Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016


I have spent this Memorial Day weekend at the Marine Museum in Quantico, Va honoring the visit of Take Me Home Huey, a remarkable project of restoration and healing. I hope by the next post, the 4th of June, to have a very special post prepared. Be watching for it.

In the meantime you can find them on Facebook and Google+ or at their own site.

 Back to our regularly scheduled post.

I received this from Betsy Luecking of Montgomery County Veterans Affairs Committee, who forwarded it from Secretary Chow of the Maryland Veterans Affairs Office. It is not original, some parts are more powerful than others and it has been around a while, but the sentiments are spot on.

Stop Saying "HAPPY Memorial Day"
By Jeff Seeber

I hope I live long enough to be able to get through the month of May just once without some moron sending me a Happy Memorial Day e-mail or hearing some idiot wishing people a Happy Memorial Day.

It's bad enough I'm reminded every May and every November that very few Americans know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but expecting me to remain silent about the growing trend to turn Memorial Day into some sort of celebration is asking too much. I usually chagrin and bear it, but I'm getting too old to care who I piss off from one day to the next, so if you're one of those fools who sends me a Happy Memorial Day e-mail or wishes people a Happy Memorial Day, listen up!

There is nothing Happy about Memorial Day. That's why it's called M-e-m-o-r-i-a-l Day! Memorial Day is to be commemorated, not celebrated. Memorial Day is supposed to be a day of quiet reflection, remembrance, tribute and rendering honors to those who have given their lives ensuring you nitwits can have the freedom to be able to take full advantage of the rights their deaths secured for you, one of which is the freedom to make ignorant statements like Happy Memorial Day.

Believe it or not, Memorial Day was not placed on calendars to remind you that summer has officially begun. Memorial Day is not the first day of Get Drunk While Pretending To Be An Outdoorsman At Your Cabin season. Memorial Day was not created by General Motors so their dealerships could have a Three-Day Used Car Clearance Blowout. Memorial Day is not intended to be the first day of National Burn That Burger Month.

Memorial Day is supposed to be commemorated on May 30th ... not May 28th, May 29th or May 31st. It makes no difference what day of the week the 30th falls, that's when Memorial Day is supposed to be observed. However, the United States Congress changed the date in 1971 to the last Monday in May to give Americans yet another 3-day weekend. After all, what's more important ... one-hundred-plus years of American tradition or giving Americans one more 3-day weekend to have a few brewskis while driving to see Yellowstone with the wife and kids?

The National Moment of Remembrance was started to encourage all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. Of course, it's been a dismal failure. I mean, c'mon, you expect Americans to pause for an ENTIRE MINUTE to remember those who died serving the people who are too busy to pause for ONE ENTIRE MINUTE? Are you nuts?

It's bad enough American Civics is no longer taught in American schools. It's bad enough most Americans ignore Armed Forces Day. It's bad enough that very few civilians know that May is National Military Family Appreciation Month. It's bad enough few Americans understand that Veterans Day is now intended to honor all those who have worn a uniform serving in this nation's Military, especially those still living. But it's pitiful that most Americans can't seem to comprehend that Memorial Day is the one day a year when we are asked to remember those who gave their lives for this country.

Let me repeat that ... they gave their LIVES. Most of them were teenagers or in their twenties. Many of them left behind a spouse after being married for a very short period of time. Some of them left behind infant children who grew up never knowing one of the two people who brought them into this world with the good fortune of being born a free person. All of them had plans for a full and long life, but they interrupted those plans because they knew that serving their country, and the risks that commitment entails, was more important than life itself.

Their dreams and their expectations ended suddenly on a battlefield in some foreign land, or in a training accident at home or abroad, or during a secret mission to ensure this country is not attacked without warning. Some of them are buried in unmarked graves on foreign soil or rest forever in the sea. Some became missing in the fog of war and will never be accounted for.

Is it too much to ask that Americans pause for one day every year to recognize those who gave the last full measure of devotion? Are we as a nation so selfish, so lazy, so ignorant of the reality of the price of freedom, that we can't set aside even one day to acknowledge the sacrifice of each and every one of our honorable dead? Apparently it is too much to ask. Apparently expecting Americans to relinquish even one day of basking in the sun while swilling beer is too much of an imposition. Let's face it, most Americans prefer a Happy Memorial Day.

For those of us who served, and for the families and friends of those who gave their lives, Memorial Day will always be the one day a year when we publicly honor our buddies, our brothers, our sisters, our sons, our daughters, our fathers, our mothers, our nieces and nephews, our cousins ... all those who perished, their young lives cut short, while serving America ... while fighting next to us ... while protecting you. The rest of the year, we remember them in private. We remember them daily. We will never forget them.

To simplify all of this:

Armed forces Day, the third Saturday of May and it honors those serving.

Memorial Day, Last Monday in May and it honors those that died while serving

Veterans Day, November 11 and it honors those who served.

Just a little more from the more recent wars;

WWI                                                  116,516
WWII                                                 405,399
Vietnam                                                 58,315*
Gulf War                                                    294                                
OEF                                                        2229                               
OIF                                                         4480                            
Total                                                     558,233    ( This number is not complete and will continue to grow as new names are added to The Wall and other lists.)

1775-Present                                1,254,664  
* Eight names were added to The Wall in May 2016 bringing the total to 58,315.

Next time, on June 4th, check back to see some great pics of Take Me Home Huey and learn some of this remarkable story. See you at 9:00am.

To visit memorials in any state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nebraska X

Beatrice lies in the southeastern part of Nebraska, bordering northern Kansas.

A town of a little more than 12,000, it has built a beautiful memorial park to all of her sons and daughters who have served.

The memorial is a 5 pointed star honoring each of the services and those who have served or are serving are listed and honored on plaques.

I noted these names, among others, all from 'Nam but could not discern any indication of how they fared. I was very pleased, that with a little research, to discover that Beatrice lost none of her own in 'Nam. This,  to me, makes the memorial even more meaningful.

The park, located at 6th Street and Perry Street, also has a series of raised placards telling the history of the towns service from 1875 to the present, among several other displays.

Next time, on the 30th, Memorial Day, look for a special post, as always, at 9:00am

To see other memorials from Nebraska, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Mississippi IV

Armory is a town of just over 7100, 27 miles southeast of Tupelo.

I wondered in and came upon this memorial. For anyone new to this site, I will explain that this is called a multi-war memorial. It honors those who served and/or were lost from more than one war. These are quite common and more so in smaller areas that are unable to support different memorials to different wars.

 In many ways, I think this type of site helps tell the history of a place as one can see that multiple generations served their country. too often one sees the same names repeated over and over.

This site commemorates many and includes the  from Vietnam.

It is located at the intersection of  6th Street S. and Hwy 278E.

Next time, on the 26th, we will take another look at Nebraska, so, meet me there at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Mississippi, or any other state, click the name of the state on the left side of this page.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Massachusetts VIII

I had heard or read about a memorial to those lost in 'Nam in Charlestown, so I went to find them and honor them. I wondered around and around and I could find nothing. I asked a number of people on the street or in area shops and no one had any idea what I was talking about. I wonder now, as I write this, how many times I have written those same words before? It is one of the reasons I do this: to ensure that we are not forgotten!

Anyway, as is my way, I pretty much refused to give up, I continued to wander the general area in which it was reported to be located. Finally, frustrated and not just a little angry, I figured I was not going to find it. I was standing next to a high wall and I looked up and saw some flags and thought. "what the hell, I'll check this out." I wandered around a bit trying to gain access to this raised area. The fence in the pic was, easily, eight feet above my head. As I sought out a way to get into the area, I came across this sign and knew that I was in the right place.

Located behind this building, the Veterans Memorial Hall, was the memorial.

Dedicated to the six men from Charlestown lost in the war.

There are plans to turn the whole area into a memorial park and a memorial to the Merchant Marines has been added since I visited.

An interesting detail I ran across is that the plaques were made by Budweiser.
Because of the lay of the land it is hard to find, but it is there, at 14 Green Street, behind the building, and is very worth the effort. It is a very nice memorial to six of our brothers.

Next time, on the 21st, we will take look at a small memorial in Armory, Mississippi, so, join me there, as usual. at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Massachusetts, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Maryland XI

Centerville lies in Queen Anne's County on the eastern shore of Maryland. Founded long before the Revolutionary War she has a long history of fighting for the U.S.

 In 1992 a new memorial was built to honor this tradition and sacrifice and while it, like so many, honors many who participated in many wars, it does pay homage to our brothers who were lost in Vietnam.

In addition to the names engraved upon this wall, there a dozens of these markers remembering those who served.

Note that the Vietnam vet named here served in the Merchant Marine, a group that does not always get the credit they deserve.

This plaque sits at the base of the wall.

Located at the County Court House on the Court House green it may be found at North Commerce Street and Broadway..

Next time, on the 16th, we head back to Massachusetts, so meet me there, as always, at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Maryland, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Maine VIII

Bowdoin College is located in Brunswick, Maine and it is historic. Founded in 1794, this small, less than 1900 students, College has given us Presidents, Poets, Novelist, Senators, Ambassadors, Generals and on and on and on.

Opposite Gibson Hall is a memorial dedicated in 1994 which lists the names of the eight alum who were lost in vietnam.

These are listed among others from WWII and Korea, over 200 in all on the three stones.

Adjacent to the wall of names are these quotations from two of Bowdoin's more famous graduates: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and General Joshua Chamberlain.

The sentiments here are very old, yet they seem perfect for this site.

The Campus is located at 225 Maine Street in Brunswick.

Next time, on the 11th, we will see another memorial from Maryland, so join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

To see other memorials from Maine, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Louisiana XI

This memorial to Capt. Bennett is on the campus of the University of Louisiana. I read that he graduated from Southwestern Louisiana and I do not know if they are connected, but I assume that may be the case.

Having only one usable parachute, after being hit, he tried to ditch his plane in an attempt to save his colleague and in fact, did so, at the cost his own life.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

He is interred at the Lafayette Memorial Cemetery in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Next time, on the 6th, we will revisit Maine, so join me there, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see additional memorials from Louisiana, or any other state, click the state name on the left side of this page.