Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Good, The Bad, And A Few Big A--holes!

On Monday, we celebrated Memorial Day. It was a time to reflect and thank our military people who are fighting to defend ??? Now, even though I do not agree with the purpose of this "war" nor the actions of President Bush in continuing this ongoing bloody battle, no matter what, I still have to support our troops...many of whom have died for a cause that even they didn't understand. There were many tributes across the US honoring soldiers both alive and dead. And as in most cases, there is always some a--hole, or a couple of a--holes who have to turn to the criminal element to get their stupid point across at the expense of hard working citizens. But before I rant on about these a--holes, let me tell about about the good in today's world...

If you haven't seen the commercials on TV by now, Orange Lutheran senior Shauna Fleming is being featured during May's National Military Appreciation Month, in a series of national television ads. She is the founder of A Million Thanks, which has collected and distributed more than 2.6 million thank-you letters and cards to U.S. military members since March 2004. Shauna is partnering with General Motors and in the commercials, she asks the viewers to thank our military men and women by writing a thank you letter and depositing them in special A Million Thanks mailboxes at all 3,500 Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealers across the country. Her goal is to collect 1 million thank-you letters during May at collection points in each dealership. Once collected, the notes will be distributed by A Million Thanks.

Her story is incredible and inspiring. Shauna's father, Mike Fleming, had urged her to use her high school project to "do something special for the troops." In less than seven months after she began, Shauna received her millionth letter -- a handmade card from a high school student in St. Charles, Mo. Reaching her million-letter goal was not the end of Shauna's project, but rather was just the beginning. Having collected a million, she changed her goal to one letter for every member of the U.S. military. In February, Fleming presented her program’s 2.6 millionth letter for our troops. The total represents the number of men and women in the nation’s active and reserve-component forces.

This high school girl has had to juggle her project, appearances, commercial filming, prom, boyfriend and the college application process all the while still being a student!Shauna's met with military members and their families, promoted her project in media interviews, worked with celebrities, participated in local and national events, and reached out to Americans via her Web-based radio talk show program, "A Million Thanks." She also wrote a book with the same name that includes photos of her travels and some of the letters she has received from servicemembers serving overseas, and has had offers to turn her story into a television movie.

Her website, AmillionThanks.org, (click on the banner below to go to her site) is been set up to provide specific rules and guidelines about how and where the letters are to be mailed to them for delivery to service members. Bulk letters must be bundled a certain way, and food items cannot be included with the letters. My hat and heart goes out to this kid who has touched the lives of many of our boys in Iraq and elsewhere. It's great to see at least one kid taking an interest in an idea and doing something about it.

Now, for the ugly news and this story really pisses me off...

Vandals twice attacked Veterans' graves in Woodlawn Cemetery on Orcas Island in Washington this Memorial Day weekend, burning American flags and placing swastika-bearing flags in their place. "This crime is an outrage to every veteran, veteran's family, friends of their family, and the community as a whole," San Juan County Sheriff Bill Cumming said. "This is not an act of free speech, this is a crime."

The Orcas Island American Legion members and friends decorated the graves with more than 100 small American flags Saturday evening. On Sunday morning, forty-six flags were stolen and 33 were burned with their remnants still attached to their small standards. Fourteen of the American flags were replaced with flags on sheets of paper bearing hand-made swastikas.

Legionnaires and their friends rounded up flags to replace the missing and charred flags by Sunday evening. A cemetery caretaker remained in the area and watched the cemetery until 4 a.m. Monday morning. A short time later it was discovered that the vandals struck again, cutting up flags and replacing 33 of them with the hand-drawn swastika flags.

Investigators believe there's more than one culprit, based on the number of flags that were vandalized, but they have no leads on any possible suspects, Cumming said. The sheriff said deputies were trying to lift fingerprints off what little physical evidence they were able to recover and were asking people on this bucolic island to contact the sheriff's office."We don't view this as free speech," Cumming said. "We view this as a hate crime, and it's being investigated as such."

I hope that these a--holes are caught and put away for a long time for their crime. I understand the free speech thing and it's their right to protest. But when their rights infringe on the rights of others, then they must pay. And in this case, it's not just the rights of the people involved, it's the rights of the millions of Americans who used Memorial Day to tribute our armed forces. I cannot believe that some idiot's would do this to someone grave. It really pisses me off and I am saddened that this type of crap has to happen at all.

But to all of those who are serving diligently and faithfully in our armed forces, I salute you and apologize for the select few who had to disgrace the ultimate purpose of Memorial Day. God Bless You All!