Lest we forget–Memorial Day 2017

Guest contribution by our very own poet laureate, Captain George S. Harris:

 

LEST WE FORGET-MEMORIAL DAY 2017

It is just a few days past the day our own Civil War ended on May 9,1865-151 years ago.  On that day, two great armies and two great leaders met at Appomattox, Virginia to begin the process of bringing our nation back together again. They were there to salve the wounds that four years of war had inflicted on its participants.  Some 640,000 men, 2% of our population, were lost; the worst war we have ever been engaged in.  A war that saw fathers against sons and brothers against brothers in a fight to the death.  It was the hope of these two great leaders, General Ulysses S. Grant and General Robert E. Lee, that at last we would once again seek the path to the “perfect union” our founders sought some seventy-eight years earlier during several muggy weeks in the spring and fall of 1787 in Phildelphia.

Some who read this may remember when Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day.  It is a day set aside to decorate the graves of those military folks who lost their lives in service to our Nation.  “Decoration Day or, if you prefer, Memorial Day, began shortly after our Civil War. There are several claims as to just when it began but decorating the graves of warriors has been around for many decades or perhaps centuries.

More than a million Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice and almost all of them in two wars-our own Civil War and World War II.  While we are now engaged in the longest war we have ever known, there are fewer deaths but many more have sustained what are often euphemistically referred to as “life alternating injuries”.  These injuries run from simple wounds to multiple limb loss, paralysis, traumatic brain injury and what we now know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  This latter disorder has had many names in the past but it ultimately means the terrible impact war has on the minds and souls of our military personnel.

No one goes to war who doesn’t come back changed.  It is not always easily recognized but for me and others who read these words, we know because we live with it every day of our lives.  This is not some made up psycho-babble, it is a real, palpable thing.  Most of us continue to live and work and carry out normal lives but others do not even to the point of destroying themselves by suicide.

We have to ask ourselves, “Will the day ever come when we will no longer have any new graves to decorate on Memorial Day?  When will we have peace?” In a speech at American University on June 10, 1963, only a few months before his death by assassination, President John F. Kennedy said this about peace.

“I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

This Memorial Day, more than 1,000 soldiers will place flags at more than 300,000 graves in the annual “Flags In” ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.  Lest we forget, this is the price of freedom for our great Nation.

 

God bless all those who have gone before and God bless the Untied States of America on this Memorial Day.

“Hymn to the Fallen” by John Williams featured.

Memorial Day Weekend, 2016: A Tribute to Warriors

Over the Memorial Day weekend, Moonhowlings.net will pay tribute to those who have fallen. I hope you will drop by to help us remember those who gave all. On Memorial Day proper, Monday, George Harris will share his thoughts with us.

So, as we move into the holiday weekend, let’s remember that many, many warriors have not returned and that some who have will never be as they were.

Freedom has a huge price tag.

If you see a vet, I have never met one yet who doesn’t beam when you thank them for their service.  Rolling Thunder is usually a big giveaway.

Thanks to all our special vets here at Moonhowlings!  Thanks for your service!

Kelly**, George, Steve, BS, Moe, Starry,  Ivan, Cargo….Roll call!  Who have I left out?

 

 

** a special shout out!!!!

Conflict of Interest? Marilyn Mosby appears on stage with Prince

 

In what universe is this behavior appropriate? More to the point, how can the 6 police officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray possibly hope to get a fair trial?

Prince told everyone at his concert to wear gray to honor Freddie Gray. I am not sure why Freddie Gray deserves to be honored. What did he do honorable? [Crickets] It sounds like 50 Shades of Gray has come to Baltimore.

Mosby needs to step back and take a look at herself. Her integrity has already been questioned because of various alliances. Is she trying to be a professional prosecutor or is the media attraction to stardom seducing her away from justice. Right now, she isn’t making a very pretty Lady Liberty.

Prince may do what he wants. He is an entertainer. A prosecutor must put him or herself far above question and stop listening to the sirens of stardom. So far she has failed.

Ferguson, Mo: Trespassing at McDonalds?

Washingtonpost.com:

For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald’s a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown’s shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby. But inside there’s WiFi and outlets, so it’s common for reporters to gather there.

That was the case Wednesday. My phone was just about to die, so as I charged it, I used the time to respond to people on Twitter and do a little bit of a Q&A since I wasn’t out there covering the protests.
Read More

A Date that Will Live in Infamy-70th Anniversary

 

The destroyer USS Shaw explodes after being hit by bombs.

