Tag Archives: courage

It’s Never Too Late To Stand Up For What You Believe In

Some will say it’s too hard or that they have no time.  Others will claim they have done their time or given enough.  A brave few – a tiny remnant of those among us – will still do what they know needs to be done.

Here is to Samuel Whittemore, aged 80.  Alone, he attacked a British relief column and killed three British soldiers on April 19, 1775 near Arlington, Massachusetts.  In the process he was shot in the face, bayoneted 13 times, and left for dead.  When found, he lay in a pool of his own blood; trying to reload his musket.  Out of what I would imagine is a pure stubborn refusal to allow the Redcoats the pleasure of his death, he recovered and lived to the ripe old age of 98.  He is rightly honored as the Official State Hero of Massachusetts.

samuel whittemore

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White Cane Safety Day

White Cane Safety Day

Today is White Cane Safety Day – it is a national observance in the United States to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.

In February of 1978 a young blind lady said, “I encounter people all of the time who bless me, extol my independence, call me brave and courageous, and thoroughly miss the boat as to what the real significance of the white cane is.”…

The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it Congress, by a joint resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day…

From 1963 (and even before) when the National Federation of the Blind sought to have White Cane Safety Day proclaimed as a recognition of the rights of blind persons, to 1978 when a blind pedestrian met with misunderstanding regarding the true meaning of the white cane, is but a short time in the life of a movement. In 1963, a comparatively small number of blind people had achieved sufficient independence to travel alone on the busy highways of our nation. In 1978 that number has not simply increased but multiplied a hundredfold. The process began in the beginning of the organized blind movement and continues today. There was a time when it was unusual to see a blind person on the street, to find a blind person working in an office, or to see a blind person operating machinery in a factory. This is still all too uncommon. But it happens more often and the symbol of this independence is the white cane. The blind are able to go, to move, to be, and to compete with all others in society. The means by which this is done is that simple tool, the white cane. With the growing use of the white cane is an added element – the wish and the will to be free – the unquenchable spirit and the inextinguishable determination to be independent. With these our lives are changed, and the prospects for blind people become bright. That is what White Cane Safety Day is all about. That is what we do in the National Federation of the Blind. – Marc Maurer, National Federation of the Blind

For someone with a brother who is visually impaired, I can attest to the courage required to meet the challenges of everyday life.  Humans are hardwired with a dread of the dark.  That is where the fear, the uncertainty, and the possibility of all our collective nightmares live.  The blind and visually impaired find themselves trapped in this realm that we are only one dawn or light switch away from banishing.

For them, those fears are a palpable reality.  To live their lives in a productive and fulfilling manner they get up EVERY DAY and step into that darkness.  With every step, they declare their unwillingness to be beaten.  They show us all that courage comes not from being unafraid.  It comes from knowing that fear and striving on in the face of that fear.

God bless you all.  I am proud of you.

WCD 2013

And remember, October is Meet The Blind Month.

If you want information on how you can learn more about sight issues or to donate, please check out some of these sites:

Operation Watchtower – Guadalcanal 1942

Throughout the first half of 1942, Japanese forces had captured islands, established bases, and cut off most of the supply lines to U.S. allies Australia and New Zealand.  Guadalcanal, its airfield, and several nearby smaller islands nearby were key pieces in the Japanese effort to project their power across the South Pacific.  U.S. Admiral Earnest King came up with a plan to not just halt the advance but to seize the initiative from Imperial forces in the pacific.  That plan was called Operation Watchtower.

Eight months to the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 11,000 United States Marines supported by the Navy struck the first offensive blow against the Imperial Japanese.  Approaching in bad weather, the initial landings of the Battle of Guadalcanal went nearly unopposed.  Moving on from the beach, Marines found themselves swallowed by the “green hell” of the inland jungle.  Their early goal of capturing the airfield was accomplished with light casualties.  The six-week planned duration for the operation was seeming overly pessimistic.

