Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of Leadership

Colin Powell, son of Jamaican immigrants, passed away today from COVID complications. He was fully vaccinated but had been suffering from some underlying health conditions. He was the National Security Advisor under President Reagan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H. W. Bush and President Clinton. He was Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.

I was the librarian at Ft Myer when he lived in Quarters 1 at Ft Myer. Although he did not visit the library, he wife, Alma was a frequent library user. He left most of his papers to the NDU Library and frequently called the Special Collections Staff to do research from his collection. He would visit the library occasionally, where I had to privilege of meeting him.

Colin Powell’s Leadership List

Like most of our leadership lists, Powell’s rules are actually lessons themselves, gleaned from his decades in uniform.

1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.

There’s a silver lining in every cloud, you just have to find it. That’s not always as easy as it sounds. Things might look bad today, but if you’ve put in the effort, tomorrow will be a brighter day. It’s a state of mind; believe it and you will make it happen.

2. Get mad, then get over it.

There’s always going to be days when events—or people—push you to the edge. When you do lose your temper, don’t lose control at the same time. People always remember the leader with a bad temper, and never in a good way.

3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

People who think that their way is the only way tend to experience a lot of disappointment. Things aren’t always going to go your way, that’s just a fact of life. Be humble enough to accept that fact.

4. It can be done!

Just about anything can be accomplished if you set your mind to it, have the necessary resources, and the time to get it done. Don’t succumb to the skeptics; listen to what they have to say and consider their perspective but stay focused and positive.

5. Be careful what you choose.

Don’t rush into a bad decision. Take the time to consider your options, weigh the relevant facts, and make reasoned assumptions. Once you pull the trigger, there are no do-overs. So make it count.

6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.

Powell was fond of connecting good leadership to good instincts. Be a leader who hones judgement and instinct. Take the time to shape your mental models. Learn how to read a situation for yourself. Become the decision-maker your people need you to be.

7. You can’t make someone else’s choices.

Never allow someone else to make your decisions for you. Ultimately, you’re responsible for your own decisions. Don’t duck that responsibility and don’t succumb to external pressures. Make your own decisions and live with them.

8. Check small things.

Success is built on a lot of seemingly minor details. Having a feel for those “little things” is essential. In a 2012 interview, David Lee Roth shared the story of how Van Halen used brown M&Ms as an indicator of whether large concert venues paid attention to the minor details critical to a major performance. Leaders must have ways to check the little things without getting lost in them.

9. Share credit.

Success relies on the effort of the entire team, not just the leader. Recognition motivates people in ways that are immeasurable. Don’t be a glory hog. Share credit where credit is due and allow your people to stand in the spotlight. It ain’t about you. It’s about them.

10. Remain calm. Be kind.

Keep calm and carry on. Kill ‘em with kindness. When chaos reigns, a calm head and a kind word go a long way. When everyone is under incredible stress, be the leader people want to follow, not the leader people want to avoid.

11. Have a vision. Be demanding.

Followers need to things from leaders—a purpose and a firm set of standards. When you see leaders fail, it is almost always for one of those two things. They either lead their followers in a flailing pursuit of nothing, or they don’t set and enforce an example for their people.

12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.

Fear can be a powerful motivator, but it can also paralyze a leader at the worst possible time. Learn to understand your fears and channel them in ways that you control rather than allowing them to control you. Think clearly, think rationally, and make decisions that aren’t rooted in emotion.

13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Optimism is infectious. Maintaining a positive attitude and an air of confidence is as important for you as it is for those around you. People will feed off your optimism. Believe in your purpose, believe in yourself, and believe in your people. And they’ll believe in you.

September 18 is National Respect Day

It seems appropriate that Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT was selected as the best song ever by Rolling Stone Magazine on September 17.

Respect” is a song written and originally recorded by American soul singer Otis Redding. It was released in 1965 as a single from his third album Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul and became a crossover hit for Redding. In 1967, fellow soul singer Aretha Franklin covered and rearranged “Respect”, resulting in a bigger hit and her signature song. The music in the two versions is significantly different, while a few changes in the lyrics resulted in different narratives around the theme of human dignity that have been interpreted as commentaries on traditional gender roles.

18th September is National Respect Day. Teaching respect and raising awareness about domestic and dating violence was done with the goal of ending violence against women and children.
Observe the day by becoming involved to educate respect and prevent violence.

Expect Respect
Reject Neglect 
If he doesn't respect you
Expect he'll neglect you

September 17 is Constitution Day

Celebrated on September 17, Constitution Day, also known as Constitution and Citizenship Day, honors the document that guarantees Americans their essential rights. Since its ratification in 1787, the Constitution of the United States has served as the basis for all U.S. laws.

To prevent the abuses of power they felt subjected to under the British monarchy, the Founding Fathers framed the Constitution carefully, distributing power between three branches of government. The Constitution outlines the government’s powers, the limitations on those powers, and the rights of citizens. It also outlines an amendment process for making changes in the future.

