Category Archives: American Exceptionalism

#RESIST

(Note: matt in a comment, and in a not so subtle way, reminded me that it’s not just the military #resisters who have accomplished great things in the life of American liberty. I have added some examples below: abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights, right to life and the labor movement. Perhaps I’ve left out a few.  Is the  ‘pussy hat’  movement on a par in advancing liberty in America? You decide.)

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To all you brave ‘pussy hat’ wearing patriots, let me show you a few patriots who joined a resistance movement against real enemy threats when it really counted.

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And there are other n0n-military #resisters from the past addressing  consequential American policies and laws that were contrary to “ … all men are created equal …”  Thanks to these #resisters, those policies and laws have been corrected in law and in the Constitution, although not necessarily in the hearts and minds of everyone.

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And then there is the labor movement.

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A reminder, or maybe a news flash to some, about those #Resisters you see above …

These folks #resisted true tyrants, true fascists, true Communists   during that terrible time we look back on as the 20th century. Those Communists some of you seem to pine and long over … they killed something on the order of 100 million people, most of them their own fellow citizens.

The descendants of those folks you see above,  … our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters … our friends — stepping up in their own #Resist movement represent something on the order of 1 or 2 percent of our population. Their purpose in #Resisting? To protect you and me in todays still dangerous world.

You may not realize or appreciate, but of the 100 to 110 billion people that have ever lived on this earth, anywhere and at any time, only a small sliver of perhaps some 4 to 5% have ever lived in what we today enjoy as a free society.  Further, most of those 4-5%  have lived in this United States of America, or those nations who have modeled their national political life after the American model of “We the People …

I for one am immensely grateful for those in our past and to those now serving in our military … the #Resistance. As a US Navy slogan puts it … “A Global Force For Good”

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Women's_March_on_Washington_(32593123745)10 Actions _ 100 Days - Action 5_ Reflect & Resist

I said it as a young 20 year old sailor in 1964, and I’ll say it again now.

“I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

And I don’t agree with much of what is said in the “resisting” rhetoric on display, and certainly not in the many extra/anti-Constitutional methods employed, but I do support your Constitutional right to say your piece and assemble and petition our government.  

A final bit of advice. Aim your protests in words and ways that stand shoulder to shoulder beside our founding fathers who gave us the privilege of being among that 4-5% living in freedom.  

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”   Ronald Reagan

Be among those who keep us from falling into that 95-96% that President Reagan warned about.

 

Don Johnson  — March 2017

Going Back to First Principles

“A first principle is a basic, foundational proposition or assumption that cannot be deduced from any other proposition or assumption. In mathematics, first principles are referred to as axioms or postulates.”

The first principle I am talking about is  what has, over these past 210+ years, demonstrated that the United States of America is “exceptional.” That first principle is the United States Constitution, along with it’s birth certificate the Declaration of Independence.

And what is that “demonstration?”

Of the estimated  100 to 110 billion people who have lived at any time, and anywhere around the globe, an estimate of something less than 5% have ever live in a free society that we in American have come to take much for granted.  And further, of those 5%  (probably even much less), most live or have lived in the United States of America since 1789 and those nations that have come to adopt the American Constitutional Republic for of government.  (ref: 1)

That’s a pretty good track record for the American way. On the other hand, for  the remaining 95%, we have a bleak record of war, slavery, misery and early death. Yea I know, we still have those things in our modern world, but were I a betting man I would choose the American way – the “exceptional” way.

So it’s this —  the 3%, 4% or 5% of those blessed with living in a free society — that make America an exceptional nation. It’s called liberty and opportunity, and it’s the first principal of this nation we call the United States of America. 

I am continually drawn back to this first principle. It is what I more and more look to in judging and selecting our political leaders, and how I will judge them as they lead. On the other side of that same coin, the disregard of this first principle is more and more what I will use to criticize and reject candidates and leaders and their policies.

The alternative is to flirt with a return to that dark word of the 95%.

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In a near future article I will take a look at what a British news service (BBC) has to say about American Exceptionalism. Read it at — Donald Trump and the end of American exceptionalism?

Ref: 1: https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/the-miracle-of-freedom-the-american-baseline/  (With embedded references)

Don Johnson – March 2017

How Do You Judge America

I invite you watch this video by Dennis Prager. 

Have you seen such arguments before? If not, what is your reaction to this analysis by Prager?

Click on the image below to watch.

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Don Johnson – March 2017

The Miracle of Freedom– The American Baseline

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(Click on the image above to see the book)

An excerpt:
“ … A deeper look at the human record reveals a series of critical events, obvious forks in the road leading to very different outcomes, that resulted in this extraordinary period in which we live. These tipping points-foundational events that allowed for the marriage of Greek philosophy and Judeo-Christian theology-laid the bedrock for democracy and freedom in our modern age.

Seven of the most important of these historical tipping points would be:

1. The defeat of the Assyrians in their quest to destroy the kingdom of Judah
2. The victory of the Greeks over the Persians at Thermopylae and Salamis
3. Roman Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity
4. The defeat of the armies of Islam at Poitiers
5. The failure of the Mongols in their effort to conquer Europe in AD 1241
6. The discovery of the New World
7. The Battle of Britain in World War II

It is important to understand that, in and of themselves, none of these events created the gift of freedom that we enjoy today. However, each of them proved to be a critical tipping point in which the future of the world was altered, creating the cradle in which the gift of democracy could be born and flourish in our day. (And yes, there are many other events that would make this story more complete, but time and space must limit our effort to just these seven.) … “

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I’ve just finished my second reading of this book (above) and have started a third reading  — it’s that important.

The authors highlight the astonishing fact that freedom as we know it here in America and much of the West, has been virtually non-existent for the 100 to 110 billion people who have lived anywhere and at any time on this earth – probably something less than 4%. And of those 4%, most have lived in the United States and those nations influenced by our free society in the very short 200+ lifespan of this nation — since the ratification of our constitution.  A Constitution and nation of “We the People …”    This Constitution, along with a Free Market Capitalist economic system has brought more liberty, opportunity and prosperity for more people than any other system ever tried in the history of the world and among those 110 billion people – an Exceptional Nation. 

