.a funny little habit//d-day.

Josh has this funny little habit he picked up from my Daddy:  regardless of where we are or what we’re doing, if he spots a veteran, he’ll drop everything to shake the veteran’s hand.  And on the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I’ve had that habit replaying in the back of my mind all day.

A few years ago, we were having dinner at our favorite restaurant when a WWII veteran and his wife were seated at a table near us.  The restaurant is known for being especially dark and noisy, but Josh made a beeline for the gentleman posthaste.  After shaking his hand and thanking him for his sacrifice, the elderly gentleman nudged Josh with his cane and gestured towards me.

“That your girl?” he asked.

“Yes sir, that’s my wife,” Josh answered.

“I bet she can kick your ass with them boots, boy.  Best keep an eye on her,” the veteran laughed.

Our generation has much to learn from the Greatest Generation, especially about sacrifice.  I hope we never forget the cost of our freedoms, rights, responsibilities, and privileges because they certainly weren’t free.  I hope everyone in my age bracket can develop Josh’s habit…our veterans deserve far more than a handshake, but it’s certainly a start.

“If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause & not conquest, it could be found in these cemeteries.  Here was our only conquest:  all we asked…was enough soil in which to bury our gallant dead.”  General Mark W. Clark

-Court

P.S.

All this VA Hospital mess is despicable.  If it concerns you, contact the White House or your Senator and let them know that Eric Shinseki’s resignation isn’t enough.

Josh’s favorite mini-series.

And his second favorite.

We just finished The World Wars.  Have you seen it?  I’m a certified Social Studies teacher {and Josh will be certified by December} and we both learned a ton about The Great War & WWII.  If you haven’t seen it, click the link to watch all three episodes.

I took Josh to this museum for his 24th birthday.  If you’re local, I’d highly recommend it.

Josh and his brother are running the Currahee Challenge in October to celebrate Josh’s 27th birthday.  I can’t wait to experience the 2014 Currahee Military Weekend.

It’s Not About the BBQ

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Independence Day is not about the BBQ.  It’s not about the fireworks, your boat, or even finding that perfect American Flag crop top {which, FYI, is against the Flag Code}.  It’s not about gathering with friends, corn hole, or parades.  It’s not about pool floats, beer, or using that fancy shutter-speed trick on your Nikon to get that perfect sparkler picture.

Independence Day is about taking chances.

It wasn’t beer or pork or fireworks that got us here.  It was 56 men who were willing to take a chance on a grand experiment.  They gambled with everything–their families, their places of business…their very lives, all for the chance at building a country governed by the people, for the people.  They risked everything and they risked it all for the sake of an experiment.  They had everything to lose but they had faith in what could be gained.

While signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin remarked, “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.”  Dr. Jack Shepherd of Lost fame said something similar– “Live together, die alone.”    Both Franklin and the fictitious Dr. Jack were right:  either we’re in this together or we’re going to fail.

So tomorrow as you wave your flags, gnaw on your ribs, and light up your mortars, remember that Independence Day is about a group of conservative men who risked being drawn and quartered in the name of an experimental Republic.  And maybe ask yourself–would you have what it takes to do the same?

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Want to spice up your Independence Day BBQ?  Read this to your guests.  I promise, they’ll be impressed.

An Open Letter to Gun Control Advocates

To those who wish to ban firearms:

The tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut is heartbreaking, truly it is.  As an educator, I often wonder and pray that if I’m faced with such an event that I can respond with courage and bravery.  The world needs more ladies like Victoria Soto.  My heart grieves for the families of 20 little angels who will spend their first Christmas in Heaven without their mommies and daddies.  I spent Friday afternoon sobbing at my desk while my students quietly enjoyed Art, blissfully unaware that a gunman had executed over two dozen innocent people.  When I loaded them up to go home, I hugged them each extra tight and told them I loved them.

The mainstream media and many politicians, activists, actors, actresses, and celebrity personalities are calling for a ban on semiautomatic weapons.  Many are calling for a total ban on guns.  If I really felt that another gun control law would stop school shootings and school violence, as an educator, I would be the first on board.  Unfortunately, criminals are not known for following laws–that’s why they are criminals.

Instead of banning guns, which would infringe on the second amendment to the Constitution,  I propose we forge a different path.  Children need to grow up with a working knowledge of firearms.

My oh my, I’m certain that half of you aren’t even going to finish this post.  You’re already scrolling down to the bottom of the comment section to rip me a new one.  That’s fine.  You’re entitled to your opinion.  Regardless of what you say, I’ll stand by my word:  children need a working knowledge of firearms so they can become adults that respect weaponry.

Growing up in the Deep South with a hunter for a father, I naturally grew up around firearms.  My father raised us the same way he was raised.  My brother and I learned all about guns:  how to clean them, store them, and use them.  We also learned to respect the power of a weapon.

My younger brother’s first word was mama.  His second words were treat it like it’s loaded.  From the time we could speak, my father instilled that important virtue.  It was our eleventh commandment–a daily saying like the Lord’s Prayer.  We were taught that guns are amoral.  They are a servant to a human master.  Guns cannot think, speak, or fire themselves.  Guns are dangerous when they are not respected.  We were even taught to treat our toy guns with such reverence–yes, even those with the orange plastic caps on the end.

My father raised children that grew to be adults with a respect for firearms, and other Americans need to do the same.  As a 24 year-old woman, I sleep with a rifle in my closet and I drive with a 9 millimeter in my car.  I’m prepared to protect myself and those around me.  I’m not a gun fanatic.  I’m not even a member of the NRA.  I’m just an American citizen who is thankful for the second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Recently, my tiny Mayberry was rocked by a home invasion.  A man that lives less than a mile from my farmhouse was shot in his own home.  I slept easily that night knowing that if the criminals attempted to break into my home, that I had the right and ability to protect myself and my belongings.  It’s something our Founding Fathers felt was incredibly important back in 1791–and it’s still important today.  So many Americans are willing to leave their safety to the government.  Y’all, the government can’t even balance a budget!

American pilots that meet the appropriate qualifications are able to carry a weapon into the cockpit.  They, along with Air Marshalls are our first line of defense against terrorists in the air.  Likewise, we as American citizens have the right to defend our homes, families, and ourselves from terrorists on land.  The man that executed those precious babies was not a criminal–in my eyes he was a terrorist.  I will not venture to say that a well-placed weapon in the hands of a teacher or administrator could have stopped this horrible incident because I am not God.

If there ever comes a time when the government allows approved teachers to safely conceal and carry weapons in the classroom, I know my husband and I will be some of the first to sign up.  I also know that we will raise our children in the same way that I was raised:  with a healthy respect for firearms.

As always, our prayers are with the people in Newtown.

Court

Please be respectful in the comments section–that means you, Anonymous.