Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow Falls on Stonehenge in England



Scenes of Stonehenge in the snow in England

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haiti Update............

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti

The United Nations said Saturday the government had confirmed 111,481 bodies; all told, authorities have estimated 200,000 dead from the magnitude-7.0 quake, according to Haitian government figures.

The streets of Haiti are covered in rubble. Trucks carry the dead bodies of victims to excavated mass graves outside the city. 40,000 bodies are said to have been buried and thousands more are still believed buried in the rubble and yet to be uncovered.

About 609,000 people are homeless in the capital's metro area, and the United Nations estimates that up to 1 million could leave Haiti's destroyed cities for rural areas already struggling with extreme poverty.

MEANWHILE.........

Christian televangelist and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson stirred controversy by making insensitive remarks the day after a devastating earthquake hit Haiti on Jan. 12.

“Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French … and they got together and swore a pact to the devil,” Robertson said on “The 700 Club,” his daily broadcast on ABC Family.

Pat Robertson, is a household name to Americans. Even worse, he is influential and respected by millions. According to the book of Robertson, the reason for every disaster is sin, and the solution usually involves sending him money.

A lot of people have taken Pat Robertson to task for his cruel remarks concerning the earthquake in Haiti.

Here's an alternative view Pat, the "fault" lies under the Atlantic Ocean, not in the sins of Haitians. The earth's tectonic plates are neither good nor evil. The more we learn about their shifting, the better we will be able to predict future earthquakes.

This reckless insensitivity and baseless superstition should keep Robertson off mainstream television. His show should be boycotted and removed from ABC Family, and he should not be invited as a guest contributor on talk shows.

Haitians did not die because of some imagined pact. Despite this evidence, Robertson has offered his erroneous explanation to exploit this disaster and push religion.

Robertson’s fans should take all his comments — stupid or not — as a testament to his character and evaluate whether they want to be associated with him. In the realm of American broadcasting, Robertson is irrelevant. Balance is necessary in the national discourse, but there is no counterweight to his madness.

AND.............

The radioman Rush Limbaugh made harsh and racial comments about the affected people of Haiti earthquake. He went on-air to criticize American President Barack Obama for his quick response to the disastrous tragedy. According to insensitive Limbaugh the disaster enables Obama to show his compassionate credentials and for being too fast in approving aid for Haiti. He gives unwanted suggestions to people that they shouldn’t waste their money making donations to White House.

Limbaugh said, “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”

*****

It never ceases to amaze me there are always people that say really cruel, insensitive, insidious things. How can those who have enjoyed the success and financial rewards of these two men not feel some measure of sorrow for what has happened in Haiti? To use the power of their TV/radio pulpits to try to convince others not to help their brothers and sisters is sickening to me. How about you?

Please consider joining me and others in protesting and asking for their removal from the airwaves.

MEANWHILE..............

Thanks to all of the millions worldwide who have responded with compassion and kindness to the Haitian people. You restore our faith in human nature.

To those who do care the following may be of interest to you.

State Department Hotline For Info On Missing Relatives in Haiti: 1-888-407-4747

Make donations through The American Red Cross International Response Fund and the Presbyterian Disaster Relief fund.

I mention these two groups because I have personally worked with them both during disaster relief efforts and I believe them to be honest and ethically sound.

May God be with the people of Haiti during these disastrous times.

peacesojourner


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy News - People Helping People

Weaving is taught at the Greyfriars Community Project


Edinburgh, Scotland knitting project attracts ex-offenders

By Morag Kinniburgh - BBC Scotland

Weaving, knitting and crochet are not what you would expect to attract ex-offenders drug users and alcoholics.

But now a Greyfriars Community Project scheme in Edinburgh, Scotland, is proving popular with men and women knitting scarves, weaving ties and crocheting purses.

The project volunteers said teaching the traditional skills helped centre-users rebuild their lives.

Pat Laing, of the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, said: "It's about getting skills." She added: "You're never going to be a weaver, but it's the co-ordination, the involvement, just doing something useful and seeing something at the end of it that you can actually say I've made that, I did that, which is really great for your self esteem, and for your sense of self worth."

I come here to clear my head and just focus on doing stuff instead of being out in the streets gang fighting and taking drugs.

One 21-year-old taking part in the scheme said he had spent several years behind bars for serious assault and attempted murder but the project had helped him turn his life around. He said: "It's like a dream come true.

