Memorial Day 2015: Never Forget

Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o’er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled fields no more.
Days of danger, nights of waking.
-Sir Walter Scott

Begun on the 30th of May 1868, Decoration Day began as a way to honor those who died during the War Between the States. That war killed 623,026 total from both sides of the conflict, the costliest war in this great nations existence. (Source)

The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).
It is now observed in almost every state on the last Monday in May with Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363). (Source)

Each generation of Americans has experienced the effects of war and, based on my observations of the human condition, will continue to do so.

When I think of this day each year, I am reminded of the men I’ve known who gave their all. I also then feel the weight of all the sorrow that those men’s deaths caused for so many in their families and friends.

We must never forget the sacrifices of our fallen.

The greatest glory of a free-born people is to transmit that freedom to their children.
-William Havard

6 June 1944: Honoring Those Brave Men

dday

Greatness personified

I have had the honor of knowing a few men who endured the horrors of the Normandy invasion.

To this day I cannot begin to fathom the emotions they must have experienced.

My eyes water and my heart is weighted with pride when I think of what they accomplished and how they suffered for us.

Montford Point Marines: Semper Fi

alcorn-founders-day-2013.jpg“A man has no control of where he is born, or to whom he is born, or the color of his skin.
He may have no control in how or where he dies.
But he has complete control of the life lived during that time in the middle:  between when he, or she is born and when he, or she dies.
This is the time we are given to discover what matters most, and to live one’s life accordingly.”
The opening remarks of Dr. Ozell Sutton, spoken slowly in  distinctive deep baritone, set the tone for a stirring, heartfelt, and remarkable acceptance speech given as the 2103 recipient of the Hiram R. Revels Achievement Award, at the celebration of Founders Day 2013, Alcorn State University.
The Revels Award is the highest award granted by the University to an individual whose life exhibits tenacity, fortitude, and excellence.  One of the original Montford Point Marines, and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Dr. Sutton discovered at an early age what mattered most, evidenced by the decisions he has made and actions he has taken throughout his life as a journalist, a civil rights pioneer, and a distinguished career at the US Department of Justice.
Ms, Carla Williams, Ms. Dwantra Anderson and I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Dr. Sutton after the ceremony. I asked him about Monford Point.  His eyes became misty as he recalled friends and places;  Iwo Jima, Guadalcanal, Bougainville; distant in time, but forever a part of his legacy.  I think it may have been his experience as a US Marine that prevailed upon his very soul the absolute value and importance of equality and justice, as well as the importance of pursuing those ideals with passion.
… tenacity … fortitude … excellence …  Dr. Ozell Sutton.  Semper Fidelis
By the way, I will be adding this book to my reading list.  “From Yonder to Here”: A Memoir of Dr. Ozell Sutton.

Reagan at Normandy

Commemorating the 40th anniversay of D-Day, Ronald Reagan’s words are still an inspiration today.

Thank you veterans.

Memorial Day: Honoring And Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

Today is not the day for thanking our veterans, that is for all the other days of the year. Today is a day for remembering those who gave their lives in service to this country.

Of the few faces of the men I have known who were killed in conflict while in the military, they are forever the young men I remember. They never experienced the ravages of time, that is the burden for those of us who have lived on. As it is with the millions of others, from every branch of the military, buried in graves all over the world.

It is our duty to honor and remember their gift to us. We owe them not only that, but all that we have.

*Cross posted at Urban Grounds*

Texas Buries A Hero~R.I.P Chris Kyle

The shock we all felt a little over a week ago when the news of his murder was announced still is with many Texans.

An American Hero, a legendary SEAL from Texas, loving husband and father, has left his loved one’s hurting and an entire state circling around them to show his life was with meaning and well spent, short though it was.

Chris’ memorial service was held on Monday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  Approximately 7,000 attended, as his coffin rested on the big blue star on the fifty yard line.

Mrs. Kyle gave an emotional eulogy, which breaks my heart to watch.

His young son and daughter wrote a farewell message to their father, which was printed on the back of the memorial service program.

Farewell note to Dad

Today, a funeral procession I have never heard of or seen departed Midlothian, Texas, about 25 miles SWest of Dallas, on a 220 mile journey for Chris’ final resting place in the Texas State Cemetery, reserved by state law for Texans that have made a significant contribution.

