Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | June 6, 2019

D Day +75: Thank You, U.S. Army

D Day +75.

D Day +75: Thank You, U.S. Army

In the opening scene of the classic WW II movie “Patton”, George C. Scott said, “Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating.” Indeed. Today, the bilious media heads and many wonderful, well-meaning people may focus only on the heroism of the soldiers, airmen, and sailors of D-Day. It’s deeply deserved, hard earned adulation. Yet, in addition to praising the veterans, America needs to thank the U.S. Army.  Thank the Army as a national institution.

The U.S. Army’s greatest deeds are creating the Nation from 1775, preserving the Union, protecting the frontier, and defending America globally. But, the U.S. Army’s single largest accomplishment in size and scope was winning World War II. The Army didn’t win it alone, but the Army prepared, planned, organized, trained, and fought the land battles that won. Just as all wars are ultimately decided, despite the nuclear last act of the War with Japan, with Land Warfare. The Army became the Master of Land Warfare in WW II and remains so today.

The U.S. Army has learned how to go from repeated losses in first battles to final victories to win wars. Our American Army has changed itself, improved, constantly since 1775. The institution of the U.S. Army learns hard lessons and makes fixes. The success of D-Day wouldn’t have happened without such a transformation.

The preparation for WW II started right after the end of the ‘War to End All Wars’.  From the National Defense Act of 1920 to Army Education at the Infantry School and Fort Leavenworth to developing air warfare and airborne operations to planning the entire war and national industrial policy in the War Plans Division to re-organizing the Army in March 1942 to over two years of planning D-Day to planning the post-war Occupation, the U.S. Army prepared for the success soldiers and Army airmen would win in combat. It all happened because our Army was an institution dedicated to its motto, “This We’ll Defend”.

Only an Army built on the cornerstone of West Point’s “Duty, Honor, Country” and served by indispensable men like Virginia Military Institute graduate George C. Marshall could keep a focus across every aspect of Land Warfare.

The Navy planned and prepared for the Pacific War for 20 years. Their work was magnificent, but only the Army could put four divisions across the beaches and two from the skies on one day. The entire WW II Marine Corps was 6 divisions. The Army raised and deployed 90 divisions. Remember the U.S. Army’s singular success this D Day +75.

Likewise, since WW II the U.S. Army always keeps pushing itself to better master Land Warfare. The game-changing success of Operation Desert Storm as well as all the fighting post 9-11 came from an Army re-organization after Vietnam, a Training Revolution, and development of combat systems, like the Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle, to support the compelling Operational concept and doctrine of AirLand Battle. The U.S. Army made that all happen through very lean years.

Today, while the U.S. Army is shrunken smaller than it was before the Korean War, the U.S. Marine Corps is almost two and half times larger than it was before Korea. Yet, the U.S. Army will continue its institutional legacy and mandate to prepare and conduct all prompt and sustained Land Warfare. Thank You, U.S. Army. From Yorktown to D Day to now.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded by the soldiers of the 3rd Infantry, U.S. Army.

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Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 30, 2019

The Moral Superiority of the South

The South is morally superior. It always has been and, looks like, likely will be. It all started when the Yankees showed up in 1620 to be the second English-speaking people here. The pilgrims were absolutist, stiff-necked, uncompromising, dissenting Puritans. They were different from the start. They mostly came from East Anglia and the ancient Danelaw. The Puritan’s religion, ideas, attitude, and accent were different from Virginia from day one. Virginia, where America and the South began, was more about individual rights and ‘live and let live’.  The South had a better culture and way of life.

Two separate sub-cultures became the first four basic American cultures – Puritan New England, Quaker and Mennonite Mid-Atlantic, Anglican Tidewater, and Presbyterian, Scot-Irish Frontier. For almost 250 years the cultures evolved broadly into the regional ‘South’ and the ‘North’. Neither region was homogeneous. Diversity abounded, but core cultures created two separate regions. And the South was the moral master with greater freedoms and opportunities.

The year Yankeedom just began in the North was a year after representative democracy started in the South – in a church.

Also, it was a year after slavery started in the English-speaking colonies. Yet, the moral stain of slavery went north fast. The Yankee slave ships made a lot of money, as Yankee banks financed more slavery, and, later, Yankee factories got rich using slave-produced cotton and other raw materials. There were fewer slaves in the North because of climate and agriculture, not from any moral sense of right and wrong.  The sin of slavery was all-American.

New towns were planned in New England with careful care that no one settler got more than another. In the South, if you worked hard you could buy more land and provide for your family with wealth a commoner could never get back in England.

By the time of the Revolution, the regions had grown apart independently enough, for the Father of the Country, George Washington, to express his immediate distaste and disgust for the North when he went to Boston for the first time – to command all the Patriot soldiers.

