Tag: war

There’s No Changing History

I’m not a history buff. I won’t even claim to like studying historical events. But when I’m traveling, I do appreciate absorbing historical sites and monuments.

For me, it has nothing to do with the past. Seeing a landmark placed in a specific spot to cement a significant event touches the part of me that realizes time is limited. Life is a river rushing me ever toward the sea of eternity.

But these monuments are like a boulder in the river.

A person could rest on them. A person could take a break from paddling against contrary currents. The boulder offers a solid place in the maelstrom.

Of course, I’ve been rafting on the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon. A boulder could capsize your raft. It could dump everyone you love into the foaming mess of whitewater, eager to devour you…or at least scrape you along the sharp and unforgiving stones of the riverbed.

Actual photo of my family rafting the Deschutes.

Recently, my husband and I traveled to Florida for a couples’ retreat. The retreat was held at the Renaissance International World Golf in St. Augustine.

After my first ever lunch of Cuban food, we strolled through the historical fort. There was an old Catholic rectory. The governor’s house had been converted to a museum.

Crowds teemed through the unique shop area. Sun beat down from an autumn sky unlike those in Oregon. A fickle breeze lifted clothes that clung to every inch of perspiring skin.

In a park near the marina where traffic backed up because a draw bridge was raised, there was an old depot platform. Several statues and monoliths paid homage to people and events of the past. There was even an old pillar remaining from the Spanish capital that had once occupied this oldest of American cities.

The Monument to Men

One of the monolithic stones, a quite simple piece of plain rock, had been raised to honor those from the city of St. Augustine who gave their lives protecting it during what southerners refer to as The War of Northern Aggression. (That’s the Civil War for those of us who aren’t northerners, but have been blessed to be raised near the end of the Oregon Trail in God’s Country.) *sticks out her tongue at a particular cousin who will be reading this*

Where I live, there are monuments like this to veterans of Vietnam, Korea, World War I and World War II. I believe there’s even a little something for veterans of Desert Storm.

The point of this monument is to memorialize soldiers who fought for their homes. Some of the monuments honor the survivors. The ones that are most poignant to me are the memorials of those who died for the cause.

What person should not be honored for giving their life for a cause?

The Inscription

I don’t recall the exact words. But on a pole to one side of this simple memorial a metal sign had been mounted.
It claimed that there had been some legislation requiring the removal of all landmarks in honor of Confederates in the Civil War. It went on to state that residents petitioned to keep this simple monolith intact and were granted their petition.

Thank you, petitioners. This is what U.S. democracy is supposed to look like.

Better yet, why pass ridiculous laws that do nothing?

I can imagine the very men honored by this monument rolling over in their graves.

“People say we were fighting to keep slaves,” one would say. “I was fighting for freedom.”

“Freedom from a government that wanted to minimize our personal rights,” another says.

Because this war wasn’t fought over a single issue. The largest percentage of men who died had probably never owned a slave, nor would have chose to if they could.

The Facts

History happened. It’s over. There’s no point in trying to change it.

What is the reason a law might give for tearing down a simple monolithic column in a small park in St. Augustine, Florida? Is there any reason that would be acceptable?

We all know the slogan, “Never forget.” It was painted everywhere from social media to billboards in September. But it had been used decades before for Normandy Beach and Pearl Harbor.

This simple monument reminds us that men died for a cause. Let’s not judge the cause. We weren’t there, and we couldn’t possibly know what what in the hearts as they marched away from their homes and families…never to return.

You and I can attest that politicians say a ton of stuff we don’t agree with. Their words get recorded, and in another fifty years when the next generation reads them, are they going to judge you and I by those words?

Look at the word: history. His story. I write stories for a living, and they are different from the stories other authors of a similar age and gender write. Because they are my stories.

That plain monument asks us to pause for a moment and remember a story: one that cost men in St. Augustine to sacrifice all. Each of them had a personal story, and sadly, those are probably lost.

But the price they paid? It should be remembered. And honored.

Do you like history? What is a historical place you’ve been that impacted you?

Wonder Woman Makes it to the Big Time

Wonder Woman isn’t just for comic books anymore. And no matter what the UN says about it, this female superhero is making it to the big screen where she will be the ambassador for empowerment of women everywhere.

Sure, the United Nations can name cartoon characters as honorary ambassadors, but bringing a bustier-wearing woman to the stage sends the wrong message.

The U.N. recanted, bowing to protesters, but this won’t stop Wonder Woman from stepping from print to silver screen. She has been a suffragist, a sex symbol and a soldier since she first appeared in 1941, conceived by William Moulton Marston. Now, she’s going to be a movie star.

wwmaksitbig

Gal Gadot played Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman and will carry off the role in her own film in June 2017. Godot is both a model and a soldier, 2004 Miss Israel who served in the Israel Defense Forces, as all Israeli’s are compelled to do.

