Category : Defense, National Security, Military

(NYT) Not ”˜Lone Wolves’ After All: How ISIS Is Guiding Terror Plots From Afar

Until just moments before the arrest of the Indian cell, here last June, the Islamic State’s cyberplanners kept in near-constant touch with the men, according to the interrogation records of three of the eight suspects obtained by The New York Times.

As officials around the world have faced a confusing barrage of attacks dedicated to the Islamic State, cases like Mr. [Mohammed Ibrahim] Yazdani’s offer troubling examples of what counterterrorism experts are calling enabled or remote-controlled attacks: violence conceived and guided by operatives in areas controlled by the Islamic State whose only connection to the would-be attacker is the internet.

In the most basic enabled attacks, Islamic State handlers acted as confidants and coaches, coaxing recruits to embrace violence. In the Hyderabad plot, among the most involved found so far, the terrorist group reached deep into a country with strict gun laws in order to arrange for pistols and ammunition to be left in a bag swinging from the branches of a tree.

For the most part, the operatives who are conceiving and guiding such attacks are doing so from behind a wall of anonymity.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Science & Technology, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

[Telegraph] Mystery death of ex-KGB chief linked to MI6 spy's dossier…

An ex-KGB chief suspected of helping the former MI6 spy Christopher Steele to compile his dossier on Donald Trump may have been murdered by the Kremlin and his death covered up. it has been claimed.

Oleg Erovinkin, a former general in the KGB and its successor the FSB, was found dead in the back of his car in Moscow on Boxing Day in mysterious circumstances.

Erovinkin was a key aide to Igor Sechin, a former deputy prime minister and now head of Rosneft, the state-owned oil company, who is repeatedly named in the dossier.
……
Christo Grozev, an expert on Russia-related security threats, believes Erovinkin is the key source to whom Mr Steele refers in his dossier.

Mr Grozev said on a blog: “Insiders have described Erovinkin to me alternately as ”˜Sechin’s treasurer’ and ”˜the go-between between Putin and Sechin’. One thing that everyone seems to agree ”“ both in public and private sources ”“ is that Erovinkin was Sechin’s closest associate.”

Read it all

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military

The story behind the Longfellow poem that became a Hymn–I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

While dining at home on December 1, 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow received a telegram that his son had been severely wounded four days earlier. On November 27, 1863, while involved in a skirmish during a battle of of the Mine Run Campaign, Charley was shot through the left shoulder, with the bullet exiting under his right shoulder blade. It had traveled across his back and skimmed his spine. Charley avoided being paralyzed by less than an inch.

He was carried into New Hope Church (Orange County, Virginia) and then transported to the Rapidan River. Charley’s father and younger brother, Ernest, immediately set out for Washington, D.C., arriving on December 3. Charley arrived by train on December 5. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was alarmed when informed by the army surgeon that his son’s wound “was very serious” and that “paralysis might ensue.” Three surgeons gave a more favorable report that evening, suggesting a recovery that would require him to be “long in healing,” at least six months.

On Christmas day, 1863, Longfellow””a 57-year-old widowed father of six children, the oldest of which had been nearly paralyzed as his country fought a war against itself””wrote a poem seeking to capture the dynamic and dissonance in his own heart and the world he observes around him. He heard the Christmas bells that December day and the singing of “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14), but he observed the world of injustice and violence that seemed to mock the truthfulness of this optimistic outlook. The theme of listening recurred throughout the poem, eventually leading to a settledness of confident hope even in the midst of bleak despair.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Christmas, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family

Christmas Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Christmas, Church History, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

A Great anecdote about General Mattis at Christmas from Mark Shields

Found here:

….the one quick anecdote, and that is, when General Charles Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps, every Christmas ”” this was in the late ’90s ”” he and his wife would bake cookies for the last couple weeks before Christmas. And he would get up at 4:00 in the morning with General Krulak and deliver them in little packages to the Marines who were standing duty that day, because every Marine base, every Marine post has be somebody standing duty.

And he showed up at Quantico and he asked the Marine lance corporal who was on duty, where is the officer of the day and who it is? He said, it’s General Mattis, sir. He said, no, no, it’s not General Mattis. I mean, who is the officer of the day? And he said, it’s General Mattis, sir.

