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Tag: Vietnam War

Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbToday we find some extremely consequential events appearing on our calendar of the past. These include one earthshaking international event and two overwhelming domestic events. The international event provided for the eventual declaration of this day as “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 60/7 in 2005 in memory of those Jews exterminated in the Nazi death camps. What was the event? Today, in 1945, the Russian Army, in its march across southern Poland, entered a concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau and found the remains of dead Jewish bodies in piles waiting for the crematoria.

Auschwitz,_Ankunft_ungarischer_Juden

Auschwitz was actually a complex of three camps. Auschwitz-Birkenau was the main death camp while the others were work camp in which the Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and other “Undesirables” were starved, worked hard, and subject to medical experiments by madmen like Dr. Mengele. As the railcars of “deportees” entered the camps, they were sorted into those who were to go directly to the death chambers (women, children, and elderly) and those who would go to the work camps to be worked to death. The exterminations camps were part of Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Problem” that would efficiently eliminate the Jewish population from the Third Reich. This pogrom was under the supervision of the Minister of the Interior, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler. Those destined for immediate extermination were undressed, herded into showers, and killed with poison gas. Their bodies would then be taken to the crematoria for “disposal.” These camps, along with others throughout Eastern Europe and Germany were a secret to outsiders until the Red Army entered Auschwitz. The world was shocked!

This day also witnessed another international event that had importance to the United States, the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973. These Accords were to formally ended the Vietnam War between the North Vietnamese (and their proxy in the the south, the Viet Cong) and the U.S. Vietnam became a communist state after these Accords, our removed our troops and had our POWs released. The actual end of the conflict did not occur until two years later, however. The troops and POWs returned to an America that was severely conflicted over a war that seemed to lack direction or a will to win.

Bruce_Crandalls_UH1D

Our involvement started during the Eisenhower administration after the French forces were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The country was partitioned into a Northern (Communist) Regime and a Southern (Democratic) Regime. Free elections were to be held in the South in 1955, but were cancelled by the U.S. when it appeared that the communists would win. Our troops were involved there started as military advisors and then in the summer of 1965 escalated into active involvement after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. We apparently didn’t learn our lesson about fighting a war of independence for a goal (Democracy) that the native population of a country didn’t necessarily want. We were bogged down in jungle fighting with guerrillas defending their homeland; the lesson from Vietnam was apparently not learned by our leaders when President George W. Bush sent our troops into Iraq and Afghanistan to install democratic form of government.

On the domestic scene we have two incidents that “grab” our attention. The one of more immediate importance to our contemporary generations is the Tragedy of Apollo 1 in 1967. Our nation was challenged by our new, young President, John F. Kennedy, in 1961 to send a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth within the decade of the 1960s. My generation took this challenge to heart and set off on the quest to conquer space. We received a wake-up call in 1957 when the Soviet Union sent into Earth Orbit an artificial satellite, Sputnik I. When Kennedy gave us his challenge, no man had escaped the Earth atmosphere, although some of our test pilots had approached that goal. We launched our first astronaut, Alan Shepard, into Sub-Orbital Space in a Mercury capsule (the Freedom 7) in 1961. We launched a pair of astronauts, “Gus” Grissom and John Young, in a Gemini capsule in 1963 into Earth Orbit. We were making progress and learning about the mechanics and technologies necessary to send a set of men to the moon. In 1967, we were ready to launch three astronauts on the first test of a new capsule, the Apollo capsule, using the Saturn rocket, whose first stage was based heavily on the design of the German V2 developed by Wehrner von Braun for the Nazis. The Apollo 1 was to launch “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee; while they were undergoing a pre-flight test of the capsule environment, a spark in the capsule ignited the pure oxygen environment and these three astronauts were lost.

