Category : Military / Armed Forces

Now 97, Navy veteran recalls Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor

Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Don Long was alone on an anchored military seaplane in the middle of a bay across the island from Pearl Harbor when Japanese warplanes started striking Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, watching from afar as the bombs and bullets killed and wounded thousands.

The waves of attacking planes reached his military installation on Kaneohe Bay soon after Pearl Harbor was struck, and the young sailor saw buildings and planes start to explode all around him.

When the gunfire finally reached him, setting the aircraft ablaze, he jumped into the water and found himself swimming through fire to safety.

Now 97, Long will remember the 77th anniversary of the attack from his home in Napa, California.

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Posted in History, Military / Armed Forces

Thursday Mental Health Break–A soldier’s beloved dog greets her upon her return

Posted in Animals, Military / Armed Forces

The Stunning True Story of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, Mercy, Memory, and Thanksgiving

 

About sunset, it happened every Friday evening on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast. You could see an old man walking, white-haired, bushy eye-browed, slightly bent.

One gnarled hand would be gripping the handle of a pail, a large bucket filled with shrimp. There on a broken pier, reddened by the setting sun, the weekly ritual would be re-enacted.

At once, the silent twilight sky would become a mass of dancing dots…growing larger. In the distance, screeching calls would become louder.

They were seagulls, come from nowhere on the same pilgrimage”¦ to meet an old man.
For half an hour or so, the gentleman would stand on the pier, surrounded by fluttering white, till his pail of shrimp was empty. But the gulls would linger for a while. Perhaps one would perch comfortably on the old man’s hat”¦and a certain day gone by would gently come to his mind.

Eventually, all the old man’s days were past. If the gulls still returned to that spot”¦ perhaps on a Friday evening at sunset, it is not for food”¦ but to pay homage to the secret they shared with a gentle stranger.

And that secret is THE REST OF THE STORY.

Anyone who remembers October of 1942 remembers the day it was reported that Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was lost at sea.

Captain Eddie’s mission had been to deliver a message of the utmost importance to General Douglas MacArthur.

But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. . Somewhere over the South Pacific, the flying fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, and the men ditched their plane in the ocean.

The B-17 stayed afloat just long enough for all aboard to get out. . Then, slowly, the tail of the flying fortress swung up and poised for a split second”¦ and the ship went down leaving eight men and three rafts”¦ and the horizon.

For nearly a month, Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun.

They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. Their largest raft was nine by five”¦ the biggest shark ten feet long.

But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.

In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.”
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking”¦ Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a seagull. I don’t know how I knew; I just knew.
“Everyone else knew, too. No one said a word. But peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at the gull. The gull meant food”¦ if I could catch it.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten; its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.

You know that Captain Eddie made it.

And now you also know…that he never forgot.
Because every Friday evening, about sunset…on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast…you could see an old man walking…white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent.

His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls…to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle…like manna in the wilderness.

Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story (Bantam Books, 1997 Mass paperback ed. of the 1977 Doubleday original), pp. 170-172

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces

(Economist) The Church of England plays a big role in acts of remembrance

The Church of England plays a central but slightly awkward role in commemorating war dead. In the everyday life of England’s bustling, multicultural cities, the existence of an established church, historically privileged but commanding the active loyalty of only a small minority, can seem like a curious anachronism. But at certain occasions and seasons, the Church of England comes into its own as a focus of national emotion.

One such time is the national remembrance of war dead, which takes place every year around the anniversary of the armistice that ended the first world war, which came into effect on 11th November 1918. This year’s commemorations have an added poignancy because a century has passed since the guns fell silent….

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Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), History, Military / Armed Forces, Parish Ministry

The Bp of Oxford on WWI–this is our Long Story

We are wise enough to know now that the battles our grandparents fought did not end at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the artillery fell silent on the Western Front. The battles against tyranny and isolation and prejudice and inequality continue. The search for purpose and meaning and love continues still. Those battles need to be set in an eternal perspective. They recur in different ways in each generation.

Paul writes of that new and eternal perspective which flows from one person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. God has reconciled us to himself through Christ. The destiny of humankind is not fragmentation and war but common purpose and unity and a new creation. We are part of this bigger story. God has now entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. It is our mission, in every generation, to work for peace and freedom and justice with the same commitment shown by the generation who fought the Great War.

As we look back one hundred years it is possible to see in our nation then a greater common purpose than we see today. We are not blind to the weaknesses of the war generation nor to the mistakes that were made. But we do see a commitment to a common cause, a confidence in the values of peace and truth and the common good, a desire to see the world reconciled and a willingness to face together the great challenges of the age.