Sorry Bernie Sanders, but many others have added adjective phrases in front of the word Socialism, and now you with Democratic Socialism. All those preceding your new brand of socialism have failed – often catastrophically.  Try looking at modern day Venezuela.

In January 2017, 2017 we witnessed the 56th consecutive peaceful transition of power in the United States from one political party to another. No revolution, no coup d’état, no violent take over by assassination. Contentious yes, but ultimately peaceful with the incoming and outgoing Presidents standing together during the transition.

The George W. Bush Al Gore election was very close, and was hotly contested by the Gore camp, including a significant delay of the Gore concession which greatly reduced the time available to Bush to assemble his incoming team. Ultimately the Supreme Court pronounced for Bush and the Gore camp backed off  and a peaceful transition once more took place.

The John F. Kennedy – Richard Nixon election of 1960 likewise was extremely close.  Richard Nixon, citing “for the good of the nation” did the honorable thing and conceded the election to Kennedy rather than pushing for a recount or court action. 

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But this election cycle feels very different to me. Different and sinister.

Since the election of November 2017 we have seen an extraordinary number of tactics aimed at undermining the Presidency of Donald Trump.  I’ve written about this recently at https://ayearningforpublius.wordpress.com/2017/02/04/is-what-were-witnessing-in-the-us-a-slow-motion-downhill-slide-into-a-coup/ 
Is what we’re witnessing in the US a slow-motion downhill slide into a coup?

Here is an excerpt from that article:

“This question posed at the link above (from Australia) is aimed at President Donald Trump. But from what I’ve seen since the election, and especially noticeable since the inauguration, if anything, would point that question directly back to the progressive left.

The failed electoral recount effort – the denouncement of the Constitutional Electoral College voting method – riots in the streets of Washington on inauguration day – demonstrations around the country – Congressional (Democrat) boycott of the inauguration – immediate congressional (Democrat) announcement of total resistance to Trump in the Congress – Soros funded(?) spontaneous demonstrations at airports –Soros manipulation(?) of some 56 abortion advocacy groups promoting the Women’s March – riots and shutdown of free speech at UC Berkley – the immediate calls for impeachment – assertions that the new President is mentally ill – accusations and insinuations that Trump is planning a coup – visual insinuation of assassination as on the cover of a recent Irish magazine … and more it seems daily.  .. “

What I see in all this is a Saul Alinsky style of demonization of the President of the United States. This demonization is all the more potent with the advent of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and the very blog I am writing on now.

A recent example of this social media demonization is the exploitation of an incident reported by an Australian author — 
Australian children’s author Mem Fox detained by US border control: ‘I sobbed like a baby’ . Did this happen as she reported it? Probably, and if so it is indeed deplorable on the part of those responsible. It seems to me more of an example of a bad incident being promoted with the agenda of demonization. She herself cites this incident in contrast with 116 previous visits to the US without incident.

I’ve lived through the 60s and remember the chaos then. I remember the hatred hurled against Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon (especially) and then Ronald Reagan. I remember the hatred hurled against George W. Bush. Today’s chaos has the feeling of being much more sinister, filled and fueled with much hatred, and potentially more dangerous than those in the past, and gets me to the quote from John Adams, our second president.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other … “ John Adams.

What we have now, in addition to political chaos, is a frightening moral decline which I have witnessed over my lifetime. Prior to the 2016 election, and with both candidates, I felt we had indeed arrived at that time of which Adams (and others of his contemporaries) wrote – a time of an immoral and irreligious people. Are we as a people at such a place? I recently wrote of scraping the bottom of the barrel with both candidates and lamented the prospect of, for the first time in my electoral life, truly having to vote for the lesser of two evils.  I’m convinced had Hillary Clinton been elected, we would indeed have accelerated further down that path and the nation would suffer from her deep corruption. But Donald Trump is now President. Have we received a reprieve and course correction with his election? I hope so, and judging from the people he has surrounded himself with I have hope. But that hope is tempered, not only by the flaws of this man now our President, but perhaps more so by a nation and its people who, for example, have allowed our federal government to dictate and enforce a so called “gender fluidity” which obliterates known and obvious genetic, anatomical, biological, historical and cultural differences between boys and girls – men and women. This cannot end well with this and future generations. It is this sort of law making and regulation dictates that renders our Constitution “wholly inadequate.”

What I see in all this, is an attempted coup d’état from the left – an attempt to end the streak of peaceful transitions at 56.

And that gets me back to the book and it’s premise of American Exceptionalism.

If we see the toppling of the US government by these extra-constitutional means, what will we get in its place? Will it be a Barack Obama waiting and organizing in the wings ready to reclaim power? Will it be a Bernie Sanders wannabe introducing a real no-kidding socialistic state? Will it be a Donald Trump indeed claiming dictatorship over this nation as Caesar did  with Rome in crossing the Rubicon, as Trumps many enemies fear? Who is to say, but I for one am willing to let the Constitutional process play out and work for change through the Constitution and the electoral process (remember – it’s the Electoral College that counts.)

The stakes are extremely high, and have been so since the late 1700s. As Ronal Reagan has said:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

The results of a failure of our Constitutional Republic most likely would be a return to those very dark ages the authors talk about in their book. There are those waiting in the wings for a collapse of the American/Western civilization. They are not good people. They live in places like Tehran, Moscow, Beijing, Pyongyang, and even within the borders of the United States of America.

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As a final note. In reading the account of the Mongol Horde of Genghis Khan I am reminded of former Secretary of State John Kerry’s characterization of the American military  in Vietnam:

“ … They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country. … “

And a few excerpts from the book regarding Genghis Kahn:

“ … Some of the refugees from previous engagements had made their way to the capital, telling of entire cities razed, thousands of beheaded bodies stacked outside the city walls, everything of value taken, including a frightening number of slaves. … “

“ … They were using children – Khwarizmi children taken from the outer province – herding them before their army to protect them from the arrow that would soon come raining down. … “ 

And yet John Kerry reached a level of power whereby he was able to engineer an “agreement”  with Islam which most likely will result in nuclear tipped missiles in flight to Israeli cities in yet another attempt to complete Hitler’s “Final Solution.”

