Simple Respect at Marine Vet’s Funeral Lifted Family’s Spirits

“Yesterday during my Daddy’s funeral procession, led by the United States Marine Corps, my family noticed the man in this photo pulled over on the side of the road,” posted Rona Wallace. “His hat was in is hand and his hand was over his heart, honoring my father and our family as we passed by.”

“His respectful act touched my family and the entire procession so deeply,” she noted. “We passed many other cars along the way that simply went about their day.”

“Since his license plate showed in the photo, my daughter did some digging and we found him!!!”

“His name is Ernest Boerlin and he is also a veteran – US Navy,” she continued. “When I messaged him privately to thank him for honoring my father, he said:”


“It was an honor to show my respect for a fellow serviceman and their family. Please accept my prayers and condolences to you and your family for your loss. Fair winds and following seas. God bless.”


“Thank you, Ernest. Your act of kindness and respect touched our family and friends very deeply and we are grateful. May God bless you and yours as well,” she commented. “Let’s thank Ernest for his service and show him some love, y’all!”

In God We Trust

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Where Did ‘He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother’ Come From?

During World War II (1945), a Japanese boy stood in front of a funeral pyre and waited his turn to cremate his little dead brother.

The person who took the photograph said, in an interview, that the boy was biting his lips so hard to keep from crying that blood was dripping from the corner of his mouth.

It was then that the guard asked him for the body and said, “Give me the load you are carrying on your back.” And the boy answered:

“He ain’t heavy, he is my brother”. He handed over the body, turned around, and left…

In Japan, even today, this image is used as a symbol of strength.

In college during the mid 1970s, I had the opportunity to meet and interview some music entertainers of the times. As the Fine Arts Editor for the Southwest Texas State (now Texas State) University Star, it helped me go backstage for artists like Freddy Mercury and Queen, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Alvin Lee with Ten Years After, and more.

One of my classmates was a young fellow who would sit out in the hall before a business class trying to catch up because he had been out singing late into the night before. You may have heard of him–George Strait.

A special moment was meeting Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina backstage before their San Antonio Municipal Auditorium (now the expanded Tobin Center) concert. I secured autographs, asked a few questions and was allowed to watch their sound check.

From the side of the stage they sat on stools, side-by-side, singing to an empty auditorium that would soon be filled to the brim.

The song was “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” I had heard the recordings by The Hollies and Neil Diamond, but this one time “personal” performance remains in my heart and memories to this day.

It was written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell. They only met three times to collaborate before Russell died of lymphoma.

A guy name Reginald played piano on The Hollies’ version which was released in 1970. It was a worldwide hit. You likely know the piano player by another name–Elton John.

The title actually didn’t come from the Japanese picture shown above. It came from the motto for Boys Town, a community formed in 1917 by a Catholic priest named Father Edward Flanagan.

Located in Omaha, Nebraska, it was a place where troubled or homeless boys could come for help. In 1941, Father Flanagan was looking at a magazine called The Messenger when he came across a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, “He ain’t heavy Mr., he’s my brother.”

Today, there is a statue with that phrase that serves as the symbol for Boys Town.

In 1938, actor Spencer Tracey portrayed Father Flanagan in the movie Boys Town, which also starred Mickey Rooney. In 1941, they made a sequel called Men Of Boys Town, where they used the phrase “He ain’t heavy, Father, he’s my brother” for the first time in a movie.

In God We Trust

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

The One Thing Most Americans May Not Be Considering is World Shocking

IF THIS EXPLANATION DOESNT FRIGHTEN PEOPLE ENOUGH TO WAKE UP, WHAT WILL?

Henry Kissinger-99, George Soros-91, Jacob Rothschild-86, Pope Francis-85, Nancy Pelosi-82, Joe Biden-79, Bill Clinton-75, Hillary Clinton-74, Bill Gates-66, Valerie Jarrett-65, Barack Obama-60, Susan Rice-57.

Here’s a reliable take on how and why Susan Rice and her Joe Biden puppet have been failing miserably. It is from Benjamin Fulford of benjaminfulford.net.


The fake US President Biden failed to get oil on his recent begging trip to the Middle East. This means the countdown for the implosion of the US and Western Europe has begun. Revolution is in the air and there will be no turning back, multiple sources agree.

Biden’s handlers’ hoped to use Iran as an “enemy” in order to justify massive arms sales in exchange for oil. Saudi ambassador to Washington Remma bint Bandar Al Saud summed up the region’s thinking when she dismissed the “oil-for-security paradigm” as “outdated and reductionist.”

🔹No weapons for oil means no oil for the US and its’ client states. No oil means no economic activity.

The Khazarian mafia meanwhile, like a dying beast, is spitting out fear porn, bio-weapons and threatening war in a desperate effort to stave off the inevitable. However, their medical mafia is being systematically hunted down and killed.

Fulford submits that, “the result was US industry lost its competitiveness and over 50 years of trade deficits turned the US into the most indebted country in world history.”

“Then finally the rest of the world decided to stop lending money to the US in 2008, leading to the ‘Lehman shock,’” he continued.

Note, in September 2008, the collapse of Lehman Brothers set off a crisis that paralyzed financial markets around the world. 

“The Americans were able to buy time then by promising to put a black communist in as president,” he stated, indicating the public should realize that “communism was created by the Vatican or should I say the P2 freemasons who control the Vatican and that Obama was/is their house slave.”

“In any case, the Obama ruse convinced the Asians to hand over 700 tons of gold to the Federal Reserve Board under Alan Greenspan,” Fulford claims. “This was leveraged over a thousand-fold to create $23 trillion that kept the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CORPORATION going until 2020.”

