Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 1, 2018

Sonrise Service, Easter 2018

Happy and honored for service to be at my home – Sanctuary

My church had our sunrise service at my house.  I gave the message.  How wonderful for lucky me.  Happy, thankful, humbled and pleased to offer my home and words.  Both are called “Sanctuary.”

Here is the message:


Easter 2018

Happy Easter Emmaus. He is Risen!

Thank you for having our sunrise service here at my home. I moved here after my wife Katherine died. Soon after I moved in, I named my home. I named it “Sanctuary”. Welcome to Sanctuary.

The word Sanctuary is in the Bible one hundred thirty seven times.

Sanctuary is the place where God lives. Sanctuary as a place changes over time. It moves from being places to being in persons.   Easter changes the sanctuary forever. People become the sanctuary. Yet, through all the changes sanctuary remains a holy place. It has to be kept holy by humans.

In the Old Testament, the first use of sanctuary is in Exodus 15:17 as “the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.

Part of God’s Spirit physically lived in the section of the tent tabernacle built for Him alone. Moses followed meticulous instructions to build this sanctuary. The place in the tent tabernacle where God lived was holy, holy, holy. Only the priests could go to the place where God was. In Numbers it says anyone who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death.

Why would an all loving God want to kill anyone who comes near where He lives? Because human life is far less important than the holiness of God. That’s a hard standard. His ways are not our ways. The nature of God is absolute, pure holiness and goodness. For God’s goodness to be absolute, his holiness is absolutely necessary. Nothing unholy, or unclean, can be near God. Ever. In the Old Testament sufficient holiness could be achieved through ritual sacrifices, purification and cleanliness.

Yet, even in this scary, forbidden, threatening place, we read that “the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind thoughts”.  The Hebrews couldn’t get near a fearsome God in that sanctuary, yet God knew them intimately.

King Solomon built the first temple with its sanctuary. It was still a place restricted by ritual and ceremony. Yet, Chronicles adds something new when it says the Lord will pardon he “who sets his heart on seeking God – the Lord God of His fathers, even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.”

In the tent and in the temple, God the Father, knew the hearts of men and women. Even though his sanctuary was a limited space – a small place in time –the Creator knows all of his creations.

The space for the sanctuary is outlined here on the ground. The ribbon and thread outline the 500 cubits square of the sanctuary. Look at how small it is. How it fits our human dimensions, quite unlike the expanse of The Bay before you and the sky above you. It’s very personal, unlike the millions of miles to the sun now rising or the unbelievable, deep dark outer space that is out there beyond our comprehension.  The God who created all of that universe had part of His spirit live in a sanctuary this small.

Consider the size of sanctuary in the temple and our sanctuary in our church. One fits well into the other. If part of the Lord God can live in this space, certainly he can dwell in our sanctuary.

Unfortunately, the first temple sanctuary had to be destroyed. It wasn’t kept holy. The Hebrews let ‘foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary”. The priests “put others in charge of my sanctuary”. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations and Ezekiel describe how “you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices – I myself will withdraw my favor. I will not look on you with pity or spare you.” That’s a terrifying message.   An all loving God has consequences as severe as rewards are wonderful.

Then we read, “The Lord abandoned His sanctuary.” It gets worse.

God allowed enemies to “kill without compassion or pity” and to “begin at my sanctuary.” Thankfully, in Daniel we learn the “sanctuary will be reconstructed”.  It was rebuilt for Jesus to come and change everything. Isaiah says “the Lord Almighty, he will be a sanctuary.”

When Jesus died on the cross the curtain that closed the sanctuary was rent from top to bottom. The foot thick barrier between God and man was opened. When Jesus rose from the grave, Sanctuary stopped being a single place in time and space.

The Sanctuary on earth for the one, only, true, living God changed from a place to persons. The Lord God who lived in the tent and temple sanctuary now lives in the sanctuary you make for Him in your body. Your body is His temple.

How can an absolutely pure, holy God live in me – a filthy, sinful man? Because Jesus paid it all. The blood of Jesus washed us cleaner than the blood of animals washed the ceremonial fixtures in the old sanctuary.   Jesus was the sacrifice that took away every single sin of thought, word, and deed. The God who is holy, holy, holy could come out of the tent and temple sanctuary and live in us. We carry the sanctuary of God on earth in our bodies.

We are going to leave these bodies. I came to live here at Sanctuary when my late wife left her earthly coil. We both loved water views. I wrote in my prayer journal in 1997 that I would like a house on the water – if it is in His Will. In 2008 we had a contract for that property right over there, but Katherine wouldn’t sign it and wouldn’t say why. I was flabbergasted and frustrated. I wrote in my prayer journal, “No” to home on the water. I gave up the desire of my heart.

Last year I found in my prayer journal another message I got later about living on the water. I had written, “I’ll take care of the details” in quotes. That was in 1997. I had completely forgotten about it.

Almost 17 years after that message, the Lord truly took care of the details. I believe God gave me this home. He gave me this place of abiding beauty and abounding peace when I needed it. Not when, or how, I wanted it on my own. And, not because I deserved anything whatsoever. An all-loving God gave me an unearned gift because He is kind and generous beyond my words.

I came here to grieve. Frankly, I came to just survive the loss of my wife. I had no plans beyond that. None.

I’ve spent hours on that dock adding the salt of my tears to the salt of The Bay. I made my keening laments. Always, I thanked God for this generous gift of boundless beauty and absolute peace in between sobs. I praised Him, even when I didn’t understand anything, because I know to do so. Soon enough Psalm 20:2 spoke to me. “May he send you help from the sanctuary.”  Help came in healing. Help came as hope for good health to live to love my family, my kin, my church family, friends – and anyone who needs His agape love. To write and speak life to others.

Then, Psalm 63:2 shouted to me, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory.” Indeed I did. Indeed I do.

I give thanks out loud every day for the privilege of living here. I’m grateful, grateful, grateful for Sanctuary. So, I was surprised a few months ago on the 4th anniversary of Katherine’s passing when I realized that Sanctuary, my home, wasn’t about a sanctuary for me. It was about making a better place, a sanctuary, for the living God in my heart. My time here is about more than my grieving. I’ve got work to do here in reading and writing as I was commanded over 30 years ago. And I must make this a place where all who come here can open their personal sanctuary for the Lord God to enter. That’s why I’m thrilled this body of Believers is here now.

Years ago, I really don’t know when, my Katherine underlined Hebrews 13:15 in her Bible about the new sanctuary – “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of the lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Let’s do that, Emmaus. Let’s do good. Let’s share with others. Let’s make personal sacrifices.

As I looked up Sanctuary 137 times in Katherine’s bible I found she also had underlined and circled these words in Psalm 73. “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God then I understood their final destiny.”

“My flesh and my heart fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish. You destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge. I will tell of all your deeds.”

Katherine highlighted all that in her Bible. Let’s do it. Let’s make a Sanctuary for the Lord in our hearts – and tell others about Jesus rising from the dead. That He is alive today.

Let’s be the Praise song that sings “Lord prepare me to be a Sanctuary. Pure and Holy. Tried and True. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living Sanctuary for you.”

Happy Easter from Sanctuary. From my sanctuary to your sanctuary for Him.

He is Risen!


Here is the full video: 33 minutes

Here is the last half of the message and service – which my daughter captured on my phone: 12 minutes.


Happy Easter 2018!  He is Risen Indeed!

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 27, 2018

WW IV and a Strategy for It.

WW IV will be a long, long, long war.

This piece was published in The Patriot Post after Osama Bin Laden was killed.  It’s still valid.  “Play it again, Sam” (Bubba).

The Long War Ahead…

James Atticus Bowden · May 9, 2011

Killing OBL is a great symbolic victory. It is heady stuff. We need to return to the ‘war questions’ Americans always ask – during a war of ever changing dimensions, consequences and demands for commitment.

  • Who are we fighting?
  • Why? What are we defending?
  • What will be victory?
  • How much, how long, what risk will war cost?
  • What must I do?

America is fighting a World War against Islamists and a cultural Civil War at home.

WW-IV is on the terms of the old Roman Empire. It is the defense of Western Civilization. Our enemies will fight us for generations – even centuries – until they change their way of thinking or are conquered or we are defeated from within. Our America, as the leader of the West, has imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions.

Moreover, our nation faces its greatest test since the American Civil War (our actual ACW II). Can a nation so powerful, so rich, and so hated for being so remain a Republic with the protected individual freedoms endowed by our Creator?


WW IV didn’t start on September 11th, 2001. It could be dated to the first attack on the Twin Towers by Islamists in ‘93. It may have started in ’79 with the Islamist takeover of Iran. It may be ’72 with the Islamist terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics. Perhaps, it was the genocide of the Jewish village of Qurayza by Mohammed in 627 – five years into the era of the new religion of peace. For America, WW IV starts for real on 9-11. Now, five years have passed and WW IV is still fighting. WW II didn’t take this long for the U.S.

That’s because WW IV will be like our Indian Wars, not WW II. 

The ideologies motivating ruling cabals of the WW II nation-states Japan and Germany were destroyed when their governments and their military were defeated. Likewise, Saddam Hussein’s Baathist party was destroyed when his military was defeated. There is a world war because of the scale and scope of the Islamist enemy. If 10% of Muslims are Islamists then there are 120 to 150 million Islamists. Yet, the world war isn’t against a nation-state. The world war is against an ideology which is a naturally-occurring outgrowth of civilizations and their cultures based on Islam – which is so far behind the West that it is barbaric to Western Civilization.

Instead of the dreaded clash of civilizations, this world war is, today, a clash of one sub-culture in Islam against the world. Someday, it could become a full blown clash of civilizations but that reckoning is years or decades to come. The decision to make the enemy Islam more than just the Islamists will be made by Muslims, not the West.

World War IV Strategy

America’s strategy in WW I and II was offensive. America’s strategy in WW III was a global defensive based on ‘containment.’ It was genius. Nuclear weapons established a Mutual Assured Destruction standoff. Wars on the periphery and by proxy were won and lost by both Superpowers. Yet, eventually, as expected, the internal contradictions of Marxism, its inherent lies, caused its economic and political collapse. Likewise, America’s strategy in WW IV should be a global defensive – for this phase. The war, like all wars, will change over time. Someday, America might be on the strategic offense, perhaps in Europe.

