Friday, August 10, 2012

First Chapter of New Book

I am excited to announce the release of my new book “Preserve, Protect, and Defend.” The book is currently available for the Kindle and the Nook. The paperback version of the book is scheduled to be released in September. After reading the e-book, please send me a testimonial I can put in the printed book. As a thank you for your testimonial, I will send you a signed copy of the paperback book when it is released.

Link to Amazon

Link to Barnes and Noble

I love reading and writing about the founding of America and the Founding Fathers. There is a great spirit that resonates with the founders and history of The United States of America. I am grateful for their sacrifice, dedication, and integrity.

The revolutionary war was one of the longest wars in our history, lasting eight and a half years. One percent of the population sacrificed their lives in the glorious cause of America. “If we were to fight for our independence today and the war was equally costly, there would be more than three million of us killed.” (From speech “The Glorious Cause of Freedom” delivered by David McCullough on September 27, 2005) Abigail Adams wrote in a letter to her husband John in 1777, “Posterity who are to reap the blessings, will scarcely be able to conceive the hardships and sufferings of their ancestors.”(Cokie Roberts, Founding Mothers (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2004), 97)

Writing this book has helped me to better understand those who fought and suffered to establish a new independent nation, and has renewed my appreciation for the principles the founders put into the U.S. constitution to establish and protect freedom. As the blessed recipients of this freedom, we must ensure that their sacrifices and principles are not forgotten and freedom is not lost. Enjoy the book.

Chapter 1: Commencement

“Any last minutes changes you would like to make to your speech, Mr. Vice President?”

Aaron Banner smiled at his assistant and answered, “No changes. Thank you.” He had spent half the night memorizing his speech. He had never been very comfortable with teleprompters, and reading a speech made it harder for him to really connect with his audience, so he did his best to deliver the speech from memory and from the heart.

Aaron asked for a few minutes to be alone. Moments of solitude were usually brief due to his full schedule and being constantly surrounded with staff. Once alone, he went over his presentation notes one final time, then knelt and prayed for the Lord to strengthen and guide his words. As he was completing his prayer, there was a knock at the door and the voice of his assistant saying, “Mr. Vice President, it’s time.”

Forty thousand people were gathered at Stanford Stadium for the 131st commencement ceremony. It was a nice sunny day with a beautiful clear blue sky. Sounds of chatter echoed through the stadium as the crowd waited for the ceremonies to begin.

Vice President Banner came through one of the stadium tunnels and walked toward the large stage that had been assembled on the football field for the occasion. The audience, seeing his entrance, rose to their feet and stood in silence. By the time Aaron reached his seat, most of the crowd was standing, watching him silently. As he took his seat, a member of the crowd pierced the silence and shouted, “We love you.” A large smile filled Vice President Banner’s face, as a chuckle rippled through the crowd; he then signaled with his hands for the audience to be seated.

Stanford’s eleventh president, John L. Henry, took the podium to begin the commencement saying, “On my way to the stadium today I walked passed a mother taking a picture of her graduating son with his father. I overheard the mother say, ‘Let’s try to make this look natural— put your arm around your dad’s shoulder.’ The father retorted, ‘If you want it to look natural, why not have him put his hand in my pocket?’”

President Henry paused to let the laughter take its course and then continued, “Your families are extremely proud of you today. You cannot imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing, knowing they will not have to write another check to Stanford University.” A roar of approval from the audience greeted this comment. President Henry waited for the cheering to subside and continued, “Since I know you did not come today to hear me speak, I will be brief in my introduction of our keynote speaker. We are honored today to hear from a public servant, advocate of freedom, philanthropist, man of faith, and fiftieth vice president of the United States, Aaron W. Banner!”

Thunderous applause filled the stadium as Vice President Banner rose to take the podium. As President Henry and Vice President Banner crossed paths they firmly shook one another’s hands. The noise of the crowd covered the sincere thanks Vice President Banner gave to Stanford’s president for his introduction. President Henry put his arm on Vice President Banner’s shoulder as they stood together momentarily, conscious of the snapping cameras capturing the moment.

President Henry took his seat as Vice President Banner stepped in front of the microphone. Aaron waved and smiled as he waited for the clapping and cheering to subside. After a few moments, a hush fell over the entire stadium, as the audience anticipated his first words.

He began, “It is an honor to be invited to speak to you today. Each of you in this audience—graduating students, parents, friends, siblings—each and every one of you has been given special gifts and talents from God which only you possess. There are specific ways in which each of you is to make the world a better place. To quote Victor Frankl, ‘Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.’ Preachers are here to minister to our souls; doctors to heal our diseases; teachers to open up our . . .”

His next words were lost as the sound of gunfire echoed viciously through the stadium. Shouts of fear and anxiety permeated the crowd as they frantically sought to find cover. Rapid shots seemed to be coming from every direction. The lead Secret Service agent was behind the vice president on the stage, and to his view, everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. As he sprinted toward the vice president, he saw the vice president’s body jolt to the left as a bullet hit him from the right and his body then jolted to the right as he was hit by another bullet from the left. Several more shots were fired in quick succession as the vice president’s body folded over and began falling to the floor.

The agent continued his lunge in an attempt to catch the falling vice president and cover him from further fire, but it had all occurred so quickly, and he was unable to reach him in time. He watched in horror as the vice president fell to the ground. Vice President Banner’s head was first to hit and absorbed the full brunt of the fall. His body soon followed, hitting the floor awkwardly.

The agent quickly secured himself as a human shield over the wounded vice president to protect him from further harm, but the sound of gunfire had ceased. Other agents gathered with their weapons drawn, encircling the vice president’s body as he lay unconscious on the platform. The rest were searching for the source of the shots and radioing university and city police for assistance in apprehending the assassins. There were times the vice president wore a bulletproof vest, but today was not one of them.

An ambulance, prepositioned at the stadium for the commencement ceremonies, was quickly brought onto the field as closely to the raised platform as possible. Aaron Banner’s limp body was quickly secured onto the stretcher and placed inside the ambulance. As they attended to him in the ambulance, he remained unconscious.

Stanford Hospital was less than two miles away and the ambulance sped through traffic with the siren blaring, hoping to get him medical attention in time to save his life. Calls to the hospital had been made, alerting them that the vice president had been shot and would be arriving shortly. The medical staff quickly made the necessary preparations to be ready for his arrival. The ambulance pulled under the covered awning in front of the emergency entrances at high speed, and even before the ambulance was at a full stop, the medical staff raced to open the doors and rushed the vice president into the emergency room.

The doctors were prepared to treat the numerous gunshot wounds that had been reported. But what the doctors found astounded them. The vice president had multiple bullet holes through his clothing, but there was not one scratch on his body.

The vice president lay unconscious on the operating room gurney, but his heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels were all reading at normal levels on the monitors. He was taken from the operating room for an MRI to see what head trauma he had suffered. As the doctors reviewed the images, no trauma to the head or brain was detected, but there was a large bump and bruise forming where his head had hit the ground.