Right after the Revolution, Virginia led, as usual, to change the state right of religion to separate church and state. The Massachusetts legislature was last.

The state right for chattel slavery was ended over a period of decades where it was easiest first. Canada and some places in the North offered refuge for escaped slaves, but the Northern states didn’t offer for the wholesale migration of almost 4 million persons to their home. The abolitionists didn’t offer a path, or to pay for the means, to elevate humans up from slavery. Some Southerners, like Stonewall Jackson, taught slaves to read and write. Some abolitionists advocated wholesale murder, like Nat Turner – killing babies in the crib, women and old people.

No one in power had a plan to end slavery well. Just as no one really has a satisfactory plan for 20 million illegal immigrants in America today. And, as today’s advocates for open borders and amnesty demand the insanity of America’s suicide with great moral preening, abolitionists pushed murder in the name of freedom. Interestingly enough, even the Leftist icon, W.E.B. DuBois, said that slavery wouldn’t have lasted in the South because Southerners held too great of an innate sense of fairness and justice. Culture commands.

Then, awful war came.

The South truly earned its moral laurels during its heroic defense against invasion. April’s celebration of Confederate History Month is all about valiant Confederate soldiers and their families. Southerners who know their ancestors’ names and regiments – enriched by tales of oral history – take pride in their courage, honor, and fidelity.  Winston Churchill wrote the most profoundly Christian army that ever marched was the Army of Northern Virginia.

People who defend their homes against invading, robbing, looting, burning soldiers have the moral high ground. Pretending the Recent Unpleasantness was a moral crusade all about slavery, all the time, bar everything else in conflict and sad step-by-step political stumble into war, is like saying WW II in the Pacific was because of the “Rape of Nanking” by the Japanese. No, the Japanese invaded and the Germans invaded in WW II. The Yankees invaded the South.

After the Yankees won, the Union Army occupied the South for 10 years. They stole everything they could. Oddly enough, they didn’t invite all the freed slaves to move North. Go figure.

Reconstruction begat Jim Crow segregation. This second American moral stain, segregation, falsely makes the South the perpetual tar baby, like slavery, because of de jure segregation. Yet, the real vicious, personal racism of de facto segregation thrived in the North. The last riots over racial integration of schools were in Boston, Massachusetts in 1974. Racism doesn’t have a regional home, it lives in the hearts of all kinds of people.

The victory of the Civil Rights movement, inspired by a Christian Southerner, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his ideas of non-violence, transformed the Nation. Today, the South is different from other regions of America. The better universities offer courses on Southern literature, art, music, history, politics, etc. And, the South is better. Why else, would so many Yankees move south to overwhelm too many, formerly Southern communities?

The absolutist, self-righteous, our-way-only, Puritan culture of the North slowly walked away from the God of the Bible after The War. Today, the Yankees who worship the small god of “Self” and cherish the liberal trinity of race, class, and genders are dangerous Human Secular Totalitarians. The Sissy Christians still up North who support them are their useful fools. The ideas changed over 150 years, but the culture is the same. The North is a pushy, money-grubbing, rude, arrogant, historically ignorant, tribal and socialist, absolutist culture. Yet, many good Americans live there, no thanks to the culture.

The Bible belt is buckled in the South. A Southern, Biblically-based, moral majority culture cherishes the Rule of Law, not men. Southern Conservatism holds dearly to the same ideas as the American Revolution. Southern culture is family-family-family, faith, and freedom. It’s still live and let live. It still places personal and family honor highly. In fact, the differences in culture are too many for this piece. Yet, some bad Americans live there, no thanks to the culture.

In the future, the South will remain the moral master, because the ultimate defense of American and Western Civilization will be soldiered by stalwart Southerners more than anyone else. Conversely, while the defense of Christianity against Islamist Totalitarianism may come from Africa, Eastern Europe, Western Europe – if a miracle happens, or Asia, Southerners will be prominent among Americans willing to fight the good fight for generations.

God save the South!

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 22, 2019

Easter Colors

Easter spectacular. Biblical message.

Easter Colors

Randy McIlhaney (USMA 1986) is one of the younger guys at our table – where his father sits also – for what I call the “Old Man’s Bible Study’ breakfast at 0700 every Thursday morning. It’s about 120 men every week. For many years he has grown a beard for his ever-changing roles in his church’s Easter play. This year he is the apostle Simon the Zealot and I finally attended the show the day before Easter.

When I entered the church I recalled that I hadn’t been in this church since my wife’s memorial service here in December 2013. We had the memorial at Bethel Baptist, York County, Virginia because our church wasn’t big enough for the crowd. There was nothing intentional in not going back. I just didn’t have the call. I sat in the pew and counted the Easters without my wife on my fingers. Six. Then, the memories flooded. The emotions swelled up. The thoughts swirled.

