A Bridge Too Far
Isn't Always the Case

The Donald made numerous comments about how he hoped that the Russians had Clinton's deleted emails.  The Clinton campaign's spokesman's, Brian Fallon, retort was that he "is now openly inviting Russia to engage in cyberattacks against the United States."  In addition, someone in the Clinton campaign added that the Donald's statement was "a bridge too far."  It is precisely that comment I would like to discuss in this essay.

In the past two decades, I have taught history and am familiar with the phrase "a bridge too far."  Actually, the entire comment was made by British General Browning.  He said, "Well, as you know, I always felt we tried to go a bridge too far."  It related to Operation Market Garden between September 17-25, 1944.  Operation Market Garden was Field Marshal Montgomery's idea.  Montgomery was an arrogant British general who reminds me of the Donald. 

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Monty having a spot of tea

Montgomery was rattled when Eisenhower became the Supreme Allied Commander of the Normandy invasion and defeated Hitler.  Monty, a nickname for Montgomery, saw himself as the one who should have been in charge.  However, Eisenhower said of Monty, ''A good man to serve under, a difficult man to serve with, and an impossible man to serve over."  The Donald said that he knows more than the general when dealing with ISIS.  The Donald and Monty were both arrogant.

Monty, in an attempt to prove himself, devises Operation Market Garden, which was considered a military disaster by everyone, except himself and General Browning.  Browning, in the aftermath of the mess that Monty created, excused the military operation because "it was a bridge too far."  It could also have been due to Monty feeling like he was better than any other general.  The Donald should have studied history.  Nevertheless, someone should warn him, because his knowing more than the generals is Monty on steroids. 

That is the backstory of the phrase, "it was a bridge too far."  Nevertheless, I actually employ that slogan to my life.  In spite of dissing Monty and the Donald, I believe with some important caveats that my notion of living a life planning to take "a bridge too far" is operative in my life.

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In this case, the bridge was too far.

The first caveat is to read, plan, rethink before attempting "a bridge too far."  The second caveat is to ask others for information about your quest.  If you fail and still believe that you are correct, don't quit and gut it out.  Finally, make sure that you have a valid reason for that quest.

Case in point.  I have for nearly two decades wanted to interview, the Lady, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.  Not only have I wanted to do so, I told people.  I mentioned it when my daughter, Michelle, interviewed me nearly a decade ago.  During most of the two decades since wanting to interview the Lady, I continued to travel much of the world, which I started doing in the late 60s. 

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The Lady

Three years ago, I decided it was time to go to Myanmar.  I wrote to anyone that could help me contact Aung San Suu Kyi several months prior to leaving the States.  In spite of failing to do so, I went to Myanmar still determined to contact her.  My trip was a month long.  While I enjoyed the country and its people, I was not successful in interviewing the Lady. 

However, one of my tour guides in Myanmar, Moh Moh, talked about Aung San Suu Kyi many times while we were in the area around Inle Lake where she was my tour guide.  I have written about her and the rest of her family, but especially Ti Ti, her daughter, who beat me at playing Scrabble. 

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Moh Moh and her two youngest daughters

Moh Moh and I exchange emails quite regularly.  I told Moh Moh that I wanted to get another job so that I could return to Myanmar and see her family and especially Ti Ti, who I consider my granddaughter.  Additionally, I would try again to contact the Lady. 

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Ti Ti and the Lady

However, a job that I wanted didn't materialize.  As a consequence, I wrote to Moh Moh about my failed effort, which meant that I wouldn't see them or interview Aung San Suu Kyi.  Moh Moh's reply essentially sounded like something Don Quixote would have said.  She didn't want me to give up with my dream of returning to Myanmar.  Due to Moh Moh, again, I dreamed the seemingly impossible dream.  I needed a means of communicating with someone who could get my request to Aung San Suu Kyi. 

Then it happened.  I could email the American ambassador in Yangon and ask him to forward an email to Aung San Suu Kyi.  However, I never met the ambassador.  Then my hauntings began again.  I didn't know what he would do with that request.  Finally, it dawned on me to talk with my congressman, Rep. Pete Visclosky, who had helped me several years ago.  I gave him an email to the American ambassador in Yangon and an email to Aung San Suu Kyi.  Rep. Visclosky emailed the ambassador and attached my two emails.   

Finally, I recalled what two different people said.  Randy Pausch said, "Dream Big. Dream without fear."  The other suggestion came from Confucius, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."  Pausch and Confucius have shown me that nothing is "a bridge too far."  Dream big and act.

This is a video of the movie, A Bridge Too Far.

Burma flag

Burmese independence flag

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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My Hauntings

My Hauntings

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Don Quixote

"Don Quixote"

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Confucius Said


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