"I've been in prison several times and then I started in here and from then on I've found a better person within myself.

"I come here to clear my head and just focus on doing stuff instead of being out in the streets gang fighting and taking drugs."

Teaching traditional craft skills to those with chaotic lifestyles is not only to give them a sense of purpose so they can turn away from addiction and crime, it is also designed to help keep the traditional skills alive.

Josiah Lockhart, Greyfriars Community Project co-ordinator, said: "It's something we've had for thousands of years and is dying out right now. We really wanted to help address the breakdown in the community and reinvigorate a desire to bring back these traditional crafts."

The unnamed participant said he was planning a career in music and dance but he said that without the Greyfriars Community Project he could easily slip back into drink, drugs and crime.

He said: "It would take away my self motivation to get up in the morning, so I'd automatically convert back to my old ways, which is something I do not want to do because I've been there, I've got the T-shirt."


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Winter's Walk Along the Marina in Buffalo NY

Lake Erie was named for the Indigenous nation of the Eries who lived on these shores before 1634



This lighthouse once guided more than half a million immigrants to the city and remained active until the First World War. Built in 1833 and standing 68 feet tall, the lighthouse is now a Buffalo Lighthouse Association museum.




Sculpture 'Old Bones' by Carley Hill (2005) with Buffalo Lighthouse in the background.


Marina's observation tower gives an amazing view of the city of Buffalo, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and a glimpse into Ontario, Canada.



Here you can walk along the rocks and see where Lake Erie meets the Niagara River



During the winter months the driftwood (full size trees) come to rest along the shoreline.


Driftwood along the shoreline


The rocks at the water's edge.

As I stand and look over the water's edge I remember that the water flowing under this ice comes from the Great Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, which lead into Lake Erie as they flow towards Lake Ontario on their way to the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean. I am always in awe with the forces of Mother Nature.


More about the Great Lakes:

VOLUME: 6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water; one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water (only the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia contain more); 95 percent of the U.S. supply. Spread evenly across the continental U.S., the Great Lakes would submerge the country under about 9.5 feet of water.

TOTAL AREA: More than 94,000 square miles (larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined, or about 23 percent of the province of Ontario). About 295,000 square miles/767,000 square kilometres in the watershed (the area where all the rivers and streams drain into the lakes).

TOTAL COASTLINE: United States and Canada -- 10,900 miles (including connecting channels, mainland and islands). The Great Lakes shoreline is equal to almost 44 percent of the circumference of the earth, and Michigan's Great Lakes coast totals 3,288 miles more coastline than any state but Alaska.

*****

This is my favorite place to walk in Buffalo. One can stand at the water's edge and look out across the water and see the Canadian coastline.

These photos look like they were filmed in black and white but are actually in color. They show a typical winter's day in this area.

peacesojourner

Monday, January 18, 2010

In Memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s

6 Facts About Non-Violent Resistance


Martin Luther King Jr.’s 6 Facts About Non-Violent Resistance



Adapted from Peace to All Beings, by Judy Carman (Lantern Books, 2003).

From his deep studies of Gandhi and his own experience, Martin Luther King Jr. developed a list of six facts to help people understand non-violent resistance and join with him in his vision.

King’s words are as insightful and thought provoking today as they were when he wrote them:

1. Non-violent resistance is not for cowards. It is not a quiet, passive acceptance of evil. One is passive and non-violent physically, but very active spiritually, always seeking ways to persuade the opponent of advantages to the way of love, cooperation, and peace.

2. The goal is not to defeat or humiliate the opponent but rather to win him or her over to understanding new ways to create cooperation and community.

3. The non-violent resister attacks the forces of evil, not the people who are engaged in injustice. As King said in Montgomery, “We are out to defeat injustice and not white persons who may be unjust.”

4. The non-violent resister accepts suffering without retaliating; accepts violence, but never commits it. Gandhi said, “Rivers of blood may have to flow before we gain our freedom, but it must be our blood.” Gandhi and King both understood that suffering by activists had the mysterious power of converting opponents who would otherwise refuse to listen.

5. In non-violent resistance, one learns to avoid physical violence toward others and also learns to love the opponents with “agape” or unconditional love–which is love given not for what one will receive in return, but for the sake of love alone. It is God flowing through the human heart. Agape is ahimsa. “Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate,” said King.

