Saturday, November 10, 2007

T'was the night before Veterans' Day

And all through the apartment,
Not a creature was stirring,
Aside from a very restless Panda...

Why was the Panda restless? It might have to do with the radio and TV features he saw that left him bitterly sleepless. Read on, folks....

Earlier, as I was driving back from a morning of teaching from 7-12noon, I heard an AM radio interview with some veterans talking about the Iraq & Vietnam Wars. What I heard troubled me so deeply that it left an ache in my heart all day long. One veteran from the Vietnam War said that he was deeply disappointed in the Veterans Administration and the government, saying that he expected his government to treat him with honesty, fairness, and good faith. Those three things are the cornerstone of any relationship, let alone how a government should treat its own soldiers, and his words troubled me so deeply that I had to sit in my car for a while reflecting on them after I'd pulled into my driveway.

The next thing on the news at 9pm was a story about how some folks are celebrating their Veterans' Day by packaging a bunch of little care packages for the soldiers in Iraq & Afghanistan. That story, while not exactly lifting my spirits, made me want to do something more to show the people of the US Armed Services that their innumerable sacrifices are not in vain.

Many of these armed forces personnel leave (and sometimes lose) their jobs, their friends, and most importantly their loved ones to serve our government's interests. Now while you may not be a fan of the current administration, you cannot fault these valiant people for doing their duty. Like it or not, they are the ones who, as so well put in one e-mail, put their lives on the line and suffer every day so you can enjoy your designer tea at Starbucks and whine about how bad things are.

I'm not over there with them, but I'll put it down in print on the internet as this. I'm honored to say that I've been one to try to do whatever I can for the people who do whatever they can to take care of our safety and our freedoms. Whether you're part of the police, the firefighters, or the active duty or retired military personnel, I want you to know that I and the people of Kettlebells Los Angeles appreciate you.

For the first 5 active duty personnel from Iraq and the first 5 active duty personnel from Afghanistan, e-mail me a clear picture of you in uniform with Dragon Door kettlebells from wherever in Iraq or Afghanistan that you're stationed. I'll send you an Enter the Kettlebell DVD, an Enter the Kettlebell book, and 1 martial arts or H2H DVD from my personal martial arts video collection. I will pay all shipping, all handling, everything. This offer ends on 11/17/07, since I want to try to get these packages out to you before Thanksgiving.

For the veterans who are back stateside, you train with KBLA as my guests for the remainder of 2007 completely free of charge. Just show me proof of honorable discharge, and you're welcome to train as part of my KBLA family.

I'm not a loaded guy. But I deeply appreciate the sacrifices you're making for us. I look forward to showing you that some of us are here at home are more than willing to give you the honesty, fairness, and good faith that you so truly deserve.

With respect and gratitude,
Dr. Mark Cheng, RKC II


Mark Reifkind said...

what a cool thing to do Doc, but then again, you're a cool guy.well done.

Mark Toomey said...

O.K., so I kinda lied and am still checking out things on the forum...I'm just not responding anymore.

If I were a courageous man, if I were putting my life on the line for others who may or may not know I exist, my sacrifice would all be made worthwhile reading the words you put down.

Some moronic politician said yesterday that America shouldn't be the world's policeman, it should be the world's conscience. What a load of horse crap. Without the will to act justly, and the power to direct that will, a conscience is as useless as a noodle in a knife fight. "Feelings" have replaced actions in our society as men give up their identity as men and acquiesce to those who tell us to move out of the cave and "evolve". Screw them, and I mean that in the most guttural, violent manner possible.

Panda and Mama Bear are lucky to have a warrior in their den. Just because you didn't pick up a weapon or wear a uniform doesn't mean anything. It's how we conduct ourselves through ALL of life's battles, the quiet, unseen ones as well as the horrific ones we see today, yesterday, and the thousands of yesterdays before.

That said, we owe an unpayable debt to every man and woman who wore cammies or BDU's, slept in a fighting hole or a squad bay, or served in Enid, OK or Bagdhad, Iraq.

Thank you, for acknowledging the sacrifice others have made for you and me, and everyone around us. As long as there is one person left to say "Thank You" outloud, there are thousands who will gladly continue to give.

Love you, brother.

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Comrades Rif & Toomey,

Thank you for your kind words. I keep hoping that some insignificant gesture like mine will inspire those with more means than I to do more for those who do so much for us. And from a Devil Dog like Toomey, your words inspire me to do more.

Especially since I came back from the RKC II, I keep trying to think of ways to help some of the many vets that are down on their luck here in LA. God-willing, we'll be able to come up with something where Hard Style changes hard luck and really water the seeds of discipline, courage, and sacrifice with generosity, opportunity, and trust.

Sigh...., the things I'd do if I were a little more loaded.

Pete said...

Dr. Mark,

Nicely done. I wish there were more people like you who appreciated the sacrifices of others. Seems that more people are more interested in the arrests and rehab of celebrities than the real happenings around the world.

Keep lighting the darkness!

Be safe,

Jordan Vezina said...

I just came across your blog, and let me say as a vet that this kind of thing is greatly appreciated, more than you know. We run across people all the time who say 'thanks for your service' but don't really do anything to show it. Not that we need it, but it's nice.

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Thank you, Sgt. Vezina.

I will keep striving to do more and hope that I can find a way to make a more concrete change in the lives of our country's vets... more than just moral support and not just throwing undirected dollars at their problems.