Why can’t a woman be smart, strong and sexy? And if she isn’t covering up her physical assets, is that begging for objectification?

Plenty of male superheroes are flaunting their physical assets without anyone screaming about demeaning men. Why is there a different standard for our gal, Wonder Woman?

She was created as a hero to represent America’s position in World War Two: a patriot who wanted to protect the innocent. The original Wonder Woman had defensive weapons—bracelets that deflected bullets and the Lasso of Truth.

Isn’t that the kind of superhero we all should want? Not one who’s out to wreak havoc but is bent on keeping people safe.

Now Wonder Woman will get to tell her story to the world. The film won’t follow the comic book canon of the Amazonian princess.

Instead, the story takes place during World War I. When Steve inadvertently leads men to the Amazon’s island paradise, the women warriors face down guns with arrows.

They keep Wonder Woman true to her creator’s vision by making her more interested in peace than conflict. But, as history has proved time and again, sometimes the reality of peace comes at the high cost of war.

This writer is enthusiastic about seeing a female superhero take the tile role in a comic-book-inspired movie.

Sure, we can argue about clothing choices, but as Gadot was quick to point out in interviews, at least the outfit doesn’t hinder her movements. And it doesn’t expect her to run and fight wearing four-inch heels.

Isn’t it time we looked beyond the costume? What’s in the heart of a character? Is she wearing these clothes to distract her foes?

It’s more likely she pulled them on and forgot about them. That’s what I do. I’m not walking through my day thinking about how I look.

Real women have more important things on their minds.

And if this movie trailer is any indication, Wonder Woman doesn’t have any spare moments for thinking about how her body armor makes her appear too sexy to fight.

Do you think the costume makes (or breaks) the credibility of a superhero? Are you excited for Wonder Woman’s debut in her own motion picture?

Introducing a New Fantasy Romance Title

Happy Book Birthday to Black Wings!
Black Wings
by Iryna K. Combs
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Release Date: October 23, 2015
A new time. A new planet. A new world. New technologies. Two new humanoid species. A new war.

The two species separate, but in the removal, some of the best are left behind among the worst. Captured and held as slaves, they are treated cruelly for entertainment. Torture. Pain.
 Annabel, endures a year of such cruelty, kept alive only by way of syringes which, while healing, cause a greater agony. She discovers a secret held by their leader, and decides to help her own kind by escaping–even if it means a final death, preferable to the life she has endured.

Her escape succeeds, and she joins her own kind at the other end of the planet. Among her new friends she meets many who help her adjust to their happier life. Will Annabel find romance? Or will another war break her down?

PURCHASE LINKS

Print
Createspace

Digital
Amazon
Amazon (UK)
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
All Romance eBooks
Bookstrand
iTunes (iBooks)

About the Author:

From the pen of Iryna herself: “Originally from the Ukraine, I am still considered a new face to America. Speaking three languages including English, that became just as natural to me as my native Russian.

In the last year I discovered: an author lives inside me. Never did I think that I would write an English book and that I would love doing it. But I did! And I loved it! I am hoping my readers will enjoy it and will look forward my next books.