If you listen to politicians, pundits, and even ordinary people pontificate about the US Constitution, most of them have little real idea what they are talking about.

How well do you know the U.S. Constitution? Take the quiz.

Mexican Independence Day is NOT Cinco de Mayo

Instead it is September 16 when

a proclamation by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla on September 16th 1810, in the village of Dolores, near Guanajuato called for an end to Spanish rule in Mexico, encouraging rebellion and insurrection against the Spanish.

The Spanish Empire had been broken by Napoleon’s invasion of Spain, and imperial rule had been replaced by “juntas” in both Spain and the American colonies, while King Fernando VII was being held hostage by Napoleon.

The Proclamation of Dolores

Hidalgo ordered that the church bell be rung to gather his congregation, then called for insurrection and ended by calling out, Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe! Viva Fernando VII! Abajo el mal gobierno! [Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live Fernando VII! Down with the bad government!].

There are various accounts of what Hidalgo was reputed to have actually said. While the proclamation has gained national status, in reality, it is unlikely that Hidalgo disowned the King as he is supposedly said to have done.

Following his speech, Father Hidalgo raised an army and attempted to overthrow the Junta government, but he was eventually defeated. As his struggle against the establishment continued, he began to demand the full independence of all the Spanish American colonies, and the exile or arrest of all Spaniards within Mexico.

It was only after a ten year long War of Independence that Mexico’s independence was finally acknowledged by the Spanish viceroy on September 27th 1821.

Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, the victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican force against the larger and better-armed French army was a morale boost for the Mexicans. Zaragoza died months after the battle from an illness, and a larger French force ultimately defeated the Mexican army at the Second Battle of Puebla and occupied Mexico City.

Escape from the Pentagon Library

This is a written interview with my friend and National Defense University Library co-worker, Lily McGovern. In September 2001, Lily was a reference librarian at the Pentagon Library (PL) . The Library was in the section of the Pentagon hit by the plane, but because it mostly in the inner most or A ring, the plane did not penetrate that far into the building.

During the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—60 years to the day after construction began on the Pentagon—a hijacked plane struck the building, killing 189 people and damaging roughly one-third of the building.

From History.Com
  1. Where were you when the plane hit  and what were you doing?

I was at my desk in the Pentagon Library (PL).  I had been on vacation and it was my first day back at work.  Someone heard about events in New York so we were watching the planes hit the World Trade Center on the TV in the PL.  It was upsetting to watch the tragedy in NY, especially the second plane hitting the World Trade Center and the collapse of the Twin Towers, so I decided to get back to work at my desk.

I should add for anyone who is not familiar with the layout of the Pentagon that the PL was previously in space that straddled wedges 1 and 2 of the Pentagon renovation project.  The temporary wall erected between wedge 1 and wedge 2 was actually in the library area.  There was a lot of planning and physical work to rearrange the PL and squeeze into a much smaller space.  Since the temporary wall between the renovation wedges cut off the A ring at the PL, the library gained some space from what had been the A ring corridor.  The front door was now in the A ring. For over a year we could hear the sounds of wedge 1 being stripped to the bare concrete, construction equipment backing up, jackhammers, saws, drills and all that. 

When I heard the big boom, I immediately thought that someone had dropped a big heavy something in wedge 1.  They were moving offices into the renovated area and we knew that shelving was being installed in the part of wedge 1 where the PL would be.

Note: From the Pentagon Renovation Program, Wikipedia:

Wedge 1 was the first above-ground section of the Pentagon to undergo renovation. Demolition of the existing structure and hazardous material abatement began in 1998, and the first move-in of tenants occurred in February 2001. The last tenants moved in on February 6, 2003.

The renovation of Wedge 1 involved the renovation of one million square feet of space. This involved the removal of 83 million pounds of debris (70% of this was able to be recycled), and 28 million pounds of hazardous material. The renovation also saw the installation of eight new passenger elevators, new blast-resistant windows, escalators traversing all five floors, skylights, a new HVAC system, a new communications infrastructure, and a new open-plan office layout.

The Library was between Wedge 1 (in blue) and Wedge 2 (in light green). It was on the first floor in the A (or inner most ring.)

2. How as the word spread on what to do? What did you do?

One of my coworkers saw the heavy glass doors of the PL swing open as we heard the big boom.  He yelled that it was a bomb and to get away from the windows which lined that side of the library.  I recall being told to evacuate the PL and that people who exited using our fire evacuation route came back saying there was smoke that direction.  I was checking with the other librarians to see that we got everyone to leave and when we were sure, I left. I don’t recall whether the fire alarms went off. Funny how many details I have forgotten over the years. You might think I’d remember it so clearly but not thinking or talking about my experience for years has faded my memory.

