Monday, June 20, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
"What makes America unique as a nation?"
This question was posed by the Red Bluff Daily News in our town. Here's my answer in 250 words or less.
The fact that we as a nation are in reality a nation of immigrants instantly makes us unique. Every creed, every religion, and every race is represented as America. What started as a group of people looking to get away from religious persecution led to a nation that is now a super power in the world. While in reality, we are a baby nation in comparison to those like Japan, China, England, Spain, Italy, and many others in Europe and Asia.
Many other countries force high school graduates to go into the military. While our country gives the option to go straight to work, college, military, or any other destination an 18 year old desires. While many other countries have one religion, we have them all. While other countries insist on practicing one and only one religion, our 1st Amendment gives the freedom to choose any religion.
Many other countries are known for one kind of dish. Here in the states however, we have deep dish pizza in Chicago, creole in the south, mexican food in the southwest, seafood in the northwest, alligator burgers in Florida, and about a million other choices for food. We don't have a "national dish" we have a heinz 57 mix of national dishes.
But for me, the absolute one thing that differentiates us as Americans, and us as a nation, is our Armed Forces, and those who support them. For without our military, all of the aforementioned qualities that was have wouldn't be possible. We support our troops, we have Memorial Day, we have Veterans Day. I don't know of any other nation that celebrates our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Veterans as much as we do. For that one reason, we are the most unique, and for that, I am PROUD to be a Veteran, and even prouder to call myself an American.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
There was a mom blogger who was also a military spouse. As a parent, our biggest fear has always, and will always be losing one of our children. This mom blogger had been out tweeting during the day with her kids and taking pictures of the forest, ducks, and everything in between. However, there was a silence for a couple hours and then an update that stopped me in my tracks. "Just found 2 yr old in the pool, on our way to ER, please pray". My heart sank for someone I had never met in real life but had interacted with numerous times online.
And so the support for her poured in. God was inundated with prayers from people all around the world. AND THEN, the most horrible and unimaginable thing happened. Someone went on the offensive and said "we need to verify that this isn't a scam. Don't send money until it's verified". This was just the beginning unfortunately. Further tweets and blog posts said "if she hadn't been tweeting, this child would still be alive". Up until that remark, I had kept my mouth shut and minded my manners. This was the straw that broke the camels back.
The business man in me said "keep your mouth shut and mind your own business". The man, father, husband, Navy Vet, and proud American in me shouted "KICK HER ASS SEABASS". Needless to say, the business man was locked in the basement. I started a twitter war of words with this woman. I threw all caution to the wind and did what was right. I stood up for a woman who was grieving, and was now being attacked by the one tooth wonder. (By the way, I'm doing my best to keep this as PG as possible, but even after almost two years, my blood still boils thinking about it)
Yes, I cursed, spoke like a sailor, probably offended a large portion of my following with my language and vulgarity. But the most important thing about the whole situation is I did was was right. I've always loved the saying "What may be popular may not be right, and what may be right may not be popular". In this instance, I've been told I was simply saying what everyone else didn't have the courage to say. Which is fine by me. Hell, I've been known to hop into battles and ruin my own reputation to defend others. Why did my reputation get damaged? EH who knows. Maybe it was my means to an end (read talking and acting like a sailor). Which in northern california is often frowned upon. That's another post.
In the end, I received many thanks from other mom bloggers (while also seeing my follower count dwindle). However, a few lessons were learned during this whole ordeal. I can be a best friend, or a worst enemy. I don't relish battle one bit, but I know it's a reality. It was my reality for 4 years in the Navy from 2000-2004.
Did I break every Social Media Manner in the rule book? I'm pretty sure I did. Did I meet some wonderful people in the process? You bet. Did I lose over half the people that followed me? Yes. Was it worth it? OH YEAH. I asked myself the question before I engaged in twitter war "Is this juice worth the squeeze? Will it damage my online presence in the process? The answer to both questions was Yes. But ultimately, That juice was worth the squeeze.
And lastly, the one thing that has come up in conversation over the past couple months is just how many people saw what I did, and subsequently followed me. Those same people have become friends, allies, business partners, and confidantes. I'm the one willing to take the heat when the situation calls for it. I'm the friend who answers the phone at 3 in the morning to pick you up if you had too much to drink. I'm the one who drops what I'm doing to help out those in need. This in the end, was worth more to most people than what others deemed as having poor social media manners.
Has there ever been a time where you had to throw manners aside to stop a thorn in your side or someone else's? If you saw the battle that happened then, what were your thoughts? Was I right or should I have kept my mouth shut? Looking forward to your responses!
Monday, June 6, 2011
They've made a difference to me and the community in which I live. Some have raised money for the poor, others for Veterans, and Women's shelters. These three alone are the most near and dear to my heart. Therefore, These people are not only "Local celebrities" to me, but are local heroes.
First up is Charlee Thompson. She's in the Army, a part of the Honor Guard, a HUGE advocate for veterans, and is an all around really cool woman. Every event I've attended in Shasta County in relation to Veterans has included seeing Charlee involved in some fashion. Her energy is infections, Intelligence in humbling, and has a smile that could disarm even the most angry world leaders. I consider it an honor to have met her and chatted with her on numerous occasions. And in my eyes the coolest thing she does is "Christmas For The Troops". She gets donations from places all over northern california and then sends off care packages to troops all around the world. Now, I don't know if it was the same group, but I received one of these care packages when I was on deployment in 2001. Let me tell you... Getting a package from a complete stranger or group of people who have never met me but support me from half way around the world.. That's incredible. I can't even put into words how much it means when something like that happens.
Next is Tad Shackles. He's a local DJ that does SO MANY great things in the area. Of course, that isn't his real name, but he threatened to start calling me "Nugget" (long story... another blog post) if I used his real name. Anyhoo... Tad had done the local version of "Dancing with the stars" and raised a TON of money. All of this was to benefit the Shasta Womens' Refuge. In an effort to raise as much money as possible, he actually spent almost 3 days on the top of a parking garage to raise money. All in all, he raised almost $13,000 in three days, and I believe around $20,000 in total. He's done countless other things as well. Including raising money for the Redding Soroptimists and he won the Mardi Gras King prize. He also won by raising money, selling tickets, and getting votes. Below are the photos of him on DWTS and as the Mardi Gras King.P.A.T.H - Poor And The Homeless of Tehama County. The amount of work that they have done in our little community to help the less fortunate is truly awe inspiring. They give of their time and energy in so many ways that it always inspires me to find ways to get involved. If you have a few bucks to spare, you can go to their website and donate HERE. Dave and Nancy are heroes to me and to our community!
While I'm at it, there's one other person that I consider to be such an amazing guy. His name is Tommy Corey. He's the creator of The Self Worth Project. He's kind, funny, and has an amazing heart. The images he takes and shares can bring tears to your eyes, make you smile, contemplate your life, think twice about the words you may direct towards another person, and help you realize that YOU are beautiful on the inside and out. He's an inspiration to me, and as of last count, about 9,334 others (fans on his fan page).
These are all people who are not only making a difference locally, but as far as their arms, heart, and love will allow them. They are all amazing people who I think are Heroes in my community.