WW III meant defending the Free World against an empire based on Human Secular Communist Totalitarianism. WW IV is one Uber Superpower defending against Islamist Totalitarianism. The difference from WW III is the enemy.

The great strategic situation is like Rome after the fall of Carthage. The U.S. must worry about internal civil wars and external barbarians beyond the borders of our civilization. Contain Muslims in the Islamic world. Kill Islamists where you find them. Engage Muslims worldwide with ideas about capitalism, democracy and either Christianity or Pagan Human Secularism. The war is over ideas.

About 150 million Muslims share Islamist ideas. WW IV is fighting Islamist world domination. Some claim the Islamist enemy is motivated by grievances. What rot. If every grievance were fulfilled tomorrow – from eradicating Israel to installing Muslim Mullah governments across the Islamic world to isolating their subjects from Hollywood – the Islamists would still hate us and fight to conquer the world under one Muslim Caliphate.

Since the war is about ideas, not nations, the center of gravity is people. The Islamist Muslim minority has to be held harmless. Killing them is one way. Keeping them in their own countries helps. The non-threatening Muslim majority must be engaged with ideas, lest they take the small steps from the center of their faith to become Islamists on Jihad.

The worst, immediate Islamist threat is Weapons of Mass Destruction – nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. They can’t destroy the U.S. but they can kill a lot of people and hurt the economy. The long range threat is conquering Europe by having babies. Demographics are part of destiny.

Islamists don’t pose a conventional threat – army, navy and air force. Even if they take over a Muslim country, even Pakistan, they present a military threat that can be defeated. The Islamists’ asymmetric threat is to have a population in arms or small terror cells in direct action. Immigration is their bloodless invasion of the West.

Any strategy must use Muslim allies wherever possible. Old alliances, like NATO, can serve well as long as Europe has any will to survive. New ad hoc alliances will arise as the occasions demand.

The strategic stage may look Roman in scope, but the nature of the fight is our Indian Wars.

Our Indian Wars were a fight between American Civilization and many sub-cultures of Indian nations. They started in 1607 and ended in 1890. 283 years. That’s the kind of war we are in now. American Civilization had a Magnificent Destiny to spread the American ‘Empire’ across a continent. The Indian cultures (they hadn’t risen to civilizations yet), based on a Neolithic culture were so barbarian that Indians are referred to as ‘savages’ in our Declaration of Independence. Indian tribes and American Civilization could not co-exist in the same place and time.

Today, America must protect the golden goose of capitalism and flame of freedom in our country and among the Allies of the Willing. Our imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions are to maintain zones of peace and security – which may become zones of prosperity and freedom. Unlike occupying a continent, our mission is to keep the Islamists out of our continent. Also, the U.S. must attack and destroy the Islamists on a case by case basis. Containing them in the Muslim world is vital until, and if, Muslims have their own Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, and, maybe, Great Awakenings. Or, until they convert to Christianity. This is a mission for decades, if not centuries.

Roman Legions lived and died in places they hated for over 400 years (1200 years for Roman Byzantium). The Romans won battles and lost whole legions, but as long as Rome was willing to send reinforcements, Rome crushed any contender – like the siege of Masada – to send a message. Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF) told enemies how far and how much the U.S. would do to defeat a threat.

Like Rome, ambitious immigrants are drawn to our power and wealth while everyone else in the known world will hate, fear, resent, and envy us – regardless of how we use our power and wealth. The purpose of our power is to create ‘security and stability’ within real limits in the world order. Such is the odd lot of the reluctant Imperial Uber-Super Power of insular Americans.

Likewise, the small, hard professional army, our U.S. Army, fought battle after battle, called wars, through the later half of the Indian Wars (1608-1890). The culture of each Indian tribe shaped the circumstances of each unique war. Similarly, the transforming Army that evolves after deployment upon deployment will be different from the popular, citizen soldiers of the occasional large conflict.

Rome’s decline from Republic to dictatorship to ruin began when Roman law became what men said it meant. When Rome wouldn’t man its own Legions, the long decline tipped. Rome had the means, but lacked the Will to survive.

The Indian Wars were a different war of National survival, because the no-quarter clash of cultures was confined to the frontier. The understanding of the wars changed with each mile and year an American was removed from the threat of being killed by Indians. The experiment with democracy in the Middle East means little at this time, despite the blather about an Arab Spring. Any progress can come undone quickly. This is the Middle East. Its understanding of democracy and the Rule of Law is about where England was when the Magna Charta was signed in 1215.

The future of WW IV will be raids, support for friendly regimes, and occasional regime changes as needed. Eventually, our Homeland security should fear less about racial and religious profiling and focus more on criminal identification. Yet, as that simple issue shows, the domestic conflict between Liberals who will surrender – eventually – and Conservatives who will never surrender – ever – will worsen. Eventually, our domestic struggle, our third American Civil War, will get resolved and one worldview will become our consensus culture. Until that day, America stands divided, and potentially as weak, as Rome before the Barbarians.

Remember Beslan as well.

