Make America Great Again: Honor D-Day, June 6, 1944, Our Longest Day

World War II, Official U.S. Coast Guard photograh of American soldiers leaving an LCT to invade Omaha Beach on D-Day, 1944,

June 6, 1944. D-Day. The invasion of German-occupied France by allied forces. It was the beginning of the end of the war in Europe, which occurred 11 months later when the Germans surrendered on May 7, 1945. I was 13 years old. I followed the war intensely in those days, watching Pathe newsreels on Saturday mornings at the East End movie theater, reading every 15-cent issue of Life Magazine I could get my hands on, keeping a scrapbook of newspaper clippings. We each had our heroes as well as our casualties. Bobby Longtine, about 5 years older than me, was our first neighborhood casualty. I will never forget when I saw the Gold Star hung in his parent’s window as I walked by the Longtine’s home on the way to school. Bobby’s younger brother, Jack, was a classmate on mine at East High.

Dick Bong WWII Ace

Dick Bong, America’s leading ace, who flew 200 missions and shot down 40 Jap planes, was from Poplar, Wisconsin, about 15 miles from my home in Superior. I remember our excitement when he married Marge Vattendahl, the sister of Bill, one of my good East High school classmates. How Major Bong thrilled us all when he brought his P-38, which he named “Marge,” to Superior, and flew it Chinese style – one wing low – down Tower Avenue, our main street, not more than a foot or two off the ground! He received the Medal of Honor from General MacArthur. MacArthur decided America needed a live hero, so Bong was sent “home for good” in January 1945. His assignment was to promote the sale of war bonds, in addition to his new role as a military test pilot. Unfortunately, he died on August 6, 1945, the day we bombed Hiroshima, test-flying one of the new fangled Lockheed jets. During the 1964 elections, I was active in Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign. Goldwater had been one of Bong’s flight instructors.

To this day I cherish a picture of Dick Bong, his P-38, Medal of Honor, and a dollar bill with his now-fading signature, an ancient birthday gift from my sister, Cathy.

Although Bong’s War was fought against the Japanese in the Pacific, the airplane he flew, the P-38, had a remarkable role in Europe on D-Day. It’s unique design made it a perfect plane to fly cover for the American, Canadian and British troops as they stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. The P-38’s twin motors and tails provided it with a distinguishable look, easily separating it from the Germans’ Messerschmitt Bf 109’s, the backbone of the Luftwaffe’s fighter force. Thus, the P-38s were less vulnerable to being shot down by friendly fire in the craze of the invasion.

The massiveness of our WWII buildup and effort was unbelievable. When the Germans occupied Paris in June 1940, the American army of 190,000 was smaller than the armies of either Sweden or Switzerland. Four years later, in May 1944, the month before D-Day, almost 8 million Americans were in uniform. The Eisenhower Foundation tells us that the D-day invasion, known as Operation Overlord, involved 156,115 soldiers, 12,843 aircraft, 6, 939 ships, and 195,701 naval staff.

Rangers climbing cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach (Image from Friends of the National WWII Memorial)

Over the years, I’ve read a lot about the war. Joseph Balkoski’s Omaha Beach: D-Day, June 6, 1944, really brought the sobering reality of D-Day home. On D-Day, starting at 6:30 a.m., landings took place at five beaches codenamed Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha and Utah. Faced with a hailstorm of artillery, machine gun, rocket, mortar and small arms fire, the 34,250 soldiers landing on Omaha Beach suffered the most D-Day casualties: 4,720.

A look at the Rangers climbing Pointe du Hoc from Omaha Beach in face of German fire from the cliffs is a frightening reminder of the difficulty the troops had to overcome. President Regan paid a tribute to the Rangers on the 40th Anniversary of D-Day:

“The Rangers looked up and saw enemy soldiers [on] the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing granades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of the cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again…. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top….”

Balkoski reported an interview with Third Battalion Commander, Lt. Colonel Horner, who said, “The casualty rate normally is about one [killed] to seven [wounded]. [On D-Day] it was one to one.” Balkoski concluded, “Such dreadful losses confirm that the eighteen-hour battle on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, was indeed one of the U.S. Army’s most costly combats of World War II.”

