(thanks to Neatorama)
William Overstreet Jr. died in Roanoke, Virginia at the age of 92. During World War II, he flew a P-51 Mustang fighter plane. During the liberation of France, he performed one of the most daring fighter combat actions ever witnessed.
You can read an extensive wartime biography here. Mr. Overstreet was a daring and aggressive pilot. During training, he did loops around the Golden Gate Bridge. Later, in Europe, during the spring of 1944, he had escort duty on a bomber mission. He chased after a German fighter plane through central Paris:
The German’s engine was hit, and Bill stayed on his tail braving the intense enemy flak. His desperation undoubtedly growing, the German pilot aimed his plane at the Eiffel Tower and in a surprising maneuver, flew beneath it. Undeterred, Bill followed right behind him, scoring several more hits in the process. The German plane crashed and Bill escaped the heavy flak around Paris by flying low and full throttle over the river until he had cleared the city’s heavy anti-aircraft batteries.
(Len Krenzler/Action Art)
For his wartime record, the French ambassador to the United States presented Mr. Overstreet with the Legion of Honor in 2009.
-via Ace of Spades HQ
So, this Boxing Day night last, I’m sitting alone at the computer, trying to think of something profound. Having failed miserably at that, I went to gunbloggers.com, and the most current post at the time was from The View From North Central Idaho.
My search for profundity stopped there!
A human right is a bit like the sun. The sun is essential to life. You can bask in it, or hide from it. You may be able to change people’s attitudes toward it, or even start a religion around it. You may hate it or love it, or be largely indifferent to it, or think anything you want to think about it. If you fail to deal with it properly it can burn or even kill you, but without it you are dead. You could get a group of sun haters together in the street and carry picket signs denouncing the sun, and you might even be able to lobby enough idiots and criminals in Congress to get laws passed denouncing the sun.
But two things will remain true no matter what you think or do. A) your life depends on the sun, and B) neither you, nor any group of people, any committee or government body, no force on Earth, has the power to alter it in any way. You did not create it and you cannot alter or destroy it.
Similarly, human rights can be respected and honored, or they might be despised and violated, but they cannot be created, granted, altered, revoked or destroyed by any force on Earth no matter how popular or powerful that force may be. That’s where we get…
You need to go and read the whole thing. Especially if you don’t know the answer!
Per my daily almanac, today is the birthday in 1915 of Ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.
Whether or not you love or hate the guy, his music, his style, and his connections made him a force to reckon with in both the entertainment industry and politics. My high school choral teacher said he had the best phrasing, except for the whole “do be do be do” thing.
He came from nowhere, got ‘connected’, and the Mob allegedly paid girls to scream when he first performed live. He went to Hollywood, and it was thought his career had tanked. Then, he showed he could act. And he was renewed.
He was friends with mob guys like Sam Giancana, politicians like Jack Kennedy, and beauties like Marilyn Monroe. After Bogie passed away in 1957, he assumed chairmanship of The Rat Pack – a group of cool dudes including a black guy, Sammy Davis, Jr. This integration was unheard of in 50′s Hollywood.
He was a loyal friend. When Sammy got in trouble with the IRS, he didn’t tell the guys. Frank found out and called him, and asked, “How much are you in for?” $15 million was the reply. “I’ll write you a check.” said Frank.
He passed in 1998. Way too soon for my taste.
He did it his way.
By Ron Paul
Ron on his new personal website, and why he became a doctor and not a soldier.
When I was thinking of the URL for my new personal homepage, I considered many possibilities. Thanks also to all those who sent other suggestions. But I settled on RonPaulMD.com as reflecting a very important area of my life. To be a physician, and deliver 4,000 babies, was extremely fulfilling. Many times, I see people wearing a “I Was a Ron Paul Baby” t-shirt. Once, when I gave a speech in Iowa, I was told the head of the convention center wanted to talk to me. She had her birth certificate, and this time, she said, she wanted a legible signature! I was delighted to sign it again.
RonPaulMD.com highlights the non-political aspect of my life, the part not involved with that great engine of violence in DC, except to oppose it. Though when I first ran for office, advisors told me to emphasize the MD, since it showed I was not a lawyer!
Most important, I became a doctor to avoid being a soldier. I knew I would be drafted, and such things as seeking asylum in another country, or becoming a conscientious objector, were out of my range of thought at that time. But if I became a doctor, I knew I would not be given a rifle and told to shoot other young men at government orders.
Though the horrible UN oath is used in medical schools these days, I still adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, and its injunction to “First, do no harm.” It’s a great, ancient libertarian principle.
Thanks for visiting my home page. I hope you come back often. (emphasis Guffaw)
Dr. Paul reminded me of something. When I turned eighteen, my Father made certain I registered for The Draft. This was during the height of the Vietnam War. Between my disgust for communism, and a family history involving Marines, I really wanted to go. And kill communists for my country.
But, being disabled, they wouldn’t have me. Later, in college, I tried again with R.O.T.C. They, too, refused me. Said I couldn’t march. (I could shoot, but when was THAT ever a qualification?)
One of my good friends, David (Yes, another David – this makes 4?) came-of-age and registered as a conscientious objector. I even wrote a letter to his draft board attesting to his sincerity in his beliefs. And I asked a third time if they’d consider me as his replacement. No go.
But in my adolescent fantasies (the ones not consumed by girls), I had dreamt of becoming a Marine, then a local cop, then a federal agent of some flavor. This was not in anyone else’s cards.
It occurred to me a couple years ago that the primary reason I wanted law enforcement under my belt was so I could carry a firearm, legally, concealed. And, of course, to catch the ‘bad guys’. Now, with my CCW permit (and Constitutional Carry) I can do that in most of my State with impunity.