5927_NASA

This event would require adjustments to the capsule environment and other launch procedures. Eventually, we accomplished the goal set for our nation by the former President John F. Kennedy. The Apollo 11 would carry three astronauts into space; the “lucky” astronauts were Neil Armstrong, “Buzz” Aldrin, and Jim Lovell to the moon in 1969. On July 20, 1969, while many of us sat in the comfort of our living rooms our TVs allowed us to watch as Neil Armstrong emerged from the Lunar Module and stepped onto the moon for the first time. We thrilled when he spoke those famous words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” We had mastered the technologies, engineering, and practical problems to carry out this dream of man. Ironically, the details of the launch of the Apollo 11 and that of the science fiction account of Jules Verne novel From the Earth to the Moon in most respects; the one major point of departure was that Verne had his astronauts launched by a large gun instead of on a rocket; rockets were merely fireworks in Verne’s day!

Another significant event on this day, one that has probably had more long term impact upon our nation and society, was a speech given by a young, backwoods lawyer from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, to a group of young men at the Young Men’s Lyceum in Springfield, Missouri in 1838. The future president of the U.S. would emphasize to these young men the importance of the rule of law in our country. This emphasis upon the law would be applied by President Lincoln to even those states that had seceded from the Union to form the Confederacy. Lincoln still considered them as part of the Union and directed his generals during our Civil War with that guiding principle still in mind. When he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in January, 1863, he freed the slaves in those seceding states by executive order; the African Americans held as slaves in those states were freed from their bondage.

Lee_Surrenders_to_Grant_at_Appomattox

When General Grant accepted the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Courthouse in 1865, he did so without the need of a treaty — the prodigal son had returned home. When his troops surrendered, they were permitted to keep their arms since they were still citizens of this nation. They were under the rule of law. We all know that the Civil War did not end all injustices to minority groups in this country. Women still were considered the “property” of their husbands and did not have the vote or equal rights with men. African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and the Native American Indians would not realize their full role as Americans until another one hundred years had passed. But the rule of law still prevailed and full rights were eventually gained by all citizens under the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. The message the young Abraham Lincoln delivered this day in 1838 still rings true — we are all covered by the rule of law!

In summation, this is a day that has witnessed a great deal of the brutality of man against his/her fellow man. We have witnessed the discrimination of slavery and the women in our society. We have witnessed also on this day the brutality of man against man when ideologies clash, such as in Vietnam and later in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it was brought into its clearest focus by the revelation of the Nazi Holocaust and death camps such as Auschwitz that were designed to carry out Hitler’s “Final Solution” to attempt the total genocide of the Jews. These Jews served as scapegoats for the perceived economic woes of Germany, but they might as well have been the African American slaves in the South, the American Indians removed from their ancestral lands in this country and, more recently, the Muslim minorities in the former Yugoslavian states. Discrimination and inhumanity has been carried out against women for centuries, depriving them of any property rights because they, themselves, were considered the property of their fathers or husbands. We are making progress, but we need to always remain vigilant to the abuses of power.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1954 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Thomas Edison:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_a_edison.html ]

    

“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.”
— Thomas Edison

“Genius is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent perspiration…”
— Thomas Edison

“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”
— Thomas Edison

“There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.”
— Sir Joshua Reynolds

“Shucks, we haven’t failed. Now we know a thousand things that won’t work, so we’re that much closer to finding what will.”
— Thomas Edison

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis was a day on which a number of significant events are noteworthy, especially on the international scene. On this day in 1968, the USS Pueblo and her crew were captured by the North Koreans when the ship navigated out of international  waters. The crew would be held captive for eleven months before being released. Why was this such an important event? The USS Pueblo was an intelligence ship and carried sophisticated surveillance equipment that would be useful to our possible future enemies.

USS_Pueblo_(AGER-2)

But the more important international event on this day in 1973 was the announcement by President Richard Nixon of the peace accord negotiated by our National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese negotiator Le Doc Tho. The Paris Peace Accords set the conditions for a cease fire between the two countries, the withdrawal of American troops, and the release of the American POWs. These accords were formally signed on January 27th. The Vietnam War had generated a deal of dissent among the draft-aged college population.

