Jim Pence: My Video Tribute to Charlie Frost

Charles Mitchell “Charlie” Frost Jr. SFC (Ret), 77, of Radcliff, KY, passed away Sunday, January 24, 2010 at Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown, KY.

Charles Frost Jr. often arrived at local veterans events in a 1942 Army Jeep. He also would wear his old uniform, which he will be buried in. He was 77.

“Wherever there was something that paid a tribute or an honor to soldiers, he was there,” former state Rep. Mike Weaver said.

Frost joined the Army at age 15, and two years later was sent to battle in Korea. Serving in the 34th Infantry Regimen, 24th Division, he and his fellow GIs were ambushed several times; Frost was the lone survivor of at least two of these attacks.

After he was captured, a North Korean officer — nicknamed “The Tiger” because he was so harsh — forced him and other Americans to march 126 miles to a Chinese prison camp. The temperature at times dropped to 20 below zero.

“It just took an extremely strong person to survive that,” said Weaver, a retired Army colonel.

Only 212 out of 850 GIs survived the march. Some froze or starved to death — or died from disease. Others were shot for leaving formation. Frost — a prisoner of war from 1950 until 1953 — was bayoneted twice in the leg. He also lost a kidney because of malnutrition, according to Weaver.

Fifty years later, with Weaver’s help, he was awarded the Purple Heart medal.

Here is an interview I conducted with Frost in 2005:

Charlie Frost An American Hero from James Pence on Vimeo.

Paul Hodes: Honoring My Namesake

As a member of congress, It was both obligatory and an honor to attend Memorial Day celebrations in my district.

In New Hampshire, we have a beautiful Veteran’s cemetary and events are well attended.  Often sitting in bright sunshine, sometimes in a late spring cloudy chill under a blanket, the World War II veterans who were residents at the nearby Veterans Home were always given front row seats. Many were in wheelchairs, some required constant attendance. Some came in uniform and some just came.  

Having never experienced the horror of war myself, I sometimes struggled to convey my deep gratitude to thank those who served and died for their country.  At first, it was intimidating to be in the company of so many former and present military personnel. 

I later became comfortable with my role and theirs. I always tried to say something different and meaningful, something that went beyond the ritualistic expressions of gratitude. After a time, I came to appreciate the rituals and the importance of the repetition of those ritualistic expressions. But, here’s something I never talked about and I don’t know why.

I was named for a distant cousin. When I was a child my grandparents told me that Paul was a sweet, brilliant, handsome man destined for greatness. He died during World War II flying a combat mission. I carry his name and his legacy. He died in service to his country as did so many others.

So, on this Memorial Day, I am honored to remember him and thank him for his service and his sacrifice.

Cousin Paul, I thank you for your life, your service and your name. My own service, of a different kind, is the living proof that you did not die in vain. This great country with all its greatness and its flaws, endures thanks to you.

John Walker: A Tribute to Adam Snyder

During most of 2008 and early 2009, I had the privilege to serve our country in Northern Iraq as a mobilized US Army Reservist.  But, these thoughts are not about me, but rather CPT Adam Snyder, who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

You see, in my civilian job, I serve as the Director of Volunteer Services at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, KY.  When I learned in November 2007 of my pending deployment, one of our volunteers mentioned that his nephew, Adam Snyder, was stationed only about 20 miles from where I would soon find myself.  This volunteer expressed his hope that Adam and I might meet during our time of mutual deployment.  Understandably, this volunteer expressed a very high opinion of his nephew who had graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point only a few years earlier.

Unfortunately, just before I left for my deployment, on the day we held our Volunteer Christmas Luncheon at the hospital in December of 2007, the volunteer received word that the vehicle in which Adam had been traveling had been hit by an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) and Adam’s chances for survival were slim.  Adam did not survive that attack.

