July Days to Celebrate

julius ceasurJuly is the seventh month of the year (between June and August) in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the fourth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was named by the Roman Senate in honor of Roman general Julius Caesar, it being the month of his birth. Prior to that, it was called Quintilis, being the fifth month of the 10-month calendar.

It is on average the warmest month in most of the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the second month of summer, and the coldest month in much of the Southern Hemisphere, where it is the second month of winter. The second half of the year commences in July. In the Southern Hemisphere, July is the seasonal equivalent of January in the Northern hemisphere.

July is National Ant-Boredom Month. With COVID-19 shutdowns, re-imposed shutdowns, and many diversions like swimming pools or summer camps closed, boredom is an everyday problem for many of us. How will you combat boredom?Sleeping dog and cat

July was selected, according to the founder Alan Caruba, because after July 4th, there’s not much going on and it’s the hotter part of the summer break from school. That’s no excuse to experience boredom during July, though.

 

Dog Days of  Summer  “Dog days” are considered to begin in early July in the Northern Hemisphere, when the hot sultry weather of summer usually starts.     They were historically the period following the heligacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.

 

July 4th is American Independence Day.

From https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th:  American Flag on the PentagonOn July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

July 8 is Video Game Day.

NATIONALTODAY NATIONAL VIDEO GAME DAY SURVEY

video gamerInfo gained from a top Portland PR Firm (Survey of 1,000 Americans)

What’s the best gaming console?
#1: Playstation (38%)
#2: Xbox (38%)
#3: Nintendo (21%)

What’s the best video game franchise?
#1: Super Mario (47%)
#2: Call of Duty (21%)
#3: Donkey Kong (19%)
#4: Grand Theft Auto (19%)
#5: Pokemon (16%)
#6: Zelda (13%)
#7: Sonic the Hedgehog (13%)
#8: Final Fantasy (9%)
#9: Halo (9%)
#10: Crash Bandicoot (7%)

How often do you play video games?
#1: Everyday (31%)
#2: Rarely (31%)
#3: 2-3x a week (23%)

When do mobile gamers like to play games on their phones?
#1: Whenever I’m bored (66%)
#2: When I’m watching TV (41%)
#3: Before I go to sleep (39%)
#4: When I’m on the toilet (34%)
#5: During my breaks at work (21%)
#6: Whenever I’m eating (20%)
#7: Before I leave for work (12%)
#8: On my commute to work (8%)

National Kitten Day is July 10.

According to the American Humane Society, 95.6 million cats were owned, while 83.3 million households owned a dog. There is certainly nothing wrong with dogs, but a tiny kitten is irresistible!

Bastille Day is July 14.

Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the national bastille dayday of France, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In French, it is formally called Fête nationale (pronounced [fɛt nasjɔnal]; “National Celebration”) and commonly and legally le 14 juillet (French pronunciation: ​[lə katɔʁz(ə) ʒɥijɛ]; “the 14th of July”).

The French National Day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europeneeded] is held on 14 July on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests

National Moon Day is July 20.  It celebrates the 51st anniversary of man’s first step on the moon.

apollo11

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. , Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, stepped foot on the moon. Six hours after landing, Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. The astronaut spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Soon to follow, Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material.

After joining Armstrong, the two collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would be placed onto Apollo 11 and brought back to Earth to be analyzed.

In the command module, a third astronaut waited. Pilot, Michael Collins, remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.

July 31 is Harry Potter’s Birthday.  Harry will be 40 this year.

For more information about the Wizarding World click here.

Harry Pottter's friends birthday

 

2020 is Year of the Rooster

From the Chinese New Year Zodiac

  • The Rooster is the 10th sign of the Zodiac
  • associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) yǒu (酉), and the hours 5–7 in the afternoon. In terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Rooster is yin.
  • roosters are able to protect against evil spirits. In ancient times, sworn brothers must swear to the heavens, then drip rooster blood into wine and drink it all.
  • Roosters are complex people who seem strong but, deep down need validation from loved ones.Key West rooster

Reblog of an Oxford University Letter on Removing an Historical Statue–FAKE NEWS!

Oxford_AlfredSt_RhodesMonument
I was taken in by fake news and I’m embarressed.  As several of you have pointed out in your comments , the tone of the alleged letter is snide, whether you agree with what it said or not.

That’s some serious burn there. I did some digging. The first request was made in 2016. But newer requests were made after the death of George Floyd.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-52975687

According to Snopes, which is a pretty reliable fact check source, the letter is not real.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/oxford-letter-to-students/

 

