Two Stories, Both Are True

WW2_Iwo_Jima_flag_raising

In two weeks, on November eleventh, we celebrate Veteran’s Day, at least I will. I suspect most moderns don’t even know the day exists, or why.

A veteran friend sent me a story about the Marine Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, better known as the Iwo Jima memorial. it is the world’s largest bronze statue, and it depicts the Marines raising the US flag on the Island of Iwo Jima during World War Two.

There are actually two stories here. The first is about Michael Powers a school teacher from from Wisconsin. The second story is by James Bradley whose father is one of the six Marines in the statue. I give teacher Powers credit for taking kids to Washington as part of their education. I commend him for his dedication to teaching real American history. This story is proclaimed “TRUE” by Snopes except for a couple of add-ons at the end which were not attributed. I stripped those statements off to keep the stories true.

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Six Boys Raise the Flag of Freedom

1.) By Michael Powers.  Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capital, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at 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.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, ‘Where are you guys from?’

I told him that we were from Wisconsin. ‘Hey, I’m a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.’

(It was James Bradley who just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, DC, but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.) 

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

2.) ‘My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called ‘Flags of Our Fathers’ which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. 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. 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 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.’

Suddenly, the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our 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.

Mail From My Friends

English: A panorama of downtown Milwaukee, Wis...

Image via Wikipedia

My post today comprises three e-mails received from friends, today.

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First: Let me introduce you to Dr. Tim Nerenz by including one of his opinion pieces here:

Downward Wisconsin

By Dr. Tim Nerenz

11/19/11

We used to make things here in Wisconsin.

We made machine tools in Milwaukee, cars in Kenosha and ships in Sheboygan.  We mined iron in the north and lead in the south.  We made cheese, we made brats, we made beer, and we even made napkins to clean up what we spilled.  And we made money.

The original war on poverty was a private, mercenary affair.  Men like Harnischfeger, Allis, Chalmers, Kohler, Kearney, Trecker, Modine, Case, Mead, Falk, Allen, Bradley, Cutler, Hammer, Bucyrus, Harley, Davidson, Pabst, and Miller lifted millions up from subsistence living to middle class comfort.  They did it – not Fighting Bob La Follette or any of the politicians who came along later to take the credit and rake a piece of the action through the steepest progressive scheme in the nation.

Those old geezers with the beards cured poverty by putting people to work. Generations of Wisconsinites learned trades and mastered them in the factories, breweries, mills, foundries, and shipyards those capitalists built with their hands.  Thousands of small businesses supplied these industrial giants, and tens of thousands of proprietors and professionals provided all of the services that all those other families needed to live well.  The wealth got spread around plenty.

The profits generated by our great industrialists funded charities, the arts, education, libraries, museums, parks, and community development associations.  Taxes on their profits, property, and payrolls built our schools, roads, bridges, and the safety net that Wisconsins progressives are still taking credit for, as if the money came from their council meetings.  The offering plates in churches of every denomination were filled with money left over from company paychecks that were made possible because a few bold young men risked it all and got rich.  Dont thank God for them; thank them that you learned about God.

Their wealth pales in comparison to the wealth they created for millions and millions of other Wisconsin families.  Those with an appreciation for the immeasurable contributions of Wisconsins industrial icons of 1910 will find the list of Wisconsins top ten employers of 2010 appalling:

Walmart, University of WisconsinMadison, Milwaukee Public Schools, U.S. Postal Service, Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Menards, Marshfield Clinic, Aurora Health Care, City of Milwaukee, and Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs.

This is what a century of progressivism will get you.  Wisconsin is the birthplace of the progressive movement, the home of the Socialist Party, the first state to allow public sector unions, the cradle of environmental activism, a liberal fortress walled off against common sense for decades.  Their motto, Forward Wisconsin, should be changed to Downward Wisconsin if truth in advertising applies to slogans.

There is no shortage of activists, advocates, and agitators in this State.  If government were the answer to our problems, we would have no problems.  The very same people  or people just like them  who picketed, struck, sued, taxed, and regulated our great companies out of this state are now complaining about the unemployment and poverty that they have brought upon themselves.  They got rid of those old rich white guys and replaced them withnothing.

Wisconsin ranks 47th in the rate of new business formation.  We are one of the worst states for native college graduate exodus; our brightest and most ambitions graduates leave to seek their fortunes elsewhere.  Why shouldn’t they?  Our tax rates are among the worst in the nation and our business climate, perpetually in the bottom of the rankings, has only recently moved up thanks to a Governor who now faces a recall for his trouble.

In 1970, the new environmental movement joined unions and socialists in a coordinated effort to demonize industry.  When I was in college, the ranting against polluting profiteers was like white noise  always there.  They won, and here is the price of their victory: in 1970, manufacturers paid 18.2% of Wisconsins property taxes  the major source of school funding – and in 2010 those who remained paid 3.7%.

