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Sunday at the Post

A list of thank yous and a final story to share. Michael Lombardi

Print This May 30, 2010, 09:06 AM EST

QUOTE/STORY OF THE WEEK...

“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” -- Thucydides (Greek historian and author, 460-404 B.C.)

From the White House:

As Memorial Day approaches, it’s time to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contributions they made to secure our nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day.

In this time of unprecedented success and prosperity throughout our land, I ask that all Americans come together to recognize how fortunate we are to live in freedom and to observe a universal “National Moment
of Remembrance” on each Memorial Day. This memorial observance represents a simple and unifying way to commemorate our history and honor the struggle to protect our freedoms.

Accordingly, I hereby direct all executive departments and agencies, in consultation with the White House Program for the National Moment of Remembrance, to promote a “National Moment of Remembrance” to occur at 3 p.m. (local time) on each Memorial Day.

Therefore at 3 tomorrow, please raise a glass and toast all of those who fought for our rights, for our honor and most of all for our freedom.

THANK YOU TO ALL…

“I would hope you would support who we are, not who we are not. These six individuals have made a choice to work, a choice to sacrifice, to put themselves on the line 23 nights for the next four months, to represent you, this high school. That kind of commitment and effort deserves and demands your respect. This is your team.” -- Coach Norman Dale, from the movie “Hoosiers,” in honor of Dennis Hopper, who died Saturday

Thank yous never appear in print as strongly as they come from the heart, and today there are many people I want to strongly thank.

Thank yous are in order to:

Andrew and Jack for their great partnership and shared vision. I have broken up the team, but we will always continue forward with teamwork.

Matt Bowen for the dedication and, of course, the first-class seat to Amsterdam when the Boss returns. You’re a true pro, on and off the field. Good luck with your book.

Joe “The Tipper” Fortenbaugh for your hard work, your passion and most of all your spirit, which served as the foundation for the site.

Wes Bunting for a great passion, a great eye and a great work ethic. And a great person.

Michael Martinez, who saw too many of my grammar and spelling mistakes way too early in the morning. Never complained, never missed a day and made the rhythm of the words work.

Ray Gustini, who worked hard to help us launch the site and now has found a new platform to spew his words. Fake Al Davis might end up with his own website.

To Bob Boland, who is one of the most talented people I’ve ever met and whom I look forward to spending time with in the near future working on many project together.

To Samantha, who kept the Post focused on the task at hand, always reminding us to keep the dream alive and doing all the little things to ensure the dream could run.

To Diana, who is filled with many great ideas and the work ethic to make them all come true.

To Chad C., who helped us in our early stages as we found our collective voice.

To Hollie, who made one appearance. We kept hoping for more.

To Dave and Scott, who helped with great ideas and writing to keep the Post moving forward. Both are talented writers, and I look forward to reading more.

To Josh for helping with our first fantasy guide. I wish you well.

To Lex, our first editor and friend. The book is going to happen!

To the boys at Fordham for reading the site every day and proudly wearing the T-shirts.

To Ms. Jenny. Her words on the death of Steve McNair were heartfelt and moving. May her Titans rise again this year!

To Ken, who started as a reader and now has become a great friend. I appreciate all your help.

To Michael “One Vick Comment a Month” D., who has been a fan, friend and voice of reason. Thanks for all your help.

To my two boys Mick and Matt, who are the pride of my life.

And the biggest and loudest thank you to my loving wife, who deserves all the credit, the pats on the back and the shout outs for being a great mother, great person and great wife. Love you.

A HOLE IN ONE

“We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.” -- Robert J. McCracken

Congratulations to my youngest son Matthew, who got his first hole-in-one on Friday at Great Bay Country Club in Somers Point, N.J. I’m proud of his efforts and honored that he signed the free drinks to my tab at the club. But what makes me proudest is that both my sons enjoyed the accomplishment equally. Life without envy among family members is what makes families strong. Congratulations to Matt, and thanks to Mick.

FIVE BEST QUOTES, ACCORDING TO ME (in no order)

“There are those, I know, who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is the American dream.” -- Archibald MacLeish

• “Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.” -- Ted Kennedy, in his eulogy to his brother, Robert

• “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”-- Elie Wiesel

• “If you don't have enemies, you don't have character.” -- Paul Newman

• “Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid, one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.” – Gen. Douglas MacArthur

I am cheating here – Lincoln’s letter to his son’s school teacher. I count it as one quote:

• He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every selfish Politician, there is a dedicated leader…Teach him for every enemy there is a friend,

• Steer him away from envy, if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter.

• Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick…Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books…But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and the flowers on a green hillside.

• In the school teach him it is far honourable to fail than to cheat…Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong…Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, and tough with the tough.

• Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the band wagon…Teach him to listen to all men…but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through.

• Teach him if you can, how to laugh when he is sad…Teach him there is no shame in tears, Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness…Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders but never to put a price-tag on his heart and soul.

• Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand and fight if he thinks he’s right. Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

• Let him have the courage to be impatient…let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have sublime faith in mankind.

• This is a big order, but see what you can do… He is such a fine little fellow, my son!

THINGS I HEARD AROUND THE NFL...

“I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.” -- Benjamin Harrison

1. The Raiders’ grievance with JaMarcus Russell is one that many in the league who write contracts feel they have no chance of winning. They tried to get Russell to give money back before they cut him — on the grounds he was a bust. Russell was not good, but a guaranteed contract is a guaranteed contract, even in Raiders land.

2. LenDale White’s termination by the Seahawks was not a surprise. White has never been a hard worker, and he thought he had the job won in Seattle on reputation, never having to earn it. He’ll struggle to find work.

3. Cowboys wide receiver Patrick Crayton will have to wait until a team is willing to trade for him because the Cowboys keep saying they won’t waive him, that he’s too valuable right now. We shall see.

4. It sounds like Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is fully aware of his responsibility to the community and the team. This week will be vital to Big Ben as he restores and repairs his relationship with his teammates.

5. Expect the Redskins to hire a pro personnel director in the near future. They’ve talked to several NFL people, from former Saints GM Bill Kuharich to former Titans and Raiders personnel man Rich Snead and former Bronco Chris Trulove.

LEADERSHIP IDEA…

“And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.” -- Joseph Drake

Memorial Day means summer vacation, and summer vacation means using your free time wisely — and productively. Here is Leo Babauta’s advice on using free time. I’m going to follow it this summer.

(From Leo: My name is Leo Babauta, and I’m the creator and writer here at Zenhabits.net. I’m married with six kids(!), I live on Guam (but moving to S.F. in June 2010), I’m a writer and a runner and a vegan. I like long walks on the beach (at least, the one time I tried it, except for the sandfleas) and read trashy novels (also some good ones). I also created mnmlist.com (on minimalism) and Write To Done (for writers and bloggers). I’m the author of a new best-selling book, “The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential, in Business and in Life.”)

If you’ve got a big block of free time, the best way to put that to use is to relax, have fun, decompress from a stressful day or spend time with a loved one. But if you’ve just got a little chunk — say five or 10 minutes — there’s no time to do any of the fun stuff. Put those little chunks of time to their most productive use.
Everyone works differently, so the best use of your free time really depends on you, your working style and what’s on your to-do list. But it’s handy to have a list like this in order to quickly find a way to put that little spare time to work instantly, without any thought.

Use the following list as a way to spark ideas for what you can do in a short amount of time.

• Reading file. Clip magazine articles or print out good articles or reports for reading later, and keep them in a folder marked “Reading File.” Take this wherever you go, and any time you have a little chunk of time, you can knock off items in your Reading File. Keep a reading file on your computer (or in your bookmarks) for quick reading while at your desk (or on the road if you’ve got a laptop).

• Clear out inbox. Got a meeting in five minutes? Use it to get your physical or email inbox to empty. If you’ve got a lot in your inbox, you’ll have to work quickly, and you may not get everything done, but reducing your pile can be a big help. And having an empty inbox is a wonderful feeling.

• Phone calls. Keep a list of phone calls you need to make, with phone numbers, and carry it everywhere. Whether you’re at your desk or on the road, you can knock a few calls off your list in a short amount of time.

• Make money. This is my favorite productive use of free time. I have a list of articles I need to write, and when I get some spare minutes, I’ll knock off half an article real quick. If you get 5-10 chunks of free time a day, you can make a decent side income. Figure out how you can freelance your skills, and have work lined up that you can knock out quickly — break it up into little chunks, so those chunks can be done in short bursts.

• File. No one likes to do this. If you’re on top of your game, you’re filing stuff immediately so it doesn’t pile up. But if you’ve just come off a really busy spurt, you may have a bunch of documents or files laying around. Or maybe you have a big stack of stuff to file. Cut into that stack with every little bit of spare time you get, and soon you’ll be in filing Nirvana.