6. Non-violent resistance is based on the belief that the universe is just. There is God or a creative force that is moving us toward universal love and wholeness continually. Therefore, all our work for justice will bear fruit - the fruit of love, peace, and justice for all beings everywhere.”

*****
Today has been designated a day of volunteering in memory of Dr. King.
Find something to do in your community the rewards will be all yours.

peacesojourner

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Reflection - A Prayer for Haiti








We Pray for Haiti

God of compassion
please watch over the people of Haiti,
and weave out of these terrible happenings
wonders of goodness and grace.
Surround those who have been affected by tragedy
with a sense of your present love,
and hold them in faith.
Though they are lost in grief,
may they find you and be comforted.
Guide us as a church
to find ways of providing assistance
that heal wounds and provide hope.
Help us to remember that when one of your children
suffers we all suffer;
through Jesus Christ who was dead, but lives
and rules this world with you. Amen.

— Bruce Reyes-Chow, Gradye Parsons and Linda Valentine




This young woman is praying while waiting for news of her family in Haiti

*****
I hope by now that you may have been motivated to provide some help for the people in Haiti.
Money donations can be made to Presbyterian Disaster Relief Fund or the Red Cross. I have worked with both groups during responses to disaster and know them to be reliable.

Meanwhile, for most of us whose hearts are torn by the images of such suffering and pain of the people in Haiti, we can pray. Not only for Haiti but for gratitude of our own lives that in comparison are blessed beyond belief.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Happy News - Miracle of Love on the Hudson


The couple that fell in love after surviving the Miracle on the Hudson plane crash


Fairy tale of New York: Laura Zych & Ben Bostic were both on board the plane which crash landed in the Hudson on January 15 last year

It has been one year ago this week that we witnessed one of the most miraculous escapes in aviation history and there have been several human-interest stories in the media. This is my favorite.

For Ben Bostic and Laura Zych, surviving a plane crash into the Hudson River in New York was also the beginning of an extraordinary love story.

The pair both boarded doomed flight US Airways 1549 at the city's LaGuardia Airport on January 15 last year.

Ben, 39, remembers catching a glimpse of his future girlfriend and hoping that she would sit by him. Instead, she had a reservation several rows away.

'I would have totally forgotten about it, if it weren't for the things that happened.' Ben said.

What happened next, of course, was the event dubbed the Miracle on the Hudson.

Just minutes after take-off, Laura and Ben's flight collided with a flock of geese, sending the plane plummeting towards the ground.

Captain Chesley Sullenberger engineered a spectacular landing and brought the craft down smoothly on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board clambered out on to the wings and were retrieved by a fleet of ferryboats and private craft, which had rushed to the scene.

But for Ben and Laura, 31, the very public events of January 15 2009 were the catalyst for a far more personal miracle.

'I wake up everyday and say, "My God. I'm living a fairy tale,"' Ben said.

The couple was not formally introduced until six months after the crash when they both attended a party to mark the anniversary.

‘A passenger I knew was standing by Ben,' Laura said. 'He said. "Laura, have you met Ben?” I replied: "No."

'Ben said: "I haven't met Laura but I was checking her out on the plane."'

Ben eventually left to go to a party at his sister's house - but Laura persuaded him to come back and then invited him to stay at her house, as it was too late for him to go home.

They sat talking on her porch until 6am. Ben, a software developer, was due to be in work at 8 a.m. 'I didn't care!' he said. 'At that time, that's exactly what I wanted to do.'

He described the decision to return to the party as 'one of the best decisions I'd ever make.' 'I could see myself having this much fun with her 20 years from now,' he added.

The couple still regularly meets up with other crash survivors, many suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, who have dubbed themselves the Flight 1549 group.

*****

Can you imagine them, one day, telling their grandchildren the story of how they met?

Here is artist Rex Babin's depiction of the Miracle on the Hudson.

All 155 people on board flight 1549 escaped alive after Captain Chesley Sullenberger brought the plane down in the Hudson River



Friday, January 15, 2010

Remembering Dr. King on his 81st Birthday



Remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the anniversary of his birth.

