2013 San Diego Summer Sports Clinic a Smashing Success

When the VA asked us to help them with their Summer Sports Clinic Video, we couldn’t have been more thrilled.  The process of videotaping interviews of wounded warriors who participated in the San Diego Summer Sports Clinic was an honor and an education.  The veterans, fresh from a day on a surf board, at the Olympic Center, on a judo mat or in a kayak, were so happy they had taken the leap.  Many of them expressed that after their injury, (ranging from lost limbs to Brain Trauma Injury), they thought their life was over and that they would never be able to practice any sports again.  To be proven wrong about that was the best thing that had ever happened to them.

Here is the video we put together that was shown at their Closing Ceremony.  According to our client, “It brought some great energy at the closing ceremony. Mission accomplished!”

 

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Will Eisner’s Last Day in Vietnam

Will Eisner's graphic novel of three conflicts, WWII, Korea and Vietnam

Will Eisner’s graphic novel of three conflicts, WWII, Korea and Vietnam

 

Will Eisner is known as “The Leonardo of the comic-book form,” but did you know that the man who gave birth to the graphic novel form did it while working with the Army?

After World War II, the U.S. Army tapped Eisner to create  publications about preventative maintenance.  His job took him to various locations where he gathered information. Soldiers, bored with dry text-only manuals, found they retained the advice more easily when it was presented in comic form.

To celebrate Will Eisner, who would have turned 95 on March 12th, Dark Horse Books has printed his “Last Day in Vietnam” graphic novel in hardcover for the first time.  It’s a deeply personal memoir of his own experiences in the military during World War II which was first released in 2000, garnering the Harvey Award for Best Original Graphic Album in 2001.

Will Eisner at Disney booth, San Diego Comic Con, 2004

Will Eisner at Disney booth, San Diego Comic Con, 2004

I am proud to reveal that a photograph I had taken of Will Eisner at the San Diego Comic Con in 2004 (he died in 2005) now graces his bio in the book.  I remember asking him if I could photograph him and his warm response, “Of course!”  It was a brief but unforgettable moment in the presence of a humble man who would be legendary.

 

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50 of the Most Beautiful Women Ever – Morph

This is a wonderful little slide show of 50 of the most beautiful ever – according to a Vietnam veteran whose Youtube site is called HerBunk Productions.  He describes himself as “an old retired guy who likes to play with computers. I served 21 years in the Air Force where I flew a variety of airplanes (B-52, T-38, RF-101, RF-4C and T-39). I served 2 combat tours in Vietnam during which I flew 150 combat missions.”

Please enjoy his whimsical and polished portrayal of 50 of the most beautiful women who ever lived.

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The Veteran Who Sailed a Tricycle Across America

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain

 

John sailed from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida on this sail-equipped tricycle

John sailed from San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida on this sail-equipped tricycle

In 2010, a veteran by the name of John MacTaggart embarked upon an unusual road trip on an innovative vehicle that combines sailing, cycling, solar and electrical regenerative technologies into one. The trip began on July 1st in San Diego, CA, and ended in St. Augustine, FL, on August 12, 2010, during which time Mr. MacTaggart literally “sailed” across the nation.

John is a Lieutenant in the US Navy Reserves and an engineering graduate from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. He served as the Base Engineer on a small forward operating base near Kandahar, Afghanistan where he mentored and assisted with reconstruction efforts. He has expressed his hope to one day return and set sail across the breathtaking landscape of Afghanistan.

To see John’s blog, photos and video of his adventure click here.

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Phil Landis Talks About Veterans Who are Homeless

Phil Landis is the CEO of San Diego nonprofit organization, VVSD – Veterans Village of San Diego.  As a military town, San Diego attracts many homeless.  Nearly half of the homeless population are veterans.  What concerns Phil is that this population is now featuring younger people, and women.  Phil also talks about the meaning of  “Soldiers Heart.”

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Bob Hope Memorial – A Pictorial

Bob Hope MemorialThere is a unique sculpture array known as “National Salute to Bob Hope” by artists Eugene Daub and Steven Whyte.

Eugene Daub & Steven Whyte

I really enjoy going to this memorial whenever I’m in the area.  Its proximity to “The Kiss” (nurse kissing sailor statue) and the U.S.S. Midway, aircraft carrier museum, is perfect.  There is an audio track of Bob’s voice, and if you close your eyes, you can certainly imagine what it must have been like to be in the audience listening to the jokes of arguably the greatest American comedian who ever lived.

Bob Hope Memorial

Bob used to go and perform his comedy for the troops for over 50 years, beginning in 1943.  He was beloved for his tireless support of our troops, his optimistic view of life, and the love he imparted through his unique brand of comedy.

Today I will share a few photographs of the Bob Hope Memorial.  Maybe someday you can see it in person.

Bob Hope Memorial Bob Hope Memorial Bob Hope Memorial Bob Hope Memorial Bob Hope Memorial Bob Hope Memorial Bob Hope Memorial

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I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Soldiers Who Dissent

Statue, Three Servicemen, Vietnam Veterans Mem...

Statue, Three Servicemen, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently came across this Facebook page called “I Ain’t Marching Anymore – Soldiers Who Dissent.”  The tag line is:  Veterans and active-duty soldiers who push back against military authority, either while serving or at some time afterward. By doing so, they make invaluable contributions to our democracy, and have since at least 1754.

Upon further exploration, I see that the site’s author focuses on the effects of war on the soldier.  Patriotic Americans honor our troops and veterans for their services to our country, but the ravages of war do not end when our veterans return home.  Tens of thousands are flooding back to our United States as they vacate Afghanistan.

We Americans need to understand what combat duty has wrought on the minds and psyches of our young men and women who have served.  If we can reach an understanding together, then we can, as a community, assist in their healing.  And it is community and healing that they need.

For instance, Tomas Young, a veteran who rose to the call of duty after 9/11, returned disabled, and recently announced via Skype to an audience of “Body of War” that he intended to commit suicide in April by no longer eating.  Click to see the full story.

How heartbreaking is this?  We need to collectively do more for our veterans.  We asked them to go out and perform certain duties.  As they return home broken of body and broken of mind, we are now obligated to do what we can to make the rest of their life bearable.  Some scars you will not be able to see.  Read up on PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Some of these veterans will fall to the streets and become homeless.  We have to do more than berate them to “get a job, loser.”  We have got to practice compassion, and we have got to kick Congress’s ass to do everything they can for our veterans in terms of monetary allocations.

We have met the enemy and he is us

We have met the enemy and he is us

Maybe next time we will not be led so easily by our noses to believe that we have a mortal enemy with weapons of mass destruction.  Because, as Pogo used to say, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

If a cartoon character can see that, why can’t we?

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