Bradley Kritzer – An American Hero

Pfc. Bradley Kritzer

Today* would have been his 27th birthday. An all-American boy from small-town America. Bradley G. Kritzer, like many from the small boroughs of central Pennsylvania’s Clearfield county loved the outdoors and someday hoped to work there with an organization like the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Brad is a lot like many of my cousins with hunting and fishing a favorite pastime.  It is said that he grew up with a rifle in hand, hunting turkey and deer with his father and going fishing every chance he got. Brad is a distant cousin whose life I was drawn closer to by the tragedy of his death. Continue reading

Veteran’s Day – All Gave Some, Others Gave All

Today is Veteran’s Day.  Joining the military was without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever done.  I will forever be grateful that circumstance led me to that day when I swore my allegiance:

I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

The day before taking that solemn oath of enlistment I celebrated my 19th birthday.  Like most new recruits I was young and not well prepared for those days of training, discipline, rules and the rites of passage just ahead.  But, I learned a lot and even shaved for the first time during those first few weeks.  I’d like to think I grew up a lot during those next four years.  The military changed my life for the better and it’s been a big part of me ever since.  It’s an honor to be a veteran. Continue reading

Matt and Ethan

My son Matt when he was about 8 or 9 years old (I’m guessing) had a best friend named Ethan. Ethan was a scrawny little kid and wore glasses. The kind of kid that had you looked up the word “Nerd” in the dictionary, you might expect to see his photo, or at least something close to it. His would have been a more modern replacement for my own. In many ways he was like me but not nearly as bad. I was as nerdy/goofy as they came. the best of them! King Nerd… I have proof!

Me!

Well one day after church and seeing the both of them together, as they normally were, I asked my son (and I’m embarrassed to admit it, even though it was a bit tongue-in-cheek);

“Matt, why do you hang out with Ethan, he’s such a nerdy kid?” Matt’s reply was tainted with a sense of annoyance, maybe even a little hurt. All he said was “Dad! He’s my friend!” Those four written words don’t do justice to how they came back to me. Matt’s response was such that there was nothing more to say. In fact I immediately felt bad, really bad (and still do), that I had misspoken and questioned my son’s choice in who he wanted to be his friend. Matt was a good kid and Ethan came from a great family, his parents were our friends.  He was a nice boy. Continue reading