The real story of the first Thanksgiving

You’ve no doubt heard the well-known story of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But did you know that what you’ve heard is drastically inaccurate?

According to the writings of William Bradford, the colony’s first governor, the hardships and near-starvation of the entire population occurred because the colonists turned their backs on capitalism. They believed the old lie that an economy based on the concept of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” can actually work. They instituted a socialist system, and found out that socialism causes disaster:

The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

For more on the lessons the pilgrims learned, see this piece by Rick Williams, Jr.

Then read about the tragedy of the commons, and consider how that knowledge applies to America’s present disastrous condition.

Thanksgiving: a holiday born out of an early American experiment with socialism

You’ve no doubt heard the well-known story of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But did you know that what you’ve heard is drastically inaccurate?

According to the writings of William Bradford, the colony’s first governor, the hardships and near-starvation of the entire population occurred because the colonists turned their backs on capitalism. They believed the old lie that an economy based on the concept of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” can actually work. They instituted a socialist system, and found out that socialism causes disaster:

The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.

What happened?

After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.

This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.

This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.

To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

For more on the lessons the pilgrims learned, see this piece by Rick Williams, Jr.

Then read about the tragedy of the commons, and consider how that knowledge applies to Obamacare.

Mark Levin’s Liberty Amendments

The Liberty Amendments

The quick and dirty summary

You’ll need to read the whole book to properly understand the problems America faces, but here’s the situation in a nutshell. We live in a post-constitutional republic with a federal government that no longer obeys — but sometimes pays lip service to — the US Constitution. Merely electing new politicians to replace the old ones isn’t enough to fix the problem anymore. The system as it stands is rigged against your individual liberty, and unless we fix the system, we’re doomed to live under soft tyranny (defined four years ago here).

Constitutional scholar, lawyer, and radio host Mark Levin urges Americans to use the last resort provided in the Constitution to save the country from tyranny:

Levin aims to change the rules of the game… or, more properly, reset them, to restore the brilliant system put in place by America’s Founders. With the situation explained and his goals set forth in a few introductory pages, he executes the rest of his book with the planning and precision of a SEAL team taking an objective. Each of his proposed “Liberty Amendments” is laid out in a brief chapter that explains its importance, sources it to the writings of the Founding Fathers, and anticipates the more reasonable objections that would likely be raised. Little time is wasted on the unreasonable objections, for Levin does not intend to address an audience of the stupid, greedy, or hysterical. He also knows his statist adversaries are not interested in rationally discussing the death of the Leviathan they nourished for generations.


“What’s he proposing?”

Levin proposes that we use the second of two methods for enacting amendments to the US Constitution, and he offers 11 amendments that would fix the rigged system we’re currently stuck with. If you want to read them by themselves without any background, click here to jump to the end of this post.

For a much more detailed look at why this convention for the purpose of proposing amendments to the constitution makes excellent sense, go read the first chapter of The Liberty Amendments, which Levin released for free at the beginning of the month. It’s brief, and everything’s footnoted and explained in detail, including references to historical debates between the Founders. The quotes reveal how and why they drafted Article V of the Constitution, which sets forth the amendment processes.

Here’s the whole carefully-worded text of Article V (emphasis mine):

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

Article V, US Constitution

“It’s a Constitutional Convention? Run!”

What we’re talking about here is not a constitutional convention, because there’s no such process set forth in the US Constitution. A constitutional convention is what a people do when they draft a new constitution from scratch. What Levin urges is something different. Look at that red highlighted text again. This would be a a convention for proposing amendments to the constitution, not a convention for tossing the whole thing out and starting over. Let us not hear any wild-eyed warnings against a “Con-Con,” then.

This is simply the second of two constitutional methods for proposing amendments, where the federal government does nothing but clerical work — verifying that 2/3 of the legislatures of the 50 States have called for a convention, and choosing between two ratification methods. True, we’ve never used this method before, but so what? Until now, we’ve enacted 27 amendments, all using the first method where they’re proposed by the US Congress and sent to the States for ratification. Now Congress has completely lost its moorings and no longer responds to our concerns, and it will never propose amendments to limit itself, the President, the federal courts, or the federal bureaucracy. So be it. The Founders wisely left us another constitutional remedy for this problem, one that allows us to rein in our government without violence. That’s all this is.

