R.W. HamptonR.W. HamptonR.W. HamptonR.W. Hampton

Posts Tagged ‘Marines’

She’s Not For Sale

Posted on: May 28th, 2012 by R.W. Hampton 5 Comments

American Flag @ Washington Cemetary

Not For Sale

There’s a trail of blood

Back through the sacred halls of history

Follow it back to where our fathers fought and died

Across the waves see the crosses on the hillside

On the wind hear their voices as they cry

We’ve got to get back

To the faith of our fathers

And find our way back

To the Liberty Bell

And never forget that ol’ flag

And all she stands for

It’s time to rise up and say

“This country’s not for sale!”

She’s not for sale

From Valley Forge they’re callin’

Not for sale

From Gettysburg they cry

From Belleauwood to the battle for Fallujah

She’s not for sale no, not at any price

There was a time

When we all stood together

There was a time

When by fire we were tried

But we lost our way

And it’s a way that cost so dearly

It’s not too late

To saddle up and ride

We’ve got to get back

To the faith of our fathers

And find our way back

To the Liberty Bell

And never forget

That ol’ flag and all she stands for

It’s time to tell Washington

“My country’s not for sale!”

From the Alamo hear ’em call

To the sands of Iwo Jima

From Normandy hear ’em cry

To that Chossen Reservoir

Back to Battan

To the muddy Mekong Delta

From the Helmand Province

To the Solomon’s bloody shores

They cry

We’ve got to get back

To the faith of our fathers

Written by R.W. and Lisa Hampton – ©June 2010

Flags at Sunset

Hampton’s Cimarron Sounds, BMI

R.W. is in the process of recording this song as well as another, “Hell in a Helmet” with the proceeds to be donated to a Wounded Warrior program close to his heart.

If you are interested in contributing to this cause please contact the Hamptons at rw@rwhamton(dot)com or call their office in New Mexico 1-800-392-0822.

To see R.W.’s Youtube Version of this song recorded on his porch at Clearview Ranch right after the song was written click here:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChXt_c0uOwg

The Face of Memorial Day

Posted on: May 27th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton No Comments

Honor - public image - photographer unknown

Memorial Day weekend is usually packed with BBQs, picnics, fishing at the lake, the first camp-out of summer, and graduations across the country. All celebrations of life, of milestones made, of classes finished, of hard-work accomplished. But on Monday, as we gather with family and friends please keep this face of Memorial day in mind.

On this weekend I hope every American thinks about the love of his country that this handsome young boy’s father must have had. He is representative of all the children who have lost a parent to war. He represents all the family members who have felt that lose so keenly.

My own father was but a toddler when his mother received news that my grandfather’s ship had been sunk in the Pacific returning from a battle and that only a handful of survivors had been rescued. Although my grandfather was never found so that my father, grandmother and family could have a service, his loss was no less painful for them.

The young man in this photo had a father who gave up his life in a battle that we sent him to fight. He wasn’t a Marine because he needed a job and he wasn’t a hero because he needed a college degree on America’s dime. He was something more than most of us could ever hope to be…and all Americans need to be able to look this child in the eyes and tell him that we truly honor his father and we will NEVER take his sacrifice for granted.

Americans owe him nothing less.

I have been to a full military funeral for a Marine who gave his life recently in Afghanistan and I know the same scene as is in the photo above has played out many times across America.

This young boy has a long road ahead but he is holding his head up and making his father proud…now we need to make his father proud of us.

Stand up America and on this Memorial Day and remember what it is about our country that is worth dying for, and NEVER for one moment forget those who have sacraficed for it.

Jiggity Jig

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 4 Comments

 

Wyoming 2012

Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

Whoever wrote that certainly wasn’t returning from almost THREE full months on the road with two kids.  It was more like “Home again, home again, collapse at the door…”

Yes, three (3) months.  What started as a two year commitment to travel with the kids and homeschool them has, over the past three months, turned into a true once-in-a lifetime adventure we never could have imagined.  I can say in all honesty that given the opportunity, I would do it all over again.  But, if you had showed me last fall a map and calendar of what 2012 was shaping up into, I think I probably would have chickened out. 

