Saturday, May 27, 2006


Memorial Day
Now for a little history on Memorial Day: In 1965, a committee of community leaders started plans for the Centennial Celebration of Memorial Day. The committee consisted of VFW Commander James McCann, chairman, American Legion Commander Oliver J. McFall and Mayor Marion DeCicca, co-chairman, along with Village Trustees, M. Lewis Somerville, Roscoe Bartran, Richard Schreck, Tony DiPronio, and VFW Vice-Commander, Kenneth Matoon. Their goals were: "to obtain national recognition of the fact that Waterloo is the birthplace of Memorial Day through Congressional action" and "to plan and execute a proper celebration for such centennial observance."

In May of 1966, just in time for the Centennial, Waterloo was recognized as the "Birthplace of Memorial Day" by the United States Government. This recognition was long in coming and involved hours of painstaking research to prove the claim. While other communities may claim earlier observances of honoring the Civil War dead, none can claim to have been so well planned and complete, nor can they claim the continuity of observances that Waterloo can. The Centennial Celebration that year brought dignitaries from government, military, veteran's organizations and descendants of the original founders of Memorial Day.

The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity (duration: one minute).The time 3 p.m. was chosen because it is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. The Moment does not replace traditional Memorial Day events; rather it is an act of national unity in which all Americans, alone or with family and friends, honor those who died for our freedom. It will help to reclaim Memorial Day as the sacred and noble holiday it was meant to be. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.

How to Participate?
Wherever you are, observe the Moment at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day. Ask others to remember—relatives, friends, church, neighborhood, or co-workers to observe the Moment at places such as your neighborhood, local pool, picnic grounds, etc., for one minute of Remembrance. Participation can be informal as ringing a bell three times to signify the Moment.

To provide a time of Remembrance for America’s fallen and to make a commitment to give something back to our country in their memory. To have Americans participate in an act of national unity and demonstrate gratitude and respect for those who died for freedom since the founding of our Nation. To provide a sense of history to our citizens and ensure that younger generations understand the sacrifices made to preserve our liberties.

The idea for the Moment was born when children touring the Nation’s Capital were asked by the Commission’s Director what Memorial Day means. They responded, That’s the day the pool opens. A Gallup Poll revealed that only 28% of Americans know the meaning of this noble holiday. The White House Commission on Remembrance was established by Congress (PL 106-579) to promote the values of Memorial Day by acts of remembrance throughout the year. The major initiative of the Commission is the National Moment of Remembrance.

Remember this weekend when attending family gatherings, Bar-B-Q's and out door activities, let's pause at 3:00 PM on Monday and give thanks to all of our veterans for their service to our country and for protecting our freedoms and the American way of life. Their continuing patriotism and bravery in adversity is what keeps America free. Let's also remember and pay special honor to the veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice and was killed in all US wars. Let's thank God for his blessings on America and for using us for his divined planned purposes and for spreading the Gospel truth. Why do people hate our way of life? Why do Muslim extremist want to kill us? Why do you think migrants want to come here from every corner of the earth?

Additional Resources:
US Memorial Day History and Information on US War Memorials
Offers the history of this celebrated day and information on US War Memorials.

Explores the Civil War-era origins of the holiday as well as little-known facts about America's wars.

Memorial Day
The first official recognition of Memorial Day as such was issued by General ... Now the Memorial Day Museum, it houses artifacts of the first Memorial Day.

Official Website
For more information you can visit the official Memorial Day website

Bobby Sowell - Military Service Page - Vietnam Vet
Take a pictorial journey of Bobby during the Vietnam war and personal accounts of events he experienced in 1969-70.

Bobby Sowell 911 Tribute Page
Special 911 tribute. Listen to Bobby's piano rendition of 'America' composed especially for that tragic event.

*Above photo submitted by Jim Kail and used by permission.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday Mandy!
My daughter, Mandy Sowell is celebrating her 26th birthday today. She resides in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. She was born in Memphis, TN on Memorial Day 1980. She is an artist in her own right. Maybe she got her talent from her Dad. When Mandy was 3 years old and barely could talk, she knew the capitols of most of the US States and countries around the world thanks to her Dad who drilled her. (There is a cassette tape to prove it). Of course, she was coached and rewarded with Ice cream at Shoney's Big Boy Restaurant. The management were so impressed, they usually gave her the Ice cream for FREE. Everyone marveled on her ability to remember all them facts. It was a cute sight to see!

