September 11th 2015

“Everybody’s shot! … let’s go!”

The quote is from the movie Black Hawk Down. After receiving an order, a young private looks at his Colonel in disbelief and says, “But I’m shot.” The Colonel returns that now famous line.

I remember a writer, in the Philadelphia Inquirer I think, using that line as a metaphor for September 11th. I won’t be able to do it justice here. So I’ll just steal his idea and pile my own words around it.

We remember this day for a lot of reasons. Face Book lights up with various pictures. Several channels replay the events, some like MSNBC play it real time. President Bush’s then press secretary Ari Fleischer tweets the events in real time. He starts with the closing hours of his day on September 10th and then picks up when he woke up on September 11th 2001. It’s compelling. Find his twitter feed here: @AriFleischer

September 11th 2001 might be the singular most horrible day in the history of all of us who lived through it. So why do we relight the flame as it were? Why do we drudge up the memories of such a frightful event? Why are people, like me, hooked on watching all the news coverage over and over again on this day, now 14 years removed from the actual event?

Well, I’m not sure exactly but I think it’s because we all were shot on that day of days.

Me, I was hold up at the Noncomissioned Officers Academy in Knoxville Tennessee, as were a bunch of my friends, watching and not believing. Honestly we didn’t know it then, but we were not in harms way. Safely huddled around a TV, watching and not believing. We didn’t know it then, but we were all shot on that day. It’s important to accept that, to realize that. This wasn’t confined to New York, the Pentagon, or Shanksville. We were all shot on that day. So we remember.

The second part of the Colonel’s response is just as important. Let’s Go! I know you’re shot. I’m shot, she’s shot, everybody’s shot! Let’s go, keep going. Let’s get on with getting on.

And we have gotten on with it, on with recovery, on with life again. Obviously there are some amazing stories of triumph on and since that day. So, we remember. We remember as low as we sank, as high as we climbed, and that life did get on with it. And so did we.


Knowing that makes it safe to remember.



What do you remember most from that day of days?









Sundays with Ricky.

Good Morning Captain!

That greeting was waiting for me every Sunday at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. It was delivered with an elevating pitch, usually capped off with a salute and a hearty laugh. The homeless guys hanging around Ricky would laugh too, nervously of course. They were’t really sure about their buddy busting my chops. But after a while they accepted me in to the Sunday church parking lot crowd. I felt pretty cool about that.

Ricardo Bolden, or Ricky, worked at the church we both attended, Redeemer Presbyterian right in the heart of the University of Tennessee campus in downtown Knoxville. We had no idea who the other was. The difference was Ricky didn’t care who you were. I’m a nobody of course, but that didn’t matter to Ricky. He marched right up to me, hand out for a big shake, introduced himself and proceeded to interrogate me. Had I been in a foreign country I would have absolutely believed I was being “cased” or probed by enemy intel, his questions were that subtle but invasive.

He found out I was in the military that day. The next week and every Sunday after he would call out from the parking lot, “Morning Captain” or whatever rank he assigned to me that particular Sunday. I explained to him over and over that I was enlisted and a Master Sargent not an officer, but he didn’t care. It was more funny to call me everything but.

He reserved the rank of General for those days I was late to church and a lot of the fellas were hanging on the stoop of the church with him. They all got a good laugh out of that. Some of them would even stand up, mockingly of course. I dug that. It truly meant I was part of the gang. Getting your chops busted is the initiation into any group worth being a part of. But only Ricky would salute. That was real. I could tell that was out of respect. Not sure I ever lived up to the respect he always showed me.

As the year went on we would lament the football season. Ricky was a diehard Vols fan. When I was looking to avoid the traditional long form sermon (read excruciatingly long) I would sneak outside or to the bottom floor and find Ricky and we would fix the Vols football problems and wonder about basketball season. No matter how long that conversation went he always, and I mean always ended it with some form of the gospel. Sometimes it was a straight verse and sometimes it was his version of applying the bible to life in general. Man I never felt so overmatched.

