The Perfect Holiday

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.   —Psalm 16:11 In 2004, I was home in Orlando, Florida on “Christmas Leave…

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The Perfect Holiday

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.   —Psalm 16:11

In 2004, I was home in Orlando, Florida on “Christmas Leave.” Being away for seven months in Saudi Arabia and Balad, Iraq (Camp Anaconda) during Operation Iraqi Freedom drained me emotionally. My faith in God never wavered but conducting 24/7 operations in a war zone with the responsibility of providing for thousands of American soldiers required a positive attitude and a lot of prayer…prayer without ceasing type of prayer.

I remembered praying earnestly before the holidays for my vacation to be perfect. What was my definition of “perfect” at that time? The joyful presence of being with my family—with those I loved the most. I desired nothing else and had no specific requests in mind. I just wanted to be full of joy in their presence.

On this day, I certainly did enjoy my time. We watched college football (I do not even remember who), shopped, and my wife Trena made her famous homemade pizza, my favorite dish! The best part about the day? Their presence. I relished it because I knew when it would be time for me to leave home and finish my tour back in the war zone; they would no longer be physically present with me. I felt consolation in the fact that once back in Iraq, my Lord and Savior would still be there with me. His presence had never departed from me. Because this was true in my life, I felt confident and was ready to face the road ahead.

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Congratulations Major! The Dream That Came True.

All I Could Be

On a late sunny afternoon in September, 2002—only one year after the events on 9/11, I prepared to leave my cubicle workspace at the Program Executive Office for Simulations and Training Command (PEO STRI) in Orlando, Florida. Before departing for the exit door however, my immediate supervisor, a Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) and the Project Manager for Training Devices (PM TRADE), a full Colonel (COL), blocked my “escape.” The LTC was first to speak.

      “Congratulations…Major!” he announced while holding up a Ziploc bag full of Major insignia pins that once belonged to him. He extended his hand to congratulate me and was followed immediately by the Colonel.

      “Yes, congratulations Major Meehan!” he added.

      I vigorously and proudly shook both of the officer’s hands without even trying to hide my “professional” grin. Inside of me, my heart was doing the “Side-straddle-hop!” (Civilians know these as “jumping jacks”).

      After an exchange of small talk, they departed, leaving me totally astounded. I could hardly wait to arrive home and share the good news with my wife, Trena. I was sure she would be as shocked as I was when hearing the news. Both of us could stare at each other with our mouths wide open in disbelief—one that was going to be joyful!

      Two years before this extraordinary event took place; I learned that I had been “passed over” for a promotion from Captain to Major. When I heard the news, I was devastated. I was shocked beyond belief. Why shouldn’t I have been? I just completed a successful Company Command at Fort Bliss, Texas and was sent by the U.S. Army to a civilian college to earn my Master’s Degree in Computer Resources and Information Management. A follow on assignment to STRICOM (Simulation, Instrumentation, and Training Command, as it was known then) was all lined up immediately following graduation. What happened? When I shared that news with Trena, we stood there staring at each other—our mouths wide open in disbelief.

      A year later, I was not only passed over for the second time, I was told that I had seven months left in the Army before they would force me out of the service. Fortunately, I had just completed eighteen years with my enlisted time accounting for seven of them and the Army had to keep me in until I reached my twenty-year retirement milestone. The second Passover was not as shocking. In fact, it was expected, which is normal for an officer that had been passed over once.

      “Get your packet turned in before the convening of the next major’s promotion board!” my commanding General ordered.

      “But sir, you know the situation; I have already been passed over twice!” I exclaimed.

      “Do it now, Major Meehan!”

      I woke up from this vivid dream and looked at the alarm clock. It was in the early morning hours of 3:00 a.m. I was not about to wake Trena from her slumber to share my dream. I’d wait until the next morning, which I did, and without soliciting much response from her.