“When the money ran out in January of 2020 the Khazarian Mafia-controlled West responded with a massive bio-weapons and vaccine attack,” he stated. “They hoped to murder enough people so that they could stay in power. This effort has failed.”

OBAMA’S FRONTMAN BIDEN

“They also managed to get some funding for the US CORPORATION by promising to bring back Barack Obama with Joe Biden acting as his front man,” Fulford indicates.

“Now, as a result of general disgust with the antics of the fake Biden regime, this money has been cut off,” he explains. “This is the background to the truly historic events that are unfolding before our eyes.”

In the news, this can be seen in the fall of multiple governments and the isolation of the G7 from the rest of the world economy.

Fulford offers insight to Biden’s recent failed Beg For Oil visit to the Middle East.


“His failure to get continued free oil in exchange for money printed out of nothing is going to have ramifications far beyond the United States,” he surmises. “It will mean the end of the BIS, the UN, the EU and perhaps even the Papacy.”


To understand why this is, Fulford offers a historical review:

🔹The BIS, or central bank of central banks, was founded in 1930 using Asian gold.

🔹This gold was lent to the Germans to help them pay their obligations under the Treaty of Versailles signed at the end of World War I.

🔹In exchange, the Asians were promised the United Nations would be set up as a world parliament with the ancient royal families of East and West (the dragon family) acting as background supervisors.

🔹However, at the end of World War II the victorious allies reneged on their promise to spend the gold that was lent to them to develop the entire planet, Instead, their Marshall Plan only developed the countries they controlled (now known as the G7).

🔹In retaliation, the Asians cut off any further access to their gold.

🔹When the US ran out of gold, we had the “Nixon shock” of 1971. That is when the dollar was decoupled from gold.

🔹Instead, the countries of the world had to use dollars to buy oil.

“This was a giant sugar high to the US,” Fulford makes clear. “The countries of the world had to have a trade surplus with the US in order to buy oil. This led to a strong dollar and free money for the Americans.”

“However, the result was US industry lost its competitiveness and over 50 years of trade deficits turned the US into the most indebted country in world history.”

BLEAK FUTURE?

Where do people like Bill Gates and George Soros fit into this?

Soros, like Biden, and Henry Kissinger, may not be around much longer due to age and health. Perhaps their hope is in Gates and his contemporaries, as they continue on buying up businesses, farms, ranches, land and technologies to move their odd like agendas forward.

Fulford sums it up:

“When we look at what has happened to us, especially in the West, over the past two years, we can see that a powerful group has been trying to alter our genes with vaccines designed to turn us into domesticated animals.

“As Henry Kissinger once famously boasted: ‘In the future it will be as impossible for the ordinary people to rebel against us as it is for a sheep to rebel against a farmer.’

“We are fighting against a tribal group that wants to monopolize the ability to become superhuman. They want the rest of us to have short, ignorant lives of inescapable and permanent slavery.

In other words, humanity is at a cross roads.”

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

The Patriotic American Lesson of a True Insurrection

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, their families and cohorts  remind many patriotic citizens today of Paul Cantrell and his political machine.

In Athens, Tennessee, the seat of McMinn County, was once upon a time, the headquarters of Sheriff Cantrell, the unscrupulous boss of a corrupt Democratic machine which stretched from Tennessee to Washington, DC.

When so many of the husbands, fathers, uncles, sons and cousins left for duty during the Second World War, Cantrell kicked his corruption into high gear.

🔹On the books, Cantrell drew salaries of nearly sixty thousand dollars per year over his first six years that were worth over $715,000 in today’s dollars.

🔹He was also appointed superintendent of the county workhouse (which didn’t even exist) for an additional two thousand dollars annually. a time when the median Tennessee home was worth less than two thousand dollars and the starting salary for enlisted men was fifty dollars per month.

🔹Despite the strict rationing for millions of patriotic citizens, Cantrell’s “lieutenants” and “enforcers” had plenty of cars, tires, and fuel.

🔹Reminiscent of Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Epstein, or Joe Biden and Judge Emmett Sullivan, Cantrell and company had their own whorehouses, not to mention illegal casinos, and speakeasies, to play in and take in thousands of dollars per month in protection money.

🔹Like Congress and the Senate today protecting their beloved kickback schemes from Ukraine, by 1946, Cantrell had dozens of county employees on the payrolls to provide cover for their vast money laundering operations.

🔹By August 1, 1946, citizens had enough. The boys who went to fight in World War II returned home as men, brave veterans.

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🔹While the “roosters” were gone saving the world from tyranny, the “fox” made certain the elections were rigged, much like 2020.

🔹McMinn County ballot boxes remained in Democratic offices. Cantrell’s deputies were the “election officers,” some of whom went down in history as “brutal killers with the blood of innocent civilians on their hands. Other local thugs and felons were on hand to further inculcate the climate of fear, including a man who murdered his own father and, five months after the election, murdered his sister-in-law, an expectant mother, and an infant child.”

🔹Like the patriots of January 6, 2021, some of McMinn County voters were imprisoned to prevent them from voting.

🔹Similar to the fake news of Big Media today, the message went out to older voters that their pensions would be held up unless they voted “the right way.”

🔹When a Republican election judge, a disabled veteran of World War I, tried to view the ballot count, he was dragged into the corridor and beaten, leaving him paralyzed.

🔹Another man who attempted to observe the ballot count was pistol-whipped, and one gunman fired at a poll worker who tried to leave the courthouse.

🔹Citizens petitioned the Department of Justice for relief, knowing that local and State officials would not take any action against the machine.

🔹Like the DOJ of 2022, the 1946 Department of Justice took no to little action and downplayed any evidence.

🔹Judges then, as now, dismissed evidence and lawsuits that did make it into courts. Of course, judges, DAs, senators and congressmen were associated with the machine. In one case, the judge not only dismissed most of the charges but fined the men one penny for the charges that stuck.

