Gut Rumbles

June 06, 2005

10 american heroes

These are people I have admired all of my life. I don't buy a lot of "conventional wisdom" today, and I believe that young'uns are being spoon-fed a lot of bullshit in schools instead of learning history. I appreciate backbone and character a lot more than I fall faint when hearing a Bill Clinton speak. Words are one thing. Deeds are another.

#1-- Ronald Reagan. He dragged this country out of the "malaise" that Jimmy Carter put it into, and he faced down the Soviet Union like a western gunslinger. He ran the bad guys out of town without firing a shot, too. Was Reagan perfect? No, he wasn't. Beruit was a mistake. But all in all, he was the best President I've seen in MY lifetime.

#2-- Benjamin Franklin. I wish I could have met that guy in person. He was an inventor, a writer, a patriot and a horny old bastard who cut a wide swath through the wimmen. He also took "air baths," where he stood buck-nekkid in front of his window and let the wind blow over him. What's NOT to like about that guy?

#3--- Thomas Jefferson. I wish we had a politician alive today fit to polish his boots. But we don't.

#4-- Audie Murphy. UNBELIEVABLE courage under fire in war. The greatest American war hero who ever lived. You know what really bothers me about the life of Audie Murphy? How could that guy survive all the certain death he cheated in WWII and then die in a fucking civilian plane-crash? Something about that just ain't right.

#5--- Robert E. Lee. Probably one of the most honorable men who ever lived. He ended up on the wrong side of the War Between the States and he lost everything as a result. But he chose his side believing what he learned from his father. And he came close to beating an overwhelming opponent. I revere him.

#6--- Alvin York. THERE'S a story everybody should read. He went from conscienience objector to war hero. If nothing else, remember one thing about him.... don't fuck with a hillbilly with a rifle.

#7--- Thomas Edison. That man did more to drag the entire world into the 20th Century than anybody else I can think of. His inventions led to damn near everything we take for granted today. His creativity was incredible.

#8--- Henry Ford. His company builds shit cars and trucks now (just check their stock prices), but he made the automobile a staple of American life. Did anybody but Edison do anything to change the landscape as much as FORD did? I don't think so.

#9---George Washington. Forget about him being a general and fighting the British. Look around at the United States today. You still have George Washington to thank for the fact that we don't have a king and a royalty in this country (although Congress, lawyers and celebrities seem to have difficulty recognizing that fact). When we took our first baby-steps as a country, he steered us the right way. One hell of a man.

#10--- My father. His name was Robert Smith (no middle name) and no history book will ever record his glorious exploits. All he did was marry my mama, work hard all of his life and produce two sons. I am one of those sons. I read a lot of history and I worship heroes from the past, but I don't believe that a one of them can hold a candle to my daddy. He's been dead for almost 15 years now, but he remains the yardstick I measure myself by. And I often find myself lacking. But it's hard for anybody to walk as tall as he did.

There's my top 10. Got any better ideas?


Honorable mention:

J.P. Morgan
Andrew Carnegie
Howard Hughes

Whatever flaws they had, they were giants. Don't make them like they used to.

Posted by: JB on June 6, 2005 01:27 PM

In a very twisted, oblique and strange way, John F. Kennedy is, at least, an honorable mention. Flawed man he was, but he was still the last Democrat POTUS who exhibited a set of balls, and wanted the United States to be THE big dawg.

Posted by: James Hooker on June 6, 2005 01:37 PM

Acidman, you NEED to visit, if you haven't, the Henry Ford Museum and the Edison Institute.
Dearborn Michigan. Very nice, Get a flight in and spend a couple days walking around the museum, a couple walking around the village. All of edison's best work, and Ford's as well. You would like it, I guaranfriggingtee.

Posted by: og on June 6, 2005 02:09 PM

Damn good list Rob.

Posted by: DaveH on June 6, 2005 02:15 PM

Alexander Hamilton
Orville and Wilbur Wright
William Tecumseh Sherman
William B. Travis

Posted by: torchpraise on June 6, 2005 02:28 PM

Torchpraise beat me to Hamilton, next to Washington, my favorite founder. He really epitomizes the American dream. I've been to both Nevis and St. Croix, where Hamilton was born and where he was raised; it's amazing where a positive attitude and hard work will get you. I've read several bios of Andrew Jackson, one tough guy, who didn't take any crap off of anyone. Very ambitious and loved his country.

Being a glass artist, of course LaFarge and Tiffiny are also personal heros. It's incredible the work that these men produced, especially LCT. To this day, unduplicatable and highly sought after. Pictures hardly do their art justice. Standing in front of some of the panels is awe inspiring to me. I've been doing this 35 years and I still can't wait to get out into my studio every morning and get to it because of how their work has motivated me.

