The Day America Changed

It’s hard to believe we’re coming up on the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Like so many others throughout the generations, I’ll never forget that day.

I was working from home that day and didn’t have the TV or radio on at first, so I was pretty oblivious to what was going on. Around 8:45 or so, I headed to town to buy an air filter for my truck, and at NAPA is where I first heard about what was going on. At that point only one plane had hit the tower, and it looked like an isolated incident. (Even now, when I buy an air filter for my truck, I think of 9/11…)

When I got back in the truck, I took out the CD I was listening to and turned the radio on. It wasn’t long after that when we all realized it was going to be a day when America changed. Continue reading The Day America Changed

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From News Real Blog: No Comparison

There’s an curious trend happening these days — some might even call it disturbing — in which members of the Left are falling all over each other to compare Barack Obama to Ronald Reagan. If it weren’t so odd, and at times over the top, it would be easy to dismiss it as quaint and merely laughable, but this meme has become head-stratchingly bizarre.

The comparisons have been going on since Obama was barely inaugurated, but the last few months have seen an upswing in the Obama-as-Reagan narrative. We can point to two occasions which come together to serve as the main impetus for what has turned into a seemingly endlesscomparison. The first and most obvious one is the centennial of President Reagan’s birth. This momentous event has been accompanied by a wave of Reagan nostalgia, obviously from all of us here on the Right, but, interestingly enough, also from the Left. That’s right, even the Left has finally come around to see what a great man Reagan was, albeit grudgingly.

The second event is actually a pair of speeches President Obama made within a few days of each other. When Obama spoke at a memorial service for the victims of the Tucson shooting, he made a masterful speech, even if the service was marred by truly strange crowd behavior. The speech was possibly one of Obama’s finest moments. A couple of weeks later, he delivered his State of the Union address. The mainstream media attempted to paint the address as another deftly delivered speech, but it was just full of the same empty, vague platitudes as any number of speeches Obama gave during his campaign.

Seizing on this train of nostalgia for a truly remarkable president like Reagan and on a pair of alleged high notes for Obama, the Left has picked up the ball of Obama-Reagan comparisons and run with it. Time even ran with a now notorious cover featuring a photoshopped image of Reagan standing next to Obama, his arm around the younger president’s shoulder, a photo that is as tacky as those electronically edited duets between a living singer and a deceased one. It was an audacious move, to say the least.

Sadly, we know the truth. Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan. And even though most of us know this fact, it’s worth pointing out the reasons why there is no comparison between the two men. Here’s a list of reasons why Obama can’t even hold a candle to Reagan.

Continue reading at News Real Blog

Challenger

Twenty-five years ago today, on January 28, 1986 at 11:39 a.m., the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded about a minute after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts aboard. It was a tragic, heartbreaking day, and I remember it well.

It was a Tuesday afternoon, and we were home from school for a snow day. I remember that they this shuttle mission was historic, as it featured the first non-professional, completely civilian astronaut, “Teacher In Space” Christa McAuliffe. The launch had been delayed for several days due to weather issues at Cape Canaveral and at abort landing sites. The launch date was set for the 28th, in spite of temperatures being at literally the coldest possible point for a launch day.

We were at home watching The Price Is Right, when CBS News interrupted the show to report that “something went wrong” with the Space Shuttle. From that point, all three stations (we didn’t have cable) stuck with live coverage of what was going on. My mom popped a tape into our (Beta) VCR and began recording. I remember the VCR timer being set and on record throughout the next several days, recording speeches, memorials, and other coverage. Even through the tragedy, it was spellbinding to think of watching history unfold through the day. Continue reading Challenger

Happy 226th Birthday, UGA!

Today marks the 226th anniversary of the founding of the University of Georgia. On this day in 1785, the oldest public university in the United States was chartered. Since that fateful, historic day, UGA has become a leader in academics, innovation, athletics, and leadership. It also has one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.

As an alumnus of the University of Georgia, I’m proud to have been part of this long tradition of excellence. In many ways it’s like a second home to me, and I always feel welcome in Athens. Happy Birthday UGA! It will always be great to be a Georgia Bulldog!

Thirty Years Ago Today

I don’t have many earthly heroes. As a man of faith, I try my best not to put my trust in human beings. While there are plenty of people throughout history and in my life that I love, admire, and respect, there are only a few whom I would consider heroes. Alan Shepard, the first American in space. Walt Disney, for plenty of obvious reasons. One of my greatest heroes is Ronald Reagan.

Thirty years ago today, Ronald Reagan took the oath of office and was inaugurated as president. At an age when many men were well past retirement, Reagan, just shy of 70, would embark on a new and historic phase of his career.  Continue reading Thirty Years Ago Today

Veterans Day

Most people who know me know that my grandparents are in the process of moving into assisted living; my grandmother has been in about a month now, and by grandfather will be there officially soon. While cleaning out some of the items that they have accumulated over the years, my grandfather gave my family an assortment of articles cut out of old newspapers, church bulletins, and other items. Some of the articles involve some of my school activities from the 80’s, others tell of church activities my grandparents engaged in, and still more told the story of an apparently ill-fated Marietta City Council bid my grandfather undertook in the early 60’s. Another worn envelope contained an incredible find: cutouts from World War II, detailing the exploits of soldiers from Covington and Oxford.

