Posts Tagged ‘American flag’

Six Boys And Thirteen Hands…

July 13, 2010

The Boys of Iwo Jima
(From the book: Heart Touchers “Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter)

by Michael T. Powers

Each year my video production company is hired to go to Washington, D.C. with the eighth grade class from Clinton, Wisconsin where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave men raising the American flag at the top of Mount Surabachi on the Island of Iwo Jima, Japan during WW II. Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, “What’s your name and where are you guys from?

I told him that my name was Michael Powers and that we were from Clinton, Wisconsin.

“Hey, I’m a Cheesehead, too! Come gather around Cheeseheads, and I will tell you a story.”

James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, D.C. to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good-night to his dad, who had previously passed away, but whose image is part of the statue. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C. but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around he reverently began to speak. Here are his words from that night:

“My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called Flags of Our Fathers which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game, a game called “War.” But it didn’t turn out to be a game.

Harlon, at the age of twenty-one, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out; I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years old.

(He pointed to the statue)

You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph. A photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection, because he was scared. He was eighteen years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the “old man” because he was so old. He was already twenty-four. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, “Let’s go kill the enemy” or “Let’s die for our country.” He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, “You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.”

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, “You’re a hero.” He told reporters, “How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only twenty-seven of us walked off alive?”

So you take your class at school. 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only twenty-seven of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of thirty-two, ten years after this picture was taken.

The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky, a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, “Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epson salts. Those cows crapped all night.”

Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of nineteen. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Kronkite’s producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, “No, I’m sorry sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.”

My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually he was sitting right there at the table eating his Campbell’s soup, but we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press. You see, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died, and when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, “I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. DID NOT come back.”

So that’s the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.”

Suddenly the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero in his own eyes, but a hero nonetheless.

Michael T. Powers
HeartTouchers@aol.com

Copyright © 2000 by Michael T. Powers

Write Michael and let him know your thoughts on this story!

Michael T. Powers, the founder of HeartTouchers.com and Heart4Teens.com, is the youth minister at Faith Community Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi and proud father of three young rambunctious boys.

He is also an author with stories in 29 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his own entitled: Heart Touchers “Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter.” To preview his book or to join the thousands of world wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com
______________________________________________________________
[Editor’s Note] This story is posted with the permission and courtesy of the author, Michael T. Powers.

(This is not part of the article but was added in the email story that I received) One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is… that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice.

Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism and all the wars in-between that great sacrifices were made for our freedom… Remember to pray for this great country of ours and for those still in conflict around the world. Pray also for all our servicemen and women around the world.

God Bless You and God Bless America.

Everyday that you can wake up free, it’s going to be a great day.

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Independence Day Quiz

January 14, 2010

Supposedly 96% of all High School Seniors FAILED this test….
AND if that’s not bad enough, 50+% of all individuals over 50 did too!!

Take the test and be surprised at what we don’t know.

TOAST.net Internet Service Independence Day Quiz

1. What is the title of the National Anthem?

A – Oh, Say Can You See C – America the Beautiful
B – God Bless America D – The Star Spangled Banner
2. Which of the following rights is guaranteed by the first amendment?

A- Right to Bear Arms C- Freedom of Religion
B- Right to Vote D – All of the Above
3. What is the title of the head of a city government?

A – Mayor C – Chancellor
B – Governor D – Chairman of the Board
4. Who has the ability to declare war?

A – The President C – The Joint Chiefs
B – The Secretary of Defense D – The Congress
5. How many full terms may a Senator serve?

A – 1 C – 4
B – 2 D – No term limits for Senators
6. How many full terms can a President serve?

A – 1 C – 4
B – 2 D – There are no term limits for Pres.
7. How many years is a full term for a Representative?

A – 1 C – 4
B – 2 D – 6
8. Which amendment sets the minimum voting age to 18?

A – 1st C – 18th
B – 19th D – 26th
9. Who becomes President if both the President and Vice President die?

A – The Speaker of the House C – The Chief Justice
B – The Secretary of Defense D – The First Lady
10. On July 4th, 1776 we declared Independence from whom?

A – Germany C – Spain
B – Great Britain D – Rome
11. How many branches of government do we have?

A – 1 C – 3
B – 2 D – zero
12. Which is part of the Judicial branch at the federal level?

A – The Supreme Court C – The Senate
B – The Congress D – The Presidential Cabinet
13. Who elects the President of the United States?

A – The House of Representatives C – The Senate
B – The Electoral College D – The State Governors
14. How many states are there?

A – 10 C – 50
B – 13 D – 100
15. How many stripes are there on the American Flag?

A – 10 C – 50
B – 13 D – 100
16. Who was the President of the United States during the civil war?

A – Abraham Lincoln C – Ulysses S Grant
B – George Washington D – Lyndon B Johnson
17. Who is the current President of the United States?

A – Bill Clinton C – Colin Powell
B – Barack Obama D – Dick Cheney
18. Who is the current Vice President of the United States?

A – Bill Clinton C – Colin Powell
B – Hillary Clinton D – Joe Biden
19. Why did the Pilgrims come to America?

A – to establish a trade route with India C – to establish a new nation
B – to set up fur trade with the Natives D – to find religious freedom
20. How many total Senators are there?

A – 10 C – 50
B – 13 D – 100

Now for some Advanced Questions!
21. The Constitution has how many Amendments?

A – 23 C – 31
B – 27 D – 33
22. How many Amendments have been proposed officially by Congress but never ratified?

