In the midst of evil, one man would not give up on saving the lives of hundreds of children in Czechoslovakia. His name is Nicolas Winton.
What this man did was remarkable and courageous. The parents of Prague were crying for help from any country before the invasion they knew was coming. Only England responded and said to send the children to them.
The heart wrenching decisions that the Jewish parents had to make in order to save their children is told in a film about Winton’s life. It is definitely worth watching…as we learn of not only the parent’s courage, but that of a man who could have walked away from the situation. He left his job with the London Stock Exchange to do what he believed to be most important…save young lives. Many of those parent would die in the concentration camps.
It is 1939 and Europe is on the brink of war. Hitler has invaded Czechoslovakia, threatening the lives of the Jewish population. Nicholas Winton, a young British stockbroker, decides he will do everything possible to save the lives of as many Jewish children as he can. This film, transmitting on Holocaust Memorial Day, tells the extraordinary story of how Nicholas Winton rescued 669 children from the clutches of the Nazis, bringing them by train to Britain. (Berta film)
Shortly before Christmas 1938, Winton was planning to travel to Switzerland for a skiing holiday. He decided instead to visit Prague and help Martin Blake, who was in Prague as an associate of the British Committee for Refugees from Czechoslovakia then in the process of being occupied by Germany, and had called Winton to ask him to assist in Jewish welfare work. Winton established an organization to aid children from Jewish families at risk from the Nazis. He set up his office at a dining room table in his hotel in Wenceslas Square. In November 1938, following Kristallnact in Nazi-ruled Germany, the House of Commons approved a measure to allow the entry into Britain of refugees younger than 17, provided they had a place to stay and a warranty of £50 was deposited for their eventual return to their own country. (Wikipedia)
An interesting fact of Winton’s early life is as follows: Winton was born on 19 May 1909 in Hampstead, London. His parents were German Jews who moved to London. The family name was Wertheim, but they changed it to Winton in an effort at integration. They also converted to Christianity and Winton was baptized as a Christian. (History)
After World War II was over, Nicolas took up his own life and it wasn’t until his wife found an old scrapbook in the attic that she knew of the hundreds of children that he had helped save. This is probably the greatest example of his humility.
The life of this man, who with determination, skill and fortitude, proves how one decision can change a world. Generations have learned that they are alive because their grandparents were saved as children.
Sir Nicolas Winton lived to be 106 years old and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
The trailer below will make you want to see the entire film. It is available on Amazon Prime…Nicky’s Family. May the world learn from his great example of giving of self and determination. We certainly need it today.
Saturday, June 6, is the date we remember D-Day
This Day of courage must never be pushed into the background while the world looks on at the daily news. Boyer Writes honors all those who bravely faced the possibility of certain death for the cause of freedom
On Omaha Beach alone, 2,400 American lives were lost…as were many thousands more of our allied countries during the war.
Here are some facts about that day when so many were brave!
- The First D-Day Happened in the early 1900’s
The term D-Day is a generic term used by the military since the early 1900s to describe the date a combat operation takes place. Because of the monumental nature of the Allied invasion of Normandy, that day on June 6th 1944 became legendary. Ever since, people have been fascinated by D-Day facts, and the term D-Day for most people now means the date in history when the Allies started to win the war in Europe.
- D-Day Could Have Happened A Day Earlier on June 5th, 1944
D-Day was actually supposed to happen the day before, on June 5th 1944. However, because of bad weather, it was decided that the D-Day invasion would take place the following day, on June 6th.
- D-Day Changed the Landscape and History of Normandy
The D-Day invasion took place in a coastal area of France, known as Normandy. Despite the region’s rich history, it is now most famously remembered as the scene of this bloody invasion
- D-Day Was Code named Neptune by the Allies
The code name for the Normandy Landings was Operation Neptune. Neptune is the Greek god of the sea, and it’s a fitting name, considering the invasion was launched from the sea.
- German Troops Didn’t Leave the Islands Around Normandy until 1945
Although the Allies were successful in their invasion of Normandy, it was nearly a year later, on May 9th 1945, that the entire German occupation of Normandy, including the surrounding islands, was completely ended.
- Operation Bodyguard Was a Fake Allied Operation to Hide D-Day Plans
In order to deceive the Germans, the Allies created a fake operation, Operation Bodyguard. This way, the Germans would not be sure of the exact date and location of the main Allied landings.
- There Were Multiple Fake D-Day Plans
There were actually multiple fake operations designed to deceive the Germans. These included fake operations detailing attacks to the north and south of the actual landing points in Normandy. Some efforts were even made to make the Germans think that the attack would take place in Norway!
- Normandy Was a Tourist and Resort Area Before D-Day
One of the lesser-known D-Day facts is that the beaches of Normandy were a popular destination for visitors to the Atlantic coast before World War II. From the 1800s onwards, Normandy was a popular seaside tourist area. There are still many beautiful towns and resorts on the Normandy coast.
- D-Day Was Planned for a Full Moon To Give Aircraft Better Sight
The Allies wanted a full moon to provide better sight for their aircraft. They also wanted to have one of the highest tides. The invasion was carefully scheduled to land partway between low tide and high tide, with the tide coming in.
- D-Day was the Largest Multi-National Invasion in History
The Normandy Landings known as D-Day were a multinational effort, with many countries involved. The Allied forces invading Normandy included troops from the United States, Britain, Canada, Poland, France, and more countries.
- The Allied Forces Were 5 Years Younger than the Germans on Average
Many D-Day facts focus on the armaments each side had during the invasion. A lesser-known fact is the age of the German and the Allied forces. The German forces, due to heavy losses on the Eastern Front, no longer had a large population of young men to enlist. German soldiers were, on average, more than 5 years older than their Allied counterparts.
- D-Day Began when Troops Gathered on British Soil in June 1944
A lot of D-Day facts focus on Normandy, where the Allies landed. A commonly asked question is “where did the Allies launch their invasion?” The Normandy landings were conducted from across the English Channel, with troops first gathering on British soil before launching the attack on that fateful day in June 1944.
- D-Day was Only the First Part of a Larger Plan to Retake Europe
The D-Day invasion, codenamed Operation Neptune, was part of a larger plan to take the European continent back from the Germans. Operation Overlord was the name assigned to the large-scale plan, and Operation Neptune was the first phase of the plan.
- The Draft of the D-Day Plan was First Accepted in 1943
Planning for the D-Day invasion began long before the event actually took place. Historical D-Day facts reveal that an initial draft of the invasion plan was accepted at a conference in August 1943.
- British General Bernard Montgomery Helped Eisenhower Plan D-Day
While a lot of D-Day facts focus on the numbers of ships, troops and military armaments, one fact that is often overlooked is the number of generals who planned the invasion. There were two generals: United States General Dwight D. Eisenhower and British General Bernard Montgomery planned the attack. It should be noted that Eisenhower was the Commander in Chief of Operation Overlord.
- D-Day was the Largest Invasion by the Sea in History
Eisenhower and Montgomery reviewed the initial plans for D-Day and decided that a larger-scale invasion would be necessary. The goal of the Allies was to allow operations to move quickly, and to capture ports that were strategic to the overall plan of retaking the European continent.
- More Than 150,000 Troops Landed on 50 miles of Beach on D-Day
It may be the epic scale of the D-Day invasion that explains just why people are so fascinated by D-Day facts. It was one of the largest single military operations of all time, with more than 150,000 troops landing on five beaches in just a 50-mile stretch of land.
- 7 Days After D-Day More Than 300,000 Troops Had Landed
The first set of troops landing at Normandy signaled only the beginning of the invasion. Within seven days, the beaches where the Allies landed on D-Day were fully under their control. Get ready for some more massive D-Day facts! By that time, more than 300,000 troops, 50,000 vehicles and over 100,000 tons of equipment had been brought through the beaches of Normandy! By the end of June 1944, the Allies had brought over 850,000 troops through the beaches of Normandy and ports that had been opened up as a result of the D-Day invasion.
- Omaha Beach Was 1 of 5 Main Beaches of the D-Day Invasion
The Allies divided the 50 miles of the Normandy coast into five beaches, or sections. The beaches at Normandy were named: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
- Weather Delayed the D-Day Invasion by 1 Day
Many military historians who are interested in D-Day facts discuss how the weather impacted the D-Day invasion. In addition to delaying the invasion by one day, the weather blew the boats of the Allies east of their planned landing targets. This was especially true for the Utah and Omaha beach landing targets.
- The Terrain of Omaha Beach Caused the High Number of Casualties
Omaha Beach was one of the areas where the Allies suffered the most casualties. The geography of the area played a role in the high number of casualties at Omaha Beach. High cliffs that lined the beach characterized the geography of the Omaha Beach landing target. Many American forces lost their lives because the Germans had gun positions on these high cliffs.
