Information

William Luke


William Luke was born in Ackington in 1890. He played local football for Bedlington United before signing for Preston North End in 1912. An outside-right he was a member of the team that won the Second Division title in the 1912-13 season.

Luke joined the British Army and was badly wounded on the Western Front. This brought his football career to and end.

William Duke died in January 1992.


Ray City History Blog

Horace Luke, son of Estell Nash and Perry Luke, was the second fatality of the Johnson-Luke Feud in the Summer of 1926. On a Saturday afternoon, August 28, 1926 the young boy was riding with his parents to pick up his grandmother, Lucretia “Cresie” Luke, at her home near Ray City, GA when the family was accosted by an “in-law.” In the ensuing gun battle, the boy’s parents were both wounded, his uncle Lonnie Johnson was killed with a shotgun blast, and Horace was fatally wounded in the chest. He died on Sunday, August 29, 1926.

Horace Luke, age 6, was a victim of the 1926 Johnson-Luke feud in Berrien County, GA

The Atlanta Constitution
August 30, 1926 Pg 11

6-YEAR-OLD BOY FEUD VICTIM DIES

Nashville, Ga., August 29. Perry Luke, Jr. aged about six years, died during the night of a gunshot wound received yesterday in the gun battle staged in the Johnson-Luke family feud.

The boy was wounded in the chest by bullets fired during a gunshot battle staged on a highway near here in which Lonnie Johnson, 35, of Daytona, Fla., formerly of Berrien county, was killed, Perry Luke was shot in the shoulder and Mrs. Perry Luke was shot through the neck, the bullet coming out at the mouth.

Lonnie Johnson, just back from Florida, who was in an automobile with his wife, is said to have driven to the home of Walter Luke, informing him that he was going to wipe out the family of Walter’s brother, Perry, on sight.

At the time, according to information in the hands of county officers, Lonnie Johnson, who married a sister of Mrs. Perry Luke, ascertained that Perry Luke had gone to the home of his mother, to get her to spend Sunday with them. The mother resides on the highway between Adel and Ray City.

As Johnson drove away rapidly in the direction of the residence of his mother, Walter Luke, cranked up his truck and obtained his shotgun and started in pursuit, but the automobile outran the truck in the chase.

When approaching the residence of his mother, Walter Luke found Lonnie Johnson’s car turned across the highway, blocking traffic, while he said Lonnie Johnson was shooting into the car containing his brother and the members of his family.

As he climbed out of the truck Walter Luke says that Lonnie Johnson turned his pistol upon him, but Walter Luke opened fire with his shotgun and killed Johnson almost instantly.

The Survivors and the Dead

Lonnie Johnson was killed on August 28, 1926 by a shotgun blast fired by his brother-in-law Walter Luke. Father-in-law Edward C. Nash was the informant on Johnson’s death certificate. The location of Lonnie Johnson’s grave is not known.

Death Certificate of Lonnie Johnson, August 28, 1926.

Horace Luke, shot in the chest by Lonnie Johnson, died the following day, on Sunday, August 29, 1926. Horace Luke was buried at Flat Creek Cemetery, north of Nashville, GA.

Grave marker of Horace Luke, Flat Creek Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.

Bessie Nash Johnson was uninjured in the feud. She contracted tuberculosis and went to the State Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Alto, GA. She died less than a year after the gun battle, passing from this life on June 7, 1927.

Death certificate of Bessie Nash Johnson, State Tuberculosis Sanitarium, Alto, GA

Fannie Estell Nash Luke, wife of Perry Luke, was “shot in the neck, the bullet coming out at the mouth.” She died ten years later and was buried at Flat Creek Cemetery, Berrien County, GA

The Nashville Herald
Mrs. W.P. Luke Is Called By Death

Mrs. W. P. Luke, well known and highly esteemd [sic] Berrien county lady, died Tusday [sic] morning at 11 o’clock at her home 14 miles south of Nashville on the Nashville-Valdosta highway. She had been ill since September. The deceased, who was 33 years of age, was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ed C. Nash, who reside near Lake Park, but former Berrien county citizens. Mrs. Luke was born and reared in this county, and was married to Mr. Luke about 15 years ago.
Funeral services were held Wednesday morning at 11 o’clock at Flat Creek church, conducted by Rev. A.H. Giddens and Elder John Harris of Valdosta, and lasting tributes were paid to the life of the deceased.
The pall-bearers were Messrs T.B. McDonald, John Stalvey, Jim Willer, John Chason, J.A. Sapp and J.T. Herring.
Arrangements and burial were in charge of the Giddens Funeral Home of Nashville.
Surviving are the husband, three sons, two daughters, two brothers and one sister.

Perry Luke, shot in the shoulder, survived and lived to age 63. He died September 26, 1963 and was buried at Flat Creek Church Cemetery, Berrien County, GA.

Walter Luke was not injured in the battle. He died June 8, 1975 in Lowndes County, GA.


Ray City History Blog

Levi J. Knight, original pioneer settler of Ray City, was the military leader of the community. He served as a captain of the local militia company in the Indian Wars, and as a general in the state militia.

Almost immediately after the election of Abraham Lincoln, Levi J. Knight formed a company of 103 volunteers, the Berrien Minute Men.

Resolutions of the Berrien Minute Men, passed December 10, 1860 at Nashville, GA

Georgia
Berrien County

At a meeting of the Company of Berrien Minute Men at Nashville this 10th day of December 1860, the following resolutions were offered by Capt. Levi J. Knight.
Resolved that we the Berrien Minute Men, adopt the following uniform, viz, Blue Gray Cloth, turned up with black flat-plate buttons, gray caps, with a black leather band, and plate buckle in front.
Resolved that we hold ourselves in readinefs to march at a minute warning, under orders from his excellency the Governor, to any place in this state or out of it, that his excellency’s orders may designate.
Resolved that we prefer the Minnie Rifle, and Sword Bayonet, and request our officers to apply for them, as our first choice.
On Motion, the above resolutions were unanimously adopted.

Although Civil War was imminent, long months of preparation passed. A few of these original Minute Men would drop out and new recruits take their places before Captain Knight’s Company finally made their way to Savannah in the summer of 1861.


The Challenge of History: An Interview with William Lane Craig (Australian Presbyterian)

The most distinctive claim about Christianity in relation to other world religions is that Christianity says that God has revealed himself in history. As British theologian, Alan Richardson, has stated: &ldquoThe Christian faith&hellipis bound up with certain happenings in the past, and if these happenings could be shown never to have occurred, or to have been quite different from the biblical-Christian account of them, then the whole edifice of Christian faith, life and worship would be found to have been built on sand.&rdquo
At this time of Christmas, we celebrate the central event in world-history that God became man in Jesus Christ. Today this claim is under assault in a variety of ways. Some claim it&rsquos a myth others assert that it&rsquos a meaningless statement because it is impossible to really know the past. AP asked William Lane Craig, Research Professor in Philosophy at Talbot Theological Seminary, Los Angeles, what he thought about these views.

Why is history so important to the Christian faith?

History is crucial to Christianity because it keeps the Christian faith from degenerating into mythology. Unless the Bible is rooted in actual historical events, there is no reason to think that Jesus of Nazareth should be any more determinative for my life today than so-called gods like Thor, Odin or Zeus or any other mythological deity. History is the vital component in Christianity because it grounds faith in fact and keeps it from being mere myth.

Do other religions have a similar interest in history?

Yes, but only in a relative sense. Other religions certainly have an historical component. One thinks of Judaism, for example, where at least among orthodox Jews, God&rsquos acts in history like the Exodus are very important. God&rsquos rescue of the Israelites from Egypt is the central miracle of the Old Testament. Again, history plays some role in Islam. For instance, the coming down of the Qur&rsquoan out of heaven to Muhammad is purported to be an historical event and is believed by Muslims to be God&rsquos revelation to him.

So there are historical elements in these faiths, but they don&rsquot have the same significance as historical events in Christianity. The reason for this is that one&rsquos salvation in Judaism and in Islam is not a matter of historical facts it&rsquos a matter of being obedient to certain sorts of prescribed activities or regulations. Although these regulations arose in a certain historical context, that context doesn&rsquot really affect the practice of the piety of those religions in any way. However, in Christianity it&rsquos entirely different. In Christianity the saving acts of God are themselves historical acts. So if you were to remove the historicity of Jesus or the historicity of the cross, the whole basis for atonement and salvation would be removed.

So, in one sense, it&rsquos true that history is important to these other faiths but historical facts do not occupy the central role that the saving acts of God do in Christianity.

GE Ladd has said : &ldquoThe uniqueness and the scandal of the Christian religion rests in the mediation of revelation through historical events.&rdquo What does he mean by that?

Ladd is right, of course. Christianity is not a code for living or a philosophy of religion rather, it is rooted in real events of history. The reason it&rsquos scandalous is because it ties up the truth of Christianity with the truth of those historical facts. This means that if these historical events are shown to be fraudulent or fictional, then the whole basis of Christianity is removed. To put it as simply as possible: the truth or falsity of Christianity stands or falls with individual events within history.