Such common cause today defeats us. We are finding it difficult as a nation even to rethink and reimagine our relationship with Europe in a way that brings unity and common purpose. We grow more not less fragmented along lines of race and religion and politics and wealth. Our common discourse all too easily admits the language of hate and violence.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, History, Military / Armed Forces

Veterans Day Remarks–Try to Guess the Speaker and the Date

In a world tormented by tension and the possibilities of conflict, we meet in a quiet commemoration of an historic day of peace. In an age that threatens the survival of freedom, we join together to honor those who made our freedom possible. The resolution of the Congress which first proclaimed Armistice Day, described November 11, 1918, as the end of “the most destructive, sanguinary and far-reaching war in the history of human annals.” That resolution expressed the hope that the First World War would be, in truth, the war to end all wars. It suggested that those men who had died had therefore not given their lives in vain.

It is a tragic fact that these hopes have not been fulfilled, that wars still more destructive and still more sanguinary followed, that man’s capacity to devise new ways of killing his fellow men have far outstripped his capacity to live in peace with his fellow men.Some might say, therefore, that this day has lost its meaning, that the shadow of the new and deadly weapons have robbed this day of its great value, that whatever name we now give this day, whatever flags we fly or prayers we utter, it is too late to honor those who died before, and too soon to promise the living an end to organized death.

But let us not forget that November 11, 1918, signified a beginning, as well as an end. “The purpose of all war,” said Augustine, “is peace.” The First World War produced man’s first great effort in recent times to solve by international cooperation the problems of war. That experiment continues in our present day — still imperfect, still short of its responsibilities, but it does offer a hope that some day nations can live in harmony.

For our part, we shall achieve that peace only with patience and perseverance and courage — the patience and perseverance necessary to work with allies of diverse interests but common goals, the courage necessary over a long period of time to overcome…[a skilled adversary].

Do please take a guess as to who it is and when it was, then click and read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Military / Armed Forces, Office of the President

(Local Paper) Colonel Miguel Howe–Veterans’ strength is the ‘strength of America’

Under a barrage of machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades, [Brendan] O’Connor crawled across an open field with an orange target identifier on his back to mark the enemy and prevent aircraft friendly fire from hitting him. Once he reached the soldiers, O’Connor provided medical care and fought off the enemy.

He then carried the wounded back through the rocket-propelled grenades and machine gun fire, using his body armor to protect his comrades. He brought them to safety, but his mission was not complete. By the end of the battle, O’Connor had successfully rescued two comrades, saved the lives of 21 soldiers, prevented his team’s destruction, and sadly, mourned the loss of Master Sgt. Tom Maholic.

For his valor under fire, O’Connor was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

On this 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the commemoration of Veterans Day, we honor veterans like O’Connor who have kept so many safe.

Today, our “most seasoned” living veterans are the ones who served in World War II. They are the ones who fought in Europe and the Pacific to throw back tyrants and liberate hundreds of millions. Men like my grandfather, Private 1st Class Alex Sapien.

Others defended our interests in the mountains of Korea and in — or over — the jungles of Vietnam; men like friend and mentor Brig. Gen. (retired) Harry Mott; my father Lt. Col. (retired) Chuck Howe; and my father-in-law Chief Warrant Officer 3 (retired) Rick Emmart. Still, other veterans served during the long vigil of the Cold War through Desert Storm….

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Military / Armed Forces

A Church of England Prayer for Remembrance Day/Veterans Day/Armistice Day 2018

Ever-living God,
we remember those whom you have gathered from the storm of war
into the peace of your presence;
may that same peace calm our fears,
bring justice to all peoples
and establish harmony among the nations,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Military / Armed Forces, Spirituality/Prayer

(The Star) Photos: Remembrance Day and Armistice Day around the world

There are 24–look at them all.

Posted in Globalization, Military / Armed Forces, Photos/Photography

A Prayer for Veterans Day 2018


Governor of Nations, our Strength and Shield:
we give you thanks for the devotion and courage
of all those who have offered military service for this country:

For those who have fought for freedom; for those who laid down their lives for others;
for those who have borne suffering of mind or of body;
for those who have brought their best gifts to times of need.

On our behalf they have entered into danger,
endured separation from those they love,
labored long hours, and borne hardship in war and in peacetime.
Lift up by your mighty Presence those who are now at war;
encourage and heal those in hospitals
or mending their wounds at home;
guard those in any need or trouble;
hold safely in your hands all military families;
and bring the returning troops to joyful reunion
and tranquil life at home;

Give to us, your people, grateful hearts
and a united will to honor these men and women
and hold them always in our love and our prayers;
until your world is perfected in peace
through Jesus Christ our Savior.

