#300 “Eleven Eleven”

November 11th, 2023

By Hetty Gray

# 300

November 11, 2023

“Eleven Eleven”

And so it was. At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1919, we began to celebrate Veterans Day. To celebrate the end of World War I in 1918, November 11 was known as Armistice Day. Further commemorated in 1921 with the burial of an unknown soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Not to be ignored, Italy and Portugal England and France also had similar ceremonies. The previous year, unknown soldiers had been interred at not only Westminster Abbey in London, England, but also at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
Although Armistice Day became a legal American holiday in 1938, its name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all those who had served in all U.S. wars. To this day, ceremonies are held on November 11 to honor those men and women. With the placing of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, similar ceremonies fan out across the nation in tribute to those who sacrificed to insure our freedom.
As you walk or drive by a cemetery and see Old Glory fluttering across stone markers, recall that each flag flies to honor a fallen Soldier, sailor, Marine, Merchant Mariner or Coast Guardsman.
Wars inflict great physical damage on returning veterans. Some died instantly, but many others suffered unbelievably. In sum, each life was given for us. Beyond outer scars, the emotional damage, hidden to view, is all too real. The mental anguish and incessant nightmares that plague so many are not to be ignored, either.
We need to honor our veterans with more than one day. Yes, we need to stop and thank those wearing caps designating service, but we need to assiduously petition our government to support them. We manage to fund inane projects, yet it took the former president to push for better health care for our veterans. How sad.
Even more bizarre is the fact that any number of worthy groups ask Americans for a monthly contribution to fund projects ranging from paying off mortgages for surviving families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to giving veterans an opportunity to join with peers in outdoor activities they thought impossible considering their injuries.
Why is it that our government has what seems to be limitless funds to house, feed, and provide healthcare for people who entered our country illegally? Although no firm figure has been given for the amount spent on them, those dollars would be far better utilized taking care of those men and women who volunteered to protect us.
As you stop tomorrow to glance at the television or listen to a radio broadcast highlighting the importance of this day, take a breath and remember just what these – forebearers as well as contemporaries – have bequeathed you.
You are the recipient of the most valuable gift on earth: freedom in a country founded on God’s principles, by God-fearing men who sought to dislodge themselves and their countrymen from an overarching and punitive government. Begin today. Make a personal commitment that you will instill respect for those who serve among your friends and within your family. It is an honorable pursuit and one that will fuel your love of country.
Currently, when patriotism wanes more than I ever thought that it could, we all need to make sure that real history – not a stilted and edited version – is being taught in our schools. As a former history teacher, I can tell you that the curricula today pales in comparison with what I received in post-World War II America. Only facts prepare us to learn from past errors. As I told so many of my students, history is a road of warning signs. If you heed these signs, you are not doomed to repeat the costly mistakes of the past. Just as you would retrace your steps if lost in the woods, so, too, should you look at past events to have a good understanding of what comes next. A litany, if you will, of the decisions that lead to a catastrophic military involvement –- in one word -– war.
We do not need to don a Kevlar vest and shoulder a rifle, because so many others have done that for us. Each and every one deserves our praise and our prayers.
I close with a comment heard so often in the past: “Lest we forget…”
Think about it.

299 “To be or not to be…”

September 30th, 2023

There are a lot of topics on my mind today, but they can wait for another column. For now, let me climb atop the worn soapbox and take off on a topic close to my heart.

Most of you recognize this line from Shakespeare, but there is a far different take on these six words today. I know that, of my readers, many are of my generation. However, I empathize most with those of you who are far younger. What we can be depends on how and what we learn as children.

Often, the simple children’s songs stick with us. So it is with this one. Perhaps you remember the tune and its lyrics. “School days, school days, good old Golden Rule Days. Reading and writing and ‘rithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick. You were my girl in calico. I was your bashful, barefoot beau. And you wrote on my slate, ‘I love you, Joe!” when we were a couple of kids.”

Been in a school lately? Aware that the old-fashioned methods are totally absent? Anyone who knows a fig about learning knows that it takes far more “brain power” to put a pencil to paper than to press a button. Yet, despite this fact, children today use electronic tablets to do their work. The days when the early grade classrooms were adorned with the beautifully illustrated cursive alphabet are all but gone.

So where are we today? Some schools do not teach children to write in cursive at all. Relying on a tablet or computer impacts legal documents. What are we do? Have people sign with an “X?” Where on earth is common sense in this, folks?

Sadly, there go the basics of handwriting. And math? Well, that’s another story. My sons are in their fifties, but I well recall the fight it took for parents to have what administrators called “the new math” thrown out. Complicated, it did nothing but confuse students. Fathers who were engineers had their hands full trying to help with homework. Those gifted in math found themselves shaking their heads. Most parents were at their wit’s end. Logic was nonexistent.

Today, math is an echo of that educational failure we recognized in the 1970s — a current nightmare for parents. The days when a child did homework, turned in a paper, got it back and saw precisely what worked and what didn’t work — not to mention why it didn’t work — are gone. Do you understand how this impacts a child’s progress?

When we were in school, we had one teacher per classroom. Aides were unheard of and a teacher went over each child’s work. Spotting who had trouble and with what polished a teacher’s skills and worked wonders for his or her students. If a person other than the classroom teacher corrects the homework, the teacher is missing an important element of teaching – intimate knowledge of each student’s weak or strong points.

Bound ahead into the “Twilight Zone” of education seen today, and one’s mind spins. I can’t remember when I first encountered any mention of sex in school, but I imagine it was in the upper grades. Even then, at our local high school, the girls had a woman for health and the boys had a man. Not so for me. I enrolled for summer school and took health at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis. Coed class. I remember the teacher’s first sentence on the first day. “Ladies and gentlemen, if there is anyone in this room who doesn’t know what a vagina or a penis is, please step into the hall.”

Nobody got up. To this day, I don’t know if anyone in that class did or did not know the terms; but, from that day forward, our man teacher did a magnificent job in teaching basic anatomy, procreation, and good health habits. I would never have had that exposure at my local high school. Clearly, even 60+ years ago, school systems differed widely in their approach.

And what do we have today? Transgender programs in schools and libraries… Parades where personalities once only seen in “side shows” cavort before children, often baring body parts and making a mockery of whatever theme of a particular celebration.

Excuse me, people. Basic human anatomy and childbirth remains the same as it has for millennia. Man and woman have child. There is no third gender, or any deviation from the two which God created. Blasphemy is a word we hear rarely, but this truly fits the bill.

I care not what people do behind closed doors, but inserting as spectacle behavior which, for centuries, has been morally unacceptable, is nothing less than dangerous. Is it any wonder that — given the current circumstances — young married people decide not to have children? Dropping birth rates are alarming, but few people discuss the subject. Who would want to try to rear a child when such exposure is out there and couched within a public school?

Perhaps we need to change the spelling. What I call “government schools” are failing our kids. Recognizing what is being pushed toward our children, maybe we need to adjust the spelling. Just change the term PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO PUBIC SCHOOLS. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect to witness such a disservice to our children.

