Monday, May 28, 2007

Remembering Memorial Day (and Danny Dietz)

For much of the news media in this nation and, unfortunately, a majority of its citizens, Memorial Day has become the "start of summer vacation" or "the day of the first barbecue." The news media might write up a little sidebar story on the meaning of Memorial Day or broadcast stations get a little ceremonial "B-roll" for filler in the newscasts, but the real emphasis is elsewhere and, even worse, many American citizens think it is a day to honor all dead - not a day to honor the men and women warriors who died defending and fighting for this nation.

U.S. Major General John A. Logan is the man credited as being the most responsible for founding the official Memorial Day holiday with his issuance of General Order No.11 on May 5, 1868. Southern states refused to officially acknowledge the day as a holiday at first. However, the Confederate Memorial authorized by President William H. Taft and the efforts of former Union officer and President William McKinley to tend to the Confederate dead at the National Cemeteries did illustrate a U.S. reconciliation with its past, but southern decoration days in June remained unchanged until after World War I when Memorial Day evolved beyond a day of tribute to Union soldiers.

It finally became a day to honor all Armed Forces personnel who died in service to the United States. While the Southern states still maintained their own decoration days to honor their sons who had served the Confederacy, the descendants of those men continued the patriotic tradition of their families in the U.S. military and are now among the honored dead we commemorate.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz 25, of Littleton, Colorado joined the ranks of the fallen we honor on Memorial Day a couple of years ago. Dietz died while conducting counter-terrorism operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan while serving with a Navy SEAL team. A Taliban force that tremendously outnumbered them attacked the SEAL team and a fierce battle ensued that cost the lives of many American soldiers. The Navy report stated: "Despite this terrible loss, the SEALs on the ground continued to fight. Although mortally wounded, Petty Officers (Matthew G.) Axelson and Dietz held their position and fought for the safety of their teammates despite a hail of gunfire. Their actions cost them their lives, but knowingly gave one of the other SEALs the opportunity to escape."

The location of the U.S. warrior's body lay unknown for seven days. He was recovered during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4, 2005. For his actions under fire, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, which is the Navy's second highest military decoration. PO 2nd Class Dietz was returned home to his family for burial where family and friends watched him laid to rest with full military honors. The city of Littleton, Colorado decided to honor his bravery by erecting a statue of Dietz in uniform holding his rifle.

A group of politically correct citizens, however, launched an immediate protest. Their argument was that erecting a statue of a fallen soldier with a gun in his hand would send the wrong message to the community. Why? Because of the Littleton school shootings in 1999. It seems that political correctness puts an American warrior, who courageously died on the field of battle with honor defending his nation, on the same level as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who criminally murdered 15 people.

The opponents have said they would rather see a "peace dove" or a "soldier holding a child" because they are tired of the violence in the world and a "gun" sends the wrong message. In other words, the men and women who have put their lives on the line for this nation, embodied the American warrior tradition and gave their lives in the line of duty are now being categorized in a sub-criminal class by these "virtuous" peace-loving people in the name of political correctness. It is a message growing in volume as some national broadcast personalities and newspaper columnists have spewed the same rhetoric.

I have spent most of my life as a military affairs reporter, interviewed and count among my friends numerous Medal of Honor recipients and soldiers who embody what is best not only about the United States, but of the warrior tradition. To think we don't or morally should never need them is a flawed logic that cannot be explained in this short space.

Korean MOH Lee Mize told me once there are three things that lose wars: disrespect for the enemy, indecision and low morale. The latter is usually brought on by the other two. It is a message that has worked on battlefields throughout the ages and applies to the battle currently waging against political correctness.

The reaction of the opponents to the memorial statue honoring the heroic service of Navy P.O.2nd Class Danny Dietz and the efforts to stop its construction is inexcusable and to use the Columbine shootings as a reason to prevent it is beyond the pale of decency. Mrs. Patsy Dietz, who is Danny Dietz's widow, has stated repeatedly the statue should be a way for parents "to teach their children the difference between two thugs who murder their classmates and a soldier who died fighting for their freedom."

