You provide a valuable service, and I wanted to express my gratitude for getting to be part of it.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Sixty-Seventh anniversary of the end of the Korean Conflict July 27

My husband, Barry, served in Korea in the 1950s.  My friend and former writing student, Ron Hill, is our guest writer today at Writers Circle around the Table. He was present the day this war ended and tells us some history we might not know.
Pvt. Ron Hill age 18

We mark the 67th Anniversary of the end of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula as all parties sat down at Panmunjom to sign the formal truce documents.  I recall the day as if it were today; I was there!!

Headlines around the world were banner-sized, announcing the years of fighting. The example shown here is just one example that can be found online or any news archive.

Armistice Agreement for the Restoration of the South Korean State (1953)
The Korean War, which began on June 25, 1950, when the North Koreans invaded South Korea, officially ended on July 27, 1953. At 10 a.m., in Panmunjom, scarcely acknowledging each other, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison, Jr., senior delegate, United Nations Command Delegation; North Korean Gen. Nam Il, senior delegate, Delegation of the Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteers, signed 18 official copies of the tri-language Korean Armistice Agreement.

It was the end of the longest negotiated armistice in history: 158 meetings spread over two years and 17 days. That evening at 10 p.m. the truce went into effect. The Korean Armistice Agreement is somewhat exceptional in that it is purely a military document—no nation is a signatory to the agreement.

Specifically the Armistice Agreement:

1. suspended open hostilities

2. withdrew all military forces and equipment from a 4,000-meter-wide zone, establishing the Demilitarized Zone as a buffer between the forces;

3. prevented both sides from entering the air, ground, or sea areas under control of the other;

4. arranged release and repatriation of prisoners of war and displaced persons; and

5. established the Military Armistice Commission (MAC) and other agencies to discuss any violations and to ensure adherence to the truce terms.

The armistice, while it stopped hostilities, was not a permanent peace treaty between nations.

President Eisenhower, who was keenly aware of the 1.8 million American men and women who had served in Korea and the 36,576 Americans who had died there, played a key role in bringing about a cease-fire. In announcing the agreement to the American people in a television address shortly after the signing, he said, in part,

“Soldiers, sailors and airmen of sixteen different countries have stood as partners beside us throughout these long and bitter months. In this struggle we have seen the United Nations meet the challenge of aggression—not with pathetic words of protest, but with deeds of decisive purpose. And so at long last the carnage of war is to cease and the negotiation of the conference table is to begin……We hope that all nations may come to see the wisdom of composing differences in this fashion before, rather than after, there is resort to brutal and futile battle.”

“Now as we strive to bring about that wisdom, there is, in this moment of sober satisfaction, one thought that must discipline our emotions and steady our resolution. It is this: We have won an armistice on a single battleground—not peace in the world. We may not now relax our guard nor cease our quest”

Ron Hill received his formal education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington, DC. He and his wife Shirley are current members of the Chattahoochee United Methodist Church, Helen, GA. Ron enlisted in the United States Army in 1952 and is a veteran of three wars: the Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm.  He retired December 31, 1973 from the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Headquarters, Department of the United States Army, the Pentagon, Washington, DC.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Congressman John Lewis, a Servant Leader?

Stu Moring and his wife, Gay
My brother-in-law, Stu Moring, former Public Works Director for Roswell, GA, said this about Congressman John Lewis. 

“I only met him one time, when I was in Washington for legislator visits with ASCE. I was so honored to meet him, but he treated me like he was the one being honored.  He was a true Servant Leader!”

I asked Stu what he meant by Servant Leader and this is his answer: 

My use of the term servant leader comes from the book by the same name by Ken Blanchard ("The One Minute Manager") and Phil Hodge. 

The idea is to "lead like Jesus."  From Matthew 20:25-28, "Jesus called them together and said, ' You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lorded over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." 

They compare self-serving leaders with servant leaders as follows: "Self-serving leaders spend most of their time protecting their status. If you give them feedback, how do they usually respond? Negatively. They think your feedback means that you don't want their "leadership" any more.  Servant leaders, however, look at leadership as an act of service. They embrace and welcome feedback as a source of useful information on how they can provide better service."  

