Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Which Song is the United States National Anthem?

Q: Which Song is the United States National Anthem?

Do you know? My husband and my sister emphatically tried to convince me not long ago that "God Bless America" was the national anthem of the United States. I was convinced that it was the "Star Spangled Banner."

A: Well, today I had time to look it up and, yes, it is the "Star Spangled Banner. " Now I don't feel so bad for not knowing all of the words to "God Bless America".

I wonder how many Americans do not know the song for our National Anthem? Ask your friends and see.

Here are links that tell more about how the "Star Spangled Banner" became our national anthem:

Words to national anthem:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

Today we should all pause from the busyness of everyday life to take a moment to just be thankful for all that we have and for the brave men and women who defend --have defended-- our great nation and who through their efforts and sacrifice preserve our American way of life.

Today is Veteran's Day. One special day, each year, where we set aside time to thank the many brave men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in our armed forces. These soldiers put their lives on the line to defend the American ideals of FREEDOM and our very way of life. God bless them, each and every one, for their service to their country. We are forever in their debt!


Let us think of these brave men and women and say a special prayer of thanks, not just today, but each time we see an American flag dancing freely, boldly in the passing breeze, each time we cast our voter ballot in an election, each time we see our children run and play safely --freely-- in the streets of our hometowns, and each time we are free to enter a religious house of worship of our own choosing. Let us be proud to be Americans! Let us celebrate not just our freedom to disagree (politically), but also that which we have in common: our love of our great nation and its underlying principles "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

We do live in a great nation! It was great those many, many years ago when these words of the "Declaration of Independence" were written. It was a great nation on 9/11/2001. It was a great nation on 11/03/2008. It is still a great nation today on 11/11/2008. God Bless the USA and the brave men and women who have defended her and who continue to defend her today. God Bless the families of these brave soldiers as well -- their personal sacrifices do not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. May God keep this nation strong.  May God bless her leaders with wisdom to do what is right and just, even if it seems unpopular at the time.

God bless my husband who has served in the U.S. Army, my father who served in the U.S. Air Force for over 20 years, the husband of my children's dance teacher who serves in the U.S. Army --currently deployed in Iraq-- and all veterans of all ages, in all branches of service. Amen.

For more interesting info on the history of Veteran's Day visit:
P.S. I'll never forget the time that I had the unique privilege of sitting next to a gentleman who had been a pilot in WWI. Yes, the first World War, not the second. He was a very elderly gentleman. He spoke softly and he was very hard of hearing. Thus, the conversation was a bit one-sided, but this pilot's story and the pride he had for his his service, and for his country, was so inspirational that I didn't mind just listening to him speak as he relayed his incredible tale of service to me.

I was in my first year of college, at the time, and far from home as my family was an entire ocean away, in the United Kingdom (England). I was attending a small college, in the midwest, and happened to be travelling by Greyhound bus, to visit my grandmother and her family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous traveling alone by bus for the first time. My pick-up stop was a sign post that read "Greyhound Bus" along a seemingly deserted stretch of roadside in the middle of a series of corn fields. When I boarded the bus, there weren't many empty seats left on the bus.  I glanced at the available seating options and decided to settle into the seat next to an elderly, well dressed gentleman. As the bus resumed its journey, this gentleman smiled warmly at me and asked me where I was headed.  Then he showed me his WWI-era military ID badge and a special pilot's award pin that he had been awarded.  He informed me that he used to wear this pin --no doubt proudly-- on his pilot's jacket. The photo ID badge was very faded, but a photographic image of a much younger version of the man then sitting next to me was still clearly visible. The jacket pin (brass wings) itself was also very worn in a few places, as if it had been handled fondly in the years since its awarding. The man then began to recount numerous tales of his adventures as a pilot during WWI.  He told me all about his unit and how they had flown reconnaissance missions to gain military info in Europe. He told me stories about having to bail out of planes that had been shot at and were too badly injured to make the return flight. Stories of numerous close calls and times he didn't think he'd ever make it back home again, but he always wound up smiling with a far-off look in his sparkling eyes and a slow, gentle shake of his head, as he repeated "But somehow, by the grace of the Big Guy (pointing up to the sky), I always made it back home."