“But what if the federal government objects?”

Look at the green highlighted text. If the legislatures of 34 out of 50 States apply to the US Congress to call a convention, Congress must do so. There’s no discretion or wiggle room because the operative word is “shall.” It does not say that Congress “may” call a convention … or “should” or “can” or “might if it feels kinda generous.” There’s only a very limited and insignificant role for Congress in this situation — counting to 34, then picking one of two previously-established ratification methods. They can’t monkey around with the content of the amendments, nor can they stop them.

Also notice that neither the President, the Supreme Court, the federal bureaucracy, the lower federal courts, the 50 governors, nor the State courts have any role here. They’re all just spectators. This process barely involves the US Congress, and the legislatures of the 50 States truly run this show. Once 34 States call for a convention to propose amendments, Congress must call a convention, and all 50 States get to send delegates … even the States that didn’t want the convention to begin with.

“What’s to stop a runaway convention?”

If you’re worried about a runaway convention, where the delegates come up with a dozen good amendments and 800 wacky ones, there’s a safeguard. Reread the yellow highlighted text. The proposed amendments must be submitted to the 50 State legislatures or to 50 State conventions (whichever method Congress picks), and not a single amendment gets enacted unless 3/4 of the States ratify it. This is an inherently federalist process. Even if only 34 States call for a convention, they’ll have to get 38 States to ratify an amendment before it’s enacted. That’s a high bar to clear, so it severely limits the odds of wacky or unpopular proposals becoming law.

If you’re still worried that 310 million Americans are prone to enact a bunch of insane amendments to the US Constitution, I don’t know what to tell you. Why haven’t they already done so? Why haven’t they already tossed the Constitution formally, if that’s what they truly want? You’re either out of touch with reality (because you’re mistaken about your countrymen) or you’ve got no hope to begin with (because you can’t stop 310 million people from tossing the Constitution tomorrow at 6:00 if they want to).

Recent experience suggests that the activists on both sides are the one who will get involved, and the lazy majority will eat their Cheetos and watch reality TV. And here’s where things get promising.

“C’mon. How can this possibly work?”

While utopian statists have a death grip on the federal government, we constitutional conservatives and libertarians outnumber them at the grassroots level. Our ranks crush theirs. This process stacks the deck in our favor because it completely bypasses the masterminds in Washington, DC. Without that giant bludgeon, the statists have nothing. You and I have a snowball’s chance in Hell of meeting — much less persuading during an in-depth conversation — our US Representative or either of our US Senators. But our State Representative and our State Senator? That’s an entirely different ball game. It’s relatively easy to get their attention. None of them lives far from you. Odds are that none of them is very rich or very powerful. Neither does any of them have a bloated staff of underlings dedicated to protecting them from your influence. Very few people go to them for anything these days, largely because all the action’s in Washington where the federal Leviathan has sucked up all the money and power and oxygen.

You have proportionately huge influence over your state legislators. Use it.

“OK, but what do I do?”

Call your State Representative’s office and ask for a meeting. Call your State Senator and tell them you want to have a chat face to face. See what happens. A significant chunk of State legislators already want to see more authority returned to the States where it belongs, and that makes them your allies. Call yours and set up a meeting with each.

If they won’t see you, find five people who share your goals and call back again. They’ll schedule the meeting.

If saving the Republic and your individual liberties is worth $31.62 to you, grab two copies of The Liberty Amendments and write your name, e-mail, phone number, and brainshavings.com/liberty on the inside cover of each book. Give one to your State Rep and the other to your State Senator, and tell them you’d like them to read it. Tell them you’ll be in touch in a month to discuss how to get the ball rolling.

When you have your second meeting, suggest that they co-sponsor a simple resolution that says something like …

Rescinding all previous such applications, the Legislature of the State of _______ hereby applies to the United States Congress to call a Convention for Proposing Amendments to the United States Constitution.

That’s it. Get that started in your State House and in your State Senate, then get cosponsors. Get a majority in one body, then in the other. Once you get the same language passed though each body, you’re done.

One State down, 33 to go … and the other 33 aren’t your responsibility.

“So once the convention is called, what kinds of amendments would we need?”

Here are the eleven amendments Mark Levin came up with. I think they’d go a very long way toward fixing the rigged system we’re currently stuck with, and they would reverse this slide into tyranny.