Maybe that’s why God doesn’t lay out everything He has in store for us all at once.  Consider all the things we would miss in life when the mountain in front of us looks too high to climb.

Well, I guess that brings me back here, home after almost three full months traveling in an SUV on the road with two very active and energetic young boys.  And where is here?  Well, it’s a state of exhaustion, amazement, enlightenment, and sheer awe at all the truly wonderful things and people we met and visited along the way. 

 Elko 2012

We began the adventure at the end of January with a trip back to the annual National Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in Elko, Nevada.  Neither of these boys had been to Elko and I hadn’t been back with R.W. in years.  The best thing about Elko and its legendary gathering – it never changes.  It is pure “cowboy” in so many ways and yet it constantly seeks to show how our culture is so connected to similar cultures and people from around the world who are so very different but have much in common.  The artistry displayed, heard and shared at Elko is like nowhere else; a venerable feast for the cowboy (or cowgirl) spirit.  Buckaroos, cowpunchers, vaqueros, ranchers, friends, fans, family – they all gather for one week to experience the expression of that spirit and to feed their own souls with music, poetry, stories, art, culture, and friends.

Two days up to Elko through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, a four day stay for the gathering, then another two days back home.  The following week at home flew by with doctor appointments, business meetings, church meetings, a Boy Scout banquet that required a cake and table center-piece, car tune up and oil change, surgery on a sick horse, and setting up everything for the five-week trip we were about to embark upon. Not to mention the usual stuff that goes on like home-school, music business, ranch chores, and dealing with a winter storm.

Tennessee 2012

Then it was off to the East! With the excitement of a new adventure we loaded up and pointed the SUV towards Texas. And then Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee where we started out the musical portion of the trip in Nashville with R.W. filming a couple of music videos right down on Music Row.  The next day R.W. was invited to a singer-songwriter night at Douglas Cafe and connecting with both new friends (including the up-and-coming new group The Henningsens (who have written several top hits for The Band Perry), and old friends (like cowboy partner Dave C. who manages Charlie Daniels, and fellow Savannah Music artist, Michelle Wright).  No matter what industry you are in, it is always great re-connecting with the folks you hope to work with in the future. 

From Nashville it was off to Pigeon Forge for a four day festival called Saddle Up (one of our personal favorites!), then down to Chattanooga, farther south to Georgia, back up to Chattanooga, over to South Carolina, up to North Carolina, and then Virginia for over a week at the Williamsburg Film Festival. From there we headed back West through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma… You get the picture.

Inside Raccoon Mtn, TN 2012

TN. Racoon Mtn.2012

Along the way we went caving in Chattanooga, had a blast at Rock City, visited Wade Hampton III’s homes in Columbia, SC.

Pillars remain at WadeHamptonIIIs.2012

We toured historic Jamestown and Williamsburg, where we all spent some time in the stocks.  The boys and I spent an afternoon at the beach on the Atlantic side of America and even got to watch the regal USS Enterprise ship out on her final deployment before she is decommissioned.

In the Stocks in Williamsburg.2012

Somewhere along the way we toured the Great Smoky Mountains, Monticello, Greenbrier Resort, Churchill Downs and the majestic Gateway Arch in St Louis, Mo among other things.

Monticello.Spring2012.photo by Denver Crowder

The Boys on the steps of Monticello

Jefferson's Gardens.2012

You might think that after those five weeks a little rest was in order, but no, thankfully R.W. had another job waiting for him in Texas the next weekend to help pay for all our fun!  So after five days of “rest” and unpacking, repacking, ranch repairs, another car tune-up, and several kids’ activities it was time to load up and head back to Northeast Texas for another five days on the road.  (Thankfully for me, this was an “all male event” so I was able to stay home and at least get the laundry caught up!)

