So, as I understand it, the State of Washington has ruled that anytime a playground is built, or renovated, swings cannot be included. Not because of the kids on the swings getting hurt but because of kids walking in front and behind the kids on the swing getting hurt, and their parents suing the schools, and insurance companies now saying they won't cover liability because of so many lawsuits. So children in Washington have now lost the joy of reaching for the sky on a swing and spending hours talking to your best friend on a swing because parents found it easier to sue the schools than tell their kids to watch out around swing sets. Unbelievable. The words personal responsibility just don't seem to exist anymore.
I can't count the number of times I flew off a swing and scrapped myself. Raise your hand if you ever fell of monkey bars or got popped by a tether ball or lost skin on the gravel for a million different reasons. Yea, most of my generations hands went up. I don't recall my parents wanting to file a lawsuit, they threw a band-aid on me and said watch what you're doing. And while I'm cranky, one of my best memories as a kid was seeing half the United States from the backend of our station wagon where me, and my brothers, made beds and played car bingo and ate snacks and waited for semi's to go by so we could try and get them to honk their horns. Today my parents would get arrested for us being back there without a seat belt, or car seat, or other restraint. I rode a bike without a helmet, had fireworks in the backyard on the 4th, cooked popcorn in a metal pan over an open flame on the stove, shot a bb gun in the backyard at paper targets and somehow survived. There is no doubt we are safer today and that's not all bad. But if it's too safe, and too litigious, we sue and safeguard the fun right out of living. Seems like kids can't be kids today because there are rules against that. No wonder they sit inside and blow up the world on video games!!! Just one old crumudgeons opinion!
With nearly 6000 fallen heroes watching in silence, USAF SSgt Vanessa Wyatt re-enlisted this morning at the Colorado Freedom Memorial with her Commander, Supervisor and parents looking on. If was the first re-enlistment ceremony at the Memorial and we certainly hope it won't be the last. In a place where men and women who gave all are honored it was awesome to see their sacrifice remembered with SSgt Wyatt's commitment to carry on with the mission. The men and women who wear the uniform from every generation are among our very best. Congratulations SSgt Wyatt and thank you for your service!
In May of 2000 I came to Normandy for the first time to broadcast the Breakfast Club back to Denver. It was the first, and to this day still the only time a radio broadcast has originated from here. We learned then that 88 Colorado heroes lay among the 9387 fallen at Normandy and 12 are remembered on the Wall of the Missing. After the broadcast we had the chance to walk through the cemetery after it had closed and I was overwhelmed with sorrow that so many from home were here and how could we honor them where they had lived their childhood. That was how the Colorado Freedom Memorial idea came to be, from that walk 14 years ago . Today we returned to the American Cemetery to fulfill a promise I made to come back and let these young men know we had not forgotten them. If only by name we had brought them home. I cried today. For them, for their families, for lives they didn't get to live. I cried for the terrible way they died and then I cried with pride that WE never let go of the idea to always remember them. It was a sad day, and always will be when you come here. But these men were heroes and heroes are never forgotten. We'll at least not in Colorado! God bless them all and thank you everyone who helped a crazy radio guy pay tribute to these and all our fallen.
This is why #18 is the greatest to ever play quarterback. Sure, the stats are huge and he's revolutionized the position. But he did it without forgetting who he was, remembering what's truly important and being a great example of what it means to be a man. Oh that we should all have friends like that. You're a good man Peyton Manning.
“Nobody feels worse than he does. He got up and spoke to the team today. He apologized to the team. He and I have been talking these past couple weeks knowing this might be a possibility. He’s not been able to sleep. He’ll learn from it and... be better for it. As a team we support him. We stick with him. It’s not easy to stand in front of the team like that. You find out during a time like this who your friends are, who sticks with you. Me and Wes and Jacob (Tamme) and Britton Colquitt do a little Bible study together and we’re praying for him. A lot of guys are thinking about him. It’s not an easy time but I think he’ll come back stronger and better.” - Peyton Manning on Wes Welker situation.
In August 1914, 1600 men enlisted into the British forces in the old moat around the Tower of London. Great Britain had just entered WWI and before it ended 888,246 of her sons gave their lives in the Great War. To mark the 100th Anniversary of Britain’s entry in the war ceramic poppies are being placed in the old moat by 6,000 volunteers with the last one to be placed on November 11th, Armistice Day. These pictures of this incredible tribute were taken by my friend Molly McGinnis and show the poppies spilling, much like blood, out of one of the Tower windows and into the now dry moat. I’ll bet it’s breathtaking in person and certainly a beautiful remembrance. 1237 from Colorado gave their lives in WWI. May we never forget.
