Monday, May 28, 2012

Mooney Column - May 21, 2010

Antelope Valley Press
Edward Mooney, Jr.
May 21, 2012

Title: A man named Tabo. A place called Manzanar

As we headed north on US 395, Carrie wondered how long the drive would take.  It’s only 160 miles, normally about 2 and a half hours, I thought, but in many ways it took decades to get to Manzanar National Historic Site.  My friend from church, Tabo Kono, invited us to the annual Pilgrimage to Manzanar that happens at the end of every April.  After seventy years, it’s now the children from those war years who return.

As some of you know, Tabo and his family spent over three years interned at that camp in the empty desert north of Lone Pine.  His family had settled in Los Angeles, and had done fairly well there.  That changed in 1942, with Executive Order 9066, ordering all people of Japanese ancestry into rough-hewn camps.  Manzanar is the best known of those camps.

You see, it may only take a couple of hours to drive there, but for decades I’ve driven by Manzanar on the way to a favorite spot, Silver Lake, or on the way home from Lassen National Park.  Many times I’ve mentioned wanting to stop, and once we did look around for about 15 minutes, but I’ve never been there with someone who had spent years of his life there.

Take my word for it; Manzanar is a different place when you walk with someone who invested a piece of his life in that dusty piece of real estate.  When we greeted Tabo in front of the restored high school gym that is now a museum, it was if I had been transported back 70 years, into those dark days of 1942.  I saw, felt and heard far more than I expected that bright, windy day in April. 

His voice changed when he mentioned how his father built the roof on the entry building – the guard’s shed.  There was great respect swelling up inside him, and I felt it clearly.  This was a man who still feels the boyhood pride in his dad, in his dad’s accomplishments, and in what his father stood for.

I looked into Tabo’s eyes as he walked around in the restored “shack” representing the housing accommodations he lived in.  I could see his mother reflected in his irises.  His voice dropped as he described how his mom worked hard to make their little ramshackle room into a place they could call home.  He reminded me that they had no idea how long they would live there when they first moved in. 

As a parent, I wondered how his mother and father felt, when they looked into these same eyes, the younger versions.  What would I tell my own children, if it had been me?  How could I explain to a kindergartner that I was loyal to the United States?  What could possibly shake the fear from the face of a five year old child?  The only thing I could say would be that we are together and we will get through all right.

I learned much that day, in that desolate place called Manzanar.  There are far more lessons than what I can describe here.  There were great speakers, and wonderful musicians and dancers.  I learned from them, but for me, Tabo was the real gift.  I saw myself in him.

I learned that Tabo feels the same way about his parents as I feel about mine.  He hurt for them, and he had pride in them.  We’re both Americans.

I learned that when we allow fear to dictate in our lives, other people get hurt, and that hurt can linger long after the fear has dissipated.  I have been hurt, as Tabo has, though not in the same way.  We’re both human.  We’re both Americans.

I learned that hardship, as Tabo saw in Manzanar, can scar a man, but it cannot break him.  I feel pride in knowing Tabo, a man who knows how to survive in spite of tough odds.  He became a successful cabinetmaker.  I have struggled, and continue to do so, so I was encouraged.  I can overcome – if Tabo can overcome Manzanar.  After all, we’re both Americans.

That was the supreme lesson of that day – Tabo and I are both Americans, and all Americans, no matter their color, race, creed or religion, deserve respect under the law. Nothing justifies mistreating human beings, in my opinion - nothing whatsoever.  In 1942, our fear got the best of us.  Let us resolve to never let that happen again.

Thought for the week: “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, was the 2010 DAR History Teacher of the Year for California.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Column, 2011


Edward Mooney, Jr.
Antelope Valley Press
December 19, 2011

TITLE: Keep what really matters in Christmas

All around the valley I’ve seen a number of signs that ask that we "keep Christ in Christmas." I have no argument with that sentiment at all; I do worry that some feel that by simply "pushing" the name of Jesus we’re somehow staying true to what the holiday means. I’m worried that some believe that a sticker or a light display fulfills our duty. I condemn no one, but I respectfully disagree.

