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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Quote:There is some angst among right-minded Americans over the near-sighted tweet from Vice President Kamala Harris concerning the 3-day Memorial Day Weekend we currently enjoy. Whereas many Americans wrongfully view the Memorial Day Weekend as the May cousin of September’s Labor Day Weekend (with each Monday signifying the mileposts for the summer season), it is abhorrent that the person “…a heartbeat away from the presidency…” would signal a tone-deafness to the meaning behind our celebration of the last Monday of May.

And yet, she is hardly alone. Millions of Americans sadly view this weekend the same way: a convenient break at the end of May before the school year ends and summer season kicks off.

It would behoove so many of us to remember that we are not actually festive on Memorial Day. We are reflective. We do not celebrate some of the worst possible incidents in millions of American families’ lives, even as we celebrate the rights and privileges their collective agony afford us to enjoy. We appreciate them.

Many images will remind us of the people who made the ultimate sacrifice throughout the course of American history. Some images will focus solely on the Greatest Generation, a group of Americans that beat down the Nazi threat that approached our shores and wreaked destruction across the globe. That war alone cost us over 400,000 lives. Other stories will remind us of the recent sacrifices of our young people over the past few decades, from the soul-wrenching times of the Vietnam War to the ongoing impacts of the battles in the Middle East since 1991.

And, of course, these numbers only account for deaths that our nation incurred fighting foreign enemies. When considering the oath to “…defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…,” the numbers swell over the course of the lifetime of the Great Experiment.

Through all of this, it is easy for us to overlook the meaning behind the sacrifices. It is intellectually lazy for us to merely state that they died “defending America” or “advancing American values” or “securing freedom.” These phrases can be haughty sentiments and hollow compliments if we are not intentional as to their meaning.

This Memorial Day, it makes sense for us to actively recall the items that Americans gave their lives for.

Among others, they died to ensure that their families and our loved ones could vote freely with confidence, protection, and equality during each election cycle. They died to ensure that parents were empowered to do their absolute best for their children at each phase of life, from protections in the womb to pursuits within the education system. They died to ensure that processes could develop more perfectly so that the criminal justice system was fair, unbiased, and rooted in facts and law. They died to ensure that hard work was not punished because of skin color, religious background, status in society, or prejudices pushed by jaded politicians.

These Americans made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that freedom of speech continued as a constitutional right that was both revered and right-minded to keep our republic heading down a path of strengthening through debate and away from tactics that could destroy us. These Americans made a common ultimate sacrifice – regardless of the color of the skin that was torn but through the common blood that was shed — to ensure that we continued to see each other as fellow Americans through the many differences that a nation of millions is bound to contain. These Americans made the ultimate sacrifice through their self-determinative decision to defend our nation’s values to ensure that our individual self-determination was a foundation for life in each corner of our country – and that the pursuit of it never stops for those who do not have it now due to legacy woes domestically or unavoidable challenges personally.

These Americans did not die merely for the idea of America. These Americans died to defend, secure, or obtain very tangible things within America. Immigrants and former slaves who were shamefully discriminated against used their grit to gain respect and equality for their families and loved ones – and some made the ultimate sacrifice on that trek towards equity. Women who were viewed as weaker and incapable in battle used their minds and might to change the course of American history for those who may never know their names. Those discriminated against in today’s times – in stark contrast to our secular Constitution – continue to fight on the front lines, knowing that their names might be added to the list of those who left behind a lifestyle and eternally gained a legacy because of their love of country.

Because of their specific love of us – and specific people among us.

Because of their love of specific things that we enjoy.

This Memorial Day, we must not wrap our salute to these fallen Americans in an all-encompassing remembrance. We should see the fallen in each specific thing we have in our lives as citizens of this nation and leaders in this world. Just as each one of the fallen is a specific person whose family cried a river of tears over the tragic loss of their loved one, each aspect of America that they died for is a specific why that prompted them to have courage past fear, honor past apprehension, and American Exceptionalism past civic complacency.

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Quote:On Memorial Day weekend, we celebrate courage, specifically that of the men who died fighting for the greatest country in the history of the world. Once upon a time in Hollywood, such bravery was taken for granted. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, even the most popular male movie stars quit their lucrative studio contracts to join unknown men in uniform, dirt, and combat. It didn’t matter to Clark Gable that he was “the king of Hollywood” and had just nailed the most iconic role of his career as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind. He became Lt. Clark Gable of the U.S. Army Air Force, flying bomber missions over Germany. The Luftwaffe offered a $5,000 reward to any pilot who shot him down. Gable had plenty of all-star company — Jimmy Stewart, David Niven, Glenn Ford, Tyrone Power, Henry Fonda, Robert Montgomery, and many more who didn’t just play heroes but embodied them. Today, we have John Cena and Hollywoke.