3. Were you allowed to get your personal items, such as a purse or take anything with you when you exited the library?

Luckily since I was at my desk. I shut down my computer and grabbed my purse, pretty much as a reflex action.  During fire drills, it might take a while to get back into the building and I seem to always need a tissue.  My friends who left with only their Pentagon badges, which we had to wear at all times, were not allowed back into the PL to retrieve their purses and belongings for several months.  They had to cancel credit cards, replace driver’s licenses, and any important items. They also didn’t have money or their Metro passes unless they kept them with their badge..

4. How did you exit the Library and where did you go?

Since our usual exit route had smoke, we exited into the A ring through the PL’s main door and over to the exit to north parking. Going through the Pentagon there was no sign of smoke and the only unusual thing was people moving fast towards the exit or in the direction of where the smoke was seen by my coworkers.  I felt no great danger as I exited the building.

 I carpooled with Ann Parham who was the Army Librarian and worked in an office in the renovated and reopened part of Wedge 1. We were parked in north parking so I went to her car.  Once I was outside the building, security guards were telling people to move away from the building and smoke was visible around the side of the building that faces Henderson Hall and Arlington Cemetery.  People were saying that a plane had hit the building.  It was a very sunny and warm day for September.  Very soon the guards were telling us that we had to move farther away from the parking lot because there was another airplane that could be headed for us.  I scribbled a note to Ann that I was out of the building and OK, placed it under the windshield wiper and started walking away with some of my coworkers.

5. How did they account for everyone and were there any library staff who could not be accounted for?

There was no opportunity to account for everyone once we evacuated.  It was standard procedure to insure no one was left behind during a fire drill and that was done before the PL Director Katherine Earnest and the last librarians left.  Once outside we were told to move farther from the building and parking lot so couldn’t meet at our assigned spot.  Ms. Earnest and division supervisors called employees at home to account for everyone.  I know it must have taken quite a while and I’m not sure when Ms. Earnest arrived home.  Cell phones were not working by the time we were out of the building and moving.  The call volume had crashed the system.  I’m not sure when cell service was restored since I didn’t own a cell phone at the time. By the next day I heard that everyone was accounted for and all were unscathed.

6. How and when did you get home?

We had walked some distance from the parking lot and came to a road. A woman pulled her car to the side of the road and yelled out that she was headed to Alexandria and could give a ride to anyone who needed one.  I told my friends to jump in and we could go to my house.  I am eternally grateful to this woman and regret that even though she told us her name, none of us could remember it later.  She was a real good Samaritan to the 4 of us.

She asked where in Alexandria we wanted to go.  Since one of my friends lived in Maryland and rode the Metro to work, I asked her to drop us at the King Street Metro.  My house is within walking distance so the rest of us could go there and use our land line to call their families.

As we traveled towards Alexandria listening to the car radio, we were hearing all the confusing and sometimes inaccurate reports.  Traffic was getting heavy, and our angel was getting worried about getting home to her family.  She asked if we would mind if she dropped us off in Old Town rather than at the Metro.   I knew that she had saved us a lot of walking on a hot day and that we could easily walk from there.  We thanked her profusely as she dropped us off.  I only wish I could have thanked her more.

We were all hot, thirsty, and eager to contact our families.  We found a little shop where we could buy cold drinks and use a pay phone.  I was able to call my husband at home to tell him that I’m OK and will be arriving with friends. We walked to the Metro and checked that it was running through to Maryland.  I gave Shirley money for the ride home and my home phone number in case the Metro stranded her in Virginia and wished her luck. The rest of us continued on foot to my house.

7. How did you feel during and after the evacuation?

I didn’t feel in immediate danger of losing my life at any point.  I did feel shocked at what I saw happening in New York and that a plane crashed into my workplace.  I was relieved that there had been no smoke in the PL even though there was a fire not that far away in the building.  I knew from previous events that there could be a fire in a part of the Pentagon that I was not even aware of till the next day or more.  The building was built during wartime to withstand bombing and to limit damage.  That and its sheer size made me more confident that we could walk out safely. 

I was more concerned after I knew that it was a plane that struck the building and when we were told there was an unaccounted-for plane that might be headed for us.  It was a totally unplanned for type of evacuation so everyone was on their own when we were ordered to get away.  As we were walking, I was thinking how I’d get home if I wasn’t able to go back and find Ann.  Pentagon Metro was out of the question, Pentagon City would have meant going back through the south parking lot to cross under 395, and I wasn’t sure if Metro from Arlington Cemetery would have taken me past the Pentagon to get to Alexandria. I didn’t know the bus routes on streets near the Pentagon. I had used an express bus from Fairlington to the Pentagon on occasion but figured I’d have to change buses in order to get from Arlington to Alexandria. Everything was happening fast. News was sketchy and hard to come by as I walked so evaluating options was very difficult. I really didn’t have time to feel scared because I was trying to figure out what to do. When the wonderful lady offered us a ride, it beat all the options I had in mind.  I was very relieved to know I could get to Alexandria and confident that I’d be able to walk from there. I wasn’t sure what forms of public transportation were working or how well but I can walk 10 miles .