I always thought Batman was pretty cool too.

My father was a loser, didn't teach me shit, except how not to live a life, and got kicked out of our home when I was 6.

Posted by: MM on June 6, 2005 03:58 PM

Patton - Tough guy and the best General

U.S.Grant - Stogie smoking General that did win

Ike - Great General, decent President

Abe Lincoln - The best president bar none.

And my dad was a great man too.

Posted by: Franky Tuma on June 6, 2005 04:09 PM

Don't even MENTION the name of William T. Sherman around me. Them's fightin' words.

Posted by: Acidman on June 6, 2005 04:39 PM

Yep. And if Lincoln was to pull the crap today that he pulled during the civil war the liberal press would hang him on a cross and build a fire under it. He may be a hero to some people but he suspended the constitution for about three years.

Posted by: GUYK on June 6, 2005 04:47 PM

Well, yer mostly listin' men...I like the list, but I keep thinkin' how heroic it was that Pat Nixon stood by her man, stoicly, as he was going down. God, what we women put up with till death do us part. And, then, there was Eleanor Roosevelt - she kinda dismissed men all together, fools that they can be. I liked her style.

Posted by: Bonita on June 6, 2005 05:16 PM

I hate Jimmy Carter, too, but in all fairness, he never said "malaise." That was Clark Clifford, another film of scum.

Posted by: Brett on June 6, 2005 05:30 PM

No Sherman, no U.S. victories in World Wars I & II.
He was the originator of the strategy and tactics that the sot Grant still gets the credit for.

I'm a Southerner, too, but it was really stupid to try to kick the country apart. Most Southerners know that, too: they are the most patriotic of Americans today.

He was also the best writer of all the civil war memoirists.

Posted by: Brett on June 6, 2005 05:33 PM

Yes to Andrew Jackson being on the list. Without his perseverance, many Americans would be unable to vote. Prior to his term of office, you had to own property to vote.
Revisionists historians may say otherwise, but that extension of suffrage dramatically changed America.

Posted by: joy on June 6, 2005 06:36 PM

Rob, I never met your daddy - no doubt he was a fine man. I have met MY pop, and he's still kicking around at 82 - he's MY personal number 1 - which, for both of us, is as it should be, right?

Anyway, how could you possibly leave Robert Heinlein off the list? He influenced more space-mad freaks like me than you would believe. You do know, of course, that in his lifetime, Heinlein addressed the graduating class at Annapolis, testified before Congress (by invitation, not subpoena), and advised Presidents?

AND, he made a damned good living writing SciFi, AND kept me entertained at the same time?

Better writer than any of the current crop of "novelists".

Posted by: Ward Gerlach on June 6, 2005 06:47 PM

Joy, I do not doubt that our freedoms would not have been so eroded as they have in the last 100 years if the property qualifications (which were minimal) had been maintained.

Posted by: Brett on June 6, 2005 06:53 PM

Martin Luther King
Compare Nikola Tesla to Edison and tell me which YOU think had a greater impact on history.
Frederick Douglass
John Paul Jones (that was a set of balls)
re Andrew Jackson (Trail of Tears)

Posted by: Kukulkan on June 6, 2005 07:01 PM

Martin Luther King may barely make the top 500 of greatest men of all time. It's just a token deal that he has the holiday - affirmative action, if you will.

Edison had much more of an effect on the world than Tesla. If you're going to get into theoretical guys, you should put Timoshenko up there on the list (father of solid mechanics, basically) and lots of others.

Also, if John Paul Jones is on the list, how bout a better bassist like Geddy Lee or Sting?
(ha, ha !)

Lincoln wouldn't make my top 100, and Sherman might make the bottom 100.

Posted by: Jimmy Antley on June 6, 2005 07:31 PM

The only person missing is my grandaddy. He left me 2 years ago at 77. He was a bombader in WW2 and a grunt on the ground in Korea. He was the greatest man I ever knew. Worked his entire life until Alzheimers slowly stole his brain away from him day by day.

I wish I could remember Reagan as President. I love the list.

Posted by: Alli on June 6, 2005 09:48 PM

Og is right, however you can accomplish such a visit with a much shorter trip.

Head down to Ft. Myers when you get the chance. You will find the Winter homes of both Ford and Edison, sitting side by side. It was also the home of Edison's winter laboratory and I can't even begin to tell you the feeling you get just walking around the place.

Henry Ford's ford sitting in his driveway.

One of Edison's original bulbs burning in the lab.

No doubt, two men that forever changed the world.

