Thursday, May 31, 2012

June 4, 1942

By Warren Sparrow

This time of year there is much excitement about things military.  After all, we are only a few days past Memorial Day.  "Thank you for your service," is the order of the day.  Indeed.

Let us talk about "service."  What about June 4, not June 6?  We all remember June 6.  Was June 6 not D-Day?  Yes. But, let us talk about June 4.  What is June 4?  Some would say June 4 is the day we should celebrate more than any other in terms of sacrifice and military achievement.

Seventy years ago, June 4, 1942, was the day the US Navy came through.  In what some historians claim to be the greatest triumph of arms in history, US Naval Aviators from the aircraft carriers Enterprise, Hornet and Yorktown won the Battle of Midway in "the time it would take to boil an egg."

Douglas TBD Devastators
Of course these pilots could not have done it without the help of code breakers.  The code breakers made it possible for the US Navy to "ambush" the Japanese forces.  But, it was the pilots who won the day.  First, the poor souls of Torpedo 8 attacked the Japanese carriers.  Their lumbering planes were no match for the Japanese Zeros.  Every Torpedo 8 plane was shot down, 15 in all.

A second wave of torpedo planes attacked.  They got a little closer than Torpedo 8 but did no damage to the Japanese carriers. Only 4 of the 15 made it back to their carrier.  At this point in the battle, the Japanese were elated.  Their joy was short-lived.

In their zeal to shoot down the ocean-skimming torpedo planes, the Japanese pilots were too close to the water to respond to what was about to happen in the next few minutes.  It is upon this slender reed that the war in the Pacific turned.

 Douglas SBD Dauntless Dive Bombers

 From high above the Japanese carriers, US Navy dive-bombers headed down.  They were unopposed thanks to the torpedo-plane pilots who pressed their futile attack.

Japanese Carrier being bombed  (artist's rendering)

Three of the four Japanese carriers were struck with bombs dropped from the SBD Dauntless dive-bombers.  These carriers were the pride of the Japanese fleet. The destruction of these ships was accomplished in about six minutes.

The fourth carrier was destroyed the following day.  In order to be "fair and balanced," the Japanese were able to sink an American carrier, the USS Yorktown, using a combination of naval air and submarine attacks.  But, the Hornet and Enterprise survived without damage.

The Japanese returned to home waters.  Though it took more than three years and thousands of lives thereafter to get to the end, it was June 4, 1942, when victory was won.

Prior to the Battle of Midway, the Japanese Navy was undefeated, sailing toward a battle of its choosing, one it was sure to win. Things were fine, so the Japanese thought, until June 4.

"Hell Diver"

As the Dauntless dive-bombers bore down on June 4, the Japanese lookouts screamed, "Hell-divers!"

The rest, like I have heard, "is history."  Some history.


Torpedo 8 crew from the Hornet.  All but one were killed on June 4, 1942

Monday, May 28, 2012

Learning to speak English real good

Yogi Berra
I was telling someone the other day about a friend of mine who was once among  "...the most recognizable people in the world!"...but no one knew who he was.

Yogi Berra couldn't have said it better.

As twisted as Yogi's most memorable phrases were, almost all of them made perfectly good sense.

Who doesn't know exactly what he meant when he said, "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." or "It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much."

Unfortunately, I'm reminded much too often of his admonition,: "You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."
Does anyone NOT understand that?.

"The Congress is coming, the Congress is coming!"

On the other hand, the really incomprehensible language is coming from our government and the other so called, “elites.”such as the lawyers, politicians and the education establishment.

The income tax code is perhaps the best known example. Lawyerspeak is another and listening to academia trying to explain why college tuitions keep rising at double and triple the rate of inflation is truly a verbal high wire act that any circus would be proud of.

No, the language of the common people is generally pretty clear. The problem is coming from our “elites”...the often “over educated” and “better than you” ruling class.

