Reblog: Why Do We Remember the Casualties of War?

Denzil Walton, of Discovering Belgium, has penned a thoughtful essay prior to Armistice/Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the US) next month, on why do we remember the casualties of war.

Some of his points include:

  • Does it remind us of the horrors of war?
  • Does remembrance help avoid future conflicts?
  • Does it express our gratitude?
Old Guard Tomb Soldier at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

Reblog: Book Review of the Photographer of the Lost

Britain made the decision not to repatriate the bodies of servicemen killed on the Western Front. Instead, the families would be sent a photograph of the grave marker. Denzil’s book review, The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott, covers this, in addition to the story of a widow who receives a photo of her husband looking older than the last time she saw him. The photo arrives in an envelope with a smudged date stamp and no other information. To find out more, click here.

WWII Sketchbooks have been Digitized by Library of Congress

Eyewitness drawings of military life created while Victor Lundy served in the U.S. Army; from his training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina; through transport aboard ship across the Atlantic; to frontline duty at various locations in France.

To Lundy, who survived the war to become an architecture, sketching was as natural as breathing.

From Modern Met, “Lundy, who went on to have an acclaimed architecture career, donated his eight sketchbooks to the Library of Congress in 2009. The sketchbooks have all been digitally archived and are now available for viewing online. Lundy’s gift is a precious one, as in this age of continued war and terror it is more important than ever to learn from our past history.”

Janine’s Mission 46

Reblogged from National Anthem Girl

Some of you may recall Operation Holiday salute from last year – well you all did such an AMAZING job that Veteran’s Last Patrol decided to make this annual effort! 

Teachers, managers, families, coaches, associations, companies…this is a GREAT group project.  There are veterans who are in hospice care confined due to social distancing that could use extra love this holiday season. Please take an hour or so out of your day to write to them.  


Create your own cards, buy a batch of cards, send postcards…they will love it all!  You can also use the very same cards that I used during my 50 state journeyHere is all the information you will need to participate: 

Patriotic citizens from around the country will join us in bringing some holiday cheer to America’s veterans in hospice care. Last year we received over 4000 cards from Americans that we then delivered to veterans in nursing homes and hospices. The response was amazing. It was a beautiful thing to see the “WOW” in their eyes.  This year we again wish to receive cards and small gifts from grateful patriots, folks with a family military connection, children, clubs, schools, and other organizations that would like to help us express gratitude one final time during the holiday season to those who have served in our Armed Forces. We’re motivated to deliver as many Christmas & Holiday Greeting Cards to veterans in hospice care around the country as we can.

To support us please mail your cards to:


Veteran Last Patrol
140B Venture Blvd
Spartanburg, SC, 29306
The salutation on the card itself should be: “Dear Veteran” or “Dear Hero” We would like to receive all cards not later than DEC 7th.
Learn more about Veteran’s Last Patrol’s year-round efforts here.

Poem for the end of a war

Some people continue to deny the truth, no matter what war or conflict is being fought. My least favorite group are the Holocaust deniers.

Pacific Paratrooper

B-29 air raid damage in Hachioji, Japan, 1 Aug. 1945

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to clean up.
Things won’t
straighten themselves up, after all.

Someone has to push the rubble
to the side of the road,
so the corpse-filled wagons
can pass.

GI hooks a tow rope to a Type 97 Te-Ke tank during cleanup of the Okinawa battlefields at the end of WWII in 1945.

Someone has to get mired
in scum and ashes,
sofa springs,
splintered glass,
and bloody rags.

Someone has to drag in a girder
to prop up a wall,
Someone has to glaze a window,
rehang a door.

Photogenic it’s not,
and takes years.
All the cameras have left
for another war.

We’ll need the bridges back,
and new railway stations.
Sleeves will go ragged
from rolling them up.

U.S. and Japanese soldiers collaborate to rebuild Japan

Someone, broom…

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Reblog of the Forgotten Mechanic


“Planes can fly without pilots, but they can’t fly without mechanics.”

Remembering the Forgotten Mechanic 

Through the history of world aviation many names have come to the fore. Great deeds of the past in our memory will last as they’re joined by more and more.

