View Full Version : Moment of Reflection

04-18-2003, 08:29 PM
I realize this is another of those non-machining themes, but I thought it worth sharing. It's not intended to generate dissention, but rather to promote a concialitory spirit among us. I hope you'll all take it that way.
Today I received 3rd hand the following email. It touched me.

(This email is from Andy Nelson, an employee with Doster Construction in Montgomery.)

I want to tell you of an experience I had last night flying home from Atlanta.

The pilot came on the intercom and went through the usual announcements telling us that "we're just east of Montgomery cruising at 28,000 feet" and "you've picked a beautiful night for flying, just look at the gorgeous southern sunset out of the right side of the plane". He then, however, said this: "Please bear with me as I deviate from the script, but I want you all to know that simply by coincidence you have been granted both the privilege and honor of escorting the body of Army PFC Howard Johnson, Jr. home tonight. PFC Johnson was killed in Iraq defending the freedoms we all enjoy, and fighting to extend those freedoms to the people of Iraq. We are also accompanied by PFC Johnson's cousin, Marine Major Talley, who has been chosen by the family to escort PFC Johnson home. Semper Fi!"

The plane quickly became very quiet, but soon erupted in thunderous applause that lasted for several minutes. It was quite moving, to say the least. As I sat there thinking about what the pilot had said, and visualizing PFC Johnson's dead body riding below me in the belly of that plane, I noticed a couple of things. Two rows in front of me sat a father holding his daughter, an infant, and they were practicing "ma-ma", and in the row behind me was another young boy, probably 2 or so, learning to count to 10. Now obviously both are too young to realize we're at war, or that one of our dead was with us, but it made me think, and this is the point: These warriors, mostly young, all volunteers, everyday are prepared to give their lives for our future, for a safer, more secure future for people they don't even know, all based on the principle that fighting and dying for this country is worth it. You all know and agree with this, but not everyone does, so I would ask that if you meet anyone that's not "on board" with this philosophy, i.e. the protesters to which Bob refers, that you "correct the situation".

By the way, the flight ended with all of us deplaning only to line the windows of the gate house to watch PFC Johnson's body, draped in the American flag, be rolled out of the plane and into a waiting hearse that was surrounded by his family members.

Please pray that our soldiers' sight is acute, their aim is true, and that as many come home as God can spare.

Andy Nelson
746 Adams Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36104

end quote

04-18-2003, 09:17 PM
A sobering email......and worthy of reading.

I wish that "ALL" of us could realize that whether or not we agree with fighting (the word "war" seems to rub too many people the wrong way) for the rights of others (and ourselves) to live a safe and unendangered life, the lives of those that actually do the fighting should command our utmost respect and gratitude.

Have a safe Easter......

04-19-2003, 06:45 AM

Thank you for reminding us all in such moving fashion of our obligations to our fellow citizens who serve our beloved nation by placing their lives at risk.

In three days time my wife and I plan to depart for an annual 5 week vacation to where our fallen and living servicemen are honored to a degree that is mostly unknown in this their own land.

Every few years my old army unit conducts tours of remembrance to where so many of our comrades fell in defense of all men's liberty. Prior to leaving on the tour all are cautioned to bring plenty of handkerchiefs for those moments when the little children in the liberated towns approach the touring vets and offer them flowers in touching thanks for their past sacrifices. "These little kids will make you break down", we are cautioned. They have been taught by their parents to honor the everlasting debt owed these visiting veterans and their fallen comrades.

It has become a cliche and fashionable to say that "the French do not like Americans". Nothing could be farther from the truth.

My wife and I have always been received in a gracious and warm manner by the French people whom I respect and admire.

I have written this for I believe that the French who helped us achieve our own liberty so long ago are owed this acknowlegement.

I wish all of you, my friends, good health and success in all your many projects.


saddle 1963
04-19-2003, 12:23 PM
Stuff the french ,and the germans!

04-20-2003, 03:46 AM

Well said brother. May your trip be a safe and heartfelt experience for you and your princess.


I watched the funerals of the servicemen and women (Ft. Bliss). Taps always upsets me, but I lost it when they piped "Amazing Grace" - may they R.I.P., having served their country with honour and duty.

[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 04-20-2003).]

