May 30, 2016

Memorial Day.

WAC with flag

76 comments:

tim maguire said...

President Obama on why he went to Hiroshima: "We come to ponder the terrible forces unleashed in the not-so-distant past."

Wouldn't Pearl Harbor, the place where those forces actually were unleashed, make more sense?

Is it wrong to focus, on Memorial Day, on American vets and American causalities? Although I bear the Japanese no ill will (while understanding why the Chinese and Koreans do), it would have been more fitting for Abe to come here than Obama to go there. (Though for that to happen, Barack Obama would have to be something other than what he is.)

AllenS said...

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lt. Col. John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Expeditionary Force

Laslo Spatula said...

A Letter from Miss Harriet Tubman, Kansas, 1954:

No, I am not THAT Harriet Tubman.

In 1917 our little Town lost Johnny Hanson to the Krauts.

In 1943 we lost Chester Dewey to the Nazis and in 1944 we lost Ben Anderson to the Japs.

Just last year we lost our Wesley Brook to the Commies in North Korea.

On this Memorial Day I hope and pray the rest of the world can take care of their own problems for awhile and leave our boys at home.

I would write a longer letter, but I'm needing to gather flowers for the Memorial...

Sincerely,
Harriet.

I am Laslo.

tim maguire said...

Allen, I like the way Canadians observe Remembrance Day much more than how Americans observe Memorial Day. First, for most it's not a holiday--no barbecues, no party atmosphere. It's a regular work day. Instead, it is marked with a poppy on the lapel. And it is broadly worn--young, old, long-time Canadians, recent immigrants. More somber, more focused. There is no confusion as to the purpose, every time you see a poppy (which is any time you go out in public), you're reminded of what day it is and why.

traditionalguy said...

The reason we are not slave labor to Japanese savages happened on June 4 , 1942 when a warrior Scotsman from Buffalo New York ignored his fuel gage and followed a Jap Destroyer until he lead 30 SBD dive bombers to the Jap invasion fleet and proceeded to sink 40% of the existing Jap aircraft carriers ,being 4 of the 6 that had destroyed Pearl Harbor. That Was what Japs needed to hear about, because they were never told about it by the sneaky asshole calling himself an Emperor.

Saturday should be Wade Mccluskey Day.

Oso Negro said...

My father served with the 15th Infantry Regiment in Korea in 1953 and is a survivor (86 years old now) of the Battle of Outpost Harry, a dreadful engagement late in the war. He was diagnosed with PTSD by the V.A. at the age of 82, which we laughed about, as my grandmother (his mother) and my aunt and uncle (his brother and sister) all plainly stated that he did not come home the same person. He suffers mild dementia these days and spends a lot of time back in Korea in his mind. It is especially bad for him after sundown and he often looks out the window into the dark, waiting for the Chinese to come again.

ndspinelli said...

A million men die in war, and we have to look @ some horsehsit sketch of women, who except in rare instance, do not die in war.

Otto said...

Ann give it a rest - it's getting corny/camp.

Tommy Duncan said...

My prayers go out for those who gave their lives for our freedom.

My prayers go out for those who stand in harm's way each day for our safety and for our nation.

My prayers go out for wisdom in the decisions of those who command out troops.

May God bless America.

Bob Boyd said...

@ ndspinel

If you put your cursor on the drawing you will see it is by Ann Althouse.

There are countless images on the internet today depicting men in the military. It's not a zero sum game. If you start to think that way, the bastards who want to divide us every which way and pit us against each other have won.

AllenS said...

Nick, Althouse is honoring her mother, if memory serves me correctly, was a WAC and that's how she met father Althouse, which has nothing to do with Memorial Day which is to remember those that died in battle.

AllenS said...

I doubt if most professors from the university has a clue what Memorial Day stands for. Hell, why not add most of the citizens of this country.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you put your cursor on the drawing you will see it is by Ann Althouse."

