Daily Archives: May 26, 2014
“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”
— On many memorials to the dead in war worldwide, as for example that for the British 2nd Division at Kohima, India; there is a debate about its precise origins in terms of who first penned the lines
Leader: Let us give thanks to God for the land of our birth with all its chartered liberties. For all the wonder of our country’s story:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For leaders in nation and state, and for those who in days past and in these present times have labored for the commonwealth:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For those who in all times and places have been true and brave, and in the world’s common ways have lived upright lives and ministered to their fellows:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: For those who served their country in its hour of need, and especially for those who gave even their lives in that service:
PEOPLE: WE GIVE YOU THANKS, O GOD.
Leader: O almighty God and most merciful Father, as we remember these your servants, remembering with gratitude their courage and strength, we hold before you those who mourn them. Look upon your bereaved servants with your mercy. As this day brings them memories of those they have lost awhile, may it also bring your consolation and the assurance that their loved ones are alive now and forever in your living presence.
Watch it all–KSH.
What: Robert E. Besal, a retired Navy rear admiral and decorated veteran will speak at this ceremony honoring veterans and active service members, followed by a reception and fellowship. Presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3433, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 17, The American Legion Post 21, United States Submarines Veterans, Inc., Veterans Affairs Office Dorchester County, The Knights of Columbus Assembly 1900, The Scottish Military Society Post 1860 and Summerville Elks Lodge 2719. Reception to follow at VFW Post 3433, 10154 Bellwright Road in Ladson.
When: 10:30 a.m.
Where: Summerville Cemetery, 17-A Boone Hill Parkway
”¢ NCA currently maintains approximately 3.2 million gravesites at 131 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico, as well as in 33 soldiers’ lots and monument sites.
”¢ Approximately 429,000 full-casket gravesites, 111,000 in-ground gravesites for cremated remains, and 147,000 columbarium niches are available in already developed acreage in our 131 national cemeteries.
”¢ There are approximately 20,200 acres within established installations in NCA. Nearly 57 percent are undeveloped and ”“ along with available gravesites in developed acreage ”“ have the potential to provide approximately 6.8 million gravesites.
”¢ Of the 131 national cemeteries, 72 are open to all interments; 18 can accommodate cremated remains and the remains of family members for interment in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member; and 41 will perform only interments of family members in the same gravesite as a previously deceased family member.
I walk down the garden-paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jeweled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whalebone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime-tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.
And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden-paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.
I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover.
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon–
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.
Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday se’nnight.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.
In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.
In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden-paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down
In my gown.
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?
–Amy Lowell (1874–1925)
“”¦that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ”” that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain”¦”
–Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863
None of them knew what they were practicing for. Then, on June 5th, [Edward] Gorman got the news. “They just said, ”˜You’re in the first units,’” he recalled. “That’s all they said to us.”
By the next morning, Gorman had boarded the flat boat, called a Rhino ferry, and was on his way to the invasion. As the ferry neared the shore, the mine exploded, damaging the unloading ramp. The soldiers were stuck, and German planes were dropping bombs all around. “How they missed us, we don’t know,” Gorman said.
The scene as he and his compatriots reached the shore was horrific and still shakes Gorman to his core.
“When they talk about a pool of red, I mean, you see the whole — hundreds of yards of shoreline,” he said, crying.
Read it all (and the video is highly recommended).
The Korean War lasted from 1950 to 1953. The memorial honors those who died. It also honors those who survived.
The Korean War has been called the last foot soldier’s war. The memorial includes a group of 19 statues of soldiers. The soldiers appear to be walking up a hill, toward an American flag.
Artist Frank Gaylord made the statues from steel. Each is more than two meters tall. People who drive along a road near the memorial sometimes think the statues are real soldiers.
On one side of the Korean War Veterans Memorial is a stone walkway. It lists the names of the 22 countries that sent troops to Korea under United Nations command. On the other side is a shiny stone wall. Sandblasted into the wall are images from photographs of more than 2,500 support troops.