 

A moment before I had walked with a purpose from my car – actually strode strongly – with every cell in my body celebrating the scents of full on Spring, chanting about the vibrant colors, and exulting to be alive and well. And, here I sat looking over to where I had sat in such utter sadness and pain. What a stark difference in the same place.

 

The contrast is compelling. Now, my heart overflows with gratitude and joy. I have contentment and peace that I’ve never known. I’m thrilled with the blessings of every day in this life – just as it is. I was, and am, this way because of the One whose play was about to begin. Lord Jesus Christ made my survival story into a joyful praise song. Before my thoughts and emotions could overwhelm me, the Easter play began.

 

The star was a handsome black man. A black Jesus. And, I was sitting next to a black woman and her son. I wanted to laugh out loud with happiness for Christians and to utterly mock the Left. The irony is wonderfully simple. I’m sitting in a Southern Baptist Church. In Virginia. A few miles from where slavery started in the English-speaking colonies exactly 400 years ago. There’s a Black Jesus – and no one cares. No one makes comments later. Everyone enjoys the program – which was spectacular.

 

Christians don’t care about color and race, or national origin. The Left does. Political race pimps promote the race card. Identity politics require permanent classes of oppressors and victims. Progressive socialism has to have unredeemable sins to keep group grievances alive. Groupthink, doublespeak, politically correct narrative of Secular Humanist Totalitarianism – by whatever its nom de jour – Socialism, National Socialism, Communism, Liberalism, Progressivism, or Democrat – doesn’t allow the truth to compete in public.

 

The truth is the Civil Rights Movement won. The Christian ideas of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr spoke to the Biblical, Jesus-loving hearts of white, Southern Christians. We proud descendants of honorable, brave Confederate soldiers love seeing any man play Jesus well. We agape love our brother in Christ. We don’t care about his color.

 

The true color of Easter is the blood of Jesus. It’s the red blood of Christian martyrs in Sri Lanka. Neither the beautiful, iconic pastels nor the stark contrast of black and white compare as Easter colors. Blood red is the right color and the only color that can make us righteous.

 

I went home with a happiness as high as a kite. After all the wonderful Easter celebration – including church sunrise service in my backyard on The Bay, the next day’s news was awful. Muslims may murder Christians on Easter, but Christians can only be killed in the body. We win.

 

As I can testify about one trail of tears from grief with sorrow to a grief defined in gratitude, so can I say the history of a people, like Southerners, sees the triumph of good, real change. And, I may ache for the Christians of Sri Lanka while I know they will conquer, ultimately, in this life and the next. Jesus loves. Jesus saves. Jesus wins.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 15, 2019

Every Ides of March is My Milestone

Milestone. March 15th is my milestone marker – life changing mark.

I’ve had one mystical, religious vision in my life. It happened on March 15th, 1987 on Range 214 at Grafenwoehr, Germany.

I believe the Creator of the entire Universe frequently gives me personal messages.  That’s not presumptuous, it’s Biblical.  I get these messages in words, ideas, and feelings after I read, think, hear, see, or sense some things. That’s not a vanity, but shared reality for believing Christians. Occasionally, I have very specific words intrude as thoughts which seem to come from outside my mind to me.  And, I had two dreams unlike all other dreams – after my Father died and before my Mother died. But, I’ve only had one vision.

I’ve written the narrative of my vision many times – even put it in the foreword to my novel Rosetta 6.2.   l’ve told a number of people.

The short version begins when I saw my Father in a dream unlike any dream on the night he died. He told me, without speaking, “I’m okay, I’m all right,” and shared his compassion for me.  Later, I wondered where he was – physically in the universe.  So, I prayed daily for 7 years for a clear sign of how we actually go to one space and time – Heaven – in this vast cosmos.

Again, I prayed every day for 7 years.  Then, on a cold gunnery range in Germany as I walked behind the firing line to the Quonset huts at sunset, the sky lit up – all I saw was pink – and a warm air blew through my ribs and filled me like a balloon. I don’t know if it was a second or a few minutes.  Time stopped.  It was the best feeling of joy and peace I’ve ever had in my life. Ever. The thought “There is a warmth and a light on the other side,” reassured me in many ways beyond the simple words that our identities with memories go to another place. That was followed by the thought, “You will not command in peace or war. You will read and write.”  I was shocked at that.  “War?  What war is coming?” I wondered.

Why wouldn’t I command?  Commanding in the Army was the focus of my life.  Suddenly, a few months later my beloved Army career was crushed like a bug. (Color commentary is best added in person.)

I was in recovery – that’s what my wife and I called it – for 2 years when I transferred to my last combat unit in the Army.  I wasn’t going to command, but I started writing as my day job.  I spent another frenetic year as an Army speech writer. My last duty was to lead, write, and edit a long range study for the Army.

