Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Six Boys And Thirteen Hands…

July 13, 2010

The Boys of Iwo Jima
(From the book: Heart Touchers “Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter)

by Michael T. Powers

Each year my video production company is hired to go to Washington, D.C. with the eighth grade class from Clinton, Wisconsin where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation’s capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall’s trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history — that of the six brave men raising the American flag at the top of Mount Surabachi on the Island of Iwo Jima, Japan during WW II. Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, “What’s your name and where are you guys from?

I told him that my name was Michael Powers and that we were from Clinton, Wisconsin.

“Hey, I’m a Cheesehead, too! Come gather around Cheeseheads, and I will tell you a story.”

James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, D.C. to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good-night to his dad, who had previously passed away, but whose image is part of the statue. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, D.C. but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night. When all had gathered around he reverently began to speak. Here are his words from that night:

“My name is James Bradley and I’m from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called Flags of Our Fathers which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me. Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game, a game called “War.” But it didn’t turn out to be a game.

Harlon, at the age of twenty-one, died with his intestines in his hands. I don’t say that to gross you out; I say that because there are generals who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen years old.

(He pointed to the statue)

You see this next guy? That’s Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene’s helmet off at the moment this photo was taken, and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph. A photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection, because he was scared. He was eighteen years old. Boys won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the “old man” because he was so old. He was already twenty-four. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn’t say, “Let’s go kill the enemy” or “Let’s die for our country.” He knew he was talking to little boys. Instead he would say, “You do what I say, and I’ll get you home to your mothers.”

The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona. Ira Hayes walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, “You’re a hero.” He told reporters, “How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only twenty-seven of us walked off alive?”

So you take your class at school. 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only twenty-seven of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes died dead drunk, face down at the age of thirty-two, ten years after this picture was taken.

The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky, a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, “Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn’t get down. Then we fed them Epson salts. Those cows crapped all night.”

Yes, he was a fun-lovin’ hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of nineteen. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother’s farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning. The neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Kronkite’s producers, or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say, “No, I’m sorry sir, my dad’s not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don’t know when he is coming back.”

My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually he was sitting right there at the table eating his Campbell’s soup, but we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn’t want to talk to the press. You see, my dad didn’t see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, ’cause they are in a photo and a monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died, and when boys died in Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed in pain.

When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, “I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. DID NOT come back.”

So that’s the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.”

Suddenly the monument wasn’t just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero in his own eyes, but a hero nonetheless.

Michael T. Powers
HeartTouchers@aol.com

Copyright © 2000 by Michael T. Powers

Write Michael and let him know your thoughts on this story!

Michael T. Powers, the founder of HeartTouchers.com and Heart4Teens.com, is the youth minister at Faith Community Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Kristi and proud father of three young rambunctious boys.

He is also an author with stories in 29 inspirational books including many in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his own entitled: Heart Touchers “Life-Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter.” To preview his book or to join the thousands of world wide readers on his inspirational e-mail list, visit: http://www.HeartTouchers.com
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[Editor’s Note] This story is posted with the permission and courtesy of the author, Michael T. Powers.

(This is not part of the article but was added in the email story that I received) One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is… that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of ‘hands’ raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice.

Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism and all the wars in-between that great sacrifices were made for our freedom… Remember to pray for this great country of ours and for those still in conflict around the world. Pray also for all our servicemen and women around the world.

God Bless You and God Bless America.

Everyday that you can wake up free, it’s going to be a great day.

The Lesson of an Affirmative Action President

January 29, 2010

The Lesson of an Affirmative Action President

By James Lewis

You don’t pick brain surgeons by the color of their skin. You pick them by competence only. Same thing with airplane pilots. But we have allowed the profoundly irrational liberal media to persuade the American public that we are supposed to pick a U.S. president by affirmative action. Obama was elected to universal Hosannas because he is black. It wasn’t a secret. That’s why the Left around the world went into ecstasies when Obama ran and got elected.

We’ve been using affirmative action to hire and promote teachers and cops and to popularize movie stars and media heroes. We’ve had a generation of affirmative action agitprop, 24/7/365. Hillary Clinton was going to dictate racial and gender preferences for medical school admissions under HillaryCare. You can bet that reverse-racism is all over the 2,200 pages of ObamaCare. It’s reverse-racism forever!

In America today, competence is suspect, and incompetence gets all the attention. Yet competence is what keeps us alive.

Affirmative action was allowed by the Supreme Court as a temporary exception to the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution until blacks had the same opportunities others did. It has now been about forty years, and the goal posts have just moved farther and farther Left. Today it’s not just blacks — it’s women, homosexuals, and illegal aliens. And it’s no longer equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome, which was the goal of Communism for seventy years in the Soviet Union, until the whole Soviet Empire crumbled as a result.

In the Soviet Union, everything was politicized. Incompetent people ran agriculture along Stalinist lines. Everything turned into a lie, and lies accelerated as they propagated through the system, in exactly the way the Climategate lies get worse and worse as they get passed along by politically correct bureaucrats and scientists. When political loyalty controls the outcomes, honesty and competence are driven out at every level of society. Nobody can point to Obama’s anti-terrorist policies and say that’s wildly incompetent — without fearing they will be accused of racism.

