“Time after time mankind is driven against the rocks of the horrid reality of a fallen creation. And time after time mankind must learn the hard lessons of history – the lessons that for some dangerous and awful reason we can’t seem to keep in our collective memory.” – Hilaire Belloc
Of any age group, teenagers and young adults are the least likely to know the correct answers to basic United States history questions – a disturbing trend that threatens not only national identity, but also national well-being.
More than a fifth of American teens do not know which country the thirteen colonies declared independence from in 1776 – 14% think it was France, 5% think it was Canada.
82% of interviewed Lumberton residents do not recognize the name “Millard Fillmore.”
89% could not name the first six U.S. Presidents, in order or out of order.
48% identified Abraham Lincoln as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. (Hint: he was elected President 84 years after 1776.)
26% cannot name the sides that fought in the Civil War – some said it involved Canada, others said Mexico, and some mentioned that it was between West and East.
Evangelist Ray Comfort and political activist Mark Dice are just two examples of interviewers who have asked “the man on the street” elementary questions, like “Who was Adolf Hitler?”
In the age of information, when so much of the world’s history is at our fingertips, when the knowledge and experience of the generations before us are accessible to the masses like never before, how come we don’t know the most basic details about how our nation came to be?
Thomas Jefferson said that the “tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
Millions of Americans gave their lives so that we may live free from the yoke of tyrants and oppressors. Is it even in our place as Americans, living in the freest, most privileged, most prosperous nation on earth, to forget them who gave their lives so we may live ours to the fullest — in freedom and comfort?
Around the globe, hundreds of millions have perished under the very tyrants that selfless patriots have opposed. Dare we forget the millions upon millions of victims who have died as a result of human carelessness, tyranny, and depravity, some of it evils our own ancestors died fighting?
Ultimately, the one death that will matter to the end of time is Christ’s. Our nation has most of all forgotten His undying love, His ultimate sacrifice, and the blood He shed so that we may live in spiritual freedom.
The state of affairs is less than ideal when a people refuses to remember the blood of patriots and refuses to acknowledge the reign of tyrants, but how much worse it is when that people refuses to recognize the blood of Christ.
Knowing and understanding history is essential to maintaining the freedom and prosperity of the United States, and more importantly, Christianity’s unhindered presence here.
Learning the past gives us an identity, a sense of where we have been, where we should go, where we should never go, and where we are now. America has forgotten the consequences of accepting what God hates and spurning what he loves – and yes, there are most tangible consequences.
Samuel Johnson said that “the recollection of the past is only useful by way of provision for the future.” And as Richard Weaver said, “Those who have no concern for their ancestors will, by simple application of the same rule, have none for their descendants.”
For reasons that exceed earthly bounds and go past the grave, history is important: never forget the blood of patriots and tyrants.
J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous author of The Hobbit and a prominent 20th century philologist, was an expert in language studies: he not only spoke an astonishing number of languages (Middle English, Old English, Finnish, Gothic, Greek, Italian, Old Norse, Spanish, Welsh, and Medieval Welsh) but was also familiar with many others, particularly ancient Slavonic and Germanic tongues. Tolkien’s infatuation with language surfaced in his literary works, both fictional and academic. Through his specialization in English philology and Old Norse to his work for the Oxford English Dictionary, J.R.R. Tolkien’s linguistic studies became enormously influential aspects of his fictional works and especially The Hobbit.
Interestingly, Tolkien’s linguistic creations in The Hobbit are numerous, all of them attributable to his background in philology. A fascination with the spoken word had captured Tolkien when he was young, leading him to specialize in linguistics—English philology, particularly. After careful study of Old Norse during his time at college, Tolkien began working for the Oxford English Dictionary in 1918. At the University of Leeds, he subsequently became Reader in English Language. Courses in several different types of English as well as the history of the language dominated his teaching there, but he also taught introductory Germanic philology, Gothic, Medieval Welsh, and Old Icelandic. Elvish languages alluded to or featured in The Hobbit or its sequel, The Lord of the Rings, included Primitive Quendian, Common Eldarin, Quenya, Goldogrin, Noldorin, Telerin, Ilkorin, Doriathrin, Avarin, and Sindarin, all ten of which directly resulted from his time as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary, his language studies, and his philological teachings. To many of Tolkien’s admirers, biographers, or readers, “It becomes clear that Tolkien invested at least as much of his expertise, ingenuity, imagination, and time in constructing his languages as he did in devising his narratives” (Adams 1). Tolkien himself explained (Sale 1), “A real taste for fairy-stories was wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war.” Tolkien’s invented languages required an enormous amount of scholarly philological work and knowledge. He refined and improved the vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation of the Elvish languages until his death, just as he never ceased the philological studies that bred and developed the remarkable languages of The Hobbit’s Middle Earth.
