Looking back on service

In my efforts to start back on a blogging schedule and search the vast corners of the earth for more words that move me, I am going to start a Wednesday Word.

I will post a word, quote, phrase or who knows what else that moves me, inspires me, enrages me or more. I may comment on it. Or perhaps I will not. Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic too.

So here goes, the Wednesday Word is: service


As Veterans Day approaches, I think of service. I think of all the time I spent away from my family and friends in other countries. I think of the dusty landscapes, lonely months and endless hard work.

I had it easy for the most part. Yeah, there were some occasional mortars landing here and there, and a few scary convoys/patrols,  but a majority of the time, I had “good” deployments. Of course, I contribute my experiences to my job. I LOVED it.

I traveled around the war zones telling stories about what other service members were doing. I wrote stories and took pictures that detailed these service members’ experiences and missions. I remember on my first deployment (Bosnia 2002), I was passing out the magazine we had created. It had one of my photographs on the cover, and I happened to run into the Soldier I had photographed while distributing the magazine around the compound. He smiled so big to see himself on the cover. He grabbed up a few copies and excitedly said he could not wait to show his family.

In that moment, I fell in love with my job. I had made at least one person, and presumably his family, happy and proud of of his service. I validated his time away. I made him realize his contribution had value.

Everyone wants to feel important and noticed. And everyone wants to feel like their work matters. So that has been, and continues to be my goal: share the stories of America’s sons and daughters who volunteer to serve. They are from all cultures, races, religions and sexes. They do everything from engineering to medicine. They are active duty, National Guard and Reserve. They are America’s fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.

From the past to the present, Soldiers are citizens who chose the Army as their profession.  And even once they retire, they will always be a Soldier at heart. I just hope the ones who I have had the pleasure of covering over the years, never forget that they made a difference.





Wednesday’s Word: Destruction

In my efforts to start back on a blogging schedule and search the vast corners of the earth for more words that move me, I am going to start a Wednesday Word.

I will post a word, quote, phrase or who knows what else that moves me, inspires me, enrages me or more. I may comment on it. Or perhaps I will not. Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic too.

So here goes, the Wednesday Word is: Destruction

Recently, I started a military leadership class. It involves a great deal of reading, and then, some more reading. There are lessons on leadership, tactics, strategic thinking and history. Surprisingly, the history lessons seem to be interesting me the most.

I find this odd as I have never really been a history buff. However, as I age, I have come to discover it is not as boring as I had once believed.

I think it started with some historical fiction books by Phillipa Gregory that I read a couple of years ago. I read an entire series on a few kings and queens of England. Of course, I realize the stories are fiction but they intrigued me enough to start seeing what main events were reported to be true that the author had based her stories around. It became quite fascinating…and scandalous.

Time progressed, and I started watching some documentaries and historical fiction television shows. I started looking up even more events. As I found out more, I started to wonder if it was just human nature to destroy things, including themselves.

Then, I started this military class, and according to historical records, humans seem pretty hellbent on destroying others and things. Dating back to the B.C. era, people of all races, religions and cultures have sought power, righteousness or money. To get it, history has shown they will stop nothing. One of my history books stated that one group of people were  extremely “successful” in terms of military tactics. Well, that is if you consider mass murders of entire cities as success.

”’the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, both young and old, and ox and sheep and ass with the edge of the sword.”   — The Cambridge History of Warfare pg 16 as it states the familiar Biblical account of Joshua’s destruction of Jericho.

Think about our history. Brothers have tried to kill their own family members for the crown. The Germans tried to obliterate the Jews. Bosnia suffered ethnic cleansing, as other countries did as well. It goes on and on.

Generation after generation, somewhere in the world there has been, and continues to be, a batch of evil doers set on destruction for reasons of greed, religion or power.

On the other hand, when we are not trying to kill others, us humans are pretty good at destroying ourselves. Our tools of destruction may be less noticeable than genocide or war, but they obtain results on a smaller scale nonetheless.

Individually, we destroy ourselves through poor eating and exercising habits; smoking, drinking or injecting a multitude of drugs, alcohol or chemicals known to be bad for us. We stress ourselves out to the point of immobility and inaction. We doubt ourselves so much we create a self fulfilling prophecy of unmet goals.

As I learn more, I am shocked that all this destruction. To my knowledge, there doesn’t appear to be any race, religion, culture or ethnic group who has not had some historical event with evil, destruction or war. (To those who are indeed perfect since the dawning of time, I apologize. ) It seems to have effected us all at one point, and continues to plague the world even today.

