Favorite Christmas Movies — Part One: White Christmas

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This season is one of my favorite times of year, and I love doing this series on Christmas movies. Throughout the month of December, I will post on several of my favorite Christmas films.

white_christmas

https://images.google.com/

White Christmas, the 1954 film about two former soldier who turn song and dance men and who help their former commander as he attempts to run a floundering ski resort, has special meaning to me. It stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney and was directed by Michael Curtiz. It features the songs of Irving Berlin.  As a major piece of American film history, that would be enough to be of interest to me, but it has a much more profound connection.

usmc

My parents were both of “the greatest generation,” which is a description with which I agree. They were born and raised during the depression and were part of the multitudes of America who fought and supported World War II. My father was a Marine, and my mother worked in the Signal Corps.  This group of Americans had a toughness that was forged in the fire of great tumult, both national and international.

US_Army_Signal_Corps_Frontpiece

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Corps_%28United_States_Army%29)

 My mother loved this movie, and it was a tradition in our family to watch it when it aired on television, which was, if I remember correctly, every Christmas Eve. If not that night, then it was always on a nearby night. Of course, as a child who was born a while after World War II, it was all ancient history to me then, but for my mother and father, it spoke directly to their lives and to their hopes and dreams.

Both of my parents have been gone for quite a while now, over 20 years–they were married for 48 years and died within 2 years of each other. As I have become older, I have learned to appreciate what my parents did for us, which, I have to admit, when I was young and stupid, I did not. To paraphrase Mark Twain, –it is amazing how smart my parents got as I got older. And I appreciate and try to continue some of the family traditions, including watching White Christmas, but now with my beloved wife. And now my granddaughter is old enough to begin to appreciate and enjoy these films. I still feel the connection to my Mom and Pop when I watch this movie.  This movie speaks to the connection of people, of hope, of joy, of happiness, and of the power of music.

And I wish we would have a white Christmas, and I hope it will happen this year.

 

snow-616319_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

Happy Birthday To The United States Marine Corps!

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usmc

(https://wallpapercave.com)

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps, who are on this day 244 years old. This branch of the Armed Forces of the United States has a long and distinguished history.  They will always have a special place in my heart, because my father was a Marine in World War II.

The Marine Corps is a family, and I saw this clearly one day, when my father was dying of cancer. His body had become a tiny version of the man he had been. He had taken to wearing his Marine Corps cap, and two young men in their uniforms, clearly just out of boot camp, saw him. We had been out for a small meal in my home town of Easton, PA,  and they approached him and began a conversation with him about his experiences. Then one young man asked me with complete courtesy if it was okay if they borrowed him for a few hours, simply to talk with an older Marine. My father was delighted, and I knew he was in good hands. I came back later that afternoon to pick him up, and he was still there talking with the two youngsters.

When he stood to go, they saluted him. My heart was full, and I saw the great joy these two young men had given to a mortally ill, elderly man they had never known before. When he was leaving, they exchanged, “Semper Fi.”

Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps.

1024px-Seal_of_the_US_Marine_Corps.svg

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

It Can Happen Here: Revisited

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Given the horrors of the mass shootings over the weekend, clearly inspired by bigotry, white nationalism, and racism, I decided to use this post again.

ItCantHappenHere

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, in It Can’t Happen Here, spoke to the idea that many Americans held that fascism could not occur in the United States of America. His book is satirical, frightening, and, unfortunately, still applicable.

1984 by George Orwell details the action of dictatorship set  in a dystopian future. Unfortunately, the lies of politicians as they deny their support for fascists and white power fanatics, illustrates Orwell’s understanding of how dictatorships can work.

Erik Larson’s nonfiction history book In The Garden of Beasts, 2011, detailed the experience of Ambassador Dodd in Berlin in the 1930s, during the rise and solidification of Hitler’s power, and it is a terrifying read.

We must always remember that it can happen here, that bigotry and hatred can lead to terrible results. That white nationalists and neo-nazis brought their horror and bigotry to Charlottesville, VA resulting in violence and death should make all Americans, regardless of political party, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, aware of what can happen. Since then other attacks on innocent people, both in the United States and around the world, continue to occur. The horror of the brutalities in New Zealand affects all of us. And now, we have experienced new horrors with the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. These new obscenities should continue to remind us of the dangers of racism and hatred.

We should all be frightened of the possibilities of such hatred. We should also speak to the singular lack of condemnation by President Trump of the neo-nazis and white power groups. As President, he should not have said that there were good people “on many sides” in Charlottesville, VA, and he has claimed that white nationalists are not a big problem in the world.

This problem is, however, enormous and terrifying. This is an issue of hatred, brought by those who worship hatred and the defeated, in World War II, obscenities of Hitler. The President should have, without equivocation, stated his condemnation of their actions and beliefs. And we must be aware that the fascist beliefs are regrowing in our world.

We must always remember that fascism, bigotry, hatred, and dictatorship can occur here as it can anywhere. As Americans, whose freedom was paid for in blood, by those who fought in World War Two, we must speak out against such injustice and horror. As members of the world community, we must condemn such actions and support the victims of this horror.

There should be no place for neo-nazis, white nationialists, and bigotry in the United States of America nor in the world. If we do not speak out, then we are condoning this horror. We must remember that silence is complicity in evil.

Always Remember And Honor D-Day

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Into_the_Jaws_of_Death_23-0455M_edit

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Today is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion by the Allied troops in which, on June 6, 1944, over 150,000 troops launched the largest sea, air, and land invasion in history against the Fascist powers led by Nazi Germany. The invasion itself saw these troops land in Nazi-occupied France, and it marked the beginning of the end of Nazi control of France and of the European war.