When will this change? Only when parents and grandparents demand school choice. My experience tells me that quality beats quantity any day. Before school integration, there were countless Negro schools across the country. Indianapolis had one of the very best – Crispus Attucks High School. Its faculty held more advanced degrees than any school in the state and the education the highest quality. Another example is Chicago’s West Side Prep. Run by Marva Collins, the students there were reading classics and Latin in the elementary grades. I remember hearing her speak. Paraphrased, she said, “Don’t tell me a Negro child cannot learn. That child needs only to be taught. Encouragement, praise and patience work for everyone.”

How right she was. The disastrous scores from inner city schools frustrates parents who sign up in a lottery basis to enroll their children in schools that do a good job. Charter and religious schools have the key to the problem. The stumbling block is the immense influence – political and financial – of the teachers’ unions. Most teachers join to take advantage of legal protection, retirement benefits, and sundry other built-in elements.

Yet, when you listen to the heads of these unions speak, you shake your head in disbelief at their socialist bent. When will this end? One step is to abolish the Federal Department of Education. The old saying “All politics is local” also applies to education. Schools belong to their individual neighborhoods, cities, and towns.

When Virginians elected Glenn Youngkin their Governor, it was a direct result of him stepping forward to defend parents unfairly labeled “terrorists” for public disagreement at local school board meetings. The very best result of this was that parents began to step forward to run for school board seats. Let’s hope this continues and that universities and colleges that train teachers return to the basics. Without them, our kids are at risk. Listen to Winsome Sears. You can find her on line. She speaks truth to power. Take time to hear her wisdom.

To be or not be educated…. That IS the question!

Think about it.

298 – “Love of Country”

July 3rd, 2023

July 3, 2023

“Love of Country”

For centuries, to have questioned an American’s love of country was futile. Traditionally, Americans, from childhood, were taught to love their country. I grew up in the 50s and 60s, Post World War II and in the midst of Korea.

From reciting the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school to doffing hats, hands over hearts, to sing “The Star Spangled Banner,” we learned to love our country. Our art teachers taught us to make poppy posters. Music teachers taught us the military service songs. Here, provided by the proboards.com are the history of each. If you are like me, as you read the story, the lyrical music will run through your mind.

History of each of the Service Songs

Each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces maintains its own military marching band to inspire troops and preserve tradition. Though they now serve ceremonial functions, these bands were once an integral element on the battlefield. To increase the morale and courage of the men, bands would march in front of formation as they entered battle. Yet, as the number of musicians dwindled, commanders delegated marching bands to the rear of the formation, behind the combat-ready troops. Today, bands are no longer involved in armed conflict, but continue to inspire troops through song or hymn that represent the individual histories and traditions of America’s Armed Forces.

U.S. Air Force

In 1938, the Army Air Corps decided they needed an official song. Liberty Magazine sponsored a contest whereby 757 scores were submitted. Of those, one written by Robert Crawford was selected by a committee of Air Corps wives and officially introduced at the Cleveland Air Races in 1939. Crawford himself sang it in its first public performance. When the Army Air Corps became a separate branch of the military in 1947, Crawford’s march changed names from “The Army Air Corps” to “The U.S. Air Force.” Since that time, the first line of “Nothing’ll Stop the U.S. Air Force” became a motto and tradition. On July 30, 1971, the original first page submitted by Robert Crawford in 1939 was carried into space in the Apollo 15 “Falcon” and broadcast to the world by Major Alfred W. Worden, who had a tape recorder aboard the “Endeavor” command module. The all-Air Force crew arranged to take the sheet music with them as a tribute to Crawford and the U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Army – “The Army Goes Rolling Along”

Before “The Caisson Song” was adopted as the official tune of the U.S. Army, it was the proud anthem of the U.S. Field Artillery Corps. During a long march in the Philippines, Lieutenant Edmund L. Gruber overheard an officer roar “Come on “Keep ’em Rolling!” Gruber, whose relative, Franz, composed the Christmas Song “Silent Night,” was suddenly inspired and that night wrote the now-famous melody. Fellow soldiers helped with the lyrics and in almost no time, all six regiments of the U.S. Field Artillery had adopted “The Caisson Song” as a popular marching tune.

During the last days of World War I, senior artillery leaders wanted to make
“The Caisson Song” official, and mistaking the piece as composed during the Civil War, allowed bandmaster John Phillip Sousa to incorporate most of the song into his own composition “The U.S. Field Artillery March”. The song became a chart-topper during World War I, selling 750,000 copies. Discovering Gruber actually wrote the melody, an embarrassed but innocent Sousa made certain Gruber received his royalties. In1948, the Army held a nationwide contest to find an official song. After four years of unsuccessful results and nearly 800 submitted scores, the Adjunct General’s office decided to recycle “The Caisson Song”. H.W. Arberg arranged the U.S. Army song, naming it “The Army Goes Rolling Along”. The Army copyrighted the song in 1956.

U.S. Coast Guard – “Semper Paratus”

The Coast Guard’s motto of Semper Paratus or “Always Ready” was officially
recognized in 1910, and thenceforth appeared on the ensign. However, no one
really knows how Semper Paratus was chosen as the Coast Guard’s phrase and
watchword prior to its formal acceptance.

Whatever the case, in 1922 Captain Francis S. Van Boskerck was inspired to write an official U.S. Coast Guard song that would rival “Anchors Aweigh” or “The Caisson Song”. While in the cabin of his cutter Yamacraw, which was
stationed in Savannah, Ga., Boskerck put pen to paper and the lyrics for “Semper Paratus” were born.

Five years later, while stationed in the Aleutian Islands, Boskerck composed
the accompanying music on a dilapidated old piano in Unalaska, Alaska. The
geographically diverse origins of this piece are fittingly illustrated in the song’s
first line “From Aztec shore to Arctic Zone, To Europe and Far East”. “Semper
Paratus” remains the proud standard and song of the United States Coast Guard.

U.S. Marine Corps – “The Marines’ Hymn”

An unlikely venue hosted the debut of a tune many now associate with the Marines’ Hymn. In the city of Paris, France, Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) wrote and conducted opera and opera-bouffe (comic and farcical opera).
Most believe the melody of the Marines’ Hymn was, in fact, taken from an aria in “Genevieve de Brabant” composed by Offenbach. This tune was morphed to fit the now famous lines “From the Halls of Montezuma, To the Shores of

According to tradition, an officer wrote the first verse of the Hymn on duty in the Mexican War (1846-1848). Meant to highlight the various campaigns of the Marines, the unknown author edited the words from the Marines’ colors and added them to Offenbach’s melody. Continuing the custom, every campaign the Marines participate in give birth to a new, unofficial verse. Copyright ownership of the Marines’ Hymn was vested to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991, although its first use as the Marines’ official anthem was in 1929.