🔹The machine awarded Cantrell by having him “elected” to the Tennessee Senate. Pat Mansfield replaced him as Sheriff.

🔹Stories started to spread that widows and daughters of some deceased military heroes were forced into prostitutuon.

🔹Surviving veterans returned home to a community of horror.

🔹Near the end of September, 1944, Earl Ford, a returned Navy Seabee, was shot and killed by one of Mansfeld’s thugs, George Spurling.

🔹Not long after Ford was killed, Bill White returned from his tour of duty. Bill’s father, Edd, a veteran of the First World War, told his son a story:

He walked five miles a day to work at the power station on Railroad Avenue. He carried his lunch in a brown paper bag and a pint of milk from Mayfield’s Dairy. While walking past the jail on his way home he saw four deputies stare at him, get in a car, and start the engine. As he walked past the courthouse, the car was in the middle of the street, following him. He lowered his head and kept walking. He walked past the bus station and they were right alongside him. Edd picked up the pace. They accelerated. He didn’t know what they wanted with him or why. But he knew it wasn’t good. He panicked and started running to his house. The car pulled in front of him and slammed on its brakes. Four deputies jumped out with clubs in their hands. He was arrested and taken to jail. Now it was time to figure out a reason. The deputies took his milk bottle out of the bag and passed it around, taking a sniff. “Smells funny,” they agreed. The deputies who protected the roadhouses and honky-tonks and lined their pockets with kickbacks from bootleggers and pimps decided the remnant of Edd White’s milk was alcohol. He was fined $16.05, several days’ pay.

“It was a big surprise,” Bill described about returning home from the war, and “everything, everything, everything you’ve been told you’re supposed to be fighting for wasn’t there.” There were “liquor houses, whorehouses, gambling joints all over the county,” protected by “a bunch of thugs wearing guns and badges.”

Sounding very familiar to Americans today, Cantrell back then decided he was returning to Athens to “run” for Sheriff, Mansfield would be his handpicked successor to “run” for the State Senate seat.

🔹The veterans could stand no more. It was time to take action. They were told to keep away from the polls and to not even think about running for office, the veterans began organizing anyway.

🔹They prepared in secrecy to put a ticket together. They called it the “Ex-Serviceman’s Cleanup Ticket for McMinn County.”

🔹The local Republican Party endorsed them. One party official summed it up:

“We are involved in a conflict with desperate enemies who have sought to subject us to tyranny and oppression…We feel a deep sense of obligation and now seek in measure to repay…Young men who have fought against oppression abroad will continue that fight for honesty and decency at home.”

🔹Bill White finally told the group they were being naïve, arguing that they had to organize a fighting bunch:

“Listen. Do you think they’re going to let you win this election? Those people been taking these elections for years with a bunch of armed thugs. If you never got the guts enough to stand up and fight fire with fire, you ain’t gonna win.”

An Athens minister preached to his congregation:

“If you do not vote as your conscience dictates, then you have sold your citizenship and do not deserve to be citizens. It is the responsibility of each and every person to preserve our most cherished possession, liberty, or forever lose it.”

ELECTION DAY

🔹Armed deputies “guarded” each polling place, and reports of election fraud poured in to GI headquarters almost immediately.

🔹One veteran reported, “They already started knocking our boys in the head and putting them in jail. They’re taking this thing…This thing’ lost.”

Athens Jail, 1946

🔹A deputy beat and shot a sixty-year-old who insisted he was going to vote as he tried to enter a polling place.

🔹Another deputy brutally beat an election judge, a veteran who protested the shameful voter fraud he witnessed.

🔹One writer indicated “there were twelve ballot boxes: one in the jail, another inside a heavily defended courthouse, a third barricaded in the Dixie Café, a fourth in the vault in the Cantrell Bank Building, and poll watchers had been ejected at two other locations.”

🔹Inside the courthouse, deputies held a handful of GI poll watchers hostage, two of them wounded.

🔹Bill White and some of the team of GI veterans took these courthouse “deputies” for a drive out in the country were they marched them into the woods, made them take off their clothes, and tied them to trees. Some were whipped with a hickory stick.

Some of the veterans who took their city back

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🔹Leaving the naked and whipped deputies tied to the trees, White and team returned to town. White told his fellow patriots:

Well! Here you are! After three or four years of fighting for your country. You survived it all. You came back. And what did you come back to? A free country? You came back to Athens, Tennessee, in McMin!n County, that’s run by a bunch of outlaws. They’ve got hired gunmen all over this county right now at this minute. What for? One purpose. To scare you so bad you won’t dare stand up for the rights you’ve been bleeding and dying for. Some of your mothers and some of your sisters are afraid to walk down the streets to the polling places. Lots of men, too! Because they know what happens. A car drives by in the night and shoots out your windows. If that doesn’t scare you enough, they’ll set fire to your house or your barn. They’ll beat up members of your family and put them in jail. For no reason! Is that the kind of freedom you were supposed to be fighting for? Do you know what your rights are supposed to be? How many rights have you got left? None! Not even the right to vote in a free election. When you lose that, you’ve lost everything. And you are damned well going to lose it unless you fight and fight the only way they understand. Fire with fire! We’ve got to make this an honest election because we promised the people that if they voted it would be an honest election. And it’s going to be. But only if we see that it is. We are going to have to run these organized criminals out of town, and we can do it if we stick together. Are you afraid of them? Why, I could take a banana stalk and run every one of these potbellied draft dodgers across Depot Hill. Get the hell out of here and get something to shoot with. And come back as fast as you can.

Bill White, 1946

🔹The veterans returned with an arsenal of pistols, rifles, shotguns, squirrel guns, and European souvenirs like a German Mauser. It wasn’t enough.

