I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
© 10/2009 brownsview.us
Hello, Dale Brown here(that's me over on the side bar...a lot of miles and years from here)...not the semi-bestselling techno fiction writer or the one time head basketball coach from LSU....I'm the other one.
My formative years were spent in the rural Midwest of the 1950's and 60's. It was a simple and idyllic existence where truth, honesty, and hard work were the norm. My father never beleived in owing anyone money. As far as I can remember he never borrowed for a car or even the house we lived in. I've heard him say many times that if you can't afford, you don't need it.
.My mother was an Iowa farm girl that graduated high school just as WWII was winding down. At 84 years old she still provides the family with moral support and advice which has kept her family close even in bad times and times of great strain. My father was a country boy with and eighth grade education who enlisted in the Army in the months prior to Pearl Harbor. He spent 44 months overseas with the 34th (Red Bull) Infantry Division as it drove across North Africa and up through Sicily and Italy. One statement by Eleanor Roosevelt turned him against Democrats for the rest of his life. The statement was made after she had made a tour of the theaters during the middle years of the war. “The 34th Division is a bunch of trained killers and should not be allowed to return to the United States.”
“The Division participated in six major Army campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. The Division is credited with amassing 517 days of continuous front line combat, more than any other division in the European theater. One or more 34th Division units were engaged in actual combat with the enemy 611 days. The division was credited with more combat days than any other division in the theater. The 34th Division suffered 3,737 killed in action, 14,165 wounded in action, and 3,460 missing in action, for a total of 21, 362 battle casualties. Casualties of the division are considered to be the highest of any division in the theater when daily per capita fighting strengths are considered. There is little doubt the division took the most enemy-defended hills of any division in the European Theater. The division's men were awarded 10 Medals of Honor, 98 Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, 1,052 Silver Stars, 116 Legion of Merit medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, 1,713 Bronze Stars, 51 Soldier Medals, 34 Air Medals, with duplicate awards of 52 oak leaf clusters, and 15,000 purple hearts.”
One of the stories that still stands out in my mind is a story of how he lost all of the teeth in his lower left jaw in Italy. His unit was dug in undergoing a heavy artillery attack. One nearby hit threw a rock that hit him in the jaw breaking his teeth. The medic wanted him to go back to the hospital area, 60 miles to the rear. Being in considerable pain and not wanting to drive that distance in the dark while under attack, he wanted the medic who had veterinary training pull them. After much coercion and after Pa convinced him that he would not bring charges against him for improper field surgery, the medic relented. Everything turned out ok and Pa went through the rest of the war without the teeth in his lower left jaw. After he got back home the local country dentist completed the required dental work for free.
He came home with a duffle bag full of decorations (including 3 bronze stars) and the army offered to send him on to the Pacific if he wanted to stay in the army. Deciding that he had had enough excitement for one lifetime and that he didn’t want to push his luck any further, and he thought Macarthur had things well under control, he decided to take his discharge a go back to the farm.
I grew up hearing of the pride he bore in defending the country and the world from armies trying to subdue the world with despotism and totalitarianism. To him the best life was with the government far removed and letting him do his own thing even if it was just a simple life of getting by and being just comfortable with small foundry and factory jobs. He followed the national and world news with Walter Cronkite (with the faith that Walter would not lie to him or mislead him). He wasn’t a political person but he was very conservative and voted his heart. His word was his bond and a handshake meant more than a ton of legal documents. I do remember him complaining about the government paying farmers to not plant crops and work the land.
I entered the workforce when I was 8. My first experience with the free enterprise system was a paper route that taught me responsibility and allowed me to purchase my first bicycle. I think that Pa saw the coming of the age of big credit and wanted to prepare me for the responsibility that comes with credit. As agreed, once my route was established, Pa loaned me the money to purchase the bike after I had accumulated a down payment. The money that he loaned was about a half weeks pay for him. The agreement was that I would repay the loan at the rate of 1 dollar a week until it was paid off which was just over 6 months. When I was 10-11, I expanded to shoveling snow in the winter and mowing lawns in the summer. I went in with him, half and half, on a gasoline powered mower to use in my enterprise. At 13 I went to live with my cousin’s family during the summer to work as a hired farmhand. They would bring me back to town Saturday afternoon and Mom took me back out on Monday morning. While working there I learned to drive (in the fields and local farm roads) and operate all sorts of farm machinery. My next 4 summers were spent working there as I was able to buy my own transportation. Upon graduating high school I was able to put myself through the local Junior College by working evenings at a sheet metal factory, foundry, and a toaster manufacturer. I was accepted into Air Force ROTC and went 1 year to Iowa State University where the social life overpowered the farm boy.
Over the years I have used credit (as it was the thing to do) at times where it was uncomfortable. I have almost come to the conslusion the Pa was absolutely correct about "not needing something that you can't afford". I did get a student loan for the year I spent at Iowa State and it hounded me for the first 2 years in the Navy as I was making about $250 a month. The rest of my education was attained as I could afford it. I do use credit cards but only as I can pay them off at the end of the month (used as a check). I haven't made car payments for about 25 years. I did take a mortgage on my present home when I came to Massachussetts 12 years ago, but only about half what I was eligilble for. If I had gone for the larger mortgage, I could not have been able to leave the world of big industry and might in fact be part of today's housing problems. All in all, I have become very fiscally conservative as my Pa's words come back to me, "If you can't afford it, you don't need it".
Most of my career has been involved in fixing things or making 'broke' things work. I have a AA with concentration in pre-engineering from Centerville Community Jr College in Centerville, IA, a BS in Applied Mathematics from the University of Rhode Island, certificates in IT, UNIX, and Data-Telcom from the University of Massachussetts Lowell and an MS in Computer Science from Rivier College in Nashua. I've been faking it as a Radar and Digital Communications engineer for a lot of years and most recently as a Software Engineer. I've worked all over the country and in many parts of the world including Japan, Australia, and the Middle East (not bad for a kid that got his start on a pig farm in the midwest). I gave 14 years of my life to the service of America in the US Navy during the Viet Nam era. I am presently retired from two major defense contractors, but am actually just on hiatus while comtemplating what I want to do when I grow up. I am trying to find time that it seems I couldn't find in the past for art and music. With that I haven't had much luck as I retired at just about the time that all of the political and enonomic turmoil began. I have been very busy trying to preserve my retirement funds and following the the political processes of the past year and a half. I have been fairly successful trading the stock market but have lost 3 tv's to shoes. The principle target has been the "Honorable?" Barny Frank representing the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts.
...Wait.....Wait.......I think I've got it.......What this country needs is a somewhat conservative independent thinker with 'fixit' experience as a US Congressional Representative from the 5th district of Massachusetts. What better way to spend a retirement. What an idea.
I want there to be no question around the world that the United Sates of America is the strongest, most financially secure, independent nation on this planet that stands by and encourages the freedom and individuality that has been ingrained in the soul of its existence. I want this nation to stand for the truth and integrity that has made it great. We cannot save the world from itself but we can stand as an example for other nations to admire and try to emulate. We should assist and encourage all to attain this freedom and throw off the bonds of despotism. We cannot help those that are not willing to help themselves. This includes our own citizens. Anyone not willing to work, strive, or die if necessary to gain and maintain the liberty that God has endowed us with, will deserve it not. Let there be no doubt that any threat to our way of life under our established Constitution or any threat to the lives or well being of citizens governed by it, will be dealt with harshly and with little mercy.