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Super Typhoon Yolanda Aftermath One Year Later — The Lesson : “Live Life”

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Super Typhoon Yolanda changed my Life.

I lived inside “Ground Zero.”

I am a “Survivor.”

One obvious change Yolanda has made to my Life is I am more “aggressive.” Any pretense of patience is completely gone from my Life. I get a project done or I toss it and move on to one I can get done.

One obvious change Yolanda gave me is the opportunity to “Face Death.”

I have had a year to look at my reaction. I should be “Petrified.” I definitely felt, “Concern.”

Today is Saturday, November 8, 2014. A year ago, at “Ground Zero”, I stood in my bedroom and watched the winds of Super Typhoon Yolanda bow the coconut wood door back and forth like a warped, black LP record flexed back and forth.

Three times, Yolanda blew open the door. Three times, I pushed against the wind and intense walls of blowing rain to close the door.

Yolanda took the roof, but she left the thin sheets of plywood over the roof. Although, she did bend one down almost double to continue to pour a persistent waterfall of rain into the room.

Christy Warren, my wife, stood in front of me, and stared out the single window in the wall. I stood behind Christy and had my arms down around her. I watched the door disco dance against the door jab.

I still remember my chant: “You can stop anytime now.”

I have no idea, how many times I repeated those words. Everyone else in the room was quite.

Junea and Vanissa stood behind me. Digna Mora, the cleaning lady, stood behind the girls. Her son, David was under the concrete shelf sink at the back of the room. He fell asleep.

We heard Yolanda’s winds take the tin roof over the bedroom and the abundance of sudden sunlight over the plywood section confirmed the roof had gone airborne.

There was a plywood section for a roof under the tin. The plywood section held, but a sheet of the wood buckled in half.

The wingtip of “my” Archangel Michael statue held up that section of the roof, while the torrential rain poured in and the dry concrete floor began to fill like a swimming pool. The water inside the room would rise to a half-inch before Yolanda ceased her seize.

I remember every second of Yolanda’s bombardment.

Today, a year later, the sun is shining. The temperature is not too hot. Earlier this afternoon around one p.m., there was a nice breeze. A year ago, the phrase “Hell On Earth” had “A Real World” meaning.

I decided not to go to the “Yolanda Commemoration Ceremonies” in Tacloban City and Tanauan because I wanted “The Day” to think about my reaction to Yolanda.

All week long, ABS-CBN has aired the “Survivor Stories.” As a retired military newsman, I understand the decision. People want to know, “What Was It Like ?”

“Scary,” in a word.

The catch is, obviously, there is a limit to how much adrenaline your body pumps in a crisis situation. You sense and feel, “Fear.” But, the “Fear” can’t last.

“Numbness” replaced the initial “Fear” and the “Concern.” I stood at “The Mercy Of A Force Of Nature.” There was absolutely nothing I could do.

Yolanda could of snatched me or anyone else in the room and tossed us against the walls like rag dolls. Yolanda could of tossed any of us out through the roof.

Yolanda could of reached inside the room and pulled any or all of us out through the narrow doorway. Yolanda kept us corralled and “pinned up” in the room until her winds were done outside.

“Thanks To Yolanda, I no longer ‘Fear Death.’”

Naturally, I have “The Death Fantasy” where you lie in bed, surrounded by family and friends who love you. You close your eyes for the last time and “Death” arrives.

If I get “The Death Fantasy” fine; if not, at least, Yolanda, provided the lesson of awareness and acceptance of “Here Comes, The Last Ride ! ”

A year ago, once I heard the winds disappear, I stepped to the door and opened it.

“Stunned,” is the only word that works.

A Child Of The Cold War, I cut my baby teeth on the stories of United States, Soviet Union and Red Chinese Nuclear Armageddon Aftermath.

I remember the Civil Defense lessons in grade school. I got the blue prints I got in the mail from the United States Superintendent Of Documents to “build a bomb shelter in your backyard.”

Momma never let me build the bomb shelter. I couldn’t even convince her to build a basement. I always wanted a basement.

As a teenager, I had watched countless TV shows and movies about The Cold War Nuclear Apocalypse.

As a senior citizen, I stood on the concrete porch and looked at the devastated landscape of the island of Leyte.

