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First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of His Countrymen

theleansubmariner

I asked for a sign and this is what I got (1638 EST 1/7/2019)

I monitor the traffic on the web site each day to see what is working and what is not. It was kind of an interesting surprise to open the blog up and see that number on the left.

Recently, the focus of the blog has been on Polaris submarines and the year 1959. I had already introduced the book written by Admiral Rickover that was based on his many letters to congress in regards to the names of the boats within the Polaris and Poseidon program. But I have struggled with how best to tell the story. The original work was published by Congress in October 1972 and is protected by copy write. I will do my very best to respect that for moral as well as legal reasons.

But the way the Admiral welcomed each…

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Would you do it again?

Nostalgia does overshadow the sleepless days, smells and separation from those we loved, but I would go back in a heartbeat even now if they let me.

theleansubmariner

Would you do it again?

As I have written before, so many people have the same reaction when you tell them that you were a Submariner. “Oh, I could never do that.” You just give them a certain smile of understanding and know that they are probably right. It takes a certain kind of crazy to knowingly put yourself through the things you went through to become a qualified Submariner. But would you do it again?

In so many conversations over the years, my suspicion is that many of my submarine friends would in a heartbeat. But it does make me wonder why.

The 711 Boat

This year coming up is a landmark year for me and for some important parts of my history. I will turn 65 in May and two of the boats that I have been associated with are coming to a new part of their journey…

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The Home Depot Foundation Pledges Quarter of a Billion Dollars to Veteran-Related Causes by 2020

theleansubmariner

Yesterday’s post was about a very unhappy man who was mad at

(insert name of home improvement store here)

for not being eligible for a military discount.

Lifer

I was thinking after I posted that story that many people are not aware of how much some companies work very hard to support actual veterans-in-need causes.  Because I have worked with different groups over the years, I am a bit more familiar with them. It may surprise you as well.

This announcement was made in 2016 on Home Depot’s web site.

The Home Depot Foundation Pledges Quarter of a Billion Dollars to Veteran-Related Causes by 2020

The Home Depot Foundation has focused on U.S. military veteran support since 2011. Today’s increased commitment will help address continued veteran challenges, including:

More than 39,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. More than one million veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to…

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Adversity is a refining fire.

theleansubmariner

I achieved a minor but important breakthrough this morning at around 4:50 AM when Angus the dog decided he needed to get up and go outside.

I have been struggling for months to properly title the book project I have been working on now for about five years. The last three chapters have been the hardest since these chapters cover the most well known parts of my subject, Captain Cassin Young, US Navy Medal of Honor awardee (deceased).

The breakthrough is that I believe I have the name that fits the work I have done and best describes what I want people to see when they pick up the book.

I will reveal that in the weeks to come.

Debbie and I have tried to get into a habit each day of studying God’s word through the Bible and some study guides we purchased for individual chapters. The study has…

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The Line

theleansubmariner

As Memorial Day approaches, I know that all of us will be busy with tributes, ceremonies and parades of honor. At least I hope that we all would be so engaged. The truth is that many will be more focused on picnics and pools, parties and getaways, sales and sports. How far away from our own heritage have we drifted.

I will have the honor of participating in the Elizabeth Parade and Ceremony in Elizabeth PA. The ceremony goes back as far as anyone can remember and has been a regular part of my families tradition for nearly as long. I hope to be able to introduce a new poem written today for the occasion.

This poem is a reflection based on a vision I had about sailors today. I have copywrited the work so if you feel the desire to share, please contact me directly.

The Line

Mister Mac

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Last Words

death bed

Driving home from the USO-NC Jacksonville, NC Center last night, I heard something on the radio that had me thinking.  It seems that one of the actors (and singer, teen heart-throb) from The Partridge Family, was heard to say the following just before he died; “So much wasted time.”  Sad that a man whose career was devoted to supposedly bringing laughter into others lives would end his own with such a sad insight.

 

It got me thinking into what others ‘last words’ were and how that reflected their lives before their deaths.  Many of the comments are humorous, some sublime and others, as the above quote, a sad goodbye to this life.  Some may believe that drawing any kind of conclusions from anyone’s ‘deathbed conversation’ is overblown.  They would claim that it is nothing more than the random thoughts flitting through a dying brain; others, myself included, feel that often such comments can reveal not only a glimpse of that persons’ life but perhaps a glimpse of what is next after death.  Many are recorded on various websites, but some that I’ve included here can point to how important these last testimonies are.

