Volume_2_Issue_2

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AmacAdvantage

Vol.2 Issue 2 • $2.95

The magazine of the Association of Mature American Citizens

John McCain

War Hero The Birth of Labor Unions Understanding Reverse Mortgages Cooking for 2 • Visiting St. Augustine


GUARANTEES DO EXIST AFTER ALL! SecureLiving SmartRate NY SM

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SecureLiving SmartRate NY is subject to policy form series GENY6014 10/05 et al. and GENY6018 10/05 et al., Product ID: SP2. Ask your representative for details. Fixed annuities are long-term contracts designed for retirement purposes. There is no additional tax deferral benefit for annuities purchases in an IRA or any other tax-qualified plan since these plans are already afforded tax-deferred status. The other benefits and costs should be carefully considered before purchasing an annuity in a tax-qualified plan. All guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York. Genworth Life Insurance Company of New York is a Genworth Financial company. Genworth, Genworth Financial and the Genworth logo are registered service marks of Genworth Financial, Inc. 44676NY H 04/30/08

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Robert DeAngelis CLU, ChFC 631 589.0100 Hometown Agency 5 Orville Drive Bohemia, N.Y. 11716


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Publisher’s Letter

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ear Reader, In this issue, in the feature “John McCain, War Hero,” we look into the story of what happened to John McCain when he was taken prisoner after his aircraft was shot down

over Vietnam. What we found out was shocking. We also look back in time to see the working conditions that brought about the birth of the labor union movement in America. My Dad was a union electrician and I remember his stories about how they had to fight to keep the communists from taking over the union in the 1930s. Today, the tradeunion members are some of the most patriotic Americans; perhaps because of their struggles, they appreciate the freedom we so often take for granted. AMAC is growing! As the conservative alternative for Americans 50 and older, we are finding that there is a desire for articles and features that are presented in a fair and honest manner. Thanks for encouraging your friends and neighbors to join. Our benefits keep expanding. In Florida, for example, Bealls Outlets will now accept your AMAC membership card for a 15% discount on Mondays. Check out our Website, www.amac.us, for the latest in local and national discounts. AMAC members have asked us when we are coming out with sound proposals to help the needs of people 50 and up. Here we go. First, we’ll be advocating tax reductions, particularly on property taxes. Unlike income taxes, which only increase when your income goes up, property taxes are constantly increasing. This especially hurts older people who may be retired and living on a fixed income. Second, we’ll address the underlying cause for taxes being increased each year. Put simply, taxes keep increasing because government keeps growing. When have you ever heard of government being reduced, at any level? A number of years ago I was asked to submit a proposal to a large city government for a supplemental retirement plan for their employees. I contacted the administrator and told her my firm could provide the same program they self administered at a slightly lower cost than what they were paying. Not only that, I said we could eliminate the workload of five to seven people in the department, as my firm would handle that work as part of our contract. I was surprised when she told me, “Why would I want to shrink my department? Don’t you understand? The more people I have, the more influence I have?” With that kind of thinking, is it any wonder we can’t shrink the cost of government? AMAC will endeavor to be your advocate to promote commonsense government and to let you keep your hard-earned money in your pocket—not the government’s.

With best regards,

Dan Weber

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Contents

AmacAdvantage

The magazine of the Association of Mature American Citizens

Vol.2 Issue 2

2 Publisher’s Letter 4 Money

Is a reverse mortgage right for you?

7 Health

Learn the lifesaving skill of CPR

Page 22 Daniel C. Weber Publisher

Save energy with a tankless water heater

10 Food

Rebecca Weber Keiffert Associate Publisher

Cooking for two from Kathie’s Kitchen

Gary J. Christiansen Production Director Membership

12 John McCain: War Hero

How McCain survived his years as a POW

Bill Terpenny Advertising (contact) David G. Weber Account Executive

15 The Birth of Labor Unions

David G. Weber Gary J Christiansen Web Developers James Smith Florida Director

9 Home

How labor unions got started in the United States

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Rebecca Weber Keiffert Editorial Inquiries

19 Travel

America’s Historic Cities: St. Augustine, Florida

22 Did You Know?

Association of Mature American Citizens

Tidbits to think about

5 Orville Drive Bohemia, New York 11716 631-589-6675

23 Essay

Produced for AMAC by Footprint Media Custom Publishing

Thoughts from Brother Juniper

Footprint

24 Parting Thought

Media inc

51 Gibson Avenue Huntington, N.Y. 11743

Page 10

RFK remembered

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Money

Reverse Mortgages The basics you need to know about Home Equity Conversion Mortgages By Dennis Haber

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reverse mortgage is a very special and different kind of loan. More than 90 percent of all reverse mortgage

loans obtained are the government-insured FHA/HECM (Home Equity Conversion Mortgage). There are other reverse mortgage loans, called proprietary loans, but for the purposes of this article we will focus on FHA/HECM, as these are the most popular types. No matter which type you choose, it is recommended you talk with a financial planner or an elder law or estate attorney for expert advice before proceeding with a reverse mortgage loan. In order to be eligible, the senior homeowner must be at least 62 years of age and use the property they are mortgaging as their primary residence. If two or more people own the home, then each

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must have attained the stated age and each must use the property as their primary residence. This loan is special and different because it requires no monthly mortgage payments to the lender, and because there are no income, asset, or credit requirements. This means exactly what it suggests: Unless you are in default on some prior federal debt, an individual with challenged credit will not be precluded from getting a reverse mortgage. Furthermore, what also makes it special and different is that neither the senior borrower nor the heirs have personal liability when the loan is ultimately due. The loan becomes due upon the death of the surviving owner, when the home is no longer the primary residence of any owner, or when the home is sold.


