May 29, 2017

Memorial Day.



AReasonableMan said...

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

- Robert Binyon

St. George said...

"[The Greek statesman] Pericles hoped that...sacrifices [in war] would move the living of subsequent generations to a deeper appreciation of the greatness of Athens: “feed your eyes upon her from day to day, until love of her fills your hearts," writes historian Victor Davis Hanson in yesterday's WSJ

So, too, for America...Feed your eyes upon here from day to day, until love of her fills your hearts....

Quaestor 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.

Oft quoted is Major John McCrae on this occasion but rarely is his the final verse.

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.

Bay Area Guy said...

Happy Memorial Day. A lot of brave yong men throughout American history fought and died so that we could live in relative peace and comfort.

I, for one, feel a deep sense of gratitude.

Big Mike said...

Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.

- A. E. Housman

exiledonmainstreet said...

Thank you to all those who died fighting for our country.

Including my cousin, who was killed during the Tet Offensive and my great uncle Frank, who fell at Chateau Thierry in 1918.

Bad Lieutenant said...

May we remain worthy of their sacrifice.

Gahrie said...

Thank you to the service members who gave their all, and their families.

Big Mike said...

@ARM, lovely sentiment. Brought tears to my eyes, because I'm sure that if I ever work up the courage to go visit The Wall that I'll see names I recognize. I've had a long, good life, and they lost theirs in some stinking rice paddies gor a war no one was even trying to win except the troops on the ground.

traditionalguy said...

The Virtue Signalling is strong today. Give it a rest.

Live on Cable right now, the new French President Macron is starting total detente with Putin that only makes sense as DJT's new back channel to Moscow. In your face CNN.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Trad, I'm tired of abusing you, and today is not the day, but with all sincerity, what are you talking about?!

mockturtle said...

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.

Thank you, Quaestor. I'd forgotten how very appropriate that verse is for us today.

Ralph L said...

Is that a poppy? I thought it was a single peony.

My step monster died on Memorial Day 2013. Another death I'm thankful for, but for different reasons (though my father was liberated).

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike, my grandfather was an ANZAC and they recited this verse each year in remembrance of the fallen. The verse also brings tears to my eyes because he did grow old and the years did condemn. He was a wonderful guy, albeit very deaf from being a gunner.

Michael K said...

John McCrae, who wrote "Flanders Fields" was a Johns Hopkins trained medical officer. He was close friends with Harvey Cushing and several other well known physicians who were in France. He died of pneumonia in 1918, possibly among the first wave of influenza cases although the Wiki entry says it was pneumococcal.

AllenS said...


Remember those we loved, 
Who fought for us, and died; 
And those we never knew 
For whom others mourned and cried. 
-- Joanna Fuchs

Big Mike said...

@ARM, I have my father's silver star in my bureau. As a slick-sleeve grunt I was assigned to the Pentagon, where I first realized that no one in the civilian leadership and hardly anyone in the senior officer ranks much cared whether we'd win or lose in Vietnam. No "how can I help win this war" but lots of ass-covering, lots of ticket-punching. Made me cynical about government. People died -- Vietnamese civilians and our own troops -- so these assholes could get another pretty ribbon for their chest.

LarsPorsena said...

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple-blossoms fill the air—
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath—
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear.

God knows ‘twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear...
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.

traditionalguy said...

@ Bad Lieutenant... Macron did a proxy for Trump's attempts to open good relations with Russia. John McCain hardest hit.

You will have to find it on youtube, but they both spoke 30 minutes and then took pointed questions for 30 minutes. If Trump had done that, the Deep State would have declared Martial Law.

Big Mike said...

This song summarizes Memorial Day for me.

rhhardin said...

NorthernTool ("every day a sale day email") says that the Memorial Day Weekend sale ends today.

St. George said...

Defense Secretary Mattie was on Face the Nation and discussed North Korean. Among other things, he said:

"We have made very clear that we are willing to work with China, and we believe China has tried to be helpful in this regard."

His use of the past tense 'has tried' seems revealing.

"We don't have to wait until they have an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon on it to say that now it [the direct threat] has manifested completely."