The procession departed at around 8a.m. The temperature was in the mid 40’s, it was raining and the wind was out of the North. The cold matched the feeling so many were left with after hearing of his death, the rain was like tears from Heaven.
On the 220 mile journey, people stood out in the weather to show their respect to a fallen hero that few ever knew. It was an inspiring tribute and a reflection on how genuinely good hearted and grateful Texans are for those who serve with honor.
Every city and small town on the long journey down the heavily traveled, but now shut down, I-35 turned out on the road side and overpasses.

R.I.P. warrior!
God Bless the Kyle family and God Bless Texas!

Navy SEAL Tridents hand punched into Kyle’s coffin

Happy 65th Zoomies!

The National Security Act of 1947 established the Department of the Air Force.

To Fly, Fight, Win, in air, space and cyberspace.

Happy 65th Birthday.  Thank you for what you do every day.

See Also, Matt Bracken’s new  short story, What I Saw at the Coup

Subic and Clark to be re-opened

It doesn’t seem like it’s been 21 years since the Navy and the Air Force pulled out of Subic Bay and Clark AFB in the Philippines, but this story from Business Insider makes me hope we can get N2L to bring us some more adventures from the SYM …

Travis Tritten at Stars and Stripes  reports that the Pentagon has apparently been fanning the old flame of friendship with the Philippines and will be re-opening two bases it left in 1991 — Subic Bay and Clark Air Base … source

Amazing Courage and Bravery. 68th anniversary of D-Day

President Reagan’s Address at the Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-day at Point-du-Hoc – 6/6/84.

Isn’t it nice to see an American President make a speech without using a teleprompter?
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Make a contribution to the WWII Museum here

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Memorial Day: Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

Gone from this mortal plane…never forgotten.

The following video is a labor of love for approximately twenty years by blogger and military historian War Chick. We have become internet buds over the past few years based on the connection we have with this story of a soldier few have ever heard of. She heard of Ricardo from her father who was his friend and has honored his memory by devoting so many years in telling his story, a story that no movie script writer could dream of.

Ricardo Carrasco was the Uncle of one of my best and dearest friends, a man I served with in the USAF. My friend told me about his Uncle once during one of our many mind and soul cleansing conversations. I have no doubt that Ricardo and his nephew had the same blood and spirit coursing through their arteries.

*Cross-posted at Urban Grounds*

Veterans Day in Magnolia

At the Pike County Veterans Memorial, Magnolia, Mississippi, November 11, 2011.

Today’s service began at 11:11 A.M. on a gloriously sunny morning in front of the Court House.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Mrs. and I found a semi-shady spot to visit with many of the veterans and families.   The JROTC of South Pike High School presented the colors.  Many thanks to Maj (ret) J.W. Rayborn for his service with these fine young people.

A special Veterans Day speech was delivered by Willie Dunbar, student body President of North Pike High School.  Willie is a Senior at North Pike, and is an impressive young man in his own right.

Several of us, including Willie and his mom Rhonda, and his Principal, Darryl Brock, along with the American Legion commander Nickie White and his wife, and Jim Coleman and his wife joined Mrs. Nuke  and the staff from the local VA clinic for lunch at Chili Willie’s.

A wonderful service, and a memorable day.  Thanks, Lord for letting me be there.

Welcome Home

(Pearl Harbor: Nuke’s nephew gets a warm welcome from his family)

A ‘Memorial Day’ Masterpiece

*UPDATED* The long version of the Washington Times article with photos is HERE.

I received an email several weeks ago from my internet buddy WARChick about a Memorial Day piece she was working on. Then, a few days ago she emailed me again to inform me that the piece I had previewed would be published at the Washington Times, both online and in print.

It is a fascinating story of the uncle of my dear friend Grandpa Bob, who served with me in the USAF. Of all the men that I knew and served with, Bob is the only one that I have maintained a close friendship with for the past 36 years. His uncle, Ricardo, served in the U.S. Army in Korea.

I first read Ricardo’s story four years ago and posted a thread of WARChick’s excellent piece here.

The article at the Washington Times is titled ‘KIRKLAND: Killed in Korea twice in one day’-(A forgotten warrior dies rather than leave his ‘fellahs’ at the front).

WARChick has been working on this story for twenty years. She has gathered information from any and all sources available, too include contacting Paramount pictures concerning the movie itself, which has not been shown on any screen since the 1950’s.

So, please, go and read this story at the link above. It is a work of love by WARChick and as strong a testament to the good character, devotion and selflessness of our service members, as one can find.