- More than 4,000 Allied Soldiers Died on D-Day
The saddest D-Day facts are the number of people who were injured, and the number of people who died, as a result of the invasion of Normandy. Due to the position of the German forces and the defenses they had built, the Allies suffered over 10,000 casualties, with over 4,000 people confirmed dead.
- Over 2,400 American Soldiers Were Killed on Omaha Beach on D-Day
D-Day facts reveal that over 2,400 Americans were killed or injured on Omaha Beach. This was as a result of the geography of the Omaha Beach landing target, and the weather that had blown the ships off their target. The weather had also led to the sinking of some tanks which were intended to provide support for the troops landing at Omaha Beach. The high number of casualties at Omaha was also in part due to the lack of artillery providing reinforcements for the troops.
- Germans Had Less Casualties on D-Day Due to their Positions
Due to their positions, the Germans suffered fewer casualties than the invading Allied troops at Normandy. However, the Germans had no reinforcements to help them retake positions. Once the Allies had landed at Normandy, they took control of the beaches and continued until all of Europe was free.
The massive scale of the D-Day invasion and its important role in World War II make D-Day facts fascinating, even today. Many people lost their lives fighting on the fateful day of June 6th 1944. The
Normandy landings were the beginning of a larger plan to retake Europe and codenamed Operation Overlord. Had the D-Day invasion failed, the result of World War II may have been very different. Thankfully, despite a heavy loss of life, the Allies were ultimately successful in taking the beaches of Normandy and retaking Europe.
- Facts about D-Day Invasion Summary
D-Day facts continue to fascinate people, even more than 50 years after the D-Day invasion took place. We gathered interesting facts about that fateful day on June 6th 1944, when the large-scale invasion of Normandy, France took place. D-Day marked a turning point in World War II and dictated the course of history.
Military historians are interested in D-Day facts because of the sheer scale of the invasion. The saddest D-Day facts are those relating to the losses the Allies suffered during the course of the invasion. The people who lost their lives on the beaches of Normandy did not do so in vain, as D-Day marked the beginning of the Allies retaking Europe. (taken from Interesting Facts)
75th Remembrance of D-Day in 2019 Slide Presentation (Wait a moment for slide to change)
The Books By Boyer Book Store is ONLINE and easily available to all!
If you missed the last blog about the 75th Liberation of Auschwitz, I would highly recommend that you go back and view it. Link: https://boyerwrites.com/2020/01/28/75-years-since-liberation-are-we-turning-our-backs/
In this blog, I am writing about the non-Jews that knew the risks they were taking when defying the Nazi Regime. We honor them and the”righteous gentiles” who risked everything to hide the Jewish families during World War II. One of the men who stood up again Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian pastor.
Few twentieth century theologians have had a bigger impact on theology than Bonhoeffer, a man who lived his faith and died at the hands of the Nazis. For Bonhoeffer, the theological was the personal, life and faith deeply intertwined—and to this day the world is inspired by that witness. (Google Books by Diane Reynolds)
…Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship,, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews….Bonhoeffer’s efforts for the underground seminaries included securing necessary funds… By August 1937, Himmler decreed the education and examination of Confessing Church ministry candidates illegal. In September 1937, the Gestapo closed the seminary at Finkenwalde, and by November arrested 27 pastors and former students.
It was around this time that Bonhoeffer published his best-known book, The Cost of Discipleship, a study on the Sermon on the Mount, in which he not only attacked “cheap grace” as a cover for ethical laxity, but also preached “costly grace.” He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later, he was transferred to Flossenburg Concentration Camp. (Flossenburg concentration camp, located outside Weiden, Germany, close to the Czech border, was established in 1938, mainly for political prisoners. Once the war began, however, other prisoners and Jews were housed there as well.Apr 11, 2008)
After being accused of being associated with the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler,he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then hanged on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing. 21 days later Adolf Hitler committed suicide. (Wikipedia)
Quotes by Bonhoeffer:
Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him.
On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers.
For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God.
So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.
We must finally stop appealing to theology to justify our reserved silence about what the state is doing
for that is nothing but fear. ‘Open your mouth for the one who is voiceless
for who in the church today still remembers that that is the least of the Bible’s demands in times such as these.
The U.S. LIBERATION OF FLOSSENBURG:
…At approximately 10:30 hours on April 23, 1945, the first U.S. troops of the 90th Infantry Division arrived at Flossenburg KZ,. They were horrified at the sight of some 2,000 weak and extremely ill prisoners remaining in the camp and of the SS still forcibly evacuating those fit to endure the trek south. Elements of the 90th Division spotted those ragged columns of prisoners and their SS guards. The guards panicked and opened fire on many of the prisoners, killing about 200, in a desperate attempt to effect a road block of human bodies. American tanks opened fire on the Germans as they fled into the woods, reportedly killing over 100 SS troops.
Additionally, elements of the 97th Infantry Division participated in the liberation. As the 97th prepared to enter Czechoslovakia, Flossenburg concentration camp was discovered in the division’s sector of the Bavarian Forest. Brigadier General Milton B. Halsey, the commanding general of the 97th Division, inspected the camp on April 30, as did his divisional artillery commander, Brigadier General Sherman V. Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck, who spoke fluent German, directed a local German official to have all able-bodied German men and boys from that area help bury the dead. The 97th Division performed many duties at the camp upon its liberation. They assisted the sick and dying, buried the dead, interviewed former prisoners and helped gather evidence against former camp officers and guards for the upcoming war crimes trials.
One eyewitness U.S. Soldier, Sgt. Harold C. Brandt, a veteran of the 11th Armored Division, who was on hand for the liberation of not just one but three of the camps, Flossenburg, Mauthausen, and Gusen, when queried many years after the war on his part in liberating them, stated that “it was just as bad or worse than depicted in the movies and stories about the Holocaust. . . . I can not describe it adequately. It was sickening. How can other men treat other men like this’” (portion of an article By Colonel John R. Dabrowski, US Army Heritage and Education Center)
REMEMBER THE LIBERATION AND DIETRICH BONHOEFFER
Video of the Remembrance of the U.S. Army Liberation of Flossenburg concentration camp where Bonhoeffer was executed. (filmed in 2019)
Turn up sound:
She is a redhead, filled with enthusiasm and a love of life. She was my neighbor in Virginia. Little did she ever dream that she would have that lovely red hair pulled back 5 inches from her forehead to her ears, to allow doctors to make an incision and remove a large brain tumor. This is her true story, written in her own words, to give encouragement to anyone facing a similar situation. It is not an easy story to tell, but one that should be passed on to those who may lack courage or have difficult decisions to make in this regard.
Looks Can Be Deceiving by Patricia Paige
“When we meet someone for the first time, we immediately become aware of their appearance. We notice their height, their hair or their eyes. One such example is found in First Samuel Chapter 16. When Saul had lost God’s favor to rule over Israel, He sent Samuel on a specific mission. He traveled to the home of Jesse, and from his sons, God told him he would find “the chosen one.”
As Samuel looked at Jesse’s older sons, he considered their height and strong features, but God rejected all of them. He told Samuel that God does not judge someone by their outward appearance. He looks upon the heart. Samuel sent for Jesse’s youngest son, David: “And, the Lord said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he.”
When you look at me, you might notice my red hair, my blue eyes or my smile. Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. What God knows, but you cannot see, is that in August 2014, I had surgery to remove a brain tumor.
I’ve had headaches most of my adult life, including migraines. I didn’t believe the headaches I’d been having for the past several months were any different. These headaches would always completely disappear. My journey began quite uneventfully on a beautiful day in June. When I’d awakened that morning, I’d felt really energetic. Except for this morning, my hearing was muffled. Have you ever been swimming underwater in a pool? You hear the voices and laughter, but the sounds seem diminished. I continued my busy day. After accomplishing a few errands, I’d purchased groceries, and prepared an early supper. However, throughout the entire day, my hearing remained muted.
After my husband and I had eaten, I’d filled a plate and popped on the travel lid. My purse and keys were on the counter. Suddenly, I felt nauseated and started having stomach cramps. Later, I would look back on this event and realize this was God’s divine intervention in my life. If these symptoms had not occurred exactly when they did, I’d have been driving down a four-lane highway.
Thankfully, I’d gone into the small half-bath near the kitchen. Nausea only worsened as did the stomach cramps. When my massive seizure began, I was close enough to the wall to lean my head against it. Honestly, I don’t believe I could have remained upright at this point. My next symptom was extremely bright, revolving lights. Have you ever been to a carnival where colored lights are pulsating and blinking in a circle?
I never lost consciousness, but believed my head was literally going to explode. Searing pain raged throughout my entire skill. On and on the cycle continued with nausea, severe cramping, blinking lights, and headache. Several times I thought I was going to die. It would have been a release from the excruciating pain. I am so thankful to my husband for placing cold, wet washcloths on my forehead and back of my neck.
