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Thursday, March 31, 2011

PGR Mission: Maurice Bates, US Navy, Vietnam Veteran - Wichita Falls, TX

March 31, 2011
Colorado, USA

Wichita Falls, TX -- The Patriot Guard Riders will stand the flag line today in honor of US Navy, Vietnam Veteran, Maurice Trenton Bates Jr (September 24, 1944 - March 24, 2011).

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of this Veteran. Rest in peace, Sir and thank you for your service!
UPDATE: The Folks (Nezzie and Frosty) Nezzie attended today's PGR Mission. Nezzie reports the mission for Maurice Bates was a great success. There were 18 bikes and 4 cages. The family and the pastor were very appreciative. Nice going PGR.

Source: Times Record News.com, http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2011/mar/30/maurice-t-bates-jr/
Falls Funeral Home, http://www.fallsfuneralhome.com/sitemaker/sites/FallsF1/obit.cgi?user=344457Bates

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

March 30, 2011
Colorado, USA

Welcome Home Vietnam VeteransToday is Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. This day marks the anniversary of the day (March 30, 1973) that combat and combat support units withdrew completely from South Vietnam.

The U.S. Senate passed a resolution on March 7, 2011, declaring March 30 Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. This day will be recognized across the U.S. as a day of commemoration, a day to pay the proper respect to the veterans who sacrificed so much during the war.

Troops returning from Vietnam during that era were treated badly, disrespected or ignored. We cannot change how things were back then but we can change how Vietnam Veterans are treated today. These service men and women served bravely, experiencing horrors and atrocities many of them could never speak about again. Most of them chose to serve their country. Some were compelled to serve their country. None of them chose the Vietnam war. Wars are chosen by bureaucrats who seldom if ever see real conflict. They returned home without receiving thanks or praise or appreciation for serving with bravery and honor while watching friends and comrades perish in circumstances, the horror of which most of us cannot begin to fathom.

For their service and sacrifice, Vietnam Veterans deserve recognition and gratitude. It's such an easy thing to do -- today and every day. When you run across a Vietnam Veteran or, for that matter - any Veteran - give a tip of your hat, a nod of your head, shake a hand or simply say - Thank you for your service and if you haven't heard it before - welcome home. And, if you see a Vet ride by on a motorcycle (you'll know him by the flag on his back or the ones flying behind his bike) give a toot on the horn and wave.

More importantly - teach your children respect for all those who serve our country. They cannot know the importance of our freedoms if they do not know the cost.

These same Vietnam Veterans are out there today - standing in the rain, gathering in airports, lining roadways, shaking hands, standing flag lines and escorting memorial services for their own but also this era's Veterans, making certain no soldier's service to this country goes without notice or appreciation ever again.

For my Dad, my husband, uncles and cousins, and many, many friends who served during the Vietnam era. You know who you are. You make me proud.


Finally, let's remember some Vietnam Veterans have yet to return home... if you know of someone still waiting for the day when their loved one returns or someone who lost a loved one... just take a moment to remind them their loved one's service is not forgotten.

Monday, March 28, 2011

PGR Mission: James Ehlert, US Navy, Pearl Harbor - Wichita Falls, TX

March 28, 2011
Colorado, USA

Texas -- Patriot Guard Riders stood the flagline yesterday and today at the funeral home and at graveside services in honor of US Navy Veteran, Pearl Harbor Survivor, James Ehlert. A Wichita Falls, TX native, Mr. Ehlert was born April 17, 1922. He joined the Navy in 1940 and served on the USS Oklahoma which was sunk on December 7, 1941. He served in the US Navy through 1945. He is a lifetime member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Society.

Our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of this Veteran. Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.

Obit Source: Times Record News, http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/2011/mar/26/james-ehlert/

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mostly chilly weekend rides

March 27, 2011
Colorado, USA

MountainsCaught this great shot of the mountains from Hwy 287 Saturday morning on a "drive" to Denver.

We managed to squeak in a short ride Saturday afternoon after returning from a helmet shopping expedition to Denver... we'd like a touch of Summer to invade the front range of Colorado, but it did not happen this weekend. We rode under mostly gray skies in the mid to upper 40s and in the 50s for about fifteen minutes.

Sunday's ride was some longer but it was definitely colder than yesterday's ride. the skies spit at us but we managed to ride around the heavier rain. No matter we put about 100 miles on The Ride over the weekend and gave our new half helmets a test ride. That's enough to clear the head and put a smile on an otherwise dreary couple of days.