On September 3, 2004 the Islamist Totalitarians deliberately murdered children in Beslan, Russia. The targeting of children in Beslan foreshadows the vicious terrorism against families in WW IV.

This is the depravity of evil. The evil is real. It’s not the aerial or belt bombs. The evil is in the bombers themselves.

WW IV will likely be decades longer than WW III. WW IV will have a savagery that butchery in Beslan only hints. It will be different from other world wars, but like the U.S. Indian wars (1608-1892). The Nazi and Soviet Communist Totalitarianisms in World Wars II and III had limits. The Nazi’s didn’t commit chemical war, when they could have. The Communists avoided a nuclear Armageddon and acknowledged mutual deterrence. Yet, the Islamists are motivated, not constrained, by their interpretations of Islam. Every non-Muslim or wrong kind of Muslim to the Islamists – women, children, aged seniors – is the enemy. Anyone can be killed with impunity and cruelty by any means – nothing is too brutal, too horrible.

Well-warned of Islamist terror knowing no bounds, what then for American Civilization? Understand what ‘winning’ means for WW IV. Have the Will for the ‘how’ to win WW IV. Hold realistic expectations for how very, very long the war, how varied the campaigns, how terrible the possible casualties among our innocents as well as soldiers.

Winning WW IV means defeating the culture that produces Islamists. Victory can come from within Islam with a Reformation and Enlightenment. Or, defeat can follow outside ideas, like Christianity or Human Secular Paganism, that overwhelm and discredit the currency of Islam that creates Islamist terrorists.

Until 1.2 billion Muslims can’t count 150 million Islamists among their numbers, the Islamists must be contained. Keeping Islamist fighting troops out of America means severely limiting, or ending, immigration from every Islamist-producing land across the globe. The Liberals will call such restrictions ‘racial profiling’. The priest-king judges will legislate from the bench to open the U.S. to terrorists, but the judges can be defrocked by any Congress and President who summon the courage to do their Constitutional duties.

It means protecting the free speech of all Americans to criticize Islam chapter and verse. To mock it as they like and disdain it as it deserves.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 23, 2018

L’Affaire Burgos

Fredy Burgos is about to be kicked off the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee for what he said and wrote.  I was on State Central from 2000 to 2012.  Jeff Frederick was removed as the Party Chairman in 2009.  I wrote about L’Affaire Frederick in 2009. I stopped running for Party office in 2012, so I haven’t been involved in L’Affaire Burgos. I’m sure L’Affaire Frederick is quite different from L’Affaire Burgos. Yet, in a Virginia political party issue the same processes and political theater of party politics may be working. Who knows?

Here is what I wrote then. If you can only read a bit, read numbers 10 and 16.

















I get emails from RPV regularly. They’re noteworthy in how predictable they are. And, it’s always interesting in what’s never in their content. Like, why did Republicans in the House of Delegates betray the Virginia Republican Creed with their foolish vote to expand Medicaid?

Look forward to hearing the different reviews on the political theater of L’Affaire Burgos when it is over.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 25, 2017

The Day After Thanksgiving

In Nellie’s hand on the first page of her Bible. Found in the first hours preparing for her memorial service in 2013.

“It’s that time of year” has an additional special meaning for family and loved ones of my late wife, Nellie Katherine Kyle Bowden. The day after Thanksgiving is when she had a massive stroke. She died 10 days later. It was 4 years ago.

My youngest daughter, Maggie, wrote a beautiful piece about her thoughts and emotions now. (

Today, is the day after Thanksgiving 2017. I finished the long drive from one daughter with three children’s house – and a Thanksgiving meal shared with son and his dear girlfriend to another daughter and three children’s house. It was a beautiful autumn day on the Southern roads I’ve traveled for over 45 years. I played my personal music downloaded to my phone. Each piece evoked its particular memories. When I heard “Annie’s Song,” which I sang to my wife so many times, I wept.

Grief keeps a room in my heart. And in my mind.

Meanwhile, gratitude is expanding a room, building a mansion, in the same places.

There’s a swinging door connecting grief and gratitude. An old memory or new event moves me from one to the other, back again, and more back and forth. I spend more time in gratitude today than I imagined possible. I’m grateful beyond any expectation.

I feel like I’m living the Country song, “Live like you are dying.” I’m grateful for every day. I’m more humbled than I can write with words that our Lord God would give me such gifts in daily living – I don’t deserve and haven’t earned.

Sometimes when I’m alone, I speak as if Nellie were in the room. I tell her that I love her. Then, I get busy living, especially because she isn’t here. There are two grandchildren she never loved in the flesh. There are six grandchildren and three adult progeny who need their mom. I do the best I can as Pater Familias. I’ll continue with a grateful heart for as long as I can.

I still find it hard to understand that the complete years – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 – knew her not. There’s nothing of her in those years, except loss and grief. Yet, for me, those years are also about living – to be busy loving. There’s been a lot of living in those four years. And sweet lovingkindness.

I’m grateful for every opportunity I’ve had to just love God and others. I grateful for anytime I gave lovingkindness. Don’t misread, I’m not Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. I’m just a man.

I got to experience how my friend Danny Goad’s grandfather was right when he told the young widower Danny, that “God doesn’t add to the human heart, He multiplies.”

