The Sigh of Time: 365 Reflections for Managing Your Life and Time Better.

If you want to start the New Year off right, try my 365 daily reflections. It is available on Amazon Kindle for the bargain price of 4.99 cents.  Fifty Percent of all my royalties on this book will go to KIVA.    Amazon Books.

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Si quieres comenzar bien el Año Nuevo, prueba mis 365 reflexiones diarias. Está disponible en Amazon Kindle por el precio de ganga de 4.99 centavos. El cincuenta por ciento de todas mis regalías en este libro irán a KIVA.   Amazon Books.

如果您想重新開始新年,請嘗試我的365天日常思考。 它可以在亞馬遜Kindle上以低價4.99美分的價格購買。 我在這本書上所有版稅的百分之五十將歸KIVA所有。 亞馬遜圖書。

Se vuoi iniziare il nuovo anno nel modo giusto, prova le mie 365 riflessioni giornaliere. È disponibile su Amazon Kindle al prezzo d’occasione di 4,99 centesimi. Il 50% di tutti i miei diritti d’autore su questo libro andrà a KIVA. Libri di Amazon.

Ti o ba fẹ bẹrẹ Ọdun Tuntun ni apa ọtun, gbiyanju awọn iwe-iranti mi lojumọ 365 lojumọ. O wa lori Kindu Amazon fun owo idunadura ti awọn senti 4.99. Ogorun aadọta ti gbogbo awọn ijọba mi lori iwe yii yoo lọ si KIVA. Awọn iwe Amazon.

 

 

Persico 2019 Holiday/Christmas Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

Have you ever looked at some old high school years books?  No doubt you noticed that hairstyles are a dead giveaway to the era that you are looking at.  Today, it seems words reflect the times we live in.  A few years ago, we were deluged with the word “Awesome.”  Everything was awesome.  My boyfriend is awesome.  My underwear is awesome.  Then, the word “traction” seemed to mysteriously enter the English language.  Trump was gaining traction.  Biden was losing traction.  My car tires could get no traction in the snow in Arizona (Oops, car tires are not a good example and we do not get any snow down here in Arizona City.)  Lately the words have become more complex but no less ubiquitous.  The words meme, trope and narrative have become almost cliched.  “I was spinning a narrative just the other day that was full of tropes and memes and just for fun I decided to throw in a few faux facts or were they alternate facts?”  Well, you know what I mean.

Karen asked me to start off our annual Holiday/Christmas letter.  I thought maybe you would all like to hear some good news.  I will forego talking about my life or the people I know who died this year or my aches and pains.  I am sure you have enough of your own miseries without getting mine.  So, I embarked on a quest to find some good news.  A happy story that would transcend the gloom of politics, the animosity of the impeachment process, the rhetoric of the elected officials that we are condemned to hear.  I found just the story on NPR.  It was a tale of a young girl (Two years old) named Parker Curry who wrote a book (Some help from her mom) about her experiences at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Parker

Parker came across a picture of Michelle Obama and was mesmerized when she realized that she was the same color as Parker.  To Parker, Michelle was more than just the first lady, she was an inspiration.  A photographer took a picture of Parker staring up at Michelle Obama and it became a viral sensation.  To me it shows the value of a role model and the need to see people who are like we are.  Parker was later asked if she would like to be President or a First Lady.  Without hesitation, Parker said “President.”  The book is called “Parker Looks Up.”  I highly recommend the book.  It will make you feel good even if it is a book for kids.

MonkeyKaren’s turn.  2019 was the Chinese year of the pig, or to be more accurate, the earth pig.  Pigs represent good fortune, wealth, honesty and peace loving.  My Chinese sign is the monkey, and unfortunately for the monkey, 2019 was to bring unplanned expenses.  So true.  After 40+ years of my lobbying to get some sort of a camper, we finally did it and purchased a 26-foot Aspen Trail travel trailer.  Of course, that meant that we had to buy a truck to pull it.  Then we found out the many necessities required to use a travel trailer.  The Amazon delivery truck had daily trailer deliveries and sure knew where to find us.  The trailer sat in front of our house for months so we could learn to pull it, turn corners, and the worst—how to back up.  According to the Zodiac, John (the dog) in the Chinese Zodiac) was to have special opportunities to change his plans and trace new directions.

