Fifteen years ago, today, Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan became the stuff of tragic legend, like the death of American hero Pat Tillman, yet on a larger scale. Even superbly trained Navy Seals and special operators can have bad days. And June 28th, 2005 was a very, very bad day.
Two weeks later, my wife and I toured the Punchbowl National Cemetery overlooking Waikiki on Oahu. We routinely visit Punchbowl (and the USS Arizona) to pay our respects when the islands are open for mainland visitors. This time, our tears flowed freely as bayoneted rifles were topped with helmets for the downed Army helicopter pilots and aircrewmen, and Navy Seal fins were topped with masks for the next day’s solemn memorial for fallen heroes. As the Honolulu Advertiser headlined, ‘there is no greater love.’ If you want to peruse a proud-to-be-an-American tear-jerker, pick up LONE SURVIVOR written by Marcus Luttrell.
There is are no bigger or better ideas that loyalty, service above self, and love of what our Grand Old Flag represents. I will never forget that day. As communities exist for connections and interactions, my personal tie to Operation Red Wings is via Erik Kristensen, one of those nineteen heroes who passed away on an Afghan mountainside. He too was a denizen of Hubbard Hall as a Navy Oarsman at our US Naval Academy. I assert that some rowers make upstanding SEALS! This ABC NEWS article suggests that Erik was upstanding!
I put fingers to keyboard on this Paul Bunyan Day. Yet far more importantly, on this commemorative anniversary of Operation Red Wings and that former rower’s demise with another eighteen of America’s bravest.
As I committed on-line, and in-person, I nominate ALL KABOOMER sale proceeds that I can track to families and friends of military heroes (see https://wellpastforty.com/kaboomer-book-launch/ ) to be transparently passed to Veterans Foundations or to charitable organizations to assist them in their worthy missions.
You have my word. I never fired a shot in anger in my Cold War naval career. Perhaps that is my reason to assist as best I can. Perhaps that is why I coach some of America’s FREEDOM Rowers too. Certainly, I want and need to recognize those who ran to the gunfire in our very long global war on terror. If interested, please Join the Movement and my bookkeeping of your purchase(s) will set aside all these sales as charitable contributions – guaranteed.
Please bear with me for this major downshift here to a nomination of far-lesser importance and impact before closing. There just might be a downstream intersection between Heroes and Ideas…
KABOOMER: Thriving and Striving into your Nineties received a Summer Reading Nomination for The Next Big Idea Club. You may find out more about the Next Big Idea Club, at https://goo.gl/vW9WPe. Disclosure: I’m an original member of this Club.
Some of the Club’s fine non-fiction recommendations were cited in KABOOMER, such as Dr. Daniel Levitin’s Successful Aging which you know is a subject near and dear to my heart. soul and body. Such as Daniel Pink’s eponymously titled book WHEN for times to perform at your best and how to grab a “nappuccino.”
Summer Nominations are judged on three criteria to potentially become a “curiously strong” finalist:
3. Life-Changing (actionable).
Time will tell if this author’s contributions to worthy charitable causes are tiny or tremendous, or somewhere between.
Finally, here’s to our Heroes – everyday! There is NO “curiosity” in their strength and resolve. There is “no greater love.”