Over the last few weeks I have been sharing how love and faith have carried me and Diane through our journey with a second stroke and Di's recovery. This morning I want to tell you about my friend who has taken his own difficult road to re...covery but today it's paying off in a wonderful way!!
That person in the bed is Pierce O'Farrill. This picture was taken on July 21, 2012, the morning after the Aurora Theatre Shooting in which Pierce had been a victim. He was shot several times in the foot, arm and chest and will have shrapnel in his arm for the rest of his life as a reminder, as if the dark image of the shooter standing over him in the theatre that night is not reminder enough.
Months of rehab and an unbeatable strength of faith have brought Pierce to today, when he will marry Jackie, a beautiful woman who has been there with Pierce since his recovery began. It will be a beautiful ceremony that might just as easily never have happened, and for many in the theatre that same night won't happen. I know on the happiest day of his life Pierce will carry the memory of those lost on the saddest day of his life.
I am overjoyed for the two of them, but especially the kid I hired as a board operator at KEZW many years ago who was just trying to find his way. Pierce and I had stayed in touch over the years, but I like to think we're closer now than ever. I love him like a brother and am so proud of the man he has become. Bless you both today and congratulations. God gave you a gift in the darkness of that July night. A chance to find each other. Make the most of it!!!
Did you notice it anywhere? Were there any special sales or car deals to commemorate the day, one of the most significant in history? How many people flew flags to honor August 14, or what happened on this day 69 years ago? P...arades? Moments of silence? National Day of Remembrance? Nope. Today is remembered in quiet corners of nursing homes and retirement communities by old men who may not be able to say it anymore, but still can see it. They had survived a war that had claimed the lives of 405,000 of their comrades. It is also marked by the remaining survivors and later generations of those who lost the nearly 3700 from Colorado that left to save the world’s freedom and did not return.
August 14th, 1945, at 5pm Denver time President Harry S. Truman went on the radio and announced to a war weary nation that Japan had accepted the terms of the Potsdam Declaration and the official surrender would be signed aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2nd. World War II was over. He asked that VJ Day be celebrated on the day the surrender was signed, but it was too late. Across the nation, a nation that had been at war for three years, eight months and seven days, city streets filled with a celebration like no other. In Denver thousands left office buildings, school campuses and factories like Gates Rubber and Remington Arms, headed to the State Capitol and further downtown where one reveler remembered, “Everyone was kissing everyone!!” August 15th and 16th were declared National Holiday’s and the celebrations continued until thoughts turned to, “what’s next?” Soon veterans would be returning home after being gone for so long. Would they be the same? How had war changed them? Happiness was joined by anxiousness. And the long wait for loved ones to get back home began.
I didn’t see much mention of VJ Day today in the newspaper or on the TV. Perhaps they’re waiting until September 2nd to mention it on the date the surrender was signed. Or perhaps it is old news now. 69 years ago today it was a current event. God Bless all of our WWII generation that stood tall then, and remembers quietly now. May your memories be of heroic deeds and great conquests; may God grant you peace in your sleep and pride for those you lost. Thank you homefront veterans and frontline heroes from a grateful generation you returned home to raise.
It’s one of those text messages you always worry about. Diane and I were at the store and my phone beeps. I glance at it and see the words, “Do we have baking powder?” Harmless, until you realize it’s your 13-year old granddaughter texting, and what the heck is she cooking???? Needless to say we were home inside of three minutes and there was my formerly little girl making pancakes. She had gone on line and got a recipe from a cooking website and was making breakfast. How could it be that the little girl I was just playing airplane with to get her to eat Gerber Carrots was now searching recipes and cooking breakfast? I am learning, and living, one of the great challenges of grand-parenting, being so proud of their accomplishments, but somewhere in the back of my head hearing a whisper, “Enjoy this because…
The first time this happens you’re so busy being a parent, and having a career, and growing up yourself, that the little moments get lost. The milestones are greeted with a casual, “Good job sweetie” and then it’s back to the challenges of the world. You have a million pictures of your first child growing up, a thousand of the second and by the third kid you have group photos, and he’s wearing clothes his brother was photographed in the year before!! Being a grandparent allows you to see what you might have missed the first time. I spent months wondering what Larissa’s voice was going to sound like after she was born. I watched Ethan play T-Ball like it was game seven of the World Series, every time he played. Joshua and I have amazing talks about the things we want to build and the stores we want to open. This is the height of the joy grandparents feel in their life.
