Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just because...

Danger! Danger, Will Robinson! My sensors detect the presence of an intruder!

Capt. Bugs: Ain't I a stinker?

Daffy Spock: Most illogical.

Doctor Sylvester: Dammit, I'm a doctor not a critic!

Chief Engineer Montgomery Pig: b'd, b'd, captain, my poor engines, they're breakin' up!

Nurse Tweety: I tat I taw a bowl of plomeek soup!

Red Shirt Yosemite: Awwwh hate you!

Tasmanian Sulu: rrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, warp two, Captain!

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Even in these rough times we have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my son Wes, my parents and my siblings. I am especially thankful for my friends who are as much my family as my relatives.

Having served in Afghanistan last year I can say without doubt that we are the most blessed people in the world. I invite everyone to take a moment to make a difference for those less fortunate than us.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day

World War I, "the war to end all wars," officially came to its end on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

U.S President Woodrow Wilson first called for an "Armistice Day," a day to honor veterans of World War I on November 11, 1919.

Not until June 4, 1926 was an official act of Congress made that brought federal recognition of the holiday honoring veterans of war.

The holiday known as 'Remembrance Day' or 'Armistice Day' in other countries is concurrently observed on the day Germany signed the armistice, thus officially bringing one of the bloodiest, most costly wars (up to its day) to a close.

In the United States--Veteran's Day--in the intervening years, has become a federal holiday and amended to recognize veterans of all wars, past and present.

We live in a country where we have more freedoms than any nation on earth, and while our country is far from perfect, our servicemembers work tirelessly to ensure that that tenet of our lives never changes. Perhaps it is a cliche, but the adage 'Freedom is never free' is more appropriate today than ever before.

Happy Veteran's Day!


Today, I would like to thank Applebees restaurant for their act of kindness. This year, in recognition of Veteran's Day, the franchise offered all U.S. servicemembers and veterans all over the country a free lunch or dinner. Taking them up on their kind offer, I went to dinner tonight with friends and we found a packed house with veterans of all ages. In fact, I met a World War II veteran and another from the Vietnam War!

The franchise gained a customer in me because of this very kind act! Thank you, Applebees!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This goes out as old news, actually.

But tell me what's wrong with this photo? How can people be so exuberantly gleeful when they are spreading so much hurt and pain?

This photo makes me ill looking at people who so happily celebrate the hurt they have caused.

The reverberations of last's week's hateful vote will spread like concentric waves after throwing a rock in the water of a lake; the ripple effect will assuredly touch countless lives.

How can people band together to spend millions of dollars so to deny all citizens equal rights? And why are people's civil rights being put forth for people to vote upon? To be trampled on? To be denied? To be bartered?

Last month when I attend the historic march for Equality in Washington, D.C. I saw a man carrying a placard that read, "If you don't like gay marriage, don't have one!" So why cannot *these* people take care of their own lives and let others tend to their own? Rhetorical question, I know.

Some people just cannot help themselves in throwing their judgment around without thought or care who they hurt.

If so-called Christians are so worried about the sanctity of marriage, why aren't they working to pass laws to outlaw divorce? Why don't they devote those misspent millions of dollars to provide counseling to protect troubled marriages? So let me ask another question... did the sky fall when gays were permitted to marry in Vermont? in New Hampshire? in Massachusetts? in Connecticut? or in Iowa? or in Europe where gay marriages have been legal for decades? No?

This is Christianity at its worst! And it certainly doesn't display the love of God that I follow and love. Justice denied for some is injustice for all.

So my question is, what are these people so afraid of? This is just wrong in so many ways!

Monday, November 9, 2009


Yesterday was my Dad's 72nd birthday!

My Dad, Douglas Robert Mappin, was a good man who was a great mentor and teacher to his seven sons and one daughter. When I think of him I am mindful of the military tenet that demands its servicemembers lead by example. Dad, a 26-year veteran of the Indiana National Guard, lived and breathed that principle... in his military career, with his job and with his family.

He led. I can think of few men who were so principled, so honest and so perfectly suited to be a leader in the National Guard or as a father.

After his passing--he taken from his family and friends far too young--memories have slowly begun to fog, but I have memories still cherished of the man, the friend and the father that he was. I know, from conversations with my son, that he was too young to have many memories of his grandfather. The point is, sadly, as the years pass images have become less prominent, but thankfully, I have some that will never fade.

I leave it to my brothers and sisters to their memories nor can I speak entirely for them. Their memories are their own, after all. I do know there has not been a day we each have not missed his easy humor, his smile, his laugh and his incredibly strong principles and ethics.

