Arlington Anthology: Field of Honor with Ron MacDonald on The Writestream

Arlington Anthology: Field of Honor with Ron MacDonald on The Writestream

Please join me on Wednesday, November 29 at 11 AM Eastern when author Ron MacDonald joins me on The Writestream to discuss his book, Arlington Anthology: Field of Honor.

Heart-wrenching and uplifting stories of loyalty, brotherhood, perseverance, and heroism

Across the Potomac River from Washington D.C., lies this nation’s most sacred of grounds, Arlington National Cemetery. Upon these hollowed grounds are buried some of our nation’s finest from as far back as the Revolutionary War to today. Some 310,000 men and women call Arlington their final resting place. Here lie two of our nation’s Presidents, honored statesmen, explorers, literary figures, Chief Justices, and Astronauts. From our Generals and Admirals to the common soldier and sailor rest here as do some 3,800 former slaves who fled to freedom call Arlington their home. It is their stories that beg to be heard, stories of courage against insurmountable odds, of love of brother and country, and of sacrifice. Stories of hopes and dreams and choices made during adversity. It is thru these stories that we to can learn that one person can make a difference and that thru valor and bravery the course of this country and the life of each and every one of us has been changed. These noble souls, who reside here, still live with us, and bid us to think of life, not death and to listen and learn what they have done who now rest in Arlington.

Preview and purchase the book on

About Ron MacDonald

A native Californian, Ron MacDonald has been an accomplished and published photographer for over 20 years. While traveling and photographing in Europe he visited many historical cemeteries, including Omaha Beach Cemetery, where he found his uncle’s final resting place. His love of history drove him to tell the untold stories of those who reside at Arlington National Cemetery.

To listen to the interview on Wednesday, November 29 at 11 AM Eastern, click here. Listen by phone at (347) 945-7246 and press “1” to ask Ron a question on the air.

UPDATE: Did you miss today’s informative, inspiring interview? Click below to listen.


Goodbye NFL

Goodbye NFL

I just left the following comment after reading Daniella Bova’s excellent post, “You’re not a Real Fan!”:

Funny how the NFL is selective in its support of “free speech,” even though this really isn’t a free speech issue, which pertains to the freedom of individuals to criticize their government without fear of punishment. The NFL is a private organization (although why they have a nonprofit status is a mystery to me), and as such they have a right to enforce a code of behavior when their players are at work.

Where was the NFL’s support for Tim Tebow, who was mocked relentlessly for kneeling in prayer? Why did the league forbid players to honor September 11’s victims on their cleats or prevent the Dallas Cowboys from honoring their slain police? Why was it okay for Colin Kaepernick to wear socks depicting cops as pigs?

The NFL’s blather about not wanting to make a “political” statement is patently absurd when they’ve been doing exactly that all along by what they allow and disallow. I’m disgusted by the Pittsburgh Steelers for shaming a true American hero, Al Villanueva, for standing in pride for the anthem.

As someone who was raised on football, whose family had season tickets to the Eagles before I was born, and whose fondest memories revolve around sports events and family parties, I am DONE with the NFL. I never thought I’d say that, but this country means more to me than a game.

Let’s also remember that these overpaid millionaires and their overpaid commissioner voted not to assist the players who came before them, the ones who built the league and never made a fraction of what these men earn today. These guys are suffering from all kinds of bodily injuries, yet these selfish jerks refuse to help — even though they owe them everything.

Just as with the election, the NFL has underestimated the passion and anger of everyday Americans, to their own detriment. Good riddance to them and God bless America.

Here’s a link to a 2013 article in the Washington Post highlighting the plight of former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Reggie Williams and the ongoing issue of retired players’ medical bills and problems, excerpted here:

The NFL’s disability board, jointly administered by management and the players’ union, has a denial rate of almost 60 percent. When players file for workers’ compensation for the on-the-job harm they suffered, they often find their claims opposed by their former teams. The league is currently in legal and legislative fights with at least 3,000 former players, who, like Williams, have attempted to seek reparation for their injuries by filing claims in worker-friendly states. When these claims and all other avenues for medical care are exhausted, the cost of their poor health can often fall on the taxpayer.

“First and foremost, the NFL is in the hurt business,” said Mel Owens, a former NFL player who is now a California attorney and represents Williams. “In workers’ comp they will end up paying for the players’ brains, hearts and livers, as well as orthopedic injuries, and it’s expensive. But they don’t want to pay at all.”

The NFL contends it offers benefits — many extending beyond an athlete’s employment — that are more generous than those offered in most professions. Workers’ compensation is just one of those, afforded to players by the collective bargaining agreement with NFL owners. When it opposes claims, the NFL says it is seeking to limit what would otherwise be “nearly unlimited exposure” for years-old injuries.

