Author Archive

USflag

the things that unite us…

We wouldn’t even think about trying to compete with a fireworks display, especially on the Fourth of July.  So instead – we will reflect on some words from the 40th President of the United States of America — President Ronald Reagan…

It’s worth remembering that all the celebration of this day is rooted in history. It’s recorded that shortly after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia celebrations took place throughout the land, and many of the former Colonists — they were just starting to call themselves Americans — set off cannons and marched in fife and drum parades.

What a contrast with the sober scene that had taken place a short time earlier in Independence Hall. Fifty-six men came forward to sign the parchment. It was noted at the time that they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. And that was more than rhetoric; each of those men knew the penalty for high treason to the Crown. “We must all hang together,” Benjamin Franklin said, “or, assuredly, we will all hang separately.” And John Hancock, it is said, wrote his signature in large script so King George could see it without his spectacles. They were brave. They stayed brave through all the bloodshed of the coming years. Their courage created a nation built on a universal claim to human dignity, on the proposition that every man, woman, and child had a right to a future of freedom.

For just a moment, let us listen to the words again: “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.” Last night when we rededicated Miss Liberty and relit her torch, we reflected on all the millions who came here in search of the dream of freedom inaugurated in Independence Hall. We reflected, too, on their courage in coming great distances and settling in a foreign land and then passing on to their children and their children’s children the hope symbolized in this statue here just behind us: the hope that is America. It is a hope that someday every people and every nation of the world will know the blessings of liberty.

And it’s the hope of millions all around the world. In the last few years, I’ve spoken at Westminster to the mother of Parliaments; at Versailles, where French kings and world leaders have made war and peace. I’ve been to the Vatican in Rome, the Imperial Palace in Japan, and the ancient city of Beijing. I’ve seen the beaches of Normandy and stood again with those boys of Pointe du Hoc, who long ago scaled the heights, and with, at that time, Lisa Zanatta Henn, who was at Omaha Beach for the father she loved, the father who had once dreamed of seeing again the place where he and so many brave others had landed on D-day. But he had died before he could make that trip, and she made it for him. “And, Dad,” she had said, “I’ll always be proud.”

And I’ve seen the successors to these brave men, the young Americans in uniform all over the world, young Americans like you here tonight who man the mighty U.S.S. Kennedy and the Iowa and other ships of the line. I can assure you, you out there who are listening, that these young are like their fathers and their grandfathers, just as willing, just as brave. And we can be just as proud. But our prayer tonight is that the call for their courage will never come. And that it’s important for us, too, to be brave; not so much the bravery of the battlefield, I mean the bravery of brotherhood.

All through our history, our Presidents and leaders have spoken of national unity and warned us that the real obstacle to moving forward the boundaries of freedom, the only permanent danger to the hope that is America, comes from within. It’s easy enough to dismiss this as a kind of familiar exhortation. Yet the truth is that even two of our greatest Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, once learned this lesson late in life. They’d worked so closely together in Philadelphia for independence. But once that was gained and a government was formed, something called partisan politics began to get in the way. After a bitter and divisive campaign, Jefferson defeated Adams for the Presidency in 1800. And the night before Jefferson’s inauguration, Adams slipped away to Boston, disappointed, brokenhearted, and bitter.

For years their estrangement lasted. But then when both had retired, Jefferson at 68 to Monticello and Adams at 76 to Quincy, they began through their letters to speak again to each other. Letters that discussed almost every conceivable subject: gardening, horseback riding, even sneezing as a cure for hiccups; but other subjects as well: the loss of loved ones, the mystery of grief and sorrow, the importance of religion, and of course the last thoughts, the final hopes of two old men, two great patriarchs, for the country that they had helped to found and loved so deeply. “It carries me back,” Jefferson wrote about correspondence with his cosigner of the Declaration of Independence, “to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right to self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us and yet passing harmless . . . we rowed through the storm with heart and hand . . . .” It was their last gift to us, this lesson in brotherhood, in tolerance for each other, this insight into America’s strength as a nation. And when both died on the same day within hours of each other, that date was July 4th, 50 years exactly after that first gift to us, the Declaration of Independence.

