A Pledge of Silence – Wonderful Novel!

“A Pledge of Silence,” by Flora J. Solomon, is historical fiction based on the true story of nurses in the U.S. armed forces captured by the Japanese in the Philippines in World War II.

From a small Michigan town near Ann Arbor to Manila and back, Margie Bauer survives four years of war. She treats her patients first at Sternberg Hospital in Manila, then for a time in open-air field hospitals in the jungles of Bataan, then in the caves of Corregidor, then in a Japanese prison camp.

After enduring little or no nutrition, the ever present danger, deaths of loved ones, and little news of the war or from home, Margie and the other nurses are liberated after three years. But freedom comes with a price and other battles for Margie to confront.

The story of the first U.S. military women to become prisoners of war is a story that is at once horrible but forever worth knowing about and acknowledging their sacrifices.

An entertaining and thought-provoking read – you’ll want more!

The book is available in hard copy and electronic versions at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Also see: http://www.apledgeofsilence.com

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Man on the Moon! Memories of July 20, 1969

1969 Moon Landing

Today, July 20, 2014, marks the 45th Anniversary of the first manned spacecraft to reach the moon.

On that evening forty-five years ago I woke the two older children to watch the television coverage in a finished Falls Church, Virginia basement. As I recall, I had just completed the project and was already working on finishing a room in the upstairs section of the tiny house because we couldn’t fit three children easily into the two bedrooms that came with the house.

Older son was in his first year at Graham Road Elementary School and older daughter kept me company quite often while I worked upstairs. She was a bit of a chatterbox at that age and always the artist. She drew pictures for me on every side of the small pieces of 2×4’s that were left as I sawed the larger boards to frame the room, explaining each picture as she finished it. She had quite a few questions about the moon landing as well.

Wonderful memories of family and our country’s successful voyage to the moon……

Joseph P. Kennedy, 1888-1969

The book, a Christmas present from younger son Ted, is The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy, David Nasaw, 2012, The Penguin Group.

Mr. Nasaw furnishes us a glimpse into the inner world of one of the 20th Century’s most influential men: his struggle to overcome the handicap of being an Irish Catholic in America, his intriguing family and business lives, his politics, the parts he played before, during and after World War II, some of the popular myths about how he became one of the wealthiest men in America, and more.

It is a detailed and entertaining account of a man, his career, and most of all, his devotion to family.

It is the story of how Joseph and Rose Kennedy lost three of their four sons and two of their five daughters to war, assassination, accident, and mental illness. That they could endure such grief will always be a source of wonder to me.

It paints a picture of a bright and talented young man who made his way and his fortune in business, the stock market, the film industry, and real estate. Despite attempts to portray Kennedy as a bootlegger during Prohibition, the author states: “Not only is there no evidence of Kennedy’s being a bootlegger, but it flies in the face of everything we know about him. As an East Boston Irish Catholic outsider struggling to be allowed inside, he was willing to take financial risks, but not those associated with illegal activities such as bootlegging.” (page 80)

In a twist of irony that would make for great fun in a stage play, as the first Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Kennedy put in place rules that, had they been in effect while he was making a great portion of his fortune in the stock market, would have made his methods illegal.

As Ambassador to the Court of St. James (Great Britain) up to and during World War II, Kennedy never stopped insisting that American participation in the war would be a waste of lives and money. He favored negotiation to avoid war, much to the indignation of those is charge; e.g., President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. He called Britain’s coming to the aid of Poland, thereby igniting World War II, one of the greatest mistakes ever made. Hardly anyone in a position of influence at the time agreed with him, then or now.

Accused of buying his son Jack’s elections to Congress and later to the Presidency, Kennedy provided his son with a wonderful opportunity to do one of the things Jack did best: defuse criticism with humor. While running for president, Jack stood before the Gridiron Club in Washington and began his speech by reaching into his suit coat pocket to withdraw a fake telegram from his father telling him not to buy one more vote than necessary. He read that his father was willing to finance his campaign, but that he would not pay for a “landslide.”

Many thanks to David Nasaw and all the authors of history whose works preserve the past, and if read and heeded, just might also help preserve the future.

Sleep Tight Tonight – Your Norton Program Is Awake

We veterans of life, and especially of the U.S. Air Force, remember the 1950’s slogan: “Sleep Tight Tonight – Your Air Force Is Awake.”

Just looked at my report from Norton, the software service I use in an attempt to secure my computer and all that I read, write, save, etc. with same.

This month’s report shows, right there on my little laptop, 41,473 computer threats, 5,062 known network attacks, and 39,744 known phishing sites.

Don’t have time to write any more about this.

Have to exit and try to understand what all these threats, attacks, and sites might do or are already doing to affect my computer, my life.