It is called a “reverse mortgage” because the borrower receives funds instead of making payments. The flow of the money is reversed. In fact, the money can be received in a variety of ways. The borrower can receive all of it in one lump sum, in monthly amounts, or as a line of credit. As circumstances change, you can change the way the funds are accessed as well. More and more of our seniors are exploring whether this loan is right for them. Seniors today are facing a plethora of challenges: Many have lost their pension or seen their pension reduced; Medicare Part B premiums have doubled since 2000. The increase in the price of crude oil is having a ubiquitous affect on all consumer products. Budgets that were in the black are now in the red. It is estimated that a dollar in 2000 will be worth just 67 cents in 2010. Many of our elders need help. The biggest growth in the senior marketplace today is those 85 and over. It is estimated that in 2050 there will be 20 million seniors who have reached this age. This is astounding considering that in 1900 there were only 100 thousand individuals who had reached this plateau. In 1900, one in 25 people reached the age of 65. By 2000, one in eight people reached 65. This is a major shift in demographics. In the good old days one got old, became sick, and then died. Today, the paradigm is very different. Today, one becomes old, gets sick, lives, needs care, and needs money to pay for it. At the same time, many of our elders bought their home 20, 30, 40, and even 50 years ago. They have seen their home value grow by a factor of 10, 20, or even 30 times the original value. So the main questions become 1) what options besides a reverse mortgage does a senior have? And 2) is a reverse mortgage an appropriate choice? Study after study suggests that an overwhelming majority of seniors want to stay in their home. However, those who choose to sell face a more daunting task, as many housing markets are facing declining values. Because of the mortgage debacle, it is generally harder to obtain mortgage financing today. Selling and buying another home could be a challenge unless the proceeds from the current home cover the cost of purchasing a new one. Don’t forget that it is also important to have additional funds to cover those financial storms of life. Some other options: You can sell and move in with family; sell and move into an assisted-living facility; sell and rent an apartment; etc. It is always a good idea to seek out professional advice. Before you can determine whether a reverse mortgage is appropriate, you must look at the positive and negatives, the pluses and minuses, the advantages and disadvantages. For didactic purposes, I will highlight a few of the advantages and disadvantages of a reverse mortgage: THE ADVANTAGES • Never make a monthly mortgage payment • Never a prepayment penalty • No income, asset, or credit requirements • The interest accrues only on the money you take THE DISADVANTAGES • Closing costs are higher than with a conventional mortgage • Interest is compounded over time • Monthly payment is not indexed to inflation • Debt rises while equity decreases H Dennis Haber is an elder law attorney and author of Piggy Bank Your Home; read his blog on reverse mortgages at www.dennishaber. com, and learn about his book at www.piggybankyourhome.com.

SUGGESTED RULES Rule #1 Anyone can tell you what the closing costs are, but only you can determine what the reverse mortgage is worth to you. Some people believe it is too expensive. Other people think it is the greatest deal. Only you can decide. You must compare all your options. Rule #2 Make sure that you hire a competent loan officer. All reverse mortgage loan officers are not the same. Suggestion: Get professional advice or have family and friends who know what they are talking about assist you. Rule #3 At a minimum, make certain that the company you hire is a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. Keep in mind that this is not a guarantee that the company is good. However, NRMLA has a code of ethics that all members are supposed to follow. Rule #4 Ask lots of questions. If you need help with the questions my book, Piggy Bank Your Loan, has 52 of them along with answers. Even without the book it is important to bring your 6 friends—WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, and HOW—with you. Rule #5 This article does not make you an expert. It hardly scratches the surface. Consider this your beginning point. Then read the 4 rules above over again before getting all the facts and seeking professional advice.

RESOURCES Piggy Bank Your Home: Tap Into The Power Of A Reverse Mortgage (DH Media, 2008), by Dennis Haber Reverse Mortgages For Dummies, by Sarah Glendon Lyons & John E. Lucas (Wiley, 2005) The New Reverse Mortgage Formula: How To Convert Home Equity Into Tax Free Income, by Tom Kelly (John Wiley & Sons, 2005) ArcLoan, www.ArcLoan.com National Center For Home Equity Conversion, www.reverse.org NRMLA, www.reversemortage.org National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), www.NAELA.org

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Honesty and Integrity - Two words rarely associated with today’s

mortgage industry. Yet as you, and those you know, head towards the “Golden Years” it is critical that you find experienced, trustworthy professionals to educate you on your options. For over a decade ArcLoan® and ArcReverse have specialized in Mortgage Management. Our focus is building an ongoing relationship and education, not on ‘selling’ you a mortgage. Over 62 ? x x x

Consider a Reverse Mortgage

You Never Have to Leave Your Home! No Credit or income Qualifications ! No Monthly Payments Are Made !

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1. Consult a tax advisor. 2. Reverse Mortgage borrowers are required to obtain an eligibility certificate by receiving counseling sessions with a HUD-approved agency. Family members are also strongly encouraged to participate in these informative sessions. Must be at least 62 years old. Call for more detailed program information. 3. Loan proceeds are not considered income and will not affect Social Security or Medicare benefits. Your monthly reverse mortgage advances may affect your eligibility for some other programs. You should consult either a local program office or your attorney to determine how, or if, monthly reverse mortgage payments might affect your specific situation. This information is accurate as of date of printing and is subject to change without notice. Mortgages provided by Access National Mortgage. Some programs not available in all states.


Health Help Yourself Help Loved Ones

Recognizing that far too many Americans are not prepared to do CPR when it’s needed, the American Heart Association created a simple, accessible way for people to learn CPR at home in less than 25 minutes: • The Family & Friends CPR Anytime kit includes everything needed for self-directed CPR training: a manikin, DVD, and resource booklet. • The CPR home training can be used in the convenience of the living room or family room. • A single kit allows the whole family—parents, grandparents, siblings ,and other relatives and friends —to learn lifesaving CPR. “There are many excuses for not taking a lifesaving CPR course. People don’t have enough time, they’re afraid of embarrassing themselves in the classroom, or they don’t think they’ll ever have to provide CPR,” said Robert E. O’Connor, MD, chairman, Emergency Cardiovascular Care committee for the American Heart Association. “Family & Friends CPR Anytime removes traditional training obstacles by providing a brief and convenient way to learn CPR. With CPR Anytime, millions more people trained can result in thousands more lives saved.” Being prepared to act quickly when a family member— adult, child, or infant—suffers from sudden cardiac arrest can make the difference between life and death.

Generations Prepared

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CPR for everyone

pproximately 310,000 Americans die every year due to coronary heart disease, most often attributed to a sudden cardiac arrest suffered outside the hospital setting or in the emergency department. Nearly 80 percent of these arrests occur at home, so after you call 911, you can provide lifesaving care to a family member or friend while waiting for help. This critical, lifesaving skill—cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—is one that the American Heart Association wants many more Americans to be ready to perform when necessary. Although it may not be something we want to think about, sobering statistics compel us to act: • Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double a victim’s chance of survival. • Infant CPR can be effective for infants who suffer cardiac arrest or whose airway becomes blocked by food or other objects. • Approximately 94 percent of sudden cardiac-arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. • Death from sudden cardiac arrest is not inevitable. If more people knew CPR, more lives could be saved.

All materials courtesy of American Heart Association

Special Care for Infants Grandparents, parents, and others who care for children need to know how to perform the relatively simple skills of infant CPR and relief from choking, which can make a life-or-death difference for infants. The risk of choking for an infant, whose airway can become blocked by food or other objects, is a critical concern for caregivers like grandparents and others. According to the Home Safety Council: • Unintentional choking and suffocation are the leading cause of all injury deaths for infants under one and the eighth leading cause of injury deaths for all ages. More than 36,000 obstructed-airway injuries result in an emergency room visit. • Sixty percent of nonfatal choking episodes treated in emergency departments are associated with food items, 31 percent with nonfood objects including coins. • Candy is associated with 19 percent of choking-related emergency-room visits by children under age 15; 65 percent are from hard candy, and 12.5 percent are from other specified types such as chocolates and gummy candies. “Because the home is the most likely place for an infant to choke or to suffer cardiac arrest, parents and caretakers are among the most important people to be trained in infant CPR and the relief of choking,” said Monica Kleinman, MD, Children’s Hospital Boston.

