Thursday, November 13, 2008
UWF Meeting 11-12-08 Colonel Jay C. Hess
Marge Clayton welcomed us all out to our forum meeting today and invited the new people to stand and introduce themselves. There were quite a few who were new and expressed their enthusiasm for coming to hear Colonel Hess speak of his experiences in the war. The prayer was offered by Heather Ross, and Marian Sellers lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Changing things up a bit we began our meeting with our forum business first.
...... Laura Bunker as the president of "United Families Utah" extended a warm welcome to all of us to come and spend time with them tomorrow for "A Day at the Capital". While there we would have the opportunity to meet with many of our legislators and share with them our concerns and desires to hold on to traditional family values. Those attending would receive the new "Family Issues Guide" put out by United Families International. They would also be taking a tour of the newly remodeled Capital and have lunch together for all those who had the time to stay. This would be a wonderful chance to get to know our legislators and establish a rapport with them.
......Adrienne Buckley our chairman over decency and pornography gave a very fine presentation on the importance of addressing the concerns of decency over our national airwaves. On Tuesday, November the 4th while we were all involved in the election, the US Supreme Court stepped back into the issue of profanity. The major Networks had challenged the rulings of the FCC to protect the airwaves from fleeting expletives. This is a very important issue and there are many leading conservatives who strongly support the standards of the FCC . She quoted Tim Winters the president of Parents TV Counsel. "The networks must take responsibility to protect the airwaves from harsh profanity and violence. It is unacceptable to continue current trends." She encouraged us to look at the Parents TV Counsel website and respond to the e-mails that come through. In this way we can do our part to uphold the standards of decency that are so needed in our society today.
.......Linda Hess gave us an update on Proposition 8. She said that although this important legislation was passed in California, many on the opposite side of this issue have already shown their disregard for the voice of the people by filing lawsuits to the courts asking that the new law be declared unconstitutional. She told us that thirty states now have Constitutional Amendments protecting the definition of marriage as "between a man and a woman." with the only two States that do not reflect this belief being Massachusetts and Connecticut. She encouraged us to stay tune to the many social issues that will now be attacked with our new President and a more liberal Congress. The concerns she mentioned were: the overturning of the laws regarding stem cell research, the challenging of DOMA laws, the introduction of the "Freedom of Choice Act" (which would have the effect of making an overturn of Roe VS Wade impossible,) and the re-introduction of The Fairness Doctrine, which would have a tremendous impact on conservative talk shows.
.....Cynthia Peterson the chairman over "Mom's for Kids Coalition" encouraged us to speak up and let our voices be heard concerning problems that are being encountered in the schools. Coming from other areas she has had an exposure to other school districts where better methods and ways of doing things have been implemented for the educating of the children. She says "many voices need to come together to help create the changes that are needed." She mentioned three areas of concern that she and her committee have isolated that will bring needed changes to our district.
I. We must support the teachers that teach but raise the bar. She mentioned how many of the IB teachers are also needed to perform duties for the sports program. It has been noted by her and many other mothers that often these teachers leave their teaching assignment to perform extra curricular activities and leave the classroom without a teacher. Of course, for them the priority is the students in the classroom, not the sports program. They feel a need for others to help speak out on this issue to see if they can have an impact in changing this situation.
II. The restructuring of the Spectrum Program ... and
III. Organizing Ability Groups
Her last comment was that "we must advocate for our children, we are their stewards."
...... Janet Seamons gave an excellent presentation on the topic of "The Advantages of a Republic." Going back into history she spoke of two notable personalities that helped pave the way for the American perspective of a Republic. One such figure was a man by the name of Algernon Sidney. In 1683 he was beheaded by King Charles II for saying that there is no divine right of kings to rule over the people. Sidney insisted that the right to rule is actually in the people and therefore no person can rightfully rule the people without their consent. His advocated the cause of freemen who think it for their convenience to join together , and to establish such laws and rules as they oblige themselves to observe.
Another prominent figure of the day was John Locke. He also believed that the power of governance should lie in the people He stated that society would best be served by recognizing the voice of the majority. He said, "there is no right of revolt in an individual, a group or a minority. Only in the majority.
She explained that a Republic is different than a Democracy. A true democracy would need the voice of all the people, whereas a Republic allows the voice of the people to be represented by a representative form of government. Our current misuse of the word Democracy as it refers to our "Republic", came about partially because of a movement that was set up in the early 1900's which was originally called the Intercollegiate Socialist Society, or ISS. One of it's members, Thomas Laidler explained that the ISS was set up to "throw light on the world-wide movement of industrial Democracy known as Socialism". The American people have come to think of themselves as a Democracy mainly because the word has been used interchangeably so much with Republic that there is a basic misunderstanding of it's true meaning. Madison said of our Republic, "We may define a republic to be... a government which derives all it’s powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people and is administered by persons holding their offices during (this people's ) pleasure for a limited period , or during good behavior. It is good that we have the opportunity to know the true meaning of a Republic and we can thank Janet for helping us in this matter. Great Job Janet!