Have a great Memorial Day, a day of remembrance for those who fell in military service. And please, for this one day remember it is for our fallen, not for our active duty or vets.

*Cross-posted*
At Urban Grounds.

Shopping at Sears

source: Free Republic

How does Sears treat its employees who are called up for military duty?

By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up for active duty.

Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years.

I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution. I suggest we all shop at Sears at least once, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement and feedback it well deserves.

I decided to check this before I sent it forward. So I sent the following e-mail to the Sears Customer Service Department:

I received this e-mail and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement for your company. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item, even if it’s cheaper at that store.

This is their answer to my e-mail:

Dear Customer:

Thank you for contacting Sears.The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback.

Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care

If you haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, drop by Sears . Or, if you’re like me and hate going to the mall, then buy something on Sears.com.

This is worthy.

Pass it on.

I saw America today

Rod Smith, Patriot Guard Rider
October 21, 2010, Laurel , Mississippi

I saw America today.

I was among more that 200 people gathered on the tarmac at the Meridian Air Navel Station to welcome Sgt. Eric C. Newman, 30, of Waynesboro , Miss. home from Afghanistan.

He did not exit to cheers and hugs but was greeted by respectful silence. Military men and women, bikers, policemen, firemen, all in formation riveted their attention as Sgt. Newman disembarked from the plane carrying him.

He exited in a flag draped coffin, killed in action in Afghanistan.

The family stood near the hearse and as Sgt. Newman’s casket approached he was greeted by his new wife and his mother as they draped their arms around the casket where their beloved husband and son lay. There would be no married life for the newly married couple and another mother had given her son in the name of freedom.

I saw America today.

The procession formed with a police escort in front leading the hearse carrying Sgt. Newman which was followed by his family, more than 100 bikers, including the Patriot Guard Riders, scores of police officers, firemen, and friends. I rode near the front and I never could see the end of the procession as we rolled over the hills from Meridian to Waynesboro .

I saw America today.

On the 60 mile journey truckers, the big rigs, pulled to the side of the road, exited their trucks and put hand over heart in honor of Sgt. Newman and the American flag. Down the road from one big shiny rig was a humble logging truck, driver standing on the ground, hand over heart.

For sixty miles a mixture of people stood by the side of the road, flag in hand as we rolled past. At every junction where a side road entered there were people. At the overpasses there was always a fire truck displaying a large American flag. Every fire department along the way had their fire truck standing by to honor this young American who gave his life for us.

There was a young Boy Scout, in uniform, proudly saluting Sgt. Newman and the American flags that passed him.

A man in bib overalls stood by a ragged old pickup truck giving honor. Just down the road was a man dressed in suit and tie by his expensive SUV.

Something in the bright blue sky above caught my eye. It was two jet fighter planes flying over the procession, the thoughtful action of fellow soldiers.

I could see a woman kneeling, holding something out in her hands. At first I thought it must be a camera but as I passed I could clearly see it was a folded American flag. Just like the one that was given to my mother when my father died. Yes, it was her way of saying, “I lost a loved one as well.”

I saw America today.

As we left the main road and entered Waynesboro two fire trucks were parked in such a way as to form an arch with a giant American flag suspended between the two.

The streets were lined solid with people. No cars were moving. I observed someone in a wheel chair on the side of the road. When we drew closer I saw several in wheel chairs, some on crutches. They were old, and fragile. They were residents of a nursing home. On down the road there was another group from yet another nursing home, all waving tiny American flags.

As we wound our way through town hundreds of people lined the sides of the streets. We passed an elementary school. The children lined the fence three deep, most with flags, some with red, white, and blue balloons which were later released.

Next we passed the high school. Again the students respectfully lined the streets adjacent to the school. All were standing respectfully in honor of Sgt. Newman.

And did I mention the yellow ribbons? They were on trees, mailboxes, fences, and anywhere people could place them.

I saw America today.

When we had finished the escort all the bikers were asked to meet at the First Baptist Church of Waynesboro. There they gathered us up and escorted us to the Western Sizzlin ’ where the people of the town treated us to lunch for doing something of which we were proud to be a part.

Today, I saw America and I’m proud to be an American. God bless America .

t-p connect

Veteran’s Day Tribute

For all my veteran brothers and sisters.

THANK YOU!

