Friday, July 08, 2005

We are the Boys of Old Florida...

One of the soldiers killed in the ambush of the rescue mission of the missing SEAL team in Afghanistan was a graduate of the University of Florida, my alma mater twice over. Here is an excerpt from a good piece on this brave young man in a recent edition of the Gainesville Sun:

A Navy SEAL killed in an Afghanistan helicopter crash June 28 fostered his hopes of joining the elite special forces branch while studying statistics at the University of Florida.

After his first year of college, James Erik Suh came home for summer break transformed from a skinny teenager to a muscular man, said Linda Cleveland, a Boca Raton woman whose son was best friends with Suh growing up in Deerfield Beach.
SNIPSuh graduated from UF with a bachelor's degree in 2000, then enlisted in the Navy in 2001. His SEAL training began about five months later.

The 28-year-old was ranked petty officer 2nd class when he deployed to Afghanistan this year.

He was not allowed to tell anyone where he was, but Cleveland "had that feeling in the pit of my stomach" when she heard that a Chinook helicopter carrying a special forces unit was shot down last week in eastern Afghanistan. Suh's sister, Claudia Suh Bown, of San Francisco, later called and confirmed that James Suh was among the 16 soldiers killed. A rocket-propelled grenade hit their helicopter during a rescue mission above the mountains of Kunar Province.

Shortly before the attack, Suh's father, Solomon Suh, found a Father's Day gift hidden in his bedroom with a letter from his son that said, "When we were growing up we were poor. But we never felt poor because you took us to the beach every day, taught us how to play tennis and took us to the library."

Rest in Peace, Soldier. May Heaven be covered in Orange and Blue for your arrival.

The Fight Goes On

So far, over 1700 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq, and over 100 in Afghanistan. We should never have gone into Iraq; it was, I think, the wrong war and the wrong time. As I posted elsewhere, we should have finished the job in Afghanistan first. That being said, we have an obligation to see the job in Iraq through, and to hold those who got us involved responsible (but how?????). From the Dropkick Murphys:
"Last Letter Home"

Hello there my dearest love
Today I write to you about our sons
The boys start school today
They're the spitting image of you in every way

Hey son it's Dad
I hope this letter finds you well out of harm's way
We saw the news today it frightened your Mom
Now all she does is pray

If I lead will you follow?
Will you follow if I lead?

Hey Melissa it's me don't be afraid
I'm in good hands I'm gonna be home soon
It's time to watch the children grow up
I wanna be more than a voice on the phone

Thanks Ma I got your package today
I love "The Fields Of Athenry"
I swear I want 'em to play that song on the pipes
At my funeral when I die


I stand alone in the distance
And the foreground slowly moves


"We regret to inform you that on January 28th Sgt. Andrew
Farrar died while serving his country in the Al-Anbar province
of Iraq words cannot convey our sorrow"


When there's nothing on the horizon
You've got nothing left to prove

If I lead will you follow?

The story behind this song is interesting. Sgt. Andrew Farrar is a real hero, killed in Iraq, and a big fan of DKM. The song, 'Fields of Athenry,' was played by the DKM at his request, and these lyrics are taken in part from one of his last letters home.

On Pointless Death

I don't know why I am posting this. This song just makes me cry. It's from the new CD from one of my favorite groups, the Dropkick Murphys. As a history teacher, I am using this next year! I know everyone reading this can tell me what it refers to!
"The Green Fields Of France"

oh how do you do, young willy mcbride
do you mind if i sit here down by your graveside
and rest for a while in the warm summer sun
i've been walking all day, and im nearly done
and i see by your gravestone you were only nineteen
when you joined the great fallen in 1916
well i hope you died quick
and i hope you died clean
oh willy mcbride, was is it slow and obscene

did they beat the drums slowly
did the play the fife lowly
did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
did the band play the last post and chorus
did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

and did you leave a wife or a sweetheart behind
in some loyal heart is your memory enshrined
and though you died back in 1916
to that loyal heart you're forever nineteen
or are you a stranger without even a name
forever enshrined behind some old glass pane
in an old photograph torn, tattered, and stained
and faded to yellow in a brown leather frame

did they beat the drums slowly
did the play the fife lowly
did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
did the band play the last post and chorus
did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

the sun shining down on these green fields of france
the warm wind blows gently and the red poppies dance
the trenches have vanished long under the plow
no gas, no barbed wire, no guns firing down
but here in this graveyard that's still no mans land
the countless white crosses in mute witness stand
till' man's blind indifference to his fellow man
and a whole generation were butchered and damned

did they beat the drums slowly
did the play the fife lowly
did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
did the band play the last post and chorus
did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

and i can't help but wonder oh willy mcbride
do all those who lie here know why they died
did you really believe them when they told you the cause
did you really believe that this war would end wars
well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
the killing and dying it was all done in vain
oh willy mcbride it all happened again
and again, and again, and again, and again

did they beat the drums slowly
did the play the fife lowly
did they sound the death march as they lowered you down
did the band play the last post and chorus
did the pipes play the flowers of the forest