Saddlebag trimWe added the last of The Ride's Christmas bling last week. Like the new saddlebag trim?

Tim - new helmetTim - new helmet

Vik - new helmetVik - new helmet

We rode away from the rain rolling over the foothills and dodged rain clouds all afternoon on a chilly Sunday ride.

The Shadow Riders joined us briefly on Sunday afternoon's ride.

Friday, March 25, 2011

PGR Mission: Ssgt Tompkins - Lawton, OK

March 25, 2011
Colorado, USA

Texas/Oklahoma -- Patriot Guard Riders are out on the highways of Texas and Oklahoma today riding in honor of US Army Staff Sgt. Travis M. Tompkins, 31, KIA - Afghanistan.

PGR photo by JimmyToday's mission is to escort this fallen hero to the cemetery. First report in from Jimmy as follows: PGR staging for S/Sgt Travis Thompkins. Rumor has it Westboro will be at the cemetery. We are ready should they be there. 108 bikes and tons of Law Enforcement.

Ride safe PGR...

UPDATE: It is alleged the WBC put in an appearance in Oklahoma to protest at this funeral. It was reported to Texas ride captains that the WBC was seen in Medicine Park, OK at a Burger King at lunchtime. Dad and Jimmy report seeing a group of people along with the Police parked on the side of the road as the PGR rode by. It is possible that the WBC was in the state but were outnumbered as usual and all but rendered "mute" as well as "irrelevant" -- which I find extremely amusing. A free speech ruling in the WBC's favor means nothing if they cannot be heard or for that matter seen... good work PGR!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

These are the tough ones

March 23, 2011
Colorado, USA

Ted (Dad) saddles up for a Patriot Guard Rider KIA Mission today.

This is why a Veteran rides with the PGR.

UPDATE: March 25, 2011, OK -- A slide show of the mission, stage 2 (17 Photos):

My Dad - PGR

PGR Mission: Tompkins - Lawton, OK

March 23, 2011
Colorado, USA

Texas/Oklahoma - Patriot Guard will ride to honor a fallen soldier today.

US Army Staff Sgt. Travis M. Tompkins, 31, of Lawton, Oklahoma

The Department of Defense announced the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Travis M. Tompkins, 31, of Lawton, Okla., died March 16 in Logar province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained on March 15, when enemy forces attacked his unit with a rocket propelled grenade. He was assigned to the Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Polk, La.


The following is a short video posted on YouTube in honor of this soldier.

Monday, March 21, 2011

PGR See Membership Increase

March 21, 2011
Colorado, USA

PGR See Membership Increase (see video link below)
By: Mechell Dixon (TRN)

Patriot Guard Riders have one mission.

"Our purpose is to shield the military funerals and families and loved ones of the fallen soldiers from the protesters and people that will disrupt the service," says Patriot Guard Rider Mike Johnson.

People, like members of Westboro Baptist Church.

They go around the country protesting outside military funerals.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled their protests are protected by the first amendment, which has prompted PRG membership to increase.

"I've got a link that sends me when people join this region and it's increased by three to four times the normal rate of people joining the PGR in this region in the last couple of weeks," explains Johnson.

Members stand proud with Old Glory and place themselves in front of protesters so they cannot be seen, but when church members try to be heard, Patriot Guard Riders get revved up.

"These Harley's make a lot of noise. I haven't personally been on a mission where they've had to do that, but I've read about doing that in other places. You can just drown them out," says Patriot Guard Rider Ray Calvert.

And now, as Westboro church members exercise their right to sound off at military funerals, more Patriot Guard Riders are signing up to take a stand and keep attention where they say it belongs.

Source: Times Record News.com, View video interview at this link, PGR See Membership Increase

Join the Patriot Guard Riders

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring is here ride

March 20, 2011
Colorado, USA

Spring arrives sometime this evening so the experts say, but it is close enough to call today's outing a Spring is here ride.

We rode about 120 miles or so yesterday. We finished up today's ride at just over 130 miles. The Ride's odometer rolled over 16,500 miles today, a month and a few days shy of its first birthday. More clouds hovered in hazy skies today and the winds were up. At one point we both had itchy, burning eyes. We would find out later that the haze was actually smoke from a wildfire burning in a canyon near Boulder. With way below average snowfall and minimal rainfall during the winter months, it is extremely dry in northern Colorado as well as the rest of the front range (running along the I-25 corridor). Fire danger is high.