John Cena is a World Wrestling Entertainment star turned actor. Until a few days ago, his most famous screen appearance was in The Marine (2006). Young male viewers made the picture a modest worldwide hit ($40 million). They appreciated the role model of a tough American soldier hunting down the creeps who kidnapped his sexy wife (Kelly Carlson). But last week, Cena got a lot more viewers as himself on a video groveling and whimpering to communist China in Mandarin for the “insult” of having called Taiwan a country in an interview. You wouldn’t know what he’s apologizing for from the video, since Cena never mentions his offense. But his Chinese masters know and approve.

That Taiwan is an actual democratic nation under constant threat from its massive hostile neighbor made no difference to Cena or Universal Studios. Not when measured against the market value of their upcoming release in China, F9 (Fast and Furious 9). Courage being unprofitable, they discounted 24 million Taiwanese like an advertising expense. So when Cena goes all “macho a macho” versus Vin Diesel in F9, Western boys are expected to accept him as that guy, not the simpering wimp he proved himself to be. But Chinese boys will be laughing at him, because, as Spencer Klavan states in a new essay for the American Mind, “Courage is mere pretense unless it is lived out, unless at the moment of truth you really do stand on your feet where others cower.”

Doubtless the banishment of strong male role models from Hollywoke entertainment has created a real-life vacuum for boys. The men who fought against Japan, Germany, North Korea, North Vietnam, Al-Qaeda, and ISIS had plenty of them. They may not have been as physically formidable as Cena, but intrinsically they were even more so. This is also why a brief and regional period of American history, that of the frontier West (1865–95), inspired more than a hundred years of literature, cinema, and television.

Westerns depict a world where a man survives by his own skill, outside of any social pressure, government control, or cultural delusion. Their leading men unnerve civilized people because they remind them of the wilderness all around. For they know once it starts to encroach on them, all their ideals and delusions won’t save them. Only the heroes can, because they’re part wild themselves. Throw in other leftist-triggering concepts such as honor, male camaraderie, and gun skill, and the need for the genre’s total erasure from Hollywoke fare becomes obvious. After all, Hollywoke wants not strong, Western-style heroes, but beta men wearing masks on lone hikes, voting for Democrats, and supporting insane policies like “defund the police” and the Green New Deal.

My stepfather Juan, a member of the Greatest Generation, won’t go to sleep until he’s seen his nightly Western. Three months ago, I turned him onto the best TV Western series ever made, The Big Valley (1965–69), to his great delight and mine as we watched it together at his place every weeknight. Adding to my new enjoyment of the show is my friendship with one of its two living stars, the great Lee Majors, a real man and true patriot, unlike John Cena and his ilk. Lee sent me a picture of himself and co-star Peter Breck to share with Juan.

I used to love The Big Valley as a naïve young fan. It’s the saga of the premier family of post-Civil War Stockton, California, the Barkleys, dealing with the last gasps of the frontier and the addition of the murdered patriarch’s bastard son, gunfighter Heath, Lee’s character. “Being adopted makes you feel like an underdog,” Lee told me. “So I stood up for all of them … It’s why Heath had to fight for his right to be part of the family.”

Today, as an aging novelist, I marvel at the show’s construction and writing. Each episode is a fine morality play, with the Barkleys trying to do the right thing for themselves and the community, often at the risk of death. In a brilliant fourth-season episode, “The Profit and the Lost,” Barkley matriarch Victoria Barkley (the magnificent Barbara Stanwyck) buys off a hired killer (Robert Loggia) who has a contract on Heath, knowing he’s a faster gun than her stepson. Heath hears about it and confronts Victoria: “After he rides out, who’s next? Mother, if it’s wrong for Vern to kill for money, it’s wrong for me to stay alive because we got the money to buy him off. He’s got to be stopped. I don’t know if I can, but I’ve got to try. I’m sorry, mother, I’ve got to face him.”

They don’t write masculine codes of honor like that in Hollywoke entertainment anymore, to the detriment of the country. But those who watched The Big Valley or many a Clark Gable picture got something constructive out of it. And our nation got better men, like those we celebrate this weekend.

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Veteran helps fellow vets suffering from PTSD


[Image: OdSbrwMEnur6mWhZ7hZu_30_b887baf16d7eb6f0..._image.jpg]



This is worth the full watch and has a great song at the end.


