Ask The Psychologist Issue #21: What you can do to be positive and happy in 2021

I have heard some people complaining that this past year was quite negative and not looking to much positivity in 2021. I sent out to a few friends, what I have written earlier in the day and some responded that I should send this out as an ASK THE PSYCHOLOGIST 21ST ISSUE. ONE PERSON RESPONDED, “These are the kind of stories that should be told at schools in America’”. I agree and would add that every person in America should stand in the middle of an American Military Cemetery, as I once did, at key moments in their lives.

I also suggest that if anyone is feeling overwhelmed with all that is now happening in our country, that they should make a four column asset list, with the headings, Physical, Mental, Emotional and Things I do. Under each heading, they should list specifically what positive assets they have in each category. Physical — examples are strong heart beat, can walk for exercise, play sports, etc. For mental —  such things as play cards, do puzzles, etc. For emotional — have a good sense of humor, calm in an emergency, etc. And things I do —  such as volunteer, call friends, etc. You get the idea. Make the list as long as possible and get someone to help you increase the list every day.

But please be proud of the great country you live in that gives you the opportunity to develop your assets, as I have explained below.

When I was in Italy in 1990 with a friend of mine, who was born in Italy and quite financially successful as an American citizen, we had dinner three nights in a row, with a well to do Italian man, living near Rome, who was a guard for Benito Mussolini during World War II. 

The first night, my friend and this gentleman gave me a hard time telling me why Italy is superior to America in food, art and everything else. 

Second night, the same thing and I tried to convince them that America had everything they had, plus more.

The third night and last night that we were visiting, the Italian man started again and I said excuse me, but you are right, Italy is far superior to America, I’ve discovered that today when I found thousands of Americans just down the beach from your home. Both Italians were puzzled what I was talking about. I said that my wife and I visited with these Americans earlier today but the problem was, in Anzio, where these men and women are, they are 6 feet under the ground, in a military cemetery and if they were not there, Italy would not be what it is today. Both men went quiet and not one more comment about how great Italy was compared to America. 

(Please view Anzio’s American Military Cemetery here:

From that moment on in my life, when people ask me what I am, I always say an American of Italian Ancestry. Growing up, I recall my father (Who served in WW II and part of his service was guarding Italian POW’s), reminded me one day, when he heard me say I was Italian, stating very firmly, YOU ARE AN AMERICAN, NOT AN ITALIAN. Lesson learned!

Happy New Year & God Bless our USA, Bart


Here is a refresher on how some of our former patriots handled negative comments about our country.

JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early ’60s when
DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaulle said he wanted all U.S.

military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded,

“Does that include those who are buried here?”

DeGaulle did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop.


When in England,

at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the
Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of
’empire building’ by George Bush.

He answered by saying,

“Over the years, the United States has sent many of
its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom
beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for
in return is enough to bury those that did not

You could have heard a pin drop.



There was a conference in France

where a number of international engineers
were taking part, including French and American. During a break,
one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, “Have you
heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft
carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he
intend to do, bomb them?”

A Boeing engineer

stood up and replied quietly: “Our carriers have three
hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are
nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to
shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to
feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand
gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a
dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and
from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships;

how many does France have?” 


You could have heard a pin drop.



A U.S. Navy Admiral

was attending a naval conference that included
Admirals from the U.S., English, Canadian, Australian and French
Navies At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large
group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries.
Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a
French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many
languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, “Why is it that
we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than
speaking French?”

Without hesitating the American Admiral replied, “Maybe it’s because the
Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t
have to speak German.”

You could have heard a pin drop.




Robert Whiting,

an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane.

At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport

in his carry on.

“You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”

The American said,

“The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”

“Impossible…  Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France !”

The American senior

gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he
quietly explained, ”Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in
1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find a single Frenchmen
to show a passport to!” 

You could have heard a pin drop.


If you are proud to be an American, pass this on! If not, delete it.

Bart P. Billings,Ph.D.
COL SCNG-SC, Military Medical Directorate (Ret.)
Licensed Clinical Psychologist CA PSY 7656
Licensed Marriage, Family Therapist CA LMFT 4888

—Director/Founder International Military & Civilian Combat Stress Conference
—Initial Enlisted Ranks and Retired as Medical Service Corps Officer with a total of 34 years in US Army
—Recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Award from Citizens Commission on Human Rights International & The University Of Scranton “Frank O’Hara Award” in 2016. (“Invisible Scars” & “Unhealthy Eating …” Books Website) (Combat Stress Conference website)
—Cell 760 500-5040
—Ph  760 438-2788


INVISIBLE SCARS” is available at

Some Amazon 5 Star Recent Customer Reviews

– This Book Saved My Life.

– I am sure that this book will save lives.

– 25 pages into Invisible Scars, I knew that it was the second most important book I would ever read…after the Bible. — David T. Ossian, Asst. National Vice Commandant , Marine Corps League

– This book is life changing…everyone needs to read …. 


HEALTHY EATING” is available at

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