"Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." - Ferris Bueller

Tuesday, July 24, 2007
 
No Toil Nor Labor Fear…All Is Well

Today marks the 160th anniversary of the day when Brigham Young led a rag tag bunch of weary pioneers down Emigration Canyon and boldly proclaimed the Valley of the Great Salt Lake to be "The Right Place".  One can only imagine what went through the minds of those in his wagon train.  1847 was long before Mormon settlers learned how to irrigate the valley and make it blossom as a rose.

 

The valley was a dusty desert with a huge salt water lake.  Brother Brigham was suffering from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever at the time, but those brave souls followed him down the mountain and built a city which is among the world's best planned metro areas.   They sacrificed much to go west with Brigham.  Some sacrificed everything.

 

To read the accounts of the trials endured by these pioneers as they crossed the plains – some in covered wagons, some with handcarts, and still others on foot – is to stand in amazement of what one person can do in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.   If you're searching for inspiration, go read the story of the Martin Handcart company and the story of the three young men who ferried the entire company across an ice filled river.   Truer acts of heroism have seldom been seen.

 

Through it all, their anthem of Come, Come, Ye Saints echoed across the plains from Winter Quarters to Salt Lake City.   They feared no toil nor labor and went their way with joy.  They did this with the hope that future generations would benefit from their sacrifices.   They are my forbearers, and I'm proud of them.  I hope they are of me too.

 

Here endeth the lesson.


Monday, July 23, 2007
 
One Giant Leap...To Where?

This past Friday an anniversary came and went without much fanfare. 38 years ago most of the world was riveted to television screens as something never before attempted by man was broadcast around the world. The United States of America, personified by Neil Armstrong, made good on a challenge put forth by an American president to send a man to the moon. Armstrong stepped off the ladder and into history with words remembered by most Americans and a good portion of the world’s population.

That’s one small step for man…one giant leap for man kind.

Man has always looked to the stars as the Final Frontier. Armstrong’s leap was supposed to be a stepping stone into the exciting exploration of space. Several men followed in his boot prints. The Apollo astronauts walked as Gods among men in America’s pop culture. Far off places like Mars were within our reach – or so it seemed.

Then, as best as I can tell, America got bored. Spaceflight became routine to the point that the ill-fated Apollo XIII mission (immortalized by a the movie with the same name) wasn’t even broadcast on television. The networks evidently said NASA had made going to the moon about as exciting as “driving to Pittsburgh”.

Roughly four years later, Eugene Cernan gained the infamous notoriety of being the last man to walk on the surface of the moon.

So, what has NASA done since? It still attracts America’s bravest and brightest minds, but nobody has left orbit since Cernan’s capsule splashed down in December of 1972. Much was made of the America’s Shuttle fleet – the first reusable spacecraft – but those vehicles have far outlasted their original designed lifetime and mission not to mention far exceeded the cost they were supposed to bring down.

I don’t mean to deride the accomplishments of today’s astronauts. They go places and do things guys like me only dream about – but something tells me they’d rather have a far off destination than endlessly circling the globe at an altitude of 200+ miles. The question remains: When will we go back to the Moon?

Eric Jones attempts to answer this question. He’s got the facts and figures to back up his statements but the basic answer to the question above is pretty simple: We’ll go back when it becomes a national priority to do so. In short, Jones says:
…we might hasten our return to the Moon if we become a bit less cynical, a bit more mindful of the old maxims about preparing for tomorrow, and, in the process, manage to rediscover our old fascination with the frontier. We shall see.
I believe there is an instinct deep in the soul of mankind which requires us to reach beyond what we have already accomplished and go beyond where we have already been. I wonder how long it will be before the need to explore again permeates the American psyche and compels us again to reach for the stars and take our place among them.

Not too long, I hope. I’d like to be around when man again walks on the Moon and planets beyond.

Here endeth the lesson.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
 
Greater Love Hath No Man Than This

I came across this short article today and had to give it a mention.

 

Like many Americans, James Alton Barbour, Jr. loved to spend time in the water.  Its summertime in North Carolina and for those of you who have never been there, it's hot.

 

James and his little sister were playing in the pool when Alona strayed into the deep end of the pool and began struggling to stay afloat.   James made a quick decision and pushed his kid sister to the shallow end – saving her life.

 

James, however, was not so fortunate.  He lost his footing, slipped, and drowned after having saved his sister.

 

If you've already clicked over to the story than you know why I had to give James a mention today.  James is six-years-old.  His sister Alona is three.  Even at that tender young age, James saw what had to be done and did it.   He loved his little sister and gave his life that she might live.  Never let it be said that kids don't understand far more than we give them credit for.

 

Godspeed, little James.

 

Here endeth the lesson.


Thursday, July 05, 2007
 
I'm Rated G
Free Online Dating

Wednesday, July 04, 2007
 
High Treason
No, I'm not talking about W's commutation of Scooter Libby's prison sentence.

I'm talking about what 56 men committed when they put their names to a document which would forever change the way people looked upon the institutions of government and thought about a strange new concept called "freedom".

Had Washington's fortunes been a little different at Valley Forge - or any number of other Revolutionary War battles, these men would have paid for their audacity with their lives and quite possibly the lives of their families.

Yet, they
with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence
mutually pledged to each other their lives, fortunes, and their Sacred Honor to the cause for which we today celebrate.

So, Dear Reader, have a great Fourth of July. Enjoy the fireworks, but remember that the first fireworks were real.

Here endeth the lesson.


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