Nine out of the eleven really warm my heart. I have a different amendment in mind that would balance the budget and limit spending and taxation, but I’m just one guy. I could easily live with Levin’s two spending and taxing amendments instead. Hell, who’s to say you haven’t got better ideas?

Just consider this: if you’re one of the first people to get this ball rolling in your State, who do you suppose might get a call from your State Rep or State Senator when it’s time for them to choose delegates for the convention? Imagine being involved in making history, and in a good way! So go buy two copies, read one, make your two phone calls, and go hand the books to your legislators.

We can save the Republic, but someone has to start the ball rolling. If not you … then who?

Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager

Comedian and podcaster Adam Carolla and talk radio host and author Dennis Prager made waves a few months ago by conducting a live on-stage talk before an audience. Hard to believe? Not really, once you’ve heard them when they get rolling.

Carolla had Prager on his podcast two days ago, and trust me, you need to listen to this episode of the show. It’s both funny and thought-provoking.

At the top of the show, Adam talks about his enjoyment of Dennis Prager’s book, ‘Still The Best Hope’. The guys talk about their upcoming tour together, and why their on-stage chemistry is so charged. Adam then talks with Dennis about a variety of issues in America, including the hypocrisy of beliefs, the importance of parental care, and why we’re really the least racist society in human history.

Later, Adam talks with Dennis about earning your self-esteem as opposed to just being given a trophy for arriving. Adam also talks about the unnecessary step to get fingerprinted to coach his kids’ baseball team, and Dennis discusses the ‘sin’ of offending people. The guys also chat about the ineffectiveness of diversity training, and the mistreatment of smokers in our society. As the show wraps up, Adam praises Dennis for his patience and respect when talking with people who disagree with him.

It’s a free download. Go grab it now while it’s still available.

Operation Baghdad Pups needs $60k by June 1

Over in Iraq, U.S. troops’ pets need your help before time runs out! SPCA International’s (SPCAI) Operation Baghdad Pups Program needs to rescue 24 animals from war zones overseas by June 1st.

Due to the extreme Middle Eastern heat, air travel becomes unsafe for animals and all airlines place an embargo on animal travel, which remains in effect until October 1st. If SPCAI cannot rescue these animals before June 1st, many of their soldiers will be forced to leave their animal companions behind to certain death. Your donation will help provide these patriot pets with travel crates, vaccinations, and transportation from the Middle East all the way to the soldier’s home in the U.S. The cost of saving these animals is great -– but cannot be compared to the comfort and companionship these animals bring to our troops.

Click on the banner above to find out more, and then chip in your movie ticket money for April. The troops — and their four-legged friends stuck in Iraq — will never forget your kindness.

An early American experiment with socialism

You’ve no doubt heard the well-known story of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But did you know that what you’ve heard is drastically inaccurate?
According to the writings of William Bradford, the colony’s first governor, the hardships and near-starvation of the entire population occurred because the colonists turned their backs on capitalism. They believed the old lie that an economy based on the concept of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” can actually work. They instituted a socialist system, and found out that socialism causes disaster:

The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.
What happened?
After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.
This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.
This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.
To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

For more on the lessons the pilgrims learned, see this piece by Rick Williams, Jr.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Damian Meehan, a Carr Futures employee (along with Jon Vandevander) who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He was 32. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan’s Irish Inwood in the 1970’s, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.
Damian’s loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.
Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian’s freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine’s friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight – and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.
On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.
On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born – the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian’s life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his “gogga-gogga” to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian’s bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.
Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent’s native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.
Most of all, Damian was a “family man”, in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.
In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian’s brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final – we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian’s wake at William’s Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.
On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann’s little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.
Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.