Furthermore, languages in The Hobbit are heavily influenced by real-world languages, including Old Norse, Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and Germanic tongues, more evidence of Tolkien’s careful thought and study of language. Early forms of Elvish were influenced by his study of Spanish and Latin, and when he began examining Finnish, he incorporated elements of that language into Primitive Quendian and Common Eldarin. Various versions of the Elvish tongue featured languages that Tolkien found interesting, amusing, beautiful, or even merely practical:
His creation, or more strictly sub-creation, of Elvish might owe much to his interests in Welsh and Finnish, but it is also clear that his immense creativity and the invocation of the beautiful, mysterious and almost painfully real Middle Earth was founded on a deep appreciation and love for language. (Morris 1)
Tolkien’s extensive study of language, especially of Finnish, contributed much to the Elvish language and later directly affected not only Middle Earth but the characters in that fantastical realm.
Indeed, although Tolkien’s fictional and academic creations, including The Hobbit, are immensely popular and a widely acclaimed masterpiece in fantasy, his invented languages resulted in Middle Earth, not the other way around. A fascination with language had gripped Tolkien in his youth, before writing mythical tales ever entered his thoughts. In fact, one of Tolkien’s apparently controversial claims about languages, both a priori and a posteriori constructed languages and natural languages, was that no matter a tongue’s effectiveness or practicality, it was nothing until there were myths and a culture surrounding it. “Tolkien essentially wrote The Lord of the Rings [and The Hobbit] in order to give his languages a world in which to exist,” said Dawn Catanach (Catanach 1). It has also been noted that “In some strange way, the articulation of Elvish and the other languages of Middle Earth were the catalysis for the rest of his [Tolkien’s] mythos” (Morris 2).
Known as a lexicographer, linguist, philologist, and philosopher, J.R.R. Tolkien is known most of all as the author of The Hobbit and the creator of Middle Earth, clearly a product of his studies in philology. Tolkien’s language studies, undoubtedly without which The Hobbit could not be the same and without which Bilbo Baggins could not exist, have influenced not only his works but the writings and linguistic knowledge of philology students and authors around the world.
Adams, Michael. From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages. 1st ed. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
Catanach, Dawn. “The Philosopher and the Philologist J.R.R. Tolkien, Martin Heidegger, and Poetic Language.” Unm.edu.University of New Mexico, 2006. Web. 6 Feb. 2014.
Morris, Simon Conway. “Darwin’s Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation.” Ed. Michael Byrne. Science and Religion in the Twenty-First Century. Ed. Russel Re Manning. 1st ed. London: SCM, 2013. 34+. Print.
Sale, Roger. Modern Heroism; Essays on D.H. Lawrence, William Empson, & J.R.R. Tolkien. Berkley: University of California, 1973. Books.google.com. Google, 2012. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Hobbit. First ed. Boston: Mariner, 2007. Print.
Here’s our favorite recipe for Swedish meatballs. (Yes, like the Swedish chef.)
Start off by chopping up one large onion and sautéing it in butter.
Meanwhile, get one half cup of breadcrumbs (or for a gluten-free option, use gluten-free oats) and put in your Bosch Mixer with the cookie paddles attachment. Otherwise, you could put the breadcrumbs or oats in a big mixing bowl.
Next, put 2 ½ lbs of beef in Bosch Mixer or mixing bowl.
Note: do not check Facebook or email because your onions will burn.
Add ¼ cup of water, milk, or stock to mixture.
Add two eggs to the mixture. I go ahead and start mixing it with my Bosch at this point, but the other option is to use a hand-held mixer or merely knead with your hands.
Stir the sautéd onions into the meat, and then these ingredients as well:
3 Tbs chopped parsley
¼ tsp paprika
½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
¼ tsp red pepper
After that, shape meat into 1 ½ inch balls and cook in melted butter.
When all the meatballs are cooked I add about two cups of beef stock to the meatballs. You could thicken this and make a gravy.
You can also make it ahead of time and put the meatballs in the crockpot (after you’ve cooked them, that is).
You could serve it over cauliflower rice, rice, or squash noodles.
This recipe was inspired by the Joy of Cooking Cookbook and the Muppets
*A Bosch Mixer is a power tool for the kitchen. It is an awesome addition to any kitchen.