  Most of the people who lived, first hand,  through the attack on Pearl harbor  are nearly 90 years old.  That’s very hard to believe.  The surprise attack left young men, barely more than boys, running for guns, weapons, anything to fight back with.  Many heroes arose that day.  Not all of the heroes lived to bask in the glory.  Some died and some were sealed in a watery tomb at Pearl Harbor. 

About 100 of the survivors will attend the ceremony at Pearl Harbor.  The ashes of one of the sailors will join the rest of his crewmen who never made it back from December 7, 1941. Approximately  2,390 Americans were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

 

 

According to Voice of America:

Memorial events marking the December 7,1941 attack are being held throughout the country, the largest being on the Pacific island of Oahu, Hawaii, where the attack took place.

A dwindling number of Pearl Harbor survivors and World War Two veterans are among the 3,000 attendees expected at the event overlooking the USS Arizona Memorial, where the submerged remains of the fallen battleship rest. A moment of silence will be held at 7:55 in the morning , the exact moment Japan’s Imperial Navy began the surprise attack.

If you know someone who was at Pearl Harbor, run, don’t walk to talk to them and ask them to tell you of their experience.  Even if you know someone who was an adult on December 7, 1941, talk to them.  Find out what they were doing when they first heard the news.  Where  were they?  What did they think?  Did they ever think how much the news would alter their lives and the lives of their family and friends?  There is so much I now want to ask my parents and grandparents.  Opportunity knocked and I didn’t go to the door.  They are no longer living so I can’t ask them. 

From what I could gather from my relatives, they really were innocents who had no idea what the impact a world war would have on them, the family,  and America.   Pearl Harbor Day is much more than the 9-11- like attack on an unprepared nation.  Pearl Harbor marks the change of an isolationist, fairly agrarian country into a world super power.  The change was  almost instant, and we were never to return again to those times before Pearl Harbor. 

What memories do you have of your family members telling you about that day?  Did you have family members who served?  Did they all make it home? 

Let’s not forget Pearl Harbor and those who who were wounded or died.  Let’s not forget those who altered their lives and threw themselves in to a war movement unequal to anything this country has ever seen before or since.  There is a reason that the ‘greatest generation’ got its name.

Martin Luther King Memorial Unveiled on the National Mall

The Martin Luther King Memorial was unveiled and given to President Obama to present to the people of the United States of America.  This is the first monument on the mall that is not a war memorial or a presidential monument

The memorial was supposed to be dedicated on August 28, the anniversary date of Dr. King’s I Have a Dream Speech. It had to be delayed because of the hurricane and the earthquake.

President Obama’s speech:

 

Flight 93 National Memorial Dedication Ceremony

It was only fitting that President Bush honor those who lost their lives  on 9/11/01 fighting the terrorists on Flight 93.   his speech was moving and he reflected upon another small town in Pennsylvania that had many heroes–Gettysburg.

Following his dedication, President Clinton spoke.  He spoke of the Alamo and how the people knew they were going to die, but stayed the course.  Both speeches were extremely moving.  Bill Clinton said it was a disgrace that there was still 10 million more dollars to raise and he announced that he and Speaker Boehner had formed a bipartisan partnership to raise the rest of the cash for the memorial.  He received a standing ovation. 

CLINTON: So, since I am no longer in office, I can do unpopular things.

CLINTON: I told the secretary of the interior, the head of your development program, that I was aghast to find out that we still need to raise $10 million to finish this place. And Speaker Boehner and I have already volunteered to do a bipartisan event in Washington.

Let’s get this show on the road. Let’s roll. Thank you and God bless you.

Read more: http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/09/10/bill-clintons-flight-93-memorial-dedication-speech#ixzz1XcOgmk5H

 

Vice President Joe Biden was in attendance also and addressed the crowd.  He was very gracious to both former presidents and spoke of his own personal losses generally and to reassure. 

I am more convinced than ever that this National Memorial to the bravery of the passengers on Flight 93 is the right and proper acknowledgement of people who gave all so that others could live.  They fought back.

 

VA State Police warn of 9-11 gridlock

The VA State Police warn motorists and commuters of predicted 9-9  gridlock on Friday, August 19 [TODAY], when approximately 1800 motorcycles roll to pay tribute to the lives lost on 9/11/01 during the terrorist attacks.

