Sunday, May 19, 2019

Remember...

(Source)
Went down to the Post Office on Saturday, a beautiful day I might add, knowing full well that some of you saw more rain yesterday. Had a couple of birthday cards to mail, one to a brother, one to a little girl who The Missus Herself and I consider to be a granddaughter. (She must be, she's six and loves to boss me around. It's what granddaughters do.)

Out in from of the Post Office was a fellow about my age attired in a VFW cap and jacket. He had poppies. I mentioned to him that I was gratified to see the poppies around again at this time of year.

He started to explain that Memorial Day was coming and that...

I pointed to the Navy ball cap I was wearing and said, "I get that brother, I'm retired Air Force, my kids were all Navy."

He smiled and said that he "only" served three years in the Army, a tour in Vietnam and a tour in Germany. When he asked when I retired, and I answered that the 20th anniversary of that event was at the end of the month, he postulated that we must be nearly the same age. I said that as he had served in Vietnam, he had to be a couple of years older than I.

"How old are you Sarge?"

I answered that I was 66, he smiled and "confessed" to being 68. It was as I had assumed.

I thanked him for what he did back in the day, he grinned and said that he just did his job, that's all. I looked at him for a moment and quietly stated, "Hell of a job soldier. That's all I can say."

We shot the breeze for a couple of minutes, a couple of old veterans passing the time on a brilliant spring day.

As I headed off, he thanked me, I thanked him.

Served "only" three years, at least you served brother, at least you served. I would count that Vietnam tour as worth a lot more than that, but like the old soldier said, "We were just doing our jobs."


Out West, The WSO participated in the 2019 Memorial Walk: Lemoore.

At each milestone, the names of those being commemorated by the participants were read out, Lex was mentioned, I donated in his memory, The WSO walked in his and in Taj Sareen's memory. According to her, not many knew who Lex was, but the organizers did mention that he had been a blogger in his time as well. (Which is how I knew him.)

I saw a few videos The WSO took, quite a few names were mentioned, at least four of whom are remembered up there on the masthead.

It is right and proper that we remember the fallen. Would that peace would obviate the need.





38 comments:

  1. Almost exactly on that day in the dark 1944, Polish troops raised their flag in ruins of Monte Cassiono.
    Soldiers of all from the world died there to bring liberation to Europe. German troops holding there were some of the finest, the famous "Green Devils" of the Fallschirmtruppen, and the terrain was perfect defensive setting. ANZAC, Indian, US troops were driven off.
    Eventually combination of relentless Polish assault and Frecnh colonials outflanking their position forced Germans to vacate the position and open the road to Rome.

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  2. Local VFW post that my Dad belonged to holds a Friday night fish fry during Lent. When we went Good Friday they had poppies in a vase on each table and asked for donations so I donated and took a couple. Dad always got a poppy every year, can remember him wiring it to his jacket. He " wore it proudly."

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    1. I remember a stretch of time where I didn't see the poppies. Glad to see they're back.

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  3. "Just did my job." I hear that a lot and, in general, I think that's true. I can recall a few people that I wonder if they actually did, but overwhelmingly most did.

    However, some folks job was harder, and the sacrifices greater, than others and those are the folks I particularly remember and honor.

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    1. Yes, there are always those who do as little as possible, they are best forgotten.

      But those who gave the last full measure, I will never forget.

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  4. Thanks for the memories Sarge. As a kid, I read a book called Torpedo Run, probably about a hundred times. In it was a line, "It takes a lot to win a war, it takes everything you have to lose one." I've thought about that a lot in my few years on this dirt pile.

    You put a LOT into keeping this country (daresay the world) safe as possible. Some folks, like the masthead, uncle Steve, and many others gave all their tomorrows for our todays. I'd put LEX in that group.

    I admire you guys for standing in the gap. You have my respect and gratitude. (and to the Vietnam vets: WELCOME HOME!! JOB WELL DONE!)

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    1. Some of those on the masthead will be forever young. Gone too soon, I will remember them always.

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    2. I remember reading that novel, and if I remember correctly, the line you quoted was just after a crewman looked at all The fired machine gun cases on the Dr k and remarked about the expense.
      I still remember the line you quoted and have used it upon occasion.

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    3. Supposed to say "deck". I am commenting via phone while my wife is on her driving shift.

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    4. The book title rings a bell, I need to track that down.

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    5. My eyes saw "Dr k," my brain interpreted that as "deck."

      Then my brain said, "Who is Dr K?"

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    6. I still have my copy of "Torpedo Run". The author is Robb White, who wrote many other fine books. I read everything of his at I could get my hands on back in the day, including "Up Periscope!" and "Silent Ship, Silent Sea". Good luck finding his books these days.

