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James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005) was a United States Navy vice admiral and aviator awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War, during which he was a prisoner of war for over seven years.
This essay grew out of a request that I conduct a reprise of "The Bull's Eye of Disaster," my wrap-up conclusions on the Vietnam War that appeared in the August 1989 Chronicles, in light of what's happened in the post-Cold War world since that essay appeared.
For over a decade now, it's been commonplace for our leaders to urge us to put Vietnam behind us. My wife, Sybil, and I were face to face with our good friend George Bush when he said it again at his Inauguration in January.
The best education, the best preparation for a full and successful life surely entails a proper blend of classical and contemporary studies.
I was all of 38 years old when I first encountered the classic text that would influence my life. The year was 1962, the book was Epictetus' Enchiridion, and we got off to a very unpromising start together.
I have a friend, a Boston thoracic surgeon, who has a great sensitivity for issues concerning the meaning of life and the nature of man. It's easy to understand how a man who spends the best part of his busy days at the pressure-packed juncture of life and death could become absorbed in philosophical thought.
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