I started writing after work in 1990 – with novel finally self-published in 2007. Started op eds in 2001. Blog in 2005. Did a lot of reading. Still, I beat myself up for not pushing harder to read and write more. I’m keenly aware my time is running out.

The Ides of March is a demarcation line in my life. My one vision changed my life.

I never thought about death the same.  I know our identities go somewhere warm and lighted.

I got a context for my most humiliating personal defeat. “His will, not mine” has an expressed purpose in my life. Later, it was easy to see why His wisdom prevailed over my ardent will. And, I feel like I got the tiniest taste of what it’s like to be near the Lord in Heaven. The good feeling of the warm wind was beyond my ability to describe.

Much happened in the 32 years since my Ides of March vision. My task to read and write remains. It was woven in the fabric of my day job, my passions and purposeful works. His assurance about Heaven has helped me face my wife and sister’s passing as well as my occasional ER visits with accepting peace. I’ll obey the compelling urgency to read and write.  I’m grateful, grateful, grateful.

If you have a question, ask the Lord. I got an answer that changed my life – after 7 years of asking.

Do you know your mission in the community of Christ?  Since every person has gifts – with absolutely no one beneath or incapable of serving – there’s some divine purpose for you.  Please ask.  The Lord Jesus Christ will place your milestone to mark your journey here.

Blessed are the Ides of March to me.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | February 18, 2019

5 Years at Sanctuary

One of many evocative glimpses of Sanctuary

5 Years at Sanctuary

I moved to a new home on February 14th, 2014. After a few months I named my house – ‘Sanctuary’. I’m amazed that I’ve been here as a widower for five full years. Sanctuary has a story to tell – in its coming, its being, and its meaning. Sanctuary is something very special to me. This place means more and more to me as time passes. I want to share Sanctuary with visitors and communicate it across cyberspace in meaningful ways. As much as I cherish this place in my soul, Sanctuary was given to me to give to others. I’m happy to try.

Becoming Sanctuary

We moved to Poquoson, Virginia in 1989 – my 39th year. Before moving to Tidewater, I wanted to live the end of my life in the Virginia’s Piedmont or “The Valley”. I’d loved those places since I was a little boy. Living in Poquoson, I discovered “The Bay”.   The waters of the Chesapeake Bay surround our small town Poquoson on three sides. The waters that give shape to Poquoson gave work to the watermen for generations and a common experience of fishing, crabbing, oystering, clamming, boating, kayaking, and swimming – for the Bull Islanders living on The Bay.

I was taken by the beauty of The Bay. Just seeing it brought a peace wafting with the wind in gentle harmony with slap of the waves on shore. My wife and I priced properties and took pleasure drives to see everywhere The Bay met roads on The Peninsula, the Middle Peninsula, and the Northern Neck.

I asked in prayer to live with a water view where I my blood pressure would drop twenty points by just seeing the water. Immediately, the thought popped in my mind, “I’ll take care of the details.” On June 24th, 1997 I wrote in my prayer journal, “I would like a house on the water. If it is not in Your Will, please tell me gently and if it is, then, as I heard – let You take care of the details.”

In November 2007 we had a contract for what I thought was the best water in our town. I fictionalized the location in my novel, Rosetta 6.2. The house was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel, so we could build to suit there – and build up. My wife refused to sign the deal. I was truly angry because she wouldn’t tell me why. I wrote “No to dream home on water” in my prayer journal.

My wife, Katherine, died December 9, 2013. The burial at Arlington National Cemetery had to wait until February 22, 2014. During that excruciatingly, tortuously long January I started to think about the future. I thought about moving. Different parts of the country, different countries, extended travel to a different place, etc. Late in January, I found a place on my favorite street, a few doors down from the property we could have bought in 2007. My kids said go for it.

A number of men from our church and their sons moved me through an all-day bone-chilling winter rain. My daughter, Maggie, was an invaluable help sorting out the down-sizing. I spent my first night on Valentine’s 2014. God had, indeed, taken care of the details.

Being Sanctuary

That first night alone the waters of The Bay were especially black and forbidding. The twinkling of navigational buoys was new to me. The sense of transition from irredeemable past to unpredictable future was stark. Even though I’d had gone two months without her, my wife’s absence was as profound in the new place as her presence in memories marked every foot of our old home.

I started my new life as a widower. My home became my place for grieving greatly. It became a sanctuary to shelter me. As my heart writhed in anguish, my senses were astonished at the astounding, compelling, constantly-changing beauty of natural being before me. I spent hours on the dock. Hours on the deck. Hours looking out the windows as I worked at cleaning, sorting, and writing.   I filled my lungs with bracing salty, fishy-scented air. I felt the winds chill and warm my face by turns. I watched the birds in a tableau of ever-changing light and motion. I cried more than I ever thought a man could cry. I prayed and talked the Lord God. I sat by the warmest gas fire with its particular appeal.