German Pill Box

As I’ve pointed out in prior blogs, we Americans believed WWII was the war to end all wars. But the war wasn’t the war to end all wars. I was at the University of Wisconsin when the Korean War got in full swing in 1950, five short years after WWII. Several of my high school buddies who were drafted got trapped on the Chosin Reservoir when the Chinese intervened. They brought home tough stories. I was lucky, my 2 year stint in the Army started in 1954 as the war wound down.

In 1971, during the Vietnam War, anthropologists Louis Leakey and Robert Ardrey lectured at the Leakey Foundation about “Aggression and Violence in Man.” During their discussions Ardrey said, “After our experience in Vietnam I would hope Americans would learn that [a war] of intrusion is not a rewarding way of life.” There were some pretty active Vietnam protests back then, and there was singers Peter, Paul and Mary and their soulful Where Have All the Flowers Gone.

Eisenhower 6.4.1944 letter to each D-Day soldier

But we didn’t learn from Vietnam any more than we learned from WWII or Korea, or from any of the other undeclared wars. The 130 plus undeclared wars Americans have been in since WWII took a hefty portion of our national budgets and represent a large part of our growing national debt. These wars also killed too many of our young men and women and saddled too many battle survivors with PTSD. The wars also cause a lot of “collateral damage” – civilian death and destruction in the countries where we intrude. But, as I pointed out in May 7 – A Special Day, today’s wars of intrusion draw few protestors, probably because today’s soldiers are not conscripts and because we are not asked to sacrifice back home as we were in WWII.

If we travel around our globe in this our 21st year of the 21st Century, from Central and South America through the Middle East to Myanmar and China (with side glances not just at Russia, but at the attempted insurrection following our 2020 election), any close look at human conduct can be pretty discouraging. Why can’t we stop our penchant to solve our problems with violence? Was Raymond Dart (who discovered Australopithecus africanus in 1924) right in the 1950s when he developed the theory that interpersonal aggression was the driving force behind human evolution, explained in his The Predatory Transition from Ape to Man? Is there No End to War as Walter Laqueur wrote in 2003? Has man always fought, as Steven LeBlanc concludes in his Constant Battles? Was Konrad Lorenz right about man’s instincts of aggression against his fellow man in his On Aggression? Was Geoffrey Perret right in his Country Made by War that war is what made America great?

Or was Rousseau‘s romantic view right – do we come from the stock of “Noble Savages,” peaceful species who lived a life worthy of our reconsideration? Or, is Rousseau’s idea akin to Plato’s “Noble Lie”?

As I pondered these thoughts, I returned to the 1971 Aggression and Violence in Man Leakey Foundation lecture of Robert Ardrey (author of several books on early man and evolution, including African Genisis) and Louis Leakey (who discovered the origins of man in the Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, Africa). Ardrey was of the view our killer instinct evolved over one or two million years, from our early experiences as a hunter, and was a necessary trait for survival. Louis Leakey (somewhat supported in the 1981 book of his son, Richard) disagreed and attributed our penchant for aggression to man‘s societal development, beginning as communities of cave dwellers, where prehistoric man gained his control over fire, and speech and socialization evolved, products of the last 40,000 years or so. Leakey said, “(W)ith the arrival of real speech, although it has done a great many beautiful things, at the same time it has done certain awfully bad things, because it gave us time and leisure to invent ideas and some of those ideas, I am afraid, were the causes of our aggression.“ Ironically, two years after the debate, Leakey’s protégé, Jane Goodall, confirmed Audrey’s conclusions after she witnessed chimpanzee tribal raids in Gombe. Until she witnessed the raids, the widely held belief was that chimpanzees, our nearest evolutionary relatives, were peaceful – and just maybe Rousseau’s noble savage theory of our evolution was right. The deadly raid of a chimpanzee tribe into the territory of another tribe changed all that. Goodall concluded, “The chimpanzee has clearly reached a stage where he stands at the very threshold of human achievement in destruction, cruelty and planned conflict.”

Among Robert Ardrey’s and Louis Leakey’s conclusions is that man has been aggressively “territorial.” Individual man and societies of men value territory, seek territory, and defend territory. Territory is a prime source of human conflict. Ludwig von Mises, in Socialism, his 1932 defense of capitalism, wrote “All ownership derives from occupation and violence. … It is no accident that it is precisely in the defense of property that Law reveals most clearly its character of peacemaker.”

