Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What Christmas is as We Grow Older

Time was, with most of us, when Christmas Day encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped everything and every one around the Christmas fire; and made the little picture shining in our bright young eyes, complete. 
        Time came, perhaps, all so soon, when our thoughts over-leaped that narrow boundary; when there was some one (very dear, we thought then, very beautiful, and absolutely perfect) wanting to the fullness of our happiness; when we were wanting too (or we thought so, which did just as well) at the Christmas hearth by which that some one sat; and when we intertwined with every wreath and garland of our life that some one's name.
        That was the time for the bright visionary Christmases which have long arisen from us to show faintly, after summer rain, in the palest edges of the rainbow! That was the time for the beatified enjoyment of the things that were to be, and never were, and yet the things that were so real in our resolute hope that it would be hard to say, now, what realities achieved since, have been stronger!
        What! Did that Christmas never really come when we and the priceless pearl who was our young choice were received, after the happiest of totally impossible marriages, by the two united families previously at daggers--drawn on our account? When brothers and sisters-in-law who had always been rather cool to us before our relationship was affected, perfectly doted on us, and when fathers and mothers overwhelmed us with unlimited incomes? Was that Christmas dinner never really eaten, after which we arose, and generously and eloquently rendered honor to our late rival, present in the company, then and there exchanging friendship and forgiveness, and founding an attachment, not to be surpassed in Greek or Roman story, which subsisted until death? Has that same rival long ceased to care for that same priceless pearl, and married for money, and become usurious? Above all, do we really know, now, that we should probably have been miserable if we had won and worn the pearl, and that we are better without her?
        That Christmas when we had recently achieved so much fame; when we had been carried in triumph somewhere, for doing something great and good; when we had won an honored and ennobled name, and arrived and were received at home in a shower of tears of joy; is it possible that THAT Christmas has not come yet?
        And is our life here, at the best, so constituted that, pausing as we advance at such a noticeable mile-stone in the track as this great birthday, we look back on the things that never were, as naturally and full as gravely as on the things that have been and are gone, or have been and still are? If it be so, and so it seems to be, must we come to the conclusion that life is little better than a dream, and little worth the loves and strivings that we crowd into it? 
        No! Far be such miscalled philosophy from us, dear Reader, on Christmas Day! Nearer and closer to our hearts be the Christmas spirit, which is the spirit of active usefulness, perseverance, cheerful discharge of duty, kindness and forbearance! It is in the last virtues especially, that we are, or should be, strengthened by the unaccomplished visions of our youth; for, who shall say that they are not our teachers to deal gently even with the impalpable nothings of the earth!
        Therefore, as we grow older, let us be more thankful that the circle of our Christmas associations and of the lessons that they bring, expands! Let us welcome every one of them, and summon them to take their places by the Christmas hearth. 
        Welcome, old aspirations, glittering creatures of an ardent fancy, to your shelter underneath the holly! We know you, and have not outlived you yet. Welcome, old projects and old loves, however fleeting, to your nooks among the steadier lights that burn around us. Welcome, all that was ever real to our hearts; and for the earnestness that made you real, thanks to Heaven! Do we build no Christmas castles in the clouds now? Let our thoughts, fluttering like butterflies among these flowers of children, bear witness! Before this boy, there stretches out a Future, brighter than we ever looked on in our old romantic time, but bright with honor and with truth. Around this little head on which the sunny curls lie heaped, the graces sport, as prettily, as airily, as when there was no scythe within the reach of Time to shear away the curls of our first-love. Upon another girl's face near it--placider but smiling bright--a quiet and contented little face, we see Home fairly written. Shining from the word, as rays shine from a star, we see how, when our graves are old, other hopes than ours are young, other hearts than ours are moved; how other ways are smoothed; how other happiness blooms, ripens, and decays--no, not decays, for other homes and other bands of children, not yet in being nor for ages yet to be, arise, and bloom and ripen to the end of all!
