Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thursday Thoughts


Before I get started, I wanted to draw your attention to a new link over there on the sidebar, at the very top under "A Good Cause." First, go read this. I'll wait right here. Take your time, it's important.

The Skipper is an awesome blogger and a personal friend. So rather than go on about this wonderful cause myself, I thought I'd let him do the heavy lifting.


Yesterday was, of course, Veterans Day. My place of employment, as they do every year, held a ceremony at 11:00 AM. This year, due to weather, we held the ceremony in the front lobby of the building, it's a fairly spacious venue.

This year, as in years past, we had World War II veterans in attendance. Sadly, their numbers dwindle each year. This year two of the men were Marine veterans, Marines who survived the Battle of Iwo Jima. I was privileged to shake hands with both men, now in their 90s.

One of the old Marines was still pretty spry, stood up to shake my hand and was alert and happy to be there.

The other man was in a wheel chair, he looked tired and very worn. His gaze seemed to look well beyond the space of our building's foyer. When I shook his hand, it was like holding a thin bag of old sticks. He seemed diminished by age, sitting there in that wheel chair.

But after I thanked him for what he had done, not really sure that he had heard me, not really sure that he was aware of what was going on around him, something struck me, and struck me hard.

Those thin hands had once held an M-1 rifle, that nearly vacant stare had once looked out upon the shell torn waste of that black sand island as his landing craft churned towards the beach. That man sitting in his wheelchair, looking so small and worn, was once a strong young Marine, going with his buddies into the Hell of combat.

Thousands died, Japanese and American, thousands more were wounded, physically and psychologically by the brutality of battle on that volcanic speck in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean. But he survived. Somehow he came home after the war, lived a long life and lo these many years later came to sit in this corporate structure and be feted and congratulated by people much younger than he.

What must his thoughts be like? I know that we who thanked him for his service will never know what he endured, what it took for him to make it home. We just cannot understand, it is beyond our capacity to understand unless we've been there ourselves. Even still, we cannot fathom exactly what he experienced, 70 years ago as a young man still in his prime. I pray though that we will remember.


One last thing, before I leave you to your day.

Google will often have a doodle of one sort or another on their search page. Oft times it's something somewhat obscure, like the birthday of some semi-obscure poet, writer or other forgotten (by most) luminary of yore. But yesterday, on Veterans Day, they had this -

I liked it, I liked it a lot. So I grabbed a copy to preserve for posterity.

Well done, Google. Well done.

10 comments:

  1. Re the Goodle Doogle, my Marine brother said, "Great, just great. Army, Air Force, Coat Guard, Navy. And Walmart greeter." Chuckled about that all day.

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    1. Yeah, I noticed that too. I'm guessing the artist was scared by a Marine once upon a time. This is his/her way of getting back at the Corps.

      And why is the Coastie waving? Who is he waving at?

      (On a side note, the Air Force guy is apparently an officer yet he is wearing enlisted collar insignia. Not surprised really, but according to his other insignia he's a pilot. They usually know better, then again, no one - except the color guard - wears the bus driver hat anymore. Bottom line, I'm betting the artist is a civilian. I still like the doodle.)

      Heh. Walmart greeter. I too will be chuckling about that for a while.

      Delete
    2. The Coastie is waving back at a guy in the water who is waving hello!

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  2. I always kinda wondered why bus drivers needed to have hats.
    Most of them, like a lot of cops, too, seldom actually wear them.

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    1. Yup, I think it's a old timey thing.

      Back when men and women wore hats whenever they were outdoors.

      Cops and bus drivers had hats, and wore them.

      Delete
  3. Google has a long, sad history of ignoring American traditions & glorifying some Euro-tradition or other, in its headers. This is a nice change of pace, even if the artist(s) got some of it wrong. It's a good start, and a welcome change.

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    Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly. Which is why I grabbed it for preservation.

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  4. I'll boost the signal tomorrow for the Wingmen Foundation.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)