Andrew Jackson Higgins – A Legacy

Pacific Paratrooper

Andrew Jackson Higgins

Andrew Jackson Higgins, the man Dwight D. Eisenhower once credited with winning World War II, was a wild and wily genius.

At the New Orleans plant where his company built the boats that brought troops ashore at Normandy on June 6, 1944, Higgins hung a sign that said, “Anybody caught stealing tools out of this yard won’t get fired — he’ll go to the hospital.”

Whatever Higgins did, he did it a lot. “His profanity,” Life magazine said, was “famous for its opulence and volume.” So was his thirst for Old Taylor bourbon, though he curtailed his intake by limiting his sips to a specific location.

I only drink,” he told Life magazine, “while I’m working.”

It is Higgins himself who takes your breath away,” Raymond Moley, a former FDR adviser,  wrote in Newsweek in 1943. “Higgins is an authentic…

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Douglass Out of Context

Armchair historians like Colin Kaepernick often quote Frederick Douglass when making disingenuous points about civil rights history.

Douglass is too often misquoted or valuable context is ignored, most persistently in regards to Abraham Lincoln and emancipation.

In history, context does matter.



Frederick Douglass is often cited as proof that slaves never cared for Lincoln or his deeds.  Ignoring context, Douglass is cited as the authoritative critic of Lincoln….

“you (white people) are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his step-children.”

This disingenuous, lazy, line of reasoning…  has created a terrible myth about the creation of the civil rights movement.  Failure to place words in a proper context have terrible implications on historical interpretation.  In the same speech, Frederick Douglass explained to his predominately white audience, his true feelings for Abraham Lincoln:

“Viewed from the genuine abolition ground, Mr. Lincoln seemed tardy, cold, dull, and indifferent; but measuring him by the sentiment of his country, a sentiment he was bound as a statesman to consult, he was swift, zealous, radical, and determined…. infinite wisdom has seldom sent any man into the world better fitted for his mission than Abraham Lincoln.”  Frederick Douglass  April 14, 1876


Bush on 9/11

Trying to make sense of it all…


Good evening.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.

Reflections on an Empty Sky: Liberty State Park

National Parks USA


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! This is a special post in remembrance of the victims of the 9-11 terror attacks.

Empty Sky is New Jersey’s State Memorial to its victims of the September 11th attacks. It is in Liberty State Park on the waterfront, directly across from the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan. If you stand in the center of the western end, the empty sky framed by the walls of the memorial are where the Twin Towers once stood.


The walls are meant to symbolize the towers laying on their sides and are inscribed with the names of New Jersey’s 746 victims. At the entrance to the walls stands a sculpture made from one of the twin towers steel beams.

I took these photos on a bright morning in May of 2016 while waiting with a photography group for the ferry to Ellis…

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Forever Tarnished

sandusky4photo- AP

Joe knew.

Joe Paterno knew in 1976 that his defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky was a child molester.  He could have stopped this monster then, again in 1987, and in 1998.  In 2001, Paterno convinced local CPS officers not to investigate Sandusky further.  It was assumed he would handle the troubles in house.  He ignored them.  Children were abused for 10 more years.

Joe knew.

The Penn State football program was exposed.  Long hailed as the purest form of college football; no logos, names on jerseys, or egos.. just student athletes and the no-nonsense field general guiding them down a noble life path.  Truth-be-told, the only ego that mattered was Paterno’s.  Winning consumed him and the university went along with his every wish because football became the meal ticket.  He valued winning and his reputation above all else.  Penn State stopped producing quality pro prospects shortly after Franco Harris’s graduation;  It didn’t matter, Paterno needed to be the most respected coach in college football.  This all consuming narcissism was neatly disguised as the simple man of few words.  He would do anything to surpass Bear Bryant; even harbor a child rapist for 42 years.

Joe knew.

We are, Penn St.   The rallying cry that united a huge portion of that state.  Paterno was infallible, the unofficial state deity.  When others pointed out his glaring flaws, like scheduling inferior programs, so grossly inflated scores could be posted and broadcast around the country, defenders said Joe was above such poor sportsmanship. Constant bickering and bellyaching about polls and rankings were simply Joe defending his boys against a media obsessed with style over substance.  He mocked other college coaches who he felt did not measure up to these lofty but artificial standards. Those coaches are having the last laugh.  Defense won championships for him.  Penn St.’s defense could always win the day. Joe knew it, so he kept Sandusky.  He cared little for the kids.  Lives were ruined because of the self absorbed, petty little man.

Joe knew.


There was nothing noble about Penn St. football.  Paterno left behind victims.  Sandusky’s crimes are beyond comprehension and they happened entirely under Paterno’s watch.  His claims of ignorance during his sad final days ring hollow to the young men who must bear this burden.  The hundreds of notable players, alumni, and admirers who defended Paterno to the last were victims too.  They were duped, left to the wrong side of history.  They can only hope their full throated protests against the truth will be forgiven when the final story is written.

Joe knew.

Pennsylvania State University has forgotten this already. The country must never forget.


Pacific Paratrooper

USS Arizona Memorial, Pear Harbor, Hawaii

HONOLULU (Tribune News Service) — With the American flag billowing in the wind and “The Star-Spangled Banner” playing on the loudspeakers from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the first boatload of tourists and residents in nearly 16 months stepped onto the USS Arizona Memorial on Sunday morning.  (1 Sept.)

The 145 visitors on the Navy boat disembarked to spend a few solemn minutes within the white walls of the shrine at the same time, 8:10 a.m., that the Arizona was hit Dec. 7, 1941, also a Sunday, by an armor-piercing bomb that sank the ship and killed 1,177 men. The battleship suffered the greatest loss of life of all the ships and planes attacked that day. Among the dead were a father and son named Free and 23 sets of brothers.

“It was just terribly moving to be over there today,” said Minneapolis resident Patty…

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