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The soldier who sat next to President Bush on Thanksgiving speaks again. (FR exclusive)GNFI alert
Brad via bigern | 12-26-03 | Brad from Iraq

Posted on 12/26/2003 8:55:43 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig

Hey to all,

Well, what a year it has been, not what I would call boring to say the least. I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I am sorry that I will not be able to spend it with you all but the war and the mission goes on. A good day for us is a boring day and no one gets hurt, but that's not very often. Our Christmas Day will probably bring a somewhat good meal and then back to missions there are no holidays here. We will conduct patrols and guard our sector. Which has not been a quiet one at all, but no where in this country really is. But we don't want sympathy we chose this as our jobs, we sacrifice everyday for the freedom that you all endure. We will do our jobs to the fullest and make this country proud the American fighting soldiers will not be broken or ever give in. That is why we are the best and continue to live on that tradition. We all remember the tragedy that happened on 9/11 and will bring that fight to them as long as they continue. Our main concern is that you all are safe from the terrorist's and if it takes us fighting them here and keeping them out of the U.S. then bring it on.

We all remember the veterans and families that have sacrificed or paid the ultimate price for freedom. They are my heroes and why this country is free today so my troops and I thank you for the privilege to serve your freedom. On Christmas Day all we ask is that you say a prayer for all the servicemen and women that are involved with the fight against terrorism. We will stand our post and let no one take that away. Yes, it is hard to be away from loved ones and friends on these days but hopefully it will better for us and our children. Don't get me wrong I would rather be with my wife right now preparing for Christmas and putting ornaments on the tree, but it won't happen this year. She is also my hero for dealing with this whole thing. But soon the time will come that I am home again, wow what a year it has been. Well, you all take care and enjoy your day just remember the troops real far away.

It is funny my guys call me the old man, 33 and I am old compared to these guys, but my maturity is long beyond those years. If you have ever served in the service you will understand, my job is harder then most every other out there in the civilian community. I ask my guys to do things that could get them hurt or worse. But they are great they give a 100% everyday and never give up, they hail from all over and most are married with kids. They are very proud and have done wonderful things over here we lead the way and prove how good we are everyday. But it has not come without sacrifice, I lost two close friends and have had 4 wounded in my platoon. The battalion has also lost four other soldiers and has taken about 40 wounded if not more. I ask that you say a prayer for their families and loved ones on this holiday for they will be minus a father, son, husband and friend. I will never forget them and fight everyday to make sure their sacrifice was not for nothing. Well, the year in summary:

We started preparing to come over as early as Nov of last year, we have not had a day off since the new year started. We got alerted in late Feb that we would leave on March 5 to come here. We left FT. Riley and arrived in Kuwait on the 7th. 10 days later we were preparing for a full assault against the Iraqi Army with the 3rd INF Div. My platoon (Third PLT) was selected to lead the Battalion Task force of 800 men on the attack from Kuwait to Baghdad. We made the assault North and moved 22 hours a day along the desert sand, thru bad weather, sand storms you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, but we pushed on. We would not be stopped, One thing I am really good at is navigation which is really difficult in the desert not much to go on as land mark, only one reason we were selected. Plus we shot expert on quals with our tanks and were the best in tactics.

We faced our first enemy in As Sammawah, then in An Nasiraya it was to easy so we knew there was more facing us. We entered the town on AN Najaf and were re assigned to the 101st Airborne Div. I love them guys, wish I could have stayed with them. We would fight the rest of the war with them, they needed tank support to clear all the cites that 3rd ID bypassed enroute to Baghdad. Not something tankers are trained for close city fighting but we adapted so quick it was great. Our first big fight came in AN Najaf and lasted two days straight until we had pushed the enemy out of the city enough to bring in more forces. I would receive an award for valorous actions during this battle and another, I will not allow soldiers to be hurt if I can help it. 11 lives were saved on an action that I made.