Islam, on the other hand, is not nearly as dependent on history. For instance, you can follow the five pillars of Islam: make the confession, say the prayers, give the alms, go to Mecca and so forth, but none of these things is directly dependent upon historical events. However, Christianity is quite different. The offer of salvation that we receive in the Gospel is real only if the specific events upon which the offer is based are real. And that&rsquos scandalous in a sense because, as I said, if those events are shown to be fictional, then the whole religion collapses.

On the other hand, I think this makes Christianity a truly great religion because it gives us a means of verifying the truth of the Christian faith. We can actually investigate history to see whether Jesus of Nazareth lived, died and rose again and made the claims that we find in the New Testament. So the Christian faith provides a touchstone for the assessment of its claims that isn&rsquot present in most other religions of the world.

Has the historical element of the Christian faith always been considered important in the Church?

Traditionally, it has. Right from the beginning, Christianity&rsquos earliest creeds are affirmations of historical events. For instance, the Apostles&rsquo Creed says of Jesus &ldquoHe suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried&hellipon the third day He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.&rdquo These historical events are important elements in the early creeds.

Tragically, with the rise of liberal theology in the 19th century, the importance of history for Christian faith was depreciated and lost. Liberal scholars no longer believed that Jesus was really central to the heart of the Christian faith. They looked elsewhere for the central core: the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. They believed that this was the one doctrine that was fundamental to Christianity. Everything else was secondary, including historical events.

Thankfully, liberal theology has come and gone. I think the 20th century has been characterized by a strong appreciation of the centrality of history for the Christian faith. And we should be really grateful for that.

Didn&rsquot the church in the Middle Ages also lose contact with history through its preoccupation with philosophical theology?

In one sense it did. But that shouldn&rsquot lead us to think that people in the medieval period didn&rsquot sense the importance of history. They believed that events like the resurrection of Jesus really occurred they understood that these were not just fictions or myths. For them, Jesus of Nazareth really lived, died and did these things.

The difficulty was that they didn&rsquot have any way of demonstrating that this had happened. The most that they could do was to appeal to the miracle of the church itself. To them, it seemed incredible that this universal edifice, now spread throughout all of known civilization, could have been predicated upon a falsehood. So the living miracle of the church itself was the best proof they could give that these events actually did happen. But medieval scholars certainly did believe that these historical events occurred. They were in no doubt whatsoever that the historicity of these events was crucial and not to be compromised.

What impact did this renewed interest in history have on apologetics in the period after the Reformation?

At the time of the Renaissance scholars developed a new consciousness of history. They became intensely interested in rediscovering the past. This desire to develop an historical understanding expressed itself in the love and search for documents of antiquity. There was a great interest in recovering Greek documents and in mastering the ability to read Greek once again.

This interest in the classics had a flow-on effect for New Testament studies. Scholars became interested in the historical roots of Christianity and began the task of establishing the text of the New Testament as reliably as they could. As a result, the first glimmerings of an interest in a historically-oriented apologetic for the Christian faith began to appear. Scholars such as Philippe de Mornay and Hugo Grotius soon began to use historical arguments to defend the truth of the gospels and Christianity.

Why are people so skeptical today of the idea that history is an objective reality?

I think that some people are skeptical about this because of the popularity of relativistic views of truth. Post-modernism denies the existence of objective truth. Post-modernists believe that the past is merely the construction of the present. They believe that since the events of the past are gone, they are lost&mdashthey&rsquore no longer accessible. Therefore history is what we make it. And, moreover, since they claim that no historian is a neutral observer, but is inevitably caught up in the historical process, he cannot reconstruct the past objectively as it really was. This has led some thinkers to a relativistic view of history according to which, as one person put it, &ldquoHistory is a series of lies that everyone has decided to agree upon.&rdquo

Is there any point in trying to discover the historical facts about Jesus, when so many people have tried to do it and have come up with different assessments of them?

Yes, I believe there is. I think that the diversity of opinions about the historical Jesus can be largely tied to the sort of philosophical presuppositions that critics bring to the table. Their conclusions are not really being determined by the evidence so much as by the presuppositions that they bring to it. You see this clearly in their published works.

For instance, the members of the Jesus Seminar explicitly state what their presuppositions are in their introduction to their edition of Five Gospels. For them, the number one pillar of scholarly wisdom is the presupposition of scientific naturalism. In other words, they don&rsquot believe that that there are supernatural events in history. They think that whenever you find a miraculous event in the narrative, this is an automatic sign that you&rsquore in the presence of either legend or mythology. They simply begin with the assumption that miracles are fictional in character. Extraordinarily, they make no attempt to justify this presupposition. If you begin with the assumption of scientific naturalism, then of course events like the virgin birth, the incarnation, the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection will have to be assessed as non-historical.

Again, some critics like Marcus Borg make it very clear that what he&rsquos looking for is a Jesus who will be religiously available to people in the contemporary scene. Borg deliberately sets out to re-interpret Jesus to be a sort of cross-cultural, spiritual person&mdasha kind of mystic&mdashwho will appeal to persons in all cultures and in all religions. That&rsquos why he comes up with a very politically-correct Jesus&mdasha Jesus who is not offensive or jarring to the modern mind. Borg&rsquos reconstructed Jesus is a good example of how some scholars&rsquo conclusions are deeply shaped by their presuppositions.

However, if you do not force these critical presuppositions upon the Gospels, then there is quite a remarkable consensus emerging amongst scholars about the person of the historical Jesus, what He taught, and about events in his life surrounding his death and resurrection. So I think we need to be careful not to exaggerate the diversity of views amongst scholars today. Certainly there has been a diversity of views in past quests to recover the historical Jesus&mdashbut contemporary scholarship has actually recovered, I think, the broad outlines of a portrait of Jesus that can be largely agreed upon.

Since we cannot directly observe the past, can we know anything about it as it actually happened? Could our ideas of the past be an elaborate fabrication, as untrustworthy as a dream?

Well, the difference between a dream and history, of course, is that history leaves a residue and a dream does not. And it&rsquos through this residue, whether in the form of literary documents or archaeological debris, that historians are able to reconstruct the past. True historians work within the constraints of the remaining evidence. And that&rsquos the difference between actual history and a dream. It is only on the basis of the evidence that we can reconstruct the past we are certainly never justified in going against that evidence.

Interestingly, the historian follows the same method as the historical scientist in sciences like geology, paleontology or cosmology. There the scientist is also involved in reconstructing the past, either the past history of the universe or the earth&rsquos past. The only real difference between the scientist and the historian is that the historian studies human history rather than earth history or cosmic history. But in terms of method, they&rsquore doing exactly the same. The historian&rsquos history is on the same level as the geologist&rsquos history or the cosmologist&rsquos history. When people try to play off history against science, they&rsquore making an illegitimate move because history is on &ldquoall-fours&rdquo with the historical sciences. As long as we proceed within the constraints of the evidence, there&rsquos no reason to think that we can&rsquot reconstruct the past as it actually happened.

How do we know that historical facts are real? The events themselves have gone and all we&rsquore left with is an historian&rsquos statement. For instance, with respect to the Christmas story, all we have is Matthew and Luke&rsquos historical statements that they took place.

In the first place, it&rsquos important to notice that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. When you think about it, we have no evidence at all for most historical events&mdashyet they really happened. For example, we have no evidence that on April 2nd , 1802, Napoleon spat in a puddle. Perhaps he did, but we have no way of knowing.

Most historical events don&rsquot leave sufficient evidence to reconstruct them, so the absence of evidence isn&rsquot itself proof that an event didn&rsquot occur. In the case of the gospels, I find it extraordinary that we have any evidence at all for some of these events. For instance, consider the events of the virgin birth or the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In this case, we have evidence from a variety of sources. This is very interesting when we compare it with the evidence that we have for other persons in antiquity. In their case, we have almost no evidence at all. So it&rsquos clearly wrong to say that the mere absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

In cases where we do have evidence, historians have worked out a number of objective rules that we can apply to the sources so as to establish whether they are historically credible accounts as opposed to mere fiction. We call these criteria &ldquothe criteria of authenticity.&rdquo

For instance, let&rsquos consider the criterion of &rdquomultiple attestation.&rdquo If we have independent accounts of the same event, this rule says it&rsquos more likely to be historical than fictional because it would be most unusual if two authors independently made up the same story about the same event. Isn&rsquot it remarkable that we should have two, independent virgin birth narratives about Jesus? If you apply this rule of multiple attestation to Jesus&rsquo birth narratives, then we have good grounds for believing that he was born in Bethlehem and born of a virgin. Why? Because we have it attested in independent narratives&mdashMatthew and Luke are independent of one another in their sources at least.

Another rule for establishing the historical nature of an event is the principle of dissimilarity. This rule says that if you can show that an event or saying of Jesus&rsquo life is unlike anything in prior Judaism and also unlike anything in the Church that followed him, then it&rsquos highly probable that it belongs to the historical Jesus himself. So this criterion of dissimilarity can be a very positive help in establishing events as historical. Incidentally, this rule doesn&rsquot mean that if some of Jesus&rsquo statements are similar to those found in Judaism or the early church, then this indicates that they&rsquove been borrowed from these sources. Critics misapply the rule when they do that.

