Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thinking about Dad

With all that is going on in America today, I find myself thinking more and more about the people who most influenced my sense of patriotism.  My father and his shipmates from when he was in the Navy.

Dad served in the Navy during WWII on the Destroyer U.S.S. Thorn DD-647 in the Pacific theater.  He saw action at Guadal Canal among other places.  Around 1970, when I was 9 or 10, my dad got a letter from Kaj "Swede" Swenson, an old shipmate. The letter was one of inquiry and information, asking if my dad had served on the Thorn and that there was a reunion in the works.  Swede had even located the Mighty T.  It was in mothballs in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, on the schedule to be scuttled for target practice.  But before she would sink, the former shipmates and their families would have free reign to explore and grab souvenirs. My father lit up.  He got so excited about the prospect of seeing his old friends;  the only ones that could understand that very influential part of his life. 

So every summer during my formative years a long weekend was spent in the company of those who sailed on the Thorn.  These were wonderful times.  The men were fun and funny; smart and loving, and I am better for having known them. The "Skipper" had stayed in service and was Vice Admiral of the Pacific fleet at the time.  The rest of the men were from every imaginable walk of life. Some successful, happy & thriving..  Some struggling with money, alcohol, blindness, depression or some other demons of life.

Between the banquets, the trips to visit the ship, there was sing-along time in the central gathering spot called the hospitality room. At any given hour though, deep conversations were occurring. These men talked about their love of country, the duty they felt and were glad to have met, no matter the hardships.  They talked politics and debated passionately.  There were also times when the men asked that spouses and children leave so that they could have time alone as comrades.  I can only imagine that it was at these times when they remembered together and spoke of those experiences that were uniquely theirs. 

My father certainly never talked about the war.  He would recount anecdotes about the men occasionally, but never spoke of battle. The most personal story he would tell was when, after the war when they were spending excess ammunition, an 18mm gun blew up in his face. He would talk about being airlifted off the ship and coming home.  And we saw the evidence of that fateful day in the contours of Dad's face where he carried shrapnel.

My father was a boy when he went into the Navy at the tender age of 17 to help fight WWII. The war would change him forever.  I had heard relatives say that he came back from the war a different man than the one who went in, but I didn't truly understand until after my father died.  In the week after we laid him to rest, the family spent more time together than usual.  Mom  brought out boxes of photos and memorabilia and we looked and remembered and told stories as a part of our communal grief.  One of the things that my mother, with whom I was staying, brought out was my father's war diary.  I had no idea that such a thing existed before. 

The awe that I felt in simply holding the two volumes was huge.  Then, one evening, I sat in my father's chair at the kitchen table and read aloud to my mother the contents of the diary.  We laughed and cried a little now and then as we took in Dad's personal views of his time on board the Thorn and got a small glimpse at that time of his life.  At some point I expressed to my mother that I felt like we were both being introduced to a man neither one of us had known.  Not even Mom knew my father before he went to war.  She knew the man I knew: the anxious, pessimistic, emotionally closed off, worrying, sometimes angry one.  What we learned together as we shared his words was that Dad used to be an open, outwardly loving, positive, emotionally healthy man.  He gave those qualities up for his country. One of the qualities that bridged the two men that were my father: his sense of humor.  I could imagine that his boisterous full-body laugh that I very much miss is perhaps the only common behavior that I experienced. His sense of honor and responsibility carried through as well.  He was the hardest working man I had ever known, always holding down two, and sometimes three jobs to make sure his family was well cared for and that we truly had everything we wanted.  To the end, Dad took care of Mom.  He did not rest until he was granted 100% disability from the V.A. so that he could leave my mom with guaranteed extra money and health benefits.

Toward the end of his life in the summer of 2007, my father and I had many a heated discussion about politics.  We agreed on some things and not on others.  One thing he would not back down on was his utter disdain that we were again at war.  Although he couldn't express how, I knew that he identified with all of the young men and women who had willingly put themselves in harm's way for their country... for his freedom... for my freedom.

Over the years, Dad and I talked about communism and how he despised it.  We would look at pictures of the breadlines in the Communist Block and he would warn that if our liberties were not protected, that could be us.  He worried about the fate of the Republic.  