        Welcome, everything! Welcome, alike what has been, and what never was, and what we hope may be, to your shelter underneath the holly, to your places round the Christmas fire, where what is sits open- hearted! In yonder shadow, do we see obtruding furtively upon the blaze, an enemy's face? By Christmas Day we do forgive him! If the injury he has done us may admit of such companionship, let him come here and take his place. If otherwise, unhappily, let him go hence, assured that we will never injure nor accuse him. On this day we shut out Nothing!
"Pause," says a low voice. "Nothing? Think!"
"On Christmas Day, we will shut out from our fireside, Nothing."
"Not the shadow of a vast City where the withered leaves are lying deep?" the voice replies. "Not the shadow that darkens the whole globe? Not the shadow of the City of the Dead?" 
        Not even that. Of all days in the year, we will turn our faces towards that City upon Christmas Day, and from its silent hosts bring those we loved, among us. City of the Dead, in the blessed name wherein we are gathered together at this time, and in the Presence that is here among us according to the promise, we will receive, and not dismiss, thy people who are dear to us!
        Yes. We can look upon these children angels that alight, so solemnly, so beautifully among the living children by the fire, and can bear to think how they departed from us. Entertaining angels unawares, as the Patriarchs did, the playful children are unconscious of their guests; but we can see them--can see a radiant arm around one favorite neck, as if there were a tempting of that child away. Among the celestial figures there is one, a poor misshapen boy on earth, of a glorious beauty now, of whom his dying mother said it grieved her much to leave him here, alone, for so many years as it was likely would elapse before he came to her-- being such a little child. But he went quickly, and was laid upon her breast, and in her hand she leads him.
        There was a gallant boy, who fell, far away, upon a burning sand beneath a burning sun, and said, "Tell them at home, with my last love, how much I could have wished to kiss them once, but that I died contented and had done my duty!" Or there was another, over whom they read the words, "Therefore we commit his body to the deep," and so consigned him to the lonely ocean and sailed on. Or there was another, who lay down to his rest in the dark shadow of great forests, and, on earth, awoke no more. O shall they not, from sand and sea and forest, be brought home at such a time!
        There was a dear girl--almost a woman--never to be one--who made a mourning Christmas in a house of joy, and went her trackless way to the silent City. Do we recollect her, worn out, faintly whispering what could not be heard, and falling into that last sleep for weariness? O look upon her now! O look upon her beauty, her serenity, her changeless youth, her happiness! The daughter of Jairus was recalled to life, to die; but she, more blest, has heard the same voice, saying unto her, "Arise for ever!"
        We had a friend who was our friend from early days, with whom we often pictured the changes that were to come upon our lives, and merrily imagined how we would speak, and walk, and think, and talk, when we came to be old. His destined habitation in the City of the Dead received him in his prime. Shall he be shut out from our Christmas remembrance? Would his love have so excluded us? Lost friend, lost child, lost parent, sister, brother, husband, wife, we will not so discard you! You shall hold your cherished places in our Christmas hearts, and by our Christmas fires; and in the season of immortal hope, and on the birthday of immortal mercy, we will shut out Nothing!
        The winter sun goes down over town and village; on the sea it makes a rosy path, as if the Sacred tread were fresh upon the water. A few more moments, and it sinks, and night comes on, and lights begin to sparkle in the prospect. On the hill-side beyond the shapelessly-diffused town, and in the quiet keeping of the trees that gird the village-steeple, remembrances are cut in stone, planted in common flowers, growing in grass, entwined with lowly brambles around many a mound of earth. In town and village, there are doors and windows closed against the weather, there are flaming logs heaped high, there are joyful faces, there is healthy music of voices. Be all ungentleness and harm excluded from the temples of the Household Gods, but be those remembrances admitted with tender encouragement! They are of the time and all its comforting and peaceful reassurances; and of the history that re-united even upon earth the living and the dead; and of the broad beneficence and goodness that too many men have tried to tear to narrow shreds.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Who is Steve Newman?

