Urban Legend ... Re: [Chat] News From the Palace - Birthday Edition (10/16 - 10/25)

Crystal cver1001 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 27 14:04:19 SGT 2003

Sorry Brad, that Quran quote is an urban legend, see

Here's a bit:

Depending upon which translation of the Quran one
uses, the section corresponding to chapter 9, verse 11
actually reads something like this: 

"But if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the
poor-rate, they are your brethren in faith; and We
make the communications clear for a people who know. "

Another site says the verse is about repentance,

How appropriate.

--- william.schlegel at us.army.mil wrote:
> Friends,
> Once again I engage you all in my feeble effort to
> share some of my experiences from here in Iraq. 
> Those in charge seem to object to my taking the time
> to write this, so I feel like one of those people
> who used to write novels in prison on small scraps
> of paper, smuggling them out bit by bit.  Tonight,
> Saturday 10/18, I may actually have time to make a
> major dent in this epistle, but I still feel twinges
> of guilt, as people in charge walk by and seem to
> disapprove (I am on my own time, now).
> This past week has been full of some special events.
>  Thursday was my 53rd birthday and I began the day
> by taking my annual Physical Training test at
> 6:30am.  This test consists of three events: 2
> minutes of pushups, 2 minutes of situps, and a
> 2-mile run.  The score to pass is based on age and
> gender.  For me, I needed 20 pushups, 28 situps, and
> a 19:48 2-mile run.  I easily passed the first two
> events with 32 pushups and 41 situps, but I was very
> worried about the run. The last time I passed the
> run was in 1999 and then only with a second to
> spare.  On Thursday I turned in a time of 19:15 - a
> full minute better than my time in September, when I
> took a diagnostic test.  Boy, did I feel relieved
> when I crossed the line this time.  Being my
> birthday, I took a few extra hours to recover,
> rather than rush off to work.  After cooling down, I
> enjoyed my birthday cupcakes, courtesy of my sister,
> Beth, complete with candles.  The unit had already
> sang Happy Birthday before the start
>  of the run, so all the customary events took place.
> I also found out today that I passed the bodyfat
> percentage test, as well.  This means I will not be
> booted out of the Reserves when I return - unlike
> what was in the offing before I was mobilized.   I
> will probably still retire, but at least it won't be
> a forced choice.
> Yesterday (10/17) and today I decided to participate
> in several Jewish celebrations.  The Sukkot and the
> Simchat Torah, Dancing with the Torah - here is a
> website that describes the celebrations in more
> http://www.ou.org/chagim/sukkot/intro.htm. "Sukkot
> commemorates how protective 'Clouds of Glory'
> surrounded the Jewish people after leaving Egypt
> during the forty years of wandering in the desert.
> It also commemorates how the Jews lived in temporary
> dwellings during that same time. So too we leave the
> safety and security of our houses and put ourselves
> under the direct protection of G-d Almighty. His
> protection, in the final analysis, is the only one
> that matters"
> "About ten centuries ago, the second day of Sh'mini
> Atzeret was turned into Simchat Torah - a special
> holy day of joy in the Torah. It celebrates the
> completion of the annual cycle for reading the Torah
> - the Five Books of Moses - and it is when we start
> afresh to read the beginning of the Torah."  
> The Jewish congregation here on Camp Victory is very
> small - about 6 men and one woman.  The rabbi had no
> problem with me participating and I viewed it as
> another opportunity to explore my spiritual roots. 
> Hearing the Hebrew and trying to read it
> transliterated brought back memories of singing the
> Bernstein Chichester Psalms.  After the service, we
> celebrated Kiddush, which is a blessing over wine. 
> Then we had a small meal of pickles, corned beef
> sandwiches and fishcakes, and honey bread.
> "Kiddush is the ritual of sanctification of the
> Sabbath and festivals at their beginning, with
> blessings recited over a cup of wine. The
> declaration recited at the beginning is known as
> Kiddush, which means "sanctification". The
> recitation of the Kiddush is not what endows the
> Sabbath with its sanctity; the Sabbath was
> sanctified by God at the Creation. Thus the Kiddush
> reads " ... God has blessed the Sabbath and
> sanctified it." Kiddush is rather an
> acknowledgement, a reminder, of the sanctity of the
> day in accordance with the biblical commandment,
> "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy" (Ex.
> 20:8), expounded in the Talmud, "Remember it over
> wine." The text of the Sabbath Kiddush opens with
> the biblical verses Genesis 2:1-3, and continues
> with the benediction (brakhah) over the wine, and