“I call it the Pantheon,” said one Lumberton middle school student, “Its function and design are close enough to the original’s looks and purpose to justify the nomenclature.”
While passers-by and students make quips about the Performing Arts Center and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Dome near Lumberton High School, city officials are faced with a puzzling problem: how to bail out the school’s pet project and extract more funds from financially hard-pressed taxpayers, who are struggling under the burden of exorbitant federal taxes, excessive state taxes, and skyrocketing local rates.
Members of the school board apparently stretched the boundaries of mathematics whenever they accepted the offer of a $3 million grant from FEMA, knowing full well that the project had insufficient funds to even get off the ground.
The Beaumont Enterprise quotes Lumberton ISD Superintendent John Valastro as saying, “When people say, ‘Why did you start something you can’t finish,’ well, I can give you three million reasons.” Taxpayers are fairly sure that none of those three million reasons include private property, future generations, or fiscal responsibility.
The school board decided to proceed without heeding common sense or crunching numbers, and Valastro reasoned that “$3 million from a grant is something we weren’t going to get again.”
While the $3 million covers around 75% (or less) of the dome, it covers only a measly 33% of the total project. Previously city officials and the school board assured citizens that funds were plentiful enough to cover the project.
Lumberton’s botched attempt at recreating the Pantheon is a prime example of first-stage thinking, a theory only thought out to the immediate future; furthermore, it is a pitiful theory relying on ideal conditions and the total absence of setbacks.
The grossly inaccurate initial estimates for the dome were either altered to ease public opinion or were entirely wrong in the first place, and perhaps a combination of both, since it should not be put past the city officials who are proud of the project (and even claim full responsibility for its existence) to downplay the costs of the dome.
If anything, the situation is ironic since it has finally been proven that not even the School Board can understand math.
To all the cats out there,
So, since you have all proved your incompetence, and since I am a fountain of endless practical knowledge, I’d like to share tips on the art of gift-giving.
- All humans will appreciate a leaf or cardboard box. These are classic gifts that just can’t go wrong. Perfect for the human that has everything.
- When you need to say “I’m sorry,” nothing says it better than a headless squirrel carcass. Nothing. I recommend making a dramatic entrance, running towards them, and depositing it at your human’s feet.
- If your human looks bored, offer them a live lizard to play with. This usually motivates some sort of action on their part, and occasionally they will run around the house screaming (depending on your human). For sure this will cheer up your human, and as a plus, they may even be so happy that they’ll let you outside for an extra-long outing.
- Sharing a tasty treat with your human is a great way to show them that you care about them. A novel way to do this is to bring them breakfast in bed. Personally, I recommend bringing them some sort of rare and colorful songbird. (The kind in cages are obviously the most prestigious.) I’ve even known humans to cry, because they are so touched by the gift.
As Supreme Emperor of the Universe, I have a great deal of experience in handling the human species. Trust my expertise.
I love me too,
Supreme Emperor of the Universe;
Chief Executive Lizard-Slayer at Lizard Warrior Service;
Recipient of the Snowbell Peace Prize;
Coolest Monarch of the Century (Irrational Geographic);
Your Humble Master;
And A.K.A. alpha-cat.
Winding through rows of grayish, unpainted clapboard houses, miles upon miles of alternately dusty and muddy streets buzz with activity: ragged, mop-headed children—coming to or from playtime on the railroad cars and mill ponds—trot in flocks to their collective destination; lanky, grim-faced loggers, who make an honest living but live a tough life, rush away from a screeching whistle signaling that work is over; and housewives watch the chaos as they attempt household chores, despite the airborne sawdust forcing itself into “every nook and cranny.” The sweetish smell of pine logs paired with the natural Texas humidity and the steamy sawmill fog made for a trademark industry odor.
Just 100 years ago, this was the face of southeast Texas.
Logging was an unbelievably large facet of both the United States economy and the southeast Texas economy.
Before the Spindletop oil boom from 1901 to the late 1920s, logging constituted the primary economic pursuit of southeast Texas. Eager entrepreneurs in search of financial success transformed the entire economic outlook for Hardin, Newton, Jasper, and even Jefferson counties.
Recognized mostly for their proximity to major local cities Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Houston, small towns including Kirbyville, Evadale, Silsbee, and even Lumberton owe their existence to the Bonanza Era of Texas sawmills—a period of unprecedented Texas dominance and involvement in the lumber industry, from 1876 to 1917.
Texas is and has been predominantly successful in raising livestock. In modern times, pumping oil and gas has also been an economic forte in the Lone Star state; but for the past 150 years, the lumber industry has also fared remarkably well.
