Thursday, July 5, 2012

Some Thoughts on Freedom, 7/4/2012

As I write this my country's 236th birthday is coming to a close. We had family and friends over to our home today to celebrate and spend time together. I put up our flag early this morning and was gratified as I looked up and down our street to see several U.S. flags waving in the breeze. It has been a good day.

And, yes, I'm a patriot. Maybe patriotism has lost some of its appeal, and maybe some people think it's corny to get a little teary eyed when the flag passes by or when a group of school children sing "The Star Spangled Banner." Maybe words like liberty and freedom and justice don't stir people the way they used to. But I still thrill to those things because those words still mean something to me. And I believe that aren't exclusively American.

Those men who nailed it all down for us back there in the beginning were expressing a vision that extended to all people everywhere. The patriotic pride I feel in being an American and in my country comes from my belief that our nation is the Olympus of liberty, the keeper of the flame of freedom for all people.

So, when I fly the flag on special holidays like today, or when I sometimes run it up just for the joy of seeing it against the blue sky, I'm saying more than "God bless America." I'm saying, "God bless all people everywhere who love the idea freedom and the principles that my country was founded on."

I remember Moses' great words, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof." And I'm remembering those people throughout my life, and those who came before me, who made it all possible in this blessed land of liberty and freedom.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July today and that you took a minute or two to express thanks for the blessings of freedom.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Read great reviews from our "Charlie's Girl" blog tour

June 13  Geo Librarian
June 16  For the Love of Books
June 22  So Simply Sara
June 24  Book Haven Extraordinaire

To access reviews scroll down to see calendar and click on each of these individual dated entries shown above.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I’m finally getting back on my feet after a long, exhausting trip last week to sign books in the Las Vegas area (Henderson, to be exact) and St. George, Utah. We met so many warm, friendly, and wonderful people I can’t count them. The managers of the bookstores were not only helpful; they were engaged and very supportive. Everyone who came by our table was friendly and interesting, whether or not they bought a copy of Charlie’s Girl.

By the way, if you live in the Las Vegas or St. George areas and would like to buy a copy of Charlie’s Girl, we signed several books for sale in these stores. Some folks do like to have autographed copies, and we’re only too happy to oblige if possible.

Another feature of our trip was a visit with two former missionary companions from long ago. Dean Swensen came down to St. George, where two of his children live with their families, and Sylvan Turnblom and his daughter, Jennifer, drove down from their home in Centerville. Sylvan and I had not seen each other for over 40 years. What a reunion! I told Syl and Dean that the visit was interesting because we could see who had gained the most weight and lost the most hair. I won on both counts.

We also had the chance to spend some time in Las Vegas with our nephew, Rob Danner, and his daughter, Sarah. We were expecting to see Rob, but were surprised when Sarah walked into the bookstore with her characteristically beautiful smile. It took a moment or two to recognize her. Something about being outside your “natural habitat” I guess. We had dinner together and then Rob put us up for the night.

Today begins our blog tour. It will go on for two weeks. Several bloggers who love books will review Charlie’s Girl. This blog tour is a great idea and will introduce the book to more people than we would be able to reach otherwise. There are so many more supportive people willing to help authors than when my first book (I Only Laugh When It Hurts) was published way back when. I’m gratified to know that there are so many book lovers out there.

Well, it’s good to be back home. Now back to the sequels to Charlie’s Girl.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

German POW camp Christmas Day 1944

This is a rare photo taken in a German POW camp on Christmas Day 1944. The three men in the foreground are members of the American 82nd Airborne Division. The men in the background are French prisoners who had been captured in 1940. The soldier lying on the cot, covered by a blanket, is my uncle George Augustine "Auggie" Harris. Their German captors apparently tried to make the day as special as possible. You can see some beer bottles in the picture. Auggie was liberated by British troops on April 27, 1945.

Memorial Day is for remembering those who gave their lives in the service of our country. God bless them all and their families. I am grateful for them all. I am grateful for all those who sacrificed their lives in every war our country has fought from the beginning until now.

There is another group of American war veterans who came close to losing their lives in battle. They came home with broken bodies and tortured minds. Many died from their wounds after their wars had ended; sometimes long after. And I am grateful for them and their sacrifices.

