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WITandWISDOM(tm) - July 2, 1999

~~~~~~~ THOUGHTS:

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. -Gail Sheehy

(E-zine: Quote A Day Mailto:join-quoteaday@pulse.salko.com)


You've probably seen the bumper sticker somewhere along the road. It depicts an American Flag, accompanied by the words "These colors don't run". I'm always glad to see this, because it reminds me of an incident from my confinement in North Vietnam at the Hao Lo POW Camp, or the "Hanoi Hilton," as it became known. Then a Major in the U.S. Air Force, I had been captured and imprisoned from 1967-1973. Our treatment had been frequently brutal. After three years, however, the beatings and torture became less frequent.

During the last year, we were allowed outside most days for a couple of minutes to bathe. We showered by drawing water from a concrete tank with a homemade bucket. One day as we all stood by the tank, stripped of our clothes, a young Naval pilot named Mike Christian found the remnants of a handkerchief in a gutter that ran under the prison wall. Mike managed to sneak the grimy rag into our cell and began fashioning it into a flag.

Over time we all loaned him a little soap, and he spent days cleaning the material. We helped by scrounging and stealing bits and pieces of anything he could use.

At night, under his mosquito net, Mike worked on the flag. He made red and blue from ground-up roof tiles and tiny amounts of ink and painted the colors onto the cloth with watery rice glue. Using thread from his own blanket and a homemade bamboo needle, he sewed on stars.

Early in the morning a few days later, when the guards were not alert, he whispered loudly from the back of our cell, "Hey gang, look here". He proudly held up this tattered piece of cloth, waving it as if in a breeze.

If you used your imagination, you could tell it was supposed to be an American flag. When he raised that smudgy fabric, we automatically stood straight and saluted, our chests puffing out, and more than a few eyes had tears.

About once a week the guards would strip us, run us outside and go through our clothing. During one of those shakedowns, they found Mike's flag. We all knew what would happen.

That night they came for him. Night interrogations were always the worst. They opened the cell door and pulled Mike out. We could hear the beginning of the torture before they even had him in the torture cell. They beat him most of the night. About daylight they pushed what was left of him back through the cell door. He was badly broken; even his voice was gone.

Within two weeks, despite the danger, Mike scrounged another piece of cloth and began another flag. The Stars and Stripes, our national symbol, was worth the sacrifice to him. Now whenever I see the flag, I think of Mike and the morning he first waved that tattered emblem of a nation.

It was then, thousands of miles from home in a lonely prison cell, that he showed us what it is to be truly free.

Condensed from a speech by Leo K. Thorsness, recipient of The Congressional Medal of Honor.

(E-zine: SENTIMENT FOR THE SOUL http://www.gcnhome.com)

~~~~~~~ THIS & THAT:

DAFFY DEFINITIONS: Part 1 of 2 [Pt 2, 7-12]

ANTIQUE: An object that has made a round trip to the attic.

BABY: Something that gets you down in the daytime and up at night.

BACHELOR: A man who is crazy to get married - and knows it.

BACTERIA: The back door of a cafeteria.

BORE: One who talks about himself when you want to talk about yourself.

CLEANLINESS: Something that in childhood is next to impossible.

COLLEGE-BRED: A four-year loaf made of Fathers dough.

COLLEGE EDUCATION: Something to help you express your negative ignorance in positive language.

EDUCATION: The process by which what is in the professors notebook gets into, your notebook without passing through the head of either.

EGOTIST: A guy who is always "me deep" in conversation.

ETC.: An abbreviation to make people believe you know more than you do.

EXPERT: An ordinary man a long way from home.

FANATIC: One who can't change his opinion and won't change the subject.

FLATTERY: Soft soap, which is 90 per cent Lye.

GOOD WIFE: One who helps her husband with the housework.

(Matthew J. Roberts)


"He who comes forth with a fifth on the Fourth
May not come forth on the Fifth."
- Quoted in Dear Abby

(Mary Ella)

~~~~~~~ TRIVIA:

One of the world's sweetest onion is the Walla Walla. A French soldier named Peter Pieri moved to the Walla Walla region in the 1890s and brought with him a sweet onion seed from Corsica that readily adapted to the harsh winters. Its sweetness is due to a low sulfur content - half that of an ordinary onion. The crop is federally protected: By law only onions produced along a narrow strip of land in southeast Washington can be labeled Walla Wallas. - Washington Journey, March/April 1999

To learn more about the different varieties of sweet onions and their availability and great recipes visit: http://www.sweetonionsource.com/varieties.html - Gaylord Miller, Brady, Texas

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