Originally from Norman, Oklahoma, Steve Newman is an author and screenwriter born out of the US Army Special Forces.  Upon his return from Afghanistan in 2003, he retired from active duty as a Master Sergeant in the US Army after having served for over twenty years as a member of the elite, secretive Green Berets. 
For the vast majority of Steve’s military career he served with the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), mostly assigned to 3rd Battalion, stationed in Panama.  During “Operation Just Cause” he helped plan the assault on the Pacora River Bridge, then he participated in the assault on the TV 2 repeater site on Cerro Azul, just outside Panama City.  He also participated in the assault on the Panamanian Ninth Military Regional Headquarters located near the Colombian border.  After the invasion was over, he served as a member of the Military Advisory Team in Panama City working to rebuild the Panamanian National Police.
            Throughout his military career, Steve traveled to almost every country in South America and the Caribbean.  He speaks Spanish fluently and has earned Jump Wings, from Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Argentina and Honduras as both a Static Line Jump Master and Military Free Fall Parachutist.  He later served in Panama as the Team Sergeant of Special Forces Operational Detachment “A-793” and as the Operations Sergeant of Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the primary combat arm of the US Southern Command’s “CINC’s In-Extremis force.”
Steve returned CONUS and was assigned to the US Army Special Forces Command G-3 with duty as the Active Duty Adviser to 1st Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in Huntsville, Alabama.  He was instrumental in establishing their Special Operations training detachment, creating the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat Course along with the 20th Group’s, Special Operations Target Interdiction Course or sniper school.  After 9/11, the instructor cadre was formed into an Operational Detachment and Steve lead them into Afghanistan in 2002 as the Team Sergeant where they were responsible for standing up the Afghan Ministry of Interiors’ National Level Strike Force.
Steve graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia College while still on active duty.  During his career he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge (x2), the Bronze Star, and the Meritorious Service Medal (x5).  In 1984, he earned his Green Beret and Special Forces Tab as a graduate of the Special Forces Qualification Course. He is also a graduate of the Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Sergeants Course, the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis and Exploitation Techniques Course, the Special Operations Target Interdiction course and the Military Free Fall Parachutist Course, also commonly known as HALO School
Recently, Steve completed a successful nationwide tour with his books and after having left 32 years ago, he has finally returned to his Oklahoma roots to work on a movie script that recounts the deadly ambush on a team of Green Berets, in the Panjwai District of Afghanistan.  Steve’s perspective as a Green Beret combat veteran brings truth and realism to his writing.  He reveals the heart and spirit of our nation’s greatest warriors and shows them for who they really are; the young men and women who grew up next door and went on to become something extraordinary.  He currently resides in Midwest City, Oklahoma where he continues writing about life as a soldier and helping others, especially veterans, achieve their creative dreams. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

We Feel Safe Now

As I went about my morning routine, I poured myself a nice cup of hot black coffee and listened to the news.  My heart sank with an article about the children coming across our southern border into Texas from places like El Salvador and Honduras. There has been tens of thousands of them, hundreds every day; all of them unaccompanied.  For me, it’s not the numbers; it’s what the children said when they arrived.  That is what got to me. 

These children have crossed several borders.  They have passed through various Central American countries and all of Mexico.  They found no relief, compassion or safety.  These children have been rejected by their parents, passed along by their neighbors, ignored by their countries.  They have been harassed, reviled and neglected.  How could they allow their children to be treated so? What the hell is wrong with the Mexican people?  What the hell is wrong with the Guatemalan people?  What the hell is wrong with the people of Belize and El Salvador and Honduras and Nicaragua?  Those countries, their Governments and their people should be ashamed of themselves!  There is no excuse!

