Monday, March 8, 2010


Anyone who reads my blogs knows that I love to read, and I find that it keeps the old brain active and inquisitive. Sadly, far too many parents neglect the development of their children by ignoring the joy of reading at an early age, but let me assure you that it is never too late to get to your local library and find a book that you will love and one your kids might, also.

While on my recent vacation I had the opportunity to delve into several fine works. The four that follow today all happen to fall into the history or military genre. I have often heard that some individuals love the thrill of war, but one who has had that experience would likely tell you that those few creatures should be in severe need of significant care and attention.

Over the years I have read a great deal about history and military experiences. That has proven to me that the expression “War is hell” is a total understatement. Individuals like General George Patton were hugely successful, but outlooks like his were a bit scary. Yet, men such as him are necessary when the intent is to win. Enough for now! Let’s get on to the point of this commentary.

In Joseph Cummins’ TURN AROUND AND RUN LIKE HELL you quickly learn that from the beginning of time war has been a brutal and savage business that results in the suffering and death of literally millions. This is an excellent historical presentation of conflicts past and present.

Beautifully written by Elizabeth M. Norman and Michael Norman, TEARS IN THE DARKNESS is the story of the Bataan Death March and its aftermath occurring in 1942. This well researched story is important to know and understand, because the majority of our current population fails to know or recognize the sacrifices many young women and men endured to assure the American way of life.

I now appreciate the Bataan saga in a much clearer light. I have read a great deal about that death march. The resolve of the veterans that survived is amazing.

Your Commander is one who gets sea sick in a row boat. When I watch the cable program "Deadliest Catch," I love it, but nausea is ever present. I recommend a very revealing book titled HALSEY’S TYPHOON, the true story of a fighting Admiral, an epic storm, and an untold story. This read made me very happy to have served in the Air Force and not the Navy.

Here is another wonderful and revealing book, especially for Navy veterans, SHIP OF GHOSTS. Written by James D. Hornfischer, the story is of the USS Houston, FDR’s legendary lost cruiser. It is an epic saga of her survivors. Hornfischer also wrote THE LAST STAND OF THE TIN CAN SAILORS.

I do not want to tell you too much about each of the books, because I wouldn’t want to spoil your reading experience. It is enough to say that there is much to appreciate from the service, experiences, and dedication rendered by millions of brave women and men who have so valiantly served our country and made our world a better place.

Certainly life has not always been fair, or even just in many cases. Individuals who endured or gave the most had little or nothing to say about how the conflicts were fought or had the ability to determine the efficacy of the action.

It is pretty evident to your Commander that if the foot soldier in the trenches, the navy gobs at sea, or the airmen fighting in the skies had anything to do with reaching a decision to go to war, we would have peace on earth forever. Men of good will do not fight a war. They find ways to reach acceptable compromises. Tragically, individuals who determine wars are not the people who fight them. Politicians, especially the party in power,are the people who do so for political or economic self-interests. Just how long will it take the public to understand that simple fact?

Education and understanding through reading will surely go a very long way to make this beautiful world a better place for one and all. We are all responsible and can act against violence and brutality. Don’t you find it interesting that old people make the decisions to go to war, but they don’t fight in those wars? They send our finest young people to do their bidding. If we reversed that policy, we could make a giant leap toward preventing deadly conflicts.


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