Another rule is the criterion of embarrassment. This rule says that if you find elements in the narratives that are awkward for the early Christian Church, or perhaps even embarrassing, then these too are most likely to be historical rather than to have been invented by the Church.

A further criterion would be the execution of Jesus. His crucifixion is such a firmly fixed anchor point in history that events in the Gospels can be assessed by their likelihood of leading up to Jesus&rsquo execution/crucifixion. For example, Marcus Borg&rsquos portrait of him as gentle Jesus, meek and mild, is incompatible with his crucifixion for being the king of the Jews. On this view, he did nothing that would have led to his crucifixion. So we can conclude that this view probably doesn&rsquot give us an accurate portrait of Jesus as he really was.

There are other criteria as well. In fact, there&rsquos a long list of them, but these are just a few. Historians apply them all the time to secular narratives with a view towards establishing their historical credibility. I find these criteria to be very helpful. When critics like those in the Jesus Seminar use these criteria to come up with skeptical portraits of Jesus, the reason is, I think, because of their presuppositions and not because of the criteria. They apply these criteria falsely because they&rsquore skewed by their naturalistic presuppositions.

Some people say that history is unscientific because with science, at least, you have the evidence in front of you, and you can experiment on it and repeat the experiment obviously you can&rsquot reconstruct a historical event&mdashwhat do you say to that? Is science therefore more objective than history?

No, I don&rsquot think so. Let&rsquos take geology, for instance. Now a geologist assumes that certain theoretical entities, like dinosaurs, once existed. He observes fossil bones and he hypothesizes that these are the remains of living creatures that actually once roamed the earth. But he&rsquos never seen one. In a sense, a dinosaur is a theoretical entity similar to a quark. But the difference is that the quark involves, obviously, such a high level of theoretical abstraction that we&rsquore not sure that quarks are really there. However, nobody really doubts that dinosaurs once existed. And yet, as I say, the subjects of this science are just as removed from the geologist as are the events of history from the historian.

Moreover, the historian operates with just as much residue of the past as the geologist does. He can rely on archaeology and other sciences like numismatics (the study of coins) or papyrology. All of these sciences explore the past, just as geology or paleontology does. They are disciplines designed to reconstruct the past within the constraints of the evidence. So I don&rsquot think you can draw a demarcation between science and history in such a way as to say, well, science is objective but history is a bog of subjectivity.

Some historians, especially revisionists like neo-Nazis, are very selective in their use of facts. They write histories that are more a reflection of their prejudices than actually what took place. To what extent can we be assured that the gospel writers were not revisionists themselves?

It&rsquos important to understand that all ancient historians wrote from a point of view. Herodotus, Thucydides, Tacitus&mdashall of them had a case to make. For them, history was a means of defending their understanding or position. So in that sense, all of Greco-Roman history is based upon documents that reflect a certain bias. However, that does not prevent the classical Greco-Roman historian from reconstructing the past as it actually happened.

Similarly, when Jewish historians write about the Holocaust, they clearly have a point of view and are as passionately committed to it as the neo-Nazis. Nevertheless, we don&rsquot write off their work as unhistorical because of their bias or put it on a par with that of the neo-Nazis. Rather, we assess both versions of the Holocaust by the evidence. If the Jewish account falls within the constraints of the evidence, then their point of view doesn&rsquot necessarily falsify what they write.

Now the gospels are written from a certain point of view: they have a story to tell&mdashthe story of Jesus. They are proclamations which have an intense interest in certain events of history. But that doesn&rsquot mean that they cannot tell the truth about the past, or that we cannot assess their credibility.

The &ldquocriteria of authenticity&rdquo that I&rsquove already mentioned are aimed precisely at getting past the sort of bias that may influence historians as they write the story of the past. These rules are designed to assist us in establishing what really happened. They help us to see if a historian is telling the truth.

In short, if a historian&rsquos understanding of the past is wrong, the reason it&rsquos wrong is because it doesn&rsquot fit the evidence it&rsquos not wrong because he has a point of view. So it all goes back to what the evidence indicates.

Every new generation has its slant on history. Karl Popper, the philosopher, has said, &ldquoThere can be no history of the past as it actually did happen, there can only be historical interpretations and none of them is final. Every generation has a right to frame its own.&rdquo Is this true? Is it possible to come to a really objective understanding of history?

I think the reason historians are often rewriting the past stems from a couple of factors. One of them is the discovery of new evidence. When we discover new evidence, this can revise our picture of the past. So we need to rewrite the history to bring it into conformity with the new evidence. Now, far from undermining the objectivity of history, this is actually evidence for it. If the discovery of new information means that we have to readjust our view of the past to bring it into line with the wider body of evidence, I should have thought that that was powerful testimony for the objectivity of history, not against it.

The other reason why historians revise their earlier understandings is that with increasing distance, or with new perspectives, we often acquire a different view of the past and its significance. Sometimes we see events in a new light. We see how certain events have shaped history in ways that we didn&rsquot appreciate before. And again, I think, these perspectives do not falsify the past rather, they help us to see the significance of these events from a new vantage-point. The important point to note is this: our expanded understanding of the past doesn&rsquot lead us to think that these events never occurred, or that past histories are necessarily false. Usually, it&rsquos more a matter of reassessing the motives of the key figures or the significance of the events themselves for the course of subsequent history and how they&rsquove shaped and affected things.

So I don&rsquot think that the need to re-write history undermines the objectivity of the discipline at all. Actually, I think it&rsquos quite the reverse. It&rsquos really testimony to the objectivity of history.

What other problems are there with the view that says that we can never know the past as it really was?

I can think of at least three significant problems that historians face if they take the view that we can&rsquot know the past as it is. The first difficulty they face is that there is a common core of historical events that is accepted by all historians, whether Catholic or Protestant, Marxist or capitalist, 19th century liberal or 20th century revisionist. For instance, I don&rsquot know of any historian who would deny things like the date of the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln&rsquos assassination, Napoleon&rsquos defeat at Waterloo and so forth. These form a sort of back-bone of history, upon which all historians are agreed. I think it was Isaiah Berlin who said, &ldquoIf some one were to claim that the plays of William Shakespeare were actually written in the Court of Ghengis Khan, we wouldn&rsquot say that he was merely mistaken, but that he was out of his mind.&rdquo So there is this common core of historical events that everyone agrees upon. I think this is a powerful argument which simply overwhelms the relativist claim that there is no objective history.

The second difficulty that relativists face is that there&rsquos a difference between history and propaganda. Historians insist on this difference. When the Soviet Union, in the aftermath of the Stalinist takeover, began to rewrite history, vast amounts of material&mdashnewspapers and all sorts of documents&mdashwere mashed to pulp. Stalin did this so that he could rewrite the history books. Quite naturally, he wanted people to think that he was at the forefront of the Bolshevik revolution. I guess we shouldn&rsquot be surprised that everybody recognizes that this sort of Soviet rewriting of history was pure propaganda. It had no basis whatsoever in fact. Historians understand that when they do their work they must do so within the constraints of the evidence they are not allowed to propagandize. However, such a distinction becomes meaningless if relativism is true. If relativism is valid, we need to face the fact that we cannot insist on the distinction between history and propaganda upon which all reputable historians insist.

Finally, the third problem with the view that says that we can&rsquot know the past objectively is that on this basis it becomes impossible to criticize bad history. Take Immanuel Velikovsky, a popular author, as a prime example. He attempts to rewrite ancient history entirely by denying whole civilizations and linguistic groups on the basis of astronomical catastrophes in the earth&rsquos history. Now Velikovsky&rsquos views have been rejected across the board by historians as being utterly fanciful. His books have received very negative reviews in the historical community. And yet, if relativism were true, it would be impossible to criticize this sort of work. In fact, if Velikovsky&rsquos work were allowed to stand, any view of the past would be possible.

I believe that those who deny the possibility of objective history haven&rsquot faced the fact seriously that a common core of historical events accepted by all historians exists. Nor have they taken seriously enough the truth that there is a distinction between history and propaganda. Again, the fact that all historians are quick to criticize bad history provides powerful evidence that it is quite possible to do an objective history of the past.

One New Testament critic has said: &ldquoSince the disciples were close followers of Jesus they would have been less accurate observers and recorders of what actually happened.&rdquo Is there any truth in this with regards to the birth narratives of Jesus?

With respect to the birth narratives of Jesus, we don&rsquot have eye-witness testimony from Jesus&rsquo disciples to this event, but it&rsquos very interesting to ask about the sources of the birth narratives. Colin Hemer, in his book, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History goes through Acts with a fine-toothed comb with a view toward assessing Luke&rsquos credibility as an ancient historian. He pulls out a wealth of historical detail from the book. He assesses the historical information that he finds in terms of facts that would have been the general knowledge of anybody living at the time down to details so specific that only an eyewitness could have known about them. And he establishes convincingly the historical credibility of Luke as an historical author.

