Recent Character Commentaries

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“He is the Fire Department”
Remembering 9/11, we tend to remember the whole event rather than the personal stories. More than 2,753 individuals died in New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon that day. New York suffered the loss of 343 firefighters. One of them was 42-year veteran First Deputy Fire Commissioner William Feehan. It was reported that Feehan was so knowledgeable that he...
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September 10, 2021
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The Questions We Need to Ask Ourselves
“How can we love our country and not love our countrymen? And loving them, reach out a hand when they fall, heal them when they’re sick, and provide opportunities to make them self-sufficient so they will be equal in fact and not just in theory.” —Ronald Reagan Disinformation, disfunction, violence, a deadly virus, vaccination deniers, climate deniers, wildfires, hurricanes, floods....
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September 7, 2021
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The Character We Had; The Character We Need Again
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of character these days; the kind of character where individuals choose principle over expediency; who stand up for what’s right rather than give into fear or worse, silence. What we know of the Greek philosopher Socrates comes from his greatest student, Plato. Socrates believed that “to know the good is to do the...
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July 23, 2021
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Fact, Fiction and Adam Kinzinger
Adam Kinzinger is a committed conservative. However, that commitment does not extend to supporting Donald Trump and his Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen and that Vice-President Mike Pence had the power to throw out votes when the electoral votes were being certified in the Capitol on January 6. Kinzinger calls the obsequiousness by Republicans to Trump, “capitulating...
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July 6, 2021
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Mending Wall
“Man is free at the instant he wants to be.” – Voltaire Looking up at the nation’s Capitol, two small children, a boy and girl, were standing at the bottom of the steps looking up, awed by the size and brilliance of the white building. Each began climbing the 365 steps to reach the top. When one had trouble, the...
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June 21, 2021
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Who We Once Were and Can Be Again
TIME magazine raised a critical issue with implications that go beyond last year’s election. “To the victor goes a nation divided. A nation split over its place in the world, over its basic values, over its future direction. … the Uncivil War is likely to continue. After such a venomous campaign, will it be possible to… reunite the United States?”...
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June 14, 2021
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How Do We Restore Faith in Our Democracy?
For 3 long days, the battle raged. The following night, in a heavy rain, General Lee withdrew his troops from the battlefield of Gettysburg. The union had won a costly but critical battle and turned the tide of the Civil War. Four months later, Lincoln, a Republican, standing in the midst of a crowd, summed the words that would be...
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June 4, 2021
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What We Need Right Now
Last Friday, Colonel Ralph Puckett, Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony. “I’m incredibly proud,” President Biden said, “to give Col. Ralph Puckett’s act of valor the full recognition that he always deserved. Colonel, I’m humbled to have you here today.” The White House statement reads, in part: “Then-First Lieutenant Ralph Puckett, Jr. distinguished himself...
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May 26, 2021
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Moment of Principle
In my 2004 book, What Do You Stand For? I asked a cross-section of more than 100 individuals to answer a questionnaire: What do you stand for, what principles have you lived by? Describe a “moment of principle” in which your convictions were tested or a story in which you were inspired by another. Last night, on the floor of...
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May 12, 2021
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That Extra Mile
This story ran last March, but it’s worth another look to show that there are police officers who, with patience and compassion, take a closer look before using any force. Breonna Taylor was shot and killed by police in her own apartment one year ago. George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Dreck Chauvin when the officer held his...
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May 10, 2021

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