U.S. Navy – “Anchors Aweigh”

In an attempt to write a catchy tune to rally the Naval Academy’s football team, “Anchors Aweigh” was born. Charles A. Zimmerman, the U.S. Navy bandmaster from 1887 to 1916, started the practice of composing a march
for each graduating class. However, none of these tunes really caught on. In 1906, Zimmerman was approached by Midshipman Alfred Hart Miles to write a “piece of music that would be inspiring, one with swing to it so it could be used as a football marching song, and one that would live forever”.

Together, Zimmerman and Hart composed the tune and lyrics that became “Anchors Aweigh”, dedicated to the class of 1907. The new fight song indeed propelled Navy to a win that year over Army. The march was subsequently
adopted as the official Navy song and continues to inspire classes of Naval Academy Midshipmen.

Hearing any one of those songs today tugs at my heartstrings. So, imagine my delight when Dr. Michael Youseff began his sermon on July 2nd with a musical tribute to the United States Armed Services with a band playing each one of the songs! Truly, God and country are imbedded into each and all of them. Faith and freedom are inexorably linked in this country. Each of us is the beneficiary of every soldier from the Revolutionary War to our current situations around the world. Defending freedom – ours and that of others – is paramount of our nation.

Tomorrow, as flags fly and grills simmer, take a moment to remember exactly why we are blessed to live free. Most of you have a cell phone. Why not boot up these songs are listen to them with friends and family? We need to appreciate our heritage and engender a love of country in our young people.
Don’t just think about it. Do it!

Happy Independence Day!

297 – “Semantics – Hardly?”

January 24th, 2023

January 22, 2023

# 297 “Semantics? Hardly!”

It has been over a month since my last column. Some of you readers may chalk it up to my age – pushing eighty (Yikes!), yet it is not so subtle. Disgust falls far short of my mood over the last two years, one month and two days. Yes, sadly, Inauguration Day of 2021.

What was analogized to the plight of a frog in cool water as someone turned up the heat ever so slowly is precisely the situation in which the United States finds itself today. Ever so slowly and patiently the socialists, masked as “progressives,” have driven the agenda in our institutions of higher education until collegians graduate with more than a degree in a given vocation, they graduate with attitudes and positions diametrically opposed to what our Founding Fathers fought so hard to design in forming “a more perfect union.” What I see is a strange amalgam of guilt and gullibility. Guilt for what they have been taught that this nation –purportedly — has done to its people and gullibility for accepting the teachings without researching history to disprove them.

From “Woka Cola” to the demise of Disney, now the crosshairs are on our children. Excuse me, but all those pushing for abortion have already been born. All those trying to push transgender (And just where did THAT term originate?) had a female mother and a male father. The animal world, should it have cognition of man’s current thought process, is laughing out loud. When do you see a male animal go after another male animal unless it over a female?

The Coca Cola Company, using a concoction developed by a pharmacist, has certainly lost its way. Years ago, we had a neighbor who collected Coca Cola memorabilia. It was a joy to have coffee in her front room that was bounded on three sides with windows and scan all the items displayed. From toy semi-trucks and trailers to trays, clothing and toys, her collection was expansive. She died. God rest her soul. All this disintegration of “Coke” would break her heart. Memories of the children’s faces as they sang the song on a famous ad come to mind. Heed the words. “I wish that I could teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.” Well, that message is dead, unless the harmony mentioned is globalism. Egad. I can remember plunging my arm down into a cooler of icy water to grab a bottle of Coke. If you are my age, you can, too. “Go out for a Coke” was so common that it held over to any carbonated beverage, akin to the term Kleenex for a facial tissue.

Back to Disney. Walt Disney, that delightful talented man who brought children all over the world such joy, must be rolling over is his grave at what has happened to his wonderful company. Banning the term “mother and father” on Disney grounds… no pronouns… no he or she, him or her… closing down rides that based on “Song of the South” in fear of offending someone…. The Well, folks, every nation has a history of making mistakes. The successful ones learn from them. Good and bad, history is a teacher.

The joy Disney brought since its first park in the 1950s is immeasurable. Its wholesome, family-oriented movies have morphed into something Walt Disney would not recognize. Yet, the park attractions and movies are only a bit of the high reputation galvanized in the minds and hearts of Americans over decades. Yes, all that is on the chopping block because of those claiming to be “woke.” A rhyme of sorts, the “woke” are a joke, and they deserve to go broke. American values, through her companies and her movies, spread across the world and they deserve to continue as influences for good.

As for the destruction of history as experienced and written, touching on that would only underscore the depravity of those who seek to mold this country into a link in the globalist chain that has as its goal a one world government. That works about as well as a dysfunctional family dinner.

Hardship and challenge forge character. And, oh how we need character and resilience! Unchallenged authority is our enemy. Alas, the devil is very busy these days. As he gleefully watched our colleges and universities corrupt untold numbers of students, so now does he revel as his minions push an agenda upon our little kids that defies logic and basic laws of medical science.

The whole crux of the situation across the board is that the 1960s radicals who were reared without a major conflict and who were dismissed as a group that would fade out are now in positions of power — not only in business, but also in government. Like that proverbial frog, we have just begun to simmer. The question is do we have the stomach to fight this house to house and take down what threatens our very way of life.

In 2001, this nation rallied to its churches in the wake of 9-11. Young men stepped forward to serve in the military to defend their country. What once was the heart and soul of military service is also under attack. What better way to defeat a country than to dissuade enlistment and push those with solid values from its ranks by insisting on absurd rules that have no other motivation than to water down its defense capability? Sensitivity training on the battlefield is as useful as a gun without bullets. Can you not see the pattern here?

It’s now become a state to state, city to city, town to town, house to house, and family to family battle. Do not let your voices be silenced. Go to school board meetings. Refuse to accept the insistent whining of those who seek to take down this nation. Now, more than ever, we need strong leadership.

Many in this nation have turned against God. That’s a dangerous position for a people. It’s Biblical. Pick up The Bible and read what happened when a nation turned its back on its Creator. It’s not pretty and we’re headed there on steroids. Complacency is a perilous attitude and there’s too much of it out there.

Think about it.

296 – “December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy.”

December 7th, 2021

By Hetty Gray

# 296
“December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy…”

December 7, 2021

Eight years ago today II was nary a glimmer in my parents’ eyes and my older brother was not quite twenty months old. My folks were going about their business working during the week and going to church on Sunday — living what we would judge today to be the “American dream.” Theirs was a life far different from that we witness today. But eighty years and a hours ago, the news that came across radios across this nation spurred my parents’ generation to action they could never have imagined just a day before.

Unlike so many young people today, their peers were devoted Americans, aware of their blessings of freedom and determined to defend them with their lives.

A sunny, peaceful Sunday morning on the island of Oahu was shattered by the sounds of incoming fighter planes and the explosions that rocked the Pearl Harbor.

Just as the cry, “Remember the Maine!” brought forth the nation to a zenith of determination, a new cry came forth: “Remember Pearl Harbor.”