God Bless Mrs. Dietz for the comment. Parents HAVE to be the ones to teach their children the differences, as we know we cannot trust that message to the public school system or those pundits who blame the instruments of destruction for crimes and not the person or persons wielding them. Finally, hats off to the city of Littleton for standing by what is just and honorable and not listening to the voices of ignorance. On July 4, 2007 - two years to the day this brave soldier's body was recovered from Afghanistan - the city will dedicate the life-sized statue of Danny Dietz - rifle in hand.


Respect those who died for their country? Forget it in Gwinnett County, Georgia

Sikhs are allowed to drive buses wearing their turbans in a lot of places but ... No exceptions for the most deserving people of all

A Gwinnett County bus driver wanted to show support for veterans who lost their lives fighting for our country. So today, the last day before Memorial Day, he wore a patriotic hat. Gary Rolley, who's a vet himself, said he was ordered to take the hat off. A supervisor told him it wasn't part of his uniform.

Rolley is proud of the four years he served in the Navy. He is proud to be an American. "I love my country," he said. Rolley said he is paying tribute to all veterans by wearing his American Legion hat, but the he said that didn't' go over well with his bosses at the Gwinnett County Transit Authority. "The supervisor said, 'You are you have uniform; you have to take that hat off.' I explained this was a hat I wear for the holiday."

Rolley said he continued to wear the hat on his bus route. "As we were going down the road, a second supervisor radioed me. He said, 'What do you have on your head?' I said, "Why are you asking me that?" And he said 'Take that hat off now,'" Rolley explained.

Rolley said he turned the bus around and went back to headquarters. "I said 'I'm sorry, I got sick over this. I'm sick to my stomach, and I'm going home sick'," Rolley said. "I turned around and I left." Rolley said patriotic hats have been allowed in the past, and Santa hats are allowed at Christmastime, so he doesn't understand why the rules have changed. "It's just to me a slap in the face to our veterans," Rolley said. He said he wore the hat on Friday because he has the day off on Monday -- Memorial Day. He said he plans to spend Monday honoring American veterans.

The general manager of the Gwinnett County Transit Authority said that Rolley was asked nicely to wear the proper uniform, and he opted to go home. John Autry said there is a standard issue hat that all bus drivers are required to wear.


Heather Mac Donald flames the Bush DOJ

Post lifted from Michelle Malkin. See the original for links

The Bush Justice Department is going after the New York City Fire Department because minorities can't pass the FDNY written exam. Intrepid Heather Mac Donald blows the whistle on career DOJ bureaucrats chasing phantom racism:

"How much longer are public and private institutions going to be held hostage to black and Hispanic academic failure? The Center for Constitutional Rights and other racial advocacy groups point to urban fire departments that have a higher percentage of minorities to prove that the FDNY is discriminating. But these departments have simply caved in to similar law suits and discarded their qualifications criteria to a degree that New York has not. Organizations around the country are under relentless pressure to change merit standards because of black and Hispanic underachievement, and most have capitulated to some degree. Almost none have been willing to make the case that disproportionate racial representation stems from the lack of qualified candidates, not from hidden sources of bias.

Many a police or fire department, under litigation pressure, has simply dropped its entrance requirements across the board, insuring a lower skill level for the entire department, rather than a sub-group within it. At some point, public safety will suffer...

...What is the Bush Administration thinking? The FDNY suit is clearly the product of career attorneys within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the DOJ, whose life mission consists in going after phantom racism. But any such suit must surely be cleared with higher-ranked political appointees; indeed, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that he defended the department to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, according to the New York Daily News. Republican susceptibility to race-mongering is well-documented, but after 9/11, one might have thought that emergency responders would get a pass on racial pandering from an administration that claims preeminence in homeland security.
Racial and ethnic pandering that endangers homeland security and public safety. It's becoming the Bush Legacy. Speaking of which, the president will be holding a news conference shortly (scheduled for 11am) to push for the security-undermining, ethnic pandering shamnesty.


La Shawn Barber is all over the story and notes that "We've been down this road before:"

In New York City Fire Department to Lower Hiring Standards, I told you that FDNY decided to drop certain qualifications in 2006 and intended to water down the written test to recruit more minority applicants.