Dr. King's words are still relevant today:
"If we assume that life is worth living and that humans have the right to survival,
then we must find an alternative to war.
In a day when vehicles hurtle through outer space, and guided ballistic missiles carve highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can claim victory in war.
The church cannot be silent while humankind faces the threat of nuclear annihilation.
If the church is true to her mission, she must call for an end to the arms race.
I am convinced that if we succumb to the temptation to use violence in our struggle for freedom, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to them will be a never ending reign of chaos.
Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
THEY SLEW THE DREAMER - LONG LIVE THE DREAM

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti - January 12, 2010




Victim of the earthquake in Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti


According to the news reports Haiti's devastating earthquake has left an estimated 3 million people in need of emergency aid. As I sit here writing this aid groups and governments are scrambling to send tons of disaster relief to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

Humanitarian officials said the proximity of the quake's epicenter, only 10 miles (15 kilometers) from the capital Port-au-Prince, and Haiti's crumbling infrastructure meant it was impossible to gauge how many people might be dead or wounded. Many, many people are trapped in the rubble.

The first airlifts to Haiti were concentrating on search and rescue efforts, setting up makeshift hospitals and delivering food.

I am often critical of actions by the U.S. government but I am very happy that this country always comes to the forefront when there is a crisis of this magnitude that can be created by the forces of Mother Nature. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has already stated that the United States is offering full assistance — civilian and military — while Britain, France, Canada, Germany, China, Mexico and Venezuela pledged immediate support in terms of personnel, cash and supplies.

One of the first teams expected to arrive Wednesday in Haiti are 37 search and rescue specialists from Iceland, along with 10 tons of rescue equipment.

French rescue authorities have said 65 rubble-clearing specialists and 6 sniffer dogs were leaving Wednesday for Haiti, while Spain was rushing three airplanes there with at least 100 tons of tents, blankets and cooking kits. Israel was sending in an elite Army rescue unit of engineers and medics.

Some aid flights from Europe were delayed by heavy snow. A British plane with 64 firefighters and rescue dogs was grounded temporarily at Gatwick airport.

Spain said it would provide euro3 million ($4.3 million), the Netherlands pledged euro2 million ($2.9 million), Germany, euro1 million ($1.45 million) and China, $1 million. They state that the first priority is to save lives.

*****

When my children were very young we lived for five years in Southern California. During that time we experienced many earth tremors. I had arrived there from England and knew nothing about earthquakes. I went into extreme panic the first time that I felt the floor shake and witnessed dishes and other items fall off shelves and scattering across the room. I grabbed up my children and I guess you could say that I literally ran around in circles. My husband was at work and we were home alone. In just a few minutes the tremors stopped and there was sudden silence and an uncanny peacefulness. I started wondering if it had really happened but a look around the house verified that it had been real when I looked at the broken dishes and knick-knacks on the floor. Later the neighbors told me that if it happened again I should grab the children and run into an interior closet that has four walls. Well, it happened several times after that and each time that I was in that interior closet I held them tightly to me thinking ‘what on earth good was this, being locked in a closet?’ My children are grown now but I can still remember the feeling that the world was coming to an end or at least our place in it.

I am not writing this account lightly, but to say that in a small way my family and I experienced the panic that happens at such a time. The difference is that we never came to harm. I can only imagine the sheer terror that was going through the minds of the residents of Haiti yesterday.

My heart and my compassion go out to them at this time.

*****

If you are wondering what you can do to help I suggest that you contact the American Red Cross Program or the Presbyterian Disaster Relief Program.

I have worked personally during disaster relief with both of these groups and know them to be very honest with their sole mission being to provide immediate short-term assistance followed up with long term help. They will help to care for those who are injured and who are in need of the very basics of life sustaining items.

As tragic as this is, I can’t help but feel proud to know that it is a natural trait of humanity to help each other up and these first responders arriving in Haiti from around the world are doing just that.

I am a firm believer in prayer and ask that you do that also.

peacesojourner


Monday, January 11, 2010

First British Nonviolent Protest 1/11/1952



January 11th, 1952, marks the anniversary of the first British Nonviolent protest against nuclear weapons: 10 persons sat down on the steps of the War Office in London, England. The well recognized peace symbol emerged from these actions.