Further, Hemer argues that this assessment of Luke&rsquos reliability in Acts ought to be extended to Luke&rsquos Gospel as well. He asks the interesting question: &ldquoWhat sources might there have been for the Gospel of Luke?&rdquo Well, one way of determining this is to subtract from Luke&rsquos Gospel anything that we find in the other Gospels and see what&rsquos left over. When you do that, it&rsquos interesting that the uniquely Lucan material tends to be associated with women who are mainly mentioned in his Gospel&mdashpeople like Joanna and, interestingly enough, Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Now Luke says that he accompanied Paul on his missionary journey back to Jerusalem where he interviewed eyewitnesses to the events of Jesus&rsquo life and ministry. And I think that it&rsquos not unlikely that Luke may have interviewed Mary as his source for the virgin birth story. It&rsquos interesting to note that Luke&rsquos account is told from Mary&rsquos perspective, whereas Matthew&rsquos narrative is more from Joseph&rsquos perspective. It&rsquos not implausible, therefore, to believe that we may have an indirect source in Mary herself for Luke&rsquos birth narrative of Jesus.

Numbers of historians have suggested that the birth narratives of Jesus are implausible because it seems almost fanciful that people like the Magi would have appeared. What do you think?

When people say things like this, it&rsquos probably due to the fact that they have great difficulty accepting the supernatural elements of the narrative. They find it too hard to swallow the idea that a star appeared in the East that led the Magi to Jesus. Again, I think this is going depend largely upon your openness to a supernatural view. I mean, there have been attempts to show that this could have been a providential coincidence of certain planets that produced a bright light in the sky. Some argue that such an event was astronomically plausible. But as I read the narrative, it seems to me that Luke describes this as a supernatural event. If you believe in the existence of God, I don&rsquot see any reason to think that he couldn&rsquot have drawn Zoroastrian priests to come from the East to find Jesus and worship him in that way.

Of course, there is also the dispute about the slaughter of the children by Herod, but that&rsquos really, again, an argument from silence. Those who claim that it couldn&rsquot have happened do so on the basis that it&rsquos not mentioned in Josephus. But remember what we said before: absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.

Would the murder of these children have been consistent with Herod&rsquos character?

I don&rsquot think there&rsquos any doubt about that! It certainly fits right into Herod&rsquos character that he should do such a thing. Actually, Josephus tells that before he died Herod had given commands that upon his death all the notables in the area were to be rounded up in a stadium and slaughtered because he feared the people would not lament his passing and in this fashion he could ensure that there would be lamentation upon his death! Thankfully, this order wasn&rsquot carried out, but it shows us something of his brutal character. If he had ordered the slaughter of children around Bethlehem, there wouldn&rsquot necessarily have been great numbers of male babies that were killed&mdashit might have been a couple of dozen at the most&mdashso I don&rsquot think much can be inferred from Josephus&rsquo silence about the incident. I really think that people need to come up with better arguments if they&rsquore going to say that the birth narratives are non-historical.

What about the claim by some scholars that Luke is mistaken in his view that there was a census that was taken throughout the known world at the time of Jesus&rsquo birth?

That&rsquos more of a problem, I think, because we do have positive evidence that there was a census taken by Quirinius around AD 6 or7. But it&rsquos very interesting that Luke refers to this census when he talks about the revolt of Judas the Galilean. But when he talks about the census that drew Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem he says this was the first census which suggests that Luke is differentiating this census from the later one taken by Quirinius. So he doesn&rsquot seem to be confusing the two he&rsquos aware of the latter one, and he&rsquos saying this is an earlier one. So once again it does become an argument from silence, namely, that since we don&rsquot have any independent attestation of this earlier census, Luke must be wrong. Well, he could be, but then again these arguments from silence are very tenuous. We should note that he doesn&rsquot actually say that Quirinius was the governor at this time. The word he uses in the Greek is not the Greek word for &ldquogovernor&rdquo, and it could have been that Quirinius, as a military commander, directed this census at the behest of the authority in power. So again, it&rsquos really an argument from silence which proves nothing.

Again, I need to say again in favor of Luke, that his accuracy on other matters is just impeccable. He gets it right over and over again in so many other cases that this gives him a certain credibility that makes us reluctant to say, &ldquoHe&rsquos made a major faux pas here.&rdquo

Luke claims in his introduction (1:1-4) to be writing something similar to a Greek scientific treatise. Is that right?

Yes. His preface is written in the Greek of the classical Greek historian. But after the preface, he reverts to the more common, vulgar Greek. It&rsquos as though he&rsquos put the reader on notice in the preface, saying: &ldquoI, too, if I choose, can write in the classical Greek of the great Greek historians.&rdquo And he speaks there of using the methodology of the Greek historian, namely, interviewing witnesses to the events in order to lay out an orderly narrative of what&rsquos actually happened. In other words, his aim is to establish the truth of the Gospel events. So his project is clearly to write history. Further, the book of Acts demonstrates his historical reliability abundantly. And so in the case of the Gospel, where we do not have the benefit of secular confirmation, we ought to extend to Luke the credibility as a historian which he has earned in the book of Acts.


Sir William Ramsay and Luke the Historian

Sir William Ramsay (1851-1939) was an archaeologist and biblical skeptic. He taught at the University of Edinburgh and believed that Bible writers made facts and stories up. The book of Acts, he declared, was full of errors, and to prove this contention, he traveled to Asia Minor to demonstrate Luke’s unreliability.

He understood he could not prove or disprove miracle accounts, but if he could show Luke to be a sloppy historian on facts that could be verified
(geographical and historical), he felt he could discredit Luke’s unverifiable stories.

Ramsay the skeptic returned to Great Britain a believer. Every one of Luke’s facts checked out. He found Luke to use specific and accurate terminology that reflected a careful chronicle of events. There were proconsuls in senatorial provinces, asiarchs in Ephesus, politarchs in Thessalonica. His conclusion was that Luke was a highly reliable historian, rendering the story of the early church in the book of Acts a remarkably clear one.

The title politarch in Acts 17:6 is particularly striking because, until Ramsay’s investigation, the term was unknown in Greek literature outside Acts. Ramsay found five inscriptions with the term in the city.

Ramsay wrote several important books reflecting his archaeological findings such as The Church in the Roman Empire, St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen and The Cities of St. Paul.

What Ramsay’s story demonstrates is the Bible will withstand any investigation from those willing to honestly look at the evidence.


The Incredibly Accrurate Dr. Luke

    In one of his letters, Paul mentions Luke as being his friend and a doctor:

Of the 4 gospels, Luke's gospel is my favorite. (I don't like something without a good reason). Luke was a scientist and the way he wrote the Gospel and Acts is from a scientific point of view. That speaks naturally to me.

John's gospel on the other hand, is very emotional. That's fine for some emotionally inclined person or someone that can be moved to faith through emotion. But I am just too level headed to be persuaded just by an emotional account - it needs historical accuracy for my scientific mind. However, once I believed, I can appreciate John's narrative - he talks about Jesus from a very personal perspective.

    Luke mentioned in the very beginning of his gospel that he wrote it with a specific purpose:

Luke 1 vers 1 to 3: Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eye witnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having traced the course of all things accurately from the first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus

To give you just an idea what I meant by historical background information, here is just a short list of things mentioned in Luke's work:

    Luke sets the events he records in dates - using Roman Emperor reigns, see: Luke 2 v 1

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar

One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius .)

There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome.

In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah - Luke 1:5

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria .) - Luke 2:1-2

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar -- when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene -- during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas , the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. - Luke 3:1-2

    So Luke included an incredable amount of historical information in his two works. he refered to hunderds of people and places in ancient history (e.g., Derbe, Lystra, Lysanias, Annas, Caiaphas, etc)

By including all these historical information, Luke had given the skeptics plenty of reasons to criticize his gospel for accuracy, for Luke's gospel was under a tremendous criticism for a long time (that was before archaeology came to Luke's defense)

You have to understand that some people and places that Luke reported in his gospel were not very prominent (some are city officials): there are no historical evidence that these people or places (some are tiny towns) existed.

Luke was indeed under heavy criticism - especially concerning his reference to less prominent people, such as "tetarchs" (see below)

Luke has not only withstood the test but he is NOW considered to be a highly acclaimed historian: :

  • Kenneth Wuest in "Word Study in the Greek New Testament": click here
  • John Hitchen, National Principle - Bible College of New Zeelan: click here
  • Miscelaneous: click here

    I have listed a number of the more extraordinary feats of Luke that showed that Luke did "having traced the course of all things accurately from the first"

He studied under the famous liberal German historical schools in the mid-nineteenth century.

Known for its scholarship, this school taught that the New Testament was not a historical document.

With this premise, Ramsay investigated biblical claims as he searched through Asia Minor.

What he discovered caused him to reverse his initial view. He wrote:

It did not then in my line of life to investigate the subject minutely but more recently I found myself often brought into contact with the Book of Acts as an authority for the topography, antiquities, and society of Asia Minor.

It was gradually borne in upon me that in various details the narrative showed marvelous truth.