Infant CPR Anytime: Precious Lifesaving at Home

New parents, expectant parents, grandparents, and siblings now have a simple, convenient way to learn to perform infant CPR and to relieve choking in less than 25 minutes—the Infant CPR Anytime Personal Learning Program. • The American Heart Association developed guidelines that were used as the basis of the infant kit. • This new training program can be used to learn skills that could help save the life of an infant (newborn to 12 months). • The kit includes a one-of-a-kind infant CPR manikin, a training DVD and two quick-reference skills reminders. • The Mini Baby manikin is an inflatable version of a traditional infant CPR manikin. An instructional DVD walks users through each step of the training, from inflating the manikin to doing chest compressions and rescue breathing to how to relieve choking in an infant. Because the training materials are contained in an in-home kit, Infant CPR Anytime allows all family members to learn the skills and brush up on them periodically. “Although it’s a skill no one wants to use, the more family members who know infant CPR the better,”said Monica Kleinman, MD, Children’s Hospital Boston. “This enables people to learn infant CPR who otherwise would not have that opportunity.”

CPR: All in the Family

Making CPR training a whole family affair just makes good sense. With so many grandparents actively involved in the care of their infant grandchildren, it’s important for them to be current on infant CPR training. Maintaining adult CPR skills is just as critical—to help each other or other family members or friends who experience sudden cardiac arrest. “Infant CPR Anytime is an important and convenient way for all caretakers like grandparents to gain the peace of mind of knowing they’re prepared to help the infants who are part of their lives,” said Kleinman. CPR training should be at the top of every family’s “must do” list. Performing effective CPR immediately after someone suffers cardiac arrest or choking saves lives. Infant CPR Anytime and the Family & Friends CPR Anytime kits can be purchased by visiting www.shopcpranytime.org or calling 1-877-AHA-4CPR. H www.amac.us

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Members Receive Special Rates on Life Insurance including:

Term Life And Universal Life Term Life Insurance Illustration $100,000

$250,000

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For Further Information on these or any of our products please contact:

Robert DeAngelis 631-589-0100 Hometown Agency 5 Orville Drive Suite 400 Bohemia, NY 11716


Home Energy-Efficient Water Heating Consider a tankless water heater to save energy

D

id you know that water heaters rank just behind air conditioners and furnaces when it comes to energy consumption? If it’s time to replace your old behemoth, inefficient water heater, you might consider going tankless to save energy and money, not to mention space in your utility area. Traditional water heaters constantly store hot water, wasting energy throughout the day when hot water is not in use. Tankless water heaters—also known as on demand or instant water heaters—heat water only when you need it, thus only expending energy when you demand hot water. When you turn on a hot water tap, cold water travels through the tankless unit, which utilizes a heating element to warm the water. And since the heating process happens simultaneously with when you use hot water, you never run out of it—there’s no need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water, as can happen with traditional

models. Which means no more cold showers if there has been excessive demand for hot water. There are both electric and gas-fired (natural gas or propane) models available in a range of sizes to heat your whole house or point-of-use needs. Tankless systems are an ideal solution if you have remote needs for hot water, such as a pool house, guest house, outdoor shower or hot tub, or sink in an outdoor kitchen or barbecue area. The energy savings can be significant over conventional tank heaters; tankless water heaters can be up to 34 percent more energy efficient if your home uses 40 gallons or less of hot water per day, or up to 50 percent more efficient if you install a tankless system for each source of hot water. They are also more thermal efficient, require less maintenance, and are less expensive to purchase than traditional tank heaters, and they can last more than 20 years. The units are also significantly smaller, requir-

ing less space to install, and they allow you to maintain a precise temperature. To save money, energy, and space, tankless water heaters are a worthwhile option to explore when you are considering your next installation. H Tankless Water Heaters There are several brands to choose from when selecting a tankless water heater. Here are some sources to consider. Eemax Tankless Water Heaters, www. eemax.com Stiebel Eltron, www.gotankless.com Noritz, www.noritz.com Titan, www.titanheater.com Chronomite, www.chronomite.com Rheem, www.rheemtankless.com Bosch, www.boschhotwater.com EverHot by Bradford White, www.bradfordwhite.com Rinnai, www.foreverhotwater.com

DISABILITY INCOME INSURANCE What is your greatest asset: Your home? Your business? They are both vital to your lifestyle, and they are the result of your most valuable asset – your ability to earn an income. If you become too sick or hurt to work, what would happen to everything you have worked so hard to build for yourself, your family and your future?

83 East Main Street Bay Shore, New York 11706 Tel. 631.969.1800 Fax: 631.665.1277 www.sipco-llc.com www.amac.us

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Food: From Kathie’s Kitchen

Cooking

For 2

Great ideas for how to shop and prepare food for just a couple of folks By Kathie Rafferty

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ooking for a large group can be daunting, but shopping for and preparing a meal for just one or two people presents its own challenges. Is it

possible to enjoy a varied and delicious diet without having excess leftovers or throwing spoiled food away? How can you purchase smaller quantities of fresh food? What do you do when your favorite foods only come in large-size packages? The following tips may help: • Meat, poultry, and fish purchased in family-size packages can be divided into smaller portions, wrapped in heavy-duty foil or freezer wrap, labeled, and frozen. Placing plastic wrap between individual meat patties or pieces is also helpful. • Buy cheeses from the deli department, where smaller amounts can be purchased. • Large-size casseroles can be separated into two smaller portions; bake one right away and freeze the other for later. • Take advantage of grocery-store salad bars, where smaller amounts of already chopped vegetables and fruits are available. • If you’d like to make egg salad but don’t want to buy a whole dozen eggs, pick up a couple of hard-boiled eggs from the salad bar, too. • Leftover canned and jarred ingredients can be transferred to non-metallic containers, covered, and refrigerated for later use. Leftover beef or chicken broth can be frozen in ice-cube trays and used when just a small amount is needed.

