|Raymond J. Schneider, USN|
1940 Naval Academy yearbook
His letter reminds me of Donald Trump's respect for the folks in fly-over country who are often ignored by our political betters who delight in telling us what's good for us since they know it all.
Like Trump Daddy always had deep respect for the little guy, paritcularly those under his command. When other officers were holding parties to entertain their superiors, my dad would have a picnic for those who worked for him. Mom said she never expected him to make admiral because he wouldn't play work politics. His advancement was all on merit.
When Daddy was forced out by the policy of retiring officers who were "passed over" for promotion (I think twice), he refused to voluntarily retire because, as he said, "I never quit a job in my life." He refused to take a job as a beltway bandit although he was actively recruited. He considered it prostitution. I thought of that one day when a retired admiral came into our office to glad-hand and lobby for one of the local contractors. I worked for the commander of NAVAIR's (Naval Air Systems Command) manpower management staff.
Daddy was a real egalitarian. He helped several of his admin staff advance their education so they could qualify for better jobs. Like Martin Luther King, he didn't care what color you were only the quality of your character. He valued education for all his children and encouraged us to never stop learning. The people who worked for him loved and respected him. It was more than obvious by the crowd who attended his retirement.
Finding and reading his letter brought back so many memories. I could almost smell his pipe tobacco and hear him giving me advice as he looked at me over his reading half-glasses his pipe gripped in his teeth. I could almost hear him playing the Grand March from Aida on the second hand refurbished grand piano he bought when I was hardly more than a toddler. (My grandfather was a church organist who taught all his children to play.) How I wish I could sit one more time on the piano bench next to Daddy and sing Margarita's Jewel Song.
As we approach Independence Day, my dad and mom are very much on my mind. They raised us to love God and country and to care about others. Please join with me in praying for them and for all those who have served our country so well.
PLUMBERS, GARBAGE MEN, AND UNDERTAKERS WILL SURVIVE
The debate stirred up by Captain William M. Shaw III, USA in his commentary "Clausewitz: A Non-Strategy for Today," was properly placed in better perspective by Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., USA, and then further drew a firm response from Lieutenant Commander Joseph M. Saur, USN as to whether the American people "seek peace at any price." This leads me to comment as to what seems to have really happened to the masses of our people.
The problem is not only with Americans, but with any heavily industrialized and technologically advanced society, whether in Western Europe, Eastern Asia, urban Africa, Australia and South America.
When life-support needs of a people no longer require total concentration -- be it matters of food, shelter, clothing or personal security -- the skills, knowledge and understanding of what really is required to obtain these essentials tends to disappear. "Somebody else," often some government activity, is expected to make and keep things right. The plumber, the garbage man, the supermarket food supply, the police and firemen, the Army, Navy and Air Force, even the undertaker, all become some distant and semi-invisible folk who are automatically operating to keep life on the normal course and patter.
The farther one is removed by generation gap or social position from ever having had to take care of any of this by one's own self, the greater the belief that it all happens easily without any personal interjection.
American personality and character have not really degenerated from their historical strengths; rather, the high-tech environment, like an opiate, dulls and changes the perception. Perhaps the intellectually elite are almost irreversible, but "down on the farms," "deep in the mines and mills," and "trucking those 18-wheelers along our life-line highways" are men and women who still understand the fundamentals of life support and true freedom, just as in the pioneer days of old.
When disaster hits, be it from natural or man-made assault, here lies our strength with the capability for correction and rehabilitation.
Always an optimist, trusting in God and my fellow men, I'm sure we'll make it well into the 21st century with or without our politicians, environmentalists, scientists, welfare and even the newspapers and TV commentators' advice. After that I doubt that I'll be able to help.
Raymond J. Schneider
Rear Admiral, US Navy (Retired)