...... Colonel Jay Hess gave a very special message on his time in Vietnam as a prisoner of war. He began his thoughts with thanking the people and town of Bountiful for being so good to his family while he was away. He was very grateful for the kindness and care that was shown to them. One of the good memories of the time as a prisoner of war was being in the company for two years of other soldiers who never used a swear word. He felt that was remarkable. He mentioned that his first experience in democracy came when he was at Brigham Young University. The football team had won a major playoff and because they had done so well they ganged up and insisted they be given a day off of school. He said they became unruly and somewhat like a Mob. He felt like it was an unsafe place to be.
He mentioned that he knew John McCain and actually came home with him. He pointed out that there was quite a difference in the way he was treated being the son of a farmer and the way John McCain was treated being the son of the commanding general of the US forces. He remembered when they came home that John McCain was limping and struggled to get on the airplane.
In thinking back on his time there he recalled that at least 300 Air Force pilots were shot down and lived through the experience of a plane crash as well as being captured; 150 Navy pilots and a few marines. A man by the name of Elbert Alvarez was held for 9 years. Another man by the name of Thompson was detained in South Vietnam for 10 years, but it was significant to note that a man by the name of John Downing was released the day before he was. He had been held hostage for 20 years in Korea. He was a CIA agent.
After spending 2 months of torture and time in solitary confinement, he was put in a cell with 3 Air Force pilots and 2 Naval pilots. (I think they were the ones he mentioned that didn't swear?) For the first little while it was like a Slumber Party and they would stay up and talk all night to each other.
After some time he was moved to another cell. He was with a Navy pilot named Mike who had been hurt very badly when he was captured. He had broken one leg, and knock the knee cay off of the other. They had to learn ways to communicate other than speaking. For this reason they made up hand signals and tapping sounds that would represent letters of the alphabet. They would have little couplets that would help them such as HH for "Happy Hour" or CC for "Church Call" . He said that one good thing that he did was have perfect church attendance while there and they always observed to do the Pledge of Allegiance. Sometimes the inmates would create poetry and tap it to each other. One such poem is listed below. He said that these thoughts really helped the inmates to keep their moral up and to feel the love for their country.
We dream that we'll return some day
to that land we cherish true
And when we reach that golden shore
we'll start our lives anew.
We long to be in America
to resume a happy life
away from the misery of war
the separation and the strife.
To walk again in healthy air
in a real democracy
away from this evil social form
with its lies and hypocracy.
Back where there is truth and dignity
where a man can stand to tall
back in my America
The greatest land of all.
Yes we close our eyes and listen
to that sound across the sea
It's the sound of freedom ringing
in the land of liberty.
Wearing their pajamas they would stand up and say the Lord's Prayer.
they would often go for 2 months not combing their hair and 4 months without brushing their teeth.
Colonel Hess spoke of how the Vietnamese would use them to propagandize the War. Once they came in with an article from back home written by a woman in Michigan who's son had enlisted and was now in Vietnam. Her comments were hostile towards the War and wanted her son back home. They brought the article in and asked them to write what they thought about it. They wanted to do anything they could to help with the anti war effort. He said that he was about to write something like in America we each have the right to think or say what we feel, when his inmate Mike told him to put on the sheet "no comments." He followed as well as everyone else. The guard came in and picked up the papers. They all thought they had done just great when in just a bit they came in with machine guns and said "hands over your head." So they put their hands over their head. When the guard left they took them down. In just a few minutes they came in again and with the machine guns pointing right on them they said, "hands over your head for 2 weeks." He said it was simple but very effective torture.
When they returned home they were taken blindfolded to another camp. They didn't know where they were going, but they were treated with roughness, pushed around and shoved around, people were throwing up, there was nauseating gas smells etc. Then after awhile they began to notice that they were being treated differently. People were opening the door for them and talking nicely. They knew something was different and then began to realize that they were being released. They were so grateful to be out of Vietnam
When he left Utah his son was in 6th Grade and when he got back he was graduating from High School. When they got off the plane they were asked to comment to a reporter of their experience. Jeremiah Dalton spoke for the group and said, "it has been an honor to serve this country under difficult circumstances in difficult times. God bless America." He said that once when he was walking down main street in Bountiful he noticed the inscription on a flag by the tabernacle, ... the law, government... liberty... the way." The words touched him and the tears kept coming. He felt it such a blessing to be an American. His last comment was from a woman who had written a book which included many stories from the POW's. She said, " Freedom is ... for those willing to defend it."
We were all very blessed to be there and to feel the spirit of this wonderful man who gave so much to our Country. Celestia brought soup for all of us and Janet had some rolls. We all enjoyed time chatting and expressing our thanks to Colonel Hess for his remarks and for his sacrifice. It was a wonderful forum.