Big Brudder Braden

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My family moved into our current house in August of 2001. Sara and I weren’t much help with the whole “lifting boxes” thing, so we went to go play in the cul-de-sac. There we met two little boys whole lived on our street. Nearly thirteen years later, these two boys are still my best friends – if you could call them that. The older of the two, Braden (who turns twenty freaking years old today) is my big brother.  Continue reading

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Don’t You Dare #CancelColbert

 

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I’ve been a member of Colbert Nation for years. I love Colbert Report and his books are among the funniest I’ve ever read. I much prefer him to Jon Stewart and other comics that focus on political satire. Colbert’s character is one of the few that can see the light, funny side of politics. He says things that many of us think but don’t have the guts to say. I stand with Stephen Colbert.  Continue reading

An Identifier, Not Racist

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Libertytown, New Market and Mt. Airy aren’t exactly racially diverse communities. In 2012, my high school’s student body was 85% white1 – and most Linganore students would’ve guessed the percentage was actually higher. Therefore, kids of any other race were often called “the Asian kid” or “the black kid” and everyone would know exactly who that was. The best part was that nobody cared. The names weren’t derogatory; they were simply a product of an overwhelmingly-white population. Heck, many minorities embraced the nicknames and made jokes about their own ethnicity. There was some name-calling, and I’m certainly not approving of that, but terms like “the ­Indian kid” were accepted and used all of the time without thought.

All of a sudden, I get to college and mentioning someone’s race at all is racist. I don’t like that.  Continue reading

All Dogs Go to Heaven

One day while I was still in elementary school, my cousins and I made friends with a cat on the farm… and the poor thing was mauled by a tomcat in the night. After we got over the shock, I asked my mom if kitties go to heaven. Looking back on it, I feel bad for asking; it was and always will be a tough question that usually gets into that whole “do animals have souls” thing – and that’s no topic to take up with a seven-year-old who’d just seen a cat corpse.

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Flight 370

Disclaimer: I’m not saying that I’m absolutely and completely informed, or an expert in any way. These opinions are my own, and I’m allowed to have them.

Unless you’ve distanced yourself from every television, newspaper, nosy person and internet-capable computer for the past week or so, you’ve heard about the Malaysian airplane that went missing while en route to Beijing. Flight 370. It’s been everywhere, and every day there are new theories of its location and how it got to be wherever-it-is. New details emerge about the flight path, the pilots, and the design of the plane. These details often conflict between sources and even within sources (“today, we discovered that the pilot didn’t actually do this…”). This has led to and continues to feed a crazy fire of overly-obsessed reporting about the flight.

My question: who cares? Continue reading

Who Am I?

Watch this video. I don’t care what you’re doing right now. I don’t care if you’re on your phone, on a computer, in public or in private.  If you have three minutes of time, click the play button right now. Click it. I’m not joking.

Did you watch it? I can wait. No matter your opinion of the US Army, click on the big red “play” button.

Watch it. Now.

Alright, I’ve given you three chances. If you haven’t yet watched that clip, it’s your loss. That video completely changed my life, and there’s a chance it can change yours.

One morning in the fall of 2012, during my senior year, I was on Facebook before going to school. An acquaintance of mine posted this video. I was in the process of applying for an Army ROTC scholarship, and I was infatuated with anything that was even remotely related to the service. So I clicked on the link. And three minutes later, I clicked on it again. And Again. Again and again until I had the audio half-memorized. I was bouncing off of the walls; the voice in the video was speaking directly to me, piecing my heart, sending inhuman amounts of energy through my veins.

I loaded the clip onto my iPhone and I had the entire thing down pat in two days. A few weeks later, I recited the words right before going in for my scholarship interview. A few months later, I gave the speech to the Drill Team during a particularly hard morning at a meet. Almost a full year later, I watched the video in my dorm room as I readied for my first morning in the Blue Jay Battalion. And I watched it tonight for the first time since then.

True, the video is not of the highest quality. The music in the background is from The Last of the Mohicans (good choice, internet). The speech itself was originally given by a football coach. The pictures are of different units, a sort of collage, and they aren’t exactly taken by experts. But that doesn’t diminish its value to me. I could write forever about how much this clip means to me, but I’d never stop.

I wish I could have this thing projected on a loop everywhere I went. Not all of the words are entirely appropriate for every occasion (“I will rip the heart from my enemy and leave it bleeding on the ground” won’t go over so well with everyone), but many of them are. They are sacred words to me, words of strength, power, honor, personal courage, and camaraderie.

If I absolutely had to get a tattoo, I’d get the words “Who am I?” because the phrase has become something of a motto for me. It forces me to answer positively. It makes me think of success and triumph. These days, those two things are hard to come by, and it’s good to have a reminder.

I understand victory, and I understand never surrendering.

Who Am I?

I am a champion.