No Hollywood Cold War Nuclear Holocaust Movie even came close to Super Typhoon Yolanda.

The brutal sky remained angry swatches of gray. The horizontal canvas was saturated. The rain had stopped and the sky still appeared soaked. The sky around me dripped like running paint on a wet canvas.

The dense emerald vegetation was yanked, pulled and discarded like a giant weedeater had gone ballistic on the landscape.

The huge tree at the corner of the porch had been yanked up by the roots and dropped like a weed at the hole, which moments before had covered the roots.

The 50 to 75 coconut trees in front of the house were gone. Two complete trees stood and four giant busted toothpicks, which had been coconut trees were still embedded in the ground.

Some of the coconut trees had fallen like discarded Lincoln Logs on to the plundered landscape.

Silence.

No sound.

In rural Leyte it is rare for an hour to pass without a rooster crowing somewhere nearby.

Across the barangay road, the neighbor’s bamboo house was gone completely. Christy’s white sari-sari store building was tilted at a 15 degree angle toward the road.

The bamboo carport had served it’s purpose. The bamboo poles were still in the ground. The dried coconut leaves roof had gone airborne.

Fortunately, the carport had stood long enough to keep the van on the ground. The other benefit of the carport, is it helped provide temporary shelter.

When the neighbors across the road, felt their house was going around them, they ran outside to the carport and got next to the van, according to the neighbor woman, they essentially formed a human chain and she held on to the van’s door handle.

Today, I stand with a mug of coffee in my hand and look out at the Land in front of the house. Sunlight bathes the dense vegetation.

We have a tin roof again over the house. The US AID gray tarpaulin still serves as two walls of the house.

I strolled up the barangay road a distance this afternoon. Houses are again beginning to take shape. The rice fields seem to be recovering. The Cameri Barangay Elementary School has a roof again. Neighbors’ roosters chase hens in the school yard and a concrete building in the corner is going up in a corner of the school yard.

Son, Samuel Ranilo Warren got tagged to participate in a Yolanda Commemorative Ceremony in Tacloban City as did cousin,Vanissa Saldana. Daughter, Donna Junea Warren got to “Fly Free” to a girlfriend’s birthday celebration today.

Christy and I have been relaxing around the old Pacific Ponderosa today. One Warren Way got severely remodeled by Super Typhoon Yolanda, but with time, I am sure we will have walls again someday. I need to find a carpenter, I believe, can put my concrete hollow blocks up to build a “Strong” wall.

As a political science and history student, I had memorized the photos of the destruction of “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. A year ago, Yolanda at “Ground Zero” in Tanauan, Barangay Baras delivered the “Destruction” without the radioactive “Fallout.”

November 8, 2014 — Tacloban City reports 6,000 people dead. Officials calculate, at least, 1,061 are still missing. I doubt an accurate “body count” for Super Typhoon Yolanda will ever be firmly established because a tidal wave came ashore and took structures and, no doubt, people back out to The Leyte Gulf and The Pacific Ocean.

The brutal winds of Yolanda took roofs and “bombed out” the insides of churches and smashed all the pews to smithereens. More than a week after Yolanda’s winds, I saw that Yolanda had parked a car and a Chevrolet pickup with the grilles against the ground. The trunk and pickup bed pointed up toward the sky, while the wheels rested on the side of a building.

Super Typhoon Yolanda, a year later, has reminded me of an Important Lesson Of Life: ”Live Life !”

I would emphasize : “Live Life With A Passion !”

Today is Saturday, November 8, 2014.

Tomorrow, at sun rise, my plan, is like the plan for today : “The sun is up. Time to make a cup of coffee and enjoy the day.”

Sam

Written by samwarren55

November 8, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Business, Current Events, Ecology, Editorial, Family, Observances, Philippines, Tropics

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The Makings Of A Terrorist ?

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This terrorism poster found a posting on the Internet.  It is directed at the "Fear" of illegal aliens crossing the border into the United States from Mexico.  The paranoia and hysteria of the issue is reminiscent of the "Fear" of the Days Of The Cold War when Americans and Soviet citizens worried who would launch their nuclear missiles first.  This terrorism poster takes the "Fear" to a belligerent "Threat" level.  The author of the original copy under the photograph is unknown.