🔹A group of them raided the nearby National Guard armory, where they found revolvers, a Thompson submachine gun, an array of .30-caliber M1917 rifles, and plenty of ammunition.

🔹Sheriff deputies gathered at the jail, where the ballot boxes had been taken.

Local hero patriots pose in jail after they took it over.

🔹 White remembered how they had sworn to defend America against all of her enemies. Later, he explained that “if it was worth going over there and risking your life, laying it down, it was worth it here, too. So, we decided to fight.”

🔹The veterans formed a line on a hillside across from the jail and demanded that the machine men bring out the ballot boxes. From the jail, someone yelled, “You’re going to have to come get them.”

🔹A gun battle commenced and the vets climbed to rooftops, strategically surrounding the jail.

🔹 Other veterans fired from behind walls and parked cars. They shot out the transformer that supplied the jail. The deputies could even see their ammo which had mostly been used up.

🔹More deputies from both Monroe and Polk Counties arrived with a plan to kill Knox Henry, the veteran candidate for Sheriff.

🔹After receiving news that the National Guard had been mobilized, the veterans asked White what they should do. He replied immediately, vowing, “We’re not going to do anything about it. We’re going to keep shooting here until we get those ballot boxes and get those people out of there.”

🔹Some of the veterans went and returned with an enormous stockpile of dynamite in the old county barn that the county used to clear roads and blast stumps and stones.

🔹They began tossing dynamite in increasing amounts at the jail, aiming closer and closer with each throw, finally promising that the next would be through the window.

🔹The deputized political machine men, outgunned and out of ammunition, surrendered with their hands held straight up as they walked out.

🔹The patriots searched the deputies for weapons and marched them from the jail to the courthouse in a column led by Bill White.

🔹White’s men gathered all deputies fancy late model cars so citizens could see them turn them over, douse them with gasoline, and set aflame.

🔹The veterans delivered a statement to a local radio station:

“The GI election officials went to the polls unarmed to have a fair election, as Pat Mansfield promised. They were met with blackjacks and pistols. Several GI officials were beaten and the ballot boxes were moved to the jail. The GI supporters went to the jail to get these ballot boxes and were met by gunfire. The GI candidates had promised that the votes would be counted as cast. They had no choice but to meet fire with fire. In the precincts where the GI candidates were allowed watchers, they led by three-to-one majorities. The GIs are elected and will serve as your county officials beginning September 1, 1946.”

The GIs continued by:

🔹Halting their planned aerial attack at a nearby airstrip in which they had planned to drop bombs over the jail.

🔹Raided all of the gambling dens, seized the slot machines and destroyed the equipment.

🔹Knox Henry was sworn in as Sheriff and declared:

“We have accomplished what we started out to do. We’ve broken the grip of the political machine that has ruled McMinn County for ten years without regard as to the wishes of the people in how their government was to be run. When I say we, I mean the other GIs on the nonpartisan cleanup ticket and the citizens of McMinn County who helped us win the battle.”

“We regret that the gunfight at the jail had to happen…Our only alternative was to use force…there will be no trouble of this kind at the next election. Any person who can qualify for an office may run with the full assurance of an honest election and the people will have nothing to fear when they go to the polls on Election Day.”

🔹Knox needed a whole new team of deputies, and pinned a star on Bill White. Almost immediately, they carried out raids on the moonshiners and bootleggers who had enjoyed the protection of the eliminated machine.

Soon, a Commonwealth editorial read:

“Since, after all, our American nation was founded by virtue of revolution, and since such revered figures as Jefferson evidently thought that revolution had valuable tonic effects on the body politic, it would be a trifle hypocritical for Americans to raise their hands in horror at these goings-on in the shadow of the Great Smokies.”

These brave patriots of Athens, Tennessee, fought and won the only successful armed insurrection in the United States since the War of Independence….so far.


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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Lessons From Iwo Jima

When Dodie and I were dating, I asked her about the time her college volleyball team flew to the college finals in Maryland. It was a big deal because they won the championship.

She mentioned that on one night there, the coach asked them to vote on getting a pizza near the hotel or going into Washington D.C. for sightseeing.

They chose pizza. She was heartbroken.

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So, what’s a guy in love supposed to do?

I made her dream come true, of course.

We arrived in D.C. over the July 4th weekend of 2020. Although pandemic restrictions forbid us from actually doing much, it was exciting to see the intrigue and pride on her face as she saw the White House, Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Ford’s Theater and more.

We drove over the Potomac River hoping to go into the Arlington National Cemetery. It too was restricted. So I drove around until she could see the Iwo Jima memorial.

This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.       

The touching moment of seeing her expression is something I’ll never forget. It was worth it.

It reminds me of the story James Bradley told to visitors at the base of the memorial some years ago:

“My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers‘. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.   

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‘Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team.

They were off to play another type of game. A game called ‘War.’ But it didn’t turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war.

You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old – and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) ‘You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from   New Hampshire.  If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph…a photograph of his girlfriend Renee. She put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the  battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.    

‘The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the ‘old man’ because he was so old. He was already 24.

When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, ‘Let’s go kill some Japanese’ or ‘Let’s die for our country’ He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, ‘You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.’

‘The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima.

He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, ‘You’re a hero’ He told reporters, ‘How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?’

So, you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive.

That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).   

‘The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky . A fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy.

His best friend, who is now 70, told me, ‘Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.’

Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19.  When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

‘The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews.

When Walter Cronkite’s producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say ‘No, I’m sorry, sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.’ My dad never fished or even went to Canada . Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell’s soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press.   

‘You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver.

On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.      

‘When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, ‘I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.’   

‘So that’s the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.” 