The drawing is not by me. I made the photograph of the drawing, which was probably done by someone whose job in the Army was to make drawings for Army brochures. Not too dangerous, but the Army is full of people who don't go into battle, such as my mother, whose brochure (dated 1945) I photographed. My mother worked in a hospital with men who suffered from battle fatigue, so that's as close to battle as she got. Later, because she could type, she was transferred to an office job, which also wasn't a battleground. There, she met my father, who was drafted but assigned to office work, presumably because he was unusually thin as a young man. I'm only here to write these words because of that happenstance. We are all of us here because of where wars sent our progenitors, and we are part of living humanity which would consist of mostly different individuals if those who died in the world wars had not died.

The Drill SGT said...

Absent Companions!!

The Drill SGT said...

AllenS,

Thought you might enjoy these traditional British Navy Officer toasts:

Sunday "Absent Friends"
Monday "Our Ships at Sea"
Tuesday "Our Men"
Wednesday "Ourselves" (as no one else is likely to be concerned for us!)
Thursday "A Bloody War or a Sickly Season" (and a quick promotion!)
Friday "A Willing Foe and Sea-Room"
Saturday "Wives and Sweethearts" (may they never meet)

Michael K said...

"I like the way Canadians observe Remembrance Day"

Yes, and the British for whom it has much significance. About six years ago, I sat in Westminster Abbey with the Royal Army Medical Corps during the Remembrance Day ceremonies while the Queen laid a wreath on the Cenotaph outside. Behind us was The window dedicated to British Army doctors who died. in battles.

Another to remember was Ben Salomon DDS, who was serving as a battalion surgeon on Saipan during the battle. He had begun as the Battalion dentist bit the surgeon was wounded and he volunteered to take his place.

Ben Salomon had set up his aid station in a small tent about fifty yards behind the forward foxholes and thirty yards from the shoreline. Within ten minutes of the beginning of the attack, his aid station was overwhelmed with over thirty wounded. Salomon was working steadily on the most serious cases inside the tent when Japanese soldiers began to enter. Ben shot the first one who had bayoneted a wounded American lying on a stretcher. Two more charged through the tent entrance. Ben clubbed them both with a rifle, then shot one and bayoneted the other. Four more began to crawl under the sides of the tent. He shot one, bayoneted one, stabbed another with a knife, and head butted the fourth. Ben ran out of the tent to get help to defend the aid station. He quickly saw that the situation was hopeless. The Japanese suicide masses had overwhelmed the two under strength American battalions. Pockets of resistance fought on inside the perimeter, but the bulk of the survivors were being pushed back toward Tanapag village. Salomon returned to the tent and ordered his aid men to evacuate the wounded while he stayed behind to hold off the enemy and cover their withdrawal. Salomon then grabbed a rifle and fought on with the few Americans still resisting inside the perimeter. Eventually he manned a machine gun after its gunner was killed. That was the last time anyone saw Ben Salomon alive.

Obama would never understand Ben Salomon DDS.

We had been walking through piles of dead men when the general gave a sudden start, and then stepped over to the figure of a man who was bent over the barrel of a heavy machine gun. Very quickly, almost before I saw what he was doing, the general took out a knife and cut the Red Cross brassard from Ben Salomon's arm. Then he straightened up and looked around. There were ninety-eight Japanese bodies piled up in front of that gun position. Salomon had killed so many men that he had been forced to move the gun four different times in order to get a clear field of fire. There was something else that we noted, too. There were seventy-six bullet holes in Salomon's body. When we called a doctor over to examine him, we were told that twenty-four of the wounds had been suffered before Salomon died.

No, there is no chance that Obama would understand.

Meade said...

"If you put your cursor on the drawing you will see it is by Ann Althouse."

Posted to Flickr by Ann Althouse.

AllenS said...

Althouse, your picture would be fitting on Veterans Day. I could try to get you to understand why this not the correct day for your picture, but I doubt if you'd understand.

mikee said...

