As you enter the Conference room you see rather than the normal pair of flags US and POW/MIA which are always on display to either side of the podium a total of 7 flags grace the stage today. The five flags representing the five branches of our Armed Services have joined the usual two. You also notice that the aisle seats on the benches in the open seating area all are marked as reserved 2 deep and CyberLethals are insuring that these seats remain open. The Patrons Reserved Seating Area seems to have been rearranged to accommodate the same arrangement as well.
In front of the podium stands a worn pair of military boots, a bayonet fixed rifle barrel stuck down between them, multiple sets dog tags dangling from the the rifle’s butt and held in place with a battle worn helmet.
Shortly you hear the rhythmic tromping for men marching in lock step growing louder as they approach. Soon after you make out a gravel voice calling out a cadence that those marching sing out loudly and with a great deal of pride:
Above the land,
Across the sea,
We need to be.
We’re brothers of,
A special kind,
A better band,
You’ll never find.
Band of brothers,
That’s what we are,
Near and far.
Band of brothers,
That’s what I said,
Baptized by fire,
Scarred by lead.
We’re lean and mean,
And fit to fight,
Day or night.
When bullets fly,
And rockets fall,
We’ll stand our ground,
And give our all.
We’re on the move,
We’re on the march,
We’re diggin’ ditches,
And breakin’ starch.
When you hear,
Our battle cry,
You better move,
And step aside.
Band of brothers,
That’s what we said,
Mess with us,
We’ll shoot you dead.
Band of brothers,
Trained to kill,
If we don’t getcha,
Our sisters will.
As this has been going on, men and women have marched into the room lead by two familiar faces in uniform, Impish & Lethal who have ascended to the Podium. These marching men, some in dress uniforms, some in BDUs, some in suit jackets sporting Overseas caps adorned with embroidered VFW legends and offices held, some looking decidedly more rough than others in jeans and leather vests bearing the names of not easily pronounceable and unfamiliar locations, some just in civvies wearing Flag pins crossed with the flag of their service branch, some using canes, some using crutches, some pushed in wheel chairs, but all have the same thing in common, Every eye bears the same look of fierce pride and determination, every voice is loud and proud. These are US Military Veterans, Warriors all and they are on a mission. That mission: to honor the memory of their fallen brethren, those of this band of brothers whom never made it back home.
The formation smartly fills in the empty seats and remain standing marking time in place until all have arrived at their assigned seat. Then suddenly Impish bellows out loudly “DETAIL! HALT!” Two more sets of foot falls are heard and then silence.
Again Impish calls out “DETAIL! PA-RAID REST!” He then smartly spins to face Lethal, snaps off a sharp salute, then while holding it says. “SIR! Veteran’s Honor Detail 2015 is present or accounted for SIR!”
Lethal who turned at the same time Impish had to face him from the podium just as smartly responds to Impish’s salute with one of his own. Impish releases his as soon as Lethals’ is completed. “Very good Sargent. Take your post.”
Salutes are again exchanged and Impish smartly marches to his norm place on the stage before executing an about face and assuming the parade rest position. Once he has Lethal calls out…
Honor Guard Detail.. ATTENTION!
Ladies & Gentlemen, Please Stand for Our National Anthem
At Ease! Everyone Be seated.
OK, first of all who’s the smart ass who yelled “PLAY BALL!” ? Security show that man out and take away his picnic pass!
Please note that today is one of the very few times in my issues where you will see anything come before coffee.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.
Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, notably in the mountain areas. In cases involving a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. People gather on the designated day and put flowers on graves and renew contacts with relatives and others. There often is a religious service and a picnic-like “dinner on the ground,” the traditional term for a potluck meal in which people used to spread the dishes out on sheets or tablecloths on the grass. It is believed that this practice began before the American Civil War and thus may reflect the real origin of the “memorial day” idea.[
Memorial Day is not to be confused with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.
A sharpshooter plays ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with his gun
Guns have been a part of our country’s culture since the beginning. That’s why this rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is perfect! Watch a sharpshooter play our national anthem with the most unlikely instrument imaginable: his rifle.
I had the whole story here with some really great photos and an interview with the kid and a well thought out and written commentary on the timeliness of the occurrence. It was predictably critical of the local School system, discussing how a teenager of an age who we’d normally associate with unflattering behavior/news articles instinctively understood patriotism, support for our Troops/MIAs and that as long as we had troops out there fighting and dying that every day should be Memorial Day. This in contrast to a school official who apparently didn’t understand these things, the fact that the kids truck was private property that he violated w/o due cause and had he to be taken to citizenship school by this teen and his friends, but Impish published his ‘just the bare fact ma’am’ version first.