The importance of “territory” and evidence that Chimps, like man, fight and kill for territory, was the subject of a June 2010 article in Current Biology, “Lethal intergroup aggression leads to territorial expansion in wild chimpanzees.” Although there are advocates today against territoriality, such as Andreas Faludi in his 2018 The Poverty of Territorialism, any reflection on the global politics of the 21st Century confirms that we haven’t evolved very far from the chimpanzees when it comes to territory.

As Ardrey and Leaky neared the end of their talk, Ardrey observed, “Evolution makes difficult to learn that which is not survival value. … It is easy to learn to kill to hunt. And now we have to unlearn to kill and it is difficult.” Leakey agreed, adding, “(E)ither we will be destroyed … or we are going to save the world for our future generations – for our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One way or the other. And I think we have to do it now. That is the lesson from our study of the past.”

Leakey advised in the “Q & A“ following the lectures that to live peacefully and overcome our propensity for aggression, people of all backgrounds must intermingle, mix, and become truly global until mankind realizes “they are all one and the same. … You can’t really kill people if you have a real feeling that they also have a faith and are meaningful. … Because of the destructive influences of dogmas and doctrines as distinct from faith, we are letting young people lose faith when they don’t have to lose. And having lost faith … they are not willing to abandon violence. If you believe that the person is something worthwhile, you don’t stuff him out.”

Jared Diamond concludes similarly in his The Third Chimpanzee, “When I try to think of reasons why nuclear weapons won’t inexorably combine with our genocidal tendencies to break the records we’ve already set for genocide in the first half of the twentieth century, our accelerating homogenization is one of the chief grounds for hope.”

So how do we “Make America Great” again? How do we Honor D-Day, our “Longest Day”?

We squelch our aggressive instincts, we work at becoming global in our understanding others, and above all we become reverent for life and for peace. For me, 1954 Nobel prize winner Albert Schweitzer said it best:

A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help. As soon as man does not take his existence for granted, but beholds it as something unfathomably mysterious, thought begins. By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive. By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive. I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics. The man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give every will-to-live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. He experiences that other life in his own.


For your consideration:

May 7 – A Special Day

May 7, 2021 is a special day for me. It’s my 90th birthday, and, with a lot of help from others along the way, I’ve made it this far, still standing on my two feet. And, after three years of surgeries, radiations and infusions, my cancer doctors say I’m doing good enough to take a six months break in treatment, which gives me an opportunity to concentrate on some important projects.

It’s also special because my book, Democracy of Dollars, is being released during my birthday week by my publisher, Indies United Publishing House, and is available in electronic form, paperback and hardback. We’ll gift the royalties to Our Children’s Trust. We’ve priced the ebook on Amazon and elsewhere at $3.95 so that it’s economic enough for students to afford a copy. We’re also providing copies of the book to Stetson College of Law for its gifting to contributors who support its Center for Environmental Justice, now in formation.

All that’s good, personal stuff. But there’s more. There is also an important history about May 7 that is worth sharing.

World War II ended in Europe on May 7, 1945 when German emissaries met with General Dwight Eisenhower at his schoolhouse headquarters in Reims, France. On this day, Germany surrendered unconditionally. Thus, the ‘first leg” of the war to end all wars was completed.

May 7, 1945 was also a special day for me. It was my 14th birthday. And in Superior, Wisconsin, far from the quieted guns of the European battlefields we too joined in the celebration. Optimism and hope returned to the earth. Patriotism and pride filled our hearts.

But the war to end all wars did not end the wars; in fact, over the years, there has hardly been a pause. In 1954 I and many of my college classmates were ushered into uniform for a “mini“ police action with North Korea. A few years later, there was Vietnam. Historian Geoffrey Perret was right when, in 1989, he wrote we are A Country Made By War.

At Camp Gordon, Georgia

In those earlier times, it was Congress that declared war; now the battles and the death of our young are merely funded by Congress, rarely through forbidden tax increases, usually through increases in our national debt. Undeclared wars have become working tools of our Presidents, Republican and Democrat. I wrote about Congress giving up its war powers to our President in Democracy of Dollars. WWII was the last American war where Congress exercised its right to declare war. Since then there have been over 130 undeclared American Wars, from Korea to Afghanistan. When Congress tried to reassert itself by passing a law in 2020 to limit presidential war power authority, our President vetoed the law. Why? Was it pressure from the military-industrial complex Dwight Eisenhower warned us about when his term as President was up? Or is Congress incapable of speaking for the American people?