My grandparents had an aerial photo of a military cemetery on the wall. It was all they had left of their son, my uncle, who died in Europe. One of those white crosses was Uncle Joe. There were an awful lot of crosses in the picture.

Meade said...

"A million men die in war, and we have to look @ some horsehsit sketch of women, who except in rare instance, do not die in war."

According to BusinessWoman magazine, data reported by BPW/USA: despite representing 15% of the US troops in Iraq, female soldiers only account for 2% of the war casualties, with half of them being reported as suicides caused by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because of the given figures and as BPW/denounces, military women were 15 times more likely to be raped by their fellows than die in the war.

From Wikipedia: BBC News reported April 17, 2009, "According to several studies of the US military funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 30% of military women are raped while serving (14% of them gang raped), 71% are sexually assaulted, and 90% are sexually harassed."

exhelodrvr1 said...

Thinking of my Uncle Conrad, buried in the US cemetery in Normandy, and Uncle Sam, buried in the US Cemetery in Manila, who I never knew.

And Karl, Nick, Pat, JW, Sean, Dave, who I did know.

And all the others.

pm317 said...

Bing has the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier picture from the Arlington cemetery. Very poignant and sad.

Of all the TV shows, HGTV's Fixer Upper showcased the US Airforce Thunderbirds (WACO TX) one time -- what a fantastic looking bunch!

These people put their lives out there for us. Remember the Mumbai Taj terror attack -- one of the first to die there was a special forces guy, 20 something, dashing looking who rappelled into the building.

{Draft all those rock throwing motherfucker protesters to fight the barbarians}.

The Drill SGT said...

Michael K said...

I visited York Cathedral 20 years ago. As you know, British Regiments are locality based generally. In one of the alcoves there was a memorial to one of the Yorkshire Rgts. Now a Rgt normally deploys with three battalions. Call it 2500 men all told. The casualty book for the rgt contained more than 20,000 men. That gives you an idea of the churn.

Another context, on day one of the battle of the Somme, the Commonwealth forces there suffered 58,000 casualties.

PS: unlike the US, where the colors of inactivated units go to a warehouse, the Brits send the colors home. The rafters of the York Cathedral are alive with the colors of all the local units.

PPS: At the intelligence agency where I work, we have liaison officers from the Five Eyes (Brit, Cannucks, Aussies, and Kiwi's, plus the US). The Anglosphere share. Anyway, on remembrance day and the week prior, all the Five Eyes Guys wear their poppies.

The Drill SGT said...

Meade, those figures are a crock. sorry.

David Begley said...

That is an excellent drawing by Ann Althouse!

The Drill SGT said...

pm317, I cab respect the pictures of the Old Guard saluting.

the ones that bring tears to this old soldiers eyes are the ones like:

Memorial Day



Big Mike said...

@AllenS, did you watch the Memorial Day Concert on PBS last night? I was moved. Some remember.

Big Mike said...

@Drill SGT, thank you for the picture. Now I have to go dust the house. All this dust in the air, it's hard on the eyes.

Ann Althouse said...

"... which has nothing to do with Memorial Day which is to remember those that died in battle."

You are right. Memorial Day is a day to tell people they are not observing Memorial Day correctly. It's a day to go to [strike]cemeteries[/strike] blog comment sections. It's a day to honor your own superior knowledge of how to honor the dead. Let us all acknowledge the profound valor of those who go into comment sections and battle with other commenters about the true meaning of Memorial Day. I salute you!

pm317 said...

@Drill SGT, agree. heartbreaking. That brought tears to my eyes when I first saw it and again now.

Meade said...

"Meade, those figures are a crock. sorry."

Thanks. I hope you're right.

pm317 said...

Ann, ignore them!

William said...

I had an uncle who was a regimental cook who had to grab a rifle during the Battle of the Bulge. He was an uncle by marriage and doesn't really count as a progenitor. My progenitors showed up for the wars, but they were cagey about avoiding combat. My father was with the Eighth Army Air Force in England and never heard a shot fired in anger. During Vietnam, keeping up the family tradition, I also served with the USAF in England. No combat but I did witness a number of nasty fights at the Airman's Club. It's probably a good idea to avoid combat if you honorably can.