Smoke haze in the foothillsSmoke haze in the foothills

Today we travelled west and south, around the south end of Horsetooth Reservoir and another small lake. We stopped and wandered through High Country H-D and admired the new bikes on the showroom floor. Otherwise, this was a mostly ride until our butts complained afternoon, but it's nothing a beer at the end of the day has not cured.

Rounding a corner near Chasteen Grove

Little canyon near Chasteen Grove - Loveland, CO

PeacocksPeacocks along the side of the road

Obligatory mountain shot

Saturday, March 19, 2011

After booting the kids out ride

March 19, 2011
Colorado, USA

Spring weather has arrived in northern Colorado. This happened while Stormy (my daughter) and Rob (her husband) were visiting during Spring break. Since we have not talked them into a Harley yet, we were stuck in cages last week. So, riding was limited to back and forth to work for Tim. After seeing them off this morning about 10 am with temps still in the frosty-30s, we brewed another pot of coffee and waited for the day to warm just a bit more. There was no question in our minds, warm or not - we were riding today.

These are our woo-hoo-the-kids-are-gone-faces... Just kidding Kids, we enjoyed the visit but as you might have guessed, we were way past ready for a ride... Ha!

We rolled out of the drive shortly after noon under partly cloudy skies. We headed east and east and east. I finally mentioned to Tim that I wasn't really interested in making the Kansas border today (Ha!) so he eventually turned south. We zig-zag traveled a few rural roads we haven't ridden before, stopped for coffee and just generally enjoyed the all afternoon outing. The 120 miles or so we traveled today is our longest outing so far this year. We look to break it tomorrow with an even longer ride.

The Ride on the longest outing of the year thus far

Coffee/Butt break

Mural - library/museum small town of Kersey, CO

Obligatory mountain shot

Friday, March 18, 2011

PGR News: PGR numbers increase after Supreme Court ruling

March 18, 2011
Colorado, USA

For us, it's all about honoring that fallen hero for their sacrifice on behalf of all of us, and respecting the family for what they're going through. That's the bottom line.

This is called cause and effect... I love it!

[snip] Defenders of military families at funerals see membership spike

Eight thousand people have joined the Patriot Guard Riders nationwide in the week since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a fringe church that stages anti-gay protests at military funerals.

Read the rest of the story at the link below:

Source: Bikerpost.com, Court Ruling adds to riders

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dealership Ride

March 10, 2011
Colorado, USA

A view of the Rockies across a lake of glass on our way to Thunder Mountain H-D this morning.

Even a dealership ride is something to smile about, plus it is warm enough to ride to work.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

PGR Mission: Mike Miller - Seymour, TX

March 8, 2011
Colorado, USA

Texas -- Patriot Guard Riders, stood the flag line at the funeral of fellow Patriot Guard Rider and US Army veteran, Mike Miller today.

Our kindest regards to the family and friends of Mr Miller.

R.I.P. Sir, and thank you for your service - both as a Veteran and as a Patriot Guard Rider.

Source: Times Record News, Mike Miller
North Texas Patriot Guard Calendar
Services/Mission Photos/Kaufman, TX

Friday, March 4, 2011

Biker APB: MIA Kickapoo Kowboy Jacket Sighting

March 4, 2011
Colorado, USA

See UPDATE at end of post:

Texas -- Once upon a time, nearly 60 years ago... a young man (still in high school) in north Texas worked at a Harley-Davidson shop and rode with a motorcycle club. The club was the Kickapoo Kowboys of Wichita Falls, Texas. Good friends. Good times. Good rides. That's the young man's story.

Kikapoo KowboysTed is pictured in the lower right hand corner in front of his motorcycle.

The young man owned a denim jacket embroidered with his name (Teddy) and the logo of the club. The jacket disappeared years ago and was thought to have been packed along with the young man's motorcycle leathers in a trunk that went missing from his mother's house after the young man joined the USAF in 1954.

There are only a few of the original KK club members still living. Among those who rode with the Kicakapoo Kowboys back in the late 1940s, through the 1950s and early 1960s is legendary Indianapolis race car driver, Lloyd Ruby.

