Over the last few days, many people have asked me what I thought about "the girl from Plymouth". You know, the one yelling and flipping off the camera at Arlington National Cemetery, in front of the sign that says Silence and Respect. Lindsey Stone is her name and if you didn't know it before, after the news tonight, you will. This story has taken on a life of it's own, and it's only getting worse for Lindsey. Her and her co-worker, who were on a business trip last month in DC, when they visited Arlington and took the photo, are now both on unpaid leave from their jobs. The organization Living Independantly Forever, had to release a statement on their Facebook page condemning the photo, and stating that their employees actions do not reflect the company, or their stance on Veterans etc. There is even a page on Facebook, asking for their firing, and it has over 10,000 "likes" already.
So, how do I feel about it? Well, up until she posted the photo on her Facebook page, and all hell broke loose, I think Lindsey Stone was one of the luckiest people on the planet.
First, she is a woman, born in the U.S.A.., which the odds are against in the grand scheme of things. She could have been born in Afghanistan, China, or in the Congo, where she would have led a very different life. She could have been born in N. Korea, or Iran where I'm sure they do not look kindly at disrespecting their war heroes. Here in the U.S.A.., what she did isn't a crime, it's protected by the First Amendment.
Second, in one of the most tragic economies America has ever seen, Lindsey is employed, at what looks like an amazing organization, that is really helping people and changing the world for the better. How many of us can say that about where we work?
And finally Lindsey, judging by her actions alone, has made it through life without knowing anyone in uniform. That has to be the case right? I mean, how could she have family who has served in previous wars and do what she did? Or, how could she know someone now that is currently serving, after 10+ years of war and terror, and make the trip to Arlington and do what she did?
She's never had to say goodbye, or cry herself to sleep worrying. She's never packed a care package, or written a love letter to someone far away. She's never had to pray for a Skype call, or be afraid of the doorbell in the middle of the night. She's never had to see someone she loves go and look evil in the eye, only to come home a different person.
And most importantly, she's never attended a funeral, where a flag is given to a crying widow, or mother "On behalf of a grateful nation".
She doesn't know anyone buried at Arlington, except for the few that she learned about in school like JFK. She probably doesn't even know what Section 60 is.
How lucky for her!
She's part of the 99% that don't have someone they love, in harms way. How amazing for her. Up until a month ago, Lindsey Stone was living the American dream. The dream where Memorial Day and Veterans Day means long weekends off for BBQing, beer drinking, and good deals on new cars. Up until a month ago, Lindsey Stone wasn't afraid. Now, as the hours go by, she learns more and more that her "innocent" joke, wasn't a joke at all. Somehow, she made it through the gates at Arlington, and wasn't overcome with the sadness and loss that everyone else feels. But, now she feels sadness and loss... and regret too I bet.
When I first saw that photo, I thought it was a photo shopped joke, or a cruel prank. I even gave her the benefit of the doubt that she could be the victim in all of this. That someone took her picture and put it in front of that sign, to try and make her look bad. Obviously, that is not the case. This photo will follow her for the rest of her life. Every time she applies for a job, or applies for a loan it will come up. When her kids Google their Mom, that will be the first picture they see. Her name will be remembered, and she'll be treated differently by anyone who remembers... forever.
She released a statement on Facebook saying that it was a joke, and that they were just acting like "douchebags"...and that they meant no disrespect. Lindsey, you're right... you were acting like douchebags. You came up with the idea for the picture, you took the picture, and then you posted the picture online, and at no time did you think for a second... THIS ISN'T A GOOD IDEA!?! How comfy that little bubble that you live in must be!
Do I think that Lindsey Stone is the most evil person in the world? No! I am confident that there are people way more evil than she is. Arlington is filled with the bodes of those who died fighting that evil.
Do I think she is one of the dumbest? Yes, she probably is.
Like I said, up until she posted that picture, Lindsey Stone was one of the luckiest people on the planet...
Most people are surprised to hear that I've been to Iraq & Afghanistan, but I don't shoot guns. I went shooting for the first time AFTER I got home from Iraq in 2006. Maybe I should have learned BEFORE I went to the Middle East! Well, today I decided to change all that!
I met a guy named Phil in Afghanistan and went on some missions with him and his guys.
(Phil is on the right in the picture below)
Phil recently introduced me to Matt Devito from Downrange Firearms Training. Matt said that no matter how inexperienced I was, if I took his class, I would be able to shoot! He was right. Today I headed to NH, and took a 4 hour, private class and I brought Andrew our video guy along to capture it all on HD video (just in case I did something stupid!).
Here I am with Matt and Phil. We made the biggest guy, hold the smallest gun! :)
The video is on the way, but until then... Check out some of the pictures and more importantly the firepower that I wrapped my hands around!
Here's what was on the menu!
Andrew our video guy, captures Matt explaining what to do and what NOT to do!
Let the shooting begin!
WWII M1 Garand
Trying to learn how to be a sniper, watch out evil pumpkins!
Thank you Matt, for a great class! Now that I've started shooting, I'm addicted!
I can't wait to take your next class!!!
(Note the S&W 500 in my hand. YES, I shot that too. Wait until you see the video!)
Anyone who listens to my show, knows about my love for our service men and women, and my dedication to our Veterans! They are the "other 1%" who have volunteered, and dedicated themselves to protecting all of us. Imagine writing a blank check, and that check is worth your life. That's what they have done.