Also, while my medical records document my aging ailments, often I feel as vigorous, alive, and excited about life as I did in my 20s. Clearly, I’m not that young and strong, but I feel “super duper, paratrooper.” I believe it comes from and with gratitude.

This day after Thanksgiving, 2017, I testify to that grief and gratitude co-exist. I praise God for His wonderful Grace. I’m grateful, grateful, grateful.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 11, 2017

Happy New Year, Labor Day

Labor Day is New Year’s Day for the protagonist of this novel.

Happy New Year, Labor Day

“Every year of his conscious life fit completely on one side or the other of the demarcation line of September, exactly at Labor Day weekend. Summer and the old school year fell to the rear. Autumn and the new school year stood, waiting, on the other side. Even a dozen years of work since college could neither blur the distinctions nor dampen the need to divide, label and catalogue the year. Except of course, for September 2001 when the 11th divided life as it divided the world.

Jack recalled a year like pulling a book from a library shelf. He smelled the dust, the ink, the paper of the year as he ran his hand on the binding. He felt the weight of the names of the past few years…”

From Rosetta 6.2, a novel by James Atticus Bowden


Okay, Labor Day was last weekend. So, I’m getting slow – not surprisingly so about some things.

This 2016-17 AY ended and I’m putting its book up on my mental shelf. Tentative title, “Surprisingly Unsurprising.”

There were big events. My oldest sister, Elizabeth Ann Bowden Buehrer, died at age 72. My youngest grandchild, William James Atticus Buchanan, was born. My oldest daughter and kids had their family shattered. A year ago I literally climbed down from my newly lifted house on large cribbing to be out of my home, Sanctuary, for 3 months. The great expense of lifting, masonry, concrete and carpentry was worth the greater sense of security against frequent flooding.

Yet, it was surprisingly unsurprising how this year passed as the 4th full year of life without my late wife. I guess time keeps passing – duh me. Time had a hard stop for me in December 2013. I’ve had a purpose for all the time since then – especially to be as good a father and grandfather as I can be, since their Mom is gone. Year 1 was just surviving. Year 2 was getting healthy – coming back. Year 3 was the “New Normal” – according to the late Nellie. Yet, it surprises me that Year 4 is so like Year 3.

(You’re thinking, “Of course it is. Or, what is he confused about?”)

I’m amazed by the math of life. Nellie and I were ‘us’ for 41 years. I’ve been a widower for 4 years. That’s 10 per cent of our time. One-tenth is significant. If I live 20 more years – like my granddaddy Bowden – a third of my adult life and most of my grandchildren’s lives will be without my wife. I don’t understand how someone who means so much to me – simply isn’t here in the flesh. She’s with me in my mind. Always.

Also, I find it surprisingly, unsurprisingly normal that I can care for another lady and not feel conflict. None. Earlier, female relationship felt very awkward. This is a slow, steady path of walking a loving relationship forward.

Finally, there’s the aging thing. The markers of decline indicate I’ll probably need new hips and cataracts in a decade. I need to reverse the 50% blockage of one artery to the heart or suffer the consequences of increasing plaque. Yet, I feel young, vigorous and incredibly, awesomely alive. Every morning the mirror lies to me about my age. I wonder how long can this continue? Daily, I have more to do than time to do it.

I thank the Lord Jesus Christ, out loud, every morning when I rise in the beauty of my home, Sanctuary. I’m more grateful for all things – large and small – than I’ve ever been in my life. I never far from instant tears or laughter. Perhaps that seems child-like. I think it comes from deep currents of long, swirling thoughts and emotions. My passion fits me, even as a partner to my real peace and contentment.

Yes, I’ve got peace like a river. Yet, I’m up and ready to be “all in” for what is worthy. The only reason to wish to be younger – would be serve in the good fights more and love longer.

For me and this year past, I can mark the book binding – Surprisingly Unsurprising. Or, I could call it “Another”.

Labor Day is the first day of a new year for the protagonist of this novel.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | August 21, 2017

Place These Monuments in Historical Context or Tear Them Down

Two monuments from one cast – One Confederate and One Union

At left, a Monumental Bronze Co. sculpture of a Union soldier, erected in Westfield, N.J., in 1889. On the right, a sculpture of a Confederate soldier, by the same company, erected in Windsor, N.C., in 1898. (Washington Post, Sarah Beetham).  Making war memorials was a business – North and South.  But, somehow, only the ones in the South are a problem.  How odd.


The politicians, like Republican Ed Gillespie, say Confederate monuments need to “placed in historical context”.  Apparently, the plaques, which are written in English, don’t explain the monuments sufficiently for Leftists of every stripe, dumb Democrats and clueless, gutless Establishment politicians.

The rabid Puritan Liberals imagine a monument of a soldier, dedicated to “Our Confederate Dead” is really about White Supremacy and racism.  If they can’t pull down a statue like a sister Totalitarian mob in the French or Russian Revolution, Chinese Cultural Revolution, Nazi Germany or like Taliban, ISIS Islamist Totalitarians, they want to put up a plaque with an angry emoji saying this statue represents racism, White Supremacy, and a Southern “uppity” attitude.

The intolerance of tolerance and exclusion of Southerners from sacrosanct diversity is at work.  How shocking.

