Friday, July 08, 2005

R.I.P. Admiral James Stockdale

I have to admit, when I saw the headline of Admiral James Stockdale's death, I kind of snickered and thought to myself, "Oh yeah, I remember that guy." However, after reading a bit on him, I am ashamed of my initial reaction.

Anyone who remembers the 1992 Vice Presidential Debate will remember Al Gore and Dan Quayle hammering each other on the issues while Adm. Stockdale started off with the famous "Who am I(?) Why am I here(?)" quote that had many thinking that we had an old senile man as a Vice Presidential candidate. He couldn't hear one of the questions (due to his hearing aid falling out) and on another, his answer was "I am out of ammo on that one." Let's just say he didn't come off too well.

Now, after reading what this great man did for his country, I have nothing but respect for him. Among his heroics:

Dropped the first bomb in North Vietnam
Flew over 200 missions in Vietnam
Was shot down and spent 7 1/2 years in a Vietnam POW prison where he was repeatedly tortured
Received 26 combat decorations
Received the Medal of Honor

Oh yeah, the reason why he had a hearing aid was because he was tortured for not giving up his fellow countrymen. Had I known all this, I never would have snickered and neither would have millions of other Americans. I doubt anyone would have ever done that to his face either because this was one great man and one tough son-of-a-bitch!


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