The Year of Grieving became the one Year of Family Living with me. Followed by the Year of Lifting the House. Then, followed by two more years of traveling often, growing gratefulness, improving health and well-being, cherishing family and guests, building a relationship, serving my duties, reading, writing – living the life that is uniquely touched as time spent at Sanctuary. The fifth year highlighted the church Easter Sunrise service at Sanctuary – with a sermon on the changing meaning of Sanctuary in the Bible. So, too, had Sanctuary changed its meaning for me.

Sanctuary’s seasons are the rhythm for this last season of my life. The jaw-dropping beauty and scary storms come in turn. Water flooded under and around Sanctuary three times in five years. It’ll do it again. As Sanctuary is a shelter for all seasons, it’s also a fortress to venture from – for a woman’s love. Romantic love is a blessing truly cherished at the end of life.

Sanctuary is where the actual quality of time – how time is sensed, felt, understood – changed. I wrote in November 2018 how the whole of my adult life with my wife Katherine was one way and all of life since she passed to Heaven is another. Different. There is so much richness in an hour, let alone a day, at Sanctuary that time has truly changed for me.

Sanctuary’s Meaning

My heart healed and grew substantially at Sanctuary. In great part, because of Sanctuary. I did my protected, private grieving at Sanctuary. As grieving changed to include an overwhelming gratitude, Sanctuary was the laboratory were such alchemy happened – and was a catalyst as well.

Sanctuary became a place of special memories for my grown children and growing grandchildren. Sanctuary is a destination for some relatives and friends. It is a place shared with neighbors. It’s an open promise for more to come “set” a spell – and experience the goodness.

Sanctuary’s awesome beauty is shared on social media. I’m surprised when I see a resentful comment that it’s bragging or an expression of envy. Because, I share the breath-taking beauty – and so much has been posted – to uplift, encourage, inspire, and bring God’s peace from the presence of His creation.

Sanctuary is my place of dedication to read and write as I was instructed on March 15, 1987. I wrote “A Grief Felt”. I’ve written blog posts and other commentary. I’ve ghost written. I’ve much, much more to do – as long as I’m healthy to do so.

Sanctuary hosts a small group Bible Study. It serves the Christian church.

Sanctuary is a place of perpetual prayers of heartfelt thanksgiving, deep gratitude, and abiding inner joy. Yes, every day. Upon waking and rising as well as laying down for resting, I thank God for this gift – out loud. And, often in the day. Christian praise music predominates the tunes resounding in its walls.

Five years at Sanctuary is a significant amount of time for me and my family. If I live to be 90, any five year period is meaningful. Another ten years will make this the one house I’ve lived in longer than any other in my life.

If it’s in God’s Will, Sanctuary is where I’ll grow old and die. My kids are talking Viking funeral off the dock. No, put me with my wife in Arlington like the old soldier I am. Go ahead and have an awesome, symbolic fire boat – and give great thanks for all Sanctuary means.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | December 13, 2018

Why I Stepped Off the Side of the Earth 50 Years Ago

 

Two Seniors, Same Guy – Boy and Man

Why I Stepped Off the Side of the Earth 50 Years Ago

A few months back I wrote a piece about stepping of the side of the earth when I went to West Point 50 years ago. Fifty years is the “golden” anniversary because it’s so prominent in human lives. Few get to celebrate a diamond time of seventy-five years. Fifty is the time for complete reflections before time runs out for most. This fiftieth anniversary for me is about the crucible of my life. Childhood shaped my form, but the United States Military Academy at West Point and the Army made me the man I am. Or, perhaps, they gave me the mirror to see my soul and make lifetime choices. Either way, the Lord God gave love, grace, and discipline all along.  My 50 year reflections may speak to your decisions in life.

I didn’t know West Point would be such a plunge from all former reality. I knew it would be challenging, but I had no clue it would be more like prison than college. I thought I wanted to study civil engineering with a side interest in politics and history. The 1964 World’s Fair images of highways across the Amazon jungle still captured my imagination. That’s funny now. Why build highways across the Amazon?

I had choices for college. I was competitive enough to try for an Ivy, but had no desire to go to school in the North. I got early acceptance to Duke and Georgia Tech in January 1968.  Early in February I got a Presidential appointment as a son of a Regular Army officer. It was a competitive appointment. There was only one West Point, so, yes, I had to go up North.

