Obituary for Morocco Country Director Everett Woodman
At age 88, World War II veteran and former diplomat Everett M. Woodman took the podium as guest speaker at the 2004 Fourth of July celebration in Hanover, N.H., and condemned the war in Iraq as a betrayal of American ideals. Some in the crowd booed the former Navy intelligence officer, who 60 years prior had stormed the beaches at Normandy and now stood with the help of two canes. But Mr. Woodman continued speaking, according to his daughter Betsy, of Andover, N.H., who was in the audience. "I think they expected a normal patriotic speech and he came out with this blistering stuff," she said.
From 1952 to 1954, Dr. Woodman worked in Madras, India as a cultural affairs officer for the United States Information Agency, and for an interim as acting public affairs officer for South India. For the next four years he served as an attaché at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and as director of the Educational Exchange Program under the India-U.S.A. Agreement of Public Law 48. In 1958, Dr. Woodman joined the Ford Foundation as an educational consultant to the Government of India's Ministry of Education until his appointment as president of Colby Junior College in 1962.
As president, Woodman led the college through ten years of growth and transformation. During his term, he emphasized the importance of an international perspective on education, as evidenced by campus events such as United Nations Day and Reaching the Questioning Mind Overseas. He also sought the opinions of the college's students, faculty, and alumnae and cultivated a strong relationship with them. Dr. Woodman served as president of the American Association of Junior Colleges from 1969 to 1970 and was also active in the New Hampshire Council on World Affairs.
After leaving Colby Junior College in 1972, Dr. Woodman served as president of the Nature Conservancy in Washington, D.C. Later he was appointed director of the Peace Corps in Morocco. Colby-Sawyer College presented him with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in May of 1995. Read more.
Speech by WWII D-Day Veteran and Morocco Country Director Everett Woodman on July 4, 2004
I am glad that we are not closing this event with a bugle sounding taps, for it is not a military funeral.
It is our celebration of freedom - our pledge to be worthy.
And while a holiday is all around us, this gathering on the green is not a high-five conqueror’s party.
We gather in justifiable pride, knowing likewise that we have as much to mourn as to memorialize.
We weep for those we have lost, and combat veterans will best understand that kind of loss, for they had loved each other in that bond of danger and death.
I am especially mindful of that ultimate patriotism for exactly four Sundays ago I was at the American Military Cemetery, at Omaha Beach in Normandy where 9,387 headstones mark our permanent presence on “that terrible and Sacred Shore.”
My thoughts of D-Day 60 years ago prompt thoughts of why wars should and should not be, and includes deep feelings for all families of soldiers, sailors, airmen who long ago gave their lives for America. Most recently I think today of the sadness of Iraq - and join you in tribute to the unselfish service our forces are still performing over there with honor and courage - pray that we can say sometime soon, honestly this time, “Mission accomplished.”
Permit me now to pursue that theme - quietly - because the subject is delicate, and I am sensitive to that.
I say this carefully:
I am glad that Saddam Hussein is no more a worry.
He was brutal and good riddance - but to get rid of him we betrayed our ideals and sold our soul to the totally un-American concept of “preemptive attack deterrence” - the most transparent rationalization of Pentagon double talk and in that unprovoked invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation we forfeited our claim to the moral high ground.
There is no need to multiply illustrations of why much of America is now recognizing that the Iraq adventure was a colossal tragic mistake – and when history fully appraises this worst military and diplomatic blunder in memory it will portray properly a man so hungry to be a war time President that he could taste it. “Bring ‘em on” he said.
It will also reveal how every episode of this dreadful undertaking , from the constantly concealed civilian death toll, to American torture of prisoners, to the hastily arranged secret and superficial ceremony conveying “full sovereign authority” to Iraq, how every aspect of this long charade has been slanted and sold by shameless rationalizations – semi-plausible sounding reasons for doing what should never be done, and not doing what should be.
Now we look ahead and our prayer is that our young people and their children will develop the courage and wisdom to find victorious living in ways other than war - that their lives in a contracting world will eliminate fear of cultural differences - the mindless prejudice that often twists proper patriotism into negative nasty nationalism that turns otherwise civil societies into warring tribes.
Teach our children to have faith in humanity and to know the dignity of all human beings. Reaffirm America’s basic belief that all people are created equal - that we all are children of the Universe. There is no nonsense about that - it is universally obvious and fundamentally American. Read more.
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