One of the top three logging and lumber-exporting states during the Bonanza Era, Texas has remained among the top ten lumber producing states. The Piney Woods region and the Big Thicket near the eastern border of the state have contributed much to Texas’ excellent lumber statistics, more so than any other area of the state.
Many Texas sawmill towns (corporately-owned communities usually sponsored by the mill’s owners) have disappeared entirely, becoming ghost towns inhabited by surprising numbers of tourists, curious locals, and historians. However, a number of them are still existent and thriving today.
While many sawmill towns have vanished or dwindled to nothing, in some instances the centrally located mills, which once comprised town centers, have survived despite the absence of a surrounding village.
J. Frank Keith’s 1902 sawmill located in Voth, on the banks of Pine Island Bayou and mere yards within the Jefferson County border, is visible from Highway 96 going from Lumberton to Beaumont. Because of the 2,000,000 acres of dense virgin forest that once covered what is now known as southeast Texas, over six hundred sawmills were in existence simultaneously at one point during the Bonanza Era.
Hardin, Tyler, Polk, Newton, and Jasper Counties were covered in highly profitable stumpage (log measure of uncut trees or logs), to which landowners interested in farming gladly sold the logging rights to nearby sawmills. Jefferson County, however, was a far cry from its heavily-forested northern counterparts.
W.T. Block explains in his book, East Texas Mill Towns and Ghost Towns, “Jefferson County has a most unusual sawmill history, not because of any great forest which stand within its boundaries, but due to its proximity to the Neches River and its tributaries, Sabine Lake, and the Gulf of Mexico.”
The sawmill building on the banks of the Bayou was a relatively large one, a 50,000-foot operation provided with logs from Saratoga. A newspaper later reported in November 1904 that:
…The mill is logged from Stutts on the Warren, Corsicana, and Pacific Railroad in TylerCounty. The logs are hauled from Stutts to Warren, 22 miles, and thence to Voth, 32 miles distant, a total distance of 54 miles…A new dry shed with a capacity of 1,000,000 feet of lumber has just been put up. The logs at Voth are dumped into Pine Island Bayou and are used when needed…
The Kirby Lumber Corporation, the founder of which is responsible for the construction, existence, and names of many local sawmill towns (including Kirbyville), purchased the Voth sawmill in 1924. In 1948, the mill was still operating at a 75,000 feet capacity and continued until 1952, when the Kirby Corporation consolidated much of its milling operations.
The sawmill, which many residents still drive past on a daily basis, was the last significant sawmill in Jefferson County to shut down—and with it died many of the tight-knit but easily unraveled industrial communities accompanying the era.
Detailing sawmill towns of the Bonanza years, Thad Sitton and James Conrad described in Nameless Towns, “Mill-town children grew up using their heavy-industry surroundings as a playscape. They walked the rails, visited the depot to meet passenger trains, clambered about on the elevated dollyways after quitting time, rode the big draft horses in the corral, tobogganed down sawdust piles, chased each other leaping from stack to stack of lumber air-drying in the yard, walked logs floating in the millpond, stole handcars from the shop and pumped them about on the rails, went on moonlit courting walks down the railroad tracks and across the lumberyards, and otherwise enjoyed the mill town and its environs. For children and adults alike, the millpond did double duty as a center of recreational life, which included fishing, swimming, frog-gigging, and even dancing.”
The Bonanza Era was a time in which thousands of Texans spent their childhoods in such communities; in fact, many elderly southeast Texans can remember—although not necessarily having lived in them—the sawmill towns once abundant in Hardin County. The cultural impact of sawmill towns and the highly influential lumber industry has shaped the local identity.
While the lumber industry remains an enormous force in the Texas economy, it bears little resemblance to the miniature empires established by men like John Henry Kirby. Even as recently as the early 1990s, lumber was a leading industry in Texas. The Bonanza Era is over—but the impact it made on southeast Texas life can never be forgotten.
It is a question that has resounded for the past 158 years, ever since that day in late August of 1856 that the potato chip was invented: what would have happened if it had come earlier?
Many hypotheses include guesses that world peace would have prevailed for centuries at a time; that all human suffering would subside when the “crisps” (as the British know them) were plentiful; and that humans would have discovered a different solution to the cholesterol problem by now.
However, it is necessary to take a more reasonable approach. Like chocolate in South America, salt in the Middle East, and precious metals in Europe, potato chips—if they had been introduced into an ancient environment—would have become more than just a trading material, but a useful commodity and a staple food, somewhat of a combination of all three.