My fellow Americans, it falls to us to keep faith with them and all the great Americans of our past. Believe me, if there’s one impression I carry with me after the privilege of holding for 5\1/2\ years the office held by Adams and Jefferson and Lincoln, it is this: that the things that unite usAmerica’s past of which we’re so proud, our hopes and aspirations for the future of the world and this much-loved country these things far outweigh what little divides us. And so tonight we reaffirm that Jew and gentile, we are one nation under God; that black and white, we are one nation indivisible; that Republican and Democrat, we are all Americans.

Tonight, with heart and hand, through whatever trial and travail, we pledge ourselves to each other and to the cause of human freedom, the cause that has given light to this land and hope to the world.

My fellow Americans, we’re known around the world as a confident and a happy people. Tonight there’s much to celebrate and many blessings to be grateful for. So while it’s good to talk about serious things, it’s just as important and just as American to have some fun. Now, let’s have some fun — let the celebration begin!



Government is the people’s business, and every man, woman and child becomes a shareholder with the first penny of tax paid. With all the profound wording of the Constitution, probably the most meaningful words are the first three, “We, the People.”

 

#Freedom #Reagan


tunes-we-play---arbor

#TunesWePlay — Sands of Kuwait

The Sands Of Kuwait was composed by LCpl Gordon MacKenzie, to commemorate the involvement of the 1st Battalion Queen’s Own Highlanders (Seaforth & Camerons), in the Gulf War conflict.  The Tune was written whilst LCpl Mackenzie was attending his Pipe Majors Course at the Army School Of Piping in Edinburgh Castle, from September 1990 until April 1991.

Three Scots from the Queen’s Own Highlanders — Privates John Lang, from Nairn; Martin Ferguson, from Inverlochy, Fort William; and Neil Donald, from Forres — died when their battle group was attacked by an A-10 tankbuster aicraft. It mistook Warrier armored vehicles for Iraqi tanks.

Fusiliers Paul Atkinson, Conrad Cole, Richard Gillespie, Kevin Leech, Lee Thompson and Stephen Satchell were also killed.

It was war`s the worst single incident of “friendly fire“ deaths.  A total of 47 British Armed Forces lost their lives during the 1990-1991 theatre; 1,143 members of the United States Armed Forces were also killed.

Like many pipe tunes  – it’s haunting, yet holds such sad history.



To this day, there is no official memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire for the remembrance of the 47 Service Personnel who lost their lives in theatre.  The Gulf War (90-91) Memorial Trust Appeal was established with the aim is to raise funds for a permanent memorial.  You can help them fulfill this mission to erect the memorial depicted below.

For more information please visit their website @ www.gulfwarmemorial.co.uk
or on Facebook @ facebook.com/GulfWar91


on-the-mountain

on the mountain…

Some of our members are gearing up for the spectacle of the 60th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games at MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain near Linville, North Carolina.  The organizers strive to be the premier Scottish Highland games and gathering of Clans, Guests, Families, Sponsors, Patrons and Visitors.  And although Wake and District has never been formally invited to participate at these games — band members will be embedded on the mountain – creating and participating in all sorts of shenanigans #KiltKulture — and our presence will be known…


 

Wake and District is the proud sponsor of the
Spirit of the South’ Professional Piping Trophy

Safe travels to all our members and the residents of Clan MacVillage as you make your way to the mountain in the coming days.  The games technically run from Friday, 09 July – Sunday, 12 July 2015 – but some folks like to get a little bit more mountain time…

For more informaiton on these games check out the GMHG website @ www.gmhg.org.  To all our family, friends and fans on the mountains – have a grand time!  When the sun sets and festivities draw to a close – safe journey home.

#OnTheMountain


do-not-forget

Ne Obliviscaris – do not forget…

99 years ago today, the Battle of the Somme, also known as the Somme Offensive commenced.  It was a battle of the First World War fought by the armies of the British andFrench empires against the German Empire. It took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 on both sides of the River Somme in France. It was one of the largest battles of World War I, in which more than1,000,000 men were wounded or killed, making it one of the bloodiest battles in human history. A Franco-British commitment to an offensive on the Somme had been made during Allied discussions at Chantilly, Oise, in December 1915. The Allies agreed upon a strategy of combined offensives against the Central Powers in 1916, by the French, Russian, British, and Italian armies, with the Somme offensive as the Franco-British contribution. The main part of the offensive was to be made by the French Army, supported on the northern flank by the Fourth Army of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).

