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I wish I could shake their hands and thank them

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Volunteers and loved ones placed flags and bouquets of flowers next to the gravestones of United States military veterans during a flag planting ceremony at Desert Lawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park on Sunday.
Photos By BOB OTTO

CALIMESA, CA – I’ve never met Kenneth S. Adams, Wendell D. Crandall, Jr., Edwin George Cowan, or James F. Kunze, Jr.

But I wish I could. I’d like to shake their hands and thank them.

All four men served in the United States Armed Forces. Adams in the Army, Crandall the Navy, Cowan in the Army Air Forces, and Kunze as a United States Marine.

On Sunday, about 75 volunteers gathered at Desert Lawn Funeral Home and Memorial Park. They came, young and old, from Yucaipa American Legion Post 426, VFW Post 7347, and a local Boy Scout troop, to plant flags at the grave sites of the veterans buried at Desert Lawn. Every veteran receives a flag.

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Best of luck Joe

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

YUCAIPA, CA – First, the newspaper headline caught my eye: “Inland poverty on the rise.” Then the plight of the 20-year-old in the story brought tears to my eyes.

Let’s call him, “Joe.”

Able bodied and willing to work, Joe is one of 35.1 million Americans nationwide receiving food stamps. Not that he wants to. But Joe has been homeless for two weeks, sleeping behind a store at night in Moreno Valley. To avoid going hungry, Joe applied for food stamps.

Joe, as with many others in the building trades in Southern California, lost his $15 an hour construction job in March 2008. Since then, he’s been able to subsist by finding enough part time work to avoid government assistance.

But even those types of jobs have dried up.

Joe was quoted as saying:

“It’s kind of embarrassing to ask the government for help when I know I’m very capable of working.”

What piqued my interest about Joe is that he said he wants to join the Marine Corps. Even though he knows he could very well be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan, he said that beats going homeless and jobless.

To Joe, I say, “consider signing up.”

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Let’s honor Shifty, a true American Hero

Friday, September 25th, 2009

“I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell “Shifty” Powers.”
By Chuck Yeager, MajGen. (Ret.)

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in World War II and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket.

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They bleed red, so we wear red

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009


Submitted by

OMAHA, NEB – Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together.

After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who’d been invited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.

No, he responded. Heading out I asked?

No. I’m escorting a soldier home.

Going to pick him up?

No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq , I’m taking him home to his family.

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