Tests that measure a job candidate's ability to reason and comprehend are, in my opinion, more important than people think, and here is where people get it twisted. There is more to fighting fires than merely turning on a hose and pointing. Fire fighters must be able to understand written instructions, directions, and evacuation plans. They must be able to navigate buildings and generally have good spatial abilities. Reasoning skills come in handy when you're under pressure, trying to save lives.

Evaluating an applicant's ability to reason well and understand is not racist nor discriminatory. It is a legitimate part of the job, any job, even one as "simple" as putting out a fire.

Reader R.F. writes:

My son (Caucasian) decided 2 years ago to become a firefighter. First he had to pass an Entrance Exam. He did (score 87%). Note: average is 69%. 70% is passing. He had to go to Junior College part-time (while working during the day to support himself) and get an AA Degree in Firefighting (2 yrs). He then had to take an EMT (emergency medical technician) course and pass (3 months). He then had to pass the National EMT test. He has now been accepted to the Firefighting Academy and is scheduled to attend for 3.5 months in August 07. He has been saving his money as he will not be able to work while he attends the Academy. In the meantime he is a volunteer for Anaheim, CA firefighting 1 day/week at no pay. He applied, in the meantime, to bolster his chances, and was accepted for employment by Care Ambulance Co. Care is employed by many firefighting city departments. He is paid a whopping $10.95 per hour.

Why should anyone receive preferential treatment? My son has had to work his tail off to get this far. This career needs to be color blind. Each person must be based on ability alone. Our lives depend on it.

Pockets of Christianity left in the Church of England

"Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" -- Matthew 7:14

Ninety-five per cent of Britons are heading for hell, according to the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, who has been under fire from some staff for taking one of the leading Anglican theological training colleges in a conservative direction.

Richard Turnbull, appointed two years ago, made the claim in a speech to the annual conference of Reform, a conservative evangelical pressure group within the Church of England. If he truly believes it, the figure would encompass at least all non-evangelical Christians, including many members of the Church of England, and those of all other religions and none.

A recording of the speech, made in October last year and seen by the Guardian, was posted last night on the Thinking Anglicans liberal website. In it, Dr Turnbull also warns against the danger of liberalism in the church, talks of "the strategic nature" of evangelical control of training colleges and calls on conservatives to syphon off 10% of their financial contributions to the Church of England to help pay the costs of like-minded colleges. The message excludes even evangelicals who are regarded as more liberal in their beliefs.

Dr Turnbull told them: "We are committed to bringing the gospel message of Jesus Christ to those who don't know [him] and in this land that's 95% of the people: 95% of people facing hell unless the message of the gospel is brought to them."

Traditionally Wycliffe, a permanent private hall of Oxford University founded in 1877, has trained evangelical Anglicans for the clergy, but its reputation has been as an open evangelical college, welcoming would-be ordinands from a wide range of theological and liturgical beliefs.

Critics within the college have accused the principal of taking it in a much more restrictive and exclusionary direction. At least a third of the academic staff have resigned and its best-known member, the Thought for the Day contributor Elaine Storkey, has been threatened with disciplinary action, allegedly for raising concerns at an internal staff meeting.

In his speech, the principal criticised the Church of England for "restrictive trade practices" in limiting funding for its students and added: "I view [my] post as strategic because it would allow influence to be brought to bear upon generations of the ministry...capture the theological colleges and you have captured the influence that is brought to bear." He warns that unless like-minded parishes fund colleges such as his own, they face closure within 10 years. At the same conference in Derbyshire, Reform members agreed to remain within the Church of England for the time being but to set up an advisory panel to support conservative clergy and encourage ordinands of their viewpoint. They were told by one senior member, the Rev David Holloway, vicar of Jesmond, that the church was a dysfunctional body with incompetent leadership.

In an article to be published in tomorrow's Church of England Newspaper - a more broadly-based evangelical publication - Dr Turnbull's message appears rather more tolerant. He writes: "For me and for Wycliffe, inclusive means exactly that, rather than the exclusion of particular views. So issues which divide ... have to be debated in the open, albeit with care and sensitivity ..."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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