Posted by: jmflynny on June 6, 2005 10:40 PM

Acidman, we figured we'd get you upset with Sherman; so how 'bout we include Nathan Bedford Forrest?

We'd say that the two best civil war commanders were Sherman and Forrest. One Yankee, one Reb.

Fair 'nough?

Posted by: torchpraise on June 7, 2005 12:13 AM

don't forget longstreet, yank.

I'm suprised no one mentioned the good Roosevelt president

Posted by: Heath on June 7, 2005 01:02 AM

I agree with Kukulkan on Nikola Tesla.
He was flamboyant, eccentric (the definition has his picture) and a bad manager but he managed to invent a few things we all use today:

Fluorescent Lights
The Alternating Current Motor
The 60 Cycle / Multi-Phase system of power distribution (50 Hz in other countries but still multiphase)

Posted by: DaveH on June 7, 2005 01:56 AM

#10 on your list tops em all as far as i am concerned. I had a dad but he was too busy leading hisown life to worry much about mine so I envy the respect and honor you pay your Father and I have tried to be that kind of father to my sons..

Posted by: arathorn on June 7, 2005 06:04 AM

I war raised during the fifties amidst the madness of the cold war at its worse. People were building bomb shelters and movies showing what could happen during a nuke war were popular. It was enough to scare the hell out of a kid.

My hero taught me how to live through the turmoil. His name was Alfred E. Neuman whose motto was "What, Me Worry?" I hope many of you remember this fictional character who was both funny but important to a lot of teenagers of the 1950's.

Posted by: GUYK on June 7, 2005 01:19 PM

1) Thomas Paine - whose Common Sense galvanized the colonies to independence.
2) Thomas Jefferson - who wrote the Declaration with human rights in mind for the first time in history
3) George Washington - who walked away from the Presidency after 8 years.
4) Alexander Hamilton - whose financial system provided the basis for future business and industrialization.
5) John Brown - who forced abolition into the bloody open.
6) Abraham Lincoln - who navigated the fight to maintain the union into a revolutionary struggle against slavery.
7) Nickolai Tesla - who invented the AC power sysytem
8) Thomas Edison - Light bulb, movies, recordings
9) Henry Ford - who mass produced automobiles.
10) Mark Twain - best commentator on American life.


Posted by: Fred on June 7, 2005 03:34 PM

Sherman is the greatest general of the civil war. He was the only one with the balls to do what was neessary to win.

And #4 was a pedophile. Nice to see that on your list. Where is Bundy?

Posted by: nunya on June 8, 2005 01:05 AM

Rob, bad call on Edison.

DAVEH, good list on Tesla. But there's more, yet.

Remote control by radio

Tesla Coil, who's properties are still used in the ignition systems of gasoline engines and the high voltage supply in CRT displays, hell, even in the xenon flash circuit in a camera.

A steam turbine so efficient there is no metalurgy that can handle it to this day.

He prophecied, lasers, radar and a world wide communications system.

I have to disagree with Rob on Edison. He was a obnoxious prick who stole many of his ideas from people that worked for him. What did he give us? The lightbulb, record player, and "talkies" two already outdated technologies and one soon to be due to DVDs. Teslas are still going strong.

He was a major flake, though. Too bad he wasn't able to apply his genious to managing his ventures and his life. From what I've read, he died bankrupt, but also happy in his senility.

Posted by: Palomar Jack on June 10, 2005 02:18 AM

sherman was not the best general of the civil war. longstreet was a better commander than sherman. lee was the best.

everyone freaks out on ford inventing the auto. his biggest invention was the assembly line concept. it pervades every aspect of industry.

stephen decatur beats john paul jones. my opinion. lord nelson wrote about the respect the ships under decatur's command demanded.

i like acidman's inclusion of his dad. it's easy to sit back and think about presidents, industrialists, war heros. but the unsung guy. doing what it takes every day...... that's real heroism.

Posted by: mlah on June 10, 2005 10:50 PM

JFK had balls?
read Decision for Disaster by Grayston Lynch, our CIA man there.

Posted by: John on June 12, 2005 12:05 AM

JFK should not be on a top 50 list the same for MLK. I see no one mentioned Bob Hope. He was always there for all our fighting men. Tesla was far ahead of his time, and that may have cost him his life. Something strange here. Edison belongs on or near the top and the same for Reagan. My father was a hard working man that died at age 36. I was 13 at the time. He was my world. No one can leave out John Wayne when America is mentioned. There is more to Watergate than the press is printing. History will someday prove that Nixon was railroaded. I rate him over JFK.

Posted by: BILL on June 16, 2005 02:22 PM
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