Why, you ask, didn’t my husband call for an ambulance? My symptoms were waxing and waning, so we both assumed it would be over any minute. Besides, some of our friends had recently suffered a nasty stomach bug, which had included a severe headache. A similar illness perhaps? As suddenly as the symptoms had appeared, they disappeared. I felt completely normal again. I could walk and talk without any problems. My speech and balance were fine.
However, this experience troubled me. Were these symptoms of something more serious? I phoned the office of a neurologist I trusted and had known for several years. In the meantime, I went to my family physician. My vital signs were within the normal range. When I described this frightening incident, he expressed concern. I told him of my upcoming appointment with neurology. He was relieved I would be seeking additional medical treatment.
My headaches were becoming worse; occurring more frequently. The neurologist thought I was having “cluster headaches.” She also ordered an MRI (brain scan) to rule out anything else.
Returning home few days later, I had a phone message from the neurologist. She asked that I return to her office early Monday morning. This was Friday afternoon so I knew it wouldn’t be good news.
“You have a brain tumor” are words you never want to hear from your doctor. My suspicion had become all too real. I just sat there and didn’t respond. I was in shock. She asked if I’d heard what had been said. She asked again. I shook my head signifying I understood. I sat motionless; silent.
She showed us an x-ray of the tumor. It was a moderately large Meningioma. This type of tumor grows within the first three layers (the meninges) that are located between the skull and the brain. Although they are usually benign, I would require surgery to remove it. When she asked where I wanted to go to, I asked, “Where would you send someone in your own family?” That’s how I was referred to the Chief of Neurology at a hospital accredited as a Level I Trauma Center.
The next few days were a blur. My headaches were more intense, and I was increasingly sensitive to bright lights. I’d wear my sunglasses even indoors. My family continued to be supportive, encouraging and funny. Hey, look, our daughter would say, “Mom’s wearing sunglasses in the house. She must think she’s a Movie Star!”
The following information is taken from a Facebook post: “Last night, I read the pathology report on Mom’s tumor. It gave the exact measurements. I used a ruler, pen and paper and made a sketch. Then, using the materials at hand, I fashioned a replica of it using many, many rubber bands. If you’ve met my Mom, then you know that she’s a short, small-boned, cute, redheaded woman. What I’m trying to explain is that this tumor is HUGE! No wonder Mom is keeping a bad headache.”
Two MRI’s and two neurologists have now confirmed that this tumor is indeed a benign meningioma . Next week, I have an appointment with the doctor who will perform the surgery. With his guidance, we’ll formulate a plan.
The surgeon was very professional, yet more than willing to take the time to answer all our questions. In my prayer time, I’d made a request of God. I’d asked Him to put me in the hands of Christians during my surgery. No one, not even my family, knew about my request. On our way out of the office, one of the associates touched my shoulder. She said, “You’re going to be fine. I’ll be in the room during your surgery, and I’ll be praying for you.”
Relief! Precious, wonderful relief. We were in the hallway before I broke into tears. My husband hugged me and said, “It’s going to be okay.” I explained the petition I’d made earlier. This is God’s way of showing me, “He’s got this!”
We were told to check the surgery schedule as we exited the hospital. The doctor who’d be performing my procedure did not have an opening until the middle or latter part of September. This was the first week in August. Waiting several weeks seemed like a very long time. I remembered that Almighty God held me in the palm of His Hand, and I was at peace.
I was on a “prayer chain” at my home church as well as several others throughout our community. These Christians were asking for my healing, and for the grace to see my family through this journey.
My health continued to deteriorate. My painful headaches were even stronger, and my energy level was beginning to drain. By now, I was unable to accomplish even the simplest of household chores. I began noticing that my balance was affected. Most days, I walked like I’d been drinking. I’d hold on to walls and furniture to prevent myself from falling.
One day I received a phone call from the hospital. It had only been two weeks since my appointment. The woman on the phone worked with the neurosurgery scheduling department. She asked if I wanted to have my procedure performed on August 22. Talk about a no brain-er (excuse the pun!) Absolutely!
As my husband and I sat in the surgical waiting room, we were joined by our daughter, granddaughter and grandson. This was the quietest my family has ever been. Usually we’re talking, teasing and laughing.
A nurse came to take me back, and told my husband and daughter they could join me after I was prepped. The hugs with my grandchildren were bitter-sweet because of the seriousness and uncertainty of brain surgery. Of course, I didn’t want to leave my family, but I knew where I’d be spending eternity. And, this was incredibility comforting. My family sat beside my bed. None of us knew what to expect. We were in a holding pattern similar to an airplane waiting for take-off.
My surgeon joined us and inquired if we had questions. The anesthesiologist arrived and introduced himself. Did we have questions? He then asked if they could pray for us. I don’t remember the words he said, but I knew they were heartfelt. It was surreal. Never before have I been so grateful to be a Christian surrounded by other believers.
According to my daughter, my surgery went well. Because I’d bled more than expected, I’d received two units of whole blood. I’d be in recovery, then ICU for several hours, transfer to a room, and finally discharge. That was the plan. In life, things do not always go as we’d anticipated.
When I first became aware of my surroundings in ICU, I was unable to speak. For a woman who has been extremely verbal all of her life, this proved to be difficult. As the hours passed. I became increasingly angry. My anger was not directed at God. My distress was due to my circumstances. I remember clenching my fist into a ball and pounding it on the bed. This could not have been beneficial especially since this was the arm where the IV was attached. I began shaking inside and sobbing. Tears were running uncontrollably down my cheeks. None of the nurses could tell us why this was happening.
Later that night, our daughter phoned a friend who teaches speech therapy at the college level. She explained that my condition was called expressive aphasia. This occurs when there is a disconnect between the brain and the mouth. The words I was trying to express were simply stuck in my brain. Apparently, when the brain is touched, interesting things happen.This would improve with time.
My tumor had grown from the left side of my skull toward the right. In fact, it had wrapped around the large cranial nerve in the middle of my skull. Think of it like an octopus whose tentacle is holding on tight. While my surgeon was unable to completely remove this part of the tumor, he’d gotten into close proximity. My brain needed to rest and reboot.
Because I couldn’t speak, the nurses brought pad and pen and asked that I write down what I wanted to say. I held these items in my hands, but I couldn’t write words. All I could do was to make attached ovals in a solid row. Row after row after row. Finally, I stopped trying.
I spent two days in ICU before transferring to what they referred to as a “step down” room. I’d stay there for the remainder of the week. At this point, I’d transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation center near the hospital. This was an intensive 7 day a week program focused on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. In the beginning, each of these were challenging. I had deficits in all three areas.
Occupational therapy proved to be extremely difficult. When offered a child’s large-piece puzzle with wooden handles to grasp, I managed to put together only three pieces. Twice daily the therapist would encourage me to work with my hands to improve eye/hand coordination. Problem-solving skills slowly started to improve and were more consistent.
Physical therapy concentrated on regaining my equilibrium, muscle strength and stamina. At this point, I was using a walker with attached wheels. Therapy incorporated the use of large balance balls, safe places to walk for short distances, exercises and stairs with railings to prevent falls. We had all learned and mastered these skills in early childhood.
Obviously, speech would be problematic. It would take time not only to learn how to communicate, but how to lessen the disconnect in my brain. Because I’d always gestured with my hands when I talked, occupational therapy was the missing link in regaining my speech. These therapies would continue when I returned home.
During this entire time, my vision had been extremely blurred. It was like trying to visualize objects or people through a thick fog. I was also experiencing drowsiness and fatigue. I’d accepted these as side-effects of my surgery. Thankfully, they were not!
The high dosage of seizure medicine they were giving me to keep my brain calm was reacting negatively with a muscle relaxer. I’d used it to relieve muscle spasms due to Fibromyalgia. I had not taken this particular medication in over a year, and then only once or twice daily. However, my medical chart showed I was taking it three times daily. I explain this in detail as a precautionary tale for others. Review your medical records carefully with your primary care physician to correct any discrepancies before you are hospitalized. In any case, it is of utmost importance that your medical records are correct.
Arriving home, there were other obstacles. Patience has never been one of my strongest virtues especially when I’m in a hurry or stressed. It was difficult to remain calm, breathe slowly and deeply, then retrieve the actual word I wanted to express. Sometimes, I’d become angry and raise my voice. My poor husband was the target of all my see/saw emotions. Thankfully, he is a Godly man who really loves me. I’d say an entirely different word than the one I’d intended. Sometimes I’d just point to an object and call it a thing-e. Occasionally, this still happens.
When I first began my journey back to health, I did not realize it would take this long to recover or be so life-changing. These were the times that I found solace in the writings of Corrie Ten Boone: “When the train goes through a tunnel, and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
I’ve always had empathy for people with cerebral palsy or those who have had traumatic brain injuries or strokes. Until my experience with expressive aphasia, I did not fully understand how challenging it is for them to try to speak. Now I do. Those words and thoughts remain locked deep inside their brains. Every day, they ride on a roller coaster of emotions. These brave people endure disappointment, frustration, anxiety and depression.