[NOTE CHANGE:  GRIDLOCK IS FOR TODAY, NOT SEPT. 9 AS ORIGINALLY STATED.]

According to insidenova.com:

State police are warning Northern Virginia residents to brace for road closures and delays Friday afternoon and evening due to a Sept. 11 tribute motorcade.

 Over 1,800 motorcyclists will pass through Northern Virginia coming south from Maryland starting at 3:30 p.m., all in part of the America’s 9/11 Foundation, Inc.’s annual memorial ride, Virginia state police said.

 The multi-state procession will canvass areas affected by the Sept. 11 attacks Friday morning, starting in Somerset, Pa., just outside the crash site of hijacked plane United flight 93, which killed 44, officials said.

 Bikers will stop by the Pentagon Friday afternoon, and continue to the World Trade Center site by Sunday morning, according to the America’s 9/11 Foundation website.

 The procession plans on entering Loudoun County at 2 p.m. Friday, with officers stopping southbound traffic on U.S. 15 at the Virginia-Maryland line, police said.Read More

The Lunar Landing 42 years ago

A day late…but July 20, 1969 was the Lunar Landing, the day man first landed on the surface of the moon in a little space capsule named Apollo 11.  It is hard to imagine how little we knew back then and how rudimentary our tools were.  Much of the landing was done with computers but not the computers you and I know today.  It all seems so long ago and looking back, so very impossible.  I can remember our hearts being in our throats the entire time.  Would they make it back alive?

How terribly sad that our Manned space program is all but ending.  Ironic that the last space shuttle is almost ready to return to earth, never to slip into the wild blue yonder again.   Wallops Island is no Kennedy Space Center.  That is a downgrade I don’t even want to consider. 

Have we become so complacent or so full of our own knowledge that we can just quit?  I think America deserves better.  We are better than this. 

Rolling Thunder XXIV Comes to Town

Rolling Thunder began in 1987  to rally for MIAs and POWs to be returned home.  It has become an annual event each Memorial Day. 

I came of age during the Vietnam War.  It is wonderful to see the country united with this annual event.  No one really gets into ‘which side’ people were on. 

I get tickled over people who didn’t grow up during this time who automatically believe that all Vietnam Vets have at some point in time been spat on.  I know plenty who weren’t.  Not all of us were ‘hippies,’ whatever that meant.  Not all of us were drug addicts or rolled in the mud naked. 

But I digress….

ROAR on  Rolling Thunder!!!

Memorial Day mini lesson

Virginia has a long Memorial Day past and lots of war dead.  Arlington National Cemetery is in Arlington, Virginia.  The site of the Lee Mansion has been used as a national cemetery since the Civil War.  Mrs. Lee left her plantation for obvious safety reasons, even though she was horribly crippled with arthrits and lived the life of a vagabond until the end of the war. 

In the past decade, 233 Virginians have been killed in the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq.  25 of those were killed just in the past year.  On Thursday, Governor McDonnell and members of his administration gathered on the steps of the State Capital to pay tribute.

“This is the story of America,” McDonnell said. “When I think of what defines our country, it is sacrifice and it is freedom…Throughout our history, the price of liberty has always been American blood.”
Marlene Blackburn, left, who lost her son, U.S. Army Cpl. William Kyle Middleton, in Afghanistan, is comforted by her uncle Bob Galaspie at the service. (AP Photo/Steve Helber) (Steve Helber – AP)

 

The names of all 233 were read aloud by members of different branches of the armed services. A Coast Guard helicopter performed a ceremonial fly-by in the capital city’s sky, and a bagpiper with the Virginia Department of Corrections played “Amazing Grace.”

 

Medal of Freedom Awarded to 15 Recipients

 

This afternoon President Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to 15 recipients.  The following were recipients:

Warren Buffett, Yo Yo Ma, George H. W. Bush,  Bill Russell, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Rep. John Lewis,  John Adams,  Maya Angelou,  Jasper Johns, Gerda Weissmann Klein, Tom Little (posthumously) , Sylvia Mendez, Stan Musial, Jean Kennedy Smith, and John Sweeney

The awards ceremony was very touching.  President Obama was magnanimous.  The most touching mini speech was given for former President Bush, who was in attendance. 

List of recipients