Today’s world is full of anger, bigotry, sexism, racism, judgement…We are divided on politics. We argue about the use of bathrooms. We try to ban people from serving their countries based on their personal life. We are more upset when people take a knee during the anthem than we are when we are told outright national-level lies. We refuse to acknowledge scientific facts, trends and similarities to history. We are emboldened to push our personal agendas on each other in this me-first era.

Frankly, it is all mental exhausting. I don’t pretend know the answers. I only know the questions and attempt to see all the viewpoints. In most things, I can understand and empathize the various points of view. So I don’t have a dang clue on how to solve the world’s problems. Heck, I can’t even solve my  own I-need-to-lose-15-pounds problem.

But hey, according to history, after we all destroy each other and ourselves, there will be another several generations behind us to relive all the same or similar issues (with some minor adjustments for the change in times). Well, there should be anyway providing we don’t create any population- or world-ending kind of problems…we just might be doomed this time.


My random thoughts on history and how we seem to repeat it, but with even more flair.

Wednesday’s Word: Fake

I believe words mean something. They have power. Words are what give us connection, empathy, passion and power. They help us understand one another.

In my efforts to start back on a blogging schedule and search the vast corners of the earth for more words that move me, I am going to start a Wednesday Word.

I will post a word, quote, phrase or who knows what else that moves me, inspires me, enrages me or more. I may comment on it. Or perhaps I will not. Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic too.

So here goes, the Wednesday Word is: fake.

The word fake has been around for a long time. According to dictionary.com, it was recorded to have been used since 1775.

Word Origin and History for fake

attested in London criminal slang as adjective (1775), verb (1812), and noun (1851, of persons 1888), but probably older. A likely source is feague“to spruce up by artificial means,” from German fegen “polish, sweep,”also “to clear out, plunder” in colloquial use. “Much of our early thieves’slang is Ger. or Du., and dates from the Thirty Years’ War” [Weekley]. Or it may be from Latin facere “to do.” Related: Faked fakes faking.”

Yet, the term has become quite popular the past few years, and annoyingly so. There is fake news galore. Ironically, some of those who speak about fake news the most are the ones who seem to spread it.

With the proliferation of social media, “news” has taken a hit. Information can be found in just a few clicks. From video clips to pictures to information, anyone can do a quick Internet search for probably any topic possible and results will pop up. The problem is, not everything on the Internet is true, factual or frankly, realistic.

As someone who studied journalism, this is irritating. I recall getting an F on an assignment in the School of Journalism because I rounded a number incorrectly. The bottom line was that I put an error in fact in my article. So, it earned an F.

The world today though, is clearly not receiving or caring about its grade. People can say anything and claim it is fact when it should more appropriately be labeled as commentary, opinion, fantasy or downright propaganda.

Propaganda doesn’t always have to be fake though according to dictionary.com.



information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help orharm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.


the deliberate spreading of such information, rumors, etc.


the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization ormovement.


Roman Catholic Church.

  1. a committee of cardinals, established in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV,having supervision over foreign missions and the training of priestsfor these missions.
  2. a school (College of Propaganda) established by Pope Urban VIIIfor the education of priests for foreign missions.


Archaic. an organization or movement for the spreading of propaganda.
Long ago, it could have just been an organized movement to spread information on doctrines or principles. However, now, at least in my opinion, propaganda is more clearly defined as bad, negative and untrue.
Regardless of your political party, it should be hard to deny that there is a war of propaganda in the world. With a click of a button, fake news can be found everywhere and on every topic, and on both sides folks, it’s on both sides.
Of course, propaganda is not a new thing. Misinformation and deceit have been tools for those with shady goals from the start. It has been used in wars, used by dictators, used by armies and used by countries. It is a dangerous tool to create dissent, confusion and division…and it is working.
The country that I love so dearly is wounded. Our youth are surrounded by misinformation. With the risk of not discerning fact from fiction, our future seems uncertain. Especially when you throw in the multitude of other issues we are already forced to deal with: natural disasters, medical problems, crime, social inequalities….
With all of that going on, I worry that fake news/propaganda will be the straw that broke the camels back. I worry that our youth will be misinformed and led astray. (Heck, I am worried us adults have already been led astray.) I worry that if we do not stop creating division, we will falter.
Unity cannot be grown by division. Love cannot be spread through hate. Growth cannot occur through death. Hope cannot blossom out of despair. And freedom cannot reign under chaos. Even Abraham Lincoln realized that back in the 1800s…
For my Wednesday Word.