Saturday, March 15, 2008

Red Fridays - Celebrating American Heroes

Okay, I have to admit it, I am a sucker for warm and fuzzy military stories. A couple of years ago I was asked to emcee a welcome home presentation for our 290th Engineer company who had just arrived back from Iraq. I was given all the dialog so really I just had to do the job as laid out before me. Easier said than done. When I got to the part where I had to read the National Guard credo, I was overwhelmed by the profoundness of their mission. The words are unbelievably beautiful and as I choked thru each sentence, I was reminded again of why we should be proud of these men and women who serve our country.

So here is a story that I have to send on...

Will you give this to my Daddy?

As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.'

Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone)wasabruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for, it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi.'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.

The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy Then suddenly the little girl gr abbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of thesoldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your dadd y and he told me to give this to you' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards the ir gat e, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act ofselflessness,turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

W e need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.

We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our tr oops.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that..
Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once 'silent' majority is on their side more than ever; certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to makethings bet ter for you?' is...We need your support and your prayers.

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.


IF YOU COULD CARE LESS THEN HIT THE DELETE BUTTON --- In America you still have a choice.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

It's all about Water

Being from Monteagle, I know more about water issues than I care to admit. I recently read a National Geographic article about the history of water issues out west and how an entire civilization just disappeared one year because of an extended drought. I don't think we are going anywhere, but this border war can only get more heated with the dry summer season almost upon us.

Timeline: Georgia-Tennessee border war


1777: Georgia is admitted as the fourth state into the union with its northern border as the 35th parallel according to its charter.
1796: Tennessee was admitted into the union by the U.S. government and deeded lands west of North Carolina above the 35th parallel.
1802: Georgia cedes the Mississippi Territory to the United States. Under the agreement Georgia's western border would reach and cross the Tennessee River at Nickajack at the 35th parallel.
1817: Mississippi is admitted into the union with its northern border identified in its state charter as the 35th parallel.
1818: Georgia and Tennessee commission a joint survey of their border, whose mission was to identify the 35th parallel and mark it on the ground. It is believed that due to poor equipment and outdated astronomical charts, the survey party mistakenly placed the line a mile south of its actual location at Nickajack. Georgia never officially accepted the border as marked.
1819: Alabama is admitted into the union with its northern border identified in its state charter as the 35th parallel.
1887: Georgia passes an act calling for commissioners to meet and establish the Tennessee line.
1889: The Tennessee legislature enacts legislation expressing "grave doubts as to the location of the state line between Georgia and Tennessee on that part of the line between Dade County, Georgia, and Marion and Hamilton Counties, Tennessee, creating trouble and inconvenience between the two states."
1890: Tennessee forces Mississippi to correct a survey that placed the border between the two states four mile too far north into Tennessee. The border between the two states was corrected and placed along the 35th parallel according to the charts of both states.
1890, 1905, 1915, 1922: On four occasions, Georgia disputes border between itself and Tennessee.
1941: Georgia General Assembly reopens dispute of the entire Tennessee line by creating yet another Boundary Line Committee, with no reaction from Tennessee.
1947: Georgia passes acts authorizing a committee to look into the matter and authorizing Georgia’s attorney general to file suit in the U.S. Supreme Court if the committee could not resolve the dispute. In response, Tennessee’s governor met with the Georgia committee, but nothing was resolved.
1947-71: Many governors of Georgia contemplated reopening the border dispute but none did.
1971: The Georgia General Assembly enacts a joint resolution calling for Georgia governor Jimmy Carter to talk with the Tennessee governor about resolving the border dispute.
2005: Dade County officials sign an agreement with the water firm of Brown and Caldwell in Walnut Creek, Calif., to research the possibility of an agreement with Tennessee to pump water along a pipeline into Dade from the Tennessee River.
May 2007: Brad Carver, an Atlanta utilities lawyer and a water expert from the University of Mississippi, begins investigating the history of Georgia’s 190-year dispute with Tennessee over their shared border.
Feb. 8, 2008: The Georgia House and Senate introduce bills to form a commission to investigate the disputed Georgia-Tennessee border.
Feb. 20: Georgia House and Senate approve a Border Line Commission to work with Tennessee and North Carolina officials investigating of the disputed border. Tennessee Rep. Gerald McCormick calls Georgia lawmakers backing the plan “idiotic” and “crazy.”
Feb. 20: The measure to move the Georgia border one-mile north heads to Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for approval after being approved by the state legislature.
Feb. 25: Tennessee House Majority Leader Gory Odom files legislation to address Georgia General Assembly’s claim to portions of the southern border of Tennessee. The resolution states that no member of the Tennessee General Assembly would partake in discussions with Georgia’s Border Line Commission.
Feb. 26: Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen dismisses Georgia’s resolution to claim land from Tennessee’s southern border.
Feb. 27: Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield responds with “Give our Georgia Friends a Drink Day.” Littlefield asked area Chattanooga residents to donate bottled water to be given to the Georgia General Assembly in Atlanta.
Feb. 27: Matt Lea, a representative from Mayor Littlefield’s office, delivers Chattanooga’s water donation to the Georgia General Assembly.
Feb. 27: Polk County, Tenn., commission passes a resolution to dismiss plans of Georgia lawmakers calling for the annexation of land from Tennessee’s southern border.
March 3: Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield calls on lawmakers from both Tennessee and Georgia to begin trying to seriously resolve the disputed border claim.
March 4: Tennessee General Assembly members take up a resolution in committee strongly opposing Georgia’s border dispute claim.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Picture to Ponder