8. What did you do the next day or the next week?

I was told to stay home until notified where to report to work by my supervisor. On the 12th I talked with family and friends who called to see if I was OK, checked in with coworkers to see how they got home, and called a friend who worked across the street from the World Trade Center in NYC.  I don’t recall how long it was till we were told to report to an office building in Crystal City.  When we first arrived at our temporary space in recently vacated offices it had been stripped to the bare concrete floor, walls between rooms were sparse and showed signs that it was expected they would be replaced.  Furniture was an odd assortment of old metal desks and various chairs.  We didn’t have computers or access to internet so couldn’t really accomplish work tasks like database searches or looking for material in the library catalog. We moved several times to different locations in those office buildings as better space was available. Equipment improved and it felt less like being a refugee.

We could not access the library collection in the Pentagon or any personal belongings for 2 months. That part of the building was considered a crime scene and no one was allowed in.  It also took time for an assessment of the building to determine if it was structurally safe. There were fires in the roof area that had to be fought for days and more water was used. 

The PL Director was only able to go into the Library after a few weeks to assess what damage was done.  By that point there was water and mold from the water used to fight the fires. 

9. How were they able to save the materials in the library?  What was saved?  Did you have a role in that?

Most of the Library materials were saved due to the efforts of the PL Director.  She made the case for hiring a firm that specializes in remediation after fires or flooding.  They brought in fans and dehumidifiers to reduce the dampness and stop further mold growth.  I didn’t have any specific role in the efforts.  The PL staff were doing whatever tasks the Director assigned them.  I worked off site at the National Defense University Library for a short while because they offered office space and their computer access until we had that in the Crystal City offices.   

10. How long did it take for you to feel ‘normal’?   When were you first allowed back in the library?  

The Pentagon Library never felt normal to me again. The Library never reopened in the old space in wedge 2 or in the space that was designated in Wedge 1 before 9/11.  I left the Pentagon Library for another job in January 2002.  Books were moved into space in the Crystal City office building as the PL Director wrangled to get space anywhere in the Pentagon to provide service and let our community know we were still able to assist with their information needs.   

I recall that it was about 2 months before people were allowed back to get their purses, car keys, house keys, cell phones and important papers.  It was a hard hat area, no electricity for lights and instructions to not spend any more time than necessary getting only the most important items. Later we were allowed to clear out our desks.

11. Is there anything you would like to share with us about the experience?

I have led a very fortunate life.  From growing up in a loving middle-class family in rural central Pennsylvania, to having a rewarding career doing work I really enjoyed, to good health and good luck in more ways than I can count, I have benefited from circumstances beyond my control. I can’t claim to deserve the luck that allowed me to walk out of the Pentagon and have a total stranger offer me a ride home.  I think of the people who lost their lives, had injuries and a traumatic exit (like my carpool partner Ann), or the horrible journeys that some of my coworkers had getting home. I have no words to express my gratitude for a million things that could have gone wrong that didn’t for me on that memorable day.  My hope is that I can return the favor of the woman who went out of her way to assist strangers.

One way to assist strangers is to remind people to keep their Metro card (your local transit pass) and some form of money with their government badge.  In case you must evacuate quickly you will have means to get home.  If your workplace allows you to keep your phone at your desk or on your person, you may be able to keep your pass and money in your phone case.  Having a plan on how to get home or to some agreed upon meeting place really pays off in an emergency.  I doubt that anyone in Washington, DC expected to have to evacuate their workplace due to an earthquake when one struck in 2011.  Fires, shootings, and other extreme events can and do happen.  Please give some thought to how you could get home if something awful happens or how you would let your family/friends know where you are or where you would go if you can’t contact them by phone or email. Ask your supervisor if you don’t know the evacuation and meet up plan for your workplace.  

9-11 Anectdotes

From Francisco Bravo Cabrera of Omnia Caelum Blogs He used to live in Miami, he has now returned to his native Spain. He was mobilised as a Coast Guard reservist .

I was home. My wife woke me up and told me to rush to the tele. I couldn’t believe it until I got the call telling me I was being mobilised…

From Kim of By Hook or By Crook: Book Review, News, and Other Stuff. retired librarian currently living in Alabama.

I was a children’s librarian and we watched in horror at the events unfolding on the internet as we tried to keep ourselves composed in front of the kids coming in.

From Don of Nemorino. Don was a soldier during Vietnam and now lives in Europe.

He offers an ex-pat view of 9-11

Here’s mine:

From John of Salsaworldtraveler lives in North Carolina and likes to travel extensively.

I was on the way out the door for work when Charlie Gibson announced on Good Morning America that a small plane had collided with the trade center. The full story is below.

From Malc of Easy Malc who lives in the UK

I was sat in the armchair watching the TV when the first newsflash came up. I sat there glued to the TV for the rest of the day. When I asked if he was in the UK (where he currently lives, he replied. “Yes I was. I was working nightshifts then and I’m not even sure I went to bed that day.”