The thousands who died that day are a testament to devotion to duty and love of country. Would that we would instill that fervor in our youth today.

As you pause tonight to listen to newscasts hark back eighty years, remember that some of those soldiers and sailors still survive. Sadly, more than 250 die each day. We look at the teenagers of today and see exuberance and energy, but too many of our people do not know that many of the “boys” who died in Pearl Harbor, and in the ensuing battles of World War II were teenagers themselves. It was very common for a young man to lie about his age and “join up.” If there is an estimate of the number who did so, I have not recovered it in research over the years.

Mine was a generation whose parents fought World War II, whose grandparents fought World War I. The memories, still fresh and engendered in us, steeled us to understand that freedom is not free.

President Reagan reminded us of that fact in his Farewell Address, “An informed patriotism is what we want. And are we doing a good enough job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the history of the world?

“Those of us who are over 35 or so years of age (Bear in mind this dates to 1989) grew up in a different America. We were taught, very directly, what it means to be an American. And we absorbed, almost in the air, a love of country and an appreciation of its institutions…

…We’ve got to do a better job of getting across that America is freedom — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.”

Perhaps never in our history do we need to internalize this message and commit ourselves to a new mission: see to it that our schools teach all our history, successes and failures alike. Make sure teachers contrast our Republic to the diminishing effects of socialism and communism. Illustrate the lack of all that we possess. Lack of freedom. Lack of personal achievement. In many cases, lack of personal property.

Even the Pilgrims learned this early on in their settlement in the New England area. After having all work for the “common good,” they saw dismal results. Once each person had a personal plot to work, the bounty proved that individual effort and “skin in the game” topped all the good intentions of communal living. Bluntly put, it just doesn’t work for the individual.

Don’t take your freedom for granted. It was earned by all those who fought on foreign soil, who died abroad never to enjoy the fruits of the labor for which they were so thankful. Set yourselves forth on a path for America.

To my mind, as a history and government teacher, John F. Kennedy would not recognize the party to which he belonged in the 1950s and 1960s. He could never be elected today, as the left wing seeks to destroy all he held dear. His words come forth as clearly today as they did when he took the oath of office January 20, 1961. “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

To a man, or woman, those who serve in our military not only ascribe to his words, but also live them. Do not forget December 7, 1941. Remember Pearl Harbor. Heed its lessons. The Japanese high command had a fear after that fateful day. They mulled over their decision and reflected that they feared that they “had awakened a sleeping giant.”

In so many ways, we are asleep today. We muddle through our lives with little regard for history. If nothing else, history — if ignored — does repeat itself. Let us vow, one and all, to dedicate ourselves as individuals, not to let the American dream perish. Those who died at Pearl Harbor would be proud of us.

Think about it.

295 “Veterans’ Day”

November 11th, 2021

By Hetty Gray

November 11, 2021

“Day of days”

First of all, I wish to thank each veteran reader or reader whose family member (or family members) served his or her country. It is of paramount importance to every American — a sincere, heart-felt thank you to all who serve or served.

Today we honor those men and women — those brave, selfless souls who comprise our armed forces. Dating to the eleventh hour of the eleventh month in 1918 when the Armistice was signed to end World War I, the day of remembrance continues. Once deemed Armistice Day, most of us recognize it as “Veterans’ Day.” It is fitting that it came at the end of World War I, due to the terrible human toll that conflict took on those nations involved. The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was about 40 million: estimates range from around 15 to 22 million deaths and about 23 million wounded military personnel. Those figures are staggering today. It is no wonder that that war prompted a moniker.
Notably, it was named “The War to End All Wars.” Long and drawn out, it is the opposite of this column — deliberately short and to the point.

To a person, each deserves our respect and praise. On the heels of the 246th Anniversary of the Marine Corps, today is seminal to our daily lives. Why? To claim that our men and women in uniform assure our safety is no idle statement. They do.
The Corps proudly gives the history of a portion of the Marine Corps Hymn so familiar to us — “to the shores of Tripoli.” Heed the Marine Corps history.
As the 18th century drew to a close, the fledgling United States government was still struggling to find its way. Heavily in debt after the Revolutionary War and the Louisiana Purchase, the government had disbanded the Navy. During this time, the Barbary Corsairs (pirates) from northern Africa regularly disrupted trade in the Mediterranean by capturing ships, stealing cargo and taking those on board to be sold as slaves or ransomed. Other nations simply paid a tribute to the Barbary rulers in exchange for safe passage of all ships under their flag. When the United States refused to pay, the leader of Tripoli declared war on the United States.
In response, the USS Philadelphia was sent to blockade the harbor and confront the pirates. When the ship ran aground on an uncharted reef, however, the crew was taken captive to be ransomed by the pirates.
These events provoked Thomas Jefferson and congress to take further military action against the pirates. Six Navy frigates were commissioned and sent to challenge the pirates. As part of this effort, Jefferson also sent William Eaton and 8 US Marines on an expedition to gain support to overthrow the Barbary ruler. The Marine Corps involvement in the United States “first war on terror,” would eventually become a legendary part of its history, with a reference to it in the Marine Hymn (“…to the shores of Tripoli”).
And so, from 1775 to the present, our armed forces have fought against all manner of evil around the globe. Employers will tell you, unequivocally, that hiring veterans assures that the company chain of command is even stronger.
Our veterans had a great ally in President Donald Trump. He placed their health and well-being ahead of the inherent squabbling and nonsensical system of health care. His changes prompted exceptional care for our men and women in veterans’ hospitals and clinics nationwide.
Today, we need to recommit ourselves to the American veteran. We cannot forget those who find themselves homeless and suffer from mental illness. We need to put them ahead of those who break the law and enter the country.
I grew up the daughter of very patriotic and loyal parents. Oh, I know, pushing 80 puts me in the “little old lady” genre, but my generation had a good grasp on history and the importance of our military. We learned military history in elementary school and both our music and art assignments reflected it. Poppy Posters were a big event or us, as were the words of the military hymns. We learned them all. That respect has held over into my senior years.
To this day, I stop to thank a veteran for his or her service when I spot a ball cap or a jacket with a service insignia — or, in the case of the U.S. Navy — the name of the actual ship. Some caps list the conflict. You see ball caps emblazoned “Vietnam Veteran” and “Korean Veteran.” Take a moment to say, “Thank you.” Without them, you would not have the everyday freedoms you take for granted.
Aside from the pageantry and beauty of military parades and ceremonies, there is the simple oath of allegiance that every service member takes.
I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

Note the reference to God. It is so important. We are, in history and in fact, a nation founded on God. Thank God, not only for the nation, but thank God for our men and women who serve our country. God bless our veterans. God bless America.

Pray that God will continue to guide those in positions of power to abandon self-interest in favor of love of God and country.

Please do this in remembrance of all those who gave so much to assure our freedoms.

294 – Planting Time?

August 26th, 2021

By Hetty Gray

# 294

“Planting Time?”

