200th Anniversary of the Defense of Fort McHenry

Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner during the siege of Fort McHenry, in Baltimore, on September 14, 1814. His poem, The Defense of Fort McHenry, later became our national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

For more information on how it became our national anthem, read the article on page 42 of the September issue of VFW Magazine.

Happy Anniversary!

Frag Order Progress

The latest novel, Frag Order, is undergoing major editing, and the process has resulted in a greatly improved product. You can see the revised Prologue here.

We know many of you are looking forward to the release, and we are actively working on delivering a novel you’ll really love. We appreciate your patience!

Forty-Five Years Ago

It seems like yesterday, and it seems like a lifetime ago. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon!

You can read Hamfist’s account of the event here.

Here’s a Hand Salute to the astronauts, and to the men and women who brought President Kennedy’s promise to fruition.

Fifty-Six Men With Courage

declaration of independence

Most of us, in high school Civics class, were required to memorize the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence. We usually got as far as, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But how many of us have really read the entire document? It’s really worth taking a few minutes to look it over, and to think about the sacrifices these fifty-six signers endured. The last part of the Declaration reads, “ And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other out Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

The fifty-six patriots who affixed their signatures realized that they were signing their death warrants.

During this holiday, enjoy yourself. Go to fireworks displays, have a great cookout, snap up some Fourth of July deals at the stores.

But please, take a minute to think about the fifty-six men who knew that from July 4, 1776 onward, their lives would never again be the same.

Happy Independence Day!

 

A Small Request

I don’t know Tara O’Grady, wouldn’t recognize her if I was standing next to her in an elevator. A few days ago I received an email from her asking for help. At first the cynic in me thought it was some sort of scam, maybe someone in Nigeria. But I checked, and Tara is the real deal, the daughter of a Thud driver who never returned from Vietnam. The loss of Colonel John O’Grady devastated his widow and seven children. His remains were never recovered, and the only memento left is Panel 18E, Line 12, at the Vietnam Memorial.

And Tara wants to take her children to the Wall to visit their grandfather. She needs help. She has a GoFundMe website where anyone interested in helping out can make a donation to raise money for her trip.

I know, first-hand, what it’s like to suddenly lose a father at a young age.You never get over it. Two days ago marked fifty-four years since my father was murdered, and I spent the whole day thinking about it. If you read Hamfist Down!, you know the story.

I want to help Tara. I made a small donation, and I’d like to ask the visitors to my website to consider donating one dollar to Tara’s campaign. To sweeten the deal, I’d like to offer a bribe.

If you donate any amount, one dollar, I will email you the Kindle file to any of my already-published books. Since they all sell for more than $1, this will be a real win for both you and Tara. And it won’t cost me a dime. A real win/win/win.

So here’s the deal: if you make a donation in any amount, you will receive an email confirmation from GoFundMe. Forward the email to me (gnolly@live.com) with a note telling me what book you want, and I’ll send it to you ASAP.

This won’t increase my sales numbers with Amazon one bit, but I will sure get a warm feeling helping out the family of a brother-in-arms. And you’ll get a good read at a great price. Let’s send Tara and her kids to Washington!

Thanks!

Some Thoughts On Flag Day

 

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777. It was established in August, 1949, although it is not a Federal Holiday.

Perhaps the most famous homage to our flag was the Star Spangled Banner, written as a poem on September 14, 1814, by Francis Scott Key. It was originally titled The Defence of Fort McHenry , and it describes the night-long siege on the Baltimore enclave. It became the National Anthem on March 3, 1941.

When I was a freshman cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, I was required to memorize the words of the Star Spangled Banner. The entire song, not just the first verse, which is the one we hear sung before every professional sporting event. The lyrics were not easy to learn, and on numerous occasions I missed the opportunity to eat, while sitting at attention in the dining hall, trying to recite – not sing – the words.

I’m glad I was required to learn the lyrics. Francis Scott Key poured his heart and soul into the poem, and that emotion comes through loud and clear when you read it. Look up the words on the internet, and read them to your children. All of the verses are powerful, but my favorite is the final stanza, the fourth:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

The OTHER 1 Percent

Over the past several years, we’ve heard a lot about the “one percent”, the wealthy of our country who have come under attack by many on the left. (For the record,  author G. E. Nolly is not currently a member of the One Percent, although with lots of book sales he may someday join that group - HINT!)

The other One Percent, the group to whom we all owe a great debt, is the group of men and women currently serving on active duty in the U.S. armed forces. It is due to their sacrifices that we enjoy the gift of living in the greatest country in the history of the world.

The American Fighting Man’s Code of Conduct is inculcated into every member of the military. They learn it. They commit it to memory. They understand it. They revere it. Perhaps, with the current attention to POW issues, it would be helpful to review it:

1. I am an American fighting man. I serve in the forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

2. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender my men while they still have the means to resist.

3. If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

4. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information, or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

5. When questioned, should I become a prisoner of war, I am bound to give only name, rank, service number and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies or harmful to their cause.

6. I will never forget that I am an American fighting man, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.