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Your Historical Heroes

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    Posted: 11 Apr 2010 at 20:23
Everybody has certain personal 'heroes' from history, whether they realise it or not. Either they came across as dapper, thoughtful, abrasive, or courageous, some individuals shaped the course of history as a result of their personality.

Mine would have to be:

Edmund Burke: His attitude towards Ireland and the Catholics was spot on, he had genuine integrity, hated political violence and reasoned with a real passion not from abstract concepts but from hard, cold political realities. He rarely decried the persecution of Irish Catholics from a completely moral vantage point (Though he was certainly appalled by the Penal Laws) but emphasised the dangers of radicalising a majority of the population for such an absurd reason. Also warned about how their disabilities would act as a 'contagion for Jacobinism'. Also add in his sheer eloquence and his Irishness and his influence on the cause of liberty. (Though you may not agree if you're French)

Daniel O'Connell: Loud, arrogant, egotistical, and wonderfully self confident. Almost fictional in his audacity. Not to mention the fact that he's worth 10,000 Irish men of violence. He did the bravest thing any demagogue can do - renounce the use of violence. The greatest democrat of the 19th century, in my opinion.

Woodrow Wilson: If only the rest of the world were as farsighted as this thoughtful American President.

What about you? Remember, your encouraged to be impartial.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2010 at 20:59

I am not sure if You ask for any kind of historical figure seen as admirable or restrict it to "political" ones? Could it be a figure who´s existense or life is debated (as for instance the founders of some widespread religions)?

For my own part I had to think a bit about it. Perhaps a russian officer who is said to have calmed down a threatening atomic war scenario in the 80´s (unfortunately I have forgot his name).  Perhaps sometimes positive developments may be the result of "teams" were it is difficult to point out only one individual.
 Perhaps I tend to suspect people I admire for some acts had another "darker" side, while it is easier to find entirely negative figures, not least from the political history of last century.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2010 at 22:19
Woodrow Wilson!!!! Parnell stay away from the Jameson! The man was a bigoted egotist who created most of the social problems that plagued the United States in the first half of the 20th century! You do not want me to quote from his five volume History of the American People (1901), which sits on one of my shelves as a steady reminder of pomposity gone "swarming".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2010 at 22:22
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Woodrow Wilson!!!! Parnell stay away from the Jameson! The man was a bigoted egotist who created most of the social problems that plagued the United States in the first half of the 20th century! You do not want me to quote from his five volume History of the American People (1901), which sits on one of my shelves as a steady reminder of pomposity gone "swarming".


There are 14 good reasons for non Americans to admire Woodrow Wilson.
http://xkcd.com/15/



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Apr 2010 at 23:09
Well I have a widespread list of historical Heroes, from Hannibal the great Carthaginian military commander, to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Omer bin Khytab (RA) El Che, Mustafa Kamal Attaturk, Gandhi, Ghazi Amanullah Khan and speaking of current short history Vladmir Putin the man who brought back Russia to the world stage.
If I continue there would be many many more but to shorten the list I guess these are the people I appreciate the most through history.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 00:05
Historical heroes you say? I can rattle them off the top of my head;
 
Omar bin al Khattab - for pretty much everything he said
Azdemir al Hajj - for single handed turning the tide against the Mongols
Al Aqib al Sanhaja - for completely refusing the political favour of the Askiya if he considered it immoral
Doudly Bradstreet - for defeating the Jacobite army and saving all England with a single lie.
Pawel Strzelecki - for being the kind of person who would've jumped off the edge of the world if he could. Arguably, he did many times.
 
An Arab, a Turk, a Sanhaja, an Englishman, and a Pole. Fair?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 07:47
We should remember some of "our heroes" may be others villains, some are unknown to may of us, and some we may simply see as insignificant. Therefore an ultrashort description of the deeds of those "heroes" and what was heroic about them are wellcome.
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Constantine XI - For being the most tragically heroic figure in history ever
Edward I Longshanks of England - For excelling other medieval rulers and trying to make his country a force to be reckoned with
Cincinattus - For dutifully serving his country without demanding she degrade herself for his vanities
Anastasius I - For being an austere pennypincher like myself (as if Justinian would have had a chance at reconquest without Anastasius!)
Basil II - For being a simply awe inspiring man who did naught but devote himself to being the best sovereign of his nation he could be

Yes, I am Byzanto-centric, deal with it.
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For me it is Plato all the way but I will choose Philip II of Macedon as well since I bear his name. Apparently, as you can see from my profile pic, I have some sympathy for King Midas.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 11:08
Burke was an interesting choice. Otherwise I come up a bit short, though I'd pick someone who comes from the chain that runs from Aristotle through the Bacons and Ockham via Kepler up to Hume. I'm inclined to disregard the bubble reputation even sought in the cannon's mouth.
 