So who is it that caused the funding crisis in our schools and the skyrocketing tax rates on our homes?  It is the same ignoramuses who are sitting on bridges, pooping on things, and passing around recall petitions.  The unemployed 26-year old in the hemp hat looking for sympathy might look instead for some inspiration from Jerome I. Case, who started his agricultural equipment business at the age of 21, miraculously without an iPhone 4s.

Mr. Case got rich by asking people what they want and making it for them.  He did not get rich by telling people what he wanted and waiting for them to do something about it.  If you want to declare war on your own poverty, memorize that.

In the last decade alone we have lost 150,000 manufacturing jobs in this state  over 25%.  And its not just jobs that have been lost; the companies that provided them are gone.  Those jobs are not coming back, no matter how long we extend unemployment benefits pretending they are.  The 450,000 people who still work in manufacturing in Wisconsin are damn good it at, but we are now outnumbered by people who work for government.  A significant number of the latter are tasked with taxing, regulating, and generally harassing the former.  While it is true that many manufacturers chased low-wage opportunities on their own, many more were driven out of the state by the increasing cost of doing business here.

It is a myth that unions improve wages.  If you consider only the 1,000 jobs in a closed shop, you might think an average union wage is, say, $30/hr.  But if you add in the zero wages of the 10,000 jobs lost in companies chased out by union harassment, the average of all 11,000 union workers is reduced to $2.72/hr.  Do you know the average wage of union iron miners in this state?  Zero.  And the left is fighting hard to keep it that way in Northern Wisconsin – looking out for the working man, they call it.

It is also a myth that free trade causes job losses.  Over the past three years, U.S. manufacturers sold $70 billion more goods to our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners than we bought from them.  Conversely, we suffered a $1.3 trillion trade deficit with countries where no FTAs exist.  I doubt that kids are going to learn that in our government-union monopoly schools  it doesn’t fit the narrative.

No one wants to see another person suffer in poverty, and liberty is the best economic policy there is.  The great industrialists of Wisconsin took less than a generation to lift millions up to a life of dignity, pride, prosperity and good will.  When enterprise was free and government was limited, we all prospered.

Those great men of industry were not anointed at birth to be rich; they rose from nothing to great wealth through their own hard work and the value they added to their employees and their customers through choice, competition, and voluntary exchange.  That is the only sure path to real prosperity; the debt economy is a temporary illusion.

Look again at the list of our famous industrialists and the list of our current employers.  Who would you wish your child or grandchild to grow up to be?  Who do you think will do more good on this earth  Jerome I Case and his tractors, or the Coordinator of Supplier Diversity at MPS.

If you chose MPS, then apply now  that job is open, and it pays up to $72,000 plus benefits and early retirement.  Go in peace and save the world.  Me, I’m going with the tractor guy.

Moment Of Clarity is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D.  Visit Tims website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.

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Second: Dead Horse Theory

THIS IS PART OF YOUR EDUCATION FOR TODAY, IN PREPARATION FOR UNDERSTANDING TOMORROW’S WORLD………

We’ve all lived long enough to be familiar with the Dead Horse Theory. Enjoy this version of it:

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that; “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, best strategy is to dismount.”

However, in government more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

4. Arranging “fact-finding” visits to several countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.

5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

8. Harnessing several dead horses together in an attempt to increase speed.

9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase dead horse’s performance.

10. Contracting out an expensive productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.

11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.

12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And of course….

13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

If you don’t understand this theory, you haven’t lived long enough.

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Third: The Americans With No Abilities Act 

Washington, DC November 2, 2011, – The Obama Administration is urging Congress and the Senate to pass sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans: The Americans With No Abilities Act (AWNAA). President Obama says he will sign it as soon as it hits his desk.

The AWNAA is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

‘Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,’ said California Senator Barbara Boxer. ‘We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing. We are legalizing another protected class of Americans.’

In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) pointed to the success of the US Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Private-sector industries with good records of nondiscrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement ‘warehouse’ stores (65%). At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons of Inability (a whopping 83%).

Under The Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million ‘middle man’ positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most inept employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions, and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, ‘Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?’

‘As a Non-abled person, I can’t be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,’ said Ken Cox, who lost his position as a $70 dollars an hour lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint , Michigan , due to his inability to remember ‘righty tightie, lefty loosey.’ ‘This new law should be real good for people like me,’ Cox added. With the passage of this bill, Cox and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): ‘As a Senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so.’

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Of the three, I believe the first two, the third is an outright fabrication and is hilarious or in Facebook terms LOL. Check it out on SNOPES, they make a big deal about it being false.

The sad part of number three is that I wouldn’t put it past our current administration to pull it off. Thanks Jim, Ray, and Mike for your messages.

,

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