A very special web site
Tue, 10 Jun 2003 06:55:51 -0500
Dear Mr. Gaines & Mr. Fornof ~
I hope this message finds it way to both of you. Mr. Gaines, I tried to post this to your message forum board but, for some reason, each time I tried to submit the post I'd simply get a new "post message here" page. So I finally decided to try to reach you through what I fear is your old email address. I hope, Mr. Fornof, if Mr. Gaines 'hotmail' email account really is no longer vaild , you might be kind enough to forward a copy of this to him as I really would like for him to know about this.
I'm writing to tell you both about a very special web site I created in late March to honor our men and women in uniform, past & present. A web site that ultimately you each played a role in creating. At the time I'd become endlessly frustrated with all of the 'anti-war - anti-American' sentiments filling the media and I felt as though my voice could never be heard above the dim. As a way of giving myself a 'vehicle' to 'have my say' I created and put up a couple of web pages to the internet ~ one ("The Ragged Old Flag") about honoring our flag and one ("It is the Veterans") about honoring our vets ~ both about honoring the people who serve this nation.
I published these two pages onto the net on March 28th and, aside from posting the urls on a few private bulletin boards I frequent and emailing them to a few online friends, I really made no effort to promote them ~ yet, in less than a weeks time, I began receiving hundreds of emails about them from all over the world ~ beautiful emails from members of our armed forces & from folks with family members or friends serving in the forces; from veterans and families of vets, living and dead; from people who lost family or friends in the September 11th attack on America and I've even received messages from our soldiers fighting in Iraq & Afghanistan. These messages brought tears to my eyes and a warmth to my heart. It was clear that many, many, many people shared the sentiment expressed within my pages and were using the pages to spread word far and wide that patriotism and support of those who fight for freedom was alive and well in America.
My joy over this site came to a sudden and dramatic end, however, when in mid-May I received a bill from my internet host server for over $11,500.00 for the month of April ~ all but $50.00 of which represented charges for traffic to the page in excess of my account's 'allotted allowance'. (ie: excess bandwidth use charges)!!
Yes, you read that right ~ nearly twelve thousand dollars due for just one month!!! (gulp! ~ my exact words, upon receiving this bill, are not any I'd care to repeat, as you might well imagine!!)
I knew this site was being enjoyed and shared by many because of all of the emails messages I'd been receiving but, even so, I had no idea that the traffic to the site was anywhere near a volume that would result in this kind of 'over-use charge'. With tears I immediate remove my entire tribute from the internet!! It broke my heart to take these pages down but, heaven help me, no way was I able to pay that kind of money for the privilege of keeping them online.
From the moment the site came down I began receiving email messages asking how to access the site and I ached each time I wrote back that the site was down 'indefinitely'. Strangely enough, I think the idea that this wonderful site was gone from the internet actually troubled me more than trying to figure out how to pay that monstrous bill ~ although I guarantee you BOTH issues cost me a lot of lost sleep this past month! I can't even begin to tell you how bad it felt when they were not online and available to view on Memorial Day!! sigh
Thankfully, some prayers about this situation must have a caught the attention the "Man Upstairs" because, after a very rough month of wrestling with this problem, it all worked out okay just this past Friday! First, the folks at my host server graciously made the decision to 'forgive' 90% of the excess bandwidth use charges!!! More than I dared hope for! And secondly, I was able to locate a different host server who offered a professional web hosting plan which allows unlimited bandwidth access without additional charges!! I signed on with this server, quickly made arrangements to re-direct my domain to their system and spent the next 36 hours loading up my files to their ftp local.
So I am thrilled to say that, not only am I not going to end up in 'debtor's prison' ('cause, Lord knows, I couldn't afford to pay that bill) but, as of this last Sunday, ALL OF MY PATRIOTIC PAGES ARE FINALLY BACK UP ONLINE WHERE THEY BELONG!!! Not only are they back, they are bigger and better than before ~ thanks, in part, to the two of you.
The pages are actually one web site, but each page can stand alone ~ here are the urls:
Page 1.)"The Ragged Old Flag"
Page 2.)"It Is The Veteran"
Page 3.)"Who Raised The Flag On Iwo Jima"
FYI- The Ragged Old Flag is the lead in page to "It Is The Veteran". Toward the bottom of the "Veteran" page (page 2) there is a link to the 'must see' "September 11 Memorial" swf type presentation which will open in a seperate window. From that page, if you scroll down to the very bottom, you can access an additional separate page which contains Steve Golding's personal account of 9/11 ~ Steve Golding is the person who created this awesome swf file and in his account he explains what prompted him to put it together. His story is as incredible as his creation and it's one everyone should read!
The "Who Raised The Flag On Iwo Jima" page is my newest page and the one, I'm sure you've guessed, the two of you influenced so greatly! This page original came about as a result of a 'suggestion/request' I'd received from numerous viewers of the "It Is The Veteran" page - (all Marines, of course). They wrote to tell me that, while they enjoyed the poem about the veteran, the line that said 'five' men raised the flag on Iwo Jima needed to be changed to SIX men and went on to tell me about each of the men famous for this event.
