Friday, September 30, 2011

Blog about blogs

One of the blogs I am considering for my rhetorical analysis is the Washington Post blog On Faith.  Here is the specific post.
Susan Raghavan is the author.  The issue is the death of a prominent recruiter of the Al-Qaida network and the impact of his death on the Global War on Terror/US Operations in the Middle East.  The intended audience is English-speaking readers of the Washington Post, specifically those interested in religions.
The author is trying to inform us of the events surrounding the death of this individual, and the impact it will have.  She is using quotes, statistics, imagery, video and logic.  It causes me to feel somewhat humbled by the magnitude and the expanse of our operations in the Middle East.  I feel glad that a serious threat has been eliminated, and sadenned at the reminder of the thousands of deaths that have resulted from his works.  I cannot speak for everyone else in the audience.  It is important that the readers feel some sense of relief that we are somewhat safer than we were when we went to bed last night.  That being said, we must remain vigilant: all around this country there are scouts from terror organizations that are trying to find the next major target.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

OpEd Reflections

So I haven't been into blogging for very long, and my opinion editorial was the first really big post that I have made.  I've learned a lot through this process.  I've never had a clue, first of all, what the fascination was with blogging.  Now I think I'm starting to get it, at least a little bit.  Secondly, it has been really good to learn more about my personal writing style.  I've never put as much effort into my papers as I could or should have because I was always content to get a B+ or an A-, and that's usually what I got.  I never went back and reread after I was done with the paper.  I wrote for the assignment, not for the sake of instructing someone and expressing my opinions in a more open forum.  Posting this editorial to a blog that is open to the public has given me cause to want to excel, rather than to "do well enough".  Finally, whatever the means may be, it is good, therapeutic, even, to have a medium through which I can voice my opinion, put it down in writing, I mean.  It helps me to form much more concrete opinions, and to find supporting information.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Return to Patriotism
            In today’s world of mass media, smart phones, the internet, widespread progressivism, and economic uncertainty, just about everybody can find varying opinions on the sources and solutions of America’s problems.  I firmly believe that one of the chief causes of The United States’ rise to global economic, political, and social prominence is the greatness of the military strength, including the heart and fervor with which the civilian population celebrated and supported the servicemen and women.  At some point in our nation’s relatively brief history, harsh criticism and outright opposition became the chic attitude for civilians to adopt.  We need to rally in support of the troops who are putting their lives on the line every minute of their deployments to preserve our freedoms, and to extend those freedoms to others.  This one simple change of attitude will increase our sense of national unity.  It will be a firm step towards a viable solution to our current problems.
            This return to patriotism will take a more concerted effort than previous generations have had to exert.  This, in my opinion, is due largely to the relatively small percentage of Americans who have family members in military service.  During World War II, over sixteen million Americans were in the military, according to  That is approximately 11.5% of the roughly one hundred-forty million Americans alive at the time.  Compare that to today’s numbers.  Currently, between the active duty and the reserve forces, there are approximately three million service members.  The current population of the United States is estimated at three hundred-twelve million.  That means only ninety-six hundredths of one percent of the population serves in the military.  Patriotism just isn’t on everyone’s mind like it once was.  However, it is very personal for me.  My maternal grandfather was in the Army Air Corps; my paternal grandfather was a Marine during the Korean War.  My dad’s younger brother was a Marine for well over twenty years, and he fought in both Gulf Wars.  His son was a third-generation Marine.  My younger brother is in the Navy.   Another cousin is training to be a Combat Controller in the Air Force  I am seeking a commission through AFROTC.
            In addition to the decreasing number of Americans that is directly affected by family members’ deployments, the media has played an enormous role in the deterioration of America’s patriotic spirit.  Field reporters, along with the technological advancements that have come over the last several decades, have given the American public a much more in depth and intimate perspective on the horrors of war.  Rather than adopting an attitude of gratitude for the sacrifices the men and women on the fronts were making, media outlets, especially during the Vietnam War, began condemning the operations, including all the men and women who were involved.  This generally negative view of the military has held in the media to some extent over the past forty to fifty years.  Let us remember with reverence, for all gave some, yet some gave all.
             Now, there are many who would have you believe that America is wrong, and Americanism is bad, because of military operations in the Middle East and in Europe over the past twenty to thirty years.  They say that we have no justifiable cause for being there, and that we are looking out only for our own interests.  To these detractors I say that if it were not for the US, how many Kuwaiti, Iraqi, Afghani, and Serbian and Yugoslavian innocents would have been raped, murdered or tortured in the past two decades?  How many hundreds of millions of Arabs and Israelis would have been obliterated by nuclear arms had the US not managed during Desert Shield and Desert Storm to keep Israel out of the fighting?  In Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines have become school builders, hospital builders, peacekeepers, and providers of a vast array of types of humanitarian aid and relief.  Remember that the nation’s military force is an extension of its overall political strength, and has been so in every country throughout our world’s history.
            Other voices in our society take a different, more selfish stance.  People say that it is wrong for us to send our young men into foreign countries to fight and die for others’ freedom and safety.  First and foremost, no man or women is compelled to join the military in our great nation!  Everyone who joins does so knowing full well that there is a possibility that he or she will be called upon to give up his or her life for another’s sake.  Trust me, we know what we are doing!  Secondly, what right have you got to deny the freedoms that you enjoy to those who are less fortunate than you are?  The Lord said, “Of him, unto who much is given, much is required” (D&C 82:3).  Uncle Ben echoed this sentiment when he told Peter that with great power comes great responsibility.  We cannot hope to maintain a clear conscious, to stand blameless before God at the last day if we, having been given much, do not share it in turn.
So what can Joe American do?  The most important step is to have the desire to love his country.  From there, he can and ought to seek to educate himself on the issues and current military operations.  There are myriad organizations that support military awareness amongst civilians.  Anyone is welcome to join them.  To find out more about some of these groups, one can visit  Furthermore, one can engage in all sorts of civic activities, aside from those related to the military to enhance one’s love for and respect of the country.
The long and short of this editorial is that involvement is crucial to develop and to maintain one’s patriotism.  I think that John Stuart Mill spoke well when he said, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.  The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.”  We, as a society, are nearing all too quickly that “decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling”.  Let us all be heedful and steadfast, that we may preserve our freedoms and this country with which God has blessed us.  Get educated.  Be involved.  Return to patriotism.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Sports are very much a part of our national identity, as well as our individuality.  Millions of Americans enjoy participating in athletic events.  BYU understood this, and therefore instituted intramural athletics.  However, the powers that be have failed to grasp the essence of some of the competitions.  First and foremost on the list is football.  I understand flag football is supposed to significantly reduce the contact involved in the sport.  I have been playing flag football with friends since before the freshmen class even started kindergarten.  What I don't understand is why BYU has deemed it necessary to completely eliminate critical components of the game.  Linemen aren't allowed to block.  Receivers and defenders aren't allowed to dive to make a play.  Ball carriers aren't allowed to stiff arm.
What is left?  An empty shell of a game that used to separate the men from the boys.  The battle of the gridiron has been reduced to little boys shooting each other with water pistols.  Oh, and one other thing, BYU-I has full contact football.  Check out this random person's blog post at this link.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