05-30-2021 12:51 PM
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TigerBlue4Ever Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Never heard that song before, that was VERY nicely done!

As an army brat I've known what tomorrow represents for as long as I can remember.
05-30-2021 01:18 PM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Quote:On February 19, 1945, U.S. Marines made an amphibious landing on Iwo Jima, a mere “dot” in the South Pacific, and were immediately met with horrific and unforeseen challenges. The beach of soft, black, “itchy” volcanic ash that “stuck to your skin” made sturdy footing and passage for tanks, Jeeps, and other vehicles almost impossible.

As the young Marines struggled forward, the Japanese lied in wait. The Americans assumed the pre-attack bombardment had been effective and had crippled the Japanese defenses on the island. They could not have been more wrong: the lack of response to the landing was part of Imperial Japanese General Tadamichi Kuribayashi’s master plan.

With the Marines struggling to gain a foothold on the beach, Kuribayashi’s artillery positions in the mountains above opened fire, stalling the Marines and inflicting heavy casualties.

Despite a banzai charge by dozens of Japanese soldiers as dusk fell — which included Japanese soldiers in the darkness mimicking wounded Marines and then stabbing to death those who ventured out to rescue their “wounded comrades” — the Marines were eventually able to move beyond the beach and seize one of two airfields on the Island; the stated mission of the invasion.

Within days, more than 70,000 U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima. Although they significantly outnumbered their Japanese enemies by a more than three-to-one margin, many Marines were wounded or killed over the five un-anticipated weeks of cave-to-cave fighting, with estimates of more than 25,000 American casualties, including nearly 7,000 deaths.

My dad, a 22-year-old tank driver from an Indiana town of less than 1,000, was one of the day-one survivors —and the war itself, having returned to Hawaii to stage for the mainland invasion of Japan — before two bombs changed history.

Memorial Day is not about the survivors of America’s wars — we have another solemn day for that. This weekend, let us honor those who paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom.

And please, let us not let them down.

Semper fi, dad.

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05-30-2021 03:52 PM
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Redbanksdog Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
William Matthews was a Great Uncle of my family. 1894 - 1918


The first boy from Whatcom County to lose his life in the World war.
Billie served with Company F, 20th Engineers, 6th Battalion.

U-Boat U-77 torpedoed the first troopship carrying American soldiers the S.S. Tuscania off the Irish Coast.

Pvt. Matthews, 18th Co., 20th Engineers, was aboard the first troopship torpedoed & sunk in World War I - the "Tuscania" - but this was not the first troopship that carried American troops to the war. He was first buried at Kilnaughton, isle of Islay, Scotland, in grave 70, as the tide and wind carried all lifeboats and bodies to Scotland. His body was returned to the U.S. aboard "Antigone" in September 1920.
(This post was last modified: 05-30-2021 06:02 PM by Redbanksdog.)
05-30-2021 06:00 PM
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olliebaba Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
My uncle Simon Jimenez stepped on a land mine in the battle to cross the Rapido River in Salerno with the Texas National Guard 36th Division. Unfortunately, his wound was too serious and perished. To him I give my greatest thanks for all that he and his compatriots did in WWII. A salute to you, Tio. May you rest in peace.


Two of my uncles served in WWII, Simon and Teofilo Jimenez. Teofilo suffered from PTSD all his life. They left a legacy where four out of five of his nephews served in the military in our immediate family.
05-30-2021 10:27 PM
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Owl 69/70/75 Online
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
My father, godfather, three uncles, and two aunts served in WWII. My grandfathers both served in WWI. A cousin and I served in Vietnam, and I hung around in the Reserves through Desert Storm. All of us survived relatively unscathed, although my paternal grandfather died as a result of a training accident after the war. We were an extremely fortunate family, and I hope none of us have ever forgotten the sacrifices of those who didn't make it back.

My father was in prep school prior to heading to West Point to play football when Pearl Harbor happened. He headed to flight school, then to Europe, flew his missions, and was back in the USA transitioning aircraft for the invasion of Japan when Truman dropped the bomb.