Chicken Romano for 2

• Dust unused portions of chopped peppers, carrots, and onions with flour, place on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags and use as needed in casseroles, soups, or other cooked dishes. • Wash only the portion of a vegetable that you are planning to eat right away. The remainder will last longer unwashed. • Leftover raw vegetables can be blanched and then frozen. Broccoli, cauliflower, corn, green beans, and peas freeze especially well. • When a small portion of onion is needed, cut up a shallot instead. • Consider shopping with a friend and splitting large packages or “buy one, get one free” offers. Although most recipes are written with larger families in mind, cookbooks and magazines featuring recipes that serve one or two are available. Visit your local library or bookstore. In the meantime, try these recipes to create a tasty dinner for two. Chicken Romano and Orzo with Garlic & Parmesan are both delicious and simple to prepare. Serve them with your favorite vegetable or salad. Bon appetit! H Kathie Rafferty, a native Long Islander, lives in Patchogue, NY, with her family of five. Touted as the next Martha Stewart by friends and family alike, Kathie’s recipes have become increasingly popular. We hope you enjoy them! 4Please share your comments with Kathie by emailing her at info@AMACBenefits.org

Orzo with Garlic & Parmesan for 2

2 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese 2 thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken-breast cutlets 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, drained with liquid reserved 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped

8 ounces orzo pasta 1½ cups low-sodium chicken broth 1 large clove garlic, minced Salt 2 tablespoons butter, cut in pieces ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving 1 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dredge chicken cutlets in crumb mixture. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken and cook through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover with foil. Add tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, and 1/3 cup of tomato liquid. Cook 2 minutes, stirring until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and discard garlic. Stir in basil. Spoon sauce over cutlets and serve immediately.

Cook orzo in boiling water until al dente, and drain. Meanwhile, boil chicken broth in a saucepan until reduced to ½ cup. Add garlic and a pinch of salt. Whisk in butter one piece at a time. Toss the orzo with the broth mixture. Add the Parmesan cheese and parsley, and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, sprinkled with additional Parmesan cheese.

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Advertise Your Business

Merchants reach 30,000 households in the 50+ Market

To place an ad in the AMAC Advantage please call 1-888-262-2006


Main Feature

John McCain: War Hero How McCain survived his years as a POW

“F

by Susan Granger

or two centuries, the men of my family were raised to go to war as officers in America’s armed services. It is a family history that, as a boy, often intimidated me and, for a time, I struggled halfheartedly against its expectations. But when my own time of war arrived, I realized how fortunate I was to have been raised in such a family,” John McCain wrote in his New York Times best-seller, Faith of My Fathers (Random House, 1999), which was later made into a television movie. On the morning of October 26, 1967, while he was serving as a Navy pilot aboard the U.S. carrier Oriskany off the coast of Vietnam, 30-year-old lieutenant commander McCain prepared for an Alpha Strike aimed at a thermal power plant, a significant military target in Hanoi. It was his first attack on the enemy capital, which possessed the most formidable air defenses in the history of modern warfare. In July, he’d narrowly escaped death on the carrier USS Forrestal as he was about to take off for another raid. “We flew in fairly large separations, unlike the tight formations flown in World War II bombing raids,” McCain recalls. “At about 9,000 feet, as we turned inbound on the target, our warning lights flashed, and the tone for enemy radar started sounding so loudly I had to turn down the volume.” Traveling at about 550 miles an hour, his Skyhawk was hit by a ground-to-air missile and spiraled to earth. When he ejected, he struck part of the plane, breaking his right arm in three places, along with his left arm and right knee, and was briefly knocked unconscious. Witnesses said his chute had barely opened before he plunged into shallow water in the middle of Truc Bach Lake, from which he was rescued by angry Vietnamese. Stripped, beaten, and spat on, McCain was then dumped on a stretcher and hauled off to what came to be known as “the Hanoi Hilton.” An ochercolored, trapezoid-shaped stone structure that occupied two city blocks in the center of downtown Hanoi, it was the French-built prison, Hua Lo. “As the massive steel doors loudly clanked behind me, I felt a deeper dread than I ever felt since,” he remembers. “They took me into an empty cell, in a part of the prison we called the Desert Inn, set me down on the floor, still in the stretcher, stripped off my

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underwear, and placed a blanket over me. For the next few days, I drifted in and out of consciousness. When awake, I was periodically taken to another room for interrogation.” Despite his serious medical condition, he steadfastly refused to provide any information beyond his name, rank, serial number, and date of birth. What saved him from what he considered certain death was the fact that his father was an admiral. On October 28, the New York Times ran a front-page story that Admiral McCain’s son was missing in a raid—and his captors took note. “I was moved by stretcher to a hospital in central Hanoi . . . and found myself lying in a filthy room, lousy with mosquitoes and rats. Every time it rained, an inch of mud and water would pool on the floor. I was given blood and glucose, and several shots . . . [other than that] I received no treatment for my injuries. No one had even bothered to wash the grime off me.” Under further interrogation, McCain gave them the name of his ship, his squadron number, and his intended target. Under duress, he recited the names of the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line, citing them as squadron members, and reeled off a number of North Vietnamese cities that had already been bombed as future targets. “I was occasionally beaten when I declined to give any more information. The beatings were of short duration, because I let out a hair-raising scream whenever they occurred. My interrogators appeared concerned that hospital personnel might object . . . Other prisoners endured far worse than I had, and had withstood the cruelest torture imaginable.” The Vietnamese took full advantage of the propaganda opportunity. In an English-language commentary entitled “From the Pacific to Truc Bach Lake,” broadcast over the Voice of Vietnam, Hanoi accused Lyndon Johnson and McCain of staining his family’s honor. Then a French journalist, Francois Chalais, visited McCain and questioned him further, with television cameras shooting. A public affairs officer, Herbert Hetu, arranged for McCain’s parents to see the footage before the interview was publicly broadcast. In early December, Vietnamese doctors operated on McCain’s leg, severing all the ligaments on one side of his knee—a procedure


