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Saturday, June 04, 2011

2011: A Year of Anniversaries

22 years ago, on June 5th, 1989, this man in China stepped in front of a column of tanks which were rolling through Tiananmen Square the day after the Chinese government cracked down on protesters. This took a lot of guts to do. Chances are we shall never have to face down a tank in public, but every day we have to fight against the temptation to live our Faith in what is becoming increasingly a pagan world.

Pagan is too nice a word for it; savage might be better. That is the word I used to describe the person or persons who keyed my car last night as it sat on a dark street in one of the more affluent suburbs of North Dallas.

I wasn't thinking of any of these things when I got an e-mail from Wikipedia which reminded me of this incident. Instead, two thoughts came to mind: one is that in the movie Until the End of the World, there is a collection of statues in Tiananmen Square commemorating this incident - even though in real life few Chinese know about the picture, thanks to censorship. The other thought was that there are a plethora of anniversaries which occur during 2011.

I just thought you would want to know, that:

1911: John M. Browning developed the handgun which was the main sidearm for the U.S. military forces until about 1985. It is commonly called the '1911,' and fires the .45 ACP cartridge. At the time, the U.S. Army was looking for a 'self-loading' pistol which used a caliber bullet that had adequate 'stopping power' against the enemy. At the time, our soldiers were fighting guerrillas in the Phillippines who were highly motivated and often hopped on drugs to tolerate a lot of pain in battle, and the .38 caliber, or 9 mm bullets were not as effective as the Long Colt .45 bullets.

Speaking of guerrillas, I recall that as a child, listening to reports of the Vietnam war on the radio, I sincerely believed that we were fighting against an army of gorillas, not people, over there. Of course, I also worried about Fred Flintstone staying on the front porch all night, and George Jetson being crushed by that treadmill, too.

I am hoping, that if I am a good boy, say my prayers, and be a good husband and father to my children, that I might find an M1911 under the Christmas tree this December. I think it would be fitting to get an '11 during '11, don't you?

1964: I was born. I am now 47. People say Carolyn and I look a lot younger than our stated ages. I say it is because Carolyn is beautiful and I am just plain immature.

1976: 35 years ago, on July 4, 1976, we celebrated the Bicentennial of our Country. For those who are confused, that was the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. I was at Wright's Lake Camp, a Boy Scout camp somewhere in Michigan on that day, and we had a very solemn celebration of that momentous occasion.

1986: I completed my undergraduate education with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Eastern Michigan University. My degree was 'of Arts' because I tried to do as much literature, history and other applied pseudosciences as possible in order to have something interesting to say at parties. I was astonished when I saw the B.A. on my diploma. I got it in the mail, because I chose not to attend my graduation. I spent that morning volunteering at the hospital, because that-is-what-one-has-to-do-in-order-to-get-into-medical-school.

I still am rather dull at parties despite the B.A.

1987: I am commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service Corps, and receive a Health Professions Scholarship for medical school. No one issues me an M1911.

1989: One adventurous young woman named Carolyn says 'I do,' and thus begin the happiest years of my life. We become itinerant student/doctor types, leaving behind a series of dead lawns as we made our way from Ann Arbor, to Detroit, back to Ann Arbor, then San Antonio, then Dallas, and finally, Fort Worth, Texas. Along the way, we increased the population of Irish in the world, and continue to strive to bring forth more of what Rudyard Kipling called that

"profoundly lovable race that fight like fiends, argue like children, reason like women, obey like men, and jest like their own goblins of the wrath through rebellion, loyalty, want, woe, or war."

1991: Wearing a rented gown, and sweating profusely, I received my medical degree in a sweltering, non air-conditioned auditorium in Michigan. In the balcony above, where it is hotter, Carolyn cheers for me and pats her six month pregnant belly. I can't tell you what day I graduated from medical school, because it took me a month to determine that in order to get a medical license in Texas. I figure it was kept such a secret that even I didn't know, and so you should be kept ignorant as well.

On July 1, 1991, our second anniversary, the first day of my internship, I discover at 5 p.m. that I am on call. So much for a dinner date with Carolyn. I am informed of my call when I am handed a pager which starts beeping - and doesn't stop for the next 12 hours.

1996: I complete my post-graduate training in Anesthesiology, with a Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology. At this point, the gypsies steal me away to the Air Force to serve my time commitment. I spend time in Alabama being re-educated about how to act like an Air Force Officer, and Carolyn gets ready to move herself and 6 children - including a 2 month old baby - down to San Antonio.

1996: Fifteen years living in Texas. I recall those early days, when I started something we called the 'Donahue Death March,' where I would come home from work and get everybody to go out for a walk in the late afternoon heat of San Antonio. I don't know what possessed me to do such a crazy thing. I guess it was one way to get us acclimated to the Texas heat.

1996: I pass my boards on the first try. Since I was certified before the year 2000, I did not need to recertify after ten years, but I did so anyways in 2009. With the way things are going, I figured it would be better to get it done now and deal with regulations in 2019 when I get to that point in time.

2000: On a hot July morning, I walked away from the Air Force. It was an amicable separation, with me getting out without any commitment, they got their airplanes back, and I could go and see them anytime I wanted. It doesn't seem like eleven years. Seriously, serving my country was an honor and truly a privilege, and I shall always look upon my time with the Air Force as a blessing to me and my family.

2006: This blog started as a way for me to comment on the Roman Sacristan's blog. I sort of backed into having a blog, and now it is five years old. I am blessed to have an opportunity to fill the blogosphere with my opinions, self-aggrandizing posts, and milestones in our life in Texas.

As for the Roman Sacristan, he is in a monastery in Italy, which is what he prayed for for so long. Please remember him in your prayers. God bless.

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Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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