A Tribute to Senator John McCain reprint August 25, 2018 upon his passing.

A Tribute to Senator John McCain

Dated November 10, 2017

Liberty Medal 2017 presented to Senator John McCain by former Vice President and Dear Friend Joe Biden October 16,2017
Liberty Medal 2017 presented to Senator John McCain by former Vice President and Dear Friend Joe Biden October 16,2017

On the Occasion of Receiving the Liberty Medal

Awarded by the National Constitution Center

Presented by former Vice President, Mr. Joseph Biden

October 16, 2017

Well, the first part of this Tribute wasn’t as short as I expected it to be. Remember the great moments when I regaled you with tales of boot camp in Missouri at Fort Leonard Wood (we recruits called it Fort Misery)?

The Awareness

I was warming up to my story of John McCain. As I left my tale of the Army in my rearview mirror of life, one day I saw a news program. I watched in awe? horror? shock?

I can’t think of the word but probably all of them.

On the news soon after March 14, 1973, I saw American soldiers deplaning.

The news anchor explained these men had flown from Germany. They had been released from Prisoner of War Camps in North Vietnam.

You may remember it was months prior when I lived through basic training at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri.

Our night on bivouac still weighed on my mind.

If I took our two days on the miserable adventure and multiplied it by five years the result is 1,825 more nights that Mr. McCain spent in captivity with torture always as his companion.

Later, much later, a more detailed account of the horrors of the Hanoi Hilton and other camps emerged.

It wasn’t until much, much later a complete (as will ever be told) was let out of the bag.

Now, single file down the ramp, a salute to the flag they had served for such a long time in captivity (for John McCain is was more than five years!).

I suffered through eight weeks of basic training. These guys numbered their suffering in YEARS!

The Tribute

On Monday, October 16, 2017, Senator John Sydney McCain of the great state of Arizona was awarded the Liberty Medal by the National Constitution Center and presented to Senator McCain by a dear friend and former Vice President of the United States, Mr. Joseph Biden.

The medal was awarded for his lifetime of sacrifice and service to the Nation.

He began his remarks, after a short period of ribbing with Joe Biden (they had served in the United States Senate together), by recalling another Liberty Medal Award ceremony in 1991.

He was attending the ceremony at the War Memorial at the USS Arizona in Hawaii. The recipient of this medal was former President George H. W. Bush.

President Bush’s remarks were emotional and heartfelt as he, was a WWII pilot in the Pacific. He had to bail from his aircraft over the Pacific Ocean.

Mr. McCain related that Mr. Bush, who with a choked up voice concluded his remarks “May God bless them. May God Bless America, the most wondrous land on earth.”

Mr. McCain then recalled the story, a version of which I had heard at a young age.

A story which shaped my life and my times indeed as his-story shaped these United States of America.

“We are blessed, and we are a blessing to humanity in turn. The international order we helped build from the ashes of world war, and we defend to this day, has liberated more people from tryanny and poverty than ever before in history. This wondrous land has shared its treasures and ideals and shed the blood of its finest patriots to help make a new, better world. And as we do so, we made our own civilization, more just, freer, more accomplished and prosperous than the America which existed when I watched my father go off to war on December 7th, 1941.”

The Statesman

Then Mr. McCain began the most telling part of his remarks.

“To fear the world we organized and led for three quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain ‘the  last hope of the earth’ for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems are as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history. We live in a land made of ideals at home and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. Leadership has its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to.”

(Now, dear reader, you may not know the spirit in which these words were given, nor the actions and words that led Mr. McCain to deliver them. I will address these issues a  blog to follow.)

I will not take away one iota of the adulation due to Mr. McCain. I would beg your patience with one more thought regarding Mr. McCain.

He is not just a former POW or a six-term Senator from Arizona.

He is a Statesman of this Country. The order “Statesman” is not granted lightly or frequently.

Indeed it won’t even be given in Mr. McCain’s lifetime.

There is no greater honor Mr.McCain lived for than the two great moments I was privileged to witness.

The first was when, as the last Republican Senator voting, he cast the vote to snatch the victory from the Republican Party’s wicked attempt to disembowel the Affordable Care Act.