The U.S. government had tested the world's first thermonuclear device in 1952 and the Soviet Union had made its own thermonuclear breakthrough the following year. The first U.S. H-Bomb test was conducted by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) on March 1, 1954. It occurred at Bikini atoll, located in the Marshall Islands, a United Nations trust territory in the Pacific. The AEC had staked out a danger zone of fifty thousand square miles (an area roughly the size of New England) around the test site. But the blast proved to be more than twice as powerful as planned and generated vast quantities of highly radioactive debris. Within a short time, heavy doses of this nuclear fallout descended on four inhabited islands of the Marshall grouping--all outside the danger zone--prompting U.S. officials to evacuate 28 Americans working at a U.S. weather station and 236 Marshallese. Thanks to their rapid escape, the Americans went relatively unscathed. But the Marshall Islanders, who were not removed from their radioactive surroundings for days, soon developed low blood counts, skin lesions, hemorrhages under the skin, and loss of hair. Over time, the islanders also suffered a heavy incidence of radiation-linked illnesses, notably thyroid cancer and leukemia.

Beginning in 1954, an uneasiness about nuclear weapons emerged around the world. An earlier surge of antinuclear activity, launched by the shock of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, had been promoted with some effectiveness by atomic scientists, pacifists, world government advocates, and hibakusha (Japanese survivors of the atomic bomb). Starting in 1954, however, the rapid development of the hydrogen bomb--a weapon with a thousand times the power of the bomb that had destroyed Hiroshima--began to revive the idea that humanity was teetering on the brink of disaster. Atmospheric nuclear weapons tests, particularly, stimulated public concern. They scattered clouds of radioactive debris around the globe and, furthermore, symbolized the looming horror of a U.S.-Soviet nuclear war. Deeply disturbed by this turn of events, many of the early critics of the Bomb renewed their calls for nuclear arms control and disarmament.

Statements from the Catholic Church during these years touched on similar themes. Pope Pius XII devoted much of his 1954 Easter message to a critique of "new, destructive armaments, unheard of in their capacity of violence," which "could cause the total extermination of all life." He asked: "When will the rulers of nations understand that peace does not exist in an exasperating and costly relationship of mutual terror?"

Throughout history, numerous visual images have symbolized peace. These include images of doves, olive branches, broken rifles and the sign language V used by Sir Winston Churchill during World War II. Later signaled by hippies to represent both peace and love.

One peace sign that is recognizable to many is the peace sign designed by Gerald Holtom. It is the familiar round circle with a line down the middle and two slanted lines, about half the length of the vertical line. The slanted lines attach to the vertical line, slightly below its direct middle, and continue to the perimeter of the circle.

While the sign initially stood for nuclear disarmament, it quickly became a symbol for peace, adopted in the 1960s by the strong anti-war and counterculture movements occurring in both England and the United States. Buttons with the peace sign first made their way to the US in 1960.

*****
In 2010 there are still millions of people world wide who demonstrate against nuclear weapons, war and violence, and still these things all exist.
Why are we not being heard?


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Reflection - The Purpose of the Star

Astrology Today

The stars in the sky

We have come to the close of the Christmas season celebration and we realize that there are so many amazing aspects of the events surrounding Christ’s birth. One that has especially made its way into our decorations, cards, carols and nativity scenes is the Star of Bethlehem. Have you ever gone outside on a clear night and looked up into the night sky? It’s beautiful, isn’t it?

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the galaxies and the stars, and he set them spinning in space in astronomical precision. The book of Genesis tells us that God gave us the stars in the sky to give light on the earth and to serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years. (Genesis 1:14-15) God designed the universe with order, and as the ancients studied the night sky, they observed this beauty and order.

For the most part, in the days of Jesus’ birth they found the sky was predictable. As the great star wheel turned above the earth, each of the stars stayed in relative position to each other. The moon and the planets moved independently of the stars, but you could still plot their course in the sky.

The Magi, astrologers from the East, noticed something unusual in the sky around the time of Christ’s birth. Something out of the ordinary caught their attention and spurred them on to make the long journey to Jerusalem. Whatever Scriptures they knew, somehow they were able to make the connection between the star they saw rising in the east and the ruler who was prophesied in the Old Testament. And so they came to worship him.

The gospel of Matthew begins with foreigners from a distant nation coming to worship Christ. Matthew ends with Jesus’ commission to the church to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) It is a reminder to us that we are to share the good news of Jesus with everyone, everywhere we can, both here where we live, and around the world. We are to make disciples of all nations as we point them to Jesus.

