Category Archives: News

9/7 Florida Update

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott received a full update on Hurricane Irma at the State Emergency Operations Center. The Governor is traveling the state today to meet with local officials, ensure communities have all the resources they may need, and to encourage families and visitors to be fully prepared.

Hurricane and Storm Surge Watches are in effect for portions of South Florida and the Florida Keys. Additional watches should be expected. Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued in Miami Dade and Monroe Counties and voluntary evacuation orders have been issued in Broward and Collier Counties. Additional orders are expected as the storm nears the state. The Governor will continue to be in constant communication with state and local emergency management officials, city and county leaders, and utility officials who are also working to ensure the state is prepared to respond to any potential impacts from Hurricane Irma.

EMERGENCY SUPPORT FUNCTIONS BY STATE EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM

WATCHES AND WARNING

A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for the Florida peninsula from Jupiter Inlet southward and around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys.
A Hurricane Watch has been issued for the Florida peninsula from Jupiter Inlet southward and around the peninsula to Bonita Beach, including the Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee, and Florida Bay.
EVACUATIONS AND SHELTERS

Miami Dade has issued mandatory evacuations for all of Zone A, the Barrier Islands of Zone B, and all mobile homes. Miami Dade residents can find their zones by clicking HERE.
Broward County has issued voluntary evacuations of mobile homes and low-lying areas.
Collier County has issued voluntary evacuations of Marco Island.
Monroe County has issued mandatory evacuations for visitors and residents. A dedicated transportation hotline is available specifically for individuals in the Keys at 305-517-2480.
School buses are available for transportation needs in Monroe, Miami-Dade and Broward counties. At this time, Miami-Dade is using these services to help evacuate those with special needs and Broward has buses on stand-by.
Additional evacuations are expected throughout the state. All Floridians should pay close attention to local alerts and follow the directions of local officials.
Shelters are opening in coastal counties throughout the day, including shelters for people with special needs, pets and general populations. DOH is coordinating the set up and staffing for special needs shelters. A list of all open shelters will be available at floridadisaster.org/shelters.
The state is working with the American Red Cross to identify shelter capacity both during and following the storm.
MILITARY SUPPORT

Governor Scott has activated a total of 4,000 members of the Florida Army and Air National Guard to support with planning, and logistics operations in preparation for potential impacts from Hurricane Irma. These members are stationing across the state and actively assisting with preparation efforts.
At the direction of Governor Scott, all remaining National Guard members will be reporting for duty no later than Friday morning. Additional guard members will continue to be activated this week as needed.
The Florida National Guard has coordinated with the North Carolina National Guard to utilize air assets to assist with ongoing evacuations in the Florida Keys.
The Florida National Guard has coordinated with the New Jersey National Guard and approximately 130 soldiers and more than 50 vehicles are in route to provide transportation assets for movement of troops, supplies and equipment to aid mobilization efforts during Hurricane Irma operations.
The Florida National Guard has 1,000 high water vehicles, 13 helicopters, 17 boats and more than 700 generators on standby.
The Florida National Guard is coordinating with the National Guard Bureau to identify approximately 30,000 troops, 4,000 trucks, 100 helicopters, and air evacuation crews that are standing by for Hurricane Irma support, if needed.
LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has more than 200 officers standing by for the first wave of response based on potential storm impacts. Thirty teams with supporting resources such as trucks, coastal and river patrol boats, an ATV and two shallow draft boats are preparing for evacuation support, search and rescue missions, or any additional needs.
FWC is also coordinating with partners in states such as Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas in case additional officers or resources are needed.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) established 18 emergency response teams for deployment to impacted areas and those teams will begin deploying tomorrow to pre-staging locations. Each FDLE region is operating its Regional Law Enforcement Coordination Team in advance of the storm to assist local law enforcement with any needs.
The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) is coordinating with local troops to support evacuations, emergency preparedness and response, including assisting with hospital evacuations in Broward County and escorting fuel trucks.
A total of 330 FHP troopers are currently on standby for deployments. A 33-member team is currently in route to the Fort Myers area for quick response efforts once storm track and potential impacts are determined. Additionally, equipment such as high water recovery vehicles have been prepared for quick deployment to assist with recovery and road clearance efforts.
The Division of Motorist Services has its Florida Licensing on Wheels (FLOW) mobiles on standby and will deploy them to impacted areas as needed.
TRANSPORTATION & PUBLIC WORKS

