Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I was skimming through my favorite magazine the other day a came across an article I feel is worth talking about. A soldier was declared KIA during the Korean conflict, but six months later his mourning wife answered a knock at her door only to find her husband alive and well. His name is Walt Dixon. After this incident he began to write about his experiences during the conflict. He wrote a poem that has become an important part of some of the ceremonies held in the honor of heroes, fallen and well. I did a little digging and found a copy of it on the internet. The piece is very moving, and is a great reminder of the sacrifice many make every year in their attempt to keep us free and able to do the things we do, even if some of our elected officials have taken it upon themselves to lessen those sacrifices and restrict the rights that many fought and died for. Here is a copy of Walt's poem, Please Remember Me.

Remember me, America, for I was once your son
I fought and died at Valley Forge with George Washington.
I was there at Gettysburg on that tragic day
When brother fought against brother, the blue against the gray.
I road with Teddy Roosevelt on the charge up San Juan Hill
Some came back to fight again, but I lie there still.
I went to France with the AEF, to bring the peace to you
I was twenty-one and full of fun, I never saw twenty-two.
I'm still at Pearl Harbor, since December 7th, a day of infamy
Lying silently with my shipmates on the Arizona at the bottom of the sea.
D Day, June 6th, 1944, we hit the beaches of Normandy, we fought up hill all the way
We routed the Germans and hurled them back, but what a terrible price we had to pay.
I served on a US submarine, the bravest of the brave
Until a German depth charge gave us a watery grave.
I bombed the Ploesti oil fields, and they blew with one hell of a roar,
But in that attack we were hit with flack---I'll never bomb anymore.
In Korea I heard the CO shout, "We'll make it and I'm sure that we will!"
I lost my life trying to take a spot called Pork Chop Hill.
Viet Nam, Viet Nam! When will we ever learn?
I'm one of the six thousand who will never return.
I left my town, my wife and kids, my home so cozy and warm.
I was killed in a scud attack, in a war they called Dessert Storm.
Two planes slammed into the towers, and thousands had to pay.
I was sent to a war called Iraqi Freedom to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his terrorist acts.
But we were hit with a suicide bomb and I won't be coming back.
Now those responsible and their terrorist pacts
Will face the wrath of America and I call that payback.
So in my eternity, my thoughts are all for thee
I'll never forget my beloved America,
I pray she remembers me.
Walt Dixon

I hope that you enjoyed it and found it to be as moving a piece as I did. Shatai

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Group Work

Firstly, I'd like to apologize for my extended absence. Unfortunately, due to work demands and my lack of regular computer access I have not been able to post, until now. I have recently acquired semi-regular access to a laptop. I hope that this will lead to my being able to post once again.
Enough of that, there is work to be done. Just this morning, with my finger on the keyboard for the first time in months, I took a look around American Preppers to see what was being posted and see if any changes had been made. I was happy to see that all changes have made the experience even better, and the information even easier to access. While browsing, I came across a post on the WV page that really caught my eye.It was the one on the formation and joining of groups. After reading it I immediately began thinking of a post of my own. Brother nitewalker did a nice job of showing what takes place in a group and how to go about making one successful, but he left a gap in the pros and cons area.
I know no single person can cover all areas of any topic, so I thought it wouldn't hurt for another to contribute and help a fellow prepper. I hope that this is taken as an ease in the workload and not as the stepping on of toes.
While I have done little on the scene of the network, I have had some experience behind it. I first joined up with a small group out of Virginia when I was still in the early stages of becoming a full-blown prepper and not just another curious body walking around. This group did offer myself and others a plethora of information, but lacked the overall organization to be successful. The sense of disunity could be felt from the beginning, but I was hungry for the information and the skills I saw demonstrated before me, so I stayed. I admit that I learned a great deal about woodsman ship, food storage, and general prepping, but the constant bickering among the members left me feeling uneasy about the community as a whole. This is the main downside to a group, a bad group at least.
If the group is lacking in unity, one can be left with a feeling that the information you gain is not worth the headache and lack of trust you also develop from the experience. It can leave you wondering if it is even worth it. Thankfully, I left before the group truly fell and began to turn against each other in ways describable only as childish and damaging to the cause. All that got accomplished in the end was that they managed to instill a negative image on a community that already has enough PR problems from groups who have the wrong idea about preparedness.
After what I went through with the first group I did not wish to join up with another. It just felt like I could do more on my own. I had manged to pick up what I thought would be enough skills to get my own start and maintain myself and my family without outside help. As it turns out I was wrong, but being young and stubborn, I tried anyway.
A short time after trying things on my own I accidentally stumbled upon another group (quite literally, too) My initial reaction was simply "Oh jeez, not again", but after one day with the people I met I decided to give it one more try. What I found astonished me. The people were happy with each other, welcomed me like a long lost friend, and seemed to genuinely want to help me out of the rut my youthful "optimism" got me into. (Often I wished I hadn't left home, but such is life. Haha) I have to admit that in just a couple short months a learned more than I could have imagined, made friendships that I hope will last a life time, and bettered my situation tenfold.
A group that is run like a family, not a clan, can make all the difference in the world. Be you a nineteen year old kid, or a sixty year old man (or so my eldest "family member" has made a point of drilling into my head.) a helping hand is sometimes all it takes to make you better. I like to believe that is true. Yes, the work we do together is hard, but after it is accomplished we all feel like we have learned a great deal, and like we can do whatever needs to be done, together.
I guess the over all idea of all this is simple. There are bad groups out there, but there are good ones too. You just need to be careful and be willing to do what it takes to find one, or start a small one yourself. As our own group philosophy goes, if it feels like family and acts like family, then it is family. And families can survive anything if they stick together. I hope that some find this post helpful. To all my Brothers and Sisters, thanks for all your help, and thanks for making me feel like it can be done. Shatai.