We continued our fight north to a town called Karbala and took that city over in two days of fighting. We were in contact the whole way from AN Najaf to Karbala. Still in the lead my guys fought with speed and accuracy taking out every enemy in our path. In Karbala we took down the huge Saddam statue that was all over the news. You could see my tank in some of the pictures. These were some rough fights but we came out with no one hurt. Had a tank hit a land mine and one roll almost all the way over in a canal network. Both were repaired in 12 hours then continued the fight. No one was hurt the tank did its job.

We then made the attack North towards Al Hillah and Al Kilaf which brought on more fighting. I made a bold decision in Al Hillah we were getting fired on from every direction. I advanced my Tank section at heavily defended area and opened up with everything I had which allowed the advance of more forces and the rest of my platoon to bypass the area and secure the other side. In the end the enemy was defeated no lives were lost and no injuries. Well the enemy, they didn't make it home for dinner. For this action and the other I would receive a Bronze Star with Valour only given for actions above and beyond the call of duty. Well, that is only brief summary of the battles. We then made our advance towards Baghdad where we are still today. We hit Baghdad on 11 Apr 03, my Birthday, what a present securing southern Baghdad. We would stay there for about 14 days holding a vital intersection for forces moving North. Then we made our last movement to Western Baghdad where we have been for the last 7 months, in a town called (censored by bigern), a hot spot for a long time. We secured the area to the North of BIAP (the airport). That would be our final resting place for 2,500 KM advance north. What a trip not what I call a vacation tour. But we joked that it was our desert tour of lovely Iraq. Since we have been here attacks are normal and life is crazy, but we continue on. We have helped the Iraqis build new schools, repair others, I used to transport money for the bank to get it restarted to downtown Baghdad, it's like driving in New York City but worse they don't know how to drive here. Well, they don't know how to drive there either. So the Bank got started and in total I transported about 10 million dollars US worth back and forth with not a single incident. We have captured plenty of bad guys and seized an immense amount of weapons. The capture of Saddam has brought more attacks but they will give up soon. It's about 75 days and we will be home hopefully and this year and a half will be over. I have been lucky to work with great guys and I have trained them well. I can't even go into all the great jobs that we have done. Just the other day I saved the lives of a lot of people as a car bomb went off at an Iraq Police department. The first one only wounded a few people but they had brought a second one in, myself and one of my tank commanders shot the second car bomber and he never got it off. So many lives were saved that day. Well, life on the home front hasn't been easy for Wendy either, a year is a long time to be away and the not knowing of what is going on I know is hard. But I love her dedication and support that she has given me to do this job. If wasn't for hers and all the support of family and friends I could not do this job. Thank you. It will be a happy day to come home and hold her in my arms again. Then to see all the family and friends. I had the great pleasure and honor to meet the President which was really cool. Got to talk to him one on one. I was selected among a lot of people. I guess I do this job pretty good. Well, I hope you all have had a great year and good luck in the next one. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New year! Love Brad


TOPICS: Announcements; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events; US: Washington
KEYWORDS: banglist; champions; gnfi; goodguys; goodnews; iraq; personalaccount; thanksgivingvisit
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This is the latest update to the previous posting from my cousin who was selected to sit next to the President at Thanksgiving Dinner in Iraq.

Kinda reads like a movie script.

1 posted on 12/26/2003 8:55:44 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig
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To: Admin Moderator
Just as the last thread, I leave it up to you to decide if thisis breaking news.
2 posted on 12/26/2003 8:56:45 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I may have been born, poor white trash, but Fancy is my name.)
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To: CyberCowboy777; Libertina; Travis McGee; Squantos; *bang_list; Billthedrill; backhoe; SW6906
pinging
3 posted on 12/26/2003 8:58:16 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I may have been born, poor white trash, but Fancy is my name.)
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To: big ern; Ragtime Cowgirl
bump
4 posted on 12/26/2003 8:58:49 PM PST by SAMWolf (This Christmas I got a battery with a note saying, "toy not included.")
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To: big ern
Bronze Star Bump
5 posted on 12/26/2003 9:03:20 PM PST by Route66 (America's Mainstreet)
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To: big ern
ping for later
6 posted on 12/26/2003 9:03:49 PM PST by MarkeyD (Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.)
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To: 68-69TonkinGulfYatchClub
ping
7 posted on 12/26/2003 9:05:48 PM PST by amom
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To: big ern
God bless and preserve Brad and all the troops. Many thanks for posting this.
8 posted on 12/26/2003 9:07:23 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: big ern
Good on your cousin. Can't you refer to the President of the United States as President Bush in your title?
9 posted on 12/26/2003 9:08:40 PM PST by annyokie (One good thing about being wrong is the joy it brings to others.)
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To: big ern
[Our Christmas Day will probably bring a somewhat good meal and then back to missions there are no holidays here. We will conduct patrols and guard our sector. Which has not been a quiet one at all, but no where in this country really is. But we don't want sympathy we chose this as our jobs, we sacrifice everyday for the freedom that you all endure. We will do our jobs to the fullest and make this country proud the American fighting soldiers will not be broken or ever give in. That is why we are the best and continue to live on that tradition. We all remember the tragedy that happened on 9/11 and will bring that fight to them as long as they continue. Our main concern is that you all are safe from the terrorist's and if it takes us fighting them here and keeping them out of the U.S. then bring it on.]

Please extend my family's deepest and most sincere thanks to Brad and his fellow soldiers. His report brought tears of pride to my eyes. I wish I could be there to help, but at 50 YO, I can only lend my support in other ways. I AM PROUD, BY GOD!

10 posted on 12/26/2003 9:10:40 PM PST by Mad_Tom_Rackham ("...the right of THE PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.")
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To: big ern
Loved it big ern. Please tell Brad how much we love and appreciate him and his men and women in the service of our country.
11 posted on 12/26/2003 9:10:51 PM PST by ladyinred (What the heck is Boxerday?)
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To: big ern
I guess I do this job pretty good.

You're darned right you do, Brad. Thank you!

12 posted on 12/26/2003 9:11:13 PM PST by arasina
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To: big ern
WOW! I hope my cousin Mark who is over in Iraq is fortunate enough to have a great leader leading his company like Brad! God keep our soldiers safe!
13 posted on 12/26/2003 9:19:28 PM PST by RoseofTexas (r)
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To: big ern; SAMWolf; Calpernia
big ern, please thank your awesome cousin Brad for his service, and thanks for sharing his e-mail with us.

Cal, could you do the honors? This thread deserves special attention and I have to leave. Thank you!

Thanks for the ping, SAM!

14 posted on 12/26/2003 9:20:58 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ( "Our military is full of the finest people on the face of the earth." ~ Pres. Bush, Baghdad)
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To: big ern
First and only article I need to read after the Christmas holiday...excellent post...please pass on my well wishes and utmost gratitude to your cousin and all his buddies fighting for the freedoms I so take for granted everyday.
Thanks 'big ern'.

Happy New Year 2004,
fight_truth_decay
15 posted on 12/26/2003 9:26:01 PM PST by fight_truth_decay
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To: big ern
Thank Brad for us!
16 posted on 12/26/2003 9:27:47 PM PST by hoosiermama (Prayers for all!)
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To: big ern
Prayers sent for your cousin and all the others over there. It's humbling to read his message. May God be with them.
17 posted on 12/26/2003 9:29:12 PM PST by xp38
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To: annyokie
Sorry, the title was getting so long I tried to shorten it. No insult meant.
18 posted on 12/26/2003 9:29:22 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I may have been born, poor white trash, but Fancy is my name.)
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To: big ern
Good to hear he's coming home. I guess they're going to be rotating all of them out over the next couple of months. It's going to be great to have them back with us, and then we'll have a whole new group to worry about.
19 posted on 12/26/2003 9:30:05 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: big ern
"Target down range, sabot"
"up!
"identified"
"Fire !"
"on the way"
"target! Load HE, repeat.
"up!"
"on the way!"
"target! cease fire"
"target T72 destroyed, scanning for targets"

WHOOAAA!
20 posted on 12/26/2003 9:37:04 PM PST by ChadGore (http://www.howard-dean-sucks.com)
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To: big ern
God surely has blessed us with the bravest and the best ... may His mercy fall mightily upon each son and daughter. A grateful thank you to you and your troops, Brad.

Pegita/Pennsylvania

21 posted on 12/26/2003 9:42:45 PM PST by Pegita ('Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word ...)
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To: big ern
Excellant...........good work censoring the EEFI too Ern. Well Done , Kudos to Brad when ya E-Mail again.

Stay Safe and Merry New Year !

22 posted on 12/26/2003 9:46:41 PM PST by Squantos (Support Mental Health !........or........ I'LL KILL YOU !!!!)
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To: big ern
BTTT Thanks for the breaking news Big Ern! I love reading these reports from our troops!
23 posted on 12/26/2003 9:50:50 PM PST by Libertina
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To: big ern
Thank you for posting this and thank you to Brad and his men.
24 posted on 12/26/2003 10:09:38 PM PST by texasflower (in the event of the rapture.......the Bush White House will be unmanned)
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To: big ern
Well done. Prayers for your cousin and for all those serving.

RD
25 posted on 12/26/2003 10:29:13 PM PST by reagandemocrat
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To: big ern
bumping...
26 posted on 12/26/2003 11:23:26 PM PST by redhead (Les Français sont des singes de capitulation qui mangent du fromage.)
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To: big ern
I guess I do this job pretty good.

Love it!

We are so fortunate to have a great warrior!

27 posted on 12/27/2003 12:22:59 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Davis is now out of Arnoold's Office , Bout Time!!!!)
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To: big ern
Hi, Brad! Thanks for checking in with us. You guys are the best! Was just reading an article about one of our roof-hopping sniper guys over there in Samarra, keeping things "surgical." Gotta love it.

You're all in my prayers every night. God bless you and protect you.

28 posted on 12/27/2003 1:28:54 AM PST by Bonaparte
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To: big ern
this is mondo kewel!
29 posted on 12/27/2003 5:26:10 AM PST by RaceBannon
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To: big ern; MJY1288; Calpernia; Grampa Dave; anniegetyourgun; Ernest_at_the_Beach; BOBTHENAILER; ...
We all remember the veterans and families that have sacrificed or paid the ultimate price for freedom. They are my heroes and why this country is free today so my troops and I thank you for the privilege to serve your freedom. On Christmas Day all we ask is that you say a prayer for all the servicemen and women that are involved with the fight against terrorism. We will stand our post and let no one take that away. Yes, it is hard to be away from loved ones and friends on these days but hopefully it will better for us and our children.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you, big ern's cousin Brad.

Praying for you on the homefront daily.

30 posted on 12/27/2003 5:36:12 AM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl ( "Our military is full of the finest people on the face of the earth." ~ Pres. Bush, Baghdad)
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To: big ern
Dear Brad: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing what you are doing. We are praying every day for all of you in uniform who are in harm's way. May God keep you safe, and bring you home covered in glory. Give your precious wife my fondest good wishes, and let her know that we think of the families of you who serve, and pray for them, too. They are part of what makes the US military the finest in the world. Bless her. And bless YOU. May Almighty God, who loves us with an infinite love, pour out his blessings on you this Christmas, and bring you ALL home, safe and sound.
31 posted on 12/27/2003 7:35:46 AM PST by redhead (Les Français sont des singes de capitulation qui mangent du fromage.)
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To: big ern
Headlines with acronyms which are not explained early on are irritating.
GNFI yourself!
32 posted on 12/27/2003 7:39:09 AM PST by Publius6961 (40% of Californians are as dumb as a sack of rocks.)
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To: big ern
Bump for later read.
33 posted on 12/27/2003 7:41:29 AM PST by Rummyfan
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Bump!
34 posted on 12/27/2003 8:34:53 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: big ern
Thanks for posting this.

God bless Brad and all of them over there. I have such admiration and gratitude for these folks.