I suppose I was fortunate to know only one person who was killed in Vietnam. Harold Dailey was in NROTC with me, took his commission in the USMC, and was commander of a tank platoon that got blown up. I found his name on the wall the first time I went, and go back there every time I visit the wall.
(This post was last modified: 06-01-2021 01:13 AM by Owl 69/70/75.)
05-30-2021 10:43 PM
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
I lost my closest childhood friend in Viet Nam. Fred Fitzgerald, you will always be remembered by me. I touch your name, and remember you fondly, every time I visit the Wall.
05-31-2021 02:19 AM
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05-31-2021 02:43 AM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Quote:On this Memorial Day, we remember the fallen heroes who took their last breaths in defense of our Nation, our families, our citizens, and our sacred freedoms. The depth of their devotion, the steel of their resolve, and the purity of their patriotism has no equal in human history. On distant battlefields, in far-off oceans, and high in the skies above, they faced down our enemies and gave their lives so that America would prevail. They made the supreme sacrifice so that our people can live in safety and our Nation can thrive in peace. It is because of their gallantry that we can together, as one people, continue our pursuit of America’s glorious destiny.

We owe all that we are, and everything we ever hope to be, to these unrivaled heroes. Their memory and their legacy is immortal. Our loyalty to them and to their families is eternal and everlasting.

America’s warriors are the single greatest force for justice, peace, liberty, and security among all the nations ever to exist on earth. God bless our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Coast Guardsmen, Airmen, and Marines. We honor them today, forever, and always.

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PHOTOS: Bikers Ride to Remember Fallen, Lost on Memorial Day Weekend in D.C.
(This post was last modified: 05-31-2021 11:09 AM by CrimsonPhantom.)
05-31-2021 11:05 AM
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Pounce FTW Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Great thread on a sobering day. My family has been very lucky with those who have served. My mom's dad was a career Marine who made it through WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. (I owe my existence to his daughter living on the same base where my dad was stationed almost 60 years ago.) Both my father and mom's brother also made it through their time in the Corps and went on to live "typical" American lives. And that's not even touching on all of those on my dad's side who have maintained service to this day, with no tragedies for the family to suffer through. We are blessed, and that is certainly due to the sacrifices made by so many others.

I am infinitely indebted to all who have made the ultimate sacrifice, my heart goes out to all of you who have endured such losses, and my thanks goes to all of you who have served with this possibility as part of the responsibility you took on.
05-31-2021 11:37 AM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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05-31-2021 11:50 AM
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Went to my town's Memorial Day ceremony today.

Usually the church I go to has a little ceremony after service on the Sunday before, but went to a different church than normal yesterday.
05-31-2021 12:01 PM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
In Recognition of America’s Fallen Patriots and Veterans on Memorial Day


Quote:This is an editorial from the Combat Veterans for Congress Political Action Committee that commemorates our fallen patriots on this Memorial Day. It is posted here with the permission of the author. CVFC PAC supports the election of US military combat veterans to the US Senate and House of Representatives. Their cause is righteous, and generous donations are welcome at the links at the end. Note: I am on the PAC’s board of directors in the capacity of Director of Congressional and Public Relations. The editorial begins:

Since General George Washington commanded the Continental Army, forty-two million Americans have served in defense of the Republic under the American Flag. In the past 245 years, one million American military personnel have been killed in combat and operation while serving their country, and another million and a half have been wounded.

Each year on Memorial Day weekend we recognize and honor American patriots who have given the “last full measure of devotion” in their service to the Republic, so their fellow Americans could live their lives free from oppression.

This year we ask all Americans to support active duty and reserve service members who, for the first time in 245 years, are undergoing a “patriot purge” to find “patriot extremists” in the US Military. Bishop Garrison, the Senior Advisor to The Secretary of Defense on Human Capital and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, is implementing actions to locate and eliminate “patriot extremism”; he is developing recommendations to prevent “patriot extremists” from serving in the US armed forces. Garrison repeatedly stated that anyone in the US Armed Forces who supported President Donald J. Trump is a racist and must be purged from the US Military.

We not only honor American combat veterans who gave up their tomorrows and members of the US armed forces who are separated from their loved ones, often going into “Harm’s Way,” but we also honor veterans who answered the call of duty in the past.

On this Memorial Day weekend, the Republic’s most sacred and cherished patriotic holiday, the nation solemnly pays homage to the thousands of Gold Star families for the enormity of their sacrifices and the loss of their cherished loved ones!

On Memorial Day, and every day throughout the year, we also honor the 23 million veterans who served in the defense of the Republic and then continued to serve their country in so many other ways.

All active-duty personnel and veterans wrote a blank check made payable to “the United States of America” for an amount “up to and including their lives.” The enormity of that sacred pledge often goes unnoticed.