Alistair Hosie
04-20-2003, 05:30 AM
Thanks Oscar its nice to hear someone with an intelligent view with regards the French and the Germans both very wonderful people,and Lynnl as always buddy you did a good job too reminding us of the sacrifices made and the heartache felt by the families when a loved one has been taken away from them whilst still so young and with so much to offer the world,you are as always constantly very sincere in your approach and a kind and decent human being,I would love to meet you one day as I am sure we have a lot in common.kindest regards to you both from Alistair

04-20-2003, 04:41 PM
Alistair: Regarding you commnet about past posts (You mentioned Lynn but I refer to all), it is interesting to go to search feature, enter a user name, and review the posts. I think a personality developes- maybe not the mands real personality, but at least how he/she is willing to be precieved. And first post kind of shows what utrns the person on enough to register and comment.

Very interesting to look back.
PS Saddle63 is this your first post? don't remember you. welcome

Alistair Hosie
04-20-2003, 07:05 PM
Steve as far as I can see Saddle 63 has not made any comments before and he may well be a nice guy how can we know.It is just sad that the first oportunity he has to offer us his views on a topic result in six words and all of them extremely negative and bitter toward two great nations.I am sure he does not know all Frenchmen or women, or all Germans it would at least have been more informative although not neccessarily educationally enlightening if he had gone on to inform us why, or how, he would stuff them and what with. Alistair

04-20-2003, 10:21 PM
Hope he doesn't stuff them with meatloaf. They will get real cranky.

Alistair Hosie
04-21-2003, 08:45 AM
As I said before many times I worked with the Germans in Germany for five years and I found them to be wonderful people .I still have many of thgem as friends. Most of the people who make ill infirmed remarks (in my experience)usually have never met a German or really sat down and had a decent coversation with one. This is a kind of bigotry that exists today in Northern Ireland between protestants and catholics and they usually never spend time to get to know each other either just carry on with the same ignorant hatred in their hearts they were brought up with,and no good tangible reason for it sorry these comments are wrong Alistair

Al Messer
04-21-2003, 01:42 PM
You should have been of German descent living in a small town of English descendents during WWII. Wasn't always pleasant at school, but---it's all in the past.

Al Messer
04-21-2003, 01:49 PM
Amusing side note. Eldest son was a Liaison Officer during Operation Reforger a few years ago in the Black Forest area. A German General came up to him, read his name tag and proceeded to say "Leftenant, aren't you wearing the wrong uniform?" Imagine his surprise when my son replied in a perfect Southern Alabama accent, "No Suh! I AM wearing the right uniform."

Mike L
04-21-2003, 01:55 PM
I have friends in Germany and France. Wonderful people, great places to visit.

Let us not confuse the actions of the French government (which we don't like) with the French people themselves. That would leave us thinking like some Arab terrorists who confuse Americans with the action of the the US government (which they don't like).

Mike L

04-21-2003, 06:09 PM
Gents, sometimes sublety is wasted on you'all. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif.
Alistair, saddle (per his profile) registered on 4-19, wrote his 6 words.I think he will not return.

As I said, one click gives a list of his posts (1)& date registered. Reading between the line, you can tell (guess) what turned him/her on and a personality developes. I note he is from UK. And he may very well have some good reasons for his feelings- I have no idea. But, man, he IS succinct!

Dave Opincarne
04-21-2003, 07:49 PM
I got it Steve, very clever and poignient. Well said.

Mike, lets not leave out confusing arabs and muslims (not the same, just many common members) with the sociopaths which claim to represent them.


04-21-2003, 08:36 PM
A little background - The German Army is at gates of all military

installations in Germany providing entry control on a 24 X 7 basis to

relieve US Forces that are in the Middle East.

A different perspective on our German allies. Our governments may be

At odds over Iraq Policy-but Military understands Military.

Our Allies!

