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An Open Challenge to the LA Times April 19, 2012

An Open Challenge to the LA Times

On behalf of all the Military Families whose spouses and parents are deployed in Afghanistan and around the world, I challenge you to fairly depict all of the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. Where is your coverage of the new schools, hospitals and infrastructure our hardworking military men and women have built over there? Where are your stories of cooperation and bettering relationships with the local people we are there to protect and serve? What about photos and stories of the self sacrifice and heroic efforts our citizen soldiers will continue to render on our behalf? What, they don’t sell papers? They aren’t graphic enough images for you?

I strongly support this countries right to free speech. My family has proved that through seven deployments in the past thirteen years. My husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan, so everyday we are acutely aware of what we are personally sacrificing in order for you, Mr. Zucchino and Mr. Maharaj to, in the name of free speech, muckrake all over the brave Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airman that have answered this country’s, YOUR country’s, call to serve. If you worry about whether your story will put our troops in harms way, you can be most assured the gun you just loaded, will most definitely go off. And to the anonymous solider who felt that releasing these photographs, from two years ago (an eternity on a heated battlefield), would improve current security and leadership conditions? I hope the fifteen minutes of fame you are waiting to get, is worth the blood on your hands. I am not naive, war is messy and horrific, and should not be sugarcoated. However, would you, at 18, 19, 20 have had the fortitude of mind, while getting shot at and watching your buddies get blown up around you, to maintain professionalism at all times? I am not condoning their acts, in fact they were pretty stupid. But through your actions, Mr. Zucchino and Mr. Maharaj, the trigger has been pulled and you are not helping these men, you are leaving them behind.

Have first amendment rights been upheld satisfactorily for you now? I hope yesterday’s news fodder, incidentally blown off the air by a TV show-host’s death, was worth the blood of our best. I believe it was Mr. Zucchino who said in an NPR interview, he wished, and would have been better off, never seeing these photos. Well I agree with him. My elementary school children saw those photos splashed across the evening news. Are they better off now?

If you want to improve relations with the Afghan people. If you honestly desire to make the safety and leadership conditions improve for our troops…How about trying patriotism gentlemen? I challenge you…and all the media for that matter… for every ounce of effort you have put into this horrific story, put equal or double into telling the positive, heroic stories that our military men and women, who are out there as I write this, have done in our name.

Semper Fidelis,
Amie Charney
Proud Marine Corps Wife

 

Where were you on 9/11? September 10, 2010

My husband and I were talking last night about impact events. An impact event is a moment never lost in the stream of daily minutia. That is why we celebrate and mourn them; weddings, births, deaths, national tragedies…we feel compelled as humans to venerate the day so we never forget.

My parents still remember where they were November 22, 1963, sitting in their school classrooms wondering why their teachers were to choked up to talk. On January 28, 1986 I was home sick from 6th grade, watching television at the neighbor’s house when cartoons were interrupted to watch the live Challenger launch and then explosion. I remember driving to work on April 19, 1995 sobbing in my car when the Oklahoma City bombing was reported on the radio. These days are etched on my memory as vividly as my wedding day and birth of my children.

September 11, 2001 was an impact event felt the world over. My husband and I were in a small outback town in Australia. He was there on deployment, and I had flown to meet him. Our one year old daughter was in Chicago with her grandparents, and we had called in to check on her before going to bed. His mother answered the phone and said turn on CNN, which we did…just in time to see the second plane angle to the building and plow through. I was numb. My mother-in-law was sobbing, clinging she said to our daughter. At the time she had an office in the Chicago Sears Tower. She did not go into work for days after the tragedy, because our world had gone mad and no one knew what might happen next.

My husband and I started to pack. Within 30 minutes a car was sent to get us from our hotel, and sped to the safety of base. I spent the next two days in an underground bunker with 300 Marines preparing for…for who knew what at the time. These incredibly brave men and women were mobilized, horrified, sad, even devastated perhaps…but ready and resolved. I envied them. I couldn’t stop crying and worrying. I envied them because they could do something about it, and all I could do was kneel at the base chapel alter and pray.

They began to mobilize and I had to leave. That was a surreal drive through the outback…by myself…going 120 mph (no speed limits), dodging road trains…trying to get back to Darwin to get a plane into Sydney and then perhaps home. I barely made it to Sydney. I landed at midnight, and Ansett Airlines went out of business minutes after I landed. I was fortunate to get a hotel room in Sydney, there were very few left.

The atmosphere in Sydney was so different from the week we had been there prior. It was somber, reflective and a little frightened. I will forever be indebted, as an American, to the Australian people. They were supportive and loving to what felt like an instant community of refugees. They held memorial services for us in their churches. Everywhere I went there were hugs, tears, offers of support and prayers from complete strangers.