There were some parts of the stories that I could not hear clearly, but I did not have the heart to interrupt his tale. Sometimes over the years when I have thought back on this chance meeting with this WWI pilot, I wish that I would have interrupted the kind, elderly gentleman relaying his fascinating tale so that I could have a clearer recollection of all of the detailed facts behind his story. But sitting here, as I write now, it occurs to me that God probably put me there on that day, in that very seat, next this gentleman to just listen ... To just listen and to be a witness to that wonderful man sitting next to me and to just let him be heard.

Perhaps this story is reminder to all of us of the importance of listening to others in our own lives?  With the latter in mind, why not take some time to sit down today with a veteran, in your own life, and just listen to their story of what being a veteran has meant to them. Listening can be such a wonderful way --such a wonderful gift- of showing your thanks for the service and sacrifice of these brave men and women.  God Bless our veterans, one and all, today, tomorrow and always!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Die is Cast ...

Well the die is cast. The American people want CHANGE and that's what we are going to get. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!

It is hard for an incumbent party to get reelected in year when the economy tanks, let alone when it tanks in the final weeks of the campaign. The race was not a landslide; Obama won the popular vote by only a few percentage points. So McCain-Palin ran a good campaign.

The election is over and the issue at the forefront is: ECONOMY, ECONOMY, ECONOMY.

Even though I did not agree with the bailout plan on principle, I did appreciate that our elected leaders in Congress debated viable solutions, voted, and came up with a plan to help stave off a total melt down of our economy. I respect the members of Congress who were present during that time of crisis and who voted -- what we elected them to do. I understand why Obama chose not to be present: it was the best position he could be in for his campaign -- not taking a side. But now that Obama will be our next President of the United States: the economy is his baby. I'll be interested to see what Obama does with it.

I respect every one's right to disagree and I have friends who are democrats. I just wish that all people in America would take the time (and effort!) TO BE INFORMED about what goes in our country and around the world. Being informed is part of our civic duty and it is a privilege -- just like the right to vote. Just because the election is over doesn't mean your civic duty is over: BE INFORMED ... STAY INFORMED!

I still have serious concerns about Obama as our President, but I am hopeful that he will surprise me. That he will not only live up to his promise of CHANGE, but that he will -- as he has said in many, many speeches -- bridge the ideological gaps between the parties and unite the country as a whole.

Thank you Senator McCain, Governor Palin, your families and campaign staff for a tireless, well-run, spirit-filled campaign. Enjoy some well deserved downtime. God Bless!

During this time of transition, I will pray that God continues to bless our country with economic prosperity and homeland security. That God will guide our elected leaders to make strong and wise decisions that will benefit our nation as a whole. God bless all men and women who have served our country at home and in the Middle East. God bless the families of these brave men and women as well. God bless all people living in the Middle East. May peace and stability reign in the Middle East now and for years to come. Amen.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Final Hours: Election Countdown

Well we're in the final stretch. I've made phone calls on behalf of my candidate in the states of Pennsylvania and Virginia. I've contacted my family, friends, and acquaintances and told them why I support McCain-Palin. I've made an honest effort to vote by absentee ballot in my home state -- as we are currently residing in another state on temporary work assignment. I've encouraged everyone to vote on the issues.

At the end of the day, hopefully we will have a fair and honest election and a President and Vice President that can lead this country out of the economic slump that we are in and into a bright future of economic prosperity, energy independence, and homeland security.

God Bless!


Monday, November 03, 2008

The "Obama Effect"

Forget the "Bradley effect". After the 2008 Presidential Election, we may well have a new political term to describe voter behavior: the "Obama effect."