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    7. I've given up on using the iPad/iPhone for anything other than reading, apps, and telephony. Fingers are way to big, keys are way too small and spell check is F'd up. /rant

      I definitely remember the last too books from childhood and think I probably read Torpedo Run also. As a kid at Webb, TV wasn't all that grand and if it wasn't the summer, which meant the pool, I was in the Library. Usually in the Military History section or the Military fiction sections. Given that, I'm pretty sure I read it.

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    8. Cap'n Obvious - I see that one can get a copy on Amazon, if one is somewhat wealthy. Ouch!

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    9. Juvat - Spell check is a backup thing for me, I always turn autocorrect off.

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    10. I had Up Periscope, too!! Mom worked for the Lubbock school district, and all the discards from the library came through her. Sometime in the summer, I'd get better than a 100 pounds of books.

      Makes perfect sense all of us would congregate together... We have similar reading lists!!

      Great memory John, very well done.

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    11. Very similar reading lists in this crowd.

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  5. I never, ever get tired of hearing "The Hymn to the Fallen". Kinda dusty in here though!!

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    1. Agreed, Wish the video poster would pull it down and correct the typo though. Phillipians? Not wishing to be OGF, but sometimes a misspelling just needs to be corrected.

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    2. Russ - It does get dusty when that one plays.

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    3. juvat - Yes, typos can spoil an otherwise excellent video.

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  6. I, too, have missed the poppies. Hope to see them in my area. Funny how as you get older you get more introspective regarding death and sacrifice.

    Too many walking dead, those who left part or all of their soul behind.

    Bah, I need to go watch cat videos. Which now sucks since Grumpy Cat has passed. That old age thing again...

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    1. I hear you.

      Yes, I too think it sucks that "Grumpy Cat" passed.

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  7. It's good of you to Remember Lex like that, and Lush too, for her friends. I'm sorry we lost them, and Graham, Mackie, T-Bone, Cornflake, and the others I knew. Our Memorial Day off is a week away, but this post is a good reminder to remember them not just on that last Monday of May. It can be a sad day but a good one too, because it helps us be thankful for their service, and of those that came before them. I have more to say on this subject, but I'll save it for a post. By the way, sorry for not commenting on that Ejection Seat post. I meant to write something, but the lousy browsers at work didn't allow me to log in. I had forgotten about the linked post of mine. It's a little strange reading my writing after several years. Fortunately that post holds up better than some of my other stuff. While my writing has never been more than just telling stories or waxing politic, today's post reminds me not only of the warrior we lost in Lex, but the incredible writer he was.

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  8. Ok. so I really need to do 2 things: Ask my uncle, before it is too late and he is gone, which American Cemetery was the one he took me to when I was an obliviously young 14 year old...the one in Belgium or the one in Luxembourg, and second, is that I really need to clean house. It is just terribly dusty...

    Thank you Sarge for the lovely hymn and video tour as well as the memory prompting. :)

    And, yes, I think the fellas who served over in Nam deserve an extra hug and thank you!!

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    1. Really, talk to that uncle now, I wish I'd talked more with mine.

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  9. My Dad was active in the local VFW post while I was growing up. I don't think he sold poppies, but he always bought a bunch to give away.

    And to this day, I buy VFW poppies whenever I've seen them.

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  10. Poppies - back a few years ago - in 2014 - they had quite the art exhibit at the Tower of London - if you haven't seen it, start with this wiki article and then search for more images. the Brits assign more significance to poppies than we do, which is understandable

    Regarding serving 'only' a certain time period - had a customer who I had met with many times before, but one day he said something that made me ask, "Robert, were you in the Marines?" His reply was something to the effect of, "Sort of, but I don't feel like I was a real Marine." When I asked him what he meant by that, he related how he had gone through boot camp and been deployed to Viet Nam. He was involved in a fire fight about two days after he got there, was wounded and then sent home. Medically discharged as an E-6. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was DEFINITELY a real Marine, more so than many who had served a lot longer, and to knock off thinking any other way!! I mean, for heaven's sake! Anyway, think I was able to get him to realize he had absolutely nothing to feel ashamed about or have any regrets.

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    1. oops - Here's the wiki article! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Swept_Lands_and_Seas_of_Red

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    2. Wow, medically retired due to wounds received in combat with 2 days in country and he felt he wasn't a real Marine? The attitude that he didn't do enough makes him a real Marine in my book, regardless of time on active duty.

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    3. Oh yes, I saw that display a few years back, 2014 actually. The poppy has more meaning for the Commonwealth nations as they fought in Flanders, we were further east, Argonne Forest and the like. Flanders fields, where the poppies grow...

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  11. My son in law is stationed at Lemoore. Hadn't known about the walk.

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