Governor Scott directed the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to suspend tolls across the entire State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma. Tolls will be suspended for the duration of the storm’s impacts to Florida.
Real-time traffic information and evacuation routes is available at www.FL511.com
FDOT is coordinating with Google’s emergency response team to prepare to ‘close’ roads in Google Maps in real time in the event that Hurricane Irma forces the closure of any roads in the aftermath of the storm. Google Maps are used for Uber and Waze among other directional pplications.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has suspended construction contractor work and prepared key evacuation routes for possible shoulder use.
FDOT is coordinating with county emergency operations centers directly to coordinate any necessary response actions, including activating traffic counters, providing local evacuation support and providing maintenance of traffic and other assistance.
The state is monitoring conditions at all airports and seaports. As of now, there are no closed airports or seaports.
VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS

Volunteer Florida is coordinating with volunteer organizations across the state and has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide shelter operations training to volunteers and AmeriCorps grantees. To volunteer, go to volunteerflorida.org or call 1-800-FL-Help-1.
Governor Scott has set a goal of 17,000 volunteers. So far, more than 1,000 state employees and more than 5,700 members of the public have signed up with Red Cross to take the volunteer sheltering training.
Volunteer Florida has fielded 250 calls from individuals interested in volunteering.
Volunteer Florida is also registering volunteers at volunteerflorida.org. Over 1,900 individuals have registered to volunteer in the last 24 hours.
Volunteer Florida has 43 Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) on standby to deploy to areas of need. Many of these teams have begun to work in local call centers and prepare for sheltering assistance.
American Red Cross teams are coordinating feeding at shelters and have staged 26 tractor trailers at the State Logistics Response Center, 150 trailers at the State Farmers Market, and 100 emergency response vehicles in North Florida.
The Salvation Army is on standby with 32 cooking units and two field kitchens stationed in Palm Beach and Miami. They are also coordinating additional supplies awaiting deployment from neighboring states.
The Florida Baptist Convention has 35 kitchens on standby ready to feed 35,000 meals a day.
Feeding Florida has received nine truckloads of food from Kellogg’s to assist in shelters with 16 additional trucks coming in. They currently have more than 4,000 food boxes on hand capable of sustaining a family of four for five days.
Church World Service has hygiene kits and cleanup buckets on standby.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida has showers and trailers available in Pensacola and Lakeland for deployment, as well as supplies such as chainsaws, shovels, safety equipment and 1,200 tarps.
Church of Latter Day Saints has chainsaws, tarps, and water on standby.
United Methodist Church has hygiene kits and flood buckets on standby.
Angel Flight SE has 700 pilots based in the southeastern U.S. available to assist.
Church of Scientology is activating volunteers for FL and receiving volunteers and donations in Clearwater.
Church of Latter Day Saints is transporting material (primarily tarps, chainsaws, food and water) to Orlando, more on order from Atlanta Bishop’s Storehouse
Mission North American Disaster Relief is staging equipment in various locations across the state and have two shower trailers available.
UMCOR has 2,500-3000 flood buckets on hand and 3,000 hygiene kits.
United Way is arranging enhanced staffing for 211 to support and direct residents.
HUMAN SERVICES:

While the state is working with retail partners to fill grocery store shelves with water and other emergency resources as quickly as possible, it is important to be considerate of neighbors and take only what each family needs to be prepared.
Governor Scott has requested federal resources such as disaster tarps, water, baby food supplies, supply trucks, search and rescue personnel and equipment and incident management teams.
The state has established local points of contact with mass care organizations and volunteer agencies, including working with the American Red Cross to coordinate sheltering and feeding operations. The American Red Cross has also established a Disaster Relief Operation (DRO) in Orlando and is actively opening shelters.
The state is staging mass care supplies such as meals, shelter support trailers and water at the State Logistic Response Center in Orlando for deployments as needed.
Food Safety Response Teams are beginning to be placed on standby for recovery assessments.
The Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) has released September Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to current recipients who have not yet received them to assist with Hurricane Irma preparations.
VETERAN SERVICES