And Plato gives me the shivers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 14:36
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Woodrow Wilson!!!! Parnell stay away from the Jameson! The man was a bigoted egotist who created most of the social problems that plagued the United States in the first half of the 20th century! You do not want me to quote from his five volume History of the American People (1901), which sits on one of my shelves as a steady reminder of pomposity gone "swarming".


There are 14 good reasons for non Americans to admire Woodrow Wilson.
 
Dr G is a bit too negative on Wilson, but he was a pompous prig who thought he knew better than anyone else...not so good for politics.  In fact, the New Jersey Democratic organization was eager to promote him as a presidential candidate to get him out of the NJ governor's office!  He was impossible to work with.
 
In Washington, he antagonized Henry Cabot Lodge to the point of exasperation because he would not compromise on the League.  Had he done so, the changes proposed by the Republicans may well have led to US membership.  As it happened, it was mostly Wilson himself who scuttled American participation.  Personal dislike is one thing, but to antagonize the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over the matter was bad politics.
 
In foreign affairs, Europe's virtual exhaustion after the war caused the European powers to defer more than they wanted to the US.  The "Fourteen Points" were mainly viewed by the Europeans as unrealistic; as "points" of departure for revanchism and renewed conflict, and as uninformed interference by America in affairs they knew little about.  In this general view, I must agree, as the US had been focused on Asia for decades (along with the Caribbean), and would remain so until WW II.  Check out the disposition of US naval forces after 1919.
 
I think it was Clemenceau who complained that he tired of hearing of Mr. Wilson's Fourteen Points as God Almighty had only ten.
 
Wilson was a man of conscience who had an understanding of American interests in its own backyard, but was out of his depth on the world's stage.
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 14:43
Just sitting here thinking about this, I have difficulty coming up with "heroes."  There are people in history who I think are admirable, but I don't know if I consider any of them heroes. 
 
I'll have to give it some thought away from the PC (that's personal computer).  Smile
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 15:54
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Woodrow Wilson!!!! Parnell stay away from the Jameson! The man was a bigoted egotist who created most of the social problems that plagued the United States in the first half of the 20th century! You do not want me to quote from his five volume History of the American People (1901), which sits on one of my shelves as a steady reminder of pomposity gone "swarming".


There are 14 good reasons for non Americans to admire Woodrow Wilson.
 
Those 14 reasons applied only for white christian peoples of the world. That excludes about 4/5ths of the world's population.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 16:19
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Woodrow Wilson!!!! Parnell stay away from the Jameson! The man was a bigoted egotist who created most of the social problems that plagued the United States in the first half of the 20th century! You do not want me to quote from his five volume History of the American People (1901), which sits on one of my shelves as a steady reminder of pomposity gone "swarming".


There are 14 good reasons for non Americans to admire Woodrow Wilson.
 
Those 14 reasons applied only for white christian peoples of the world. That excludes about 4/5ths of the world's population.
 
Al-Jassas
Today they may be 4/5, but imediately after the Great War there where a very much larger proportion of Europeans. One may also ask if "national self determination" is only "good", but often "nationalism" is seen as negative! And should any sub group be seen as "nation"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2010 at 21:18
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Woodrow Wilson!!!! Parnell stay away from the Jameson! The man was a bigoted egotist who created most of the social problems that plagued the United States in the first half of the 20th century! You do not want me to quote from his five volume History of the American People (1901), which sits on one of my shelves as a steady reminder of pomposity gone "swarming".


There are 14 good reasons for non Americans to admire Woodrow Wilson.
 
For goodness sakes, Parnell, the Fourteen Points had nothing to do with Europe and were drafted entirely for domestic political consumption. People forget that in 1916, German Americans composed a significant element of the electorate and that Wilson "the prig" (thanks, Pike) had appealed to this group with the slogan "He kept us out of war!". If you really want to know the dark side of his character I will simply repeat his comment upon Griffith's film, Birth of a Nation, after a private screening at the White House: "That's the way it was!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2010 at 07:48
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

Today they may be 4/5, but imediately after the Great War there where a very much larger proportion of Europeans. One may also ask if "national self determination" is only "good", but often "nationalism" is seen as negative! And should any sub group be seen as "nation"?
European proportion declined from 25% in 1900 to 10% in 2008 according to this site: http://www.answers.com/topic/world-population.
But alot of that decline is because of the wars I'd wager. Both in direct casulties and lack of breeding age people. So 1919 might be less than 25%


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 13 Apr 2010 at 07:49
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Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Just sitting here thinking about this, I have difficulty coming up with "heroes."  There are people in history who I think are admirable, but I don't know if I consider any of them heroes. 
 
