Recent Character Commentaries

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A Christmas Story
Much of the time we tend to think of compassion in terms of the extraordinary moments, events which seem removed from our daily perspective. The Dalai Lama’s story of a Tibetan monk’s compassion towards his Chinese jailers is one example. However, not long ago, I experienced a simple, yet powerful example of everyday compassion. My neighbor, Sue Adams, is funny, wise...
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December 24, 2008
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The Red Set
One of my earliest memories of school days was reading and working on reports from the World Book Encyclopedia. These hard-bound, red-covered books came in a 19-volume set produced by the Quarrie Corporation.  The copyright on my edition is 1941, but the copyright dates back to 1917! These highly-readable, illustrated books were the primary source for any and all questions and reports...
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December 1, 2008
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Our American Character
Visiting the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston I was struck by the wisdom and relevance to today’s issues some of our 35th president’s words carry. After announcing his candidacy for the presidency on January 2, 1960, in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Kennedy laid out the role of the president in his time. “…the...
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September 29, 2008
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Spit Not Into the Fire
“These are the times that try men’s souls.” At a time when the country’s spirit had been all but crushed by fear and despair; when “our affairs were at their lowest ebb and things in the most gloomy state,” British writer and American patriot, Thomas Paine rehabilitated America’s spirit through an essay entitled, “The American Crisis.” Strapped with a war...
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September 22, 2008
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Enduring Leadership
In 1914, so the tale goes, the following ad was placed in a London newspaper: “Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small Wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.” It’s still not known whether those words were truly those of Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton or just another...
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September 19, 2008
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Before the Dark Knight
There’s a lot of “buzz” surrounding the new Batman summer movie. One aspect that critics point to is the film’s faithfulness to the original concept of a dark and mysterious character committed to fighting injustice — a departure from the over-the-top cartoon characters present in earlier films. However, before the Bat-man’s appearance in 1939, before Superman debuted in ’38, another...
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July 19, 2008
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Essential Duty
To say that Dr. Michael DeBakey was an extraordinary and innovative heart surgeon is a little like saying that Joe DiMaggio was a pretty good ball player. Dr. DeBakey’s pioneering work in the field of cardiovascular surgery earned him international recognition. He is credited with inventing and perfecting scores of medical devices, techniques, and procedures, which have led to healthy...
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July 14, 2008
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40 Years Ago
In the summer of ’68 I was 19-years-old and in my first year of college. During the first of what would become my two favorite years, I listened to the Moody Blues (on cassette), Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” (on vinyl) and Simon and Garfunkle.  I studied theater and philosophy, worked on a college production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the...
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June 6, 2008
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Fifteen Minutes
Patricia Hill Burnett has led an extraordinary life. She was Miss Michigan in 1942 and first runner-up to Miss America that year. She also played the female lead for five years in The Lone Ranger and Green Hornet radio shows. In 1969, Patricia demonstrated her commitment to the women’s movement by founding the first chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in Michigan,...
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June 4, 2008
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Teddy Roosevelt’s “True Americanism”
“The average citizen must be a good citizen if our republics are to succeed. The stream will not permanently rise higher than the main source; and the main source of national power and national greatness is found in the average citizenship of the nation. Therefore it behooves us to do our best to see that the standard of the average...
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June 2, 2008