Author Archives: Lynn R. Mitchell

Chasing Autumn in Rockingham County in Western Virginia

Friend Barb and I took Tuesday to chase autumn and spend time together enjoying the beautiful Shenandoah Valley where we both live. Besides the fun of back roads and stunning mountain vistas that we both enjoy, we found all kinds of fall décor for our houses.

Our first stop was Myers Pumpkins just east of Harrisonburg, a family-run farm that provides already-picked pumpkins and gourds, chrysanthemums, pick-your-own pumpkin patch, corn maze, and corn stalks ready for decorating. This was a new place for me that Barb introduced to me, and they were well stocked.

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Katy and Colin … Five Years Later

???????????????????????????????It hardly seems like five years have passed since that sunshine-filled September day when we gathered for the wedding of our daughter at House Mountain Inn west of Lexington in a beautiful setting among the western Virginia mountains. They sealed their vows with a kiss as seen from this “Mom Cam” … photo taken by mother-of-the-bride from the front row during the ceremony. What? You thought I was going to leave my camera behind? LOL.

???????????????????????????????On that day it was sunny and warm and perfect. The mountains of western Virginia made a stunning back-drop.

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The 9/11 Bullhorn Speech from President George W. Bush

A president who had barely taken office was faced with the worst attack ever on American soil, and he rose to the occasion. It can never be said enough … we cannot forget the terrorism attacks of 9/11 and the 3,000 innocent souls who perished that day. I hope those who were too young to be impacted by the events of that day will listen to those who were there.

Spontaneous chants roared from the crowd of rescue workers on September 14, 2001, three days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, as President George W. Bush stood at Ground Zero and, with bullhorn in hand, said the words that were heard around the world:

President Bush: Thank you all. I want you all to know — it can’t go any louder (referring to the bullhorn) — I want you all to know that America today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens.

Rescue Worker: I can’t hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.

Rescue Workers: (Roar from the crowd) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

President Bush: The nation sends its love and compassion …

Rescue Worker: God bless America!

President Bush: … to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for making the nation proud, and may God bless America.

Rescue Workers: (Chanting) USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!

It was a moment that uplifted the nation and brought American solidarity. May we never forget.

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Autumn Flowers: What’s Blooming in the Yard Today?

It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley and the fall flowers are blooming in these days before cold weather descends. A sure sign of autumn is when the mums begin blooming, and mine are popping out all over the place.

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10:28 a.m. … 9/11: World Trade Center North Tower Collapses

10:28 a.m. North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers 9/11 … may we never forget.

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10:07 a.m. … 9/11: United Flight 93 goes down

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13

The heroes of United Flight 93 were ordinary Americans who reacted in extraordinary times. On a hijacked airplane heading toward Washington, D.C., possibly targeting the White House or the Capitol building, and with the knowledge of what had already occurred that morning with the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, passengers took matters into their own hands.

Ordinary citizens became heroes in their attempt to overtake the Muslum terrorists who had pirated the plane, and crashed it into the countryside of southwestern Pennsylvania.

I have written before of my special connection to Flight 93. My sister, a member of the George W. Bush administration, was at work in the White House that day. If Flight 93 had hit Washington as had happened in New York City and Arlington’s Pentagon, our family could have been one of the many mourning a lost one.

On the tenth anniversary of that tragic day, the crash site outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, was formally dedicated as a permanent reminder of the courage and spirit of the Flight 93 heroes. President George W. Bush, in office only nine months when 9/11 happened, unexpectedly became a wartime president that day with a determination to protect the American people. He and Mrs. Bush attended the 2011 commemorative events, met with the families, and took part in the ceremony.

Forty extraordinary Americans … my family will forever be grateful to the men and women of Flight 93 and their families for the heroism and sacrifice made that day.

Flight 93 had heroes on board….

Todd Beamer – “Let’s roll!”
The 32-year-old Oracle Corp. account manager from Cranbury, N.J., was believed to have helped lead a passenger attack on Flight 93 hijackers that prevented the jet from reaching its target, possibly the White House. Beamer spoke to a GTE operator on the plane’s phone. His final words — “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll!” — have become a rallying cry for the war against terrorism. Beamer and his wife, Lisa, had two sons. His daughter, Morgan, was born in January of 2002. Beamer played baseball and basketball in college and loved coaching youth sports. President Bush, in an address to the nation, praised Beamer as “an exceptional man.” Today, the Todd M. Beamer Foundation aims to help kids deal with trauma and learn how to make choices.

Thomas E. Burnett Jr.
Burnett called his wife, Deena, to tell her about the Flight 93 hijacking and said he and other passengers were “going to do something about it.” Burnett, 38, of San Ramon, Calif., was senior vice president and chief operating officer of Thoratec Corp., a medical research and development company. His wife and three daughters moved to Arkansas afterwards to be closer to her parents. The new Thomas Burnett Family Foundation plans to provide endowments for children’s bereavement camps and leadership scholarships at selected universities.

