September 07, 2005

Another Roadblock

"Kindness is difficult to give away because it keeps coming back" -- Anonymous

This story reminds me of one told last year that had inspired me to start my blog with this entry called Toys that Save Lives, where a little girl sat in the roadway with her stuffed bear refusing to move out of the way for the convoy that was approaching.

365 and a Wakeup posted on Sept 3, 2005:
Thunder6 tells about another roadblock made of rocks that looked suspiciously like a trap for an IED.

As the dismounts moved into position a middle aged gentleman working on the corner started to smile and then slowly walked towards our cordon. As he approached he started chatting with our interpreter, and for a few moments we impatiently waited to here what was transpiring. When he had finished the terp turned to us and said “this man’s family put up the roadblock to protect you from the insurgents, they planted a large bomb on the road ahead”.

We had earned the trust of these Iraqi citizens by helping to protect them from the terrorists. And they had repaid us by protecting our troops in return.

September 03, 2005

In memory of Adele

354 and a Wakeup posted on Sept 1, 2005:
The Army assigns interpreters to each company performing missions outside the wire. Adele was a female Iraqi interpreter that was recently killed by an IED.

Adele was one of the terps with our sister company, and was widely known within the battalion for her competence, optimism, and work ethic. Most of our interpreters are comfortable with our cultural idiosyncrasies, but Adele wasn’t just comfortable with them… she adopted them. Here in the land of the two rivers, where many women are relegated to secondary roles on the periphery of society, Adele was an anomaly. She dressed in a mix of American clothes and DCU uniforms, chewed Copenhagen like an old ranch hand, and could curse in a dozen languages. And day after day she was willing to risk her very life and leave the wire on patrol with US soldiers.

Adele realized it isn’t enough to just live if you cannot live free of fear… and she did something about it. At least now she is in a place far from all fear.

Read the entire post . . .

August 28, 2005

When Hurricane Katrina struck FL

Three days ago Tropical Storm Katrina approached the south Florida coastline, intensifying to a category 1 hurricane as it made landfall at the Miami-Dade/Broward County line (an area between Miami & Fort Lauderdale). Hurricane forecasters predicted it would come in north of Fort Lauderdale and travel northwest across the state.

We were told it would be a major rain-event. Rain?? Barely a Cat 1 storm? Should we put up the hurricane shutters? Nah!! No time for that. Most people in south Florida made the same decision.

They said the winds would be worst in the middle of the night, to early morning hours. Most employers kept their employees at work all day. But the storm came ashore much earlier than expected (dinnertime on Thursday night), we lost power immediately at 5:30pm. Reporters were amazed at how many people were still out driving on the expressways. Well, what the hell!! No one expected the winds to pickup so soon. Someone has dropped the ball here.

This was our first time riding out a storm with no hurricane shutters. With shutters on all the windows you have no idea what is happening outside other than hearing the wind and rain. Your imagination tries to fill-in the missing images. I don't know what's worse . . . imagining the power of the winds, or actually seeing the power of the wind gusts on the trees . . . it was quite scary. These were probably just 50-60 mph gusts. Having no radar images on TV to monitor the progress of the storm, we relied on listening to the radio. The storm was coming right at us . . . yikes!! But where is all the rain they talked about? The storm started to take a southwesterly track down into the Miami-Dade county area. Well, well, won't they all be surprised? No one in Miami is prepared for this. It ended up dumping up to 20 inches of rain in some areas and flooded many city streets in Miami.

Usually the worst quadrant of a hurricane is the northeast quadrant of the storm. Oddly enough, the heaviest areas of rain came to its southeast quadrant. This spared our area from any significant rain.

But power was lost to 1.3 million homes. After a day without power, and no A/C, its was hot and humid . . . people started griping about when electricity would be restored. This was no big deal for us. We are campers and setup the propane stove on our screened-in front porch and cooked our meals.

We lost a couple of large limbs from the 30 ft tall Crepe Myrtle tree in our front yard. They fell onto the driveway just barely missing my husband's truck. Friday was very cloudy and breezy and we spent the morning, clearing the yard debris that was everywhere. My neighbor from across the street pulled up with his pickup truck, and started to chop up the tree limbs for me with his machete. He called it his "cuban chain saw". Dang, that thing was sharp! He loaded up debris from some other neighbors and took it all away to the dump for us. That was really cool! We have some of the nicest neighbors on our street.

