Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Admiral Stockdale Dies

People around my age probably remember Admiral James Stockdale best for his brief appearance on the political scene in 1992. I was 20 at the time of the vice presidential debate that year. I remember vividly watching the debate and more vividly (due to re-runs) Phil Hartman's portrayal of the man on Saturday Night Live.

Maybe a year or two after the presidential race Dennis Miller did a bit in his stand-up routine in which he said (and I'm paraphrasing):
Jim Stockdale committed the one unforgivable sin in America today. He didn't look good on television. People ridiculed him for having to turn up his hearing aid during the debate. Few people knew that the reason he had to wear that hearing aid was because he spent seven years getting smacked in the ears in a POW camp in a war the current president opted out of.
I remember being ashamed of myself for laughing at Hartman's joke, not because it wasn't funny, Hartman was always funny, but because it was something I should have known and didn't. I learned more about the man in William Bennett's compilation of The Book of Virtues. I also gained respect for Dennis Miller that day. He took time out of his stand up routine to make a point of honoring an incredible man, which really didn't get laughs.

Blackfive and Michelle Malkin have great posts summarizing this true hero of America.

Also see this site to see a wonderful tribute. Leave the sound on to let it sink in.

Brainster blog, naturally makes a very similar point, MUCH better than I.