JrobinsonOn the home front, this day was marked by some relatively minor events and a couple of blockbuster events. The first of the blockbusters was the induction of that great African American, multi-sport star, Jackie Robinson, into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 (Cooperstown, Ohio). Robinson was a multisport athlete at UCLA and then played in the Negro Leagues down South; the major leagues were still segregated. But in 1947, Branch Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed Robinson to a contract to play for the Major League team — he broke the “color” barrier. During his early years on the team, he was showered by jeers, racial slurs, and discriminatory treatment, but he “turned the other cheek” and let his play speak for him. And what a speech that was! He was outstanding and opened the way for other Blacks, Hispanics, and other minority players to enter the major leagues. His induction into the Hall of Fame was another barrier that he broke; all previous “negroes” were in a separate Hall of Fame for the Negro Leagues. Robinson was inducted on the first try by a unanimous vote in 1962, the first year that he was eligible. He was a real “man’s man”!

Roots_25th_Anniversary_EditionThe other blockbuster event that occurred on this day was a miniseries that aired on ABC-TV for eight days starting this day in 1977. What miniseries was this? ROOTS, the story of an African who was captured by a slaving tribe in his native West African homeland, sold to white slavers, surviving the ocean voyage to the American South where he would be sold into the degradation of slavery on a southern plantation. The story was based on the book, Roots, by Alex Haley and purportedly represents his family’s experience in America through a slave, Kunta Kinte, played by the unknown Black actor, LeVar Burton (who would later star in Star Trek, The Next Generation.) The nation would be captivated for the next week and would come face-to-face with the horrors of slavery. This was a breakthrough a major cultural barrier and a basis for cultural understanding. Who can forget the baby held by his father and lifted up to the sky in dedication (baptism, if you will). This miniseries, I believe, brought a whole new sense of pride and hope for a past as well as a future to new generations of Blacks.

A critical event occurred during the legislative flurry of LBJ’s Great Society was the passage of Twenty-Fourth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution in 1964. This amendment barred the imposition of poll taxes and other barriers used to keep African Americans from voting in Federal Elections. The major impact of this amendment was upon southern states where it was used to prevent the poor and African American populations from voting and thus upsetting the status quo.

And the final major event of this day was Elizabeth Blackwell becoming the first female in the United States to receive a medical doctorate in 1849. After being rejected by the major medical schools, she was admitted to Geneva Medical College in Geneva, New York; she would provide medical services to the troops during the Civil War and opened the way for the women of later years to become physicians, not just nurses or midwives.

Of much less consequence were several other event that are associated with this day. The first permanent bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minnesota was opened in 1855. The Wham-O Toy Company produced and sold a new concept in toys, the “Pluto Platter,” or Frisbie, patterned after the pie tins used by the Frisbie Pie Company; the game based on this toy was a rage amongst university students. 

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1361 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Jackie Robinson:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jackie_robinson.html ]

    

“Above anything else, I hate to lose.”
— Jackie Robinson

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”
— Jackie Robinson

“There’s not an American in this country free until every one of us is free.”
— Jackie Robinson

“Life is not a spectator sport. If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.”
— Jackie Robinson

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”
— Jackie Robinson

“The way I figured it, I was even with baseball and baseball with me. The game had done much for me, and I had done much for it.”
— Jackie Robinson

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day witnessed a couple of major international events and several noteworthy events in this country. Internationally, this was the day in 1791 when King Louis XVI met the “Widow Maker”, the guillotine, in the Place de la Révolution and lost his head, literally, during the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. It was also on this day in 1911 that Prince Albert I of Monaco hosted the first Monte Carlo Automobile Rally, not to be confused with the Gran Prix of Monaco. This rally was a competition that was designed to demonstrate the current status of the automobiles available at that time; both events are sponsored by the same organization and continue to this day, although the Rally is not an annual event.

SS-571-Nautilus-trials

In this country, we saw Jimmy Carter, on his second day in office as President of these United States, pardon, in 1977, those men who were considered “draft dodgers” because they either failed to register for the draft or they fled to Canada to escape military service during the Vietnam War. In 1979, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl over the Dallas Cowboys; it was the Steelers’ third Super Bowl win.