Since I'd not written the poem I wasn't eager to change it - but the requests kept coming so I finally decided to look into matter. My "Who Raised The Flag On Iwo Jima" page is the result of this 'investigation' and it has, in fact, become my personal favorite. While working on it I feel as though I've come to know each of you and I really would like to share the result with you both. Since starting this little project, I have to admit, I've become 'hooked' on the history of Iwo Jima.
Although saddened that my tribute pages were not on line I actually did have an exceptionally wonderful Memorial Day ~ as it turned out I had the great honor of dining with a USMC veteran who'd been a Second Lieutenant on Iwo Jima in February 1945! I've known this gentlemen for several years now; knew he was a Retire Marine Office and that had served in World War II but I knew nothing about his tour of duty. The topic just never came up. Our Memorial Day dinner was a large outdoor Texas style Bar-BQ and we were enjoying the day dining at a large, lovely patio table over looking a small lake when, about midway through the meal, he asked me what I'd been up to lately ~ we hadn't seen each other for a couple of weeks and I usually see him several times a week. I told him how I'd been frantically trying to straighten out the internet mess I'd gotten myself into and then went on to mention that I'd also recently become very involved in researching the flag raising over Iwo Jima and was amazed at the things I'd been learning.
At the mention of Iwo Jima a strange sort of 'far off look' seemed to settle in this old warrior's normally twinkling eyes and slowly they became visible moist. The change that swept over him was so profound it was palpable! It was almost as though a reverent glow emanated from him and quickly, but silently, enveloped all who were seated around the table. A hush fell over the group and it was very quiet for several moments. Finally, his expression shifted as the hint of a smile soften his serious face, and with a slight nodding of his head, he said to me, "You know, they really should have charge all of us admission for the right to be there. It was like nothing you've every seen."
In the hot Texas afternoon I immediately got goose-bumps and I felt the hair on the back of neck begin to rise. I shot a glance toward my husband who was seated across the table from me and I could see his eyes reddening as tears began to well up. I saw him purse his lips and swallow hard in an effort to hold em back. Seeing my Marine husband so deeply moved made my eyes smart with tears as well and I quickly looked back to this wonderful gentle man sitting next me. A man whose rich full tenor voice had charmed me so often with so many wonderful old Irish songs - a man I thought I knew so well and I stammered, "You were there????? You were there on Iwo Jima????" "Yeap," he said, still nodding and with a big smile he added, "and let me tell you, you couldn't hardly see even the bigger flag from down below!!!"
Over the next few weeks I plan to spend some time REALLY getting to know my friend better and I hope to be able to add an additional page to this project ~ a page from the 'personal perspective' of a person who remembers it all.
Well, gosh, I didn't mean to write a book here but I really did want to invite you to see these pages and to let you know why I'm so thrilled my special site is back online. I hope enjoy them and, since I don't have to worry about how many visitors I get in a month anymore, I hope you will feel free to share the link with anyone you think may enjoy it! (*very big grin*)
I'd better warn you though, the pages are REALLY graphic intense and (depending upon your internet connection) may take a while to load ~ but most people find it well worth the wait. Also, I recently discovered that some virus protection software prevents embedded wav/mp3 files from automatically loading and playing when a web page is opened so some visitors to these pages have not been hearing the sound hat accompanies the stories. A large part of the enjoyment of these pages is listening to the sound files that go with them, so I have placed a special link for each sound file right next to the where the player console would be if the file had loaded (when the file doesn't load I think you end up seeing a small box with an x in it where the console would normally be). If the sound files don't play when you open the page, you can click on this special link and the appropriate sound file will load and play in a separate window. (This probably isn't the greatest way to 'fix' this problem but, for now at least, it will allow everyone to hear the files - one way or the other.)
Okay ~ enough is enough and this is probably WAY TOO much... sheepish grin ......sorry! I do run on sometimes but it is just that I so thrilled that these pages are back online that I want everyone (especially those who played a role in their creation) to have a chance to see them now.
I have placed a special acknowledgment of appreciate to you two at the bottom of the Iwo Jima page. If, for whatever reason, you would rather I not link my page back to yours, Mr. Gaines, please tell me and I will remove it immediate with no hard feelings. I really want to give credit where credit is due, so I link the acknowledgment directly to your forum page.
Well, I guess I'd better close, so I'll leave you with a thought that has taken hold in heart of late ~ this is such a wonderful country with a rich and compelling history . A nation blessed with caring people, strong of heart and noble of spirit! It is truly a joy to be able share this special experience with so many others in such a unique and inspiring way.
PS ~ Mr. Jacobs and I have corresponded once before regarding this page but he has not seen this version of it as yet so I will be sending the link to him today.
"There's a war out there and it's not about who's got the most bullets. It's about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think ~ it's all about information." (From The Federation Of American Scientists)
The Ragged Old Flag ~ View A Very Special Web Site For & About Our Men & Women In Uniform
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Thursday, June 12, 2003