Of course, we don’t call them wars today. They are “military operations:” Operation Eagle Claw, Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Nimble Archer, Operation Earnest Will, Operation Prime Chance, Operation Praying Mantis, Operation Just Cause, Operation Provide Comfort, etc. You get the picture. Wikipedia has the list: “Timeline of United States military operations.” It’s up-to-date through 2020.

In those earlier times, during World War II and the “Korean operation,” the army was not a volunteer army, there was the draft and mandatory service was required of all able-bodied young men. Going to college at a “land-grant school” meant taking mandatory ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) courses like I took at the University of Wisconsin.

Mandatory service brought with it patriotism – the understanding, though painful and frightening, that we are all involved. Our country, our lives, were at stake. I remember my instructor at Wisconsin soberly informing our ROTC class that the average life expectancy off a Second Lieutenant in combat was expressed not in days or weeks but in seconds. We all had an interest in getting it right. That’s Patriotism: setting aside our differences and working together to solve our problems. And when we didn’t think war was right, as many did after Korea and during Vietnam, it brought out the war protesters among us. That, too, was an expression of patriotism – working together in a democratic way to solve our problems.

A military draft also fit the idea of the framers of the Constitution; the militia was to be a militia of citizens who picked up their arms to defend our country when it was threatened. Pick up guns when the country was threatened; then put them down and go back to the plows. Like Cincinnatus in ancient Rome. Like Washington did after our Revolutionary War. The idea was wired in the minds of our founders. That’s why men could keep guns; they were in our country’s militia. A different mindset than today’s NRA propagandized minds, which has resulted in more guns in America than there are people.

And during World War II, those too old or too young or too unhealthy to go to war pitched in and sacrificed. There were no new cars built every year. Car production stopped. Tanks rolled off the assembly lines. $25 war bonds to pay for the war were financed by thousands of payroll deductions – from wages that on a good week probably were $15 dollars. That’s what my mother earned. Top income tax brackets jumped to 95%. There were ration stamps for food and gas. Automobile speed limits topped out at 35 miles an hour. None of that made anyone particularly happy, but we sucked it up – we all pitched in with pride. Patriotism. Our country wasn’t about “me,” it was about “we” and we meant all of us pitching in together for a result that was good for all of us.

When the switch went from wars to “military operations” Patriotism became the first casualty.

Today, we have a volunteer army. We fight the “military operations” without any sacrifice at all except from the “volunteers.“ No mandatory military service. No food rationing. No gas rationing. No hiccup in buying all the electronic toys that have become a necessity. We don’t finance the “military operations“ by higher taxes, or by war bonds that we each buy with pride. Or by any other sacrifice. In fact, the Tea Party Patriots was born a few years ago as a revolt to the idea of the government even thinking of asking us to sacrifice anything or do anything on a “we” not a “me” basis. The idea, which is now the mantra for Republican conservatism, is get off my back and cut my taxes. And with that revolt, Patriotism became the real casualty. Yet we spend more money on “defense” than the next 14 countries combined. Yes, no country touches our spending for guns and war, our ownership of guns, and our full prisons. But 25 or so countries beat us badly in education and health care, and our student loans today exceed all the other credit card debt of our country by a wide margin.

Ft. DeSoto

Ft. DeSoto

So, in our thoughts and daily lives, war has become more distant, separated from what’s “important” to us. And for too many of us, the Libertarian “me” genes have replaced the Patriotic “we” genes.

The carnage of war is easier ignored by those of us who don’t volunteer for service. We bomb impersonally from drones. We express little concern about the death of the civilians that get in the way of our “precision” bombs and rockets. After all, in military operations there’s going to be some “collateral damage.”

“Collateral damage.” Collateral damage is a word frame. A propaganda picture inserted into our minds. It’s not so bad. It’s not us. Its “collateral,” someplace and someone else. Too bad. Sorry.

We are desensitized to the collateral damage news. The word frames we picture in our minds – volunteer fighters, drone bombs, deaths on foreign shores – separate us from the personal cost of combat, from the emotions, fears, and experience of war.