While chocolate was a luxury reserved for the rich, while salt was a fact of Roman life, and while precious metals had become a currency of sorts, potato chips would have become everything at once: an everyday luxury/currency.
As in most cases dealing with luxuries and necessities, the nature of the good involved can spark conflicts: growing populations would require more potato chips, and conquistadores would fight for fortunes or at least modest supplies of the crunchy fare.
Obviously the early rise of potato chips would change world history, thus it is imperative that we consider the consequences of such an early discovery.
Here is an alternative historical timeline featuring the rise of potato chips in 544 B.C.:
544 B.C.: Potato chips are invented and are soon developed into a luxury good offered to emperors, gods, and anybody rich enough to afford them.
507 B.C. – Crisps are now available to the masses, and instantly catch on. Grains are no longer the primary food source, nor do farmers continue to develop better seeds or varieties. Potatoes are now in fashion.
10 B.C. – The Roman Empire, now in existence, is conquering surrounding nations at alarming rates, with massive public support for the wars. Most of the conquests are primarily in search of land suitable for growing potatoes.
80 A.D. – Emperor Titus is assassinated because he would not give potato chips and circuses to the plebeians.
94 A.D. – A potato farmer becomes emperor of Rome, contributing to the industry and financing with the public purse a scientific search for a cure for cholesterol.
285 A.D. – The Roman Empire splits in two after experiencing a 20-year long civil war due to a discrepancy between barbecue potato chips versus sour cream and onion potato chips. The state on the west side is known as the Barbecue Empire, and side on the east is known as Saurecreanonion Republic.
410 A.D. – The Barbecue Empire is sacked by the Vegegoths, who are considered “barbarians” and oppose potatoes, considering them unhealthy.
979 A.D. – Potato chips have now been sent to or discovered in every continent.
1099 A.D. – The first Chewsade, a campaign fighting for a comeback of potato chips in the apparently hostile Middle East (inhabited by descendents of the Vegegoths), takes place.
1206 – Genghis Khan begins spreading vinegar potato chips around Eurasia.
1337 – The Hundred Years’ War begins, as England and France, respectively, fight over the issue of salt-and-pepper chips and lemon potato chips.
1347 – A serious disease begins spreading throughout Europe, mainly because of low-quality potatoes. An estimated 20-40% of the population was wiped out in the first year.
1439 – Johannes Gutenberg invents cellophane, revolutionizing potato chip transportation and storage.
1492 – Christopher Columbus reaches the New World, where he immediately begins testing the soil to see if it is suitable for growing potatoes.
1503 – Leonardo da Vinci begins painting the Mona Lisa, a portrait of a girl and a bag of potato chips.
1689 – John Locke writes a letter concerning toleration, demanding that different types of potato chips be allowed in a free market.
1773 — A protest known as the Boston Chip Party erupts due to King George’s exorbitant tax on potato chips, the industry of which was already a monopoly. The Boston Chip Party’s participants dumped over 342 cases of crisps into the Boston Harbor.
1776 – The Declaration of Independence makes its debut, featuring a mention of the King’s tyrannical policy of potato chip taxation.
1789 – The French Revolution begins, a revolution fought over clashes between proponents of French fries and potato chips.
1879 – Thomas Edison invents an automatic potato-slicer, further cheapening the necessity.
1890 – Spud National Park is established.
1903 – The Wright Brothers make the first powered flight, over a potato farm.
1919 – The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution kicks off an era known as “Prohibition,” in which potato chips are no longer permitted to be eaten with spinach dip.
1929 – The Great Depression begins and the stock market crashes, particularly blue chip stocks.
1955 – McDonald’s opens and features French fries, a major blow to potato chips, which have been around for over a thousand years.
1957 – Dr. Suess publishes Spud in the Mud.
1969 – America sends a man to the moon, mainly to check to see if there was any potential of utilizing the surface as a potato-growing facility.
1990 – The United States signs a treaty that strikes a deal with Russia, re-introducing potato chips to the nation.
2008 – The 2008 recession begins, resulting in another crucial blow to blue chip stocks.
2009 – President Barack Obama is inaugurated, and soon after he pushes through legislation allegedly making potato chips “affordable,” but essentially socializes the American chip market.
2009 — A political party called the Chip Party forms in protest of the Affordable Chip Act, but in a broad sense, it forms to oppose liberal “health nuts.”
2014 – The Affordable Spud Act results in mass pandemonium and worldwide hunger as a main staple food is restricted from consumers.