Don Ostertag of Ostertag: Off Stage served with the 82nd Airborne while in the Army.

I was at the Mpls Orpheum working on the set- up for a week of RIVER DANCE. Some how we managed to get the show up on time.

It was like no other show I ever worked. Prior to it starting the cast came on stage and we all had a moment of silent prayer. During the show there was silence backstage and the audience’s reaction was gentle clapping. I will never forget that performance and I am sure neither will the cast nor the audience.

Bea dM of Writing from My 14th Century currently lives in Italy.

I was in the bank in Rome (Italy) when a friend phoned me. I spent the next 30 hours worried sick about Mima, a great friend of mine who I knew worked in one of the buildings that were hit. Another friend finally sent me a message saying Mima was fine and would contact me soon. Apparently she had decided to quit her job the day before, and had been told to go in on 9/11 “later in the morning” for the paperwork!…..

JeanMarie of JeanMarie Writes is a poet living in North Carolina

I lived in Denver, CO. I overslept that morning and instead of the alarm, the phone rang. It was my mother telling me about the planes, Groggy, it took me a while to get it and then my boss called me telling me I could come in or not. My choice. I did go in but me and my coworkers just sat around with the TV. Still it helped not to be alone.

Derrick Knight of Derrick Knight’s Ramblings is a pensioner who lives with his wife, in a beautiful, bucolic part of the UK.

I was on a commuter train on the way home to Newark, Nottinghamshire, from London, Kings Cross. A number of other commuters were watching on their laptops – I thought it was just another disaster movie.

From Becky Ross Michael of Platform Number 4, Becky Ross Michael, an Author’s Blog. Becky is from Michigan and now lives in Texas.

Sept. 11: I had hurt my back and it was my first day returning to school, teaching. I was only told about what had happened and didn’t see any video until that evening. My husband drove home from out-of-town work several hours away to be with me and had to drive back the very next morning. My daughter called to tell me that she was expecting a baby. Life would begin and go on for some…

9-11 Resources at the National Archives

We Remember: 20th Anniversary of 9/11
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives holds many documents and photographs related to the events of September 11. 
9/11 Commission Records The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, was an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress. The Commission’s mandate was to provide a “full and complete accounting” of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and to provide recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future. When the 9/11 Commission closed on August 21, 2004, it transferred legal custody of its records to the National Archives. The Commission encouraged the release of its records to the fullest extent possible in January 2009. A large percentage of the Commission’s records are national security classified files. The National Archives maintains a list of documents released since the records were opened in 2009.
Learn more about the 9/11 Commission Records, and view the released records in the National Archives Catalog.
9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Record Group 237) compiled records from its staff and aviation facilities to support internal and external investigations of the events. The records consist of 126 cubic feet of textual, audio, and electronic files relating to the actual terrorist attacks, the FAA’s involvement in the monitoring of United Airlines Flights 175 and 93 and American Airlines Flights 11 and 77, and the Federal Government’s subsequent actions in the aftermath of the attacks. Learn more about the 9/11 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records at the National Archives and view the Finding Aid. View the processed FAA records in the National Archives Catalog
9/11 Photograph Collection In the days following the September 11 terrorist attacks, White House photographers took over 50,000 photographs capturing the horror and heroism, the courage and compassion surrounding the attacks. 
View the collection of 9/11 photographs from the George W. Bush Presidential Library, and a selection of photographs in the National Archives Catalog.
9/11 Fireman’s Son Sees Dad on National Archives Instagram On the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy, the National Archives shared a Catalog image from President George W. Bush’s visit to Ground Zero on September 14, 2001. 
The son of a 9/11 fireman saw the photo on the National Archives Instagram account and asked: “Hello, I just came across this picture that you posted and the firefighter in the middle is my dad. Is there any way you can send me the original photo?” Learn more about this remarkable story and connection on National Archives News
Upcoming Programs and Resources The National Archives and the National Archives Foundation will commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a series of virtual programs accessible live to viewers across the country. Learn more about the live programming, as well as featured documents and educational resources on the National Archives Foundation website.

National Beer Lover’s Day–September 7

Do you remember as a kid whiling away the time on a bus or in your parents car singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall”?

I’m the only one in my family who does not like the taste of beer. I’ve tried American, Belgian, German, Thai, Japanese, Australian, and Mexican beer and it all tastes like beer. The taste is unbeerable. Blech…..

Beer and the process of brewing beer goes back to ancient times in cultures the world over. The crafting of beer carries rich traditions, often requiring years of training and experience in the trade while the methods, grains, and flavors continue to change and evolve over time. Becoming a brewmaster can take years of  fine-tuning the skills to make an exemplary beer or even an ale. One sure requirement is a love of beer and the craft. Today, fill your glass with an ice-cold, frothy beer and savor every gulp!