We don’t buy war bonds, we let the Chinese and other nations buy our bonds and finance our “military operations” and unrestricted life style, a life style whose “footprint” would take the resources of three globes if all people on earth were able to keep up with our use and abuse of the earth’s resources. And with that lack of investment of ourselves disappears the true test of Patriotism – getting involved, pitching in to make a difference.

The Pentagon budget, the budget for today’s peacetime war machine, starts at a measly $740 billion. Over the past several decades, we cut out safety inspections and environmental protection, both essential for our food and water; we gutted our nation’s infrastructure; and we cut out appropriate investments in education for our children’s job preparation. Unlike other democracies that provide essentially free education, we bind too many of our children to lifelong debt for their education. But Congress keeps insisting we build tanks and other weapons we can no longer use and the Pentagon has said it doesn’t want. We’re driven by propaganda intent on scaring us, not on factual reality.

Although those in Congress we have elected to speak for us no longer listen to us, polls indicate that Americans, the silent Americans, would like the Defense Budget reduced so we can deal with COVID-19, education and healthcare. But the silent Americans have been silenced, ironically, not by satisfaction but by disgust, by frustration, by lack of good leadership. There’s some indication that we may be in for a positive change following the 2020 election. Only time will tell.

Of course, the well-oiled war machine “creates jobs.” We employee people financed by federal debt to build weapons we do not need. We employ private contractors – security personnel they are called – to help us fight our undeclared wars. I’m told that the annual “taxpayer cost” of this civilian army force is $450,000 for each security person. Many of us see the “contractors” not as accountable or necessary security forces but hired guns of “war-profiteers,” employees of major political contributors whose companies are now licensed to kill and who promote their efforts by making unlimited political contributions. Go back into history: private armies. Were private armies not the way of the medieval kings? Are we repeating the sins of the Middle Ages, when the kings and knights and lords, then the financial “elite,” ruled?

But, we had a revolt a few elections ago. The Tea Party Patriots touched a sensitive vein within many of us and sprang to action. Initially, Naomi Wolf, author of a challenging book, End of America, wrote that the Tea Party movement could be a worthy step in the regeneration of Patriotism in America.

But is it?

The Tea Party movement adopted “Objectivism,” the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Objectivism is about the idea that selfishness is good. The Tea Party brought Ayn Rand’s Book, Atlas Shrugged, to movie theaters in 2011. In Atlas Shrugged, the elite, decided to stop working, retreat to a valley, and rebuild when our country collapsed from the press of those who lived from “entitlements.“ Objectivism materialized in the early 1960’s, long before we knew much about how our brains are wired, and now we know we are also wired for community, cooperation, and compassion and not merely for Social Darwinism, the theme of Objectivism, taught today at the University of Texas.

In a follow-up Wolf article, God Crashes the Tea Party, hard on the Tea Party, she wrote:

“Likewise, the Tea Party, which showed no interest in racist language or iconography at its outset, increasingly injects such demagoguery into its messages. The movement’s libertarian message is now regularly subverted by anti-Muslim paranoia and contradicted by activism supporting such initiatives as the mass round-up, without due process, of undocumented immigrants in Arizona.”

Flag- Ft. DeSoto Park

Followers of Objectivism have warned us to no longer follow the moral codes of the past as “Our Moral Code is Out of Date.” Unfortunately, the Objectivism clan never updated its philosophy to reflect what we now know about the importance of cooperation and our “we” genes, and the dangers of living as if “me” genes are all that matters. Christian Science Monitor‘s article, “How is elitist Ayn Rand a tea party hero? The contradiction should concern America,” is a worthy read. As a movement, the Tea Party has quieted down, but, as we pointed out above, its view of right and wrong grips the GOP and its followers. The article concludes:

“Tea partiers praise Ayn Rand’s ‘pure capitalism.’ But they ignore her oligarchic, elitist views, ideals that are fundamentally anti-American and deeply at odds with the tea party’s own cause.”

Cutting essential services is not Patriotism.

Cutting taxes for those who benefit most from our American Way at the same time income disparity with the middle and poorer classes deepens, restricting their ability to pay their fair share, is not Patriotism.

Suppressing the rights of people to vote, and gerrymandering voting districts, is not Patriotism.

Operating our government as if only our political party represents political truth is not Patriotism.

Skewing our courts in favor of either political party is not Patriotism.