Interesting read……………….
The lesson here is that one cannot change history.
Letter from the Chancellor of Oxford University England.
This letter is a response from Oxford to Black Students, attending as Rhodes Scholars, to remove the statue of Oxford Benefactor, Cecil Rhodes.
OXFORD – THE FIGHTBACK HAS BEGUN
Interestingly, Chris Patten (Lord Patten of Barnes), The Chancellor of Oxford University, was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday on precisely the same topic. The Daily Telegraph headline yesterday was “Oxford will not rewrite history”.
Patten commented “Education is not indoctrination. Our history is not a blank page on which we can write our own version of what it should have been according to our contemporary views and prejudice”  Rhodes must fall ????
“Dear Scrotty Students, Cecil Rhodes’s generous bequest has contributed greatly to the comfort and well being of many generations of Oxford students – a good many ofthem, dare we say it, better, brighter and more deserving than you.
This does not necessarily mean we approve of everything Rhodes did in his lifetime – but then we don’t have to. Cecil Rhodes died over a century ago. Autres temps, autres moeurs. If you don’t understand what this means – and it would not remotely surprise us if that were the case – then we really think you should ask yourself the question: “Why am I at Oxford?”
Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham,Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman, Julie Cocks. We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their alma mater – their dear mother – and they respectand revere her accordingly.
And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch.
You’ll probably say that’s “racist”. But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.” Perhaps the rules are different at other universities. In fact, we know things are different at other universities. We’ve watched with horror at what has been happening across the pond from the University of Missouri to the University of Virginia and even to revered institutions like Harvard and Yale: the “safe spaces”; the? #?blacklivesmatter; the creeping cultural relativism; the stifling political correctness; what Allan Bloom rightly called “the closing of the American mind”.
At Oxford however, we will always prefer facts and free, open debate to petty grievance-mongering, identity politics and empty sloganeering. The day we cease to do so is the day we lose the right to call ourselves the world’s greatest university.
Of course, you are perfectly within your rights to squander your time at Oxford on silly, vexatious, single-issue political campaigns. (Though it does make us wonder how stringent the vetting procedure is these days for Rhodes scholarships and even more so, for Mandela Rhodes scholarships)
We are well used to seeing undergraduates – or, in your case – postgraduates, making idiots of themselves. Just don’t expect us to indulge your idiocy, let alone genuflect before it. You may be black – “BME” as the grisly modern terminology has it – but we are colour blind. We have been educating gifted undergraduates from our former colonies, our Empire, our Commonwealth and beyond for many generations. We do not discriminate over sex, race, colour or creed. We do, however, discriminate according to intellect. That means, inter alia, that when our undergrads or postgrads come up with fatuous ideas, we don’t pat them on the back, give them a red rosette and say: “Ooh, you’re black and you come from South Africa.
What a clever chap you are!”  No. We prefer to see the quality of those ideas tested in the crucible of public debate. That’s another key part of the Oxford intellectual tradition you see: you can argue any damn thing you like but you need to be able to justify it with facts and logic – otherwise your idea is worthless.
This ludicrous notion you have that a bronze statue of Cecil Rhodes should be removed from Oriel College, because it’s symbolic of “institutional racism” and “white slavery”. Well even if it is – which we dispute – so bloody what? Any undergraduate so feeble-minded that they can’t pass a bronze statue without having their “safe space” violated really does not deserve to be here. And besides, if we were to remove Rhodes’s statue on the premise that his life wasn’t blemish-free, where would we stop? As one of our alumni Dan Hannan has pointed out, Oriel’s other benefactors include two kings so awful – Edward II and Charles I – that their subjects had them killed.
The college opposite – Christ Church – was built by a murderous, thieving bully who bumped off two of his wives. Thomas Jefferson kept slaves: does that invalidate the US Constitution?* Winston Churchill had unenlightened views about Muslims and India: was he then the wrong man to lead Britain in the war?”
Actually, we’ll go further than that. Your Rhodes Must Fall campaign is not merely fatuous but ugly, vandalistic and dangerous. We agree with Oxford historian RW Johnson that what you are trying to do here is no different from what ISIS and the Al-Qaeda have been doing to artefacts in places like Mali and Syria. You are murdering history.
And who are you, anyway, to be lecturing Oxford University on how it should order its affairs? Your ?#?rhodesmustfall campaign, we understand, originates in South Africa and was initiated by a black activist who told one of his lecturers “whites have to be killed”. One of you – Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh – is the privileged son of a rich politician and a member of a party whose slogan is “Kill the Boer; Kill the Farmer”; another of you, Ntokozo Qwabe, who is only in Oxford as a beneficiary of a Rhodes scholarship, has boasted about the need for “socially conscious black students” to “dominate white universities, and do so ruthlessly and decisively!
Great. That’s just what Oxford University needs. Some cultural enrichment from the land of Winnie Mandela, burning tyre necklaces, an AIDS epidemic almost entirely the result of government indifference and ignorance, one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates, institutionalised corruption, tribal politics, anti-white racism and a collapsing economy.
Please name which of the above items you think will enhance the lives of the 22,000 students studying here at Oxford. And then please explain what it is that makes your attention grabbing campaign to remove a listed statue from an Oxford college more urgent, more deserving than the desire of probably at least 20,000 of those 22,000 students to enjoy their time here unencumbered by the irritation of spoilt, ungrateful little tossers on scholarships they clearly don’t merit using racial politics and cheap guilt-tripping to ruin the life and fabric of our beloved university.
Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you.
Yours, Oriel College, Oxford
*Jefferson was the author of the U.S. Declaration, not  the Constitution

I Will Follow Him

I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go
There isn’t an ocean too deep
A mountain so high it can keep me away
I must follow him (follow him), ever since he touched my hand I knew
That near him I always must be
And nothing can keep him from me
He is my destiny (destiny)
Lyrics from I Will Follow Him by Peggy March
Deadheads may be one of the largest groups of rock devotees in the last century.
deadheads

A Deadhead or Dead Head is a fan of the American rock band the Grateful Dead.[1][2][3][4][5] In the 1970s, a number of fans began travelling to see the band in as many shows or festival venues as they could. With large numbers of people thus attending strings of shows, a community developed. Deadheads developed their own idioms and slang.