To the school teens who heard Mr. Bradley, the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before their eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.   

When you look at the statue very closely and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said “the 13th hand was the hand of God.”   

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Jack Dennis often reports on politics, crime, history, travel, nostalgia, entertainment, immigration, drugs, gang activities, and human trafficking. Please support our efforts to provide truth and news that corporate media will not. 🔹Dodie Dennis, retired RN and health instructor, writes about health, nutrition, Big Pharma, nature, travel and everyday hacks-tips-hints.

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America’s Uncle Sam Was a Real Patriot

Plus, over a dozen vintage images

You may not have known that Uncle Sam was a real person! In case you’re unfamiliar, “Uncle Sam” is the famous patriotic character we see on the poster that reads, “I want you for U.S. army.”

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Born Samuel Wilson in 1766, the real-life Uncle Sam worked as a meat packer in Troy, New York. During the War of 1812, he supplied troops with meat that he shipped in barrels.

The barrels contained the branding “U.S.,” short for “United States,” but people often joked that it actually stood for “Uncle Sam.” The trope eventually spread far and wide, and the rest is history (literally).

Painted by noted U.S. illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, the image first appeared on the cover of the July 6, 1916, issue of Leslie’s Weekly magazine with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?” The U.S. would not declare war on Germany until April of the next year, but the storm signals were clear. The image was later adapted by the U.S. Army for the poster with the new, unforgettable call to action. More than 4 million copies of it were printed between 1917 and 1918.

This photo above of Wilson was taken sometime in the 1850s, and is the only known photograph of him.

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The Nation Garden Statue List Revealed in Trump’s Executive Order

President Donald J. Trump issued one of his last executive orders on January 18, 2021, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, for the construction of 250 statues in The National Garden.

“The National Garden will feature a roll call of heroes who deserve honor, recognition, and lasting tribute because of the battles they won, the ideas they championed, the diseases they cured, the lives they saved, the heights they achieved, and the hope they passed down to all of us — that united as one American people trusting in God, there is no challenge that cannot be overcome and no dream that is beyond our reach.”

“In Executive Order 13934 of July 3, 2020 (Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes), I made it the policy of the United States to establish a statuary park named the National Garden of American Heroes (National Garden),” President Trump wrote.

“Across this Nation, belief in the greatness and goodness of America has come under attack in recent months and years by a dangerous anti-American extremism that seeks to dismantle our country’s history, institutions, and very identity,” President Trump stated.”

“The heroes of 1776 have been desecrated, with statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin vandalized and toppled.”

“The dead who gave their lives to end slavery and save the Union during the Civil War have been dishonored, with monuments to Abraham Lincoln, Hans Christian Heg, and the courageous 54th Regiment left damaged and disfigured. The brave warriors who saved freedom from Nazi fascism have been disgraced with a memorial to World War II veterans defaced with the hammer and sickle of Soviet communism.”

“The National Garden is America’s answer to this reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire way of life. On its grounds, the devastation and discord of the moment will be overcome with abiding love of country and lasting patriotism. This is the American way.”

“When the forces of anti-Americanism have sought to burn, tear down, and destroy, patriots have built, rebuilt, and lifted up. That is our history.”

“America responded to the razing of the White House by building it back in the same place with unbroken resolve, to the murders of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr., with a national temple and the Stone of Hope, and to the terrorism of 9/11 with a new Freedom Tower.”

“In keeping with this tradition, America is responding to the tragic toppling of monuments to our founding generation and the giants of our past by commencing a new national project for their restoration, veneration, and celebration.”

Even prominent American musicians such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Aretha Franklin will be featured. Other musicians and singers include Woodie Guthrie, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.

Photo by Jack Dennis

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The List of Statues

A-E

Ansel Adams, John Adams, Samuel Adams, Muhammad Ali, Luis Walter Alvarez, Susan B. Anthony, Hannah Arendt, Louis Armstrong, Neil Armstrong, Crispus Attucks, John James Audubon, Lauren Bacall, Clara Barton, Todd Beamer, Alexander Graham Bell, Roy Benavidez, Ingrid Bergman, Irving Berlin, Humphrey Bogart, Daniel Boone, Norman Borlaug, William Bradford, Herb Brooks, Kobe Bryant, William F. Buckley, Jr., Sitting Bull, Frank Capra, Andrew Carnegie, Charles Carroll, John Carroll, George Washington Carver, Johnny Cash, Joshua Chamberlain, Whittaker Chambers, Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman, Ray Charles, Julia Child, Gordon Chung-Hoon, William Clark, Henry Clay, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Roberto Clemente, Grover Cleveland, Red Cloud, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, Nat King Cole, Samuel Colt, Christopher Columbus, Calvin Coolidge, James Fenimore Cooper, Davy Crockett, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Miles Davis, Dorothy Day, Joseph H. De Castro, Emily Dickinson, Walt Disney, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, Jimmy Doolittle, Desmond Doss, Frederick Douglass, Herbert Henry Dow, Katharine Drexel, Peter Drucker, Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Jonathan Edwards, Albert Einstein, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Duke Ellington, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Medgar Evers.

F-I

David Farragut, the Marquis de La Fayette, Mary Fields, Henry Ford, George Fox, Aretha Franklin, Benjamin Franklin, Milton Friedman, Robert Frost, Gabby Gabreski, Bernardo de Gálvez, Lou Gehrig, Theodor Seuss Geisel, Cass Gilbert, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Glenn, Barry Goldwater, Samuel Gompers, Alexander Goode, Carl Gorman, Billy Graham, Ulysses S. Grant, Nellie Gray, Nathanael Greene, Woody Guthrie, Nathan Hale, William Frederick “Bull” Halsey, Jr., Alexander Hamilton, Ira Hayes, Hans Christian Heg, Ernest Hemingway, Patrick Henry, Charlton Heston, Alfred Hitchcock, Billie Holiday, Bob Hope, Johns Hopkins, Grace Hopper, Sam Houston, Whitney Houston, Julia Ward Howe, Edwin Hubble, Daniel Inouye.