–The Rev. Jennifer Phillips

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Spirituality/Prayer

In Flanders Fields for Veteran’s Day 2018

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.

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.

–Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In thanksgiving for all those who gave their lives for this country in years past, and for those who continue to serve–KSH.

P.S. The circumstances which led to this remarkable poem are well worth remembering:

It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battle in the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915 and to the war in general. McCrea had spent seventeen days treating injured men — Canadians, British, French, and Germans in the Ypres salient. McCrae later wrote: “I wish I could embody on paper some of the varied sensations of that seventeen days… Seventeen days of Hades! At the end of the first day if anyone had told us we had to spend seventeen days there, we would have folded our hands and said it could not have been done.” The next day McCrae witnessed the burial of a good friend, Lieut. Alexis Helmer. Later that day, sitting on the back of an ambulance parked near the field dressing station, McCrea composed the poem. A young NCO, delivering mail, watched him write it. When McCrae finished writing, he took his mail from the soldier and, without saying a word, handed his pad to the Sergeant-major. Cyril Allinson was moved by what he read: “The poem was exactly an exact description of the scene in front of us both. He used the word blow in that line because the poppies actually were being blown that morning by a gentle east wind. It never occurred to me at that time that it would ever be published. It seemed to me just an exact description of the scene.” Colonel McCrae was dissatisfied with the poem, and tossed it away. A fellow officer retrieved it and sent it to newspapers in England. The Spectator, in London, rejected it, but Punch published it on 8 December 1915. For his contributions as a surgeon, the main street in Wimereaux is named “Rue McCrae”.

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

Blessed Armistice Day

Posted in America/U.S.A., Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Europe, History, Military / Armed Forces

([London] Times) Wilfred Owen obituary

The influence of his mother is never far away in Owen’s work. Likewise, his interest in religion is often just below the surface. Anthem for Doomed Youth describes a funeral held on the battlefield rather than in a church, opening with the line: “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?/ — Only the monstrous anger of the guns.” Another poem, At a Calvary near the Ancre, a tributary of the Somme, links the sacrifice on the battlefield with the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross and other New Testament references:

The scribes on all the people shove
And bawl allegiance to the state,
But they who love the greater love
Lay down their life; they do not hate.

Wilfred was brought up in Birkenhead and Shrewsbury, the family moving around with Thomas’s dispiriting work as a clerk and later a station master with a railway company. He was educated at Birkenhead Institute and Shrewsbury Technical School. As a boy he enjoyed swimming in mountain pools, reading Oscar Wilde and wearing a favourite green suit. Before joining the army he had floppy hair.

Already he was writing poetry, taking inspiration from the work of John Keats, whose house at Teignmouth he visited in 1911 while on holiday with an aunt and uncle in nearby Torquay. He marked the occasion with a sonnet. According to Stallworthy, “Owen warmed to the sensuality and musicality of the older poet, and Keats’s physicality (heightened by his study of anatomy and experience of illness) accorded with his apprentice’s own precocious awareness of the human body.”

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Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, History, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature, Religion & Culture

(WSJ) Terry Teachout on the Movie the “Best Years of our Lives” (1946)–The Once-United States

It wasn’t necessary to serve in World War II to know such fellowship. Well into the ’60s, many Americans grew up in towns that had no private schools or gated communities. They lived among, went to school with, worked next to and got to know all kinds of people. Starting in the ’70s, though, America started to undergo a demographic transformation that has since been dubbed “the Big Sort.” More and more Americans started seeking out people who shared their cultural and political inclinations, moving to regions that over time became populated with like-minded citizens. In the words of Bill Bishop and Robert G. Cushing, who identified and named the Big Sort in their 2008 book titled after the phenomenon, they chose to live in “communities of sameness…whose inhabitants find other Americans to be culturally incomprehensible.” The result is postmodern America, a walled-off land in which you need not spend time with, much less befriend anyone, who disagrees with you about anything of importance—and in which you thus become more likely to demonize the strangers with whom you do disagree.

The fact that we now live in such a country has, I suspect, something to do with the steadily growing popularity of “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Whether we realize it or not, Wyler’s poignant portrait of a nation recovering from war reminds all who watch it that America used to be a far friendlier place—and makes you wonder what will become of a land whose angry, distrustful citizens are increasingly choosing to live solely among their own kind.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., History, Military / Armed Forces, Movies & Television

May we Never Forget Sixteen Years Ago Today–A Naval Academy “Anchormen” Tribute to 9/11

Posted in History, Military / Armed Forces, Music, Terrorism