Black Wings – my debut novel – comes from a dream that I saw a few months before I decided to capture it on paper. After long thinking and developing an exciting story, I could not just keep it inside me. I shortly began writing. Within only a couple of months the story was completed. I found my first publisher within the next couple of months, and after a few more months of hard work – “sweat and blood” – the book is finally here for you, dear readers, to enjoy!”

~~~oOo~~~
GIVEAWAY!

A paperback copy of Black Wings and a 
$10 Amazon Gift Card!

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code.  No purchase necessary, but you must be 18 or older to enter. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter, and announced on the widget. Winner well be notified by emailed and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Roane Publishing’s marketing department.

The Price of Freedom

Image from freegreatimages.com
Image from freegreatimages.com

July the Fourth celebrated America’s Independence Day. It wasn’t intended to be just another day off work. Or another opportunity to eat too much and stay out to late. Those fireworks aren’t meant to entertain us with their colorful display.

July the Fourth should be a time when we reflect on the freedoms we enjoy in the United States. On this day, we fill our hearts and mouths with praise for our right to speak independently from our government and worship God as our own personal convictions dictate. We have much for which to be thankful.

One thing Americans neglect on this day is counting the cost. I’m not talking about your grocery bill for all those brats and burgers. Or the exorbitant sum spent on personal and community fireworks. I’m talking about something of intrinsic value – life.

The price of freedom cannot be measured in dollars and cents (although I’m certain bureaucrats have tried). Instead, this precious commodity comes at the expense of lives and blood.

To Recap the Price for America

Freedom is never free. We enjoy the benefits of someone else’s sacrifice. Most of the time, men and women in uniform protect our freedoms at the cost of their own life and health.

For American freedom, the cost in lives can be calculated by totaling the casualties in all the conflicts in which we protected our own lands or aided our allies from hostile invasion (the list doesn’t include dozens of other battles, namely with the Native Americans):

  • Revolutionary War: 25,000
  • War of 1812: 15,000
  • Spanish American War: 2,446
  • Mexican American War: 13,283
  • Civil War: 750,000
  • The Great War (aka World War I): 117,465
  • World War II: 419,000
  • Korean War: 36, 516
  • Vietnam: 58,209
  • Iraq: 4,804 (and counting)
  • Afghanistan: 3,441(and on the rise)*

Our freedom cost 1,445,164 people the ultimate price. After lining up all the people who live in Vermont and South Dakota, you would still need to find 5,243 people to match this number. And those two states rank amount the five smallest population-wise in the US.

Scary, isn’t it?

If the total number of wounded were added to this total, the staggering amount would immobilize us. Or it should.

Why do these people, military and civilian alike, put themselves in harm’s way? They understand that liberty involves sacrifice. Freedom is never free. A steep price in blood and lives purchases our often unappreciated freedom.

Have you thanked God for your physical freedoms lately? What about thanking a man or woman in military uniform for their service? They might have to pay the ultimate price someday soon.

Today, stop and consider the grave payment made for your freedom to take a day off work and chill with friends or family. When those fireworks light up the sky, remember the “rockets’ red glare” and “bombs bursting in air” mentioned in The Star-Spangled Banner. Be grateful. Not everyone is enjoying freedom today.

*Numbers from http://www.militaryfactory.com/american_war_deaths.asp and verified with other resources.

**This post, in its entirety, was previously published at the blog of FMBC on July 1, 2014.

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The Truth about Death and Dying

Image courtesy of images4.wikia
Image courtesy of images4.wikia

Dying has been glorified in recent years. Meanwhile, Death remains an insidious villain. Recent experience leads me to believe these two attitudes have no basis in reality.

Hear me out.

It’s not my intent to start an argument or step on anyone’s toes. Death and dying are personal avenues for every living soul on planet earth. My thoughts on these concepts will hardly prevent me from treading the dying path toward death.

If only it could be so easy.

Glorification of Dying

Movies glorify dying. Look at the soldier throwing himself on a grenade. How about the stranger tossing a child from in front of a speeding car at the cost of his own mortality?

Gaming forums are the worst offenders in this area. Actual snippets overheard during an online gaming session:

  • “Would you stop dying? You’re killing our team score.”
  • “I’m on my last life so try and keep me from dying, will you?”
  • “What do you mean? I only died three times!”

In isolation, these snippets would be cause to call in a grief counselor for an intervention. They are commonplace in a household where first person shooter games are cool and hopping onto Xbox Live to kick some alien booty with friends is a favorite pastime.

“Dying grace” is a phrase I used myself – before I had to watch my mother die. Dying in a bed of affliction in never graceful. If the phrase is speaking of an attitude toward death, it might make sense. If it’s a rephrasing in regard to God’s grace for daily living, I might be able to swallow it.

Dying is ugly. Whether there is blood and gore or just a silent slipping away, it isn’t glorious.

Death: Hero or Villain?

I recently read a novel that depicted Death as just another guy doing his job: collecting souls and taking them to the afterlife. How does that make him a villain?

Death is a gateway. It marks the end of this thing we call life. We love life; therefore, we hate death.

The actual moment of death happens in an eye’s blink. Dying provides time for that last monologue (courtesy of Shakespeare). Death silences those lips. Dying is the thing that prolongs suffering. Death is a doorway to relief.

In this sense, death can be a hero. If death is a villain to be avoided at all costs, it’s wrong to make dying appear to be something marvelous and desirable when its end is death.

My logic could be faulty, but here’s the bottom line. We glorify dying when it is done in a certain manner: sacrificially or stoically. In the same breath, we vilify death as a lecherous beast that sucks life away. It’s backwards. We should despise dying for diverting us from the pathway called living and embrace death as the gateway into the next life.

Crazy? Maybe if you have no faith to mark the gate of death for what it is: the elevator to eternal life.

Regardless, dying is ugly. There is blood, pain, sickness, and heartache. Dying involves a loss of vitality, a surrender of dignity, and the murder of hopes and dreams. My prayer: to skip dying and just screech, tires spinning all the way, from life into death.

What truth can you share about death and dying? How does your perspective differ from mine?