My friends, the thing that brought me to a relationship with Jesus was not through a sign. I am a Christian because He loves me, because I know His Presence, because my relationship with Him is alive and active in every day of my life – even on days when I fail miserably – and because He forgives me. My faith is based on a living thing, not on a word or a sign. As a pastor early in my life said, "Some see salvation as a noun when it is a verb – active and alive."

As a contrast, I’d like to propose that "Keep the Love of Christ in Christmas" is more true to the meaning of this holiday. The celebration is not merely about the word "Christ", but about the man and what he stands for.

Allow me to illustrate the difference. When I see thousands of dollars of Christmas decorations, some announcing that we should keep Christ in Christmas, I think of Matthew 19:21. "Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.'”

Do we find it difficult to follow this advice from Jesus? I know I do. I grew up in a society that is addicted to material things. Come on, admit it. Most of us would have a hard time parting with a number of material things. But what I think this verse indicates is that Jesus knows that the material world is a shiny, luring hook dangled before us - fish swimming in the sea of life.

I have another illustration: when I see how people behave in store this time of year, with the insane shoving, overcrowding and harsh words, I remember Matthew 22:37-40. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment."

I ask, "Do we keep God first in our thoughts as we scramble through our days of shopping and scurrying?" I know it gets tough to do that when I’m stuck in traffic.

When I see how people insult each other, and cut each other off in traffic, I am reminded of the second portion of Matthew 22:37-40, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." I have to admit that I don’t perfectly have compassion for everyone I see. There are times I walk by those begging for money, when perhaps a few dollars from me would make a huge difference in their lives.

I was on that side of the giving once, after I lost my first wife, and I have to tell you, a human being taking the time to offer a little money breaks the crushing isolation and loneliness that poverty can bring. When I see such people, I whisper, "I know how you feel; I was there once." Do you not know it’s about more than dollars? If not, you see only one dimension.

There is one more illustration. At the end of Matthew 22: 37-40, Jesus tells us that, "On these two commandments depend the whole law and the prophets." Stop a moment. What He is saying, in my view, is that the law and all of our human systems rest and depend upon relationships. Matthew 22: 37-40 is really talking about keeping relationships holy, compassionate and true.

Here is the point of all of my wandering words this month – the objects we proclaim Christ with aren’t worth the plastic or paper they’re written on. It is in our relationships, in how we treat people, that we truly proclaim Christ. So, I would conclude by asking that we "Keep the Love of Christ in Christmas" and not just use hollow words.

I pray that your family will have a blessed Christmas full of love, forgiveness, and compassion. And to my non-Christian friends, I send you my love for whatever holiday you observe. I have no problem saying "Happy Hanukkah" or "Happy Holidays," for I say them all with love. I’m trying to keep Love in Christmas.

Thought for the Month: Never forget that the real gift of Christmas is love. 1 John 4:7,8

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, was the 2010 DAR Teacher of the Year for California.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

End Times Encouragement

Some people are anxious about the "end times". A certain California pastor is predicting that the "tribulations" and "rapture" as mentioned in the Bible's Book of Revelaition will happen this weekend, May 21, 2011.  I want to offer some reassurance and peace instead, as I believe Jesus would have me do.  Not all Christians are convinced; I am not.

Years ago I remember that sort of anxiety while trying to get out of Major League Baseball's Angel Stadium in a big crowd. I didn't know how to interpret the signs toward the exits - but as long as I kept my eye on my father's green windbreaker, I knew I'd be okay. I was okay. So, in terms of "end times", I am keeping my eyes on my Heavenly Father's green windbreaker... God's  love.   I am not in fear of what people predict.

My dad is the one on the far right.  I'm the dorky kid on the far right, in the middle row.  We were the Brookhurst LL Angels, a long time ago - 1964.  I miss my dad...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mooney Column - December 6, 2010

Antelope Valley Press
Edward Mooney, Jr.

December 6, 2010

Title: Want Peace on Earth? Travel on Ethics Lane.

For most of my life I've read and heard an expression at this time of year that has had me pondering - and I mean for decades.  I see the words "Peace on Earth" written on just about every other Christmas card, sign or email message.