As a believer, I did not expect my life to be any easier because of my profession of faith. I did trust in God’s promise to never leave me. He is faithful as we continue to walk together down this crooked path called life.
I accept that everything that comes into my life is allowed by a good God. Why does He choose to heal some people and not others? I can’t answer that question. He alone can see into the future. God already knew I’d have a brain tumor, surgery and difficult recovery. I believe He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. I’m using the miracle God granted me as a testimony. It is my desire to provide inspiration and encouragement for those facing a similar or other serious surgery.”
Note from Boyer Writes in 2017: God made a way for Patricia Paige to survive her brain surgery through prayer, family support and the medical team that skillfully brought her through to live a productive life. She is most grateful that the doctors understood her feminine concerns and left her red bangs to be brought forward so that people would not even notice that she had gone through such major surgery.
Whatever your challenges may be, give yourself to our Lord and ask Him to make a way for you to come through your difficult circumstances.
Boyer Writes footnote in 2019: Patricia Paige was a pen name for a lovely person whose real name is Wanda Robinson. She wrote about this part of her life a number of years ago. God made a way, through doctors and support of family and friends, for Wanda to have five more years of life. In 2019, she went to be with her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and her wonderfully supportive husband, Wade. It is in her honor that I re-post her writing.
Not enough credit is given to our Law Enforcers, Military and especially our Coast Guard. They are trying their best to keep harmful drug runs and smugglers away from our shores. Their apprehensions of these criminals keep thousands more Americans from dying from these dangerous drugs. The Coast Guard is truly a group of dedicated heroes.
The greed and delivery by those who market these drugs to our people come in the most unusual forms. See below a video of a brave Coast Guard member trying to get a specially made boat to surface. He is yelling over and over a command, that in English means, “Raise your boat now!!!” At his own peril, the Coast Guardsman jumped on the top of the vessel to make the arrests of five smugglers. Below is the Coast Guard report:
“The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro stopped the alleged smugglers in the eastern Pacific Ocean on June 18, according to a press release. Five people were detained and an estimated 17,000 pounds of cocaine were seized in the operation. The sub, which the Coast Guard characterized as “a purpose build smuggling vessel,” was “designed to hold large quantities of contraband while evading detection by law enforcement authorities,” the Coast Guard said. Coast Guard officials on Thursday offloaded some $569 million worth of drugs, including 39 tons of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana — at San Diego’s Naval Air Station North Island that had been seized from 14 vessels off the coasts of Mexico, Central and South America since May. (Lee Moran of Huffpost)
The next time you say your prayers, remember those who serve in such a dangerous way and prevent another assault on our citizens through illegal drugs.
Video below (U.S. Coast Guard) Click twice
One of my readers sent me an email explaining how he had made a trip to Auschwitz in Poland to find the memory of a particular child who perished there. Having traveled as a teacher with American students to Auschwitz, I understood and remembered the locations where I also walked and saw the horrors of an “orchestrated nightmare” that took place in World War II.
The email that I received from Ralph Davis is in part the following:
Many scholars of the Holocaust have come to believe that when a Holocaust survivor tells a story that sounds too incredible to be true, it may be just that: the truth. Such is the story of Lili Zelmanovic (Lili Jacob Meier) and her photo album.
18-year-old Lili Jacob was deported with her family, and most of the Jews of Hungary, in the spring of 1944. On the ramp at Auschwitz, she was brutally separated from her parents and younger brothers. She never saw any of them again. She was lucky and survived; yet, she was not always convinced of the blessing of having survived totally alone, bereft of family, friends and her world.
Unlike all of the other survivors, she was granted a small miracle. On the day of her liberation, in the Dora concentration camp hundreds of miles from Auschwitz, she found in the deserted SS barracks a photo album. It contained, among others, pictures of her family and friends as they arrived on the ramp and unknowingly awaited their death. It was a unique tie to what once had been, could never return, and could never be rebuilt.
It was also, as we now know, the only photographic evidence of Jews arriving in Auschwitz or any other death camp. After the war, Lili found and married Max Zelmanovic, a prewar acquaintance. Selling glass-plate prints of the album to the Jewish Museum in Prague enabled the couple and their first-born daughter, Esther, to immigrate to the United States. They settled in Miami and raised a family, yet the album continued to be central to their lives.
Survivors spread the word of a unique album in the possession of a waitress in Miami, and they made their way across the country to seek her out, and to hope against hope that their lost family, like hers, might be engraved on its prints. Not a week would go by but Lili would bring home strangers who were not strangers, and they would pour over the pictures and weep. Rarely, someone would identify a family member, and Lili would give them the snapshot. Since most of the Jews had been murdered, leaving no living trace, most of the photos remained unclaimed.
In 1980 Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lilly (pictured below) that the album should be safeguarded at Yad Vashem. She came to Jerusalem, showed it to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and donated it to Yad Vashem, where it resides to this day and is treasured for the future.
On December 17, 1999, Lilly Zelmanovic passed away. (from Yad Vashem)
I too, like Dave, believe that it is imperative that we continue to share the story of those who died in the concentration camps because at some point there will not be any living survivors to tell their stories. If we do not teach our future generations the truth, it could easily happen again. Thank you, Dave.
The video shared below is long, but worth the watch. Take your time and listen and view parts at a time if it is more convenient. It speaks for itself and it is my prayer that many around the world will make the effort to listen to it….and never forget!
If the video should ask for a password, type DaveDavis
It wasn’t too long ago that my husband and I rode a boat out to see the Statue of Liberty in the New York harbor. This grand site has been seen by thousands as they entered the waters of a new country in search of their dreams for new life and freedom. The American flag waved then as it does now…and the thrill was the same.
My ancestors came from Switzerland and England. My husband’s came from England and Germany. His father’s side farmed in Minnesota. All had a dream…bringing that dream and hard work with them. Processing through as immigrants and spreading out into the far corners of the United States, these Americans have many stories to tell.
Recently, I found a story of another family that came the hard way from Greece and Turkey to join the long line of those arriving. It has been made into a film by one of the descendants who was about four years old when their family arrived on our shores. It’s not a new film for it was made in 1963. However, it is worth the two hours plus of watching the struggles and the triumphs of one determined young man to get to America.
Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning writer and director Elia Kazan (“On the Waterfront,” “A Streetcar Named Desire”) tells the true story of the early life of his uncle, Greek-immigrant Stavros Topouzoglow. After viewing the introduction by this filmmaker, you may want to order the film called America America. It is worth the time spent to understand the reasons so many from places all over the world made the decision to forge all obstacles in order to come to our country of opportunity and hope.
Video (Turn up sound)
This post is in honor of all veterans and their families who have given so much for the country they love, the United States of American. God Bless You!
VIDEO: Passengers on an airline witness the bringing home one of our bravest and finest. Thank you to all USA Veterans, for your service.
IN HONOR OF Green Beret WO1 Shawn Thomas
Are most people frightened to some extent about “diversity”? If someone looks different from ourselves…speaks a language we don’t understand or in some way doesn’t fit our own mold…yes, there is fear. The actual definition is “the inclusion of different types of people, such as people of different races or cultures.” During War Time…or in peacetime when people of different cultures and languages storm our borders (or threaten an invasion which may result in large camping tents and holding places), the lessons of history flash in our minds and brings us back to another day and time…Japanese internment camps.
There was mistrust throughout the U.S. of anyone Japanese or looked Japanese. Eventually, internment camps began to grow as Americans became unsure of whom they could trust. Fear was definitely in the air.
“After World War II was over, it took until 1988 for Congress to attempt to apologize for the action by awarding each surviving intern $20,000 when President Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act. While the American concentration camps never reached the levels of Nazi death camps as far as atrocities are concerned, they remain a dark mark on the nation’s record of respecting civil liberties and cultural differences.” (Wikipedia)
Let’s take a look at what diversity among people was able to do during those bleak years. Perhaps it can give us some hope for the loyalty of diverse peoples who may seek citizenship in the future.
You may never have heard of Kazuo Yamane or even the word, Nisei. However, the diversity that he represents in our society is of greatest importance.
( The word Nisei means a native-born citizen of the United States or Canada whose parents were Japanese immigrants.)
Had it not been for Kazuo Yamane and thousands of Japanese Americans nisei like him, from Hawaii, we would have had a difficult time winning World War II. An award-winning film, Proof of Loyalty, has been made about his struggle as an educated Japanese to overcome the divisions that also separate us and ultimately to use his own native language talents as a trusted interpreter for the American military during some of the worst days of the war.
Where did it all begin for Kazuo Yamane?
From the PROOF OF LOYALTY film:
“Kazuo Yamane and the Nisei Soldiers of Hawaii tells the story of a Japanese American who played a crucial strategic role in World War II. He and his fellow Nisei from Hawaii combatted prejudice and discrimination to loyally serve their country. Their extraordinary service, mostly untold, ultimately changed the course of U.S. history.