Home again, home again, jiggity jig… for another five day stretch of rest, repairs, and repacking then off to West Texas to our daughter’s hometown to celebrate  Easter with her, her husband, their two boys, and a bunch of his side of the family.  Not a bad little trip at all but we were starting to feel the miles each time we clicked those seatbelts on.

Driving... some more

After a big four day rest it was off again! Destination: Kansas… in tornado season no less.  As the weather reports started warning of one of the biggest storm systems in current history R.W. and one of the boys loaded back up for what our son was convinced was going to be a “really exciting” trip to see a tornado.  Fortunately for me, as I was a nervous wreck waiting at home, the excitement didn’t turn out like he had hoped and the event which was to be held outdoors at a local riding arena was moved to a theater downtown that also doubled as a storm-shelter.  Unfortunately, for the good folks putting on the event, the attraction of holding the concert in a location that doubled as a storm shelter still wasn’t enough to convince a good portion of those who had planned on attending to leave their homes and brave the unknown forecasted weather.

With the excitement behind them the boys returned home with a little less jiggity jig for a whopping two day rest.  With over twenty states covered in less than 2 1/2 months it was time to complete the circle of the Central United States by heading west again, this time to Santa Clarita, California just north of Los Angles.

As we once again loaded suitcases, CDs, a plastic crate of our school books & lesson plans, R.W.’s guitar, hats, boots, a few toys, a box of office work I hoped to finish, and assorted drinks, snacks and cell phones I had to laugh at how we had managed to perfect our use of space. Even our five year old knew the drill by heart and loaded without complaint.  (Of course it didn’t hurt that there were a few days set aside for family fun at Disneyland ahead either!)

Goofy and Ethan being... goofyThe next 13 days included travel days across New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California; a quick visit to one of our sons who is stationed at the Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Base; several days at the annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Music Festival, two days in the recording studio working on some new songs, a visit to Disneyland with four generations of our family present, an afternoon visiting the Grand Canyon, and the drive back across Arizona and New Mexico. 

 The Grand Canyon.2012

Yes, by the time we got back late last Monday night our jiggity jig was completely gone.  But can you imagine missing all or any of that?  What an adventure! What a great experience for our boys!  What memories we have made!  What fantastic things they have learned and people they have met!

So, another week at home and although it was full of unpacking, repacking, shipping orders, homeschool, cleaning house, cleaning up the yard, and end of the school year activities we seem to have gotten our jiggity jig back so we head out again for Texas this afternoon.  Each time it’s been a little harder to load up and drive off, but we won’t ever have the chance to make those miles and memories again, so why not? 

Our travel times with our youngest boys won’t last forever so we cherish these trips plus it’s even more fun having you along for the ride. And, essentially we owe it all to you, because without you and your support we wouldn’t have the chance to share this wonderful country without children this way. Without you, R.W. would just be a great voice singing around the campfire in some remote cow-camp.  I can’t imagine our life without you, so I’m so glad you have not only joined us on our adventure – but you are the whole reason for it!

Thanks!  The Hamptons, Lisa, R.W., and of course, “the boys”

Veteran’s Day thoughts… For Those Who Have Signed the Dotted Line

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by Lisa Hampton 3 Comments

If you have been a fan of R.W. Hampton music for longer than, well, let’s say 4 minutes, (which is the amount of time it takes to listen to most of his songs), you know that R.W. is feverishly patriotic.

Yes, patriotism runs deep in the Hampton family and days like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are not merely for putting out the flag, but a time when we pause to honor those around us who have served our nation or are currently serving. 

On these special days we get a chance to stand up and thank those around us who have signed that dotted line saying “America, I’m yours.  I will stand up and fight for you, your citizens, your government, your flag and all that it stands for.  Regardless of whether I like that government, those citizens, or the cause I have been sent to accomplish.  Because as an American, I believe that in the end, right will win; evil will be conquered; freedom will reign and my family, my country, and my fellow soldier/marine/sailor/airman needs me.”     