Watch this video to see a more truthful telling of the US Military in Vietnam —
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+lucky+few&view=detail&mid=35ECE68C0B870759E33735ECE68C0B870759E337&FORM=VIRE

 

Don Johnson – February 2017 

About the authors of the book:
Chris Stewart is a bestselling author who has published more than a dozen books. He is a world-record-setting Air Force pilot and president and CEO of The Shipley Group, a nationally recognized consulting and training company.

Ted Stewart was appointed as a United States District Court Judge in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. Prior to that, he served as chief of staff to Governor Michael O. Leavitt and in various executive positions in government.

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A few further references …

Seven Days in February – by Victor Davis Hansen

Trumps’ critics, left and right, aim to bring about the cataclysm they predicted.
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(Click on the image above to read the article)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald: What The ‘Deep State’ Is Doing To Trump Is ‘A Prescription For Destroying Democracy’

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(Click above for the article)

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“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. “

Ronald Reagan
40th president of US (1911 – 2004)

"I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

image(Click above to read the article)

Riots like this take me back to my younger days. It was 1964 and I was a young 20 yr. old sailor attending a Navy school at Mare Island CA (not far from Berkley). A group of us young sailors were talking in the barracks one night. I don’t recall the topic, but I do remember saying “I may not agree with what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” As I recall, there was general agreement among us about that statement.

I don’t recall knowing of a far distant country named Vietnam, nor do I recall a war going on over there — I don’t think any of us did. But soon enough, most of us were assigned to destroyers and found our way over to that war where we were faced with possibly having to make good on that cocky statement made in the barracks that night. And 1964 was a scant few years after the Cuban Missile Crisis, so our youthful boasting was not done in a safe and protected vacuum like that campus just down the road.

But you know what? I ‘m sure most us believed it then and believe it now and would do the same now if able.

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/justinholcomb/2017/02/01/dems-gone-wild-violent-protests-burn-down-parts-of-uc-berkley-n2280111

Don Johnson – February 2017

Immigration & Assimilation – A Hungarian Model

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(Click on the image above for more)

[Note: Since this original post I’ve added another Hungarian refugee — Thomas Peterffy]

Immigration is much in the news these days, both here in the U.S. and in Europe, and a huge political football in both places with many violent crimes and sexual assaults being committed in countries such as Sweden and Germany (click on the links).

The United States from its inception is an immigrant nation, and as many of us can attest, our roots are in the forefathers who immigrated here whether in the present or in the distant past. For example, in my own home town of Butte Montana, a mining town that attracted people from all over the world, NO SMOKING signs in the mines were posted in 14 different languages.

The success or failure of a society such as ours tracks closely to the assimilation of those disparate immigrant people into the culture of the nation, and for the most part, this assimilation has been quite successful – often after much struggle as in the case of the Irish and the Italians. But through assimilation, each new immigrant population has entered into the fabric of America, and often with significant contributions.

The stories of refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolution provide inspiring stories of struggle, survival, perseverance and success. Some I have knowledge of provide a model of what immigration and assimilation should be:

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Adam von Dioszeghy  (Mr. von D – as he was known by his US Navy shipmates) is a survivor of the World War II battle of Budapest – a battle pitting the air forces of Great Britain and the United States, the German occupying army and the Soviet Red Army – all converging around the basement bomb shelter where seven year old Adam and his mother survive against this harrowing onslaught.

Surviving the war they suffered in the following years under the brutal oppression of Communist rule.

In 1956 young Adam became involved in the revolution and was twice wounded. The revolution was brutally squashed by the Red Army and Adam and his mother were marked for death and escaped in the dead of night to Austria with nothing but the clothes they were wearing and little usable cash.

Adam and his mother eventually made their way to Menlo Park California where Adam earned a degree from Stanford University. Mind you, that when the two of them first arrived in America they spoke no English.

Adam was then called up in the draft in the early years of the Vietnam War and joined the Navy and was commissioned an officer in the US Navy and assigned to the World War II Fletcher Class destroyer USS Porterfield where we served side by side at General Quarters and on the bridge during normal underway operations.

Following Navy service with three tours to Vietnam, Adam returned to Stanford where he earned a law degree and practiced as a trial lawyer for many years in Northern California.

I hooked up with Mr. von D again in recent months (Spring 2016) when I discovered him via the internet. Adam and his wife retired a few years back, and at his wife’s suggestion, have returned to live in and around Budapest once more – his wife was born and raised in Northern California.

Click on the book image above to read my review of his memoir as well as a link to the book – a wonderful and fascinating book.

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Charlie —

Note: Out of respect of privacy concerns expressed by Charlie’s wife, and by Charlie as expressed by his wife, I have written this in an anonymous fashion using my own paraphrase for events described in Charlie’s written memoir.

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Like Mr. von D — Charlie was a Hungarian refugee and experienced many of the same things in surviving WW-II as a young child … living under a brutal Communist regime … escaping a crushed revolution … and finally resettling and assimilating into the American culture. We met the widow of Charlie, a year ago, but never knew Charlie. She told a spellbinding story of how she and her husband met and married. I later asked if any of this had been written down. She responded by sending unpublished stories of their life together, including an extensive account of Charlie‘s life growing up in Hungary through WW-II, the oppression of the Communist years and his involvement in the revolution and subsequent escape to the West and the US.

Several episodes highlight the heritage of Charlie and the type of man that came to America in 1956:

First are his descriptions of his mother hiding Polish Jews from the Germans who were bent on the extermination of all Jews. His mother did this at the risk of her own life as well as the lives of her family.

Second is Charlie learning English in America by spending many hours in movie theaters, often watching the same movies over and over and with a dictionary and a pad and pencil at hand.

Another came about somewhat casually as we were visiting with Charlie’s wife at her home. I commented on the flag flying at the property entrance and visible from the front window. Yes, she said, Charlie always liked to have the American flag flying where he could see it. This to me was a great testimony of how this refugee from war and tyranny viewed his new home country.

