America is 239 Years Old!!

Happy Birthday America, the land that I love!

We celebrated the day together at West Point and enjoyed exploring the campus and watching the fireworks over the Hudson, soaking in the history and American spirit.

We visited the Visitor Center, the West Point Museum and the chapel.  This was interesting to me.

  

 

Hitler’s Gun was creepy to see.

 
I also liked learning about the women of West Point. The first female cadet entered in 1976 and the first female killed in combat was in 2005 in Afghanistan.
In the chapel, I loved the stained glass windows and the lit candle reserved in a pew for all missing comrades and prisoners of war.

     

 We loved seeing the new cadets practicing and learning from the upper cadets and watching them march out to Trophy Point for the Independence Day activities.
   

 

  
  
How did you celebrate the 4th of July?  

I hope all Americans enjoyed our freedom and independence and celebrated in red, white and blue!

Happy Birthday!!

Veteran’s Day – Veterans and Honor

We had the best conversation with Jeff’s 94 year old Granddad tonight to honor him on Veteran’s Day. The kids and I called him and he shared that he was asked to speak at the Air Force academy because they wanted to talk with someone who knew General Patton.  Colonel Hughes worked with Patton and even had dinner at his house.  I’m sure the cadets were in awe meeting and hearing first hand from a WWII Legend, who is so humble and inspiring.

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He told us that he was also asked to share his knowledge about the West Point Honor Code as the cadets at the Air Force Academy also had a code of conduct that they held high and were required to enforce amongst themselves and their peers.  I shared with him that I chose to marry my husband and his grandson for several reasons, and one of these included his sincere regard for the honor code that he believed in and practiced during his days at West Point.  The honor code is like getting a receipt, that you’re marrying an honest and trustworthy person that is honorable to himself, to his peers and to his country. I was hoping that these principles would apply to marriage as well, and I was right.

I think that if we all upheld an honor code and knew that we shared this code of honor in our communities, we would be a much happier lot of people.  Below are the honor codes from the various US Service Academies:

Honor Code from West Point:

“A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

Honor Code at the Air Force Academy:

“The bedrock of moral and character education at the United States Air Force Academy begins with a internalization of the cadet honor code. This code was created by cadets and is owned by cadets. They are responsible for maintaining the Code as well as for the process by which those who break it are assessed. The Code is based on a fundamental, positive principles of honesty, respect, fairness, and support.

Understanding the Code

Honor Code: We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

Honor Oath: We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.  Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, (so help me God).

Spirit of the Code: Do the right thing and live honorably.”

Honor Concept from the US Naval Academy:

“Midshipmen are persons of integrity: They stand for that which is right.

They tell the truth and ensure that the full truth is known. They do not lie.

They embrace fairness in all actions. They ensure that work submitted as their own is their own, and that assistance received from any source is authorized and properly documented. They do not cheat.

They respect the property of others and ensure that others are able to benefit from the use of their own property. They do not steal.”

Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who have lead and served and sacrifices for our freedom. Thank you.

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United We Stand

The score was 35-0. Stanford beat Army on a gorgeous, summer day with a slight breeze flowing through the stadium.  The students aren’t back in school yet so the crowd was sparse.

We enjoyed a mini-tailgate with friends and our family, after a morning of soccer games, and got to enjoy more friends once we got inside the stadium.

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My favorite parts of the game were the beginning and the end.  At the beginning of the game, Stanford cheerleaders and armed service personnel held and waved a giant flag while the Stanford band performed on the field.

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Nearby the Boy Scouts of America stood at attention in their uniforms as the National Anthem played.

At the end of the game, Stanford ran off the field, following Army to their fan and band area to sing Army’s Alma Mater together.  

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When the song was over, Army followed Stanford to their fan and band area and stood together, singing Stanford’s Alma Mater.  This was very touching.

United we stand.

Life is good.

GGG – Day 11 – Sacrifice

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The Presidio, San Francisco. November 11, 2013.

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms.”

– General Douglas MacArthur’s Farewell Speech
Given to the Corps of Cadets at West Point
May 12, 1962

Today is Veteran’s Day.

It is a time to pause and think about the sacrifices that have been made so that we can be free. It’s a time to honor the soldiers and their families that have been separated by duty and war, sometimes for weeks, months, years and in some cases, life.

Do you ever think about what it would be like to be deployed far away from your home and family, in uncomfortable living situations, and hot temperatures, and away from your comfortable daily routines? Sometimes I try to imagine what that sacrifice feels like. I don’t know if I could do it. I am thankful for those that have chosen and choose to fight for our freedom and to keep us safe. Thank you.

Thank you for your honor and for leading by example and for being role models and pillars of our society. Thank you for making our country safe and protecting the individual liberties that were created by our constitution.

With gratitude, thank you.

Thank you Colonel Algin Hughes, Steve Hughes, Adrian Jansen, Jeff Hartley, Nate Hartley, Steve Maline, Lenny, Joe Garner, Dave Chavez, Mike Bridges, Ben Danner, And all the other service men and women. Thank you.

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Day 58: Frequent Flyers

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We have been at Denver International Airport for several hours now and are finally getting ready to go home. We had a great visit, enjoying our family and friends and celebrating Memorial Day together.

PopPop graduated from West Point in 1943 and shared many stories with us. We are very proud of him and MamMam.

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At DIA, the kids passed the time shopping at the toy store and sampling food at Jamba Juice, Pizza Hut, and Itza Bowl, Itza Wrap. Enjoying food was definitely a theme for the weekend!

Day 60: Colorado Springs

We were up at 4:15 am to catch a 7 am flight this morning. The kids were dressed and ready before us. They each had their own backpacks loaded with electronic devices, books, paper and pens, gum and crackers. They are so easy to travel with now that they’re older.

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We are in Colorado Springs to visit the kids great grandparents, and Aunt Debbie. It’s always so nice to visit them, especially on Memorial Day weekend. Jeff’s grandpa also went to West Point and served in WW2. They have so many stories to share that we appreciate and value.

A favorite activity wherever we travel is the swimming pool, much to Jeff’s chagrin! I totally get it and love how much fun they have together.

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Hope you enjoy the long weekend!