I grant you Impish didn’t know we both had the same article nor had Wheats any way to know I was using it and had already completed and uploaded the issue ( that I now had to retract and re-edit after working on it for over a week) so that I might press on to the next deadline which I was buried under publishing 3 issues in 10 days plus supporting the constantly and incessantly over burdened Impish in getting his issues out but that knowledge at this point admittedly ain’t helping my attitude about the situation much!
This concludes this edition of the Cranky Celtic Curmudgeon’s Complaint Corner. I’m going back to the salt mine. You go back to the issue. Don’t be looking for me at the party, some of us still have an issues to crank out for Wednesday and now I have even more wasted time to make up for.
Regardless of the exact date or location of its origins, one thing is clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.
On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war).
ANDRE RIEU & JSO – WHEN THE SAINTS … – AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL – STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Michael. When she returned to France she made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help.
Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.
The Real Rambo (Most Heavily Decorated Soldier)
This is the story of Robert Howard: the most decorated soldier / veteran in American history…it’s people like him who make this country GREAT!
Courage under Fire – Col. Robert L. Howard – Medal of Honor profile.. 1 of 3
Courage under Fire – Col. Robert L. Howard – Medal of Honor profile.. 2 of 3
Courage Under Fire – Col. Robert L. Howard – Medal of Honor profile.. 3 of 3
National Moment of Remembrance
The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 to help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day. It asks that at 3 p.m. local time all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.”
Echo Military Taps – HQ
For those who served our country and those who made the ultimate sacrifice…Lest we forget.
SOME GAVE ALL
New preamble to the constitution
This is probably one of the best e-mails I’ve seen in a long, long time. The following has been attributed to Lewis Napper, a Jackson, Mississippi computer programmer. He didn’t expect his essay — a tart 10-point list of “rights” Americans don’t have — to become an Internet legend. Well guess what?
‘We the sensible people of the United States, in an attempt to help everyone get along, restore some semblance of justice, avoid more riots, keep our nation safe, promote positive behavior, and secure the blessings of debt-free liberty to ourselves and our great-great-great-grandchildren, hereby try one more time to ordain and establish some common sense guidelines for the terminally whiny, guilt ridden, delusional. We hold these truths to be self evident: that a whole lot of people are confused by the Bill of Rights and are so dim they require a Bill of NON-Rights.’
You do not have the right to a new car, big screen TV, or any other form of wealth.. More power to you if you can legally acquire them, but no one is guaranteeing anything.
You do not have the right to never be offended. This country is based on freedom, and that means freedom for everyone — not just you! You may leave the room, turn the channel, express a different opinion, etc.; but the world is full of dummies, and probably always will be.
You do not have the right to be free from harm. If you stick a screwdriver in your eye, learn to be more careful; do not expect the tool manufacturer to make you and all your relatives independently wealthy.
You do not have the right to free food and housing. Americans are the most charitable people to be found, and will gladly help anyone in need, but we are quickly growing weary of subsidizing generation after generation of professional couch potatoes who achieve nothing more than the creation of another generation of professional couch potatoes.
You do not have the right to free health care. That would be nice, but from the looks of public housing, we’re just not interested in public health care.
You do not have the right to physically harm other people. If you kidnap, rape, intentionally maim, or kill someone, don’t be surprised if the rest of us want to see you get the blue juice.
You do not have the right to the possessions of others. If you rob, cheat, or coerce away the goods or services of other citizens, don’t be surprised if the rest of us get together and lock you away in a place where you still won’t have the right to a big screen color TV or a life of leisure..
You do not have the right to a job. All of us sure want you to have a job, and will gladly help you along in hard times, but we expect you to take advantage of the opportunities of education and vocational training laid before you to make yourself useful.
You do not have the right to happiness. Being an American means that you have the right to PURSUE happiness, which by the way, is a lot easier if you are unencumbered by an over abundance of idiotic laws created by those of you who were confused by the Bill of Rights.
This is an English speaking country. We don’t care where you came from, English is our language. Learn it!
You do not have the right to change our country’s history or heritage. This country was founded on the belief in one true God. And yet, you are given the freedom to believe in any religion, any faith, or no faith at all; with no fear of persecution. The phrase IN GOD WE TRUST is part of our heritage and history, sorry if you are uncomfortable with it.