And up comes Jim Mattis and a general, brigadier general, and he is on duty and he has got his sword. And the commandant says, what are you doing here? He said, well, there was a young lieutenant who was on duty today, and he has a wife and two children. And I thought it was better that he have Christmas with his family.

That’s the kind of man he is. It’s the kind of values he’s embodied. He’s independent. He’s strong. And he will be good for the country.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family

(Guardian) Five in custody over alleged Melbourne Christmas terrorism plot

Victoria police say they have foiled an alleged plot by terrorists to attack landmark locations in Melbourne’s CBD including St Paul’s Cathedral, Flinders Street station and Federation Square with explosives and other weapons, possibly on Christmas Day.

The chief police commissioner, Graham Ashton, told reporters on Friday morning that five search warrants were conducted at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights, Dallas, Campbellfield and Gladstone Park on Thursday night.

Seven arrests were made, with five people remaining in custody, he said. Some of the men would appear in court on Friday afternoon, he said.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Consumer/consumer spending, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism

BBC-Berlin attack suspect Anis Amri killed in Milan

The Berlin market attack suspect Anis Amri has been shot dead by police in Milan, Italy’s interior minister says.

The man, who opened fire on police who asked him for ID during a routine patrol in the Sesto San Giovanni area in the early hours of Friday morning, was “without a shadow of a doubt” Anis Amri, Marco Minetti said.

One police officer was injured in the shootout.

Germany has been on high alert since the attack, which left 49 injured.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Germany, Italy, Law & Legal Issues, Police/Fire, Terrorism, Violence

(CEN) The Anglican church of Uganda launches appeal as South Sudan refugees flee turmoil

An urgent call for funds to help fleeing refugees from embattled South Sudan has been issued by the Archbishop of Uganda.

The Archbishop of Uganda, the Most Rev Stanley Ntagali, issued his appeal last week following the influx of South Sudanese refuges in West Nile and Northern Uganda.

Archbishop Ntagali said that there was a need for the Church in Uganda to supplement government efforts to respond to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

In his appeal, he said that the increasing numbers of refugees still need shelter, food, clothing, psycho-social support, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); and for their sustainable livelihood, the need to acquire vocational skills is a requirement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --South Sudan, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Uganda, Defense, National Security, Military, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Sudan, Uganda

Congo's RC Bishops Urge Settlement of Political Crisis Before Christmas

Mediators urged Congo’s president and opposition parties to reach an agreement before Christmas on a peaceful settlement to the country’s political crisis, saying dozens already have been killed this week amid protests over the president’s stay in power.

“Enough is enough,” Msgr. Marcel Utembi, one of the Catholic Church mediators, said Wednesday. “A solution must be found as soon as possible by all political actors, but in particular by the government in order to reassure the Congolese people.”

He also conveyed a message from Pope Francis following their meeting this week: “I am concerned by what is happening in your country, which I wish to visit at the opportune moment. I pray for the Congolese people, who need peace so much now.”

Read it all from the WSJ.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Other Churches, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

(Economist Erasmus Blog) Syria’s tragedy could poison inter-faith relations

Rashad Ali is a British Sunni Muslim who devotes most of his life to combating extremism and urging young co-religionists to reject the siren voices of jihadism. At the risk of making himself unpopular with some members of his community, he actively assists the government’s efforts to counter hard-line Islamism. He works mostly in his own country but also follows the Muslim scene in many other places.

Like many others working in his field, he is convinced that recent events in Syria have made his life much, much harder. Whether in Britain or in Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia or Morocco (all countries he has visited recently), he finds that ordinary Sunnis are appalled and angry over the suffering of civilians in east Aleppo before and during the collapse of the rebel stronghold.

The news has made them furious with Russia, which claims inter alia to be deploying its fighter-bombers in support of local Christians; angry with Iran and the Shia Muslim militias that it sponsors in Syria; and disappointed with Western countries for doing nothing to restrain the Russo-Iranian coalition. A common grievance, says Mr Ali, a fellow of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, is that Western consciences are moved by the plight of ethnic and religious minorities, such as the Kurds or Yazidis or small Christian sects, but indifferent to ordinary Sunni Arabs.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology

Wednesday Make you Smile Break–ND Basketball Player Surprised by his Brother

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Education, Marriage & Family, Men, Photos/Photography, Sports, Young Adults

Aleppo: ”˜House-to-house murder’ of civilians under way as Syrian city falls to Assad

Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband has warned “house-to-house murder” is being carried out in the besieged Syrian city of Aleppo.

