Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Companions on the journey

These gentle souls make my life worth living. 

First, my son Wes! Wes will be 37 in just over a month. How'd that happen so soon?

And my two housemates. They're like two little kids, always loving, always entertaining!

Wes plays a mean volleyball with his employer the law firm Fagere Baker Daniels in the summer.

Oreo, my baby! He is a lover! Oreo joined this house this summer. I love him dearly.

Aiden, my buddy is getting a bit up there. He is 12 years old now. He was the king of the house until Oreo's arrival this summer. It was dicey at first, but now they are buds in crime. Watching these two chase each other around the house is like watching two kids at play!

Happy Holidays as 2013 nears its end

Merry Christmas to all!

What a year this has been and where, oh where has it all gone? Time certainly does fly as one ages. It has been a year with many personal ups and downs.

My family has seen some very trying times these past few years starting with the death of my niece Katie a few years back, my nephew's death about this time last year and health issues facing my Mom and Step Dad as they age. In the spring, my Step Mom's home was under water for about a month when Kokomo and the surrounding area suffered from the worst floods on record.

For myself I have found immense gratification volunteering at my church's food pantry. Overall, I have found this rewarding beyond any personal gains.

In September, I celebrated my 19th year in the United States Navy Reserve and I am beginning to gear down with retirement in mind. I think it is time. I dearly love the Navy. Service has afforded me the opportunities of many lifetimes, but now I would like to focus on personal concerns that require my attention without the many distractions of Navy life!

Politically, this has been a trying year too. The government shutdown left many, me included, less and less trustful of our government's ability to lift this country up from the quagmire it has been slogging through for the past six or seven years. 

I have been, however, very excited by the apparent acceleration of marriage equality in this county. Yeah, I am single, (*sigh*) but with the continued movement of state after state passing pro-gay marriage equality laws, I am finding much to be optimistic about. When I came out 31 years ago I never dreamed this country would have moved to where it is today.

2014 promises more changes. As the economy improves, it is my hope to find a better job that will permit me to dally in a few personal vices and hobbies. Just last week I interviewed for a job opportunity, and while I did not get the job, I am confident this is my year.

With my friends, my son and extended family, I look forward to an exciting year ahead. So, 2014... come and get me!

So with that, happy holiday, happy new year!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Pearl Harbor Day observed 72 years later

Having served at Pearl Harbor three times I can attest to the raw emotions that still linger there. I was awestruck by how overwhelmed I felt from the history of the navy base. I served in a building that still has the bullet holes from being strafed by Japanese zeroes. When you go to Ford Island you can feel the terror the men and women felt as bombs and bullets fell about them

I had the opportunity to interview three Pearl Harbor survivors during the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) Exercises in June of 2000. All three have since gone on to the ages. I felt unworthy to stand in their presence and can only wish to measure up to their greatness... humble as they were.

I returned to Pearl Harbor in the autumn of 2000, and while there I decided to reenlist aboard the USS Arizona Memorial. When I arrived that morning and after spending ten minutes gazing at THE WALL (the names of those who died aboard her that day), I stood, arm raised and took the oath. I was so moved I could hardly speak, tears in my eyes and I was all choke up, but I did it and I did it memory of the men and women who went before us all--and especially because of those who served there that fateful day.

Today, USS Missouri sits barely the length of two football fields away from the USS Arizona Memorial. Think of it, two bookends of WWII reside so close together and they serve as a lesson attesting to the beginning and end of America's involvement in WWII... and to the courage of those young men and women who, in peacetime, served to defend our nation... not knowing that that day 73 years ago today, on that early Sunday morning, their lives would change forever and that they would be asked to do so much. 

And our lives are so much the better for them.