Ask Ed Gillespie if the Union soldier statue needs historical context.  Because it does.  All the monuments up North need to be put in this context – from solely a Virginian’s perspective:

  • This Yankee soldier looted Fredericksburg
  • He committed a war crime burning the Shenandoah Valley.  Every field and out building as well as many homes – causing suffering and death from hunger.
  • He raped black slave women who followed his Army.  (Quite different from the professionals who followed General ‘Hooker’ in the field.)
  • He served in a racist,  segregated Army.  Blacks served under white officers.  Blacks were paid less than Whites.  (Blacks and Whites were paid the same in the Confederate Army).
  • He couldn’t afford to pay someone to take his place.  The wealthy could buy their way out of the Northern draft.  (About 40% of White males, 18-60, served in the Union Army to invade and conquer, over 90% of White Males, 18-60, served in the Confederate Army to defend their homes).
  • He could be a German mercenary hired like the Brits did in our American Revolution.  Not enough Yankees wanted to fight for the Union to fill the ranks.
  • He suffered enormous casualties because his leadership was too inferior or the Army too weak to conquer just 100 miles of Virginia in 4 years.   Even though the Yankees always outnumbered the Confederates.  (Northern manpower was 3:1 and industry about 9:1).  When the butcher, Grant, finally gained ground, the Union Army won by losing more men in one campaign than Lee had in his entire Army.
  • His family couldn’t complain, because the hallowed right of habeas corpus, the right of a free press and political dissent were suspended during the war up North.
  • He was represented by racists, since up North, 19 of 24 Northern states had restrictions on the rights of Blacks to vote – after the war.
  • As an Army of Occupation, he stole everything not nailed down during Reconstruction.

As soon as the greater number of statues up North are re-interpreted, we should consider doing the same down South in Virginia.

Then, we should start raising money for monuments to the Victims of Yankee War Crimes.  It would all be for reconciliation.


Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | August 17, 2017

Ed Gillespie, R for Governor of Virginia, on Confederate monuments

Coulda gone better

A real Virginia leader could just say, “Leave the monuments and names alone. Have a nice day.”

Many Republicans will drool over the Ed Gillipsie’s non-defense of Confederate monuments and names, etc.

His weak position is a step away from his opponent. So, Virginians who don’t want more  Totalitarian cultural cleansing have no champion in this race. If they stay home, Ed loses. Again.

Ed Gillespie describes his Democrat opponent position as, “My opponent now says that he believes decisions about historical statues are best made at the local level, but that they should be removed.”

Ed says, “I believe that decisions about historical statues are best made at the local level, but they should stay and be placed in historical context”

They both agree that decisions should be made at the local level despite the Code of Virginia saying localities can’t do that. They disagree on what localities should decide by degree. Ed says they can stay but adds the PC appeasement of changing them with “historical context.” That is no defense of historical monuments. Ed must know the Commie Blue localities will culturally cleanse everything Confederate they can find. He has no clue what PC cartoon the historical context may be. Ugh.

A defense of historical monuments should say, again, “Virginia’s monuments and names should be left alone. They should stay as they are, where they are.”

It’s a no brainer to list the sins of the past – slavery, segregation and racism – as part of Virginia history. Using the language of the Left about the wrong side of history is sloppy.

And, saying Virginia was “seeking to sustain the evil institution of slavery in the Civil War” is falling for the Liberal PC Presentism cartoonish view of the War. Wars are far more complex. It’s an insult to not know the reason why the Upper South seceded and be able to articulate it. It’s stupid to use the language of the Left.

Then, there is “they are weighing how to put them in proper historical context.” What utter BS. The plaques on the statues say what they are about. They don’t need PC Liberal Presentism interpretation.

This barf is pure PC Liberal Presentism – “Rather than glorifying their objects, the statues should be instructional. While ensuring that Confederate statues are not exalting them but educating about them, we should do more to elevate Virginia’s history in expanding freedom and equality by extolling the many Virginians who played critical roles in this regard.” Really?  How are Lee, Jackson and Confederate soldiers wrongly exalted? What education is needed? Who are the Virginians who need to be extolled for expanding freedom and equality?

He failed to mention what per cent of the Antifa rioters were from Virginia. Ed didn’t mention the other side rioting at all.

Ed punts the ball to localities to do the cultural cleansing. It’s okay with him. An alternative is to say all Virginians get to live with and learn about all of Virginia history for good and bad. Letting things be – live and let live – is real tolerance.

But, of course, that live and let live attitude is distinctly Southern.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 22, 2017

Part 2, Sarajevo Roses – When Neighbors Kill Neighbors

A Sarajevo rose. Someone died here when a shell exploded on innocent civilians

Part 2, Sarajevo Roses – When Neighbors Kill Neighbors

The documentary ‘Sarajevo Roses’ is important beyond its artistic value and intrinsic worth to the people of the Balkans. We need to make sure there is never a documentary made in America called ‘Sacramento, Sarasota, Syracuse, Santa Fe, You-get-the-picture Roses’. Even though such killing has happened here, we never want it back.