This is a tribute to one of these, my uncle George Augustine Harris. He served with the 401st Glider Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and faced his first combat during the invasion of Normandy which began on June 6, 1944--D-Day. His unit was pulled back to England after several weeks to prepare for the invasion of the Netherlands on September 17, 1944. This was the infamous "short cut to victory" campaign envisioned by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

The invasion of the Netherlands was a two-part operation that, according to Montgomery, was to cross the Rhine and end the war with Germany by Christmas 1944. It was officially called Operation Market Garden and called for the 1st Allied Airborne Army, consisting of the British 1st Airborne Division and the American 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, to lay an airborne "carpet" which would take a series of bridges across rivers and canals between Belgium and the Rhine. The airborne troops would hold the bridges until a British armored army could race across the water obstacles, eventually crossing the Rhine and spreading out across the German industrial area of the Ruhr and force Germany to sue for peace.

It must have looked good on paper, because the allied high command agreed to launch Market Garden. Unfortunately, many a battle plan goes out the window when the bullets begin to fly. What looked like an easy walk through Holland for the Allies at the beginning of September had changed drastically by September 17 when the operation began. Two German armored SS divisions had been sent into the area days before and the Allied airborne divisions were dropped right on top of them.

After several days of desperate fighting the Allies had to pull back. Both the British and American airborne divisions suffered heavy losses, especially the British who had gone for the bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem--the famous "bridge too far."

My uncle, we all called him Auggie, was wounded by artillery fire near Ninjmegen on September 30, and captured. He would spend the rest of the war in a German POW camp. He nearly lost lost his leg, and did lose part of his left foot. For the rest of his short life (he died in December, 1952, at the age of 35) he walked with a limp, never having fully recovered from his wounds.

Today I pay grateful tribute to all those who lie in hundreds of military cemeteries around the world; and to those whose bones still remain unidentified in jungles, deserts, and fields. Over the years many observers have asked the question, "Where do we get such men?" The short answer is that they are fathers, and sons, and brothers, and uncles like Auggie. And yes, many women have made the same sacrifices. All for us. For our freedom. Let us never forget them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Other Books

Reissued by Pelican Publishing Co., Gretna, Louisiana 2009

If you've ever laughed to keep from crying; if you've ever felt that being grown up isn't all it's cracked up to be and found yourself bemused and confused by adulthood and parental responsibility; If you can remember what it was like to be a kid and have all the time in the world to do that all-important nothin'--then this book is for you, and you'll laugh when it hurts, too.

This unforgettable series of essays paints a bittersweet and vivid portrait of American life and of the lessons--some hard, some hilarious--life can teach. Looking back, Foxx relays his insights in relation to his coming of age and beyond. From the death of his father to the challenge of raising four sons of his own, he searches not only for understanding, but also for levity. As part of the growth process, Foxx passes his hard-won wisdom on to his children, with a touch of humor to ease the growing pains.

Available at

Coauthored with Eddy W. Davison, former student and colleague

Arizona Book Award for Biography 2008
Finalist for 2008 Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Award

"Recommended as must reading for those who want to know Forrest and his way of war."
 --Edwin C. Bearss, historian emeritus, National Park Service

"Chasing a figure such as Nathan Bedford Forrest through history is no easy task. Eddy Davison and Daniel Foxx have done so with the dedication and resolve of Old Bedford himself, creating along the way a rousing portrait of the soldier and the man."
--Brian S. Wills, Asbury Professor of History, University of Virginia

"The search for the truth . . . continues here with additional sources and analysis building upon the well-known legend of the Wizard of the Saddle."
--Lee Millar, president, General Nathan Bedford Forrest Historical Society

"Very enlightening as to Forrest's early years and his coming of age in the Civil War."
--Dean Becraft, past president, Scottsdale Civil War Roundtable

Eddy W. Davison teaches criminal justice at the International Institute of the Americas in Phoenix, Arizona, and serves as an adjunct professor of history at Ottawa University. He frequently writes and presents seminars on Civil War topics.
      Daniel Foxx is professor of history emeritus at Ottawa University in Phoenix and has held past history teaching appointments at East Carolina University and Glendale Community College.