Archive for the ‘history’ Category

Political Correctness Blurs Then Erases History

December 3, 2008

As an expert in the U.S. Constitution and America’s Founding, I thought I had lost the ability to be shocked by politically correct distortions of our history. Then I visited the new Capitol Visitor Center.

The just-completed Visitor Center, which opened yesterday, is a 580,000-square-foot cavern dug at the foot of the U.S. Capitol at a cost of $621 million (almost 9 times over budget).

The Capitol is a noble monument to American liberty. The neoclassical architecture is meant to be approached from afar. We are supposed to walk up vast flights of stairs to enter a magnificent rotunda, inspired to reflect on the grandeur of our self-governing republic.

Now the public will approach the Capitol underground and enter, mole-like, through the basement. What Congress has arranged for the public to be taught before they get in is a scandal.

Designed to provide “an enhanced educational experience,” the Visitor Center allows guests to make online reservations before spending time at two gift shops, enjoying a 530-seat restaurant, visiting any of 26 restrooms or watching an orientation film in one of two theaters, all in air-conditioned comfort.

The “educational” part is the Exhibition Hall, the theme of which is “E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One.” The etching in marble initially referred to that phrase as the nation’s motto. Now, however, that etching is covered by a bad plaster job, because … well, “E Pluribus Unum” is not the nation’s motto. Our actual motto, “In God We Trust,” is notably absent, along with other references to faith.

Take how the exhibit treats the Northwest Ordinance, the 1787 document that signaled the beginning of America’s westward expansion. It’s selectively quoted to encourage education – carefully shorn of its opening clause: “Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind.”

By Matthew Spalding
The Washington Times

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The Origins of Verans Day

November 11, 2008

Veterans day can be traced back to the end of World War I.


The Allied powers a signed a cease-fire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France on Nov. 11, 1918, bringing the great war to a close.


The Armistice (which means a suspension of hostilities by agreement) was celebrated in the streets. As documented by the Library of Congress, Massachusetts shoe laster James Hughes described the scene in Boston: “There was a lot of excitement when we heard about the Armistice…some of them old fellas was walkin’ on the streets with open Bibles in their hands. All the shops were shut down. I never seen the people so crazy…confetti was a-flying in all directions…I’ll never forget it.”

Veterans aboard the former warship Olympia, now a museum, salute ... 
Veterans aboard the former warship Olympia, now a museum, salute the United States flag during a Veterans Day ceremony in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2008. The Olympia served in the Spanish-American War.  USS New Jersey is in the background.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


WWI veteran Andrew Johnson recalled arriving home the following spring: “We were given a bonus of $60, an honorable discharge, and the 368th Infantry regiment became a part of history.”


Between the wars, Nov. 11 was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After World War II, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both world wars.


Beginning in 1954, the United States designated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars. chronicles the daily advances and innovations made in science and technology…

Barack Obama recalls Abraham Lincoln as America revels in making history

November 8, 2008

Obama has something of a pardonable obsession with his fellow Illinois citizen – so much so that his speech on Tuesday night in Chicago quoted Lincoln’s first inaugural address in 1861 without at first identifying him – as if the whole watching political nation would automatically know who he was talking about, especially since Lincoln’s words spoke achingly of a national reconciliation even on the very threshold of civil war.

By Simon Schama
The Telegraph (UK)

It’s easy enough to guess what Lincoln, the 16th president, would make of Obama, the 44th. But what about the third? It was from Jefferson’s hand that so much of the tragic atrocity, as well as the ennobling idealism of the American experiment, followed. For unlike Washington, the author of the Declaration of Independence, who proclaimed to the world as a truism that all men were created equal, could never bring himself to free his 100 or so slaves. And although Jefferson professed to believe in the universal fraternity of mankind, he thought black people intellectually inferior to those of European descent and patronised appallingly the most gifted of their race – like the scientist and inventor Benjamin Banneker.

In August 1791, Banneker presumed to write to Jefferson in Paris asking him, as a man of enlightened ideas, to “eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions which so generally prevails with respect to us” since “your sentiments are concurrent with mine, which are, that the Universal Father hath given being to us all and that he hath made us all of one flesh but that he hath also, without partiality, afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same faculties”.