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DogJohn got more than he wanted.  It was his job to organize all the new tools and supplies while I decorated.  We had a first practice trip to a nearby State Park for a “dry” run and then a second longer trip to Puerto Penasco in Mexico.  Feeling more confident, we took off for Wisconsin in April by way of Mountain View Arkansas to first attend the Dulcimer Jamboree before heading home to Wisconsin.  In June, our trailer went to Kentucky Music Week and in September to Bayfield, WI for a 30th anniversary celebration.

Finally, it was back to AZ in October. But our trips were not done yet.  Shortly afterwards, our sister Jeanine visited from Rhode Island and we took her to Mexico to practice her Spanish lessons.  She enjoyed both her first trip to Mexico as well as her first RV experience and camping on a Mexican beach.  We’re not pros yet, but we have sure learned a lot about RV’ing.  We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year.  2020 will be the Chinese year of the metal rat.  But it’s much better than it sounds.  It should be a strong, prosperous and lucky year for almost all the Chinese Zodiac signs.

John and Karen   

Christians Now Want Trump Removed

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“Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment,” said the piece, written by editor in chief Mark Galli. “That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.”

Trump Must Go

Galli, who will retire from the magazine Jan. 3, wrote that the facts leading to Wednesday’s impeachment of Trump are unambiguous.

Please share or reprint or repost. 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/december-web-only/trump-should-be-removed-from-office.html?fbclid=IwAR17b4-tkpZTL_smT-vXkmoAk933UO9eyDhzIq7PRvACMYWUYd0WgqT4dAs

 

 

Was Jesus a Failure?

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It’s Christmas time again and everywhere we look we see violence and mayhem, greed and avarice, poverty and hunger.  Mankind’s inhumanity to others and a total disregard for the welfare of the earth dominate the news every day.  Watching the hearings concerning Trumps impeachment has been the low point of the year for me.  Rhetoric, obfuscation, innuendos and fabrications dominate instead of truth, logic and evidence.  Christmas is a cruel joke only made worse by the amount of crass commercialism that is exhorted in the name of Jesus Christ.

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Satan sat on his throne listening to my above missive and thinking “Ha, Christ was a failure and I have won another soul.  Do you hear me God?  You sent Moses with a message.  You sent Noah with a message.  You sent dozens of your prophets with a message.  You sent your only son to carry the same message and no one really gives a dam.  There is not one Christian on earth who loves everyone.  Every single Christian hates someone else.  Catholics hate Jews.  Protestants hate Catholics.  Evangelicals hate non-evangelicals.  The right wing hates the left.  The left hates the right.  Rural Americans despise urban Americans.  The rich hate the poor and the poor hate the rich.”

God heard Satan and simply said to him “You are wrong.  There is much love and compassion for others in the human race.”

“Yes”, said Satan, “for members of their own tribes.  For people who look like them, talk like them, live like them, think like them, but for others there is only hate.  I challenge you to find ten Christians who do not hate someone else.”

God replied: “Will you leave humans alone this Christmas if I can find ten good Christians?”

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Satan confidently answered, “Of course, but only if you agree on a limit of ten days to find your ten good Christians.  That way, I will still have time to ruin Christmas for as many families as I can if you do not find them.”

“Agreed” said God

Two days went by and God could not find ten good Christians who did not hate anyone else.  Satan laughed, “I told you so.”  God then requested that he be allowed to find only five good Christians who did not hate anyone else.  So confident was Satan that he readily agreed to this change.

Two more days went by and God could not find five good Christians who did not hate anyone else.  God was getting desperate.  “What” he asked Satan, “if I could find just one good Christian who did not hate anyone else?  Would you concede that Jesus was not a failure?”

“Okay, I am so confident that there is not one good Christian on Earth who does not hate someone else that I will give you this last chance.  But on one condition” said Satan.  “My condition is that you will get two more days to find your good Christian but if you do, then I get four days to test your Christian to see if they really are a non-hater.”