The Drill SGT said...

The Congressional testimony I read said that

http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2013080900

The 2012 survey, whose results were released in March, found that about 26,000 service members were victims of “unwanted sexual contact” last year — an average of 500 a week.

more than half (14k) of the victims were men. So 12k were women. The unwanted sexual contact ranged from a pat, kiss, grope, or assault. Like the rape on college campus stats, the feminists blur the lines to drive the numbers up.

There ought to be 500k or so women in uniform. 12k a year, most women serve only a few yearss, you can't get 30% raped out of those numbers.

PS: reminder, my wife is a retired JAG Colonel, she and I care about the general topic.

PPS: The same bozos that talk about 30% rapes, want women infantry. it's almost like they hate the Army :)



William said...

I thnk the war that put finish to the idea of military glory was WWI. It was a squalid affair from the beginning to the end and then onto the fucked up peace conference. It was more like a suicide pact than a war. Nothing good came of it. We have the war to end all wars to thank for the Bolsheviks, the Nazis, Armenian massacres, and various other atrocities........They talk about the greatest generation. The WWI leaders--on all sides--deserve recognition as the worst generation. Every Memorial Day an honor guard of veterans should go to the graves of Hindenberg, Clemanceau, Lloyd George, and Wilson and piss on them.

Big Mike said...

@Meade, one has to view many of these statistics with a grain of salt (or perhaps a shaker full), and the more sensational they are, the less likely they are to be true.

Influenced by Into Thin Air, I eagerly bought Jon Krakauer's Where Men Win Glory, but I threw it in the trash in anger when I read how badly it inflates the risk of friendly fire casualties. What happened to Pat Tillman was a tragedy, and what happened afterwards was military butt-covering at its worst, but thanks to modern tools like Blue Force Tracking friendly fire is not a major source of military casualties in the 21st century.

Thankfully.

Curious George said...

AllenS said...
Nick, Althouse is honoring her mother, if memory serves me correctly, was a WAC and that's how she met father Althouse, which has nothing to do with Memorial Day which is to remember those that died in battle.

AllenS said...
Althouse, your picture would be fitting on Veterans Day. I could try to get you to understand why this not the correct day for your picture, but I doubt if you'd understand.

Ann Althouse said...
You are right. Memorial Day is a day to tell people they are not observing Memorial Day correctly. It's a day to go to [strike]cemeteries[/strike] blog comment sections. It's a day to honor your own superior knowledge of how to honor the dead. Let us all acknowledge the profound valor of those who go into comment sections and battle with other commenters about the true meaning of Memorial Day. I salute you!

Now you can be sure.

narciso said...

And he followed up with missouri, a real hackjob.

narciso said...

Sorry missoula, not as bad as cohans whitewash of nifong but close.

The Drill SGT said...

What happened to Pat Tillman was a tragedy, and what happened afterwards was military butt-covering at its worst,

There was ass covering. How egregious I dont know or care. I suspect it started at the Company Commander level with one of the two classic white lies that Cdr's always write home to families.

1. Your son died a hero.

2. It was instant. he never felt a thing.

from that came the cover-up. I'm not excusing it exactly, but I understand it.

Big Mike said...

A song for Memorial Day.

The funeral for Chris Kyle. The trumpet is playing Il Silenzio, which was commissioned by the people of Holland in honor of the Americans who lost their lives liberating The Netherlands from the Germans in World War II.

And a tribute to our most recent fallen. See also the TV movie "Taking Chance" based on this article and starring Kevin Bacon.

narciso said...

They screwed up, he was the highest profile dnt athlete casualty since Colin Kelly

narciso said...

Yes that scene in American sniper's ending, let loose the reader works, it still does.

Big Mike said...