The next were these words that will ring around the globe to face all of the wicked, evil and immoral attempts to change America from a leader to an America that falls to its lowest common denominator.

This is the time to honor a great Statesman. We were honored, learning from and hopefully passing on to our children, the sacrifice, and service – the life of Mr. John Sydney McCain.

Undoubtedly, the brain cancer robbing him of years that should be devoted to peace and leadership, of shepherding the men and women that will follow him, will now be lost.

There will be more opportunities ahead to witness his love and devotion not only to this great country but the special place in which he held his constituents, the people of Arizona. Join with me as we witness the great resolve and inspiration that is shown by a true ‘Statesman’, Senator John Sydney McCain.

Monument Rock in Monument Valley Arizona
One of my two all-time favorite images. Monument Valley Park in Arizona.
a favorite structure Cathedral Rock in Monument Valley Park, AZ
This image of one of my favorite earthbound structures, Cathedral Rock.

All images I use are either my own and labeled, or published under Creative Commons Zero License, which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer.

Epilogue

Thank you for your service, Senator John McCain!

For your service in the United States Military, in the United States Senate and in private life. You are a role model to this generation and the upcoming ones.

I am sorry about your illness. Sorry for those of us that remain. Hopefully, we will have strength and intelligence to fight this most pernicious war that very many don’t even know, yet, that is being waged.

Shalom! (God is fighting for Your Peace)

Craig

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A Tribute to Barack and Michelle Obama

 

Dated November 10, 2017

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama in a casual close up pose

Thorny Issue Found and Solved

My birthday is coming up soon and I’ve been trying to think of something to give myself. Do you find it true that the very best presents are the ones you give yourself? I have no need for fuss nor muss. Just go out and get it. Well, there is one thorny issue – the money part. Always the nastiest thought that can ruin a buyer’s dream. So what to do? What to do?

I know, since I am in this writing frenzy  I will be writing a present. I can be as syrupy a writer as I want to be. As truthful, or not, as I want to be. Great idea!

I am going to address it to the most courageous man I know. More so after today as all of his enemies lined up to be shot down. (I hope!)

He also possesses some really fantastic traits that mark him as a renaissance man. A Polymath man, which means a man whose expertise spans a significant number of various subject areas, (referring to the Renaissance period).  Meaning a man that is well versed in many subjects, a wonderful raconteur. Much more than that though. A storyteller of the highest order. He can fascinate children and pose serious questions for deliberation to adults. This man is well taught, well educated, well spoken. He has high intelligence and a fascinating way of delivering a speech. Always poised. Always alert. Always listening. Yes, I can see that man in my skin. But, it isn’t me. The man I am promoting that gets to enjoy my birthday present to myself is none other than Barack Hussein Obama.

Actually, it will be a website.

The Background

Mr. and Mrs. Barack and Michelle Obama are classy people. They are intelligent, soft-spoken, engaging people. He was the most excellent president I have known or studied. He didn’t hop from project to project. He had a vision of what he wanted to accomplish and if it had not been for an adverse Republican Party to deal with he would have had an even more remarkable record of accomplishments. As it is, his accomplishments are unmatched in recent history.

Michelle also has a keen intellect and knew what she wanted to accomplish. She chose several areas primarily with children such as obesity, a major issue with black children and arts education. At every opportunity, she was working on those plans.

I was pretty bummed when he was out sailing in Hawaii and windsurfing with Mr. Branson. Especially considering the uncouth lout that followed him and is destroying everything Barack accomplished. I have recently learned that he shared his loutishness with any number of Republican donors.

I had known that the Mercers and another couple were not impressed with Barack but I did not grasp the depths of their animosity of Mr. Obama. I also didn’t know until this week that when word got out,  almost every Republican donor was telling the congresspeople in his or her pocket that they had better get tax reform done or do not darken their doorway with hands out looking for a donation. I even read where one donor had already turned down requests for fundraisers due to the loss of the ACA repeal. Well, that is enough of the crooks that now reside in the People’s House. The Obamas look of greater stature when compared to the boors we now have. Enough said.