The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (FDVA) operates six skilled nursing facilities and one assisted living facility. All state veterans’ homes are currently operational.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has closed the Homestead, Naples, Key West, Key Largo and Naples Community Based Outpatient Clinics. The VA Medical Center in Miami and all satellite clinics will close for scheduled and walk-in appointments beginning noon Friday.
Veterans from storm-impacted areas who require immediate assistance may contact: VA Health Resource Center Disaster Hotline: 1-800-507-4571.
STATE OFFICE CLOSURES

Governor Rick Scott directed state offices to close in all 67 Florida counties this Friday in preparation for Hurricane Irma.
State offices in Monroe, Charlotte, Miami-Dade, Glades, Hendry, Okeechobee, Broward, St. Lucie, Martin, and Lee Counties are closed. Today, Manatee County and Palm Beach County offices will close early.
In partnership with the American Red Cross, salaried, non-essential state employees can receive expedited volunteer certifications for disaster services so that they may assist in or operate shelters in response to Hurricane Irma impacts and preparation. Florida law allows Governor Scott to grant full-time, salaried state employees up to 15 days of administrative leave for emergency volunteer efforts through the American Red Cross. Employees can register HERE.
SCHOOL DISTRICTS

The Florida Department of Education is in contact with school districts, state colleges and universities as all continue to monitor Irma and her path. School closures are available at www.fldoe.org/irma.
The Florida Department of Education is coordinating with school districts across the state to ensure they are working with local governments and emergency management officials to offer school busses transportation support if needed.
Districts are preparing in the case that their facilities are needed for shelters. Colleges are making emergency preparations on their campuses and working with students who may need assistance with relocation.
K-12 Public Schools Closures

Alachua County (Monday)
Brevard County (Thursday, Friday)
Broward County (Thursday, Friday)
Charlotte County (Thursday, Friday)
Clay (Friday, Monday)
Collier County (Thursday, Friday)
DeSoto County (Thursday, Friday)
Dixie County (Friday, Monday)
Duval County (Friday, Monday)
Florida Atlantic University Lab School (Thursday, Friday)
Flagler County (Friday, Monday)
Glades County (Thursday, Friday)
Hardee County (Friday)
Hendry County (Thursday, Friday)
Hernando County (Thursday, Friday)
Highlands County (Friday, Monday)
Hillsborough County (Thursday, Friday)
Indian River County (Thursday, Friday)
Lake County (Early Release Friday – high schools at 1:20PM, elementary at 2PM, middle at 3PM, Monday)
Lee County (Thursday, Friday)
Manatee County (Friday)
Marion County will be (Friday, Monday)
Martin County (Thursday, Friday)
Miami-Dade County (Thursday, Friday)
Monroe County (Closed until further notice)
Nassau County (Friday, Monday)
Okeechobee County (Thursday, Friday)
Osceola County (Friday, Monday)
Orange County (Monday)
Palm Beach County (Thursday, Friday)
Pasco County (Friday)
Polk County (Friday)
Sarasota (Friday)
School for the Deaf and Blind (Thursday, Friday)
Seminole County (Monday)
St. Johns (Friday, Monday)
St. Lucie County (Thursday, Friday)
Volusia County (Friday, Monday, Cancelled ACT test administrations scheduled for Saturday, September 9, at area high schools.)
Florida College System Closures

Broward College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
College of Central Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
Daytona State College (Thursday, Friday)
Eastern Florida State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Florida Keys Community College (Closed until further notice)
Florida SouthWestern State College (Thursday, Friday)
Florida State College at Jacksonville (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
Hillsborough Community College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Indian River State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Miami Dade College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
New College of Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
Palm Beach State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Pasco-Hernando State College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
Polk State College (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
Seminole State College (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
St. Johns River State College (Friday until further notice)
St. Petersburg College (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Valencia College (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
State University System Closures

Florida Atlantic University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Florida Gulf Coast University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Florida International University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Florida Polytechnic University (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)
University of Florida (Sunday, Monday)
University of Central Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
University of North Florida (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)
University of South Florida (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday)

FUELS

For more information, please click HERE
Governor Scott has taken the following action to expedite fuel delivery:

Governor Scott has directed state police to escort fuel delivery trucks so they can quickly deliver fuel to gas stations along evacuation routes. This includes the Florida Keys, where police evacuation escorts have been offered to identified gas station employees so gas stations can stay open as long as possible.
Governor Scott has rescinded all weight and driver restrictions for highways so water, food, fuel and emergency supplies can be quickly brought to Florida.
Following a request from Governor Scott, the same restrictions have been waived in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Governor Scott has spoken with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, FEMA administrator Brock Long, Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao about waiving rules and regulations to get gas into Florida quickly.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved an emergency fuel waiver at the Governor’s request which will allow more fuel to quickly enter the state.
All Florida ports are operational and are prioritizing fuel shipments.
Fuel Updates

The state has worked with fuel suppliers to identify excess fuel in the Western Panhandle to potentially arrange escorts to ensure that there is fuel supply where needed for evacuations.
Emergency fuel contractors have secured 1.5 million gallons of fuel for initial delivery and confirmed that additional fuel supply is on standby for future deliveries.
The state is working to identify other fuel ships that can be diverted to Florida ports for fuel supply.
There is currently a fuel ship in route from a refinery in Mississippi to the Port of Tampa for resupply. The Governor has directed the State Emergency Response Team to arrange a military escort into the port. This is in addition to a ship currently in Tampa that is unloading more than 300,000 barrels of fuel to resupply gas stations in the evacuation zones.

BUSINESS, INDUSTRY, & ECONOMIC STABILIZATION

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) and the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) created an event in the Florida Virtual Business Emergency Operations Center (FLVBEOC) for Hurricane Irma and are currently updating with up-to-date storm information, situation reports and resources for the business community. FLVBEOC is available at www.flvbeoc.org.
The state has activated the Private Sector Hotline at 850-815-4925. The hotline is available for business inquiries about the storm, preparedness information and post-impact information.
The state is conducting daily Private Sector conference calls to provide situational awareness and to address concerns of private sector partners.
DEO is continuing to coordinate with CareerSource Florida, local workforce boards, and other public-private partners.
Major retailers are being contacted to provide the status of emergency supplies.

VISIT FLORIDA

VISIT FLORIDA remains in contact with all destination marketing partners and emergency contacts and has activated the Homepage Banner and Florida Now page on visitflorida.com to advise consumers.
Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnership with Expedia, Expedia.com/Florida has been activated to provide accommodations availability information for visitors, residents and first responders.
VISIT FLORIDA is sending a targeted Facebook message to approximately 250,000 domestic and international visitors currently in Florida advising them of Hurricane Irma and urging them to take necessary precautions.
VISIT FLORIDA’s Welcome Centers have transitioned to emergency information centers to help direct evacuees with the most up to date information.
VISIT FLORIDA’s Welcome Center staff are all Red Cross Certified and stand ready to assist at shelters and other areas as needed.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND MEDICAL

Under a State of Emergency, individuals are able to refill prescriptions early. All health insurers, managed care organizations, and other entities that are licensed by the Office of Insurance Regulation and provide prescription medication coverage as part of a policy are required to waive time restrictions on prescription medication refills.
The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is coordinating with hospitals and healthcare facilities across Florida on evacuation needs. DOH has aided in the evacuation of seven hospitals and five non-hospital health care facilities thus far.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has Disaster Medical Assistance Teams on standby for Florida. These rapid response teams aid in the provision of medical care to those who need it after the storm.
The Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ regional offices have contacted providers and waiver support coordinators to ensure APD customers have a hurricane plan in place and that communities for people with developmental disabilities are preparing for the storm. Two group homes in Monroe County have evacuated. Others are evacuating on Thursday. Many will be going to a special needs shelter at Florida International University.
The Agency for Persons with Disabilities’ Southern Region is on standby to evacuate. One group home has been evacuated from the Central Region. Two more are planning to evacuate this morning. One group home from Broward County has evacuated.