Much Deadhead-related historical material received or collected by the band over the years is housed in the Grateful Dead Archive of UC-Santa Cruz. Archive founding curator Nicholas Meriwether, who has also written extensively about the culture and its impact on society, predicted, “The Grateful Dead archive is going to end up being a critical way for us to approach and understand the 1960s and the counterculture of the era… It’s also going to tell us a lot about the growth and development of modern rock theater, and it’s helping us understand fan culture.”[6]

michael is innocentI was first taken with the idea of someone giving up their life to follow a celebrity during the Michael Jackson in 2005. The “criminal trial held in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, California, in which American singer Michael Jackson was charged with molesting Gavin Arvizo, a cancer patient in remission who was thirteen years old at the time of the alleged abuse.” Several ardent fans had given up their jobs and lives to camp out in front of the courthouse to show their support for Michael as he went in and out of court, flashing a victory sign from the sunroof of his SUV when he was acquitted.

 

This past week, one of the cable news channels interviewed a  Trump supporter who was camped in front of the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He said he was there to show support for Donald Trump.

Trump rally

TULSA –

President Trump’s arrival in Tulsa for a rally at the BOK Center is now just three days away.

People continue to camp out waiting for the president to arrive at the BOK Center.

According to President Trump’s campaign, there has been more than 1 million ticket requests.  https://www.newson6.com/story/5ee9ed1b9fd9c30ab0effb21/people-line-up-at-tulsas-bok-center-days-before-president-trumps-rally

Two thousand years ago, twelve men gave up their lives to follow a rabbi who taught a radical new theology. Several died for Him, one forsake Him, and the group changed history.

last supper

I am not equating any of these groups but I do wonder what would make someone give up friends, family, and a livelihood to follow someone they admire.

Base Names–Changing is not New

As a military librarian, I was in libraries at Ft Eustis, Ft Story, Ft  Ord, Ft  Myer, and Ft McNair.  All of them have changed names.

Army Library

Ft Eustis-Fort Eustis, located in Newport News, Virginia, was established in 1918, and has served a number of purposes, including an Army training facility for artillery and artillery observation, a prison, and a work camp. Beginning in the World War II era, the primary mission of Fort Eustis has been Army transportation training, research and development, engineering, and operations, including aviation and marine shipping activities.The 2005 Base Realignment, Allocation and Closure (BRAC) Act resulted in the greatest change in the look of Fort Eustis by relocating the Army Transportation School headquarters to Fort Lee in 2010.  The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Headquarters replaced it in 2011.  The BRAC decision consolidated adjoining bases of different services, referred to as joint basing. Resultantly Fort Eustis and Langley Air Force Base were consolidated under the responsibility of the Air Force 633d Air Base Wing as Joint Base Langley-Eustis in 2010.

Ft Story- Joint Expeditionary Base-Fort Story, commonly called simply Fort Story is a sub-installation of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, which is operated by the United States Navy. Located in the independent city of Virginia Beach, Virginia at Cape Henry at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay,[1] it offers a unique combination of features including dunes, beaches, sand, surf, deep-water anchorage, variable tide conditions, maritime forest, and open land. The base is the prime location and training environment for both Army amphibious operations and Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore (LOTS) training events.

Ft OrdFort Ord is a former United States Army post on Monterey Bay of the Pacific Ocean coast in California, which closed in 1994 due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. Most of the fort’s land now makes up the Fort Ord National Monument, managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands, while a small portion remains an active military installation under Army control designated as the Ord Military Community.

Ft MyerJoint Base Myer–Henderson Hall is a Joint Base of the United States military that is located around Arlington, Virginia which is made up of Fort Myer (Arl), Fort McNair (SW DC), and Henderson Hall. It is the local residue of the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005 process. It is commanded by the United States Army but has resident commands of Army, Navy, & Marines. Most conspicuous is the Arlington National Cemetery Honor Guard.   As an Army base, Ft Myer was first called Ft Cass, then Ft. Whipple and finally Ft. Myer.  It was formed from the Arlington estate owned by Martha Washington’s great-granddaughter, Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee, who was the custodian of the estate until it passed to his son Custis Parke Lee.

Ft McNair-Fort Lesley J. McNair, on the point of land where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers join in Washington, D.C., has been an Army post for more than 200 years, third only to West Point and Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in the length of service. The military reservation was established in 1791 on about 28 acres of what then was called Greenleaf Point. Maj. Pierre C. L’Enfant included it in his plans for “Washington, the Federal City,” as a major site for the defense of the capital. An arsenal first occupied the site in 1801; earthen defenses had been there since 1791.

Land was purchased north of the arsenal in 1826 for the first federal penitentiary where the conspirators accused of assassinating President Abraham Lincoln were imprisoned in 1865; after a trial found them guilty, four were executed there by hanging. Among them was Mary Surratt, the first woman to be executed under federal orders.

The post was renamed in 1948 to honor Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces during World War II. McNair, who had been headquartered at the post, was killed in Normandy, France, July 25, 1944.