I've always wondered; is this something we can actually achieve (I mean other than hope that everyone will believe in exactly the same things I believe in)?  I've been on a quest, a journey to understand peace, and a journey to find peace.

This year I found an answer, after a long time travelling.  As you know, I'm working on a Doctor of Education degree (thus this column's movement to once-a-month).  One of my fist classes was entitled "Ethical Decision Making for Educators".  One assignment was to define the word "ethics".

On this travel to understanding ethics, I started with the dictionary.  Most define ethics as something like a code or set of rules.  But I wondered, if this were true, what are morals?

Through readings I discovered the commonly-held belief is a bit off-base.  A code of behavioral rules in a society is actually a set of "morals".  A "moral" person is one who abides by the rules of right and wrong.  Of course, as an antithesis, an "immoral" person would be one who does not follow the rules of civilized people.

So, that still doesn't answer the question about "ethics", and it certainly doesn't help us understand what all of this has to do with the Christmas expression, "Peace on Earth".  Rather than list a bunch of citations here, let's cut to the chase.

Ethics is not so much a set of rules as it is an attitude.  Living ethically starts as a desire to live in harmony with others.  So, just following rules does not make one an ethical person.   It may make you moral, but ethics is more like something from the heart.

To simplify, look at it this way: ethics is moral rules with kindness and compassion, with a big stress on the idea of compassion.  I can say that the path to an ethical life starts with seeing other human beings as being worthwhile, as having the same struggles as everyone else, and as wishing to be treated with dignity, care and respect.  In other words, trying to see everyone (that includes you and me) as God would see them.

The antithesis of this is what I see every day - what you could label as "unethical."  People looking out only for themselves, and not being concerned with how they hurt others, would be the opposite.  Here's another way to put it: living selfishly, without regard for how you hurt anyone else.

The next stop on my rocky path toward understanding "Peace on Earth" took me back to my mother's lap, as a child.  I remember her telling me that I should treat everyone with respect, because everyone is a human being, no matter what their color or bank account or language or religion says about them.  I will never forget how she connected this idea called ethics to the idea called "Peace on Earth."

"Eddie," she said as she gazed out the window, "wouldn't we have less fighting, less need, less pain, less disrespect, and less anger, if we just treated other people the same way we'd like to be treated?  Isn't it true that all of the world's fighting is because someone didn't treat someone else right?"  Then she pointed to the crucifix hanging on her bedroom wall, the one now hanging on my own wall.

"I believe that is what He wants, Eddie.  If Jesus had only thought of himself, he would not have died on the cross for us."

It was then that I saw my quest to understand "Peace on Earth" had returned me to my origin.  I wandered around, but, in the end, the answer was always there, as I sat in my mother's arms. For the rest of my life, every time I see my mother's crucifix I will see the embodiment of ethics.

My friends, we're in the Christmas season.  Popping up all over town are expensive consumer goods, such as electric signs, asking us to "Keep Christ in Christmas."  Instead of all of the signs, wouldn't a dose of ethics be a better way to keep Him in the holiday?  Maybe if we treat others with dignity in the stores, in the workplace, and in our day-to-day life, we will keep the love of Jesus in the season?

I wish you peace this Christmas, more than anything else.  Peace on Earth.

Thought for the week: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, is the 2010 DAR History Teacher of the Year for California.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Confidence and the modern writer

Last night I was a part of a writer's forum in which we discussed why people don't submit their manuscripts.  What it boiled down to was confidence, or, more properly, a lack of confidence.

I let the group know that I don't believe this issue ever really disappears for most writers.  I know it hasn't gone away for me.  Instead of waiting for "more confidence", as someone said, I urge you to, as the shoe commercials say, "just do it." 

Consider: what do you have to lose?  You know it won't get published sitting on your computer.  Send it in anyway.  Forget about the manuscript being perfect - as long as it's not sloppy, dirty or poorly assembled, get going!

Just some thoughts...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amazing ancestors!

Something AMAZING happened today.  I've been tracing my Mooney Family ancestry and found a link in England.  The shock? I discovered my great-great grandparents, from Oldham, Lancashire, England, UK, (both born in 1844): Joseph Mooney and his one-day wife, Ann.