Watch the moving video below, “Why I Stand,” in Honor of America’s Fallen, Wounded Warriors, members of the US Armed Forces, and in Honor of America’s Veterans:





Americans should ensure that the nation’s youth are taught in their US history courses in school and in their homes to “never forget” the enormity of the sacrifice made through the decades by millions of American patriots who protected and defended the freedoms all Americans enjoy.

Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62

CAPT, USN(Ret)/Former FBI

Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC
05-31-2021 02:00 PM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Quote:I lived about 15 miles from Fort Bragg, North Carolina from 1994 to 2012, in a rural area where many Army officers and members of the various Special Forces groups based there made their home. After 9/11, our area was immediately impacted as Fort Bragg forces were some of the first deployed in the War on Terror. We were reminded daily of the sacrifices these families were making – the dad who wasn’t there to participate in Little League with the kids or read a bedtime story or attend awards ceremonies at the elementary school, or any of the hundreds of little things that make up family life. Unfortunately, some of the dads never made it home.

Tiffany and I became friends when our boys were in the same Cub Scout pack. I knew it was difficult for her to keep everything together at home while her husband, a Green Beret, was in parts unknown for months at a time – and when there were constant reports on the nightly news of injuries and casualties halfway around the world. But I didn’t realize the depths of the pain and trials she and other military wives experienced until a few years ago. That Memorial Day she wrote about losses her husband’s small unit sustained during one deployment, and with her permission, I am sharing it here in full.

In the early days of the war I remember watching the news religiously. I was always shocked at how much information the media would give about the location of our guys. It really bothered me. And, of course, we could find out in almost real time if we had lost another Green Beret.

I remember a particular day when I heard a news bulletin telling of not one but two fatalities from our very small unit. My heart sank. The phone tree was abuzz, with all of us trying to find out. Was it me? Would I hear the knock on the door? As every military wife has done, I imagined my response. What I would say or do? How would I react? Would I cry, yell, tell them to leave? Ask them in? What would be best for my children? Step outside?

Thankfully that knock did not come for me that day. It did for two other wives.

I knew I had to go to their memorial service. I would want other wives to show support if it had been me, so alone I decided to go.

I got up that morning feeling brave. I got dressed and did my makeup, yet thought that seemed strange. I’m not sure why. I drove to the Special Forces chapel alone. I quietly walked inside and found my seat on a pew in the back half. I wasn’t comfortable sitting up close to the family. I was concerned that so many seats were empty, but most of our guys were gone, so I understood.

Looking around at the windows I found it so strange then that the stained glass included soldiers with guns in a church. Guns and church didn’t seem to go together.

Now I understand. Those windows show the depth of man’s soul in a battle. There is probably not a place closer to God – or seemingly further from Him – on this earth.

Shortly before the memorial began a very long line of young soldiers entered the chapel, filling every available space. It was standing room only. I later found out they pulled students from the local training unit over as a show of support. I watched these young guys and wondered what they were thinking.

I don’t remember much of what was said that day, but I clearly remember the final roll call. The command calls the name of each soldier on the team. (12) Each soldier answers “Here, Sgt Major” until they get to the fallen soldier. Their name is called, and when there is no answer there is the volley of gunfire.

I will never forget the agonizing wail from the wife of one soldier that day. My heart hurt for her. I feel horrible pain inside just remembering that sound. I realized that volley symbolized the last sound her husband heard before he was killed. What were his last thoughts? That sound is deafening. Did he know that was it? Did he have a chance to think of her? Was he in pain? I figured these might be her thoughts. They were holding her on her feet now. It was so hard to watch I closed my eyes.

I quickly walked away from that chapel, feeling a lot less brave. I got into my car and quietly sobbed.

I wish I had never gone that day. Fear enveloped my life, fear of that wailing pain. I tried to outrun the fear. I couldn’t run fast enough. I tried to pray my way out of the pain. The sleeplessness clouded my mind. I could no longer eat or drink, certain my knock would come.

Eventually I chose to end my marriage. I couldn’t wait for this certain end. I loved him too much. I wallowed away in a bottle, to the shock and disgust of most I knew. My mind was twisted with the sorrow of the sound of the wife’s cry. It haunted me, and does to this day.

Those months were the longest of my life. I know what I felt, and also knew that my pain could never amount to hers.

I am beyond grateful that Rich made it home that deployment. Many did not. It was a rough year for our unit. He came home, broken himself, to a wife who could hardly hang on.

How grateful I am that together with the blessings of our temple marriage and the power of the atonement we were able to be healed of the wounds inflicted that deployment. But every year on Memorial Day I remember that wife. I remember her pain and her sacrifice. I remember her son, and the loss he must have felt. I remember they gave all.

