Friday, December 29, 2017

Bucket list 2017

One last non-Vietnam memorial post for this year.

I was able, this year, to knock a thing or two off my bucket list.

One of the big ones was taking my family, my wife, my son, his wife and two children to Ireland. It was kind of a 70th birthday party, so my sister and her husband, a couple of their kids and my brother and his wife joined us. It was a great thing to me to be with my family in the auld sod!

I could post hundreds and hundreds of pics, but I have chosen just a few to share with you today.

In my several trips to Ireland, I have never been able to get to the Brazen Head, the oldest bar in Ireland. It open in 1198 and had been pouring Guinness ever since. We made it this time and it is really great. Much of the building is original and you find yourself having to duck under beams and doorways.

Durty Nelly's is another of the very old pubs in the country. Nelly's was opened in the 1620s. We had a great meal there and my sisters oldest daughter who had not accompanied us, showed up as a huge surprise!

So, before you get to thinking that ALL we did was drink (you wouldn't be so very far off, at that) I'll alter course a bit here.

The story goes that the Devil, in a fit of pique, bit off a piece of of a mountain and spit it out and it became The Rock of Cashel, where St. Patrick, later, built this monastery. It is a magnificent structure and well worth an afternoon of your time, if you can get out of the pubs.

Pulnabrone (Hole of the Sorrows) is tomb built 4200 year s BCE. The remains of approximately 40 were found within. It is an iconic Irish site and is the second most visited spot in all of Ireland.

We traveled to Cork as it is where my ancestors came from and just along the shore was this picturesque dingy filled with flowers.
We took a moment, again in Cork, to remember and honor the millions upon millions of souls forced to flee Ireland during the potato blight. Some effort is being made to have people, particularly Irish, stop referring to The Great Hunger as a famine. There was no famine in Ireland. The English shipped crops and livestock and other food stuffs to England, leaving only potatoes for the Irish, whom they despised. When the potato blight hit, the spuds rotted and, hence, the starvation and great migrations to America, Australia, Mexico, and many other places. The Irish population was decimated, by some counts halved, and has not yet recovered. So, we always remember; An Gorta Mor, The Great Hunger.

We were fortunate enough to spend some time in Lisheen Castle, a beautifully restored home near Thurles in central southern Ireland. Perhaps at another time I will post some additional shots of this spectacular place.

For now, however, I will end back in Dublin.

This is the famous Ha' Penny Bridge. In time past it cost one half cent, a Ha ' Penny, to cross. It is now free to all to cross the River Liffey.

So that's it from Ireland for today. We will resume post of Memorials to those lost in 'Nam on the third of January, so join me then, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see Vietnam memorials from any state, click on the state name on the left side o this page.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas 2017

It came upon a midnight clear...

50 years ago tonight, I was on duty somewhere in 'Nam. I can't say I recall doing exactly what, it was just another day to a large extent.

I remember that in base camp they tried to have a special Christmas dinner, but I really don't remember it. I guess it is possible that we were out of port, running up or down the Mekong, I simply cannot remember. What happens to our memories?

I do remember that my parents sent a little Christmas tree. I think maybe it had little lights on it. And, I am sure they included various goodies. I do remember that we all gathered around it and completely enjoyed having it sitting on top of my foot locker!

The biggest surprise of that Christmas didn't actually occur on Dec. 25, but several months later.

I finally made it home in April and after the dog went crazy when he saw me get out of the car, and my parents and family all ran out to the street, we all eventually, went in to the house.

And, there, where it always was during my childhood, stood the Christmas tree, all decorated, packages beneath its boughs, waiting for me to come home.

Of course, I have no idea what any of the packages contained, that after all is not what we member, we remember the feelings, the love and in this case, the relief, of finally being home.

It was indeed special.

This Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Solstice, Kwanzaa, Los Tres Reyes or whatever holy day, holiday, or celebration of new beginnings that you may choose to celebrate remember to take a moment to remember, to be thankful for and to wish them safe home, those, as Mick Jagger calls them, "the common foot soldier, the salt of the earth." You know that while we celebrate, hundreds of thousands are pulling duty somewhere, many miles from loved ones.

Give them a thought.

                                                                               men of good will!