When the German Army began the Battle of Verdun on the Meuse on 21 February 1916, many French divisions intended for the Somme were diverted and the supporting attack by the British became the principal effort. The first day on the Somme (1 July) was a serious defeat for the German Second Army, which was forced out of its first line of defence by the French Sixth Army, from Foucaucourt-en-Santerre south of the Somme to Maricourt on the north bank and by the British Fourth Army from Maricourt to the vicinity of the AlbertBapaume road. The First Day on the Somme was also the worst day in the history of the British Army, which had c. 60,000 casualties, mainly on the front between the Albert–Bapaume road and Gommecourt, where the attack was defeated and few British troops reached the German front line. The British Army on the Somme was a mixture of the remains of the pre-war regular army, the Territorial Force and the Kitchener Army, which was composed of Pals battalions, recruited from the same places and occupations.

The battle is notable for the importance of air power and the first use of the tank. At the end of the battle, British and French forces had penetrated 6 miles (9.7 km) into German-occupied territory, taking more ground than any offensive since the Battle of the Marne in 1914. The Anglo-French armies failed to capture Péronne and were still 3 miles (4.8 km) from Bapaume, where the German armies maintained their positions over the winter. British attacks in the Ancre valley resumed in January 1917 and forced the Germans into local withdrawals to reserve lines in February, before the scheduled retirement to theSiegfriedstellung (Hindenburg Line) began in March. The battle has been controversial since 1916 over its necessity, significance and effect.


Commemorating this battle — the Battle of the Somme — was composed by PM William Lawrie — who fought in this horrendous battle as PM of the 8th Argylls. He died shortly after from injuries sustained in the trenches; 58,000 lives were lost by the British troops (one third on the first day). He lived just long to see his tune meet immediate success — Battle of the Somme — one of many ‪#‎TunesWePlay‬


 


dunblane2

#TunesWePlay — Dunblane

On 13 March 1996, a man walked into the Dunblane (Scotland) Primary School armed with several guns. He fired his weapons 109 times murdering sixteen children and one adult before killing himself.

In the first hours after news of the tragedy came to light, a beautiful tribute was scored by Charlie Glendinning. Charlie spent nearly thirty years as Pipe Sergeant of the City of Washington Pipe Band (a.k.a. Denny and Dunipace, a.k.a. Scottish and Irish Imports). He scored many tunes which can be found in the Glendinning Collection of Bagpipe Music — which can be purchased @http://www.moonstarmusic.com/book.html

dunblane

This is a retransmission of a recent but undated photo of the class of Dunblane Primary School, and their teacher, Gwenne Mayor, 45, from which 16 children and Mayor were killed when gunman Thomas Hamilton, 43, opened fire with four handguns in Dunblane, Scotland, Mach 13, 1996.

 

The bells of Dunblane cathedral rang a long tribute to the victims. Pipe Major Robert Mathieson also composed a slow air for the Highland Bagpipes in memoriam of the event. He entitled it “The Bells of Dunblane” because the silence of the people and the sound of the cathedral bells seemed much stronger than any spoken word. 

Wake and District proudly plays Charlie’s air as part of our G3 ‘Protect and Serve’ medley. Dunblane, by Charlie Glendinning – one of many‪ #‎TunesWePlay‬


Below is a recording of DUNBLANE
from the City of Washington Pipe Band
recording Scottish Rant.  
Purchase your copy on AMAZON here.

Purchase your copy of CoW Scottish Rant on AMAZON here.