Now, about my famous friend who nobody has ever heard of (out of TV range of Washington.)
His name is Don Richards, an announcer who worked with me at WTOP-TV/CBS in Washington.

In the early 60's Washington was known in the film business as “Hollywood on the Potomac” because of all the government films being shot here. President Reagan, of all people, put a stop to that soon after he arrived, but until then, any bureaucrat who ever wanted to be in “show business” could fulfill his dreams by producing a film touting whatever message his particular agency was pushing at the time.

And, believe it or not, many TV stations at the time aired some of these films because, local stations were hungry for “moving pictures” to use in their newscasts (for relief from the “talking head syndrome.” I remember my old boss at WSOC-TV telling me that “if it don't wiggle, it ain't TV.” Also, the FCC awarded stations brownie points for each government film used...calling them “public service announcements.”
A few, but not many, actually were.

The “Hollywood on the Potomac” days were great for Washington announcers like Don Richards and me. We picked up extra money either narrating or acting in films for one government agency or another just about every month. (Somewhere, floating in the ether is a 1962 film produced by the Agriculture Department of me extolling the health benefits of hot dogs and one showing me rolling a watermelon down a grocery store aisle... promoting who knows what.)

Ed Murrow, head of the USIA in 1960
Perhaps the most successful film series the government ever produced was one Don acted in for the USIA (United States Information Agency) titled “Let's Learn English.” It was an education film for non speakers of the English language but was not allowed to be shown in this country, since the USIA is in charge of spreading propaganda overseas and is prohibited from distributing it in this country.
That statute is no longer needed now that the American TV networks, (ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN) do that for them.

“Let's Learn English” was shown on TV in more than 50 countries, often during prime time. Don Richards became known just about everywhere...except in this country.

I've often thought of how appropriate it would be if this series were brought back and designated "required viewing" for all government officials, lawyers, academics and anyone else in the business of communicating
with the public

I'm sure the elite would welcome such an opportunity to help the public understand exactly what they're trying to do to us!  Wouldn't they?


Beam me up Scotty!


(I invite you to meet the once famous man who nobody knew by watching an interview I did with Don a few months ago for a TV show aired  here in the Virginia and Washington area.
There's a little more about our local TV scene than you probably want to know, but you'll find Don to be a very interesting...and amusing person!
Watch it HERE. )

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"It's a Bird, it's a plane..."

I got dizzy just looking at the picture of Obie jumping out of that airplane the other day.
But if you're not bothered by heights, by all means watch this excitng video showing Obie's actual  jump from beginning to end!
It's quite an adventure!
(Also. I think I've discovered how the Army has solved  the problem of getting fearful recruits to make their first jump.  They threaten them with having to listen to that awful music until the plane lands. So far, no one has refused to jump. -Ed)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Senator Jennie

According to the "Official Senior Citizen's Manual," when you get to be our age, you naturally "slow down" and take it easy.

It's come to my attention that not all of you are following those rules.

Jennie Forehand
Take, for example, Maryland State Senator Jennie (Margaret) Forehand.
Jennie sent me an email this week listing some of the legislation she was working on for her constituents this year.  It wore me out, just reading it!

Half way down the list, I realized that of all the people I know, Jennie is the one most likely to have a large  highway  named after her someday.

"This is the first draft of my successful legislation for 2012 Session. I just thought you might
find it interesting to see the variety of issues I dealt with this year. It was probably the best
year I’ve ever had with the passage of 11 (personal) bills……plus the others that I helped with.

Hope you are well! CHEERS! 