Because the brigade and division headquarters in which Adam served was located near where I was in Iraq, upon my arrival, I had an opportunity to “meet” Adam and pay my respects in the land where Adam last was on this earth.  Unfortunately, at that time, there were quite a few others who had lost their lives and a memorial was erected to those soldiers that all could see upon entering the headquarters building.  An artistic soldier captured well the emotions experienced by soldiers who have lost a comrade through his painting on the wall by the fallen soldier memorial.  You can see in the photo, “dog tags” with the name of each soldier who had lost his life are hanging on the weapon.   On the wall, the ID tags were also respectfully displayed on the wall near the entry. And, no one could enter the headquarters without viewing the perpetually running PowerPoint remembering each fallen soldier. 

It was during a Memorial Day Service on May 26, 2008, while serving in Iraq during which I discovered the depth of my appreciation and respect for Adam and the many others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service.  I was overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility to continue carrying the torch of freedom – because of the men and women who had gone before and on whose shoulders I stand. 

The photo to the right was displayed during this Memorial Day Service in Iraq during which Adam’s name was called – along with so many others.  The words underneath the image say, “Lord, grant me the strength …” This image and phrase so accurately captures how I felt each day of service while there.  And, I’m confident it is how many, many others have felt during their time of service – wherever that might be.

Now, as I prepare for Memorial Day this year, and every year, I thank God for Adam and all the other brave men and women who have selflessly served our nation, those who continue to serve, and those who will elect to assume the mantle of service in the future.

Welcome to a Special Memorial Day Edition of The Recovering Politician

If you’re at home catching up on work, or at the pool catching some rays, I encourage you to check in via your desktop or PDA every so often to The Recovering Politician.  We are here to put the “Memorial” back into Memorial Day.

Too often, the special message of this important American holiday gets lost in the three-day-weekend vacations, department store sales, and swimming pool openings.  This is the one day every year where it is incumbent on all of us to remember the brave men and women who served our country in uniform.

Because they remembered us.  As the Scripture instructs, the greatest love is shown by those who sacrifice their own lives for the benefit of their neighbors.

On Friday, I invited our readers to join our contributing RPs in offering tributes to special people in their lives who served our country.  And the overwhelming response was truly heartwarming.

Beginning at 9:00 AM EDT, and every half hour that follows, we will share a new tribute from one of our readers or our regular contributors.  You’ll hear from the sons and daughters, grandchildren, and siblings of true American heroes.  You’ll hear from veterans themselves, including my own hero who was a decorated World War II fighter-pilot.  You’ll even hear from a sitting mayor who took time out of his extraordinary busy schedule to salute his own mother and father. 

If you never had a chance to submit your tribute, please take the opportunity in the comments section below each post.  Feel free to honor a beloved friend or family member, or perhaps an unknown, unheralded man and woman who lost his or her lives to preserve our freedoms.

Thanks for sharing this Memorial Day with us.  I hope you enjoy it.

REMINDER for Memorial Day Tributes; & Next Week at The Recovering Politician

We are going to have another big week next week, filled with great news, discussion, analysis, and a few laughs thrown in.

And best of all, we are opening up the Web site to you on Monday.

Monday, May 30, The Recovering Politician will be dedicated exclusively to tributes to the men and women who have served our country in uniform.   Please send us your story (from 100 to 1000 words) about a brave loved one whom you are remembering this Memorial Day.  If you have a picture –particularly one of them in uniform — please send along as well.  We will publish all of the appropriate entries on Monday.

Since we put out the call this morning, we have already received nearly a dozen responses.  And we will publish as many as we are sent.

Please email the story and picture to Staff@TheRecoveringPolitician.com by Saturday night, May 28,  at 11:00 PM EDT, and we will share it Monday on The Recovering Politician.

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you back on Memorial Day.

The RP on No Labels Radio: Now Available Online

Yesterday, the RP, contributing RP Lisa Borders, and a group of other Democrats, Republicans and Independents from across the country, helped launch No Labels Radio.

No Labels is a new grassroots movement of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are united in the belief that we do not have to give up our labels, merely put them aside to do what’s best for America.  No Labels Radio will offer a weekly dose of news and interviews with the policymakers who are working to find bipartisan answers to the otherwise intractable problems our country faces.