This was all very nice. But then Banneker took a step too far, adding his dismay at finding that Jefferson himself was one of those who detained “by fraud and violence a part of my brethren groaning under captivity and cruel oppression” and that “you should at the same time be guilty of that which you professedly detested in others”. Jefferson wrote back crisply from Paris that “no body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colours of men”. But then he added, with fatal condescension, that “the appearance of the want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa and America”.

Jefferson insisted that no one “wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of their body and mind to what it ought to be”. But his ardour apparently stopped well short of emancipation.

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Offensive Remark End Career of Japan’s Top Air Force Officer; China, others Express Relief

November 3, 2008

Japan’s Air Force Chief is gone following written comments that outraged China, Korea, and many others…

(CNN) — A state-run Chinese newspaper expressed relief Monday that senior Japanese officials had dismissed the country’s air force chief after he denied Japan’s aggression before and during World War II.

General Toshio Tamogami

General Toshio Tamogami
Gen. Toshio Tamogami lost his job as chief of staff for Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, the Ministry of Defense said, after saying in an essay that “it is certainly a false accusation to say that our country was an aggressor nation.”

Japanese troops invaded China in 1937 and were widely accused of gross human rights abuses, including raping tens of thousands of girls and women and killing several hundred thousand others in what has come to be called “The Rape of Nanking.” Imperial Japan also invaded several other Asian nations, leading to the death and misery for an untold number.

Two former Japanese prime ministers have apologized for Japanese aggression before and during World War II. Yet China has long accused of elements within Japan of trying to whitewash the Japanese atrocities committed before and during World War II.

“The denial of the aggression history by Toshio Tamogami comes in as an element of disharmony,” the state-run China Daily said a commentary Monday. “Yet, as long as the Japanese government has a right attitude to this question, the smooth development of ties between the two neighbors will not be derailed by such discordant notes.”

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China Applauds Dismissal Of Japan’s Air Boss

Associated Press

An official Chinese newspaper has applauded the dismissal of Japan’s air force chief over an essay he wrote that claimed Japan had not been an “aggressor” in World War II.

China remains highly sensitive over depictions of Japan’s brutal wartime occupation, and there were concerns that the essay by Toshio Tamogami, who was fired on Friday, would negatively impact ties between the two countries.

On Monday, however, the government’s English-language China Daily called the essay “an element of disharmony” and said Beijing felt “relieved” over Toshio’s removal.

“Yet as long as the Japanese government has a right attitude to this question, the smooth development of ties between the two neighbors will not be derailed,” the paper said in an unsigned editorial.

On Saturday, China’s Foreign Ministry issued only a mild comment on the controversy, saying it had noted the Japanese government’s action.

In the essay, Tamogami said it was “certainly a false accusation” to say Japan was “an aggressor nation” during World War II, and defended life under Japanese occupation as “very moderate.” Tamogami also claimed that Japan was tricked into attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, by then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

China-Japan relations were thrown into a tailspin earlier this decade over former Japanese Prime Minister Jinichiro Koizumi‘s visits to a shrine honoring war dead, including convicted war criminals, as well as Chinese accusations that Japan was playing down its wartime culpability.

However, ties have improved markedly in the two years since Koizumi’s successor, Shinzo Abe, visited China, allowing the sides to weather potential storms such as the Tamogami essay.

What it Takes to Be President

October 13, 2008

Heather Whipps
LiveScience’s History Columnist

Who would make a better president – a man with more than 30 years of experience in Congress or one with about six?

If you chose the latter, congratulations: You’ve elected James Buchanan, one of the least popular presidents in U.S. history, over Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Fan-favorite Abraham Lincoln also had little political experience before running for president, failing both as a businessman and a farmer, but George Washington had plenty.

So what kind of qualifications make for a successful POTUS, or president of the United States?

On Nov. 4, Americans will vote to select their 44th president. The two candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, are both current U.S. senators, but certainly bring different backgrounds to the table. Pundits may have their say and analysts can crunch their numbers to forecast a winner, but history may be just as interesting (and maybe as accurate) as a presidential prognosticator.

There’s no clear pattern, as it turns out, among the 42 men who eventually became president (Grover Cleveland was both our 22nd and 24th). Each took a unique path to the Oval Office.