I'll have to give it some thought away from the PC (that's personal computer).  Smile
 
 


Well, someone you admire sometimes is your hero. Maybe not in an epic way but as a person.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Anton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2010 at 00:25

My historical hero is Isambard Brunel Smile

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2010 at 02:31
Are not heroes, as well as the esteem through admiration, a function of personal contact and impact? Everything else is really nothing more than vicarious projection or worse, delusion. There is something extremely off-setting over admiring a perfect stranger whose actual qualities as a human being are totally unknown to the adulator. Fame or notoriety are hardly qualities converible into the heroic or the admirable. Vanity, all is vanity...

Edited by drgonzaga - 14 Apr 2010 at 19:47
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2010 at 02:53
How about favourite historical personailities then Dr G?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2010 at 10:43
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Are not heroes, as well as the esteem through admiration, a function of personal contact and impact? Everything else is really nothing more than vicarious projection or worse, delusion. There is something extremely off-setting over admiring a perfect stranger whose actual qualities as a human being are totlly unknown to the adulator. Fame or notoriety are hardly qualities converible into the heroic or the admirable. Vanity, all is vanity...


Not even in the Carlylian sense?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Apr 2010 at 19:44
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Are not heroes, as well as the esteem through admiration, a function of personal contact and impact? Everything else is really nothing more than vicarious projection or worse, delusion. There is something extremely off-setting over admiring a perfect stranger whose actual qualities as a human being are totlly unknown to the adulator. Fame or notoriety are hardly qualities converible into the heroic or the admirable. Vanity, all is vanity...


Not even in the Carlylian sense?
 
The hero as testosterone run amuck!?! Placing aside the Romantic babbling of "the great man" allowing himself to be great one really has to restrain heavy chortling when reading the following:
 
"a sort of savage sincerity--not cruel, far from that; but wild, wrestling naked with the truth of things...a most gentle heart withal, full of pity and love, as indeed the truly valiant heart ever is"
 
On Heroes, Hero Worship, and the Heroic in History, p. 140-193, passim
 
If you haven't had enough yet, Parnell, how about the below:
 
"...all sorts of Heroes are intrinsically of the same material; that given a great soul, open to the Divine Significance of Life, then there is given a man fit to speak of this, to sing of this, to fight and work for this, in a great, victorious, enduring manner; there is given a Hero,--the outward shape of whom will depend on the time and the environment he finds himself in"
 
Ibid., p.115
 
The "divine significance of life", my word! If we are not in the realm of caricature, then all of those pretty phrasings are but garlands hung around egocentrism, greed, ambition, and all the other petty foibles of mankind. Better a world full of J. Alfred Proofrocks than these strutting narcissists.
 
We all should by now be very clear as to the consequences of hubris.
 
There are no "great" men other than in the realm of fantastic story tellers!Evil Smile
 
 


Edited by drgonzaga - 14 Apr 2010 at 19:45
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Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

How about favourite historical personailities then Dr G?
 
Jonas Salk!
 
Would that more that came after him had emulated his actions rather than running straight to the patent office!
 
It is what you give to mankind rather than what you take that defines "greatness".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2010 at 14:35

Success is what makes a hero, traditionally success in war, but these days it seems commonly applied to success in any occupation besides rapist.

Even more subjectively people tend to elevate to hero(ine) those people whose qualities they find uniquely appealing, usually because they can identify with their agenda or nature. In this manner I consider men like Machiavelli, Chevalier D'Eon and Marquis de Sade to be my own, highly personal, heroes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2010 at 14:42
So you are fascinated by sex and dominational power Reginmud. Why is that no surprise? Perhaps a link to your comments on Zagros's present problem will illuminate further...Wink
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2010 at 15:12
Indeed I consider sex and power to be the pillars upon which the male nature is built; our ability to surpass and conquer other men, our access to women and the extent to which we can control them - this is what our minds revolve around more than anything. I admire those who are able to be honest and upfront about their nature without confusing themselves with ideology or convention.
 