These children are now becoming political footballs here in the United States.  They are being warehoused by our government like prisoners on military installations as the debate rages on.  My hope is that as a nation, as a people, we will set a better example than our neighbors have!  The moment these children arrive to the United States they walk straight up to Border Patrol officers, not out of fear but in hope for a better life.  They are given water and food.  They are met with compassion.  They are received with open arms and hearts and the children say, “We feel safe now.”   


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The book, “Burnt Yellow and Red” is another in a series of exposes on modern war as experienced and seen through the eyes of the Special Forces Warrior. The author and my friend, Steve Newman knows only too well what this means. You see, we served our military careers at the very core of this world during and through the Cold War, Lebanon, Granada, El Salvador, Panama, Desert Storm, Somalia, the counter drug wars and many things that God willing will never grace the pages of a book. More importantly though he has learned the craft of putting this on paper in a way that the uninitiated can understand. He brings in this book, an opportunity for you to really begin to understand, at a personal level, what our business is all about. He provides a human face of war using a passionate yet subtle tone to engage the willful imaginations of those who live in the world of fantasy while dragging them quietly through the world of the elite warrior. Steve weaves a tale of a very personal nature, allowing you to become fully engaged in the lives of many of the characters. He offers you a bond to the story-line and characters in a very interesting way and shows you the human side of the equation.

Burnt yellow and red as colors standing alone can paint a picture of serene beauty in the hands of a skilled artist. Burnt yellow and red encapsulates an image of the horizon on a dark and eerie morning as the sun rises; promoting the forthcoming storm to all who view this awesome spectacle of nature. Burnt yellow and red are not just colors but rather the inculcation of total horror; full of sounds, vibration, acrid smells, total destruction and the portal for souls to pass from this earth. Burnt yellow and red, not just the title of a book they are also the triggers for the memories of those who have experienced war in its most terrible forms. Modern warriors, Special Forces warriors, know all too well just how much burnt yellow and red touches the very fabric of their souls.

If one were to take the time to read the tapestries promoted in this expose of war, one would begin to appreciate, at least in some small measure, the depth of humanity that sits just beyond the horizon in whose hands the protection of freedom has been placed by the many who live in relative comfort. Steve, a seasoned and articulate Special Forces warrior, pens to paper a story based on fact. This story is not just any story. It is the story of men, true patriots all, thrust into a world both ancient and destructive. It is a world of dark intrigue with moments of humor, moments of testing, moments of caring and moments of complete and unadulterated horror. It is a story of human emotion, one in which the reader can feel the very presence of each soul in this story. It is a story that the reporter is ill equipped to articulate in any form and one where the cold images projected on the screen cannot do justice to the events that they display. This is the story of men who go where others dare not tread, a story of men who share a bond deeper than any other on earth. Welcome to the world of the “Quiet Professionals.”

High above the clouds the aerial artillery waits for the team to grant them access. The killing field below is like no other in history, blinded by reality.[i]

Thomas A. Gluzinski, CW3(R)
Warrior Poet

U.S. Army Special Forces, Special Operations Technician (Retired)

[i] Thomas A. Gluzinski, contributing author, “De Oppresso Liber,” from the poem “Preparing the Way,” page 26, Old Mountain Press, 2542 S.Edgewater Dr. Fayetteville, NC 28303, 2006.


What They Are Saying

The Night Eagles Soared

For every man and military person past and present' this is a thrilling first person account by a Special Forces author in a fictional account of a 25 year career from joining, training and several missions from Panama thru being the first team after 9/11 into Afghanistan. Based on truth, I could not put it down despite a severe headache, eye problems and the need for sleep; still, I finished it in one read.
From a good Oklahoma author in his debut novel, and WOW, I was "there", I was, as a woman who lived peripherally through these historic events, amazed by the "insight and intensity" behind the scenes: things we never knew about going on behind the ...political and tactical decisions. It not only spotlights the Special Forces, but our armed forces.