Somewhere though, lurking in those quiet moments when you have too much time to think, is the realization that with these milestones, the seasons are changing. No one lives forever and thinking you will cheats you out of the urgency of enjoying every second you have, and I refuse to let an hour go unused. I don’t have time for daily drama and petty people. I assure you the last thing that goes through my mind will not be, “Can you believe what he said?” It will likely be, “I remember when I had the best pancakes I ever tasted.”, or the touch of Diane’s hand in mine, or our Thanksgiving table. Someone once said, “Life is not made up of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years, but of moments…” I believe this to be true. Grandparents know it to be true. I hope you enjoy every moment…and your own pancakes.
This year Diane and I are sharing our 40th Christmas together and it has always been our custom to have a fresh tree. We have lived through the aluminum trees with color pin wheels, the white trees, the evolution of artificial Christmas trees and even trees you sprayed with scent so they would smell like trees. Through it all we remained steadfast in our determination to have a live tree. We have visited lots when it was below zero. One year I brought a tree home with the top four feet sticking through the sunroof of our Datsun and the branches sticking out both back windows, with our daughter sitting somewhere in the middle of the whole display! I went to the forest and cut down a tree once. It looked so much better in the forest! Yea, we’ve had some adventures but there is just something about a real tree that makes Christmas come to life in our home and this year, well this year let’s say we love our trees more than ever because of who we got them from.
Last Christmas we stumbled across a lot on a corner in Parker that sold the beautiful old fashioned trees we love. We purchased a beauty and when we took it down in January it was as fresh as the day we bought it, so we were determined to get our trees there again. This year the owner of the tree lot moved the whole thing to his property, Franktown Landscape and we headed down there to look. It didn’t take long for us to find what we wanted and with our selection made we got to making small talk with Hubert Aguirre, owner of the place. Hubert is a character and I find as I get older I’m really drawn to them. I love their passion for life and their ability to tell a story. Hubert told us how he used to sing like Dean Martin for the girls in school and then broke into song. And Hubert talked quietly of his brother Raymond, who on March 27, 1970. Was killed in action in South Vietnam. He talked about how his mother and father were never the same and he talked about how much he missed his brother still. Diane asked him if he had heard of the Colorado Freedom Memorial and Hubert said no so Diane pulled the website up on the computer and there, in the database, showed him his brother’s name, Raymond Aguirre, Panel 18, Row 3, Name 23. Hubert is too tough to cry in front of you, but you could see the tears forming.
We told Hubert that we had been thinking about placing a live Colorado Blue Spruce at the Colorado Freedom Memorial site and selling Dog Tag Ornaments that people could purchase for $10 and we’d write the name of any veteran they’d like on the tag and hang it on the tree. Hubert said you buy one, I’ll give you one and I’ll deliver them for free. It seemed to be a way Hubert could give his brother Christmas, if only by having a tree near his name. We shook hands and as we were getting ready to leave, Hubert said thanks, and started singing, “everybody loves somebody, sometime.” A great character! Yesterday the trees were delivered to the Colorado Freedom Memorial and one of the two men in the truck walked up to the Memorial and asked where Raymond Aguirre’s name was. I walked him to it and after a few minutes of silence he turned to me and said, “I’m Raymond Aguirre also. My Dad named me after his brother.”
This year I see Christmas Trees differently. When I was younger they were the place where the presents appeared after Santa’s visit. As I aged they became the keeper of family heirlooms, ornaments that hung on my Moms tree and her Moms, and those we added that say Baby’s First Christmas and other wonderful symbols of our own growing family. Now these trees remind me that every generation has gathered here, in front of their own trees, during Christmases past and shared joyful celebrations with family. There was laughter, and excitement and surprise and love. They wondered what the journey of the coming year would be liked and prayed they would all gather together again at the tree to share the season. For some, like Raymond Aguirre and the other 5800+ on the Colorado Freedom Memorial, Christmas became a painful memory as they fought for their country far from home, far from the Christmas trees of their youth.
This year, under the soft light of our tree, the one Hubert loaded in the car, I give thanks for the greatest gift I will ever receive, the Freedom that lets me celebrate the birth of Christ on Christmas morning and to be gathered around those beautiful trees with my own family. It’s a gift I received from heroes I have never met and I will never sit by the tree again without thinking of them all.