Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Emblem

An eagle, globe and anchor are connected to form the dark brown emblem representing a United States Marine. The pictures above and below show the Emblem Ceremony at Peatross Parade Deck at Parris Island, South Carolina.

This ceremony marked the day 394 recruits received their emblem and became Marines after completion of all training in 12 weeks of boot camp. The Emblem Ceremony happened on Thursday before the graduation ceremony on Friday at the same place.

I was there in February 2007 with other high school teachers from North Carolina, Maryland, West Virginia and Virginia to observe all aspects of recruit training to become a Marine. This workshop was sponsored by the Marine Corps to inform high school teachers and guidance counselors about opportunities for young people in the Marine Corps. Parris Island drill instructors "pulled back the curtain" and let us look into their world for four days where we watched and learned how young men and women are transformed into Marines.

More about this experience will come later.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

How Did It Happen?

I can't get it off my mind since I read it.

I'm referring to the year of 1940 when 1.8 million French troops surrendered to panzer forces almost without firing a shot and over 1 million of these troops were then enslaved in forced labor in Germany for the next four years.

I read there was a collapse of French troop morale and the generals were confused by the politicians.

I cannot understand the leadership climate and political environment that caused this almost voluntary march of troops and their officers into slavery.

Have a good week!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Snow Day

What do you do when wintry weather cancels a work day and you stay home?

This happened to my wife and me on February 1st, 2007. We used this unscheduled time to watch three DVD movies on our 32" wide-screen LCD HDTV.

The three movies were The Longest Yard (2005), A Wedding for Bella (2003), and Serving Sara.

The Longest Yard was about a prison where the inmates competed against the prison guards by playing football.

A Wedding for Bella was about a rush to marry before the bride's mother died from terminal cancer.

Both movies were good and worth the time to watch. The movie Serving Sara was best. This 2002 film was about 99 minutes in length and I believe I spent 30 of those minutes laughing uncontrollably. Tears flowed from my eyes, my stomach was fatigued from the belly laughs. My wife laughed almost equally (although she may have been laughing at my hilarity).

I've never laughed so robustly for so long as I did while watching this movie about two men competing to deliver divorce paper first to each spouse in order to get the divorce hearing heard in New York versus Texas. Serious money was riding on getting these papers delivered to the man first.

If you haven't seen this movie, I highly recommend it if you like to laugh.

Have a good week.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

It Was So, So Good!

The book Driving With The Devil by Neal Thompson (2006) is very interesting.

Don't misunderstand, I do not admire people who acquired wealth, power, and influence outside the law.

This book, in large part, is about people who lived outside the law to pursue their passion and to make money during the 1920's and 30's. Many of these same men entered WWII and became heroes for their bravery and sacrifices in war. Their love of V-8 engines, Ford cars, and fast driving on public roads as well as on race tracks led to the creation of NASCAR in 1948. It's about these men, their lives, and the places in the South where they lived and the methods they used to haul moonshine from the country to cities during and after Prohibition.

There's lots of interesting history about people, places, events, racing in the North compared to the South, and Henry Ford's connection to racing during the first half of the twentieth century.

The book's author, Neal Thompson, currently teaches at the University of North Carolina in Asheville for the Great Smokies Writing Program. He's written several books and was a journalist for several newspapers and magazines. Mr. Thompson researched fading history to prepare for this book.

I probably would not have selected this book on my own. My friend, Herschel Lamb, gave it to me as a Christmas present in 2006. After I started to read it, I enjoyed this nonfiction book so much that I didn't want it to end. I read slowly and often backed up a few pages to reread the material because it was so interesting and well written. I found myself studying the text as I read.

Thanks, Herschel, for knowing I would enjoy and benefit from reading this book.

Have a good week!