35 posted on 12/27/2003 8:43:32 AM PST by Allegra
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To: Publius6961
GNFI has become standard in the last couple of weeks for Good News From Iraq. Sorry your so behind the times. /sarcasm
36 posted on 12/27/2003 8:52:53 AM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I may have been born, poor white trash, but Fancy is my name.)
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To: Publius6961
And get rid of those parachute pants and the pet rock.
37 posted on 12/27/2003 8:55:17 AM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I may have been born, poor white trash, but Fancy is my name.)
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To: big ern
Please give your cousin, Brad, my highest regards for his work and his ATTITUDE! No wonder he was chosen to chat with President Bush. Also tell him that the example he is setting is getting through to American schoolchildren, who have not been exposed (in our government schools) to very much in the way of positive thoughts and ideas about the role of our fighting forces until this year. By their bravery, skill and compassion for Iraqis and Afghanis our soldiers are becoming positive role models for children.
38 posted on 12/27/2003 9:32:02 AM PST by maica (Laus Deo)
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To: maica
Thanks, I will.
39 posted on 12/27/2003 9:35:35 AM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I may have been born, poor white trash, but Fancy is my name.)
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To: Ragtime Cowgirl
Good Bless our Country ~ God Bless our Troops and God Bless our President: George W. Bush!

Be Well ~ Be Armed ~ Be Safe ~ Molon Labe!
40 posted on 12/27/2003 11:03:42 AM PST by blackie
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To: big ern
God Bless You Brad, and Thank You for your sacrifice!

Pray for W and Our Troops Daily

41 posted on 12/27/2003 11:13:36 AM PST by bray (The Wicked Witch of NY and Her 9 Flying Monkeys are crashing!)
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To: big ern
Thank you for posting this. We are indeed very proud and very thankful for these great men and women! God bless them all!
42 posted on 12/27/2003 11:15:19 AM PST by swany
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To: big ern
GNFI has become standard in the last couple of weeks for Good News From Iraq. Sorry your so behind the times. /sarcasm

I can tell the difference between "you're" and "your".

Does that earn me any "trendy" points?

Idiot.

43 posted on 12/27/2003 11:15:47 AM PST by Publius6961 (40% of Californians are as dumb as a sack of rocks.)
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To: swany
Thank you Brad and all of our troops for what you are doing. When we pray for our TROOPS and Our COMMANDER-in CHIEF we always give special thanks for the families of our TROOPS. Because they also give up so mu_______________ ch. We can't thank you enough. Not only you but the ones who come before you. You make us all proud AMERICANS ! !
Someone once said where do we get such brave men and women ? ? They come from the best we have. Are they all prefect NO ! But they the best AMERICA has and we are proud of all of you.
FROM ONE PROUD AMERICAN:
44 posted on 12/27/2003 1:39:45 PM PST by ducks1944
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To: Publius6961; big ern
Now kids, play nice.
45 posted on 12/27/2003 4:31:47 PM PST by Archangelsk (CPL AMEL ASEL I)
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To: Publius6961
Hey, I was only pulling your chain. Sorry I got you so riled up. That's why I put the sarcasm thing in there.
46 posted on 12/27/2003 7:33:42 PM PST by TheErnFormerlyKnownAsBig (I may have been born, poor white trash, but Fancy is my name.)
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To: big ern
On Christmas Day all we ask is that you say a prayer for all the servicemen and women that are involved with the fight against terrorism.

Everyday Prayer Bump!

47 posted on 12/27/2003 7:41:54 PM PST by auboy (I'm out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight–American Soldier–Toby Keith, Chuck Cannon)
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To: MarkeyD
bump
48 posted on 12/28/2003 11:15:54 PM PST by jokar (Beware of the White European Male Christian theological complex !!)
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To: big ern; ALOHA RONNIE
Bump!
49 posted on 12/30/2003 8:21:56 AM PST by Joy Angela
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To: ibheath
BTTT
50 posted on 12/30/2003 8:28:38 AM PST by ibheath (Born-again and grateful to God for it.)
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