In other words, the threat is as real to day as it would be at some point in the future when the N. Koreans have ICBMS that can reach the U.S.

In regard to a timeline for action, he said "We may actually know some things the North Koreans don't even know."

Does he mean that we know things that the N. Koreans don't think we know?

Here< is the interview.

With a third aircraft carrier battle group heading to waters near N. Korea, one wonders is something may happen sooner rather than later.

Each carrier group includes as many as 70 fighters, 1-2 missile cruisers, a squadron of destroyers, and up to two attack submarines, as well as support vessels.

rhhardin said...

NorthernTool works fine for me. No junk very consistently. I prefer Amazon because of the no shipping charge, is all.

Their catalogs are excellent bathroom reading.

Rance Fasoldt said...

My uncle, 1LT Alan G. McIntyre, remembered and beloved of our entire family as Uncle Al, lies in Nettuno, Italy, having perished at Anzio on May 28, 1944. His Silver Star and 48-star flag are in the hands of my brother, Alan McIntyre Fasoldt, who was born a little over a month later. He takes his position as namesake seriously, flying his uncle's flag on Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veterans' Day, and caring for his memory. Through his research and persistence, he got his uncle awarded a second Purple Heart for a wound that occurred before he was killed, and had been overlooked by the Army. I am the youngest to have met Uncle Al, just before he shipped out.

rhhardin said...

Right now the NorthernTool 8yo 15w solar panel in the side yard is producing 19v and has the basement 12v battery charged to 14.38v, near the high point of a daily charging cycle that Morningstar's MPPT charger produces.

Though I've never gotten more tha 8w out of it, which may be a matter of latitude.

mockturtle said...

rhhardin, I deleted my Northern Tool comment as it was off-topic.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
I have my father's silver star in my bureau.

I also still have my grandfather's medals. Views of the military and civilian command in Australia are in line with your own but the skepticism is older. In both world wars, but particularly the first, it was felt that the military were poorly used by the English command. Churchill, in particular, was seen in a different light there than here because of his disastrous role in planning/advocating for the Gallipoli invasion.

David said...

In memory of my Great Grandfather, William C. Atwell (1840-1924), Sgt. in 12th New York Cavalry 1862-65 and his fellows in that unit.

William was captured when his unit was surrendered at the Battle of Plymouth, North Carolina in April 1864. One hundred and twenty men from his outfit were sent to the Confederate prison at Andersonville. Of this 120, only 37 survived captivity.

William was one of the survivors, but the war was never really over for him. He married my grandmother in 1872 and they had several children, but he found it increasingly difficult to maintain personal stability. In 1900 he entered the Soldiers Home in Milwaukee because of issues with alcohol abuse and severe anxiety, and spent most of his last 24 years in the Veterans Homes in Milwaukee, Dayton and Norfolk. He died in 1924 at the Veterans Home, essentially estranged from his children, who had known him mostly as a problem to be managed.

Some veterans are more victims than heroes. William was a survivor, and needed to be, because the war never left him.

Big Mike said...

@ARM, this is in honor of your grandfather.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
This song summarizes Memorial Day for me.

Eric Bogle is a very good songwriter. The Band Played Waltzing Matilda is also a beautiful song.

Michael K said...

"Churchill, in particular, was seen in a different light there than here because of his disastrous role in planning/advocating for the Gallipoli invasion."

Churchill gets the same bum rap there that Eisenhower would have gotten had the Normandy invasion failed.

He was in favor of trying to help the Russians and neutralize Turkey(Ottoman Empire) and the Gallipoli, really the Dardanelles Campaign, which was lost by the risk averse Royal Navy and its Colonel Blimp officers. Had they forced the strait before it was fully mined, they would,have shortened the war.

They failed and Churchill took the rap. It was the only chance (until the tank which he also thought of) to end the trench stalemate.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
@ARM, this is in honor of your grandfather.

Thanks, apparently we were thinking along similar lines. My grandfather was at Gallipoli and then in the fields of France. I am not sure what his odds of surviving those two battlefields were but cumulatively they must have been very low. Two of his brothers died in the conflict.