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I’ve read Charlie’s story, and it is indeed captivating and inspiring. I hope his wife has success in the future and publishes their story and shares it with many. The story is very well written – and from one who knew no English when he entered the US as a refugee — rest assured that Charlie assimilated into the American culture and became a productive citizen in his new country. It is an inspiring story of overcoming war, an oppressive government, revolution and crafting a new and successful life in a free society.

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I knew Gabriel Harkay and worked with him at Cubic Corp back in the 1980s. He was quite a good civil engineer and worked many projects around the world building communications towers and facilities for our Tactical Aircrew Training System . I wish I had paid more attention to Gabe back then, but I do know that he was a refugee from the 1956 Hungarian revolution, and likely had experiences similar to others I have written about.

One project we worked together was a system for the Iranian Air Force in the late 1970s. We were scheduled to deploy to Iran to install the system in early 1980, and Gabe was in Tehran doing some preparatory work. The revolutionaries stormed the hotel where Gabe was staying, broke all of the liquor bottles in the first floor bar and set it all on fire, cutting off escape of guests in the rooms above.  Fortunately there was a construction tower adjacent to the hotel and guests were lifted from the roof of the burning hotel to the tower and to safety. So inadvertently Gabe Harkay was involved in his second revolution and survived both. Needless to say, we did not deploy the system to Iran.

I regret not having details of my friend Gabe’s life, and I’ve since found that Gabe has passed.

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Andrew Grove was a Hungarian-born American businessman, engineer, author and a science pioneer in the semiconductor industry. He escaped from Communist-controlled Hungary at the age of 20 and moved to the United States where he finished his education. He was one of the founders and the CEO of Intel Corporation, helping transform the company into the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors.

When he was eight, the Nazis occupied Hungary and deported nearly 500,000 Jews to concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Its commandant, Rudolf Höss, said at his trial that he killed 400,000 Hungarian Jews in three months. To avoid being arrested, Grove and his mother took on false identities and were sheltered by friends. His father, however, was arrested and taken to an Eastern Labor Camp to do forced labor, and was reunited with his family after the war.

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, when he was 20, he left his home and family and escaped across the border into Austria. Penniless and barely able to speak English, in 1957 he eventually made his way to the United States. He later changed his name to the anglicized, Andrew S. Grove. Grove summarized his first twenty years of life in Hungary in his memoirs:

“By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” the siege of Budapest by the Soviet Red Army, a period of chaotic democracy in the years immediately after the war, a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint where many young people were killed and countless others were interned. Some two hundred thousand Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.”

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I’ve just finished reading Mr. Grove’s story “Swimming Across” and like the others it is compelling and repeats the common experiences of these young boys and men through World War II, the Nazi occupation and holocaust remembrances (Grove was a Jew), the brutal Communist years culminating in the 1956 revolution and Russian occupation.

A part of Andy Grove’s story that stands out is the reception he received upon arrival in the United States. At every turn, it seems, Grove was kindly treated and helped in many small and large ways. Like finding a relative and housing in New York City. He was outfitted with new clothing replacing the clothes he wore for over a month during his escape from Hungary to a brief settlement in Vienna Austria, to a long train ride to Germany followed by a two week long ocean voyage to Brooklyn New York.

Grove had completed a fair amount of university education in chemistry while in Hungary, and in seeking to complete his goal of becoming a chemist, he was helped along the way to becoming a chemical engineer with interviews and scholarship aid at several New York schools.

And of course it is widely known that Andrew Grove was one of the small group of founders of Intel Corpo0ration, and was its CEO for many years.  (Source –Wikipedia)

Read now what Andy Grove says about his life in America:

“I have loved my life in the United States. The doors that the International Rescue Committee and Professor Schmidt opened for me were just the first of many. I went through graduate school on scholarships, got a fantastic job at Fairchild Semiconductor, the high flying company of its day, then participated in the founding of Intel, which in time has become the largest maker of semiconductors in the world. I rose to be its chief executive officer, a position I held for eleven years, until I stepped down from it in 1998; I continue as chairman today. I’ve continued to be amazed by the fact that as I progressed through school and my career, no one has ever resented my success on account of my being an immigrant.”

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Here is another fascinating story I stumbled on:

Chance encounter in war-torn Hungary renewed 64 years later (click on he link)

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Gabriel Pall   is yet another interesting and inspiring refugee from Hungary. An American B-24 bomber was forced to crash land in Hungary after a bombing mission. Bob Holcomb was the bombardier on that mission, and after the unplanned landing a group of young and curious Hungarian boys gathered around the aircraft and its crew. Among the boys was Gabriel Pall who spoke a little English, and the two struck up a very brief friendship.

Like other local children, young Gabriel was drawn to the U.S. airmen like a magnet.

Holcomb had some candy in his pockets and gave some to the young boy, told him his name and said ‘If you ever get to America … look me up’

Mr. Pall did come to the States — in 1957 following the 1956 revolution, and like the others I’ve found, assimilated into the American culture and led a productive and quite remarkable professional life.

And Mr. Pall was tenacious in finding his American of years past and he and Mr. Holcomb met again after a long 64 years. For Pall, their meeting left a lasting impression as evidenced by the tenacity in which he searched those many decades for his American flyboy friend.

“I remember two things,” Pall said. “One, he gave me Wrigley’s chewing gum. And two, he said, ‘Hey, kid – if you ever get to America, look me up.’”

Holcomb and the rest of his bomber crew made their way to Budapest and then back to Italy … and finally back home to America.

Pall escaped from Soviet-dominated Hungary in 1956 to start a new life in America.

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Gabriel Pall with his wife, Christine Rose, left, and their daughter, Laura Rose, at Laura’s graduation from the University of Virginia.

Pall grew up under the Soviet-backed communist regime in Hungary. His family moved to Budapest, where he attended high school and enrolled in college to study civil engineering. In 1956, he graduated from the Technical University of Budapest. He went to work for the government, designing state rail and highway projects, and began training as a reserve officer with the Hungarian army corps of engineers.

