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Preface / Introduction
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Table of Contents
1. We must remember... because to forget would obliterate the crimes and suffering. The pressing need to restore and preserve Auschwitz. 2. An appreciation for the life of Violet Cowden, 94, died April 10, 2011. World War II aviation pioneer. 3. Thoughts on the "war to end all wars", mustard gas, Uncle Will, and remembrance.
Remember our Veterans !!!
We must remember... because to forget would obliterate the crimes and suffering. The pressing need to restore and preserve Auschwitz.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant You think, before you go, that you are prepared. But you are not prepared. You think you understand what happened at this place and why it happened. But you do not understand. You think you can visit the museum and its artifacts as you would visit any other museum. But you cannot so visit. This is Auschwitz and it changes your life, starkly, profoundly, forever. It forces you to think... to dig deep in your soul... it demands your attention... your reverence... You came to see for yourself... and it demands that you see it all and clearly. It is almost unbearably painful... and the tears come involuntarily, providing release. You begin to fathom the unfathomable. This is Auschwitz and it compels, as if by right, your complete concentration, that you see it all, confront it all, avoiding nothing. Here a great evil was perpetrated. Here people just like you and me, people who once laughed, studied, married, worshipped found an untimely end they could not comprehend even at the moment of death. What had they done to bring them to this place of dedicated evil and inexplicable horrors? This is Auschwitz where human minds were put to the business of destroying humans, systematically, categorically, efficiently, proudly. From the moment you arrive at the entrance dubbed the "Gate of Hell", you sense an atmosphere compounded of fear, terror, anger, confusion. Upon arrival, people just like you walked through this gate, little comprehending that their fate was about to be sealed at the hands of guards who, with a nod or flick of a swagger stick, directed you to immediate perdition... or to a more lingering death as a laboring slave. "The angel of death" himself, Josef Mengele, immaculate in shiny boots, gloves, and a whip was often seen... evaluating,calculating, deciding fates without compunction, a man of destiny, ensuring the desirable exterminations demanded from Berlin. The world, burdened with many problems in May, 1940 when Auschwitz was created, took little note of this one... until Soviet troops liberated it January 27, 1945, exposing step by horrifying step the true dimensions of human cruelty one object, one item, one artifact at a time. 155 buildings 300 ruins 4 gas chambers and crematoria 27 guard towers 460 artificial limbs 80,000 pairs of shoes 40,000 pairs of spectacles 260 prayer garments 3,800 suitcases. Now these and all the other remnants of systematic horror are threatened by aging, the elements, neglect, lack of funds, and by the steady increase in visitors who come to learn... and to ponder. In http://www.HomeProfitClub.com Copyright Johan Willems - 2012 4 of 12
Remember our Veterans !!! 2010, 1.4 million of these pilgrims came... and thought deeply of what they saw. Each was touched in his own way, and so remembers. To preserve all this so we never forget what is so painful to remember, $200 million is now required. Germany, to date, has pledged $60 million; the USA $15 million, other governments, like Austria, less. But what of the British government...and the French, two of the great allies of the World War that gave the Nazis their cover for the "Final Solution"? Ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, having visited Auschwitz, pledged funds, but no amount. And, so far, the succeeding Cameron government has been silent on the matter, facing as it does riots for budget cuts that touch his fellow citizens more urgently. The French are even less committed than the British... the needs of their own war memorials and the crosses of Flanders fields call for upkeep and restoration, too. And yet this matter presses... as the artifacts of horror crumble, disintegrate, decay. Each one gone aids oblivion, out of sight, out of mind, which after all would suit some people who deny the importance or even the existence of the Holocaust. The job that has to be done is immense... and time is pressing as the last of the Holocaust survivors passes into eternity, anxious that the unspeakable reality they knew remain vivid, a necessary reminder to generations yet to come of what we humans are capable of doing to each other. The people of Armenia, Cambodia, and Rwanda , to name but a few, already know. Holocaust, you see, is not merely history; it is present day reality, lethal, savage, always near at hand. This is why Auschwitz must continue to exist, not merely as a museum but as a living example of the dark side of our species. For we are now what the masters of Auschwitz were then... beings capable of the unspeakable, not just in those damp and pestilential Polish fields and forests where the death camp grew... but everywhere on this seething planet that knows all the varieties of hatred so well. To find out how you can help preserve and restore Auschwitz and related projects, contact: Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston 126 High St. Boston, MA 02110 At: 617.457.8600 | f: 617.988.6255
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Remember our Veterans !!!
