Some of the people I am impressed with, and some that the world will really miss.
The Men and Women Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the family members of those who have been lost in the War on Terrorism.
Victims and Family Members of Victims of the 2004 Tsunami
Rosa Parks (what an amazing soul)
U.S. President Ronald Reagan
This photo of President Reagan is one of my favorites, taken at the Berlin Wall when he made his now famous statement, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" This led to the tearing down of the wall that had split Germany between East and West, Communist and Democratic, since the beginning of the Cold War. For music fans, this event was so significant that the band Pink Floyd played a special version of their "The Wall" concert to commemorate the event. Part of the reason this was so intense was because this show of Pink Floyd's was so massive, they only did 2 shows in the United States, one in New York and one in California. It took more semi trucks than any show ever in history for a musical event. This all pales in comparison to President Reagan's accomplishment, however, it also helps you see that this was not just a German thing, not just a democracy thing, the entire world celebrated the fact that a country which had been split in half was finally back together. I have never wanted to attend a concert so bad but came very close to going to Germany for the show. While the rejoining of Germany resulted in much difficulty for the German people financially, the pain should have been seen as being caused by the original separation and not the re-joining. While I neither condone nor condemn abortion rights (I believe the decision is between the woman who chooses to have one and God Almighty,) I found President Reagan's view on the matter as one of my favorite quotes of his. Here is what he said:
Ive noticed all those in favor of abortion are already born.. ...
President Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987, Berlin Wall: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
President Reagan Scared the Soviets to Death...
A brilliant article about Mr. Reagan by a Soviet Citizen a few days after his death and what President Reagan meant to them is reproduced for you. Click this link to view it: Moscow's View of Reagan
Author: You know this could be a great endorsement for Arnold Schwarzenegger for US President. Seems like Evil Empires everywhere tremble at the thought of a Hollywood Actor as President, which is funny, because President Reagan played a Good Guy Cowboy when he was in the movies, not too terribly threatening. Think what they would think of Arnold as President after viewing The Terminator film trilogy. Arnold could just tell countries what we want them to do and it will be done.
One more thing about President Reagan. In his attempts at ending apartheid in South Africa, President Reagan did something no U.S. President had ever done. Along with many conditions he set for the lifting of economic sanctions against the South African government, he also mandated that Nelson Mandela be freed from prison. This was amazing and unheard of. For those that don't know, Mr. Mandela was held in prison because of his outspoken views against the "white" government of South Africa and his political protests. Not only was Nelson Mandela freed from prison and apartheid ended, Nelson Mandela went on to become the President of South Africa. Because of this and so many other things, President Reagan was a President of Presidents.
For information on the fascinating history of the Berlin Wall, visit: www.6913th.org/Bhaven/ Berlin.htm
Space Shuttle Colombia Crew
Michael P. Anderson, Dr. David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Dr. Laurel Blair Salton Clark, Rick D. Husband, C. McCool, and Ilan Ramon.
See the Tribute Interactive Page from NASA at: Space Shuttle Columbia Crew Interactive Video
Try the Windows Media Version for better quality: Space Shuttle Memorial High Res Version
Space Shuttle Challenger Crew
Commander Francis (Dick) R. Scobee (193986); pilot Michael J. Smith (194586); mission specialists Judith A. Resnik (194986), Ellison S. Onizuka (194686), and Ronald E. McNair (195086); and payload specialists Gregory B. Jarvis (194486) and Christa McAuliffe (194886).
Those that died and survived at Pearl Harbor.
Mr. Nelson Mandela, former prisoner of 21 plus years, went on to become the President of South Africa!
Nelson Mandela For US President!
(Hey the non-African population in South Africa thought it was crazy too but look what happened - I think he would make a fine U.S. President!)
Steven Bikokilled in a South African jail. (Learn more about Stephen Biko by clicking: Stephen Biko
Malcolm X - was too radical at first, but changed before his death.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy
"Ray Charles" Robinson - thanks to Jamie Foxx for his outstanding portrayal of Mr. Charles. Ray Charles overcame so many obstacles and was so fantastic. He is sorely missed by many. He was an inspiration and the movie will both warm your heart and encourage you.
4 African-American girls murdered at church by a bomb in Birmingham, Alabama. (See Presidential Proclamation) Also, see new movie "Sins of the Father" (click title to jump to story) on Fox Network, being released in January 2002.