Today, 3288 children will be killed before they are born. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars fund these deaths through Washington’s cold-blooded mandates. You will pay for approximately 18000 more of these killings because of Obamacare, thanks to John Cornyn’s decision to fund this appalling fiscal and moral trainwreck.
Today, the government will spend more than ten billion dollars. No need to wonder where it went: thanks to liberal John Cornyn, the government will be spending billions more because of his decision time after time to surrender to President Obama on pork-ridden spending bills. Cornyn has even given Washington a wildcard on the debt limit nine times.
Today and for the next few decades, if you are in need of medical care, Obamacare will force you, taxpayer, to spend more money for less care—and unlike what Barack Obama and his supporter liberal John Cornyn would have you know, if you like your insurance, you can’t keep your insurance. You will spend thousands of dollars more for your healthcare, thanks to Cornyn’s decision to appease leftist Senate leadership and fund Obamacare.
Today is the day to make this decision: who will you, taxpayer, send to Washington as your Texas Senator?
The year was 1938. Times were hard, and President Franklin Roosevelt was just beginning his second term, presiding over the worst depression in U.S. history. Trouble was brewing in Europe and around the world. War was on the horizon for many countries. Hitler’s regime was gaining strength, and his shadow of tyranny was soon to stretch across the globe. As many can tell you, things weren’t looking up.
Fifteen-year-old Charles Henson and his family were struggling; he could not find a job. There simply were not any to be had. At that point, any work that could be offered would be accepted, but he stubbornly clung to his dream.
Henson explained, “I had always had a hunger to go to sea. But you had to be sixteen years of age to get a seaman’s certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard. So, my mother swore an affidavit that I was sixteen and the kind Coast Guard commandant issued me my seaman’s certificate.”
Soon he had an official, paying job at the Magnolia Refinery. As a utility man aboard the S.S. Aurora (a tanker), Henson received $60.00 a month.
“This I sent home to mom. It saved our family.” he said.
From 1938 until 1941, the seafaring teen visited countries all over the world. He “made” every deep water port on the planet. Africa, China, Russia, and Burma were only a few of the exotic places that Henson visited – at such a young age.
“I could hear all the noises you heard in the old Tarzan movies,” he said, “It was an experience I’ll never forget.”
Henson soon got himself a promotion to ship’s steward.
“My job was to peel potatoes and clean the officers’ state rooms and other odd jobs. It was out of the weather, rain, and cold, so I was happy,” he explained.
On December 7th, 1941, everything changed.
“Well, time went on, Pearl Harbor took place, and the first thing you know this little ol’ seaman got himself drafted into the Army along with God knows how many thousands of others. So, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston.” Henson recounted.
“In the meantime, prior to this, while I was still sailing in the Merchant Marines, the Germans were sinking our ships at a rate of 2 and 3 a day, from Corpus Christi all the way up the coast to Portland, Maine. That’s were they operated. There was one occasion where they sunk a ship in the channel of the Mississippi River. That’s how close they came.” Needless to say, the United States was hurting badly.
The Armed Forces were getting into gear, but unfortunately the Navy was lacking.
“Been there just a couple of months when a Colonel came in one day and they gathered up all the guys that had Seaman certificates, which included me, about forty-five of us if I remember right. He said “We’re taking you to CampEdwards, Massachusetts.” Where they were going to form a brand new organization, called the Engineering, Boat, and Shore Regiment. You’ve seen pictures of the invasion at Normandy of the little boats coming in? Well, those little boats, as Germans used to refer to them as, were the Higgins Boats. They carried the troops from the ship to the shore. That’s what we first got started in at CampEdwards, Massachusetts, called the Engineer, Boat, and Shore regiment. So, we trained with those little boats for four or five months. And first thing off the bat they promoted me to Sergeant because of my experience on ships and made me a coxswain.”
By this time, trouble was really brewing. Millions of men were headed off to war, thousands to never return. Germany remained defiant; it continued its mission to conquer the world.
Henson continued, “Anyway, about four or five months after we created the Engineer, Boat, and Shore regiment, they had a notice on the bulletin board one day for everybody that held a seaman certificate to report for a big meeting they were going to have. So we did. And what happened – most people aren’t aware of what I’m fixing to tell you – out in California, there was a shipbuilder by the name of Henry Kaiser. Anyways, he taught us how to build ships. The transport ships called Liberty ships. Henry Kaiser, that was his name. And Mr. Kaiser taught us like Mr. Ford taught us to build the Model T. On an assembly line. Consequently, we were turning out two or three ships a day in our shipyards from California to the East Coast. All of a sudden we had plenty of ships, but no crews for them. Where were the crews?”