In the Christian faith this past week we observed the Epiphany. The word comes from the Greek work "phos" meaning light. To have an epiphany means to come to a new understanding, to experience a revelation, to have "the light come on," and to see things in a new light. It is the opportunity to see God's light in a new way.

The purpose of the star is to point us to him.

Have you shared the Good News with anyone lately?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy News - A Horse is Rescued from Frozen Pond


Helping hands


Photos by Patrick Reddy / AP

Doug Oldiges waits as rescue personnel prepare to free his horse, Pencil, after he fell through the ice on a pond on Oldiges’ farm in Melbourne, Ky. He is shown here breaking the ice around his horse, as firefighters and members of the Northern Kentucky Large Animal Rescue Team arrive at the scene.


Rescuers stand on plywood as they pull Pencil out of the ice.


A firefighter comforts Pencil as he waits to be rescued. Firefighters and members of the Northern Kentucky Large Animal Rescue Team rescued Pencil with plywood and slings to pull him out of the ice.




Pencil stands up after being successfully pulled from the water and onto the bank.

Pencil the walking horse is back at home after being rescued from an icy pond where he was stuck for more than an hour. The Kentucky Enquirer reported that it took nearly 40 firefighters, including members of the Northern Kentucky Large Animal Rescue Team, to get the horse out.

Pencil's owner, Doug Oldiges, said the horse might have gone to the pond looking for water to drink because the heater on his water trough had stopped working.

Oldiges said a veterinarian will monitor Pencil to make sure the horse has no continuing effects from the incident.

*****
Blessings on all 'first responders' who seem to show up just when we need them. Or in this case when Pencil needed them. These photos show clearly the care and concern that they have while doing their job.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Total of U.S Troops Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars – 5,324

Puppy Love - by Kevin Frayer / AP

United States Marine Cpl. Benjamin Zellmann, of Virginia, holds a puppy taken in by the company during a briefing before a mission in Khan Neshin, in the volatile Helmand province of southern Afghanistan.

President Obama recently remarked that the number of Americans killed in Afghanistan was a “sobering reminder” of the burdens of war.

As I look at this recent photo of young marines who are stationed in Afghanistan I also find it to be a 'sobering reminder' that as we sit in our comfortable living rooms these young men and thousands more like them are stationed a long way from home. My wish is that they will be returned home soon.

This photo is also a sobering reminder.
Buffalo News

The young soldier in this photo is from the Buffalo, NY area. As you can see he was enjoying the company of the young children in Afghanistan and I am sure that he was, in some ways, a positive role model for them. He recently was in the local news here when he returned home to his parent’s residence where he will be living for a long time. Several months ago he suffered serious head injuries while in Afghanistan, which resulted in months of surgeries, hospitalization and permanent brain damage. He is a shadow of his former self. Another 'sobering reminder' of the men and women who have been placed in harm’s way in a far away war.

I have had this photo on my computer screen for some time now. I do not know his name or who took the photo but I do know that I think of him each time I turn on my computer and I wish him well. Yet another 'Sobering Reminder' of the outcome of war.

These photos happen to be of men but I am also aware of the women who are stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan as well. I am very proud of all of them.

*****

Here are the most recent statistics of U.S. military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade.

Total of U.S Troops Killed in Iraq and Afghanistan Wars – 5,324

The Human Cost of Occupation

United States Military Casualties in Iraq

Since war began (3/19/03): 4373

Since Obama Inauguration (1/20/09): 145

American Wounded Official Estimated

Total U.S.Wounded: 31,613 Over 100000


Latest Fatality Jan 6 2010


Daily DoD Casualty Release

320,000 Vets Have Brain Injuries

War Veterans’ Concussions Are Often Overlooked

How Many Service members Were Wounded?

18 Vet Suicides Per Day?

Iraqi Casualties – 1,339,771

Other Coalition Troops - Iraq 325

US Military Deaths - Afghanistan 951

Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan 624

Contractor Employee Deaths - Iraq 1,395

Journalists - Iraq 335

Academics Killed - Iraq 431

Sources: DoD, MNF, and iCasualties.org

All data was compiled from http://www.defenselink.mil.


*****

Take a look at these up to date statistics and if you find them ‘sobering’

Call or write to the President:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Phone Numbers: Comments: 202-456-1111


Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/


MAKE THAT PHONECALL – please!