> concludes with the benediction of sanctification: "
> ... who has sanctified us with His commandments, who
> has chosen us and bequeathed to us His holy Sabbath
> as a remembrance of the act o
> f Creation ... Blessed is He ... who sanctifies the
> Sabbath." Kiddush must be recited before the meal,
> preferably over a cup of wine"
> Other events of note since the last letter:
> In a note to my cousin, Richard Brown, I said, "
> BTW, I spoke with Gen Abazaid the other day.  I was
> coming back from the latrine and noticed a bunch of
> people standing around some SUVs.  Then I noticed
> General Abazaid and Lt. General Sanchez standing on
> the sidewalk.  A little while later the General got
> into one of the SUVs, but before he left I walked
> over and stood by the door.  He opened the door and,
> after introducing myself, I told him that I was your
> cousin and that you sent your regards.  He asked
> what you were doing and I said you had a sign-making
> business.  He said to let you know that he might
> call you for a job when he retires.  He then asked
> me what I did over here and I told him.  He was very
> genuine and seemed pleased that I had taken time to
> speak with him.  He also mentioned the 30-year
> reunion, which I believe you said you attended." 
> General Abazaid (4-stars) is the commander of
> CENTCOM and LTG Sanchez (3-stars) is the commander
> of V CORPS and CJTF-7 (Co
> alition Joint Task Force 7).  General Abazaid and my
> cousin both graduated from West Point in 1973.  Rick
> left the Army in 1978, as a Captain.
> It is cooling down over here - actually quite
> pleasant except at midday.  A hurricane might be
> welcome - at least the rain.  We have not had rain
> since June and that was merely a 10-minute
> sprinkling of mostly raindrops coated with dust.  I
> am amazed that the date palms are still surviving -
> along with the dates, which are delicious!  I pick a
> handful several times a week, wash them off, pop
> them in my mouth, and then discretely dispose of the
> tiny seed (similar to an olive pit) inside.  I had
> some the other night which some locals had picked
> and let ripen completely - they were really good.  I
> would do the same, but my roommates might object,
> since the ripening dates might draw flies or
> rodents.  I am now saving the cleaned seeds for
> making into jewelry - they polish real well I am
> told.  The date palm is now depicted on one of the
> new Iraqi Dinar notes, as a symbol of Iraq's former
> dominance of the international date market.  Over
> 600 varieties grow here!
> On 9/19, I was asked to sing the National Anthem for
> the change in command ceremony for Alpha Company,
> 302nd MI BN, which my unit augments.  It went very
> well and someone even heard an explosion just as I
> finished singing "And bombs bursting in air".  It
> was quite an honor to be asked to participate. 
> Unfortunately, the festivity of this ceremony was
> overcome by events of the next day.
> Sunday morning, 9/21, the battalion commander told
> us that two soldiers were killed and several
> seriously injured in a mortar attack at a prison
> complex about 12 miles west of where I live.  I knew
> one of the soldiers killed, though not well, and one
> of the soldiers injured was in in my own unit.  On
> the following Thursday, I was asked to sing a
> musical tribute to the two soldiers during the
> memorial service scheduled for the following day.  I
> had been thinking of what I could sing and the Pie
> Jesu, by Faure, kept running through my mind, but I
> had no music.  On Thursday afternoon, when it was
> confirmed that I would sing, I started using Google
> to look for the text and possibly the notes.  After
> about 15 minutes I found the website of Arnold
> vander Nat:
> http://orion.it.luc.edu/~avande1/piejesu.html, where
> there were not only the words and notes, but the
> MIDI file to go with it.  I cannot begin to tell say
> how thankful I was to be able to properly prepare
> Faure's moving piece
>  - so appropriate to our service.  I may not have
> given the piece full justice, but I tried, and over
> 200 people were able to reflect on it for
> themselves.
> As of 9/22 I am officially in a new group at IRS and
> under a new Area Manager in Cincinatti.  My group
> manager is the same, but my group members have
> changed.  I chose this option back in the Spring,
> but the decision was not final until July.  I will
> be doing the same work as before I left on
> deployment, that is why I made the choice. 
> Apparently a lot of people made the same election,
> but were not selected due to their lack of
> seniority.  I am almost the senior EP person in my
> function and almost in Baltimore.  Lonnie Belt is a
> few months ahead of me.
> In closing, I will direct you to a few items of
> interest.  From an e-mail which said, "Saddam didn't
> read this".
=== message truncated ===

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