The young man, Teddy, is my Dad, known to most now as Ted, still riding a Harley well into his 70s. The jacket has surfaced, meaning I have a sighting and little more.

Here's the story of the sighting: Occasionally, I do a random search online for the Kickapoo Kowboys but rarely turn up more than a magazine article on Google books. Last night, I happened upon a listing at WorthPoint.com as follows:
Late 1949 Levi’s Jacket
Sold Date:05/21/2008
We know now it sold for $1500
Channel:Online Auction
Source: eBay
Category:Textiles, Clothing & Accessories
Genuine Levi Jacket - late 1949 - Kickapoo Cowboys Motorcycle Club. Everything is original, missing one button on pocket. Rivets are all there. Men's Xtra small or perhaps a Boy's Large. My husband was a member of this local club along w/Lloyd Ruby, Hambone Harrel, Bob Harrel & Dick Simmons.

Now, I was thinking - surely not - so I clicked on the image and yep, the pocket is embroidered with the name TEDDY and the back is embroidered with the Kickapoo Kowboy logo, a cowboy with a lasso riding a motorcycle. I am convinced this is Dad's long lost treasure.

WorthPoint.com is not an auction site. It is a clearing house for information about collectible sales. Someone (apparently, the wife of a KK member) sold the jacket on ebay in 2008. The fact that it was submitted to WorthPoint's web site likely means that it brought a nice little chunk of change to the seller. Without a membership to the site, I have no way to verify the amount for which it might have sold. Items like this jacket often sell to private collectors, museums or interior decorators for large restaurant chains, sports bars and things like that. Many vintage clothing pieces sell to Hollywood wardrobe closets. I have a friend in Oklahoma who has sold her husband's old cowboy work hats to wardrobe closets in the past. Items like this vintage jacket, especially those bearing the Levi brand also sell to individuals who simply like wearing retro clothing or to collectors in foreign countries like Japan who adore the whole western/cowboy culture.


So, I am posting the photos of the jacket taken from a digital pic of my computer monitor. Here's where the APB comes in. Next time you visit a museum or sit sipping a beer in one of those restaurants decorated with retro items, look a little harder. That Kickapoo Kowboy jacket is out there somewhere and whether we are ever able to retrieve it or not, we'd like to know it has found a good home. I am putting this out here because - ya just never know who might take a peek at a little ol' Harley blog.

Click on the images for a larger view.

UPDATE March 5, 2011:
Click here to read or download and print:
Missing Kickapoo Kowboy Jacket Sold - $1500!
Thanks Nancy! for providing the means to access the full data at WorthPoint.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mysterious Alien Artwork on Colorado Lake

March 3, 2011
Colorado, USA

Water CirclesWhat's this? Alien artwork of course! The midwest has crop circles in the corn. Colorado has H20 circles on the lake. We did not see any little green men demanding to see our leader (thank goodness because I don't know who that would be) so we rode on by. Ha!

VernsToday, with temps climbing into the 50s and a hankering for a BLT with fries, we hopped on The Ride, took a tour over the dam and headed north to Vern's Place in LaPorte, CO for lunch.

The view west past the Horsetooth revealed the winter storm going on in the high country. Actually, through the notch in the photo below, the misty look to the foothills (one hump over) is a snow squall. We have more winter weather due in so we weren't all that surprised. Still, we were hoping it would stay over there. Those little suckers can get a bit nasty, blowing in hard and cold and sloppy - sort of like getting caught in a west Texas dust devil - only instead of grit in places you'd rather not have it - you are likely to get tiny ice balls down your shirt and frost stuck on your eyebrows. Ha!

Snow through the notchSnow squall one hump over

We had sun and blustery, shifting winds across the dam, but by the time we left Vern's we were riding under mostly cloudy skies. The temps were not a problem though and we much enjoyed the outing... in other words, we were not quite ready to park it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Supreme Court has ruled to protect free speech... the PGR will soldier on

March 2, 2011
Colorado, USA

Supreme Court: 'hurtful speech' of Westboro Baptist Church is protected

“Speech is powerful. It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and – as it did here – inflict great pain,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker,” he said.

The lone dissenter, Justice Samuel Alito strongly disagreed. "Our profound national commitment to free and open debate is not a license for the vicious verbal assault that occurred in this case."
In response to the verdict a Patriot Guard Rider official has issued this brief comment:

As for the Patriot Guard Riders, nothing has changed; we will follow our objective as stated in the Patriot Guard Riders Missions Statement:

Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives:

1. Show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities.
2. Shield the mourning family and their friends from interruptions created by any protestor or group of protestors.