God Bless the USA – The Texas Tenors
The Texas Tenors is a classical crossover trio vocal group formed in 2009 by country music singer JC Fisher, pop singer Marcus Collins and opera singer John Hagen. They were a top four finalist in the fourth season of America’s Got Talent, making them the highest ranking vocal group in the show’s history.[ As of 2013, the group has performed more than 600 shows in over 20 countries including Great Britain and China. They perform in Branson, Missouri. The trio filmed a PBS special, performing songs from their second album You Should Dream, which first aired in November 2013. The Texas Tenors partner with several charity organizations including Homes For Our Troops and ChildFund.
THE ABOVE AND BEYOND MEMORIAL
On Memorial Day 2001, the museum added a stirring and spectacular new exhibit to its already highly praised fine art collection. The work of art, an immense 10 x 40 foot sculpture entitled Above and Beyond. Above and Beyond is comprised of more than 58,000 imprinted dog tags, one for each of the service men and women who died in the Vietnam War, including one black dog tag that honors all the service members that have died from various causes after they left Vietnam. Above and Beyond is the first new permanent Vietnam War memorial, other than The Wall in Washington, D.C., to list all those killed in action. Above and Beyond at the National Veterans Art Museum is a singular honor for Chicago.
When visitors first entered the museum’s original location on South Indiana Avenue, they heard a sound like wind chimes coming from above them and their attention was drawn upward 24 feet to the ceiling of the two-story high atrium. They saw there above them, tens of thousands of metal dog tags, spaced evenly one inch apart, suspended from fine lines that allowed them to move like a living thing with the shifts in air currents.
In traditional observance, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act adds the flying of the POW-MIA flag on all Federal and U.S. Military Installations on Memorial Day. The POW-MIA flag is to be half-staffed until noon along with the National flag.
Other traditional observances included wearing red poppies, visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes, and visiting memorials.
Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years and many Americans have forgotten the meaning and traditions of the day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored or 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.
There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 1950s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, 1,200 soldiers of the 3rd 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.
Just a couple last minute ideas to set you Memorial Day apart from the crowd’s
Grilled Banana S’Mores
Total Time: 11 min
Prep: 1 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 9 sandwiches
Medium ripe bananas
Peanut butter or chocolate spread
Graham cracker squares
Heat a grill to medium (350 degrees F). Leave bananas in their skins and make 1 slit down the length of each banana. Pack the slits with brown sugar.
Put the banana(s) on the grill and grill until soft and charred, about 5 minutes. Remove them to a cutting board and set aside to cool slightly. Peel the skins from the bananas and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Meanwhile, put the marshmallows on skewers and toast over the grill until brown and melty, about 2 minutes. You can also brown the marshmallows using a hand-held torch.
To assemble, spread some peanut butter on graham crackers and top with bananas and marshmallows. Cover with another cracker and serve. Enjoy!
Total Time: 2 min
Prep: 1 min
Cook: 1 min
Yield: 2 servings
1 cup sparkling apple cider
1/2 cup cranberry juice
1/2 cup raspberry-flavored club soda
Fresh raspberries, for garnish
Special equipment: 2 chilled Champagne flutes
Combine the sparkling apple cider, cranberry juice, and club soda in a small pitcher. Put a few raspberries in each Champagne flute and fill to the top with the SHAMpagne mixture.
Of course if you desire an Adult Beverage, a little Grey Goose or Bacardi Superior or Gold can easily fall right in the mixture.
Heaven Was Needing A Hero – fallen soldier tribute
Civil War monuments
The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument was dedicated May 30, 1894 on Libbie Hill terrace in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Known as the ‘Single Soldier’, ‘Silent Sentinel’ or similar names depending on the locale, he tops many of the thousands of Civil War monuments to be found in more than 30 states. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
After the Civil War ended in April 1865, statues depicting Union and Confederate soldiers went up across the country, from New England squares to southern courthouses. A century and a half later, these weathered “Silent Sentinels” still stand guard, rifles at the ready, gazing off into the distance.
Appropriate for a war that pitted brother against brother, many of the statues bear a strong family resemblance.
Most of the statues were mass-produced by a handful of Northern companies that found a steady market selling to communities, North and South, eager to honor their fallen soldiers and surviving veterans.
Firms such as the Monumental Bronze Co. of Bridgeport, Conn., did a brisk business selling soldier statues. A life-size parade rest model was listed in its sales catalog for $450, while the 8-foot-6-inch version sold for $750.