Yes, these are special days.  Not just to honor men like these.

Members of the US Navy in Pacific Theater - WWII                    And these.        Sgt G Meisner, 2/9 Fox Co

 

But also these.                        2/9 Golf Co Ar Ramadi 2009

And women like these.   WAAC WWII

 

Violet Askins aka Violet Hill Gordon

Women Soldiers in AfghanistanAnd these… 

They are what make our country great. 

It’s what’s inside them.  They know that they were willing to stand up for their country and sign that dotted line. Willing to face our enemies in that  moment of battle and know the courage it takes.

Neither R.W. nor I have done this.  Signed the dotted line.  Faced our enemies across a battlefield.  

Brig General TC Lyster - Theodore C. Lyster is a familiar name to aerospace medicine physicians. His early recognition of the unique physical requirements of aviators, the specialized training necessary for flight surgeons, and the need for altitude physiology research provided the foundation on which the specialty of aviation medicine was built. Lyster's medical career, however, encompassed much more than aviation medicine. From his earliest assignment as a contract physician in Cuba in 1899 until his entry into private practice in 1921, he was heavily involved with the fight against yellow fever. In the era before medical residencies were commonplace, Lyster sought out training in ophthalmology and otolaryngology in the U.S. and abroad. His clinical and organizational abilities made him a valuable asset during the construction of the Panama Canal and during World War I. Lyster's many talents and his philosophy about aviation medicine make him a worthy role model for flight surgeons today.

Brig General TC Lyster, 1875 - 1933da

 

Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines. 
Our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and our oldest son, Cooper, have all signed it. 
Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

For as R.W. said to me one day, “My greatest disappointment in life as an adult is that I will never know if I had it inside me to do what they have done; to face what they have faced and to know that I did my part for my country.”

And so, although we are not Veteran’s ourselves, our part now is to support and honor these men and women who are.  To encourage them, to enlighten our community to their sacrifices, and to keep their memories alive; this is our job now. 

 God bless everyone of our Veterans.  We go to sleep tonight safe because at one point you had the courage to sign that dotted line.

OXO – Lisa H.

Marine Corps 236th Birthday

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments
Sgt Hampton with President GW Bush

Sgt Hampton, USMC with President GW Bush in the Oval Office

Happy Birthday Marines!!!!

Our Marine is in California this year celebrating with his wife at a Marine Corps Ball. We know he’ll be wearing his dress blues tonight and she’ll be decked out too.  We can’t wait to see the pictures! But, since they haven’t sent us any yet from the evening we thought we would post this picture instead.

Of course, this moment in time was a few years back; our Marine had a chance to get his picture taken with the President after completing his “tour” of duty in DC.  He went on to do two combat tours in the Middle East, returning this past February from a tour in one of the “Hot Spots” in Afghanistan with his battalion, the 2/9.  He recently transfered to the West Coast and will be stationed state-side for a while we hope, enjoying his family and being a machine gunner’s instructor/evaluator.

To those of you who share this birthday, we wish you the very best.  And the rest of you, we hope you have a chance to get to know these fine men and women who have been defending our country for the past 236 years.  Semper Fi friends.

Sincerely,

R.W. and Lisa

The Homecoming of the 2/9

Posted on: March 18th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 19 Comments

The night of February 10 found me in Camp Lejeune, NC, to welcome home the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines from their combat deployment in deadly Marjah, Afghanistan. More specifically, I was waiting for my oldest son, Platoon Sergeant Cooper Hampton of Golf Company. This was Coop’s second deployment, so the waiting was not new; but somehow, with the constant flow of almost instant information via email and Facebook, the months passed by slow and long.