This landing was part of Operation Overlord, the code name for the overall plan to invade and retake France and move into Germany. During this battle, approximately 210,000 Allied casualties, including about 37,000 killed were suffered.

Most of the soldiers who attacked that beach and faced horrific gunfire from the occupying Nazi forces were around 18-20 years old, and they were among the most honorable and brave forces the Unites States ever produced. They were, indeed, among America’s Greatest Generation.

Please remember their courage and sacrifice.

Please remember that their actions helped to create the postwar American-European alliances that are currently at risk.

war-cemetery-2769053_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

Remember, Always — It Can Happen Here

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ItCantHappenHere

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

 

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, in It Can’t Happen Here, spoke to the idea that many Americans held that fascism could not occur in the United States of America. His book is satirical, frightening, and, unfortunately, still applicable.

1984 by George Orwell details the action of dictatorship set  in a dystopian future. Unfortunately, the lies of politicians as they deny their support for fascists and white power fanatics, illustrates Orwell’s understanding of how dictatorships can work.

Erik Larson’s nonfiction history book In The Garden of Beasts, 2011, detailed the experience of Ambassador Dodd in Berlin in the 1930s, during the rise and solidification of Hitler’s power, and it is a terrifying read.

We must always remember that it can happen here, that bigotry and hatred can lead to terrible results. That white nationalists and neo-nazis brought their horror and bigotry to Charlottesville, VA resulting in violence and death should make all Americans, regardless of political party, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, aware of what can happen. Since then other attacks on innocent people, both in the United States and around the world, continue to occur. The horror of the brutalities in New Zealand affects all of us.

We should all be frightened of the possibilities of such hatred. We should also speak to the singular lack of condemnation by President Trump of the neo-nazis and white power groups. As President, he should not have said that there were good people “on many sides” in Charlottesville, VA, and he has claimed that white nationalists are not a big problem in the world.

This problem is, however, enormous and terrifying. This is an issue of hatred, brought by those who worship hatred and the defeated, in World War II, obscenities of Hitler. The President should have, without equivocation, stated his condemnation of their actions and beliefs. And we must be aware that the fascist beliefs are regrowing in our world.

We must always remember that fascism, bigotry, hatred, and dictatorship can occur here as it can anywhere. As Americans, whose freedom was paid for in blood, by those who fought in World War Two, we must speak out against such injustice and horror. As members of the world community, we must condemn such actions and support the victims of this horror.

There should be no place for neo-nazis, white nationialists, and bigotry in the United States of America nor in the world. If we do not speak out, then we are condoning this horror. We must remember that silence is complicity in evil.

Favorite Christmas Movies Revisited: White Christmas

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white_christmas

https://images.google.com/

White Christmas, the 1954 film about two former soldier who turn song and dance men and who help their former commander as he attempts to run a floundering ski resort, has special meaning to me. It stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney and was directed by Michael Curtiz. It features the songs of Irving Berlin.  As a major piece of American film history, that would be enough to be of interest to me, but it has a much more profound connection.

usmc

My parents were both of “the greatest generation,” which is a description with which I agree. They were born and raised during the depression and were part of the multitudes of America who fought and supported World War II. My father was a Marine, and my mother worked in the Signal Corps.  This group of Americans had a toughness that was forged in the fire of great tumult, both national and international.

US_Army_Signal_Corps_Frontpiece

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Corps_%28United_States_Army%29)

 My mother loved this movie, and it was a tradition in our family to watch it when it aired on television, which was, if I remember correctly, every Christmas Eve. If not that night, then it was always on a nearby night. Of course, as a child who was born a while after World War II, it was all ancient history to me then, but for my mother and father, it spoke directly to their lives and to their hopes and dreams.

Both of my parents have been gone for quite a while now, over 20 years–they were married for 48 years and died within 2 years of each other. As I have become older, I have learned to appreciate what my parents did for us, which, I have to admit, when I was young and stupid, I did not. To paraphrase Mark Twain, –it is amazing how smart my parents got as I got older. And I appreciate and try to continue some of the family traditions, including watching White Christmas, but now with my beloved wife.  I still feel the connection to my Mom and Pop when I watch this movie.  This movie speaks to the connection of people, of hope, of joy, of happiness, and of the power of music.

And I wish we would have a white Christmas, but I think it will not happen this year.

Perhaps next year.

snow-616319_960_720

(https://pixabay.com)

Did He Really Say That?

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Once again, I find that I have to address a political situation in this blog, something I have not wanted to do. But this is so extraordinary that I cannot sit by and ignore it. Once again, Americans and the world need to speak out.

In a White House Lawn interview today, President Trump said something incredible, something  I never thought any President of the United States of America would ever say, in any context: “He [Kim Jong Un] speaks and people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

He later claimed that he was being sarcastic, but there is no place for that kind of dictatorial speech by an American leader. Has he forgotten that he was elected and not born into his position that the North Korean Dictator was? And to compliment one of the worst dictators in our world is unconscionable. The North Korean Dictator oppresses, starves, tortures, and kills the people of North Korea. How can the President show any kind of admiration for such a tyrant? How dare he show envy for the North Korean dictator?

There is no place in a democracy for any hint of a dictatorship. How dare he say this? Does he have no compassion? Does he have no decency?

The United States, along with its allies, fought World War Two to defeat dictators. Millions of people died in that war, and their memories must be honored by never–never–having a leader speak like a dictator.  Let us remember that we live in a democracy; in order for it to survive, our leaders and our people must honor that democracy.

And President Trump needs to understand that he serves the American People. The American People are not his people.

Later claiming sarcasm does not excuse this horrific statement. There is no excuse for this statement.

Americans must be aware of the risk of dictatorship.

How dare any President speak like a dictator?