 Jennie Forehand"

Senator Jennie M. Forehand


Maryland State House
Estates - Small Estate Administration - Eligibility Thresholds
Maryland Uniform Transfers to Minors Act - Orphans' Court
Estates and Trusts - Allowance for Funeral Expenses
Estates and Trusts - Maryland Uniform Principal and
Income Act - Certain Payments to and from Trusts
Senate: Judicial Proceedings House: Judiciary
General and Limited Power of Attorney Act


Became Law - Maryland Bond Bill - Mental Health Association HVAC Replacement
- Chapter 46 Motor Vehicles - Child Safety Seats - Requirements
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline Information - Sign Posting Requirements
Creation of a State Debt - Montgomery County - VisArts $20,000
Creation of a State Debt - Montgomery County - TLC's Katherine Thomas School $50,000
Tobacco Tax - Healthy Maryland Initiative (INCLUDED IN GOVERNOR’S BUDGET)
Vehicle Laws - Prohibition Against Smoking in Vehicle Containing Young Child

Did not pass in House: Vehicle Laws - Title and Registration - Transfer to Surviving Spouse

Passed: Criminal Procedure - Expungement of Criminal Charge Transferred to Juvenile Court
Budget and Taxation - Capital Bond: Gaithersburg Upcounty Senior Center $150,000 bond bill

Became Law - Chapter 292
Vehicle Laws - U.S. Foreign Service Members Absent from State - Effective Period of Driver's License

Maryland BOND BILL: City of Rockville - Swim and Fitness Center --$20,000 bond bill
Became Law - Chapter 324
Fiduciary Institutions - Protection of Elder Adults from financial abuse
financial Abuse - Reporting Requirements
Children in Need of Assistance and Child Abuse and Neglect - Sexual Abuse – Definition
(includes “children” who are victims of human trafficking)

Senator Forehand’s Co-sponsored Bills

Became Law
Jury Service - Employers - Prohibited Acts
Crimes - Electronic Communication - Harassment
Became Law - Chapter 4
Kathleen A. Mathias Chemotherapy Parity Act of 2012
Became Law -
Agriculture - Maryland Standard of Identity for Honey
Became Law -
Environment - Recycling - Apartment Buildings and Condominiums
Became Law -
Drivers' Licenses and Identification Cards - Notation of Veteran Status
Failed: Passed in Senate, but was never voted on in House Judiciary
Vehicle Laws - Accidents Resulting in Death - Appearance in Court for Traffic Citations
Education - Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship - Extension
Education - Core Content Areas - Accountability Program
Family Farm Preservation Act of 2012
Became Law
Commercial Law - Security Freezes - Minors and Protected Persons
Passed Enrolled
Income Tax Credit - Security Clearances - Employer Costs
Became Law
Mopeds and Motor Scooters - Titling, Insurance, and Required Use of Protective Headgear
State Personnel - Traumatic Events - Mental Health Support Services
Budget and Taxation –included in budget language
Estate Tax - Exclusion of Qualified Agricultural Property
Passed Enrolled
State Government - Brokerage and Investment Management Services - Use of Minority Business
Enterprises - Application
DID NOT PASS : Domestic Violence - Persons Eligible for Relief and Orders to Vacate Home

Passed Education - Age for Compulsory Public School Attendance - Exemptions
Passed Life Sciences Advisory Board - Purpose and Membership
Passed - Handling Human Remains with Dignity Act of 2012
Bill is in the Senate - Highway User Revenue Distribution (in Budget language)
Bill is in the Senate - Transportation Trust Fund - Financing - Use of Funds (in budget language)
In Budget: Montgomery County - Montgomery Village South Valley Park $$$$
Passed State Government - Financial Education and Capability Commission (financial literacy)
Passed Job Creation Tax Credit - Termination Provisions
Passed Continuing Care Retirement Communities - Regulation