J-L

Andrew Jackson, Robert H. Jackson, Mary Jackson, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, Steve Jobs, Katherine Johnson, Barbara Jordan, Chief Joseph, Elia Kazan, Helen Keller, John F. Kennedy, Francis Scott Key, Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King, Jr., Russell Kirk, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Henry Knox, Tadeusz Kościuszko, Harper Lee, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, Meriwether Lewis, Abraham Lincoln, Vince Lombardi, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Clare Boothe Luce.

M-P

Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, George Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, William Mayo, Christa McAuliffe, William McKinley, Louise McManus, Herman Melville, Thomas Merton, George P. Mitchell, Maria Mitchell, William “Billy” Mitchell, Samuel Morse, Lucretia Mott, John Muir, Audie Murphy, Edward Murrow, John Neumann, Annie Oakley, Jesse Owens, Rosa Parks, George S. Patton, Jr., Charles Willson Peale, William Penn, Oliver Hazard Perry, John J. Pershing, Edgar Allan Poe, Clark Poling, John Russell Pope, Elvis Presley.

R-S

Jeannette Rankin, Ronald Reagan, Walter Reed, William Rehnquist, Paul Revere, Henry Hobson Richardson, Hyman Rickover, Sally Ride, Matthew Ridgway, Jackie Robinson, Norman Rockwell, Caesar Rodney, Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Betsy Ross, Babe Ruth, Sacagawea, Jonas Salk, John Singer Sargent, Antonin Scalia, Norman Schwarzkopf, Junípero Serra, Elizabeth Ann Seton, Robert Gould Shaw, Fulton Sheen, Alan Shepard, Frank Sinatra, Margaret Chase Smith, Bessie Smith, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jimmy Stewart, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Gilbert Stuart, Anne Sullivan.

T-Z

William Howard Taft, Maria Tallchief, Maxwell Taylor, Tecumseh, Kateri Tekakwitha, Shirley Temple, Nikola Tesla, Jefferson Thomas, Henry David Thoreau, Jim Thorpe, Augustus Tolton, Alex Trebek, Harry S. Truman, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Dorothy Vaughan, C. T. Vivian, John von Neumann, Thomas Ustick Walter, Sam Walton, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, John Washington, John Wayne, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Roger Williams, John Winthrop, Frank Lloyd Wright, Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, Alvin C. York, Cy Young, Lorenzo de Zavala.

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“To begin the process of building this new monument to our country’s greatness, I established the Interagency Task Force for Building and Rebuilding Monuments to American Heroes (Task Force) and directed its members to plan for construction of the National Garden.”

“The Task Force has advised me it has completed the first phase of its work and is prepared to move forward. This order revises Executive Order 13934 and provides additional direction for the Task Force.”

“The chronicles of our history show that America is a land of heroes,” Trump penned. “As I announced during my address at Mount Rushmore, the gates of a beautiful new garden will soon open to the public where the legends of America’s past will be remembered.”

“The National Garden will be built to reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism. It will be a place where citizens, young and old, can renew their vision of greatness and take up the challenge that I gave every American in my first address to Congress, to “[b]elieve in yourselves, believe in your future, and believe, once more, in America.”

“The National Garden will draw together and fix in the soil of a single place what Abraham Lincoln called “[t]he mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart.” In the peace and harmony of this vast outdoor park, visitors will come and learn the amazing stories of some of the greatest Americans who have ever lived.”

Photo by Jack Dennis

“In short, each individual has been chosen for embodying the American spirit of daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love. Astounding the world by the sheer power of their example, each one of them has contributed indispensably to America’s noble history, the best chapters of which are still to come.”

“The Secretary, in consultation with the Task Force, shall identify a site suitable for the establishment of the National Garden. The Secretary shall proceed with construction of the National Garden at that site, to the extent consistent with the Secretary’s existing authorities or authority later provided by the Congress.”

Rest in Peace Chuck Yeager, Dead at 97

American military and aviation hero Chuck Yeager died today at age 97, just over 73 years after his initial supersonic flight.

It was Oct. 14, 1947, when 24-year-old U.S. Air Force officer Yeager became the first human in history to exceed the speed of sound and survive.

Yeager flew a legendary Bell X-1 rocket plane that he named the “Glamourous Glennis,” after his wife, at Mach 1, over 768 mph.

The U.S. Government kept his accomplishments quiet until the following year. When the news finally broke, Yeager became an international celebrity.

Before Yeager’s busting through the sound barrier, it was commonly thought the task was impossible. World War II pilots had reported their aircrafts coming apart when they came close to that speed.

Yeager proved his instinct to remain calm during the war and this led him to prove that with proper jet design the feat could be obtained.

In 1963, Yeager flew a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter up to 104,000 feet, but lost control. When the aircraft began gyrating downward, he was able to eject.

He was struck in the face by his rocket seat. His helmet visor cracked, igniting pure oxygen inside, severely burning his face and neck. He endured multiple skin grafts to his wounds.

Yeager continued to set flight records into the 1990s.

The Weeding and Seeding Lesson

Today was beautiful in the Texas Hill Country. I repaired a birdbath for our flying friends coming in from the north for winter. Afterwards, I sat in our bench swing and thought about my grandfather.

Some of my favorite memories are sitting next to him on his front porch swing, as a young boy at his home in Abilene, Texas and as a man after he moved to Mernard, above the Hill Country.

Bassett Arthur was a kind gentleman, who as a Navy Seabee spent much of his time in the Philippines during World War II.

