Posted by: mmstanger | May 29, 2010

Celebrating Dad (and Others who Have Served Our Country)


Just a quick post today as we head into Memorial Day weekend…  I want to give a shout out to say, “Thank you!” to my dad (brother, uncles, cousin, husband and all!) who have served our country through the military.  Recently, I have been typing Dad’s Vietnam memoir for him.  What a story! And, what an honor it is to share in learning more about the honest truth about how he (and others) served.  One day, I pray it becomes some sort of book or movie so others can benefit from it!

And, while I am talking about dad and a desire to share parts of his story and mission, I also wanted to mention a more recent “battle” Dad has been fighting.

Dad spent the latter part of his working years as an FAA Special Agent.  When he retired, after 9-11, he took on fighting for the families of those most affected by 9-11, as well as continuing his mission to increase physical security in our nation.  Raw at times, always dedicated and seeking truth and improvement, Dad continues his quest daily.  As part of this, he played a significant role in the filming of Please Remove Your Shoes, a revealing documentary about broken government process, which, as Dad put in in a recent email:  is an empathetic story about a half dozen public servants who try to fix “the system” on a familiar topic to all of us who have flown in the last fifteen years – the security routine at the airport, first the FAA and now the TSA.  It examines the period before 911 and the current situation nine years later and asks the questions that make Washington squirm: “Are we really any better for all our money spent? Or is it safe to say that nothing has changed?”

Flag and  Shoes

The Cast

The cast of Please Remove Your Shoes is composed of dedicated professionals from the trenches of US Government. Current and former FAA and TSA managers, inspection team leaders, and Federal Air Marshals, the principal commentators for the film have seen the dark side of government laziness, corruption, and cronyism just as they have tried to change it for our benefit from within. Thoroughly dedicated public servants, they offer a striking contrast to the nepotistic management within the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration to whom they report. They all come from a background of military and law enforcement, and they expect to be treated as professionals, and lash out when they are not.

Divided into three pre 911 and three post 911 federal participants, they are all frustrated with the inflexibility and bureaucratic inability of government to listen to “the field,” as they initially try to prevent 911 and later to prevent a repeat of 911. They are at times angry, at times sarcastic, though always instructional, and  clear about their motives. “I don’t work for the TSA,” explains one participant. “I work for a farmer in Kansas, a waitress in LA I’ve never met, and a money manager in Boston I’ve never seen. These are the people who pay my salary, and my oath of office is for them, not some bureaucrat in Washington…not even the President of the United States.”

Supplementing our six key figures are an officer from the US Justice Dept. two seasoned congressman, including the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and a Washington reporter, who all add gravity and factual detail to the stories of our “seasoned six” and the accounts from two passengers of two harrowing incidents which will make you question whether the seven billion dollars we pay each year for TSA has bought us anything at all besides abuse and humiliation at the nation’s airports.

For those in the Plymouth, MA area, a free screening of the movie is coming up:

Monday June 14, 2010
7:00 PM until 8:30 PM

Location: Fehlow Room, Main Library, 132 South Street , Plymouth, MA

May we all pause a moment today to honor those who have served, and those that continue to serve, our nation, fighting for our freedom and safety.  I thank each one of you, and, today, especially, Dad!


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