from which he has never fully recovered. Even today, when he is tired or when the weather is inclement, his knee stiffens painfully and he shows a trace of his old limp. Still frail from the surgery, McCain was transferred to “the Plantation,” a truck-repair facility that had been converted into a prison. He was placed in a cell in a building they called “the Gun Shed,” with two Air Force majors, George “Bud” Day and Norris Overly, whom McCain credits with saving his life when he could barely move. In early January, 1968 all three men were relocated to another camp they dubbed “the Corn Crib.” For the first time, several POWs were able to communicate with each other, leaving notes written in cigarette ash in a washroom drain. Even their meager diet improved a little. When Norris Overly’s name appeared in the North Vietnamese first grant of “amnesty,” Bud Day advised him to reject the offer. The military Code of Conduct obliged POWs to refuse release before those who had been captured earlier had been released. “Some of the prisoners were pretty hard on Norris and another two prisoners for taking early release,” McCain admits, adding, “Norris had taken very good care of me. He had saved my life. I thought of him as good man, as I do today. I feared he had made a mistake, but I couldn’t stand in judgment of him.” In April, when he could still barely hobble on crutches, McCain was moved to “the Warehouse,” the largest cellblock in the camp. Unable to pick up or carry anything because his arms had not yet healed, and suffering from chronic dysentery, he weighed little more than 100 pounds. Yet he faced the next two years in solitary confinement. “It’s an awful thing, solitary. It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment,” he notes. “Having no one else to rely on, to share confidences with, to seek counsel from, you begin to doubt your judgment and your courage. But you eventually adjust to solitary, as you can to almost any hardship, by devising various methods to keep your mind off your troubles and greedily grasping any opportunity for human contact.” McCain devised memory games to keep his faculties sound. He tried to memorize the names of POWs, his guards, and his interrogators. He tried to recall all the pilots in his squadron and their sister squadron. He reconstructed books he’d read and movies he’d seen—from memory. After that, he tried to compose books and plays of his own, often acting out scenes in his cell. And he prayed more often and more fervently than ever before. Admittedly, solitary put McCain in a surly mood. He resisted depression by hurling insults at his guards and found that belligerence boosted his morale. Despite being unable to leave the narrow confines of his cell, he gradually tried to build up his strength through exercise. During the last two years of his captivity, McCain was quartered with other prisoners, sorted in groups by the period in which they were shot down. After an initial compulsion to talk nonstop to anyone who would listen, he settled into “steady strain” which meant keeping close watch on his emotions, not allowing them to rise and fall with circumstances that were out of his control. What excited him the most was the ability to communicate, albeit in stealth. Prisoners would flash hand signals, tap codes on the wall, hide notes in the washroom drain and speak through enamel drinking cups held up to the wall. “Communicating not only affirmed our humanity. It kept us alive,” he asserts. Because of his family connections, McCain had also been offered

an early release. He immediately relayed that to Hervey Stockman, an Air Force colonel who was the senior ranking officer at the camp. Although he did not know it at the time, his father, Adm. John S. McCain Jr., had taken over in Honolulu as Commander in Chief of United States Forces, Pacific, and the Vietnamese considered his release a gesture of “goodwill.” “I knew that every prisoner the Vietnamese tried to break, those who had arrived before me and those who would come after me, would be taunted with the story of how the Admiral’s son had gone home early, a lucky beneficiary of America’s class-conscious society. I knew my release would add to the suffering of men who were already straining to keep faith with their country,” he says. “I was injured but I believed I could survive. I couldn’t persuade myself to leave.” Also, unbeknownst to McCain, when Henry Kissinger was in Hanoi to sign the final peace agreements, the North Vietnamese offered him one man he could take back to Washington with him: John McCain. Kissinger refused and, later, McCain thanked him profusely, acknowledging that he did not want to be released out of order. The next year and a half was the hardest of McCain’s captivity. By this time, POWs were relentlessly interrogated, beaten with regularity and forced to make false confessions. In 1970, he was transferred to “Camp Unity,” a compound that eventually held more than 350 POWs. To maintain internal discipline, senior-ranking officers formed a cohesive military resistance unit with the motto “Return With Honor.” Each large room served as a squadron and each squadron was broken into flights of about six men, each with a flight commander. All agreed that it was a lot easier to defy the enemy surrounded by fellow resisters. After the conclusion of the peace accords, prisoners were duly released in the order in which they had been captured. While the North Vietnamese conducted “exit interviews,” the SROs continuously stressed the importance of avoiding confrontation and fraternization. “There was no special ceremony when we left the camp in 1973,” McCain says. “The International Control Commission came in and we were permitted to look around the camp. There were a lot of photographers but nothing formal. Then we got on the buses and went to Gia Lam Airport. There is no way I can describe how I felt as I walked toward that U.S. Air Force plane.” Three days before his release, The Los Angeles Times ran a banner headline proclaiming, “Hanoi To Release Admiral’s Son.” So McCain’s father had been invited to join his successor, Admiral Noel Gaylor, at the welcoming center at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. When he asked if the parents of other POWs had been invited and was told they had not, Admiral McCain declined the offer. Years afterward, John McCain wrote: “The United States Naval Academy, an institution I both resented and admired, tried to bend my resilience to a cause greater than self-interest. I resisted its exertions, fearing its effect on my individuality. But, as a prisoner of war, I learned that a shared purpose did not claim my identity. On the contrary, it enlarged my sense of myself. I have the example of many brave men to thank for that discovery, all of them proud of their singularity, but faithful to the same cause. “My grandfather was a naval aviator, my father a submariner. They were my first heroes, and earning their respect has been the most lasting ambition of my life,” he went on. “They have been dead many years now, yet I still aspire to live my life according to the terms of their approval. They were not men of spotless virtue, but they were honest, brave and loyal all their lives.” H www.amac.us

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Feature

The Birth and Impact of Labor Unions Mary Ellen Walsh

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n Saturday, March 25, 1911, near closing time after a long 12-hour day, a fire ignited on one of

the floors of The Triangle Shirtwaist Company, located on Washington Place in Manhattan. The 500 or so workers—young women 13 to 25 years old—scrambled for safety, but the fire escapes only extended one floor down and doors would not open. Management had been locking them to continue the flow of productivity. On that fateful day, many workers climbed up onto the roof of the high-rise as fire engines arrived with ladders that didn’t reach the building’s 10-story height. Workers jumped to their deaths rather than be burned alive with the others trapped on the top three floors. Sadly, 146 people perished within half an hour. The Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire was one of the most publicized tragedies of the American worker; it heightened awareness of their plight and caused New York State legislation to create a factory-investigating commission spawning fire-prevention laws between 1911 and 1914. Although uprisings had begun prior to the fire, these deaths— nearly 100 years later still rippling through history—exemplified what little value had been placed on human life and the helplessness of the turn-of-the-century day laborer. Workers spent long, back-breaking hours six days a week, for barely enough pay to feed their family, in inhumane working conditions of cramped, unsanitary, poorly ventilated quarters that were infested with disease, beating many into an early grave around the age of 40. As the Industrial Revolution exploded and created a need for labor, workers were sometimes mistreated to obtain increased productivity. The voice of individual freedom was squelched when one worker realized that asking for a raise or quitting alone held little threat. But united together, men and women could challenge social injustices, providing a strong brotherhood like an institution with a common cause—a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. As collective bargaining began to grow, it paved the way for leaders to rise to the top as well as much violence and corruption. The advent of many unions sought for shorter working hours, to raise living standards, abolish child labor, eliminate unemployment, and win social reforms such as free public school, and later on Social Security, medical care for the aged, low-cost housing, equal rights for racial minorities, and many others. “There is no question that being in a union helped create a better life for my family and me,” says Jerry Spinelli, carpenter for Local 45 and New York City Carpenters Union. He indicates that there are fewer local unions than before. “Back in 1966 there were approximately six local unions, but today there is only one in Queens. Unfortunately, many of the accidents you hear of today are non-union workers who are cheap labor and are rushed to get a job done.” According to Philip M. Dine, journalist, frequent speaker on

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labor, and author of State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence (McGraw-Hill, 2007), “What some people overlook is that it is good for the economy of a country to have a broader level of prosperity.” Dine adds that despite the negatives of the Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa (his conviction of bribery and criminal record), “Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters Union alone during the 1950s contributed greatly to improving the standard of living through groundbreaking contracts, resulting in several million families rising to the middle class during that era.” The big questions linger. As the first century of achievement for American unions moves into the second century, how will they progress in an election year, with Democrats notoriously big on labor? And is there a decline in current union membership? “Today most unions do not want to invest more than three or four percent of their operating budget for organizing new members, and there is less worker interest in joining unions and intense employer opposition to unionization. All these factors stop many companies from becoming unionized,” said Gary Chaison, professor of Labor Relations at Clark University, in Massachusetts, and author of Unions in America (Sage, 2006).