Then came Oct. 23 that year, and the Hungarian Revolution. After a brief, heady taste of independence, the Soviet armored divisions rolled across the border and crushed the rebellion.

Hungary’s Stalinist government had been repressive before the uprising, Pall said, but now, he knew, it would be even worse. He and his fiancée, Agnes Szabo, decided they would try to get out.

On Nov. 23, the couple left Budapest by train for Szombathely, only 20 miles from Austria and freedom. But the railroad station was surrounded by Soviet troops and local militias, checking identity papers and arresting anyone without a residency permit.

They were trapped.

A local resident warned them of armed Soviet patrols and showed them where to hide, promising to send a guide after nightfall. The man showed up as promised and took them to a house at the edge of town, where a small group of refugees was waiting to cross into Austria.

They walked several miles across open fields, not speaking, wrapped in bed sheets to blend into the snow-covered countryside. When they arrived at the frontier, they found it guarded by barbed wire and landmines.

Using knitting needles to probe the ground, Pall and the guide painstakingly marked a safe path through the minefield. As the group began to cross, flares lit up the night and machinegun fire shredded the silence. The guide ordered everyone to drop to the ground.

They were lucky. The border guards hadn’t seen them – they were shooting at someone else. After the gunfire stopped, they completed their journey into Austria, where they found safe haven at a place called Lutzmannsburg.

Later, they learned that another group of refugees had been gunned down by a patrol a mile or two from their crossing point.

‘If you ever get to America …’

Gabriel Pall and Agnes Szabo found a warm welcome in Austria, and the couple got married in Vienna on Dec. 27, 1956. But Pall never intended to stay there forever.

I had this destination, which was to come to America,” he said.

He had an uncle in the States and, he thought, a friend in Oregon – that dashing young flyboy he had met during the war.

The next year, under an Eisenhower-era program designed to recruit engineering talent fleeing Soviet-bloc countries, the couple secured a visa and crossed the pond.

They settled in Philadelphia, where Pall began a long and successful career with IBM. He rose through the corporate ranks, taking ever more challenging assignments with the company. In 1983, Agnes died of cancer. Pall remarried, and his new wife gave birth to a daughter. He retired from IBM, did some consulting, then accepted a faculty position at the College of William & Mary.

Gabriel Pall:  Some Background Information

·  Member American Society of Civil Engineers

·  Member Association for Computing Machinery.

·  Member American Society for Quality

·  Member American Society for Training and Development

Education

· BS degree
Structural Engineering
Technical University of Budapest

· MS degree
Engineering Mechanics
University of Pennsylvania

A fitting conclusion to this story of Gabriel Pall is the following news article:

WILLIAMSBURG, Va., March 11, 2014 – A Citizenship Ceremony for children of recently naturalized United States citizens will be held on Saturday, March 22, at Jamestown Settlement, a museum of 17th-century Virginia. The event is hosted by the Williamsburg Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation in partnership with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security.

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Fifty young people ages 11 to 25 from 26 countries – Belarus, Benin, Canada, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, India, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Lithuania, Mauritius, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sudan, United Kingdom, Ukraine and Vietnam – will take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and receive formal acknowledgement of their citizenship. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. and is open to the public on a space-available basis.

“We are proud to join with the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and USCIS to sponsor this truly special ceremony for a third year,” said Jane M. Stewart, regent for the Williamsburg Chapter NSDAR, which co-sponsors two adult naturalization ceremonies annually in June and December with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “It’s appropriate to hold it at Jamestown Settlement, near where some of the very first immigrants to our country came ashore.”

Featured speaker for the event is Williamsburg resident Gabriel A. Pall, an internationally recognized author and management consultant. A native of Hungary, he escaped to Austria during the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, immigrated to the United States the following year and became a naturalized citizen in 1962. After a 30-year career with IBM, he retired as an executive and later became president of Juran International Inc., a global consulting firm specializing in quality management. More recently, Mr. Pall has consulted on project and process management with the College of William and Mary.

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Finally, read this snippet from an article from a Hungarian organization in Cleveland where many of the refugees, including Charlie, lived for a time before moving on.

“ … These refugees were markedly different from any previous wave of Hungarian immigrants. First of all, they were the youngest group; many were single. The majority had some kind of technical training and their skills were readily employed by American industry. Psychologically, immigration made lasting impressions on these refugees. For eleven years they experienced life under economic depravity and political terror. As a direct consequence, their interests in America were more materialistic and self-centered; cultural or group attachments were much weaker when compared to those of previous waves of immigrants. They adjusted with greater ease, learned English in a short while, with many of them marrying English-speaking mates. Their contributions to their adopted homeland were numerous. … “

I am inspired by these stories, and hope you are as well.  I also hope you will agree that these Hungarians represent the best possible model of immigration and assimilation.

And note that these Hungarian refugees were gathered together at an Army base in New Jersey and vetted prior to release into the general American populace – for several reasons:

· Among the refugees were plants from the Soviet Union, plants whose missions included espionage against the United States, and assassinations against fellow refugees. Charlie, in his memoir, tells of the many years he spent in looking over his shoulder for that would be assassin.

· 1956 being at the height of the Cold War, the US was interested in conditions behind the Iron Curtain. These Hungarian refugees were interrogated in order to extract as much useful information as possible. Some such as Andrew Grove were educated in the sciences and engineering, and could provide insight into the scientific and engineering maturity and capabilities of the Soviet Union. The average age of refugees was 23, including many children, well educated (from one university 500 students, 32 professors, and their families fled), and talented (including musicians, athletes, writers, engineers and other professionals) people come through swamps and guards to reach non-communist Austria. The Austrian people were exemplary in their welcome of the Hungarian refugees.

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But let’s not leave this story just yet – there’s more.

The nation that welcomed these refugees is a big part of the story. A story that begins with the words  from our Declaration of Independence “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.“ and from our Constitution beginning with the words “We the People …

It is these ideals enshrined from the very beginning in the very fabric of America that afforded these refugees the liberty and opportunity to begin new lives – lives to be lived not under the yoke of kings, queens, emperors, dictators, bishops, czars or other autocrats. No, these new American citizens would rise or fall primarily on their own merits … and also with the benevolent help of other free citizens and the governments freely elected by free men and women. Was it easy? No. But there were no machineguns, tanks or minefields set up to dictate their every thought or movement.