I think people forget that most soldiers do not join thinking they will fight this particular political foe. They join to protect America. They don’t pick a side. It isn’t about that to these patriots. It’s protecting their home and fellow citizens. Leave the politics to the politicians and hold them accountable. But love the soldier. He loves America.

Tiffany shared with me that the weeks around Memorial Day are extremely difficult for many combat veterans, who are remembering their brothers in arms who didn’t get to come back home. Some replay battle scenes in their mind, second-guess split-second choices or wonder why they were the ones who survived.

When we honor and remember those who gave their lives on Memorial Day, we should also remember the parents, spouses, siblings, and children left behind – their pain and their sacrifice. They gave all.

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[Image: mrz053121dBP20210529104505.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 05-31-2021 02:40 PM by CrimsonPhantom.)
05-31-2021 02:38 PM
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CrimsonPhantom Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
05-31-2021 02:49 PM
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Quote:When Tech. Sgt. Charles H. Coolidge died April 6, 2021, at 99, he was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient from World War II and the last from the European theater.

Born Aug. 4, 1921, in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, outside Chattanooga, Charles Henry Coolidge faced adversity from an early age. Apart from the formative lessons of growing up during the Great Depression, Coolidge also suffered from a speech impediment caused by a congenital deformation of his tongue. After years of being mocked by his peers and not understood even by his family, Coolidge underwent surgery in the fourth grade that corrected it, but he still had to go through years of diction lessons.

Coolidge’s father, Walter P. Coolidge, Sr., founded the Chattanooga Printing & Engraving Company in 1910, where Charles worked both before and after the war. Even throughout the Depression, Coolidge remembered, his father would care for his employees as best he could. Coolidge learned very young the importance of industry. In addition to working the labor-intensive job at the printing company, where he learned to be an expert bookbinder, Coolidge also sold magazines door-to-door and worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

When he was drafted into the U.S. Army on June 16, 1942, at age 20, he was working double shifts at two jobs.

Coolidge was careful to note in interviews how his family’s Christian faith formed him and equipped him for his wartime experience. “My mother and daddy were praying people,” he remembered. “Religion, that was the thing, you were supposed to read the Bible and pray every day, sometimes more than once a day. When they’re shooting at you, you better be praying a whole lot.”

“I’m Sorry, Mac, You’ve Gotta Come And Get Me”

After receiving basic training at Fort McClellan, Alabama, where he almost lost his leg because of an accidental, self-inflicted bayonet wound, he was sent to Camp Butner, North Carolina. Then he went to Camp Edwards in Massachusetts, where he was assigned to M Company, 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division.

In April 1943, Coolidge’s unit shipped overseas to North Africa to prepare for the invasion of Europe. When they landed near Paestum, Italy, in September of that year, the soldiers of the 36th Infantry Division were the first U.S. troops to see combat on the continent. As his division pressed their way through the Italian peninsula toward France, Coolidge would go on to receive a Silver Star for his actions as a machine gun section leader at Velletri in May 1944, just days before they entered Rome.

The actions for which a 23-year-old Coolidge received his Medal of Honor began Oct. 22, 1944, when he and his 27 men were ordered to cover the right flank of the 3rd Battalion by securing several hills east of Belmont-sur-Buttant, France, along the German border.

While they were performing reconnaissance on Hill 623, which Coolidge and his men were ordered to hold, they were met by a group of Germans emerging from a dense forest. Taking with him George Ferguson, one of his soldiers who knew some German, Coolidge went out to meet them and instructed Ferguson to ask them if they wished to surrender. While they were speaking, Coolidge spotted a German behind a nearby tree readying his rifle to shoot them, but he managed to cut him down with his carbine first.

A ferocious firefight then erupted that would span four days, during which Coolidge and his outnumbered platoon repeatedly repelled German forces. Ferguson was wounded almost immediately, and Coolidge dragged him from the crest of the hill to safety. With no officers present, Coolidge calmly assumed leadership of the platoon, many of whom were green replacement soldiers who had never seen combat.

On Oct. 27, the fourth day of fighting, two German tanks rumbled up the hill followed by more infantry. One of the tanks approached Coolidge and stopped within about 30 meters of him before the hatch opened and a German soldier popped out. Coolidge stood up and looked him in the eye.

“Do you guys want to give up?” the tank commander asked in perfect English, echoing what Coolidge had asked the Germans days before.