God accepted Satan’s conditions and went in search of a single Christian somewhere on the face of the earth who did not hate someone else.  God had to expand his search beyond America but in less than two days, God thought he had found his loving non-hating Christian.  It was a young girl in India.  Her name was Aindrila.  Aindrila was eight years old.  She lived with her mother, father and her pet cat in a little village in Mizoram, India.

Every night when Aindrila went to bed she prayed for all the people in the world.  14159276-cute-little-indian-girl-in-a-greeting-pose-isolated-white-background

“Now I lay me down to sleep and pray the Lord my soul will keep.  Please watch over my mother and father, all the people in India and all the people in the world.  Please help everyone who needs help and keep everyone safe.  If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord, my soul he will take.  Amen.”

God presented his good non-hating Christian to Satan, but Satan only laughed. “We will see.  I have four days to test if your so-called good Christian really is so good.”

The next day, Satan sent two young teenagers to Aindrila’s house to torture and kill her cat.  When Aindrila found the dead body of her cat, she cried for several hours.  That night when she went to bed, she prayed much as before except she added a verse:

“Please God watch over the boys who did this to my cat and help them to see the error of their ways.  Amen.”

Satan was somewhat chagrined, but he decided to up the ante.  The next day, he put a hole in the path of Aindrila as she walked to school.  Aindrila fell in the hole and broke her leg.  It was a very bad break and Aindrila was taken to the local hospital.  They fixed the break but told Aindrila that she might have to walk with a limp because of the injury.  Again, that night, Aindrila went to bed and added the following verse to her nightly prayers.

“God, thank you for sending me such good health care and bless the people who fixed my leg the best they could.  Please watch over them and take good care of them.  Amen.”

Now Satan was very angry.  “OK God, you asked for this fight and you are going to get it. We will see if your good Christian is really good or not.”

The next day, Aindrila’s parents were going to work on their usual bus ride.  Satan saw to it that a drunk driver smashed into the bus killing only Aindrila’s parents.  No one else on the bus was injured.  Satan laughed and laughed.  “This should do it”, he thought.

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Somewhat later that day, the local constable along with a social worker came to find Aindrila at home.  When Aindrila answered the door, they told her that both her parents had been killed by a drunk driver that morning.  They were very sorry for her loss, but she would have to come with them.  Because she had no other relatives, they were going to take her to live at the local orphanage.  She would have to stay there until she was eighteen or someone wanted to adopt her.  They thought this would be rather unlikely though.

Aindrila was relocated at the orphanage where she seemed sad and despondent.  Nothing the kindly Sisters of Charity could say to her seemed to shake her out of her melancholy.  She cried until she went to bed that night.  Unlike previous nights, she went to sleep without saying any prayers.

A few hours after Aindrila went to bed, she awoke with a start.  She did not know where she was.  It took her some time to orient to her new surroundings but once she did, she turned over to go back to sleep.  Suddenly, she thought “I have not said any prayers tonight.”  She climbed out of bed and made the following prayer:

“Dear God, thank you for the wonderful parents you gave me.  I know you took them away today, but I am sure that you had a good reason for doing so.  Thank you for finding a new home for me with these nice nuns.  Oh, and please help the man who killed my parents find a good life.   I forgive him for what he did and I hope you will too.  Amen.”

Satan listened to the little girl saying her prayers and conceded.  “Dam you God, you win.”

And God said “If there is only one person on earth who is not a hater then it was worth sending my son Jesus and Jesus was not a failure.

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“Be the reason someone smiles.  Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness in people.”  ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

The Day I Joined the Air Force – Part Three, The End

In 1968, four years after I joined the Air Force, I received an Honorable Discharge and rejoined civilian life.  I had spent four years as a 30352 Aircraft Control & Warning Radar Technician.  It was my job to keep the radar running that was scanning the skies for any potential enemy aircraft.  In the sixties, with the Cold War raging this meant Russkies.  I had learned how to repair computerized surveillance systems, servo systems, power supplies, radar scopes, ECCM and ECM (Electronic Counter Measure and Electronic Counter Counter Measure) equipment.  It was technical work and in addition to 42 weeks technical school training, I had completed several correspondence courses to advance my knowledge while in the military.