Why West Point? As an Army brat, I’d been around Army bases, troops, jeeps, trucks and tents, etc. all of my life. My parents and all their friends were “Army.” I recalled marching soldiers singing “Jodies” from when I was four at Ft. Leavenworth. I’d always wanted to be a soldier – for a period of service.

My Dad pointed me to West Point when we went to the 1959 Army-Navy game. His boss, Brigadier General Van Wagoner, gave me the book “The West Point Story” and wrote a message to me. I considered the option from then on, but there was no pressure in any regard.

My father had had an appointment to West Point and turned it down to go to the University of Arizona where he could drive cars and chase girls. Wise man. He spoke highly of the West Pointers he knew in the Army. I was more motivated by thoughts.

I read a lot of history and biographies since I was eight. I thought war was a central experience of mankind. My boyish mind likened myself enough to Ernest Hemingway to think I should experience war, not shirk it. See mortal combat, survive, and move on. Seriously, I thought that.

In my Junior year my father almost died from a heart attack. I was confronted with life and death balanced in the next breath. That winter our big English paper was about our philosophy of life. I reasoned what are you willing to die for – defined life more clearly than what do you want to live to do. My paper was “A Philosophy of Death.” My teacher loved it. I was 16 years old.

I figured I was willing to die for my family, my faith, and my country.

Specifically, I was willing to die for America while killing Communists. Living in Europe during the Berlin Crisis, seeing the Berlin Wall at age 13, and reading all that history made me want to defeat Communism. I knew it was as evil as Nazism.

Then, there was Vietnam. My dad was there 1956-57. He told about the terrible things the Viet Minh did to people. Through my high school years I watched his peers and my older sisters’ end of our generation go to Vietnam. I’d read enough military history to actually guess the Vietnam War would last 10 full, fighting years to 1975. There’d be war enough when I graduated from College. I knew well that the Army was a better deal as a lieutenant than as a private. And, my parents would never sign enlistment papers for me at age 17.

I knew I’d always wonder “what if I went to West Point?” Duke University really appealed to me. But, what if?  I chose the United States Military Academy. My Senior English teacher told me, “You are wasting a great mind.”

I went to West Point to be a soldier – an Army Officer. Period. At the end of the long, hellish first day of Beast Barracks, we signed the papers with the oath we had sworn a few hours before at magnificent Trophy Point. I was thrilled. Sincerely.  I was in the U.S. Army.  I was a soldier.

Before the Crucible

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | December 1, 2018

5

Time has been different – in every respect – for 5 years.

5

Last year my daughter, Maggie, and I wrote about the day after Thanksgiving. It’s the day her mother, my wife, had a massive stroke. It’s the last time she spoke. It’s the day that took her to the hospital where she would die days later. Last year Maggie wrote that grieving brought herself to a place where she could hold back her tears. I wrote about the growing gratitude I have for life as it is. Today, November 29, 2018 is Year 5.

I knew Nellie Katherine for 41 years. Now, she’s been gone for 5 years. Any five of our years together was a significant amount of time to us. Now, such a length of time actually has transpired without her? It can’t be so.

When she died, I couldn’t imagine five years. Seriously. I couldn’t think that far in the future. I didn’t know if I’d survive that long. What I couldn’t conceive then, is what I find challenging to grasp now. Five full years.

The five years are a different time than all time in my life before then. They aren’t regular years in any sense of my understanding of time. They had all the same seasons, holidays, family observances, etc. But, they weren’t normal years. They were all marked by her absence.

The power of her absence says more about her than our missing her says about us. She made quite an impression. She loved selflessly, fiercely, and passionately. Nellie Katherine isn’t forgotten by people close to her. For her family, or so it seems to me, sometimes it’s like she’s not gone – really. It’s not creepy, because it’s about how powerful her presence was. Her mere shadow speaks loudly to the living.

This year I wrote a book, “A Grief Felt,” to share four and a half years of one journey – hopefully, to serve someone else.

The two grandchildren she never knew and their big sister who was a baby when she passed, can’t carry the memories of her the way we do. Three other grandchildren have fading childhood memories. That’s part of what makes these five years so strange. Her memories are so alive to the adults who knew her. Her entire being is only oral history to the others. How can she be so present and so absent at the same moment?

I don’t understand this passing of time – it doesn’t fit the memories of all my life before. Much of it was distorted by mourning and grief. Time itself is different. Yet, I’m truly grateful, peaceful and content to have this time alive here. I’m humbled and happy. I’m living life. Courting. I just can’t comprehend the time that passed, how long it is, and the very nature of the time itself.

5 years.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 25, 2018

The Idiocy of Identity Politics.

A fancy way to say “shoot yourself in the foot” or “circular firing squad” is to “hoist yourself on your own petard”. You get blown up by your own bomb.  Don’t do it.

