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Veteran's (Armistice) Day

What Veteran’s (Armistice) Day Means to Me

What Veteran’s (Armistice) Day Means to Me 1600 1038 Jason Stadtlander

This Veteran’s Day, there are two small stories I would like to share with you. Before I do though, it’s important to note that before this was Veteran’s Day, it was called “Armistice Day”. It marks the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. A day that there was a temporary cessation of hostilities declared between the Allies and Germany during World War I (then known as “The Great War”).

Although in this article I am specifically mentioning American Veterans, it is very important that we acknowledge not only our American Veterans but the veterans of all countries who have fought for and continue to fight for the future peace of our children and all of those who will lead this world long after we have gone.

My Grandpa Joe

My Grandpa Joe


In this first memory, I am four years old, sitting on my grandpa Stadtlander’s lap. I am unencumbered by what other’s think of him, I don’t know his past nor do I care at this age. He is wearing denim overalls with maybe a dozen pockets in them.  He smells like an old cigar and turpentine. He’s talking to someone, perhaps grandma, perhaps Dad, I can’t recall. I remember being obsessed with all these little tools he had in his pockets. Pulling out carpenter pencils, and putting them back in. Pulling out a ruler here, a measuring tape there, a file, and then putting them back where I found them. I remember looking up at his weathered face as he smiled at me and I remember hugging him and I remember his big arms hugging me back.

A year later my mother and father sat me down and told me that there was something growing inside him called cancer. That there was something the size of a grapefruit attached to an organ called a pancreas. Shortly after they told me this, he died. He was fifty-five years old, ten years older than I am now. It was the first great loss I can remember.

B17G Flying Fortress

My Grandfather’s Plane

Years later I found out that grandpa was an aircraft mechanic and a belly gunner (someone who sits in the machine gun pod on the underside of the aircraft) on a B17 Flying Fortress during World War 2. He was stationed in Labrador near the arctic circle where he served along-side his identical twin brother.

Grandpa passed away 40 years ago (almost to the day). I’d like to say I miss him, but I don’t really remember him very much. I do wish I had gotten to know him better.

My Grandpa Virgil

My Grandpa Virgil


My maternal grandfather, Virgil is a completely different story. I have so many memories with him that I treasure, that to pick out a single one would do all the other memories injustice. He is my grandfather, my best friend, and my hero.

I have had the honor of putting together a movie of his life and in the process have learned all about his service as a Korean War veteran. He has told me stories about being stationed in Soel and Fort Carson, Colorado. This has also encouraged me to research more on World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Grandpa turned ninety years old this year and I treasure every day that I am blessed to have him around.

Veteran’s Day to me is a family affair. I am proud to have two grandfathers, several great-uncles and MANY dear friends that I have grown up with that have helped to make our country a better place.

I have traveled all over the world and every country I visit, every person I meet outside of the U.S., continually makes realize what a great country we have (despite some of our leadership). Seeing the way many people live… I do wish we could make our country, their country. Yes, we have (a LOT of) problems, all countries do. We are all human, and it’s important to know that without our humanity, there is no country worth living in. It is human lives that have been given and I have the highest respect for everyone out there that has fought for and continues to defend our country.

Thank you to both of my grandpas, Joe and Virgil, to my Uncles Harold and George, to my friends Chris, Joyce, Torrey, Howard (RIP), Bernardo, Dave, Jessica, and probably two dozen other names that are just not popping into my head right now. To all of you, who have served and continue to serve to make this country the type of place that I want my children and my children’s children to grow up in.

The Opinion Driven War of the Media – Fears for my Children

The Opinion Driven War of the Media – Fears for my Children 1600 784 Jason Stadtlander

The Great Media War is underway and we are their front line.

In the James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”, media giant Elliot Carver is attempting to take over the world through media (successfully I might add). Watching this back in 1997 I thought it was entertaining but found it hard to believe that anything like that could ever happen. I will also admit I never thought of the true implications that the filmmakers were making.

I’ve always considered myself open to listening to objective opinions. Especially more in recent years. I hear about a problem, I listen to the person telling me about the problem and then I seek out additional opinions or solutions and try to objectively come up with my own opinion.