Jeremy Glick
Glick called his wife, Lyz, after terrorists took over Flight 93. She patched the call to a 911 dispatcher, who told Glick about earlier attacks in New York. Glick told his wife some passengers had taken a vote, and “We’re going to rush the hijackers.” Glick, 31, of West Milford, N.J., had been a collegiate judo champion at the University of Rochester. His older sister, Jennifer, is president of Jeremy’s Heroes foundation which is devoted to helping people build character through sports. The foundation has supplied sneakers to kids in Chicago and paid for 20 children in Washington to attend a soccer camp.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers … may we

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9:59 a.m. … 9/11: South Tower collapses

9:59 a.m. The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers 9/11 … may we never forget.

9:45 a.m. … 9/11: White House Evacuated

9:45 a.m. The World Trade Center had been attacked an hour earlier when airplanes hijacked by terrorists flew into both towers … Pan Am Flight 77 had flown into the Pentagon … and now United Flight 93 was being followed on radar flying toward Washington, D.C. No one was aware of the struggle going on inside that aircraft as passengers, aware of the earlier terrorism attacks, vowed to storm the cockpit and avoid whatever disaster the terrorist pilots had in mind.

The White House was evacuated at 9:45. Employees were urgently directed by Secret Service to leave the building and, as the evacuation was under way, it was stepped up as shouts told them to get away from the White House and Old Executive Office Building as fast as they could. Women took off their shoes and ran in their stocking feet out the White House grounds and onto the street and down the sidewalk. One of them was my sister.

Flight 93 would go down at 10:06 a.m. taking the brave souls with it who prevented further national tragedy.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers … may we never forget the herorism of those on Flight 93.

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9:37 a.m. … 9/11: The Pentagon Is Hit

9-11 pentagon

9:37 a.m.  Pilots and crew on American Airlines Flight 77 are overpowered as terrorists hijack the plane and fly it into the Pentagon. All 64 people on board were killed including the five hijackers and six crew, as well as 125 people who were at work in the building.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers … may we never forget.

9:03 a.m. … 9/11: South Tower hit

9:03 a.m. New Yorkers and television viewers nationwide watched in horror as a second airplane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers 9/11 … may we never forget.

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8:46 a.m. … 9/11: America is under attack as Plane Flies Into World Trade Center

8:46 a.m. It began with first one tower followed by the second of the World Trade Center hit by commercial airliners. America was under attack.

After pilots and crew members of American Airlines Flight 11 were overpowered by terrorists, the plane crashed into the North Tower. It was the first terrorist act of what would become the worst attacks ever on American soil, a day that would continue to see strikes on our nation three more times as the morning unfolded.

LynnRMitchell.com remembers 9/11 … may we never forget!

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Saxman Remembers Colleague Lacey Putney, Virginia Gentleman of the House

The loss on Saturday of former Virginia Delegate Lacey Putney brought back memories of this column that I wrote about him when he retired in 2013, a tribute from my former Delegate Chris Saxman who shared his respect for the man:

Delegate Lacey Putney has served in the Virginia House of Delegates longer than former Delegate  Chris Saxman has been alive. Yet the respect for the elder statesman is there in Chris’ column as all take in the unexpected yet not surprising news of Putney’s retirement from the House.

In “Lacey Putney — Virginia Gentleman,” the young gentleman shared some good memories about his time serving for almost a decade with the older gentleman from Bedford. Chris wrote:

Lacey is a model of the unbranded, gentlemanly conservatism that makes Virginia so exceptional. The essence of that conservatism, true conservatism, is grounded in two key elements – pragmatism and self-restraint. What works, works. What doesn’t, shouldn’t.

Lacey Putney was and is a model of Virginia gentlemanly conservatism because Lacey was and is, first and foremost, a gentleman.

As with anyone who has served for 52 years, time catches up and the reluctant decision is made to retire and spend those golden years with family and friends. Putney’s morals from an earlier generation were evident after his wife passed away and he remarried about seven years later, as recounted by Chris:

“I feel like a teenager!” Lacey exclaimed with a gleam in his eye and a smile as broad as the James River. Then he softly explained, “Of course, when Carmela came to visit me in Bedfuhd, she had to stay across the street. We didn’t want people getting the wrong idea.”

Chris added, “Of course not.”

Read Chris’ entire respectful tribute to a man who spent most of his life in the public service of Virginia’s citizens.

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Remembering Former Virginia Delegate Lacey Putney, Body to Lie in State in State Capitol Rotunda

Wednesday, April 3, 2013. Delegate Lacey Putney said goodbye to the Virginia House of Delegates as he prepared to retire after 52 years. (Photo by Delegate Christopher Peace)

Lacey Putney was the Virginia Gentleman everyone respected. When he retired in 2013, the accolades and remembrances of his years in the Virginia House poured in from all corners of the Commonwealth.