However that's not exactly why I consider those men my heroes. It has more to do with how Machiavelli and de Sade argue in favour of pragmatism and in the latter's case libertinism. Moral is inevitably rooted in metaphysical dogma, hence it is irrational to let one's actions be dictacted by anything but self-interest except from religious POV. It could of course be argued that neither of them were able to further their own interests to any great extent, but that's just one more thing we have in common.
 
My admiration for D'Eon is solely based on his skills as a cross-dresser, though I suppose calling him a libertine as well isn't too unreasonable.


Edited by Reginmund - 19 Apr 2010 at 15:15
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Apr 2010 at 17:01
Why do I get the feeling that the above is certainly much more than I wanted to know!?! I am surprised you left Sulla and Nero off of your list given that they did get to "further their own interests" to a surprising degree!
 
But take heart... 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2010 at 00:23
Originally posted by Reg Reg wrote:

However that's not exactly why I consider those men my heroes. It has more to do with how Machiavelli and de Sade argue in favour of pragmatism and in the latter's case libertinism. Moral is inevitably rooted in metaphysical dogma, hence it is irrational to let one's actions be dictacted by anything but self-interest except from religious POV. It could of course be argued that neither of them were able to further their own interests to any great extent, but that's just one more thing we have in common.
A large (probably dominating) point of the religious POV is that your long term self-interest extends to practicing religious morals.
 
So it may be in a mans immediate self interest to do that drunk girl, but religion teaches that its in his long term self interest, in both this world and the next, not to take advantage of her.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Apr 2010 at 12:23
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

A large (probably dominating) point of the religious POV is that your long term self-interest extends to practicing religious morals.
 
So it may be in a mans immediate self interest to do that drunk girl, but religion teaches that its in his long term self interest, in both this world and the next, not to take advantage of her.
 
Certainly. Adopting a religious POV will in most cases involve a redefining of self-interest that extends beyond our physical lifespan.
 
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

Why do I get the feeling that the above is certainly much more than I wanted to know!?! I am surprised you left Sulla and Nero off of your list given that they did get to "further their own interests" to a surprising degree!
 
Nero was a powerful stooge who'd never have amounted to anything if not for his birth, even now his name lives on as a comical warning against inherited, absolute power. Sulla on the other hand was a great man of both ability and integrity. Machiavelli considered Sulla as possessing the ideal characteristics of a ruler and I largely agree; Sulla was about as good as they get.
Sing, goddess, of Achilles' ruinous anger
Which brought ten thousand pains to the Achaeans,
And cast the souls of many stalwart heroes
To Hades, and their bodies to the dogs
And birds of prey
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Apr 2010 at 03:13
In re:  "Those 14 reasons applied only for white christian peoples of the world. That excludes about 4/5ths of the world's population."

The real point is that those 14 points inspired many non-white Christian peoples, to include Ho Chi Minh (not on my list of heroes) and a plethora of Korean nationalists.

As for mine, General Paris de la Bollardiere, the WWII French SAS leader, Indochina para commander, and General who decried the use of torture used to defeat the FLN in the Battle for Algiers. Going against many of one's wartime comrades based upon personal convictions is a rare act indeed.

General Jean de Lattre de Tassingy. Arrogant, vain, opinionated, and brilliant. When everyone else at his level was ducking to avoid being named Commander in Indochina, he turned down a plush position in NATO to step into the fray. It cost him his only son, and eventually his own life.

Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk. Without the two of them, South Africa would have been the bloodbath that everyone was predicting. It may yet be the only single successful post-colonial state in Africa south of the Sahara. 

Colonel Tran Dinh Vy. Former French sergeant and North Vietnamese commando leader, then ARVN combat commander, endured 10 years of prison after 1975, left for France where he was appointed a Lieutenant Colonel in the French Army. Retired as a Colonel in the French Foreign Legion, and died early this year. Had the ARVN had more Tran Dinh Vys, and less politicians, they would be the ones ruling Vietnam today.

ARVN Special Forces Major Ton That Thuan. From a well connected Hue Buddhist family (the Ton That's are an offshoot of the Imperial Nguyen Phuc line), he chose to fight for his country, commanding a company in the elite 81st Airborne Rangers, and then took command of the II Corps MIKE Force as it was being transferred to ARVN control. Proud, Nationalist, and not enamored of the Americans, he was killed in action at Bu Prang on 11 November 1969.
Phong trần mài một lưỡi gươm, Những loài giá áo túi cơm sá gì
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