Ken-Groot

we are groot…

Our members are homeward bound after a fabulous weekend in Chicago. We continue to be impressed with our progression. Thank you to Jim Sim and the Midwest Pipe Band Association — and all the MWPBA bands for their support at the Chicago Highland Games and Scottish Festivalsome real class act bandsMidlothian Scottish Pipe Band – Chicago Scots Pipe Band – Greater Midwest Pipe BandKansas City St. Andrew Pipes and Drums – Chicago Celtic Pipe BandThe Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band – Dundee Scottish Pipe Band — and so many more. Thank you to all the stewards for keeping everything on schedule and in line (really great contest venue — a real “must go” pipe band event — HIGHLY recommended). ‪#‎MWPBA‬  

It was a sort of homecoming for two of our members — John Schodtler and Joe Brady — both who grew up in the Chicago-land area and played with a few of the bands referenced above.  We shared some Southern Spirit(s) with pipe maker Dave Atherton and many a folk in the beer tent.  We hope we left an impression of Southern hospitality with everyone we met.  Our members are humbled by all of your kind words about our program.

It was a good day for our members both individually and collectively.  Tim Hinson cleaned house in G3 piping with 4 first places and 1 2nd.  John Lovett won professional bass drummer of the day. Congratulations also to MaryEllen Hinson and Christinia Raig for going on the boards so far from home (you both did so well).  Very proud of all our solo players for putting forth exhausting but rewarding efforts.

As to our G3 band performances –we didn’t have our best MSR run — but sprung back with a strong Medley performance — garnering a 2nd place Medley slot (our drummers also took 1st in Medley).  We scored a pair of 2nd’s in Ensemble for both the Medley and MSR — strong work against some well established (and big) G3 bands.  In case you missed it — our middies won BEST BASS SECTION in G3!!!

We know what we are doing right – we know what we are doing wrong, and we are taking all the steps towards continuous-collective improvement.


Here are the full band results form the 2015 Chicago Highland Games:

Grade 2 MSR (1) : Greater Midwest
Grade 2 Medley (1) : Greater Midwest
Grade 2 Aggregate (1) : Greater Midwest

Grade 3 MSR (5) : 1. Midlothian Scottish 2. Kansas City St. Andrews 3. Chicago Celtic 4. Wake and District 5. Chicago Scots
Grade 3 Medley (5) : 1. Midlothian Scottish 2. Wake and District 3. Kansas City St. Andrews 4. Chicago Scots 5. Chicago Celtic
Grade 3 Aggregate (5) : 1. Midlothian Scottish (BDC) 2. Kansas City St. Andrews 3. Wake and District (BBS) 4. Chicago Scots 5. Chicago Celtic

Grade 4 Medley (5) : 1. 87th Cleveland (BDC) 2. St Andrews Society of Central IL 3. Chicago Highlanders (BBS) 4. Minnesota Police 5. Stockyard Kilty

Grade 5 QMM (12) : 1. Turlach Ur 2. Kansas City St Andrews (BDC, BBS) 3. Omaho P&D 4. Madison P&D 5. Celtic Cross 6. Firefighter Highland Guard


To all of our families we left behind for the weekend – thanks for your patience and understanding of this cantankerous thing we do.   HUGE thank you to the Justice League for transporting all of our gear across several state lines – and acting as the best roadies and baby-sisters to all things Wake and District (whoooo).  Cheers to Peter McArthur for lending your time and talent to help setup the pipers throughout the day; it was invaluable.

We said it before – nothing stays the same.  Progression continues.  We are having fun and remain impressed.  We are no where near where we are going to end up…

#WeAreGroot


chicago

it’s 806 miles to Chicago…

Members of Wake & District are on the road this weekend to Chicago for the 29th Annual Chicago Scottish Games and Highland Festival, being held in Istaca. Our G3 band — along with some soloists — will be competing. Our thanks to the Midwest Pipe Band Association for accommodating our long distance trip — and all the MWPBA bands for their support and encouragement as we make this 806 mile trek.

For a couple of us – this is a trip “home”.  For others (who have never been on a plan before) this is a weekend of firsts.  We will surely post photos, stories and results from the field.   Be sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for updates from the road…

For more information on the games check out >> www.chicagoscots.org/highlandgames<<


It’s been said there are only two mistakes one can make along the road to success – not going all the way, and not starting.  The road to success is not easy to navigate. The members of Wake and District have been fortunate over these past 9 years together – having guidance and support to see us along, help us navigate and drive the work and passion possible to succeed.
So much behind us, so much ahead of us — as is ever so on the road.    

