OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley 1875

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Who are your heroes? The superstars in sports, the rich and famous? Do you watch them on TV or buy tickets to their games. Do you read about them in magazines or listen to them on talk shows and interviews. That is what most people do and it is ok, I guess.

I am one of the fortunate ones. I see my heroes everyday. I work with them, play with them, go to their homes. I know their children and they know mine. They are living breathing examples of who I aspire to be, and I pray I do not ever let them down.

On the street when you see them you think they are normal average guys. Some of them may be a little arrogant or slightly anti-social. You would never know who they are or what they do. You would never know the deeds they have done or the Sacrifices they make every day so that you can freely walk around this country and possible criticize them without knowing it.

They place themselves on the Alter of Freedom and are willing to pay the ultimate Sacrifice. Lately, the price is often paid……and why do they do this? Why are they so willing to give up all they love so very much? Are they mindless warmongers looking for thrill or glory?

The ignorant would think so, and maybe in the beginning when they were young it was so……but not now.

What will cause a man to run into a hail of bullets that just cut down another man’s life right in front of him? Fury, rage, anger, hate……no, none of these have enough depth or weight.

In the midst of massive amounts of trauma and horror only one thing will prevail…

What makes these men heroes is not how good they can shoot or how strong or how fast they are. It is in their ability to demonstrate through their actions, love. Love for their brothers.

“Tonight someone will surely die, but it will not be you my brother, I will go into the breach first.”

This is what they all say….in their minds, for they would never say this to their brothers out loud. Because in their hearts they know their brothers are thinking the same thing and would try even harder to beat them into the breach.

What I am writing about is not a concept or a story that was told to me by someone else. I have seen it, and words do not adequately describe what they do without thinking.

You hear people use the phrase “ I would die for you” in movies, books, and sometimes even in life from others that love you. It is a tall order for someone to say and even taller for one to actually do.

My heroes live that saying daily…..without saying it. I am honored to have walked among them, fought with them, spilled blood, sweat, tears and prayers with them. I stand in awe of their actions everyday.

If your hero does not meet this description, find another hero. Life is too hard and too short to not have living examples of who and what you want to be.

Tom Spooner 2006

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The wrong Audience

Their are many programs and help for Veterans that want it. The real focus should be on the communities in which veterans live. A community of relentless love and support is what is needed for Veterans to heal. What are you doing for veterans in your community? Just do something. Big or small, it does not matter. Tom

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Woke up pretty rough this morning. Hard night sleeping. Getting focused and productive this morning.

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Thoughts of a Nez Perce Elder on PTSD

They said that I would be changed in my body. I would move through the physical world in a different manner. I would hold myself in a different posture. I would have pains where there was no blood. I would react to sights, sounds, movement and touch in a crazy way, as though I were back in War.

They said I would be wounded in my thoughts. I would forget how to trust and think that others were trying to harm me. I would see danger in the kindness and concern of my relatives and others. Most of all, I would not be able to think in a reasonable manner and it would seem that everyone else was crazy. They told me that it would appear to me that I was alone and lost even in the midst of the people, that there was no one else like me.

They warned me that it would be as though my emotions were locked up and that I would be cold in my heart and not remember the ways of caring for others. While I might give soft meat or blankets to the elders or food to the children, I would be unable to feel the goodness of these actions. I would do these things out of habit and not from caring. They predicted that I would be ruled by dark anger and that I might do harm to others without plan or intention.

They knew that my Spirit would be wounded. They said I would be lonely and that I would find no comfort in family, friends, elders or spirits. I would be cut off from both beauty and pain. My dreams and visions would be dark and frightening. My days and nights would be filled with searching and not finding. I would be unable to find the connections between myself and the rest of creation. I would look forward to an early death. And, I would need Healing in all of these things.

Posted by Tom Spooner, not written, just lived it.

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So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and Demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and Its purpose in the service of your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, Even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and Bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, For abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes They weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

Chief Tecumseh, Shawnee Nation

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New Report Targets Retiree TRICARE | Military Advantage Blog |

New Report Targets Retiree TRICARE | Military Advantage Blog |

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