While I enjoyed listening to his historical adventures in the Philippines, at sea, and his training, the most impactful discussions involved some remarkable struggles and how they collectively shaped his philosophies of life.

B. Arthur in Philippines, WWII.


“Grandpa, I’ve been wanting to ask you something, so do you mind if I ask you something personal?” I brought up one afternoon while we sat on lawn chairs in his back yard.

“Well, I’d be glad to,” he smiled. “What’s been on your mind?”

“You are always so relaxed, cheerful, and seem very happy and content,” I commented. “A lot of people nowadays seem so stressed and tied up in knots. What is your secret?”

Grandpa laughed and said a few things about how he enjoys simple things like working in his garden, reading, and “fiddling” with his tools.

“The best advice I could give anyone is not to compare yourself with anyone,” he grinned. “Your life is your life. The road you travel and the experiences you face are yours. Don’t measure your worth by what others have, or do, or where they live. Gauge yourself, your mistakes and successes based only on your own life, not theirs.”

“It took me awhile, but eventually I noticed that people seem to hold others up to a higher standard than they did for themselves,” he continued. “Some would put others down or intimidate to try to make themselves feel superior, but it really just boiled down to people didn’t set the high standards for themselves like they expected of others.”

Front porch swing, Mernard, TX.

“In everything you do, don’t do as others do,” Grandpa spoke. “Set your own standards for yourself. Don’t let anyone set them for you.”

“So, I didn’t compare what I was doing or saying with what others were,” he explained. “I just set up my own standards for myself and tried to set my personal standards higher and above what I expected from others.”

Just like the flavorsome fruits and vegetables from his garden, Grandpa Arthur continually seemed to nurture, grow and surround himself with positive people.

“Misery loves company, so get rid of the rot,” he would often say. “Weed out the bad. Seed in the good.”

Sound Barrier Busters and Other Jets

By happenstance, Dodie and I were able to see the Wings Over South Texas Air Show at Corpus Christi, in April 2019.

We didn’t join the 50,000-plus people at the Naval Air Station, but elected to take Mr. Beefy dog to a nearby park and watch it. It was spectacular.

Here’s a collection of various jets.

Blue Angels were established as a Navy flight exhibition team on 24 April 1946 by order of Chief of Naval Operations Chester Nimitz. We visited his museum in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Texas last weekend and this prompted the posting of these powerful photos.

Over San Antonio, honoring first line responders and heroes of the pandemic in 2020.

To boost Navy morale, demonstrate naval air power, and maintain public interest in naval aviation, an underlying mission was to help the Navy generate public and political support for a larger allocation of the shrinking defense budget.

The original group perfected its initial maneuvers in secret over the Florida Everglades.

Lt. Commander, Roy Marlin “Butch” Voris, a WWII flying ace selected to lead the team, said they practiced there so that, “if anything happened, just the alligators would know.”

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There is a Reason That America’s Motto is “In God We Trust“

We Learned More From History at This Texas Museum Than Any Other

Visiting the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas this weekend was a rewarding learning experience.

Bassett Arthur, Navy Seabee, WWII

My Grandfather, Bassett Arthur was a Navy Seabee during World War II. I’ve always had a fascination with the subject from listening to his stories. When he died in March 1996, among his belongings was an old pamphlet. I don’t know how true it is, but it’s worth reading:

Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters every where you looked.

As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”

Hatch from USS Arizona at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Texas.

Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America. Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?” Nimitz explained:

Mistake number one: the Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: when the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships.

If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply. That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or God was taking care of America.

It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredericksburg, Texas –he was a born optimist. But anyway you look at it–Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.

The Nimitz Museum

Just 16 years after the 1836 Battle of the Alamo in San Antonio (72 miles away), a German immigrant, Charles H. Nimitz, built a hotel.

For years, the Nimitz Hotel was the only establishment offering clean rooms and hot baths between San Antonio and El Paso. Over the years, the building also housed services such as a barber shop and a bus station. A group that would later become the Admiral Nimitz Foundation acquired the building and in 1971 opened it as the first building of what is now the National Museum of the Pacific War.

Every American should see it, especially since the hotel building museum has been modernized and updated this year.

Dodie and I learned about the sacrifices, bravery and patriotism of Americans and events leading up to, during and after the war more than ever before.

Although I have visited this museum a few times over the years (H-E-B Food/Drugs, my employer for decades, donated a former store building behind the Nimitz Hotel in the 1980s), the expansions and additional exhibits blew us away.


It was a fascinating and emotional experience and Smithsonian worthy.

Anyone who visits would be angered and ashamed of themselves for ever taking America for granted–let alone marching against our country, supporting fascism, communism or socialism.

You can’t walk out without a deepened appreciation for those who served here and abroad.

Field trips for high school and university students would be worthwhile. It would teach them more history, humility, inspiration than they could ever get in a semester.

When a son of Charles H. Nimitz died, he soon took his pregnant widowed daughter-in-law in to live at the hotel. She gave birth six months later to his grandson, Chester.

I first heard of Chester Nimitz from my Grandpa Arthur. He was proud to have served under him and credited Nimitz for saving us from Japan.

Others know him as the heralded pick by Franklin D. Roosevelt for Fleet Commander of the United States Navy  in the Pacific ten days after the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

While the museum’s main building focuses on the larger story of the Pacific Theater, the Nimitz Gallery (the hotel) spotlights Admiral Nimitz and his ties to Fredericksburg.

When FDR appointed Nimitz to assume command of the Pacific, there was a critical shortage of ships, planes and supplies.

Nimitz inspired confidence in his staff and the sailors under his command which would bring about a halt to the Japanese dominance in the Pacific. The entire museum experience chronologically tells the personal and national stories of World War II.