Dad loved America.  He flew his flag proudly and according to the rules until he no longer had the strength to do so. But just because the one on the pole in the front yard no longer flew, Old Glory flew inside the house and on his car.  Now, his funeral flag sits in a triangular box in the den, where Dad died and had spent so much time while alive.  He often disagreed with those in power, but his patriotism never wavered.  I am proud to carry on with a strong sense of patriotism in my heart because of him.  He did not go to war and lose himself so that a short 70 years later, communists could corrupt and "fundamentally transform" America.

Don't worry, Dad.  I won't be silent.  Thank you for my lessons in patriotism. I'll never forget and I will always carry you in my heart.

Not a racist!
Not violent!
Just no longer SILENT!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Go ahead and say it. It is your duty to do so.

On April 18th, close to the15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombings carried out by Timothy McVeigh, former President Clinton said the following regarding the Tea Party movement in an interview on ABC's This Week Exclusive. ( At time 2:12ish) "A lot of the things that have been said, they, they create a climate in which people who are vulnerable to violence because they are disoriented like Timothy McVeigh was, are more likely to act." He went on to talk about the demonization of public officials and how that was wrong. I will give him props for mentioning the things said about New Jersey's governor Christie who is making tough choices to cut spending in that state.

Having attended one of the first Tea Party demonstrations on April 15, 2009 in Cincinnati, I can tell you first hand that neither I nor my fellow attendees had any notion of causing violence. It was a peaceful protest and actually quite fun. It was a gathering of like-minded patriotic individuals. The speakers were hopeful. The music was good. The signage was quite clever and most of it spot on. Mr. Clinton need not fear these people. Mr. Obama however, should be making plans for a career change at the end of his current term.

The truth seems to be that the Democrats want free speech when they are disagreeing with Republican administrations, like when Hillary Clinton said, or rather screamed, "I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you are not patriotic. We should stand up and say tat we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!" ( They want to quash free speech, however, when people are pointing out truths against them.

Free speech is a necessity in order to determine truth. Without it we would be at the mercy of what we were spoon fed by those in power. We need to be able to loudly, vehemently and yes even angrily disagree with the policies of our government without fear. The day the first amendment is tampered with might be the day I begin to lose hope for the restoration of America.

Become informed. Educate yourself. Disagree! But then voice your disagreement. It is your duty!

Not racist!
Not violent!
Just no longer SILENT!

Salty Language

Have you heard that the FDA is being urged by "experts" to regulate the amount of salt in packaged foods. WHAT? Yep, the government wants into your kitchen. Yet another of the thousands of intrusions made into our daily lives in a country whose founders insisted that the government stay out of such matters.

I thought I had an unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I want a life with salt. I want the liberty to choose pre-packaged food that is palatable often due to the generous use of salt. And I want to pursue happiness by enjoying all of the sensual pleasures in life including food with salt!

Something needs to be pointed out here. Salt does not CAUSE hypertension. It may exacerbate hypertension but there is no cause and effect relationship between the two. Studies show a correlation between salt intake and high blood pressure in a percentage of the population. Anyone who has studied the scientific method has the following repeated many times: You It saddens me that you chose to unfriend me and i hope that you will reconsider.can not draw cause and effect relationships using correlational data! It is the same as high cholesterol. It doesn't cause heart disease. It is simply correlated with it. But, there are many confounding variables.

Regardless of the misuse of science for the purpose of social engineering, the bottom line is that what a person eats is their choice and their choice alone. No one behaves healthily all the time. Everyone has things that they do that are unhealthy. So what? It's no one's business.

Liberty is individual, and it's of no one's concern (especially the government's)! Thomas Jefferson said that what his neighbor does is none of his business , “if it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
How true!

I love salt, especially when generously sprinkled on medium-rare grilled bone-in rib-eye steak. I also am overweight. However, despite these facts, I do not have hypertension.

This issue caused me to remember a letter I wrote back in the early 80's when then governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, was getting ready to sign the first (unconstitutional) law requiring the use of seat belts.(I have a copy of the letter somewhere. I will dig it out and blog it.) Even then, I understood the ramifications of such intrusion. I remember referring to it as a slippery slope, but admit that I had no idea the scope which these government mandates would encompass. These are an affront to the ideals on which the United States of America was founded and we must fight to the end to have personal liberty restored once again.

Limited government!
Maximum freedom!
Personal responsibility!
These are the values to which I pray my country returns!