These were the last of my line to live in England (yes, I know, "Mooney" is Irish, but I believe their ancestors came across the Irish Sea).  Their son, my great-grandfather, came "across the pond".   I hid many private links to my life in "The Pearls of the Stone Man", but this was NOT planned.  Joseph and Ann(e) - two of my main characters!

I am stunned.  Absolutely amazed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mooney Column, August 2, 2010

Antelope Valley Press
Edward Mooney, Jr.
August 2, 2010

Title: Meditations from the side of a volcano.

As my friend Bill Warford had printed here, I was on vacation last week.
Every now and then, when we're able to afford it, the Mooney Family likes to
get away to one of the gems of the United States of America - a national
park.  Hold on a minute - I have a horsefly buzzing around me.  There, it's

Anyway, as you can tell, I'm writing this sitting in one of those "gems", in
the Manzanita Lake campground at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Campsite
C-11.  This is one of the few columns I've actually scratched out on paper,
later to be transcribed into my computer.

I treasure my visits to national parks.  Over the years I've had the
privilege of visiting Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon,
Zion, Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Sequoia and Kings Canyon.  I'm excited to
keep adding these wonderful places to my list over whatever years the good
Lord has allowed me in the future.  They bring me so much peace and simple

Each time I visit a park I say a prayer, asking God to show me something
deeper about my own life, or about this world around me.  Each time I go
with an open mind and heart, believing that these lands and waters were set
aside not only to preserve our precious scenic wonders, but to give us a
place to reflect and listen to the song of our souls.

I was doing this yesterday evening, reading a bit from a history book (yes,
I know what you're thinking - what a complete nerd) when I was distracted by
the sounds of a loud radio blaring the play-by play from a Dodgers game.  I
found myself getting sucked into the tight competition and drifting from my
relaxing book.

You see, when I go to a national park I like to minimize electronics for a
few days.  I think it's important to "retreat" from our modern world and
seek a quieter, simpler existence - if only for a short time.  At first I
was entranced by the game.  I found myself closing my eyes and imagining the
blue hats with the white LA stitched above the bill.

I quickly open my eyes when the people in the neighboring campsite roared
with obscenities; the Dodgers scored.  These were Giants fans, quite normal
considering we were in far northern California.  I grumbled, but then a
quiet and simple message came across my heart.  I was getting sucked into
the day-to-day turmoil of "down below" and being pulled away from the quiet
thoughtfulness of the mountains and the trees.

Earlier in the same day another group was being quite bawdy and loud in the
other direction - so much that, again, I was unable to read.  People were
arguing.  There was talk about summoning a ranger.  These words were loud,
but it was the anger rising in my heart that startled me.

At that moment I clearly saw something about who we are as human beings.  If
we spent more time respecting each other, and I mean if we were concerned
about how our behavior affected others, and spent less time being worried
about our own needs, we'd have a more peaceful existence.

Simply put, sometimes we're disgustingly selfish.  Our selfishness leads to
conflict, which leads to the need for laws, law enforcement, courts,
prisons, and so much more.

Consider how much less we'd spend on government and police protection if we
were as concerned about those around us as we are about our own needs
(sounds Biblical, huh?).  We wouldn't need locks on doors as we'd know not
to enter someone else's house.  We'd not need to call law enforcement
because our neighbors would not want to loudly disturb our evenings and they'd
quickly turn down baseball games after our one polite request.

Yes, I know I'm dreaming.  But it's still the truth.

In essence, at Lassen Volcanic National Park I met the enemy, and he is us
(to misquote the old comic strip "Pogo").  Our own disrespect is the source
of so many of our conflicts.  I asked myself if I'm willing to be a part of
the solution, and not the problem.  I promise to try.

On the positive side, the Dodgers won that game, 2-0, so "nyah-nyah", Giants
fans!  Oops, there I go, breaking the promise I just made.  Sigh.

Thought for the week: "If we lose love and self respect for each other, this
is how we finally die." - Maya Angelou

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, is the 2010 DAR History Teacher of
the Year for California.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Students, work on seeing your parents' side.