Fred Thompson adopts the Reid Doctrine

The Reid Doctrine™: The bold declaration of pre-emptive surrender made by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in April 2007.

It was quickly echoed by both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Joe Biden, as well as Barack Obama, John Kerry (who served in Viet Nam), and a host of other Democrats.

At The Politico, Ben Smith reports that a Republican, Fred Thompson, has adopted the Reid Doctrine™ in his criticism of Obama’s handling of the “overseas contingency operation” in Afghanistan …

“It really doesn’t matter how President Obama divides the Afghan baby, how he splits the difference between McChrystal and Biden. Because the war has been lost,” Thompson said on his radio show today. “I say this because of one sad and simple fact. The president does not have the will and determination to do what’s necessary to win it. His heart’s not in it, and never has been. The Taliban knows it. Al Qaeda knows it. Our allies know it. And the American people know it. {snip}

“Take your time, Mr. President,” Thompson said. Unless you have a total change of heart and mind, it really doesn’t make any difference.”

Obviously, the irony of accusing Obama of delivering a half-hearted effort is lost on Big Fred.

Regardless, this rhetoric is no more acceptable coming from a Republican than it is from a Democrat.

Shame on you, Fred Thompson.

More at HotAir

World War II in HD

from History Channel

WWII in HD is the first-ever World War II documentary presented in full, immersive HD color. Culled from thousands of hours of lost and rare color archival footage gathered from a worldwide search through basements and archives, WWII in HD will change the way the world sees this defining conflict. Using footage never before seen by most Americans–converted to HD for unprecedented clarity–viewers will experience the war as if they were actually there, surrounded by the real sights and sounds of the battlefields. Along the way they’ll meet a diverse group of soldiers whose wartime diaries and journals show in visceral detail what the war was really like.

This visually astonishing landmark series presents the story of World War II through the eyes of 12 Americans who experienced the war firsthand.

Narrated by Gary Sinise.

Outstanding work.

muslim backlash

While the Obama administration and members of the MSM doggedly wring their hands in fear of the much-anticipated anti-muslim backlash, here is a composite of the Ft Hood dead: the victims of the most current muslim backlash.

article-1225627-0720E70C000005DC-0_634x299

From top left, Specialist Jason Dean Hunt, 22; Sgt. Amy Krueger, 29; Private Aaron Thomas Nemelka, 19; Michael Grant Cahill, 62; Private Kham Xiong, 23; Staff Sgt. Justin M. DeCrow, 32. From bottom left, Private Michael Pearson, 21; Russell Seager, 51; Francheska Velez, 21; Capt. John Gaffaney, 56; and Major L. Eduardo Caraveo, 52

photo credit: AP, Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1225627/Fort-Hood-shootings-Army-major-Nidal-Malik-Hasan-kills-12-injures-31-shootout-troops-army-base.html#ixzz0WJR8ppEu

“The Surge” A Success Story!

Thanks to the outstanding website, Big Hollywood, for informing us of a long due documentary on “The Surge.”

First, the trailer.

Understanding the Surge – The Trailer from ISW on Vimeo.

The author of the piece at Big Hollywood states the following:

The documentary will be released on Monday, November 9th, and available as a free download at UnderstandingTheSurge.org, as a generous gift by The National Philanthropic Trust and the Ware Family Foundation. This way, everyone can hear the real story of the Surge. As the director and co-writer of this film, I hope audiences will take a look and see for themselves, there are some important lessons to be learned.

Here’s hoping our elected leaders are tuning in.

I wholly concur!

There is a time line of events from the website Understanding The Surge, as a reminder of why the surge was needed, along with the brilliant and simple counterinsurgency plan that accompanied it.

For detailed info on how events in Iraq transpired, from the re-invasion in 2003, through the insurgency, to the current status of security in Iraq, the pdf available from the Brookings Institute Iraq Index is invaluable. There are graphs showing the rise and fall of violence in Iraq, as well as many other valuable surveys and polls to illustrate how effective the surge has been, and why it is viewed by many now, and even more in the future, as an historic military accomplishment.

I wrote about the pending surge back in Jan 2007, Why 21,500 Additional Troops Is Actually Enough (As A Force Multiplier).
I believed in the plan and the leadership at the time, and feel my confidence was well placed.

We now have a video record of the actions in this documentary, and I will mark my calendar for Monday, 9 Nov 09, to see this film in its entirety.