They had been drafted into the Army!
“Like I say, not many people are aware of this. Immediately after Pearl Harbor, all merchant shipping – ships, crews, and officers – were placed in direct jurisdiction of the U.S. Coast Guard. That automatically made us members of the Coast Guard. Anyway, they called this big meeting, it gave us – everyone who held a Seaman’s certificate – a choice. We could go back to sea and man these ships, or stay in the army, whichever. They could use us in either place. So a lot of us we knew ships, so we chose to go back to sea. Now we weren’t getting out of anything because they were still sinking ships up and down the coast! So we went back to sea, and that put me in the Coast Guard. Consequently I hold two Army discharges, and one from the Coast Guard.”
Henson ended up on a refueling tanker. When battle groups operated, they contained “carriers, battleships, light cruisers, destroyers, destroyer escorts, and even submarines, that’s what you call a battle group.”
“Every time a group sailed out to combat, they always had either two to three, maybe more, tankers for fuel. If they ran low on fuel, they couldn’t turn around and go into someplace, you know, to somewhere else for their fuel. So that’s what I was doing there on the refueling tanker. I did that for a number of months all over the South Pacific,” Henson said. “Well, I got the urge to go back into the Army in 1945. I got interested in law enforcement. And I don’t remember now at this point why I decided I wanted to go into the military police, but that’s what I wanted to do. So I put in for a transfer. It was turned down. Put in again for transfer, it was turned out. So I set down and wrote a letter to Admiral Emory S. Land.”
The last letter did the trick. He was sent to the 382nd Military Police Battalion in Bremerhaven, Germany. He “put in” the next three years in the MP Corps in Europe, the New York First Army, and the San Antonio Fourth Army. Henson had some fascinating memories there.
“While serving in the 382nd in Germany, with… an O.D. (Officer of the Day) , I saw two sides of this man. He always carried a Thompson sub-machine gun when on O.D. duty. One night, while I was on duty and part of the emergency squad of six men, I was relaxing at the booking station.” Henson said. “We suddenly got a call of a shooting at a local carnival the people of the city were giving for the children. We had a list of wanted deserters to look for; MP on duty at the carnival spotted one of the soldiers who was wanted for desertion. When challenged, the deserter fired at the MP on duty. The MP fired back but missed – and hit a little girl who was at the carnival. Fortunately, she survived. The deserter ran into one of the bombed-out buildings and locked himself in the bathroom, lined with tiles. In Europe, buildings had very little wood – construction was different, and they used much more tile and stone. We, at the station, responded to the call. Upon arrival, the MP on duty showed us where the deserter was. This O.D., a first Lieutenant, walked up within ten or twelve feet of the door. He demanded the deserter come out. His reply: ‘You come get me!’ The Lt. never said another word. He slung that Thompson and fired the entire magazine of 32 rounds of 45 caliber bullets into the door, making an ‘x.’ Then the Lt. said, ‘Drag his ass out of there.’ Well, you can imagine what those 45 slugs did to him as they ricocheted off the tiles – and into him. This was the one side of that First Lieutenant O.D. About a month later, in the dead of winter, we responded to a call to the railroad yard. Civilians were taking coal from the fuel dump. There was snow and ice everywhere, and old women and barefooted children were trying to keep warm. I ask the Lt., ‘What do you want us to do?’ After a few minutes, he said to me, ‘Not a damn thing. Let them have it or they will freeze.’ This was the other side of the same man – compassion. What memories.”
Henson’s story is undoubtedly very powerful; it shows that those who do not remember their history are doomed to repeat it. After seeing oppression in such a forceful, personal way, Henson’s mission is to warn Americans of what could very well be there fate if they don’t take action.
Involved politically and following issues, Henson wants to awaken the slumbering citizens around him. They haven’t seen what tyranny is like yet. One way Henson gets his message across is writing down his memories of war, bigotry, regulations, big government, concentration camps, and the incredible effects that the government has on family, children, and education. Wartime Germany – or in fact, Germany at any stage of Hitler’s rise to power – was not pretty. His firsthand experiences illustrate this well.
