Retired Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale handled questions from his audience at West Annapolis Elementary School yesterday far better than he answered questions during vice-presidential debates a year ago.
Then again, these were questions from the third, fourth and fifth grade classes about his war experiences, his grandchildren and his hometown. His answers required no political posturing or rhetoric.
Admiral Stockdale, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War and Ross Perot's running mate in the 1992 presidential campaign, came to the school at the request of one of its parents to talk with the children about citizenship.
"I've always known we had a great country, but there are two high points in my life that made it clearer," said the admiral, who is in Annapolis this week to participate in a leadership conference at the Naval Academy.
He cited his 7-year ordeal as a POW after his bomber was shot down and his single tryst with politics. In the first case, he found the Americans stuck together like family, each "willing to lay down our lives for another." In the second, he said, he was pleasantly surprised by the public interest and enthusiasm to solve the nations problems.
He encouraged the students to volunteer their country, and even quoted a 2,000-year-old Greek philosopher.
All of which may have befuddled his audience of 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds. The students were more interested in how he was shot down in North Vietnam, how he escaped and where his granddaughter goes to school.
The admiral, who now spends much of his time studying Greek philosophy at Stanford University, answered their questions with aplomb.
"I had things to blow up in their country, so I can't claim I got a bum rap," said Admiral Stockdale, 69, who was in isolation for four years in Hanoi prison camp and had both his legs broken.
Salvation Army names officers
The Salvation Army has appointed commanding officers to its Annapolis Community Center in the 300 block of Hilltop Lane.
Capt. Walter Strong and Capt. Vicki Strong, who are married, were transferred to Annapolis from Naples, Fla.
He grew up in Havre de Grace before entering the Salvation Army's Officer Training School in Atlanta in 1982. She is a Winchester, Va., native and was commissioned in 1977. They married in 1981.
They have two children, Walter, 8, and Jennifer, 6, who attend Hillsmere Elementary School.
YWCA parent center director appointed
The YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County has appointed Nancy DeCandis as director of the Parenting Center and as combined program administrator.
Previously, Ms. DeCandis was the director of the YWCA's Teen Infant Center at Meade High School.
Her responsibilities include coordinating Parenting Center activities and overseeing programming for the Severna Park and South County centers.
Ms. DeCandis lives in Annapolis with her husband, Frank, and son, Michael.
* Tracy's Landing: Appliances valued at $315 were stolen from a home in the first block of Jewell Road between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesday.