Tag Archives: Friendship Day

Liam and Theo, Companions in Life, Companions Forever.

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Book Series

Excerpts from “No one was saved.” Memorial Day, 2016.

Available for $1 at: http://amzn.to/2mYj70Y

Liam and Theo, companions in life, companions forever.

This  is a story of colleagues… and friendship.

It is a story of love and of a bond that transcends death itself.

It is a story which, such being the way of good stories, takes you, by the
powerful chords of memory, from this story…. to your story, for you, I know,
have such a story, too, though  it may not have tugged at your heart for a long
while.

This is the story, then, of Liam and Theo, and you’ll be glad to know it.

Lance Corporal Liam Tasker was a dog handler with the British Royal Army
Veterinary Corps.

Theo was his dog.

They were well known in Afghanistan, together day and night.  People in
Afghanistan, who have so little to smile about, could not help but smile
when Theo, irrepressible, running ahead, playing hide and seek was around.
Theo made them happy, in the ways that dogs have long since perfected.
They liked him… after all he was risking his life every day for them… and they
appreciated that.

The people appreciated Liam Tasker, too. Just 26, a Scotsman, and proud
of it, from Kirkcaldy, Fife, Liam was someone who didn’t have to go to
Afghanistan. However, he had two loves… soldiering and dogs. In the army he
got both; if Afghanistan was the destination, so be it.

Their partnership.

Liam and Theo had one of the most dangerous jobs of all… searching for
explosives, the instruments of disfigurement and death with which Afghanistan
is littered, and from which the people will suffer for years to come, so numerous
are they and so lethal.

It was Liam and Theo’s job to find these explosives and render them, instruments
of sudden death and mayhem, harmless. It was serious, demanding work, and they
did it well. Theo, in fact, was something of a star; he had already drawn praise from
Ministry of Defense officials for detecting 14 hidden bombs and weapons caches in
just five months on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan. Theo’s success meant this
22-month-old Springer spaniel got the privilege of staying in dangerous Afghanistan
another month.

But the bond between Theo and Liam went far beyond their professional
association. As was obvious to all, they liked each other.  It’s the kind of thing
even the least perceptive can see. They were buddies… pals… always the best
of friends. And, being young, with energy to spare, they were not above mischief
and hijinks, showing off for each other, egging the other on. Thus, they passed
their time in perilous Afghanistan, saving lives, enjoying each other’s company.

March 1, 2011

This began as a day like all days in the dangerous war zone that passes for
brutalized Afghanistan… but in short order it became a day like no other , for
both Liam and Theo.

L/Cpl Tasker suffered fatal injuries in a fight with the Taliban in Helmand Province
while he and Theo were searching for explosives.

Immediately, Theo knew something was very, very wrong. Liam was lying in
the dust of Afghanistan, dead… Theo, hysterical, was taken back to Camp
Bastion, the main British military base. There he could not be comforted.

Just three hours later, Theo, confused, agitated, alone, his friend Liam gone,
died of a fatal seizure brought on by stress.

Now it was Liam who had gone before, while Theo rushed to catch up, death
together infinitely preferable to life alone.

This story touched the heart of a great nation, for the British are a by word for
loving animals of every kind. They each had their special thought that day…
for Liam and Theo, of course, but also for the pet they had loved, who had most
certainly loved them, too.

Liam and Theo come home…

On March 10, 2011, hundreds of mourners lined the main street through the Wiltshire
town of Wootton Bassett. Liam and Theo were coming home, and everyday people
had come, with their dogs and other pets, to say good-bye.

A dozen police and Prison Service dogs made their official appearance, too. The
crowd was silent… but the barking of dogs could be heard in the background as
a solemn bell rang out to mark the arrival of the cortege; perhaps they knew and
understood what was happening…

Liam Tasker’s family was there, too, and they, in their profound grief, took solace
from the fact that now, forever, Liam and Theo would be together; such was the
loyalty of dog to man… and of that man to his dog. L/Cpl Tasker’s father Ian told
ITV news: “my honest opinion on this is, when Liam went down, that Theo didn’t
have the comfort from Liam to calm him down.”

Liam’s mother, Jane Duffy, simply said, “I would like to believe Theo died of a
broken heart to be with Liam.” I believe it, too.

358 members of the British Armed Forces have now died in Afghanistan.
6 British military dogs have also died since 2001.

Today in Afghanistan the unending war goes on. Valiant men and women and
dogs in the Dog Training Group will do their jobs and do them well. Some of
these will die. Let us hope they find in each other the support and bond now
eternally epitomized by Liam Tasker and his dog Theo. Now together, they
will remain together for all the cycles to come, glad of each other and young.

May they rest in peace.

Musical note

I have selected for this musical note the music from the 2005 movie “Lassie” by
composer Adrian Johnston. It is at once poignant and elegiac, perfect for this
unlikely love affair, so touching, and so profound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNex-b6Q1lQ

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four university degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities and is quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 50 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered nine literary prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.co

More can be found on Dr. Lant on his author page at: http://www.amazon.com/author/jeffreylant/

Div. Jeffrey Lant Associates, Inc.

All Rights Reserved

Upon the occasion of the 70th birthday of my dear friend, Professor Robert Dobson, on having and being a friend.

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Article Series

Author’s program note. Because I remember that you are, genetically at least, some substantial fraction Hungarian, I have chosen Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2″ (published 1851) to accompany this article. Stirring isn’t it…. and also just a tad bombastic? Your ancestors in Buda or Pest no doubt enjoyed it… and I hope you will, too.

You were right….. again.