Antelope Valley Press
Edward Mooney, Jr.
July 5, 2010

Title: Students, work on seeing your parents' side.

Well, school's out.  The world just changed for teenagers.  They're excited as they start to deal with the long, lazy days of July.  On the last day of school I heard so many mentions of barbecues, beach trips, sleepovers and movies.  Of course, the new standards of video games, iPods, texting and web surfing were bantered about as well.

My students teach me so much about being young and carefree, and I need to get in touch with those feelings from time to time, but I'm concerned that there is something they cannot understanding about people like me.  They have yet to struggle with the burdens and responsibilities of adulthood.

To all who have sat through my lectures, my tests, my discussions and my homework, there is something I want you to study this summer - your parents. No, I'm not going to collect some paper when school resumes; I'm actually giving you an assignment you'll struggle with for decades.  You see, your parents are just as human as you are.

As you play the latest version of your favorite video game, try and understand the wrinkled brow your father is wearing these days.  Your mother's, too.   Take my word for it - I've been around for over 54 years now and these are the worst economic times I've seen.

Your dad and mom are worried about paying the property taxes in November as you're asking them for $20 to go and get a cheeseburger.  You see, they look further down the road than you do - that's the price (or benefit) of having been burned a few times along the way.  We who are over 30 years of age have learned that small choices today equal huge payments tomorrow, and I'm not just talking about money.

We take on debt and when the economy "goes south" (as it has) we frantically try to figure out how to cut expenses to be able to hold on to the cars and the house.  So, if your parents seem a bit angry when you ask for money, try finding a way to save some dollars for them before hitting them up for cash.

Can you see where I'm going here?  We of the "black and white TV was all we had when we were kids" crowd are, without saying anything, looking for help, not more bills to pay.  No, this doesn't mean we don't love you.  Heck, we'd all love to fly you to Paris for the weekend - but notice we don't even do that for ourselves nowadays.

Try to see our side of life.  Our employers are asking us to work more hours for less money.  They're cutting our hours.  They're asking us to do without in more ways than you could possibly understand.  If your parent owns his or her own business, they're seeing fewer orders, and fewer customers.  That rattles one's confidence, believe me.

We also know we have to conserve our money as much as possible right now. So, when you ask for that twenty dollar bill, realize we may have to offer you a five, or ask you to go without this week.  Look at our expression - it's not anger, it's fear and frustration.  We really do want to go back to the good old days, but those days seem far away right now.

None of us want you to have to grow up in these circumstances.  None of us want to live through these times.  We have plans and hopes, too, in case you didn't know that.  We have to postpone a lot of plans just to be able to put food on the table.

We envy you - we really do.  The tasks of feeding, clothing, housing and entertaining you fall completely on our shoulders.   We don't mind under normal circumstances, but, well, in 2010 we're pained that we have to turn you down too many times.

What would really help is if you look inside our over-30 hearts and souls and understand what we're struggling with.  A simple taking out of the trash goes a long way - we feel less alone, less like the whole problem is ours only.

So, here's your "summer homework" - try to find that soft spot in your heart for your parents.  Try to see that they're fighting some hard times right now.  After you do that, look deep inside of yourself and find the inner strength to end a hand, to give a smile, and, every now and then, a hug.

Sometimes, in an economy like the one we're dealing with, a hug can feel like a million dollars.  I mean it.

Thought for the Week: "Wrinkles are hereditary. Parents get them from their children." - Doris Day

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, is the 2010 DAR History Teacher of the Year for California.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Study Guide: The Pearls of the Stone Man

I've had questions about using "The Pearls of the Stone Man" in a classroom - notice that it does have a study guide at the end of the book!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Church picnic.

For the first time in many years I'll be attending a church picnic!  Sounds like fun!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mooney Column, June 14, 2010

Antelope Valley Press
Edward Mooney, Jr.
June 14, 2010

Title: Happy Birthday to our Red, White and Blue Vexillum!

Did you read Rich Breault's article earlier this year about my passion for vexillology?  Before we go on, I have to warn you.  This week's column contains a high concentration of "nerdiness".

