Tag Archives: Veterans

Remembering

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, January 10, 1946

We sometimes have a tendency to glamorize war in books and movies. Those who have been there understand it’s much worse than anything that’s been filmed or written. It never captures the brutality or long-lasting consequences.

Last fall I had an opportunity to visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. When we were planning a trip to NC/Va, I came across this town and wondered why The D-Day Memorial would be placed in a small farming town of a little over six thousand people in Central Virginia. In 1940, just before World War II, Bedford numbered less than four thousand residents.

During the Battle of D-Day, Company A of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Division, were among the first wave of American soldiers to hit the beaches of Normandy. Nineteen boys from rural Bedford were killed in the first few minutes of landing. Another three boys were killed shortly after. In all, 22 young men from Bedford lost their lives, giving this small community the distinction of having the highest number of casualties, per capita, of anywhere in the country.

           

The story of this town and those that were lost is told in a book titled, The Bedford Boys. In many ways, the town of Bedford died on D-Day. The story of the boys that were lost, how if affected their families and the town itself is a reminder that war, though sometimes necessary, has consequences that can last for generations. It’s a book that should be read by all Americans.

Today is a day we remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and the freedoms we enjoy. Please remember them and their families.

God Bless them all.

It’s the Soldier, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It’s the Soldier, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech

It’s the Soldier, not the politicians,
who ensures our right to LIfe, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It’s the Soldier who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag.

We live in the land of the free
Only because of the brave.
God Bless Our Military
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Remember And Honor

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Even though numerous communities had been independently celebrating Memorial Day for years, the federal government declared Waterloo, N.Y. the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo first celebrated the holiday on May 5, 1866.

• Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 for decades, but in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and a federal holiday.

• Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died in the Civil War (1861-1865).

• Roughly 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War — making it the deadliest war in American history. About 644,000 Americans have died in all other conflicts combined.

• President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act on Dec. 28, 2000, designating 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a National Moment of Remembrance.

• It wasn’t always Memorial Day — it used to be known as Decoration Day.

• Red poppies are known as a symbol of remembrance, and it’s a tradition to wear them to honor those who died in war.

• The crowd that attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was about the same size as those that attend today’s observance: about 5,000 people

• Here are the number of casualties in each U.S. war:

Civil War: Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000. More than half of these deaths were caused by disease.

World War I: 116,516 Americans died, more than half from disease.

World War II: 405,399 Americans died.

Korean War: 36,574 Americans died.

Vietnam Conflict: 58,220 Americans died. More than 47,000 Americans were killed in action and nearly 11,000 died of other causes.

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: 383 U.S. service members died.

Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4,424 U.S. service members died.

Operation New Dawn: 73 U.S. service members died.

Operation Enduring Freedom: 2,349 U.S. service members died.

Freedom’s Sentinel Casualties – 22 U.S. service members died as of May 2016.

Inherent Resolve Totals – 20 U.S. service members died as of May 2016.

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Please Remember

Memorial Day is many things for many people. There are vacations, a time to relax and enjoy life. There are cookouts and parties and days off from school and work. There’s the beach and the water and having our families with us to celebrate those moments.

But we should always remember that the freedoms and pleasures we enjoy came at a price. For some, Memorial Day has a very different meaning.

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Please remember

The Chris Kyle Box Score

Before I comment on this American Sniper controversy, let me see if I can get a better understanding of the parties involved.

Chris Kyle was a U.S. Navy Seal who did four tours of duty in Iraq.
His awards include….
Two Silver Stars
Five Bronze Medals
One Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Awards
In addition, he was wounded twice and involved in six IED attacks.

He died trying to help a former Marine who was suffering from PTSD.

Seth Rogen Rodent, on the other hand, is a talentless actor and bad comedian who has won some awards from places like Cinemacon, Showest Convention USA and Canadian Comedy. His list of B movies that move out of theaters and quickly to cable is extensive.