The author, Steve Newman, also humanizes the lead character, Mike, and takes us back to Oklahoma to help us experience the personal sacrifices our military career people make to protect and serve us. All I can say is, I am very technical term savy now and can talk "fart sacks" and 'Bouncing Betty's " with the best of you. Women can truly appreciate this man and his world and I highly recommend meeting this amazing character. 

Congratulations to Steve Newman, keep writing, and writing, and writing.

I thoroughly enjoyed “The Night Eagles Soared.” So much in fact, that I am reading it again! Newman did a masterful job of bringing the common civilian up to speed with military life. I felt like I was with him, running through the jungle in Central American and flying on that military plane contemplating his life and all that he'd been through while on the mission of his life. This book brings home what those who defend us do. After reading this book, your mind and heart will be changed. I highly recommend it!

I just finished the book "The Night the Eagles Soared". It's a great read, with plenty of hard hitting stories of US Army Special Forces in clandestine operations in support of freedom loving people around the world. Understand the rigors of airborne school. Feel the tension as these elite warriors free fall into jungle drop zones at night. See the relief of hostages as their rescuers break into the camp and take out the Tangos who have imprisoned them. Plenty of action for the Military Action genre buff. Can't wait for Newman's next book.

Steve, "The Night Eagles Soared" was a great read; I eagerly look forward to your next book. You do both yourself and the Regiment proud, brother!


Sir, first let me say that I was extremely entertained by "The Night Eagles Soared" on many different levels. From a military standpoint I really enjoyed the attention to detail and strong narrative. But to be honest, the parts that I really loved the most were the moments in Oklahoma. I'm from Broken Arrow and went to OU and trust me I've been to Campus Corner and The Mont a few times. In case you don't already know, O'Connels moved to Campus Corner, and the one on Jenkins St. by the stadium is gone. For the past 9 months I have been deployed, and these parts really helped me remember more about home. I really am looking forward to your next book, and I already know that I won't be disappointed. Take care sir. 

John Baker

A very fine read, indeed!, January 26, 2011 From a warrior, this is written by a warrior, for warriors and those who support them. This is all about the real deal behind what our folks in the service give and do. A good read for any and all interested in what makes our military, truly special!

The Pen & Sword "The Penman's Sword" -

Steve is on my FB page and I have a signed edition of his book! I especially enjoyed his adventures in Central America and other places. I recommend his book!

Here's another endorsement: Ladies and gents of Professional, go and buy the book, NOW!

Team Sergeant @ Professional

I really enjoyed the book. My friend was over to the house while the wives did some Holiday cooking. I lent him the book, and while I watched college football, he read the entire book during that day. It's now with my barber, a West Point alum and former 11A. So, there are three who couldn't put it down. Thanks for a great read.

Aegisnavy @ Professional

I followed the "advice" of the Team Sergeant and ordered a copy from the link. I get a signed copy and a donation is made to the Green Beret Foundation - win, win. Let me know if there is a book signing in the area and I will bring it for personalization.

Thanks Steve, the book was great. I finished it last night. I even read some of it to my two week old twins. I thought it was funny that the sleep suits the hospital provided were called HALO sleep sacks. I loved the amount of detail in the book; it was like the writer had actually been there. :) I can not wait for the sequel.

Trap Line @ Professional

She perks up...”Sequel?” Yay! Let us know when it's out. I have thoroughly enjoyed the book, just finished it the other day. I felt like I was right there, you have a great ability to draw the reader in to the story lines.

Gypsy, Area Commander @ Professional

Steve, the emotion you displayed in your writing touched me, and also made me think of so many times when I identified with what you wrote, our careers are often so private, so personal, that putting it into words is difficult..............and often only shared among friends. Thank you for your words, your heart and your ability to help us all feel it. JB"

Jerry R. Bailey, SF Retired – Facebook

Steve, I have to provide another endorsement of your book. The book is simply outstanding. I only have one criticism. It kept me up late, since it was so good that it forced me to read it all in one sitting. I'm hoping we're blessed with a sequel

stg @ Professional

This is outstanding first person writing from someone in the Special Forces. This book was outstanding. I literally couldn't put it down; I just had to see how each chapter came out. Clearly this was written by someone who has actually been there and done that. As good as any James Webb novel I've eve read.
By this book, you won't be disappointed.

