“When his number came up in the draft in 1941, [actor Jimmy] Stewart was overage (nearly 33) and underweight. But he gorged himself to reach the weight requirement and was inducted as a private. When released in 1945, Col. Stewart had led 20 combat missions over Germany and received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Croix de Guerre.
“On his missions, he meditated often upon the 91st Psalm: ‘Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day… . For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.’
” ‘What a promise for an airman,’ Stewart once recalled. ‘I placed in His hands the squadron I would be leading. And, as the psalmist promised, I felt myself borne up.’ “
Laurel L. Cornell, writing on “It’s Still a Wonderful Life,” in the Dec. 25 issue of World
“Strangely, even in the midst of all the current concern about ‘family values’ and the breakup of marriages, very little attention is being paid to what makes for marital success. Still less are we attending to the ways and mores of entering into marriage; that is, to wooing or courting.
“There is, of course, good reason for this neglect. The very terms ‘wooing,’ ‘courting,’ ‘suitors’ are archaic; and if the words barely exist, it is because the phenomena have all but disappeared. Today, there are no socially prescribed forms of conduct that help guide young men and women in the direction of matrimony… .
“Part of the current trouble lies in the fact that we come to life and love increasingly burdened by theory, not to say ideology… . Academic theorists redescribe all human relations in terms of economic models or power politics; ideologically driven redefinitions of sex and marriage spill over from the academy into the general culture; psychologists and other experts redescribe life and love in sterile jargon; movies, television, and advertising saturate our senses with titillating or shocking images; and the talk shows, filled with shameless chatter about the most intimate matters, reveal how much of private life has been deformed and dehumanized by all our theorizing and manipulation.”
Amy A. Kass and Leon R. Kass, from their new book, “Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courting and Marrying”
Who lost Vietnam?
“Vietnam broke the back of the liberal establishment. Stunned by their own children’s revolt against the war … the Best and Brightest lost their nerve and folded. Liberal anti-communism ceased to be a viable political category… .
“Out of the resulting chaos emerged the new left, the direct biological and intellectual heirs of the ‘old’ (that is to say the Communist) left. Nearly every one of the architects of the Port Huron Statement, the  manifesto of the new left student movement, was a child of former Communists or fellow travelers (one notable exception being Tom Hayden) ‘red diaper babies,’ as they were called, and as they called themselves with a certain sly pride… .
“In fact, support for the Communist Vietcong among the anti-war protesters was open and unashamed. Student activists made regular trips to Hanoi and Havana to ask North Vietnamese officials how they could help them win the war. Their followers waved Vietcong flags and pictures of Ho Chi Minh at anti-war rallies… .
“As helicopters scooped the last Americans off the embassy roof in Saigon, abandoning millions to their fate, there would be no congressional investigations, no cries of ‘who lost Vietnam,’ not even a squeak of public outrage.”
Arthur Herman, from his new book, “Joseph McCarthy: Re-examining the Life and Legacy of America’s Most Hated Senator”