Michael Moore Moron is a director, producer, writer, author and liberal political activist who won an Oscar twelve years ago for the documentary, Bowling For Columbine. Since then he has attempted to jump-start a fading career by stirring the pot whenever his ego needs some attention.

The ledger doesn’t appear to be very balanced does it? So let me add a little extra.

Chris Kyle was essentially called a coward by Michael Moron because he was a sniper. Apparently, Mr. Moron doesn’t understand the function of a sniper. As an example, one of Chris Kyle’s kills was an insurgent who was armed with a rocket launcher aimed at an American Convoy. I guess Mr. Moron would have preferred that the individual he referred to as a coward allow an entire American convoy to be wiped out.
Rodent, the other no talent, made a tasteless reference to the movie Inglorious Bastards when attempting to place American Sniper in humorous context. Because that’s what people who live in this country are allowed to do….speak freely….at the expense of people like Chris Kyle. Unfortunately, speaking freely doesn’t always equate to speaking intelligently because it’s easy to throw accusations and attack situations you’ve never found yourself in.

The honest truth is that Rodent and Moron can’t find a set of you know what between them if they looked under every rock they’ve ever crawled out from.

There’s an unwritten rule people should always follow before speaking about a topic or situation. If you haven’t been there or experienced what you’re going to speak about, don’t say anything. You have zero credibility so why bother? Unless of course, you happen to be no talent hucksters in need of an ego stroke and a bump in your insignificant career.

And if you’ve never left your husband or wife and children behind to serve this country or put your life on the line for another person, do us all a favor and…..just shut up.

Albert Einstein once said, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Sort of like Moron and his sidekick, the Rodent.

 

 

Why Veterans Day Matters

Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the American Cemetery in Normandy France. My wife and I were traveling in the area and I wanted to see some of the D-Day landing sites and small villages where the battles took place. Quite honestly, the American Cemetery was not on my list of places to see in France. I don’t know why it wasn’t planned and to this day I don’t know why I decided to pull off the main road and follow the sign down a short road leading to the Cemetery.

I remember it was cloudy as we arrived and light showers had fallen earlier in the day. The Cemetery is built on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel. Having never read much about the Cemetery itself, I really didn’t know what to expect and our view from the parking area gave no indication. But as we turned past a bank of trees and headed in, I began to see white crosses. Just a few at first. It was at that point I remember my pace slowing down. When the entire Cemetery finally came into view I stopped walking. I found myself staring out at 127 acres filled with Crosses and Stars of David for the 9,387 men who are buried there as a result of casualties inflicted on D-Day and ensuing battles.

And then I did something totally unexpected. I cried. As we continued walking, the tears wouldn’t leave me. Not as I read the names on the Crosses, visited The Wall of the Missing inscribed with another 1557 names, or looked out onto Omaha beach below where so many of these men lost their lives. Later, when we stopped in the visitors center, I went over to the guest book, foolishly thinking I could possibly find some words that might express what I was feeling. As I picked up the pen to write, I looked at the last entry, written earlier that day. It simply said, “Grandpa, we finally made it.” I read those five simple words and cried again. The only thing I could think to write was, thank you.

Sixteen years later the images are still very clear; the emotions still very close. I told my wife at the time that if every American had the opportunity to see that place and others like it, Memorial Day might be more than a barbecue, Veterans Day more than a parade, and our respect and gratitude for all those who have ever served this country, might be felt a little more deeply, shown more openly and without reservation.

On Veterans Day, the common phrase is, if you see a Veteran today, please take a moment and thank them for their service to our country. But the truth is, we should do that every time we see one. Because without them and their sacrifice, this world and country would be a very different place. If you don’t believe that, then you haven’t been paying attention.

There are 24 American Cemeteries on foreign soil and one very large one in Our Nation’s Capital, along with many other memorials that honor those who served and died for the freedoms we enjoy. Visit if and when you can. Take your children and answer their questions honestly. Like all of us, they need to understand. Six Flags can wait.

Thank you to all who have served our great country. And a very special thank you to those families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price.

Never forget.