Showing posts from May, 2012

A Tribute To The Arlington Ladies and our Fallen

ONE AFTERNOON towards the end of March, 200 mourners slowly trekked under a bright blue sky to the plot where 20-year-old Army Pfc. Michael Anthony Arciola was about to become the 123rd soldier killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Arciola, a recipient of both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, was shot and killed on patrol in Al Ramadi on February 15. The larger than usual crowd was no surprise. The young man had been so well loved in his hometown of Elmsford, New York, that more than a thousand people came to his memorial service there. Dying young carries with it an implicit sense of tragedy that draws people -- emotionally and physically -- to it.

Nevertheless, Pfc. Arciola was not the only one laid to rest that Friday at Arlington. Sixteen other servicemen, most of them veterans many years older than Arciola, were likewise buried. An average week at Arlington will see between 80 and 100 burials on its 612 acres, and the final week o…

What I Learned from Give me Fifty! NOW! (cont'd)

After we were herded onto the plane at the airport, the sergeant paid special attention to where I was sitting and made it point to let me know he was watching me. I nodded, smiling, and said that I recognized his God status for the next few weeks. He looked at me and said, "you don't even know the half of it, son! I have plans for your future and when it is all said and done I guess we will find out what you're made of. You won't be smiling very much longer, I promise!" He kept his word.

It was a very warm August night when the plane landed in lovely El Paso, Texas. I grew up in Texas and was very familiar with summer nights that could be oppressive, but believe me when I tell you that my mother's oven had nothing over that El Paso night. The sergeant had somehow spawned a bevy of sergeants at the troop unloading area. They were thick as flies over cow dung and all of them shouting orders. Chaos is a word that comes to mind for a new recruit listening to all…

Defining Our Relationships

For the miserably married, thinking of marriage, and soon to be married:

Defining Our Relationships

At the heart of Christianity is the doctrine of the mystical union of the believer with Christ. The New Testament does not only call us to believe in Christ, but to believe into Christ. Faith links us directly into Christ. We become in Him and He in us. This mysterious union is carried over into the relationship between Christ and the church. The church is His bride, whom He has brought into a real, profound, and powerful union.

We normally assume that the image of the church as the bride of Christ is a metaphor borrowed from the institution of human marriage. In this case, the earthly serves as the model for the heavenly. Perhaps that is the intent of Scripture. Actually the earthly estate of marriage is based on the heavenly model of the mystical union of Christ and His bride not the Godhead. Marriage is the reflection of the heavenly reality, not the basis for a heavenly …

What I Learned from Give me Fifty! NOW!

A very close friend of mine asked me to tell her something funny about myself. I haven't been feeling very "FUN" lately but that is another story someday. In fact, as important as the subject is that I have been covering I could not help but think of some of my antics the first two weeks of army life in 1969.

To say that I grew up with a "mouth" on me is akin to calling the 100,000 ton carrier USS Ronald Reagan a boat.. I conditioned myself to have the last word on just about everything authoritarian even though I knew there would be "hell to pay." Rarely was it a retort the receiver wanted to hear witty, funny or not. I was tall but skinny as a rail fence. In fact, my grandmother used to tell me I was so skinny that I had to run around in the shower to get wet! I grew up under a tall, large-boned dictator-type father. His WORD WAS THE HOLY GRAIL and not to be questioned; at least not by mere mortals like me. However, no matter how an order was given …