These 35,000 or more freedom seeking Hungarians sought out and made new lives in that “Exceptional Nation” the United States of America.

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(The following bio information is taken from Wikipedia with {Publius edits in this font})

Thomas Peterffy was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1944, in a hospital basement during a Russian air raid.[1][6] He left his engineering studies and emigrated to the United States as a refugee in 1965.[1][6][7] When he moved to New York City, he did not speak English. He eventually earned a bachelor’s degree from Clark University.[8]  

{Note that Peterffy came out of Hungary much later than the others I’ve highlighted. However, he did live under the oppression of Communism in Hungary and escaped from it.}

Peterffy began his career in the US as an architectural draftsman working on highway projects for an engineering firm. It was at this firm that he volunteered to program a newly-purchased computer, ultimately shaping the course of his future. Of his background in programming Peterffy said, “I think the way a CEO runs his company is a reflection of his background. Business is a collection of processes, and my job is to automate those processes so that they can be done with the greatest amount of efficiency.”[1][6]

Peterffy left his career designing financial modelling software and bought a seat on the American Stock Exchange to trade equity options. During his career in finance, he has consistently pushed to replace manual processes with more efficient automated ones. He would write code in his head during the trading day and then apply his ideas to computerized trading models after hours. Peterffy created a major stir among traders by introducing handheld computers onto the trading floor in the early 1980s.[1][6] His business related to his AMEX seat eventually developed into Interactive Brokers.[1][6]

Regulatory influence and political views

In 1999, Peterffy was influential in persuading the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that US options markets could be linked electronically, which would ensure that investors receive the best possible options prices.[9] He has also testified before the United States Senate Banking Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment about adding banking regulations.[1]

During the 2012 United States presidential campaign, Peterffy created political ads in support of the Republican Party. Peterffy bought millions of dollars of air time on networks such as CNN, CNBC, and Bloomberg. The ads consisted of a minute-long spot narrated by Peterffy that warned against creeping socialism in the United States. The ads were considered remarkable in part because Peterffy is not a candidate and did not buy the ads through a “527 group” but instead paid for them directly.[10]

In the spot Peterffy said, “America’s wealth comes from the efforts of people striving for success. Take away their incentive with badmouthing success and you take away the wealth that helps us take care of the needy. Yes, in socialism the rich will be poorer — but the poor will also be poorer. People will lose interest in really working hard and creating jobs.” Peterffy did not directly mention Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, but clearly favored the former.[11]

Peterffy’s ad received mixed responses. Joshua Green, writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, said “The ad, while slightly ridiculous, is deeply sincere and also quite affecting”. Green also asked Peterffy whether the comparison between the United States and Hungary made in the ad was a fair one: “[Peterffy] couldn’t really think that the U.S. was turning into socialist Hungary, could he? The government isn’t suppressing speech and throwing political opponents in jail. No, he conceded, it wasn’t. But it sure feels like that’s the path we’re on”.[12] Politico reported that the ad was “being hailed as one of the best spots this election cycle”, and said that it could have been influential in Ohio due to its large Hungarian population.[13]

Voter registration records in Connecticut show that Peterffy is registered as an independent voter.[10] Campaign contribution records show that he donated at least $60,000 to the Republican National Committee in 2011 and that over the past few years has mostly donated to Republican candidates.[11]

During the 2016 presidential election, Peterffy donated $100,000 to the campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump.[14]

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Hungarians know things that others in the West have only read about. They know oppression and tyranny.

Many, though certainly not all, within todays new refugees from the Middle East are merely transplanting their tyranny to new locations – but it doesn’t take many to wreak havoc as seen recently in many European nations and in the United States as well.

Read “The Bridge at Andau” by James Michener, a work of non-fiction. Yes, the Hungarians were refugees themselves and others in Europe welcomed them and many came to America. The Hungarians did not bring with them a murderous attitude to all who were not Hungarians. They did not bring with them a hatred of those who gave them shelter. They did not attack women, priests, nightclubs or newspapers. They did not fly large airplanes into large buildings nor drive trucks down the streets mowing people down. They did not behead others in the land that gave them sanctuary. They did not set off bombs at large sporting events or in shopping malls.

The Hungarian refugees of 1956-57 sought to escape oppression and avail themselves of the opportunities offered by free societies. And many have contributed in positive ways as shown by the handful I have highlighted above.

Many of the un-vetted new refugees in Europe and the US want to spread oppression and destabilize rather than contribute to their host nations in positive ways.

If we are to remain a culture valuing liberty and opportunity, and a culture gleaning the best that foreign immigrants have to offer, while providing sanctuary to those fleeing oppression,  let us return to the Hungarian model. The high bar set by the Hungarians in the mid 1950s has been dramatically and deliberately lowered in recent years in the name of political expediency. We lower the bar at our own peril and risk a fundamental transformation of our nation.

Immigration – yes, but with great care in culling out those who mean harm.

Don Johnson – July 2016

Is there still a Constitutional/Conservative Republican Party? A Follow Up IMPORTANT

Further to my recent post Am I still a Republican? Is there still a Constitutional/Conservative Republican Party? I’ve read a couple of articles this morning in the Wall Street Journal that greatly encourages me:

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Photo: Reuters

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Photo: Reuters

House Republicans Have a Better Idea

Meanwhile, Trump fires his campaign manager—a wise move but very late.

By Karl Rove  June 22, 2016 6:39 p.m. ET  

WSJ | 2016-06-22T22:39:00.000Z

(My emphasis added)

Donald Trump has already squandered six weeks by insulting a “Mexican” judge born in Indiana, offering conspiracy theories, and needlessly attacking defeated rivals. His fundraising is dismal and his staffing inadequate. All this comes at the expense of focused attention on his Democratic opponent. Now the presumptive Republican nominee has fired his campaign manager—a wise decision, but very late.