America witnessed wars of personal vengeance and genocidal extermination in our Indian Wars, Revolution and War Between the States. The Indian Wars were different from the Revolution and War Between the States. The Indian wars were two incompatible cultures competing to live in one place. The American Revolution (ACW I) and WBTS (ACW II) were political fights. The North and South were distinct sub-cultures, not fully separate cultures, in conflict.

Consider real culture war and Sarajevo Roses. The Indian Wars (1608-1890) consisted of many different campaigns in a long, long culture war. No cookie cutter, PC labels apply.

My Mother told me the family lore of farm families on a Sunday picnic when Greenville County, SC was frontier. The Cherokees attacked. A neighbor lady died with an arrow to the heart as she was trying to get over a split-rail fence. Had those families traded with the Cherokees who lived a few miles away?

My late wife’s Clay family was on the frontier in Virginia when the Shawnee came a killing. They killed one son on the farm. They took another son back across the Ohio River and burned him alive as a sacrifice to their pagan gods. Had those Indians and English settlers met each other before murdering? In many cases they did.

What was in the hearts of those families who survived Indian attacks and massacres? How is it different from the King David and the Hebrews with their Canaanite neighbors?

Indian Wars end with the slaughter of Indians at the Battle Wounded Knee

I argue there is a distinct difference between two kinds of murderous war. The distinction is lost on the dead children, woman, seniors and innocents of all kinds. Yet, the distinction matters as to why the neighbors kill each other.

Cultural conflict is inevitable. There is no such thing as a multi-cultural society. There are multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-racial, multi-lingual societies that exist under or are built upon one, single culture.   Culture commands.

Political conflict is avoidable. The Lilliputians of the world don’t have to kill each other over which end of the egg to open. They really don’t.

I suggest – the conflict in the Balkans started with political avarice for the usual reasons of all political struggles – power and money, money and power. But, people made the political contest into a contest of cultural survival – of kill or be killed. The result, like our Indian Wars, was horrific.

More than 8 thousand Muslims were murdered at Srebrenica in July 1995.

For over a decade after the dictator Tito died, politicians built their constituencies by dividing people.   Tito had crushed the differences among Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs and Muslim Europeans.

The politicians who preached Serb Lives Matter, Croat Lives Matter and Muslim Lives Matter practiced cancerous identity politics. They aligned with intelligentsia and religious leaders and built greater identity by group.

The Balkan equivalent, say like – a Serb Congressional Caucus – elevated permanent victim status to statehood. The elevated status of their ancestors’ martyrdom had no expiration day. Claims of moral superiority, recompensation or special privileges based on ancient wrongs were unending. It didn’t have to be that way.

When war came, all murdered each other – Serb, Croat, Muslim. There were no good guys. But, there were good people.

In our Indian Wars the humanity of the individual Indians shouldn’t be denied or exalted above all. The humanity of each of the English-speaking People shouldn’t be forgotten. Individuals wanted to live. Love. Have families. Laugh. Some wanted to make war in its season. All wanted to survive and win.

Is that different from life among Sarajevo Roses? In the Balkans innocents on all sides just wanted to live in peace. Innocents were killed in combat. Some were raped or murdered in person.

Virginia – leading America again – needs to rid itself of identity politics.

If we have a Virginia identity – we are all in this life in this place together – then we can squabble about more or less government, higher or lower taxes, etc. Politics should be about power and money – as it is – but not about a “them vs. us” with special privileges, affirmative actions, protected classes of persons, and labeling with endless “-phobes”.

Virginia must put away the poison of identity politics, sooner rather than later, so there’ll never be a ‘Staunton Roses’ documentary.

Part 3 of Sarajevo Roses will look at Americans killing Americans in the Revolution and the “Recent Unpleasantness.”

My buddy Bill Stuebner was at the exhumation of Srebrenica in an official capacity

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 21, 2017

Sarajevo Roses

A documentary about the siege of Sarajevo

Last week an old Army buddy of mine, who is a friend “closer than a brother”, invited me to see the documentary ‘Sarajevo Roses’. It was an engaging, moving, provoking experience. It tied together thoughts and emotions that date from back during the Vietnam War for me forward to today’s wars and coming certain cataclysms.   It’ll take a number of written pieces to put together the puzzle the movie illustrated. Consider this an intro to “Why Neighbors Kill Neighbors.”

Neighbors have killed neighbors since brother Cain killed Abel. Yet, murdering people who are very much like you severely disturbed the West through the aftermath of World War I. The 17th Century Treaty of Westphalia and the 19th Century Congress of Vienna created the illusion of limited war and greater peace across the ancient killing cockpit of Europe. The mega-deaths of industrial age warfare in World War I shocked Western Civilization to its core. Then came World War II. The genocide, crowning a second world war more horrific than the mass slaughter which masqueraded as WW I, shook the foundations of the West. The West questioned its confidence in its own culture.

How could Western Civilization, with all of its success in elevating the human condition, be debased in the mud of World War I and denied in the mass murder of World War II concentration camps?   How could the West descend to barbarism? Why would civilized neighbors kill their neighbors?