    One of the most remarkable things about Luke's accuracy was his familiarity with the correct titles of all the notable persons he mentioned - that is not an easy feat in those days (there is no encyclopedia of "Who is who" or the Internet) - (to illustrate: how did the Germans call Hitler ?)

    In Acts 13 v 7, Luke addressed Sergius Paulus with the (correct) term "anthupa" , translated "deputy" or "proconsul."
    In Acts 16 v 35, he used the correct titles "praetors" and "lictors" , translated "magistrates" and "serjants" or "officers"

    Luke correctly called Herod Antipas"tetrarch" .

    One of the more famous examples of title that got Luke into trouble was his calling the rulers of city in Thessalonica: politarchs (See Acts 17:6).

Luke got into trouble with liberal biblical scholars because: the word "politarchs" , was not found in any classical greek literature

Skeptics used this as proof that Luke has no idea about what he was talking about: how can Luke use a Greek word that is not used by anyone else ? He must not know his Greek.

  • A webpage with the marble inscription of "politarch": click here
  • Facing the challenge webpage on "politarch": click here

    In Luke 2:1-2, Luke gave a description of the way in which the census was carried out -- by the enrollment of all persons at their place of origin.

In other words, everyone must go back to the place of their origin to be counted.

    Another hotly discussed topic in Luke's gospel was the mentioning of Lysanias being tetrarch of Abilene during the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar in Luke 3:1-2:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar -- when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene -- during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas , the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert. - Luke 3:1-2

Here is a picture of a coin of Lysanias:

The temple inscription reads:

Huper tes ton kurion Se[baston]
soterias kai tou sum[pantos]
auton oikou, Numphaios Ae[tou]
Lusianiou tetrarchou apele[utheors] ten odon ktisas k.t.l

"For the salvation of the August Lords and of all their household, Nymphaeus, freedman of Eagle Lysanias tetarch established this street and other things."

    The reference August lords is a joint title given only to the emperor Tiberius (son of Augustus) and his mother Livia (widow of Augustus) - this reference establishes the date of the inscription to between A.D. 14 and 29: the year 14 was the year of Tiberius' accession and the year 29 was the year of Livia's death.

    One of the few passages of Luke's writing that (still) marveled me is Acts 18:2 where Luke reports:

Acts 18:2--- There he became acquainted with a Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently arrived from Italy with his wife, Priscilla. They had been expelled from Italy as a result of Claudius Caesar's order to deport all Jews from Rome.

As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [= Christ?], he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.

(BTW, the skeptics could not accuse Luke of anything because Suetonius' writing was known to them. It's just odd that the skeptics did not take a hint from the fact that Luke's mentioning of such a "strange" event and Suetonius' confirmation of its accuracy that Luke himself was very very careful in his research).

    A prominent archaelogist carefully examined Luke's references to

without finding a single mistake.

Can we believe these primary events that the gospel writers intend to report. they seem at first very incredable. a dead person coming alive again.


The Luke-Warm, Gluey, History of Portable Soup

Lewis spent a cool $2,324 on equipment. His extensive Packing List, neatly categorized, lists items under Transportation (a 55-foot keelboat, 2 pirogues, and 35 oars), Clothing (45 flannel shirts, 30 pairs of stockings, and 15 pairs of woolen overalls), Medicine (a fearsome list heavy in emetics, and including “4 Pewter Penis syringes”), Mathematical Instruments, Arms & Accoutrements, and Camp Equipage (6 copper kettles, 24 tin cups, 4 tin trumpets, and one—just one—“Sea Grass Hammock”). The Corps of Discovery also took along a hefty selection of Indian Presents (including 35 pounds of assorted beads, 144 “small Cheap” looking glasses, 4 dozen “Rings for Fingers,” and 30 calico shirts) and an assortment of Books, among them a 4-volume dictionary and Carl Linnaeus’s 2-volume tome on the Latin classification of plants.

They didn’t pack much in the way of food: the self-sufficient expedition was planning to hunt, fish, forage, and trade along the way. Under Provisions and Means of Subsistence, Lewis lists assorted spices, three bushels of salt, and 193 pounds of “Portable Soup,” which last—a reduced and dehydrated mix of beef broth, eggs, and vegetables—was the 19th century’s version of space food. It was intended for periods of dire dietary emergency. They seem first to have cracked it out on September 14, 1805.

According to the journal of Patrick Gass, the Expedition’s carpenter, “none of the hunters killed any thing except 2 or 3 pheasants on which, without a miracle it was impossible to feed 30 hungry men and upwards, besides some Indians. So Capt. Lewis gave out some portable soup, which he had along, to be used in cases of necessity.”

The soup was not a hit. The men decided, instead, to kill and roast one of the horses.

Portable soup, also known as pocket soup or veal glew—the forerunner of the bouillon cubes and dehydrated soups of today—has been around since at least the late 17th century. An early recipe from The Receipt Book of Mrs. Ann Blencowe (“To Make Veal Glew”), dating to 1694, calls for a leg of veal, boiled, then the broth reduced and cooled until it forms a slab of jelly about the size of a hand. Wrap this in paper to dry, the recipe instructs, and “it will keep many years.”

Hannah Glasse, author of The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy (published “by subscription” in 1747), has a ritzier take on portable soup. Her recipe calls for two legs of beef, anchovies, cloves, mace, black and white pepper, onions, marjoram, thyme, and “the dry hard Crust of a Two-penny Loaf,” all to be boiled for eight or nine hours until it forms “a very rich good jelly.” The jelly is then strained, cooked some more (until it is “like a stiff glue”), dried, and packed in boxes.

Despite attempts to gussy it up, however, portable soup seems not to have been anyone’s first choice for dinner. Touted as a staple for sailors and explorers, staying power seems to have been its prime attribute. Portable soup is frequently (but never nicely) cited in Patrick O’Brian’s nautical novels, a 20-volume series set during the Napoleonic Wars, beginning with Master and Commander (1969). “I thought it was luke-warm glue. But it goes down quite well, if you don’t breathe,” says a character in The Fortune of War (1979)The Fortune of War (1979) and in The Far Side of the World (1984), the ship’s doctor is found angrily flinging slabs of portable soup into the sea.

Captain James Cook—heading for Australia in 1772—took 1,000 pounds of portable soup on board the Endeavour, in hopes that it would be beneficial for sick sailors. The stuff was served boiled in water and mixed with pease flour. Some sailors, the records show, were flogged for refusing to eat it.

Portable soup did find a handful of supporters. Virginia planter William Byrd II—after some miserably hungry experiences on a surveying expedition in the Great Dismal Swamp in 1726—recommended for travelers “a wholesome kind of Food, of very small Weight and very great Nourishment, that will secure them from Starving, in case they should be so unlucky as to meet with no Game.” His solution was “Glue-Broth,” for which he provides a helpful recipe, adding that, once “perfectly dry,” the “Solid Substance” will last for an entire East India Voyage. A mere two pounds, he adds, should be plenty for a journey of six months, and if push comes to shove, “should you be fainting with fasting or Fatigue, let a small piece of this Glue melt in your Mouth, and you will find yourself surprisingly refreshed.”

Late 18th-century newspapers promoted it, claiming that gentlemen taking trips to country “will find it highly convenient to have along with them a few canisters of portable soups by which they can in a few minutes be provided with a wholesome, pleasing, and ready beverage.” French-born Alexis Soyer—the most famous chef in mid-19th-century England, and a notable humanitarian–devised a much-improved version of portable soup for the malnourished soldiers of the Crimean War.

Soyer, who volunteered his time to the army, established an efficient provisioning program for army hospitals, revised military diets, trained regimental cooks, and invented a new form of field stove. His portable-soup-like vegetable cake was known as “coarse julienne” each cake, when added to boiling water, was capable of providing soup for one hundred men. The cakes were made from the shredded, boiled, and dried residue of 20 pounds of carrots, 20 pounds of turnips, 10 pounds of parsnips, 15 pounds of onions, 20 pounds of cabbage, 5 pounds of celery, 10 pounds of leeks, and a pound of mixed aromatic seasonings. They seem to have been successful: soldiers, asked their opinions of standard military fare versus Soyer’s innovations, came down resoundingly in favor of the latter.

A cake of portable soup, thought to have originally come from Captain Cook’s supplies, survives in Britain’s National Maritime Museum in Greenwich—a flat rectangular cake stamped with a broad arrow, looking much like a “slab of glue.” It was tested in the 1930s by food scientist Sir Jack Drummond, who pronounced it “changed very little.”

Tactfully, he failed to describe what it tasted like.

This story is part of National Geographic’s special eight-month Future of Food series.


The Last Full Measure (2020)

No. The Last Full Measure true story reveals that during his junior year at Piqua Central High School in Ohio , Pitsenbarger tried to join the U.S. Army to become a Green Beret but his parents wouldn't give their permission. Having to wait until he graduated, William H. Pitsenbarger decided to join the Air Force instead. He was sent to San Antonio for basic training in late 1962. It was there that he decided to volunteer for Pararescue. He qualified immediately and was sent to pararescue training right out of basic. Upon completion of his training, he headed to Hamilton AFB in California to become part of the Rescue Squadron stationed there.

Where was The Last Full Measure filmed?

How did Charlie Company end up pinned down by the Viet Cong?

The Battle of Xa Cam My unfolded from April 11&ndash12, 1966. The original intention was to lure the Viet Cong out by sending in Charlie Company alone as bait. Two other nearby rifle companies would then arrive to overtake and destroy the Viet Cong. This was part of a larger search and destroy mission known as Operation Abilene.

The companies moved in a formation, with Charlie Company on one end. However, Charlie Company had drifted from the formation. While moving through the Courtenay Rubber Plantation, Charlie Company encountered Viet Cong snipers and was soon encircled by the enemy. The other companies that were supposed to arrive as reinforcements were too far away and were slowed as they moved through the thick jungle. Thus, Charlie Company found itself in a dire situation.

Is the helicopter used in the movie the same helicopter that Pits flew on in real life?

No. The helicopters seen in The Last Full Measure movie are Hueys (Bell UH-1 Iroquois). The real helicopter that Pitsenbarger arrived on during the battle was the Kaman HH-43F Huskie (nicknamed "Pedro" for its call sign moniker). Writer and director Todd Robinson admits that this is one of the movie's biggest deviations from the true story. He says they chose to use Hueys over Pedros because of the scarcity of the latter and the cost of transporting them to Thailand. -Air Force Magazine

How did pararescueman William H. Pitsenbarger become involved in the Battle of Xa Cam My?

Pararescueman William H. Pitsenbarger flew more than 250 rescue missions during the Vietnam War. On April 11, 1966, his day off, he volunteered to board one of two Kaman HH-43F Huskie helicopters dispatched to extract a half-dozen or so wounded soldiers pinned down in a firefight near Cam My, a rural area of Vietnam located 35 miles east of Saigon. When his helicopter arrived over the battle, he was lowered through the trees.

"I saw the guy coming down through the trees," says Army infantryman Johnny Libs, "and I said 'What is he doin' comin' down here?' . We were really in a mess on that ground and he stayed there and helped us."

Pitsenbarger immediately began tending to the wounded men on the ground. He managed to get nine of them loaded onto helicopters via a cable over the course of three flights. He would remain on the ground with 20 other soldiers while the two Air Force Huskie helicopters flew the wounded to an aid station and came back for more.

When one of the helicopters was lowering its litter basket to Pitsenbarger, it was hit by enemy small arms fire and its engine began to lose power. Instead of landing the helicopter in the middle of the battle (or crashing on top of American soldiers), the pilot knew he had to get the helicopter to safety. Pitsenbarger could have climbed into the litter basket and tried to leave with the helicopter, but he chose to stay and help the infantrymen on the ground (the pilot admitted he's not sure if he could have lifted Pitsenbarger out). He tended to the wounded, fashioning splints out of vines and constructing makeshift stretchers from saplings. He gathered ammo from the fallen, giving it to the men who were running low. He then grabbed a rifle and fought with the men to hold off the Viet Cong.

"He came there to save lives," says Army mud soldier and Purple Heart recipient Fred Navarro, "and that is what he was doin'."

How badly were the Americans outnumbered in the Battle of Xa Cam My?

Were Pitsenbarger's actions on the ground really that heroic?

Yes. On five or six occasions, men saw Pitsenbarger run beyond the perimeter, grab a wounded soldier, and bring him back to save him. He was wounded at least twice but kept going. When he couldn't fight anymore, he continued to shout instructions to his fellow soldiers.

Did Pitsenbarger hide a wounded soldier by covering him with two dead bodies?

Yes. During the battle, the Viet Cong would sneak inside the perimeter and kill the wounded. While examining The Last Full Measure fact vs. fiction, we confirmed that Pitsenbarger pulled two dead bodies over a wounded soldier named Fred Navarro and told him to stay down. Navarro watched as Pitsenbarger took his first bullet.

To hear more about the Battle of Xa Cam My and Pitsenbarger's heroic actions, watch the video below from our YouTube channel:

Was William H. Pitsenbarger killed by Viet Cong snipers?

Yes. After choosing to remain on the ground and fight with the embattled soldiers, Pitsenbarger was wounded at least twice and then shot and killed by Viet Cong snipers later that night. While investigating the movie's historical accuracy, we learned that when the U.S. Army found his body the following day, he was still clutching his rifle in one hand and holding his medical kit in the other. There was a bullet hole in the forehead of the gas mask he was wearing.

How did the battle end?

How many American soldiers were lost in the Battle of Xa Cam My?

Our fact-check revealed that 80 percent of the 134 soldiers in Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment were either wounded or killed by the end of the battle, which was fought over two days, beginning on the afternoon of Monday, April 11, 1966. 34 American soldiers were killed in action and 71 were wounded. Some of the wounded would die later from their injuries. The Battle of Xa Cam My is considered to be one of the most catastrophic battles of the Vietnam War. The Viet Cong reportedly left 41 dead on the field of battle and it is estimated that they removed more than 80 dead and wounded.

Was Pitsenbarger denied the Medal of Honor because of a conspiracy to keep a friendly-fire incident classified?

This is one of the reasons that the movie implies could have led to the Medal of Honor being denied. There was indeed a friendly-fire incident during the Battle of Xa Cam My (April 11&ndash12, 1966). Charlie Company had formed a circular perimeter as they tried to hold off the Viet Cong who were surrounding them. As the perimeter began to break down and the situation grew direr, things became more chaotic when an American artillery unit mistakenly fired on them, which resulted in American deaths (it is not known who gave the unit the incorrect coordinates). Some of the artillery fire hit the tops of the trees, causing spear-like pieces to rain down on them.

In the movie, Ed Harris' character, veteran Ray Mott, states, "It was friendly fire. We were fightin' our own men." This seems to be a bit misleading since The Last Full Measure true story involved friendly artillery fire that struck their location. They weren't "fighting" their own men. The movie does clarify that it was an incident involving artillery fire, which it depicts in flashbacks.

The movie's conspiracy theory that a friendly-fire incident directly affected Airman First Class William Pitsenbarger from initially not receiving the Medal of Honor seems unlikely. We do know that Pitsenbarger's commanding officer in the Air Force immediately recommended him for the Medal of Honor, but Pitsenbarger was instead given the next highest honor for valor, the Air Force Cross (the highest honor awarded by the Air Force). The Army general who recommended the honor be downgraded said there wasn't enough documentation at the time to get an accurate picture of Pitsenbarger's heroic actions. It's possible that this is the true story, especially given that the soldiers who were there did not stay in touch and ended up scattered around the globe. They didn't reconnect until decades later after the evolution of the Internet. Further disproving the movie's assertion is the fact that another soldier who fought and died in the 1966 battle, Sgt. James W. Robinson, Jr., received the Medal of Honor in 1967, the following year.

Something more accurately focused on in the movie is the possibility that the Medal of Honor was denied in part because it was an Army operation and Pitsenbarger was part of the Air Force. As stated in the film, the Air Force wasn't supposed to be there. They volunteered to go in when the Army helicopter pilots refused because the area was too hot. Acknowledging Pitsenbarger's actions wouldn't exactly make the Army look good. If there was a conscious effort to deny the medal, this was most likely the reason. However, there's no evidence to support this theory either.

Is Pentagon investigator Scott Huffman a real person?

No. In the movie, Pentagon mid-level bureaucrat Scott Huffman leads the fight to get Pitsenbarger reconsidered for the Medal of Honor. There was no real-life Huffman. In analyzing The Last Full Measure fact vs. fiction, we discovered that the fictional character was only loosely inspired by the late historian Parker Hayes, who while working as a curator and historical writer at the Airmen Memorial Museum in Maryland from 1997 to 1999, wrote a short biography about Pitsenbarger for the museum. Soon, he found himself being contacted by fellow pararescuemen and historians, who encouraged him to seek a formal reconsideration for Pitsenbarger to be given the Medal of Honor, which most accurately characterizes his heroism. Intrigued, Hayes spoke with 12 veterans who'd served with Pitsenbarger.

"The interviews were some of the most draining and toughest experiences I have ever had," Hayes stated in his graduate school's alumni newsletter. "As they retold the worst day of their lives, I found it impossible not to become involved."

Are the veterans in the movie based on real people?

Not directly. While veterans of the Battle of Xa Cam My did campaign to get Bill Pitsenbarger the Medal of Honor, the veterans in the film do not appear to hold one-to-one relationships with the real-life veterans. This includes Samuel L. Jackson's character Billy Takoda, Ed Harris' character Ray Mott, William Hurt's character Tully, and Peter Fonda's character Jimmy Burr, to name a few. Some of the real-life veterans do appear in the audience at the Medal of Honor ceremony at the end of the movie.

How accurate is the dialogue in The Last Full Measure?

While much of the dialogue was dramatized, a lot of what is said by the veterans advocating for Pitsenbarger are direct quotes from some of the real veterans. This includes Charlie Company veteran F. David Peters' statement, "There was only one man on the ground that day that would have turned down a ride out of that hellhole &mdash and that man was Pitsenbarger" (Troy Daily News). It's also true that Frank Pitsenbarger said that he regretted never being able to see his son marry and have a child because that would be the only way that his son could know how much he loved him (The Morning Call).

When was William Pitsenbarger finally given the Medal of Honor?

Pitsenbarger was awarded the Medal of Honor on December 8, 2000 at an awards ceremony in Dayton, Ohio, which was attended by 3,000 people. It had been 34 years since his death. His father, Frank Pitsenbarger, was presented with his son's posthumous Medal of Honor. Parker Hayes, the historian who'd sent in the Medal of Honor recommendation to the Pentagon and who very loosely inspired Sebastian Stan's character, was also in attendance.

Pitsenbarger was one of two men to be awarded the Medal of Honor in relation to their actions during the 1966 Battle of Xa Cam My. Sgt. James W. Robinson, Jr., who was also killed in the battle, posthumously received the honor in 1967.

Was Pitsenbarger's father really dying?

Yes. The true story behind The Last Full Measure confirms that Pits's father, Frank Pitsenbarger (portrayed by Christopher Plummer), was dying of cancer at the time his son posthumously received the Medal of Honor in December 2000. In researching the historical accuracy, we learned that Frank passed away roughly 14 months after accepting the long-awaited award on behalf of his son.

Was the Medal of Honor the first acknowledgment Pitsenbarger received for his heroism?

No. The parents of Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger received his Air Force Cross posthumously in 1966, five months after he was killed in the Battle of Xa Cam My. It was the highest honor the Air Force could bestow. 34 years later it was upgraded to a Congressional Medal of Honor. He was also posthumously promoted to staff sergeant.

Pitsenbarger has received a number of other honors over the years. The United States Navy Container Ship MV A1C William H. Pitsenbarger (T-AK-4638) was named after him. Various government buildings also bear his name, including the William H. Pitsenbarger Professional Military Education Center at Beale Air Force Base in California, Pitsenbarger Hall at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, William H. Pitsenbarger Airman Leadership School at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, among others.

Several nonmilitary institutions were also named in his honor. The Pitsenbarger Sports Complex in Piqua, Ohio the U.S.A.F. Pararescue Memorial Parkway (Ohio State Route 48) and the Pitsenbarger Scholarship at Edison Community College were all named entirely or partially in his honor.

Where does the title "The Last Full Measure" come from?

Dive deeper into the movie's historical accuracy with our YouTube episode that separates the facts from the fiction.


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Luke Dillon

Luke Dillon, a Northern Irish immigrant, fell off his horse in a snowstorm and froze to death after a bender.

(Excerpt from the book "History of Dillon, Fletcher, and Kindred Families" by Henry Dillon 1909)

Notes of James Rees on the Dillon Family

"Luke Dillon, a red-headed weaver of Kilkenny, Ireland, won the heart and hand of Susanna Garret, daughter of a man of wealth and fame. Susanna's father disinherited her for marrying one whom he styled a "snotty-nosed weaver" but he may have had another objection as Luke had a failing as we shall hearafter see. They emigrated to Pennsylvania where Susanna learned to weave and they supported themselves by their calling. Luke was a drinking man and went to mill horseback five miles away, started home in the evening facing a snowstorm with a bottle of liquer in his pocket, got off the horse, sat down by a tree, and there froze to death and was not found for six weeks.

This tradition came down through different families and is doubtless true."

From a letter written by Barbara Inez (Dillon) Thorn to a Miss London on 6 July, 1960: (Barbara Thorn was the first certified genealogist in Salem, Oregon)

Luke and Susannah moved from Kilkenny, Ireland in 1724, to Nantucket Island, settling in Virginia

(Wayne's note: This is amazing since Luke is supposed to have froze to death in 1717 in Pennsylvania.)

1173 8th St. Salem, Ore. July 6, 1960 Dear Miss London:

I received your most welcome letter on the Dillon family and was so anxious to write to you by return mail but I've been working and this is the first chance I have had to write any letters.

I am corresponding with a lady in Penn. who is a descendant of John Dillon (b. 1751) and Lydia Gest. Also a descendant of Susannah Dillon and George Haworth. I am a descendant through Hannah Dillon who married Edward Wright and our common ancestor is William Dillon born 1715 in Ireland? I see your records say Penn.

Here is a copy of a letter written by David Dillon Wright (son of Hannah Dillon & Edward Wright, grandson of William Dillon) to his son John in 1885.

"William Dillon, son of Luke and Susannah (Garrett) Dillon, was born in Ireland in 1715. He came with his parents to America when he was nine years old. He settled near Winchester, Virginia and raised a family of two boys and five girls. Hannah Dillon, the youngest child was born in Frederick Co., Va. in 1760 and died in Ohio Oct. 17, 1855, aged 95 years, 5 months. In Virginia in 1780 she married Edward Wright who died in Ohio in 1801. (I have this from several sources). After their marriage Edward and Hannah remained in Virginia until after the birth of their second son, William. When William was four weeks old in 1782 they started for Tennessee where they settled on Lost Creek near Holson River in Jefferson County and where they remained until1801 when they went to Ross Co., Ohio where they found a few other settlers. They stopped at the Falls of Paint near the present town of Bainbridge. The entire family had chills and fever and Edward and his daughter, Ruth died leaving Hannah and eight children alone in the wilderness. William was 19 years old. He and his mother, as soon as they were able to be around, bought land on Buckskin Creek near Green field. In 1803 they traded it for other land and William, Solomon, and John built a cabin of round logs with split slabs for the floor. It was coveredwith four foot boards with hickory plys for joists. The school house in the neighborhood was a small log cabin with a log cut out for a window and paper pasted over the opening. The seats were benches made of slabs and placed around the ten foot wide fireplace."

I see you are a descendant of the Rees family also. Do you by any chance know anything about the Lydia Rees born 19 Dec. 1774 who married Thomas Ellis 17 April 1793 Rowan Co., N.C. (Westfield MM) she died 1 Feb 1863 in Ohio. Their daughterMargaret Ellis married David Dillon Wright (grandson of William Dillon).

I have several letters written by Roy H. Dillon, Normal, Illinois. The earliest 1928 to Mr. F.A. Virkus, editor of the Compendium of American Genealogy. In these letters he states that Luke Dillon and Susannah Garrett came from Kilkenny, Ireland to Nantucket Island settling in Virginia. Luke Dillon froze to death and his wife Susan Garrett remarried and moved to near Philadelphia and became wealthy.

Their son Daniel Dillon was born 1713 married Lydia_____ moved from Fredericks Co., Va. to Guilford Co., N.C. where he died 22 Nov 1805.

William Dillon wa born 1715 in Ireland. Came to America in 1724. His will was probated Nov. 3, 1762 and was written Oct. 13, 1762. I have a copy of it. He names his wife, Mary and the children.

In a deed of release in Berkley Co., W. Va. where the Dillons had land, Deed book 4 page 14 "James Dillon and Sarah his wife and Mary Bridges mother of said JAmes Dillon and the late wife of William Dillon deceased of Frederick County--further completing conveyances of land above in which they all have interest--considering 100 pounds Va. money. Recorded son maned Dillon Bridges.

Do you by any chance know who the Luke Dillon was in Frederick Co., Va in 1761? I have a copy of a land grant made to him by Lord Fairfax in 1716. I suppose he is the son of Luke Dillon and Susannah Garrett. I also have copies of land grants made by Lord Fairfax to William Dillon.

What was the source of your information on the death of Luke Dillon b. Kilkenny, Ire., died 1717 Penn.?

In a book by Charles Raymond Dillon called "Dillon Ancestorss", it is indicated that this Luke Dillon isa descendant of James Dillon, baron of Kilkenny West in 1620 and Earl of Roscommon in1622. Died 1641. The tradition in our family has been that the immigrant Dillon ancestor had large estates in Ireland. In records made by Maggie Huff in 1910 in Ohio,--"When Hannah Dillon's grandfather (Luke Dillon) came to America he leased his estate in Ireland for ninety-nine years. The Dillon estate was located in Ireland where the flourishng city of Kilkenny now stands. William Dillon's wife remarried after his death and had a son, Dillon Bridges.

From a history by Levi S. Wright (I've been trying to locate one of these but evidently was never published) "John Dillon (son of William Dillon) was often called upon to settle disputes between different parties and his honesty and judgment were so well respected that his decision usually ended the controversy. He is noted as being a man of great muscular strength. It is said that he could take two ordinary men, one in each hand and hold them at arms length with a grip so strong thay could hardly move. When Lord Cornwallis' army was captured at Yorktown a part of it was marched into camp near Winchester, Va. and john Dillon would often go down to camp and wrestle with the soldiers but there was but one man in all of Cornwallis' army that could throw him down." L.S.W.

From the records by Maggie Huff, Leesburg, Ohio, made in 1910 I have a lot of the descendants of William Dillon down 4 or 5 and 6 generations.

Also from the history of Levi S. Wright, "William Wright (son of Hannah Dillon and Edward Wright) was born in Frederick Co., Va. 9-24-1782 married Rachel Stofford in 6-27-1805 Ohio. In 1826 he built the two story stone house still standing on his farm. David Black did the stone work for $100.00 and the carpenter work was performed by McPherson and Smithson." L.W. What was the name of the book on the Dillon family at the library in Indianapolis?

Do you know anything about Robert Dillon who died at Kokomo, Ind. 27 Sept. 1863? His parents were James Dillon and Rebecca Gray both born in Maryland. Robert Dillon was also born in Maryland. Robert's daughter, Emma Dillon married George Haggard in May 18, 1890 in Kokomo, Indiana.

Also, do you know anything of Nathan Patrick Dillon of Quincy, Illinois born 1820? He married Zylpha Van Luvan.

I would be glad to send you what I have on the children of William Dillon, births, marriages, deaths, and names of their children and marriages. A lot of it I got from the Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. My grandfather is 97 years old, and was born in Leesburg, Ohio, on the farm where Hannah (Dillon) Wright lived. He was born 8 years after she died. He has pictures of the farm, etc. and also one of Anna Wright, granddaughter of Hannah (Dillon) Wright and one of David Dillon Wright, son of Hannah (Dillon) Wright. He, my grandfather, says he remembers hearing the Wright family talk of the Dillon estates in Ireland.

Sincerely, Mrs. Donald Thorn

P.S. Did you know there was a John Dillon Sr. who married Ann Yates. He was born 1690, in James St., Dublin, Ireland and died 1760 in Bucks Co., Penn. They had 7 sons and 2 daughters. The children moved to Loudoun Co., Va. from Wrightstown MM Bucks Co., Pa. __________________________________________________________________________________________ Luke has been reported as having been born abt 1689 and 1691. Both agree he was born in Kilkenny (Kilkearney) Ireland.

(Excerpt from the book "History of Dillon, Fletcher, and Kindred Families" by Henry Dillon 1909) Notes of James Rees on the Dillon Family "Luke Dillon, a red-headed weaver of Kilkenny, Ireland, won the heart and hand of Susanna Garret, daughter of a man of wealth and fame. Susanna's father disinherited her for marrying one whom he styled a "snotty-nosed weaver" but he may have had another objection as Luke had a failing as we shall hearafter see. They emigrated to Pennsylvania where Susanna learned to weave and they supported themselves by their calling. Luke was a drinking man and went to mill horseback five miles away, started home in the evening facing a snowstorm with a bottle of liquer in his pocket, got off the horse, sat down by a tree, and there froze to death and was not found for six weeks. This tradition came down through different families and is doubtless true." __________________________________________________________________________________________

Notes from the research of Barbara Inez (Dillon) Thorn, 1607 Orchard Hts. Rd. Salem, OR 97304:

From: David Dillon Shrader, 1985. "I am almost certain that Luke Dillon was the son of Viscount Henry Dillon, who was disposed by the treaty of Limerick 1688 and the fallen fortunes of the stuarts, went to France and fought with French-Irish Brigades - Dillon Regiments - and was still living as a so called Colonial proprietor in France in 1708. This would be the Dillons of drumrany line. Now this is some guess work but Luke Dillon was probably a 2nd or 3rd son so the rule of primogenture did not apply too much as regards any inheritance. Richard, his brother, was next in line for the titles that were still left after the Irish demise at this time. For espousing the Stuart cause, the Dillons were proscribed by Cromwell and had their lands confiscated. their leaders had to seek temporary refuge in France. Under Charles II they regained their titles and power. But loyalty to the Stuarts, while bringing them military renown, brought material disaster with the defeat of James II and the confiscations that followed the infamous Treaty of Limerick. __________________________________________________________________________________________

Subj: Re: Wm & Susannah Dillon Date: 7/26/2002 10:04:48 AM Pacific Daylight Time From: [email protected] (Marjorie Morgan) Reply-to: [email protected] To: [email protected]

I have not forgotten your email and the 4 questions you asked. I will try to answer them as best I can.

If you mean the Peter Dillon who came to Am with Luke, I do not think his father came to Am. I have read some answers to that question - mostly speculation - that Lukes father was Thomas Dillon. I do have a large chart of Dillion English Ancestors, but much of it is not readable because of sloppy copy work. I would like to get a good copy. I have not heard that a Peter was Luke's father, but could be.

My records indicate that Daniel was born in Ireland.

Luke and Susannah probably were not Quakers. I have found no Quaker records that indicate that they were. They may have a ssociated with Quakers and or lived near Quakers.

The Hopewell MM, Frederick Co, VA, state on "9-18-1752 Daniel Dillon and Peter Dillon were granted certificate to Cane Creek MM, North Carolina" then Cane Creek Monthly Meeting shows that they did indeed go there: "1-6-1753 Daniel Dillon rcf (received on certificate from) Hopewell MM, Virginia, dated 9-18-1752" (this date would be the new calendar, the Gregorian Calendar). (The last day of the Old Style, or Julian Calendar was Wednesday, 2 Sep 1752. The next day, the first day of the New Style Calender of the Gregorian Calendar was Thursday, 14 September, 1752. (they lost 11 days). January became the first month of the year. Formerly March was the first month.

"1-6-1753 Peter Dillon rcf Hopewell MM, Virginia, dated 9-18-1752" This move matches so that makes us certain that they are talking about the same persons.

The 9-18-1752 date is really not the exact date they left Virginia for North Carolina. It is the date they requested a certificate to Cane Creek MM, NC. Neither can the date recorded at Cane Creek MM be the date they arrived - it is the date that the Monthly Meeting recorded their arrival in the community.

The early Hopewell MM records were lost in a fire, so we are missing the record of Daniel and Peter's arrivan at Hopewell MM, VA.

In all the Dillon records I have seen, I find no proof of Luke and Susannah coming to America. More research needs to be done on this. I too have been unable to locate the name of the ship on which they traveled

I will continue working on my Dillon document and at some point will be able to know the copy costs and will let you know.

Marjorie,

I am interested in the Dillon package at this time. Could you give me an idea on the cost first? I am interested in the entire thing, however, I just got the word that tuition at the university is going up again (that's 40% this year alone!!) so will have to postpone the 4000 page one.

Perhaps you can answer some questions?

1) What do you know about the thoughts of a Peter Dillon being the father to Luke Dillon the immigrant?

2) Where was Daniel, son of Luke and Susannah, born? I have been told Ireland and America

3) Were Luke and Susannah Quakers? Farthest back I have found so far is Daniel and his brother Peter going gct Cane Creek MM, NC on 9-18-1752.

4) Has the story of Luke and Susannah coming to America been told for so long that no one can give primary source citations anymore? I have yet to find them on a ship's passenger registry.

Thanks for the help. I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Wayne

_________________________________________________________________________________________ Luke was born in Killarney, Ireland.

Luke came to America and made a living as a weaver.

He married Susanna Garret.

Following quoted from Mary Elizabeth (Wilson) (Stewart) Robbins:

"We might consider Luke Dillon as a skeleton in our ancestral closet. He was born in Killarney, Ireland. He married Susannah Garret whose parents were well to do. Her father did not approve of the marriage and disinherited her. Because of this, Luke and Susanna came to America and landed at Nantucket, some say Virginia. They became comfortably settled in this new country and both were employed. Luke was an expert weaver and worked in a near-by mill. Like many other Irishmen he became addicted too freely, started home, became confused, lost his way and froze to death.

Susannah, woman of strong character and great courage, kept her little family together and gave them an education and all of the children married well and became useful citizens of their community. Luke was born in Killarney, Ireland.

Luke came to America and made a living as a weaver.

He married Susanna Garret.

Following quoted from Mary Elizabeth (Wilson) (Stewart) Robbins:

"We might consider Luke Dillon as a skeleton in our ancestral closet. He was born in Killarney, Ireland. He married Susannah Garret whose parents were well to do. Her father did not approve of the marriage and disinherited her. Because of this, Luke and Susannah came to America and landed at Nantucket, some say Virginia. They became comfortably settled in this new country and both were employed. Luke was an expert weaver (and) worked in a near-by mill. Like many other Irishmen, he became addicted too freely, started home, became confused, lost his way and froze to death. Susannah, a woman of strong character and great courage, kept her little family together, gave them an education, and all of the children married well and became useful citizens in the community." Following quoted from Mary Elizabeth (Wilson) (Stewart) Robbins:

"We might consider Luke Dillon as a skeleton in our ancestral closet. He was born in Killarney, Ireland. He married Susannah Garret whose parents were well to do. Her father did not approve of the marriage and disinherited her. Because of this, Luke and Susannah came to American and landed at Nantucket, some say Virginia. They became comfortably settled in this new country and both were employed. Luke was an expert weaver and worked in a near-by mill. LIke many other Irishmen, he became addicted too freely, started home, became confused, lost his way and froze to death.

Susannah, a woman of strong character and great courage, kept her little family together and gave them an education and all the children married well and became useful citizens in their community.


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