Two prayers....

God's will be done and may He have mercy upon us all.

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A Catholic who follows Rome & the Magisterium. I'm against gay "marriage", abortion, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, human cloning. Altar girls, Communion in the hand, Eucharistic Ministers and "Protestant" music in the Church doesn't bother me at all. A proud American retired submarine sailor. Our borders should be secured with a 10 ft. high fence topped by concertina wire with minefields out to 20 yards on both sides and an additional 10 yards filled with warning signs outside of that Let's get energy independent NOW! Back Israel to the max, stop appeasing followers of the Pedophile Prophet. Pro 2nd Amendment, pro death penalty, Repeal all hate crime legislation. Back the police unless you'd rather call a hippie when everything hits the fan. Get government out of dealing with education, childhood obesity and the enviornment. Stop using the military for sociological experiments and if we're in a war don't micromanage their every move. Kill your television, limit time on the computer and pick up a book. God's will be done and may He have mercy upon us all.

Friday, October 30, 2009

R.I.P. Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook

Name: Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook

Age: 41

From: Shiprock, N.M.

Assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.

Incident: Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook died Oct. 7 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C., of wounds suffered Sept. 8 when insurgents attacked his unit in Ganjigal Valley, Afghanistan, using small arms and indirect fire.

Died: October 07, 2009

(The following was taken from a clear blue autumn sky the family of Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook said their farewells in a service filled with memories and spirituality.

Family, friends and community members gathered Oct. 16 at the Farmington Civic Center to commemorate his life.

The service began with music playing in the background while pictures from Kenneth's life flashed onto a large screen.

Here he was as a child standing next to his mom on a beach, there he is eating a Popsicle, with family and at work.

Lt. Col. William Flournoy read the eulogy from the flower-filled stage while Kenneth's flag-draped casket rested at center stage. The eulogy focused on his love for family, his faith and his military service.

Flournoy said the Westbrook family moved to Shiprock in 1975 to live near Kenneth's grandmother, Evelyn Kitty.

As a child growing up in Shiprock, Kenneth's love for the outdoors grew as he explored the land and learned to hunt and fish from his father and older brothers.

But this outdoorsman showed a softer side, too, as his grandmother's protector and by teasing his mother, Flournoy said.

When Kenneth joined the military after graduating from Shiprock High School in 1987, it was no surprise to the Westbrook family.

"It was early in life that he showed his desire to be in the Army," Flournoy said. "We (the family) could tell at an early age that it would be infantry because of the large amount of toy soldiers he went through and the MREs he would eat."

Kenneth, 41, served 22 years and was a month away from retirement when he died Oct. 7 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., of wounds suffered Sept. 8 when insurgents attacked his unit in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division.

He is Kinlichíi'nii (Red House Clan), born for Bilagáana (Anglo) and is the son of Marshall and Ruth A. Westbrook of Farmington.

Kenneth met his wife, Charlene, when they were children. The Westbrook family became accustomed to Charlene's presence within the family.

Kenneth and Charlene, 40, were married in October 1987. They have three sons - Zachary, 20, Joshua, 18, and Joseph, 14.

Kenneth took seriously his responsibility to provide for his family, which did not end at Charlene and the boys. His love included the family dog, Baby Girl.

Baby Girl, a black longhaired Chihuahua, followed the boys home from school one day and adopted the family as her own. It was common to see Kenneth and Baby Girl at the grocery store and or home where he would carry her on his shoulders. The two also took afternoon naps together.

"They were joined at the hip," Flournoy said.

Spirituality played an important role throughout Kenneth's life. Wherever his family moved, he asked Charlene to find a church to attend and to teach their sons about religion. One of his last requests was asking his mother for a copy of the Lord's Prayer.

"He wanted it posted so he could see it and Char said he seemed to meditate on it when he was hurting," Flournoy said. "Our prayers for healing were answered, not the way we would have chosen, but our heavenly father was in control."

Kenneth is the second son the Westbrook family has lost to war. His brother, Army Sgt. Marshall Alan Westbrook, 43, of Farmington, was killed Oct. 1, 2005, in Iraq. Marshall was assigned to the 126th Military Police Co. of the New Mexico Army National Guard.

Capt. Brian Finch, a Navy chaplain, elaborated on Kenneth's spiritual devotion. During Finch's message he quoted James 4:13-15, which contains the passage, "You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes."

Finch said Kenneth understood that life is brief but God's message is eternal.

The chaplain and the soldier became friends in Germany. One day Kenneth asked Finch for guidance when his unit was waiting deployment during the Persian Gulf War.

"I told him, 'Keep doing what you're doing, you'll live to fight another day,'" Finch said.

Vice President Ben Shelly spoke about the loss felt by Kenneth's fellow tribal members. Shelly presented the family with an official proclamation honoring Kenneth's service and ordering all flags on the Navajo Nation be lowered to half-staff.

The family was also presented with the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star, awarded posthumously to Kenneth by the Army.

Karen Stevens, a member of the Farmington-Four Corners Chapter of Blue Star Mothers, spoke about the tremendous loss felt by the family.

"I hope you can find comfort in knowing that God has both Kenneth and Alan together now and they are in a far better place than you and I are," Stevens said. "The days and nights ahead are going to be extremely difficult and I hope your healing will begin today."

Kenneth was laid to rest in Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Shiprock.

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