Recently, talk of secession has re-emerged, for vastly different reasons, in the states of California and Texas. Likewise, several Hollywood stars have threatened to become expatriates (a kind of personalized secession) because of their discontent with the result of the most recent presidential election.
In spite of the currency of this term, secession (withdrawal from the union) has been singularly and, therefore, erroneously connected exclusively with the Antebellum South in the minds of many students and the broader citizenry.
Johnny Graves, a gunner in the U.S. Army Air Service, was struggling for survival in the frigid sea!
In the early evening, his bomber was returning from a sortie over German held territory during World War 2, but it had been badly damaged. It was clear the plane would not be able to return to England, but would have to ditch in the North Sea.
Rickenbacker’s not infrequent outbursts during this long ordeal aroused the enmity of his fellow castaways. After these excoriations, the men thought more of their resentment for him and less about their suffering. When their will to live was flagging, Rickenbacker’s raging stirred their anger to the point that they fought to live only to spite him. It was a cruel motivational tactic, but, maybe, a necessary one in these unforgiving circumstances.