• Network. Only have two minutes? Shoot off a quick email to a colleague. Even just a “touching bases” or follow-up email can do wonders for your working relationship. Or shoot off a quick question, and put it on your follow-up list for later.

• Clear out feeds. If my email inbox is empty, and I have some spare time, I like to go to my Google Reader and clear out my feed inbox.

• Goal time. Take 10 minutes to think about your goals, personal and professional. If you don’t have a list of goals, start on one. If you’ve got a list of goals, review them. Write down a list of action steps you can take over the next couple of weeks to make these goals a reality. What action step can you do today? The more you focus on these goals, and review them, the more likely they will come true.

• Update finances. Many people fall behind with their finances, either in paying bills (they don’t have time), or entering transactions in their financial software, or clearing their checkbook, or reviewing their budget. Take a few minutes to update these things. It just takes 10-15 minutes every now and then.

• Brainstorm ideas. Another favorite of mine if I just have five minutes — I’ll break out my pocket notebook, and start a brainstorming list for a project or article. Whatever you’ve got coming up in your work or personal life, it can benefit from a brainstorm. And that doesn’t take long.

• Clear off desk. Similar to the filing tip above, but this applies to whatever junk you’ve got cluttering up your desk. Or on the floor around your desk. Trash stuff, file stuff, put it in its place. A clear desk makes for a more productive you. And it’s oddly satisfying.

• Exercise. Never have time to exercise? Ten minutes is enough to get off some pushups and crunches. Do that 2-3 times a day and you’ve got a fit new you.

• Take a walk. This is another form of exercise that doesn’t take long, and you can do it anywhere — but even more important, it’s a good way to stretch your legs from sitting at your desk too long, and it gets your creative juices flowing. If you’re ever stuck for ideas, taking a walk is a good way to get unstuck.

• Follow up. Keep a follow-up list for everything you’re waiting on. Return calls, emails, memos — anything that someone owes you, put on the list. When you’ve got a spare 10 minutes, do some follow-up calls or emails.

• Meditate. You don’t need a yoga mat to do this. Just do it at your desk. Focus on your breathing. A quick 5-10 minutes of meditation (or even a nap) can be tremendously refreshing.

• Research. This is a daunting task for me. So I do it in little spurts. If I’ve only got a few minutes, I’ll do some quick research and take some notes. Do this a few times, and I’m done!

• Outline. Similar to brainstorming, but more formal. I like to do an outline of a complicated article, report or project, and it helps speed things along when I get to the actual writing. And it only takes a few minutes.

• Get prepped. Outlining is one way to prep for longer work, but there’s a lot of other ways you can prep for the next task on your list. You may not have time to actually start on the task right now, but when you come back from your meeting or lunch, you’ll be all prepped and ready to go.

• Be early. Got some spare time before a meeting? Show up for the meeting early. Sure, you might feel like a chump sitting there alone, but actually people respect those who show up early. It’s better than being late (unless you’re trying to play a power trip or something, but that’s not appreciated in many circles).

• Log. If you keep a log of anything, a few spare minutes is the perfect time to update the log. Actually, the perfect time to update the log is right after you do the activity (exercise, eat, crank a widget), but if you didn’t have time to do it before, your five-minute break is as good a time as any.

FIVE BOOKS I WANT TO READ THIS SUMMER….

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.” -- Benjamin Disraeli

1. “Little Big Things” by Tom Peters

2 “The Last Stand: Sitting Bull and the Battle of Little Big Horn” by Nathanial Philbrick

3. “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore (a fellow alum of Valley Forge Military Academy)

4. “Drive” by Daniel H. Pink

5. “The War Lovers” by Evan Thomas

ARTICLES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THAT AREN’T WORTH MISSING...

“Well tollin' for the searching ones on this speechless secret trail, For the lonesome haunted lovers with too personal a tale, And for each young heart for each channeled soul misplaced inside a jail, Yeah we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin’.” -- Bob Dylan

A Dying Father's Lessons on Life for His Teenaged Daughter

How (and Why) to Stop Multi-tasking

STORIES TO SHARE....

“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.” -- Winston Churchill

Diary Of A Last and Final Flight Home

February 17, 2007

0350

I was at curbside at 24th and M, Washington D.C. 16 Degrees with a light breeze. Going home after my second week of freezing temps to my warm home in SoCal. Take a walk on the beach, ride a horse, climb a mountain and get back to living. I'm tired of the cold.