Rest in Peace Captain

Rest in Peace Captain

I didn’t know Ricky outside of Sunday morning. He lived in the city and I live in the “burbs” of West Knoxville. Different lives to be sure. But because he was in the parking lot most Sunday mornings he was first to see our son on Frank’s first visit to church after his birth. Same thing with our daughter Anne Marie. To be honest I’m not even sure Ricky knew my name. I was always Captain or Major or Lieutenant. Once in a while he’d chuck out Sarge, and the afore mentioned General. He called me Colonel once. It was the first Sunday I saw him in March of 2010. I’ll never forget it.

I retired from the Air Force in September of 2009. My paperwork took forever to come through. Shocking I know. When it finally came in February of 2010, it was a huge box. Had no idea what it all was. Turns out to be a plaque signed by the President and a separate one signed by the Secretary of the Air Force, along with official forms regarding retirement pay and such.

Staring at the plaque from the President I realized it said, “Thank you for your dedication and service to this great country. A grateful nation thanks you COLONEL Linardo. Barak H. Obama President of the United States” All of the paper work and other plaques had the same rank, Colonel. Took over a year to unravel.

The first Sunday in March that I managed to get to church, there was Ricky greeting people in the lot. I thought, wait till he hears about all this paperwork mess. I barely get both feet out of the van and I hear “Good Morning Colonel!” The requisite homeless guys hanging with Ricky stood in acknowledgement of my lofty position before breaking into laughter.

I laughed at first cause it’s continuing confirmation that I’m still in the gang. But then it occurred to me, how the hell did he know the military messed up my paperwork and retired me at Colonel instead of Master Sargent? At that point no one at church knew that had happened. It was the only Sunday he ever promoted me to Colonel, no time before or after. When I tried to explain it to him he looked at me like I was insane. He wanted to talk about the upcoming Orange/White spring football game; the college version of pre-season scrimmage.

I always looked forward to getting my greeting and handshake on Sunday. The greeting from Ricky was always more fun than actually going to church. Sad but true. Some personal circumstances have kept us from church for a while now. I’ve not seen Ricky in almost a year. I still get church e-mails though. That’s how I found out I’ll never hear Good Morning Captain! again.

Ricardo Bolden of Knoxville Tennessee is roaming the halls of heaven, greeting his Jesus.

I wonder what rank Ricky gave Him?









Zach Rosenberg: A dad you should know.

Starting a new segment here at Frank’s Place. As I have progressed through this little social experiment called blogging I have run into some of my like kind. As it turns out there are a lot of dads out there blogging (yes I live with my head in the sand). As it also turns our most of them are better writers and much funnier than me.

Again I don’t care for people much, so what did I know. I thought I was the best thing going.

I was also never one of those big, “get out of your comfort zone” guys. That’s so dumb, people operate most efficiently in their zone.

Anyway, joining a dads blogging group on Facebook was the big get out of my zone moment.

I even interact with a lot of these dudes. Go figure.

All that to say this, there are some exceptional dads out there who write some funny and insightful stuff, sometimes both at the once. From time to time we here at Frank’s Place will highlight a dad from that group. You’ll see their picture, a brief description and some links to their blogs, FB page etc… Partake at your leisure.

Zach Rosenberg - funny and funny lookin. Hard to beat that.

Zach Rosenberg – funny and funny lookin. Hard to beat that.

The first contestant is Zach Rosenberg.

Zach Rosenberg is a fellow dad blogger and one of the two creators of 8 Bit Dad.

Don’t let that muskrat on his chin fool you. Dude can throw down when he takes pen to paper. (figurative people, figurative)

Here is the blurb from his About page on his blog:

Zach Rosenberg Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief at 8 Bit Dad.

Zach grew up under a nearby orange tree in California’s San Fernando Valley. He has worked at publications such as Filter Magazine, Geek Monthly Magazine, UNleashed Magazine, WYWS Magazine,The Los Angeles Sentinel (“the largest Black-owned newspaper on the West Coast”), and also worked on His Side with Glenn Sacks (“The largest mens’ and fathers’ issues radio show in America” in 2001). His son was born in January 2009.

A link to a few of his latest posts at 8 Bit Dad: Get your ass back to work   World’s Toughest Job

I know you’re used to the comfy, country church feel of Frank’s Place, so be warned that’s a big operation over at 8 Bit Dad. They have staff writers and such. Fear not.

Do yourself a favor, go check out Zach Rosenberg and 8 Bit Dad.