From a temporary policy to give black people a better chance in life, we have now arrived at a Marxist goal of universal equality for everyone — except for white, male, heterosexual, and excessively normal people. We have reversed racism, but guess what? Reverse-racism is still racism. As a direct result, corruption now pervades the big cities and Washington, D.C. That’s because race, gender, and victim status have taken over as the criteria for all the benefits society has to offer.

Obama’s election to the nation’s most powerful office is the direct outcome of racial reasoning. It was race that put him over the top against Hillary, in a thousand media endorsements, and finally, against John McCain, who was old, male and white. Three strikes against McCain, who for all his faults is vastly more experienced and knowledgeable than the Obamessiah.

Meanwhile, blacks are still suffering from the pervasive social pathology of the inner city — almost all self-inflicted, with the help of the welfare state. Europe shows exactly the same results, except that the victims of welfarism aren’t black, but mostly white and Muslim immigrants. American blacks today are more bitter and more racially enraged than ever before, after forty years of affirmative action. Affirmative action hasn’t helped women, who now have to work two jobs, one at home and one for income, especially because so many men have walked away from their families under liberal cultural values. Reverse-racism has actively hurt generations of children, who have grown up in broken homes as a direct result of pernicious social policies which Obama has actually tried to make worse. One of the first things he did was to reverse Clinton’s welfare reform so that social pathology in the black community can spread its poison even wider and deeper. Obama isn’t good for black people — but then, blacks consistently vote for those who do them the most harm.

Reverse-racism has hurt Asian-Americans, who don’t usually count as disadvantaged non-whites, but who by dint of talent and hard work are now among the largest ethnic groups in many colleges and universities and a majority at Berkeley and UCLA, where race engineering is banned by a California law passed by voters over the objection of the political establishment.

Any time a Muslim tries to explode a bomb on an airplane, Obama sticks his nose in the air and pretends he doesn’t know what’s up. But he knows, he knows. The next time an airplane blows up in flight, Obama will be history, but he will never blame himself for his own truly stupid and perverse policies. On the contrary, Obama will be around for the next forty years blaming White America for his own folly.

We’ve now been taught by the media to hire and elect people by the color of their skin, or by gender, or by sexual preferences — including, in the case of Kevin Jenkins, their ability to peddle gay sexuality to kids and teachers for the Queering of the Elementary Schools.

Is it any surprise that a president who ran as the historic first black — that is, on affirmative action grounds — is not just incompetent, but perverse, so that we deliberately don’t check the passenger lists for young Muslim males who were brought up in radicalized cultures, even if they are already in the terror database, even if they buy a one-way ticket with untraceable cash and don’t check any luggage at all on their one-way flights from Nigeria to Detroit?

Obama’s anti-terror policies are not just incompetent. They are suicidal.

They are exactly like all the other social policies that are supposed to help the poor, the disadvantaged, the black, females, homosexuals — all of which invariably end up punishing and degrading the very people they are supposed to help. Who do you suppose is in the teachers’ unions that are keeping black kids from escaping the inner city ghettos? Yes, it’s black and liberal teachers. Who do you suppose is actively importing Muslim radicals into Europe and the United States? Who do you suppose has done more to spread HIV? Yes, it is the very Leftists who are always telling us how much compassion they feel for those very people.

The vote in 2008 was even crazier than picking your brain surgeon by the color of his skin. If the knife slips in the surgeon’s hand, you might die, but the nation as a whole doesn’t. But if the president has a nervous breakdown in the Oval Office, the whole world is at risk. It’s a mad, mad, mad idea to elect people on the basis of race or gender.

We have been so PC-whipped as a nation that Obama’s election as a black man — not as a competent black man, not as an experienced and well-qualified black man — was celebrated by liberals and Leftists around the world. It is the victory of brain-dead ideology over common sense. The guy in the White House today is potentially the most dangerous, mentally fixated, and irresponsible demagogue we have ever known. Those wacky ideas are once again on the rise, not just in the schools and colleges, but even at the very centers of power. The election of Obama was by far the screwiest thing American voters have ever done. It throws doubt on the whole American experiment, because we have inflicted this disaster on ourselves.

The lesson of the Obama presidency is exactly the opposite of what our stuck-on-stupid media are telling us. It is that we must never, ever hire, promote, or elect somebody to a position of power and responsibility merely because of his race. Abraham Lincoln would not have been surprised. Neither would Martin Luther King, Jr. Even the editors of the New York Times choose schools for their kids not by race, but by educational competence. Somehow the American people have forgotten their common sense while Obama was rifling their wallets.

The captain is drunk in the deckhouse, and the ship of state is heading for the rocks. Our enemies are trying to take advantage of our failure to elect even sensible leadership. If you don’t think al-Qaeda, Ahmadinejad, and the Russians will try to screw us royally under this perverse and incompetent leadership, just wait a month or two. The Chinese have taken the measure of this guy. So have the other jackals prowling around the small campfire of civilization. They know he’s a pushover, and they will act accordingly. The only question is how badly we’ll get burned.

The Left has advocated suicidal policies, and now they have found their way to power. But ultimately this is a failure of the American people, of our pathetic excuse for a media, and of the anti-American hatred that pervades the Left.

Yes, God protects orphans, widows, and the United States. But you can rely on pure dumb luck for only a little while before the ship of state comes to grief on that unforgiving iceberg.

Link to original article –

http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/the_lesson_of_an_affirmative_a.html

Comments posted to original article – Worth reading. Some of these people have some great insight and thoughts on this…

http://comments.americanthinker.com/read/42323/527170.html


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