MeiDei How differently we celebrate/memorialize our veterans - a lesson from the Dutch: "Silence About six miles from Maastricht, in the Netherlands, lie buried 8,301 American soldiers who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall winter of 1944-.
Every one of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries, has been adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate it, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is even the custom to keep a portrait of "their" American soldier in a place of honor in their home. Annually, on "Liberation Day," memorial services are held for "the men who died to liberate Holland." The day concludes with a concert. The final piece is always "Il Silenzio," a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland's liberation. It has been the concluding piece of the memorial concert ever since.
This year the soloist was a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and his orchestra (the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands ). This beautiful concert piece is based upon the original version of taps and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi."
MeiDei Here's an excellent overview of the VietNam conflict from an historical context via Praeger University. Does it remind you of the Iraq/Afghanistan situation? http://youtu.be/7hqYGHZCJwk
June 27 at 12:25 EST .
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Bettijo Excellent video! Thank you. I had a cousin who served three tours of duty in Vietnam. He was a Chaplin and after the war, he returned to Vietnam a number of times looking for MIA/KIA Americans. He later died of a brain tumor here in the states. I forwarded this video to his widow.
June 30 at 19:57 EST .
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Wrightwinger Happy Independence Day, and thanks to the veterans and their families!
June 27 at 11:26 EST .
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Ole buzzard I got a mailer from the VA earlier this week touting their new Million Veteran Program (MVP ). The brochure says "MVP aims to be one of the largest programs on genes and health in the United States."
What they want me to do is to go to my nearest VA facility and give them a blood sample so they can study my genetic material.
Let me understand this. I turn over my genetic information to the government for them to study. What could possibly go wrong?????
P.S. Didn't they do this in Nazi Germany, too? Just asking.
The Soldier stood and faced God, Which must always come to pass. He hoped his shoes were shining, Just as brightly as his brass. 'Step forward now, Soldier, How shall I deal with you? Have you always turned the other cheek? To My Church have you been true?'
The soldier squared his shoulders and said, 'no, Lord, I guess I ain't. Because those of us who carry guns, Can't always be a saint. I've had to work most Sundays, And at times my talk was tough. And sometimes I've been violent, Because the world is awfully rough. But, I never took a penny, That wasn't mine to keep. Though I worked a lot of overtime, When the bills got just too steep.
And I never passed a cry for help, Though at times I shook with fear. And sometimes, God, forgive me, I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place, Among the people here. They never wanted me around, Except to calm their fears If you've a place for me here, Lord, It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much, But if you don't, I'll understand. There was a silence all around the throne, Where the saints had often trod.
As the Soldier waited quietly, For the judgment of his God. 'Step forward now, you Soldier, You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets, You've done your time in Hell.' ~Author Unknown~
June 14 at 11:46 EST .
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MeiDei THE CUP OF BRANDY NO ONE WANTS TO DRINK..... Is America today, what she has become, worthy of men such as these?
In April of 2013, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, the surviving Doolittle Raiders gathered publicly for the last time.
They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States. There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation's history. The mere mention of their unit's name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans.
Now only four survive.
After Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around.
Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25's were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried -- sending such big, heavy bombers from a carrier.
The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing.
But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety.
And those men went anyway.
They bombed Tokyo, and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed. Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia .
The Doolittle Raid sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win.
Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story "with supreme pride."
Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson, Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders
June 13 at 20:34 EST .
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MeiDei Cont'd: with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider. Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness.
Also in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born.
There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death.
As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96. What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp.
The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts ... there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that emblematizes the depth of his sense of duty and devotion: "When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005."
So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle's co-pilot on the Tokyo raid ), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue.
The events in Fort Walton Beach this week (2013 ) will mark the end. It has come full circle; Florida's nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town is planning to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade.
Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date -- some time this year -- to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they
June 13 at 20:40 EST .
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MeiDei Cont'd - are not going to wait until there are only two of them.
They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets.
And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.
June 13 at 20:42 EST .
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MeiDei THE AMERICAN FLAG (Learned something new today )
Did you know that at military funerals, the 21 gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776.
Have you ever noticed how the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times? You probably thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!
The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.
The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decaur, "Our Country", in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.
The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.
The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.
The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for defense of our country since they were first born.
The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nations motto, "In God We Trust."
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, Ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges
There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning. In the future, you'll see flags folded and now you will know why. Share this with the children you love and all others who love the symbol of "Liberty and Freedom."
Rake King Unlike so called "freedom Fighters" of today, Washington's troops did not cover their faces. On today's TV news they showed the "ISIS" rebels taking over part of Iraq, every one I saw had his face covered. Cowards is a word that comes to mind.
June 13 at 20:29 EST .
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Ole buzzard Remember the 9,387 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice at Normandy 70 years ago today.
This picture is of the American Cemetery in Normandy.
Balogreene So many heroes, so much we owe these ordinary men. They were our fathers, uncles, grandfathers, whatever. As James Delingpole said, they were clerks, florists, truckers, normal citizens, who met their fears and conquered all.
June 7 at 00:19 EST .
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Rake King While stationed in Germany, I took a USO tour to this amazing and beautiful place. Row, upon row of crosses, stars of David, lined up to the horizon. While there you naturally "whisper". Few places on earth cause that effect.
The Greatest Generation....without doubt.
June 10 at 08:03 EST .
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Ole buzzard Allow me to correct myself: The 9,387 were not all killed on D-Day, but during the Normandy campaign.
June 11 at 00:43 EST .
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MeiDei My uncle was part of the D-Day invasion at Normandy. Only armed servies family member that mentioned the war...it was horrific. He's 99 this year and as active as any 60 year old. God certainly has blessed him all these years.
Balogreene Surf, whoever, this was posted a long time ago, I waited til D-Day to watch it. A story from my past. I was working at a building at Battery Park in NYC on the day the troops from the first Gulf War were given a ticker tape parade up Broadway. The building was a staging for the celebrities who led off the parade. I stood next to Charles Durning for a moment. He was a mountain of a man. I did not know his story. I just know we smiled at each other and said we were glad the kids had made it home. Then he led off the parade.