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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Must-See Blog...and a Milestone

Check out An American Soldier, approaching the 150,000 visitor mark.

Pictures, info, and lots to visit for. Stop in and help him get to the big 150K!

More Excerpts from "America - United We Stand"

Here are some more goodies from "America -- United We Stand," due out in July of this year.

Remember, you are welcome to submit items for consideration to the publishers. You can send them to:

Please remember, all excerpts posted are the property of the publisher, and should not be reposted or redistributed without their consent.

Linda Pauling, Founder, Make-A-Wish Foundation
Twenty-four years ago I lost my son, Chris, to Leukemia. The day that I buried him my life came to an end. I was no longer married; I had lost my only child—the only child I would ever have. Yes, my heart was still beating, and I was still breathing, but nothing mattered to me anymore. I had lost everything worth living for.

My son had one wish in his young life. He wanted more than anything else to grow up to become a policeman. It was his dream; it was all he ever wanted to be. During the last several weeks—days, really—of his life, several wonderful Arizona Highway Patrol officers came into our lives and helped turn Chris’ dream into a reality. On May 3rd, 1980, my little Chris became the State of Arizona’s youngest and ONLY honorary Highway Patrol officer in its history.

These wonderful men and women were, and still are, the finest people I have ever known. Several weeks after Chris’ funeral they came to me with a proposition—why stop now? Why not continue granting the wishes of a lifetime to desperately ill children and their families?

I honestly thought at that point that I was all out of tears. I just didn’t think I had any left to cry. But I did… A whole new reservoir of them. Only now I found myself crying with joy at the prospects of helping and giving to others who were caught up in much the same tragic circumstances I had barely endured.

And that’s when I discovered new meaning in life and a brand new reason to go on living. It is in the loving and the giving to others that one becomes truly alive. I believe that’s why we were all put here and that is what we were all meant to do.

That year, five of us started Make-A-Wish with about $35 and change. Government agencies at the state and county levels helped us… Private citizens and public corporations helped us. The charity and generosity of Americans from every walk of life made me proud to be an American—fiercely proud.

Within that first year we had succeeded in granting the wishes of a lifetime to eight, terminally ill children in the greater Phoenix area. To date, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted over 125,000 wishes to seriously ill children and their families in 27 different countries.

Chris’ legacy—a legacy of courage and unconditional love—will live on in the organization he inspired, and in the hearts and minds of the brave little children all over the world who came after him…

Don Spira, Holocaust Survivor
Mr. Spira, a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor, wrote the following letter to President Bush during the Iraqi war. It was written longhand in Yiddish on a sheet of loose-leaf paper, and translated by a Brooklyn social worker for "Guardians of the Sick".

April 9, 2003

Honorable President of the United States, graced by G-D to lead this wonderful nation, guardian and redeemer of international humanity from barbaric, sadistic terrorism:

First and foremost, I want to extend my heartfelt prayers to the merciful and compassionate G-D. May His infinite mercy and eternal generosity grant freedom and security to our country, and bless the army of the United States of America and the coalition of allied forces with much success to win the war against the barbaric and sadistic oppressor and dictator of Iraq.

With feelings of humility and loyalty, I, a simple man, would like to share his deepest feelings with the most powerful and respected person in the world, the President of the United States, may he be blessed.

When I received from the RNC (Republican National Committee) the beautiful photo of your honor, Dear President, I framed and ornamented the portrait with reverence and respect so that it would shine before my eyes. By adorning the wall with this portrait, I receive an enormous amount of strength, energy, and the impetus to introduce myself and write this letter.

I am 94 years old (G-D grant me life till 120). I was born in a town in Poland, occupied at the time by the Austrian government, on June 26, 1909. I still recall the beginning of the Russian-Austrian war at the age of five. My childhood memories are those of struggling for survival-- a thin line between life and death. According to my childish assessment, I then experienced miracles and wonders. However, it seems that I was fated for further suffering.

I was married for eight years, and was well established. I owned my own home and was a partner in a local mill and lumberyard that had many employees. My family consisted of my 75-year-old mother, my young wife and a 9-year old son, my in laws, siblings, and extended family.

All of these innocent souls, unfortunately, were murdered by Hitler's barbaric regime in 1942. They were brutally and sadistically murdered, and died gruesome deaths, for the crime of being Jewish. My assets were confiscated and I experienced horror and terror in the infamous concentration camps.

But, thank G-D, I survived, and on May 5, 1945, was freed by the great American Army. I wandered in UNRA camps in Italy until 1949, when I was deemed worthy to finally reach the joyous waters at the port of the wonderful land of generosity, The United States of America.

In America, my wounds from the Hitler era (may his name be erased) gradually started to heal. I was remarried to a wonderful woman, a widowed daughter of a Talmudic scholar, who had two little orphans. Their father had died while serving in the American Army. I raised the orphans as my own children, gave them a religious education, married them off to wonderful women, and watched them build their own beautiful families. Thank G-D, they have given me lots of pride and satisfaction and are a constant source of nachas (joy) to me.

Nonetheless, the Hitler experience never allowed me to take full pleasure from life-- to genuinely welcome happy family occasions and other joyous events. The unspeakable horrors I had experienced were so deeply ingrained in my conscious and subconscious memory that I could never truly escape them and enjoy life the way other people would.

However, Dear President, observing your tremendous courage, your sense of mission and sense of determination to carry out this purposeful and holy task of war against terrorism, rejuvenated and revitalized my old, frail body. In my humble eyes, you are protecting the world from all barbaric acts of terrorism, making the world a safer place to live in. Finally I feel there is a man who is "sticking up" for us, and is taking revenge for the innocent blood that was spilled like water during the Holocaust. I realize how much pressure and international opposition you had to deal with, and do not have enough words to commend you for withstanding that.