The Idiocy of Identity Politics

The idiocy of Identity politics for the Left is – if it wins, their perpetual protected classes of victims will really lose. The alt.right bogeymen they use to scare progressives into their safe spaces will actually arise. Demographics are destiny. Culture commands. Another Human Secularist nightmare will happen, not of its own truth, but because the fanatics of the Left made it so.  Identity politics will transform the empty silliness of ‘White Privilege’ and create real White Identity which will, inevitably, become White Power. It will be awful.

The racially-infused riot in Charlottesville was a fantasy come true for the Left. A hundred or so white misfits carried Nazi and Confederate banners side by side, shouted anti-Semitic slogans, had a big fight, and killed an innocent person. It was heaven-sent. Or, rather, it was the Hollywood-perfect players sent from central casting, since the Left doesn’t believe in God. The alt.right fit the Left’s script for their evil characters – perfectly.

Actually, it was a pathetic posturing of impotent politics in America. The alt.right couldn’t even rally a battalion from across a region of over 80 million Americans. But, that will change, for the worse, if the Left keeps pushing Identity politics.

Identity politics elicits emotions from twisted morality plays. The good guys are permanent classes of victims. The ignorant, insane, and evil bad guys are those immutable oppressors. They’re the same bad guys you see on little and big screens as the Hollywood hierarchy of evil. The racist, misogynist, homophobe, Islamaphobe, gun nut, Confederate, anti-immigrant, anti-Choice, greedy capitalist, etc. heavies’ labels are applied to White, male, heterosexual, Christian, Second Amendment, Southern, anti-illegal alien, pro-Life, hard-working Americans. And, the Left is serious about putting everyone into fixed, labeled group identities. It’s celebrated, almost worshipped, as ‘Diversity”.

Except populations of people aren’t fixed. In the next 20 years as Whites become a minority in America, it will be disastrous to keep these groups and continue to assign virtue and guilt, restitution and privilege, and real political power to them. Because, eventually, enough Whites will start to think of themselves as ‘White’.

It will reverse a century of racial progress. Since the 1950’s the morally ascendant idea is to judge people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. Across the South and West millions of people stopped thinking about themselves as ‘White’ and adopted a ‘Christian’ identity. The Left will undo that good.

The last thing the Left should ever want is for half the country to start thinking the white color of their skin matters. Because, that half which is passionately dedicated to family, faith, and freedom will fight. If they are truly threatened, they will fight back to win terrible victories. Ask the Indians. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Don’t go there, Leftists. Don’t push these Americans into a corner.

Even if the racist policies of identity politics never boil into violence – let us pray they never do, who will lose the most in a competition with an energized, self-conscious, dynamic fifty per cent of the population – with a lot of resources?

The blending of all races in mixed marriages is increasing, but won’t blur racial lines sufficiently enough in the next 30 years to prevent identity discrimination.  Mixed race persons will be a complication for the Leftist zealots – which group label do they get? Are they victims or oppressors at birth?

It could all go horribly. It always does with Human Secularism.

The Jacobins had their bourgeoisie. Lenin had the aristocracy. Stalin had the kulaks. In Mexico and Spain, the murderers had each other in their Civil Wars. Hitler had the Jews. Mao had landlords. Castro had counter-revolutionaries. Pol Pot had Depositees.  North Vietnam and North Korea had their state enemies.  Apparently, the American Left is boiling its enemies list down to ‘Whites’.

If that happens enough, the re-awakened Whites will search for their own narrative – and leaders.  Those leaders won’t be kooks of today’s alt.right, but more serious and dangerous men and women.

If Human Secularism doesn’t lead the state to mass murder, then Identity politics creates the tribalism that certainly will kill. The Hutu committed genocide against the Tutsi. It’s what tribes do.

The Left’s Identity politics are idiocy. An awful, terrible, tragic, criminal, evil – avoidable -idiocy.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 21, 2018

Cold Civil War

The map for ACW III will be different than this. Much worse prospects for horrible things to happen.

Cold Civil War

The Great U.S. Culture is a “cold” civil war. As the Cold War was WW III, so too our Cold Civil War is ACW III. It’s the third American civil war in the U.S., since our Revolution was the first and the Recent Unpleasantness was the second. Three civil wars, if we don’t count Bacon’s Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion as such. Professor Charles R. Kesler of Claremont-Mckenna College wrote a great piece on “America’s Cold Civil War” in the October 2018 issue of Imprimis.

He isn’t the first to describe the Culture War as a civil war or leading to a civil war. His perception adds to the body of evidence of what the divisions across America mean.  Professor Kesler illustrates the starkly opposing and irreconcilable views of our Constitution. Furthermore, he clearly identifies five ways forward.