An appreciation for the life of Violet Cowden, 94, died April 10, 2011. World War II aviation pioneer.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant President Harry Truman once remarked that there is nothing new under the sun except the history you haven't learned yet. How right he was, and nothing proves the point so well as this appreciation for the life of World War II aviation pioneer,Violet Crowden and all the other 1,078 Women Airforce Service Pilots. Here is the crucial problem they helped to solve: When the United States entered World War II, (December 1941), it placed its massive manufacturing and industrial capacity at the service of the Allies. This meant producing aircraft in the quantities needed to overwhelm Germany and Japan thereby ensuring the fastest possible victory. But there was a problem here. The war drained America of its male pilots; they were needed at the front, to fly the crucial missions. But there weren't enough male pilots in the country to replace them. That left a huge problem that had to be solved and had to be solved fast: how to get the planes being manufactured to the landing fields worldwide where our "boys" desperately needed them? The solution? Cherchez la femme, particularly the thousands of American women who were licensed pilots. They were the ace in the hole... though they had to get through a mountain of male skepticism and doubt before they got the opportunity to show America and the world that they could do their "bit" too. Creation of the WASP. Even before America entered the war far-seeing women were at work on solving problems that would occur when she did. Two famous women pilots -- Jacqueline "Jackie" Cochran and test-pilot Nancy Harkness Love -- independently submitted proposals for the use of female pilots in non-combat situations. These proposals were submitted to the US Army Air Forces (USAAF), predecessor to the United States Air Force, or USAF. They rightly believed the war would spread and that the United States must be prepared when it did. Their (separate) proposals were rejected by General H. "Hap" Arnold, commander of the USAAF. Poor "Hap" was hapless. Not least because Eleanor Roosevelt, America's activist First Lady, intervened and strenuously so. Her involvement triggered the usual winks, nudges and (privately) malicious digs and comments; why couldn't she just give teas in the Blue Room like all the First Ladies before her? But that wasn't Eleanor Roosevelt's way and the USAAF got a whiff of what one determined woman could do to help other determined women help America. In due course, America's need for pilots trumped the arguments against female pilots... and so, bit by bit, women were integrated into the services. Some ferried new planes to their destinations; others towed targets for aerial gunnery practice; still others were flight instructors. The "Big Cheese" syndrome. But if women could do men's work, they also suffered from the same turf battles. Who was going to be the Big Cheese of these proceedings -- "Jackie" Cochran or Nancy Love? Cochran was in England volunteering to fly for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA). While she was gone, "Hap" http://www.HomeProfitClub.com Copyright Johan Willems - 2012 6 of 12
Remember our Veterans !!! Arnold decided to go with Nancy Love's proposal. "Jackie" Cochran, back from England, immediately made An Issue of this decision... while Hapless Hank Arnold claimed ignorance... anything to cool Cochran down. Arnold's solution was classic: both proposals were accepted and a final decision postponed. Of course both tenacious, determined, bureaucratically adept women continued the battle for supreme control. In July 1943, Cochran, famous and better connected, got what she wanted. With Arnold's assistance Cochran became director of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. No one knew better than General Arnold why they were called WASPs. Violet Cowden at work for America. While these internecine battles were playing themselves out, the recruitment of women pilots got underway... and the results were astonishing. More than 25,000 women applied for WASP service. Fewer than 1,900 were accepted and just 1,078 of them got their wings... including Violet Cowden, who served the WASPs in 1943 and 1944. Cowden was typical of the kinds of women who became WASPs and the constant obstacles they faced. Born October 1,1916 in Bowdle, South Dakota, in 1936 she earned a teaching certificate from what was then the Spearfish Normal School, in Spearfish, S.D. She then stayed in Spearfish to teach first grade. There, she rode her bicycle 6 miles each way to a local airfield for her first flying lessons. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Cowden, by then a licensed pilot, asked to join the Civil Air Patrol but got no reply. That was typical. She tried again and applied to the Women's Flying Training Detachment, an early incarnation of the WASPs. She was one of the 1830 lucky applicants and reported to Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas for six months of rigorous training. There she discovered that because WASPs were civilian employees and not military, they had to pay for their own food, lodging, and (generally ill-fitting) attire. Barely 5 foot tall Violet Cowden was installed in a men's Size 44 for the duration. Violet Cowden faced the snubs and slights the way most WASPs did -- by ignoring the fact they were ignored and getting on with the job. They knew something about America's pilots that these male pilots often forgot: they needed these women and their often overlooked skills. It was a simple as that. Always an afterthought, Cowden worked seven days