Remembering Jon Vandevander

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Larger Than LifeAs part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Jon C. Vandevander of Ridgewood, NJ, who was 44 on September 11th, 2001.
He was a Vice President at Carr Futures, and on that morning he was at work (along with Damian Meehan) on the 92nd floor of the North Tower at the World Trade Center. At 8:46 AM, the recently-hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into floors 93-99 of the North Tower, wiping out the eight floors occupied by Marsh USA.
Although Jon’s office was below the impact zone, the extensive damage caused by the airplane impact left him and over 60 other Carr employees trapped. A story from the UK Guardian describes a small part of what happened:

10:00 – North Tower, 92nd floor, Carr Futures, 28 minutes to collapse.
‘MOM,’ asked Jeffrey Nussbaum. ‘What was that explosion?’
Twenty miles away in Oceanside, Arline Nussbaum could see on TV what her son could not from 50 yards away. She recalls their last words. ‘The other tower just went down.’ ‘Oh my God,’ her son said. ‘I love you.’
Then the phone went dead.
That morning, the office of Carr Futures on the 92nd floor was unusually busy. A total of 68 men and women were on the floor. About two dozen brokers for Carr’s parent company had been called to a special 8am meeting. When the building sprang back and forth like a car antenna, door frames twisted and jammed shut, trapping a number of them in a conference room. The remaining Carr employees, about 40, migrated to a large, unfinished space along the west side. Nussbaum called his mother and shared his mobile phone with Andy Friedman. In all, the Carr families have counted 31 calls from the people they lost.
Carr was two floors below the impact and everyone there had survived it; yet they could not get out. Between 10.05 and 10.25, videos show, fire spread westward across the 92nd floor’s north face, bearing down on their western refuge.
At 10.18, Tom McGinnis, one of the traders summoned to the special meeting, reached his wife, Iliana. The words are stitched into her memory. ‘This looks really, really bad,’ he said. ‘I know,’ said Mrs McGinnis, who had been hoping that his meeting had broken up before the airplane hit.
‘This is bad for the country; it looks like World War Three.’ Something in his tone alarmed McGinnis. ‘Are you OK, yes or no?’ she demanded. ‘We’re on the 92nd floor in a room we can’t get out of,’ McGinnis said. ‘Who’s with you?” she asked. McGinnis mentioned three old friends – Joey Holland, Brendan Dolan and Elkin Yuen. ‘I love you,’ he said. ‘Take care of Caitlin.’
McGinnis was not ready to hear a farewell. ‘Don’t lose your cool,’ she urged. ‘You guys are so tough, you’re resourceful. You guys are going to get out of there.’ ‘You don’t understand,’ McGinnis said. ‘There are people jumping from the floors above us.’
It was 10.25. The fire raged along the west side of the 92nd floor. People fell from windows. McGinnis again told her he loved her and their daughter, Caitlin. ‘Don’t hang up,’ she pleaded. ‘I got to get down on the floor,’ McGinnis said. The phone connection faded out.
It was 10.26, two minutes before the tower crumbled. The World Trade Centre had fallen silent.

Jon was able to reach his wife on the phone after the crash, as recounted in “A Widow’s Wish”:

Jon VandevanderThere is a peacefulness in Anne Vandevander’s voice, the serenity of someone who has known happiness and accepted a fate that robbed her of some of it. Anne’s husband, Jon, worked as a trader for Carr Futures Inc., on the 92d floor of 1 World Trade Center. She talked to him several times after the tower was hit, until about 10 minutes before the building collapsed.
“He said ‘I love you and tell the kids I love them,’ ” she said. A week later, a police officer came to her door to say they had found his body. She buried him in a cemetery in Ridgewood, N.J., where they lived with their three children. “Most wives will never get that opportunity,” she said of the others who are still searching for missing relatives. “I have him back in Ridgewood. My one wish that morning was to have his wedding band back, and now I’m wearing it.”
Jon Vandevander, 44, loved his job and died with men he had worked with for 4 years at Carr, and for 10 years before that when their division was owned by Dean Witter.
He played soccer in college, and coached his children’s soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams. He loved taking his two oldest children golfing at the Ridgewood Country Club. “He was a great dad,” she said. “I feel very fortunate.”
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.

Carr Futures lost dozens of its employees on 9/11:

Carr Futures survives its darkest hour
By Collins, Daniel
Publication: Futures
Date: Saturday, December 1 2001
When the airliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the world changed for everyone, but especially Carr Futures, an FCM that had offices on the 92nd floor of the WTC’s north tower. Of the 141 employees based in its New York office, 69 did not survive that day, says CEO Didier Varlet, who was in Spain when he received word of the events via cell phone. Some New York-based Carr employees were traveling, some were on the Nymex floor and some worked a later shift, but of the 69 people in the 92nd floor office that morning, nobody escaped.