Read it all and note especially the Korean War memorial photo.
Marine Staff Sgt. Joseph Fankhauser had been in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand province for barely two weeks when he stepped on what the military calls an improvised explosive device. He was on his fifth combat deployment.
There had been a rainstorm, the ground had shifted and was soft, and the usual signs of a hidden bomb were not there. It was a joint patrol: Marines, British forces and Afghans. Only Fankhauser, 30, was killed.
“It gives me a kind of peace that it wasn’t a mistake” but rather an accident, Heather Fankhauser, 35, said of her husband’s death. “It wasn’t anything he could have done. Lots of other guys, guys with families, were there that day, and they’ll be going home, and that’s how my husband would want it.”
“My Fellow Americans:
“Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
“And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
“They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
“For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.&
“Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
“And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
“Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
“Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
“And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
“And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
“With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
“Thy will be done, Almighty God.
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.
There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.
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.
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”.
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead: We give thee thanks for all thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them thy mercy and the light of thy presence; and give us such a lively sense of thy righteous will, that the work which thou hast begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou who leadest Joseph like a flock! Thou who art enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth before E’phraim and Benjamin and Manas’seh! Stir up thy might, and come to save us!
… was my first really jarring experience with an increasingly common reaction to my war stories: pity. I never thought anyone would pity me because of my time in the Marine Corps. I’d grown up in the era of the Persian Gulf War, when the U.S. military shook off its post-Vietnam malaise with a startlingly decisive victory and Americans eagerly consumed stories about the Greatest Generation and the Good War through books like “Citizen Soldiers” by Stephen Ambrose and movies like “Saving Private Ryan.” Joining the military was an admirable decision that earned you respect.
Early on in the Iraq war, after I accepted my commission in 2005, most people did at the very least seem impressed””You ever fire those huge machine guns? Think you could kick those dudes’ asses? Did you kill anyone? I’d find myself in a bar back home on leave listening to some guy a few years out of college explaining apologetically that, “I was totally gonna join the military, you know, but”¦” The usual stereotype projected onto me was that of a battle-hardened hero, which I’m not.
But as the Iraq war’s approval levels sunk from 76% and ticker-tape parades to 40% and quiet forgetfulness, that flattering but inaccurate assumption has shifted to the notion that I’m damaged. Occasionally, someone will even inform me that I have post-traumatic stress disorder. They’re never medical professionals, just strangers who’ve learned that I served.
One man told me that Iraq veterans “are all gonna snap in 10 years” and so, since I’d been back for three years, I had seven left….
Pope Francis delivered a powerful boost of support to the Palestinians during a Holy Land pilgrimage Sunday, repeatedly backing their statehood aspirations, praying solemnly at Israel’s controversial separation barrier and calling the stalemate in peace efforts “unacceptable.”
In an unscripted move, Francis arranged a meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian presidents at the Vatican next month. The meeting, while largely symbolic, shows how the pope has sought to transform his immensely popular appeal into a moral force for peace.
On the second day of a three-day swing through the region, the pope arrived in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christianity, before heading to Israel for the final leg of his visit.
The Archbishop of Jos, Most Reverend Benjamin Kwashi, has instructed security agencies to comb Jos for 6 out of the 10 bombs planted in the city by Boko Haram as confessed by one of the suspects arrested in connection with the twin bomb blast that rocked the city last week.
He gave the instruction on Sunday in Minna when delivering sermon titled “the good shepherd” at the dedication of the Minna Cathedral of the Anglican Communion and the presentation of four Archbishops.
“There was a twin bomb blast few days ago in Jos in which many people were killed. Just yesterday when I was about to come to Minna, another bomb exploded in Jos again. We are aware that one of the Boko Haram arrested by the security has confessed that they planted 10 bombs in the city. We are also aware that one of the bombs has been seen and detonated by the police. But where are the remaining six? The police must urgently search and recover the hidden bombs to save lives and property”, he said.