Educated guess

For starters, George Washington never went to college. In his defense, schools of higher education were in short supply in early 18th-century America.

Eight other presidents besides Washington didn’t get an undergraduate degree…
Gilbert Stuart Williamstown Portrait of George Washington.jpg

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Why Americans love the Irish (St. Patrick’s Day is Today!)

March 13, 2008

St. Patrick’s Day is about more than just green beer. It’s about scrappy underdogs who embrace their heritage while bleeding red, white and blue.

By Michael Medved
USA Today
March 13, 2008

On Monday, tens of millions of Americans of  every race and background will join together to celebrate a uniquely cherished ethnic holiday — a tribute to despised, destitute Hibernian hordes whose descendants eventually claimed pride of place as the most popular of all immigrant groups. With mass immigration once again a contentious issue in our politics and culture, the St. Patrick’s Day formula — combining Irish pride with unabashed, flag-waving Americanism — offers hope that current controversies might someday achieve similarly satisfactory resolution.

Saint Patrick

There’s little doubt that our annual “Great Day for the Irish” draws more attention than festive commemorations of other national origins (Columbus Day, Pulaski Day, Cinco de Mayo, Israeli Independence Day, you name it), complete with shamrock decorations turning up nearly everywhere, big city rivers sparkling with emerald dye, and school kids featuring green in their wardrobes under serious risk of pinching. The mostly positive images and emotions toward the Irish say as much about the character of the USA as they do about the sons and the daughters of the Auld Sod.
Initial hostilityIn part, we love the Irish because we instinctively embrace underdogs. The Emerald Isle suffered hellish torments during 800 years of oppression by the English — the same arrogant colonialists we defied in our own Revolution. When the starving Irish began to arrive en masse during “The Great Hunger” of the 1840s, they initially faced fiery hostility from nativist Americans and encountered occasional posted notices declaring, “No Irish Need Apply.” Agitation culminated with bloody riots against churches and convents, with the virulently anti-immigrant “Know Nothing” Party electing numerous governors and mayors and even running a former president (Millard Fillmore) as a credible contender for the White House. Despite such obstacles, Irish arrivals persevered, establishing a vibrant Catholic community, dominating police and fire departments within a generation, and playing the lead role in organizing labor unions and big-city political machines.When Harvard-educated millionaire John Fitzgerald Kennedy won the presidency in 1960, barely 110 years had passed since the American arrival of his famine-fleeing great-grandfather, Patrick Kennedy. That’s the sort of poverty-to-power, rags-to-riches tale that has always inspired Americans in this nation of fresh starts and second chances.

The other key element in the appeal of the Irish involves their instantaneous affirmation of American patriotism. Many other immigrant groups experienced a sense of divided loyalties, torn by nostalgic connections to old country nationalisms. In Ireland, however, English overlords ruthlessly suppressed expressions of national pride or distinctive culture (including Gaelic language) so that immigrants embraced Yankee symbols and customs with scant hesitation. That redoubtable patriotic ditty It’s a Grand Old Flag came from Broadway composer George M. Cohan, simultaneously proud of his Irish heritage and his status as the original Yankee Doodle Dandy.

German-Americans count as even more numerous than Irish-Americans (with 49 million claiming German ancestry, compared with 35 million saying they’re Irish). But Ireland never became a rival world power or fought the United States in two brutal wars — preventing any contradiction between loyalty to origins and unquestioned love of the new homeland. John Ford, the legendary filmmaker whose classic westerns forever defined our cowboy heritage, proudly claimed that he began life as Sean Aloysius O’Feeny, the son of immigrants from County Galway. In addition to all the soul-stirring John Wayne horse-operas, Ford also made magnificent films (The Quiet Man, The Last Hurrah) celebrating Ireland and Irish-Americans.

That same blend of heartfelt Americana and Emerald Isle nostalgia characterizes the annual revelry on St. Paddy’s Day. Unlike other ethnic holidays, the festivities seem more familiar than exotic, more mainstream than multicultural. Irish names, accents and melodies have become inescapably American — not some demonstration of diversity or distinctive difference. Irish-ness feels comfortable, even cozy, in part because the sons of the Shamrock have been here so long (the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade took place in New York in 1762) and most of them had arrived speaking English.