Jon was a member of the Lycoming College Class of 1979. Two other Lycoming alumni, Angela Kyte and Justin Moulisani, died in the 9/11 attacks.
Leave a note to honor his memory on this memorial and this guestbook. Godspeed, Jon.

Remember DC3 Nathan Bruckenthal, USCG

When you find some quiet time this Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to offer a prayer of thanks for the selfless service of Nate Bruckenthal.
On April 24th, 2004, Damage Controlman Third Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, USCG died from injuries sustained in the waters off Iraq in a suicide bombing attack by Islamic terrorists. He was the first Coast Guardsman to be killed in action since the Vietnam War. Petty Officer Bruckenthal left behind a wife, Pattie, and their only daughter, Harper (born seven months after her father’s death).

An early American experiment with socialism

You’ve no doubt heard the well-known story of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But did you know that what you’ve heard is drastically inaccurate?
According to the writings of William Bradford, the colony’s first governor, the hardships and near-starvation of the entire population occurred because the colonists turned their backs on capitalism. They believed the old lie that an economy based on the concept of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” can actually work. They instituted a socialist system, and found out that socialism causes disaster:

The harvest of 1623 was different. Suddenly, “instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.” Thereafter, he wrote, “any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.” In fact, in 1624, so much food was produced that the colonists were able to begin exporting corn.
What happened?
After the poor harvest of 1622, writes Bradford, “they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop.” They began to question their form of economic organization.
This had required that “all profits & benefits that are got by trade, working, fishing, or any other means” were to be placed in the common stock of the colony, and that, “all such persons as are of this colony, are to have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock.” A person was to put into the common stock all he could, and take out only what he needed.
This “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” was an early form of socialism, and it is why the Pilgrims were starving. Bradford writes that “young men that are most able and fit for labor and service” complained about being forced to “spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children.” Also, “the strong, or man of parts, had no more in division of victuals and clothes, than he that was weak.” So the young and strong refused to work and the total amount of food produced was never adequate.
To rectify this situation, in 1623 Bradford abolished socialism. He gave each household a parcel of land and told them they could keep what they produced, or trade it away as they saw fit. In other words, he replaced socialism with a free market, and that was the end of famines.

For more on the lessons the pilgrims learned, see this piece by Rick Williams, Jr.

Remembering Jon Vandevander

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Larger Than LifeAs part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Jon C. Vandevander of Ridgewood, NJ, who was 44 on September 11th, 2001.
He was a Vice President at Carr Futures, and on that morning he was at work (along with Damian Meehan) on the 92nd floor of the North Tower at the World Trade Center. At 8:46 AM, the recently-hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into floors 93-99 of the North Tower, wiping out the eight floors occupied by Marsh USA.
Although Jon’s office was below the impact zone, the extensive damage caused by the airplane impact left him and over 60 other Carr employees trapped. A story from the UK Guardian describes a small part of what happened:

10:00 – North Tower, 92nd floor, Carr Futures, 28 minutes to collapse.
‘MOM,’ asked Jeffrey Nussbaum. ‘What was that explosion?’
Twenty miles away in Oceanside, Arline Nussbaum could see on TV what her son could not from 50 yards away. She recalls their last words. ‘The other tower just went down.’ ‘Oh my God,’ her son said. ‘I love you.’
Then the phone went dead.
That morning, the office of Carr Futures on the 92nd floor was unusually busy. A total of 68 men and women were on the floor. About two dozen brokers for Carr’s parent company had been called to a special 8am meeting. When the building sprang back and forth like a car antenna, door frames twisted and jammed shut, trapping a number of them in a conference room. The remaining Carr employees, about 40, migrated to a large, unfinished space along the west side. Nussbaum called his mother and shared his mobile phone with Andy Friedman. In all, the Carr families have counted 31 calls from the people they lost.
Carr was two floors below the impact and everyone there had survived it; yet they could not get out. Between 10.05 and 10.25, videos show, fire spread westward across the 92nd floor’s north face, bearing down on their western refuge.
At 10.18, Tom McGinnis, one of the traders summoned to the special meeting, reached his wife, Iliana. The words are stitched into her memory. ‘This looks really, really bad,’ he said. ‘I know,’ said Mrs McGinnis, who had been hoping that his meeting had broken up before the airplane hit.
‘This is bad for the country; it looks like World War Three.’ Something in his tone alarmed McGinnis. ‘Are you OK, yes or no?’ she demanded. ‘We’re on the 92nd floor in a room we can’t get out of,’ McGinnis said. ‘Who’s with you?” she asked. McGinnis mentioned three old friends – Joey Holland, Brendan Dolan and Elkin Yuen. ‘I love you,’ he said. ‘Take care of Caitlin.’
McGinnis was not ready to hear a farewell. ‘Don’t lose your cool,’ she urged. ‘You guys are so tough, you’re resourceful. You guys are going to get out of there.’ ‘You don’t understand,’ McGinnis said. ‘There are people jumping from the floors above us.’
It was 10.25. The fire raged along the west side of the 92nd floor. People fell from windows. McGinnis again told her he loved her and their daughter, Caitlin. ‘Don’t hang up,’ she pleaded. ‘I got to get down on the floor,’ McGinnis said. The phone connection faded out.
It was 10.26, two minutes before the tower crumbled. The World Trade Centre had fallen silent.

