November 11, 2013

I Will Remember You...

I can't even imagine...
This picture REALLY just kicks my butt.
This is a lot to ask of someone...
and yet they do it.

I was not aware of how the Vietnam era vets were treated
until they spoke of the contrast at the end of the 1st Gulf War.
It's still pretty hard for me to grasp...and it's disgusting.

I have only ever known this...
soldiers being thanked for VOLUNTEERING to do something
that many are all too ready to share their opinion about...but
never actually have to dirty their hands in its reality.

"Patriotism is not is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but
the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." A.S.

What also blows my mind, is that the war protesters of the past
gave birth to the Gen X-ers...who were supposed to be without
foundation...rudderless and indulged.

Amazingly, they are our defense today. Thank God for them!
They were able to see passed the faults that their parents
focused in on...and saw that this county is not only one that
people die trying to get into...but it's worth dying for.

There is no way we can thank them enough for their service.

Or their sacrifice.

And the ones who wait for them.
Talk about sacrifice.

And it all comes at a price.

But it's because of them that have the freedom to share are opinions,
one side or the other...

and that alone deserves all the respect we can muster!

Where would we be without you?

 Here's a quick read that will bring a tear to your eye and joy to your heart!

Retired Marine Ernie Napper adds life to Disneyland’s flag retreat

After Disneyland closes for the night, the security officer stands alone under the Main Street flagpole getting ready to go home. He looks up at the light still burning in the apartment window above the firehouse, and tips his hat.
“Goodnight, Mr. Disney,” Ernie Napper says to himself. “The flag retreat ceremony was beautiful again tonight, sir. Big crowd with lots of kids and old veterans. You would have loved it, sir.”
The 63-year-old retired Marine imagines Disney, who died in 1966, standing there inside his private apartment where he spent many days and nights staring out that window at the crowds walking into his fantasy kingdom.
He sees the boss looking back at him and waving, as if to say ‘Good night, Ernie, go home and get some sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow.’
“I see him in my mind as clear as day,” Ernie says, getting ready for another Veterans Day. “Mr. Disney started the flag retreat ceremony in 1955. He’d stand at that window at sunset and watch the security officers bring the flag down and fold it up.
“Mr. Disney was a real patriot, same as me. That’s why I love working here so much. You know how they call it the happiest place on earth? Well, it is for me.”
Sweetheart of a guy, Ernie. I met him a few years back when he was visiting St. Martin’s School in Canoga Park to talk to the kids on Veterans Day. He stood on that stage looking razor sharp in his Marine Corps dress uniform — trim and fit, like he could still take that hill if ordered. Sir.
Ernie spent 21 years, 6 months, and 3 days in the Marine Corp — from Vietnam to the Gulf War. When he retired as a gunnery sergeant he came straight here — the happiest place on earth — to work as a security officer on the swing shift from 3 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
He’s still working the swing shift 21 years later. Still taking the flag down five nights a week at sunset. He’ll be doing it until he physically can’t do it anymore. But don’t hold your breath, he says.
“Ernie exemplifies patriotism,” says Jon Storbeck, vice president of Disneyland Park. “He recently received the highest honor our cast members can achieve, the Walt Disney Legacy Award, for consistently inspiring others.”
Disney had already been gone 26 years before Ernie arrived in 1992. There were many nights in those early years when Ernie thought the flag retreat ceremony might go with him.
“Few guests seemed to be interested in what was going on,” he says. “Hardly anyone was there when we took the flag down for the night. It didn’t seem important to anybody, but it was important to me. And I know it was important to Mr. Disney, too.”
What would the boss think now staring down from his apartment window at the sparse turnout, Ernie wondered? He wouldn’t like what he was seeing, that’s for sure. Just a few people standing around a boom box playing the National Anthem.
There were more people over at lost and found.
But how do you get paying customers off the rides and out of the shows to spend 20 minutes watching a flag come down a pole? That’s not why people take their kids to Disneyland.
That’s when Ernie got an idea that would have made Walt Disney proud — maybe even earned him a nice raise. The security officer started talking to Mickey and Minnie — to Cinderella and Snow White — to Alice in Wonderland and Donald Duck when he was making his rounds.
He talked to all the Disneyland cast members in costumes, asking them to please stop by the flagpole at sunset, and bring the kids and their parents with them.
Well you know what happened next. The flag retreat ceremony became an E ticket. From Adventureland to Fantasyland — from Tomorrowland to Frontierland — kids began lining up behind their favorite characters and marching to the Main Street flagpole at sunset with their parents and grandparents in tow.
Before long the boom box was replaced by the Main Street Band and Dapper Dans playing and singing patriotic songs to crowds lined up three deep to see the nightly flag retreat.
“When I look into that crowd now I see a lot of veterans saluting, and kids and their parents with their hand over their heart,” Ernie says. “I see some tears and a lot of pride on faces, too.”
After the 20-minute ceremony is over, families head back to the rides and attractions while Ernie starts making his rounds through the park to make sure everything is okay in the happiest place on earth.
When his shift is over and it’s time to go home, he’ll stop by the flagpole to look up at the only window still lit on the Main Street Square. He’ll pay his respects to the man standing beside the lamp that never gets turned off.
“Good night, Mr. Disney,” the security officer will say to himself. “See you tomorrow.”

