The World War II “Flying Tigers”

Kun Shi

The World War II “Flying Tigers”, or Fei Hu in Mandarin Chinese, was a highly respected group of American pilots, the American Volunteer Group (AVG), that was recruited by the Chinese Nationalist government to fight the Japanese in the early years of the war. In the summer of 1941, about 260 AVG members (including 110 pilots and 99 P-40 fighters) reached southwest China under the command of Claire Chennault, as part of the Chinese Air Force. The P-40 fighters of the AVG were originally painted with the design of a shark’s mouth. To the Chinese in southwest mountainous region, that image of “flying tigers” was the ultimate power and ideal symbol to fight the enemy. Thus was born the nickname and the legacy of Flying Tigers, including the Disney designed insignia. 

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The End of the Liberal World Order?

Don Menzel

“America,” former Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, in his later years proclaimed, “is the locomotive at the head of mankind, and the rest of the world the caboose.” The new liberal world order fashioned together after WWII was the “rules-based order” led by the United States. The alternative, Acheson believed, is an international jungle with no “rules, no umpire, no prizes for good boys.” Does Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military incursion into Ukraine signal a return to the jungle and an end to the liberal world order? View more

A Trip to Ukraine

Junia Ancaya

Florida, November 2004

As I drove through central Florida on Hwy 60, the devastation left by Charlie, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne—four recent hurricanes that hit the state this year—was everywhere. Metal poles corkscrewed the ground; county repair trucks crowded the road’s shoulders; men rushed with ladders; and gigantic trees lay tilted toward their broken branches, as if lamenting over them.

The traffic slowed to a stop. On my left, a house, caved-in and demolished by a gigantic centenarian live oak, stood crooked with sunken holes in place of windows. Dense, dirty-gray Spanish moss spread its webs over the building, entangling debris and seemingly floating in the very air.

The desolation caused by the deadly winds carried my thoughts five thousand miles away, as I recalled my recent trip to Ukraine.

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The Ukraine Invasions

As we write this, the actual invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s forces is ongoing. Whether that stage of the “war” will be over by the time we publish is something we don’t know. Whether it is or not, conflict will certainly continue. But war and conflict aren’t new to the Ukraine, as you know from your own memory of “history”.  OLLI members have an edge on the general public in that we’re old enough to have lived some of the history that they only read about on the Web.

We have two articles today. They were written separately, but we think they fit together well. 
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A Leap of Faith Helped Soviet Émigrés

Diane Henrikson Russell

Watching the news coverage of refugees fleeing Ukraine during the Russian invasion brought me back to 1980, when a leap of faith helped a family to emigrate from the USSR. Here is how it all began.

A middle-aged, well-dressed man approached us outside of a Tbilisi museum in February 1980. We were wary as he said, “Hello,” in English.

My first husband and I were in Tbilisi, Georgia as part of the (more…)

The Soviet Invasion of Zbaraz

In 1939, after denying any hostile intentions, Soviet Russia invaded Poland from the east as Nazi Germany was invading it from the west.  A few days ago, after denying any hostile intentions, Russia invaded Ukraine. Both invasions affected the town of Zbaraz, now Zbarazh, on the border between Poland and Ukraine.

Junia Ancaya’s father, Stefan, a Lieutenant in the Polish army, was captured by the Russians at Zbaraz as they swept through. Junia has told his story in one of her books, and we are publishing the portion here that tells the story of 1939.  The story of 2022 is yet to be written.  –Editor

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T’was the Night Before

Neil Cosentino

It was the night before Christmas Eve in 1970 at Torrejon Air Base near Madrid, Spain. I was a captain in the United States Air Force and the junior aircraft commander of one of the three Strategic Air Command (SAC) KC-135 tankers.  We were from three different air bases. My home base was Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. We were there to provide backup air refueling for the SIOP war plan, emergency air refueling and training sorties. It would be another Christmas on SAC alert duty away from our families.

It was the first day of my two days off from alert duty. I had made plans to go into Madrid and do my favorite thing: enjoying the city as if it were a living museum. I was always surprised during my walks in Madrid, London, Paris, Tokyo, Copenhagen or Rome that when I roamed these cities at random,  (More…)

Remembering the Kennedy Assassination

On November 22, 1963, nearly 60 years ago, John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas.

Where were you on that day?  What were you doing when you heard the news of the President’s assassination? And what do you remember of the days that followed?

George Hyde remembers.  And he has some questions for you.  (More…)

Remembering 9/11: Twenty Years Later

Diane White

The names on the 9/11 Memorial are etched into marble and our hearts. I touched the names and there was something. An echo or reverberation. Like the experience at the wall at the Vietnam Memorial. Tears. You see people grieving next to you and long to reach out to comfort them. Sometimes you do.

On 9/11, I was with Verizon in the Information Technology department on an early morning conference call. Someone suddenly shouted into the phone (More…)

And Now for Something . . . a Little Bit Different

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

OLLI Connects is almost three years old, and in its short lifetime, we have shared a wide variety of your fellow OLLI members’ contributions: powerful  stories, rich personal experiences, fascinating nuggets of history, and humor.  We’ve taken you on trips to other parts of the United States and journeys to other parts of the world.  We’ve shared technology, book reviews, poetry and more.  We’ve had posts that were all photographs with no more words than were needed for context.

But we’ve not had a post that was almost all video.  Until today.

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol has shared two of her blog posts, and now she shares some of her video work.   (More…)