Jon was able to reach his wife on the phone after the crash, as recounted in “A Widow’s Wish”:

Jon VandevanderThere is a peacefulness in Anne Vandevander’s voice, the serenity of someone who has known happiness and accepted a fate that robbed her of some of it. Anne’s husband, Jon, worked as a trader for Carr Futures Inc., on the 92d floor of 1 World Trade Center. She talked to him several times after the tower was hit, until about 10 minutes before the building collapsed.
“He said ‘I love you and tell the kids I love them,’ ” she said. A week later, a police officer came to her door to say they had found his body. She buried him in a cemetery in Ridgewood, N.J., where they lived with their three children. “Most wives will never get that opportunity,” she said of the others who are still searching for missing relatives. “I have him back in Ridgewood. My one wish that morning was to have his wedding band back, and now I’m wearing it.”
Jon Vandevander, 44, loved his job and died with men he had worked with for 4 years at Carr, and for 10 years before that when their division was owned by Dean Witter.
He played soccer in college, and coached his children’s soccer, baseball, softball and basketball teams. He loved taking his two oldest children golfing at the Ridgewood Country Club. “He was a great dad,” she said. “I feel very fortunate.”
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 9, 2001.

Carr Futures lost dozens of its employees on 9/11:

Carr Futures survives its darkest hour
By Collins, Daniel
Publication: Futures
Date: Saturday, December 1 2001
When the airliners crashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, the world changed for everyone, but especially Carr Futures, an FCM that had offices on the 92nd floor of the WTC’s north tower. Of the 141 employees based in its New York office, 69 did not survive that day, says CEO Didier Varlet, who was in Spain when he received word of the events via cell phone. Some New York-based Carr employees were traveling, some were on the Nymex floor and some worked a later shift, but of the 69 people in the 92nd floor office that morning, nobody escaped.

Jon was a member of the Lycoming College Class of 1979. Two other Lycoming alumni, Angela Kyte and Justin Moulisani, died in the 9/11 attacks.
Leave a note to honor his memory on this memorial and this guestbook. Godspeed, Jon.

Remembering Damian Meehan

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As part of of The 2,996 Project, I’m remembering Damian Meehan, a Carr Futures employee (along with Jon Vandevander) who died in the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. He was 32. The following biography was written by his family.