I found my letter to Mario Cuomo who signed the nation's first seat-belt mandate into law on July 12, 1984. My letter is dated July 4, 1984. (I remember dating it on Independence Day intentionally. Here is what I wrote (at the tender age of 23):

"Dear Mr. Cuomo,

Although I am not a resident of New York State, I feel it is my duty as an American to urge you not to sign the mandatory seat-belt law into effect. The results of of such a law will not make automobiles accidents less frequent or less fatal.

A law which forces a free citizen of the Untied States to an accessory on a machine that he owns and is licensed to operate is ridiculous. Why not sign a law which requires all citizens of New York to get up at 6 o' clock each morning and do a half hour of calisthenics because safe guard their health? This is just as ridiculous.

No, Big Brother Cuomo! I do not think any American wuld approve. you can not, through the law, attempt to protect each person from himself. A much wiser choice is to protect the people from war and loss of freedom.

It is because a law of this nature can set an extremely dangerous precedent for more destructive laws infringing on the freedom of our precious country tat I am writing.

Please, I urge you. Let the choice to wear a safety belt be left to the individual. We are sensible people, Mr. Cuomo. If you continue to education the public as to the the importance of safety belt use, and show us the hard facts, do you not think the number those using seat-belt will steadily increase? I believe so.

May I also inform you of the risk to New York to lose a substantial amount of revenue if such a law is enforced. I have spoken to hundreds about this matter and the vast majority will not drive or vacation in your state again if the mandatory seat-belt law is on the books. I am sure a boycott would not be difficult to organize.

Again, I urge you. DO NOT sign the Mandatory Seat Belt Law. Leave the freedom of choice with the people. Preserve our rights as Americans to decide for ourselves. Educate us, Mr. Cuomo, please do not parent us!

Yours in Freedom,
Lori Slager

cc: Governor Thomas Kean
President Ronald Regan
Senator Bill Bradley

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crossing the line

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am staunch detractor of President Obama and his Marxist policies. There are many people who agree with me. In fact, this entry may surprise some people.

On facebook, there is a group "

With the current media blitz against anyone, especially the Tea Party movement who are speaking out against the current administration it is essential that our protests and assemblies remain calm, rational and above all, non violent. So far, the Tea Part has remained peaceful and I see no reason to believe that it would change. Even the gun rights protest in front of the Capitol where participants openly displayed their loaded weapons neither brandished nor opened fire. It was peaceful and was a positive showing that law-abiding firearm owning citizens are not violent.

To wish for, or worse pray for the president's death is abhorrent. It is fundamentally wrong to wish for anyone's death. Here is what really gets to me though. Some of the people who indicated that they "Liked" the group profess to be Christians. Although my faith seems to have taken a permanent hike, I still know that it is not Christian to wish death upon someone with whom you disagree. In fact, I find this to be base hypocrisy. What were they thinking? I would like to know. It is incomprehensible to me that one could be filled with such hatred. Hate the deeds, not the man. Disagree. Be vocal. Arm yourself with facts and truth. Then let's talk. I can get behind that. I cannot under any circumstances, however, get behind wishing for the premature death of our president.

Just think if some crazy nut job read the title of that group and took it upon him or herself to bring about such an outcome! The man has children. They don't deserve that kind of trauma. The children are innocent! Then there is the political fallout. Assassination would set back the goal to rebuild America so far, it might render it impossible. People... THINK about what you align yourself with and the consequences thereof. I understand your frustration and anger. I want things to change too. There is a RIGHT way to bring about change, and there is, most definitely a wrong way. The last thing we need is to have martyred president. The thought of wishing death on him sickens me... and it should you too!

If one takes the time to look at the postings on the group, it would become clear that there are many people who are very passionate on both sides of the aisle. The sad part is, rather than debate, there is childish name-calling and mud-slinging. I hope whomever set up the group quickly realizes that negativity begets negativity, which is never productive.

:::: stepping off soapbox ::::

Now on a completely different level, there is humor in the title of that group too. Patrick Swayze and Farah Fawcett as favorite actors? Really? Please! They were both sex symbols, but I don't think many would characterize them as great actors. This, I found amusing.

***IMPORTANT: While I was researching the site to write this blog, I inadvertently clicked in the "Like" button. As soon as I realized it (many hours later, unfortunately), I un-liked it and issued an open apology. I was mortified that I was connected with such a hateful place for even one minute! ***