However, on the seas and in the air, a fierce battle was raging.  Dozens of aircraft were lost on both sides as naval forces hunted each other in the tropical waters.  Concerned over fuel levels and equipment losses, it was decided that the American aircraft carriers be pulled back.  Without air cover, the invasion’s support ships were soon savaged by Imperial naval forces based out of Rabaul.  U.S. naval forces were forced to abandon the island to seek the protection of the carrier group.  With only 14-days of supplies and almost no heavy equipment, the Marines on Guadalcanal were on their own.

Dysentery, malaria, and the tropical heat would savage the allies as much as Japanese forces would.  Approximately one-in-five soldiers was struck down by one ailment or another.  Despite this, work continued on the airfield.  By August 20th, the first Marine aircraft arrived to support their brothers on the ground.  Perimeters expanded and patrols sought out and skirmished with scattered Japanese resistance.  It was thought that Imperial forces might soon be willing to surrender in the face of the successful invasion.  Ground commanders didn’t know that Guadalcanal’s defenders would soon be receiving ground, sea, and air reinforcements.

The struggle for Guadalcanal would stretch on for six moths.  During the campaign, approximately 31,000 Japanese and 7,100 Allied troops would lose their lives.  With the final victory, Japanese forces had been halted at the furthest point of their advance.  For the remainder of the war, Japanese forces would steadily be driven back and back.

For a great period movie about the battle, check out Guadalcanal Diary starring Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, and Anthony Quinn.

It’s Never Too Late To Stand Up For What You Believe In

Some will say it’s too hard or that they have no time.  Others will claim they have done their time or given enough.  A brave few – a tiny remnant of those among us – will still do what they know needs to be done.

Here is to Samuel Whittemore, aged 80.  Alone, he attacked a British relief column and killed three British soldiers on April 19, 1775 near Arlington, Massachusetts.  In the process he was shot in the face, bayoneted 13 times, and left for dead.  When found, he lay in a pool of his own blood; trying to reload his musket.  Out of what I would imagine is a pure stubborn refusal to allow the Redcoats the pleasure of his death, he recovered and lived to the ripe old age of 98.  He is rightly honored as the Official State Hero of Massachusetts.

samuel whittemore

Operation Watchtower – Guadalcanal 1942

Throughout the first half of 1942, Japanese forces had captured islands, established bases, and cut off most of the supply lines to U.S. allies Australia and New Zealand.  Guadalcanal, its airfield, and several nearby smaller islands nearby were key pieces in the Japanese effort to project their power across the South Pacific.  U.S. Admiral Earnest King came up with a plan to not just halt the advance but to seize the initiative from Imperial forces in the pacific.  That plan was called Operation Watchtower.

Eight months to the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 11,000 United States Marines supported by the Navy struck the first offensive blow against the Imperial Japanese.  Approaching in bad weather, the initial landings of the Battle of Guadalcanal went nearly unopposed.  Moving on from the beach, Marines found themselves swallowed by the “green hell” of the inland jungle.  Their early goal of capturing the airfield was accomplished with light casualties.  The six-week planned duration for the operation was seeming overly pessimistic.

However, on the seas and in the air, a fierce battle was raging.  Dozens of aircraft were lost on both sides as naval forces hunted each other in the tropical waters.  Concerned over fuel levels and equipment losses, it was decided that the American aircraft carriers be pulled back.  Without air cover, the invasion’s support ships were soon savaged by Imperial naval forces based out of Rabaul.  U.S. naval forces were forced to abandon the island to seek the protection of the carrier group.  With only 14-days of supplies and almost no heavy equipment, the Marines on Guadalcanal were on their own.

Dysentery, malaria, and the tropical heat would savage the allies as much as Japanese forces would.  Approximately one-in-five soldiers was struck down by one ailment or another.  Despite this, work continued on the airfield.  By August 20th, the first Marine aircraft arrived to support their brothers on the ground.  Perimeters expanded and patrols sought out and skirmished with scattered Japanese resistance.  It was thought that Imperial forces might soon be willing to surrender in the face of the successful invasion.  Ground commanders didn’t know that Guadalcanal’s defenders would soon be receiving ground, sea, and air reinforcements.

