Monday, April 8

Truth, Censorship and the Government

The New York Times
Letter to theEditor
April 8,2019

Mark Fallon, a retired SpecialAgent with the Naval Investigative Service, wrote an Op-Ed (published in the Times, April 3, 2019) explaining his disagreement with the NIS requirement he submit any proposed publications for pre-approval. This is not an uncommon requirement for men and women throughout the government who served in national security agencies.  Fallon has joined two other retirees who object to review of their writings before publication

This is my letter:

“If Mark Fallon could be trusted to do sensitive work for 31 years, then he ought to be trusted not to reveal classified information now.

“Censorship is anathema, even when called “prepublication review.” “

Francis X. Archibald
Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Monday, February 25

A Letter to Dr. Tara Westover

Letter to Dr. Tara Westover,

A dear and precious friend gave me your spell-binding book, Educated - A Memoir, and I finished it a few minutes ago. I will be in her debt for doing so and yours for having the guts to recount your astonishing life’s story. My story is the opposite of yours and I cannot put it down on paper (despite a reasonably decent education - Master's in International Relations).  My father deserted my mother and their five children when I was nine or ten years old. I was born in 1931 and he was long gone when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred. As he went out the door he said to me, “You are the man of the house now, take care of your mother.” 

I have often wondered what my life would have been like had my father carried on as most other fathers do: cherish their wife and guide their children with love. Absent this in your life, I feel your anguish.

Congratulations on finding the strength “to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it” and for your outstanding achievements. 

Thank you for Educated - A Memoir.

Wednesday, January 16

Barbara Ann (Archibald) McKone

Barbara Ann (Archibald) McKone completed her beautiful, creative and adventurous life on January 2, 2019 while living in Saint Elizabeth’s Manor in Bristol, RI.  She was enfolded by family love as she slowly released her courageous, independent nature over a week and her spirit rose. She is well remembered and loved by many on the east and west coasts, as both were certainly her home.   
A daughter of the late Francis and the late Anne C. (Wynn) Archibald, she was born June 1, 1930 in Lexington, MA.  As a young child she surmounted the challenges of polio with a fascination and optimism for life which fueled all of her ways and all of her days.  As a teen she was most proud of being able to dance, go to the ocean, be a cheerleader, as well as, her academic successes at Keith Hall  in Lowell MA.  As a young woman she consciously raised strong and independent daughters, she began her degrees and traveled the world.  She most delighted in maintaining a dual citizenship with Ireland and her shamrock green car.  In mid-life she pursued a dream to become a “CA girl” making her home in Orange County, getting her PHD, working as a therapist in innovative women’s health, a perfect expression of her kind and giving nature. Semi-retired she worked for Edwards Theaters due to her lifelong passion for movies, walked the seawalls of Balboa Island and later dedicated her working energies to helping others through Oasis Senior Citizen’s Center near her home in Newport Beach. 
She is survived by her brothers: Francis X. Archibald of Mt Pleasant, SC, and Walter Archibald of Sewell, NJ; her 4 daughters: Ann Marie McKone of Kittery, ME; Susan McKeon & Wayne Jipsen of Saint George, UT; Patricia & John Mack of Bristol, RI; Kathleen & Scott Pihl of Sunriver, OR; and her 4 grandchildren: Nathan (&Kristi) Rendo of Waco, TX; Caitlin (&Stephen) Caldwell of Warren, RI; Katharine (&Andrew) Boynton of West Greenwich, RI; Ian Pihl of Seattle, WA;  her 6 great-grandchildren: Liam, Reid, Ryan, Keava, Brennan, Finn; as well as, dear nieces, nephews and so many friends, all whom she treasured. 
She was predeceased by: her brother, Charles Archibald; her sister, Carol E. Archibald; her nephew, Mark Archibald.  
By her request there will be a Funeral Mass in Lowell, MA on Monday June 17th2019 at 10 AM St. Patrick Church 282 Suffolk, Street. The service will be followed by interment of ashes in a family plot at St Patrick’s Cemetery 1251 Gorham St.  
Memorials: Polio Global Eradication Initiative (PGEI) or Boston Children’s Hospital.

Tuesday, November 20

An apology is owed

Full Statement from The Honorable Leon E. Panetta issued Tuesday

“President Trump owes an apology to Admiral Bill McRaven and all of the special operations forces and intelligence professionals who planned and executed one of the most important counter-terrorism missions in our nation’s history. The operation to hunt down Osama Bin Laden -- the terrorist responsible for the 9/11 attacks on our country – was a major blow to Al Qaeda and one of the finest examples of bravery and courage I have seen in 50 years of public service.

The CIA located the compound in Abbottabad where Bin Laden was hiding. CIA officers briefed Admiral McRaven on the compound in late January 2011. President Obama and his national security team directed McRaven to plan the mission in rapid fashion. Within 100 days, Osama Bin Laden was dead.  The President’s statement criticizing McRaven for not getting Bin Laden sooner is patently ridiculous.  It demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of how our military and intelligence agencies operate and undermines the President’s own standing as Commander-in-Chief.”

Thursday, November 1

Feel good about yourself

Dear friends, 
If you want to feel good about yourself do as I did today: 
I voted!
I took advantage of the early voting opportunity. There were four clerks checking voters in and multiple electronic voting booths. When I arrived I was in a line of about 30 voters; it moved quickly and everyone was courteous. I said “thank you” to the poll workers.

Whether you vote early or on Election Day, November 6, get out and vote. This is our golden opportunity to show the world the best of America. I guarantee it will make you feel good all over. 

Sunday, October 21

Dichotomy of War

  The following Letter to the Editor was published Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, in The Post & Courier, Charleston, S.C.    

    The Oct. 18 Post and Courier presented readers with the dichotomy between “the tragic futility of war” and the “unmatched bravery” of a man engaged in war.
     George Will reviewed Max Hastings “Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy, 1945-1975," and wrote, “Vietnam remains an American sorrow of squandered valor.” 
     Another story, by the Associated Press, described President Trump presenting the Medal of Honor to retired Marine Sgt. Maj. John Canley, who during that same war, "fought with unmatched bravery” to help wounded Marines and carry them to safety. Sgt. Maj. Canley saved the lives of 20 Marines over seven days of "unrelenting combat.”
     Many Americans, including myself, have come to peace with the futility of the Vietnam War and yet we stand in awe at the courage of warriors like Marine Sgt.  Maj. John Canley.

Mt.Pleasant, S.C.

Tuesday, October 2

My Outlook at 87

Today, Oct. 2, 2018, is the first time I experienced being 87.  I share my birthday (Oct. 2, 1931) with, among others,  Mahatma Gandhi, born October 2, 1869, Groucho Marx, born October 2, 1890, and Graham Greene, born October 2, 1904.

While on a visit to South Africa I visited Pietermaritzburg, where Gandhi was unceremoniously thrown out of a first-class railway compartment and left shivering and brooding at the rail station, and where they later erected a statue in the town square to honor him. I asked my guide to take my picture in front of the statue. When I later developed the film the guide had a great shot of me but only Gandhi’s feet and ankles. So much for amateur photographers.

Throughout my life, I enjoyed both Groucho Marx for his wit and humor and Graham Greene for his novels, many of which served as stories for successful films.

Looking back over 86 years there are some regrets but too few to mention. Going forward I am optimistic there are new adventures to play out and new acquaintances to enjoy. I am blessed in many ways and trust in the Lord to continue to bless and keep me.

Everyone else should be so lucky.