Sunday, 30 March 2003

As usual I was running late. So, you can imagine my frustration level

As I approached the main gate of Ramstein Air Base only to find traffic

Backed up! Nearing the checkpoint I realized that not only was there a long

Line of cars, but traffic had come to a complete stop as a result of all

Entrance gates being closed. Over the past 18 months, there have been many

opportunities to practice our patience as we have had to "hurry up and

wait" as a result of heightened security. While we realize the

necessity, it's still frustrating at times for even the most easy-going
folks. This was one of those times for me! I needed to be where I was
going, and I needed to be there NOW! The German soldiers, the ones manning
the entrances of American military installations here in Germany, were just
milling around, chatting as if those of us in line had all the time in the

Things seemed to go from bad to worse! The German gate guards began

walking among the stopped cars, asking us to turn off our engines and

headlights. I realized that no traffic was exiting or entering the Air

Base. My feelings of frustration began to turn to ones of concern.

Just what was going on? A few minutes later I noticed blue lights

Approaching from the direction of the air terminal. Close behind were two
military medical buses with RED CROSS insignia. Lights were on in the
buses, and I.V. bags could be seen hanging. It was then that I realized
that these were more of our wounded warriors being transported from the

Battlefields to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center for treatment.

I certainly wasn't prepared for what happened next. All of the German

soldiers, our gate guards, began walking toward the concrete barriers

that divide the inbound and outbound lanes of traffic. As the blue lights

neared, more German soldiers seemed to appear from nowhere, lining the

road, shoulder to shoulder. Right on cue, without a word being spoken,
these soldiers snapped a sharp salute as the buses drove past, rendering
arms until well after the last bus had passed.

Needless to say, I was speechless and deeply moved. What a show of

respect for fellow soldiers!

--- Soldier to Soldier, rendering honor and respect!

One more little note to this...Two AM in the morning, a single C-17

lands at Ramstein with one patient on board; 19 year Pfc. Jessica Lynch, and

who shows up to escort the ambulance to Landstuhl?...over 100 German Politzi

cars and the entire Germany Army contingency assigned to Ramstein..

Our allies, our comrades, those who know the price that some have to

pay for freedom, did not have to be asked or prompted, it came from their

character and soldiering heart! May God bless and watch over all soldiers

and their loved ones as they stand in harm's way for us! Blessings and


Dave Opincarne
04-21-2003, 08:39 PM

Alistair Hosie
04-22-2003, 02:41 AM
As I said before good people, you can't alter that just like the Americans are good people these things cannot be taken away from a nation, any nation, because of a few bad men and I am not referring to the present comflict. Alistair

04-22-2003, 03:09 AM
"Stuff the French and the Germans"
It reminds me of the succinct response of Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe's response to the Germans in the battle of Bastogne, "Nuts". Basically I understand and support the sentiments. Individually I don't resent any individual German or French citizen but I think the French government and perhaps the general French public is now effete. As far as the French being essential in our revolutionary war and for our American freedoms, I respect that historical fact. But there are no living French citizens that can claim to have been a part of that heroic effort. There may be some French citizens alive that can remember some of our American Son's, who liberated them from the Fascists in WWII. Now those Son's are our Grandfathers, and they remember the losses of their comrades and brothers and also the glory of that liberation. There are times in history where there are no peaceful means available to remove a cruel and murderous regime that is also in a position to cause death on a massive scale. I am a Democrat and yet I still support the war in Iraq. As far as the Germans go, I still don't trust them. I'll be glad when all of the Germans that were a part of the holocaust are dead. If they are our Allies then we need some more Allies. And I am not a Jew. I don’t even think my government should support Israel. I am an atheist and I distain all conflicts over religion because it is useless. Religious governments don’t tolerate this diversity of opinion. That is why I hope my government doesn’t leave Iraq too soon. It makes me appreciate our system in America that protects the rights of the minority. How can all those countries and people hate America when we are just an amalgam of them all? We don’t care how you pray, or if you don’t, and certainly we don’t kill people who don’t believe as we do. I wish this were true of the rest of the world.