“I’m sorry, Mac, you’ve gotta come and get me,” Coolidge answered.

He darted between trees as the tank’s turret swung back and forth, firing five times at him in close range but narrowly missing. Shrapnel skimmed the tip of his boot and took off some leather, but he escaped the ordeal unscathed. When a bazooka he found nearby failed to fire, Coolidge resorted to lobbing a volley of grenades at the enemy, all while keeping his head as he issued orders to the other men.

“Finally it became apparent that the enemy, in greatly superior force, supported by tanks, would overrun the position,” Coolidge’s Medal of Honor citation reads in part. “TSgt. Coolidge, displaying great coolness and courage, directed and conducted an orderly withdrawal, being himself the last to leave the position. As a result of TSgt. Coolidge’s heroic and superior leadership, the mission of his combat group was accomplished throughout four days of continuous fighting against numerically superior enemy troops in rain and cold and amid dense woods.”

They later learned that despite the overwhelming odds against them, they had killed 26 Germans and wounded more than 60. After breaking through into Germany over the Vosges Mountains with his division, Coolidge was awarded the Medal of Honor by Gen. Wade H. Haislip in a field near Dortmund on June 18, 1945.

“I didn’t care about me,” Coolidge said of his heroic actions. “I cared about my men. I’d do anything for them.”





“My Mother Was Praying For Me”

Coolidge’s son, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Charles H. Coolidge Jr., recalled to The Daily Wire when he once asked his father how he was able to face down two German tanks without fear.

Clarifying that he was only aware of one tank at the time, his father replied, “Well, my mother was praying for me, so I knew that I was in His hands.”

Coolidge Jr. said faith was an indispensable support to his father and that his life showed it. When he spoke of his wartime ordeals, Coolidge always credited God for his ability to repeatedly emerge from harrowing circumstances unharmed.

“Anything I did do during the war, I give God the credit,” Coolidge said in an interview with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. “I mean, Jesus walked with me every step of the way. You cannot believe what my men — they thought I … [had] lost my mind. Because I would go anywhere, do anything, never worried that they were shooting at me.”

“I still say the Lord must’ve curved many a bullet that I knew absolutely they were shooting at me,” he added. “I mean, I’m positive they were shooting at me.”

Coolidge, who claimed the life expectancy of infantrymen was roughly 12 days, was never even wounded.

During his funeral at First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga, Coolidge’s pastor discerned the role his faith played in his life. “Long before he was a hero in the European theater, both at Anzio and the Battle of the Bulge, he was a man of faith who knew where he was going for eternity,” he said.

“He couldn’t predict what was going to happen in those European battlefields, in which many men — many right next to him and around him — lost their lives in an instant, but he knew in life and in death, he was the Lord’s and he would be with Him in glory someday soon.”

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“Love Thy Neighbor”

After the war, Coolidge returned to Signal Mountain and remained in the area for the rest of his life. “He came back from the war and of course he was a hero, so he was offered many jobs,” Coolidge Jr. said. For a time he worked for the Veterans Administration but was willing to take a salary cut to return to the family printing company when his father asked for help.

“He was very loyal, very family-oriented,” Coolidge Jr. said.

The importance of family was one of the hallmarks of Coolidge’s life. Coolidge Jr. said his father was “very concerned” about where he saw the nation headed and believed most of its problems were attributable to the breakdown of the family, which he saw as the bedrock of a healthy culture.

One of the battles Coolidge had to fight in later life began in his 40s when he started to show symptoms of multiple sclerosis in 1966. The disease afflicted him for 55 years, but “in combating the illness, he showed the same dedication, calmness, deep faith, and good humor that had motivated him during the war.”

Regarding his father’s legacy, Coolidge Jr. described the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center in Chattanooga as the capstone of a life that was dedicated to the six values the Medal of Honor represents: courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment. To these Coolidge Jr. adds love, quoting the Scripture that greets visitors at the center: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Listing the many profound problems the country is facing, Coolidge Jr. said his father believed all of them could be “solved with one sentence.”

“Love thy neighbor as thyself,” Coolidge said, referencing the passage in the Gospels when Jesus was asked to describe the greatest commandment. “That my dad’s answer. He said you don’t need new policies, you don’t need any new law. You just need to live by that.”

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Bronco'14 Offline
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
One of the things I learned at the Memorial Day ceremony I went to was the holiday was conceived in bringing the North & South together after the Civil War, a "whoa, these people's graves are part of our country too" kind of thing.
05-31-2021 04:50 PM
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
Memorial Day Makes Memories Sacred Treasures


Quote:Seems appropriate that Memorial Day brings back memories.