A – None C – 6
B – 1 D – 12
23. Which of these amendments is a ratified and current amendment?

A – Declaring it illegal to desecrate the American Flag
B – Equality of rights regardless of Gender
C – Restricting marriage in all States to be between a man and a woman
D – Prohibiting the importing of liquor into States where it is illegal
24. In what year was the last amendment ratified?

A – 1868 C – 1961
B – 1920 D – 1992
25. What is the Official Language of the United States?

A – None C – English
B – Latin D – Esperanto
26. Who was the first Vice President of the United States?

A – George Washington C – Thomas Jefferson
B – John Adams D – Andrew Jackson
27. Who said “Give me liberty or give me death?”

A – Nathan Hale C – John Wilkes Booth
B – Patrick Henry D – Thomas Paine
28. How many Presidents were assassinated while in office?

A – 1 C – 4
B – 2 D – 6
29. Which of these Presidents was born in Texas?

A – Dwight D. Eisenhower C – Ronald Reagan
B – Richard Nixon D – George W. Bush
30. How many Presidents have been impeached?

A – None C – 2
B – 1 D – 4

Click the link below to take the quiz and see how much you know, or don’t know! At the end of the quiz click submit to get the answers.   Good Luck!

http://games.toast.net/independence/

Click here to compare your scores with others in your age and state!

Question Your Answer Correct Answer
1 What is the title of the National Anthem? D D: The Star Spangled Banner
2 Which of the following rights is guaranteed by the first amendment? C C: Freedom of Religion
3 What is the title of the head of a city government? A A: Mayor
4 Who has the ability to declare war? D D: The Congress
5 How many full terms may a Senator serve? D D: No term limits for Senators
6 How many full terms can a President serve? B B: 2
7 How many years is a full term for a Representative? C B: 2
8 Which amendment sets the minimum voting age to 18? D D: 26th
9 Who becomes President if both the President and Vice President die? A A: The Speaker of the House
10 On July 4th, 1776 we declared Independence from whom? B B: Great Britain
11 How many branches of government do we have? C C: 3
12 Which is part of the Judicial branch at the federal level? D A: The Supreme Court
13 Who elects the President of the United States? B B: The Electoral College
14 How many states are there? C C: 50
15 How many stripes are there on the American Flag? B B: 13
16 Who was the President of the United States during the civil war? C A: Abraham Lincoln
17 Who is the current President of the United States? B B: Barack Obama
18 Who is the current Vice President of the United States? D D: Joe Biden
19 Why did the Pilgrims come to America? D D: to find religious freedom
20 How many total Senators are there? D D: 100
21 The Constitution has how many Amendments? B B: 27
22 How many Amendments have been proposed officially by Congress but never ratified? D C: 6
23 Which of these amendments is a ratified and current amendment? A D: Prohibiting the importing of liquor into States where it is illegal
24 In what year was the last amendment ratified? D D: 1992
25 What is the Official Language of the United States? C A: None
26 Who was the first Vice President of the United States? B B: John Adams
27 Who said “Give me liberty or give me death?” B B: Patrick Henry
28 How many Presidents were assassinated while in office? B C: 4
29 Which of these Presidents was born in Texas? D A: Dwight D. Eisenhower
30 How many Presidents have been impeached? B C: 2

A Different Christmas Poem

December 19, 2009

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear,
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts…
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
Then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.
So that your family can sleep without fright.
It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers”

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..

Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”

“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. Service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.

Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

YES, I’M A BAD AMERICAN

December 18, 2009

I Am the Liberal-Progressive’s Worst Nightmare.
I am an American.
I am a Master Mason and believe in God.
I ride Harley Davidson Motorcycles, and believe in American products.
I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some liberal governmental functionary, Democratic or Republican!
I’m in touch with my feelings and I like it that way!
I think owning a gun doesn’t make you a killer; it makes you a smart American.
I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized, and does not entitle you to anything.
Get over it!
I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac, you should do it in English.
I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her God when and where they want to.
My heroes are John Wayne, Babe Ruth, Roy Rogers, and Willie G. Davidson, who makes the awesome Harley Davidson Motorcycles.
I don’t hate the rich… I don’t pity the poor.
I know wrestling is fake, and I don’t waste my time watching or arguing about it.
I’ve never owned a slave, or was a slave. I haven’t burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks, and neither have you! So, shut up already.
I believe if you don’t like the way things are here, go back to where you came from and change your own country!  
This is AMERICA
…We like it the way it is!
If you were born here and don’t like it you are free to move to any Socialist country that will have you.
I want to know which church is it, exactly, where the Reverend Jesse Jackson preaches, where he gets his money, and why he is always part of the problem and not the solution.  Can I get an AMEN on that one?
I also think the cops have the right to pull you over if you’re breaking the law, regardless of what color you are…
And, no, I don’t mind having my face shown on my driver’s license.
I think it’s good…. And I’m proud that ‘God’ is written on my money.
I think if you are too stupid to know how a ballot works, I don’t want you deciding who should be running the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years.
I dislike those people standing in the intersections trying to sell me stuff or trying to guilt me into making ‘donations’ to their cause…..Get a Job and do your part!
I believe that it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes two parents.
I believe ‘illegal’ is illegal no matter what the lawyers think.
I believe the American flag should be the only one allowed in AMERICA!
If this makes me a BAD American, then yes, I’m a BAD American.
If you are a BAD American too, please forward this to everyone you know.
We want our country back!
WE NEED GOD BACK IN OUR COUNTRY!!
WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE!


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