I had made a conscious decision from the start to be “in the know.” This meant being familiar with Helmand Province, its people, geography, topography, politics, customs and even weather. Our clock on the fireplace mantle was set to Marjah time, 10 ½ hrs later than our Mountain Standard Time.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton on patrol in Helmand Province, Afghanistan

Being “in the know” also meant starting and ending every day checking emails, Facebook and the news reports, trading information and updates with other family members. Even though our boys had no electricity or running water at their FOB (Forward Operating Base), we were able to receive short messages and even photos by virtue of generator-powered laptops. At times when all communication ceased, we knew we had lost one of our boys and the next of kin were being contacted. Through photos, video clips and short messages, we knew that our boys were “mixing it up” with the Taliban on an almost daily basis.

And so it seems in a strange way that somehow the lives of these young warriors, their families and our lives are forever entwined, and that on some level we, too, had fought and experienced the joys, sorrows, victories and losses.

It was all of these things and more that had my heart full and running over that cold, wet night. Along with dozens of others, I crowded into a Marine base gymnasium to wait. The scene could best be described as like a Norman Rockwell painting where people of all ages, carrying banners and balloons, eating hotdogs and drinking coffee, were passing the time visiting, playing bingo and doing crossword puzzles. There were grandpas and grandmas, moms and dads, and pretty young women dressed in their finest pushing baby strollers. Charlie Daniels’ music played over an ancient P.A. system that also brought us an occasional update on the status of our loved ones.

We were told that our boys had flown from Germany to the Marine Corps air base at Cherry Point, NC, and were being bused from there to Camp Lejeune. Although I’d never set foot in that gymnasium before, I felt as much at home there as any place I’ve ever been before or since. I felt as if I’d walked into a church social that had no beginning or end, no specific time or location. Just anywhere, anytime USA.

The spell was broken when a fella with a strong New England accent walked up and said, “You must be Coop’s dad.” 

“You got that right!”

My new Yankee friend explained, “I’m Nate’s dad!”

We visited a while, then a new update came over the P.A.: Fox and Golf Companies were on base. They’d check in their weapons at the armory and be marching in soon. They’d be here in 30 minutes to an hour.

You could feel the level of excitement grow as folks lined up to use the restroom and get one more cup of coffee before going out into the cold, damp, North Carolina night. As I refilled my coffee cup, a man beside me, sporting a ball cap that read “Proud Grandfather of a US  Marine” was doctoring his coffee with a little Red Stag whiskey.

“Want some?” he asked.

“You bet!” I said, “If there was ever a night to celebrate, this is it!”

“Amen to that!” was his reply.

I looked at the clock. It was a little after 11 p.m. I got a little nostalgic thinking that almost 24 years ago I was anxiously awaiting my son’s arrival into the world. Now here I was, waiting for that same son, no longer an infant but a hardened combat veteran, to return home from yet another world. Somehow I find that this waiting is just as intense as that first waiting was so long ago. And the questions are the same, too. What will he look like? How will he be? Will he be glad to see me? What will I say? How strange, I thought, these circles life takes us in.

Platoon Sgt. Cooper Hampton

As I look around I see that others are dealing with these strange emotions as well, and I’m glad we’re all going out into the night together where tears of joy and raw emotion can have their way. I watch as a lovely young woman checks her makeup one last time while another tells her three young kids that “Daddy’s on his way!” An older couple readies their balloons; they even have a bottle of champagne to open. I nervously fumble for my phone to send a quick text to the family back home, “It won’t be long now!”

As folks are making their final preparations, it occurs to me this scene is as old as time itself. Many, if not most, have had long, hard trips to get to this place. All have been waiting for hours, but no one is complaining, just counting down the moments, the seconds! This scene has played out for as long as men and women have gone to war.