For other immigrants

It’s impossible to imagine a sentimental hit song called When German Eyes Are Smiling, despite the countless contributions of German-Americans to our culture.

Sports teams choose their names to convey a sense of classic American pluck, so it’s unthinkable that the legendary Notre Dame football ….

The “Golden Dome” at the University of Notre Dame; home of the “Fighting Irish.”

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The Great White Fleet’s voyage

December 14, 2007

By Austin Bay
The Washington Times
December 14, 2007

When the fleet sailed out of Norfolk, Va., on Dec. 16, 1907, it was simply the Atlantic Fleet beginning a globe-circling voyage. But trust writers to coin a flashy marquee name: the Great White Fleet.

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of that peacetime naval expedition — which still has historic resonance.

President Theodore Roosevelt sent the fleet of 16 white-painted battleships on the 14-month cruise ….
USS Kansas sails ahead of the USS Vermont as the fleet leaves Hampton Roads, Virginia on December 16, 1907.

USS Kansas sails ahead of the USS Vermont as the fleet leaves Hampton Roads, Virginia on December 16, 1907.

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America’s First Thanksgiving

November 15, 2007

By John E. Carey
The Washington Times
Thanksgiving, 2006

The first “Official” Thanksgiving in the United States of America was celebrated in 1863. President Lincoln, by proclamation, declared a day of Thanksgiving in the middle of the Civil War!

The original proclamation is in fact dated October 3, 1863. Just a few months before, on July 1-3, 1863, the Union and Confederate Armies had clashed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During those three days 3,155 Union soldiers were killed and between 2,600 and 4,500 Confederate soldiers were killed. But they were all Americans.

The total of the killed, wounded and missing during those three days for the Union side was 23,040. The Confederate estimate is between 20,650 and 25,000.

The outcome of the Civil War was by no means clear in October, 1863. We still could have finished the conflict with two separate nations on the North American continent: instead of one United States.

Despite Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg in July, 1863, the nation still had 22 months of bloody Civil War ahead of it. At the end of the Civil War the nation had suffered approximately 630,000 deaths and over 1 million total casualties.

But President Lincoln and his cabinet discussed the situation in the country frequently and they came to several conclusions. Despite the tremendous loss of life and destruction, the population was indeed on the rise. The fields in the north were producing prodigious amounts of food. The mines were producing more coal, iron and precious metals than ever before. The cabinet officers wanted the President of the United States to remind the people to thank God for His blessings!

Amid all this suffering of the Civil War the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, ordered a Day of Thanksgiving in this Proclamation:

“By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation. The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth. By the President:

Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,Secretary of State

According to an April 1, 1864 letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy wrote in his diary on October 3, 1863 that he had complimented Secretary Seward on his brilliant writing.

Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction

Vietnam Memorial Is At 25 Year Anniversary

November 6, 2007

By Michael E. Ruane
The Washington Post
November 6, 2007

Even now, the sound of a helicopter or a phrase of Vietnamese can carry Len Funk back to the war.

In a bar or restaurant, Mike Kentes still sits where he can keep an eye on the door.

And years after Hugh Jordan would sleep through the roar of outgoing artillery, his ears still ring from the thunder of the heavy guns.

Twenty-five years ago, the three men were young and proud as they attended the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, marching in berets and fatigues only a decade or so removed from the battlefield and basking in the applause.

This week, thousands like them are again gathering in Washington, this time to observe the 25th anniversary of the Wall. A downtown parade and other activities are scheduled for Saturday, and commemorative ceremonies will be held Sunday at the Wall.
IMG 2717-vi.jpg

But now the men and women of the Vietnam War era are aging and gray and more than 30 years removed from the conflict. Many have jobs near the top of their fields, and, numbering 7.2 million, they make up the nation’s largest veterans group. Seventeen of them sit in Congress.

“Military veterans of Vietnam have had an extraordinary influence on American society,” said Jan C. Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the Wall.

They have clout and respect, and the old fatigue jacket now is often worn mostly for yardwork.

Yet, despite the passing of time and the veterans’ ascent to mainstream wealth and status, the war remains strongly with them, marking them and separating them, as war does with most who experience it.