Citizen Wisdom

I was concerned that he and Michelle would just fade off into the distance only to be seen on occasion. However, they have established a foundation. The mission statement of Obama.org could be “we’re going to build a working living center for developing the next generation of active leaders of the world.”

They actively solicit each person to “let us know what’s on your mind, what good citizenship means to you, and what you want this Foundation to be.”

Here are a few clips from the Foundation’s brochure where people can share their thoughts:

“Good citizens care about others, about causes bigger than themselves, understanding that helping others be stronger helps everyone, even themselves.”

Beth D., Plainfield IN

“I believe citizenship is about having a deep love for one’s community and the willingness to be engaged for the greater good”

Eve M., Brooklyn NY

“We are all better because we have women leaders and women who build each other up”

Debra S., Lubbock TX

The Biography 

Barack Hussein Obama II is an American who served as the 44th President of the United States of America from 2009 to 2017. He was the first African-American to have served as president. (Wikipedia)

He was born on August 4th, 1961 (his current age is 56) at Kapiolani Center for Women and Children, Honolulu Hawaii. He was graduated from Occidental College and Harvard Law School. He taught Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

He was born to Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. He is 6’1″tall.

Michele LaVaughn Robinson Obama was born on January 17, 1964. She is an American lawyer and writer who was First Lady of the United States from 2009 to 2017. She was raised on the South Side of Chicago and is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

Mr. and Mrs. Obama have two daughters, Malia and Natasha (better known by her nickname Sasha).

This material is from a biographical description of Barak Obama. It is so well written I won’t try to improve on it ;-). But I will condense it when possible. This must be the official short version since it has “The Office of Barach and Michelle Obama” printed at the top.

“Few presidents have walked a more improbable path to the White House. Born in Hawaii to a mother from Kansas and a father from Kenya, Obama was raised with help from his grandparents, whose generosity of spirit reflected their Midwestern roots. The homespun values they instilled in him, paired with his innate sense of optimism, compelled Obama to devote his life to giving every child, regardless of his or her background, the same chance America gave him.

With the help of scholarships and student loans, he moved to Chicago where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants. “That experience honed his belief in the power of uniting people around politics of purpose, in the hard work of citizenship, to bring about positive change. In law school, he became the first African-American President of the Law Review, then he returned to Illinois to teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago and to begin a career in public service, winning seats in the Illinois State Senate and the United States Senate.”

“He took office at a moment of crisis unlike any America had seen in decades: a nation at war, a planet in peril, the American Dream itself threatened by the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. Through all the obstructions thrown in his path his leadership helped rescue the economy, revitalize the American auto industry, reform the healthcare system to cover an additional twenty million Americans, and put the country on a firm course to a clean energy future – all the while overseeing the longest stretch of job creation in American history. On the world stage Obama’s belief in America’s indispensable leadership and strong, principled diplomacy helped wind down wars in Iraq and Afganistan, decimate al Qaeda and eliminate the world’s most wanted terrorist, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program, open a new chapter with the people of Cuba and unite humanity in a coordinated action to combat changing climate.”

In times of great challenge and change, President Obama’s leadership ushered in a stronger economy, a more equal society, a nation more secure at home and abroad.”

An email from the foundation “Obama.org” recalls his request in his farewell address as President. “I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to make change, but in your’s.”

His faith in the ability of each person to make a difference in our world. He and Michelle’s two decades of public service “demonstrated that the hard work of democracy begins not with government, or with parties, or with any politician, but within each of us.”

This is the guiding principle of the Obama Foundation.

“We are a working, living center for citizenship. Our goal is to develop the next generation of citizens; to shape what it means to be an engaged active citizen in the 21st Century.”

Michelle has said, “This will be your Foundation as much as it is ours.”

The people of the Foundation want to know what’s important to us as we build this Foundation.”

I am going to bring this first part to a close. This record will keep growing and expanding as news and time permit.

Some further editions will include summaries of their first summit in the summer of 2017, some of his political positions will be described along with and interspersed with his emails letting us know what is developing with the Foundation.

Craig

Baracl and Michelle waving hello
Begin Anew, Believe in People, Generosity Abounds