 

This is the last of earth! I am content.
~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848

Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well–let ’em wait.
In response to an attending doctor who attempted to comfort him by saying, “General, I fear the angels are waiting for you.”
~~ Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary general, d. 1789

All my possessions for a moment of time.
~~ Elizabeth I, Queen of England, d. 1603

Codeine . . . bourbon.
~~ Tallulah Bankhead, actress, d. December 12, 1968

How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?
~~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891

I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.
~~ Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170

I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
~~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957

That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted.
~~ Lou Costello, comedian, d. March 3, 1959

Damn it . . . Don’t you dare ask God to help me.
To her housekeeper, who had begun to pray aloud.
~~ Joan Crawford, actress, d. May 10, 1977

 

This by no means is a complete list, just some I parsed from several different websites including “Brain Candy,” “Mental Floss” and “Phrasefinder.”  There are some notables I have left out, among them Jesus the Christ (in that case his last words on the cross were not his last words, for he is alive today having risen from the dead).   Some that I have heard from other nurses (relating what they’d heard from a patient just as they died) are horrifyingly stark, giving a glimpse of life after death that is not all lollipops, rainbows, and butterflies.  The saddest on the above list is that of Joan Crawford; apparently, someone in her hearing was praying and perhaps beseeching her to call out for God.  To go into that long not-so-good night with those words on ones’ lips…

 

There are ample examples of those disciples of Christ who went to their King with joy; Tomas a’ Becket is such an example when faced with his assassins, gave testimony of not only a life well spent but an expectation of far better in the next life.  As the two malefactors who were crucified at the same time as Jesus, the world is divided into two camps; those who continue to decry his claims and mock him even as they die, and those who had once been among the mockers, but embraced him as Lord and Savior.  There is no middle ground, no great good deed that anyone can do that will assuage the penalty of being born a son or daughter of Adam.  Anyone who doesn’t believe in the concept of original sin and the inherent depravity of mankind has never had children (or seen the wild tantrum of a child not getting what they wanted NOW).

 

The time of our death is not known; often there is no time for any ‘last words’ as death overtakes us.  Better to live a life that reflects our values, particularly those of a disciple of Christ and let that be our last testament to the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Angry versus a Loving God?

Belief-in-an-Angry-God

When folks tell me that the God of the TANAK (Old Testament) and New Testament are different; one being vengeful and angry, the other loving and full of grace, I have to shake my head.  They just don’t get it and my reading this morning shows clear proof that they are one and the same.  Man’s fall and resultant expulsion from the Garden some may claim are clear indications of how vengeful God was ‘back then.’  They may say that didn’t God put that tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden after all; why should God be surprised when man disobeyed the command not to eat of its’ fruit?

 

That Eve was deceived by the Accuser is clearly laid out in Scripture (Gen. 3:1-6); what is often overlooked is how Adam was present during this temptation and let it happen.  True, Eve was not there when God commanded Adam not to eat of this particular tree (think of it, in a world full of ‘yes,’ the only one ‘no’ and they blew it!).  Surely Adam instructed his wife of this single ‘no,’ but the Accuser is crafty and deceived Eve, so she took of its’ fruit and ate it.  Then, Scripture tells us (Gen. 3:6), “…she took of the fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”  The innocence and joy of the Garden were gone in an instant, and they hid from each other and tried to hide from God.  No longer unashamed (Gen. 2:25); with rebellion and sin, shame entered creation.

 

God enters the Garden looking for Adam, calling to him as a father to a wayward son.  What follows (Gen. 3:10-13) is the first example of the blame game; fingers pointing outward without any confession of their own sin.  This continues to this day and will do so until the end of this fallen world.  Their attempt at covering their own shame (sewing fig leaves together to cover their nakedness) was ludicrous, just as any attempt on our part to pay for our own failures falls far short.  God sacrifices creatures to provide for them proper covering (would an angry and vengeful God do this?), but then does something many don’t understand. He expels them from the Garden, never to return (Gen. 3:23,24)!

 

Just so, some would claim, this demonstrates his vengeful nature.  But really it truly demonstrates the grace God shows throughout His-story.  The triune God speaks a very real concern, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.  Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever…” (Gen. 3:22)  Adam and Eve (and all their progeny) were cursed with eventual death rather than living forever in a Garden of bliss.  This is the peak of grace; imagine if they had remained in the Garden and had eaten of the fruit that would give them everlasting life.  Shame, fear, doubt; all the ‘fruit’ of the fall would remain forever.  Death for the human race is a gracious gift from a loving God that ends a life of suffering and temptation, allowing them to enter into an eternity of everlasting joy.

 

Again, this so-called ‘angry, vengeful God of the Old Testament demonstrates further grace by providing a path, a Way to that true life.  By the sacrifice of the animals that provided them with clothing, God showed them that blood was required.  This would lead to the sacrificial system laid down in Exodus and Leviticus, but all points to that Son whose heel would be bruised, but who would forever crush the power and threat of the Accuser.  About two thousand years ago, an itinerant preacher and miracle worker was arrested and endured several mock trials (in violation of the Torah).  He would then be handed over to a lily-livered Roman official who would condemn him to be crucified, even knowing he was innocent.  That was that they all thought.

 

But God…

 

 

Jesus is risen; just as he said!  He has left this planet but will return.  The madness and evil that seem to run rampant over the Earth leave us with little hope.  By God’s grace, the story is not over.  When Jesus cried, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), it was not a piteous cry of defeat, but a shout of victory!  The debt had been paid; the Way was now open to all who believe to receive true life forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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