In recent interviews, Kentes, 59, Jordan, 61, and Funk, 65, said the war is a vital part of who they are. It helped define them, they said, mostly for the better. It continues to do so as they mark this milestone, they said, and probably will forever.

* * *

Crusade for the wall
Mike Kentes was looking for the names of two buddies that chilly November weekend a quarter-century ago when he was photographed in his dark beret and camo jacket holding a red carnation reflected in the gleaming wall.

He was 34 and handsome, with gray-flecked dark hair and a dark mustache. The photograph would later run on the cover of National Geographic, prompting wisecracks from old Army comrades that they had seen his picture in restrooms across the country.

It was 1982, and several hundred thousand people had gathered for the wall’s Nov. 13 dedication.

Scruggs, who had been wounded in the war, launched the crusade for the Wall with his own money and then raised $8.4 million for the project in three years.

Architect Maya Lin’s design — a polished black granite chevron bearing more than 58,000 names of those killed or missing — was at first controversial, but the Wall would become among the most visited memorials on the Mall.

That weekend, Kentes, of Falls Church, was reconnecting with a firefight in the Mekong Delta 13 years before. It was Memorial Day 1969, he recalled, when he saw two buddies, Curtis Daniels and Michael Volheim, killed.

Kentes and five other Army Rangers were chasing enemy soldiers when Daniels and Volheim were cut down by gunfire.

Kentes and two others counterattacked to retrieve their comrades’ bodies, and Kentes believes he killed two enemy soldiers in the process.

It was the first of many such encounters, he said.

Sipping coffee and smoking a thin cigar in a Falls Church restaurant last week, Kentes, now with light gray hair, said he did not keep track of how many enemy soldiers he killed in Vietnam.

But there was pride in victory. When he and his fellow Rangers staged a successful ambush, it was: “You screwed up, and we didn’t.” In combat, “you get hardened,” he said, “you get real, real hardened.”

He was unemployed in November 1982, with a wife and a 6-month-old son, and had not put the war behind him. “I thought about it every day,” he said. “Still do.”

Vietnam veterans had been called whiners and losers by older veterans, and fools or worse by people of their own generation, Kentes said.

But now here was the Wall. “It was like being back in Vietnam, having all the guys there,” he said. “In fact, the hardest part of the whole thing was that Monday, when everybody left. I mean, I just got really depressed.”

Since then, he said, life has had ups and downs. He and his wife had another son, then divorced seven years ago. “I’m quite sure the Vietnam experience had something to do with that,” he said.

He moved from job to job in the construction industry, impatient with what he called workplace “Mickey Mouse.” He suffered from touches of post-traumatic stress disorder, and as he grew older, he reflected more on the war. “You think of the guys you killed,” he said. “You start thinking about those things as your life progresses.”

Kentes now runs a home inspection business, is on disability because of war-related infirmities and is active in veterans’ affairs.

Twenty-five years after the birth of the Wall, he said he believes he is better for his experience in Vietnam. “There were periods when I didn’t think that,” he said. “Are things ever going to settle down?” he said he would ask himself. “When is some normalcy going to settle in in your life?”

“It never really does,” he said.

* * *

‘Would I be a coward?’
When Hugh M. Jordan showed up at Washington’s Shoreham Hotel for pre-dedication festivities that weekend in 1982, he could find no gathering place for the outfit in which he had served in Vietnam, the Americal Division.

Other units had hospitality suites. But the Americal, formed in the South Pacific during World War II, didn’t even have a table. So he and some friends commandeered a desk. One man ripped the sky-blue division patch from his old uniform and pinned it on a poster board.

They started collecting donations in a shoebox, got enough money to rent a hospitality suite and stock it with beer, and soon had a regular reunion going, just like the other outfits.

Jordan, of Great Falls, had landed in the Americal Division in 1968. The year before, he and his best friend, Gerald Niewenhous, entered the Army to become helicopter pilots.

But Jordan’s eyesight wasn’t good enough, and he was assigned to the artillery. He was very disappointed, because his friend was cleared to stay with helicopters.

Jordan went to Vietnam that September and wound up with a battery on Hill 54 near a town called Tam Ky. One night, right after he arrived, the hill was attacked. Jordan was sent out to the perimeter to help. He exchanged fire with the enemy and found two dead Americans in a bunker.