You told me I would forget the date… and I did. I could claim “pressure of work”, but we both know better. I could claim that I’m casual, even oblivious, to dates of anniversaries, birthdays, and such like, so unlike you with your mania for such accurate data.

In extremis I could say that my dyslexia (so useful at such times) so manifests itself. But we both know, you who know me so well, that that is so much balderdash… and so, despite a gentle reminder, I did, after all, forget.

Fortunately I am beyond the time in life when I think infallibility not only important but essential. I feel no resentment or even necessity to defend the indefensible, and can own up to inadequacy.

The plain truth is I missed your 70th birthday… and I mean to make up for it here and now.

Hungary.

You probably know, though I think I have never said, I have a particular interest in things Hungarian. I love tokay (you will remember the occasion I forced you to buy a good vintage)… I can quote the details concerning Hungary’s elevation to constitutional equity with Austria, so creating the Dual Monarchy (1867). (You cannot).

And of course I remain committed to a Habsburg restoration and to the renewal of the Kingdom of Hungary. That is why I am so punctilious about gathering the artifacts of the dynasty, including the signed photographs of his last Hungarian majesty, King Karol. I suspect, though I do not pry into a man’s unlikely obsessions, that you harbor such a commitment, too. If so, you have remained admirably and completely discrete, as you are about so many matters.

Books.

I went looking this morning at about 5 a.m. for an excellent book I possess on the history of the twin cities which became in due course Budapest. You would like this book, too, which is why I shall never lend it to you, though your acute organizational skills may defeat my objective… for, as usual, when you visit you will (you cannot help yourself) arrange and re-arrange titles I have thrown together helter-skelter. That affronts your abiding need for order, proper arrangement, and perfect clarity. I would like these traits, too, but I fear I cannot rise to them… and so the book I would like to find today… you will certainly find tomorrow. It may well migrate then with you to Connecticut and another fate, for you are tenacious of books.

More books.

One of the enduring links we share is the love of books. It has enabled us to spend companionable hours with maximum pleasure and communion but minimum words. Remember, if you will, the places in which we have indulged ourselves in this manner… London (often), New York (not often enough), a bevy of Italian cities, and memorably the isle of Capri, where in the shadow of Tiberius’ palace we enjoyed the many pleasures of words on the printed page especially on those extraordinary beaches where the sybaritic imperator sported and outraged the locals. Since history is so often written by the disapproving, I have long felt Tiberius got a bum rap. Perhaps, so advanced are your opinions on such matters, you agree, though you have gratefully supported the man without emulating his idiosyncrasies.

Food.

I feel compelled to touch on a few of the many aspects of foods we have shared. Here, as elsewhere, your habits are admirable, though, as elsewhere, they are strict, immutable, written in stone. I here have a confession to make. Have you wondered at the timing of my telephone calls, so often transpiring at 4 p.m.? This is deliberate, mischievous, designed to probe and challenge your predictable habits and tested regime. Forgetful of dates I may be… but I well remember just when you are preparing your evening meal… and mean to throw you off your schedule. So far, in many attempts, unsuccessfully. I am therefore in a position to aver, affirm, attest to the fact that you are a man of fierce habits, cherished, adhered to, set in cement.

My eating habits are, as you know, quite different… and it is because they are, I can offer a heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your conscientious care and concern. You eat… I forget to eat… you remind me to eat… I eat.

When we first met, so many years ago, I was immersed in writing a book (my first)… neglecting everything else. (Plus ca change.) This may have A) offended your sense of order, or B) roused your humanitarian feelings, or C) both.

I cannot say.

But I can say that your calls to remind me to eat were useful — and touching — and necessary. My kitchen was terra incognita for me, not for you. “You will find such and such a nutrient in such and such a place.” I didn’t know… you did… and if my thanks over the years had not been frequent and fulsome, I would say them all over again, always gratefully.

Money.

For decades now, I have been urging you (without noticeable effect) to open your fustian pocketbook and let the moths fly free. The Scots, of whom I am one, have a word for you, “near”, and since it is a word no one but Scots know or use, I can always use it with impunity. It is short, sweet and to the point, a combination of the niggardly, frugal, parsimonious and cheap.

For instance, consider the matter of your clothes. At once humbly and patriotically, I urge you to donate them to the Smithsonian Institution, for they are, at the very least notable, and arguably historic. Do this deed for God and country or for the tax deduction, but do it. Your popularity (as a worthy donor) will soar, and you’ll be helping your flagging candidate by assisting the economy, something he has proven manifestly unable to do. Help him here, while helping yourself.

“I am officially ‘old’ “.

When I called you the other day, you answered with the line above. It was at once a gentle reminder of what I had (again) forgotten… but more importantly it constituted an acknowledgement, a declaration, an admonition and a reality. We booked places on Time’s winged chariot at conception, as everyone does. But now we know what that means.

When you were born the world was mangled… all but glistening America, the only great power on earth. The sciences to which you have devoted your life were at the threshold of unimaginable advances. You have seen every development and, unlike so many of us isolated in the humanities, you have, because of your training, understood them.

That is why I treat your opinions in this matter with the respect they deserve. You have, principally in the classroom you graced so well, helped legions who all recall you with respect, not merely as a learned man, but as an honest man. I am an honest man, too, in part because of the example you have provided for so long.

Thus, I say this to you: stay clear headed and warm hearted to the end, whether that end be nigh or long delayed. Browning was not being merely optimistic when he wrote, “The best is yet to be.” He knew, however, that we must, all of us, take the best as we find it… for it, in some form or another, will always exist. And for me that will always include you.

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four university degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities and is quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 50 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered nine literary prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.co

More can be found on Dr. Lant on his author page at: http://www.amazon.com/author/jeffreylant/

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