Referred to interim study: Vehicle Laws - Speed Monitoring Systems - Enforcement
Passed: Maryland After-School and Summer Opportunity Fund Program
Became Law - - Criminal Procedure - Sex Offender Registration Requirements - Kidnapping
Became Law - Chapter 79 Home Visiting Accountability Act of 2012
Passed Enrolled Task Force to Study the Establishment of a Deaf Culture Digital Library
Did not pass House Judiciary Committee: Criminal Law - First Degree Assault - Strangulation
Did not pass: Child Sexual Abuse Reporting - Training of School Employees
Did not pass: Criminal Law - Flavored Cigars - Prohibition on Sale
Chapter 276 Public Safety - Possession of Firearms - Crimes Committed in Other States
Did not pass: Criminal Law - Third Degree Sexual Offense - Burglary
Passed - Domestically Related Crimes - Reporting (for data collection)
Became Law
Public Safety - Impersonating a Police Officer - WMATA Metro Transit Police
Higher Education - Community Colleges - Tuition Waiver for Disabled Individuals
Did not pass House Judiciary:
Courts and Judicial Proceedings - Prohibition Against Testimony by Convicted Perjurer - Repeal
Became Law
Health Insurance - Habilitative Services - Required Coverage, Workgroup, and Technical Advisory
Became Law
Courts and Judicial Proceedings - Witnesses - Privileged Communications or Information Involving
Labor Organizations
Did not pass…may be in budget language
Sales and Use Tax - Tax-Free Periods - University and College Textbooks
Did not pass: Education - Maintenance of Effort - Waiver of Penalty
Courts and Judicial Proceedings - Maryland Mediation Confidentiality Act
Did not pass: Criminal Procedure - Seizure and Forfeiture - Property Used in Human Trafficking
Fiduciary Institutions - Protection of Elder Adults from
Financial Abuse - Reporting Requirements
Did not pass in House Medical Marijuana - Caregivers - Certificate of Qualifying Patient

And finally, Maryland Ratification of the 17th Amendment to the United States Constitution

Say What?

That''s right. So it took them a hundred years?

Picky, picky!

They've been busy.


(Maryland's General Assembly took a historic step in the legislative session that ended this week. It voted to ratify the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution nearly a century after it was adopted. The 17th amendment mandates that U.S. Senators be elected by a popular vote rather by state legislatures. It was passed by Congress in 1912, and three-quarters of states ratified it by spring of 1913 -- but Maryland was not among them.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Jumping Jehoshaphats!

By Obie Oakley

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend the day with the Army’s elite skydiving team, the Golden Knights, which culminated in my making a jump with them.

Although it was not on my “bucket list” and I really was not even thinking of something like this, but because of my involvement in the community supporting our military, I, along with 8 others, was invited down to the Golden Knights training facility which is about 30 miles from Ft. Bragg as their guest. Without hesitation I said “Hell Yes”.

One thing that totally impressed me was the professionalism of these young men and women. They are the Best of the Best, no question about it.

Each jumper was assigned an instructor with whom we would tandem. In addition, each of us had a photographer to record our experience in both video and still photography. All this was mounted on his helmet and was operated completely hands free.

From an altitude of 14.000’ our free fall lasted about 55 seconds at 120 mph and another couple of minutes after the parachute was deployed. It was almost a surreal or out-of-body experience. Although I had made many static line jumps during my time with the 20th Special Forces Group 45 years ago, never anything like this.

I truly feel fortunate to have had this once in a lifetime experience. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.


(You can share the ACTUAL jump with Obie by clicking HERE!
What a trip!
Great job Obie!   -Ed)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Twilight Time Again

(Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.  -Albert Einstein)

Before you read any further, take another look at the picture on the left.

There's a fine line between reality and illusion, and coincidence and fate
Sometimes it's hard to determine which is which.

Consider, for example, what happened to Warren Sparrow recently at a funeral he attended:

"All the town's dignitaries were assembled.  One was a former judge, a former North Carolina Banking Commissioner.  He sat next to me.  On his other side was a prominent Winston-Salem woman, the one who founded Leadership Winston-Salem.  In the pew in front of the former judge was another prominent Winston-Salem woman whose husband is very respected in local circles.