August 26, 2021

Time takes a toll on a committed writer. A background in history — both political and military — fuels the angst I feel, and have felt, for some years now.

When speaking to my collegiate classes, I tried hard to explain the importance of history and how a working knowledge of the same is invaluable to a society.
History is a concise series of warning signs — red ones — that alert you to upcoming troubles. History, alas, does repeat itself. And that working knowledge of history?Sadly, we have lost that.

Much to my chagrin, the genesis of this loss goes back to one Joseph Stalin — yes, the despicable leader of Russia. Read the following quotes and then see just where we are going and to what ends some people will go to see that we get there.

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
? Joseph Stalin

“Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything.”
? Joseph Stalin

“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”
? Joseph Stalin

Let’s begin with the subject of death. It is unimaginable to conceptualize the number of deaths attributed to Stalin. In his book, “Unnatural Deaths in the U.S.S.R.: 1928-1954,” I.G. Dyadkin estimated that the USSR suffered 56 to 62 million “unnatural deaths” during that period, with 34 to 49 million directly.

Not exactly a score one would care to emulate. In comparison, the Holocaust, the horrible result of unrestrained, undeserved hatred of ethnic and religious groups — homosexuals, gypsies, and Jews specifically, cost far less lives. Deaths under Hitler’s “Final Solution” range from 4.5 to 6 million.

In terms of widespread knowledge among the peoples of the world, the Holocaust gets much more attention than Stalin’s genocide of his own people. Historians still feel that few Russians ever understood the ghastly number of deaths he caused. That may explain the allegiance to Russian governments throughout the years — or the fact that dissenters simply disappeared or were summarily killed.

It was only under the liaison between President Ronald Reagan and Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev that a glint of hope surfaced for Russia. Sadly, with his successors, including Vladamir Putin (former KGB), that hope is now as dead as those who dare to oppose the elite political class in today’s Russia. And those days are not gone. I cite the 2018 poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko London.

The Soviet Union as a political entity may be dead; but, given the recent happenings in the Middle East, she may be poised to once again move against the peoples of Eastern Europe. Now, once firm allies now worry about the once unflagging belief in the USA as their unquestioned defender.

And those millions who died? Yes. Tragedy vs. statistic. How cruel and how typical of tyrannical leaders.

As for one death, we see in the mainstream media today how one death can inspire riots, looting, rampant destruction of our cities. And the response of local leaders? Nil. This is more than sad, it only fuels copycat behavior. Ignore the fact of their leadership affiliation? No. Democrats all. Irresponsible. Unbelievable to “fly over country.”

Now, we come to voting. The sturdy foundation of our republic (not democracy, folks — republic), voting descended into a study in how to cheat and get away with it. Oh, the lefties will scream accusations all they wish, but it comes down to closing polls in the middle of the night, kicking out poll workers, boarding up windows to work away with nobody being able to see, and the ridiculous practice of drop boxes and mail in votes. Ever see that before? Nope. It isn’t as if we weren’t either. Former President Jimmy Carter partnered with former Secretary of State James Baker III. Both men warned of this sixteen years before it happened.

The Carter- Baker Commission of 2005

The commission was organized by American University’s Center for Democracy and Election Management and hearings began on April 18, 2005, with the goal of putting forth a set of recommendations to raise confidence in the electoral system. The report, released on September 19, 2005, “recommends a modern electoral system built on five pillars: (1) a universal and up-to-date registration list, accessible to the public; (2) a uniform voter identification system that is implemented in a way that increases, not impedes, participation; (3) measures to enhance ballot integrity and voter access; (4) a voter-verifiable paper trail and improved security of voting systems; and (5) electoral institutions that are impartial, professional, and independent.

The implementation of a universal voter registration system where states (instead of local jurisdictions such as county or township) are responsible for the accuracy and quality of voter lists. This recommendation includes the proposal of a distributed database in which the registration lists can be shared interstate.

Creation of a uniform system of voter identification based on an identification card. This includes the recommendation that states issue free photo-id cards in an affirmative role to those without a driver’s license

Addition of measures to increase voter participation by asking states to assume a greater responsibility to register citizens, make voting more convenient, offer more information on registration lists and voting, host civic education programs, and more.

The inclusion of an auditable backup on paper for electronic voting systems in order to provide confidence that ballots cast using these machines are counted accurately.
The strengthening and restructuring of the system by which elections have been administered in the country through a reconstitution of the EAC and state election agencies on a non-partisan basis.

In addition, the two men also suggested these reforms:

• A proposal that the media improve coverage of election by providing longer candidate discourse – at least five minutes – each night in the month preceding the election.
Remember how the “so called” moderator(s) cut off Donald Trump when he attempted to pose questions relating to the Biden family and their activities? Five minutes of truth could have saved our country the situation we suffer now.

• Ask that media voluntarily refrain from projecting presidential election results until polls close in the 48 contiguous states.
Remember how the major networks who failed to call the election around 10 PM with huge leads across the board for Donald Trump and the GOP. Thanks to the media, we have a colossal mess.

• States provide unrestricted access toll legitimate domestic and international election observers.
Closed doors, boarded up windows, trucks arriving in the middle of the night loaded with ballots from another state, boxes pulled from beneath tables, ballots entered multiple times, falsified water leaks (I hardly deem an overflowing toilet a risk to the building involved.), and machines susceptible to insertion of memory cards and chips to assign a different weight to votes for a particular candidate. And all in cities run by Democrats. Sound familiar?

• Changing the Presidential Primary schedule by creating four regional primaries
I’m not sure how much progress has been made on this front. The straw polls and traditional sites seem to have become the ingrown toenail of our election system.

• For states to certify their presidential election prior to the “safe harbor” date. In addition, for states to enact new statutes to ensure that its resolution of all election disputes are given conclusive effect by Congress under United States Code

The United States Code on Elections reads as follows (Title 3):

Title 3 – The President
Chapter 1. Presidential Elections and Vacancies

1. Time of appointing electors.
2. Failure to make choice on prescribed day.
3. Number of electors.
4. Vacancies in electoral college.
5. Determination of controversy as to appointment of electors.
6. Credentials of electors; transmission to Archivist of the United States and to Congress; public inspection.
7. Meeting and vote of electors.
8. Manner of voting.
9. Certificates of votes for President and Vice President.
10. Sealing and endorsing certificates.
11. Disposition of certificates.
12. Failure of certificates of electors to reach President of the Senate or Archivist of the United States; demand on State for certificate.
13. Same; demand on district judge for certificate.
14. Forfeiture for messenger’s neglect of duty.
15. Counting electoral votes in Congress.
16. Same; seats for officers and Members of two Houses in joint meeting.
17. Same; limit of debate in each House.
18. Same; parliamentary procedure at joint meeting.
19. Vacancy in offices of both President and Vice President; officers eligible to act.
20. Resignation or refusal of office.
I could go on, in depth, on the election process. Yet, today, with the grinding distrust of the 2020 Presidential Election, the additional problem of those drop boxes surfaces. Placed among inner city neighborhoods widely run by Democrats adept at the other ugly practice of ballot harvesting (going door to door offering money for a mail in ballot from the resident), the disaster we saw was nearly a foregone conclusion. And remember who funded them?