Kazuo Yamane’s father, Uichi, came to Hawaii in the late 19th century with nothing and built a successful family business. His eldest son, Kazuo, first educated in the discriminatory school system in Hawaii, eventually graduated from Waseda University, the Harvard of Japan, and returned to Hawaii just before the Pearl Harbor attack. Drafted just before the war he became part of what would be the War Department’s most successful social experiment, taking Nisei troops from Hawaii and forming the 100th Infantry Battalion, a unit made up of a group entirely related to a country we were at war with. Their success was spectacular, but Kazuo was plucked from their ranks for his exceptional knowledge of Japanese, which would lead him to the Pentagon, to a secret facility in northern Maryland, and finally to serving under Eisenhower in Europe. Most importantly, he would identify a secret document which would help to shorten the war in the Pacific.
The absolute loyalty of the Nisei to America in World War II, despite discrimination and incarceration, provides an insight for us today. These American citizens used whatever skills they had to protect their beloved country, even while many Americans suspected them of being the enemy. The War Department trusted them and through them gained both a military advantage by strength and sacrifice on the battlefield to important intelligence behind the lines. Diversity powers America, but also keeps us safe — one only has to look at the Nisei to provide ample proof.
The story of Japanese-Americans in Hawaii is a unique one, and as with any unique story, it is difficult to tell in a way that is both comprehensive and personal. But PROOF OF LOYALTY manages to do just that, using the inspiring story of World War II hero Kazuo Yamane as a window into the Japanese-American experience in Hawaii.
During World War II, the United States interned over 100,000 Japanese-Americans in camps. But of the over 150,000 Japanese-Americans in Hawaii, less than 2,000 were interned. In fact, a select group of a few hundred Japanese-American men in Hawaii were recruited to translate Japanese for the American Army. These troops, known as the 100th Infantry Battalion, were seen as an experiment that would prove whether any Japanese-Americans could truly be trusted to be loyal to the United States.
These men proved not only to be loyal, but also instrumental to winning the war.
Men like Kazuo Yamane are a reminder of what truly makes America great. Japanese-Americans had no obligation to love the United States during World War II. The discrimination they faced is a stain on American history, revealing the darkest, ugliest impulses of American society. Yet the brave Japanese-American soldiers we see in PROOF OF LOYALTY risked everything for their country and ended up saving countless lives through their translation work. They prove that America’s strength comes not from military might, but from diversity. This film may be about men from decades past, but it couldn’t be more relevant.
(quoted from the Asian American International Film Festival)
There is one very interesting point brought out in the film. The thousands of Nisei received military training while in Hawaii. They were ready to fight. One day a ship arrived. The men were told to meet the ship, remove their weapons, and board. They did. When they found out that they were headed to the U.S. mainland, they feared the worse. Perhaps they were going to be placed in the internment camps. However, that was not the plan. The men were to form their own units to fight with the other Americans. The 442 Regimental Combat Team, which was composed primarily of Japanese Americans, served with uncommon distinction. Many of these U.S. soldiers serving in the unit had families who were held in the internment camps in the United States while they fought abroad. They fought with bravery and many died…as the Americans they were.
PROOF OF LOYALTY short trailer video Turn up sound
This is the second in our series on the wars that our American veterans fought. Today we remember the veterans who fought in Korea. It was my privilege to hear the stories of those who bravely fought. I have included these veterans in my recent book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge, seen opposite right.
This blog gives the facts that led up to the American involvement in the war and the results that last even to this day. Today, July 27, 2018, was an important day for those families that never had the opportunity to bury their brave men, as North Korea finally began the return of the remains promised. We know there are many more, around 3,500, and POWs who may still be in N. Korea.
Below is a video that explains the Korean war. Again, I would suggest that you forward this blog to a young person in the family that may have little understanding of this part of history. History needs to be remembered.
VIDEO (by Andrew Hein) Turn up sound.
Having just finished writing and publishing a book on veterans who fought against tyranny around the world, I began to wonder if our recent generations truly understand what these wars were all about. If you have a teen in your house or an appreciator of history, this is the time to share this blog.
My book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge, not only gives the stories of World War II veterans, but of those in the Korean and Vietnam wars. (Click on book at far right for more information)
Therefore, as difficult and as unentertaining as it may be….for it seems the world only wants entertainment, I plan to run a series of three blogs introducing the reasons for each war mentioned and the results of great battles and great loss of life on both sides of the wars.
History is to be learned from…or we will live it again…with even worse consequences. Here is a quote worth pondering:
“I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” – Albert Einstein.
There were several versions of his quote: Supposedly, Professor Albert Einstein was asked by friends at a dinner party what new weapons might be employed in World War III. Appalled at the implications, he shook his head. After several minutes of meditation, he said. “I don’t know what weapons might be used in World War III. But there isn’t any doubt what weapons will be used in World War IV.” “And what are those?” a guest asked. “Stone spears,” said Einstein.
This quote (or at least a version of it) dates back to the 1940s when the first nuclear weapons were being developed. Although Albert Einstein didn’t actually develop the atom bomb, his work did make such a device possible. Albert Einstein did not work directly on the atom bomb. But Einstein was the father of the bomb in two important ways: 1) it was his initiative which started U.S. bomb research; 2) it was his equation (E = mc2) which made the atomic bomb theoretically possible. (Snopes Fact Checking)
Anyone who turns on a TV today is worried that some person or government will go too far and trigger the next great war. Life as we know it could come to a screeching halt from a computer hacker based anywhere in the world. Every phase of our lives, from our energy and water supplies, banking, grocery stores, hospitals, fire and police, cell phones, nuclear plants and much more are controlled by the electronics of today. Einstein was a genius, but even he may not have seen that nuclear devastation may not be the only end of life as we know it. Regardless, the wars that we have fought with our allies in the past were for one purpose…to keep the world free from tyranny and to give us “peace on earth.”
Yes, PEACE…what a wonderful word. The Holy Scriptures tell us… “Peace, Peace and there is no peace.” (Ezekial 13:10) and yet we are told not to lose hope for Christ said… “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14.27
Yet, so often we are afraid…afraid of what the future may hold. We cannot forget the sacrifices of those who believed that FREEDOM was worth dying for. We, or the next generations, must not forget their stories and what they represented to us who are left to lead and to guide our nations. We have freedom of choice because of them.
Below is the first in a historical series to come: World War II…Korea, and Vietnam
VIDEO with narration. Turn up sound
There is one person in our American history whom you probably do not know. His name is Hiram Bingham IV. Some may recognize the name of his relatives, however.
Hiram Bingham IV’s descendants found documentation about his bravery and decided to let the world know what he would not. A Distinguished diplomat, Hiram lost his job as a diplomat from the State Department for daring to go against regulations. Yet, years later he was honored by the same U.S. State Department. Colin Powell presented the family with the honor entitled Constructive Dissent in 2002. A U.S. stamp was made in his honor and his son, Robert Bingham Sr, has written a book called Courageous Dissent.
These are some words of Hiram’s son, Robert, taken from an interview and from the Hiram Bingham website concerning him: 1)Harry’s personal motto, taught to his children, was relevant: “Give the Best that You Have to the Best that You know.” During the Holocaust, saving lives was “the best that he knew.”
2) He believed there is a “spark of divinity” in each human being. He saved not only luminaries but also many ordinary refugees. It was painful for him to remember the long lines of individuals outside the consulate desperately seeking exit visas. He once told me he thought they were “treated like cattle.” He could not talk about his experience without displaying agony and a deep frown on his face.
3) His family’s missionary “zeal” may have augmented his motivation: Hiram the 1st led the first missionaries to Hawaii in 1918 (he was depicted as Abner Hale in Mitchener’s “Hawaii”); Hiram II was also a missionary in the Sandwich Islands who single-handedly translated the entire Bible into written Gilbertese; Hiram III was a public servant who also became an explorer (who discovered Machu Picchu in Peru) and later became a US senator of Connecticut. Hiram IV neither converted souls nor entered politics, but, with equal zeal of his forbears, he “quietly battled to save lives” from the Holocaust…”
This story of a man who stood for those who could not stand for themselves. It says much to all of us today. There are times when we have to do the right thing regardless of the cost. Coming from a Christian background, Hiram Bingham believed that every human has worth. He knew what he had to do…and did it.
After his death, Hiram Bingham IV was also awarded posthumously the Medal of Valor along with Sir Winston Churchill and Pope John Paul II. More than 450 supporters of the Simon Wiesenthal Center gathered for the 2011 Humanitarian Award Dinner.
Now that you have read about the awards and honors, you may be asking, “How exactly did he save the lives of so many people? The video below will give you the full details.
As we have just had the Holocaust Remembrance Day, this would be a worthwhile story to share with your family to remember history and one who bravely did what was right.
Put down your phones…and give this some thought. This post is especially for the young people of our country.