Safe travels to all those attending the games this weekend — and best of luck to all the competitors.

 

#StayFocused #StayInTune


waterloo

the story of pipes…

From band member Russell Smith :: We are all aware (or should be) we are observing the 100th anniversary of WWl. The 18th of June is the 200th anniversary or the battle of Waterloo.

What is so significant about Waterloo and the Napoleonic wars in particular is when pipers in Highland regiments became quite prevalent and prominent. Pipers in the British army date back to the 16th century but documentation of the wide use and importance of pipers was really not recognized until the Napoleonic period. There are very few pipes that were played at Waterloo still in existence. Below is an interesting article of just one of the few Waterloo pipes left.


 

This set of bagpipes was used by regiments of Highlanders in the British Army. The age of the pipes is uncertain, it has been confirmed that they are definitely old enough to live up to the inscription on its brass plaque which states: “…played at the Battle of Waterloo…”

This set of bagpipes was used by regiments of Highlanders in the British Army. The age of the pipes is uncertain, it has been confirmed that they are definitely old enough to live up to the inscription on its brass plaque which states: “…played at the Battle of Waterloo…”

From Waterloo 200 :: The MacKillop family has owned this set of bagpipes for several generations. A long-standing tradition associates these pipes with the 79th (Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, a regiment who fought with distinction throughout Wellington’s final campaign against the French. For their meritorious actions the 79th earned the rare honour of being praised by Wellington in his Waterloo dispatch. Sadly the name of piper who played this set of pipes at Waterloo has been lost to history.

Each of the Highland Regiments who served during the Napoleonic wars carried at least one set of pipes into battle. At Waterloo there were three other Highland regiments brigaded with the Camerons. The sound of their bagpipes echoing over the battlefield boosted the morale of the regiments. This tradition was continued until the Second World War after which the use of bagpipes became ceremonial. However, in 1967 when the 1st Bn Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders commanded by Lt Col Colin Mitchell (Mad Mitch) re-occupied the Crater District in Aden, he was accompanied by his piper playing.

Pipers were particularly vulnerable on the battlefield and were often some of the first casualties, like Piper George Clark. Clark served under Wellington in Portugal where he was wounded in the leg. However, despite his injury he continued to play. Many other pipers defied the enemy with sheer bravado like Piper MacKay of the 79th. At Waterloo, with his regiment formed into a square and facing the onslaught of the charging French cavalry, MacKay bravely left the safety of the square to march around his comrades while he played the Pibroch, War or Peace, indifferent to the dangers he faced.

The story of these pipes does not end on the field of Waterloo. Pipe-Major Angus Paul MacKillop of the 79th Regiment of Foot continued to carry them during the Victorian era, and played them proudly on campaign in Egypt and Sudan during the 1880s and 90s, just as the unknown piper did at the Battle of Waterloo.


200 years later…we are fortunate to still have bagpipe masters like Roddy MacLellan — keeping tradition alive by creating a custom bagpipe, based on “the Waterloo Bagpipe” in the National Museum collection in Scotland. Shown here in cocobolo with Antiqued imitation ivory — Roddy can make this bagpipe with either the MacLellan or the Antique bores.  For more information visit Roddy’s website @ highland-pipemaker.com/waterloo_bagpipe.htm


As for the tune — The Battle of Waterloo — “…the Battle of Waterloo, fought in June 1815, brought to an end 23 years of intermittent war with France. The gallantry and discipline of the Scottish Regiments, together with the appalling casualties they suffered, have earned this historic victory a special place in the military annals of Scotland. The Allied army included three of the four kilted Highland Regiments in the Army at the time: the 42nd Royal Highlanders, 79th Cameron Highlanders and 92nd Gordon Highlanders. The infantry of the line included four other Scottish Regiments: 3rd Bn 1st Royal Scots, the 71st, 73rd and 91st Regiments. Other Scottish troops present were the 3rd Foot Guards and the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons. The tune is old, and PM Donald MacLeod got it from Stewart Salmond, who probably learnt it from PM Angus MacLeod, Dundee.”