Growing up in a large family in Manhattan’s Irish Inwood in the 1970’s, gave Damian all the necessary essentials for a very happy childhood. Six older brothers, an older sister and a baby sister set the tone for a perpetual smile and a unique laugh that became a very integral part of his personality. His big brothers, Shaun, Michael, Eugene, Kevin, Chris and Paul, while always creating obstacles and torment in his daily life, grew to love, protect and admire this most gentle of siblings. His sisters Kitty and Janine just adored him from day one.
Damian’s loving nature made his life a very happy experience. He was such a happy kid and people loved being around him. His easygoing personality and perpetual smile endeared him to a wide circle of friends. He attended Good Shepherd grammar school in Inwood and made many close friends there that would stay with him through life. As a child he played in Inwood Hill Park and spent his summers at the Four Green Fields. Both Inwood and the Four Green Fields, played major roles in his early and developing years, that led to friendships that were to last a lifetime.
Damian was so trustworthy, that his parents allowed him to travel by subway to attend Power Memorial High School. Unfortunately, Power closed in 1984, just after Damian’s freshman year, so he decided to finish at St. Raymond’s in the Bronx, where a few of his brothers also attended. Upon graduation, Damian chose SUNY New Paltz for college. Two years later, his Dad convinced him that there was more to learn at home. Damian decided to join his sister Janine at Lehman College, where he was first introduced to Janine’s friend, Joann McCarthy. It was definitely love at first sight – and the rest is history. While in college, Damian worked at the Columbia Tennis Center in Inwood, along with various bartending jobs throughout the city. In August of 1993, Damian decided to try Wall Street and it was his brother-in-law, Marty Boyle, that introduced him to the wild world of finance. He worked for Dean Witter, which later became Carr Futures, and he came under the guidance and counsel of Brendan Dolan and they became fast friends for the rest of their lives.
On June 6, 1998 , at the age 29, Damian married the love of his life, Joann McCarthy at Mount St. Ursula Church. They were just a perfect couple; so much love, devotion and respect that was obvious to all. They settled in Riverdale. The following year they bought a house in Glen Rock, NJ near their friends Brendan and Stacey Dolan, and Kathy and Joe Holland.
On January 23, 2000, Damian Peter, Jr. was born – the arrival of Damian, Jr. could not have been more perfect. It was a great time in Damian’s life. He loved being a father and cherished every minute spent with his son. He was so proud of little Damian and always boasted about his accomplishments. They had their own rituals. Every night, little Damian would stand on the couch and watch out the window for his “gogga-gogga” to come home from work, and if Damian got home after little Damian’s bedtime, his Dad would immediately go into his room and stand over his crib and talk to him while he slept. It was an unbelievable bond.
Damian was a gifted athlete. Gaelic football was a big part of his life from a very young age; he won every under-age medal with Good Shepherd as a full back and continued at Junior and Senior grades with additional success. When Good Shepherd could no longer field a full team, Damian went to play for Donegal, along with Dave Mc Sweeney, another former Good Shepherd player. Those were great years for Damian, as he took immense pride in the fact that he was playing for his parent’s native county team. He trained really hard and thoroughly enjoyed playing at this top level at Gaelic Park and internationally as part of the New York panel.
Damian also enjoyed running, even more so in the last few years, when he began competing in races with his brothers and sister, Kitty. Damian was an excellent runner, his siblings watched in awe, as he ran the toughest hills effortlessly, and always managed to have the fastest time. Damian also enjoyed golfing and did so quite often with his brothers, extended family and childhood friends from Inwood, Chris Lee and Donn McNamee.
Most of all, Damian was a “family man”, in every sense of the word. He loved going up to the Four Green Fields because it meant spending time with family and close friends and sharing many laughs. He loved playing Bingo and the card games that followed in the dance hall into the wee hours of the morning. He looked forward to participating in the basketball tournament every July 4th and Labor Day weekend. Last Labor Day weekend, Damian spent quality time with his family and friends at the Four Green Fields, and had a great weekend. Everything was perfect. Damian was always making plans for next month and for the next five years. Life was so good: health, happiness and a secure future. Little did we know that we were all enjoying the very best time of our lives. A week later, came the devastation of September 11th, leaving such so much pain, anguish, devastation and heartache that will never heal. Life will never be the same again.
In the early hours of October 2nd, Damian’s brothers Michael, Eugene and Kevin brought us the tragic-yet joyful news that Damian had been recovered on Monday, October 1st with a bunch of firemen and civilians on West Street. The news was so final – we had lost our beloved Damian forever. Damian’s wake at William’s Funeral Home was an incredible scene, as thousands came to say goodbye to our Damian, and yet again at Good Shepherd Church on October 8th, as Father Kevin Devine led us all in a final farewell to one of the most beautiful human beings ever created. Damian now rests in peace at St. Anastasia Cemetery in Harriman, New York.
On January 13th 2002, Damian and Joann’s little daughter, Madison Margaret was born and it was finally a day to rejoice. Damian Jr. is delighted with his baby sister.
We will never forget Damian and we will all make sure that his children know the type of man their father was. For all of us, our Damian was truly one of a kind.

Rest in peace, Damian. You are not forgotten.
Please visit The Damian Meehan Memorial Fund and consider making a donation to their scholarship program.