Meanwhile, the Republican House is methodically laying out a comprehensive agenda to spread prosperity, protect the nation, uphold the Constitution, reform health care, and—with its presentation Friday of a comprehensive tax-reform plan—create jobs, grow paychecks and boost the economy.

This agenda, dubbed “A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America,” is Speaker Paul Ryan’s brainchild, but the work of the entire Republican conference.

Mr. Ryan rolled out its first plank June 7 with an audacious reimagining of policies to help Americans rise out of poverty. The initiative would require those on welfare to seek work while providing them better access to job training and assistance. It would reform poverty-fighting programs to help people move from dependency on government to lives of independence and personal responsibility.

Republicans followed the next day with a robust economic package, based on the premise that increasing prosperity requires expanding free enterprise and rewarding hard work. The plan aims to relieve the enormous regulatory burden on businesses; expand affordable, reliable energy; curb lawsuit abuse and crony capitalism; limit Washington’s micromanagement of community banks and the financial decisions of ordinary Americans; and block government bailouts.

On June 9, Republicans issued a new national-security plan to protect the homeland, defeat radical Islamic extremism, and restore confidence among our allies and respect among our adversaries.

A plan followed to rein in executive overreach and strengthen accountability and transparency in Washington. Republicans would restore constitutional checks on spending and the budget—including by halting illegal executive-branch spending and overturning expensive new regulations pushed through by lame-duck presidents.

Last week, the House GOP also released a detailed proposal to replace ObamaCare with a package of reforms centered on the patient and doctor. These include making health insurance portable so workers can take it from job to job, increasing the use of health savings accounts, permitting insurance sales across state lines, allowing small businesses and individuals to band together to get lower prices, expanding wellness programs and reforming medical liability.

On Friday, Republicans will add to their agenda a bold and provocative tax-reform package aimed at a simpler, flatter, fairer tax code that encourages jobs and growth while restoring the competitiveness of American companies.

The way that the tax reform package was drafted illustrates how the whole agenda came together. Building on the work of his two predecessors, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas held six meetings with the GOP conference over a number of months to hash out ideas. A task force solicited proposals from dozens of congressmen; reached out to job creators, free-market think tanks and center-right economists; and canvassed Republican lawmakers to ensure consensus.

If “A Better Way” has a shortcoming, it’s that it is large and sprawling, consisting of dozens of proposals. But each plank of the agenda draws on principles congressional Republicans can use to tell Americans what they will do next year, regardless of who is president.

If Donald Trump occupies the Oval Office, Washington’s center of gravity will shift toward Congress, as industrious House and Senate Republicans drive the legislative agenda. If Hillary Clinton is president, “A Better Way” will give Republicans the intellectual ammunition to offer a competing vision that—if they retain majorities in Congress—may drive her toward cooperation.

Apart from its merits as policy, “A Better Way” demonstrates that there is much more to the modern Republican Party than Donald Trump. He casts a large, ominous shadow, but light can break through the pall. House Republicans are working hard to distinguish themselves and their party’s principles by presenting an agenda for the 21st century.

Their efforts are vital to the GOP’s success in November and may determine Mr. Trump’s political fortunes. The shame is that he’s making their work harder.

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Some links:

http://abetterway.speaker.gov/?platform=hootsuite

http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/better-way-do-people-s-business

As a Constitutional Conservative I like what I am seeing here. I hope Trump buys into what the House has laid out because Lord knows, he himself brings little but a loud and narcissistic mouth.

Further, this plan would seem to provide an American Agenda that hopefully would do much to cripple partisanship and get to a place where a President, Senators and Representatives represent the best interests of Americans and not Republican-Americans or Democrat-Americans. 

If the House is sincere in this effort, and can pull this off, I see it as going a long way toward restoring an almost dead Constitutional Republic. Remember the exchange between Benjamin Franklin and Mrs. Palmer in 1778:

The deliberations of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 were held in strict secrecy. Consequently, anxious citizens gathered outside Independence Hall when the proceedings ended in order to learn what had been produced behind closed doors. The answer was provided immediately. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

And what is a “Constitutional Conservative?”

A Constitutional Conservative can be viewed as one who whishes to preserve those elements of the Constitution that give governance to “We The People … “ Meaning limited government and separation of powers among the three branches of federal government; Executive-Legislative- Judicial, as well as separation of powers among the Federal Government and the Various States, as well as between the Federal Government and the Individual citizen. . 

Don Johnson – June 2016

Ben Franklin’s ‘Apology for Printers’

Benjamin Franklin as a printer’s apprentice in a wood cut circa 1840. Photo: Alamy

Notable & Quotable: Ben Franklin’s ‘Apology for Printers’

‘When Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.’

From Benjamin Franklin’s “Apology for Printers” in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1731:

Printers are educated in the Belief that when Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter. Hence they cheerfully serve all contending Writers that pay them well, without regarding on which side they are of the Question in Dispute. . . .

It is likewise as unreasonable what some assert, That Printers ought not to print anything but what they approve, since if all of that Business should make such a Resolution, and abide by it, an End would thereby be put to Free Writing, and the World would afterwards have nothing to read but what happen’d to be the Opinions of Printers.

Don Johnson – June 2016

In Natural Disasters, Companies Operate Like Neighbors

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Corporate America often takes a beating from the American Progressive left. Off the top of my head I would pick three “greedy” entities regularly vilified as the source of many if not most of America’s economic woes:

  • Banks
  • Oil companies
  • Wall Mart

A good response is the following article from the Wall Street Journal. It’s behind a pay wall, but I will include here some snippets from  the article — In Natural Disasters, Companies Operate Like Neighbors:

When one thinks of progressives’ long list of capitalist villains, the oil industry is probably near the top. It stands accused of the worst forms of self-interested and antisocial behavior, exploiting workers and consumers alike. What tells a different story is how oil companies behaved during a major natural disaster affecting their employees and customers.

For much of May, a huge forest fire devastated the town of Fort McMurray and more than a million acres of land in the Canadian province of Alberta. It chased more than 60,000 people from their homes and destroyed large parts of the city. Horrific videos show people escaping through walls of flame.

. . . . .