Pour yourself a cup of cheer
Just for today make it a beer
In a bottle or a cup
The only phrase is " Bottoms up!"

In Honor of Labor Day

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894. Labor Day weekend also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, street parades and athletic events.

Labor Facts from the Department of Labor

1. We’re younger than Labor Day.

Americans first celebrated Labor Day in 1882, and it became a federal holiday in 1894 – nearly 20 years before the creation of the Labor Department.

2. We put our own spin on the idea of “ladies first.”

The Labor Department was the first Cabinet agency led by a woman: Frances Perkins. Six women have held the title since then, giving us the record not just for the first, but for the most women secretaries as well. Many of the women who followed in Perkins’ footsteps have blazed their own trails. Elaine Chao and Hilda Solis were the first Asian American and Hispanic women in the Cabinet, respectively. Alexis Herman was the first African American to serve as secretary of labor. And Elizabeth Dole was the first woman to lead two different departments for two different presidents (Labor and Transportation).

3. Clam chowder could be a contentious dish at a Labor Secretary reunion.

Our 29 secretaries come from over a dozen states and three countries, but about one-fifth of them have called New York or Massachusetts home. Current Secretary Marty Walsh isn’t the first to hail from Boston. In fact, he’s not even the first Mayor of Boston to serve as Secretary of Labor. It’s an honor he shares with Maurice J. Tobin.

4. We didn’t always wear pants.

The women, at least. In fact, when the department’s female employees started wearing pants to work, it was notable enough to merit a mention in the newsletter. “Fashion forward” isn’t a phrase typically used to describe the department, but in the 1970s, we were ahead of other federal agencies in officially allowing women to work in pants, thanks to Elizabeth Duncan Koontz, the director of the Women’s Bureau and an advocate for women’s rights. Pants proved to be very practical, and the rest is history.

5. Our secretaries’ side hustles are next level.

Being a Cabinet member would be a pretty impressive accomplishment for most people, but for the 29 men and women who have served as secretary of labor, it’s just the beginning. Our first secretary, William Wilson, wrote poetry. Arthur Goldberg served as both a Supreme Court justice and ambassador to the United Nations. George Shultz also served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State. And Frances Perkins is a saint in the Episcopal church.

J. Ernest Wilkins

Ted Williams, USMC

Theodore Samuel Williams
August 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002

Ted Williams was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played his entire 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, primarily as a left fielder for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960; his career was interrupted by military service during World War II and the Korean War. Nicknamed “Teddy Ballgame”, “The Kid”, “The Splendid Splinter”, and “The Thumper”, Williams is regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history.

Williams was a nineteen-time All-Star, a two-time recipient of the American League (AL) Most Valuable Player Award, a six-time AL batting champion, and a two-time Triple Crown winner. He finished his playing career with a .344 batting average, 521 home runs, and a .482 on-base percentage, the highest of all time. His career batting average is the highest of any MLB player whose career was played primarily in the live-ball era, and ranks tied for 7th all-time (with Billy Hamilton).

Born (Hispanic mother) and raised in San Diego, ( Hoover HS) Williams played baseball throughout his youth. (Pacific Coast “Padres”, (later he played up in Minnesota, for the Minneapolis “Millers” (AA))  After joining the Red Sox in 1939, ($5,000) he immediately emerged as one of the sport’s best hitters. In 1941, Williams posted a .406 batting average; he is the last MLB player to bat over .400 in a season. He followed this up by winning his first Triple Crown in 1942. Williams was required to interrupt his baseball career in 1943 to serve three years in the United States Navy and Marine Corps during World War II.

( ” Williams was drafted into the military, being put into Class 1-A. A friend of Williams suggested that Williams …. as the sole support of his mother, should be reclassified to Class 3-A. Williams was reclassified to 3-A ten days later. Afterwards, the public reaction was extremely negative*,   . … so, Williams joined the Navy Reserve on May 22, 1942, went on active duty in 1943, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps as a Naval Aviator on May 2, 1944.  On September 2, 1945, when the war ended, Lt. Williams was in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii awaiting orders as a replacement pilot. While in Pearl Harbor, Williams played baseball in the Navy League. Also in that eight-team league were Joe DiMaggioJoe Gordon, and Stan Musial. The Service World Series with the Army versus the Navy attracted crowds of 40,000 for each game.     …. at Furlong Field, Hickam …..

Williams was discharged by the Marine Corps on January 28, 1946, )

Upon returning to MLB in 1946, Williams won his first AL MVP Award and played in his only World Series. In 1947, he won his second Triple Crown.

Williams was returned to active military duty for portions of the 1952 and 1953 seasons to serve as a Marine combat aviator in the Korean War.

( Williams’s name was called from a list of inactive reserves to serve on active duty in the Korean War on January 9, 1952. Williams, who was livid at his recalling, had a physical scheduled for April 2. Williams passed his physical and in May, after only playing in six major league games, began refresher flight training and qualification prior to service in Korea.