Happy Flag Day–June 14

Flag Day (United States) … In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

Some flag trivia from the National Archives.

50-Star Flag Designs

Two of the proposed designs from the Archives article

In 1958 two U.S. territories, Alaska and Hawaii, were poised to become America’s 49th and 50th states. A federal law dating from 1818 required that a star be added to the U.S. flag on the Fourth of July following a new state’s admission. However, the law failed to describe how a new pattern for the stars should be configured. As the probability of Alaska’s and Hawaii’s admission to the Union increased, thousands of citizens, especially school children, sent their suggestions for a new flag design to the White House. In response to this interest, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a committee to advise on the new design. After examining many creative and fanciful submissions, the committee recommended a design similar to the existing 48-star flag. It would contain seven rows of seven stars in a slightly staggered arrangement. On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower issued an Executive order changing the design of the flag. When, a few months later, Hawaii became a state, the committee recommended a similar layout, and President Eisenhower issued another order describing that design. This exhibit contains two flag designs selected from the many designs submitted for consideration.

Other Names for the Flag

  • the American Flag;
  • the Stars and Stripes;
  • Old Glory;
  • the Red, White, and Blue;
  • the Stars and Bars;
  • the Star Spangled Banner.

Flag Facts from the Smithsonian Institute

Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker. In general, however, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used. The principal acts affecting the flag of the United States are the following:

  • Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 – stated: “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”
  • Act of January 13, 1794 – provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.
  • Act of April 4, 1818 – provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state.
  • Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 – established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 – provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 – provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

 

Personal Note:  This is my 1,000 Blog Post.

Reblog: USS Barb – SS-220

Have you ever heard of a submarine blowing up a railroad train?  If you are a literalist like me, you may be wondering how a sub got its torpedo out of the water and upon a track.

Youtube re-enactment of the Barb blowing up the train

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywf8iwmCyMQ

GP Cox of Pacific Paratrooper describes the last war mission of the USS Barb and how the captain figured out how to use a submarine’s weapons in the only landbased battle on Japanese home soil.

via USS Barb – SS-220

Eye Witness Account of What Happened at St. John’s Episocopal Church in DC by the Church Rector

This is not hearsay nor is it a chain email.

Rev Gerbasi

 

From Rev. Gini Gerbasi:
“Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken. I was at St. John’s, Lafayette Square most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople – and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John’s, Lafayette square to be a place of respite and peace. All was well – with a few little tense moments – until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made. Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protestors off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse) and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police – in full riot gear – drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet – he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually – with SO MANY concussion grenades – back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!
I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protestors throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John’s, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today. A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protestor, every Christian, the people of St. John’s, Lafayette square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.”

D-Day–76 Year Ago Today

D-Day Statistics from the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA.
Statistics from the D-Day Memorial Webpage in Bedford, Virginia

D-Day, or Operation Overlord, was the Allied invasion of Europe.  By the end of the day,  the Allied troops had secured the beach heads in Normandy and had began their slow slog inland.

GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Commander of the Allied forces, was not sure if the operation was going to succeed or fail.  Weather was dicey at best.  Ike projected a confident  face.

 “This operation is planned as a victory, and that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re going down there, and we’re throwing everything we have into it, and we’re going to make it a success,” he said.

However, if it had failed, he had written a letter accepting full responsibility.
One day before the invasion, he prepared a brief statement—just in case:

“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”

D-Day failure note

To read more about D-Day, click here.

To learn more about the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, see this Memorial Day 2020 video.

 

Shipping Them Home at the End of WWII

Like to dream, yes, yes
Right between the sound machine
On a cloud of sound, I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near
To the stars away from here
Well, you don’t know what
We can find
Why don’t you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf

From a forwarded email:

Can you imagine the logistical and administrative challenges involved in this operation?!! And, all before any computers! Staggering! AND, once they were in the US, getting them to out-processing stations and eventually home!

Remember what Eisenhower said at the end of the war, “Take pictures of the dead Holocaust Jewish people, a generation or two will never believe it happened”!!!

 Returning the troops home after WWII was a daunting task….

The Magic Carpet that brought everyone home.

  In 1939, there were 334,000 servicemen, not counting the Coast Guard.

  In 1945, there were over 12 million, including the Coast Guard.

At the end of the war, over 8 million of these men and women were scattered overseas in Europe, the Pacific and Asia.

   Shipping them out wasn’t a particular problem but getting them home was a massive logistical headache.

  Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall had already established committees to address the issue in 1943.

Soldier returning home on the USS General Harry Taylpor in August 1945

   

Soldiers returning home on the USS General Harry Taylor in August 1945.

  When Germany fell in May 1945, the US. Navy was still busy fighting in the Pacific and couldn’t assist.

  The job of transporting 3 million men home from Europe fell to the Army and the Merchant Marine.

  300 Victory and Liberty cargo ships were converted to troop transports for the task.

  During the war, 148,000 troops crossed the Atlantic west to east each month; the rush home (east to west) ramped this up to 435,000 a month over 14 months.

Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard t he USS Intrepid

 Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard the USS Intrepid

 In October 1945, with the war in Asia also over, the Navy started chipping in, converting all available vessels to transport duty.