*Cross-posted at Urban Grounds.*

Ft Hood killer still alive

This is strange.  He was first reported dead, but now KWTX is reporting that Malik Nidal Hasan is still alive.

FORT HOOD (November 5, 2009)— Army Maj. Malik Nadal Hasan whom Fort Hood officials identified as the soldier who opened fire Thursday afternoon on post, killing 12 and wounding 30 others, is not dead, according to the post’s commander, who earlier said the gunman was dead.

Lt. Gen. Robert Cone declined to comment on Hasan’s condition.

Hasan was reportedly taken to Scott & White Hospital in Temple.

Fort Hood ended its lockdown Thursday evening.

h/t n2l

I guess we need to have us a fair trial then hang this bastard. Or, maybe a firing squad. I’m sure they could find volunteers.

Fort Hood on lockdown

7 12 are dead, 12 20 31 injured at the Soldier’s Readiness Processing Center, Ft. Hood, Texas.

News reports of 2 shooters, one now in custody, and one at large.

Developing …

Fox News is now reporting there may be two shooters on the loose, and the possibility of terrorism as the motive.

hasanUpdate:
The murderer has been identified as Psychiatrist, Maj Malik Nidal Hasan. Two other suspects have been questioned and released. MPs are searching for a third suspect as the Post remains on lockdown.

Nidal Hasan, M.D., M.P.H.  Fellow, Disaster and Preventive Psychiatry
Department of Psychiatry, F.Edward Hebert School of Medicine Uniformed Services University of the Health Science  (BI)

This is beginning to sound eerily similar to the case of Sgt Asan Akbar, whose March 2003 fragging incident in Kuwait sent shockwaves through the 101st Airborne.

Update: T.J. Aulds reports this quote:

“They were telling him that one guy was shouting something in Arabic while he was shooting,” Tom Hunt said. “He couldn’t say much more than that.”

 

I wonder if it sounded anything like aloha snackbar …

Applebees says “thank you” to vets

On Veteran’s Day, Applebees Restaurants are saying “thank you” to those who serve.

All active duty military, and all military veterans are invited to eat — for free!

A worthy idea, indeed.

Spread the word.

Band of Brothers

Today is St. Crispin’s Day.

Although I’m not sure what St. Crispin’s Day is all about, William Shakespeare made sure it would be never forgotten in Henry V.

This clip is from the movie Renaissance Man.

A Proud American Walks To Thank Her!

This gentleman’s name is Sinh Tho Nguyen, a resident of Ft. Worth, Texas, but his history is more interesting than his current residence.

Born in Viet Nam in 1969 to a Viet Namese mother, and a U.S. Army father he never knew, Sinh immigrated to the U.S. in 1992. Since that time he has become a U.S. citizen, graduated from the University of Texas-Arlington, served in the U.S. Army, and earned his Masters degree while serving at Fort Mead, Maryland, taking night courses.

Just over a year and a half ago he got the idea to walk from shore to shore to thank America, and it’s military active duty and vets. Working as a contract meter reader in Ft. Worth, he was able to fund his journey with twenty five thousand dollars, and some good advice, not to cross from California to Texas in the summer. Sinh’s original plan was to cross from San Diego, California to Atlantic Beach, Florida, near Jacksonville. Instead, he reversed his course, and began his trek at Atlantic Beach.

As recently as 26 Sep 09, he was in Mesa, Arizona, with a planned arrival in San Diego by Thanksgiving, averaging about twenty four miles a day.

Sinh’s planned trip required a two week stay in Ft. Worth, as his badly battered feet required medical attention, due to the blisters and bruises caused by the heat, the walking, and the wearing of Croc shoes.

Carrying a U.S. flag, with a sign on his back which states “Shore to Shore, A walk across America to honor those who serve,” Sinh has an infectious positive attitude, and a radiant smile. Taking time off from his Phd program, Sinh has nearly completed his journey, and has found out more about the true nature of America for his effort. Not only is he expressing his love of this country, he has found many that share that feeling, and have given back to him what they could in support of his effort.

I hope one day I can meet with Sinh. His expression of patriotism is inspiring, and he possesses the gratitude that too many Americans have never known, or forget unless reminded.

While Sinh’s story won’t command the headlines that the latest salacious celebrity faux pas or our current president’s apology for America’s existence will, he is truly a man to be admired and respected.

*Cross-posted*
LGF2 and Urban Grounds.

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