Let's get back to the topic - "vexillology".  Roman legions carried a banner into battle that they referred to as a "vexillum".  That word means, loosely, a "sail" or a "cloth in the wind".  Of course, the suffix "-ology" stands for the "study of".  So, "vexillology" is the study of flags.

You knew I was going to do a column on flags today, right?  What?  You're not sure why?  I'll spell it out.

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, on June 14th, 1777, before our nation was a year old, the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Act of 1777.  That piece of legislation said, simply, that it was "Resolved, that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation."

That was the beginning of what we now refer to as the "American flag", also known as "Old Glory", the "Stars and Stripes", and the "Star Spangled Banner."  That was the beginning, but next month, in a matter of weeks, our beloved "vexillum" will mark an incredible milestone.  More on that later, but let's look back on the colorful (sorry about the pun) past of Old Glory for a bit.

This week, let's discover the origins and early days of our flag.

1. The Continental Congress enacted that piece of legislation because of a request for an "American flag".  So, who sent that request in? Surprisingly, a tribe of native Americans!  There was another urgent need - for colors on naval vessels at sea.

2. Early American flags would sometimes be unrecognizable to modern American eyes.  Notice that in the original Flag Act the dimensions, distribution and layout of the flag were not specified.

3. Believe it or not, some flags had the thirteen stripes in the top corner of the flag, called the "canton" or "union".  Sometimes they graced the corner furthest away from the flag pole, in the area of the flag we call a "fly". Both of these had the stars strewn about the rest of the flag.  Other flags had vertical stripes.  Notice THAT detail was not specified.

4. Now, as to the stars, observe that no one specified how many points there should be on each one.  We had stars with all kinds of points on them.  Six point stars were easy to make, and most often used.

5. That brings us, of course, to the story of Betsy Ross.  Now, sit down for a moment.  I'm have to report that no one had heard of Mrs. Ross until her grandson appeared at a Philadelphia historical society meeting and inquired into the family legend that the fine lady had sewn the first
American flag.  That was in the 1870s.

Take a deep breath.  We know some things for sure, such as the fact that she was a seamstress, and often worked for Francis Hopkinson, who was known to make flags for the fledgling US Navy.  That's it.  I have a friend who spent a lot of time in Washington, DC, researching this.  As many scholars before him could testify, this is the best piece of evidence we have, other than the Ross family stories.

But this was only the beginning.  Next week we'll look into our flag during the 1800s.  On June 28th we'll explore the flag in the Twentieth Century.

This year Flag Day is worthy of three weeks of columns.  The reason is quite simple.  On July 4th, our Great 50 Star Flag turns 50 years old.  Ladies and gentlemen, no other version of the Star Spangled Banner has reached this milestone.  The next longest serving version was the 48 star banner - which flew for 47 years.

On my way back from Canada years ago, I remember the emotions I felt when I saw that bright red, white and blue flag crisply flying at the border station.  I knew I was home.   I do not worship our flag, but to me it embodies everything that home means - freedom, dignity and hope.

Happy 50th, 50 Star!  July 4th is your big day!

Thought for the Week: "I long to be in the Field again, doing my part to keep the old flag up, with all its stars." - Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, hero of Gettysburg.  Dedicated to my Lake LA friend, Roger Ryan.

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, is the 2010 DAR History Teacher of the Year for California.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Camping on Pine Mountain

I just returned from camping on Pine Mountain, within the setting of my story, "The Pearls of the Stone Man".  Beautiful!  Here's an image:

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010 - Column

Antelope Valley
Edward Mooney, Jr.
May 31, 2010

Title: American Heroes are from every walk of life.

When I close my eyes, I can see the rows of gravestones, precisely set in seas of neatly manicured grass blades.  I see my father’s grave, and remember his service to our country.  He spent the 50 years after the Korean War with a 40% disability from his time in the United States Air Force.  It is to him that I dedicate this week’s column.

While he didn’t die, he did lose a part of his life in the service of his country.  As a child I was embarrassed about his scratchy writing, never really understanding why his right arm was withered. But he was proud to fly our flag, and kept his Air Force honorable discharge certificate on the wall.