No Labels Radio is broadcast every Thursday at 2 PM EDT.

Yesterday’s broadcast is now online.  You can listen to it here:

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Wealth

The Politics of Wealth

Is that a Google in your pocket? New “Google Wallet” may be the future of money. [Forbes]

King Coal: How West Virginia could one day face ghost towns, despite the current boom. [CNN Money]

“Un-friending” Bambi: Facebook guy Mark Zuckerberg decides to only eat meat he kills himself. [Fortune]

Faith and the Market: how the financial sector mimics religion. [Economist]

MAD MONEY’S Jim Cramer has found four potential bull markets you should know about. [CNBC]

RPTV: Friday Video Flashback — Eva Moskowitz

We’ve received a lot of feedback on The Atlantic magazine’s piece that we posted this week, in which former New York City School Chief Joel Klein praised the work that contributing RP Eva Moskowitz has been doing to promote education in the innercity. 

Here’s the link.

We thought that now is an appropriate opportunity to hear it from Eva herself.  Accordingly, we present a ten-minute video of a speech Eva gave last year in Denver on the subject of charter schools.

Enjoy, and let us know what you think:

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the Planet

The Politics of the Planet

 Hundreds of European flights are cancelled due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland.  Fortunately, scientists say the eruption could end by the weekend. [Bloomberg News]

Two teen Girl Scouts have been leading a five-year crusade against the Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and other cookies they love and sell.  The trademark cookies are made with palm oil, which is the single ingredient under protest because of its link to Rainforest deforestation and Orangutan endangerment. [CBS News]

Urban farmers embrace new technology and invest in Aquaponics, an indoor farming method that produces both greens and fish. [Chicago Tribune]

Even in these weak economic times, more people in the United States and Europe are willing to spend more money for organic foods, which in turn is attracting more investors to this growing mass market. [NY Times]

The RP: What’s Up Doc? — My Five Favorite “Doc”s Who Weren’t Really Doctors

Continuing my newly-established tradition of plagiarizing from Nick Hornby and sharing my pop culture Top Five lists (See my Favorite Breakup Songs , my Favorite Hoops Books, and the Most Jew-ish Gentiles), and in honor of my oldest RPette’s recent acquisition of an adorable bunny (named “Louie” not “Bugs”), I ask the question that has confused, even haunted my generation: 

What’s up with all of the guys named “Doc” who’ve never practiced medicine or even earned a graduate degree? 

Without further agonized perplexion, I hereby list My Five Favorite “Doc”s Who Weren’t Really Doctors:

5. (tie) Doctor J and Doctor K

Julius Erving (who supposedly got his nickname from a high school buddy) and Dwight Gooden (an homage to Erving — K stands for strikeout — that was later shortened to “Doc”) were two of the greatest athletes of the last three decades of the 20th Century.  J was the fifth highest scorer in pro basketball history, the first great populizer of the slam dunk, and one of the most graceful and elegant atheletes to ever play the game (And how ’bout that ‘fro!).  K was one of the most feared and dominant baseball pitchers, whose brilliant career could only be stopped by drug use and injury.  And yet, despite their greatness, there is no sensible reason to award them with the title of doctor.  (At least J gathered a few honorary degrees after his career ended.)

4.  Doc, the Dwarf

Doc wasn’t necessarily the brightest of the dwarfs — he seemed to stammer and lose his train of thought quite often — but he held sway over the rest of the crew, with the possible exception of Grumpy, of course.  (Here is a great summary of his life and career.)  Doc’s authority emenated from being the gray eminence of the group, the centered, moral authority.  Yet there was no evidence whatsoever of a medical license or doctoral dissertation at an accredited university.  Indeed, it took the efforts of a fully-heighted fellow (The Prince) to relieve Snow White of her food poisoning ailment.

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The RP: What’s Up Doc? — My Five Favorite “Doc”s Who Weren’t Really Doctors

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