When you look at older people in a restaurant or some other place, what do you see? Would it occur to you, as a young person, that this person may have made it possible for you to sit there playing with your phone? Yes, I know all the Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (and more) founders are young. However, I’m not talking about them. I am talking about those who didn’t become rich, but gave their all for us and liberty.
What do I mean? I’m going to tell you because it is possible that you have missed knowing some of the greatest people in the world because you have not learned the art of asking questions. What kind of questions? Something like….”What did you do when you were my age and didn’t have cell phones?” That person with the grey hair and a limp may have something very interesting to share with you. In fact, it could change your life more than anything you might see or learn on social media.
Another thought ran through my mind as I began to write this post. A neighbor’s husband had passed away. She had a set of encyclopedias that belonged to a distant relative who would have experienced World War II. They were written in German. When asked about them, I heard a story of a family who emigrated to America after the horrors of that war. She said that none of her children wanted any of the things that were part of their history.
I have been hearing this statement many time recently…that the young families don’t want anything that belonged to Grandma or Grandpa…or even their own parents. Why? It is “old stuff.” Is family history not as important to our youth and their parents as their cell phones?
You will notice that I have mentioned electronics several times. This is because more often than not families who have gone out to spend time together are rarely doing so. The children are playing their games or texting. The parents are checking emails or answering their phones. Little time is actually spent talking to one another. Don’t get me wrong. Cell phones have their place, but I would encourage you to put them down for a while and experience life around you. If you know an older person, ask a few questions that will give you special insight into life. They are often the brave who left everything to keep us a free nation.
When I took students to Auschwitz in Poland, the one thing they learned was this…“Those who do not remember history will live it over again.” Too much was sacrificed to let that happen. Young people, there have been many sacrifices for you. I hope you are asking right now…what do you mean?
- Men and women fought and died to prevent aggression into our country. They are still doing that.
- Men, such as Dr. Martin L. King Jr., fought to give all people civil rights.
- Mothers and fathers have worked hard to give you the things of life that you need. That may include your cell phone…but food and a warm bed are more important. Remember that you are not entitled, but blessed.
By the way, if you see a person wearing a uniform or a hat that reads where they served, don’t be shy. Go right up to them and say, “Thank you for your service.” That will make their day…especially coming from a young person. This also includes policemen, medics and fire fighters.
In the video below, you are going to hear a song about an Old Army Hat. There may be one in your house or it could be an American flag neatly folded and displayed in a wooden box. Ask about it. There is a story there. Then, if you must, use your phone and tell someone about what you have learned…or better still, tell them face to face. That way they can see you smile and point to something important to you and your family history. If your family member with the grey hair is still living, let fly the questions. I bet you’ll get amazing answers that could change your life.
VIDEO (turn up sound)
When we are in Virginia, we receive an email telling us when the Space Station will be flying over our home and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because we have no street lights, it is quite clear and the Station can be seen moving on the path above our heads.
The video I’m sharing with my readers today shows a working relationship between the U.S., Russia and Japanese astronauts. It is a good thing that they are professionals and want to do their work and experiments without political interruption. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
The tour of the Space Station is given by Sunita Pandya Williams, an American astronaut and U.S. Navy officer of Indo-Slovenian descent. She formerly held the records for total spacewalks by a woman (seven) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes). Sunita was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expeditions 14 and 15. In 2012, she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33. (Wikipedia)
Thank you, Sunita Williams, for your great tour. As we watch from the ground, we know better what the crews in the Space Station are experiencing amid the stars. Long live international cooperation!
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
On Valentine’s Day, when the world was hearing about the terrible tragedy in a Florida school, a ceremony and a Missing Man Formation fly over was happening for a hero at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. The ashes of a brave military veteran were being laid to rest.
Sometimes we have to stop and think of those who have been extraordinarily brave as they paid a price for FREEDOM. This is why I want to write about Col. Leo K. Thorsness, a recipient of the Medal of Honor in the U.S.A.
The Medal of Honor is presented by the President of the United States for valor in service to his country. Col. Leo K. Thorsness received that honor and what made it extremely special to him was that he was nominated for the honor by his peers.
This is his story as a patriot and POW (Prisoner of War) who spent years of torture and abuse at the Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. Because he understood personally what a POW goes through, he spoke out that President Trump owed all prisoners of war an apology when the President said, concerning Senator John McCain, that he “liked those who weren’t captured.”
COL. LEO K. THORSNESS
“Col. Thorsness joined the Air Force in 1952 and was sent to Vietnam in 1966 as a member of a squadron known as the Wild Weasels, whose mission was to destroy surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) based in North Vietnam. On April 19, 1967, Col. Thorsness was the lead pilot in a strike force of four U.S. F-105 fighter-bombers attacking SAM positions near Hanoi. He and his electronic warfare officer, Harold Johnson, knocked out one site with a missile and scored a direct hit on another with bombs. But they soon realized that one plane in their group had been hit, and the crew members had ejected. While flying in circles over the parachuting airmen, Col Thorsness spotted an enemy MiG-17 fighter jet and shot it down. As U.S. rescue helicopters approached, Col Thorsness heard through his radio that another MiG formation was nearby. Despite being low on fuel and ammunition, he flew through anti-aircraft fire and single-handedly engaged four MiGs in aerial combat for 50 minutes. Col Thorsness pursued one MiG, “flying right up his tailpipe,” he said later, and damaged it with cannon fire. Flying as low as 50 feet above the ground and as fast as 900 MPH, he chased the other MiGs from the area. As he returned to his base, he was about to refuel from an airborne tanker when he learned that another F-105 in his group was in even greater need of fuel. Col. Thorsness let the other plane go to the tanker, hoping he could glide back to safety on fumes. When he touched down, his fuel tanks were empty.
Eleven days later, on April 30,1967, Col Thorsness was shot down over North Vietnam on this 93rd mission. Ejecting from his plane at 600 mph, he suffered serious leg injuries before he and Johnson were taken prisoner. For the first year, Col Thorsness was held in solitary confinement and tortured almost every day. His back was broken in four places. Another Air Force pilot, Fred V. Cherry, was tortured for teaching Col. Thorsness and other POWs a system of communication by tapping on walls. While at the Hanoi Hilton, Col Thorsness shared a tiny cell with John McCain and two other men. “Other than when they took you out to beat you or interrogate you, you were together 24 hours a day,” Col. Thorsness told the Huntsville Times in Alabama in 2008. “You get to know each other so well, talking about your families, failures, weaknesses, hopes and dreams, everything.” He and McCain were released in 1973. Later that year, Col Thorsness received the Medal of Honor from President Richard M. Nixon; he then retired from the military…While at the Hanoi Hilton, Col. Thorsness and other prisoners measured their cell, calculating that one mile equaled 225 laps around the cell’s 23-foot circumference. By walking 60 miles a week, Col Thorsness figured that he could cover the distance to the United States – 10,000 miles – in about three years. “All of a sudden it became 100% real to us,” he said in 1992. “If we could walk home in our cell, we knew whatever had to happen in the world would happen, and we really would get home.” Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Leo K. Thorsness died May 2, 2017. He was 85. Survivors include his wife since 1953, the former Gayle Anderson; a daughter; and two grandchildren. (taken in part from a comment on video shown below)
VIDEO INTERVIEW OF COL. LEO K. THORSNESS (turn up sound)
What is a Missing Man Formation?
The missing man formation (sometimes instead flyby or flypast) is an aerial salute performed as part of a flypast of aircraft at a funeral or memorial event, typically in memory of a fallen pilot, a well-known military service member or veteran, or a well-known political figure. Several variants of the formation are seen. The formation most commonly used in the United States is based on the”finger-four” aircraft combat formation composed of two pairs of aircraft. The aircraft fly in a V-shape with the flight leader at the point and his wingman on his left. The second element leader and his wingman fly to his right. The formation flies over the ceremony low enough to be clearly seen and the second element leader abruptly pulls up out of the formation while the rest of the formation continues in level flight until all aircraft are out of sight. In an older variant, the formation is flown with the second element leader position conspicuously empty. In another variation, the flight approaches from the south, preferably near sundown, and one of the aircraft will suddenly split off to the west, flying into the sunset. In all cases, the aircraft performing the pull-up, split off, or missing from the formation, is honoring the person (or persons) who has died, and it represents their departure. (from Wikipedia)
We agree with Col. Thorsness that our most precious commodity in this country is FREEDOM.
Below is a video example of the Missing Man Fly Over at Arlington Cemetery
In January 2018, I wrote about Ellis Island where so many of our Immigrants saw the new land of hope and promise for the first time. I thought it might be a good thing to look at them again and their struggle. I highly suggest that if you have not seen The Emigrants featured on PBS, that you settle in for a long, but fascinating presentation. If you are a descendant of one of those immigrants, you will never think of them the same.
TO ELLIS ISLAND: The trip was terrible in most cases as the ships came into the New York harbor. Isolated on an Island called Ellis was a building of hope for freedom from about every imaginable circumstance. Yes, this was my relative and possibly yours unless your relatives were brought by force on a slave ship.