The victims and their families, of the Alfred P. Murrow Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
The Branch Davidian's (excluding those who fired on law enforcement and those who started the fires)
Frank Olson - UPDATE:
I first learned of Frank Olson's case when I read the book "In Search of the Manchurian Candidate" which should not be confused with the movie "The Manchurian Candidate" which came out before the book. The book details the various efforts of the World Security Agency, the predecessor to the CIA, to utilize any and all substances known to man basically to induce an individual into assassinating someone then killing themselves immediately after. A person who could be programmed and sent on a path to assassinate someone months even years after starting their mission. Basically get a young child, program them, and then send them to live in a foreign country. As the years go by that child eats, sleeps and breathes everything possible to land a job with a foreign government. After 10 years of climbing the ladder, a simple phone call is made with a pre-recorded message, and the next day this "Manchurian Candidate" goes to work with a gun and kills the leader of the country then kills themselves on the spot. Diabolical yes, but during the Cold War the fears were so high that every possible advantage to win the cold war were both developed and explored. Having grown up during the end of the Cold War era was an odd and amazing time. Before I ramble to much more, the UPDATE is that one of Frank Olson's sons has steadfastly researched and discovered additional information. An overheard conversation on a hotel party line left those responsible for his death open for investigation. A link to Mr. Olson's site is provided below. The story was originally reported as having been dealt with by President Ford in 1975 however, documents at the Ford Presidential Library tell a different story of what happened. This and more can be found at the link below, and the following is what was originally reported and widely circulated in 1975:
Government agent who was secretly given LSD by other agents as an experiment to see how it would affect him. Mr. Olson had an adverse reaction to the drug, and experienced very bad hallucinations. He died when he fell approximately 13 stories to his death from a hotel during severe delusions as a result of the drug, during interrogation by government psychiatrists trying to bring him back to reality. His family for years was told that he was mentally ill and committed suicide because of that. The truth finally came out in the mid-'70's, and then President Gerald Ford apologized to the family for what happened, and the fact that had been covered up, and offered financial restitution. Ultimately this was the result of misguided efforts of a select few whose entire interest and passion was national security. It was their job to protect our country, and to do so at all costs. While it was wrong that this happened, it would not have been as bad if the truth had been revealed immediately, sincere apologies made, promises that no other American citizen would go through this, and compensation made to the family. Instead, the family was lied to and they were told their husband/Dad was crazy basically, for many years. God rest his soul, and God bless his family. I met President Ford in 1974 at the age of 12, in Dallas, at D/FW International Airport.
For more information on Frank Olson, hold your "shift" key down and click this link: http://www.frankolsonproject.org
Andy Kaufman (click photos for memorial website)
Andy Kaufman was a strange comedian, loved by some and disliked by others. The first time I saw him was on Saturday Night Live, where he sang along with the "Mighty Mouse," theme song. It was hysterical and still very funny. And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present Andy Kaufman in his SNL debut Mighty Mouse skit. (It will run better if you download it, which you can do by right-clicking on the "Mighty Mouse" link and selecting "Save Target As" option and saving to your hard drive. It is a large file, so unless you have DSL or faster internet connection, it will take a long time.) Around the 20th anniversary of Andy's death, May 2004, a person popped up on the Internet claiming that he was Andy Kaufman and he faked his death. Of all the people in the world including Elvis, I could see Andy Kaufman doing this as he was the ultimate prankster, though I don't believe this is him.
Click here download or to view the video of Andy on SNL: Mighty Mouse
John Belushi was my hero. He was so funny and so sincere. If you ever have the opportunity to look at his old skits, do so. He was a great guy, and unfortunately allowed drugs to take his life.
The Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, their family and friends, and the Citizens of Lockerbie, Scotland
259 Souls lost on the Plane, 11 Souls on the Ground
Visit Syracuse University's memorial at: http://web.syr.edu/~vpaf103/photos.htm
Oh Very Young by Cat Stevens
The music playing in the background was written by Cat Stevens; the words appear below. Cat Stevens was an incredible artist with hits in the '60's and '70's. His brother introduced him to the Muslim religion in the '70's, and he quit the music business and changed his name to a new Muslim name. My favorite song of his was was "Oh Very Young." Just a beautiful song. If you've never heard it before, treat yourself to it. NOTE: Recently Cat Stevens (under his new Islamic name) was attempting to travel to the United States and was blocked entry. He had to return (back to Britain) immediately, within hours of his arrival. Since he left the music business I've not kept up with him too much, although I knew he had quit the music business, converted to Islam and led a life very devoted to its principles. To be considered a threat to US Interests is hard to conceive based on his history. I believe we will someday come to realize that the former Cat Stevens was just one more of the many millions, the majority, of peaceful Islamic people. The words to the song appear below:
Oh Very Young
My Car Accidents in Dallas
View my car wreck video, with footage of two accidents I was in here in Dallas, the latter one requiring the jaws of life. Photos and video can be viewed at the following links:
The Victims and Heroes of September 11, 2001
(Visit my Remember 911 page after viewing this page)
"People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history."
-Governor George W. Bush, Jr.
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