Listening to (NPR) National Public Radio, Fox News and the BBC, it is becoming increasingly clear that there are no longer any objective opinions out there. Very few people are flat out stating the true facts of the world. I encourage you to stop and take a moment to listen to them. Not just your favorite news media, but all the other ones too. If you really stop and listen to what specific stories the outlets are choosing to tell you, whose opinions they are choosing to share and the tone of the reporter’s voice, it becomes quite clear – the leading that is going on. When you listen to them, does what they are saying rapidly anger you or irritate you? This is exactly what they are counting on.

This morning I tuned into NPR and listened to them talk about D-Day’s 75th anniversary (which was the one thing I was glad to hear about) as well as President Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexico. To listen to the reporters on NPR, they make it sound like the tariffs are a done deal and President Trump will be meeting with Mexico officials in D.C. to hopefully come to a resolution. Trying to decipher the truth, reading various outlets and trying to piece it all together I have found that the tariff threat at the moment is just that – a threat. To listen to Fox News the reporters are all talking about the “crisis” on the southern border. Their voices are quickened and panicked (nearly all of them). Just listening to them gets you feeling nervous.

The Real Point

My point here isn’t whether the Mexico tariffs or even immigration are indeed real threats. My point is the danger of the media itself as well as the lack of available non-opinionated facts to the public. We are living in a time when people are no longer making objective opinions based on educating themselves in the world around them. Instead, society is making ‘drop of the hat’ impulsive opinions based on a thirty second (or 280 character) blip of information. The more emotional the person stating the opinion can be on the news, in the tweet or on a Facebook post, the more they will sway public opinion. If they can even throw in some people that are in dire circumstances (and let’s face it – all over the world media can find someone in dire circumstances somewhere and convince the public that it’s related to their story), then they can garner strong opinions.

What I am most concerned with is our future as a community, a nation and ultimately a world society. How can we as a people, raise our children to come to their own opinions and objectively look at the world around them so that they can improve it? How can we encourage them to see out the real facts when they are so slyly hidden or camouflaged by those with money and power (and I’m talking about the media here, not specifically politicians)?

What can we do?

I think the most critical thing to do is to ensure that our children do not blindly follow any opinions. As parents, we need to encourage our children to listen to liberal views, conservative views, centrist views, and then read historical precedent on the issues at hand before they arrive at their own conclusion. We need to ensure that our children are reading, processing and reading again, as much as they possibly can. Because, if you look at all the opinions, the facts and compare them all together – the truth is hidden in there. It’s hidden in between the words and the emotions that are being blasted out at us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s buried under emotional outbursts and dramatic photos and videos and skewed facts. The Great Media War is underway and we are their front line. We just need to make sure that our children are well trained to see around it all.

May 4, 1970 - The Kent State Riots - Massacre or Mislead by the Media?

May 4, 1970 – The Kent State Riots – Massacre or Mislead by the Media?

May 4, 1970 – The Kent State Riots – Massacre or Mislead by the Media? 1200 781 Jason Stadtlander

What they don’t tell you is that the students struck first.

“May 4, 1970 was a day that I will never forget,” begins my father, Pete Stadtlander with a story that I have heard so many times growing up. He is beginning to tell his story about the riots and shootings that occurred as he stood in his woodshop class in Van Duesen Hall, which faced the Commons at Kent State University. He has had told me many times over the years how he and several of his friends snuck to his car by the stadium by crawling from under car to under car to avoid State Police locked arm in arm sweeping people into the Commons after the shootings. How he had eventually made it to his car and began driving home to Mantua but while driving through Ravenna had a rock thrown at his window because he had a Kent State sticker on his window. But this time, when I am now almost forty-five, for some reason he chose to go into much more detail than I have ever heard before.

MAY 4, 1970 – THE KENT STATE RIOTS – MASSACRE OR MISLEAD BY THE MEDIA?He continued, “I remember working in my advanced woodshop class and at some point, the people outside were louder than our equipment. That’s when we shut it all off and opened the garage door on the Commons.

Let me also point out, that there were a handful of people in thier late twenties that were not what I would call real students. They were people who supposedly took classes but spent most of their time hanging around campus in the cafeterias with people gathered at their tables. They were the ones that were good at leading people to do what they wanted them to and they were never the ones in the middle of the crowds. They always stood at arm’s length letting the kids do the dirty work.

