Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day which many Americans remember and reflect on those who served and ultimately gave their lives for their fellow mankind.  For some, it is a day off work, others a day to barbecue or to enjoy adult beverages.  Some have to work, especially if in the service industry such as fire, police, medical/nursing, corrective services, dispatchers and many others.

This past week, I had the honor and privilege of meeting James “Maggie” Magellas.  He is the highest decorated Army Officer of the 82D Airborne Division. He served with the 504 Regiment.  He was a normal American of European ancestry and grew up in Wisconsin. When called to serve his nation, he became a communication officer, later a glider pilot and ultimately served as an infantry platoon leader.

I listened to him speak about his journey to Italy via Northern Africa.  The 101st Airborne is well known in American history and has been portrayed in films such as Band of Brothers. The 101st was part of the D-Day invasion to liberate Europe penetrating the beaches of France. The 82D served in the sands of North Africa and worked their way to Italy and Germany.

He described his accounts across the Waal River and noted the leading officer to bang on the side of a tiny boat repeating “Hail Mary, full of grace. Hail Mary, full of grace”.  Bullets whizzed past and shells exploded around.  This was  a daytime river crossing, during broad daylight, in which the Germans held the high ground and had the tactical advantage.

He continued with the airborne operation into Nijmegen during Operation Market Garden. This was demonstrated in the movie “A Bridge Too Far”.  An example of an airborne insertion into enemy territory was shown.

I purchased his book All the Way to Berlin and he has a film documenting his time in the 82D in conjunction with the World War II Foundation, Tim Gray Media, and Ocean State Media.  Here is the link to the trailer.

You may also see the show on PBS or can order directly from him.  Per Mr. Megellas, “Lead from the front and your men will follow”.

I have been fortunate to get to know a few veterans along my journey in life. Mr. Megellas served in WWII. Tom Lyons of Minnesota served in Korea, JP Winstead served in the Pacific in WWII and his son in Viet Nam.  A gentleman I attend church with was a Green Beret in the Pacific during Viet Nam. Jim Lane served in Somalia. I have had the privilege of meeting folks who were in the military in Saudi Arabia for Desert Storm, and others who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I ask that you take a moment and say a prayer for all people around the world as we all work towards world peace.  I do not know anyone wishing for war. Some did volunteer to serve while others were called by their nation. Others found service locally in fire, law enforcement, medical, teaching or other government service.  Take a moment to thank those, pray for those who have been affected by war, violence, and loss, and enjoy this Memorial Day.

Make It Fun!

God Bless.


Photography, Voice, and Hope in Afghanistan

There are many beautiful places in Afghanistan and many wonderful people.

Mountain2Mountain: Field Notes

The Streets of Afghanistan was a project based in hope.  Using photography as voice, and art as activism, we set up a series of street art installations in Afghanistan.  Red Reel was with us to document five of the seven exhibitions.  We can now share with you the beauty of the country, the reactions of those that saw the exhibition, and the place that art has in conflict zones.  It was such an honor to bring this exhibition to Afghanistan and to share it with Afghans.  We return in the spring for a finale exhibition in a secret location, and then distribute the photographs to orphanages, girls schools, women’s groups, Kabul stadium, and the Mayor’s office as a thank you for his office’s support of this public exhibition in the Kabul locations.  Thank you everyone that supported this project, we couldn’t be prouder.

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I am thankful for the opportunity to write, for the right to speech, for the ability to work.  I work 70+ hours consistently each week.  I do not get paid any extra working past 40 hours. It’s just part of the job.  I enjoy doing what I do, I enjoy helping people.  However, to remain sane I have to workout.  To remain balanced, we all need to work on our mental, spiritual, and physical health.

This week, I have continued the run to the pool, swim and run back.  Additionally, I have been alternating the 300 workout with the James Bond workout.  For a great core workout I recommend alternating the ab workouts from P90X and Insanity.

Last week I took an exam to prepare to go back to school. As I said before, we need balance in life.  We need to continue to improve our own lives.  I value education so that we can put it to use to help others.  As Audio Adrenaline writes in their song Kings and Queens, “When we help the least of these…”.

I volunteered today to help raise money for Special Olympics. It is only a small part in an attempt to help others.  So many people have helped me along my journey in life.  God has given each of us gifts and talents to be used for good.

As I said, I work more than 70 hours per week, I have a family who needs a dad to demonstrate love and support, I have things I do through my church and my faith, things after school in which I help my family such as homework and extra curricular activities.  I have to maintain my professional education and am applying for a doctorate program. Plus, I work on my fitness to prevent long-term health problems.  Needless to say, I do not sleep much. We are on this planet for such a short period of time in the big scheme of things. Regardless of how few hours we think we have in a day, regardless of how busy we think we are, I challenge each of us, to volunteer.  Volunteer for something bigger than ourselves.  Volunteer for something we find important.   And may we balance our mental, spiritual, and physical health so that we make our home, community, society, country and world a better place.

Make It Fun!

God Bless, Vivat Jesus.