The trouble with most voters like me is that we are too trusting. It is against our better nature to distrust the election process we have known for a lifetime.
It’s high time we rethought that posture and began to really consider following the suggestions made by Carter and Baker.

This brings us to the third Stalin quote:

“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.”

Beginning in the 1940s, the socialist mindset crept into the faculties of our colleges and universities. Honored institutions — many founded on the Christian faith — morphed, bit by bit, professor by professor, subject by subject, into an ugly conglomeration of misinformation and a leftist agenda. This misinformation began the slow process of turning students against their country. History taught with an agenda toward the socialist and communist viewpoint, demonizing practical, long-held beliefs in God and family, an increased incentive to depend upon the government, an abandonment of self-reliance and initiative, and the death pride in achievement through hard work.

It has not stopped. If anything, it has metastasized to our lower schools. CRT is an excellent example. What is taught is vastly more important than who teaches it. Let scientists and engineers teach the math courses. Let writers teach English. Let historians teach history. And so it should go. The teachers’ unions have worn out their usefulness. They are nothing less than influence peddlers and they come first — not the kids. They wield unbelievable financial clout and push folks around consistently. I have heard that the sole reason many teachers join the union(s) is for the liability coverage.

Well, insurance companies, here’s an opening for you. Offer liability coverage for teachers without the union rope attached. Entrepreneurs, go for it! And who suffers most? The children and what’s left of the American family.

Today we find ourselves aghast at what has happened. The family, once the mainstay of our culture, is nearly gone. It all began with “The Great Society.” Even in the midst of slavery and inopportunity, the black family thrived. Yet, when women began to receive money for children in a home absent a father, the slow collapse began.

Take a look at this: Among white families, 2.8 percent were headed by women in 1950, 6 percent in 1960, and 13.9 percent in 1982, compared with 8.3 percent, 20.7 percent and 47.1 percent for blacks in those years. And then there is the work of Daniel Patrick Moynihan:

His report, known as The Moynihan Report, examined the link between black poverty and family structure. It hypothesized that the destruction of the black nuclear family structure would hinder further progress toward economic and political equality. And so it goes.

I had a great professor in graduate school who knew black society inside and out. She claimed that more than 90% of black families included a father, mother and children before the government hand-outs began. Even with all they faced, their families, grounded in their faith, saw them through turbulent times. When well-known black celebrities began call this problem out in the 1980s and 1990s, the victimization demons attacked them for their common- sense stance.

You’ll recognize this bunch. They peddle their lies so well. They know that hate and anger are far easier to inspire than love and acceptance.

Don’t tell me that black children aren’t intelligent. I taught in a township school where students were bussed from inner city neighborhoods, and I came face to face with marvelous kids — bright, interesting, and determined. Sadly, their parents were left out of participating with them due to lack of transportation and distance. The once thriving neighborhood schools with involved parenting so common in the 1950s and 1960s waned. Today, they are, for all intents and purposes, dead.

So, here we have it. Deaths are inconsequential — just statistics. Who counts the votes tops the actual votes cast. Education in the wrong hands poisons our young people.

My only question is this: Do we, as a people, have the corporate will and determination to fight the cancel culture and those who claim to be woke?
When it comes to corporate America, money talks. I have never been a big one for boycotts, but the left makes them work. They threaten big business and cajole the boards of directors into decisions that make absolutely no sense in economic terms.

Forget the green push. I remember when “being GREEN” meant you knew next to nothing. For me, nothing has changed in that department.

You reap what you sow. Isn’t it about time to tear up the fields and replant?

Think about it.

293 “”Where are they?”

June 20th, 2021

By Hetty Gray

# 293

June 20, 2021

“Where are they?”

Today, people across this nation pause to honor fathers. Sadly, countless families lack that bulwark of the basic societal unit.

All the cards and gifts aside, I focus on the day that far too many acknowledge. “What is it?” you ask. It is Father’s Day. Not the father we know or have known on earth, but our Heavenly Father. Cast aside by so many Americans, He is forgotten or ignored — perilously so.

Year by year, decade by decade, we have witnessed the erosion of keeping the Sabbath holy. Youth athletic organizations pack Sundays with games and meets. That weekly workout beckons. Sleeping in tops attending a worship service. Thankfully, most professional sports do not intrude on Sunday mornings, but for many tailgating preparations do.

Where once Sunday marked the day of rest and worship, it has morphed into just another day of spectator sport, carpool responsibility, or leisure activities where the individual comes first and God does not. How sad.

If this isn’t bad enough, the damage is far worse in terms of government and leadership. Devout, prayerful people across America were thrilled and heartened when President Donald J. Trump extolled God in his speeches, in his press conferences, and in The Oval Office. Not since President Ronald Reagan had Americans heard Biblical wisdom and God’s laws uttered without reservation and with so much confidence.

We are a nation founded on liberty. And what does the Bible say about liberty? Romans 8: Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” (2 Cor. 3)

Bible laws are firm. Bible laws are fair. Bible laws do not play favorites. Biblical laws apply to everyone. How easy to forget, but at what cost? Complacency is a dangerous mindset. Yet, even at that, there is another mindset that is deadly. Ignorance.

Until the last ten or so years, to ignore law enforcement came with high costs. You know where that mindset has gone lately. To ignore parental guidance came with grounding or loss of major privileges. To ignore orders from a boss came with job loss. To ignore health symptoms came with consequences that could be deadly. But, to ignore God?

The left tries to paint faith as a weakness. In fact, it is the antithesis of weakness. Faith is strength — the strength that each of us needs. What’s more, it is the strength that they fear. It is their fear that fuels their fight against people of faith.

The seminal question? Will America experience the revival needed to forge forward in God’s name?

Every societal shortfall can come full circle. The stark reality is alive in the Old Testament. Nations and peoples who turned against Almighty God did not fare well. When you consider how far many parts of our nation have fallen from Grace, it is not far-fetched to imagine that — given the propensity of the left to cajole and tempt uninformed people with all manner of government assistance
— that we totter atop the cliff from which the fall yields no recovery.

Once upon a time, the American work ethic was the envy of the world. The limits of one’s career was unlimited. Working hard led to success. I consider the current situation of giving out money not to work as downright criminal. Why? It is robbery. Government money robs the worker of the reward and personal worth on which no price may be accrued. Dependency upon the government exacts the highest price from those who do work.

Now, we come to current government. Two nations on this planet were founded on the word of God: America in 1776 and Israel in 1948. For all the caterwauling of the liberal left that consistently defends the Palestinians and the Hamas terrorists claiming that Israel is “occupying” parts of Palestine, they ignore the fact that God promised that land to the Jews thousands of years ago. As Pastor John Hagee said this morning, “Israel is not occupying Palestine, it owns it.”

