Courage Boys: Fuselage

Courage Boys features stories to inspire and leave you feeling hopeful. Making a difference is not only possible, but something we’re all capable of accomplishing. These are the stories of ordinary people making the decision to be extraordinary with bravery, resilience and principle. This is Courage Boys.

Fuselage

Charles only slept one hour the night before his flight. When he woke up, he put on his lightest underwear and cut the extra padding out of his shoes. He ignored the papers. They all predicted failure. And when you considered the facts, it was a pretty fair prediction. New York to Paris is about 3600 miles, and most of it water. Thirty-three hours of flight, a single engine — and a prop plane at that.

The last two teams that tried this disappeared in the ocean with better planes and more men. Yet Charles got rid of his parachute, got rid of his radio, fuel gauges and lights. With over a ton of gas and no frills, his plane, called the Spirit of St. Louis, was a little more than a flying fuel tank and a teeny cockpit. It had one purpose: Get Charles Lindbergh across the Atlantic Ocean before anyone else could do it.

The wheels sloshed through the mud as Lindbergh tried to get his little plane up to speed. His wheels barely cleared the telephone lines. But Charles Lindbergh was airborne.

This didn't feel like the magic of flight that it used to, though. He sat on a hard seat with a stick between his legs and very little elbow room. He flew out of the states and north to Newfoundland where he would make a right turn out into the ocean.

Back in America, Yankee Stadium, at the Sharkey versus Maloney heavyweight championship fight, the announcer came over the loud speaker: I want you to rise to your feet and think about a boy up there tonight who is carrying the hopes of all true-blooded Americans. Tonight, say a little prayer for Charles Lindbergh.

The people bowed their heads as night fell somewhere over the Atlantic. The damp air was bitter cold and windy. Big white icebergs reflecting the moonlight were the only things he could see beneath him.

He was flying over terrain where ships had never even sailed. Then the fog came. Charles climbed and climbed, but he could not get over the fog. He couldn't see a thing. So he stared at his little compass needle, bouncing furiously, and trusted it for a couple of hours.

Finally, he broke the fog. Where, for the first time, in the smooth air, he met his biggest challenge. Charles Lindbergh hadn't slept in 39 hours. His eyes so desperately wanted to close. Charles opened the window, slapped his own face, even held his eyes open with his fingers, but it wasn't working. He became so weary that he wasn't sure if he was alive or dead. And that's when the voices started.

Charles looked over his shoulder, into the fuselage, where only a large gas tank had been. He saw people. They spoke to him. And for hours, he experienced elements of existence that he had never known before. Those "angels" kept him company until daybreak when Charles looked down to see green fields, farmers. He was in Ireland.

Charles flew six more hours to Paris, where he landed to an ocean of people and instant worldwide fame. Charles Lindbergh had proved the critics wrong. If we're all in, completely spent, and have drained ourselves of every available frill and resource, that perhaps is when God steps in.

Christmas has arrived early for mainstream media. They have their first sentencing of a major player in President Trump's inner circle. Yesterday, Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced by a federal judge in Manhattan. How did it come to this and how did Cohen explain himself to the judge? We start there next…

President Trump's former attorney, 52-year-old Michael Cohen, is going to jail. Well, it will probably be one of those federal prison camps with a dorm that's more like a college campus. But he's going to be locked up. A federal judge sentenced him to three years in prison for financial crimes, and two months for lying to Congress. He also ordered Cohen to pay $2 million in financial penalties. The judge called Cohen's misdeeds a "veritable smorgasbord of criminal conduct."

RELATED: Michael Cohen's plea deal won't lessen Trump's support. Here's why.

The judge said:

As a lawyer, Mr. Cohen should have known better. While Mr. Cohen is taking steps to mitigate his criminal conduct by pleading guilty and volunteering useful information to prosecutors, that does not wipe the slate clean.

Cohen pled guilty in August to eight criminal charges in two different cases. One brought by special counsel Robert Muller for Cohen's lying to Congress about a potential Trump Tower project in Moscow. The second was for bank-fraud, tax, and campaign finance violations brought by federal prosecutors in New York.

President Trump said recently that Cohen has simply been lying to get a reduced sentence for crimes that have nothing to do with him. Cohen was very emotional as he apologized to the judge, saying:

It was my own weakness and a blind loyalty to this man that led me to choose a path of darkness over light. Time and time again I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds rather than to listen to my own inner voice and my moral compass.

The left thinks that Cohen's sentencing marks the beginning of the end for Trump's presidency. They may be ultimately disappointed in that regard. But this does intensify the long national nightmare of the Muller investigation that seems to have no end in sight.

How long until we follow in Europe's footsteps?

JAMES ARTHUR GEKIERE/AFP/Getty Images

Christmas should be a time of happiness and celebration the world over. But in Europe, it is now the season of terror. The sounds at Europe's famous Christmas Markets of "Merry Christmas!" and laughter are rapidly being replaced with the sounds of "Allahu Ackbar!" and gunfire. Two years ago ISIS attacked a Christmas Market in Berlin, killing twelve and injuring another forty-eight. And tragically, the sound of automatic gunfire and the chant of "Allahu Ackbar!" was heard at another Christmas Market in Europe yesterday afternoon… this time in France.

Two people are dead and thirteen are battling for their lives right now in Strasbourg, France. The attacker walked into the city's Christmas Market shortly after 8pm, shouted "Allahu Ackbar" and began shooting indiscriminately. He then proceeded to battle the police in four separate locations while he fled the scene. As of this moment, he still hasn't been caught. The city of Strasbourg is on full lockdown, and France's terror level has been elevated.

RELATED: Paris pandemonium: Here's what happens when people feel ignored

A man of Middle Eastern descent has been identified as the suspect. He was already on a terror watchlist and had been deported from Germany recently with twenty criminal convictions. He's well known in Islamist circles and was reportedly radicalized after spending time in prison. Apparently he was too radical for the Germans… but not for France.

What is it going to take for progressive governments like France to wake up to their failed policies? Nearly 300 people have been killed in terror attacks in France over the past three years. 300 in three years! But despite that, the French government refuses to address immigration, they continue their open border policy and - more importantly - they refuse to listen to their people when they try and tell them that they're scared to death over this issue. Instead they get a lecture on Islamophobia… "that's the real problem."

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime.

This is one of the reasons why the Yellow Vests are tearing the country apart. The government refuses to listen to their fears on terrorism, unchecked immigration, open borders, the failing economy, high taxes and out of control spending. Wow... do these issues sound at all familiar? How many years behind France are we? Just listen to ourselves.

Outrage has replaced baseball as our national pastime. People have lost the ability to engage in peaceful protest. Street demonstrations have turned into street brawls. Have you seen the images from places like Portland lately? European governments are losing the social contract with their people. After years of broken promises and outright lies from Washington, how long before that happens here?