PART THREE

The story of my discovery of Freedom, I have written before. Without re-reading anything previously written, I’m going to re-tell as I recall today.

If you are one of those persons disturbed over conditions in this country, wanting to do something to change the dynamics of the direction, and not knowing where to start, perhaps my story might offer some insight. The one thing everyone can do is enlighten one’s self as to the true nature of what has happened to change this country from a Constitutional Republic, with emphasis on individual Freedom and Private property concept, based upon the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution.

Reminding one’s self that all have inalienable Rights, granted by our creator and that do not come from political government. Admitting that Freedom is the desirable state and having it is self-responsibility. Recognizing it requires eternal vigilance to sustain. Failure to do that has resulted in a glaring erosion of personal Freedom.

The story of my discovery began back in the fifties, when my Air Force pilot husband received orders of re-assignment to Japan. I had to wait six months before receiving orders to join him based at Itami Air Base, in southern Japan.

My children and I flew from Atlanta, Georgia, to Seattle, Washington, then boarded the USS Gaffney ship for the two week trip to Yokohama, Japan. My husband met us there in an official military vehicle with a driver, who drove us to the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. I was so thrilled to spend the night in the famous hotel of Frank Lloyd Wright. We stayed there a couple of days, sight-seeing, eating Japanese food, and taking their hot baths, then having a massage.

After a couple of days there, we boarded a Japanese airliner for the flight to Itami Air Base. My husband had rented a small Japanese cottage near the base, with a maid. Everything about this country seemed so strange to me, but realized the sooner I adapted to this country, with a different language, and a very different way of life, the better off I would be. We had a good night’s sleep in our new home and the following evening, his squadron threw a huge party for me at the officers club. The large table laden with food had a beautiful ice-carving as the centerpiece. After dinner we danced to the music of a live orchestra. The wives of the other military personnel had arrived previously, and I was the last wife to arrive. It was a lively fun party, dining, drinking, dancing and joking that went on til the wee hours of morning.

The following day I un-packed and settled into the cute little cottage, which had tatamis on the floor and we had to take shoes off at the door. Bathing was in a large iron pot, the maid built a fire under to heat the water. But we quickly settled into this new and different lifestyle.

About two weeks later, the squadron officer’s wife invited me to go shopping with her and two other wives, in the prefecture where the movie Sayonara was filmed, starring Marlon Brando. It was a lovely little town of oriental culture. The squadron officer’s wife was driving and hit a young boy on a bicycle. He was not seriously injured. The Japanese police swarmed around us, and took all four of us to their local jail, and placed us behind bars. We did not understand the language, but one officer spoke English, and we were taken out one at a time and interrogated. I was barraged with all kinds of questions about my background, when all of a sudden he asked me if I was a member of the Communist Party. I flared and said you need to put a call through to the Provost Marshall’s office on base to send someone to represent us. He dialed the number and I spoke to someone there to send someone to rescue us from being jailed. I was just a passenger in the car.

We waited a couple of hours for an airman third class to arrive, who then sat down, folded his arms and informed us we were under the jurisdiction of the Japanese government, and ordered us to do as they said. I was totally shocked, and asked him why my government was not representing us? I asked him, why my government of the people by the people and for the people, which I studied in high school civics, did not send some one to bail us out of this Japanese jail? He informed me I would have to read the Status Forces agreement signed by MacArthur for the answer.

Therefore the airman third class did nothing, and we were held behind bars and interrogated from early that morning until after dark when we were released. We arrived back at Itami Air Base and went directly to the officers club, where a big party was held celebrating the release from jail of four officers wives. I was in no celebratory mood, exhausted and angry over the entire action and asked my husband to take me home early.

The following day I asked my husband to take me to the Provost Marshall’s office to obtain a copy of the Status Forces Agreement which my government had signed with Japanese that put them in charge after we won the war. And sure enough it was all spelled out in that agreement. Sure enough all the American military personnel at the various bases across Japan, occupying their territory, were in essence guests of the Japanese government, under their jurisdiction. We were there to protect that country not to protect Americans who were sent there.

It was that shocking experience that prompted me to learn more about my government and our role in other countries. To others the episode was like a big joke, but for me it was quite serious. I felt betrayed on several levels. The first being, my government had not informed me, before cutting orders for me to join my husband in this strange foreign country, what to expect. Secondly there was never any apology from my government, for the absence of any representation at the mercy of a foreign government, being jailed and interrogated, when I was just a passenger in a car.