As I write in Democracy of Dollars, we have become an oligarchy – a government of a few for the benefit of a few – on our way to pure authoritarianism, with a deadly erosion of our democracy.

In Get Up, Stand Up Bruce Levine writes:

“Elitism—be it rule by kings or corporations—is the opposite of genuine democracy. It is in the interest of those at the top of society to convince people below them that (1) democracy is merely about the right to vote; and (2) corporations and the wealthy elite are so powerful, any thought that “regular people” can achieve real power is naive. In genuine democracy and in real-deal populism, people not only believe that they have a right to self-government; they also have the individual strength and group cohesion necessary to take actions to eliminate top-down controls over their lives.”

Yes, May 7, 2021 is my 90th birthday. Finally, I have finally accepted the truism that democracy is not a spectator sport. When we get up and stand up, Patriotism will be reborn. Today’s troubles must become our disguised opportunity. That’s what my book Democracy of Dollars is all about. Democracy of Dollars closes with a discussion of President Biden’s February 2021 talk at the Munich Security Conference:

“We’re at an inflection point…. New crises demand our attention. And we cannot focus only on competition among countries that threaten to divide the world, or only on global challenges that threaten to sink us together if we fail to cooperate. We must do both.… We are in the midst of a fundamental debate about the future and direction of the world. We’re at an inflection point between those who argue that, given all the challenges we face — from the fourth industrial revolution to a global pandemic — that autocracy is the best way forward, they argue, and those who understand that democracy is essential — essential to meeting those challenges.… We must demonstrate that democracies can still deliver for our people in this changed world. That, in my view, is our galvanizing mission…. Democracy doesn’t happen by accident. We have to defend it, fight for it, strengthen it, renew it.”

It’s in the renewal, strengthening, and defense of democracy where you and I come in. It’s up to us. That’s what May 7 is really all about.

Merry Christmas – from Pete Polar Bear and Joan and Dick

Pondering Pete Polar Bear

T’was the Night Before Christmas; Santa was not amused. His reindeers’ runway, once ice, was all puddles; it could no longer be used.

The North Pole’s ice was melting – it could not be a worst plight. Santa’s workshop that topped it sank fast, then clear out of sight.

Santa’s elves saw it coming, worked night and day – Christmas toys now stacked on an iceberg in Santa’s old sleigh.

Santa was thankful but his problem’s quite clear. How does he take off with eight tiny reindeer?

For the reindeer need a runway to speed to the sky. Trapped on a tiny iceberg, how could they fly?

Pete Polar Bear saw it all and knew it was bad. But it’s the time for solutions, not to mope or be sad.

Pete had a strong heart, a big brain in his head. His mission was simple: launch Santa, launch Santa’s sled.

Pete was tough, a good swimmer for sure. He jumped in the bay; he knew he’d endure.

Rudolph’s smile was big, his nose a bright red, guiding Pete to the iceberg and Santa’s trapped sled.

Santa threw Pete a line, both held on tight. Pete turned to the wind and swam with all of his might.

The iceberg stuttered but soon picked up speed. In the face of the breeze, Santa muttered, he had the lift he would need.

So Santa shouted and called them by name:

“Now Dasher!
Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet!
On Cupid!
On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the ice!
To the top of the ice wall!
Now dash away!
Dash Away!
Dash away all!!!”

Pete took a deep breath, the iceberg floating by. He climbed its steep banks, his eyes to the sky.

Santa’s sleigh’s in full flight, a sight to behold. But Pete pondered, would Christmas always be ice-cold?

For if not, we all have to worry. Not only about Santa or Pete or all who are furry.

We’re in this together, Pete, you and me. We take care of each other or we sink in the sea.

Yes, some understand, yes, some really care. Like our young, championed by Our Children’s Trust, whose mission we share.

But Santa’s plight tells us that among us old, the care’s still too rare, it’s not centerfold.

So, our New Year’s mission is clear: it’s about Santa’s plight, it’s about caring for our Earth so we don’t sink out of sight.

That’s a mission we can no longer ignore, though we’ve been shortsighted, we’ve ignored it before.

In 2021, let’s pitch in, let’s care for our Earth and all that is dear.

Let’s be thankful for Pete, for each other, and be of good cheer!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Pondering Pete Polar Bear &
Joan and Dick Jacobs