Monthly Archives: January 2014

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“We Will Never Forget Them . . .”

Where were you on January 28, 1986? Fewer and fewer remember, but never let us forget. Yesterday marked the 28th anniversary of an explosion that sucked away the breath of the world—the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster that occurred over the brilliant blue skies off the coast of Central Florida. Around the world, people tuned in to watch Challenger’s mission. Millions of Americans viewed the historic launch from the comforts of home on television. Millions more listened to the live radio broadcast. Schoolchildren across the nation watched from their classrooms. Tens of thousands more watched from the Florida coastline as, high above Kennedy Space Center, sunshine gleamed off the sparkling white shuttle.

And then Challenger burst into a ball of flame and white smoke.

Challenger was historic for reasons beyond the fact that it was the first—and hopefully the only—human-carrying shuttle to suffer a fatal in-air accident. Challenger also carried the first African-American into space, the first American woman into space, and the first Canadian into space. She also accomplished the first night launch and night landing in the history of any space shuttle. And at 11:39 am EST, Space Shuttle Challenger and her crew of six men and one woman disappeared from our skies forever. The crew, who came to be known around the world as “The Challenger Seven,” included Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe.

President Ronald Regan addressed our stunned and heartbroken nation that night, sending his deepest sympathies to the families of the seven astronauts and apologizing to schoolchildren for the “painful things” they’d seen that day. Then President Regan presented his own challenge to each American man, woman and child, saying: “The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.”

Do you remember where you were that day? Share with us your memories in the comment section below. Never let us never forget. 

Martin Luther King

Let me start out by say I am an older white guy. I have never been turned away from an eating Silhouette fedoraestablishment. I have never been told, if I can even get on the bus that I have to sit in the back. I have never stood in a place of business and looked to see a men’s restroom, women’s restroom and colored restroom, for both sexes. I can’t speak to the prejudice of a job interview. Further, I have never had anyone in my family go through the above experiences. 

The point I am trying to make is for me as a white person it is difficult to even begin to comprehend the impact that Reverend Martin Luther King had on the African-American community. We as white people often make statements as though we know, we get it and we feel your pain. As for me, all I can say is I have never been through the experiences, directly or indirectly, so I really can’t make such a statement. I can see a wrong, but I could never experience this one. No one could make me get it because of the color of my skin, I was denied.

I grew up at the end of the beginning of the civil rights movement; my parents discussed this with me every time something would appear on the news. I was taught by my parents to judge people by their character and how they treated me, nothing else. I was young enough to be open-minded and old enough to understand the impact this movement was having on the American Society during the early 1960’s. However, from my experiences of observing that time period, I know many in the white community had a real problem with Reverend Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Conversely, from my historical research, I have learned that some within the African-American community had a problem with him not being radical enough. Martin Luther King knew in his heart and from watching Gandhi, the only way to open this door to equality and to ultimately win over enough within the overall American population was to lead a peaceful movement. Dr. King knew it was the only way, while it took him a long time, certainly longer than he wanted, it was through these actions that the people began to respect the peacefulness of his action. Yes, it clearly was the correct way to accomplish his goal.

Is there still prejudges, of course. But Martin Luther King had a dream and a society – both blacks and whites – benefited from it.  

STOLEN GOLD AND OTHER ARTIFACTS

Within the next couple of weeks, a movie will be coming out called The Monuments Men.  This movie is based on a startling, real-life event that occurred in the final days of World War II in the European Theater, the discovery of the Merker Mine.

In the last days of the Third Reich, Hitler had the German Central Bank move all their currency and gold to this mine, which already housed the gold and artifacts stolen from the Jews and the conquered countries throughout Europe.Silhouette fedora

The real story behind this discovery is compelling. Sometime around April 5, 1945, French individuals were interrogated by US Army Counterintelligence Corps from the Ninetieth Infantry and learned of the potassium mine at Merker, Germany. This information was passed on up the Army intelligence chain to G-2. Soon, Lieutenant  Colonel William A. Russell entered this mine and made the startling discovery. As the artifacts were being documented, even General Dwight D. Eisenhower showed up at this mine to review the findings.

Do you know that the same things happened in the Pacific, following the defeat of Japan? Why have we not heard about it? The events in Europe were treated completely different from the events in the Pacific. Why? After the War in Europe, the British, the French, the United States and the Soviet Union divided Germany into four parts, with each country providing supervision in each region. Information was shared among the Allied Parties, except, of course, for the Soviet Union. In the Pacific, it was solely the United States.

I was hired by an international banker to research an owner’s missing gold, which led to more than a decade of researching World War II in the Pacific. This evolved into researching the events that lead to the war and the events immediately after the war. More particular, my research was focused on what happened to the gold and the Asian country’s treasures. The results of my research were placed into a three-volume history book of over one thousand pages that focuses these events. Later, I prepared a series of fiction books with my historical research serving as the underpinning. “We the people” need to be educated about these events. Were we taught these things in school? No, history and geography have been largely ignored in school for the last three or four decades. However, this is not where the answer lies: the government never wanted us to know what happened in the Pacific following World War II. Before and during World War II, we supported the wrong leader in Nationalist China, Chiang Kai-chek. President Franklin Roosevelt had big plans for China following the defeat of Japan; however, when China fell to Mao and the Communists, President Truman had to scramble to make quick changes. With General MacArthur running occupied Japan, Truman decided that Japan would become the country to rebuild. This was a country the United States had virtually destroyed; the infrastructure and many of its young men died in that conflict—those who would be critical to revitalizing the country.

Under the watchful eyes of General MacArthur, Japan got to keep all of their stolen gold and virtually no public record was made of the discoveries or even its existence. Then amazingly, within fifteen years, the world was touting Japan as the Economic Miracle.

Can anybody figure out how that happened?