0425

Paying the taxi fare at Dulles in front of the United Airlines counter, still cold.

0450

Engaged the self-serve ticker machine and it delivers my ticket, baggage tag and boarding pass. Hmmm, that Marine over there is all dressed up in his dress blues a bit early this morning..."Good Morning, Captain, you're looking sharp." He says, "Thank you, sir."

Pass Security and to my gate for a decaf coffee and 5 hours sleep. A quick check of the flight status monitor and UA Flt 211 is on time. I'm up front, so how bad can that be? Hmmm, there's that same Marine. He must be heading to Pendleton to see his lady at LAX for the long weekend, all dressed up like that. Or maybe not. I dunno.

The speaker system announces, "Attention in the boarding area, we'll begin boarding in 10 minutes, we have some additional duties to attend to this morning, but we'll have you out of here on time."

The Marine Captain has now been joined by five others. BINGO, I get it, he's not visiting his lady, he's an official escort. I remember doing that once, CACO duty. I still remember the names of the victim and family, the Bruno Family in Mojave -- all of them, wows, that was 24 years ago.

On board, 0600

"Good morning, folks, this is the captain. This morning, we've been attending to some additional duties, and I apologize for being 10 minutes late for push back, but I believe we'll be early into LAX. This morning it is my sad pleasure to announce that 1st LT Jared Landaker, USMC, will be flying with us to his Big Bear home in Southern California. Jared lost his life over the skies of Iraq earlier this month, and today we have the honor of returning him home along with his mother, father and brother. Please join me in making the journey comfortable for the Landaker family and their uniformed escort. Now sit back and enjoy your ride. We're not expecting any turbulence until we reach the Rocky Mountain area, but we'll do what we can to ensure a smooth ride. For those interested, you can listen in to our progress on Channel 9."

Click Channel 9: "Good morning UA 211. You are cleared to taxi, takeoff and cleared to LAX as filed."

4 hours and 35 minutes later over Big Bear MT, the AB320 makes a left roll, a steep bank and then one to the right. Nice touch. Nice tribute. Five minutes out from landing, the Captain comes on the speaker: "Ladies and Gents, after landing I'm leaving the fasten seatbelt sign on, and I ask everyone to please yield to the Landaker family. Please remain seated until all members of the family have departed the aircraft. Thank you for your patience. We are 20 minutes early."

On roll out, I notice red lights, emergency vehicles approaching. We're being escorted directly to our gate, no waiting, not even a pause. Out the left window, a dozen Marines in full dress blues. A true class act by everyone, down to a person. Way to go United Airlines for doing things RIGHT, Air Traffic Control for getting the message, and to all security personnel for your display of brotherhood.

When the family departed the aircraft, everyone sat silent, then I heard a lady say,"God Bless you and your family, and thank you." Then a somber round of applause. The Captain read a prepared note from Mrs. Landaker to the effect, "Thank you all for your patience and heartfelt concern for us and our son. We sincerely appreciate the sentiment. It's good to have Jared home."

After departing the a/c I found myself along with 30 others from our flight looking out the lobby window back at the plane. Not a dry eye. It was one of the most emotional moments I've ever experienced. We all stood there silently, and watched as Jared was taken by his honor guard to an awaiting hearse. Then the motorcade slowly made its way off the ramp.

I realized I had finally seen the silent majority. It is deep within us all. Black, Brown, White, Yellow, Red, Purple, we're all children, parents, brothers, sisters, etc. -- we are an American family.

Official Report: February 7, 2007, Anbar Province, Iraq. 1st LT Jared Landaker, United States Marine Corps, from Big Bear, California, gave his live in service to his country. Fatally wounded when his CH-46 helicopter was shot down by enemy fire. Jared and his crew all perished. His life was the ultimate sacrifice of a grateful military family and nation.

His death occurred at the same time as Anna Nicole Smith, a drug-using person with a 7th grade education of no pedigree who dominated our news for two weeks while Jared became a number on CNN. And most unfortunately, Jared's death underscores a fact that we are a military at war, not a nation at war. It has been said that Marines are at war. America is at the mall.

1st LT Landaker, a man I came to know in the sky's over America on 17 February 2007, from me to you, aviator to aviator, I am unbelievably humbled. It was my high honor to share your last flight. God bless you.

Semper Fi.

And one final thank you for reading my work. It has been an honor.

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