  Happy holidays to you and yours.

Many of you will know that during the holiday season, I often take a small break from writing about memorials. So, next time, on the 29th, look for something a little different, as usual, at 9:00am.

To see memorials from any state in the union, click on a state name on the left side of this page.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Maine XIII

While visiting the Maine Vietnam memorial in Augusta, on one of my trips there, I decided to walk into the State House just to look around.

I wondered upstairs and found a number of patriotic displays including there to Vietnam.

As noted previously on this site, the Augusta Vietnam memorial lists no names, this is true here, too except for the Medal of Honor recipients from several wars,including Vietnam. The names are all listed on the memorial found in Bangor which you can find elsewhere on this site.

Our sisters are not overlooked here. This plaque honors them all from the Revolution through the present day. No depiction here from Vietnam, but there is one (on the left) that seems to honor the Womens Army Service Pilots from WWII. My former Mother in Law was one of these heroic women and she lived the last 40+ years of her live in Maine, so I found it particularly fitting.

Next time, hopefully on the 24th, I will have a special posting for the season. Come back and check, sometime during the holidays and see, the post will go up at 9:00am, as always.

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

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Georgia VII

I am a bit late in posting this as I had some computer issues. Now resolved, I'll make every effort to keep up!

While headed towards the Alabama memorial in Anniston, featured elsewhere on this site, Steve and I ventured in to Bowdon, Georgia.

This memorial is located in a small park near the Town Hall, which serves the slightly more than 2,000 residents of the town.

It lists and honors the eleven men from the area that were lost to the war.

Oddly, I think, the names are only listed on the right side of the memorial. I could find no explanation for this.

The park is planted with lovely flowers and has benches for quiet reflection.

The park is located in the triangle formed by East College Street, City Hall Avenue, and Commerce Street.

Next time, on the 19th, we will revisit Maine, or just maybe a special seasonal post, so, join me there, as always, at 9:00am.

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

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Florida XII

The city of Orlando is much more famous for being the home of a number of amusement parks and tourist attractions, but, it is also the home of a magnificent tribute to those who fought and were lost in Vietnam.

Located on the site of an old Navy base, now a VA hospital, it backs up to Lake Baldwin.

Created by the local Vietnamese community in appreciation of the service and sacrifice Americans made in Vietnam. I am stunned that I can find so little information about this stunning place.

One of the first things I noticed was that there was no America flag, but later research showed that it is usually there above the POW/MIA flag. why it was missing the day I visited, I do not know.

Set in among these trees makes it particularly beautiful. In D.C. The Three Servicemen are amongst trees that represent the jungle, I guess the same might be true here.

One of the smaller walls here attempts to tell the story of the Vietnam War. A part I particularly appreciate is that mention is made of the 6 countrys that actually put "boots on the ground." A number of other countrys aided in other ways, but these actually participated in the fighting.

The reverse lists the many groups and organizations that were part of the project.

The dedication plaque.

The memorial may be found at Glenridge Way East and Lake Baldwin lane,

Next time, on the 11th, we will meet in Georgia, so join me there,as always, at9:00am.

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

Delaware VIII

One of the popular beach resorts on the east coast is Bethany Beach, Delaware and during a weekend there this fall I came across a brand new memorial.

Not precisely a Vietnam memorial but a POW/MIA memorial to the 91,000 still missing from World War II onward. As I have said before, the iconic POW/MIA flag now used to recall and honor all those still missing was, in fact, designed by the wife of a Vietnam POW and to me it will always represent 'Nam.

It sits at the very end of the main drag into the resort town, past the totem entering the town, past the shops and all the parked cars, directly on the boardwalk at the beach and Atlantic Ocean.

It was about two weeks after it's September 7th dedication that I visited so the flag poles were surrounded with beautiful fall flowers.

From the beach side you come upon a chair draped in a POW/MIA flag.

Called the Chair of Honor it is part of a National movement to increase remembrance and honor for those who never came home.

There are more than 460 "chairs" across the nation and 15 of them are in Delaware. This is the first that is at the Delaware shore.

The plaque just adjacent to the chair tells it story.

Next time on the 6th, we will revisit Florida, so meet me there at 9:00am.

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