He was 22, and his biggest fear was not that he might be killed, but that he might screw up: “Would I be a coward? Would I stand up when the time came?” he said.

The battle ended with daylight, and it was not until he returned to his battery that his knees started to shake. But he said to himself: “I survived, and I wasn’t a coward.”

There would be other attacks in other places in the next year, and Jordan would learn to sleep during outgoing barrages. Only incoming shells woke him.

He left Vietnam in the fall of 1969 and married an Australian woman he met on leave. “We took our uniforms off, threw them in the closet and tried to forget,” he said.

By 1982, he had a good job. He and his wife had one daughter and were about to have a second. He had donated money to the Vietnam memorial project but decided only at the last minute to attend the ceremonies, wearing his old fatigue jacket with the blue division patch.

He and the other Americal veterans insisted on marching in the parade as a unit, rather than by state. Someone called out cadence, he recalled, and they tried to keep in step. At the Wall, he found the name of his friend Gerald Niewenhous, who had been killed in his helicopter in 1969.

Jordan said he has been lucky since the dedication. He received two college degrees and became a project manager with the Department of Homeland Security. “I often wonder, if I hadn’t served, what would I have missed?” he said. “I think my life became richer. You learn about yourself. . . . I know who I am.”

* * *

‘We don’t have to be ashamed’
Len Funk was on a business trip to Washington that weekend in 1982. He had been in the international moving industry for many years after the war and was moving to New York from Portugal. His wife, who was expecting their first child, urged him to stay and attend the ceremonies.

Vietnam once had been a big part of Funk’s life. He had served there as an Army adviser for 20 months in 1969 and 1970 and went back in 1972 for 30 months as a State Department employee, he said in an interview at his home in Arlington.

He learned to speak Vietnamese and came to abhor the war’s destruction. He admired the country’s people: “Their life and their struggle really sunk in,” he said. And he watched some of the war’s final scenes as the North Vietnamese closed in and the United States withdrew.

Funk left in December 1974 — four months before Saigon fell — disillusioned, cynical and realizing he needed to move on. “I’ve been invested in this,” he said he thought. “How long can you believe, or try to believe, in something?”

Eight years later, the Washington hotels were filled with veterans like him. “I remember going on the march,” Funk said, and meeting men who had been in his outfit, Advisory Team 85.

“It was the first time we felt we could talk about this,” he said. “It was the first gathering, kind of . . . It was, ‘Okay, we can talk openly about this. We don’t have to be ashamed of it.’ “

Now, 25 years on, being a Vietnam veteran has “cachet,” he said.

He believes the experience defined him, making him a better person and vehemently antiwar.

And to this day, if he hears a helicopter or the Vietnamese language, it all comes back.

“It’s always there,” he said. “Vietnam never leaves you.”

Harry Potter, Gay Life and “Question Authority”

October 24, 2007

By Ben Shapiro
October 24, 2007

I  am not a fan of the Harry Potter series. Nonetheless, I, like every other sentient human being, know something about Harry Potter. Most of my friends are fans. My three younger sisters are fans. I’ve seen the movies. I’ve read small portions of several of the books.So when J.K. Rowling announced last week that Albus Dumbledore, the aged headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was gay, I was somewhat confused. When did the old dude with the funky beard turn into Gore Vidal?  

According to Rowling, Dumbledore was always Gore Vidal. At a Carnegie Hall reading, one of Rowling’s fans asked whether Dumbledore had ever found “true love.” “Dumbledore is gay,” Rowling gleefully responded. Dumbledore was apparently in love with his rival, Gellert Grindelwald, a dark wizard. “Falling in love can blind us to an extent,” Rowling explained. Dumbledore’s homosexual crush, Rowling stated, was his “great tragedy.” Rowling went on to label the Harry Potter books a “prolonged argument for tolerance” and told her fans to “question authority.”

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Another Reason to Avoid “Harry Potter” Books

Harry Potter: More Worthless Pop Culture

Kids reading fewer books despite Harry Potter hoopla

Priest Says Harry Potter Helps Devil, Evil

Our Nation: Based Upon God, Not Fiction