Posted by: annemartinfletcher | May 24, 2015

Dream a Bigger Memorial Day Dream

Would you risk your life for your ideals? Would you risk your life for your family? Would you risk your life for teammates who you know would do the same for you?

In past Memorial Day posts I wrote about friends who lost their lives in military service: Thank You, A Family of Patriots, Sadness to AngerMike Joyal, Help a Navy Seal. Today, I want to project their memories and my thoughts outward. I would like to dream a bigger dream.

AmFlag2015Honor the sacrifice of American soldiers by honoring the best part of yourself. You don’t need to risk your life to do so. But you do need to lay aside your quest for devices, comfort, entertainment, power, accolades, and riches to do something for a cause you believe in — just as every fallen soldier did.

It does not matter what that cause is for, as long as it is an ideal bigger than your own self-interest. This Memorial Day, dream a bigger dream than yourself, then go out and make it so. We honor your ideal, your sacrifice, and your attempt.

Share your causes by mentioning them in a comment below.

Success, if it happens, will be a collective achievement.

Posted by: annemartinfletcher | May 28, 2013

Fun USAFA Cult Movie

I don’t think the leadership will be showing this movie to the Class of 2017 during BCT, so basics, you need to watch it before 27 June.

Can we all agree that the Cadet Chapel with its seventeen spires (12 for the Apostles and 5 for the Chiefs of Staff) is THE iconic image for the United States Air Force Academy? No images of USAFA are complete without it, right?


Well, here’s a movie highlighting the Chapel that you might have missed: Cover for Disney's "Wreck It Ralph" Cover for Disney’s “Wreck It Ralph

That’s right, either watch this delightful cartoon or fast forward to the  32 minute mark and watch through minute 33 (in Chapter 4 on the DVD) and you will see the “saddest backstory” of Sergeant Calhoun’s almost wedding. And guess where her backstory was filmed?

If you pay attention, you’ll notice the sides and front windows as in my photos below:

Author's photo rear interior of Protestant Chapel

Author’s photo rear interior of Protestant Chapel

Protestant Chapel Author's photo

Protestant Chapel Author’s photo



One more fun cult item — do you see any resemblance between the cult character “Sergeant Calhoun” and the alumni author of this blog?



Posted by: annemartinfletcher | May 26, 2013

A Moment of Silence

National Cemetery St. Augustine FL

National Veterans Art Museum

Arlington National Cemetery

Posted by: annemartinfletcher | April 8, 2013

A Family of Patriots

Father, Mother, and James Steel

Father, Mother, and James Steel

This morning while I listened to eulogies describing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as “A great Briton” and a patriot, my thoughts turned to my classmate Dorothy Mahaffy Steel, a great American and patriot. Like Thatcher, Steel knows what it like to be a woman in a traditionally male arena. While many of us women in the Class of 1980 focused, at least some of the time, on breaking boundaries for females, Dorothy (Dee) completely focused on serving her God and country —  and varsity gymnastics.

After graduation, in addition to her own Air Force obligations and remaining active in gymnastics, Dee married a like-minded USAFA graduate and together they raised a family of patriots. On April 3, Dee made a sacrifice that she readily understood and accepted as part of her family’s moral code. Her son died while landing his F-16 in Afghanistan.

The loss of Captain James Steel, Class of 2006, is felt by a broad swath of AFA alumni, including everyone who knows James’ mother, Class of 1980; father Retired Major General Robert P. Steel, Class of 1978; James’ brothers (twin) Jonathan, Class of 2007, a C-17 pilot; Chris, Class of 2008; Bobby, Merchant Marine Academy Class of 2004; Paul, an Air Force Combat Controller (the guys who jump in with the SEALs, in addition to other missions); and James’ sister Michelle and sister-in-law Samantha. That is five Air Force Academy graduates and seven service members.

The Steel Family

The Steel Family

Please say extra prayers tonight for this great American family.


I know that some readers want to know more about the crash. The Air Force Times reported that there was no indication of enemy action, and that the incident is under investigation. I urge readers to wait patiently for the investigation results, which should take weeks to months. The F-16 is a reliable, but old, single-engine fighter, that Steel flew in Close Air Support missions — a demanding, sometimes low-level (low altitude) mission. The tempo (how often and how much flying is done) on both airframes and pilots in the last two years has been high. The crash occurred during a night landing, which is always challenging. Whether the aircraft was felled by enemy or other factors does not matter; Steel died during dangerous operations supporting his country’s military objectives.

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