Letters to the Editor
Hooray! The article and photographs on Fr. Paul O’Connor’s witnessing of the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship Missouri (Fall 2010) was particularly appreciated, I’m sure, by those few “GI’s” left among us who were privileged to “serve” under him from September 1946, to June 1950, while he was Dean of the University. Though I, for one, feel strongly the good he did in that role should also be highlighted, and strongly!
He was every (tall!) inch “a man’s man;” certainly the man for the job at the time of riding herd on thousands of us veterans on campus who had returned all at once to the confines of the classroom and the structures of a Jesuit education. He understood us and patiently tolerated our peculiar foibles and frustrations, while at the same time running, “a tight ship,” in his quiet unassuming, but always gently authoritative way. His personality and his prudent decisions were a positive influence on the future lives of many of us veterans in particular.
As one small example of his unassuming, informal, but effective ways, he momentarily stopped me one day with a light touch on the arm as we passed one another in the narrow passageway between Hinkle Hall and an adjoining building, and said quietly, “Oh, by the way … just so you won’t be surprised during graduation next week, you will be receiving the Archbishop McNicholas Gold Medal for excellence in the study of philosophy. It won’t put any beans and bacon on the table, but it might make your mother happy.”
He was perspicacious on both counts: It did please my parents. But it didn’t help me much in finding gainful employment with an AB degree in Philosophy, History and English Literature at a time when engineers were inheriting (rebuilding) the earth!
—John E. Wall, Class of 1950, USN (ret.)
More Fr. O'Connor
I enjoyed very much your article on Fr. O'Connor (Fall 2010). I only knew him from a distance, though I did wash his dishes and the other Jesuits while attending XU. He was always friendly when he delivered his plates to my work station. I have worked for at least 10 presidents at my institution (CSU-Pueblo), and Fr. O'Connor was the very best of a good bunch. I remember his concern for academic excellence, his reluctance to spend money on himself.
My other connection is my wife. She was one of the victims of the bomb and had to flee Hiroshima under the prospect of something "big" that the Americans were about to do.
God bless Fr. O'Connor and all the other Jesuits at Xavier. Most of them were persons that I have tried to imitate in my life.
—John R. Griffin, PhD
I’d like to comment about the article, “American Dream,” by Ms. Julie Zimmerman (Summer 2010). Here are two of my favorite quotes:
“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight—it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”—Dwight D. Eisenhwer
“Throughout history, the most common debilitating human ailment has been cold feet.”—Unknown
It’s been said that if you repeat a lie frequently enough people begin to accept it as truth. The American people should stop feeling sorry for themselves. I learned at a very early age, life isn’t easy. It’s full of difficulties and challenges. You either take on these challenges head on or they overwhelm you. It’s in your hands. No one else’s.
Those surveyed should read some history about the founding of this country. The sacrifices made my those courageous people are astounding. Look at what the men and women in the 1940s sacrificed to save the world, the world from tyranny. How do you think they felt about the American Dream?
Lastly, I simply could not resist commenting about the Dayton woman in Mr. Ford’s focus group who thought, “We did everything we could to do right by our kids.” Having a child graduate with $170,000 of debt borders on insanity. The only thing she said that made any sense was, “she felt like they must have done something wrong.” Do you think?
PS: If you want to see a picture of optimism, courage and a genuine American, take a look at that guy on page 3 with the black suit, white collar and sunglasses. A great teacher never strives to explain his vision. Rather, he simply invites you to stand beside him and see for yourself.
—Andrew A. Egloff
Thanks so much. I really appreciate your articles on the retired professors (Winter 2010). It's just so good to hear all about them. Please do more of this in the future.