Jesus, of course, was the perfect model, and I believe this is an effective approach for anyone in leadership, but particularly for politicians who are intended to be serving their constituents.  Not exactly what we have in Washington right now. In short, I believe a servant leader sees his job as providing the necessary tools and resources to his "subordinates" so they can excel at the service they ultimately provide. 

With that approach, I was able to surround myself with some truly exceptional people, and they were able to accomplish extraordinary results. Think about it--I didn't have the strength or stamina to dump garbage cans all day long, or the skill to repair broken water lines and meters, but guys I worked with excelled at those tasks.  And that's what servant leadership is all about.  

Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard

Friday, July 24, 2020

Three Branches of Government

Roger Carlton

We welcome Roger Carlton back for another of his interesting posts. Roger is columnist for the Graham Star Newspaper in Robbinsville, NC

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is one of three branches of the Federal Government. Congress and the Executive Branch are the other two.

One thing is certain. The Founding Fathers had great experience with an all-powerful monarch in the form of King George III. They wanted nothing to do with repeating the tyranny of that leadership so they created a form of government with balance of powers. The Congress made the laws, the President carried them out and the Supreme Court settled disputes. Pretty close to a perfect construct at the time. Not so good today because many of our leaders have forgotten that deliberation of issues based on scientific facts and compassionate implementation is the necessary foundation of democracy.

My conservative friends rejoiced over the Senate's confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito. They rent garments and gnashed teeth over the appointments of liberal Associate Justices Steven Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Ginsburg and Elena Kagan. Yet, until recently, the past six presidents, of which three were D's and three were R's, did a pretty good job of bi-partisan appointments of fair and balanced people. The labels conservative and liberal don't seem to apply to all votes of the current SCOTUS.

Recent decisions by the Supreme Court have my conservative friends in a dither. They have concluded that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court has sold them out. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Supreme Court has acted responsibly and defied their pundit-imposed labels in these controversial cases. Most importantly, one of the three branches needed to put on its adult britches and avoid the chaos being created by the other two.
Here are a few of the controversial cases. The first is letting our President know that he does not enjoy blanket immunity to avoid responding to subpoenas for his tax records. The Court acted responsibly by sending the debate back to lower courts so that the tax filings would not be released until after the election in November. To quote Chesterfield Smith who was President of the American Bar Association during the Watergate investigation, when the Supreme Court ordered President Nixon to release certain damaging Watergate information for which he claimed executive privilege, "No man is above the law."

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recent decision stopped the White House from ending the program which has kept 650,000 young immigrants in limbo for years. Ending the program would have sent them back to the countries from which they were taken by their parents. The Supreme Court made it clear that the Administration had not made a rational case to justify the harsh decision. The same reasoning caused the 2019 decision to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census.

The Louisiana abortion legislation that doctors had to have privileges in nearby hospitals "to protect the women" was overturned because the exact same law had already been overturned in Texas. The majority opinion regarding expansion of the Civil Rights Act to include employment for the LGBTQ community was written by President Trump's appointment Neil Gorsuch. The ability of employers to deny providing insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious or moral beliefs was upheld. One other case allows states to use public funds for scholarships to attend religious schools where only private schools were allowed before. There have been decisions by the SCOTUS that make both liberals and conservatives happy and unhappy.

So, save your garments and don't wear out your teeth. Let's respect the Supreme Court as our last line of defense against the chaos we see in the other two branches.

Send us your comments about this article. Let us hear your opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States. Send email or leave a comment in the Comments section below.  

Friday, July 10, 2020

Not out of Print - find it here

A poem from Now Might as Well be Then

                        A Very Old Photograph
                             Glenda Council Beall 
Shy with the camera,
she stands in her white sailor dress
one arm behind her back.
Her dark eyes, so much like mine,
glance right. Her lips almost smile.

I wish I had known her then.
We’d have been friends,
going to pound suppers, singing
alto in the church choir.
She was loved as I was loved,
sheltered by Mama, strengthened
by her Papa’s expectations.

How could she have imagined ageing?
Certainly not at fourteen
and looking so lovely.
She never thought she’d grow old,
lose her memory, and depend on me,
her daughter, to care for her.

From Now Might As Well Be Then (Finishing Line Press, 2009)