      That morning, I left for work as usual and at the end of my day in February 2002, I decided to call the Acquisitions Branch Manager to ask if it was even possible for me to submit another packet before the board. His answer surprised me while at the same time, motivated me to take action.

      “Hey, you are still in the Army and have just as much right as any other Captain. I’m not going to stop you.”

      When I arrived home and shared the news with Trena, she also became excited with renewed interest. “What are you going to do?”

      “I’m going to put a packet together based on my performance this past year and pray.”

      There were obstacles to hurdle to be sure, such as when the Deputy Commander, a Colonel, did not want to bother the General with something that would never happen, at least in his mind. Mustering up some boldness (I had nothing to lose), I told the Colonel that he couldn’t stop the process and that if he did not take it to the General, I would use his open door policy and take it to him myself.

      He gazed at me and said, “Who is giving you this idea that you can even submit a packet?”

      “The Branch Manager in D. C.,” I answered.

      Fixing his gaze on me, he reached for the phone and called one of his contacts (another Colonel most likely) and inquired about my “cockamamie” idea of being promoted to Major after two passes. His eyes never left mine as he mumbled, “uh huh, uh huh, I see.”

      After hanging up the phone, he looked at me and said, “Okay, I’m going to give it to him…against my better judgement.”

      “Thank you sir!” I stood up, saluted, and walked out.

      Later, I heard through the “grapevine” that the General even sent my promotion packet Fed Ex to Washington to ensure its timely arrival.

      Four months later, the two colonels walked into my cubicle with the news of my promotion to major. The impossible happened again! With God, all things are possible.

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picture11. THE VICTIM
Fourteen year-old, Nicole Anderson bounded down the stairs with her light, sand-colored hair dancing off her shoulders. Mark and John, her two brothers, were busy playing a video game on the family’s large 55-inch Smart TV.
“I’ll be home for dinner,” Nicole called to them.
Engrossed in their intense competition, Mark half-heartedly yelled back, “Okay,” which was the response she anticipated.
Once out the door, Nicole briskly, but comfortably, walked towards her destination in a pair of shaker bow flat shoes. Only a quarter mile from her five bedroom, two-story home on Birnam Wood Drive, she arrived at the corner of Old Falls and Swinks Mill Road within five minutes. Since her brightly patterned spring dress hung three inches above her knees, Nicole used her hand frequently to restrain its natural rise with the breeze.
Between glances at the virtual phone attached to her wrist and the cars moving past her, Nicole assured herself, everything is going to be okay. Approximately ten minutes later, a sleek black Sports Sedan pulled up to the curb and a twenty-one year-old, striking man with dark hair poked his head out the window. He lowered his mirrored sunglasses and with a charming smile, said, “Hey gorgeous, there you are. Get in, hurry.”
Nicole did a double take before entering quickly and sliding into the passenger seat. “Wow Chad, where did you get this car? It looks brand new!”
“It is new–a 2025 Saab. Good to see you.”
“Well, don’t forget, I need to be home before five,” she giggly added while surveying the plush interior.
“You won’t have to worry about that baby. Here, taste some of this.”
The manner in which he replied escaped her attention. “What is it?”
“Some really good stuff I made. Go on, it won’t hurt you. It’s really good!”
“Does it have alcohol? I can’t…”
“Of course not. Come on, you don’t think I would give you something like, would you?”
Nicole looked at the drink and then at Chad who was smiling pleasantly. Then, hesitantly, she drank from the cup. “It’s a little sweet but not too bad,” she added nervously.”
“See, I told you it was good. Sometimes takes a little getting used to. Go ahead and finish it up. We’ll chase it with our espresso’s later.”
With a not so convincing smile, she finished its contents. In minutes, drowsiness started to overcome her. “I–I’m feeling really sheleepy. You–you didn’t put shomthing in my drink, did you?” she asked slurring her words.
Chad looked at her with a smile. “Everything okay baby?” as she slumped over against him. The dashing man she had met only the day before reacted by shoving her towards the passenger door as he swerved to miss an oncoming bus. She slammed against the window with a thud and remained sleeping against the door.
Nicole never made it to her café date with the flamboyant, European-accented, man who lavished his charm on her the previous afternoon. Thanks to the drink containing gamma hydroxybutyric acid, the colorless, odorless liquid used to knock out an unsuspecting victim, Nicole was sound asleep, oblivious to the drive transporting her to an undisclosed and very private, airport