Work with me, now.  On one side of the former judge you have me.  On the other side you have Margaret Saunders Newman.  In front of the former judge you have Gerry Smith Spach.  It is a triangulation thing.

The judge and I have been fraternity brothers since 1956.  So, we have known each other for a long, long time.  But, I have known the women longer.  They were classmates of mine at AG.

What are the chances of three AG classmates being at the same Winston-Salem funeral?  What are the chances that we would all be sitting so close together? 


And what about those moments when we arrive at some new location and suddenly feel that we've been there before or those momentary emotions that are exact replicas of those felt 40 or 50 years ago.

Just last week, our power here in the house went out for about 5 minutes. When it came back on I had to re-set all the electrically powered clocks. Strangely, I had to roll them all back 10 minutes, to match the correct time! Had the power failure occurred 10 minutes into the future?

All in a Name

In broadcasting, the era of the ANNOUNCER was coming to an end in the late 60's.  When I joined WTOP in Washington, we had a staff of 10 announcers. Now, even the largest stations have no more than one or two, who record the station breaks etc, instead of doing them live as in the old days.

There were 5 of us one evening sitting in the “announcer's lounge” talking about “names.” The station had given us all  “air names” that they felt would be easier for the listeners and viewers to relate to and remember..

Casper App was given the name “Jamie Bragg.” Donald Resnick was “Don Richards," John Wilkinson was 'John Douglas,"  Sam Donaldson was allowed to keep his real name as was Roger Mudd.

I asked Roger one time how he was able to keep his real name, when they changed my perfectly good name Ed Myers.

He said that shortly after he started work at the station a breaking news story required that he go on the air immediately before management had come up with a new name for him.and since he had already appeared under his real name it was decided that it was too late to change it.

In my case, of course, the fact that there was already an “Ed Myer” on a competing station in town., changing my air name actually made sense.

Anyway Jamie Bragg happened to mention that the announcer with the most unusual name he had ever worked with was a fellow named “Grey Olive.” who was the chief announcer at the station in southern Virginia where Jamie had begun his radio career 15 years earlier. Jamie swore that it was his real name and had no idea if he ever changed it, or even if he was still in the business, since he hadn't seen him again in all those years.

Not two minutes later the phone in the lounge rang and it was for Jamie. He picked up the phone and literally turned a bright shade of white.

The caller was Grey Olive.


(Rarely do events like this have so many witnesses....who still talk about it after all these years.  -Ed)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Breathing Easier

Got an update from Don and Letty Nance and the latest report on their grandchild  is good!

"Hello, I just wanted to give you a quick update on Nathan. After the two surgeries to place rods in his right leg and bones reconstructed and attached to a plate in his left arm, things are moving forward for him. There are still fractured ribs, multiple punctures, and bruises, but what do you expect when a truck rolls over on top of you?

He has been moved to rehab and given a bigger bed, (hurray for bigger things.) His large 6'4" body was lying diagonally across the regular bed and then hanging off the sides. It would have been comical if he had not been in such pain.

We want you to know how much your loving care and prayers have meant to us. Many thanks.


Don himself is recovering from surgery on his shoulder (rotator cuff, I believe it's called)  Sounds like a football injury, but it's not.  Don was hit by a car back in the 60's and this dates back to that event.  He still has to wear a sling and has limited use of his right arm.

When it rains, it pours.

Hopefully the news from YOUR house is all good.

Don't forget to let your lonely webmaster know all about it!  -Ed

Tony Thomas Passes

Tony Thomas
CONCORD -- John A. Thomas (Tony) passed away at his home in Concord on April 20, 2012, after a lengthy illness. He was born June 10, 1936, to May George and Henry James Thomas of Charlotte, NC. He married the former Judith Holland in 1956 and was the devoted father of Evelyn T. Blalock, husband Robert, and Robert James Thomas, wife Marisa.