When you say "Support The Troops" it shouldn't just mean, while they are overseas. It means, supporting them and their families while they are gone and more importantly, when they come home. Did you know that more soldiers die from suicide after returning home, than die on the battlefield? PTSD, TBI, unemployment, divorce, and the overall feeling that they just don't "fit in" at home anymore, are just a few reasons why. Did you know that the divorce rate for deployed soldiers is almost 80%? Or that children of deployed soldiers have a harder time in school?
Generations of Veterans have been welcomed home as heroes, others were chastised, and still more were never even recognized at all. Our generation should learn from those that have come before us. This weekend, while you are enjoying the deals on cars and mattresses, make sure you thank a Veteran for everything that they have sacrificed in service to this country. They don't ask for thanks, and they don't expect it, but they deserve it, and so much more!
If you're looking to support some great Military based charities in honor of a Veteran in your life, allow me to suggest
Veterans, click here for a list of places to eat and drink this weekend for FREE!
Patriots Will Honor Veterans and Military Members Sunday
Veterans and active members of each branch in the military and Coast Guard to be honored in pregame flag ceremony. Patriots Charitable Foundation focuses on "Veterans and Military Volunteerism" as part of the ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative.
In a pregame ceremony, more than 100 active military members, representing each branch of the military and Coast Guard, will join members of the Kraft family, Patriots alumni and cheerleaders to display a large American flag that will spread the entire length of the field.
The game will also feature a flyover from 439 Airlift Wing in Westover, Mass., a Color Guard ceremony performed by the Army National Guard and national anthem sung by the 215th Army Band’s Voices of Freedom. During the game, all service men and women will be asked to stand and be recognized and messages from military members serving oversees will be played in-game on the video boards.
Throughout the weekend, veterans and active military can enjoy a free trip to The Hall. From Friday, Nov. 10 through Monday, Nov. 12, The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon will offer free admission to all veterans and active military with their military ID.
Check out the list below, for Veterans Day events in your area. Feel free to add to this list by commenting on this blog!
At American Legion Post 40 199 Federal Furnace Rd. in Plymouth, MA. 6:30pm In honor of the Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day, we will be having a Chicken Parmesan Dinner at 7:00 followed by dancing
DUXBURY The unveiling ceremony for the Duxbury American Legion Post 223’s War on Terrorism Memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Veterans Day (Sunday Nov. 11), with a reception at noon inside the Post, which is located at 5 West St. The memorial is dedicated to Army Lt. Timothy Steele, 25, who died while serving with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan Aug. 23 of last year. He was a 2004 graduate of Duxbury High School and 2009 graduate of West Point. The memorial is also dedicated to all other men and women who have lost their lives fighting the war on terrorism, wherever they served their country. Two of Steele’s Fort Drum comrades will be in attendance, including 1st Lt. Derek Rondeau, who will be the keynote speaker and served with Steele in Afghanistan, and 1st Sgt. William Collins, who will present the Fallen Soldier display.
The public is invited to attend and are requested to RSVP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 781-536-4086.
Salute to Veterans Date: Monday, November 12th, 2012 9:00AM-11:30AM Where: Berkshire Christian School 259 Kemble Street Lenox MA 01240
Join students and staff to honor veterans and their spouses with a brunch a patriotic program. Enjoy a free brunch and listen as our students express their gratitude through music and recitation. All veterans and families welcome. To RSVP please call 413-637-2474 by Nov 7th. Info@berkshirechristianschool.com
Veterans' Day Celebration at the State House
Date: Sunday, November 11th, 2012 10AM-11:30AM Where: Massachusetts State House, Memorial Hall. 24 Beacon Street, Boston MA 02111
Join the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services along with distinguished guests and speakers in celebrating Veterans Day at the State House. **OPEN TO THE PUBLIC** For more information contact Sharlene Queenan at 617-210-5930 or email: email@example.com
Charlestown Lions Club Sunday November 11, 2012 9a-12p Pancake Breakfast Knights of Columbus Hall 545 Medford St, Charlestown, MA. 02129
$5 donation, children under 5 FREE
FREE Veterans Day Cruise- From Quincy & Boston
Date: Sunday, November 11th, 2012 From Quincy Shipyard at 10:15am, returning 2:30pm, Also departing from Long Wharf Boston at 11:00am returning 2:00pm
Join us on a special cruise highliting the military history of Boston Harbor. We will be making a stop at Fort Warren on Georges Island for a tour of the fort and a special tribute to longtime veteran and volunteer Charlie Boyer: Tickets are FREE for Veterans and cost $5 for families and friends. Reservations strongly recommended, space limited.
For reservations visit: www.bostonharborislands.org or call 617-770-0040 ext. 102.
Veterans' Day Fun Run 5k/10k Race, Walk or Roll
Date: Saturday, November 10th, 2012 Where: Bedford VA 200 Springs Rd, Bedford MA 01730
Join the Bedford VA in this year's Veterans' Day Fun Run! Proceeds will go to support deployed members & their families in the local community. Register at: www.afafunrun.com. Pre-Registration: $30.00 by November 1st. Or Race Day Registration: $35.00. For race questions and or volunteer opportunities: Call Ryan Lafferty 781-271-4581 or 978-727-3604. Kristin Pressly 781-687-4988 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Elizabeth Price 781-687-3067 or email: email@example.com
Sunday November 11
at the American Legion Post 193 in Winchendon, Cub Scout Pack will be honoring the Veterans both past and present.