  1. Some jarring event, like a major war or huge natural calamity – unites us all as Americans.
  2. Persuasion and, perhaps, moderation create a significant majority to support one side.
  3. Vastly reinvigorate federalism, as the Constitution was written, to allow states to be very different and have the Federal government to stay out – thus de-nationalize the most disruptive issues.
  4. Secession of some states.
  5. Violent, hot civil war.

That’s a very shocking analysis, isn’t it?

I’ve been writing for option 3, Federalism, for some time now. I’ve also written in hopes of contributing to option 2 – winning a governing majority.

Neither Professor Kesler nor other writers, including myself, want to be Cassandra calling to the wind. We need Americans to wake up. Not in the racial mythology of being “woke”, but with eyes wide open to real, serious danger.

The West Pointer officers of the U.S. Army celebrating their victory in Mexico in 1847 had no idea they would be killing each other in 1861. They never imagined such a tragedy in 14 short years. But, it happened. The politicians throughout the 1850s, Whigs and Democrats, used regional issues to get elected and stay elected. Many Northern Whigs became radical Republicans for the total abolition of slavery. Every issue became a regional fight.

Today, the politics of identity which, ironically, do the exact opposite of their rhetoric – are making every issue an identity fight. What the Left calls tolerance, inclusion, diversity becomes bigotry, name-calling scapegoating, and division.

On the contrary, the politics of ideas actually creates coalitions across demographic groups. The politics of ideas allows the Left and Right to fight issues out based on words. Identity politics lead to tribalism. Tribalism leads to barbarism.

Identity politics will lead to a hot civil war or secession with violence, if Americans don’t stop it – and build a governing majority or restore Federalism to move powers from the Federal government to state governments.

Our divided America is split over issues far more important than the talking heads’ daily chatter about Trump and Pelosi. Let’s work wisely to keep our American Civil War III cold. Please prevent another violent, tragic, awful war from bloodying again our American soil.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 15, 2018

On 68

Telling part of my life story in icons.

On 68

If I keep breathing for two months past my 68th birthday this November 18th, I’ll outlive my mother. I’ve already outlived my wife, father, and three grandparents. I have to go nineteen years to outlive granddaddy Bowden past 87. He probably lived that long because he was so ornery. Clearly, my counting indicates how keenly I know I’m at the short end of the candle. And, it’s just weird. Seriously. I feel like I’m 25. I feel as passionate, as engaged when I so choose, and absolutely alive as I did when I was 25.

That is until I actually get physical. Then, the one artery – which is fifty per cent blocked, the degenerative arthritis in both hips, adult onset asthma, allergies, dry eye, etc. kick in.  So, I’m relegated to fondly remember running and just kayak for an hour instead. Consequently, I feel as passionate, engaged, and absolutely alive as a 68 year old man!

Regardless of how I feel, I’m grateful, grateful, and grateful for every day of life. Not exaggerating. I thank the Lord God several times a day. Without fail. God is sweet, kind, and generous to me. God is good. All the time. No matter what.

So, what can I share on being 68?

First, I like sharing my personal graphic. When I transitioned from being a wannabe barrel-chested, Commie-killer to a note-taking, slide-making Defense Contractor, I discovered how I like good visuals. My life’s story in icons is just fun. Not bragging. Started it in 2013 and keep improving it. It tells part of my wee tale. Please enjoy.

Second, I find it interesting that I’m still living according to prior decisions I made. Decisions made long ago still matter. I accepted Jesus as my personal savior at 12. I decided to live under a vertical hierarchy of duties when I was 16. I chose Duty, Honor, Country at 17. At the same moment I chose the U.S. Army as a primary allegiance – which doesn’t diminish despite my age. I chose to be a learned, educated man at age 19. I chose marriage to have a family at 24. I chose daily Bible reading at age 32. Picked political participation at age 41. I chose to continue to serve my family and honor my late wife – live life purposefully – at age 63. I became a Deacon at age 67.

Third, I know myself well. I really should by this age. I know my strengths and weaknesses. My successes and failures. My appropriate pride and shameful guilt. I know who I am.

I’m a man of significant substance and no stature.

That statement neither boasts nor postures with false modesty. My influence is in my personal relationships only. I wanted to stride a bigger stage in life, but my place is to do what I was told on March 15, 1987. So, I’m a man who remains on the same mission since age 36 – “You will read and write.”   This year I wrote a second book, “A Grief Felt.” I’ve written over one thousand pieces and a novel since 9-11-01. I’ll try to finish that third book next year.

Finally, I hope this was a fun read. It’s 68 years of just one life in Chronos time.   Day to day linear living. My spirit already lives in Kairos time. My eternal life has already begun. My memories, which go back to age 2, will accompany me when I leave this body. My thoughts, constantly accompany me, will continue. What a trip that will be. Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ.

Ordained a deacon on Sunday October 28th, 2018

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