History of American Labor Unions

Labor was hard physical work as guilded workers, cabinetmakers, and blacksmiths often faced poor working conditions as indentured servants of the Colonial times. By 1776, America had approximately 500,000 black slaves who couldn’t unite because they weren’t free workers. Perhaps the infamous Boston Tea Party in 1773 could be seen as the first strike, when the Sons of Liberty dumped tea into the Atlantic Ocean, revolting against England’s high taxes. But the first actual recorded strike was in 1786, when Philadelphia journeymen printers petitioned employers for $1 a day wage. When the journeymen refused to work, this new concept, “turning out,” became a negotiating tactic. Having no models or standards and lack of protocol for organizing—and, later on, language barriers—workers met in taverns, or at each other’s houses, and often had a difficult time surviving from year to year. There weren’t any headquarters or full-time representatives. When workers had a problem, they gathered, grieved, or held a “turnout” to make their point, and quickly disbanded when the issue was finished. The first organized union was a society of Philadelphia shoemakers in 1792. During 1876 and 1877, coal miners suffered as groups formed, such as the infamous Molly Maguires, a secret society of Irish miners in Pennsylvania who wrecked trains, beat up foremen, and even killed. But many say the “Mollies” had as much violence against them as the coal miners. Industry boomed during the Gilded Age after the Civil War,


Feature UNION HISTORY TIMELINE 1791—First strike in building trades by Philadelphia carpenters for a 10-hour day; Bill of Rights adopted 1834—First turnout of “mill girls” in Lowell, Mass., to protest wage cuts 1847—New Hampshire enacts first state 10-hour workday 1865—13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishes slavery 1903—Women’s Trade Union League formed at AFL Convention 1905—Industrial Workers of the World founded 1912—Bill creating the Department of Labor passes at the end of congressional session after the Bread and Roses strike 1916—Railroad workers were the first to achieve an 8-hour work day 1917—East St. Louis Riot 1918—Leadership of industrial workers of the World sentenced to federal prison on charges of disloyalty to the United States 1920—19th Amendment to the Constitution gives women the right to vote 1925—A. Philip Randolph helps create the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters 1933—President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposes New Deal programs to Congress 1935—National Labor Relations Act and Social Security Act passed 1942—National War Labor Board created with union members 1946—Largest strike wave across the country in United States history 1946—Taft-Hartley Act made union bans secondary, closed shops, and made union leader liable for strike-related outbreaks 1955—AFL and CIO merge with George Meany becoming president 1962—President John F. Kennedy’s order gives federal workers the right to bargain 1964—Civil Rights Act bans institutional forms of racial discrimination 1970s—Many ethnic and women’s unions founded 1981—President Reagan breaks air traffic controllers’ strike and AFL-CIO rallies 400,000 in Washington Solidarity Day 1992—Asian Pacific-American Labor Alliance created within AFL-CIO Source: www.aflcio.org/aboutus/history/timeline

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with the surge in growth came a need for regulations and standards. As coal was the main energy source expanding the railway system, by late 1880s steel replaced wood and stone as the primary load-carrying material for bridge and building foundations. This created a demand for a new skilled worker, and a chasm was born between skilled and non-skilled laborers. Perhaps one of the most difficult trades was that of the ironworker. Making $2.10 a day for 12-hour days, accidents and mortality rates for them were higher than for any other trade at the time. A young man would work 10 to 12 years and be lucky not to be hurt or disfigured. As industries’ prices rose, the worker’s wages didn’t see as much of an increase. They began to gather in “societies,” and management was resistant, sometimes resorting to police force. In 1896, the International Association of Bridge and Structural Ironworkers of America was established. During this time there began an effort to cultivate a better way of life for the workers. “Membership in a union clearly defined a difference between poverty and a living wage,” says Clayton Sinyai, researcher, Laborers International Union of North America, and author of School of Democracy (Cornell, 2006). “But unions didn’t stop there; they were an important venue where workers, including new immigrants, learned the skills necessary to participate in America’s democratic republic.” Sinyai explained that Samuel Gompers’ (AFL leader) cigarmakers union fiercely protected the position of “lector” in the factory. For the betterment of the worker, “a lector’s job was to inform by reading newspapers and books aloud while the workers rolled cigars.” There was much resistance, and employers kept blacklists and strong-armed employees to declare an oath that they would not join a union. Some even hired detectives, like Pinkerton, or Burns guards to crush organizing efforts or break strikes. Later on, many big businesses tried to use antitrust laws against unions. Everywhere, the cry for a better quality of life was sounding. In Lawrence, Massachusetts, during the 1912 strike of Bread and Roses, mill workers carried placards that read, “We want bread and roses, too.” It was no longer enough just to live hand to mouth; they wanted an enriching life in mind and spirit as well. The strike built until 23,000 men, women, and children were on strike. “Life expectancy was short, nutrition was poor; with no publiceducation system, children worked too,” says Emily Rosenberg, director of labor education at De Paul’s School for New Learning, in Illinois. “Women were leaving the farms and coming to live in the mills and making wages. There were no standards, no safety, no central bank, and no government regulation of business practices.” Rosenberg adds that the large industrialists like Pullman, McCormick, and Andrew Carnegie were centralizing the wealth of the country into a very few hands. “If a bank collapsed, which happened frequently, businesses went under and workers were thrown out of work—as in the 1840s depression, when a third of the workers in New York City were left jobless, without a social network.” As one of the strongest and most influential unions, the Teamsters formed in 1903 under Cornelius Shea. They were instrumental in winning many standardizing contracts nationwide as the world became motorized. They had their fair share of trouble—including one of the worst, most violent strikes in 1905 against Chicago’s Montgomery Ward Company, when 21 lives were lost, many businessmen were accused of taking bribes to lock out workers, and union leaders were arrested. The most violent strike was the East St. Louis Riot during WWI, as many African Americans migrated there for jobs, threatening whites’ jobs. The National Guard was called in, as 3,000 white men gathered to attack African Americans.