The tune does have an ominous feeling to it. Keeps going back to G. Darn! Another tune I have to learn.   As best as can be determined, the tune was written long after the battle, but how long after is unknown. I have a feeling (that I am quite unable to confirm) that it entered the piping repertoire in the 1830s or 1840s or perhaps even later. To me, the tune has a decidedly Victorian sound.

The composer is unknown, and is best attributed to the well known and prolific Anon or Trad. Donald Macleod et al likely arranged the music in the version we now play, but almost certainly did not compose it. The tune has more than a passing resemblance to an equally old Irish melody ‘Napoleon Crossing the Rhine’ usually played as a hornpipe or reel on various instruments including the fiddle, banjo and accordion. A fair number of ‘Scottish’ pipe tunes originated in Ireland and I would not be at all surprised if this was the case with ‘The Battle of Waterloo.’


thanks

terquasquicentennial…

Wake and District was honored to return to the steps of the North Carolina State Capitol to be a part of the the Terquasquicentennial (175th) Anniversary of our State Capitol Building.  The capitol building was opened in 1840 after North Carolina’s original capitol was destroyed in a fire nine years before.

The governor’s office remains in the capitol, even though the Senate and House moved to the Legislative Building in 1963.  For more information on our state capitol — visit their website @ ncstatecapitol.org

Thank you to all of our members who made it out today through recording breaking heat.  This event was a debut for a couple new members of the band – please welcome Maryellen Hinson and Caleb Markowski to our family.  It was also the return of a member who hasn’t put his kilt on in almost 2 years — NCSHP Trooper Brandon Johnson.


 

The first photo is of the original members of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol circa 1929 — taken on the steps of the North Carolina State Capitol. The second is members of the Wake and District Pipe Band in the same spot circa 2015.  It’s a privilege to stand in the steps of history and be in service to such a wonderful organization.


life-hacks

top 5 legitimate life hacks…

Sharing this article — by Greg “RU Twisted” Drobny — from www.unapologeticallyamerican.com

Life hack! I’ve seen a lot of those lately—from brewing the best coffee to the coolest tricks you can do with your iPhone, there are articles floating about that tell you shortcuts to make some facet of your life better/faster/more-about-that-bass.

So naturally I figured, being the bandwagon jumper that I am, it was time for a UA-themed life hack list. Because although we may not be first, we’ll do it better and with more explosions.

1: Work hard. DontBeUpset

Yeah, I know this one sounds really esoteric and pretty far out there, but hear me out. If you work hard at what you do, you’re going to go farther and accomplish more than by looking for some secret “hack” to life.

As I was told early on, there is no pixie dust. No magical fix-alls or slogans can ever replace hard work and no pyramid scheme, no matter how amazingly succulent it may sound, can change that. The sooner you accept that the better off you’ll be.

2: You’re not on a crusade

When I was in Iraq it didn’t take long to realize that what we were doing there was mostly pointless. I said then—and time has proven me right—that it didn’t matter if we left 5 years, 5 months, or 5 minutes from then, the result would be the same. So I dedicated myself to helping my guys out as much as possible and having a positive impact on the soldiers around me because the mission wasn’t going to solve the world’s problems—or even those in that country or ours.

We all grow up thinking we are going to change the world. But at some point you have to come to grips with the fact that by far the biggest impact you will have in this life is on those in your immediate circle. The consequences of your actions, be they good or bad, will be far more profound on your bosses, employees, and family than they ever will be on any kind of “mission” you think you’re on.

3: You can be wrong

As often as possible, I try to do some serious evaluation of the things I believe to be true in order to determine whether or not they hold up to scrutiny. I can think of three times, specifically, that I have had some pretty major revelations because of this approach. When I stopped working in politics it enabled me to say “hey, since I’m not being paid to argue for X, I can honestly assess whether or not X is even true,” and this lead to some rather profound changes in how I viewed the world around me.

The point being is that it is okay to be wrong, and this is not at all contrary to being “Unapologetically American.” In fact, coming out the other side of being wrong can lead to amazing things.

