A Tribute to USA

September 11, 2001 ~ a day that I will never forget.  


August 8, 2001 - the two pictures above were taken by my bro, Tony, just a month before the attacks.  These shots always bring a tear to my eye.


September 11, 2001, 6:28 AM, PST, the alarm clock wakes me up with the sound of a commercial on the radio. I instantly hit the snooze button and fall back asleep.  At 6:35 the alarm goes off again.  My radio is always set to 104.1 FM, the central valley home of the nationally syndicated Bob & Tom show, a lively comedic morning radio program.  I could tell right away that something wasn’t right.  I heard Tom’s voice first, then Christy’s, then Bob’s.  They were talking about an airplane that hit the World Trade Center building.  I jumped up in bed in fright; airplanes always scared me and hearing of crashes always scared the hell out of me.   Visions of TWA flight 800, the Lockerbie tragedy, and JFK Jr., all came to mind.  Then I heard the words that terrified me: “…in what seems to be an intentional act…” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  Just the day before I had read a newspaper article about another mass murder in California and became depressed.  I started thinking that night that society was really going downhill.


I jumped out of bed and walked in to the family room and turned it to ABC.  The first thing I saw was the image of the World Trade Center burning.  My initial reaction was that some lunatic pilot went crazy.  Then I heard the word, “hijack” and saw that the Pentagon was also on fire.  I then heard that there were actually two planes that hit the World Trade Center; the second hit a little bit before I got out of bed and was shown live all across the world, the images of which I cannot get out of my mind.


Panic started to set in for me and I couldn’t help but cry.  Tears flowed for all of the people that were lost and the pain their families were going through.  Tears also came from true fear.  For the first time in my 29 years, I was afraid that my safety, and that of my family, had been jeopardized as an American citizen.  I was, and am, proud to be an American but this fear was unprecedented.   Just two days before, driving home from Lake Tahoe, my Father made a comment to me about Patriotism and that young people today take our freedom for granted and that patriotism is dying.  I agreed and made some comment that I was thankful to be brought up in a family that taught me such a virtue.


Memories of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City came to mind.   In the hours afterwards, everyone thought foreigners were to blame.   I have very good friends of middle-eastern descent and they were mistreated everywhere they went. People would shout profanities at them and accuse them and their race of the horrific crime.  Then, we discovered it was the act of a white male American. I was so ashamed. Now, I find myself hoping that we don’t make the same mistakes we did then.  We are not sure who caused this yet but even after we discover the truth, I hope we do not take it out on our citizen’s of that race.


Going to work was very difficult.  When my Mother passed away last year I felt as if everyone was staring at me, everywhere I went.  That feeling was back, except I could tell that everyone around me felt the same way.  The company I work for, one of the largest credit card banks in the US, closed some sites across the country and allowed anyone that wanted to go home the opportunity to do so, paid.  I am proud of my employer for making so many sacrifices for the sake of the people that work there.


On my way home the freeways were desolate.  There was an American flag on an overpass and I got a tingle down my spine.  I started to cry as I drove on the quiet freeway.  Somehow, I knew we would be okay, I believed we would get through this tragedy.


With almost no exception, I must say that I am proud of the patriotism our citizens, and most of the world, have shown.  We will rise above this in spite of the terror because of our pride for our way of life.  My children will grow up in a different America now, one that will no longer take our freedom for granted, one that will cherish our flag and shine bright in our world.  We shall never forget the shear pain in our hearts during this time as every American joins together to rebuild our country and our faith.


I am proud to be an American.  I am proud of who I am.  Thank you to my Family, and especially my parents, for giving me the virtue of true patriotism.  Our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragedy, we are sad for you, we cry for you.  Family is Forever!  America is Forever!


2 Bros... 2 Weddings

As matrimony draws closer for two of the Brothers I want to take this opportunity to wish the best to both and good luck for my two new sisters-in-law; one of which was quoted as saying, "When I met your brother I knew he was Mr. Right, I just didn't know his first name was 'Always' " - I can't say which one said it but for anyone that knows my bros, it's easy to figure out.

Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw

KC_TM2Mike, Shauna, Dawn and I saw Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw in Marysville at the Sac Valley Amphitheatre.  It was a great show with Kenny getting the place really pumped for Tim.  He did "I Wanna Know How Forever Feels" and released about 20 "big orange balls" into the stands.  When the first verse ended, "I wanna know how Jimmy Buffet feels..." he and the band broke out into "Margaritaville" and then continued the song.  The highlight of his show for me was his cover of Billy Joel's"You May Be Right."

Tim McGraw was electrifying!  His show was just as much visual and anything else with huge screens just behind the band that provided some cool backdrops to his tunes.  His show opened with the Elton John classic"Tiny Dancer" which he started singing in the middle of the audience on a barstool and then made his way to the stage walking through  a sea of crazed fans.   Tim did a lot of songs from his new album "Set This Circus Down" and a lot of his classics.  During "Don't Take The Girl" the screen in the back was showing the words to the song so everyone could sing with him (as if there was anyone there that DIDN'T know the words!)  Mark Collie, Kenny Chesney came out and helped Tim finish the show with the last song.  Oh, and in case you were wondering.... there was no Faith Sad


Extravaganza 2001

Our 21st year.  This year we took over the Gunn House Hotel in Downtown Sonora. The weekend was chocked full of partying, drinking and karaoke with undeniably the greatest performance of "Devil..." done by Joe and The Gang ever!  There was an unusually bad version of"You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore" done by two nameless people that was thankfully ended before the end of the song.  Someone checked the box that increased the key of the song up a few steps and the singers didn't realize it.   And then of course, there was the pranks!  Breaking in and thrashing rooms was not too difficult since the rooms were very old and the locks were antiquated simple to pick.  Salt in bed sheets, lotion on toilet seats, shaving cream on the door handles all made for a great weekend.  Kelly came up with a great song-title game to play around the pool.  Of course, the newbies did get the "Saints" march - courtesy of Mike, Shauna, Dawn and Tony.  Who knows what fun next year will bring!!!  

A Tribute to Ty Osborn

A Tribute to Ty "T-BONE" Osborn Ty C. Osborn 10/27/1978 - 1/4/2001


It seems I was still dealing with the shock of losing my Mother when I received the phone call from my Aunt.  I was at home, on the computer, getting ready to go to work.  She said that she was sorry for calling me with bad news but that she just learned that Ty had taken his own life the night before.

Ty was like a little brother to me.  Mike and I would babysit him when he was little (which was no easy task.)  Ty was allergic to everything when he was young.  He had to eat bran cereal with apple juice instead of milk. He couldn't eat candy or drink soda but Mike and I would sometimes sneak him goodies when we would take him to the movies.  In fact, we took him to see E.T. shortly after it opened.

Ty was agenius as far as I was concerned.  At a very young age he was hacking into phone systems and computers.  When he was 9 or 10 he got me into the world of BBS (the true predecessor of the 'net.)  He used to sysop a cool board and would spend time on mine as well.  Wow, it's amazing that we used to think that was so high-tech.

Ty worked at Pac-West Telecomm.  His Mom knew the owner but he didn't get a golden ticket in.  He started there when he about 15 or 16 and when I worked there in the call center.  He started off doing meaningless tasks for the pc techs and cleaning the switch room.  He had moved up quite a bit in the years he was there but I can't think of his title... too high-tech for my brain.

Ty's parents decided on celebrating his life with a ceremony and get-together at Steamboat Slough Beach.  It was a nice gathering and the LaRues were very generous to his parents.

I miss Ty and think about him all the time.  I always thought we would grow old together and he would be the CEO of some company by the time he was 30. He was a good kid and I miss him very much.


If you wish to support a charity in Ty's honor. you can make a donation to: Caring Christmas Tree P.O. Box 95 Linden, CA 95236 This year-round migrant labor support program is something in which Ty and his family has participated for the past 15 years.  Your contribution to this program would mean a lot to the family