We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.

If any of our riders take the time to acknowledge the protesters, at that point the protesters have won. Always remember, the only reason for the protesters being there is to create a disturbance large enough to attract media attention. Those of you, who have seen the protesters in action, know these are not men and women standing out there, these are people who put their children in harm's way.

The North Texas Patriot Guard Riders will continue our mission of Honor and Respect.

Mike Lambert
Assistant State Captain
Texas Patriot Guard Riders

THE PGR MISSION CONTINUES... Riding proud, standing with honor and RESPECT (about which the WBC knows nothing).
PGR Statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling

The Patriot Guard Riders are a 501c3 organization of support and caring for our military members, veterans, and families. Our mission is to stand for them in their loss and grief and help them to know that there are still people who are aware of the sacrifice their families have made and to show our honor and respect for their service.

The PGR mission is only completed at the request of the family. It's a necessary part of our respect for them. It also has nothing to do with any organized hate groups that conduct protests to hurt them. We shield our families with our care and support. While we stand that line or escort, nothing matters to us except our hero and family.

We respect the right to free speech recognized in our country's founding documents. It's one of the freedoms that define America. Many of our members have served and sworn an oath to support these rights. As an organization, we have to respect the decision of the courts and though our membership has diverse views on the limitation of free speech. Such limitations have been established previously to object to "hate speech" that only offers protection to designated individuals or groups.

The true travesty in this is that we would ever need to consider the "right" of someone to protest at the funeral of an American military member that has given their oath and life to defend these rights.

The Patriot Guard Riders will always stand to honor and shield our fallen and their families. Our mission is founded on respect, and honor, and the debt we owe those that protect us.
UPDATE: ABC News, Leaders of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church today vowed to "quadruple" the number of protests at military funerals around the country following a Supreme Court ruling that the displays are protected under the First Amendment.

Source: Christian Science Monitor.com, Supreme Court: 'hurtful speech' of Westboro Baptist Church is protected
Opinion: Snyder vs Phelps, October 2010, march 2011
Source: ABC News.com, WBC to Quadruple Military Funeral Protests

Texas: Getting it right for over 175 years

March 2, 2011
Colorado, USA

TexasNeed a reason to ride today Texas?

If you do, this is it. Get out and celebrate the pride and independence that makes Texas what it is and Texans who they are - the walking, talking, riding essence of how to get FREE and stay FREE.

March 2, 1836

Texas Declaration Of Independence

When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed...

When a government has ceased to protect the lives, liberty and property of the people, from whom its legitimate powers are derived, and for the advancement of whose happiness it was instituted, and so far from being a guarantee for the enjoyment of those inestimable and inalienable rights, becomes an instrument in the hands of evil rulers for their oppression.

When the Federal Republican Constitution of their country, which they have sworn to support, no longer has a substantial existence, and the whole nature of their government has been forcibly changed, without their consent, from a restricted federative republic, composed of sovereign states, to a consolidated central military despotism, in which every interest is disregarded but that of the army and the priesthood, both the eternal enemies of civil liberty, the everready minions of power, and the usual instruments of tyrants.

When, long after the spirit of the constitution has departed, moderation is at length so far lost by those in power, that even the semblance of freedom is removed, and the forms themselves of the constitution discontinued, and so far from their petitions and remonstrances being regarded, the agents who bear them are thrown into dungeons, and mercenary armies sent forth to force a new government upon them at the point of the bayonet.

When, in consequence of such acts of malfeasance and abdication on the part of the government, anarchy prevails, and civil society is dissolved into its original elements. In such a crisis, the first law of nature, the right of self-preservation, the inherent and inalienable rights of the people to appeal to first principles, and take their political affairs into their own hands in extreme cases, enjoins it as a right towards themselves, and a sacred obligation to their posterity, to abolish such government, and create another in its stead, calculated to rescue them from impending dangers, and to secure their future welfare and happiness.

Nations, as well as individuals, are amenable for their acts to the public opinion of mankind. A statement of a part of our grievances is therefore submitted to an impartial world, in justification of the hazardous but unavoidable step now taken, of severing our political connection with the Mexican people, and assuming an independent attitude among the nations of the earth.