Existentialism as a philosophy attempted to answer the insanity of discretionary – and completely avoidable – violence and horror, but failed. Meanwhile, wars and rumors of wars forever evolved the end of World War II into the cold-ish World War III Super Power struggle. The mystery of why neighbors murder neighbors receded in public consciousness as most people got on with living. Then, when the epic struggle of the Cold War ended in 1992 a new war erupted in Europe – and neighbors killed neighbors again. The former Yugoslavia broke up into warring Balkan factions – who murdered each other.

Almost 12 thousand people died in the 4 year siege of Sarajevo. A Norfolk photo-journalist, who experienced much of the war, made a documentary – Sarajevo Roses.

One of the three main protagonists, Asim Haracic, is a psychiatrist in NoVa. He served as a plastic surgeon and ER doctor during the war. He watched the movie with Bill and me. He answered questions afterwards from the audience. He is a dear friend of my dear friend, Bill Stuebner. Bill says he is one of the finest human beings on the planet. Asim is Bosnian Muslim. He’s an American now.

Asim is still trying to sort out why neighbors killed neighbors in his hometown.

Bill served doing humanitarian duties during the Bosnian War. He retired from the U.S. Army at the same time I did – 1992. Later he worked on building the cases for war crimes for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Earlier, from 1986 to 1992, Bill saw neighbor murder neighbor in El Salvador. He was a participant and witness for 11 years to two vicious, horrific killing fields in what should be Western Civilization.

Bill hates war.

I know why – even though I’m the unbloodied, wannabe warrior of us two. Bill saw the Heart of Darkness. Bill experienced his wars for what they are, always have been and always will be – evil. There’s no such thing as a good war. I reject Christian Jus Belli concepts – as I have since I was a teenager at West Point thinking through my role and complicity in the Vietnam War.

All wars are evil. Some wars are necessary. Many wars, once fighting begins, are worth winning. Personally, I was willing from age 17 to 60 (when I became legally unfit) to go to any war my country called me to serve.

Neighbors kill neighbors because of evil. Sin. Neighbors might murder neighbors anywhere in Western Civilization – at any time – as shocking as that seems.   When evil is unleashed with the dogs of war to run amuck, unconstrained, among the nicest of neighbors – awful, horrible things happen.

It’s coming again, sooner or later, in a very predictable cataclysm in Western Civilization. Jihad will likely spark a “Jacquerie”. That wasn’t the fight in Bosnia that created the Sarajevo ‘roses’ – which are marks of death on city streets.   Regardless, neighbor will kill neighbor in Western Civilization again.

Let’s see if we can keep it from America.

Asim Haracic and Bill Stuebner

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 7, 2017

45 WTH?

Graduation, United States Military Academy – West Point – June 7th, 1972

I graduated 45 years ago.  WTH?  (As the Germans say, “In former times”, I’d use other acronyms!)

Huh?  How’d that happen?

Time is baffling to my mind.  I can’t believe that number.  45.  WTH!

If I think about all of life since graduation, well then okay sure, it’s been a long time.  Lots of stuff happened.  I’m not going to get into my usual introspection (actually used that word for pieces I wrote for The Pointer when I was Managing Editor – see below!), philosophy, navel gazing and history nerdism.  This is all pure raw emotion.  WTH.

I take the officer commissioning oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, from my Daddy, Regular Army LTC (RET), Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army. Honored to do so. Never taken one step back since.

Graduation was the 2nd happiest day of my life.  Number one was birth of first child.   And, yes, I told my late wife and other kids this.  Many other wonderful times in life.  But, this was stellar.   I hated being at West Point as an inmate.  Loved teaching there later!   I stayed to graduate just because I knew I’d always wonder “what if”, didn’t want to quit or leave my band of brothers classmates, and knew better to go to Vietnam to fight as an infantry officer.   The later didn’t happen – war called off during Winter Ranger.

Here is what I said then. (Pic on my phone is clear.  Dunno why this copy is so bad.)

1972 Graduation issue, The Pointer Magazine.

I’d write it differently now.  Less self-conscious youthful cynicism, but have the same passion about living and doing.  Now, I’m able to speak to the humbling honor of being allowed to serve Duty, Honor, Country with a happy heart and every ounce of being.   And, personally, I’d add so much more about family and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Family there, then.  L-R. Mother Edith, Sister Susan, JAB, Uncle Stanley (34 Inf Div, WW II), Grandmother Lillian Susan, Father Albert.

So, here I am 45 years later.  WTH.  It’s just weird.  I know I am not the same physically.  Got it.  But I feel the same.  I feel as alive and even up for a good fight as I did then.  I’m excited about living life although I’m keenly aware of my mortality.  Attended 3 funerals in the past 3 months and no weddings.

Saying you graduated 45 years ago makes you older than dirt.  WTH.  But, at this short end of life’s candle, I feel just about the same as I did – not kidding –  when I was at the youthful long end – and not knowing how much candle was ahead and what would be there in the burning wick.  WTH?  I’m grateful to God that “I ain’t dead yet” for whatever I’m supposed to do.  Read and write.  Be Daddy and Papa.  Be a husband again.   Make my classmates laugh.  For however long or short I’m to do it.

Just a few days ago next to a Sequoia tree actually older than me.

I look forward to all the laughing with my buds and their wives at our 45th Class Reunion.  I just can’t believe it’s really 45.  WTH!

Proud and True, ’72

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