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In Flanders Fields, for those who served



It’s about who we are

This op-ed written by Joe Nocera in Saturday’s New York Times speaks volumes about who America is now and who we were after WWII when a young Army combat engineer named Harold Burson covered the Nuremberg trials for the American Forces Network. Nocera writes of Burson’s coverage:

There was another aspect to Harold’s scripts, one I found quite endearing. They have an earnest, idealistic quality that reminds you just how full of hope America was after World War II. Though we had fought a brutal war, we were determined to act generously to the vanquished. That even applied to the Nazi brass who had committed reprehensible crimes against humanity. “G.I.’s have one stock question,” reads Burson’s very first script. “Why can’t we just take them out and shoot ’em? We know they’re guilty.” Read all »



What Stephen Kiernan taught me about loving America (and getting back to Kansas)

A few realizations hit like a ton of bricks. Then try as you might, there’s no going back to before you understood.

Spending a couple days with Stephen Kiernan, award-winning journalist and author of Authentic Patriotism: Restoring America’s Founding Ideals through Selfless Action (paperback release was just last week) was both personally delightful and a little unsettling in its conscience-pricking moments.

Turns out America’s new favorite pastime of screaming obscenities at each other from our easy chairs isn’t exactly what our founders had in mind when they kicked around that audacious notion of self-governance. Read all »



Authentic Patriotism doesn’t just feel good, it makes sense

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

The future of an adolescent who enter Rikers Island prison are grim. Even for those who are quickly released after having been found innocent have usually adopted the tough prison culture that changes the path of their life. According to Kiernan, upon release the percentage of young inmates enrolled in school is zero. A released inmate often doesn’t have a job or a place to live and has now been educated to be a criminal. The rate of their return to prison is 70%. Read all »



Authentic patriots don’t always volunteer for the job

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

One of the first concepts offered by Stephen Kiernan in Authentic Patriotism is that authentic patriots sometimes get there kicking and screaming.

Kiernan tells us the story of a thirty-five year old Jenifer Estess diagnosed with the unforgiving amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Turns out Lou Gehrig’s is considered an “orphan” disease, one that is not sufficiently profitable – usually because of relatively low numbers of people suffering from the illness – for private companies to take on the expensive research to find a cure. Consistent with Kiernan’s message, government research was also woefully inadequate to date. Read all »



Authentic Patriotism: George Washington

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

Kiernan writes of the personal sacrifices made by patriots in the founding generation for their love of country. Here Kiernan tells President George Washington’s story Read all »



Authentic Patriotism: Thomas Jefferson

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on Authentic Patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

Kiernan writes of the personal sacrifices made by patriots in the founding generation for their love of country. Here Kiernan tells Jefferson’s story:

“Picture Thomas Jefferson in his Monticello home in 1782, mourning the death of his beloved young wife. He has left public life completely, calling his sorrow “a stupor of mind.” He destroys all of their letters. He climbs on his horse each ay for rambling rides, headlong, running from his grief. He shuts himself up in his library for hours of solitude. On her deathbed Martha begged him not to marry again, and the widower keeps that promise all his days. And yet, eventually Jefferson rouses himself, and in twenty years he is president. He buys the Louisiana territories from the French for a pittance, doubling the size of the new nation and thereby establishing the independent, pioneer spirit that characterizes Americans to this day…”

“…The men and women of that era risked their lives for these ideals because it was necessary. Today the imperatives are less elemental to the nation’s existence. But that does not mean that Americans can afford to risk nothing, contribute nothing. A democracy without an engaged populace is like a monarchy without a king.”



Authentic Patriotism: Restoring America’s Founding Ideals through selfless action

Between Memorial Day and July 4th, we’ll be doing a series of posts on the concept of authentic patriotism, featuring vignettes from Stephen P. Kiernan’s book Authentic Patriotism as well as local stories of authentic patriotism (you can submit them HERE). Stephen will be our featured speaker at the June 21 Dinner at the Square (find details HERE).

Kiernan writes of the personal sacrifices made by patriots in the founding generation for their love of country. Here he writes about John Adams:

“Picture John Adams in February 1778, climbing the gangplank of a ship bound for France. He is traveling as an envoy of the colonies, at that point not a nation but rebellious subjects of Great Britain. Adams’ task is to persuade Paris to loan millions of dollars so the rebellion can pay its army and begin to build a navy. The ship he boards is not outfitted for passengers. Between rough winter seas and King George III’s mighty naval patrols, crossing the Atlantic in that era is more dangerous than parachuting from a plane today. His only companion is his son, John Quincy Adams. John the elder will not see his wife for eighteen months, his personal finances are a mess, and he may die from British cannons on the sea. He goes anyway.”