Warning: Constant ABSPATH already defined in /home/public/wp-config.php on line 27
Memorial Day — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Memorial DayThis is a picture from one of the columbariums at the Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of many of those who served the United States since the middle of the 19th century.

That is my Father’s marker. He didn’t know those located around his marker, but they all shared service to their country as part of their life.

Edward Emhof, my maternal grandfather, went to France as a rifleman in the 87th Infantry Division, but spent most of his time building the all-purpose wooden ladders-litters that were used in the trenches.

George T. Dumka, my paternal grandfather, was looking for a little adventure when he joined the 11th Infantry Regiment, but a year of occupation duty in Cuba, in an olive drab wool uniform wasn’t much of an adventure.

Alfred Mullen went a long way from driving teams pulling barges on the Erie Canal to being a soldier in the 9th Infantry Regiment in the Philippines and China. He is buried in the Chalmette National Cemetery on the site of the Battle of New Orleans. He and his wife both died of the tuberculosis he acquired in Asia. [One of his orphaned daughters married Edward Emhof.]

The country continues to ask for service and people still respond to that call. As you think about the sacrifices represented by Arlington and other cemeteries, ask yourself if you have done what you could to prevent misuse of the willingness of some to serve.

It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us–that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion–that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.


1 hipparchia { 05.26.08 at 2:34 am }

… ask yourself if you have done what you could to prevent misuse of the willingness of some to serve.

i’ve had to stop asking myself this for now, becuase the answer is all too clear: it hasn’t been enough.

2 Kryten42 { 05.26.08 at 11:23 am }

You have spoken of your father Bryan. I think I would have liked to meet him. 🙂 You have a proud heritage, which is more than many can say. It’s good to remember. I remember my Grandfather who served in WW1 & WW2, who was my teacher. I survived Cambodia because of him. 🙂 He died not long after I deployed. He told me before I left that if I got myself killed I would have nobody but myself to blame for not paying attention to his lessons! 😀 But I did! 🙂

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them “

Yeah, we are lucky m8. 🙂

3 Bryan { 05.26.08 at 12:18 pm }

It seems like each succeeding generation forgets the hard learned lessons of those who went before. After Southeast Asia [we both know it wasn’t just Vietnam] any intelligent person would have said that a mess like Iraq wouldn’t be possible, but “none are so blind as those who will not see,” nor as ignorant as those who refuse to learn.

The Russian, Suvorov, was one of the clearest thinking military commanders ever. He noted that planning a battle was a bit of a waste of time because you would have to give a copy of your plan to your enemy and have him follow it for the plan to succeed.

He never lost a battle against the enemy, but had a much harder time with Tsars and Emperors on his own side.

4 Kryten42 { 05.26.08 at 11:37 pm }

You are right as usual. 🙂 Many of the greatest commanders were like Suvorov. I was lucky that I deployed under a wise leader, Lt. Coll. Emmett. I remember at the first squad leader briefing in the field, he asked if we had read the battle plans, and we said that we had. He said ‘Good… good. How many of you want to survive the first battle?” And we all said we all did! (What else?) And wondered what the hell he was getting at… and he said that a wise leader once said that if a battle goes the way it was planned for more than 5 minutes, it’s a damned good plan and probably a miracle. LOL He spent an hour telling us that once we were out there, we are in a different universe and the rules won’t apply. He said to treat it as if we had just been dropped on another planet and had no idea what to expect and what dangers awaited us! He said that expectations would get us killed, and he was right. A couple of times we didn’t get resupplied, but because we didn’t *expect* to be, we survived.

We had a lot of problems in Cambodia with conflicting orders, poor communications from top down, mission changes often, etc. After 6 months, was a relief to go on a hunter mission into the jungles! LOL

Yeah… I know. 😉
Cheers. 🙂

5 Bryan { 05.27.08 at 12:44 am }

Missions in country were a nightmare because you took off from a base that always belonged to someone different than the base you would land at. We couldn’t be sure our own people wouldn’t be shooting at us because they didn’t know we were coming, and we weren’t exactly “gaudy” when it came to identity markings.

It wasn’t unusual to take ground fire from “friendlies” during a mission, because they certainly shouldn’t have known we were in the area, and couldn’t figure out that the “enemy” didn’t have an effective air force in the area.

You’d mark a target and considered it a miracle if the target was actually hit, much less that it was hit soon enough to be effective.

You sent the data up the chain, but were never sure anyone would bother to do anything about it, and saw plenty of evidence that it wasn’t being used effectively.

The same crap is happening in Iraq – actions based on politics, not military necessity or common sense.

I’m not holding my breath for an outbreak of sanity. Based on the primary, the Dems would rather beat up on each other than the GOP.

Look at the 1988 campaign if you would like to see a possible preview of the general campaign this Fall. It is pretty depressing, but people keep making the same mistakes hoping for a different result.