He was the proud grandfather of Bill Blalock, wife Veerle, and great-grandfather of Eli Blalock. Mr. Thomas spent his career of 35 years as a manager with Pitman Company both in Charlotte and Atlanta, Georgia. Tony was loved dearly and will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

 In lieu of flowers memorials may be sent to Tony's favorite charity, The Masonic Home For Children at Oxford, 600 College Street, Oxford, NC 27565. Notes of condolence and encouragement may be sent to

Published in Charlotte Observer on April 22, 2012

Contact information is as follows:
Mrs. Judy Thomas
158 Tetbury N.E.
Concord, NC 28025


Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Up Date

Don and Letty Nance's grandson, Nathan Nance is still in a lot of pain from the auto accident, but after being seriously, almost fatally injured it appears that his luck has turned and recovery, perhaps complete, is in his future.

Don says his size (6'4"/290 lbs.) probably saved his life.

I think we all can breathe easier now that we know the injuries could have been even worse and he's begun the road back to health.

Don and Letty believe that perhaps his greatest challenge now is surviving that tiny hospital bed!


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

May LDL Report

By Jerry Gaudet

The Central High Class of 1954 met for the May luncheon on Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at Jimmies in Mint Hill. Several attendees were wearing "I Voted" stickers, having done their civic duties before arriving.

We were welcomed by a brightly decorated check-in table of Marigolds and found the dinner tables similarily decorated. Many thanks to Mary (Sue Banks) Burnett for providing a pleasant surrounding...

We were thrilled to have Ernie Phipps better half, Peggy, drop join us. She is such a delight and we all enjoyed seeing her! You will remember Ernie's untimely death back in 2004...

CHS'54 meets every month on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. Plan to be with us at our next gathering on June 12. We look forward to seeing you.  -JG

*** End of "LDL" #43 Report ***

Sunday, May 06, 2012

May LDL !

Myrtle Beach today

It was only 58 years ago this month, perhaps even this week, that we gathered at the seashore and celebrated  being young, incredibly intelligent and, yes, beautiful!  The girls all resembled Lana Turner and the boys all could have kicked sand in Charles Atlas's face and lived to tell about it.

Well, that's the way I remember it anyway.

I had planned to celebrate this anniversary hanging around the jukebox at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion grooving to that new music called "rhythm and blues."

Unfortunately, my wife reminded me that I would miss my nap if I carried out those elaborate plans. So, maybe next year.

However, the good news for those of you near Mint Hill, Tuesday is the day for another LDL event!

Jerry Gaudet reports:

This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held onTuesday, May 8, 2012, 11:30 AMat "Jimmies" in Mint Hill.We hope you'll join us. Spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Be sure YOU, come!

For answers to any conceivable lunch questions, please contact Mary (Sue Banks) Burnett,

Plan to join us. You'll be glad you did!    -JG


Asking for Prayers

(I realised how small and insignificant my everyday problems are when I received this email from Don and Letty Nance this morning:  -Ed)

Hello friends, It's me asking for prayers again.

Our 23 year old grandson, Nathan Nance, was in a car accident last night. He underwent extensive surgery lasting most of today to put rods in both bones of his lower leg. We have just received word that his neck is clear, something that appeared to be a problem this morning, but with the good news about the neck, he will be able to have his arm repaired early next week. He has no feeling in that hand, but last report was that he could move those fingers. The bone in his arm was broken and protruding through the skin. Pain is tremendous. He has worked for Domino's for years and has no insurance. While many prayers on his behalf have already been answered, including the fact that since the vehicle rolled over on top of him he still lives, he still needs prayers for there will be many hard days to come.

We will leave tomorrow morning to go to see him. He is in the Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC.

Don had surgery three weeks ago to repair a tear in the rotator cuff, right arm, of course. He has gotten along very well and has not starved trying to eat with his left hand yet. We are told that the hard part comes with the therapy which will come in two more weeks. Pray for him also,

We hope all of your family are well.

My love,
Letty Nance