Maybe I have been living in the woods too long, but I find this oddly attractive.

Monteagle - The greatest untold civil rights story

Since coal was discovered here in the mid 1800's, my little mountain retreat town has had an interesting and colorful history. This particular story has always fascinated me.

Your kind ain't welcome here

As a freshman state representative, this week in 1959, Shelby Rhinehart (D-Spencer) knew a subversive when he saw one. At the Highlander Folk School, outside Monteagle, he saw plenty.
Civil-rights activists have been gathering for years to conduct workshops on nonviolent resistance at the school. On its board were such dangerous radicals as Eleanor Roosevelt and theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Then there was Rosa Parks, who was an unknown seamstress at a Montgomery department store when she first visited Highlander. And that rabble-rousing preacher from Alabama, M.L. King, was a board member and regular visitor too.

At the urging ot Rhinehart and other legislators, a state investigation of "subversive activities" at Highlander held its first public hearings on March 11, 1959. "The people in my area," Rhinehart declared, "are happy over the investigation and hope it will serve to rid the area" — all-white Grundy County — "of the school."

With the accusations of subversive activity at Highlander making national news, an FBI agent reported back to Washington that there were no official suspicions about the school.
"We have conducted an investigation of it in the past in view of allegations received that it was the headquarters for communist activities in East Tennessee," the agent wrote. "Our investigation failed to substantiate the allegations." (Redacted versions of the FBI's files on Highlander, released via the Freedom of Information act, are at this link.If you have an afternoon or evening free, these files are incredibly interesting.)

More prevalent, though, were attitudes like those of Vanderbilt English Professor Donald Davidson. He had been a member of the Fugitive poets and Agrarian essayists years earlier, alongside Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate and other luminaries of Southern literature. In the run-up to the hearings, Davidson authored a press release for a group called Tennessee Citizens for Constitutional Government, "heartily" commending the legislature's action.

The press release suggested that meetings at Highlander in the summer of 1957, "attended by a number of well-known Communists, fellow-travelers, leftists and well-known agitators," might have led to the violent outbursts that accompanied desegregation of public schools months later in Little Rock, Nashville and other Southern locales."When the facts have been duly determined," Davidson concluded, the authorities could decide whether Highlander's leaders ought to be "subject to prosecution for creating a public nuisance and constituting a threat to the peace and tranquility of Tennessee."

The legislative hearings, which Niebuhr denounced publicly as "shocking political blackmail," did not in themselves accomplish the purpose of making Highlander go away. Several months later, though, the state would find a way to get that task done.
A police raid discovered beer on the premises, as well as a bottle of gin in school director Myles Horton's home and what was described in news accounts as a "keg containing whiskey." Calling Highlander an "integrated whorehouse" and accusing it of unlawful liquor sales, prosecutor Ab Sloan ordered it shut down.

The investigators discovered the supposed whiskey barrel in the basement of Horton's house, as he recalled in a 1978 interview with Nashville author John Egerton. A policeman thought he smelled whiskey when he sniffed the barrel, so he poured a little water into it and then took a taste. He later testified that its flavor was booze-like and horrific.
After Horton got a look at the barrel, and then ran into the cop the next day, he couldn't resist having a chat. "You know what you drank?" he asked. "You drank mouse turd soup." The officer turned pale.

In April 1960, as Nashville attorney Cecil Branstetter waged a court battle against state efforts to revoke the school's tax-exempt status, songwriter Pete Seeger and other Highlanders would adapt an old hymn, "We Shall Overcome," for use in their protests. It would quickly catch on as the anthem of the civil rights movement.

The state would win its case and auction off the school's property in 1961. Horton relocated to east Tennessee, where the school faced further harassment for violating race codes. Arsonists burned it down in 1963. Horton rebuilt it. In 1990, at the age of 84, he died at Highlander. The school has lived on, celebrating its 75th birthday last year.