@Drill SGT, I was a Vietnam-era draftee assigned to the Pentagon (thankfully). The morning after the Son Tay raid all of us in the department where I worked to summoned to the manager's office where it was carefully explained to us that the raid was emphatically not a failure of intelligence.

I dunno, I was just a Spec 5 so what did I know? The US spent months planning the raid, something on the order of 30 aircraft were involved and I don't know how many hand-picked and carefully trained soldier, and no POWs had been in the camp for months. But it was emphatically not a failure of intelligence.

Military butt-covering.

The Drill SGT said...

Mike Mike,

I've always loved the clip of "The trumpet is playing Il Silenzio,

I'll add

Minstrel Boy

Mansions of the Lord

Sgt MacKenzie

The Drill SGT said...

I agree with you on Son Tay.

narciso said...

Arthur Simons who led the raid didn't think so, but intelligence is not permanent, if any of the cipher traffic in prep was like John walker have the siviets, they could have moved the prisoners.

The Drill SGT said...

Big Mike,

To my two Cdr's White Lies, add a third, normally performed by the 1SG, but immortalized in Twelve O'clock High by the Adjutant (played by Dean Jagger) as he goes through the effects of the dead soldier before sending them to the next of kin to remove any surprises...

narciso said...

Kondrashev, the resident in berlin, revealed a sgt named back leaked enough intel, that Stalin knew to start the Korean war

narciso said...

This is from a site called we are the mighty.

narciso said...

They were reading cipher traffic till 1961, out of that leak from 'jack'

David said...

Thanks Althouse's Mom for your service.

Michael K said...

"Another context, on day one of the battle of the Somme, the Commonwealth forces there suffered 58,000 casualties."

Ypres was at least as bad but more prolonged.

I was there last September.

57,000 unknown dead. They never found the bodies.

Michael K said...

Sorry, only 54,000 unknown dead.

Michael said...

Pro patria mori

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Ann Althouse said...

We are all of us here because of where wars sent our progenitors, and we are part of living humanity which would consist of mostly different individuals if those who died in the world wars had not died.


I am here because my father, executive officer of a landing craft, was spared participation in the invasion of the Japanese home islands. He was spared because we, the Americans, dropped the bombs. Take that, Obama.

khesanh0802 said...

Thanks, Ann for having us remember your mother as a symbol of that generation's sacrifice. Semper Fi.

coupe said...

One of the most impressive sights to see is the cemetery just outside of Romagne, in eastern France. The Meuse-Argonne American cemetery.

Bodies were quickly buried as the battle moved north to Sedan from Verdun, where the war ended. It was an artillery battle and men on both sides were blown to smithereens as the guns kept getting larger and larger.

When the war was over, the bodies were dug up and moved to a big main cemetery.

You can see it on google satellite or street view.

The Drill SGT said...

20k dead on Day 1

khesanh0802 said...

@ndspinelli your comment about Ann's post is way out of place. Am I not supposed to remember my father's service in WWll today just because he was lucky enough not to be killed. @Allen S Each of us has his own way of remembering those who served. I understand your sentiments to a point, but not everyone could die at Normandy, or Gettysburg, or the Somme. Most died of old age, yet they served honorably and should be remembered today and every day.

The Drill SGT said...

Coupe

Haven't seen that one, but have seen 3 others.

Nothing surpasses the one at Omaha. Golf course greens, perfectly aligned stones. sunset over the beach.

trivia. Officers are over represented. After the war, the Army gave families a choice. Enlisted families tended to bring Sam home. Officer families tended to leave John there among his men.

virgil xenophon said...

Big Mike & The Drill Sgt/

Son Tay was the classic example of Pattons dictum that: "A good plan, executed today with great violence is far better that a perfect plan, executed six months from now." (or was it six weeks?--no matter, the point is the same)

The Drill SGT said...

yup.

I never knew that was a Patton, though I was twice trained at the Armor Scool.

I heard it, as:

a good plan, executed vigorously on time, beats the perfect plan executed timidly and too late.

The fav: Few military operations fail due to too many troops or too much explosive.