After leaving Itami Air Base, we were ordered to Fifth Air Force headquarters in Nagoya, Japan. Moved to a small American settlement of 21 families called Smithtown. A few months there and a flash flood came and flooded us out of our home in the middle of the night. We were taken to an empty building on the Nagoya Air Base, and slept on the floor. The next day Air Force personnel took trucks and removed all our furniture and water-soaked belongings from the area. No Red Cross to bring us a toothbrush and we had to make do for ourselves to salvage anything we could from the flood.

We were assigned housing in an area about 20 miles from the base, that had been the residence of generals at fifth Air Force headquarters. When we arrived, some kids had vandalized and poured bottles of ink all over the house. While the maid we brought with us from Itami was cleaning the place up, we were waiting to unload the truck when a neighbor informed my husband he had a phone call. He was informed a plane was warming up, with orders to take him to Burma. I drove him back to the air base, before returning where the furniture was being unloaded. He spent the next nine months in Burma training Burmese pilots to fly helicopters.

Upon his return, orders received for re-assignment to an air base in Tokyo. All together we spent four years in Japan. Aside from all the troubles, trials and tribulations experienced there, many things about living there were very pleasant, enjoyable experiences. I participated in many activities, studied art and flower arranging, worked in Japanese movies, played a lot of bridge, and learned to roll with the punches during times of adversities. But the bottom line, after the experience in a Japanese jail, and learning about the Status Forces agreement, I never slowed down, acquiring information about the role of my government, and knowledge about what constitutes Freedom.

While my husband was in Burma, a book titled “The Ugly American” hit the newsstand and the setting for the book was Burma. It was an eye-opener, which was the beginning of my discovery relative to just how much my country and government were hated in other countries. Because my husband was in Burma, and closely connected with the US Embassy there, and because Burma was the setting for “The Ugly American,” he could relate first-hand stories about the content of the book.

Then in 1957, “Atlas Shrugged,” the best seller by Ayn Rand, hit the newsstand, and I read it as soon as it was available. A great novel about individuality versus political government, provided tremendous insight into a subject I had become so intense in learning more about. A very close friend of mine stationed in Okinawa, had read the book, and I was so fascinated by her writings that I frequently placed trans ocean calls to her in Okinawa, to discuss the book. Eventually booked passage on a ship to visit her in Okinawa. I daresay it was reading Atlas Shrugged, that changed my life.

My real quest to understand Freedom and political governments began that day I was held captive in a Japanese jail. Subsequent events and experiences, coupled with the books I read, and the people I met, all were a part of filling in the blanks which I needed to be informed about Freedom and political governments.

My education was on-going, and when I played bridge at the Tokyo Press Club with young Japanese college students, I would make a point of engaging them in conversations relative to why others around the globe hated us so much. They were quite familiar with the subject and in their broken English, spoke openly about it. They were very smart, and I enjoyed conversing with them. One young student’s father owned a jewelry store in Tokyo and when I was preparing to return to the states, my bridge partners went in together and had the father make me a beautiful pin with pearls, shaped as a key and presented it as the Key to Tokyo. I still have it.

All of this is just a sort of epilogue touching on some of the highlights of events that prompted me to learn all I needed to know to understand Freedom. My very serious pursuit and study began upon my return to America in the early sixties. Upon my return, landing in San Francisco, I knelt and kissed the ground, running to learn more. The new assignment was Reno, Nevada, where my husband was an Air Sea rescue helicopter pilot, at Stead AF base, about 20 miles from Reno.

I joined the local bridge club in town, and met a number of locals who were associated with the college, owned casinos, and other businesses, like the owner of the FM radio station, and also met the president of the local DAR. Through these people I learned a bit about local politics, and local conservatives, concerned about the direction this country was taking. Heard about the John Birch Society, and started attending some of their meetings. Never joined because the prattle on base was, military personnel should not be involved in this organization. Those I met there were the nicest people and mostly professionals. The founder, Robert Welch, visited the Reno chapter and I met him. It was through that society I acquired so many great books, on economics, politics, history, and philosophy. There were many great writers in the sixties, who wrote wonderful books. I became a voracious reader, and the more I read, the more I wanted to know.

It was there I heard about a chain of thirteen newspapers, owned by Harry Hoiles, who was a staunch stand-up guy for Freedom. One paper was the Anaheim Register and another, The Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph. I subscribed to the Gazette-Telegraph and absorbed the editorials every day, written by Robert LeFevre, the editor. I discovered he could editorialize on any subject, and incorporate the idea of Freedom, consistently. Several of the daily editorial page writers wrote about Freedom. I began corresponding with some of them. And one thing would lead to another, because at this time I was seeking teachers, who could teach me all I needed to know about Freedom. It was a pursuit that drove me.