While this sounds cool to everyone in theory, we are stubborn as hell when it comes to actually admitting even the possibility we could be incorrect about what we hold dear. It’s a lot tougher to do than most of us are willing to confess—again because that means admitting there is a possibility we’ve been on the wrong path.

Honest evaluation of your position doesn’t mean learning better talking points. It means coming to grips with the fact that you, me, and even that guy in the clown suit who offered you vodka when you were 10 years old are probably wrong about some pretty important issues. Accepting that and moving forward from it can have truly wonderful consequences.

4: Life solutions can’t fit on bumper stickers

If 42 years on this earth has taught me anything it is that tequila and airplane glue leads to a bad night most of reality is simultaneously simple and astonishingly complicated. Though this doesn’t make much sense, hopefully you’ll let me confuse you further.

As an example, when I was coaching Muay Thai, I could explain every single technique a new student would need to know in under five minutes. But anyone who’s ever done it can tell you that it will take years to even begin getting a handle on the complexities of just the simplest martial arts. The process of learning, understanding, and developing a proficiency in a certain discipline is in many ways a never-ending quest.

A great deal of life is like that, but our culture is largely reflective of the exact opposite. Look at the average political slogan and ask yourself what in the hell does that even mean? Yet they are continually used because, lo and behold, they work.

Don’t let your life or the life around you be summed up by a bumper sticker. Bullet points are great for shortening that super boring corporate meeting, but the truly interesting facts of life are complex processes that involve getting your mental hands dirty—no, notthat kind of dirty. Pervert.

5: Number 5 is easily the most profound and life changing hack you’ll ever see.

There is no notion that I find more dangerous to our way of life and more despicable than the idea that we are “owed” anything or that we “deserve” anything.
Life is competition. You need to look no further than nature. If a lion sits around all day and decides not to hunt, it doesn’t eat. If it doesn’t eat, it dies. Simple. Brutal. Reality.

We are no different, except we have compassion. We see others that will not work, will not put out effort, and we refuse to let them starve. We make sure they have what they need to survive. We, the capable, the workers, decide that we will not let another human being die while we have the means to prevent it.

I believe that is a good thing. I believe that is just.

The growing issue however, is when people who do not work, who do not contribute to society believe they are owed something more. They deserve cable. They deserve a car. They deserve that which the workers receive. We are teetering on the edge of a place where it is more beneficial to be on an entitlement program than it is to work a minimum wage job.    But if the only issue was entitlement programs, then the issue would be minimal. For every five people who need welfare, there will always be one abuser. That simply comes with the territory. The bigger issue is that increasingly, this “entitlement disease” is spreading to working citizens. The occupy movement is a group of people who believe they deserve more – more opportunity, more money, more benefits, more whatever. They believe that life isn’t fair.

They are right. It never will be and it never has been.

Rich people have more shit. They get away with more shit. They control more shit. They keep their families rich. They get richer over time. Yeah, it sucks.  So do something about it. Work hard. Start a business. Join a business. Fight and fight and fight until you get what it is that you want out of life. Will everyone get where they want? No. Some people who work harder than you do will never achieve your level of success and some people that work markedly less hard will blow you out of the water. And that will always be true because life isn’t fair, people have different skillsets, and luck plays a huge role in life.

But what I can tell you is that you have to take responsibility for your life or you will become, and remain, a loser. Every success and every failure has to be yours. You can’t blame mom, dad, Obama, Bush, bad luck, the teacher that hated you, where you grew up, or multinational-piece-of-shit-scumbag-banks. You have to push every single day and carve out of life what it is that you want. You have to go over, under, or blast through obstacles. You have to never quit.

Contrary to popular opinion, no one owes you anything.  Earn it.


Greg Drobny, aka RU Twisted is the Editor-in-Chief of Unapologetically American. A former Airborne Infantryman, PSYOP Team Chief, political tool, welder, bartender, and failed musician (to name a few), Greg holds a bachelor’s degree in American history and has contributed as a writer to The Rhino Den for several years as well as two published books; “Redeployed” and “War Stories.” Follow him on Twitter: @RU_Twist