 On smaller ships like destroyers, capable of carrying perhaps 300 men, soldiers were told to hang their hammocks in whatever nook and cranny they could find.

 Carriers were particularly useful, as their large open hangar decks could house 3,000 or more troops in relative comfort, with bunks, sometimes in stacks of five welded or bolted in place.

Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant

Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant

 The Navy wasn’t picky, though: cruisers, battleships, hospital ships, even LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) were packed full of men yearning for home.

 Two British ocean liners under American control, the RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, had already served as troop transports before and continued to do so during the operation, each capable of carrying up to 15,000 people at a time, though their normal, peacetime capacity was less than 2,200.

 Twenty-nine ships were dedicated to transporting war brides: women married to American soldiers during the war.

Troops performing a lifeboat drill on board the Queen Mary in December 1944 before Magic Carpet Ride.

Troops performing a lifeboat drill on board the Queen Mary in December 1944, before Operation Magic Carpet

  The Japanese surrender in August 1945 came none too soon, but it put an extra burden on Operation Magic Carpet.

The war in Asia had been expected to go well into 1946 and the Navy and the War Shipping Administration were hard-pressed to bring home all the soldiers who now had to get home earlier than anticipated.

  The transports carrying them also had to collect numerous POWs from recently liberated Japanese camps, many of whom suffered from malnutrition and illness.

 US soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps

U.S. soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps

 The time to get home depended a lot on the circumstances. USS Lake Champlain, a brand new Essex-class carrier that arrived too late for the war, could cross the Atlantic and take 3,300 troops home a little under 4 days and 8 hours.

  Meanwhile, troops going home from Australia or India would sometimes spend weeks on slower vessels.

Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation
Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation

 There was enormous pressure on the operation to bring home as many men as possible by Christmas 1945.

Therefore, a sub-operation, Operation Santa Claus, was dedicated to the purpose.

Due to storms at sea and an overabundance of soldiers eligible for return home, however, Santa Claus could only return a fraction in time and still not quite home but at least to American soil.

 The nation’s transportation network was overloaded, trains heading west from the East Coast were on average 6 hours behind schedule and trains heading east from the West Coast were twice that late.

Crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga

The crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga.

The USS Saratoga transported home a total of 29,204 servicemen during Operation Magic Carpet, more than any other ship. Many freshly discharged men found themselves stuck in separation centers but faced an outpouring of love and friendliness from the locals. Many townsfolk took in freshly arrived troops and invited them to Christmas dinner in their homes.

 Still others gave their train tickets to soldiers and still others organized quick parties at local train stations for men on layover.

A Los Angeles taxi driver took six soldiers all the way to Chicago; another took another carload of men to Manhattan, the Bronx, Pittsburgh, Long Island, Buffalo and New Hampshire.  Neither of the drivers accepted a fare beyond the cost of gas.

Overjoyed troops returning home on the USS Texas

Overjoyed troops returning home on the battleship USS Texas

All in all, though, the Christmas deadline proved untenable. The last 29 troop transports, carrying some 200,000 men from the China-India-Burma theater, arrived to America in April 1946, bringing Operation Magic Carpet to an end, though an additional 127,000 soldiers still took until September to return home and finally lay down the burden of war.

  Father GOD, BLESS THE GREATEST GENERATION (Above) and the Generations that have served this Great Nation since WW II !

  A Veteran-whether active duty, retired, served one hitch, or reservist is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The Government of the United States of America”, for an amount of “up to and including their life.” That is honor, and there are too many people in this country who no longer understand it -Author unknown.

 

Reblog: Battle of Midway Torpedo Eight Survivors

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, which was fought 4-6 June 1942.  It was the turning point in WWII in the Pacific.  In April, the United States and Japan had fought an inclusive battle in the Coral Sea.  The Japanese hoped that the Battle of Midway would serve as the knockout punch for the American Navy.

One of the many factors that helped the  American Navy win the Battle of Midway was the attack of Devastator torpedo bombers

Meanwhile, a wave of U.S. Devastator torpedo bombers from the U.S. carriers Hornet and Enterprise arrived to attack the Japanese ships. Unescorted by fighter planes, nearly all of them were shot down by Japanese Zero fighters. But about an hour later, as the Japanese refueled and rearmed their planes, another wave of U.S. carrier-launched bombers struck, hitting three Japanese carriers—Akagi, Kaga and Soryu—and setting them ablaze.

Popular culture has ENS George Gay Jr. as the sole survivor of that attack, but two other naval personnel also survived.

battle_coral_sea_midway

Sea Stories with Carl Snow

Carl Snow is my shipmate, friend, and editor of the ever-popular  Scuttlebutt .

Carl’s bio:

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Carl Snow graduated from the University of Maryland and had a long career in the United States Navy. Carl started out as a Radarman (RD) and advanced to first-class petty officer. He was involved in “ECM” as the Navy called it then, when a new rating was created, Electronic Warfare Technician (EW) and Carl was folded into that, advancing to chief petty officer. Then he applied for a commission as a Warrant Officer and was selected, becoming an Operations Technical Officer. After retirement as a CWO4, he worked as Assistant Editor for The Hook magazine and then as Production Editor for the Topgun Journal at the Navy Fighter Weapons School. When Topgun moved to Fallon, Nevada, Carl remained in San Diego, working as a Technical Writer, researching and writing manufacturing process documents for hi-tech electronics manufacturers.

