Publisher emeritus Jim Flood Sr. muses on the U.S. military from the local base to a book, while not forgetting the recent political season.


We are fortunate to live where we can hear the cargo planes leaving Dover AFB and heading for other-side-of-the-world destinations. The passage of the planes nearly overhead is a continual reminder to us of the critical role this Delaware base plays in supporting our military activities overseas.

The Dover base operates at a very high level of efficiency. No doubt this has contributed to the decisions made to expand what the base does. This in turn makes it likely that the base will be a key military installation for a long time to come.

An organization providing continual support to the base is the Air Force Association, based in Washington. The local Galaxy chapter is active in that effort and its president, Bill Oldham, recently presented the Medal of Merit to Kay Wood Bailey, who serves as both the state and Galaxy chapter membership chairwoman.

From knowing Kay for a very long time I can attest to her enthusiasm and spirit of “can do.” Right now that spirit is interested in adding new AFA members.

It’s a good group. I’m a life member.

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It happens that yesterday saw the publication of a book by Laura Hillenbrand called “Unbroken,” which tells the story of a remarkable Army Air Force lieutenant, a bombardier on a B-24 during World War II who survived being shot down over the ocean by a Japanese plane. Along with the pilot, Louis Zamperini spent 47 days on a makeshift raft before being washed ashore in the Marshall Islands.

When he and the pilot reached shore they were captured by the Japanese and spent two years in prison, where they were tortured and otherwise mistreated.

What’s also remarkable about the story is that this tough survivor is now 93 years old and remains active. And the author, whose previous best-seller book was “Seabiscuit,” is a remarkable survivor herself. She created this 496-page book even though she suffers from a debilitating case of chronic fatigue syndrome. Because of this she was not able to fly to Los Angeles to meet Zamperini and conducted her research through telephone calls and by using her computer.

When you think of what the two of them have overcome you have to say to yourself, “Any of my problems are insignificant by comparison.” I’m anxious to read the book.

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With the political season still very much with us, it was a shock to read a major story in the Washington Post on Sunday that recommended that President Barack Obama “should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for re-election in 2012.”

The authors of this suggestion are Patrick H. Caddell, a pollster and senior advisor to President Jimmy Carter, and Douglas E. Schoen, a pollster who worked with President Bill Clinton.

Their reasoning is that “if the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political deadlock at a time when we can ill afford it.

“But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.”

The authors mention the president’s statement last January that “I’d rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president.”

It’s interesting that the Washington Post gave the advice such a big play but it’s not going to change things.

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One other political topic: While I have not read the new book by former President George W. Bush I have seen some television interviews with him and comments about the book.

Bush comes across as a low key and likeable guy who is at peace with himself concerning the decisions he made. He takes the position that he is willing to let history judge how he did.

My guess is that, as in the case of Harry Truman, his image will improve as time goes by.

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Lisa and Jennings Hastings are being honored tomorrow at a dinner at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino given by the Two Bays District of Del-Mar-Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

They are being named the Two Bays District 2010 Distinguished Citizens, an annual recognition at the dinner.

Both Lisa and Jennings are the kind of active civic leaders who make living in the central Delmarva Peninsula area more pleasant and rewarding. Best wishes and thanks to them both. The dinner’s proceeds benefit the local Scouting programs.

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With this wonderful weather we are having we are being treated to an unusual display of colorful leaves (even though when you are somewhat colorblind the leaves do not make as vivid an impression as they do to those who are not color-challenged).

What the piles of raked leaves remind me of is what people did with leaves when I was a boy. They just burned them, something frowned upon in today’s world so much more conscious of air pollution. Up and down the street, you could see the smoke rising.

I can still remember with pleasure the pungent smell of the burning leaves (fortunately I am not smell-challenged.)

The other day I had to smile when I saw a couple of kids running through and kicking up piles of leaves carefully raked. At least that’s one way to enjoy them.

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The following may not be true:

Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game is advising hikers, hunters and fishermen to take extra precautions and be observant.

They advise that outdoor enthusiasts wear bells on their clothing and carry pepper spray. They also recommend watching out for fresh signs of bear activity and knowing the difference between black bear and grizzly dung:

Black bear dung is smaller and contains lots of berries and squirrel fur. Grizzly bear dung has little bells in it and smells like pepper spray.