Monday, October 16, 2017
..................................it will be extraordinary:
"The economic machine that we’ve built in the United States has done extraordinary things and I can’t wait to see what we come up with in the future. "
"Of all the amazing deeds of bravery of the war, I regard MacArthur's personal landing at Atsugi as the greatest of the lot," Winston Churchill wrote afterward. The former prime minister, a connoisseur of courage, was speaking of the American general's daring flight to the heart of enemy territory at the close of the Pacific war in 1945. The Japanese emperor, following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had called on his subjects to cease fighting, yet more than twenty divisions of soldiers, who had been prepared to give their last drop of blood to keep the Americans from securing a foothold on Japan's sacred soil, retained their weapons and their positions on the Kanto Plain. Kamikaze pilots, some having already received the rites for the dead, awaited only a word to carry out their suicide missions. Squads of young civilians, outraged at the emperor's call for surrender, stormed about Tokyo and nearby Yokohama vowing to resist to the end.
Douglas MacArthur, as the commander of the U. S. Army forces in the Pacific, would receive the formal Japanese surrender on board the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Prudence suggested he arrive with the ship, its powerful escort and the protection the vessels and their guns provided. MacArthur refused. He insisted he would enter Japan ahead of the navy, protected only by the moral force that came with righteous victory. His aides urged him to reconsider. Who knew what some bitter-ender might do? All it took was one bullet, one grenade, and the general would be a dead man. Worse, an assassination might rekindle the Japanese war spirit. If he must enter ahead of the navy, he should wait for more army troops. At the very least, he should be accompanied to Atsugi, the air base for Tokyo, by a substantial guard of well-armed soldiers.
He waved aside the worries. He declared that he would travel to Atsugi alone, with only his airplane's crew and his personal staff. His courage would be all the shield he required. He knew the Asian mind. "Years of overseas duty had schooled me well in the ways of the Orient," he later wrote. The Japanese would understand his action and be more impressed by one man alone than by any number of ships or regiments.
-H. W. Brand, The General vs. The President: MacArthur and Truman At The Brink Of Nuclear War
Sunday, October 15, 2017
Virgil thought about the woman and the daughter as he drove back. Had Mom been hitting on him, just the lightest, mildest of hits? What was the sadness in the small girl's eyes? Had she seen other men spoken to when Dad wasn't there?
The whole thing seemed less than an invitation to romance than an invitation to a story of some kind. Not journalism, a short story. Something Jim Harrison might write.
Virgil had had an interest in short stories when he was in college, but journalism seemed more immediate, something with its claws in the real world. The older he got, though, the wider he found the separation between reported facts, on one hand, and the truth of the matter on the other hand. Life and facts were so complicated that you never got more than a piece of them. Short stories, though, and novels, maybe, had at least a shot at the truth.
-John Sanford, as culled from Chapter 17 of Heat Lightning
"Most of life's greatest opportunities come out of moments of struggle; it's up to you to make the most of these tests of creativity and character."
"This life is not godliness, but growth in godliness; not health, but healing; not being, but becoming; not rest, but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way; the process is not yet finished, but it has begun; this is not the goal, but it is the road; at present all does not gleam and glitter, but everything is being purified."
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Friday, October 13, 2017
Thursday, October 12, 2017
A surging, seething, murmuring crowd of beings that are human only in name, for to the eye and ear they seem naught but savage creatures, animated by vile passions and by the lust of vengeance and of hate. The hour, some little time before sunset, and the place, the West Barricade, at the very spot where, a decade later, a proud tyrant raised an undying monument to the nation's glory and his own vanity.
-Baroness Orczy, The Scarlet Pimpernel