We watch in complete horror as people who claim to be leaders continue to undermine the foundation of the United States, pushing to cancel freedom of speech, to impugn religious life and ignore the U.S. Constitution, determined to interpret it as they see fit.

The Bible existed long before America. But America was founded on the God of the Bible. The Ten Commandments are not mere suggestions. Ponder what world be like if every nation and every person espoused them and followed them to the letter
God’s rules to the letter

The Ten Commandments (paraphrased for use herein)

“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

Thou shalt not make yourself an idol or any form and bow down to worship them.

Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain.

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.

Honor thy father and mother.

You shall not murder.

You shall not commit adultery.

You shall not steal.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
YYou shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

As simple as these rules are, they are also the most difficult to the unbeliever. Today we have people in our highest levels of government who decry faith and who manifestly wish doom on those of us who put our trust in God.

This is more than a sad assessment, readers — it is a death rattle. So, as I listen to the small group whose distain for Israel is bitter to its core, whose belief is lacking, and whose answer to everything is “their way,” I step back.

I go to the source of all wisdom. I go to the Bible. The answer to any situation is found within its pages. Without Judaism, there is no Christianity. Without the Bible, man is lost. God’s commandments are simple. They are clear.

God help us if we do not stand up and fight against the left and its clearly poisonous agenda.

So, now I ask the question of the day: “Where are they? Where are the Christians in Congress?”

AWOL. Absent Without Law. God’s law. These elected officials are not above it. Someone needs to remind them of that fact.

Think about this:

Romans 8:31
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”

292 – Memorial Day

May 30th, 2021

By Hetty Gray

# 292

Memorial Day
May 30, 2021

My generation is nearly the four-score mark. Reared by parents and teachers who loved this country, our patriotism was imbedded with a deep respect for those who serve in our military. The families in our community that had lost their fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandsons underscored the sacrifice from coast to coast.

My parents’ generation fought in World War II. They knew that freedom was not free and that defending those who fell under the Axis Powers was a duty imbued with a love for the freedom that they had lost. Compounding their zeal was the fact that countless numbers of those soldiers, sailors, airmen and merchant mariners represented the offspring of immigrants who had come to America from Europe and Scandinavia.

Today, across this land, people strolled among the tombstones cemeteries of every description – military, church, community, family….

The brass plaques and white stones should make us all proud. I ignore those who would decry the holiday as unnecessary. They are oblivious to truth and ignorant of their own history.

Whenever you see a person with a cap from one of our armed services, stop and thank him or her for the service given. We are a volunteer army. Skills today demand far more than aiming a rifle or driving a tank. Yet, at the heart of the service, is love of country.

May none of us fail to remember that every freedom we enjoy was paid for in the blood and treasure of those who came before us, stood up and took it upon themselves to defend the most precious of all rights. We are free. They gave us that freedom.

God bless our fallen and wounded. God bless America. She needs God more now than ever.

291 – The Task at Hand

February 18th, 2021

By Hetty Gray

# 291

February 18, 2021

“The Task at Hand”

In many ways this is the easiest column I have written, in other ways, the hardest. Life is like that vine that wraps itself about the limbs of rural Indiana trees, bittersweet.

In 1989 I bought my then 70-year-old mother radio. It was a small table model, not of the type I knew as a child. Those wonderful radios were pieces of art-deco furniture. Fine wood, ours was at least four feet tall and sported a multi-piece dial that could switch bands with the flick of your fingers. Some far-away stations broadcast a strong signal easily picked up hundreds of miles away. One was the famous “THREE W E,” Cleveland, Ohio.

Radio was key to American entertainment through the Second World War. Most Americans heard of Pearl Harbor by radio. FDR’s famous “Fireside Chats” commanded attention in homes from coast to coast. Dramas like “The Shadow” and “Inner Sanctum” held rapt listeners in — to put in another plug — “Suspense.” Comedy also held a place in the lineup. “Fibber McGee and Molly,” along with “Our Miss Brooks” inspired laughter with good, clean fun. “The Jack Benny Show” and that familiar entreaty “Rochester…” brings back memories to a lot of us. Those shows had no nasty, vulgar words or insulting jabs so common today. Lines were funny and clean. Evenings gathered around the radio was commonplace for families decades ago and; for many of us, awaken fond memories.

Soap operas brought in a daytime audience. I still remember my grandmother sitting at her sewing machine listening to “The Romance of Helen Trent.” Hearing the cars shift gears is comical now, but oh so familiar then. That the names of those radio shows come to mind so easily gives you an idea of how important they were in family life and highlight an important aspect of their influence — their lasting ability.

A few years shy of eighty, I realize that over the years I have lost people in my life that I consider highly influential. One was my father. I was 38 when he died, but my formative years were awash with his wit and wisdom. He had a keen sense of humor and loved a good joke. Like my husband, it didn’t take a lot to trigger one from his deep repertoire of material. He laughed a lot as I recall and was always very good in emergencies. He kept his head.

I can trace his loss more to habit than years. He was just 64 when he died. Far too young. At this point I have already outlived him by thirteen years. Having been born on the 13th of the month, he poked fun at superstition. Such was his attitude toward my thirteenth birthday. September 13, 1957 was the 256th day of the year 1957 in the Gregorian calendar. There were 109 days
remaining until the end of the year. The day of the week was Friday. If you are trying to learn Spanish then this day of the week in Spanish is viernes.

Papa loved anything mechanical and cameras certainly fell into that genre. I wish I had the picture he took of me that day. I was standing under a ladder holding a black cat. My mother always had cats, so it wasn’t a hard prop to find at our house. Again, the humor element….

Although there were attendant causes for his death, smoking certainly fit into the picture. While the habit still beckons to people worldwide, it is probably more difficult to explain to the younger generations. Big tobacco had a wide reach in the 1920s and 1930s. Advertising was left to ingenuity. Oh, there were magazine ads, yes; but the real customer was Hollywood. Tobacco companies paid for actors and actresses to smoke in the movies. Considered chic and glamorous, it exerted a lot of influence on audiences.

Who can forget the final scene of Bette Davis and Claude Rains in the final scene of 1942’s “Now Voyager.” Even the dialogue sticks with avid movie fans.
“Don’t ask for the moon. We have the stars.”

How does this fit with today? Stars are beacons and command attention. Yesterday, I, along with millions of other listeners, lost just such a presence with the death of a radio icon. If you are a listener even for a short time, you will have heard the familiar line, “… from my formerly nicotine-stained fingers.” Yes, Rush smoked and joked about it. Yet, smoking is no laughing matter. It probably contributed to his losing his life. Back to him….

A little research gives us his biography. Rush Hudson Limbaugh III was an American radio personality, conservative political commentator, author, and television show host. Best known as the host of his radio show The Rush Limbaugh Show, he was nationally syndicated on 600 AM and FM radio stations.
It should come as no surprise, I am a “Ditto Head” and proud of it. I have a sweatshirt from the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies and a greeting card emblazoned “Rush for President, ‘96” in my office. Back to Rush….