My thoughts are interrupted when a woman at the gym entrance calmly but urgently announces, “They’re coming!” All talking stops as everyone heads for the door and out into the night. It is pitch black, but almost as if by instinct people line up around the edges of the cold, wet parade ground. Not a word is spoken and not a sound can be heard but that of marching boots as they get louder and louder. Eyes strain to see in the blackness and then, like ghosts, I can see the silhouettes of men getting closer. Then, in perfect formation, they halt in front of the waiting crowd. Faceless and unidentifiable, yet only an arm’s length away. Time and breathing seemed to have stopped as one lone voice said, “At ease, men. Well done and welcome home. You are dismissed!”

The waiting crowd started making their way forward to find their loved ones. Some called out names, while others held up cell phones to see. As I waded into the crowd to start my search, I could faintly make out forms as they reunited and quietly slipped away. In the shadows I could see couples locked in embrace, oblivious to their surroundings, as if they were earth’s only inhabitants. I saw tall, straight, young, fighting men holding tiny babies for the first time, and whole families, holding each other, laughing, crying, as if one. I could hear children crying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” I felt almost as if I was on Holy ground as I wandered through these scenes looking for my son.

“Cooper, Coop, Sergeant Hampton!” I called over and over, each time a little louder until a faceless voice said, “He’s in here somewhere, sir, just saw him.”

“Thanks,” I said as I wandered on. Finally I stopped and stood but an arm’s length away from a silhouette that I knew that I knew. After what seemed like forever, a strong voice said, “Dad!” and my not so strong reply, “Coop, oh son, my son, you big, beautiful son of a bitch, God bless ya, welcome home!” I held his face in my hands, making sure this was not a dream. We hugged as men do, laughed, cried, slapped each other on the back – afraid to turn loose, as if this was not real and would all go away.

The circle was complete.

The Trouble with Christmas

Posted on: December 24th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton No Comments

The trouble with Christmas for me is that it’s always hard to find. Every year it’s the same; in fact, it seems to get a little harder as I get older. It’s that elusive Christmas Spirit, that old time feeling of wonder and joy that seems just beyond reach. Without it, I’m just a tired, over-extended, over-spent man waiting on this all to pass so a new year can start. Snow won’t make it happen, nor will the music. Although they can sure add to the spirit of the season, these things alone are not enough. I swear sometimes between the spending, ordering and charging, my heart cries out, “Where’s Christmas? Where is baby Jesus? Where’s the Christ Child in all of this?”

The frustrating part is that every now and then, I can catch a tinge of it, but it slips away just before I can grasp it. Like the scent of sage on the breeze, it’s gone before I can savor it, ‘cause the breeze has died. And then, when I least expect it, it will return, only to drift away again on that fickle gypsy wind.

If only I could see Christmas through the eyes of a child again. For was it not a boy child who brought us the original Christmas Miracle? I’ve got memories of that wonder and joy, but memories aren’t enough and time is getting short. Just a few more hours to go and it will all be gone for another year.

But it will come, it will happen, I just know it will. It always has and it’s always a miracle! Perhaps an unexpected phone call from a long lost friend will bring it. Or maybe the chaos of my kids and grandkids running through the house will be what does it. Just maybe it will be the realization of the blessing of getting to spend one more Christmas with both of my folks. It could happen tonight, when I see the candlelight in my wife’s eyes at the little country church service. Or possibly in the wee hours, when I’m wrapping gifts and realize that it’s already Christmas for my Marine son over in war-torn Afghanistan. I wonder, are he and his “boys” huddled together singing carols, or in another fire fight like they were on Thanksgiving? It could happen as we all join hands to pray over the wonderful Christmas dinner my wife prepares, or in the morning, when a gift that was given from the heart is unwrapped and obviously appreciated by the receiver.

For me, it could be all of these moments or none of them. It all boils down to a supernatural spiritual thing that happens in the heart when everything else is stripped away and the connection between God and man through that first miracle birth becomes real.

Well, my friends, the spirit of Christmas could even come at the close of this writing. Who knows where, when or how, but it will happen and I’ll be here waiting when it arrives.