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Church Sign of the Day

A new feature here at BostonDreams is the Church Sign of the Day. Some will be dumb, some will not. Some will be...ah, hell, let's face it, they all will be dumb. So what? It's fun! Here is today's entry:

Run, Kathy, Run!

From the Orlando Sentinel, we learn that the potential Senate nominee of the Florida Republican Party, the charming Katherine Harris, is quite interested in alternative science:
Four years ago, as the state labored to eradicate citrus canker by destroying trees, officials rejected other disease-fighting techniques, saying unproven methods would waste precious time and resources.

But for more than six months, the state, at the behest of then-Secretary of State Katherine Harris, did pursue one alternative method -- a very alternative method.

Researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test "Celestial Drops," promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its "improved fractal design," "infinite levels of order" and "high energy and low entropy."

But the cure proved useless against canker. That's because it was water -- possibly, mystically blessed water.

(This is the part that really gets me!)
Harris seemed surprised Friday that the product she once hoped might cure canker may be nothing more than blessed water. In fact, after being contacted by the Orlando Sentinel, she called Hardoon. She said he blamed Celestial Drops' poor test performance on state scientists.

"He said they didn't follow the proper protocols," Harris said.
Oh, I hope she wins the nomination. I think that the Dems might then have a chance. The woman has all of the wattage of dead firefly.

Thanks to Balloon Juice for the link.

Where have you gone, Calvin Schiraldi?

Our new closer struggled in relief at Pawtucket this evening. From the Globe:
Curt Schilling's first relief appearance looked a lot like his last start: not very good. The injured Red Sox ace pitched a sloppy ninth inning in Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday night as he began his conversion from starter to reliever. The 38-year-old right-hander allowed two runs -- one of them earned -- on two hits, striking out two.
Jesus. What the hell are we going to do with the damn pen. I don't blame Theo or Francona. The pen just has not done its job, especially the two firebugs, Foulke and Embree. Now, I am incredibly grateful to those guys for the title last year, but c'mon! Dammit, I am going crazy following this team.
What's that you say? We are in first by 3 games? So? 18 in '78. Sigh. Paranoid freak, I know.


Another damn hurricane. I almost miss the nor'easters I grew up with. Never thought I'd long for a blizzard.

The Flypaper Strategy at Work

From CNN:

Osama bin Laden and his deputy in al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, have threatened Britain along with other countries in their recent messages, he noted.

"It proves that they still exist and at a large scale despite the war against terrorism," he said of the London bombings.

Look, whatever you think about the war in Iraq, you cannot convince me that going after the thug Hussein, no immediate threat to the United States, was more vital to national security than hunting and destroying Osama and the Afghani/al-Qaeda terror network. Our resources should have been deployed to Afghanistan in full force, not diverted to freaking Iraq before the job was done. Recent events, including the horror in London and the tragedy of the US Seal teams, indicate that far from being the central front in the war on terror, Iraq began as a diversion that we are now committed to, at the expense of our security and the stability of Afghanistan. Rather than being 'flypaper,' one could argue that instead Iraq is inspiring new terror in Europe, such as that in London and Madrid, and our troops are still fighting hard in Afghanistan. How long until Afghanistan becomes forgotten and neglected?

Bloody Thursday

Our hearts and our prayers go out to those killed and wounded by the terrorist attack in London. As of now, 37 killed and over 700 wounded.

Back from Dixie

So I am back from South Carolina. A pleasant and relaxing trip, all said. The first drive of more than 3 hours where my wife and I weren't screaming at each other. basically, she did the city driving, I did the highway driving. Fixed everything. :) Anyway, I thought I would post some of the more interesting pictures, just because I can, and hey, it is free!

Monument to the Confederate Dead

CSS Hunley
Dedicating the Site of Treason

Not surprisingly, there were a number of memorials to the Confederacy. And I saw a lovely book in the window of Waldenbooks: 'The Myths of American Slavery,' by the same author of 'The South was Right.'
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