11 Sep 2011

Today is the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that resulted in planes crashing into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field.  I reflect on that momentous and tragic day full of mixed emotions.  Foremost, perhaps, is the somber grief for those survivors who are marred for life, as well as for the families who lost loved ones.  After this, I recognize a deep, roiling anger at the audacity of the perpetrators of the heinous acts, and anger towards those who dedicate their lives to carrying on the infamous legacy of hatred and terror.  Intermingled with all of this is the religious side of me, striving to maintain an eternal, gospel-based perspective on everything.  I struggle with desiring to end the lives of those who perpetuate, while simultaneously wishing for the eternal welfare of their souls.  I feel sorrow that anyone's perception of life would be so hollow and incomplete that he might be easily manipulated into throwing away his life to take the lives of innocent people.  I know that the Lord knows the heart of every man, and He will judge.
To the victims of terror attacks, the prisoners of war, and the missing in action: You are not forgotten!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Focus of this Blog

This blog will focus primarily on my family, my faith, my patriotic point of view and the issues which affect them.  It is my opinion that these ought to be the driving force behind our lives and our desires to be better people and to do good as we go about our lives.
 The image of the colors against the rows of white-cross grave markers serves as a reminder of those who have gone before us and sacrificed all that they had that we might enjoy our current freedoms.  
In memory of those who fell ten years ago this Sunday, I feel it is appropriate to share the following video:

My Family

In light of my upcoming anniversary, I have decided to post about my wonderful family.  My wife, Lisa, and I will have been married for four years, come this Thursday.  We met during my senior year/her junior year of high school.  We dated throughout her senior year, and she waited and dated while I was on my LDS mission in Russia.  We got married about two-an-a-half months after I came home.  She has been extremely helpful and supportive of me as I have been busy with school, work, and AFROTC activities. 
We have two beautiful children.  Our daughter, Ashlynn, was born the day before our second anniversary, so we spent that anniversary in the hospital.  She'll be two tomorrow.  Our son, Aaron, was born 19 Apr 2011 and passed away 07 Jul 2011.  He had a congenital heart defect, which led to complications, including the need for an IV to supplement his nutrients.  That line got infected, and the infection quickly spread through his body.  He passed away either on the Life Flight helicopter or at Primary Children's that same night. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

OpEd Topic

I have been thinking about a few different ideas for the opinion editorial.  I'm leaning towards the idea that war is not only beneficial to a national economy, but is even necessary for strong national defense.  The current first runner-up is the concept that many Americans are habitually patriotic.  In other words, the patriotic attitudes and actions are not so much a result of the deep-felt gratitude towards the servicemen who have secured their freedoms.  Rather, due to the dwindling number of families directly or indirectly affected by deployments, the sacrifices made are more of an abstract idea than a sobering reality for most of the people who reap the benefits of said sacrifices.