He also denounced the “appalling bombardment” of civilians and raised fears the fighting could spread to Idlib, the rebel-held province where people from Aleppo were being taken during the evacuation.

Some 8,000 civilians, including 2,700 children, have been allowed to leave besieged rebel-held areas in the city’s east, but the evacuation was halted on Friday after reports a ceasefire, negotiated by Turkey and Russia, had broken down.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle East, Syria, Theology, Violence

(T of I) David Horowitz–Mutually assured cyber destruction?

In summer 2013, I attended a conference on cybersecurity at Tel Aviv University. It was there that I learned for the first time that Stuxnet ”” the super-sophisticated computer virus that the US and Israel allegedly managed to insert into Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility in 2010, there to play havoc with the centrifuges ”” had come to be regarded in the world of cyber-warfare as a terrible mistake.

Several speakers at the conference made this assertion, branding as a failure what had been widely regarded in Israel as a dazzling success ”” a nonmilitary strike that had set the Iranian program back by a good few months, and had planted all kinds of uncertainty in the minds of their nuclear technicians.

On the sidelines of that conference, therefore, when I interviewed Richard A Clarke, the counterterrorism chief for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, I asked him whether he too thought Stuxnet had been, to put it mildly, counterproductive. Absolutely, Clarke made clear.
For one thing, “the attack code was supposed to die and not get out onto the internet,” he noted, but it did. “It got out, and ran around the world.” It couldn’t harm anything else, because it had been programmed only to strike at Iran’s centrifuges, but “nonetheless it tried to attack things and people therefore grabbed it and decompiled it, so it’s taught a lot of people how to attack,” said Clarke.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology, Theology

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal supports a response to the crisis in Yemen

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal is partnering with Christian Aid and Tearfund to respond to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Already one of the world’s poorest nations, it has been devastated by civil war, leaving 7,000 dead, 35,000 injured and millions without food and shelter.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Asia, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Church of Ireland, Defense, National Security, Military, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Yemen

(Economist) The fall of Aleppo to Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers seems imminent

When rebel forces surged into the city of Aleppo, then Syria’s largest, in the summer of 2012, they hoped to establish an alternative seat of power that could rival the government’s in the capital, Damascus. But those hopes quickly faded as the operation to seize the city stalled. The rebels could only capture half of Aleppo, splitting the city in two. A lethal stalemate ensued.

The rebel’s hopes of ever breaking the deadlock are now dead. In July, forces loyal to the Syrian government cut the last remaining road into the east, imposing a siege that has slowly strangled life there. Russian and Syrian warplanes have relentlessly bombed hospitals, schools and marketplaces, crippling civilian infrastructure. With the east on its knees, the regime launched a devastating ground offensive on November 15th to drive rebel forces out of the city.

Since then, the rebels have lost about three-quarters of their enclave, their last big urban stronghold anywhere in the country. Their defence of the city has crumbled faster than many expected. The Old City, whose winding alleyways were supposed to be well defended, fell quickly this week as pro-Syrian forces, including Shia militias from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, crashed through rebel lines on December 7th. Cornered by pro-government forces, defeat is inevitable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Middle East, Syria, Theology, Violence

South Carolina Clergyman Pete Cooper (December 6, 1944 – December 7, 2016) RIP

The Rev. Charles D. Cooper (Pete) died on December 7, 2016. A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Church (252 South Dargan Street) at 11:00 am on Monday, December 12, 2016, with burial immediately following the service, in the St. John’s Memorial Garden. A reception will follow in the St. John’s Fellowship Hall.

Mr. Cooper was born in Lancaster, SC and was raised in Great Falls and Clinton, SC. A 1963 graduate of Clinton High School, Pete was a member of the Class of 1967 at the Citadel. He also received postgraduate degrees from Furman University and the University of the South (Sewanee) and was ordained in the Episcopal Church, 1981.