Course in my day collateral damage was a distant second to reducinh friendly losses.




Jason said...

Educated twice at Ft. Banning.... once for Airborne school and once for the Infantry Officer Basic Course. Picked up the Armor MOS via the Tank Commander's Course at Gowan Field, Idaho. Fully concur with The Drill SGTs last post.

I totally understand the overrepresentation of officers at cemeteries overseas. As a Green Tabber, I would not want to return here unless all my troops made it back or at least had the opportunity to be moved back at the request of their families. Gotta be the last boot off the ground, whether vertical or horizontal. Leave no man behind.

Jason said...

To you, who lie within this coral sand,
We, who remain, pay tribute of a pledge,
That dying, thou shalt surely not have died in vain.
That when again bright morning dyes the sky
And waving fronds above shall touch the rain,
We give you this—that in those times
We will remember.

We lived and fought together, thou and we,
And sought to keep the flickering torch aglow
That all our loved ones might forever know
The blessed warmth exceeding flame,
The everlasting scourge of bondsman's chains,
Liberty and light.

When we with loving hands laid back the earth
That was for moments short to couch thy form,
We did not bid a last and sad farewell
But only, "Rest ye well."

Then with this humble, heartfelt epitaph
That pays thy many virtues and acclaim
We marked this spot, and murm'ring requiem,
Moved on to westward.

Can't recall who wrote it. I read it in Gerald P. Averill's excellent memoir of the Pacific War, "Mustang." I think of it every Memorial Day.

http://www.amazon.com/Mustang-Combat-Gerald-P-Averill/dp/0517071967

Jason said...

er, Benning, not Banning. Stupid autocorrect.

virgil xenophon said...

@The Drill Sgt/

Of course MacArthurs great saying is also applicable: "All military failures can be summed up in just two words: 'Too Late.' "

ndspinelli said...

The Education Industry does not teach kids what Memorial Day means. Althouse is part of that dysfunctional industry. It is up to parents to teach their children.

The Drill SGT said...

All gave some, some gave all

Michael K said...

"Nothing surpasses the one at Omaha. "

A bit about Normandy and the cemetery from my own blog.

I took my daughter there with two of her cousins about ten years ago.

The Drill SGT said...

Michael K,

nice photos. the only obligatory one (for me) is the top of Pont du Hoc. Where 70 years later, it still looks like the surface of the moon, with 10 ft craters from the USS Texas.

Constitutional Insurgent said...

That is a good drawing, but definitely one more appropriate for Veterans Day. Today should be a day for quite reflection and honouring fallen warriors, with friends and family......not mattress and car sales. As much harm as I think the Internet has done to our social fabric, I think blogs and other sites are actually doing a good job in righting the ship f social consciousness regarding the meaning of this day.

exhelodrvr1 said...

From a letter my uncle wrote home from England, in March, 1944. Platoon commander in the 116th Regt, 29th Div. He survived D-Day, KIA June 14th, buried in the Normandy cemetery:

"Soon ... I do not know how soon ... I shall have to demonstrate not only how much or how well I have learned the art of killing, but how well I have taught that abominable art to others.

I know what's ahead. It won't be another pleasure trip, but though it may cost me my life, I wouldn't want to miss it!

Should I be among the many who inevitably must fall, remember that I didn't go without realizing the possibility that I might lose my life. Remember, too, that I give my life willingly, that I do so out of love for my country and all its people ... even the traitors and selfish slackers.

If I should die on the battlefield, I beg you to leave my body there. Some day our government may provide you the opportunity to visit my grave. If so, avail yourself of that opportunity."

mockturtle said...

Anyone here read Overlord: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy by Max Hastings? I downloaded it recently and will start it when I finish with my current book.

The Drill SGT said...

Platoon commander in the 116th Regt, 29th Div.

A company? a Bedford boy?

exhelodrvr1 said...

No, H company. They landed about 0630, first ones on that section of the beach. Heavy weapons platoon.