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During my Air Force career, I had received each of my stripes with minimum time in grade and was eligible for a P-4 reenlistment bonus which I declined.  I had earned a career as an electronic technician that enabled me to have numerous job offers with computer firms, telecommunication firms and other high tech companies.  I had more job offers than I knew what to do with.  I owed it all the third of my three life changing decisions.  Here is how the third decision transpired.

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After I completed my basic training at Lackland AFB, I was assigned to a technical training facility that was at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi.  I found the base to be everything I could want in terms housing, bars, night clubs, women and most importantly the ocean.  When I was not in training class, I would go to the beach, swim and try to meet young women.  I developed a tan that would be the envy of anyone.  Many of the local girls seemed to prefer going out with guys from the north much to the dismay and hostility of the local guys.  We were given cards that advised us on which clubs and bars to avoid.  Of course, these were the ones I preferred to go to.  I soon developed a bad drinking habit and spent too many weekends recovering from a hangover.  I was living the good life except for one “minor” hiccup.

I was a notoriously bad student in high school, and I continued to be the same at the airbase.  I hated school and did not want to be in training class.  I continually disrupted class, did not pay attention and gave the training instructor a hard time.  Somehow, rather stupidly I would later realize, I thought the Air Force would have some type of fighting unit.  I still wanted to fight in the ongoing Vietnam war and whether I died or not did not matter to me.  I wanted adventure and excitement and not a classroom with books, assignments, tests and studying.  Everything I hated about high school had now come back to inflict misery on my days.  Perhaps that is why I drank so heavily on the weekends.

Then one day, I received a notice from my training instructor.  He told me that I needed to report to the base commander.  He did not say why.  But I was told to go ASAP.  Now the airbase had almost 20,000 officers and enlisted men stationed there, and it was not every day that an Airman 3rd Class was told to report to the base commander.

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I found my way to the base commander’s office and met his secretary.  She told me to take a seat and that Major General Romulus W. Puryear would see me shortly.  Apparently, he was expecting me.  After a brief wait, I was called in General Puryear’s office.  He was working at a large desk and without looking up, he told me to take a seat in front of him.  He had his back to a large window which looked out over the base.  I waited anxiously for what seemed like an hour before he finally looked at me.  When he did, he told me to look out the window.  “What do you see” he asked?

I replied, “I see two guys up on a scaffold painting the barracks.”

“Do you know what we call them”? he inquired

“Painters”, I said.

“No, we call them Protective Coating Specialists (PCS); and when they are done painting that side of the barracks, do you know what they do next?

“They paint the other side”, I responded.

“That’s right”, said the Commander, “and when they are done that side, what do you think they do next?”

“Paint a new barracks, I guess.”

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“Wrong”, said the commander.  “It takes about six months to paint one side and, in a year, when they have finished the second side, the first side is starting to peel so they will go back to the first side and start painting all over again.  That’s what they will do for the next four years.”

“And” shouted the commander, “If you don’t get your ass back in that class and start paying attention, that is what you will be doing for the next four years as well.  Do you understand me?”

“But sir, I don’t like school and I wanted to be in a fighting unit”

“That is not one of your options.  You have a choice, School or PCS.  Dismissed Airman!”

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It was a rather quick decision on my part but one that altered my life forever.  I choose to go back to class and pay attention.  I finished third in my class behind the squadron wimp, a guy named Sitters, whom many of the other guys picked on and a guy from North Carolina named Michael Atkins who sounded like he had marbles in his mouth when he spoke.  I had assumed Atkins was dumb, but he and I became good friends.  He was quite an intelligent guy.  Stereotypes based on accent were said to hurt President Lyndon B. Johnson and I know they hurt people like Mike.  Can we ever overcome the impact of nurture on our lives?  I guess it all comes down to the decisions we make.  After completing my technical training, I put in for Southeast Asia but instead I was sent on a remote assignment to Unalakleet Air Force Base in Alaska.  I never did get to see Vietnam.  Many people say that I was lucky.