Pardon me, but when the NFL Commissioner makes in excess of $40 million per year and players today sign multi-million dollar contracts, the least they can do is help the ones who blazed the trail.

With respect to whatever it is they are protesting, since they have an abundance of wealth (thanks to hardworking Americans of all races who subsidize their salaries and stadiums) and an influential platform, why not start a foundation? Volunteer in their communities?

Better yet, take some time for reflection on the destructive policies in the inner cities that purposely create the poverty and crime they supposedly decry. Why not reach out to, say, the city of Chicago, rampant with black-on-black crime and do something to turn it around? These pampered show-boaters have risen above their own circumstances; instead of acting like a bunch of spoiled ingrates, they ought to be mentoring others to follow in their example of overcoming humble beginnings.

Perhaps they could also reflect upon the fact that there is no other country in which they could experience such upward mobility and reap obscene financial rewards for their athleticism, made possible by fans who can only dream of making that much money in a lifetime.

While they’re at it, they may want to get the actual facts about cases like Ferguson, since the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative has been exposed as a lie.

It would also be nice if they would recognize that the white people they tar and feather as “racists” have been colorblind in their emotional and financial support. As noted above, my family had season tickets before I was born. I grew up watching players like Harold Carmichael, Wilbert Montgomery, Mike Quick, Gary Cobb, and Randall Cunningham — along with Tom Dempsey, Ron Jaworski, Vince Papale, and Stan Walters.

These men and their teammates were not only fine athletes devoted to the game, they were also gentlemen who appreciated their fans and loved their country, much like Tommy McDonald before them. To the best of my knowledge, none of them beat their wives or girlfriends, nor did they whine about how “oppressed” they were. In my family, none of us cared who was black, white, Asian or whatever…they were part of our team, the Philadelphia Eagles, and we supported them. Any criticism was limited to their performance on the field. Period.

My patience with the NFL was wearing thin last year, but thanks to the antics of this past weekend, including the Pittsburgh Steelers shaming of a true American hero, Al Villanueva, I’m done. And to the players who knelt for the National Anthem in England, yet stood for God Save the Queen, please get a clue about British colonialism in Africa and American Exceptionalism. Your little stunt only proved the extent of your ignorance.

I’m a busy entrepreneur growing a business; I can find more valuable uses for my time on Sundays than watching you disrespect the United States military, its citizens, and our flag. I’m also a proud and grateful American who’s had enough of your nonsense.

Goodbye and good riddance, NFL.




Hacksaw Ridge is a True Story of Heroism and Conviction

Last night, I finally had an opportunity to watch Hacksaw Ridge, a Mel Gibson film based on the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector during World War II, who served his country without a weapon:

HACKSAW RIDGE is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss [Andrew Garfield] who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Featuring an exceptionally talented cast, with Andrew Garfield in the role of Desmond Doss, the film portrays the horrors of war and its effect on everyday people in multiple ways. Desmond’s father, who harbors resentment and bitterness over losing his buddies in World War I, directs his anger in violent ways toward his wife and sons; Desmond’s mother, who deals with her husband’s cruelty with grace and strength while protecting her sons; and Desmond himself, who recognizes the call to fight evil and protect freedom, but stands strong in his convictions to do it in his own way.

He almost never gets his chance, thanks to unforgiving higher-ups within the military. Even members of his own unit scorn his aversion to guns and doubt his usefulness in the “hell-fire of war.” Among other things, he endures physical abuse, serves time in a military prison, and misses his own wedding before he is cleared to accompany his unit to Hacksaw Ridge, where he earns their respect through his unyielding acts of courage, which result in 75 lives saved.

Gibson does not sugar-coat the atrocities of war, even when justified – his graphic portrayal of blood, guts and severed limbs makes you feel as if you’re right there in the middle of the battle. In one scene, when the enemy comes out waving a white flag in what turns out to be an act of deception, you can almost feel the conflicted emotions of the American soldiers in the seconds before they realize they must return fire. It provides a stark contrast to another scene in which Desmond shows mercy toward a severely wounded enemy soldier who regards him with suspicion. One of the most poignant scenes in the film comes when Desmond’s former nemesis, now in awe of the man he once considered a coward, asks for his forgiveness.

With all of the insanity currently unfolding in our country, Hacksaw Ridge was a great escape, even if it pulls no punches about the brutality of conflict and the existence of evil. Above all, it celebrates true heroism and a man who refused to let anyone interfere with his calling to serve. Desmond didn’t organize an anti-war protest, nor did he ridicule or spit upon the men who took up arms in the defense of the United States Constitution. He saw clearly the distinction between good and evil, and held firm to his mission to serve in way that was compatible with his conscience. He stands out among The Greatest Generation.