The struggle for Guadalcanal would stretch on for six moths.  During the campaign, approximately 31,000 Japanese and 7,100 Allied troops would lose their lives.  With the final victory, Japanese forces had been halted at the furthest point of their advance.  For the remainder of the war, Japanese forces would steadily be driven back and back.

For a great period movie about the battle, check out Guadalcanal Diary starring Preston Foster, Lloyd Nolan, William Bendix, Richard Conte, and Anthony Quinn.

White Cane Safety Day

White Cane Safety Day

October 15 is White Cane Safety Day – it is a national observance in the United States to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.

In February of 1978 a young blind lady said, “I encounter people all of the time who bless me, extol my independence, call me brave and courageous, and thoroughly miss the boat as to what the real significance of the white cane is.”…

The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it Congress, by a joint resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day…

From 1963 (and even before) when the National Federation of the Blind sought to have White Cane Safety Day proclaimed as a recognition of the rights of blind persons, to 1978 when a blind pedestrian met with misunderstanding regarding the true meaning of the white cane, is but a short time in the life of a movement. In 1963, a comparatively small number of blind people had achieved sufficient independence to travel alone on the busy highways of our nation. In 1978 that number has not simply increased but multiplied a hundredfold. The process began in the beginning of the organized blind movement and continues today. There was a time when it was unusual to see a blind person on the street, to find a blind person working in an office, or to see a blind person operating machinery in a factory. This is still all too uncommon. But it happens more often and the symbol of this independence is the white cane. The blind are able to go, to move, to be, and to compete with all others in society. The means by which this is done is that simple tool, the white cane. With the growing use of the white cane is an added element – the wish and the will to be free – the unquenchable spirit and the inextinguishable determination to be independent. With these our lives are changed, and the prospects for blind people become bright. That is what White Cane Safety Day is all about. That is what we do in the National Federation of the Blind. – Marc Maurer, National Federation of the Blind

For someone with a brother who is visually impaired, I can attest to the courage required to meet the challenges of everyday life.  Humans are hardwired with a dread of the dark.  That is where the fear, the uncertainty, and the possibility of all our collective nightmares live.  The blind and visually impaired find themselves trapped in this realm that we are only one dawn or light switch away from banishing.

For them, those fears are a palpable reality.  To live their lives in a productive and fulfilling manner they get up EVERY DAY and step into that darkness.  With every step, they declare their unwillingness to be beaten.  They show us all that courage comes not from being unafraid.  It comes from knowing that fear and striving on in the face of that fear.

God bless you all.  I am proud of you.

WCD 2013

And remember, October is Meet The Blind Month.

If you want information on how you can learn more about sight issues or to donate, please check out some of these sites:

 

It’s Never Too Late To Stand Up For What You Believe In

Some will say it’s too hard or that they have no time.  Others will claim they have done their time or given enough.  A brave few – a tiny remnant of those among us – will still do what they know needs to be done.

Here is to Samuel Whittemore, aged 80.  Alone, he attacked a British relief column and killed three British soldiers on April 19, 1775 near Arlington, Massachusetts.  In the process he was shot in the face, bayoneted 13 times, and left for dead.  When found, he lay in a pool of his own blood; trying to reload his musket.  Out of what I would imagine is a pure stubborn refusal to allow the Redcoats the pleasure of his death, he recovered and lived to the ripe old age of 98.  He is rightly honored as the Official State Hero of Massachusetts.

samuel whittemore

White Cane Safety Day

Today is White Cane Safety Day – it is a national observance in the United States to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.