One of the editorial page writers was Dr. George Boardman, who lived in the ghost town of Chloride, Arizona. After a time of corresponding with him, he invited me to visit him in Chloride. A brilliant man who understood the Philosophy of Freedom. He developed a course in philosophic research relating to Freedom and I became his first student to take the course. I would travel from Reno to Chloride to meet with him, spending time walking the desert with him as he taught me. He became my first real mentor.

After two years in Nevada, we were transferred to Smyrna, Tennessee. I still subscribed to the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, corresponded regularly with Dr. Boardman, had met a lot of people in the conservative movement of the sixties, read an untold number of books, and had come a long way from that day I landed in a Japanese jail. But my husband was still in the military and I was classified as a military dependent. Despite the fact that the government never paid me anything, my husband received a small stipend in his pay for me as a dependent. Therefore, I was living off tax-paid money, which began gnawing at me.

For awhile I tried to reconcile my dependency by telling myself, he’s fighting for this country, and I raised the children and supported him and so forth and so on. However, by this time I had discovered enough to know, the acceptance of stolen tax-paid monies was inconsistent with the Philosophy of Freedom. At this point I wish to point out the government has never paid me directly for anything. Despite the fact I have papers of orders they issued to me, telling me what to do to support him, they never paid me anything, nor did I ever receive one cent of military retirement money. But indirectly, my support came from tax-money while a military dependent.

While living in Tennessee we built a lovely tri-level home, heated by the cheap electricity of the Tennessee Valley Authority. We had radiant heat that came through the walls, no heaters, and I thought it was wonderful. And in my correspondence with Dr. Boardman I defended the TVA, as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Back and forth we went, while telling me I’m on his back, because everyone was paying for me to enjoy cheap electricity, until finally I got it. TVA was the last straw, when I threw my hands up and said, “I got it.”

I have written articles about my battles with the school in Tennessee and my husband sent to Viet Nam. Upon his return he was assigned as a test pilot at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio, where he retired from the military, after I announced I was done with military life, and moving back to Georgia, where I was born. He decided not to sign up for another tour of duty.

I was ready to do something with my life to express a life in Freedom as much as possible. He and I both got jobs with a motel management training school, moved to the country on 18 acres. I had a two-acre garden, chickens, two pigs, and acquired a pony for my young son. Eventually I left the school and started an antique business.

The years pass and things change. Dr. Boardman had passed and Robert LeFevre had left his job as Editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette-Telegraph, and became the founder of Rampart College, where comprehensive courses in the Philosophy of Freedom were taught. This was still in the sixties and his school had attracted the most brilliant minds of that era, from economics, history and philosophy. I decided to take a scholarship examination to attend, and to my amazement won a distinguished recognition award for writing a paper on “Principles and Value Judgments.” At the time I was director of the motel managers school in Atlanta, and wrote the paper one night after work.

I had been reading everything Robert LeFevre wrote for a number of years and he had already become my main mentor. I adored him, and later on when he taught executive sessions for Milliken Mills in South Carolina, he would stop over in Atlanta for appearances on radio shows and would call me to co-host with him.

This is the story of the route I took to learn the meaning of Freedom, which really began in a small town in southern Japan, where the movie “Sayonara” was filmed and I landed in jail there in the mid-fifties. My pursuit to understand the meaning of Freedom extended from the mid-fifties to the latter part of the sixties when I was polished off from a blackboard at Rampart College. It was an interesting journey I took until I finally got it. When Robert LeFevre autographed his book “This Bread is Mine,” he wrote, “To Anne who teaches as she learns.” A statement I cherish to this day.

It’s my belief we inherited a way of life in Freedom from those who fought the Revolutionary war. But the Right to be Free comes from our Creator. Despite the fact we inherited The Right from God, and inherited a way of life in Freedom from our ancestors, it’s up to each individual to learn its true meaning. To understand its true meaning, must be learned and experienced.

And in my opinion, the ditch of socialism, we have dug ourselves into in this country, has only one way out, and that is to learn the true meaning of Freedom, with a desire to achieve it. Anything less than that will march this nation of 300 million-plus on down the road of socialism into a state of totalitarianism.

As for myself, the route I took to learn about Freedom has been an exciting journey.

LET FREEDOM RING

JUST ME AC

email: annecleveland@bellsouth.net

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