a week, sleeping on commercial flights that ferried her to and from her crucial business. There was hardly ever a good word for a dangerous job well done... and remember what the WASPs did could be very dangerous indeed. Thirty eight WASPs died in accidents during training or on duty. And despite all they did, when in late 1944 male pilots began coming home in significant numbers, the WASPs were, with hardly a word of thanks or recognition, simply dismissed. For Violet Cowden that day came in December, 1944 when the Army dissolved the WASPs altogether and told them to go home. For Cowden this was the "worst day of my life"... but it was a man's world then... and this was how things were done. It was America at our crudest and most insensitive, and it is painful to recall that our nation treated these patriots so. Recognition, at last. If there contemporaries ignored and overlooked them, later generations did what they could to bestow proper recognition and acknowledgement for a job well done. President Jimmy Carter signed in 1977 legislation to give WASPs full military status for their service. On July 1, 2009 President Barack Obama awarded the WASP the Congressional Gold Medal and said, "I am honored to finally give them some of the hard-earned recognition they deserve." http://www.HomeProfitClub.com Copyright Johan Willems - 2012 7 of 12
Remember our Veterans !!! As for Violet Cowden, having been kicked out of the war, the WASPs dissolved, she got the only job in aviation she could... behind the ticket counter of Trans World Airlines, waiting for history to catch up. Perhaps now it has...
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Thoughts on the "war to end all wars", mustard gas, Uncle Will, and remembrance.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant. Author's program note. This Memorial Day for the first time since the clock struck eleven on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the day of Armistice, there are no known World War I veterans extant. The last U.S. veteran, Frank Buckles, died in 2011 after celebrating his 110th birthday. He served as a U.S. Army ambulance driver in Europe, rising to the rank of corporal before the war ended. Then there was just one more... Florence Green died in 2012 at age 110, just two weeks before her 111th birthday. She joined the Women's Royal Air Force in September 1918 at the age of seventeen. She went to work as a waitress in the officers' mess at RAF Marham in eastern England, and was serving there when the war ended in 1918. With these two deaths, now they are all dead, in their millions, the men and women who fought to make the world safe for democracy, theirs the "war to end all wars" as President Woodrow Wilson earnestly asserted and solemnly pronounced to a world which, after its great sacrifices, wanted so very desperately to believe him, no one more so than William Edward Marshall, my Great Uncle Will. How an Archduke changed the life of a gridiron hero, the most handsome man in Henderson County. "The Great War", as its survivors dubbed it, began when a zealous young Slav nationalist named Gavrilo Princip shot the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his morganatic wife Countess Chotek at point blank range . They both died at once... while Austrian authorities proceeded to break Princip's body like so many pretzels. Thus did Princip, just 20, become the first man of millions who yearned for home and peace, finding premature death instead. And so he died starting the invidious process that killed tit... which then had to kill tat... who outraged, had to kill tit yet again. Why did he plan to murder, to assassinate The Heir? For only the highest and best reasons you may be sure... reasons for which over 60,000,000 people around the world died, every day that trail of blood and mayhem emanating from the slumped body of His Royal and Imperial Highness grew broader and broader still. His dead eyes asked a single question, the question hitherto unquestioning millions would ask in their turn "Why"? The answer is to be found in part in William Edward Marshall, citizen of Stronghurst, Illinois, 21st state of the Great Republic. To understand World War I you must understand how Will Marshall, as everyone always called him, gave up everything he knew and valued to go fight on behalf of faraway people he didn't know and would never meet, knowingly risking life and limb, remember -- for total strangers. About Will Marshall. William Edward Marshall achieved the highest rank his country could confer the moment of his birth, for then, the very instant he was born he was Citizen of the Great Republic, a title, style and dignity unknown in most of Europe whose opulent princes had subjects, not citizens. Here Will Marshal, for all that he was not a prince or count, was better off -- and knew it. Thus his belief in the Great Republic, its whys and wherefores, came as easily as breathing. He was a free man in a free country, a man whose right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was assured by the Constitution of the United States. These rights came from his relationship to God, not because of http://www.HomeProfitClub.com Copyright Johan Willems - 2012 9 of 12