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1  Sunni Awakening Fallujah 2006 The rotor blades roar drowned the clinking, pinging sound hitting metal. Hovering approximately four feet above the tattered two-story brick-and-mortar rooftop, the…


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1  Sunni Awakening
Fallujah 2006

The rotor blades roar drowned the clinking, pinging sound hitting metal. Hovering approximately four feet above the tattered two-story brick-and-mortar rooftop, the door gunner aimed carefully with covering fire, ensuring none of the 7.62-mm rounds from his M60 machine gun hit any of the four Special Forces soldiers running or limping toward the evacuation chopper.
Ron Hawkins on the left and Chris Short on the right of Dave Sutherland, dragged him along with his mangled leg toward the craft. A trail of red blood smeared across the dirt-brown surface like a giant paintbrush, adding to the array of colors on the rooftop palette. John Banks trailed the three, firing his weapon at the doorway in an effort to keep the insurgents from reaching them.
The jihad martyrs had swarmed the school building like ants, chasing the last four Special Forces soldiers who were holding what was left of the structure for two hours. John reached the Black Hawk helicopter as it lifted with a jerk. Two enemy rounds crashed into his body, one in the chest and the other his left leg, just below the knee.
Dangling over the skid, the impact caused him to slump backward, nearly falling nearly twenty feet back into the swarming enemy. Ron quickly grabbed his ammo vest as the chopper pulled abruptly away.

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1 Fort Bragg, NCNovember 4, 1979
Charlene Hawkins screamed at the top of her lungs.
“Come on, push, baby!” her husband Brady said earnestly. Staff Sergeant Brady Hawkins squeezed her hand tightly.
“Can’t you see, I’m trying,” Charlene grunted in a southern drawl. Then, she gave one last forceful push before Doctor Randall Scott lifted the blood-covered baby high for all to see. The clock in the background showed 5:55 PM when Brady took the picture.
“We have ourselves a boy, babe!” Brady said excitedly.
Charlene’s breathing was slowing back to normal and drops of sweat streaked down her whiter than normal cheeks. Piercing blue eyes highlighted her pleasant face, eyes that all but revealed her determined character to consume whatever she desired.
The nurse brought the crying baby to her, wrapped in a blue-green towel. Charlene smiled the smile of a very proud mother. “Heah you are, ma precious little boy.


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Liberate From Darkness

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Liberate From Darkness

Front coverSarah moved closer to him. For a brief moment, both watched tears flow down the other’s cheek. Sarah suddenly moved her hand towards Ron’s cheek, and then hesitated. He reached out, grabbed her hand softly, and finished guiding it to his face. With her fingertip, she pressed against a moving teardrop on Ron’s cheek. He studied her closely as she brought forward her other hand to clasp his and then guide his finger towards her face. Ron pressed his finger against the tear on her smooth skin.
“Now we have shared our tears,” Sarah remarked in a whisper. Then without warning, she eagerly wrapped her arms around Ron’s back below his arms, resting her head on his chest, squeezing him tightly. Ron instinctively responded by placing his arms around her waist and held her firmly. Peering over her shoulder, he viewed the majestic peaks rising above the Amu Darya valley. Their faces no longer reflected signs of weariness, only gentle pleasure and bittersweet memories of days gone by.
A loud explosion echoing below interrupted their embrace as both tumbled from the impact.

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A site for author, Scott Meehan and Al M. Scott (Pen name for fiction works).

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