Carl retired for good in March 2011 and volunteers in the Midway Museum Research Library in San Diego, California.

Carl Snow, Scuttlebutt Editor
Carl Snow in his Midway Uniform.

Carl Snow–How to tell a sea story from a fairy tale

If sea stories are true, they are still sea stories (although not all sea stories have to do with the sea or even ships, e.g., “You won’t believe this, but a bunch of us were sitting in the main bar of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore when….”)

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but to differentiate between fairy tales and sea stories, fairy tales usually start, “Once upon a time…,” while sea stories often start, “This is no sh**….” Either way, it’s a tip-off that what follows may very well not be true.

On Missing a Meeting.

I once missed a meeting of the Chief Petty Officer’s mess aboard a destroyer. The nomination and election of a Mess Treasurer was one order of business for the meeting. Guess who was nominated, seconded, and unanimously elected to a three-month stint as the Treasurer. I never again missed a mess meeting in my Navy career…

On Eating a Balut:  A balut is a fertilized bird egg (usually a duck) which is incubated for a period of 14 to 21 days depending on the local culture and then boiled or steamed. The contents are eaten directly from the shell.

When I was LPO (lead petty officer) in USS Bainbridge’s (CGN-25) CIC  (combat information center), one of my petty officers bought a balut in Olongapo, brought it back to the ship, and put it into his locker. When the ship was underway a few days later, while the petty officer was on watch, the ship rolled and so did his balut. The stench was overpowering and five people volunteered to relieve the RD2 in CIC so he could come down and clean it up. The smell was there for days.

Drunk or sober, I was never tempted to try a balut.

On Strange Shipboard Smells.

Midway has its share of smells, but nothing like what is described here. Most guests remark at the smell of fuel oil when they come aboard. I was walking up the hangar deck once when a diesel-powered generator started up on the pier. The strong smell of diesel exhaust was exactly like a jet engine running up and I had to stop and look around to reassure myself that it was not 1982. Probably the worst, to me, was the strong rotten-fish smell that came up from the second deck engineering and education offices when the hangar bay flooded due to heavy rain. No idea where the smell came from, but after the spaces were de-watered it went away.

On Chops.

“Chop” is a person’s initials or mark with which they indicate that they have seen the missive and are in accord with it. Otherwise, you’ll get a “see me.”

The tradition of red and green…”:

“On all ships everywhere, the CO writes in red, usually referred to as a “red rocket” or distress signal; the XO writes in green, called a “green flare.” In fleet exercises involving  submarines, the submarine launches a green flare to signal that he has simulated firing a torpedo at one of the ships. Everybody holds their breath until the submarine contacts the ship that was his target.

The worst thing is to get a note or message with the phrase, “see me” written in red or green ink. Either way, it’s NEVER good news.”

The tradition of red and green ink is so ingrained that the person doesn’t need to further identify himself and it serves as a chop.

When I was at Topgun our Program Director was Kay Heatley and she always used a pinkish-purple pen. One day I got a manuscript for an article in the Journal that was marked up with a purple pen. Some of the edits didn’t make sense to me and, knowing that purple ink was Kay, I asked her about the marks. She took one look and said, “Disregard those proof marks, I’ll take care of it.” Later that afternoon, every drawer in the office was opened and every purple pen that was found was confiscated and delivered to Kay’s desk. She ceremoniously dumped them in her trash can and announced that “No one in this office uses a purple pen but me!”

 

Days to Celebrate in June

The Latin name for June is Junius. Ovid offers multiple etymologies for the name in the Fasti, a poem about the Roman calendar. The first is that the month is named after the Roman goddess Juno, the goddess of marriage and the wife of the supreme deity Jupiter; the second is that the name comes from the Latin word iuniores, meaning “younger ones”, as opposed to maiores (“elders”) for which the preceding month May (Maius) may be named.[5] Another source claims June is named after Lucius Junius Brutus, founder of the Roman Republic and ancestor of the Roman gens Junia.

June is the beginning of meteorological Summer .

Rainbow Book MonthIt is also Rainbow Book Month,  a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, genderqueer, queer, intersex, agender, and asexual community. Formerly known as GLBT Book Month and originally established in the early 1990s as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, Rainbow Book Month provides an opportunity for book lovers and libraries to highlight the best in LGBTQIA+ literature.  From ALA

National Egg Day is celebrated on June 3.  It’s a day dedicated to egg puns, eggcellent or otherwise.  However you prefer your eggs:  scrambled, hard or soft boiled, fried, some form of Benedict, don’t be shellfish–celebrate or the yolk’s on you.

Flag Day is June 14. It’s part of Flag Week which is celebrated June 14-20 in 2020. It commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official flag of the United States. Many Americans celebrate Flag Day by displaying the Red, White, and Blue in front of homes and businesses. Some communities, schools, and veterans’ organizations hold Flag Day parades, essay contests, ceremonies, and picnics. Presidents have also issued proclamations for National Flag Week.

Emancipation Day celebrationsJuneteenth is celebrated on June 19th.  In 1865, on June 19th, Union soldiers under Major General Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, TX with the news that the war had ended and slaves were now free.

General Order Number 3

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

June 21 is the Father’s Day and the first day of Summer.  