Dad was, like many of our parents, a product of the Great Depression. His work ethic was incomparable. In retrospect, I think we kids sometimes wished that had not been the case. You see, my Dad held three jobs for a good number of years. He was a tool and die maker for a company in North Manchester, Indiana. He proudly served in the Indiana National Guard. And in the last few years of his life, Dad had dreamed of running his own business.

He took that leap of faith to develop and hone his own business skills. Not too long before his death, Dad had quit his full-time job to devote full attention to his own tool and die company on the northside of our hometown Rochester, Indiana.

But this was just one aspect of his life.

Dad had a great ear and always the time for when we needed his advice. I remember his words of advice the day I married; the day I became a father; the day I separated from my wife; and the day I decided to enter college, and I remember how proud he was when I told him I was going to be a teacher.

If there was one thing I remember most about my Dad is the pride he had in each of his kids. And if not pride, the concern he showed even more so when we were troubled. I am sure that at one moment or another, each of the eight of us put him through the test of parenthood. I wonder how many headaches we each caused.

While Dad was a great father, I have only vague memories of what kind of husband he was (young kids are so self-centered after all. I am ashamed to say I did not even know when his and my stepmom's wedding anniversary was until after he had died).

I have only the vaguest of memories of what kind of relationship they celebrated together. I do recall a few times of watching he and my stepmom together. Not long after he had suffered a heart attack, I remember them sitting in the living room one time holding hands. In that regards, Dad and my stepmom led a quiet, private life. But I know how hard they both worked to provide for each of their children.

Now while I said I can only guess what kind of husband he was, I look at my brothers Bryan, Rob, Scott and Matt and look at their marriages. Each of them lead lives that I believe were shaped by Dad's (and Mom's) example.

Funny, when I look at my brother Matt it is like looking at Dad, who we (my siblings) have often commented upon, is nearly the image of our Dad.

Dad was also a loving son. His mother, my grandmother, Valda Mappin was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease when I was a young lad. Dad, being an only child, did the best he could to ensure her life was safe and as healthful as possible. So in addition to being a father of a large clan, working multiple jobs, he still found time to devote what energies he had to his mother.

I suspect he felt he didn't have enough time to do everything he needed to do.

Perhaps my strongest--and favorite memories about Dad were him spending time with us kids. He played with us, taught us and often took us camping at a nearby campground. Fishing at Lake Manitou on his pontoon boat and roadtrips around the state were always fun as well.

One of our favorite jokes involved Dad's long-time penchant for finding the ugliest fir tree tree for Christmas. Dad always cut his own tree and in my mind, I think he sought out the puniest, ugliest tree he could find every year. Thinking he took pity on that one tree, we found a way for it to shine in beauty for that holiday. In fact, one year the spindly, sparse tree had to be tied to the wall so that it would not tip over. We laughed so hard! But Christmas Eve was always special in Dad's home (and still is to this day, to my stepmom's credit).

In any case, I am sitting here remembering Dad. One of my friends over the weekend told me that he thought it sweet that I mentioned it was Dad's birthday--even after all these years, but I cannot help it. He shaped our lives in ways I cannot imagine.

He lived long enough only to see the birth of his first two grandchildren. I remember his pride when he first held my son Wes, his first grandchild.

He did not live to see my brother Rob nor I join the military, however, I do remember how proud he was when both Bryan and Teresa joined the Armed Forces. I remember crying on the plane flying to boot camp when I recalled my stepmom telling me how proud Dad would be if he had lived to see me, his first-born, joining the Navy.

Dad did not live to see any of his kids marry (except for Teresa and I). Like his Dad before him, his life was cut far too short (both died at the age of 47). While Dad was so proud of his children and wife, it only seems fair to say how proud we were of him as well.

Perhaps the best tribute I can give my father is knowing that each of his eight kids, me, Teresa, Bryan, Mike, Rob, Chris, Scott and Matt all finished school and have all gone on to lead fairly happy lives with their own families.

This past year, a hometown reporter wrote a piece about me while I was serving in Afghanistan, but one of my proudest moments came from reading a letter to the editor. That letter, written by a man who joined the National Guard because of my Dad's leadership, said I "sound" just like my Dad. That, to me, was one of the finest compliments I have ever received in my life.

I do wish that Dawn, Tracy (Rob's wife), Tracy (Matt's), Alana and Lori (my sisters-in-law), the grandkids would have had the chance to have met Dad. They would've loved playing with him and including them in their lives.

I think I speak for each of my brothers and sister when I say I miss Dad dearly. Here's to you, Dad. We love you!

Those who are dead are not dead,
They're just living in my head.