"If the undecideds put McCain over the top, said Aaron Mishkin in the Weekly Standard, it won't necessarily be because they're racists. It's the fear of being "thought" a racist that makes them reluctant to admit they don't like Obama for perfectly valid reasons of policy and experience. The media keeps telling them that Obama is the future, and that anyone who doesn't support him is either a bigot or a moron. So when these "undecideds" choose to disagree, political scientists may have a new phrase in their lexicon: "the Obama effect." "

[source: "The Week Magazine", November 1, 2008]

I, for one, am tired of the liberal left and the biased media telling me that if I'm not for Obama then I must be "either a bigot or a moron." I don't support Obama for many, many valid political reasons: a lack of practical experience being at the very top of the list.

Obama's plan to immediately "withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq [if elected]" is a slap in the face to all those who have bravely served in Iraq and the Middle East. It also defies logic and reason, given the fact the U.S. "Military Surge" in Iraq has worked and brought unprecedented peace and stability to the region. As I said before,

"how can you "strike at the heart of terrorism" [Obama said in a campaign speech at the end of last week] if you order an immediate, across the board, withdraw of US military troops from Iraq, and systematically destabilize the region? Make no mistake, destabilization is statistically highly likely given Obama's withdraw scenario. Destabilization of the region will result in an increase of available resources (i.e., guns and other weapons) and unhindered movement for terrorists. Terrorist groups will once again have an increased influence in the region and may once again have the means necessary to strike on U.S. soil.

The U.S. military "surge" in Iraq has resulted in a semblance of order and our taking out the number 2 leader behind Bin Laden. The surge has worked, and we are closer than ever to "striking at the heart of terrorism". If we suddenly change course, 180 degrees, with an immediate troop withdraw, we would loose the ground that we have gained with lives of our own American men and women thus far.

Obama's statement this morning is a prime example of Obama's inexperience and pandering to a segment of the American electorate who truly don't understand military strategy or what is at stake in Iraq and the greater Middle East. We, as Americans, ALL WANT PEACE and order in the world, but that peace and order sometimes comes at a price and is kept in place by military intervention. History has shown this time and time again: especially when you are dealing with extremists who have no intention of "sitting down and negotiating";their unswerving end goal is the total annihilation of the "evil western world" and its people (that's you and I!).

I fear that Obama's inexperience in Foreign Policy would put American back in the position of having its head in the sand again: right back where we were on 9/11/2001 and the months leading up to this horrific terrorist attack on American soil. That is NOT "CHANGE WE NEED!" ".

John Mcain is for "winning the war in Iraq" and bringing our troops "home with victory." He won't sit down and negotiate with dictators on their terms, and he has voted to support the U.S. military troop surge that has proven effective and puts closer to ensuring our nation's safety against future terrorist attacks.

Obama's plans for the economy aren't sound in the long run either. Energy independence is a key factor to restoring our economy. Obama is opposed to many safe and immediate solutions to this energy crisis (e.g., off-shore oil drilling off coast of U.S. and nuclear power). Further, he wants to tax and penalize [per his own comments in campaign speeches these last days] into oblivion the coal industry, even in light of huge strides made in "clean coal technology". This direct attack on the coal industry will cost us American jobs, jeopardize our much needed energy independence, and make electricity cost more for you and me. None of the latter will help an already staggering American economy!

John Mcain supports clean coal technology, nuclear power, off-shore oil drilling now, natural gas, and pursuing alternative energy sources (solar power on large scale, wind, hybrid and bio fuels). He is for all technologies which have been proven safe -- with new technology developments -- that will get American on its immediate way to energy independence.

Obama did nothing to help avert the financial crisis. He remained on the campaign trail and did not return to the U.S. Senate to review the bailout plan, give his input, and vote. Obama did not even vote "present" during this crucial time. What does that tell us about his leadership abilities?

John McCain suspended his campaign and returned to Washington and the U.S. Senate when the country was on the verge of financial collapse. He heard the debates, reviewed proposals, gave input and sought to bridge party differences. He voted at this critical time and put "Country First." John McCain has also vowed to review Wall Street regulations and to enact legislation that will ensure that Wall Street never again has the power again to do what the AIGs, Fannie Mae's and Freddie Mac's did to the American economy.