On Saturday Virginia lost the legislative icon who passed away at the age of 89. Friend and colleague, Virginia House Speaker William Howell, wrote a moving tribute:

With a heavy heart I am sad to share that Virginia has lost an icon. The Honorable Lacey E. Putney passed away Saturday at the age of 89. The Virginia House of Delegates mourns the loss of an esteemed leader who was here long before any of us arrived, and whose legacy will live on long after all of us are gone.

“Throughout his 52 years in the House, Lacey came to embody what this institution stands for: productive public service, individual integrity, sound stewardship and so much more.  He was dedicated to the legislature as a vital and necessary institution within state government, possessed an independent voice and always acquitted himself as a wise and effective legislator.  He showed compassion for all with a caring and soft heart, was a man of action and responded to all his constituents with unconditional resolve exemplifying all that a true “citizen legislator” can and should be.

“During his historic tenure, he tirelessly served the constituents of the 19th House District, which encompassed many communities within central Virginia including the counties of Alleghany, Bedford, Botetourt, Franklin, and Rockbridge; and the cities of Bedford, Buena Vista, Covington, and Lexington.  It was often said that ‘he was the gentleman from Bedford but was a gentleman of Virginia,’ serving his district and the House of Delegates with distinction.  His capable leadership was consistently felt across our Commonwealth by so many for so long and with so much gratitude.

“Lacey served with 13 Governors, served as acting Speaker of the House of Delegates in 2003, and chaired the House Appropriations Committee and before that House Privileges and Election Committee.  Lacey left the House having held the honor of the longest serving member in the history and was one of the longest serving members in all of our nation’s 99 legislative bodies.

“The House has lost a mighty oak tree, but we will benefit from the roots that Lacey established deeply within our co-equal branch of government.  The Commonwealth will bear the fruit of his productive years of legislative service for many years to come.  We are all grateful for the tremendous accomplishments he has left throughout the Old Dominion, from championing the creation of the Virginia Retirement System for state and local employees and initiating the Tuition Assistance Grant program for the benefit of students to safeguarding Virginia’s finances and establishing the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee.

“Lacey was a dear friend to me and many others.  I will always remember his good-natured humor and unique ability to recall a story for any moment.  During this sad time, Cessie and I pray for his very special wife Carmella, who Lacey deeply cherished, and Lacey’s children, Susan and Lacey Edward, Jr.

“Delegate Putney will lie in state in the Rotunda of the State Capitol, where flags will fly at half-mast in his memory.  He will be the first House member to lie in state since Speaker A.L. Philpott in 1991.  This respectful honor is a fitting tribute to the life and legacy of truly historic Virginian.”

It is the end of an era in Virginia history.

 

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Hurricane Harvey: Texas Residents Face Devastating Flooding, Power Outages

Graphic from weather.com.

Hurricane Harvey hit Texas Friday night as a Category 4 storm, a monster that had gained power all day and caused numerous warnings and evacuations along the coast from Corpus Christi to Houston. The eye of the hurricane wet ashore at Rockport, Texas, a small beachfront city of 10,000.

As of Saturday morning, San Antonio and the capital city of Austin, where I have a vested interested because it’s where my sister and her family live, were not in the path of destruction but, as weather conditions tend to be, the unexpected can become the expected so all are on alert.

Also as of Saturday morning the hurricane had been downgraded to a Category 1. The Weather Channel has 24/7 coverage of the storm, and a first look Saturday of overnight damage caused by Harvey. Stay safe, Texas residents. #PrayForTexas

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Ed Gillespie’s New TV Ad Hits D.C. Media Market

Republican Ed Gillespie has come out with a new TV ad for his gubernatorial campaign, the first of the general election to air in the Washington, D.C. media market. Previous ads have been running in markets across Virginia.

This ad shows the son of an immigrant who worked his way through college as a Senate parking lot attendant and later became Counselor to President George W. Bush.  Now he is running for governor “to ensure the next generation can do better than the generation that came before them by putting forward policies that will allow all Virginians to fulfill themselves and pursue their dreams whatever that dream may be,” according to his campaign manager.

The ad appears  just as the latest numbers show Gillespie trailing Democrat Ralph Northam in the most recent Roanoke College Poll. The race, however, has not passed the traditional Labor Day start of campaign season.

TV ad transcript:

Ed Gillespie: “My grandfather worked in a corporate boardroom, but he never sat at a table like this. He polished it. He was a janitor. I inherited his work ethic from my parents, who ran a small grocery store. They never went to college, but insisted I do. I got a degree, started three small businesses, and advised a President of the United States. Where we start out in life shouldn’t determine where we end up. I’m running for governor so all Virginians can realize the American Dream.” 

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