For me, and the many Americans I met there…waiting like me to go home…getting on an airplane felt as frightening as climbing Mt. Everest. I got one of the last tickets on the first plane to leave Australia. All I wanted to do was get to Chicago and hug my daughter tight. The only ticket I could get was into Los Angeles, and then it was unknown when I could get a flight from there…but at least I would be on home soil. I guarantee you, America never felt as much like home to me as at that moment.

It took almost eight hours to get through Sydney airport security…and no one in that line cared. We wanted them to search everything. I was flying United, and the pilot and flight attendants gave instructions through tears. Strangers hugged each other and put down their books to talk with their seat mates. People shared stories, prayed together and even held hands during take off. When we finally landed at LAX, a cheer strangled through tears and sobs, went up through the plane. On man knelt on the terminal ground and kissed it when we got off the plane. We were Americans, in that small microcosm of our country, we were united.

Landing in LAX was like stepping into a war zone. National guard soliders with M-16s and police officers geared like SWAT almost outnumbered the passengers. I literally had left one country a month earlier and returned to a completely different one. Eventually I made it home to hug my baby. I didn’t let go for a long time. I was grateful though…there were a lot of mothers who would never hug their babies again.

Although we will never forget 9/11, the farther away we have moved from it, the more its lessons fade in our minds. That is why we need to venerate the day – listen to the reading of the names, remember to hug your family, pray with a complete stranger, and hold the hands of our fellow Americans in gratitude for the wonderful country we live in.

Always Remember…Where were you on 9/11? Share your story in the comments below.

 

Your Thanksgiving Gift…John Williams November 27, 2008

I am thankful today for many things… healthy children, a warm home, a safe and loving husband, family and an abundance of food and gifts from God. I am not trying to take away from the import of the day, but instead add a little levity. What I am most thankful for is the gift of laughter. In a world that seems grim, sometimes just having a good laugh is better than most everything else. So, here is my Thanksgiving gift to you…laughter. Do yourself a favor and hit play. For the 2 million of you that have already seen it, laugh again. Presenting, in four part acapella harmony…John Williams is the Man…performed by Corey Vidal. And if you are wondering what he just sang, here are the words… http://www.moosebutter.com/lyrics.php/3 Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Vote. Need a reason? Here’s one. October 28, 2008

Please Vote.

Many have died for your right to cast it, many more in this world would die for the chance.

 

One Object Lesson to Far July 20, 2008

There was a hearse outside the church main doors. If that wasn’t enough to jar you, as you entered for worship, in front was a lit coffin with a mirror inside the casket for you to parade past and peer inside. No, this wasn’t a funeral, it was a Sunday Morning Worship Service. In my opinion, this was one object lesson to far.

As a military wife, whose husband is currently deployed to a war zone, this object lesson was in poor taste and not well thought through. Unlike most people, I think about the realities of death everyday. Before my husband leaves, we sit down with a 15 page document and have to decide things like, where would he want to be buried, in what uniform, who would I want to tell me, would I want to be medicated… most people don’t even have a will. Dealing with the reality of death can make you ultra sensitive to symbols of it. The last place I thought I would have to worry about avoiding those symbols was Sunday Worship. I go to find refuge and strength at my church, to worship God corporately, it is my safe place to be frail before God…not be encroached upon by the most symbolic and grotesque visual props of death. 

As a director, I understand how props are a visual interpretor of what is often esoteric. When used effectively, they can boil big ideas down to a salient points. I still think that a “picture” can be worth more than words. Props are in your face… or more appropriately in your eyes, and the point was made with me. The coffin and hearse made a huge impact on me; a gut turning negative one. I walked out of the sanctuary and will not return there until the series is over.

I would encourage those of you picking props to illustrate object lessons; consider the taste factor. Is it appropriate? Shock factor, or this is going to be SO COOL, is not always appropriate or wise. Stop and think about who makes up your church body. Be sensitive that your body of believers may be turned off instead of tuned in, and if that is the case, select wisely.

One last thought, if you can’t live without the prop… and you don’t feel the minotiy fall out is worth losing the majority impact, let those you feel might be hurt, insulted, horrified know what you are going to do. Spare them… let them know it’s okay to sit that service out. Yes, that requires you to go the extra mile. It requires you to stop and think before acting. It requires you to know your church membership. Please, be concerned about the one sheep while you are blazing through the other 99.

 

I Pledge July 3, 2008

Memorial Flag flown over the USS Arizona

Memorial Flag flown over the USS Arizona

As the United States of America dawns its 233rd year, I thought it fitting to take a moment and give honor to the country we love.

As some are cracking out the beer and BBQ, as some are readying their fireworks display, as some are whipping up their picnic salads, as some are watching parades… as some are strapping on their guns and body armor, as some are patrolling foreign shores, as some are weeping quietly and praying for their safety, as some are mourning the ones that will never return… I would like us to take a moment and think about this nation, and what it stands for.

So often in our lives we have begrudgingly stood, doffed our caps with hands over our hearts and recited a pledge taught to us in primary school. I wonder, how many have truly considered the honor it is to stand in freedom and say those words. My prayer this Fourth of July is that we can stop merely pledging and start practicing.