In February of 1978 a young blind lady said, “I encounter people all of the time who bless me, extol my independence, call me brave and courageous, and thoroughly miss the boat as to what the real significance of the white cane is.”…

The white cane in our society has become one of the symbols of a blind person’s ability to come and go on his own. Its use has promoted courtesy and special consideration to the blind on our streets and highways. To make our people more fully aware of the meaning of the white cane and of the need for motorists to exercise special care for the blind persons who carry it Congress, by a joint resolution approved as of October 6, 1964, has authorized the President to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day…

From 1963 (and even before) when the National Federation of the Blind sought to have White Cane Safety Day proclaimed as a recognition of the rights of blind persons, to 1978 when a blind pedestrian met with misunderstanding regarding the true meaning of the white cane, is but a short time in the life of a movement. In 1963, a comparatively small number of blind people had achieved sufficient independence to travel alone on the busy highways of our nation. In 1978 that number has not simply increased but multiplied a hundredfold. The process began in the beginning of the organized blind movement and continues today. There was a time when it was unusual to see a blind person on the street, to find a blind person working in an office, or to see a blind person operating machinery in a factory. This is still all too uncommon. But it happens more often and the symbol of this independence is the white cane. The blind are able to go, to move, to be, and to compete with all others in society. The means by which this is done is that simple tool, the white cane. With the growing use of the white cane is an added element – the wish and the will to be free – the unquenchable spirit and the inextinguishable determination to be independent. With these our lives are changed, and the prospects for blind people become bright. That is what White Cane Safety Day is all about. That is what we do in the National Federation of the Blind. – Marc Maurer, National Federation of the Blind

For someone with a brother who is visually impaired, I can attest to the courage required to meet the challenges of everyday life.  Humans are hardwired with a dread of the dark.  That is where the fear, the uncertainty, and the possibility of all our collective nightmares live.  The blind and visually impaired find themselves trapped in this realm that we are only one dawn or light switch away from banishing.

For them, those fears are a palpable reality.  To live their lives in a productive and fulfilling manner they get up EVERY DAY and step into that darkness.  With every step, they declare their unwillingness to be beaten.  They show us all that courage comes not from being unafraid.  It comes from knowing that fear and striving on in the face of that fear.

God bless you all.  I am proud of you.

WCD 2013

And remember, October is Meet The Blind Month.

If you want information on how you can learn more about sight issues or to donate, please check out some of these sites:

“The finest example of a ballplayer, sportsman, and citizen…”

Retired with grace and courage. These are the kinds of heroes we need again.

The Clockwork Conservative

These are the words spoken by New York Yankees manager Joe McCarthy on July 4, 1939.

New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig had announced his retirement from baseball on June 21st.  After almost 17 years in of play, increasing fatigue and lack of coordination had led his wife Eleanor to call the famed Mayo Clinic.  Six days of extensive testing led to the devastating diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  His rapidly increasing paralysis and difficulties with breathing and swallowing meant that the prognosis was dire.  Life expectancy was estimated at about three years.

The Yankees decided to honor the retiring player by declaring July 4, 1939 “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day”.  Between the games of their double-header against the Washington Senators, speeches, ceremonies, and awards extolled the virtues of one of baseball’s legendary players.  After all the presentations, remarks by dignitaries, and a speech by  teammate Babe Ruth, Gehrig addressed the crowd:

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Remember Memorial Day For What It Is

Spend a few minutes and pay tribute. Then go donate some spare change to a worthy veterans charity – Wounded Warrior Foundation, Special Operations Warrior Foundation, AmVets, Disabled Veterans of America, etc…

The Clockwork Conservative

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the U.S. on the last Monday of May. Once known as Decoration Day, the holiday began after the Civil War to commemorate fallen Union soldiers. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died defending their country. This name change became official in 1968 when Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill.

Though it is often observed to recognize the departed in one’s life, this is a holiday that celebrates selfless sacrifice. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. These heroes wrote a blank check to the nation that they served. Those of us who once wrote one of those checks ourselves and did not have it cashed in, know full well the value of our lives and our freedoms. Take…

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