The following pictures are from the New York Public Library, photographed by A. Sherman.
Herded off the ships and onto Ellis Island, where they had to answer questions and be examined for diseases, the people were part way to a new life.
What exactly is the history of Ellis Island? (Taken from History by Evan Andrews)
“On November 12, 1954, the once bustling immigration inspection port at Ellis Island was shut down after more than 62 years in operation. Opened in 1892, the small island in New York Harbor served as the processing center and point of entry for more than 12 million new arrivals to the United States. The island has since become a storied and often controversial symbol of the plight of the immigrant, and it is estimated that more than one-third of all Americans can trace their lineage to someone who passed through its doors.”
Even after arriving and allowed to enter the city and the country, living conditions were harsh. Many died. Others faced persecution from others who did not understand them, their language or their culture. For those who managed to adjust to a new way of life, generations would follow them.
A Couple facts of interest about Ellis Island:
- Used for Hangings: Long before it became a way station for people looking for a new beginning, Ellis Island—named for its last private owner, Samuel Ellis—was known as a place where condemned prisoners met their end. For most of the early 19th century, the island was used to hang convicted pirates, criminals and mutinous sailors, and New Yorkers eventually took to calling it “Gibbet Island” after the wooden post, or gibbet, where the bodies of the deceased were displayed. It reverted to the name “Ellis Island” in the years after the last hanging in 1839, and later served as a Navy munitions depot before being repurposed as a federal immigration station.
- Three unaccompanied children were the first immigrants: Ellis Island accepted its first new arrivals on New Year’s Day 1892, when the steamship Nevada arrived with 124 passengers from Europe. The first would-be immigrant to set foot on the island was Annie Moore, a teenager from County Cork, Ireland who had crossed the Atlantic with her 11 and 7-year-old brothers en route to reuniting with family in New York. A U.S. Treasury Department official and a Catholic chaplain were on hand to welcome Moore, and Ellis Island’s commissioner awarded her a $10 gold piece to mark the occasion. Today, a statue of Moore and her brothers is kept on display at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Moore became the public face of the immigrants who had passed through Ellis Island, but it turned out that the face put forward was a case of mistaken identity.
For years it was thought that Moore had married a descendant of the Irish nationalist Daniel O’Connell, moved to New Mexico and met a tragic end in a 1923 streetcar accident in Fort Worth, Texas, that left her five children orphaned. For years, the woman’s descendants were invited to ceremonies at both Ellis Island and Ireland. (from History)
Take a look at these pictures and the faces of those who came from all over the globe:
Today we live with concern over illegal immigrants who have not come here legally. We worry that they have a belief that they should overthrow the very country that welcomes them or destroy the American belief of freedom of choice. It is a difficult decision on how and where to limit those who come. It probably was also difficult in the early 1900’s when so many fled persecution, famine, and no future.
Those who first came had to prove themselves that they truly wanted to be Americans and live by the laws of this country. Nothing was perfect in receiving these previous immigrants. Some slipped through and did not contribute to society. Even today we are being forced to make difficult choices concerning the future of many.
Those in charge of immigration during the early years took a chance. Our country and the people of Europe in modern times have taken a chance with some difficult results. It sometimes takes years for people to assimilate into the American way of life and our society. They have to want to do so. It can be done, however, if those who come want to truly be American and give their best efforts and talents to being a part of a free nation even with all its blemishes. Had there not been those in charge of receiving the first immigrants…our ancestors.. and taking a chance on them, we would probably not be living here today.
The American values are not often the values of people of other countries. We may ask ourselves many questions with mostly unknown answers.
- Do the immigrants of today look at the Statue of Liberty or the meaning of Ellis Island the same as those who first came?
- Does it truly stand for Liberty for All?
- Will they be willing to immigrate legally and follow those who do so?
- Will they be grateful for a land of opportunity and contribute to society?
- How do we protect our borders from drug dealers and criminals?
Probably the hardest question of all for us today is: What about the children born here or brought here by illegal means? What to do about the young people who have known no other life but living in America and were taken by the hand to cross the border by an adult who knew they were breaking our laws?
Difficult… most difficult decisions will be coming to our nation. Prayers are needed for our government leaders to have wisdom as we struggle with these issues here in the United States and abroad. Is the Immigrant struggle today different from those of the past?
Click on this link: Tells of the making of the film, The Emigrants
This year has been an exciting one for me. I have had the opportunity to interview many people for my books and actually seeing the books go to print. Today I would like to share with you my 2017 books that followed my books for children in previous years.
(The links are in blue.)
One of my most recent books, SPENCER’S MILL, is fiction set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It is a cast of characters with an exciting plot that incorporates the history of the decline and failure of mill industries in North Carolina and Virginia when those businesses went to other countries around the world, leaving people without jobs. It is the story of their strength to carry on and find enriched lives for themselves.
Old Timers of the Blue Ridge is a series of interviews with people who have relatives that go back to the Civil War. The stories they shared are interesting reading and gives insight into the cultures of the mountain people. They tell of what it was like to grow up in the Blue Ridge…their joys and sorrows.
CIVIL WAR RE-ENACTMENTS This book, North and South at the Blue Ridge Mountains, gives a short overview of the Civil War and the leaders from both sides. It explains the Reenactment that takes place yearly in October in the mountains of Virginia, near Ararat, VA. I included a large selection of photographs of the reenactment which gives a beautiful description of this event. Men and women dress the part of the period. The main goal of the Civil War Reenactors is to not forget the history of our country.
THE SEEDS This novel originated from a post on my blog that I wrote in 2010 on Boyer Writes. It was on SS General Hans Kammler and asked the question: “Whatever happened to Gen.Kammler?” After World War II, a number of high-ranking officers fled to places like Argentina. This question seemed to be of great interest to my readers. Some readers wrote emails that they knew where General Kammler had lived. One even said the General was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution. General Kammler, as portrayed in this book is entirely fiction. The accounts of him, however, are based on historical facts. General Kammler, was in fact from 1944, head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project. The enormous interest in General Kammler led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and thus, this novel evolved. All characters are fictional, but many of the places described in the novel, as the World Seed Vault in Norway, sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault” are actual places.
I look forward to 2018 when I plan to complete a Memoirs Book called MY STORY. I will begin with as early as I can remember in my childhood.
My remembrances of my days in boarding school and the courage that I found in my faith in Christ during years of adult hardship will be an honest and open account. My family history and doors that opened for me to travel the world as a Christian teacher and missionary will also be part of the story. The joy that I found when God brought into my life the husband I have loved for over 35 years is a part of “waiting for God” to do wondrous things that we know not of. Looking back I know that the things that happened to me and around me were often most extraordinary.
It is obvious to me that everyone has a story to tell about their life. As I have had the opportunity in the books mentioned above to share many stories told to me by others, it is time to write about my own life.
Merry Christmas to all my readers and to all a wonderful NEW YEAR!
Who are those who come to the rescue when a tragedy hits your life? It may be the fireman, policeman or a good friend. Regardless of who it may be, we have seen the work to rescue, help and literally save lives when credit has not been given.
It is easy to criticize police and those who battle crime on a daily basis, but you want them when you need them. Carrying you out of a burning house could be your next hero. Let’s give them all the respect that they deserve. It’s a hard job that most would not be willing to do. Yet, they choose to be there for you and for me. Even if these firefighters get out safely, their health may be effected in the future…just as our 9-11 workers who breathed in elements that caused cancer and killed many.
All we can say is THANK YOU! THANK YOU for being there and making it possible for people to live another day.
As thousands of acres and homes are destroyed in California, as well as many lives lost… with more missing and unaccounted for, the following video shows the heroic effort to save a disabled woman and her husband. The body cam of Sherriff’s Office ( Sonoma County deputy) shows that they are rescued at the last second. You will hear the rescuer coughing. His life and health are also in danger. (BBC News)
VIDEO OF RESCUE OF DISABLED WOMAN and HUSBAND (Turn on sound)
Help is pouring into Florida from many states around the country. Not only are they the National Guard but also Power Companies that have staged hundreds of trucks ready to move. As of 9-16, there are still people in Florida without power, but they are continuing work diligently on it. This must be very hard for many after this many days since Irma went through the state.
Thank you! Thank you for all the help.
Here are a few pictures of the devastation and suffering of the people who have lost so much when Hurrican Irma hit Florida and moved further up the Eastern U.S. Some reports feel that the loss of life and property was not as severe as it could have been. Nevertheless, those who lived through it and have little left are getting help as quickly as possible thanks to the quick response around the nation. It is greatly appreciated
Examples of the National Guard’s readiness and movement toward Florida is shown on the video below. The Guard came from many areas.