Pete served in the United States Marine Corps and was most proud of his fellow Marines. He spent many years as priest, teacher, coach, chaplain, assistant headmaster of several schools beginning his career with Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, SC and ending with Trinity Byrnes Collegiate School near Florence. He loved all of his school families. He also served in the Church as Assistant and Rector of several Parishes beginning at St. John’s Church in Columbia, retiring as Rector of St. John’s Church in Florence after 20 years, and continuing as Interim at The Church of the Ascension in Hagood, SC until the time of his death. His other service included St. David’s in Cheraw, SC and St. Cyprian’s in Lufkin, TX. Again, he loved all of his parish families.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology

Eleanor Roosevelt's Remarks on Pearl Harbor Evening 75 years ago

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I am speaking to you tonight at a very serious moment in our history. The Cabinet is convening and the leaders in Congress are meeting with the President. The State Department and Army and Navy officials have been with the President all afternoon. In fact, the Japanese ambassador was talking to the president at the very time that Japan’s airships were bombing our citizens in Hawaii and the Phillippines and sinking one of our transports loaded with lumber on its way to Hawaii.

By tomorrow morning the members of Congress will have a full report and be ready for action.

In the meantime, we the people are already prepared for action. For months now the knowledge that something of this kind might happen has been hanging over our heads and yet it seemed impossible to believe, impossible to drop the everyday things of life and feel that there was only one thing which was important – preparation to meet an enemy no matter where he struck. That is all over now and there is no more uncertainty.

We know what we have to face and we know that we are ready to face it.

Read it all.

Update: Through the onders of the internet you hear it live there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Asia, Children, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Japan, Marriage & Family, Theology, Women

(NBC) Oldest Known Pearl Harbor Survivor, 104, Returns to Honor the Fallen

The word “survivor” seems especially fitting when describing Ray Chavez ”” a 104-year-old gym rat who defies his age. Chavez first became a survivor on Dec. 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor.

“I can’t forget it. I never will,” he says of the attack.

Chavez was stationed at the U.S. naval base when the bombing started.

“I got very emotional that day. There were so many, many innocent people that were lost,” he said.

Read it all (and the video is highly recommended).

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Japan

Unforgettable Photos From The Pearl Harbor Attack, 75 Years Ago Today

It is worth the time to look at them all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Japan

Remembering Pearl Harbor 75 years later today

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Japan, Photos/Photography

Doctors of the World Christmas cards combine nativity scenes with images from war zones

A UK charity is selling a series of Christmas cards featuring images that combine traditional Biblical imagery with contemporary pictures from conflict zones across the Middle East.

Doctors of the World UK is selling the cards, with names including ”˜Not So Silent Night’ and ”˜The Star of Bedlam’, to raise funds for its mission to provide medical aid to people who’ve been forced from their homes by war.

The cards were designed by ad agency McCann London, incorporating Press Association photographs taken over the last year.

Read it all from the Telegraph.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Middle East, Religion & Culture, Violence

A Terrifying WSJ profile of American Diplomat Robin Raphel, wrongly suspected for being a US Spy

Over the past two years, diplomats in Pakistan and the U.S. have scaled back contacts, according to officials in both countries. U.S. diplomats say they are afraid of what the NSA and the FBI might hear about them.

“What happened to Raphel could happen to any of us,” said Ryan Crocker, one of the State Department’s most highly decorated career ambassadors. Given the empowerment of law enforcement after 9/11 and the U.S.’s growing reliance on signals intelligence in place of diplomatic reporting, he said, “we will know less and we will be less secure.”

“Look what happened to the one person who was out talking to people,” said Dan Feldman, Raphel’s former boss at State. “Does that not become a cautionary tale?”

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Politics in General, The U.S. Government, Theology

(C of E) First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund announced

The final phase of a two year grants programme to English cathedrals for urgent repairs is announced today. Grants totalling £5,423,000 have been awarded to 24 Church of England and Catholic cathedrals for repairs including to stained glass windows, stone pinnacles, and roofs as well as drainage and lighting.

Heritage Minister, Tracey Crouch said:

“The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund has done fantastic work to help revive and restore stunning cathedrals across the country.

“Cathedrals are not only beautiful pieces of architecture, they hold centuries of our nation’s history and are centrepieces in our communities. This important fund will help maintain and repair these historic buildings so they can be enjoyed for years to come by everyone.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church History, Church of England (CoE), Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(NYT) One by One, ISIS Social Media Experts Are Killed as Result of F.B.I. Program

In the summer of 2015, armed American drones over eastern Syria stalked Junaid Hussain, an influential hacker and recruiter for the Islamic State.

For weeks, Mr. Hussain was careful to keep his young stepson by his side, and the drones held their fire. But late one night, Mr. Hussain left an internet cafe alone, and minutes later a Hellfire missile killed him as he walked between two buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

Mr. Hussain, a 21-year-old from Birmingham, England, was a leader of a band of English-speaking computer specialists who had given a far-reaching megaphone to Islamic State propaganda and exhorted online followers to carry out attacks in the West. One by one, American and allied forces have killed the most important of roughly a dozen members of the cell, which the F.B.I. calls “the Legion,” as part of a secretive campaign that has largely silenced a powerful voice that led to a surge of counterterrorism activity across the United States in 2015 as young men and women came under the influence of its propaganda.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Social Networking, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Islam, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology, Terrorism, Theology, Violence

The Stunning True Story of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Mercy, Memory, and Thanksgiving

About sunset, it happened every Friday evening on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast. You could see an old man walking, white-haired, bushy eye-browed, slightly bent.

One gnarled hand would be gripping the handle of a pail, a large bucket filled with shrimp. There on a broken pier, reddened by the setting sun, the weekly ritual would be re-enacted.

At once, the silent twilight sky would become a mass of dancing dots…growing larger. In the distance, screeching calls would become louder.

They were seagulls, come from nowhere on the same pilgrimage”¦ to meet an old man.
For half an hour or so, the gentleman would stand on the pier, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail of shrimp was empty. But the gulls would linger for a while. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man’s hat”¦and a certain day gone by would gently come to his mind.

Eventually, all the old man’s days were past. If the gulls still returned to that spot”¦ perhaps on a Friday evening at sunset, it is not for food”¦ but to pay homage to the secret they shared with a gentle stranger.

And that secret is THE REST OF THE STORY.

Anyone who remembers October of 1942 remembers the day it was reported that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was lost at sea.

Captain Eddie’s mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur.

But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. . Somewhere over the South Pacific, the flying fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, and the men ditched their plane in the ocean.

The B-17 stayed afloat just long enough for all aboard to get out. . Then, slowly, the tail of the flying fortress swung up and poised for a split second”¦ and the ship went down leaving eight men and three rafts”¦ and the horizon.

For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.

They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. Their largest raft was nine by five”¦ the biggest shark ten feet long.

But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.

In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking”¦ Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a seagull. I don’t know how I knew; I just knew.
“Everyone else knew, too. No one said a word. But peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at the gull. The gull meant food”¦ if I could catch it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten; its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.

You know that Captain Eddie made it.

And now you also know…that he never forgot.
Because every Friday evening, about sunset…on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast…you could see an old man walking…white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.

His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls…to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle…like manna in the wilderness.

Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story (Bantam Books, 1997 Mass paperback ed. of the 1977 Doubleday original), pp. 170-172

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Defense, National Security, Military, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Psychology

Remembrance Day around the world – in pictures

Worth the time to go through them all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, Globalization, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Photos/Photography

A Short Church of England Film for Remembrance Day

Watch it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, Eschatology, History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry, Theology

In Flanders Fields for Rememberance Day and Veterans Days 2016

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

”“Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve”“KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, Defense, National Security, Military, England / UK, History, Parish Ministry, Poetry & Literature

Thursday mental Health Break–A Serviceman finally get his service Dog after 18 months

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * General Interest, Animals, Defense, National Security, Military, Photos/Photography

(Wa Po) Iraqi special forces enter Mosul over 2 years after ISIS seized the city

Iraqi commanders on Tuesday said they were fighting inside an industrial district on the outer edge of Mosul, making their first breach into the northern Iraqi city that has been under Islamic State control for more than two years.

Bringing the fight across the city lines does not change the overall challenges facing Iraqi troops trying to oust the militants from their last major stronghold in the country. But it reflects the steady advances by Iraqi soldiers and allied forces ”” backed by U.S. airstrikes ”” since the campaign to recapture Mosul was launched last month.

Soldiers from Iraq’s elite counterterrorism force said they had entered the neighborhood of Gogjali. From the village of Bazwaya, just four miles to the east, jets circled overhead and explosions could be heard from the front lines.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Iraq, Middle East, Terrorism, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues