Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Memory, A Thought

Tecumseh
During my sojourn in Maryland a fortnight ago, we visited the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, which is also the capital city of the Old Line State. It struck me just how many of the country's finest once walked those grounds, studied there, and went out into the world. Some lived to ripe old age, with many children and grandchildren.

Many died in the service of their country, some were killed on 9/11.

At the Academy is a place called Memorial Hall, actually it is a place inside Bancroft Hall, the centerpiece of the Academy, home to the Brigade of Midshipmen, 4,000 fine young men and women.

Memorial Hall -
This photo of U.S. Naval Academy is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Being inside Memorial Hall was a sobering experience for me. The names of people I've read about in history books are everywhere. Even more names are of people most of us have probably never heard of, which is unfortunate as the men and women memorialized therein were some of the best this country has to offer.

Our host for our little tour of the Academy had a classmate who died on 9/11 at the Pentagon. As he fell while on active duty, his name is listed there. But there were many others I noted who had gone through the Naval Academy, performed what the Nation asked of them and then returned to civilian life. Those who were killed on that September day who once were Midshipmen are listed in Memorial Hall as well, even though they were not on active duty anymore. But their shipmates remembered them.

One name jumped out at me: Kenneth Waldie. He worked for the same company I have spent the last nineteen years at, I never met him, but he was "one of us." Until that day, standing in Memorial Hall, I had had no idea than Ken Waldie had passed through the Naval Academy, Class of 1978.

Kenneth E. Waldie, Jr. '78
May 13, 1955 - September 11, 2001

(Source)
As I said, Mr. Waldie was no longer on active when he fell, but his fellow Midshipmen had this to say -
Kenneth was not on active military duty the morning of September 11, 2001, and is therefore not included in Memorial Hall. However, we feel that this is a distinction that is simply not worth making: The attack was against all Americans, regardless of employment status, and we will honor and remember them here with all other alumni who gave the "last full measure of devotion" to their country. (Source)
If you chase that link to the Naval Academy's Virtual Memorial Wall, you can see all of those Academy graduates who gave their lives for you and I. For freedom.

In these tumultuous times, let us not forget, that we citizens of this country are all Americans, regardless of our political beliefs, color of our skin, and any of the other things which distinguish us all as individuals.

We have far more in common than the minor differences that some would use to drive a wedge between us. Remember that. Forget, and those who died, died in vain.

We don't want that. Not now.

Not ever.



34 comments:

  1. A very good link to chase Sarge. Will be spending time there remembering my fellow Americans who gave all for all of us. Thank you.

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  2. This is why, when one of you who write posts for this blog ( OldAFSarge, juvat, Tuna, or Andrew ) feature someone, I write " Thank you for making this fine American known to me ". Or in the case earlier this week, reminding me of a fine American about whom I am already aware. High among the reasons that this is usually my first stop on the internet each day I am home is that each of you strive to create a place for all of us, Americans, to feel at home. Thank you.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. What Paul said, in spades. This site, including it's commenters, is like sitting down in a room of history professors (old school history professors) when they're just having lunch or relaxing after classes. You never know what the subject will be, but there will be some very interesting perspectives given, and much learning will ensue.

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    2. I like that characterization. A lot. Thanks Beans.

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  3. Yes. Do not forget.

    Also, there are those among us who are walking wounded. I had not heard this story before. PTSD
    before it was called that.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/a-wwii-hero-returns-to-germany-to-meet-his-enemy/ar-BBPyxY1?li=BBnbfcL&fbclid=IwAR3wEMzaaa9tsMel5QQ7S_2T4LUrZtG1oz3C2y0LJ038hXdC_L0hukZLEpQ#image=BBPyxY1_1|11

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFU4q2KkVmA

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    1. No one comes away from war untouched. Good to remember that as well.

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  4. I was looking for the listing of Diz LeHardy, a close friend, and classmate of my father, who we killed on the bridge of USS SAN FRANCISCO in the naval battle off Guadalcanal. In reading the cause of death of members of the Class of 1926 it is sobering to see how many were lost to operational aviation causes. It is a stark reminder that the members of the generation that would be the leaders in WW-II had faced so many challenges in nurturing Naval aviation in the formative years.

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    1. Indeed. As to your Dad's friend and classmate -

      The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Louis Marcel LeHardy, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of his profession as Communications Officer on board the Heavy Cruiser U.S.S. SAN FRANCISCO (CA-38), during an engagement with Japanese naval forces near Savo Island on the night of 12 - 13 November, 1942. On this occasion the force to which Lieutenant Commander LeHardy was attached engaged at close quarters and defeated a superior enemy force, inflicting heavy damage upon them and preventing the accomplishment of their intended mission. This daring and intrepid attack, brilliantly executed, led to a great victory for his country's forces. By his indomitable fighting spirit, expert seamanship, and gallant devotion to duty, Lieutenant Commander LeHardy contributed largely to the success of the battle and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

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    2. Wow. Yet another great American. Radio shack during Savo Island. Yikes.

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    3. He was a very interesting man. During the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt often traveled aboard Navy ships and Diz LeHardy was always assigned as the President's Communicator on board.

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    4. It's these little bits of history that fascinate me, good to know and thanks for sharing this, Dave.

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  5. "We have far more in common than the minor differences that some would use to drive a wedge between us." True dat, but unfortunately those wedge drivers are often in charge- of government or the media. You, me, John Q. Public, and the man on the street are good with each other and we can talk all day long. But those others are so damn loud that I can't hear our conversation. Fortunately we have folks fighting to uphold noise ordinances! (Free Speech!)

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    1. Yes, bingo! The Meejah are bound and determined to shove their own agenda down our throats. The old saw of "if it bleeds it leads" describes their M.O. nicely. Ther is no news in people getting along. Riots, screaming matches and other such things dominate the news, for that sells commercial time and gets viewers.

      If we'd ignore all that noise, we'd be better off.

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    2. Sometimes I think John Carpenter's "They Live" is more prophecy than fantasy.

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    3. The Media will very happily be complicent with evil, if they can profit from it.

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  6. Replies
    1. So..., Uncle Skip, did you ever tell us what your definition of "OAP" was?

      How to keep Beans in suspense. Tell him tomorrow...

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    2. Thanks. Whew. Now I can rest my Scrabble mind until the next time Mrs. Andrew kicks it to the curb (she's a vicious Scrabble player. I am lucky to break 150 points. She regularly breaks 250 to 300.)

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    3. Skip - I'll stick with OAFS, but thanks.

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    4. Beans - Scrabble? Oh Lord, I suck at that.

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    5. See, you are already working up your To Do List for next year...some Drum practice, some Scrabble practice, some HoneyDo Items, some history book/story writing, some blogging, a nice beea… quality feline staff time, inspecting your inner eyelids (otherwise known as afternoon naptime), another nice beea...

      You have your retirement all planned out!! :)

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    6. Now that you've spelled it out Suz, I can start working on the list!

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  7. Lost a classmate in the Pentagon on 9/11. Pat Dunn '85 RIP

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