Women and Unions

At the turn of the century, women moved away from just a domestic role and began taking wage-earning jobs. A few leaders rose to help the working class, such as dressmaker Mary Harris Jones (Mother Jones), who fought tirelessly for miner’s and children’s rights and even led a march, in 1903, of child textile workers. Jones marched all the way out to President Theodore Roosevelt’s Long Island home. One of the most famous rallies was the November 22, 1909 “Uprising of the Twenty Thousand,” mostly women garment workers, representing close to 450 factories employing 40,000 workers from New York and Philadelphia. They “turned out” and struck, demanding a 20 percent pay raise, a 52-hour work week, and overtime pay. Headed by Samuel Gompers, president of the AFL, the garment strikers joined forces with the wealthy suffragists, who believed that poor working conditions were the cause of women not having the right to vote. By February 1910, when the strike was settled, 20,000 members had banded together. But progress was slow. Afterward the women—some from The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory—went back to business as usual without union representation.

War and Depression

Organized labor supported war efforts and the Teamsters helped move and supply the troops. But membership in unions dipped from 1920 to 1923—from their peak at 5,000,000 down to 3,500,000— even though the International Labor Organization was formed in 1919. With the Great Depression, it was estimated that 33 percent of the nation’s workers were jobless and many had lower-paying jobs; by March 1933 unemployment passed 15 million. Under the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the National Labor Relations Act, called the Wagner Act, in 1935. It protects the right of American workers to organize and collectively bargain. Many were hit hard. Massive strikes occurred in the 1930s, and by WWII there was an increased need for highly skilled workers; unions helped, and many women worked. After the war organizers began to group by industry and craft, focusing on America’s growing industrial base. Also during 1935, the United Auto Workers was founded and went on over the decades to negotiate impressive landmark legislation and land millions of dollars in contracts. The UAW was one of the largest and most influential unions notoriously against big business. By the 1950s, during the height of the unions in America, the Teamsters Union alone exceeded one million members. During the 1960s, unions were uniting all workers, as A. Phillip Randolph registered thousands of minority voters and enabled them to have a voice. Many union members marched on Washington in 1963. Unions helped craft Title VI of the Civil Rights act in 1964, prohibiting job discrimination. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968 while aiding striking sanitation workers in Memphis. Unions were a necessary part of the evolution of the country. “Many of the unions successfully made an impact on American labor and the evolving economy, and laid the groundwork for the feminist and the civil rights movements” says Rosenberg. “Many were unsung heroes—such as the Tenant Farmer’s Union, which disintegrated, and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, which became a basis for civil rights.” She adds, “Congress Industrial Organization (CIO), organizing unskilled laborers and later joining with the American Federal Labor of skilled laborers, did a better job balancing the longterm success than say, the Knights of Labor, who had too many internal squabbles. After the Haymarket Incident was basically blamed on them, the Knights of Labor couldn’t sustain. They were unlucky.” H

Labor Day The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and cofounder of the AFL, created Labor Day. However, his place in history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists, in Paterson, New Jersey, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic. It would be at the end of summer, midway between July 4th and Thanksgiving, giving the workers a much-needed break. On the first Labor Day, 10,000 workers assembled in New York City in a Labor Day parade. The workers and their families marched from City Hall to Union Square, and held a picnic with concerts and speeches in Reservoir Park. Source: Ironworkers 1896—2006: A History of the Iron Workers Union (International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers)

FURTHER READING Want to learn more about labor unions in America? Check out the following sources. International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers, from the Ironworker (newsletter), Volume 71, Number 2, February 1971 Trade Unionism, History, Ethics, Principles, New York District Council of Carpenters, Labor Technical College. AFL-CIO Out of the Sweatshop: The struggle for industrial democracy, edited by Leon Stein (Quadrangle, The New York Times Book Co., 1977) Stand Fast, A Chronicle of the Workers’ Movement in New York State, by Ferdinand F. Padula (State of New York Department of Labor, September 1993) Labor in America: A History, fourth edition, by Foster Rhea Dulles and Melvyn Dubofsky (Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1984) America’s Women, by Gail Collins (The Illinois Labor History Society, 2003)

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Travel: America’s Historic Cities

Color Me Colonial Take a tour of St. Augustine, Florida’s historic gem By Samantha Crespo

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n an epic of Native Americans, Spanish conquistadors, and British privateers vying for influence, St.

Augustine, Florida, emerges triumphant as one of the oldest cities in America, with one of its most colorful pasts. Center your stay on the city’s colonial sites to experience the empires and events that highlight its early history. Before blazing the colonial trail, use this primer to set your historic bearings straight:

• 1565–1763: St. Augustine earns fame as the first permanent European settlement in what is now the United States, kicking off the first period of Spanish rule. • 1763–1784: Diplomatic agreements make Florida part of the British Empire. • 1784–1820: Spain’s support of America during the American Revolution returns Florida, and St. Augustine, to Spain. • 1821: In a final change of hands, the U.S. purchases Florida from Spain. St. Augustine emerges as an American city tinged with an array of influences.

And now, to rejoin our tour: Don’t let the name mislead you—the Fountain of Youth is actually one of St. Augustine’s oldest sites. Excavations at this archaeological park have unearthed a cross fashioned from coquina stones—according to archeologists, by Ponce de Leon and his crew. The site is believed by many to mark Ponce de Leon’s arrival point in America. Overlooking Matanzas Inlet, it’s a historic www.amac.us

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Travel stretch of the imagination to envision the explorers approaching America for the first time. Throughout the park, sites commemorate both the Spanish and Native American influences on St. Augustine. At the Spring House, you can view the coquina cross and sip water from the spring believed to bubble with miracles. If not miracles, you’ll believe in the spring’s refreshment— it sustained the Timucuan Indians for thousands of years before Ponce de Leon’s arrival. The park’s “First Encounters” exhibit illustrates the intersection of these cultures. To home in on the area’s Native American influence, walk the grounds that once marked the Timucuan village of Seloy. Excavated skeletons and pottery fragments have dated the Native American occupation of these grounds to 1000 B.C. You can also view the site of Native American burials, both prehistoric and Christian, deemed one of the most important archeological finds in the southeast United States. Near the Fountain of Youth, the steel cross drawing your eye to the sky commemorates the 400th anniversary of Pedro Menendez de Aviles’ arrival, making St. Augustine the first permanent Christian settlement in America. Today, the site, known as Mission Nombre de Dios, holds a chapel reflective of the Spanish mission style of the 16th century and several other shrines and statues made in modern times but mirroring days gone by. Take a walk through time at the Manucy Museum and the Gonzalez-Alvarez House, part of the Oldest House Complex administered by the St. Augustine Historical Society. Since being constructed out of coquina ( St. Augustine’s signature shellstone building material) in the early 1700s, the Gonzalez-Alvarez House has been updated to reflect the city’s varying colonial occupations. Similar to the Gonzalez-Alvarez residence, the Peña-Peck House was built during the first Spanish period, altered during the British period and altered again during the second Spanish period before housing a New England family after the U.S. purchase of Florida. Historic forts conjure the dueling empires that shaped this city. The Spanish began building Castillo de San Marcos, now America’s oldest masonry fort, in 1672, but changes by the British, second-period Spaniards, and Americans tweaked the fort as it stands today. Boat to Fort Matanzas National Monument on Anastasia Island to trace the repeated attempts of the British to invade St. Augustine. Or, catch a reenactment at Castillo de San Marcos —cannons and swords will fill in the audio-visual blanks. For more of that like-you’re-there feeling, observe reenactors within the Colonial Spanish Quarter demonstrate cooking, blacksmithing, and candlemaking circa 1740. Of course, just to walk the streets of America’s oldest city is to be transported to a different place and time. H 4For more information on