Hopefully, with the help of the Almighty, the United States will be crowned with tremendous success and my refreshed heart will have the opportunity to absorb the good news: that mankind has been rescued from barbaric, sadistic terrorism.

With much respect, I remain a loyal admirer of Your Honor, the President of the United States of America--

Don Spira

UZBEKISTAN DEPLOYMENT — A U.S. Air Force crew chief cleans a C-130 Hercules windshield during maintenance at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base, Uzbekistan, April 16, 2005. The crew chief is assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol

In Today's News - Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Quote of the Day
"In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."
-- Anne Frank Associated Press
Report: Moussaoui plans to plead guilty
Sharon looks to 3-week Gaza pullout delay
Iraqi forces seek insurgents in operation

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: War on Iraq
Bassel Fleihan, Lebanese lawmaker, dies
'I won't sign death warrant for Saddam'

US News: Iraq News
Iraq defense official killed by gunmen
Senate Asks Bush for Iraq War-Cost Estimates
Soldier blogs bring the front line to the folks at home
Truman carrier group returns from Iraq
Iraq calls Shia hostage standoff an exaggeration
Turbulent meeting for the Iraqi parliament

Yahoo! News: War with Iraq
Iraqi forces recapture lawless town but no hostages found
Truman Carrier Group Returns From Iraq

Fox News
Eight Alleged Taliban Rebels Killed in Afghan Gunbattle
Gitmo Releases 17 Afghans
Bomb Kills Six Iraqis
Israel Mulls Gaza Delay
Iran Suspends Al-Jazeera
Panel to Vote on Bolton
Rep. Henry Hyde to Retire
Moussaoui May Plead Guilty in Sept. 11 Case
Oklahoma City Remembers

Department of Defense
Tripartite Commission Holds 10th Meeting —Story
Language Latest Weapon in U.S. Arsenal — Story
Task Force Makes Progress Against IED Threat — Story

Air Assault First Mission of Operation Vigilance — Story Photos
Afghans, Coalition Hold Milestone Conference — Story
Shot in Back, Troop Owes Life to Ballistic Plate — Story

Marines Generate Continuous Flight Ops
F-16 Crew Chiefs Combat Odds to Keep Jets in Flight
'Buffalo' Finds Explosive Devices, Saves Lives
Marines, Soldiers Keep Camp Taqaddum Safe
Corps of Engineers Integral Part of Rebuilding
Advanced Combat Helmet Saves Soldier’s Life

'America’s Battalion' Fulfills Promise to Teen
Team Readies Airfield for Italian Troops
Rumsfeld: Troops Earn Place in History Photos
Afghan Toddler Treated at Bagram for Burns

Airmen Cross 100-Mission Milestones

C-130 Maintainers Keep Mission-Capable Rates High

U.S. Troops Conduct Medical Civic Action Program
Battalion Helps Treat Herds in Dhamar Region

High-School Sweethearts Make Military a Career — Story

Not All Phone Cards are Alike — Story

Medal of Honor
Two Years in Iraq
'Gitmo' Detainee Camp

Soldier Killed; Insurgents Detained
Soldiers Killed in Iraq
Two Soldiers Killed in Attacks
Suicide Bombers Are Mostly Foreign
Highway Patrol Ready for Duty
Judges Receive New Work Vehicles
Success in Iraq - DoD Fact Sheet
Year in Review 2004 Fact Sheets (pdf)
Iraq Daily Update
Iraq Reconstruction
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghans Turn in Weapons, IEDs
Boy Dies Despite Heart Surgery
Coalition Confronts Narcotics Trade
Taliban Likely to Step Up Attacks
Tragedy Demonstrates Cooperation
Herat Airport Manager Shares View
Afghan Army Nabs Terror Suspect
Defense Leaders' Views on Afghanistan
Enduring Freedom Marks 3 Years
Afghanistan Daily
Afghan Reconstruction Group Recruiting

Aircraft Lighter Ban Applies to All
Myers: Editors, Tell Full Story
Intel Nominees Approved
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Deployments Mean Vaccinations
National Guard, Reserve Update

Officials Identify Army Casualties — Story

Today in History
1539 - Emperor Charles V reaches a truce with German Protestants at Frankfurt.
1689 - Residents of Boston oust their governor, Edmond Andros.
1764 - The English Parliament bans the American colonies from printing paper money.
1775 - The American Revolution begins with fighting at Lexington, Massachusetts.
1782 - The Netherlands recognizes the United States.
1794 - Tadeusz Kosciuszko forces the Russians out of Warsaw.
1802 - The Spanish reopen New Orleans to American merchants.
1861 - In Baltimore, secessionist rioters attack Massachusetts soldiers bound for Washington. Four soldiers and twelve rioters are killed.
- President Lincoln orders a blockade of Confederate ports.
1880 - The Times war correspondent telephones a report of the Battle of Ahmed Khel. This is the first time news is sent this way.
1927 - In China, communists declare war on Chiang Kai-shek.
1938 - General Francisco Franco declares victory in the Spanish Civil War.
1939 - Connecticut finally approves the Bill of Rights.
1943 - The Warsaw Ghetto uprising begins.
1971 - Russia launches its first Salyut space station.
1982 - NASA names Sally Ride to be the first woman astronaut.
1989 - The battleship USS Iowa's number 2 turret explodes, killing 47 sailors.
1993 - The FBI ends a 51-day siege by storming the Branch Dividian compound in Waco, Texas.
1995 - A truck bomb explodes in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

1721 - Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration of Independence.
1832 - Lucretia Rudolph, President Garfield's first lady.
1903 - Eliot Ness, Treasury agent during Prohibition.