Born Rush Hudson Limbaugh III, January 12, 1951, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, he
Died February 17, 2021, in Palm Beach, Florida, home of the Excellence in Broadcasting Network, “E.I.B.” and its “Golden Microphone.”

Many of the Limbaugh men were lawyers. His brother David is an accomplished lawyer and writer. His books are amazing. Talent, while “on loan from God” was not limited to Rush. Long-time listeners would hear him laud the example set by his family and the values deeply instilled in him by generations of forebears.

Anyone who has ever walked into my woodshop has seen “Ditto” on my dry erase board. A listener for well over thirty years, I seldom missed a show unless life and responsibilities drew me away from an available radio. I downloaded a chart of Rush stations so that I could listen in the vehicle when traveling. With the advent of “I (Heart) Radio,” I could pick up his show on my Mac. (He was a big supporter of Steve Jobs and anything Apple. We had that in common!)

In short, his show was a daily routine for me.. Like the theme from “M.A.S.H,” those first few notes of “My city was gone” by the Pretenders guitar heralded another edition of Rush. The 1982 song now has a life of its own.

Over all those years, I gleaned more than I could ever have expected the first time I listened. My passion is history — American and world — so I fully appreciated his attention to detail and his amazing way of putting really difficult happenings in lay terms that anyone could understand. As a former teacher, I can say that takes real talent and background.

I laugh when I remember “Dan’s Bake Sale” in Colorado. Long-time listeners will know just what I mean by this. The entire story links to our 45th president and a call that Rush took from a listener on “Open Line Friday.” Let me quote just some of it to provide a proper context. It gives weight to the fact that Rush Limbaugh inspired virtually millions of his listeners.

CALLER: “Mega dittos, Rush. I listened to you since 1987 before you had that bake sale for Dan up in Colorado. I was calling to know that we have a president who’s a street fighter. He’s not gonna back down because of the fact that he was raised and brought up being for God, home and country. Plus, he came up earning his way. He’s won and he lost lots of money. He knows the inside of running a business and everything, and he’s gonna run the country the same way. So that’s why I voted for him, and I would still vote for him.

RUSH: You don’t have any regrets about voting for him?
CALLER: Not at all. And the thing is, usually when I answer a questionnaire that I go apply a job, I skip over what my ethnicity is, because I am Afro-American. I consider myself an American. That’s all I am is an American, and that’s why I’m for America ’cause I was raised up the same way.
RUSH: Wow. That’s incredible. So you’re not hyphenated at all. You just call yourself a flat-out American?
CALLER: I’m an American. I am an American. I believe in our country. I believe in God, home and country. This country has given us many opportunities. Even when we fail, it allows us to be able to take it back on our feet if we’re willing to work, and we can achieve despite whatever else is going on. That’s why I like Trump. Because Trump is a fighter. He will not quit. He’s using the tools he has at hand and he’s gonna succeed because of that. He’s not gonna allow his party to beat him, he’s not gonna allow the Democrats to beat him, he’s not gonna allow the media to beat him.
RUSH: Let me ask you a quick question. Is there anything that the mainstream media has reported or tried to report that’s made you stop and think for a minute? Has there been a single instance where they’ve made you doubt your support for Trump?
CALLER: Never. Remember, I listened to you since before 1987, just about. I know the fact that you said the media lies and cannot be trusted and it’s been proven time and time and time again.
CALLER: They never tell the truth. Why would I believe them?
RUSH: There you go. There you go. Dan’s Bake Sale. That was like in 1989.
(This conversation is from Rush’s website. If you haven’t checked out the site, you should. I hope it continues in some form. It is a treasure trove of information and entertainment.)
This exchange echoes a theme we know all too well. The power of truth over the mainstream garbage fueling hate. I never met Rush, but neither did nearly all of his listeners. He digested very complex subjects into “down home” language. He never failed to credit his parents and family for bringing him up with solid values. He was the first to recount how he had failed as a young man. At one point he lived out of his car. He was fired. He rebounded. It took until he was 37 years
From there, the show rescued a dying AM Radio business and spawned an avid following that continues to this day. And what of the future? If anyone believes that his physical death means the end of his impact on us, that person is sorely mistaken.
At a time when our educators are removing William Shakespeare from curricula, editing history to fit their narrative, and inserting the fallacy of racism into virtually every corner of life, it has never been more important than to continue Rush’s pivotal push for patriotism and teaching accurate history — mistakes and all. Every society makes mistakes, but rewriting history denies wisdom to our students. It hobbles them to recognize missteps in our culture and learn from the past. The left decries the Founding Fathers because they held slaves. But so did the African people who sold their very own people into slavery. Yes, their form of slavery took a different form, yet they did not hesitate to sell their own. Their people were no more than chattel.
It should not be lost on any of us that those amazing men of 1775 brought forth a nation with three operative words, “We the people.” Never before had such a document come forth. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” was to be bestowed on all people. It is as true today as it was then.
Why else would hordes of people from around the world want to come here? If, as the left claims, America is such a horrible place, why would they clamor to come? What amazes me and so many others is how one man with deep Midwestern roots — from the “Show Me” state of Missouri — could have ignited a flame likened to that of Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton 214 years later!
It took faith, honesty, integrity, courage and perseverance — qualities we need today more than ever.
From its beginning decades ago, this column has defended common sense. Hence, its title. It does no less now.
Our loss was inevitable. As Rush said two weeks ago, “…we all have an expiration date.” And so it was for him.
To continue his work is noble. To persist in that effort is critical — not only to the morals and values of our country — but to its very survival. This is not the time to be faint of heart. Now is the time to rekindle the flame that Rush lit in his millions of listeners.
An optimist to the core, Rush saw struggle against the leftists as his calling. What’s more, he took harsh criticism in stride and laughed at it in the process.
I have written this line before. Americans need to be able to laugh again. Cancel culture cannot win. We need to stop it in its tracks. Rush knew that. He fought for the ideals that we hold dear and he fought for them each and every day. Those who knew him well said that he worked up to ten hours a day just to prepare for this three-hour marathon, five day a week broadcast. I believe it. He was a wellhouse of information and if he didn’t know the details a caller wanted, he would get them. He loved his listeners and we loved him.
He was not bashful about his religious beliefs. He was unabashed in discussing it. His easily professed, personal relationship with Jesus Christ armed him with the inner strength to face cancer. He knew a better life awaited him. He never wavered in his faith. Our goodbye was God’s welcome.
This is not the time to be faint of heart. This is the time to rekindle the flame that Rush lit in us. This is the time to come together. As my grandmother said, “Many hands make light work.” To continue his work is noble, of course. To persist is crucial to America’s survival.
To do less is to ignore his contribution. He gave us so much. We owe him no less.
Think about.
God’s speed, Rush.