Now that I’m over 60, and the appeal of working for The Man is gone, I would not carry a gun for my government. Unless, of course, the Chinese military is advancing up from the Mexican Border…
And many of those ‘bad guys’ now work for government. Who knew?
I cannot imagine the anguish of those in government who honor their oaths to The Constitution, and have to do the bidding of the ‘bad guys’. It must be excruciating. And demoralizing.
Some of them are friends. You know who you are. Thank you for your service and dedication.
It’s been said there are no longer heroes. This presupposes all heroism to be resident in times past; days of yesteryear. Fond recollection, now absent.
Growing up, my heroes were individuals who set goals, aspired to them and surpassed them. Harry Houdini, Thomas Jefferson, and Cassius Clay (aka Muhammad Ali). All these men lived up to their egos and surpassed their goals. And stood for something.
I remember a story about Alexander Hamilton visiting Jefferson at Monticello, and noting the three portraits in the foyer: Sir Issac Newton, John Locke and Francis Bacon. Hamilton asked Jefferson who the portraits were. He proudly identified them as the three greatest men who ever lived. Hamilton responded, “I thought Julius Caesar was the greatest man who ever lived!” We all have our heroes.
Today, heroism seems to be populated with military folk – many of whom ARE heroes, and sports or Hollywood figures. And that’s fine, such as it is.
But, see what The Art of Manliness came up with:
Manvotional: There Is Always a Time for Heroism
by BRETT & KATE MCKAY
“There Is Always a Time for Heroism”
By GR Jordan
From The Emerging Revival, 1946
Once Wendell Phillips and a young friend were sitting by the fire. It was a memorable evening. Recollections had flushed the cheeks of the veteran campaigner. Memories of former heroic days had loosened his tongue. He had completely lost himself in the thrilling recital of the past. The young visitor sat enthralled. At last, when he recognized that the evening was far gone, he rose with a start. “Mr. Phillips,” he exclaimed, as he grasped the older man’s hand, “if I had lived in your time, I think I would have been heroic too!” The veteran, who had accompanied his young visitor to the door, was noticeably aroused. As he pointed down the street, he drew the attention of his companion to flaunting indications of audacious vice. His voice was tremulous with indignation as he exclaimed: “Young man, you are living in my time, and in God’s time! Be sure of this: No man could have been heroic then who is not heroic now.”
Be heroic now.
I’m convinced a significant percentage of our adult population never (or rarely) considers the moral and ethical implications of their words and actions. And we are the worse off because of this. Most moral compasses have the needle missing. And we’re passing this lackadaisical attitude to our children.
It’s not too difficult to discuss this quality in a general way and offer advice on maintaining one’s integrity of the “just do it” variety. But a quick glance at the never-ending news headlines trumpeting the latest scandal and tale of corruption shows that that’s not always the most effective approach. While the foundation of integrity is having a firm moral code of right and wrong, it can also be enormously helpful, even crucial, to understand the psychological and environmental factors that can tempt us to stray from that code. What’s at the root of our decision to sometimes compromise our principles? What kinds of things lead us to be less honest and what kinds of things help us to be more upright? What are some practical ways we can check our temptations to be immoral or unethical? How can we strengthen not only our own integrity, but the integrity of society as well?
You should go and read the whole essay. And watch for the remaining three follows-up. Hell, you should be checking out TAOM on a regular basis, regardless!
My stepsister’s husband, a retired Army LTC, ‘Larry’,mentioned before in these pages, has finally returned to Fairbanks, AK.(their home) after six months of care at Seatac for kidney and heart ailments!
He will be in rehab there at another facility for probably six weeks, minimum. He’s lost much muscle mass, and is currently using a wheelchair. He is mentally alert, giving orders to his adult son about prepping his home for the oncoming Alaska Winter. Hopefully, he will walk, yet again.
He did multiple tours in Vietnam in his youth and deserves our very best. In his retirement, he has been working for the American Red Cross. Definitely not one to rest on his laurels!
PS – THANK YOU Jason, for checking in on him! You’re the BEST.
There’s not much more to say.
Oft times in this venue, I write about my frustration with law enforcement, straddling the line between freedom and tyranny – and seemingly inching toward the latter.
But firefighters, be they in the city saving people, homes and property, or in the country, doing the same + our majestic forests, lands and wildlife, need to be honored. They are not as in the Ray Bradbury story – they are not starting fires. They are not inching toward the latter.
They need to be honored, not just when they fall, but rather, when they do not.
Please take a moment today to do that.
There will be many posts on the blogs today regarding Memorial Day. Hopefully, most of them remind us that originally it was called Decoration Day, and that families took flags and flowers to remember those family members who had passed too early in war. Or had just passed. Sometimes they’d even bring picnic foods to celebrate the person’s life.
Obviously, this has evolved into just a picnic holiday, forgetting the original meaning. After all, it is the official beginning of Summer, and we get off work, school, etc. And those who have gone before are still there, forgotten. And hey, Target has a sale!
I remember one Memorial Day in 1977. My Dad drafted me to come with him to visit the grave of my Mother, who passed when I was in the second grade. We didn’t come here often, and being 24, I’d just-as-soon have been anywhere else. And, my Dad mumbled something about his joining her soon. I thought he was just being maudlin.
Three months later he joined her. He knew something, and kept it a secret.
Please take a moment today, while you’re swimming, fishing, boating, picnicking, drinking beer, or partying to remember those who have gone before. It’s the least you can do.
And, as always, hug those still with you and tell them you love them. Do it NOW. You never know.
stolen borrowed from Old NFO – because our history IS important! – Guffaw)