 According to History.com, back in 1909, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, “tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother’s Day for male parents.” She went around to local businesses to gather support for her idea, and on June 19, 1910, the state of Washington celebrated the first-ever Father’s Day.

fathers day quote

In 2020, the June solstice is Saturday, June 20, at 5:44 P.M. EDT. This date marks the official beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, occurring when Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where the North Pole is at its maximum tilt (about 23.5 degrees) toward the Sun, resulting in the longest day and shortest night of the calendar year. (By longest “day,” we mean the longest period of sunlight.) At the June solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year.

June 30 is Social Media Day. Which social media do you like or follow?
social media icons

Memorial Day–A Bit of History

Flag Planting at Arlington Cemetary
A soldier from the 3rd US infantry (The Old Guard) laying a flag on a grave in Arlington Cemetery.  The Old Guard lays flags on each grave in the Cemetery to celebrate Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2020 occurs today,  Monday, May 25.

Memorial Day sprang out of remembrances of the millions of Americans who died during the Civil War (1861-1865).   So many Americans died that the first federal cemeteries were established.

The federal government designated Arlington as a national military cemetery in 1864.

It was not an accident that Arlington was designated as the first national cemetery.

Arlington Estate was established by George Washington’s adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, to be a living memorial to the first president. Custis’s daughter, Mary, married U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Robert E. Lee in 1831. When he died, Custis left the estate to his daughter Mary Custis Lee for the duration of her life, and upon her death, her eldest son would inherit the property. Robert E. Lee served as the executor of his father-in-law’s will and never owned the property

After the Lees abandoned the property at the start of the Civil War, the U.S. Army seized Arlington Estate on the morning of May 24, 1861 to defend Washington, D.C. From the property’s heights, rifled artillery could range every federal building in the nation’s capital. The estate was seized not to punish the Custis-Lee family, but rather for its strategic value. Three forts were built on the property during the Civil War: Fort Cass/Rosslyn, Fort Whipple/Fort Myer and Fort McPherson (currently Section 11 of the cemetery). Beginning in June 1863, a large Freedman’s Village, established for freed and escaped slaves, was established in what today are Sections 3, 4, 8, 18, and 20.

On May 13, 1864, the first military burial was conducted for Private William Christman. Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs, Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army, who was responsible for the burial of soldiers, ordered Arlington Estate used for a cemetery.  He wanted to ensure that the Lees would never be able to resume living on the estate. The existing D.C.-area national cemeteries (Soldiers’ Home and Alexandria National Cemeteries) were running out of space — both closed on the day that burials began at Arlington.

Following the death of his mother, in 1873, Lee’s oldest son, Custis, brought suit against the U.S. Government in hopes of gaining compensation for Arlington after its seizure during the Civil War. After a long court battle, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Arlington had been illegally seized and Custis regained title to the property. Knowing that he could not live at Arlington and operate it as a plantation estate, he sold the title back to the U.S. Government for $150,000.

May 13 is National Frog Jumping Day

The  holiday began after Mark Twain wrote the Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,

From the National Day Calendar

In 1865, Mark Twain published his first short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog. Later, he changed the name and published it as The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.  This same story also had a third title, The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

The current frog jumping record was set in 1986 by Rosie the Ribeter, who jumped 21 feet, 5-3/4 inches.

Mark Twain’s story about a pet frog named Dan’l Webster and a casual competition between two men betting on whose frog jumps higher, is the origin of National Frog Jumping Day. The annual Frog Jumping Contest, which began in 1849 in Calaveras County, California is also an origin of this holiday. The international counterpart of this celebration is February 19.frog

Happy Cinco de Mayo Day

From www. history. com

Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is a holiday that celebrates the date of the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. The day, which falls on Tuesday, May 5 in 2020, is also known as the

Battle of Puebla Day. While it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations.

Cinco de Mayo should not be confused with  Mexican Independence Day.

Corona Virus--Cince de July

Independence Day in Mexico (Día de la Independencia) is commemorated on September 16, the anniversary of the revolutionary priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla’s famous “Grito de Dolores” (“Cry of Dolores,” referring to the city of Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico), a call to arms that amounted to a declaration of war against the Spanish colonial government in 1810.

Salud!  Feliz Dia de Cinco de Mayo.

 

May Dates to Celebrate

bona deaMay (in Latin, Maius) was named for the Greek Goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May. Conversely, the Roman poet Ovid provides a second etymology, in which he says that the month of May is named for the maiores, Latin for “elders,” and that the following month (June) is named for the iuniores, or “young people” (Fasti VI.88).

May is Asian American Heritage Month.

Screenshot_2019-04-22 Asian Pacific American Heritage MonthMay is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian/Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

May is also National Military Appreciation Month.

Military Appreciation MonthNational Military Appreciation Month (NMAM) is celebrated every May and is a declaration that encourages U.S. citizens to observe the month in a symbol of unity. NMAM honors the current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom. The month of May is characterized by six national observances which highlight the contributions of those who have served.

The Observances are
  1. Loyalty Day on 1 May
  2. Public Service Recognition Week – 3-9 May
  3. Victory in Europe or VE Day-8 May
  4. Military Spouse Appreciation Day -8 May
  5. Armed Forces Day-16 May
  6. Memorial Day-25 May

Armed Forces Shields

Choose Privacy WeekChoose Privacy Week–1-7 May

Kicking off the first week of May, Choose Privacy Week encourages those who use library resources to improve their privacy practices.

