note the spouses and children who are saying good-bye to their loved ones. Also take care to note that several families are still unsure of how they'll be able to make ends meet while the primary breadwinner is gone -- obviously they've been squandering the vast piles of cash the DOD has been giving them.
Try to deploy over a major holiday; Christmas and Thanksgiving are perennial favorites.
And when you're actually over there, sitting in a DFP (Defensive Fire Position, the modern-day foxhole), shivering against the cold desert night; and the flight sergeant tells you that there aren't enough people on shift to relieve you for chow, remember this: trade whatever MRE (meal-ready-to-eat) you manage to get for the tuna noodle casserole or cheese tortellini, and add Tabasco to everything.  This gives some flavor.
Talk to your loved ones as often as you are permitted; it won't nearly be long enough or often enough, but take what you can get and be thankful for it.  You may have picked up on the fact that I disagree with most of the points you present in your op-ed piece.
But, tomorrow from KABUL, I will defend to the death your right to say it. You see, I am an American fighting man, a guarantor of your First Amendment rights and every other right you cherish.  On a daily basis, my brother and sister soldiers worldwide ensure that you and people like you can thumb your collective nose at us, all on a salary that is nothing short of pitiful and under conditions that would make most people cringe.
We hemorrhage our best and brightest into the private sector because we can't offer the stability and pay of civilian companies.  And you, Ms Williams, have the gall to say that we make more than we deserve?

A1C Michael Bragg, Hill AFB AFNCC

"If everything is under control, you are going too slow." 
~Mario Andretti

"War is both a physical reality and a state of mind. War is ambiguous, uncertain, and unfair. When we are at war, we must think and act differently. We become more flexible and more adaptable. We must anticipate the ultimate reality check -- combat."
~Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, CSA

"It takes 23 muscles to frown, but only 6 to pull the pin out of a grenade."

"I do not fear an army of lions, if they are led by a lamb.  I do fear an army of sheep, if they are led by a lion."
~Alexander the Great

"Have you not got your bayonets?"
November 1854 at Inkerman when word came that his division was low on ammunition.
~Sir George Cathcart

“I asked for a few Americans. They brought with them the courage of a whole army.”
on the Green Berets in Nov. 2001
~General Abdul Rashid Dostum

“There is nothing impossible! Give your orders, support them with firmness, and you will see every obstacle vanish!”
~Lieutenant-General Johann von Ewald

"In tactics, action is the governing rule of war"
~Marshal of France Ferdinand Foch

"Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."
~H. M. Forgy, chaplain USS New Orleans, Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941

"I am up and about when I am ill, and in the most appalling weather. I am on horseback when other men would be flat out on their beds, complaining. We are made for action, and activity is the sovereign remedy for all physical ills."
~Frederick the Great

"There is no type of human endeavor where it is so important that the leader understands all phases of his job as that of the profession of arms."
~Major General James Fry

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
~Mohandas K. Gandhi

"In war, the policy of least exertion always risks being paid for dearly"
~General Charles de Gaulle

"When the situation is obscure, attack!"
~Heinz Guderian

"The power of example is very important to people under stress."
~General Sir John Hackett, British Army

"There are no extraordinary men... just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with."
~Admiral William Halsey

Always keep your clothes and your weapons where you can find them in the dark
~Robert Heinlein

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave..."
~Patrick Henry

"The proof of battle is action, proof of words, debate. No time for speeches now, it’s time to fight"
~Homer, The Iliad (c. 800BC)

"I yield to no man in sympathy for the gallant men under my command; but I am obliged to sweat them tonight, so that I may save their blood tomorrow."
~General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly."
~Robert F. Kennedy

"The difference between the impossible and the possible, lies in a man's determination!"
~Tommy Lasorda

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

"We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment."
~Jim Rohn

“Pain is weakness leaving the body, it is a beautiful feeling that lets me know that I am alive.”
~Capt Gomez

“I thought about quitting back there, but then I remembered… I’d rather die!”
~Capt Gomez

"Cowards never started and the weak died along the way."
~Unknown pioneer reflecting

"It is a sublime thing to suffer and be stronger."
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“When I get home people 'll ask me, "Hey Hoot, why do ya do it man? Why? Just some war junkie?" Ya know what I'll say? I won't say a goddamn word. Why? They won't understand. They won't understand why we do it. They won't understand that it's about the men next to you, and that's it. That's all it is.”
~Hoot, Black Hawk Down

"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him."
~Abraham Lincoln

"Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance.  It is also owed to justice and to humanity.  Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong."
~James Bryce

"If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace."
~Hamilton Fish

Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that so it goes on flying anyway. 
~Mary Kay Ash

Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid. 
~Franklin P. Jones

"If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize."
~Muhammad Ali

"It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself."
~Muhammad Ali

"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."
Muhammad Ali

"It's not bragging if you can back it up."
~Muhammad Ali

"I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest."
~Muhammad Ali

"I'm not the greatest; I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round."
~Muhammad Ali

"I'm the best. I just haven't played yet."
—when asked about his golf game
~Muhammad Ali

"Adventure isn't hanging on a rope off the side of a mountain. Adventure is an attitude that we must apply to the day-to-day obstacles of life -- facing new challenges, seizing new opportunities, testing our resources against the unknown and in the process, discovering our own unique potential. "
~John Amatt organizer and participant in Canada's first successful expedition to the summit of Mt Everest.

“Leadership is the special quality which enables people to stand and pull the rest of us over the horizon.”
~James L. Fisher

Toward the end of his life, Dwight Eisenhower recalled the first day he stood on the plain at West Point. "The feeling came over me," he said, "that the expression 'the United States of America' would now and henceforth mean something different than it had ever before. From here on, it would be the nation I would be serving, not myself."

"We're going to bomb them back into the stone Age."
~General Curtis E. LeMay USAF, 1965.

"The preponderance of the Republican Guard divisions outside of Baghdad are now dead. I find it interesting when folks say we're softening them up. We're not softening them up, we're killing them."
~Lt. Gen. Michael Moseley, USAF, 5 April 2003

You can shoot down every MiG the Soviets employ, but if you return to base and the lead Soviet tank commander is eating breakfast in your snack bar, Jack, you've lost the war
~Anonymous A-10 Pilot, USAF

"Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible - not to have run away."
~Dag Hammarskjold

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; and They shall walk, and not faint."
~Isaiah 40:31

"There is no limit to what you can imagine. And with commitment, with effort, what you can imagine you can become. Put your mind to work for you. Believe that you can do it. The world will tell you that you can't. Yet, in your belief you'll find the strength, you'll find the ability, to do it anyway."
~Ralph Marston

"Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it."
~Rabindranath Tagore

“These Big League hitters are gonna light you up like a pinball machine for awhile-- don't worry about it. Be cocky and arrogant even when you're getting beat. That's the secret. You gotta play this game with fear and arrogance.”
~Bull Durham

"The optimist sees opportunity in every danger; the pessimist sees danger in every opportunity."
~Winston Churchill

"I never expect to lose. Even when I'm the underdog, I still prepare a victory speech."
~H. Jackson Browne

"You carry on no matter what are the obstacles. You simply refuse to give up - and, when the going gets tough, you get tougher. And, you win."
~Vince Lombardi

"It is the fight alone that pleases us, not the victory."
~Blaise Pascal

"Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers; powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing, forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action."
~Orison Swett Marden

"I was now running for the tape, the mental agony of knowing I had hit my limit, of not knowing what was happening behind me. I was not to know they were fading, too."
~Sebastian Coe