Anthony Joseph Coladonato, 47, 1 World Trade Center

Filed under:D. Sirmize, Guest, Inspiring, Web Log (Blog) — posted by D. Sirmize on September 11, 2006 @ 6:52 am

Officially, Tony Coladonato is not part of my 2996 Project assignment, but I would like to take this occasion to post my thoughts on him as well. 

For me, four or five days ran together as one. Life had stopped in time. Cable news stations ran constant without commercials. The ins and outs of every day American life were shrouded in a dark cloud of confusion and anger. Nobody knew how to feel. People still went to work, still shopped for groceries. But everybody was quiet.

What exactly had happened and who was to blame? A busy day at work had shielded me from most of the initial reporting of planes crashing and towers falling. I had no concept of the magnitude of what had happened. Too consumed with wrapping my brain around the physical events of that morning, I hadn’t thought about the human aspect of the whole thing. It wasn’t until I got home that night and began watching the coverage that my heart was broken.

I remember the moment. I was watching the Fox News Channel, which was interviewing people who had lost family members. They held up pictures that they showed the world, begging for some kind of help in finding their loved ones. At the time, the human toll of the attacks was still up in the air. As far as Sal Coladonato knew, his brother Tony was simply missing.

It was Sal and another brother, I think. The despair in their voices was overwhelming. As she interviewed the brothers, anchor Linda Vester struggled to keep her composure. As the men spoke of their brother, her eyes welled up with tears. Her emotional threshold was reached. So was mine.

Sal Coladonato held a picture of his brother Tony, which, along with his name, was burned eternally into my mind and heart. Tony became my emotional tie to 9/11 and the focal point of my experience. Suddenly the how’s and why’s didn’t matter so much anymore. It was the people. It was Tony. a regular guy, an employee for Cantor Fitzgerald. I prayed then. Right there in front of the TV. Maybe even out loud. I prayed for Tony, but I also prayed for his family. I couldn’t fathom how I would have felt in their shoes.

I wanted so badly to help. To somehow get to New York and help in the search. But I could do nothing. The only thing I could do was watch the coverage, and pray. Time went on. Cable news stations started taking commercial breaks again. Life continued, but I was different. We all were. My heart was touched by the victims and heroes of that day. Despair eventually evolved into love and hope. I tried several times to contact the family of Tony Coladonato with no success. I posted comments on a few tribute websites that I can no longer find, but which I hope his family has read.

Though they never knew it, Tony and his family taught me priceless things and have helped change my life for the better. The websites refer to him formally by his full name- Anthony Joseph Coladonato. I will always remember him as Tony.

As part of the 2996 Project, Kate has a full tribute to Tony.

Print This Post   E-Mail This Post/Page

An Inspiring Speech by an Inspired Man

Filed under:Guest, D. Sirmize, Inspiring, Web Log (Blog), Politics, Video, Opinion — posted by D. Sirmize on August 15, 2006 @ 12:04 pm


The following is the partial text of graduation speech at the completion of Infantry training of the Army 2nd Battalion, 58th Infantry at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The Colonel’s speech echoes the feelings I have for my country, my respect for our military, and my frustration with the disrespect that is shown both by the liberal establishment and the mainstream media.  In these times when patriotism seems to be on the decline, this speech gives me hope.  The date is April 21, 2006.  The speaker is LTC Randoph C. White, Jr. 

These men are special for many reasons but the fact that they stood up and said “send me” at time of war speaks volumes as to their character. Becoming a member of the military is always a big decision, but to do so at time of war speaks well of a young man who could have easily opted for a safer existence.

You out there on the parade field- Don’t ever think that the kids running around on some college campuses protesting and whining have anything on you. you are privileged to have the one advantage that all covet… you will know many of life’s truths – you’ll know about the goings on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, the Philippines, the Balkans and many other places. You won’t have to guess or base an opinion on some bespectacled so called expert, or Hollywood “professional pretender” who defines danger as crossing the street, leaving campus, or having a decaf latte instead of a regular. Your head will not be filled with the empty theory of the old pathetic slackers who teach on many campuses… the ones who ran to Canada, or hid out in Europe, while many of the vets with us here today put it all on the line in a place called Vietnam.  The snide arrogant crowd who spend the day blaming America for every wrong in the world before going home to sleep at night under the blanket of freedom provided by better men.

You’ll see more in the next 5 years than many will in a lifetime, and because of this you will know some of life’s hard truths and some of its purest devotions. You’ll never have to guess.

I know that these complimentary words may come as a surprise to some of you because we have tried to be hard on you…hard because what lies ahead will be tremendously challenging and for many the defining chapter of your lives. Life as an infantryman is not easy, and the collective goal of those of us charged with your training has been to make sure that you understand that. Your drill sergeants and commanders have humped the steep mountains of Afghanistan with a 120 pound rucksack on their back — grasping for breath in the thin mountain air in pursuit of the enemy — quadricep muscles screaming — back aching, sleep and rest not forthcoming…your drill sergeant has chased the enemy through the streets of Baghdad or Ramadi… reacted to IED’s, and fought the enemy from 10 feet away.