In 1952, at the age of thirty three, Ted Williams was called to duty from the inactive reserves and sent to the Korean War. As a member of the first Marine Air Wing, Williams landed in Korea in February of 1953.

At the same time, John Glenn also turned up there, and the two became good friends. The man who would go on to become the first American to orbit the earth and the Splendid Splinter were paired together on missions, with Williams as Glenn’s wingman, flying F-9 Panther jets.

After eight weeks of refresher flight training and qualification in the F9F Panther jet at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, he was assigned to VMF-311, Marine Aircraft Group 33 (MAG-33), based at K-3 airfield in Pohang, Korea.

On February 16th, 1953, Williams was part of a 35-plane strike package against a tank and infantry training school just south of Pyongyang, North Korea. During the mission a piece of flak knocked out his hydraulics and electrical systems, causing Williams to have to “limp” his plane back to K-13, an Air Force base close to the front lines. For his actions of this day he was awarded the Air Medal.

Ted Williams flew thirty nine mission in the Korean War, over half of them with Glenn. The future astronaut remembers Ted as a very capable pilot, one who got out of more than his share of tight spots. “Once, he was on fire and had to belly land the plane back in.” Glenn recalled.

“He slid it in on the belly. It came up the runway about 1,500 feet before he was able to jump out and run off the wingtip.” The plane burst into flames moments later.

In 1957 and 1958 at the ages of 39 and 40, respectively, he was the AL batting champion for the fifth and sixth time.

Williams retired from playing in 1960. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, in his first year of eligibility.  Williams managed the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers franchise from 1969 to 1972. An avid sport fisherman, he hosted a television program about fishing, and was inducted into the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame. Williams’s involvement in the Jimmy Fund helped raise millions in dollars for cancer care and research. In 1991 President George H. W. Bush presented Williams with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States government. He was selected for the Major League Baseball All-Time Team in 1997 and the Major League Baseball All-Century Team in 1999.

* He was widely criticized by the press, who took out their feelings on Williams by snubbing him as American League MVP in 1942, even though he led the league in batting average, home runs, and RBI, taking the first of his two Triple Crowns. They voted Joe Gordon of the New York Yankees the honor, thus cementing a running feud that Ted Williams would carry on with the print media for the rest of his career in Boston.

Seeking Anectdotes about Where You Were on 11 September 2001

On Saturday, September 11, we will be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of 9-11 when the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon were both hit by hijacked airplanes. I would like to share your stories of where you were, what you experienced and how that has affected you.

I was working at the National Defense University Library in Washington, DC. As soon as we entered the building, our Chief of Staff told us about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center . Soon there were rumors about a second plane hitting the other tower.. Some of us rushed to a library training room where we were hoping to get an updated news report. I tried several search engines trying to get some updates, along with thousands of others. The sites crashed quicker than the news of airplane crashes.

Cell phone service was soon nonexisent. Text messages were more likely to et through. People were sent home resulting in typical Washington DC gridlock since the HOV lanes and Metro schedules were still set for inbound traffic not, outbound traffic.

It was one of the prettiest September days that Washington has experienced. NDU is located at the confluence of the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, at Greenleaf Point. Five us decided to wait for the traffic so subside and had potluck picnic near the river. We shared sandwiches, chips, cookies, and wine.

On the way home on 395, I remember a huge American flag waving over the Navy Annex next to Arlington Cemetery and black smoke billowing out of the E ring of the Pentagon. Seeing that flag still flying reassured me that the country would survive.

When we returned to work the next morning, traffic was backed up the entire length of 4th Street and onto M Street because each car was searched thoroughly including an examination of each vehicle’s undercarriage before it could enter the gate to Ft McNair where NDU is located.. People that lived on 4th Street were unable to get out of their drive ways because traffic was not moving and there was no place to maneuver a car out of the way.

What is your story?

Celebrating National Dollar Day on August 8

A diller, a dollar
A 10 o'clock scholar
What makes you come so soon?
You used to come at 10 o'clock
But now  you come at  noon.

According to Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes by Iona and Peter Opie (Oxford, OUP, 1951), 'a diller, a dollar' are taken from the words dilatory and dullard. says that the word, “dilatory” means: “tending to delay or procrastinate; slow; tardy”. Aha!

From National Dollar Day

National Dollar Day on August 8th commemorates the day Congress established the U.S. monetary system in 1786. 

In 1862, the United States printed its first dollar bill. Do you know whose face was printed there? It wasn’t George Washington. The first dollar bill featured Salmon P. Chase, President Lincoln’s Secretary of Treasury.

More Dollar Facts

Interestingly, the dollar bill in our pockets today hasn’t been changed for more than 50 years. While the $5, $10, $20, and $50 earned redesigns in recent years, the single remains unchanged. Due to counterfeiting, redesigns keep the larger currencies ahead of counterfeiters. However, the single doesn’t face attention the more significant notes see.