He was remarkably resilient, in a way that I cannot really fathom now that I am older and understand better what he went through.

Michael K said...

In memory of my Great Grandfather, William C. Atwell (1840-1924), Sgt. in 12th New York Cavalry 1862-65 and his fellows in that unit.

In memory of my great great uncles, William J Kennedy who was wounded in the last assault on Vicksberg, May 22, 1863 and died June 2nd in Gayoso Hospital, Memphis after the casualties were run at night past the fortress to Memphis.

And his brother, my great great uncle James, who was 18 and died of measles he contracted in Army Camp in 1863. I have visited his grave in La Salle IL. William's grave is in the Memphis National Cemetery but his grave is marked only as "Unknown" as the rain washed the names off the coffins that day.

Both were in the 55th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. William was in Sherman's unit at Shiloh as a private.

I have his letters to his wife.

YoungHegelian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sunsong said...

The Soldier
Rupert Brooke, 1887 - 1915

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

~ Rupert Brooke

YoungHegelian said...

As I look up to the left of my desk on the wall, there are my father's WWII 1st Armor Div. patches. It is a source of lasting regret to my brother & me that we could never get a coherent narrative of his experiences in northern Italy. It all came out in dribs & drabs & disconnected anecdotes. I suspect, since it never came out as a coherent narrative through all those years, that he never wanted to remember it in detail ever again.

On the other hand, when I visited my great-aunt in France in the late 80s, she had some really interesting stories from the war. A German officer was quartered in their house in Martigue. She & her mother (my great grandfather was dead by then) were actually quite fond of him, as he was a gentleman & spoke French fluently. He told them "Mesdames, I detest being here to fight the French. I love France. I love the French. But, I am a German Army officer & I am bound by my sworn duty to Germany".

Anonymous said...

For it's Tommy this an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot.

madAsHell said...

since it never came out as a coherent narrative through all those years

All I know, is that Dad was a captain in intelligence. I'm pretty sure that means he was digging for lint in the pockets of the dead Japanese. He never told me anything, but he never put ketchup on his food.

MacArthur was right. Dad just kinda faded away.

rhhardin said...

The Washington Post emails a Memorial day subscription offer. So far nothing from the NYT.

Big Mike said...

@YoungHegelian, most of the World War II vets were reticent about what they did and what they saw. When I asked my father about his silver star he muttered something and changed the subject.

Scott said...

The best way to honor our war dead is to cease throwing their descendants into conflicts in other continents for indistinct political ends.

AllenS said...

Amen, Scott.

Guildofcannonballs said...

How many memorials would murder those advocating passive invasion 'cause feels?

You wanna remember men who died? Do you?

Remember they didn't die for you, they died for them and theirs. With cause. This and their country is a splendidly great one. That's what they die doing for, and they of that caliber would murder you tomorrow as warranted if their daughter was threatened.

I don't mind my unworthiness much, no need.

n.n said...

Honored be the men and women who defend the People and our Posterity.

Brookzene said...

"Why do they never tell us that you are poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony — Forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy?"

"They are more to me than life, these voices, they are more than motherliness and more than fear; they are the strongest, most comforting thing there is anywhere: they are the voices of my comrades."

― Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Swede said...

SFC Matt Hilton.

Fierce and funny. A rare combination.

He did it well.

khesanh0802 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
khesanh0802 said...

@Big Mike You don't need courage to visit The Wall. You owe it to yourself to do it. You may have had a terrible experience at the Pentagon, but those names on the Wall are your contemporaries who answered the call as you would have. Honor them, you honor yourself. Don't waste any more time on thinking about it. Go! It is an amazing experience; cathartic.

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Christy said...

Three uncles survived The Battle of the Bulge. One lost his leg there, and was my usual baby sitter. He shared many stories but mostly kept them light, although I understood friendly fire at a very early age. I never learned of his Silver Star until long after he was gone.

cf said...

Good men. No matter how fine or callow, how selfless or self-serving, they answered the calls of their nation and sacrificed their own futures for that.

It is only one day in our easy life. And it is only these few specifics volunteered by the assemblage at this one blog, althouse, but it may be all I can bear to hold in my heart: the Great Good in individuals, in so many many men.