This terrorism poster found a posting on the Internet. It is directed at the “Fear” of illegal aliens crossing the border into the United States from Mexico. The paranoia and hysteria of the issue is reminiscent of the “Fear” of the Days Of The Cold War when Americans and Soviet citizens worried who would launch their nuclear missiles first. This terrorism poster takes the “Fear” to a belligerent “Threat” level. The author of the original copy under the photograph is unknown.

 

by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This photograph definitely gets your attention. The words under the bottom headline are a shock.

Where does a mob begin ?

Is a poster enough to encourage people to take up weapons and become a mob ?

Is a poster enough to generate the ‘Fear’ necessary to become a mob ?

Is this poster enough of a tool to inflame people to take action, which they would usually not consider ?

The words under the photograph suggests that the writer is putting out a “Threat.”

‘The Threat’ suggests the writer is ‘A Terrorist In The Making.’ When you boast that you stand ready to commit ‘Mass Murder’, then, the only logical conclusion is “Terrorism.”

The fact that the poster seems to have been posted to the Internet in the United States, suggests the writer is a “Domestic Terrorist.”

The fact that the writer posted the poster on the Internet on an international social media channel like facebook makes the writer an “International Terrorist”, especially since ‘The Threat’ is directed at the United Nations an international body.

“To any soldiers from any nation, including our own.” The boastful writer is up to challenge the nations and the military forces of the world.

“If you put on the blue helmet of the United Nations and come to the United States, you have made yourself our target.” This sentence should get the original writer listed with Interpol as an international terrorist. The statement should get the original writer in the United States listed as a ‘Domestic Terrorist’, because the writer states: “. . .our target.”

The Real Lie comes in the next sentence. “It is our solemn duty as American Patriots to kill you.”

American History is full of American Patriots. Arlington National Cemetery is full of American Patriots. Cemeteries around the United States are full of American Patriots, who gave their lives in service to their country and their fellow citizens.

The original writer is ‘No American Patriot.’ The original writer is a frightened and scared person, who is using their ‘Fear’ to try and get support from other Americans and to scare people on the other side of the United States and Mexico border, so they will stay in Mexico.

This poster is a ‘Fear’ tactic.

The poster is a “Terror” tactic.

If someone in Mexico, views this poster, the message is ‘If’ you sneak across the border, then, expect some type of ‘Terror’ lurking on the other side of the border.

The writer might of thought that the words might generate some ‘Terror’ to United Nations troops, which might be assigned ‘Peacekeeping’ duties along the border in the United States.  Someone should tell the writer: “Military troops don’t scare easily.  Plus, United Nations troops are often military troops, who have been on active duty in their own countries, so they are military professionals who are experienced in various situations.

Despite the arrogant bravado, the unknown writer is ‘No American Patriot.’

American Patriots are the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, who wear the uniform and carry out their duties on behalf of their fellow citizens. American Patriots are those Americans, who volunteered or got ‘Drafted” and served in the military in combat.

American Patriots are those Americans, who were held as Prisoners Of War in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.” American Patriots are those Americans who endured and returned from the POW Camps. American Patriots are those Americans who died in combat. American Patriots are those Americans who are still listed as POWs, who were not returned after one of the Wars.

American Patriots are those Americans, who enlisted after ‘The Draft’ went away and America introduced ‘The All Volunteer Military.’ American Patriots are those Americans, who always do their best to help family and friends.

American Patriots don’t always wear a uniform and serve in the military. America has more than her fair share of Civilian American Patriots, who work in their communities to make life better for everyone.

American Criminals are selfish, greedy, sanctimonious, bullies and thugs, whose mission in life is to make their life better.

The original writer is No American Patriot and since the writer has made a ‘Threat’ to kill, the writer has put himself or herself in the category of ‘Conspiracy.’

The document suggests that an ‘Assassin’ is lying in wait for a target.

Since it has been more than 24 hours since this poster was first posted on the Internet, it is a safe bet that America’s law enforcement and intelligence community is already aware of the initial posting and the outspoken, original writer is being watched.

Guess, he or she did not realize that the United States Government had more than 200 Federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies on the books before the creation of the Department Of Homeland Security.

