Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Burst of Joy

Last night I went to San Carlos for a Republican rally at the Hiller Aviation Museum. There were various speakers, most of whom, I had heard before, but the main speaker was Air Force Colonel Robert Stirm. He is a Vietnam Veteran and P.O.W. survivor. John McCain served one more day in prison than Stirm who was shot down October 27, 1967. This photograph, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974, is of Lt. Colonel Robert Stirm returning after being released on March 14, 1973. He and McCain spent over 5 years as Prisoners of War and survived very harsh treatment. It was very interesting to hear Stirm talk about what John McCain was like in prison. I guess he was given the duty of cleaning the other prisoners' waste buckets. Apparently after 3 years, he was finally in a cell next to McCain, and for the first time since his capture, he laughed after McCain told a joke. Just a detail I found interesting. Also, he made a point to say that there were no secrets there, because you didn't know if you were going to live to the next day. He said that McCain had never expressed the desire to run for public office, and that it was only after he returned as  P.O.W., and realized he had a dim future in the navy (because of the injuries he'd sustained in Vietnam), that he opted for a political career. 

Colonel Stirm was sincere in his support for McCain because he knew him, in fact, he has known him very intimately since Vietnam. Even after being released, they visited each other and kept in contact. Stirm even met McCain's parents. I think this is one of the first times in the past few years when someone has spoken out and there is no doubt in your mind that they are speaking sincere words about the candidate they are endorsing. 

(Burst of Joy is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo taken on March 17, 1973 at Travis Air Force Base by Slava Veder.)


Sarah Smith said...

Hilary! Nice blog. Love the header!

Good post. It really must be nice to hear about a candidate from someone who actually knew him!

Yes, okra, not orca. I don't think I'm every going to have the opportunity to eat orca. Alligator, on the other hand, is at the top of my list! (And I'm only sort of kidding)

catherine freeland said...


So completely random, but I'm a friend of sarah's and she told me perhaps you may be reconsidering osu?!?! that would make me way happy to have another bay area girl up in corvallis! I know we've never met or anything, but hey, if you're ever up in the area or want someone to go to coffee w/, you should totally call me :D you can ask sarah, i'm really not a creeper ;)

<3 catherine

Anonymous said...

This is one of my favorite photographs of all time.

To me it represents a whole human being. One real human being who have been to war to defend the values we cherish, the freedom and the truth.

And he gets home just to learn the bad news.

A true hero, living in real life.

Not a fantasy hero, who slain a fairy tale dragon.

A true hero. Coming back to real life.

Someone we may learn have defects and shortcomings. Nevertheless a true hero.