I PLEDGE …. a solemn promise, a binding oath, a formal vow taken with the knowledge of one’s responsibility  

 ALLIEGENCE devotion, fidelity owed by a citizen to their government 

to the FLAG the visible representation, the distinctive symbol of our Nation; representing the freedoms and rights guaranteed to its citizens. Its colors standing for purity, innocence, bravery, sacrifice, vigilance and justice: the cornerstones of our society.

of the United States of America a confederation of sovereign states united to protect a shared vision of self evident truths: that all mankind is created equal and endowed by God with the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

and to the republic…  a government in which supreme power resides in its citizens and is exercised by elected officers responsible and governing according to laws approved by those citizens. 

for which it stands… the values and freedoms that we as a united nation will die to protect

One Nation… One Nation means “… malice toward none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting, peace, among ourselves…” Abraham Lincoln

Under God… “”It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God… and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln

Indivisible…the union of states is incapable of undergoing division: discussion absolutely, disagreement certainly, but division impossible.

With Liberty… the state of being free and enjoying social, political, and economic rights and privileges: The power of choice.

“Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus, American Poet, engraved on the Statue of Liberty.

and Justice… what is right, fair, appropriate and deserved

FOR ALL! …The United States of America and the freedoms she holds dear is our birthright, no matter creed, color or religion.

As I sit and pray for my husband who is defending this great nation on foreign soil once again, I realize that with great gifts come great responsibility and sacrifice. There are thousands right now who are defending our freedom with life, limb and time. They have been called upon, by this nation, to defend her life and liberty; you and me. Let us do our part to support them…

…until the last one comes home.

I Pledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoveling Out June 19, 2008

One room clean, ugh many more to go My kids and I are on an epic “adventure” in cleaning this week, I call it shoveling out the house. While I am pitching bagfuls of cheap plastic, I think to myself, “Why do I buy so much (well I must say it) crap?”

I am struck by the words of a wise friend who was channeling her inner Peter Walsh… “You won’t have to clean so much if you don’t keep so much.” Or, as my good Midwestern, sensible husband might add… buy it in the first place.

I love a clean house… I really do… I enjoy sitting on my cozy couch, my warm and fuzzy blanket drawn up…a cup of warm jasmine tea in hand… a great book open on my lap (my children blissfully asleep in their OWN beds)… and looking over the vastness that is a clean house… the Lego and Polly pocket free floors, the stacks of paper gone from all horizontal surfaces, the fact that I can stretch my legs out on the couch without knocking over two weeks of junk mail and seven loads of unfolded laundry… Awe BLISS.

However, I am not a talented homemaker… in fact I despise the tasks that it involves all together. I have distinct memories from childhood praying for angels to come overnight and clean my room. Alas, I hadn’t learned yet that God uses room cleaning to teach patience, discipline… needless to say, I never had any angelic maids feather dusting at night… and have tried to avoid as much as I possibly can ever since.

Good on you Fly-Ladies, but… I just can’t seem to make cleaning the house EVERY Day work for me. Instead I choose to marathon clean… meaning when the house starts to have Pre-Cambrian layers it’s time to start shoveling… Indiana Jones style. This is not the method I would recommend, however it seems to be the pattern that I am stuck in…and sick of.

So, I have decided (for the tenth time…at least) that I am turning over a new leaf. That it is time to teach my children to live clean and relatively clutter free lives…and do OTS…(Opportunities to Serve… fancy acronym for chores) I am not without a heart, and realize that it is easier to maintain and do said OTS’s in a clean house, so it’s “kill the first week of summer and get rid of everything” time.

Now, if you are a parent… the dilemna is this…motivating said children to 1) clean at all 2) not move into the clean areas you have just finished, because it’s so much “funner” to play in the part that is not at critical mass 3) get rid of the toy that has been collecting dust behind the couch for 3 months…because it is their FAVVORITEE…  Awe, I can see you sympathise.

So my answer and advice is to bribe with abandon. Instead of popping a coronary…this time… I make up great rewards for achievement… Sure mommy will sit through Kung Fu Panda with you… for a price, just your room clean. Laser Tag?? No problem, the living room is all yours, make sure you dust.

And hey, guess what…

It still didn’t work 🙂

So 3 bags of trash, 5 bags of old clothes and toys to give away…I have 5 rooms down, 3 more and 3 bathrooms to go… I have come to this conclusion and written a sign that is posted on the door out to the garage… it reads

People/Time over Things: 7 days of bleach fumes is not worth buying ___(insert items)____.   

So, You Fly-Lady’s who love to write me whenever I moan over housework…bring it on. I would love any suggestions that actually work…not in theory, but are time tested and successful. I will post the good ones to encourage us domestically challenged…come on, I know you are out there…

See you on the Flip Side! Amie

 

 

 
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