Tristin Hopper of the National Post gathered the figures: The oil companies provided free food and shelter to over 25,000 people. When the fires cut off easy road access to the small community of Fort McKay First Nation, Brion Energy began trucking in perishable foods daily. Imperial Oil   donated 20,000 liters of gasoline to the relief efforts and Shell Albian Aerodrome rounded up evacuees on buses and, along with Suncor’s Firebag Aerodrome, evacuated over 7,000 people on company-chartered commercial jets using their private airstrips. “Alberta’s oil producers,” Mr. Hopper wrote, “effectively turned themselves into multimillion-dollar humanitarian organizations at the drop of a hat.”

. . . . .

And moving down to the USA and back a little in time we revisit hurricane Katrina:

That shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows what Wal-Mart did after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. The company shipped thousands of trucks of water and other supplies into the area, well ahead of the lethargic Federal Emergency Management Agency. It even beat the Red Cross in many areas. The firm reopened most of its stores within 10 days. Wal-Mart also guaranteed employment at other stores for any of its workers who were forced to abandon their homes and jobs along the coast.

Wal-Mart’s response received praise from numerous local officials. The mayor of the New Orleans suburb of Kenner said that the company had prevented his community from completely collapsing: “The only lifeline in Kenner was the Wal-Mart stores. We didn’t have looting on a mass scale because Wal-Mart showed up with food and water so our people could survive.”

It wasn’t the only company that pitched in: Marriott provided its displaced workers with cash, rooms and food at hotels in other cities. McDonald’s  gave free food to first responders and told its emergency management vice president that he could assume an unlimited budget for tracking down employees and making sure they were safe. Other smaller disasters since Katrina tell similar stories.

The article concludes in Canada with the following:

Many Albertans, as they return to their homes now that the fires have subsided, are glad today that they lived near those supposedly evil oil companies.

 

Don Johnson – June 2016

 

Some Sobering Thoughts for Memorial Day

I pass these thoughts along from the Wall Street Journal of 5/26/2016 in hopes of stirring your thoughts and hearts beyond the beach or backyard barbeque.

At time like these we need such reminders, and I have highlighted some of these words that resonate with me.

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The cemetery for American soldiers who died in the invasion of Normandy, France, in 1944. Photo: Getty Images

The cemetery for American soldiers who died in the invasion of Normandy, France, in 1944. Photo: Getty Images

The American Dead in Foreign Fields

On Memorial Day or any other day, the cemeteries for those Americans who fell in battle offer profound lessons.

By Uwe E. Reinhardt May 25, 2016 6:24 p.m. ET 61 COMMENTS

WSJ | 2016-05-25T22:24:00.000Z

If you have not ever done so, I urge you to program into your next trip abroad a visit to an American military cemetery. There are quite a few in Europe, and some in Asia. You can find a list online.

These cemeteries are settings of an awesome serenity and beauty, immaculately kept by the American Battle Monuments Commission. As Americans, we must thank the architects who designed these settings and the workers who over the decades and to this day have kept them in their immaculate condition.

My wife, born in China and reared in Taiwan, and I, born in Germany and a longtime U.S. citizen, first visited the World War II cemeteries when our American-born children were young. We would tell them: Here rest some of the warriors who sacrificed their lives so that your parents and people in many parts of the world would be free from tyranny and could pursue their dreams in freedom. We made it clear to our children that this was not just a grown-up talk—that it was real and part of their proud heritage.

The lesson must have stuck. Last year our eldest child, now a fully grown man, urged me to come along to visit the battlegrounds in Germany, near the Belgian border, where U.S. troops fought so bravely and where so many of them—too many—met their early death.

This time we visited the large American cemetery near the Belgian town of Henri-Chapelle, about 20 miles west of the German city of Aachen. There rest the warriors who fell in the brutal, four-month-long battle of the Hürtgen Forest, followed by the Battle of the Bulge and the eventual push of American forces all the way to the Rhine River.

You can walk along the gravel paths of these cemeteries, and among the thousands of markers—crosses and Stars of David—beneath which the warriors rest. Pick a marker at random and adopt the soldier whose name is chiseled into that marker. Make him your father, or brother, or cousin, or a friend. Imagine him alive, and how you might have hugged him as he shipped out to the distant front.

However brutal his death may have been, you will draw solace from knowing that he rests here, in this serene setting, alongside his buddies who shared his fate. You may even imagine that somehow, don’t ask how, the fallen soldier may know that you are visiting him, to pay your respects.

You may not be able to suppress some tears; I never can. Perhaps in my case it is because I have taught American college freshman for so many years that I can vividly imagine the warriors alive, playing boisterously when they were not fighting or resting, dreaming of some sweetheart they left behind, and imagining what they might do with their lives when the war finally ended and they could go home again. Perhaps it is also because they met their untimely death because of the murderous deeds my birth country had inflicted upon the world at that time. It deepens my sorrow.

But whatever emotions you may bring to a visit there and take away from it, I promise that you will not soon forget it.

You will come away with renewed and strengthened respect for those of your fellow Americans willing to wear the nation’s military uniform and to bear the ultimate sacrifice one can make for one’s country. If you are a student, you will look with fresh eyes at the few among your classmates in the ROTC, learning, along with their regular studies, how to become officers in America’s armed forces.

And you will reflect deeply on our nation’s role in the world. Whatever our flaws as a people have been in the past and still are today, you will realize, standing there among the thousands of gravestones, that in the sweep of history, ours is a grand nation of which you can and should be proud.

Mr. Reinhardt is a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University.

And this …

Note especially the connection from the words I have highlights in the Mills essay with the words of Mr.Reinhardt above

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John Stuart Mill (1806-73), circa 1860. Photo: Getty Images

John Stuart Mill (1806-73), circa 1860. Photo: Getty Images

Notable & Quotable: John Stuart Mill

A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice . . . is often the means of their regeneration.’

May 25, 2016 6:23 p.m. ET 16 COMMENTS

WSJ | 2016-05-25T22:23:00.000Z

From English philosopher and political economist ’s “The Contest in America” for Fraser’s magazine, February 1862:

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice—is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

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Don Johnson – May 2016