Dennis McCarthy’s column appears on Friday. For comments or story ideas, he can be reached at


  1. Great Post. May we always remember that freedom is never free. Thank God so many have been willing to preserve that right for us.


  2. To all the men and women that sacrifice for our country.
    I pray that this war will be over soon and let our children come home to their families.
    Thank you to each and every one of you.

  3. touching post. Let us never forget.

  4. So poignant, thank you for the reminder to be grateful to all of those who serve our country.

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  5. A great post. Do you have remembrance day in your country too? It is here today, my post later is about war veterans of a different era, but common themes run throughout the two posts. I am so grateful for their sacrifices.

  6. ~*~* Beautiful crying now..tears are good , right?! ;) That last photo of the little boy holding the flag and the first pic of the mom with her child really got me!!! Thanks so much for sharing~*~* And a Happy Veterans day to YOU!! Hugs,Rachel~*~*

  7. What a beautiful, thought provoking post. Thank you!

  8. A very touching post.... My eyes are filled with tears. Beautifully chosen photos as they explicitly tell the story. Thank you to all those who have served our country.

  9. That made me cry. Such a beautiful post. Thank you.

  10. These photos made me cry!! Awesome, thank you for remembering our vets!!

  11. Wonderful son has 22 days left in Afghanistan. Your post was right on, his 11 yr. old daughter counts the days and the hours. The soldiers truly believe in what they are doing, but so many lives have been lost or changed forever. It warms my heart to see a post like yours. Thank you!

  12. That image of the little boy accepting the flag is like a knife in the heart. So many soldiers and so many soldiers families sacrifice so much for our freedom! God bless them all!

  13. Great Post! They are never far from my mind! Hugs-Diana

  14. Knock your socks off post... Thanks so much for it....

  15. What a beautiful post and tribute to veterans of the past and the here and now!

    Never forgot the people who fight for our freedom

  16. This is an amazing post. Thank you for putting it out to the world. It is just in the past few years that our troops have been getting the positive feedback from those out and about in everyday life that they deserve like it was in the World Wars.

  17. Thank you so much for your post today honoring our Veterans and all of those who serve in our Armed Forces... your is the only post I have seen honoring Veterans Day besides one other of my friends, and my own... so sad. I am also saddened to hear about the loss of a fine, brave young officer... my prayers go out to his family... what a precious video of a solider and his dog... I am crying so now, must go... xoxo Julie Marie

  18. I love the Gracie sweet...nothing like a dog to tell it how it really is!!

  19. I love our veterans!! They deserve so much when they get home and receive so little!! Great post... loved the video!

  20. A beautiful touching post that was heart stopping and so lovely written, i have to say the photo of the mummy at the start bought tears to my eyes i never think of mummy being there and fighting. And the box's covered with the flags finished me off and makes you feel very humble and also very proud. Dee x

  21. Well, my opinions about dying for your home country are ambivalent or maybe I even have not managed to form a clear view on this topic at all yet. But I'm not American and I believe no country has as much national pride as the USA (which is a good thing!). You know, if I as a German would say I'd proudly die for my country the people would think I'm crazy. It's just a completely different mentality over here.

    But anyway, these photos are very touching and I respect these soldiers for being so brave and strong to leave their family and friends. It must be so terrible to not know if you will come back home dead or alive. That's truly admirable.

  22. That first picture is heart stopping~what a wonderful tribute you have posted!!

  23. Thank you for sharing the thoughts of someone on the other side of the pond on Remembrance day here in the UK and Veterans day in USA. Great tribute to all our men and women in the conflicts and there families at home.God bless them all!! Jackie in Surrey UK.

  24. Well, you got me crying here on this post! Freedom isn't free and it comes at a horrible price. I loved the video with Gracie the dog being soooo excited to see her master and morn with those "Gracies" whose masters don't come home. Great post! Joni

  25. Well written post that brought me to tears. My husband found the utube video of the dog and his owner and the other soldiers coming home to their was so moving!

    I've really had it with the anti-war protesters.
    Pamela :)

  26. Thank you for your very thoughtful and kind words on my blog today. You can't know how much it means. Well, maybe you do! From your post here....I think you know very well!
    God bless,

  27. Thank you for such a great post to honor our men and women in our U.S. Armed Forces.

  28. Most endearing and poignant post and I've come across. I am in tears as I write this comment. I couldn't have said it any better or more heart felt!

    Very well stated! Thank you.


  29. There are a lot of people who tend to forget or do not want to admit how and why. You did a beautiful post.

  30. Thank you for putting into words and pictures what I as a mother of two that volunteered have many times thought and wanted to say. I actually have had mothers tell me that they were 'grateful for my families sacrifice' but they would 'never allow' their children to be put in harms way. The sad and strange thing is they don't even realize the insult of their words. They will allow my children to be shot at for their freedom but they aren't willing to have their children harmed for mine???

    The only thing I would add to your post is that not only are our military volunteer but they are carefully screened and only the best are allowed to go. So not only are we sending our children to fight for us but we are sending the best of them.

  31. Excellent post and tribute to those who serve.


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