I tried calling Mandy at home tonight as I always do on my children's birthdays. However, she was not there and was out with her boy friend. Since I was unable to talk to her, I did the next best thing and sent her a song-a-gram, via my telephone, my Yamaha Clavanova and her answering machine. I played her the "Happy Birthday Song" live and left it recorded on the answering machine for her to listen to when she comes home. I hope to talk with her 'live' on Sunday at her Grandma's house.

It is interesting to note that all three of my Canadian children were born in the US and on US Holidays. My oldest son Rob Sowell was born on Father's Day and my youngest son, Chrisopher Sowell was born on Veteran's Day.

View Mandy's Art Creations
Click here: Mandy's Art Gallery

View more Mandy and family archive photos
Click here: Childhood and Growing-up Pics

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Veterans ID Theft?

Air Force & Army Veterans Bobby & John Sowell

Incompetent Government Employees?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an employee, took home electronic data from the VA, which he was not authorized to do. This behavior was in violation of VA policies. This data contained identifying information including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. The employee's home was burglarized and this data was stolen. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

The theft of veterans' names, social security numbers and dates of birth comes as the department has come under criticism for sloppy accounting practices and for falling short on the needs of veterans. Last year, more than 260,000 veterans could not sign up for services because of cost-cutting. Audits also have shown the agency used misleading accounting methods and lacked documentation to prove its claimed savings. Veterans advocates immediately expressed alarm.

The questions are, when in May did this happen and how did the VA learn about the innocent? And why did it happen? Shouldn't there have been safe guards in place where this could not have happened? Will this employee be fired? These and other question must be answered.

As a Vietnam Veteran, I call for an Immediate and thorough Congressional Investigation and complete overhaul of the VA. Veterans deserve all the respect and proper handling of their most personal Information. We were once called on to serve our county, now it's time for the country to be called on and serve the veteran. I will say that the VA has improved in recent years compared to the 70's. My medical attention is actual very good once I pass the adminstration part. I have experience several foul ups at the VA but chalked it up to the work force and government red tape.

Information for veterans suspecting identity theft: or phone 1-800-FED-INFO

Friday, May 05, 2006

See what I mean?

Who really lost? I thought Moussaoui should have gotten the death penalty. 3,000 lives for 1 seemed unfair anyway. But now, some future hostage or hostages will be killed because of their demands for his release won't be carried out. As long as Moussaoui lives, he will remain a threat. Now, French authorities said they may eventually press the United States to have Moussaoui serve his life sentence in France under two conventions on the transfer of convicts. They were waiting to hear the conditions of his sentencing. See what I mean?

Terrorist pilot Mohammad Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986. The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. And because he wasn't put to death.... as part of the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians in 1993, Israel had to agree to release so-called "political prisoners." However, the Israelis would not release any with blood on their hands, The American President at the time, Bill Clinton, and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, "insisted" that all prisoners be released. Thus Mohammad Atta was freed and eventually thanked the US by flying an airplane into Tower One of the World Trade Center. See what I mean?

Moussaoui's mother Aicha El Wafi, pressed for her country to intervene. ``Now he is going to die in little doses,'' she said. ``He is going to live like a rat in a hole. What for? They are so cruel.''

No mention of how cruel 3,000 deaths were on 911? See what I mean?

And what about Timothy McVeigh? He got the death sentence. What's the difference? Race? Religion? It makes one wonder who got the better deal, America or Moussaoui? Who really lost? Moussaoui or America? He said, America lost! Was he right? In my opionion, today's US Justice is a far cry from the days of our Fathers and Grandfathers. If this were 1945, what sentence would he have gotten? DEATH for sure! But somehow, liberalism and political correctness have filtered the process of the US Government and American citizens getting a fair trail.

What about these souls? Did they get a fair trail?