Of much more importance, this was the day that Alger Hiss, the Soviet spy in our Department of State, was convicted of perjury regarding his testimony about his activities to the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1950. This was one of the successes of the “commie hunters” in both the House and the Senate during that early period of the Cold War. This is also the day, in 1954, that First Lady Mamie Eisenhower christened the USS Nautilus. The Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear-powered ship. Its nuclear power allowed it to remain submerged for longer periods of time than other diesel-powered submarines. This ability allowed the Nautilus to become the first ship to reach the North Pole UNDERWATER! The harnessing of nuclear power would have continuing ramifications on our society, both in terms of the generation of electricity for our cities and factories, but also to create a threat in the hands of unfriendly third-world counties and terrorist groups. The events of this day has left many lasting imprints upon our American society.

We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 944 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Nuclear Power:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/nuclear_power.html ]

    

“All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.”
— Ronald Reagan

“As a nuclear power – as the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon – the United States has a moral responsibility to act.”
— Barack Obama

“If we are to meet the growing electricity demand in the United States without significantly increasing emissions of greenhouse gases, we must maintain a diverse supply of electricity, and nuclear power must be part of that mix.”
— Judy Biggert

“India, in particular, is looking to develop nuclear power for domestic, commercial use, and we should work with them. This is a good deal for both countries.”
— Bobby Jindal

“All of the information that we were getting up to that time from the NRC people, from our people who knew something about nuclear power, was that the breach of the core was not a likelihood to happen.”
— William Scranton

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Written by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumbEvery time I come to this day, just before the traditional Thanksgiving Day, I think of those events of November 22, 1963. What happened? An assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, fired on the Kennedy motorcade as it entered Dealy Plaza in Dallas, TX. He took his shot from the Texas School Book Depository and fatally injured President John F. Kennedy. This started a series of events that changed our nation.

John_F_Kennedy_Official_PortraitUpon his death, Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn in as president. During his term in office, we would see the Vietnam War escalate and become part of our 6:00 PM dinner routine. We would see the African Americans, lead by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., march for racial equality in fact, not just in theory. He would fight against the Jim Crow Laws, Racial Segregation, Jobs and the End of the Vietnam War. He was assassinated in 1968 by James Earl Ray in Memphis, TN.

John F. Kennedy’s brother, Robert Francis Kennedy served in his older brother’s administration as Attorney General, fought against corruption and the mob. He won a seat in the United States Senate from New York. He ran for the presidency in 1968. After winning the California primary election, he was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador hotel in Los Angeles.

All three of these men would be assassinated during the 1960s. While this memorial is about John F. Kennedy, but we should not forget these other leaders for the equality of races in America. We should also not forget those who died in the war in Vietnam or in the quest of space travel to the moon.

So let us proceed to explore some of my reflections of that fateful day in November… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1539 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to John F. Kennedy:

    

“America has tossed its cap over the wall of space.”
— John F. Kennedy

“A child miseducated is a child lost.”
— John F. Kennedy

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”
— John F. Kennedy

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThe Vietnam Conflict was another of our undeclared wars. While the Korean and the Iraq Conflict (2002) were conducted by coalitions operating under United Security Council Mandates. Vietnam evolved from the First Indochina War between the French and Vietnamese communists under Ho Chi Minh. It became an American action under President Kennedy who provided military advisors to the non-communist government in Saigon, South Vietnam. Then, in the summer of 1965, President Johnson sent in large numbers of American troops under the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, not a declaration of war.

On the face of it, we were in South Vietnam to prevent it from from falling to the communist insurgent Viet Cong. The theory was that if Vietnam fell to the communists, it would be the start of a domino effect throughout southeast Asia. We fought in those jungles until 1975, when we brought our forces home.

B-52D(061127-F-1234S-017)

After being involved in South Vietnam for at least fifteen years, our pull-out caused some problems. Those Vietnamese who had worked for the American forces in the country tried to escape in any way they could; they became the “boat people” who resettled in the United States as well as Australia. They have become good citizens and assets to the communities into which they settled. While Vietnam is still trying to become responsible citizens in the family of nations, it has far to go. However, it is trying to build its infrastructure and educate its citizens, as I saw first-hand when I was there in 1996 on a teaching assignment.