Mine is a simple story, but repeated numerous times across our great country, in all 50 of our honorable states.  There are some incredible stories of sacrifice we need to meditate on today.  But I don’t believe that those who paid the ultimate sacrifice would want that.

Let us consider that we are their memorial.  We who survive, in order to honor those who died in defending this country, should live each day as a tribute to them.  It is in the proper living of our lives that we sanctify their lost lives.  We must become their breathing memorials.

I believe -

- when I stand up and defend the right of others to practice their religion, even if it differs from my own, I honor the Army soldier who died in the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.  He may have been a Christian, or a Jew, or even an agnostic, but he was the True Heart of America.  We must never forget that people of all faiths have given their all for this jewel called the United States.  When we look down on other faiths, we look down on all those who died to defend our right to be a Christian – even if they were not Christians.

- when I stand up and defend the right of others to speak their opposition to anything in society, even if I disagree with them, I honor the Navy sailor who died in the Battle of Midway in 1942.  He may have been from the South or the North, and may have disagreed with his shipmates on politics, but he was an American.  He died so these disagreements would be allowed.  He was the Voice of American Freedom.  When we try to silence those who disagree with us, we cancel the meaning of the deaths of those who died in uniform.

- when I stand up and speak out against racism, or hatred of people who are different from me, I honor the black Marine who died in the battle of Saigon in 1968.  He may have had a skin color that was not like my own, but he was a True Blue American.  When we see people of a skin color different than our own as “not quite human”, we negate the deaths of people of other colors who wore our uniform.

- when I reach out my hand to those who are less fortunate than I, I honor the Air Force airmen who died bailing out from their burning aircraft over the cold, barren fields of Korea in 1951.  Our servicemen came from rich families, poor families, and in-between families, but they saw each other as brothers, and worthy of looking after each other.  When we respect only those with money, we destroy the meaning of the deaths of those who were penniless.

- when I treat women in our society with respect I honor those women, all the way back to the Revolution, who served, and those who gave their all.  It is when we look at women as second class citizens that we diminish those who served and died.  The spilled blood of these women is just as sacred to this country as any man’s.

- when I live the values of our Constitution, I become the memorial of all who died protecting my freedoms, as outlined in the Bill of Rights.  You see, people of all creeds, colors and faiths died so you can choose to live and believe as you wish.  That’s called Freedom, by the way.

Every year I ask myself one question on Memorial Day.  Will you be a memorial to those who bought your freedom with their blood, or will old stones be their only monument?  What’s your answer?  Which do you believe is the better memorial?

Thought for the Week: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.- Abraham Lincoln 

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, is the 2010 DAR History Teacher of the Year for California.

Memorial Day 2010

When I lament how difficult it is to write a book, I remember the ultimate sacrifice many soldiers paid to give me the freedom to write.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blog contests

I'm excited that Sourcebooks is giving away a number of copies of my novel "The Pearls of the Stone Man" via bloggers.  If you have a blog running a contest, send me a message.  I'd love to post on your blog!

EdwardMooney -AT- live -DOT- com

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Expo America

If you're in New York City this week, visit my publisher, Sourcebooks, at Book Expo America! They're in booth #3459.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The eBook is about to be released!

My friends, I'm happy to announce the upcoming release of the eBook edition of "The Pearls of the Stone Man"!   I'm not sure exactly when it will be released, but watch for ISBN number 978-14022-38956 !  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stone Man Video Channel!

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce the STONE MAN CHANNEL!  We filmed in Pine Mountain over the weekend, and now the videos are being released!  The first episode, "The Stone Wall' came out on May 10th.  The second episode, "The Marino Home", was just released. As most of you know, I am producing these videos for advertising purposes. My publisher, Sourcebooks, will be distributing these on the internet and through other contact points.

These vignettes allow you to share the unique setting of my novel, "The Pearls of the Stone Man". The link below will take you to my growing library of these videos.

