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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Patty Mickley, again - Remember Again

Porcupine first wrote this post on the Fifth Anniversary of Sept. 11th - and repeats it now to honor the memory of Patty Mickley....

Her name was Patricia L. Mickley, but everybody called her ‘Patty’. It was an ordinary work day as she began her drive to her job from her home in Springfield, Virginia, which she shared with her husband, Joseph.

The front of her mind was on the folders with the budget analyses that were waiting for her on her desk, but the back of her mind was taken up with her daughter. School had started again, and Patty only hoped that this winter would be a mild one, as she didn’t want to go through another winter with her having earaches because of viruses caught from classmates. Besides, a mild winter meant more chances for her and Joe to go hiking together. She also tried to put together in her mind her next lesson plan for Sunday School – something about autumn, the change of seasons and life, maybe. That verse in Ecclesiastes.

She left her car in her space, and swiped and displayed her badge at the various checkpoints as she went down the system of elevators and corridors which led to her desk. She said hi to friends, made plans for lunch, and hoped that the run in her stockings which had begun at her heel when she put them on wouldn’t get worse during the day.

She got to her desk, put her purse in her bottom drawer, and reached forward to boot up her computer to start work. Glancing at the folders as she leaned back in her chair, she wondered briefly if she could work in a hair appointment to get a cut before she and Joe started to take time off and go to parties for the holidays.
Then an airplane hit her desk.

Patty Mickley was killed at her desk in the Pentagon on Sept.
, 2001, five years ago from the moment when this tribute is posted. Porcupine was glad that The project assigned him a victim from the Pentagon, as those people sometimes get overlooked a little in remembrances. Also, Porcupine has spent his entire adult life working in financial management, in banking, insurance and government, and when he saw Patty Mickley’s face, he realized that she could have been any one of the hundreds of women he had worked with, shared coffee with, had lunch with, joked with, and talked with over the last few decades. The only difference was that her management job was in a building that was a terrorist target, and she paid for her diligence and work ethic with her life.

As it happens, Porcupine spent that day at a desk in a reasonably prominent government building. While it is not regarded as much of a target now, it is the only building in Boston with a 22 karat gold roof, and it would have made a splendid target for an airplane taking off from Logan Airport – in its own way, the Massachusetts State House is distinctive as the
building. Truly, there but for the grace of God go I.
Porcupine extends his condolences to Patty’s husband and daughter on this anniversary. It is the Patty Mickleys and their work that make America function, and her family has the thanks of a nations which is grateful to her and honors her sacrifice – even if we didn’t know her name.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Writings from OTB (Other People's Blogs)

In the wake of the Scott Brown victory, I posted this on Media Nation, in response to his article in the Guardian by liberal media commentator Dan Kennedy - http://www.dankennedy.net/. Please consider.

Peter Porcupine says:
January 20, 2010 at 10:43 am
DK – while the margin of the victory was gratifying, the result wasn’t that big a surprise.

For MONTHS, I have listened to progressives/liberals deride ‘teabaggers’. Stop and think – was insistence on that sniggering name going to win any friends? And please don’t think that it was an ‘inside’ joke, as those days of hidden derision of plebeians by elitist Democrats in policy/agenda positions is over. There is the Internet now, and the curtains around back rooms are now cheesecloth.

It’s all astroturf, trucked in from Texas and Mississippi? I’ve BEEN to Town Hall meetings, Liberty caucus meetings, and Tea Party rallies. I’ve talked to the people there, locals, most of whom had been uninvolved in politics, and were new to political movements. Then, after they held a rally or standout, they see in the paper the next day that 100 people get ignored while 15 progressives against the war get the front page. They read that they are all racist zealots who don’t really live here anyway. And they look at each other, and realize that those ads they’ve seen against Republicans are most likely lies as well, and look differently at Democrats.

YOU are pragmatic, and would try to embrace anger. Your progressive fellows are already trying to minimize this, and claim that it’s only ‘anti-incumbent’, not ‘anti-Progressive’. Meanwhile, I’ll be at the Tea Party rallies with a sympathetic nod and cups of coffee.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dulce et Decorum Est - 2009

War is Hell
Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman (Observation in a letter, 1864)

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.

Once, every schoolchild knew this story, and all society stood for a minute of silence to observe Armistice Day.

Soldiers have died to defend us all since ancient times, but most can never speak of the emotions, the horror and the rewards of their service. Poets have done that eloquently for them. The words of poets on the honour and the horror of service in a war have been excised from the curriculum of our children. Support the Troops; If You Can Read This, Thank a Veteran; Be All That You Can Be; Remember Pearl Harbor! (and the Maine, and the Holocaust, and 9-11, and on and on..) - poetry has given way to sloganeering. Our emotions are stunted by the lack of noble words.

In 'The Soldier', Rupert Brooke writes of the emotion, the noble elevation felt as a man (then) enlists in a great cause for his nation (Brooke) Yet even though he was killed in World War I, you can feel that he didn't think it would happen to him. He died of blood poisoning after a wound at the age of 28.

In the 'Charge of the Light Brigade', Tennyson tries to put a good face on a disaster in command, but still, he captures the ethic of the fighting man - "Theirs was not to question why".

In 'The Man He Killed', Thomas Hardy wrote of the senseless slaughter of war, the respect that one fighting man owed to another - 'Had he and I but met at Some old ancient inn...'.

'Woodbine Willy', actually a chaplain, Revd. Geoffrey Kenedy MC, CF, wrote in 'The Spirit' about the only thing a soldier can do when he has faced that situation - 'Carry On..'

John McCrae wrote the most famous of war poems, 'In Flanders Fields', warning 'If ye break faith with us who die, We shall not sleep'. He died of pneumonia in the field, at the age of 46.

Wilfred Owen, in his poem that the title of this post was taken from, speaks of the 'old Lie' - that the Death of a soldier, an 'ardent child', can be 'Good and Sweet to Die for your Country'. He died of machine gun fire at the age of 25.

But the poet of the survivors is Rudyard Kipling. Any VietNam vet can identify with his words about 'Tommy Atkins' (the British G.I. Joe) and the way he is treated by society, "For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' 'Chuck him out, the brute!'...But it's 'Saviour of 'is country' when the guns begin to shoot!"

It amazes Porcupine that these poems are thought to 'glorify' war. They catch it at its worst, and describe it how it is. But in all of them is an understanding of country, of service, and of sacrifice. Today, let us read the words, and honour the contibution of all our service men and women, and give them the thoughts and thanks that they deserve.

Special Note for 2009 - Let us all remember the soldiers and families at Ft. Hood in our prayers

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