Libraries are a major resource for many in the digital age, and due to the growing risks of identity and information theft, libraries need to take steps to improve technologies to protect their users. Choose Privacy Week provides many resources and programs addressing the current issues libraries are facing.

Mother Goose Day is May 1

mother gooseNational Mother Goose Day on May 1st each year honors Mother Goose and the imaginary author of a collection of fairy tales and nursery rhymes we loved as children.  Mother Goose is often illustrated as an elderly countrywoman in a tall hat and shawl, but she is also sometimes depicted as a goose wearing a bonnet.

What is your favorite Mother Goose rhyme?

National Pet Week is 3-9 May.

National Pet Week is sponsored by the Auxiliary to the AVMA to foster responsible pet ownership, recognize the human-animal bond, and increase public awareness of veterinary medicine.

2020-Pet-week-poster-2048x1325

One of the more useful by-products of the Coronavirus is that many shelters have been emptied because a lot of people have signed up to foster animals while they are staying at home.

4 May is Star Wars Day--May the 4th be with you.

Memorial Day is May 25.

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday, commemorating those who have died in military service to their country. It is observed annually on the last Monday of May.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day – an occasion to decorate the graves of the war dead – and was created in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

Observances are held at military graveyards, cemeteries and memorials, and military themed parades are held across the country. The holiday is also associated with the Indianapolis 500 car race which is held on the Sunday preceding Memorial Day.

Memorial Day, and the long weekend that it creates, is generally seen to mark the beginning of the summer season (while Labor Day marks the end).

A Yank’s Perception of ANZAC Day

Phil get's his 9000 hr award Apr 2016
Phil getting his 9000 hour award on the Midway.  He is now over 10,000 volunteer hours.

Written by my friend and shipmate, Phil Eakin (Commander, USN Ret).  Phil was stationed in Australia while on active duty and lived there for several years.  Since his wife is an Aussie, he also visits there regularly.

A Yank’s Conception of ANZAC Day.

25 April 2020

Each year on the 25th April, Australians and New Zealanders commemorate ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day to recognize the sacrifices that Australian and New Zealand servicemen and servicewomen have made not only in defending their country, but in upholding their nations’ longstanding commitment to peace and security.

ANZAC Day is to Australians and New Zealanders what Memorial Day is to Americans – ceremonies, parades, the odd libation, etc.  The root of the ANZAC Spirit lies in the landings and subsequent fighting on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Turkey in World War I.  Militarily, for the allied powers, Gallipoli was a disaster organized by the British First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill.  British Commonwealth troops distinguished themselves under some say the poor management or mismanagement of British generals.  The bonds of mateship forged on the beaches and in the trenches of Gallipoli bound, in particular, Australian and New Zealand military personnel and eventually the two nations.  It is a bond that carried through two world wars, other British Commonwealth conflicts post-World War II, Vietnam and into Iraq and Afghanistan in more recent times.

 

The spirit of the ANZACs embodies the peculiar concept of ‘mateship,’ a fierce friendship known really only to Australian and New Zealand males, so far as I know, and service to one’s country.  It is this resilient, fighting, unselfish and loyal spirit which is celebrated on ANZAC Day.

 

A typical ANZAC Day service features guest speakers who mostly try not to tell the same inspiring stories of valor in military exploits over the years, and readings from historic and now-famous texts.  Extracts from two poems which feature prominently in a typical ANZAC Day service are provided below.

 

For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon (extract)

 

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;

They fell with their faces to the foe.

 

They shall grow not 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.

 

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (extract)

 

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918) was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I, and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium. He died of pneumonia near the end of the war. (victim of the 1918 Influenza?)

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

 

A Turkish Army lieutenant colonel, Mustafa Kemal, is credited with turning certain defeat into victory at Gallipoli, rallying his troops to hold the line, counterattack, and retake valuable heights overlooking the beaches at Gallipoli.  He later became known as Ataturk (father of the Turks) and ruled Turkey as President from 1923 to 1938.  In 1934 he penned some words directed to those enemy who had died in the fighting at Gallipoli.  These words are frequently read at ANZAC services and are provided below.

Ataturk's quote on Gallipoli

 

At the end of the words from For the Fallen, the crowd repeats the phrase, “We will remember them.”  The speaker then says, “Lest we forget.”  And the assembled repeat that phrase, “Lest We Forget.”  The same words from the For the Fallen poem are intoned every Friday evening at 7:00 PM in Returned and Services League Clubs (RSLs – like VFW and American Legion posts) throughout Australia.

 

This year the Australian Government banned the normally large gatherings associated with ANZAC Day due to the pandemic.  This ban included the ceremony that has been conducted every ANZAC Day for the last 10 years or so on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego.  Other ways have had to be found to celebrate ANZAC Day 2020.  A friend sent me this photo taken yesterday of the Marriot Hotel in Surfers Paradise, Australia.  Nice effect using the room lights.

Least we forget

                          Lest We Forget.

 

And it’s always a good idea to wear sunglasses to an ANZAC Day service, even if it is dark or overcast