attractions, accommodations, and restaurants, or to request a free, full-color 36-page Travel Planner publication, contact the St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra, & The Beaches Visitors and Convention Bureau by calling (800) 418-7529 or visiting www.getaway4florida.com

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Essay

Fighting Pollution in America By Brother Juniper

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great deal is being made about the various man-made chemicals that are polluting our air and water. We receive warnings about how harmful

these pollutants are and the damage they cause. Millions of dollars are being raised to protect the environment and clean up these hazardous materials. All this is done for the common good. This cause is now so popular that Republicans and Democrats, Liberals and Conservatives are making TV commercials together, rallying support to fight the common enemy—global warming. Al Gore received a Nobel Prize for his environmental work. Americans are rightly concerned. But there is another type of pollution, one even more harmful to us than chemicals and radiation combined. It hurts more people than the largest environmental catastrophe. It has taken more lives than the worst cancer-causing toxin. It is the pollution of moral corruption. Governor Elliot Spitzer is a recent victim. His replacement was tainted with the same pollution. A congressman from Staten Island, the former governor of New Jersey, and a mayor in the Midwest all stepped into the filth of sexual misconduct. But Americans today don’t seem too concerned over this kind of pollution. After all, if it was all right for a president to take advantage of an intern, these other incidents are relatively minor. Perhaps it’s just part of our human nature. The truth is, the moral pollution in America is a lot more serious than a few cases of infidelity. Not a week passes that we don’t see a story about a young college student brutally raped then killed. Or a child kidnapped, tortured, and murdered by a sexual preditor. How serious has this problem become? To give you an idea, take a look at how many people are so dangerous that they have been classified as sexual predators. More than 500,000 of our citizens— that‘s half a million people—are considered to be such a threat that they have to be registered. The number keeps growing every day. They live in every community; no area is immune to their potential threat. The stench of sexual abuse is not found just in cults led by perverted leaders. Have we forgotten about the priests and ministers who violated their position of trust to abuse young people? When

we read about another teacher who had sex with an underage student, it is hard to realize each time that it’s about a different teacher in a different part of the country. Things will worsen unless we come to grips with this problem and recognize it as a harmful evil that must be stopped. Until we realize that legalized pornography is more harmful than cigarette smoke, that the violation of sexual taboos is worse than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and that the marginalization of traditional marriage causes more trouble than DDT in the air, we are destined to suffer the consequences. Those consequences are: more victims of sexual attacks, an increase in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), more AIDS victims, and a continued breakdown of the family, with all the associated ramifications. None of us want to think about these things. I had trouble writing about this problem and the editor suggested I tone down the message, saying it was too strong. But, for some unknown reason I’m almost compelled to speak out. Am I a monk who is too moral? We can only pray to God that He will give us strength to do what is right. Therefore I will be forming Brother Juniper’s “Speak Out for Decency” league. AMAC has kindly consented to help us get started. If you would like to participate, email your name and address to AMAC at info@amacbenefits.org, attn: Brother Juniper. God bless you. H www.amac.us

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Did You Know? have taken hold of the business community. Many companies have “adopted” certain charities as part of their corporate outreach, while many others have matching programs where an employee’s donation to a charity is matched by their company. This is a win-win for all.

Bill of Rights

Profit: The Heart of Business

You may have heard the expression “Profit is the heart of a business.” In the 1960s, a businessman by the name of Judson Branch was credited with coining a very powerful phrase as a corollary to that famous line. Branch said, “If profit is the heart of a business, then social responsibility must be its soul.” Branch was the chairman of a major insurance company at the time. A check of corporate donations and sponsorships shows that what Branch said must

Our Constitution does not contain the phrase “Separation of Church and State” anywhere in it. In fact, what the Constitution does say seems to be encouraging the practice of religion. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” Congress cannot pass a law setting up a religion, nor make one religion the official religion of the state (like Great Britain had). But clearly our Founding Fathers wanted us to be able to practice our religions—for example, by being able to have a minister, priest, or rabbi say a prayer at a high school graduation, such as a benediction at the end of the ceremony. Over the years the Supreme Court has slowly eroded our right to practice our religions, and courts in some states have outlawed prayer under any circumstances in public facilities.

Turn Your Head and Prevent Accidents

Do you want to avoid having an auto accident? Bill Tricarico, a safety expert with the Emergency Services Insurance Program (ESIP), a company that insures Fire Departments, says there is something very simple that you should make a habit of doing that will help you avoid an accident. Just turn your head 90-degrees before changing lanes or pulling out into traffic. By turning your head and looking first you eliminate the blind spots that sometimes hide a vehicle from your sight. Don’t depend on your mirrors alone. H

Looking for a quality Medicare Supplement? One that is high in value and backed by a superior-rated Company?* First United American’s High Deductible Plan F+ offers important protection at an affordable cost! For more information call:

AMAC Health Benefits 1-888-AMAC-006 1-888-262-2006

This policy meets the minimum standards for MEDICARE SUPPLEMENT INSURANCE as defined by the New York State Insurance Department. The expected benefit ratio for this policy is 65%. This ratio is the portion of future premiums which the Company expects to return as benefits, when averaged over all people with this policy. IMPORTANT NOTICE - A CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO HEALTH INSURANCE FOR PEOPLE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICARE MAY BE OBTAINED FROM YOUR LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE OR FROM THIS INSURER. First United American Life Insurance Company is not associated with Medicare, Social Security or any other government agency. This is a solicitation for insurance. You may be contacted by an Agent representing First United American Life Insurance Company. Additional Medicare Supplements available which may be better suited to customer’s needs. *A.M. Best rating 6/05.

NYHDF1-05

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Policy Form NYMSHDF



Parting Thought Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change. Photograph from A Time It Was: Bobby Kennedy in the Sixties (Abrams, 2008) courtesy Harry N. Abrams

Robert F. Kennedy, 1966 speech

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2008

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