James Ipock –

Great book! Written by a true warrior! This is a must read for all those interested in what a Special Forces operator goes through during his career. This book takes a young trooper from the beginning of his career and twists and turns across several areas of operation, culminating in a hunt for Osama Bin Laden in the Special Forces Team Sergeant's last mission. The writer ability to make you feel as if you are on the mission is great! Once you start reading you can't wait until the next mission to see what happens next. It would be a shame to miss out on this outstanding story. Get your copy today, you won't be disappointed!

Crowder K. G. –

I went threw the Q-Course at about the same time. Brings back lots of memories. Also the way a Q-Course should be run. Seems today they tell students exactly what to do every minute of the day. Back then, info was written on a board and you were expected to be squared away when you showed up to go to the field. Of course the Olympia Bar in Colon got Honorable mention in your book as well.

kgoertz @ Professional Soldiers .com

This book grabs you from the onset and does not let up! You will find yourself hard pressed to put it down as you wind your way through the awe inspiring experiences of a United States Special Forces Soldier. The author has a style that allows this great book to be just as enjoyable to the civilian reader, as it is to the experienced Warfighter. I highly recommend this book to the person with even a slight interest in what goes on behind the scenes, while the rest of us sleep in our safe beds at night. I also recommend it to the hardened military person, who will clearly recognize the world of the warrior.

Review by: Airborne80 –

Excellent read! A real page turner; couldn't wait to see what happened next. This book is very realistic; written by a true SF Warrior.

(Block – Team Mate)

I finished your book last night. It was awesome except for one thing.... I need the rest of the story! When can I order the sequel?

Eddie Jewell, Long time friend!

I just finished the book and it was a great read! It was almost like I was there Gunny LOL. Fiction, but mirroring the truth with room for a sequel - also? I highly recommend this book! I finished it in two sittings and my 16 year old daughter can't put it down. Wants to know if Daddy did any of these things? I'll never tell LOL!!!

Block (Team Mate)

Received and read your book. It was an excellent and easy read. Being a fairly fast reader it took me about six hours to finish the book. It brought back a few memories of Panama, Salvador as well as Honduras. Standing by for Part two.

Bkleanords @ Professional Soldiers .com

Steve.....your book is a wonderful read.....once my husband Dan puts it down I pick it up...we almost came to loggerheads the other night as we both wanted to read it at the same's so well written. We are both most impressed, well done.....we wish you every success with it. We will cherish our copy forever.

Catherine Deck- Reader - Facebook

I love the book! You did an excellent job! I have a good friend who was in El Salvador, very much on the ground in harm's way. And while his mission was declassified and partially written up in one of the Special Operation's publications, your book provides me needed input on "the rest of the story".

The lines you wrote about El Salvador being "that dirty little war that was never discussed” truly hit home with me. I especially appreciated how you describe the reality the team members faced by having to carry on once they returned home, as if they had never done anything heroic. Well, that is the missing piece of a puzzle for me. You have given many others a voice they’ve never had, even if it is a fictional voice, it is powerful.

Rose Ann Daniels (Nurse and Author, Hope Mills, N. C.)

"May the ancestors guide you to the top; the place you have always been in my book!"

Swany Blano/Team Mate

God bless all my readers ! Thank you all so much for your kind words and I am so glad that you have enjoyed reading what I have written. It is an honor for me; you know, that you have chosen to allow my words into your life! I wish you all the very best! And God bless our troops
S. B. (Steve) Newman, Author - "The Night Eagles Soared"