ELECTRIC & NATURAL GAS UTILITIES (Public Service Commission)

Utility providers are working on staging and asset allocation so they can return power as quickly as possible following the storm and are prepared to start reporting outage and restoral information when notified to begin.
The state is monitoring the power grid for sufficient power and the natural gas infrastructure for any damages that can cause a loss of service to power plants.
The state is coordinating with utilities to identify potential fuel, equipment or resource needs.
Memos for several gas companies to have access to their facilities have been issued.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

The state has contacted telecommunications partners and activated protective action plans and procedures for Central Offices, tower sites, mobile response units and any other critical infrastructure.
Comcast has opened more than 137,000 free Xfinity WiFi hotspots throughout the state for individuals in need, including non-Xfinity customers, to help residents and emergency personnel stay connected if Hurricane Irma makes anticipated landfall in Florida. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, which are located both indoors and outdoors in places such as shopping districts, parks and businesses, please visit Xfinity.com/wifi.
Telecommunications Partners are monitoring fuel levels for generators and back-up power supply for cell towers.
The state has finalized 24-hour staffing schedules and all Telecommunications remain on standby to respond if required. Additional resources are being identified and preparing for potential deployment.
At this point, there are no out of ordinary reports of any major outages.
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (FPREN) has been sharing vital information about Hurricane Irma through their broadcast network, social media and station websites.
FPREN is also reporting important news and information through the Florida Storms app and social media pages.
The state is monitoring the State Law Enforcement Radio System (SLERS), which is fully operational.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) staff is currently conducting baseline shoreline assessments to help evaluate beach impacts. DEP is also assisting in identifying and fortifying vulnerable areas of shoreline.
DEP is reaching out to drinking, wastewater and hazardous waste facilities to help ensure preparation steps are being taken, and has issued an emergency final order to ensure recovery efforts are not hampered or delayed.
Sixteen Florida State Parks are currently closed. DEP is preparing to close more than 20 additional parks by the end of the day today. A full list of closures can be found at https://floridastateparks.org/content/storm-information.
LAKE OKEECHOBEE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Jacksonville District has begun a pre-storm drawdown that includes water releases from Lake Okeechobee. The Corps anticipates the releases will last a short time, with future water management decisions dependent on the water level in the lake after the storm passes.
Routine inspections of the Herbert Hoover Dike are taking place and additional inspections will begin once the lake approaches 17 feet. The lake level is currently at 13.67 feet.
The South Florida Water Management District has begun lowering water levels in canals and moving as much water as possible to tide and south through flood control structures throughout its flood control system in preparation for the storm.
Field station staff are also inspecting key parts of the flood control system and ensuring adequate supplies of fuel and equipment for pump stations.
The District is closely coordinating with local drainage districts and governments to help them prepare their local canal systems for stormwater runoff from the hurricane.

State Emergency Operations Center/ Contact Information:

The State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to level one, which is a full-scale, 24-hours-a-day activation.
The Florida Emergency Information Line has been activated and is available 24/7 for families and victors at 1-800-342-3557.
The media line is 850-921-0217.
Follow @FLSert or @FLGovScott on Twitter for live updates on Hurricane Irma.
Visit http://www.floridadisaster.org to find information on shelters, road closures, and evacuation routes.
On Monday, Governor Scott issued Executive Order 17-235 declaring a state of emergency in all 67 counties within the State of Florida.
On Tuesday, Governor Scott requested, and President Donald Trump approved, a pre-landfall emergency declaration for the State of Florida in preparation for Hurricane Irma which provided important preparation resources and assistance from the federal government.

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FPCA Warning

The Boston ‘antifa’ group lists pro-police symbol with hate symbols so if you, your friends or family members have these displayed, please be aware.
http://nypost.com/2017/08/21/boston-antifa-group-lists-pro-police-symbol-with-hate-symbols/

Every Friday……

Every Friday At The Pentagon

It really breaks your heart to know that we didn’t know this goes on every Friday, well at least I didn’t know. Instead, I guess the media feels it’s more important to report on Hollywood stars as heroes. I hope this article gives you a sense of pride for what our men and women are doing for us, every day, as they serve in the armed forces here and abroad.

Mornings at the Pentagon
By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I’m turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here’s Lt. Col. Bateman’s account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Altermanat the Media Matters for America Website.

“It is 110 yards from the “E” ring to the “A” ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army’ hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. “10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden … Yet.

Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier’s chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

“Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

“11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway – 20, 25, 30.. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

“They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

“There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband’s wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son’s behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

“These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

Did you know that? I didn’t.

North Korean Threat?

People in Hawaii are keeping a close eye on North Korea Thursday morning. The Pentagon reportedly detected signs that the country could launch another missile test.

North Korea’s last Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (IBM) test caused global alarm and experts say Alaska and Hawaii could be in range. Hawaii is the first state to announce a public campaign urging those living there to prepare for a nuclear attack.