MAY 4, 1970 – THE KENT STATE RIOTS – MASSACRE OR MISLEAD BY THE MEDIA?The National Guard had stated earlier ‘No assembly on the commons. No more than a hundred students are allowed to gather in one place.’ after the students had set fire to the ROTC building. Well, there were at least a hundred people out in the commons when we opened that door and they were joined by fifty more, then a hundred, then four hundred and before I knew it there were a couple of thousand students gathering on the grass chanting and yelling as there frequently were during the [Vietnam] war. There were perhaps a thousand National Guardsman and another thousand State Police. That’s when I saw the kids coming in from different points on the commons, hundreds, then on the other end, I saw several thousand students flatten a huge hurricane fence at once. They toppled it as if it were nothing but paper and marched across it to join the main body of students already on the Commons. It was scary as hell to watch.

The media will tell you how the National Guard opened fire on the students, how they couldn’t control the situation and chose instead to shoot a bunch of kids.” My father paused, and this was when the story begins to take on a different color than it ever had before, “What they don’t tell you is that the students struck first. I stood there watching as students that had climbed to the top of several of the dorms began to hurl concrete blocks from the tops of the Stouffer Hall and Taylor Hall [dorms] at the Guardsman below. I even saw them throwing railroad ties off the top of the building! Railroad ties! Can you imagine that? Do you know how much a railroad tie weighs?”

“I’m not sure.” I respond, shocked at the story.

“Two hundred pounds. Imagine that you are tasked with protecting the university from riots, you are just kids yourself trying to serve your country and you see bricks and railroad ties coming at you from above. Tell me that wouldn’t freak you out and piss you off? ” he took a breath, “These men were going to be slaughtered. They opened fire not to control the crowd but in self-defense. It could not have been more clear.

Yet the media twisted it and they ended up indicting eight of the Guardsman. They all were acquitted, but I couldn’t believe that they even charged them with this. It was absurd.

One of the Guardsman [Ralph Zoller] that was indicted was a very friend of mine from Mantua. The Zollers owned a pharmacy in Mantua. His brother [Bob Jr.] was hit with a mortar in Vietnam shortly after and brought back in a plastic bag. His name is on the wall. That family endured far more than any family should. It shattered them.

History is in the eye of the beholder. I’m not recounting things I read about or heard about. I’m just telling you what I saw with my eyes on that day back in 1970.”

Typhoons, Earthquakes and War… Oh my!

Typhoons, Earthquakes and War… Oh my! 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

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Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan

The Raw Facts

Typhoon Haiyan is being described as a Super Typhoon, having obliterated most of the city of Tacloban in the Philippines as well as numerous neighboring towns and villages. Death tolls are expected to be well over 10,000.

In World War II over 60 million people were killed and at least 10 million of those that died were Jewish during the Holocaust.

In 1960, Chili experienced the largest recorded earthquake in history, registering 9.5 on the Richter scale. It killed 1,655 people, left 3,000 injured and 2,000,000 homeless.


What do these three circumstances have in common? Well, the primary commonality that is easy to see is that they all have death tolls. Two of these circumstances, we had no control over and the one man-made problem (World War II) was in a nutshell based on differences of opinion and belief.

Caring for othersOne other commonality that you may not initially see is the fact that with each of these – people came out of the woodwork to try and help one another. Whether it was for disaster relief, troops to fight with or groups of people to help rebuild torn communities. As I write this, even now, the world is just starting to coordinate efforts to help the Philippines.

Two things that are common with all of us humans:

1. We all have our own beliefs and we rarely (if ever) mutually agree world wide on a single idea.
2. For as much hate as there is in the world, there is often as much if not more people that care and want to help others.

Can a World Divided Really Ever be United?

This leads me to my ultimate question that I was getting at here… Can a world with so many different beliefs, so many concepts of peace, religion, politics, differences of opinion, really ever be truly united in a “Single World Society”?

Think about it. Don’t just think about the U.S. or the U.K. or even India and China. Think about the billions of others out there, living in tiny villages that have never heard of a telephone, much less the Internet. There are societies out there that have no idea that this whole other modern world even exists out there. They have no idea that their very survival could fall in the hands of someone – a culture or a country that they have never even heard of. How can we or any other group of people really presume to assume control of the entire world as a unified people without actually consulting everyone on the planet?

The seas (and I’m talking metaphorically here) that we must bridge in beliefs, politics, cultures, tradition, religion, etc. are so vast spread across so many people that the concept of a world government is almost unfathomable. So… Do you really believe we can ever have that? And yes, ‘ever’ is a long time. I’m not just talking decades, I’m talking centuries or even thousands of years.



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