My grandfather didn’t fight in the war. He wanted to, but medical conditions kept him from serving. However, many of his friends from high school and many of the young men he played baseball with fought in the Pacific and European theaters for the cause of democracy and the protection of free people. One of his older brothers did as well, and I’ve read some of the reports of their exploits (both of his older brothers may have…I’m just not sure). Reading these small articles about the heroics and routine of members of what is known as the Greatest Generation, and to read them on the eve of Veterans Day was particularly poignant.

A couple of weeks ago, our Lead Pastor Scott Moore and I finished lunch and stopped by a local grocery store for some cookies to take back to the office. At the store we met a man who served in the same company of Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. The significance of encountering living history was not lost on the two of us.

I have an immeasurable respect for those who have served and our serving in our Armed Forces, keeping America safe and helping the cause of freedom throughout the world. The men and women of our military place their lives in harm’s way, and I am grateful to those who serve and have served. My deepest thanks go out to the veterans today and everyday. May God bless our military men and women.

Defining Moments

I don’t have to remind anyone what today is. This morning, I watched the Fox News recap of their coverage, the exact same coverage I watched on September 11, 2001.  As I watched, an odd, unexpected flood of emotion came over me; it was the same flood of emotion I felt eight years ago, the single exception being lack of fear as I watched today. It’s no secret that the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 changed our lives, drastically in some ways.

I began to think later on about what historical events have defined my life. For my parents, three obvious generational benchmarks were the Kennedy and King assassinations and the Moon landing; for my grandparents, the Great Depression and World War II defined their generation. It’s strange how the negative moments are the ones we tend to see as historical benchmarks. For my generation, I thought of:

  • The murder of John Lennon: this is the first tragic death of a beloved celebrity that I really remember in my life. I remember Elvis’ passing, but it’s a less vivid memory. Although I wasn’t the massive Beatles’ fan then that I am now, I remember how deeply Lennon’s death affected people.
  • The attempted assassination of President Reagan: I remember coming home from school to my mom watching live news coverage of it. Of course, it was before the oversaturated 24/7 news cycle we have these days, so the coverage was urgent, almost suspenseful.
  • The Challenger disaster: This may not have affected me as much as it did had I not seen it live on TV. We were out of school for a snow day, and I was curled up on the sofa to watch the launch (that was back when NASA was at least a little bit interesting). Seeing a tragedy like that unfold live was pretty harrowing for a 13-year old.
  • The bombing at Centennial Olympic Park: That was a little too close to home for me; that’s why I remember it so vividly.
  • 9/11/2001: After the initial shock and fear that day, I pretty vividly remember the national unity and how baseball and college football were delayed. The patriotism and pride that emerged immediately after the events of that day were mixed with the fear and mourning. It was a strange mix of negative and positive emotion.

There were plenty of good things that happened for our generation too, so I wonder: why do we remember the negative events as those that define our generations? I think it’s because when the good things happen, we tend to take them for granted; we tend to see them as just part of our lives. But the negative events tend to shake us at our emotional foundation; they make us pause, think, and even grieve. Sometimes it takes the negative moments to make us appreciate the good things…

Retelling The Story

Long time, no post, huh?

Ronald Radosh has an interesting story in today’s Front Page Magazine. Apparently, one of Julius Rosenberg’s closest associates has finally admitted to being a spy for the Soviets. Those who are interested in Cold War history…and the efforts to combat the left-wing revision of such history…would do themselves a favor to check out this fascinating piece.

Heritage

Today, my grandfather handed me a copy of the Arnold family tree. He’s been working on it for years, but this project has consumed him for the last few months. To be perfectly honest, the family tree is only marginally interesting to me, but there is a fascinating side note. The branches of the tree spread all the way back to 558 BC, and there are brushes with history and legend throughout.

One ancestor was arrested and hanged for high treason against the British government in the days when the seeds of the American Revolution were being planted. Another is what more than a few scholars say is the historical basis for the King Arthur legends. Further back is a man known as “Old King Coel (sic).” Another name in the lineage is the first Roman Emporer to officially recognize Christianity in the Empire. It’s truly staggering, humbling stuff.

What is of the greatest interest to me is the identification of a heritage. For so long it’s been easy to speculate, to say “We think…” or “I’m pretty sure…” but now we have a proven history, and it was one I certainly didn’t know about. My grandfather’s family is from Wales.

Now, I have to admit, I know practically nothing about Wales or it’s people. I’ve always felt like I knew a good bit about the people of the British Isles, but the Welsh are a new discovery for me. I’ve been trying to see what I can get my hands on to learn about Wales. I’m slowly but determinedly reading John Davies’ A History Of Wales, but it’s so think and dense with information that it’s an often difficult read. (…imagine reading a textbook out of choice…) I’ve explored some websites and considered buying other books. I’ve even had an email conversation with a professor at Aberystwyth University and had a question answered on a reference site for Welsh history and culture. It’s an effort to dig into where my family came from…or at least part of it…

I’ll keep everyone posted on how it goes. Hopefully, this is a quest that will yield rewards for me.

As humbling as it is to discover kings and emperors in your past, it’s inspiring to consider how I fit into that history. In the All Staff Meeting last week, Scott talked about the kings of Israel and how the nation’s spiritual prosperity rose and fall on the kings, and he related that idea to us and to our ministries. He said, “you may not have ‘king’ by your name, but you are the king of your area of ministry. You have influence over those in your life.” It’s true. God has a purpose for all of us, and I pray that I fulfill mine. If I do so, I will be a true honor to those who have gone before me…not just the Kings of Gwent and Morgannwg in Wales, but the “great cloud of witnesses” who have walked the path of God’s favor.