Alistair Hosie
04-22-2003, 05:54 AM
Spence you have a very skewed view of history there is no government on this planet that is without blame at some time in history not the American government, not the British, which in case, you have let it slip your over active imagination were also prominent in the liberation of France not just Americans.
The way you write it America won the war alone no mention of the Brits and the Russians who took the most casualties ,you remind me of spike milligan from the goons.
You are very quick to take us back in history to a time when the German government did things which we all recognise including the Germans alive today, and say that you still don't trust the Germans from an incident which took place nearly sixty years ago, how many do you realistically expect to be still alive. And remember the Germans were not all fascists.Then I find it almost comical when you add.
It makes me appreciate our system in America that protects the rights of the minority. Have you never heard of the apartite system in your own country when Black men and women and even children were treated with utter dsidain by your parents and their neighbours oh yes if you are going to sling mud liberally at the present day Germans why not come forward right up to the sixties when the black people were treated like animals by your own people so take off those rose coloured spectacles and come into the real world you are only making a fool of yourself when you make statements about the good America which are blatantly misrepresentative, grow up son, or please keep off these subjects till you have learned the facts or at least learned to be more honest with your views.Sorry but your statements are just plain foolish and fly in the face of your own countries historical wrong doings or perhaps in your world these things never happened ,good grief.
"It makes me appreciate our system in America that protects the rights of the minority." I thought that Blacks were in the minority then and now.We too in Britain have a long record of mistreating those we disliked ,our history is steeped in blood so don't point a finger at others we are all to be blamed for the past.I really don't think I will be able to hold a decent debate with you in the future,as you are very prejudiced and constantly ill informed.In any case I thought Neil had asked us repeatedly to stop the anti-German and anti-French pro-war/anti-war stuff. Alistair

04-22-2003, 04:41 PM
Your points are well taken. No system is perfect and there is plenty of blame to throw around. I have an understanding, and an appreciation of the inequities here in America. Certainly my current president is not a person who got where he is without the help of an elite class. He isn't interested in leveling the playing field either. I just love the fact that we can have a bloodless coup here every 4 years. You are right on another point. It isn’t about the people or their nationalities, but it is about the positions of their leadership in current affairs. It is hard to view these in an unbiased way. And in a way that isn’t affected by an understanding of history, as it is colored by our individual cultures and collective history. There are, and where, all sorts of ulterior motives on all sides. There never will be a simple answer, and even when a regime treats people with the extremes of cruelty they often feel they are doing the right thing and are justified by whatever excuses and authority they have.
PS. No debate would be possible, but it is not because I am prejudiced or ill informed as you said, but because I won't participate in attacking the writer instead of the ideas. The following I read as against the writer (me) and not the ideas.
"You have a very skewed view"
"Your over active imagination"
"You remind me of Spike Milligan"
"You are..comical when you"
"You are very quick to.."
"Take off the rose colored glasses"
"You are making a fool of yourself"
"Your statements are just plain foolish"
"You are..ill informed."
"You are very prejudiced"

I think I left out a few, but I would rather you didn't poke so much at me, but to the ideas. I may end up agreeing with you otherwise. Now back to my projects.

[This message has been edited by SJorgensen (edited 04-22-2003).]

04-22-2003, 04:53 PM

A wise man once said "Kill them all - let God sort them out."

Or, "Let he who is without a**holes in government cast the first stone" - A show of hands please...Oh look, there is a Peguin from Antarctica picking up a rock! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Alistair Hosie
04-22-2003, 05:22 PM
What Ideas ? Spence Alistair

04-22-2003, 05:32 PM
Thanks Machine-Rookie. That also is a moving story.

(A fellow Blue Suiter)

04-22-2003, 09:30 PM
Some of the things you've written about your image of America and the experience of Black Americans in the 60's paint quite a picture. Of course things vary from state to state and I happen to live in a part of the Country where racism wasn't that endemic in the culture, as it was in the Southern States. I've never witnessed any thing like you describe. By law minority rights are protected even from the majority. There have been times when our Federal Government has sent troops to defend the rights of a few people against a racist community in the south. I may be the one who is ill informed, but I've always lived in an integrated society. None of my friends or any of the Blacks I've ever worked with would let anyone tell them they couldn't go somewhere or do something because they are black. Seems like all of our American heroes are Black men. Tiger Woods, Colin Powell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird (oh wait...he's white!) Apartheid my ass. There is quite a history of racism in America though, and a lot of blood has been shed and laws written to end it.

You said "The way you write it America won the war alone no mention of the Brits and the Russians who took the most casualties"

Sorry I forgot to mention that. But maybe you would have lost the war without us. Winning a war is not about taking the most casualties.

If you ask me, that war was won because of hundreds of thousands of little South Bend 9" lathes like my little War Horse.

Best wishes,