If you are interested in more detail than I could provide in this space, please check the Reference section below. Vietnam has been fighting one war against foreign occupiers for decades. But, it is again time to launch into our exploration of the Vietnam War… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4965 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Vietnam War:

    

“You can kill ten of my men for every one I kill of yours, but even at those odds, you will lose and I will win.”
— Ho Chi Minh to the French, late 1940s

“If in order to avoid further Communist expansion in Asia and particularly in Indo-China, if in order to avoid it we must take the risk by putting American boys in, I believe that the executive branch of the government has to take the politically unpopular position of facing up to it and doing it, and I personally would support such a decision.”
— Richard M. Nixon, speech, April 16, 1954.

“You have a row of dominoes set up; you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is that it will go over very quickly.”
— Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1954

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumbMuhammad Ali was named as the “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. His rise to stardom started with his amateur “Golden Gloves” boxing that earned him  a spot on the 1975 Olympic Boxing team. He won the gold metal in those games. After his conversion as a Muslim, he adopted the name Muhammad Ali. It was with this name he fought most of his professional matches. After his opposition to the Vietnam Was as a conscientious objector, he was stripped of his Heavyweight Champion Belt. His boxing license and title were restored in Clay vs. United States decision by the Supreme Court.

Ali fought the best in the business during his career. These included Sonny Liston, Ken Norton, George Foreman, and Joe Frazer. He is associated with many bouts held outside of the United States. These include “Fight of the Century” (Madison Square Gardens in New York), “The Rumble in the Jungle” (Republic of the Congo), and the “Thrilla in Manila” (The Philippines). He often faced the same boxer more than once.

ALI VS FOREMAN KINSHASA (RM) TMKH 10/30/2011

Ali started using abusive “trash talking” prior to his matches. This was designed to create interest in the bouts and this banter helped to create that interest. This technique is still used today; the difference between then and now would seem to be that Ali and his opponents were excellent boxers. Today’s boxers sometimes seem to be more talk than action and there is much more manipulation between current boxers, with some avoiding those opponents that may beat them. This results in a “sport” that is becoming more entertainment than skill.

So, now is the time to get into our exploration of the career of Muhammad Ali, especially his rematch against George Foreman in “The Rumble in the Jungle”… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3334 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Muhammad Ali:

    

“I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me Nigger.”
— Muhammad Ali

“Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.”
— Muhammad Ali

“Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.”
— Muhammad Ali

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary:

JerryPhotoThe Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery reminds us of the many dead that are never identified from any war. This was especially prevalent for World Wars I and II as well as for the Korean Conflict. Advances in DNA testing methods advanced sufficiently by the Vietnam War that almost all soldiers were able to be identified that an “Unknown” was difficult to find; in fact, the soldier interred as the unknown was eventually identified.

None the less, the memorial allows us to give homage to those who fell in battle, identified or not. The ceremonial guard, the ritual of the changing of the guard, and the unit assigned to this duty all contribute to the special respect given to this memorial. Let it always be so.

 President George W. Bush visits  Arlington National Cemetery and lays a wreath at the Tonb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day.
Monday,  May 26, 2003. White House Photo by Tina Hager.

“The white marble sarcophagus has a flat-faced form and is relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classical pilasters set into the surface. The stone was quarried in Marble, Colorado from the Yule Marble Quarry. The tomb was then fabricated by craftsmen in Proctor, Vermont before it was shipped by train to Washington, DC. The finish carving was executed by Thomas Hudson Jones in Virginia.”  (Wikipedia)

Onward now to the exploration of this monument and its history…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3553 Words ]
    

   

Quotations Related to HERO:

    

“A hero cannot be a hero unless in a heroic world.”
— Nathaniel Hawthorne

“A hero has faced it all: he need not be undefeated, but he must be undaunted.”
— Andrew Bernstein

“A hero is a man who does what he can.”
— Romain Rolland

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by Gerald Boerner

John_F_Kennedy_Official_Portrait

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
35th President of the United States

(May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963)

    

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”
— John F. Kennedy

“And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
— John F. Kennedy

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Edited by Gerald Boerner

 

Commentary

Due to injury, this commentary will be added later. Please check back. Thank you.  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2010 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 3054 Words ]

   

Quotations Related to VETERANS

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
— Cynthia Ozick

“It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.”
— Dick Cheney

“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”
— Elmer Davis

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