Remember our Veterans !!! some calculated gesture of a Machiavellian prince who might later rescind what he rued to give. William Edward Marshall's rights were sacrosanct for him.... and every other Citizen. This was America in 1890 the year Will Marshall was born, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Football hero, farmer, respected man of peace. Will Marshall was called without irony the handsomest man in Henderson County. "That and two bits will buy you pie and coffee," even his deflating father said. Will didn't mind the raillery; after all, tall, well made, fleet of foot and master strategist he was that most American of local heroes... from whose agile moves came a lifetime's respect from those who would tear the goal posts down after they had seen Will Marshall run past them -- again. Such feats are cherished everywhere in America, but nowhere more than in the tiny hamlet of Stronghurst, Illinois; population still under 1000 souls in 1914... everyone of them knew what a good man Will Marshall was... how hard-working, how public spirited, how well he must stand with his God. And so things might have continued but for the murderous meeting between an archduke on a sunny July day and a zealot determined to exterminate him. Will Marshall goes to war, to France, to his destiny. Will Marshall was not a warrior, not a man of marshal attitudes, uniforms, poses and gestures. Farmers, tillers of the land, bringing forth its bounty by their own incessant labor, seldom are. They know how difficult it is to create life, to spend any of their limited time on this planet destroying it. Will Marshall abhorred war, yet went to war, the greatest and most destructive war ever, because the Great Republic and its affairs needed him... and that was that. "The Yanks are coming." Thus, Will Marshall became part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and in due course found himself one of over one million citizen-soldiers stationed in France, over half of whom were at the front lines, including him. There as the increasingly desperate German imperial forces grew more desperate yet, considering, doing every single thing they could do to snatch victory from increasingly certain defeat, Will Marshall met his fate, in a cloud of poison gas. Mustard gas. Contrary to popular belief, gas as a weapon was first introduced by the French army. However it was the Germans with their customary organizational genius and chemical skills who perfected the process. For the defence and glory of the Fatherland anything, even the most horrid thing, was contemplated, considered and ultimately used. Some apologist somewhere would no doubt advance a comfortable rationale... And so one ordinary day an ordinary German solider lobbed the mustard gas that sent William Edward Marshall, citizen, descendant of the great Chief Justice who helped shape the new nation, one of nature's gentlemen, to his knees, brought low by the toxic beauty of gas; stealthy, silent, serene. But there, you see, is the rub. For gas is one of the cruelest weapons ever created. During the actual mustard gas attack its manifestations may not be seen, will not be seen for hours, even days. Then... the gas you inhaled, perhaps without knowing it, became the pernicious agent of your end... the gas rules you and decides whether you live or die, what manifestations and disabilities may be yours and torment you for years, for life. Thus, starting from the day he was gassed until the day he died, Uncle Will lived a life where his sight degenerated . Remedies were tried. Doctors consulted. Prayers by one and all given for his recovery, for he was a popular man. All to no avail. The effects of that gas cost him at once one eye. http://www.HomeProfitClub.com Copyright Johan Willems - 2012 10 of 12
Remember our Veterans !!! The second deteriorated year by year until in 1934 he could see nothing at all. Light, for him, had ceased to exist. Uncle Will and Me. When I was growing up in the 'fifties, my family visited Stronghurst every so often. We never failed to visit Uncle Will and his charming wife Alma. My father made sure we behaved properly. He was especially keen on the handshake, "Firm, NOT limp!" And how to walk across the parlor properly, so Uncle Will knew how many steps you took. In this way he calculated how tall you were and how much you'd grown since the last visit. The room was quiet, sound muted, light filtered. Uncle Will sat in a great, sturdy chair, its size necessary to contain the football player of old. I looked closely at his face; this was the face of a man of resignation and calm acceptance. He remained handsome, even noble right until the end. He never complained. Never said a word about that day so long ago. Never was anything but gentle, polite, good humored and glad to see you. He had fought his war, done his bit, paid the terrible price and could look the world in the eye, his pride deep, profound, abiding. The Great Republic has besought his help. He had given in full measure, and for him it was "Over, over there", not a bitter reality revisited daily. Now not only Uncle Will but every veteran of the Great War is gone. Now they no longer die by thousands each day... but, far worse, are forgotten in their thousands each day; men and women whose lives were utterly and completely committed to us, now not even a moment's thought by us. Yet we are all the children of their unequalled gifts and should always be glad and glad to say so. They ask so little now, but we begrudge them even that, satisfied to take, satisfied to give them nothing, not even heartfelt recognition of our eternal debt. May God forgive us. Author's closing note. Like so many of his buddies, Uncle Will loved "Over There", a jaunty tune written by George M. Cohan in 1917.. Find it in any search engine. Turn up the sound and remember.
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About The Author Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a historian and author of 18 best-selling business books. Republished with author's permission by Johan Willems http://HomeProfitClub.com.
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