Again, we thank all the FIRST RESPONDERS and VOLUNTEERS from the state of Florida and every state that has come to bring help. There is so much to be done to recover.
by Staff Sargeant Alex Blaum CLICK VIDEO
Little acts of kindness can go a long way, but how often will someone step out of their own comfort zone to do something that will mean a great deal to others? Reaching out does not seem to be a strong point for most people. It sometimes takes courage and certainly takes selflessness.
I read this article recently, written by Bruce Henderson of the Charlotte Observer, and felt it was worth including in my blog. Would you have done this? Rather, would you have just sat in your seat, gritting your teeth, and expecting someone else to take care of the situation? Be honest with yourself as you answer.
Rochel Groner made a decision that impacted the life of a little boy and many others. Race or religion did not matter or the fact that they were strangers. She decided to reach out.
“She’s a shy Jewish woman from Charlotte. He’s a little boy, apparently African and Muslim, who was screaming aboard a transatlantic flight.Their July 14 encounter between Brussels and New York made the eight-hour flight go easier for their fellow passengers. The virtually wordless connection – neither spoke the others’ language – also offered a lesson in compassion that has circulated widely online.
By her account, Rochel Groner, 33, is among the least likely people to make a public display. “I’m the type of person who would let somebody step on my foot for like a half- hour before I would say something,” she says. But about an hour into the flight, a return home after Groner and her husband Bentzion chaperoned teens to Israel, Groner heard sounds of distress behind them. Not cries from a baby. Not a bored teen.
“It was just kind of a shrieking without any words,” Groner says. “I recognized it right away as a child with special needs.”
Groner knew this not through training, although she used to teach elementary school, but from experience. She and her husband run Friendship circle, which pairs teen volunteers with children with special needs such as autism. They also run ZABS Place, a Matthews thrift boutique that employs 28 young adults with “special talents.”
Social connections work a special magic, Bentzion Groner says. As a 16-year-old diagnosed with leukemia, he says, visits and gifts from friends “literally changed everything. I’m a big believer in that. It’s something that we as adults forget, that friendship could be a life changer.” And so it was over the Atlantic aboard Brussels Airlines Flight 501.
As the wailing continued, tension mounted. Sleeping passengers woke up, startled by the noise. Others stirred, restless and increasingly irritated. The phone between the attendants’ station and flight deck kept beeping. After 15 minutes, Rochel Groner could sit still no longer.
“I kind of felt this responsibility, like, I know what this is, but I’m not sure if anybody else knows what this is,” she says. “You cannot fly for eight hours with someone crying, you just can’t.”
Autistic people, in particular, dislike enclosed spaces, Bentzion Groner said. They need to be in control of what’s around them. The boy’s identity and condition are unknown. The airline didn’t respond to an Observer email.
Groner got out of her seat. She asked for a pen from a flight attendant, grabbed a nausea bag and threaded her way down the aisle. The boy looked to be about 8 and wore an African tunic and pants. He stood at his seat and sobbed, tears streaming down his face. His mother, who wore Muslim clothing, sat beside him. Groner put her hand out. The boy looked at her, stopped his wailing, and took it. They walked into the aisle and plopped down together on the floor near an emergency exit.
“I put him in my lap and gave him a firm hug and I just started to rock him,” she says. His body had been tensed. Soon, “you could feel his muscles start to relax.”
Groner doodled on the nausea bag, tracing the outline of her hand as the boy watched, absorbed. Groner talked and smiled at him, and grabbed more nausea bags. At one point, the boy traced his own hand. So it went for another hour or two. A travel pillow, some orange juice and cookies helped calm the child. The boy spun a fidget spinner and held it to his cheek, soothed by its rhythm. He even smiled and laughed.
The rest of the trip went smoothly, Groner said, although one crew member suggested to her husband that she didn’t need to intervene. Another attendant thanked her after the flight, and so did several passengers. The boy’s mother, in a few words of English, also thanked Groner. She did not get their names. Groner believes God put her on the flight.
“Everybody’s been on a flight with a screaming child, and this is another way to defuse the situation,” she says. “Just ask: is there something I can do? Smile, don’t scowl.”
by Bruce Henderson
Thank you, Rochel. You are a special person with a caring heart. There should be more people like you in the world.
All acts of kindness: “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40 …and in doing so, we will feel and know our Savior’s love.
VIDEO: Voices of children “I feel my Savior’s Love”
International Women’s Day: It may be a surprise to some that women of the past often hid behind a man for any ambition that they may have had. Did you know the following?
George Elliot was not really a George, but a Mary Ann Evans. Known for her writing such books as Silas Marner, she hid behind another name…a male name. In the nineteenth century, women writers often used male pen-names so that reviewers wouldn’t be prejudiced against them as women. Charlotte and Emily Bronte published under the names Currer and Ellis Bell, and the famous French novelist George Sand was also a woman, Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin.
Prejudiced? Yes, we have our prejudices…and women have had to fight that battle for a very long time. It may seem strange to our young people today when they see women holding signs up about equal pay. It hasn’t been long in this country that women fought to simply vote. We might ask how many did not use that right and privilege in our past election?
We ride on the backs of those who have gone before us. What a shame to let them down. Minority women …and men…also fight the battle of prejudice. Recently, I heard the term “white privilege” and if people felt guilty because they just happened to be born white. The person being asked this question looked puzzled and did not know what to say to the interviewer. If they had been thinking quickly, they might have answered something to the effect…”What country are we speaking of in relationship to white privilege?” It certainly depends on the country that has the majority of people. Most likely there would be “black privilege” in most African countries as far as jobs etc. We know that there is prejudice when one is the minority in certain countries to the religion that they follow. In nations with the majority are Muslims, the Christian or the Jew may be the target, of not only discrimination, but life-threatening attitudes on being infidels. People with the same religion may be targets of another brand of their same religion. So it goes on and on…the prejudice that is felt around the world for one thing or another. Gender is no exception.
Here are a few women who have stood out in history, not hiding, but making their voices heard when many were fearful to do so. (Slide show)
Today, I would like to salute the women of the world for without you there would be no world. You give birth and through you…the generations follow. You, in most cases, cook the food that goes on the table, often after a hard days work. When there is a need to help the others in your household support the family, you pitch in and often save the day. You are smart…ambitious to do your best…and you are to be commended.
Times have changed and in many ways we are better for it. In other areas of life, we are still finding our way out of the sins placed upon us as women. There is still the horrors of female sex trade, sweat shops and abused women. Women may be called the “weaker sex” because physically most of us have less physical strength than the men of the world. However, there is nothing weak about most women…in their courage and in their abilities. In this century, we just look differently and in many cases, we act differently. Modern woman can march for their rights, but often do not represent the average woman when combining rights with vulgar speech or hated rhetoric. It may be good for all of us to look to more recent history to see what women have done to keep freedom ours so that we can enjoy what we do have.
Question: Whose shoulders are we standing on for the rights and privileges we have today? One large group of women are those, like my own Mother, who dropped everything for the war effort for their brothers, husbands, and family men who were fighting in far away places during WWII. They were the Home-Front Women, better known as Rosie the Riveters. There was nothing lazy or unpatriotic about them. They knew they had a job to do…and by gosh…they were going to do it! If they didn’t know how, they knew they could learn. (Slide show)
The Holy Scriptures, that were written in a day when women were often thought of as property or definitely had their place, lifted the woman up and praised her. Even Jesus reached out to the women with the least in reputation, and did not rebuke, but simply said, “Go and sin no more.”
In Proverbs 31: 10-31, a wife, in particular, is praised for all the things she does. One will notice that she is described as a business woman. Maybe she didn’t have a real estate license, but she knew how to negotiate and buy wisely. She is also described as a woman who loves God and reaches out to others.
” An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”
As a woman, wife, mother, teacher, friend, and neighbor, I thank God for the women in my life that have shown me their love, support and example. It is not all about being on equal footing in all areas of life, but in what we can appreciate about ourselves to have had the privilege of being female.
There is no more hiding. Unlike George Elliot, my books may never be famous like hers, but I have MY name on them of which I am proud and thankful. We have freedoms and privileges that many women of the past could have only dreamed of. GO GIRL…be proud but thankful!
Everyone on earth has heartache in one form or another. We pray during these trying times. Sometimes we beg God to “Just do something!” Other times, we ask that big question, “Why?” Friends will say, “We’re praying for you.” Others will only mutter, “What a shame.” Down deep we want to have a miracle to change a particular thing that is affecting our lives so greatly.
If we got that miracle, what would it do for us? If we do not see a miracle, do we think that maybe God never heard in the first place…or He really isn’t the God of Love that we believe Him to be? So many hard questions…so few answers.
Perhaps it was not by coincidence that I found this testimony of a man whose miracle was different from what he expected. It was different from what his family, especially his mother or father, expected. He found peace and a joy in life despite his circumstances. Thank you, Scott, for sharing your story. Now, through my blog, I am sharing it to the world for those who feel that perhaps they have missed God’s miracle.
The Accident and more on God’s grace: