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Key to success: Vision Key to success: Passion Key to success: Perseverance Key to success: Preparation Key to success: Courage Key to success: Integrity Key to success: The American Dream Keys to success homepage More quotes on Passion More quotes on Vision More quotes on Courage More quotes on Integrity More quotes on Preparation More quotes on Perseverance More quotes on The American Dream


Thomas Starzl

Father of Modern Transplantation

Thomas Starzl: I was always worried. Of course there were textbooks describing operations. Even if I had done an operation 100 times, if I had an operation that I had done two days before, I'd go back and read the book and refresh books, which quickly became tattered and exhausted by constant use. But I think the great worries that tended to accumulate, so that they eventually became very heavy, were about what happened afterwards to the people. So if you operated on somebody with a cancer, you were always worrying that you were going to get that unwelcome phone call from somebody that they had a recurrence. Or in the case of the transplant patient, because the mechanisms of engraftment were not known, transplantation was a field in which big things were accomplished without knowing why and how. There was no reason to hope at the beginning of transplantation that those operations were cured. That is, if you could put a kidney and it had a chance of lasting for a lifetime. So instead the idea was that you had an alien, foreign organ in there that was under constant attack, and even though it lasted for a year, or a couple of years, that it was slowly, slowly going to go away. And if you actually came to know those patients, and I did, at a personal level in almost every case, you were sitting around like a parent watching over a child with an inevitably slowly advancing disease, and that you were going to get a phone call that the end had come. So if you had patients for whom you had a particular affection, and those uncommonly often were children, you just had an idea that you'd never see them grow up. So it was a deadly wait actually.
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

We'd come in low and put a snake-eye fixture on a snake eye bomb. That meant as soon as it felt itself released, it would have a shield come up to slow it down so we wouldn't be getting hit with our own shrapnel. Now that's the kind of stuff you have to work with all the time, but even with all that, I could hear boom, boom, boom, boom. This little engine is right there. The cockpit is no wider than that, and it's very noisy inside, but I looked right there and I saw that damn plane and I thought ,"There's my Armageddon." And it was fireballs coming at me one after the other. And then now everything is out. The engine is shot up, the hydraulics are gone, and I've just got to get out of the airplane and I did. I didn't have my lip mike on. I had to get it up and say, "I'm going to eject."
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

It never got above 1,000 feet even with the trajectory, and I was low and I was going right into this little town. Straight -- it was a town that I could imagine being very similar to the places I saw in Illinois, a town of about 800 people with one thoroughfare and that's it. They're farmers or rice people or whatever. And I landed and got myself on deck, flipped off my protective -- the thing that held my parachute on -- and then I looked up and I had seen traces of this -- A thundering herd was coming down on me. All probably between 18 and 24. They were going to defend the honor of their town.
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

They got a couple of teams of torture guards and they had a special procedure. And the way it was done was to get a long iron bar and shackle your legs to it, and then the man on the back would start weaving ropes through your arms to bend them backwards. And then they -- getting as much leverage as he could -- what they're doing is shutting off the blood circulation in your upper body. And then he would push, he would bend you double and stand on your back and he would pull from this angle, giving him better leverage, and then he would find--you know, it's about over when you feel the heel of his foot in your--back of your head and he put your nose right on the cement and there you are. You're encased in ropes. Your blood is not circulating. You're in pain and you're in claustrophobia.
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James Stockdale

Medal of Honor

And so I said, "I've got to change the status quo," and with that I got off from my traveling irons and went over and shut off the light, pulled back these blankets, and exposing the plate glass window, using the palm of my hand, which was relatively free -- I had enough freedom there, to get the long shards, pull the curtains back, turn on the light, get back in my chair and sit down and just start going like this. And, first of all, I started getting blue blood and I said, "Where is the blue blood coming from? We've got to get some red blood." And so I said, "I don't " I said to myself, "Is this right? I don't know but I know I've got to " my hands -- I had run out of ideas and I had to explore the future. You wouldn't think I had a future if you saw me. I passed out in a pool of blood.
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Robert Strauss

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Robert Strauss: It was in their sitting room, right off their bedroom, in the small living quarters the President has up there. Not so small, but not very spacious, either. We got into this discussion, and the President started off by -- it took him about 20 minutes to tell his side of that and how there was nothing to these stories and how wrong they were. And he turned to this other fellow and said, "I trust you agree?" and he said, "Mr. President, I sure do. I think the press is blowing this all up. Eisenhower had his U2 problems, and they blew over, and Truman had his scandal problems, and they blew over, and this will blow over. All you need to do is hold your fire and hang in there." And the President turned to me and said, "I trust you agree, Bob?" I said, "As a matter of fact, I couldn't disagree more." After gulping a couple times, I said -- I told that story about the Lyndon Johnson experience -- and I said, "Before I came up here tonight, I asked Deaver if he wanted to hear the truth. The truth of the matter was Deaver's answer to me was " -- I hadn't told it before -- "He said, 'She wants him to hear it. I don't know whether he wants to hear it or not, but she wants him to hear the truth.'"
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