Don’t let the pessimistic television talking heads, high browed newspaper writers, Hollywood idiots, or any other faction of the “blame america first” crowd get you down! I’m speaking of the “latte biscotti crowd”. They are simple background chatter men….and will always exist on the periphery of any endeavor that requires selfless service or loyalty. They are not worthy of your concern and truth be told – in the pit of their cowardly hearts – they wish they could be like you.

I for one will never…ever… apologize for being an American and don’t you ever feel that you have to. We’re not perfect but I can think of no place better. We didn’t become the great country that we are by accident….we earned it! —- And while we were at it— we kept and continue to keep a large portion of the world free. American blood and sacrifice is the indisputable part of the world equation. More people in this world are trying to come to our shores than any other country. We remain the beacon of hope for many, and god willing it will always be so. We’re number 1…don’t apologize for it – be damn proud.

Full text of the Colonel’s speech is here, video here. I recommend the video.

Print This Post   E-Mail This Post/Page

Rose in Full Bloom at Grandma's

Filed under:Photography, Inspiring, Cool Stuff, Friends, Family — posted by Tyler on June 9, 2006 @ 5:55 pm

Full Bloom
Originally uploaded by Tyler Slack.

I used my new macro skills that John clued me in on and took some pictures at Grandma’s house. Here is one of seven that I really thought turned out well.

View the others here and let me know which one is your favorite. (Hint: you can view the photos in full size and see the detail of the picture. Just click on “All Sizes” at the top left corner above the picture.)
I’m really loving the fact that I can take what seem to me to be awesome pictures just because of a simple camera setting. I’m in the market for a good digital camera now. The one I’m using doesn’t take pictures that I can print any bigger than 3×5. It would be so cool to print these out at 5×7 or 8×10 and frame them in our living room!

I took some pictures of the kids, too. I’ll upload that set of pictures when I feel like I’ve completed the set. My sister-in-law, Heather, has always taken great pictures of my kids. In fact, I have a couple of pictures that she took of Sami and her daughter Jaylee that I’m going to frame for my office. She’s another inspiration for me; she has a really good eye.

Print This Post   E-Mail This Post/Page

Guitar Lessons Starting Soon

Filed under:Inspiring, Cool Stuff, Video — posted by Tyler on May 18, 2006 @ 11:06 pm

My boss is quite the guitar player and he only started about three years ago, so I’m extra impressed. He’s going to start teaching me starting next week and I’m really excited to learn. I tried to pick up the guitar once before (acoustic…this time I’m going to start on electric), but I didn’t stick to it. It hurt my fingers (which I hear is pretty normal) and I never did it long enough to get past that point where you develop calluses and your fingers don’t feel bent up and misshapen. I’m determined to stick to it this time.

I was watching Conan O’Brien tonight and he showed a clip of a guitar player (Ben Litchman) that I was impressed with. He played the “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” theme song. What’s really cool is that he’s apparently playing the bass line and the melody on one guitar. I imagine this takes a bit of skill. Judge for yourself.

Print This Post   E-Mail This Post/Page

Ousland & Horn Arrive at North Pole after 61 Day Journey

Filed under:Inspiring, Cool Stuff — posted by Tyler on March 23, 2006 @ 11:57 am

I’ve been following the amazing journey of two amazing explorers for the last month. Borge Ousland and Mike Horn set off across the semi-frozen Arctic Ocean on January 22, 2006 in the dark of winter. They didn’t see light again until a couple of weeks ago, and then only for a few hours at a time.

Their goal was to reach the North Pole before the first sunrise. They missed that goal by a few days, but it’s amazing they made it at all. They encountered polar bears, swam through freezing water, fought an infection caused by toxic food caused by a possible fuel leak in their packs, dealt with breaking skis that needed constant repair, not to mention the 1,000 km walked through sub-zero temperatures in the dark!!

I’m truly amazed at the will-power of these two individuals. I certainly don’t see what would be fun about this expedition, but their journey certainly would make a decent movie. Set design shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Like me, my Mom followed their journey by reading their blogs. That’s one of the great things about this particular adventure; we were all able to go on it with them through the power of technology. My mom said in an email entitled “North Pole!”:

I’m so excited for Borge and Mike to make it to the North Pole tomorrow! I’m delighted that Mike is finally feeling better! It has been so fun following their progress every day. Thanks so much Tyler for your blogs that alerted me to this adventure…it was so fun to follow!

You can catch up by reading Mike’s blog or Borge’s blog. I’m sure we’ll get more information in the coming weeks after they get back. They’re hanging out at the North Pole for the next few days until a Russian helicopter can pick them up and take them to a base 100 miles away. They’ll be there for a week until a plane can fly in. On the plane will be their relieved family to celebrate this record breaking accomplishment.

Print This Post   E-Mail This Post/Page

previous page · next page

Blog contents copyright © 2006 Tyler Slack