Monday, November 09, 2009


I received an e-mail this evening from a very dear friend with whom I share political, spiritual and patriotic views. He had collected several remarkable exchanges that took place during diplomatic meetings in the years that have intervened since World War II. They are simply too profound to lay dormant in my In-box. I share them below:
JFK's Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when De Gaule decided to pull out of NATO. De Gaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded, Does that include those who are buried here?
Colin Powell was attending a large conference in England and was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire building by George Bush. He answered by saying, “Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.”
At an international gathering of engineers a Frenchman returned from a break asking,, “Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. W hat does he intended to do, bomb them?” A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships; how many does France have?”
A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the US, English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from each of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks when a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?” The American Admiral replied, “Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German.”
Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At the French Customs desk he fumbled a few minutes to locate his passport. "You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically. Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously. "Then you should know enough to have your passport ready." The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it." "Impossible. Americans always have to show a passport on arrival in France!" Mr. Whiting explained, ''When I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to."
As we contemplate The Great Change let’s remember The Great Sacrifices that went before. Few of our politicians – and fewer still, loud-mouth bloggers like me – have made the sacrifices necessary to speak as eloquently as those quoted above. I fear our country has already fallen and this is a terrible fate for planet earth. ‘But in my Father’s house there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.’ John 14:2 Live with hope.

Vacation Destinations

Throughout our child-raising years Sarah and I have made a point of planning vacations to diverse destinations. I feel we did a good job of combining raw and expensive fun (Disneyworld – more times than I wish to recall,) the great outdoors (a most memorable week on a dude ranch in Colorado, fishing trips to Canada, multiple skiing trips in Utah and Colorado) and global education (two extended visits to various parts of western Europe.) Now, I’m not bragging on any level. Surely we were blessed with the resources to provide these opportunities to our children, some of their friends and to each other. And as great as most of these excursions were they each had negative aspects. Expense was a constant. Other potential downsides included illness in foreign countries, sunburn, altitude sickness, mosquito bites, too much cotton candy and broken bones. The one potential danger that never arose during any of our vacation planning was being arrested for espionage. This is because we never really considered a backpacking trip to Iran.