“All of the history you can study and read about what happened to other countries can happen here. And is. We feel safe. Don’t you? ‘Here in the United States, we’re the most powerful country in the world.’ We were…In a way it’s good that young people have this feeling of protection. But don’t ever forget that the only thing that you have that’s for sure and concrete is faith. Faith in God that He meant what He said. The people of Germany didn’t realize this. One day we sailed into Hamburg, Germany. This was before the war. Hitler was just beginning a speech to his own. And he was ‘blah blah blah’ on these loudspeakers attached to telephone poles up and down the street. All you could hear was Hitler ranting and raving about ‘Deutchsland Deutchsland uber alles!’ That’s ‘Germany, Germany over all.’ Today Germany, tomorrow the world. That was his ambition. I was still just a kid, but I’d followed my fellow crew members into a sort of German bar. If I remember right, there were five of us. One of them was the boatswain, he had like a foreman’s job. I don’t drink, never have drank, and never will drink. But I enjoyed going and seeing, you know, all these things and sights. So I had a soft drink and the boatswain was leaning back in his chair, and Hitler was talking. Talk, talk, talk, talking. We saw these two guys come in who they referred to as the brownshirts, what they call storm troopers. What they were was Hitler Youth ranging from 18-25, and they were dressed in the boots and tan trousers, and the brown shirts. And the first thing Hitler did was to take over, however he did it, the children in schools. A child as you well know, when it’s born, in one sense, is a brand new computer. And whatever you program into that child’s head is going to be there, from now on. They call that brainwashing, brainwashing you into believing something that isn’t true. That’s what Hitler did to these young men. As they graduated, they became Storm Troopers. Now these guys were very vicious. They were absolutely vicious. Meanwhile, the boatswain was leaning back in his chair, and these two guys had come in and were standing at the bar looking around. They carried, besides their pistol, a nightstick, a rubber nightstick about this long, called a truncheon. Hitler was still talking over the loudspeakers. The boatswain said, uh, a profanity. ‘Won’t that *** shut his ***** mouth?’ One of the brownshirts looked up, and he started walking over to our table. One the way over to our table, he undid his truncheon and backhanded the boatswain upside the head and across the mouth. Knocked all his front teeth out, split his lips. He was on the floor and of course there was blood flying everywhere. And the brownshirt said to the rest of us, ‘Take him back to the ship.’ That’s just an example of how you control people, once you get the power to do it. Anyways, that was just one of my experiences. This was before we got in the war.”
History has a way of repeating itself. Henson’s quest is to prevent his beloved America from becoming the next victim of totalitarianism.
It is one of the most precious emblems of freedom in the world; the embodiment of our spiritual heritage; the representation of our historical sacrifices for liberty; a tribute to the men and women who gave the ultimate price for freedom: the American flag. Yet today it is cheapened—nay, mocked—as an attention-getting political device upon which Wayne McDaniel, candidate for Hardin County Judge, hangs his offensively-placed campaign signs.
Old Glory, as it is sometimes called, is more than just a piece of cloth. It is blood, sweat, toil, and tears, justice, freedom, equality, and loyalty: no matter who is in the White House and no matter what party controls Congress, the American flag still represents these sacrifices and ideals—something that cannot be changed.
Respecting the flag sometimes seems silly, perhaps even trivial. However, flag etiquette is far from arbitrary: when the flag is displayed or handled, it is the physical representation of America and lives lost in its defense. That is something easily understood, and hopefully, easily remembered.
Occasionally our flag is disrespected or burned: a deliberate show of hatred not necessarily against America, but what the flag historically stands for. Occasionally the flag is forgotten outdoors: usually a careless misunderstanding or apathy. Occasionally the flag is misused, as it is made to represent ideals that it does not, parties that it cannot, or people that it is not meant to represent.
This is why Wayne McDaniel is wrong.
The flag code (Title 4, United States Code, Chapter 1, Section 8, i) bars the use of advertisements on a flag pole or halyard that is flying the American flag, which is one reason why McDaniel is inconsiderate in his using the flag’s halyard as a mere campaigning contrivance.
Hoisting McDaniel’s cheesy red and white campaign signs to the same halyard as Old Glory is false advertising. McDaniel’s sign does not represent blood, war, and courage. It does not stand for justice and freedom. The white outlines of the letters do not stand for purity. Most of all, it does not, and cannot, stand for America. Likewise the American flag does not represent the McDaniel campaign.
McDaniel’s breach of flag etiquette may have been unintentional, but it takes only common sense to understand that using the flag for advertising purposes is improper. McDaniel, a bureaucratic administrative officer in the Sheriff’s office, should understand flag protocol, making his disregard of etiquette even more blatant and appalling.
On election day, remember: the flag represents the blood of soldiers, the courage of patriots, God’s justice, America’s blessed freedom, and a special sort of governmental purity that is hard to remember and even harder to live up to. Make sure that your vote reflects what our flag represents.