The exhibits tell a complete story aided by incredible artifacts, weapons, and personal items from both American and Japanese individuals.

Several of our highlights were sections honoring the valuable sacrifices and contributions in materials production of citizens back home–mothers, sisters, aunts and loved ones of all races.

They helped rearm and resupply our military in the Pacific and European fronts. This enabled our Navy to begin inflicting serious losses on the Imperial Japanese Navy.

U.S. forces gained momentum and remained on the offensive, helping to hasten the end of the war. 


We learned that Nimitz was unique from other top admirals and generals  of the WWII era in his ability to manage crises with cool headedness.


For instance, unlike General George Patton, Nimitz was more like President Roosevelt, with a very compelling voice.

He appealed to peoples’ logic and sense of duty. He set the example and often let his actions compel others to aspire to his level of excellence.

Nimitz was resolute in his ability to find the positive even in the most horrific of situations, such as the aftermath of Pearl Harbor.

His ability to view the world from the eyes of others, allowed him to inspire through calmness and not fiery responses or pure force of will. 

Nimitz rarely used his distinctive voice for self-promotion. He maintained humility while operating at the highest levels of military achievement and always gave credit to his people. 

One inspiring section in the Nimitz section of the museum experience
are the depiction of key traits of the Admiral’s personality as it was reflected in his leadership style.

“Discover the human story of World War II in the Pacific in more than 55,000 square feet of exhibit space spread over three galleries located on six acres in the heart of Fredericksburg, Texas,” local literature promotes. “The National Museum of the Pacific War is the only museum in the continental U.S. solely dedicated to telling the story of WWII in the Pacific.”

“At the height of the Pacific War Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz commanded more than two million men and women, 5,000 ships and 20,000 planes, yet he came from humble and landlocked beginnings.”

Me beside the new statue of Nimitz facing West.

Born February 24, 1885, he regarded his grandfather as “the most important man” in his life.

Serendipity, hard work and perseverance changed the course of world history. When he was a new young officer commanding a destroyer, he ran the ship aground, an offense that has ended many a promising officer’s career. 

Nimitz underwent a court martial and was charged with neglect of duty. But he did not allow that experience to dampen his enthusiasm for the Navy or his dedication to it. 

Before Pearl Harbor, FDR offered Nimitz the command of the Pacific Fleet. He respectfully declined, knowing there were a number of officers ahead of him in senority. He  felt that accepting the assignment would foster resentment. 

After the Pearl Harbor attack, President Roosevelt turned again to Nimitz to take on the difficult mission of rebuilding the fleet and prosecuting the war against Japan.

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Honoring Our Heroes and Monuments is a Growing American Tradition

President Donald J. Trump announced in front of Mount Rushmore in July he was signing an executive order to establish the “National Garden of American Heroes,” which will be a “vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live.”

It was clearly a welcomed action against protesters who have waged “a merciless campaign to wipe out our history” amid demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality.

Upset with the lack of action from liberal cities and states to protect statues and property, the month before Trump tweeted he had “just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues – and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!”

The destruction of statues and memorials virtually ceased. In the few instances it continued, arrests were made.

Patriotism and pride in America surged despite the efforts of organized attempts from socialist liberal organizations and leadership to squelch it.

Parades and caravans in lakes, bays, rivers and intercoastal waterways began popping up throughout the United States. Along with literally hundreds of highways, city loops, rural roads and Main Street parades, hundreds of thousands of Americans united in their support of a sitting president the likes of which have never been seen in history.

When Dodie and I were dating, I asked about the time her college volleyball team flew to the college finals in Maryland. It was a big deal because they won the national championship.

She mentioned that on one evening there, the coach asked them to vote on getting a pizza near the hotel or go into Washington D.C. for sightseeing.

She was heartbroken. They chose pizza.

So what’s a guy that’s been attracted to her for over 48 years supposed to do?

I made her dream come true of course.

Washington D.C. July 4, 2020.

We arrived in D.C. over the July 4th weekend this summer. Although pandemic restrictions forbade us from actually doing much, it was exciting to see the intrigue and pride on her face as she saw the White House, Capitol building, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Ford’s Theater and more.

We drove over the Potomac River hoping to go into the Arlington National Cemetery. It too was restricted. So I drove around until she could see the Iwo Jima memorial.

This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.       

The touching moment of seeing her expression is something I’ll never forget. It was worth it.

It reminds me of the story James Bradley told to visitors at the base of the memorial some years ago:

“My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers‘. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.   

‘Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team.

Harlon Block.

They were off to play another type of game. A game called ‘War.’ But it didn’t turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war.

You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old – and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) ‘You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from   New Hampshire.  If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph…a photograph of his girlfriend Rene.

Rene Gagnon.

She put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the  battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.    

‘The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the ‘old man’ because he was so old. He was already 24.

Mike Strank.

When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, ‘Let’s go kill some Japanese’ or ‘Let’s die for our country’ He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, ‘You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.’

‘The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona . Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima.

Ira Hayes.

He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, ‘You’re a hero’ He told reporters, ‘How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?’

That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).   

So, you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive.

‘The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky . A fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy.

Franklin Sousley.

His best friend, who is now 70, told me, ‘Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.’

Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19.  When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

‘The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin , where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews.

John Bradley.

When Walter Cronkite’s producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say ‘No, I’m sorry, sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.’ My dad never fished or even went to Canada . Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating his Campbell’s soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press.   

‘You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and on a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver.

On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.      

‘When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, ‘I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.’   

‘So that’s the story about six nice young boys.. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.” 

To the school teens who heard Mr. Bradley, the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before their eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.   

When you look at the statue very closely and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said “the 13th hand was the hand of God.”