I am in a kind of stunned shock for their lives and their fates. I am challenged, humbled, and grateful for every poem and song and every name offered here.


Pugsley the Pug said...

There have been many members of my family and my wife's family who served. My great,great grandfather served in the Wisconsin 12th Regiment in Gen. Sherman's Army in their March to the Sea in 1864-1865. My grandfather served in the 32nd Infantry Division (WI National Guard) between World Wars I and II. His brother was in the 32nd Infantry in New Guinea during World War II. My father and his brother both served in the US Air Force in the 1950's and 1960's. Another uncle served in the WI National Guard during the Vietnam era. A first cousin has served as an officer in the US Army for the past 23 years. My wife's father and a couple of uncles served in the 32nd Infantry in the 1950's / early 1960's and two of her uncles served in the US Navy at the same time. And currently, my son is an artilleryman in the 32nd Infantry Brigade of the WI National Guard. Fortunately, all of my family and in-laws who served came home. I am proud of my son for serving his country and protecting our freedom - but I do worry about those nut jobs in the middle east and that really crazy nut-job in Pyongyang doing something really stupid that would cause my son to be activated for overseas duty...

exhelodrvr1 said...

A letter my uncle wrote home from England, March 1944:
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 it's 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.

He was a platoon commander in the 116th REgiment, 29th Division. Survived Omaha Beach, KIA June 14th. He is buried in the American cemetery in Normandy.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Carentan O Carentan

Trees in the old days used to stand
And shape a shady lane
Where lovers wandered hand in hand
Who came from Carentan.

This was the shining green canal
Where we came two by two
Walking at combat-interval.
Such trees we never knew.

The day was early June, the ground
Was soft and bright with dew.
Far away the guns did sound,
But here the sky was blue.

The sky was blue, but there a smoke
Hung still above the sea
Where the ships together spoke
To towns we could not see.

Could you have seen us through a glass
You would have said a walk
Of farmers out to turn the grass,
Each with his own hay-fork.

The watchers in their leopard suits
Waited till it was time,
And aimed between the belt and boot
And let the barrel climb.

I must lie down at once, there is
A hammer at my knee.
And call it death or cowardice,
Don’t count again on me.

Everything’s all right, Mother,
Everyone gets the same
At one time or another.
It’s all in the game.

I never strolled, nor ever shall,
Down such a leafy lane.
I never drank in a canal,
Nor ever shall again.

There is a whistling in the leaves
And it is not the wind,
The twigs are falling from the knives
That cut men to the ground.

Tell me, Master-Sergeant,
The way to turn and shoot.
But the Sergeant’s silent
That taught me how to do it.

O Captain, show us quickly
Our place upon the map.
But the Captain’s sickly
And taking a long nap.

Lieutenant, what’s my duty,
My place in the platoon?
He too’s a sleeping beauty,
Charmed by that strange tune.

Carentan O Carentan
Before we met with you
We never yet had lost a man
Or known what death could do.

YoungHegelian said...

From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

Death of the Ball Turret Gunner (1945)
Randall Jarrell (1914-1965)

Big Mike said...

@khesahn, my experience wasn't "terrible." Really, it was boring more than anything else. I watched LTCs and full birds, all with stars in their eyes" gaming the system, and if a few more troops out in the field died, or a couple pilots risked their lives to drop bombs on an empty piece of jungle labeled "a suspected truck park," well no one promotes an officer who rocks the boat.

Guildofcannonballs said...

American lives lost toward the elimination of Evil as grandiose as it sounds are lives I will join in my losing.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I have done it here on/at Althouse and I shall again accomplish that same feat.

Hopefully here, of course, but if not that won't stop the Internet as far as I understand.

Guildofcannonballs said...

Are these ultra Alpha males ones to sit and contemplate how they ought to have been beta?

Even in death?

They fought for what n.n advocates better than I can for, and I speak devilish if I actually believe I write on behalf the greatest.

I am a guessing about the greatness, only because of my definition's lackings.

rcommal said...

On my living-room wall, I have the *original* painting that my mom's mom painted of her mom, my mom's grandmother, my great-grandmother.