2021 February

21 Feb: Mercy Moments

In the last 100 years, no catastrophic event was as significant as World War II. In just 6 years, over 70 million men, women and children were killed around the world. Death was common, violent and even obligatory. However, there were times even then when mercy was the right answer. In the bloodiest of times, mercy moments happen, though if battles were not fought with resolve, the loss would be tragic. Eli Ponich and Akira Ishibashi were on opposite sides of the battle in Okinawa in 1945. Ponich was a 715th American Amphibious Infantry Battalion sergeant; Ishibashi a sniper in the Japanese Imperial Army. The 715th landed three amphibious vehicles at Nakagusuku Bay, left their weapons behind, and began treating wounded natives in a cave as Ishibashi watched undetected from a dark hole in the same cave. When the Americans left the cave, carrying the most injured to their craft…

14 Feb: Zero Hour

The term “before & after” is often used to describe a significant event in someone’s life; that significant moment that distinguishes their past from their future. Zero Hour (a military term) has similar meanings. Familiar dictionaries however, all offer a couple alternative meanings; ONE: A crucial or decisive moment.  Or  TWO: The scheduled time for the start of an operation or action, especially a significant tactical operation. The crucial moment definition often refers to something we have very little expectation or control of. The start of operations definition refers to an intentional action for a desired outcome. We will have (or have had) crucial moment Zero Hours. Whether financial, relational, occupational or other – stuff happens. It could be great (winning the lottery) or awful. Zero Hours aren’t all fun. There well may be tears, blood and pieces on the ground. When that awful Zero Hour hits, you may never…

07 Feb: Truth Might Hurt

We have been honored to experience many once-in-a-lifetime moments. We had our share this weekend. In 1997, good friends from Texas informed us their twin sons had been accepted into military academies. One was entering the Naval Academy; the other (David) the Air Force Academy. Our home became home-away-from home for David during his 4 years at the Academy (1997-2001). 7 years after graduation, he married our daughter. They now have four children. Many of us (including Deana and I) were on the field for that special moment (called a “fini-flight”) when he landed his F-16 for the last time Friday. In 2 days of military traditions associated with retirement, I recalled a meaningful moment in David’s experience as a cadet. As long as there are upper and lower classmen, there will be pain associated with rites-of-passage (even with hazing forbidden). In a hallway during his Freshman year, David saw upperclassmen…