Above the right number 1 on the face side of the dollar, a tiny bird peeks out. Whether it’s an owl, an eagle or another such bird is uncertain. Like other embedded items in the bill’s design, it fuels many conspiracy theories.

Speaking of conspiracy theories, the pyramid on the back fuels a few. It’s part of the Great Seal of the United States. However, the truth of the pyramid represents several things. You’ll find 13 steps on the pyramid equaling the 13 original colonies. The unfinished top represents a young country growing and expanding. Finally, the Eye of Providence includes the Latin motto Annuit Coeptis, which means, “It is favorable to our undertakings.”

The number 13 is represented on the dollar bill in several places. Do you know where else?

Opposite the pyramid is an eagle. The image represents both war and peace. In the eagle’s left talon it holds arrows and in its right an olive branch. How many arrows do you think the eagle holds? If you guessed 13, you’d be right.

Above the eagle’s head, there is a cloud with a constellation. How many stars are in the constellation? Again the number 13 is represented. The eagle includes a shield 13 stripes, too.

President Roosevelt’s Special Car

From an email;

HERE IS A BIT OF HISTORY..Hours after Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941, the Secret Service found themselves in a bind.President Franklin D. Roosevelt was to give his Day of Infamy speech to Congress on Monday, and although the trip from the White House to Capitol Hill was short, agents weren’t sure how to transport him safely.
At the time, Federal Law prohibited buying any cars that cost more than $750, so they would have to get clearance from Congress to do that, and nobody had time.
One of the Secret Service members, however, discovered that the US Treasury had seized the bulletproof car that mobster Al Capone owned when he was sent to jail in 1931.
They cleaned it, made sure it was running perfectly and had it ready for the President the next day.
Al Capone’s 1928 Cadillac V-8 “Al Capone” Town Sedan became the President’s Limo in December 1941.


Mechanics are said to have cleaned and checked each feature of the Caddy well into the night ofDecember 7th, 
to make sure that it would run properly the next day for the Commander in Chief.

And run properly it did. It had been painted black and green to look identical to Chicago’spolice cars at the time.
To top it off, the gangster’s 1928 Cadillac Town Sedan had 3,000 pounds of armor and inch-thickbulletproof windows.It also had a specially installed siren and flashing lights hidden behind the grille, along with a policescanner radio.


   Footnote: The car sold at auction in 2012 for $341,000.00.

A Sea Story: Why Attention to Detail Matters

Lonnie Stephens was a member of the EOD (Explosives Ordinance Demolition) Detachment on Midway for nine months and was aboard for Operation Frequent Wind.  He told his wife that he was helping to push a helicopter over the side and just as they got it tipped up and ready to go, they discovered a Vietnamese woman and child had hidden in the helicopter.  The Midway crew got both out just before the helo went over the side. 

Background: During Operation Frequent Wind, Captain Lawrence Chambers, who was CO of the Midway at that time authorized the crew to push over several helicopters.

On April 29, 1975, South Vietnamese Air Force Major Bung-Ly made the decision to load his family — his wife and five children — into a small two-seat Cessna O-1 Bird Dog airplane. Bung-Ly took off from Saigon and made it out to sea, where he looked for a ship to land on and spotted the USS Midway. Without any radio communications, Captain Lawrence Chambers made the decision to allow Ly to land on the flight deck, even though the plane had no tail hook and it was extremely risky. USS Midway Air Boss Vern Jumper readied the flight deck for Ly’s landing.
MAJ Bung landing his Bird Dog airplane on the deck of the USS Midway

Above and Beyond–National Veteran’s Art Museum

Above and Beyond comprises 58,307 dog tags. Each dog tag represents a person in the Vietnam War and is arranged in date order of death. And, each dog tag shows their name, casualty date, and military branch.

Above and Beyond was commissioned by the National Veterans Art Museum and created by artist Rick Steinbock, and veteran artists Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli and Mike Helbing. It was originally installed at 1801 S. Indiana Ave. on May 26, 2001 to coincide with Chicago’s Memorial Day parade. Above and Beyond was created over a 2-year period as each dog tag was stamped by hand using a former military Graphotype machine.

July 17 is World Justice Day

World Day for International Justice: History

17 July is celebrated as World Day for International Justice because this day is the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute in 1998. With the help of this treaty, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established. In 1998 since that day, about 139 countries have signed the Court’s treaty and nearly 80 States, representative of every region of the world, have ratified it.

The scales of justice are supposed to be blind
When it  comes to having justice
Mankind is even blinder

Each side proclaims its version of rightness
Many countries operate just outside of the law
in the belief that right is one its side

Many penalties do not  create
the just desserts that the instigators deserve.

The winners decide who is guilty and who is not
The losers decide that life is unjust because they lost.

The selection
in an election
can result 
in forced rejection
but not enforced rejection.