Naturally, you have to factor in that all 50 states have some type of state troopers or highway patrol officers. Then, you factor in all the states have numerous counties with sheriff’s departments and American cities, large and small, have police departments.

The original writer should feel nervous because now he or she will be watched closely by dozens of eyes sporting badges and intelligence credentials.

When the smiling sheriff comes up to this person at a basketball or football game and puts out his hand is the sheriff going to shake the person’s hand or is the sheriff ready to bust out the handcuffs ?

The original writer’s copy continues the ‘Threat.’ “We may not wear uniforms. We may not have much military training.” These two sentences suggest that the original writer has entered the realm of terrorist.

Terrorists don’t wear uniforms, so they can blend in unseen in among citizens. Terrorists, however, since the ’60s have been smart enough to find ways to receive military training.

The next sentence is alarming. “But we will have no pity on you.” This sentence suggests that the original writer is ready to be a terrorist. The word choice of ‘Pity’ is interesting, to me, it suggests the original writer has religious beliefs.

Study after study, suggests that sadistic and psychotic killers have no real grasp on ethics or morals, so such a person would probably not write about pity.

The last line is definitely aimed at putting ‘Fear’ into the reader. “Your body may or may not never be found.” This sentence is the proverbial last nail in the coffin. The original writer may or may not have a body disposal plan or method in mind, but it suggests that the killer or killers will feel no remorse at their act.

The trite greeting of “Have A Nice Day,’ is an outdated cliché, which other than being a possible insult serves no purpose.

The photograph and the words under the picture have been an image that has stuck in my mind for more than 24 hours. I can’t believe any American would be so inhumane. I can’t believe any American would be so cold-blooded.

I can believe many Americans are upset about the numbers of people coming over the southern border into the United States.

A sudden influx of people is a surprise to any nation’s economy. Nations are always hesitant and reluctant to accept War Refugees because of the large numbers of people and families who flee combat. Still nations adapt. Services get provided.

The United Nations is one of those organizations, which is suppose to represent ‘The Best Of Humanity.’ The UN attempts to provide humanitarian and compassionate services to citizens around the world. The initial mission was ‘Peacekeeping.’ To date, the United Nations has been successful at ‘The Prevention Of World War III.’

The UN never gets credit for keeping a War from happening. The UN does often get the ‘Blame’ when a War does erupt in some part of the world. The success or failure of the United Nations in any situation always relies on the member nations. Nations have their own security and political agendas, which do not always go hand in hand with the interest of the United Nations and the countries represented.

The United States has not always seen eye to eye with the United Nations. Nonetheless, the UN has been instrumental in getting nations to work together or, at least, to talk to one another. The UN does provide humanitarian services to people around the world, which helps to make a difference in someone’s life or their families.

It is insane to believe an American would shoot at a UN Peacekeeper.

I have confidence that the United States and Mexico will find some working solutions to the border issues.

For someone to have the audacity and vulgarity to design and post such a poster for the world to see is a barbaric regression to the Days Of Adolf Hitler. To use the word, “We”, and suggests that others are also ready to engage in criminal and terrorist acts is a slip back into the “Days Of Cold War Hysteria.”

I would like to believe the original writer had simply had an extreme gungho moment. Perhaps, he or she had seen the ’84 version of “Red Dawn” and the 2012 “Red Dawn” remake. In the first movie, Moscow and the Soviet Union were the bad guys. In the second movie, North Korea gets to be the bad guy.

The 20th Century version is a ‘Cold War Era’ movie. The Berlin Wall had not come down. Moscow and Washington D.C., were not in the habit of talking to one another.

The 21st Century version is less obvious. However, every spring as a Rite of Spring, the North Korean dictator seems to feel the need to threaten the United States. Perhaps, it is the North Korean version of “Easter” – time to threaten the United States.

Both of the ‘Red Dawn’ movies display the idea of “American Patriots.” The United States has been invaded. The Spirit Of The Founding Fathers rises up and the teenagers in both movies do what they have to do to survive and battle the enemy.

The controversial photographic poster is not a statements by patriots; it is a challenge from confused and frightened people who are threatening domestic and international terrorism.

Sam

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