The End.  

These are two of my squadron patches.  One for Unalakleet, Alaska and the other for Osceola, Wisconsin.  I tried twice to get sent to Southeast Asia but both times I got assigned to very very snowy climates.

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Can We Be Thankful This Year for What Really Matters?

banner_holidayHoliday time or Holy-Day time?  Each holiday season, I wonder what time people are really celebrating. Christmas becomes X-Mass.  Holy-days become holidays.  Days of remembrance become good days to host a backyard barbecue and Thanksgiving simply becomes the springboard to “the shopping season.”  The big kickoff being “Black Friday.”  Where is our soul? Where is the spirit in our natures?  Is time off meant to be simply another day to watch the “big game.” Are holy-days meant to be spent shopping? Is Black Friday now the most important day of the year? Is Santa Claus a Good Christian because he gives toys to tots?  Was that Jesus Christ’s message, to spend Christmas roasting chestnuts round an open fire singing Jingle Bell Rock?

1000x750-6holidays_grinch_tcm88-35406Please note, it is not my intention to sound like the Grinch or to “cast stones” at others. We all need time to relax and we all need time for fun and games. However, when do we say enough? What about the meaning of the time that we are granted? Do we simply see our time off as a holiday or do we embrace this gift of time to remember our dead, our veterans, our special leaders and those that helped pave the way for the lives we can live today. These “holidays” we are given each year, whether in remembrance of a religious or civic event should not pass by without our taking the time to remember what their true meaning is.

Thanksgiving in my opinion is meant as a time to remember the blessings that we have been given. Regardless of how much or how little we have, there is generally something we can be grateful for in our lives.

GW-IngratitudeI have so much but I am continually looking at people that are more successful, make more money, have more friends and are in better condition.  Yet once I pause for just a few seconds to reflect on my blessings, I realize that I have the greatest wife in the world and I am healthy and moderately well off.  I have six happy and wonderful grandchildren.  I have more friends than I have time to spend with.  In short, I have nothing to complain about. I have nothing to be selfish or greedy or jealous about.  I have been blessed with a wonderful life but I hardly ever stop to say “thank you God for what you have given me.”  I am usually too worried about what I have not been given.

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This Thanksgiving, take the time to say a prayer of thanks.  Ask all present to thank God or whomever or whatever you believe in for the gifts and the life you are living.  This year, I will also ask all present at my Thanksgiving table to take a minute to express what they are thankful for in their lives; then we will dive in on the turkey, stuffing, and dressing.

The true meaning of Thanksgiving lies in being grateful for what you have.

Time for Questions:

Do you know a prayer of thanks? What is your favorite prayer? Will you make time for a prayer of gratitude this Thanksgiving?

Life is just beginning.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  — Melody Beattie

 

The Day I Joined the Air Force – Part Two

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Our lives and destinies revolve around the choices and decisions that we make.  I had already made one of the three most important decisions that would change my life forever.  In Part 1, I described my decision to join the United States Air Force.  Some might argue, that it was fate that made my decision and that I really had no choice.  Others would argue, my decision was more reactive than proactive and thus was not really a choice.  I will not defend myself.  Like an artist who refuses to describe their painting, I will let you decide if I chose or did not choose in each of these decisions.

In Part 2, I will describe the second decision that changed my life.   But let’s go back to my plane trip first.

lackland tiUpon landing at Lackland AFB in Texas, I along with all the other new recruits was ushered off the plane where our T.I. or Training Instructor was waiting for us.  After telling us that we would address him as Sir, he ordered, screamed, yelled and instructed us until we were able to get into some type of formation.  You can imagine the chaos that ensued when a bunch of green rookie “boots” tried to form into a military squadron.  It was early morning and I was dead tired.  I had not been able to sleep at all on the plane.  I presume many of the other “boots” were similarly exhausted.  Nevertheless, it was going to be many hours before we would meet our cots and be able to get to sleep.  In the interim, we would march all over the base getting haircuts, clothes, food and taunts (known as Jody Calls in the military) from other squadrons that often went like this:

Rainbow, Rainbow, don’t be blue

Our recruiter screwed us too

Sound off – One Two,

Sound off – Three Four

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The term “rainbows” was applied to new recruits who had not yet received their uniforms or haircuts and were marching in civilian clothes.  Our civilian “uniforms” made us stand out like sore thumbs, much to the delight of the more “advanced” squadrons.  Their pointing and taunts made us wonder what was in store for us.