Here's the direct YouTube link for the FIRST video, "The Stone Wall":

Here's the direct YouTube link for the NEW video, "The Marino Home":

Please forward this information to your friends!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Author Vignettes from Pine Mountain

We have some footage from the setting of THE PEARLS OF THE STONE MAN!  We went to Pine Mountain on Saturday, May 8th, at the request of Sourcebooks and grabbed over 30 minutes of film.  Linked below are some stills taken from the raw footage - a SNEAK PEAK at the six vignettes or scenes we filmed on Saturday, May 8th. We'll be working on finishing the vignettes this week. Welcome to Pine Mountain, home of the Stone Man! Can you imagine what happened in each setting? Click on the link...
More coming SOON!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Filming for publisher: Pine Mountain Club, CA.

FILM REPORT: On May 8th, in Pine Mountain, California, and at the request of Sourcebooks (my publisher), we filmed vignettes in 5 of the various settings of "The Pearls of the Stone Man." We were able to get some good footage at the stone wall, in front of Joseph and Anne's house, in the creek where Joseph gathered stones, in the Pine Mountain business area, and in the forest. David Smith directed and filmed. I was in the vignettes. Carrie was behind the camera offering insight, and it was very good advice. Check back for a sample next week!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Union Jack Flag Official, 1707

May 1, 1707 - England & Scotland form the United Kingdom; the Union Jack flag is official.

Public domain image from

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A thought from Mickey Mantle.

"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life." 
- Mickey Mantle

Monday, April 26, 2010

Plato's Hard Battle

A thought after a tough week: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." - Plato

Sunday, April 25, 2010

AMERICA: The Story of Us

As a social studies teacher, I URGE everyone to watch this television event. AMERICA: The Story of Us. Watch the trailer. THIS is an IMPRESSIVE show! For more information:
History Channel: AMERICA The Story of Us

Sunday, April 18, 2010

American Revolution: Paul Revere's Ride 1775

Paul Revere made his famous "Midnight Ride" on April 18, 1775. 235 years ago tonight the American Revolution truly began!  It's the history lover in me...

Allergy season!

Allergies.  How I pray someone will find a cure.  I'm undergoing desensitization shots but they're not enough.  I'm allergic to grasses, olive pollen, and other pollens.  Time for the heavy guns in the medicine department.

BUT...what's worse is the allergy to  quaternary ammonium, a common chemical in many personal care items, such as shampoo, hair spray, perfume, lotions and detergents.  Think about how much of all of that teens use...ugh...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Icelandic volcano and Europe

I'm praying for all the people affected by the cancellation of flights into and out of European airports.  I can only imagine the disruption the Icelandic volcanic eruption is causing Europe and all major airports all over the globe...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Visiting Pine Mountain

After reading "The Pearls of the Stone Man", if you wish to visit Pine Mountain, the setting of the story, here is a map that will show you how to get there.  I am working on running a few "Author Tours" this summer.

Map to Pine Mountain, California

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My son's prom is tonight.

It amazes me to think that my son Patrick will be attending his prom tonight - he's a senior and will be graduating from high school next month.  I'd forgotten how much tuxes, flowers and the like cost.  It dawned on me that after next month we will have only one child left (Laura) under 18 years of age.  Where has the time gone?

And, to top it off, in June my first-born grandchildren, Jacob and Nathan, will turn 10 years old.  Double digits!  It makes one think, and forces one to set priorities in life.  Time is short.  I must use what is left of my allocation of this precious commodity wisely.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Great Pearls Give Away

THE PEARLS GIVE AWAY! Announcing an opportunity for you to have a copy of "The Pearls of the Stone Man" (with a letter and a tote bag) sent to a friend - for free. Simply message me or send an email with the name and address of someone you think would like the novel. Tell me why they should get it. Each week in April I'll pick one person. The decision of the judge (that's me) is final. Yes, you can re-nominate each week. So, message me! Tell me why I should send a book to YOUR friend or relative! I'm looking for people willing to spread the news. 


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Golden Anniversary US Flag

In three months our US 50 Star Flag will be 50 years old. To commemorate this, I designed a Golden 50 US Flag. My friend Peter Orenski is making 3 x 5 foot copies for a limited time. I encourage you to fly this flag this year - to get people to notice Old Glory. Peter can be reached via TMEALF -AT-