Who am I? Why am I Here?

No, this is not another obscure religious reflection. The title of this post refers to Admiral James Stockdale, who passed away yesterday at the age of 81. Stockdale is probably best known for his turn as Ross Perot’s running mate in the 1992 presidential election. The woefully underprepared Stockdale uttered the famous “who am I? why am I here?” during the vice presidential debate and soon became the butt of many jokes. But Stockdale’s career prior to his brief turn in politics was anything but a joke. Stockdale was one of the most decorated officers in U.S. Navy history, and was the highest ranking officer held as a POW in Vietnam. He won the Medal of Honor for his seven-year stint as a POW, where he organized his fellow inmates to resist their guards and inflicted upon himself near-fatal wounds to show his captors he could not be broken by them. He won 26 combat-related awards in all.

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