The Mexican government, by its colonization laws, invited and induced the Anglo-American population of Texas to colonize its wilderness under the pledged faith of a written constitution, that they should continue to enjoy that constitutional liberty and republican government to which they had been habituated in the land of their birth, the United States of America.

In this expectation they have been cruelly disappointed, inasmuch as the Mexican nation has acquiesced in the late changes made in the government by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who having overturned the constitution of his country, now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.

It has sacrificed our welfare to the state of Coahuila, by which our interests have been continually depressed through a jealous and partial course of legislation, carried on at a far distant seat of government, by a hostile majority, in an unknown tongue, and this too, notwithstanding we have petitioned in the humblest terms for the establishment of a separate state government, and have, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution, presented to the general Congress a republican constitution, which was, without just cause, contemptuously rejected.

It incarcerated in a dungeon, for a long time, one of our citizens, for no other cause but a zealous endeavor to procure the acceptance of our constitution, and the establishment of a state government.

It has failed and refused to secure, on a firm basis, the right of trial by jury, that palladium of civil liberty, and only safe guarantee for the life, liberty, and property of the citizen.

It has failed to establish any public system of education, although possessed of almost boundless resources, (the public domain,) and although it is an axiom in political science, that unless a people are educated and enlightened, it is idle to expect the continuance of civil liberty, or the capacity for self government.

It has suffered the military commandants, stationed among us, to exercise arbitrary acts of oppression and tyrrany, thus trampling upon the most sacred rights of the citizens, and rendering the military superior to the civil power.

It has dissolved, by force of arms, the state Congress of Coahuila and Texas, and obliged our representatives to fly for their lives from the seat of government, thus depriving us of the fundamental political right of representation.

It has demanded the surrender of a number of our citizens, and ordered military detachments to seize and carry them into the Interior for trial, in contempt of the civil authorities, and in defiance of the laws and the constitution.

It has made piratical attacks upon our commerce, by commissioning foreign desperadoes, and authorizing them to seize our vessels, and convey the property of our citizens to far distant ports for confiscation.

It denies us the right of worshipping the Almighty according to the dictates of our own conscience, by the support of a national religion, calculated to promote the temporal interest of its human functionaries, rather than the glory of the true and living God.

It has demanded us to deliver up our arms, which are essential to our defence, the rightful property of freemen, and formidable only to tyrannical governments.

It has invaded our country both by sea and by land, with intent to lay waste our territory, and drive us from our homes; and has now a large mercenary army advancing, to carry on against us a war of extermination.

It has, through its emissaries, incited the merciless savage, with the tomahawk and scalping knife, to massacre the inhabitants of our defenseless frontiers.

It hath been, during the whole time of our connection with it, the contemptible sport and victim of successive military revolutions, and hath continually exhibited every characteristic of a weak, corrupt, and tyrranical government.

These, and other grievances, were patiently borne by the people of Texas, untill they reached that point at which forbearance ceases to be a virtue. We then took up arms in defence of the national constitution. We appealed to our Mexican brethren for assistance. Our appeal has been made in vain. Though months have elapsed, no sympathetic response has yet been heard from the Interior. We are, therefore, forced to the melancholy conclusion, that the Mexican people have acquiesced in the destruction of their liberty, and the substitution therfor of a military government; that they are unfit to be free, and incapable of self government.

The necessity of self-preservation, therefore, now decrees our eternal political separation.

We, therefore, the delegates with plenary powers of the people of Texas, in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended, and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic, and are fully invested with all the rights and attributes which properly belong to independent nations; and, conscious of the rectitude of our intentions, we fearlessly and confidently commit the issue to the decision of the Supreme arbiter of the destinies of nations.

Source: Lone Star Junction, Texas Declaration of Independence

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Last Surviving American WWI Vet Dies

March 1, 2011
Colorado, USA


It's an amazing story. "I was never actually looking for adventure," Buckles once said. "It just came to me."

America's last surviving World War One veteran, a real-life hero raised in Oklahoma, has died.

Frank Buckles was born in Missouri in 1901, but was raised in Oklahoma. He passed away Monday morning at the age of 110.

He's been called "the humble patriot". Frank Buckles outlived every other American, all 4.7 million, who served in World War I.

Source: Fox News.com, Buckles, last WWI doughboy, dies at 110 in W.Va.

News on 6.com, TulsaLast Surviving American WWI Vet