Sunday, August 29, 2010

Macon, Jackson, and Transylvania Counties, North Carolina

Macon, Jackson, Transylvania Counties are 3rd, 4th, & 5th from the bottom left, click to enlarge

I feel personal growth from the experiences of seven days while vacationing in three North Carolina counties where I'd never before been.  As a person my age and native of this state, I'd never ventured into these mountain counties of the Tar Heel State.

Transylvania County is a four-hour drive from my home in Forsyth County where I live in a suburb of Winston-Salem. My wife and I time-shared a condo in Sapphire Valley near Cashiers for a week and spent every day exploring and sightseeing the mountains, streams, waterfalls, national and state parks, and other scenic places.  We were joined for 3 days and 2 nights by friends from Winston-Salem. The couple along with us enjoyed immensely the time and places.

I plan to explain and show pictures over the next few weeks about why this area is special and a desirable place to vacation.

Have a good week!   

Sunday, August 22, 2010

War Veterans In Golden Years

WWII Veteran SSG George Browder at Veterans Day Parade in Warsaw, North Carolina in 2005 

SSG George Browder at the WWII Memorial in DC, 2006

George Browder is shown in the 2005 and 2006 pictures above.  In 2007 Mr. Browder died at age 86 and was buried in Richmond County, North Carolina.  This war veteran had the means and executive status to be clothed in a Brooks Brothers suit; instead, he entered his grave in military uniform, a garment near and dear to his heart.

Young Browder joined the Army with a goal of becoming a paratrooper and infantryman.  He did both and served heroically in the Pacific Theater with the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne.  He was highly decorated with medals and ribbons for the service he rendered on the battlefields of Pacific Islands.

After the Great War, he left the military and started a family and a career. He had a wife and eventually three sons, one of whom is George Jr. (Sandy), a former career colleague and good friend of mine.

The senior George Browder worked his way up the ranks to become general manager of two J. P. Stevens Plants in Rockingham.  Later, he was named President of Stevens Aviation in Greer, South Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, and Louisville, Kentucky.  Along the way to his golden years he was a community leader, and held leadership positions in his church, the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and Boy Scouts.  The town of Rockingham named their public park in honor of this popular man.

The following is what is interesting to me about this story.  Similar stories can be told about war veterans all across the country.  Men and women fought on battlefields, returned home, raised families, built careers, contributed to their communities, and grew old.  Out of all the worldly accomplishments men and women achieve in life, many war veterans' thoughts and interests return to their times in the military, not business, fraternities, sports, or clubs.  I saw this happen with my father and sense it in other men I know.  Just like Mr. Browder, some past warriors read books about their battles; many reconnect with buddies in their units, attend reunions, and turn out for parades on national holidays.  Many begin to talk about their experiences for the first time. Some write their memoirs as George Browder did in his book entitled, "The Road to Tokyo and Back."

I admire and respect veterans who outwardly show what they've done for their country.  When these men were young, they placed themselves in harm's way and survived for a reason.  The reason is still a mystery to some older veterans who prefer to forget it all.  But for others like Mr. Browder and Mr. Aguilar in a previous post, they remain courageously visible and a source of encouragement for young men and women.

Look again at the top picture and imagine what Browder may have said to the young soldiers and many others.  He most likely gave uplifting words of thanks, moral support, and encouragement to these two young men.  This is the spirit war veterans should put forth, especially in the golden years of life.  Each in his unique way can be a shining example of character, patriotism, love, and respect.

Have a good week!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Independence Day Parade

Horses and riders from Escondido

Beginning at 9:30 am PST on July 3, 2010, I stood on the corner of Orange Avenue and 3rd Street on Coronado Island, California to watch their Independence Day Parade.  The parade started at 10:00 and lasted two hours.  I saw the normal marching bands, fire trucks, veteran's groups, classic cars and more. Until I attended this parade, I'd never before seen United States Border Patrol agents.  The three pictures below show agents marching, riding horses, or driving dune buggy-like vehicles.  They consisted of men and women and were impressive people.

Independence Day Parades are taken seriously and are well attended on Coronado Island.  According to the parade handout, an estimated 70,000 people attended last year.  

The horses and riders in the top picture were representatives of Escondido, one of the oldest cities in San Diego County.

The parade was a lot of fun and a very patriotic event.

Have a good week!  

Border Patrol

Border Patrol

Another View of Border Patrol in Coronado Parade

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Could You Be Wrong?

This new book is available on Kindle

This 2010 book is about people possessing a belief and later discovering they were wrong.  For example, a KKK leader in Durham, North Carolina hated a group of people and later discovered he was wrong to feel that way.

Another example was a woman who grew up believing that abortion is murder and later decided to have an abortion when she became a married adult.  Other example included medical professionals performing surgery on a body part and then discovering they operated on the wrong organ.  (Medical errors are the 8th leading cause of deaths in the United States.)

Being Wrong explores buyer's remorse, religious belief, opinions about others, and errors made in court that imprison innocent people.  See the link here about a Winston-Salem woman who helped send an innocent man to prison for a life sentence. These are examples of mistakes made by well meaning people.  How does this happen?  How does the human psyche cope at the moment when a belief is learned to be mistaken?  How can people avoid being wrong?

Answers to questions like these are examined in this very interesting book. Below are some notable quotes from the book:

"Groupthink most commonly affects homogeneous, close-knit communities that are overly insulated from internal and external criticism...."

"... how we react when our convictions collapse out from under us, and how we are changed from the experience."

"... buyer's remorse is a failure to accurately predict our own needs, desires, beliefs, and emotions..."

"This is one of the most powerful ways being wrong can transform us: it can help us become more compassionate people."

"Studies have shown that, on average, doctors interrupt their patients eighteen seconds after they have started explaining the reason for their visit."

"As soon as we think we are right about something, we narrow our focus, attending only to details that support our belief, or ceasing to listen altogether."

So, what is the lesson?  The lesson for everyone is to consider the possibility that our opinion or belief may not be accurate.  How can we avoid being wrong?  One way is for some people is to stop talking so much and begin to listen more.  Another way is to listen more carefully and keep an open mind.  Personal growth occurs when one discovers an error in their opinion or belief.

I recommend this book.

Have a good week!


Sunday, August 01, 2010

USS Midway Museum

Onboard the USS Midway

Have you wondered about the South Vietnamese people who escaped from Saigon when North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the walls and gates on April 30, 1975?  You may remember the news footage of helicopters lifting people from the rooftop at 22 Gia Long Street and taking them to the USS Midway offshore in the South China Sea.  The ship added 4,000 people that day.  It became so crowded on the carrier that many Huey helicopters were pushed overboard after their last flight to make room for the people.

On April 30, 2010 the 35th anniversary celebration took place on the USS Midway that is now a museum in the San Diego Bay. Watch this short video clip of people whose lives were saved 35 years ago.  Click here.

My wife, daughter, and I toured the aircraft carrier museum when we vacationed recently.  I salute all men and women who serve or served in the Navy.  See some of my pictures below.

Have a good week!
Inside the top bridge of the island
F-4 Phantom, I loved the sight of these jets when they delivered air support to us fighting on the ground in Vietnam in 1966.
A View of the Flight Deck
The docent (retired Navy) in the yellow cap explained ship operations.