Basic training lasted 12 weeks.  It did not take long for me to develop friendships with the same type of guys that I did in high school.  This was generally guys who had little or no respect for laws, traditions, rules or anything getting in the way of a good time.  Needless, to say, one would quickly realize that guys like this (myself included) would not be a good fit for the military.

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Hanging out with my new friends, I soon became involved in a few minor infractions which broke rules and traditions.  Air Force basic training had many rules and my motto had always been that: “rules are made to be broken.”  My friends agreed with this motto and it seemed like we were on a collision course with the military.  My one saving grace was that I did not really find the physical aspects of the military very difficult to deal with.  I had always been athletic and drills and PT (Physical Training) were easy for me.  I even found them kind of fun.  Nevertheless, I was not sure of many of the other restrictions that chafed at my sense of independence.

Then it happened.  One night after lights were out and I was sound asleep, I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice saying, “Wake up, Wake up.”  I am a pretty light sleeper and I sat up and saw one of my three “good” buddies who was standing next to my cot.  Roger whispered, “get dressed, we are leaving.”  “Where are we going?” I asked.  He replied, “We are going to rob the BX (Base Exchange) and go to Mexico.  We can have a great time.”

A jumble of thoughts went through my head.   I had previously been arrested for breaking and entering.  The idea of getting away with a base robbery sounded like a stretch.  I was tired and it was late at night.  I responded with “Have a good time, I am going back to sleep.”  That was the end of that.  I did not see my three friends for another six or seven weeks.  I made the second major decision of my life, but I am still not sure what the deciding factors were.

Several weeks later, an officer requested that my T.I. send me to his office.  My T.I. told me to report to the JAG (Judge Advocate General) Corp office and to see Lieutenant Perry. I went to the JAG office and reported to the officer who requested to see me.  “Airman Persico,” he started.  “Do you know Roger” and he named the other two of my former friends.  “Yes, sir” I replied.  “Well, they have requested you as a character witness in their upcoming trial.  Seems like you were their only friend on base.  You are hereby ordered to report to this office in two weeks.  (I do not remember the date).  I am representing them at their court martial trial for theft and going AWOL (Absence without official leave).  Dismissed!”

Two weeks went by and I had a lot of time to think about what I was going to say.  I would wow the court with my elocution and polemics.  In no time at all, I would have the charges against my friends dismissed.  I was confident in my ability to persuade the court.  I left my barracks at the appointed time and found my way to the courtroom where the trial for my friends was being held.  I gave my name upon entering and took a seat that was assigned to me.  I was soon called to the stand and told to swear that I would tell the whole truth etc.

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An officer, I would never know if he was the defense or prosecuting attorney asked me my name and if I had any knowledge of the three men on trial.  I replied that I did and then I started in on my rehearsed defense.  I was quickly told to be quiet and to only answer a question when asked or I would be held in contempt and find myself in the brig along with my three buddies.  My questioning went on for five minutes or so and it seemed like everything I said only dug a deeper hole for the defendants.  When they were through with my testimony, I was dismissed and told to report back to my squadron.  I felt like a total failure.

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My friends all received time in jail and a dishonorable discharge.

I soon left Lackland AFB for my training assignment in Biloxi, Mississippi AFB as a Radar Technician.  I would never see or hear from my former friends again.  I often think back upon the decision that I made and the impact that a different choice would have had on my life.   Did I make a choice or was it destiny?

In Part 3, I will describe the third of my 3 most important life decisions and the impact that it has had on my life.

“We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.”  — Ken Levine

 

 

 

 

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