That’s all that’s left of far too many who made those memories with us but are no longer here to share them and make new ones on these annual days of honor for The Fallen.

It’s hard sometimes and quite painful for the living to call up memories of the departed, especially if their departure from this life came when they were all alone, far away from us in a lonely, lethal place.

And so, too often on these Memorial Days, we forget to remember the sacrifices they made for us as they left, humbly asking for nothing but perhaps just to be remembered now and then by those they left behind to enjoy the life they lost.

They wouldn’t want us to forsake the good times they gave us. But out of an abiding respect and sense of duty, if any of that survives in this angry age, we need to set aside the good new times for some moments this weekend.

To pause the backyard barbecue, the foods and drinks, the sports, chatter and laughter, the games and the good times making brand new memories and to contemplate closely the voids they left, even if only silently in our own hearts.

Personally, I find this process quite painful. Death is so absolutely, irrevocably final. No appeals. Just a blunt end. It’s terrifying to contemplate and hard for us to grasp such finality, which is why we avoid the word and use gentler euphemisms like passing away. Even for beloved pets, we say they’re put to sleep or crossed the rainbow bridge.

There’s an online drawing that evokes tears every time — two dogs sitting on a wooden pier looking out over the water at a rainbow. One has angel wings. The other says “They still talk about you.”

And the angel dog replies, “I know.”

Whatever your beliefs, there is considerable comfort in thinking that the departed know we remember. When I was young, there was no such thing as Memorial Day. It was Decoration Day, which always fell on May 30 whatever day of the week that was.

Then, as so often seems to happen in modern times, Congress got involved, responding to federal unions who like three-day weekends better than tradition. So, Decoration Day, in 1971, became Memorial Day on the last Monday in May whatever the date is.

America’s Decoration Day was one of those rare spontaneous, organic observances originated immediately after the Civil War by ordinary citizens, mainly mothers. On their own, on both sides, they began decorating Civil War graves with flowers late each spring.

There were many of those. The scale of that bloodshed was truly shocking. It’s still the deadliest conflict in the country’s history, as civil wars tend to be. An estimated 620,000 died, about two percent of the country’s population and 50 percent more Americans than perished in the global conflicts that made up World War II. Almost as many Civil War prisoners on both sides died in captivity as died in the Vietnam War.

So devoted and dedicated were those early Decoration Day observers that the Army formally recognized the day.

My family’s Decoration Day observance was simple and ordinary. I wouldn’t call it festive. Wherever we lived, my father built a flagpole stand in the ground with a penny for that year embedded in the cement. I just did that at our new house.

So, the American flag was flying.

My mother bought red, white, and blue crepe-paper rolls to string through the spokes of my bike and little flags to tape to the handlebars. Our small town had a morning parade with the police car, silent fire trucks driven by volunteer firemen, who were, indeed, all men in those days, the high school band, a convertible or two from the local car dealer, and a horde of us kids on our colorful bikes.

At home, my father would remind me of our Canadian relatives who had died in the most recent World War. We would do our outdoor chores with the grass, garden, and animals and the garage radio blaring the Indianapolis 500.

One time, I could not get the lawnmower started. Time and again, pulling the rope on a dead motor. My Dad walked briskly by. “I’m sure you checked the gas,” he said.

“Oh, of course!” I said in faux umbrage, though I hadn’t. Sure enough, the tank was bone dry. But he hadn’t embarrassed me.

Those are my treasured, sacred memories of what became Memorial Day. I trust my parents know I keep them.

Because, to be candid, whenever the end arrives for anyone, all any of us actually have to take are the memories.



05-31-2021 04:51 PM
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day


05-31-2021 05:45 PM
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RE: Remembering the Whys Behind the Whos This Memorial Day
My grandfather on my dad's side joined the Army Air Corps in World War 2. Was a waist gunner on a B-29. Was in the Pacific, saw a little action and then the bomb was dropped. Would stay with the Army Air Corps as it was turned into the Air Force. Would then serve on a B-36 and would serve for about 25 years.

Grandfather on my mothers side, lied about his age and joined the Navy during World War 2. By the time he was assigned to a ship, the war was over. He stayed with the Navy through the Korean War. He was a torpedoman's mate on an aircraft carrier. He was the best marksmen on board. During the Korean war, he and two other's were tasked with getting a downed pilot. They had to go to some little island. Only my grandfather and the pilot made it back.
05-31-2021 06:42 PM
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