Commissioning a monument made of Italian marble or New England granite could cost tens of thousands of dollars, much too expensive for most small towns. So, many turned to the northern foundries specializing in cast bronze or zinc statuary used to decorate cemetery markers. “It’s like going to Wal-Mart. It’s less expensive,” said Timothy S. Sedore, author of “An Illustrated Guide to Virginia’s Confederate Monuments.”
Because they had lost the war and were economically shattered, southerners got a later start erecting monuments. By the time the 20th century arrived, they were making up for lost time, with hundreds of soldier statues installed across the South, typically outside county courthouses.
But old animosities died hard, and folks in the South didn’t usually publicize who was supplying the statues: mostly companies in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Ohio.
“They’re not meant to represent one person or another,” said Sarah Beetham, an art historian who teaches at the University of Delaware and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. “This way, people could go and see in them their sons or fathers who had fought in the war.”
Known as the “Silent Sentinel,” “Single Soldier” or similar names, the figure tops many of the thousands of Civil War monuments to be found in more than 30 states. Today, 150 years after the guns fell silent to end the nation’s bloodiest conflict, the ranks of the more than 3 million citizen soldiers who fought on both sides are represented by some of our most ubiquitous yet often overlooked public symbols.
“Before the Civil War, you would never have had an image of the common soldier to memorialize. You would have a general or a biblical figure,” said Earle Shettleworth, head historian for the state of Maine. “After the war, there was more of a democratic way of memorializing those who had participated.”
With untold thousands of war dead buried in graves on or near battlefields and encampments far from their homes, some communities in the North and South erected hometown monuments to the fallen even as the fighting raged. Most were stone obelisks placed in local cemeteries.
Within a couple of years after Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, Va., more elaborate monuments were being commissioned from sculptors. By 1867, monuments featuring sculpted or cast metal soldier statues were dedicated in cemeteries in Cincinnati and Boston. The version depicting a single soldier at “parade rest” hands gripping a musket at the end of the barrel, the stock resting on the ground became the most popular way to honor the more than 2 million men who fought for the Union.
Versions of the Silent Sentinel statue can be found from Amarillo, Texas, to Kennebunk, Maine. The Northern version features a Union soldier wearing a kepi and caped greatcoat, while his Southern counterpart typically wears the iconic slouch hat and bedroll strapped diagonally across his chest.
An accurate number of Civil War monuments is difficult to pin down. Beetham, who wrote her dissertation on post-Civil War citizen soldier monuments, estimates there are some 2,500 across the Northern states, with the Silent Sentinel version believed to account for as many as half of them. Estimates of Confederate monuments range between 500 and 1,000, including hundreds of the rebel version of the solitary soldier.
“In Georgia, there must be one in practically every county in every town square and cemetery, and it’s facing north, by the way,” said Ben Jones, a former Georgia congressman who played the role of Cooter on “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Jones, the chief of heritage operations for the Sons of Confederate Veterans of the Civil War, said his group doesn’t have a definitive number. In Virginia, where Jones now lives, there are at least 360 Confederate monuments by Sedore’s count, including about 100 Silent Sentinels.
All those soldier monuments North and South are a collective symbol of the losses felt in virtually every community, Jones said.
“It represents the humanity, the family” and, he said, “the people who didn’t come back or who did come back worse for the wear.”
Connecticut’s Monumental Bronze Co. was one of the top manufacturers of soldier statues for Civil War monuments and memorials between the mid-1870s and 1912. Some facts about the company:
—Claimed its soldier and sailor monuments were installed in 31 states
—Specialized in cast zinc statues, which it billed as “white bronze” for the finishing process that resulted in a light gray or pale blue color
—Advertised white bronze as more durable — and cheaper — than granite or marble
—Soldier statue prices: $450 for life size; $750 for 8-foot, 6-inch model; $600 for “Defense of Flag” version depicting infantryman holding flag
—Testimonial from treasurer of Pennsylvania cemetery that bought a soldier statue in 1881, printed in company catalog circa 1905: “The weather does not seem to make any change upon it.”
A day in the Life of the Old Guard, the Army’s oldest unit. (Full HD Version)
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
So the Almighty has said, so those we honor and remember this day have done.
John McDermott – Willie McBride
The Last Post
The ‘last post’ is universal among almost all the armed forces of the world, though it may vary among them in its execution. In this example the bugle call is played in its entirety, and it is a sad and beautiful thing to hear.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning.
We will remember them.