Here’s hoping it comes for you too.

God Bless You,
R.W.

9.11.2010

Posted on: September 9th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 4 Comments

It seems like only yesterday that I watched in horror, disbelief and anger as our world was forever changed. Changed in the way we travel. Changed in the way we view our neighbors. But most profoundly for me, it is the fact that once again, we are sending our sons and daughters off to war.

Now let me be the first to say that I believe this is a must! For when you are attacked by a ruthless and cowardly enemy, you cannot shiver in the darkness waiting for the next hit. Nor can you afford the naïve and idealistic thinking that sanctions, trade embargoes and talks will stop it.

No, I believe that “taking it to them” is not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. I can say this with honesty because my oldest son is, as of this writing, doing just that, “takin’ it to ‘em!”

Coop and his buddy TBird

The problem for me is the nagging doubt I have that our government will let our sons and daughters do the job for which they are trained and willing to give their lives for. This doubt is strongly reinforced every time I read about how the troops remaining in Iraq are already back in the action and under fire. It is reinforced now when I hear Washington has already told our enemies in Afghanistan when we are going to be done and headed home. We need to let our sons and daughters know that we are behind them and let them win for a change and the payoff is a safer world for them to come home to. We owe this to our finest so that no one will have bled and died in vain.

At a time when elections are on the horizon and much is at stake politically, I want to tell our politicians from all parties , “Do what you must, but do not use my son or anyone else’s as your pawns. No, let them do their jobs. You cannot fight this war from your cherry-wood-and-leather-appointed chambers. No, it must be fought outside and over there, and it must be fought to win, and your Senate or Congressional seat be damned!”

As I close, I am looking at the picture of a young, proud, square-jawed Marine. At the bottom he has written, “We are the unwanted, doing the unthinkable, for the ungrateful. WE ARE THE MARINES.” This is my own son, and I pray his sentiments are wrong, and I pray for our leaders.

God Bless America and May We Never Forget September 11th!
R.W. Hampton

Shortgrass

Posted on: August 11th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton No Comments

The land of the shortgrass is my home. 

It is often brutal in the winter, with winds whipping off the mountains carrying storms across these high altitude plains. It can be dry as a bone into the summer, with ranchers crying for rain. And in years like this one, it is a beautiful, lush, green pasture that rolls over the land, interrupted only by the hills and ravines that have been created through time and sprinkled with the occasional grove of cottonwood or elm trees near a dirt tank oasis and scattered cactus and yuccas, which bloom in the spring.

Although what is considered the shortgrass country stretches from the Southern Rocky Mountains to Alberta, Canada, our little Clearview Ranch is located at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a chain within the Rockies here in Northeastern New Mexico. It is popular country for raising horses since it gets its name from the short, but potent, native grasses that are suited to this windy high desert region. 

There is a rugged beauty here that is evident not only in the land, but also in its inhabitants. Many an old timer has been heard to say that if you ever wear out a pair of boots here, the country will steal your heart forever. 

My oldest son, Cooper Hampton, and his best buddy, Dawson Enloe, joined the Marines together during high school.  Over the years they have set foot in many countries and worn out their boots, both overseas and around our own great nation, but they have always expressed their desire to someday come back home to the Shortgrass country, their home. 

This song was written for them.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Posted on: July 2nd, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 11 Comments

As Americans around the world get ready with family and friends to celebrate our Independence Day, I’m contemplating the few precious hours my family and I will spend with my son, US Marine Corps Sgt. Cooper Hampton, later this month before he leaves on his second combat deployment. It is a strange irony and a sobering reminder that while much has changed in our country, the cost of freedom is still the same.

So here I am with another video… a little tribute to America and all the men and women who have paid the price for our freedoms. If you like this little song, please consider forwarding it along to share with your friends. And of course, I always love to hear what you think.

Happy Independence Day, America!