Tag: war

7/1/12 “Honoring our soldiers”

Good day team,

“All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers.” Francois Fenelon

This week, we’ll enjoy a day off on the 4th of July, the day we celebrate our country’s freedom through patriotic displays. Dramatic fireworks are the centerpiece of many July 4th celebrations – awe-inspiring displays symbolic of perhaps the greatest expression of patriotism, fighting in one’s country’s wars. This challenge is about honoring the soldiers who make that sacrifice.

This past week, an unusual experience reminded me of the wars we fight and the people who fight them for us. On Thursday evening, my husband and I headed off to have dinner with some friends. As we neared the restaurant, a railroad crossing brought us to a stop. The crossbars came down and the red railway lights blinked to let us know a train was coming. My husband commented, “Geez, now we’ll be late, this could take a while.” I agreed, with a long sigh.

As the train passed in front of us, we saw flatbed after flatbed carrying beat up armored personnel carriers, artillery, and ambulances with fading paint and camouflage. An armored personnel carrier (APC) is a fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to, and hopefully from, the battlefield. Most are armed with a combination of artillery, machine guns, and mortars and are propelled by wheels or tracks.

I have seen army vehicles transported by train before. But this time was different – the APC’s were covered in dust, light colored desert dust, the kind of dust that comes from the sands of Afghanistan and Iraq. These foreign places seem very far away from my life in Portland – almost unreal. But they are very real to American soldiers fighting an often invisible enemy under very dangerous circumstances, in extreme weather conditions, with little relief.

A sinking feeling came over me as I imagined being a young soldier stuffed into a cramped metal box, dirty and sweaty, trying to breathe in suffocating heat, clueless about what might happen next – combat or boredom.

As the train continued to roll down the track, we sat in silence. Some of the APC’s had painted dragon heads with necks bent in the shape of a question mark. Others had long gun barrels with names stenciled on them such as “Athena”, “Duke” and “Delilah”. It seems odd that we humanize our weapons of war by naming them. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t ignore the ache in the pit of my stomach as I read them. There was something about seeing that dust and reading those names that made these wars in the Middle East so much more real.
I understood in that moment how easy it is to forget about these wars and the soldiers that fight them. It doesn’t really affect my daily life here in Portland. Occasionally, I hear of someone I know who lost a loved one or said goodbye to one that has just shipped out. But, by and large, I don’t think about it much.
This week, in honor of July 4th, I plan to spend some time honoring those who go to war. I could start by raising my awareness of the huge human consequences of war – a very personal matter of life, death or terrible injury. I know there are many veterans and their families who need help. Perhaps I’ll donate money or time to help them find work. Maybe I’ll say a prayer for the soldiers who are currently fighting in Afghanistan or write a letter to one of my Dad’s old Navy buddies just to brighten his day. When I watch a fireworks display, I’ll think of those who have to watch the real thing.
That’s my challenge for the week, perhaps it’s one that you can embrace as well.

Have a good week,


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinder’s Coaching
(503) 296-9239

© Copyright 2012 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.

5/28/12 “In Memoriam”

Good day, team.

Today is Memorial Day. For this week’s challenge, I am offering a few poems about war that touch me deeply. It is but one way to honor those who serve in the armed forces. Your challenge this week is to find your own way to honor those who served their countrymen. Let us not forget those who have perished, those who’s lives have been marred by war, and those who continue to serve us.

As Toilsome I Wander’d Virginia’s Woods

As toilsome I wander’d Virginia’s woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick’d by my feet, (for ’twas autumn,)
I mark’d at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;
Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all could understand,)
The halt of a mid-day hour, when up! No time to lose-yet this sign left,
On a tablet scrawl’d and nail’d on the tree by the grave,
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.

Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering,
Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life,

Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt, alone, or in the crowded street,
Comes before me the unknown soldier’s grave, come the inscription rude in Virginia’s woods,
Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.

~ Walt Whitman

Ten Minutes

It was ten minutes before the war
The quietest thing you ever saw
Ten minutes before the war
And everything was looking good

It was ten minutes during the war
The sickest thing you ever saw
Ten minutes during the war
And everything was dying fast


It was ten minutes after the war
The emptiest thing you ever saw
Ten minutes after the war
And there was nothing left

No more war
Is that what it takes for
No more war

No more war
Is that what it takes for
No more war

It was ten minutes.

~ Colin Coplin

Upon the Arid Lakes
A field of flowers
Rousing under remnants of the dawn:
Out there! from death, I rose
Above the silent many –
A distant will-o’-the-wisp
Reflecting under airs of minor ninths –
How rich the ambience they threw!

What theme of prosody
Had rendered me? –
Tho’ silent were its words:
A broken soul in pulsing pain –
Thou mustn’t guess what goes behind
The sick and ghostly screen of war!

In sallow-grey and other ashen hues,
Disrobed of warming flesh
That reassures the bones,
A twisted pose
Portrayed my physicality –
Not unlike the carcass of a prey;

But as a cloud of thought, I mused,
Exacerbating woes
Collected in a life dispatched
In freely flowing blood,
Conferring crimson shades
Upon the arid lakes aflood
With glorious tides of nascent buds
Begetting innocence.
And as we glowed in ruddy shades,
I asked: ‘What future lies ahead?
What terror trades? ’

~ Mark R. Slaughter

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249 office

11/15/10 “Choose your Battles”

Good day, team,

The coach’s challenge for this week is to pick your battles wisely and examine what you’re fighting for. In our determination to prove ourselves “right,” we often lose our ability to see the big picture and in turn lose sight of our ultimate goal. That is, we may win the argument, but lose something more valuable in the meantime. I remember my high school debate coach saying that if you use all your energy to win one argument, you may run out of resources for the rest of the debate. It may also be the wrong argument to sacrifice to the competition and, in the end, you will have won the battle, but lost the war.

Each day at work, we face many challenges and opportunities with our fellow team members. We often agree on the ultimate goal but have completely different ideas about how to achieve it. We often find ourselves arguing about different ways to do things or become irritated because we think someone is doing something the wrong way. It’s our natural instinct to try to correct mistakes. This impulse leads us to compete or lobby for what we think is right. But do we consider the ultimate price we pay just to be right? Are we distancing ourselves from our team members as we try to prove something to others?

Focus this week on where you’re currently at odds with someone or something at work. Ask yourself these questions:

1. What am I really fighting for?

2. What am I trying to prove or win?

3. How does this altercation relate to the overall goals we have for our team?

4. If I win this battle, does it get me closer to achieving my ultimate aim?

5. How can I think about this differently, so that my actions are more productive and less confrontational?

6. What can I do to neutralize this situation rather than escalate it?

Consider other approaches that may be more beneficial in the long run. Sometimes restraining ourselves on matters we feel strongly about requires much more effort than allowing ourselves to fight for what we think is important. In the end, it’s the consistency of our efforts and desire to have the whole team succeed that wins the day!

Have a great week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.