Obama's plan to lower taxes on the middle class is riddled with holes, in my opinion. A large portion of those eligible for the "tax cut" did not even pay taxes in 2008, but they would still receive a check? To me, that is equivalent to buying votes with taxpayer dollars. Meanwhile, Obama plans to increase taxes on small business, which have historically been responsible for creating long term jobs in the economy. Obama's plans to increase "infrastructure jobs" (e.g., government jobs) will only create short term jobs, increase bureaucracy and the national deficit. I also heard that Obama wants to tax 401k (retirement) contributions as a source of revenue, but I have yet to verify that this is fact. If it is: scary!

John McCain's economic plan will lower taxes, relieve burdens on small businesses and create new and permanent jobs to grow our economy. He has vowed to end all earmark spending and put government on a budget "just like you and I live on" [per John McCain's campaign speeches yesterday, 11/3]. This is a necessary step toward reducing the national deficit. Sarah Palin has a superb economic record in her state of Alaska. She turned a huge government deficit (from her predecessor) into a surplus and put money from energy revenues back into the pockets of every citizen of Alaska. Palin's expertise on economic issues will directly translate to the national scale and help to put the American economy back on track.

Finally, Obama is for abortion, including partial birth abortion. Just look at his voting record. Obama even voted against a bill that would have provided immediate medical attention to babies that were alive after an abortion procedure. If you don't think abortion is a crucial issue, just read my blog from earlier today: "Children: Opening Our Hearts and Minds." In today's busy world, we often become immune to violence in all of its forms. Maybe we need to rethink the significance of abortion and its impact on our society for generations to come.

John McCain is pro-life (against abortion) and has a strong voting record to support this stand. He and his wife have adopted children, some with medical needs, from foreign countries.

The clock is ticking. We're down to the final hours. Think long and hard: which candidate is going to do the best job for our country when the cameras are off and the real work begins? Do your homework, sort through the bias and the rhetoric, and vote on the issues.

God Bless the candidates, in these final hours, and our nation as a whole.

Children: Opening Our Hearts and Minds

Abortion is a touchy subject. Most people don't like to talk about it, because it makes them feel uncomfortable -- just like religion and politics. There is an important difference between the former and the latter, however: human lives are stake with abortion. No matter
what your personal feelings are on this heated issue, you may look at things differently after reading this story:

I have a 2nd grader and a 3rd grader. This year they are both attending a public school. My children, like so many children their age, have been exposed to the topic of the 2008 presidential election like no other generation before them. My husband and I read newspaper articles, and watch a lot of news coverage relating to the election. We also, like many parents, have conversations about issues pertaining to this election. Consequently, many children when asked to vote for a presidential candidate will mimic the views of their parents and/or caregivers.

Over the last few weeks, both my 2nd and 3rd grader have come home excited, with stories about how they were able to "vote for president" in their classrooms. After sharing their stories, we discovered that both of our children had voted the way that my husband and I would have voted. Based on the outcomes in each of the classrooms -- Obama won by a few votes in each class -- it seems that many of the children voted the way they had heard their parents speak at home ( I say this, because we are now residing in a state that has historically gone "blue" (democratic) in past presidential elections).

At the beginning of last week, my third grader came home with a story that she had heard on the playground. One of the children had told the other children that Obama was "for killing babies in pregnant mommies tummies." The playground discussion went round, and round. Then, the story spread throughout the lower grades in the school (those that share similar recess times).

At the end of last week, the classrooms held a second mock presidential vote. This time the results were surprising: John McCain won by a landslide in both of my children's classrooms. The reason for the complete 180 in the outcome? The playground story about Obama's position on abortion. Little children just could not fathom the idea that anyone could be for "killing babies in pregnant mommies tummies."

Children keep it real! They view the world through innocent eyes and hearts. I wonder how many of us, would truly be for abortion if we had to explain what abortion is and the reasons that we are "for it" to our children. Perhaps many of the children from my children's school, went home and asked their parents about abortion and whether, or not, their parents were "for abortion." Perhaps these children opened the eyes, hearts, and minds of their parents in a way no other adult rationale could ever have.

God Bless the children (both born and the unborn).