My friend "Mimi" put her fingers to her head that day and said she was predicting to have power back on that night by 10pm. All the neighbors gathered in the carport at Mimi's that night talking it up and joking around. We joked about her prediction and griped some about where the hell the FPL crews were. At 9pm, the flashing lights of the FPL (FL Power & Light) drove down our street. We all jumped up and cheered and applauded their arrival. They waved as they went down the street assessing where the source of the problem was. At 10:20pm our lights cames back on . . . YEAH!!!! Everyone jumped up and run back to their homes to put their A/C's back on. Mimi said we looked like a bunch of cockroaches that scurried out of sight when the lights came on.

What a minor inconvenience this hurricane was for us. I watch sadly at what destruction it will now bring to the Louisiana area.

Hurricane Katrina approaches New Orleans

I am sick to my stomach as I watch this monster storm approach New Orleans. There is no such thing as a hurricane shelter in that town. There is NO SAFE PLACE to go. Yet there are thousands of people lined up outside the Superdome to seek shelter in what that city calls its shelter of "last resort". I feel like I am watching people march to their death. The city is predicted to be submerged under 25-35 feet of water with no place for the water to go. I am praying for a miracle to spare the thousands of people that will be affected by this tragic force of nature.

Maybe....just maybe, Katrina will do something unpredictable, like she did a few days ago.....

August 24, 2005

Forged ID's

Six More Months, posted on Aug. 23, 2005:
Mustang09 tells this pretty funny story about how the Iraqis try to present him with identification cards that are obvious forgeries.

This country loves forgeries. They aren’t very good at it, but they love insisting that their forgeries are in fact authentic. Whether it be watches, DVD’s, or identification, they love to make knock offs.

I have turned someone away because the picture on their ID was unrecognizable, for instance they are 30 years old and the picture is of an 8 year old. The next day they are back, with the same ID, and a current picture of themselves laminated right on top of the old one. When I explain that this is not adequate, they indignantly point to the picture and say “But this is me! I change it!”

Read the entire post . . .

August 21, 2005

Rockin War Music Videos

Stars & Stripes on July 18, 2005:
This patriotic American from West Palm Beach, FL produces and edits the videos in his spare time on his home computer. “It’s supporting the troops,” he said. “This whole site is out of respect for them.”

There are some really cool music videos here. I especially like the military tribute Our Heroes set to the Nickleback song "Hero".

Videos made by Ryan Hickman, aka “Grouchy,” creator of www.GrouchyMedia.com, display an explosive flexing of U.S. military muscle set to thrashing tunes, foreboding lyrics and lethal warnings.

This stuff is not that easy to throw together. It takes a lot of time and is definately a labor of love done by someone who isn't even out to make a buck off of them. The videos are provided in a variety of formats and are there to download for free. Very nice way for someone Grouchy to show their support for the troops.

August 20, 2005

The Right Stuff

Major K posted on Aug 18, 2005:
Major K shares this story that you won't read about in the mainstream press. Here's a sergeant that gets shot in the throat and yet his only concern was for the safety of his soldiers.

A second shot was fired that hit SGT C. in the throat. He was not grazed on the side, he was shot through the center of his neck. SGT C. already knew at the time that his unit was under attack by a sniper. As his men came to get him out of the line of fire he warned them to stay back. He knew that one of them could be next, and he was unwilling to put his men at risk. Well, they just wouldn't have it, and came forward anyway, pulling him back to a covered position where they administered first-aid and prepared to evacuate him. Luckily, no one else was hit that day. SGT C. was evacuated to the Military Hospital in the Green zone where he was pronounced the luckiest man in Iraq. The sniper's bullet had passed through his neck and throat with an absolute minimum of damage. It missed his carotid artery, jugular vein, spine, and spinal cord by millimeters. He was offered the opportunity to fly to Germany and probably then on to the US to recuperate by the medical staff. He turned it down. He wanted to get back to his men....

Read the entire post . . .

August 14, 2005

Iraqi open message to Cindy Sheehan

Iraq the Model posted on Aug 12, 2005:
Mohammed leaves a very sincere message to the grieving mother of the fallen soldier who has received so much media attention this past week. She has been camping out near President Bush's ranch in Texas demanding to meet with the president to ask him why her son had to die in Iraq for what she considers a useless cause.

Your son sacrificed his life for a very noble cause…No, he sacrificed himself for the most precious value in this existence; that is freedom.

His blood didn't go in vain; your son and our brethren are drawing a great example of selflessness. God bless his free soul and God bless the souls of his comrades who are fighting evil. God bless the souls of Iraqis who suffered and died for the sake of freedom. God bless all the freedom lovers on earth.

Read the entire post . . .

Wow, over 500 comments already to Mohammed's post. Its always nice to hear some appreciation from the Iraqis for the sacrifices being made by our country in defense of freedom in their country.