When man first started to labor in his quest to conquer the sky, He was designer, mechanic and pilot and he built a machine that would fly. But somehow the order got twisted, and then in the public’s eye the only man that could be seen was the man who knew how to fly.
 

The pilot was everyone’s hero, he was brave, he was bold, he was grand. As he stood by his battered old biplane with his goggles and helmet in hand. To be sure, these pilots all earned it, to fly you have to have guts. And they blazed their names in the hall of fame on wings with bailing wire struts.
 

But for each of these flying heroes, there were thousands of little renown, and these were the men who worked on the planes but who kept their feet on the ground. We all know the name of Lindbergh, and we’ve read of his flight to fame. But think, if you can, of his maintenance man. Can you remember his name?


And think of our wartime heroes Gabreski, Jabara, and Scott and all the acclaim that they got. Can you tell me the names of their crew chiefs? A thousand to one you cannot.
 

Now pilots are highly trained people, and wings are not easily won. But without the work of the maintenance man, our pilots would march with a gun. So when you see mighty jet aircraft as they mark their way through the air, remember the grease-stained man with the wrench in his hand; he is the man who put them there.

Thoughts from Election Days Past

This essay from 2018 seemed appropriate for today, amidst the many controversies swirling around the 2020 election.

e-Quips

I am old enough to remember past election days when there were concerns about the candidates’ religion, marital status, age, and race.   Many of the fears from those other elections proved to be irrelevant, but at the time, they were real concerns for some voters.  (Alibi–these are my recollections and may or may not be accurate.)

“I am not the Catholic candidate for President.”

Religion.  John F. Kennedy was not only the youngest man elected as President, he was also the first Roman Catholic candidate.  Many voters were concerned about the Pope calling the shots if he won the Presidency.  Kenndy had to address that issue during the campaign.  Mitt Romney face similar questions about being  Mormon when he ran as a Presidential candidate in 2012.

Divorce. Gerald Ford ran for re-election in 1976, following his first term where he became president upon the resignation of Richard Nixon in…

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COVID-19 What We Knew in June that We Didn’t Know in February

A professor of pharmacy at U of Toronto sent this clearly worded update to his family.

For this pandemic there’s a greater chance of survival for those getting infected 3 months later like June 2020 than those who got infected 3 months earlier say February 2020. The reason for this is that Doctors and scientists know more about Covid-19 now than 3 months ago and hence are able to treat patients better. I will list 5 important things that we know now that we didn’t know in February 2020 for your understanding. 

1. COVID-19 was initially thought to cause deaths due to pneumonia – a lung infection and so Ventilators were thought to be the best way to treat sick patients who couldn’t breathe. Now we are realizing that the virus causes blood clots in the blood vessels of the lungs and other parts of the body and this causes the reduced oxygenation . Now we know that just providing oxygen by ventilators will not help but we have to prevent and dissolve the micro clots in the lungs. This is why we are using drugs like Aspirin and Heparin ( blood thinners that prevents clotting) as protocol in treatment regimens in June 2020.

2. Previously patients used to drop dead on the road or even before reaching a hospital due to reduced oxygen in their blood – OXYGEN SATURATION. This was because of HAPPY HYPOXIA where even though the oxygen saturation was gradually reducing the COVID-19 patients did not have symptoms until it became critically less, like sometimes even 70%. Normally we become breathless if oxygen saturation reduces below 90%. This breathlessness is not triggered in Covid patients and so we were getting the sick patients very late to the hospitals in February 2020. Now since knowing about happy hypoxia we are monitoring oxygen saturation of all Covid patients with a simple home use pulse oximeter and getting them to hospital if their oxygen saturation drops to 93% or less. This gives more time for doctors to correct the oxygen deficiency in the blood and a better survival chance in June 2020.

3. We did not have drugs to fight the corona virus in February 2020.  We were only treating the complications caused by it… hypoxia. Hence most patients became severely infected. Now we have 2 important medicines FAVIPIRAVIR & REMDESIVIR … These are ANTIVIRALS that can kill the corona virus. By using these two medicines we can prevent patients from becoming severely infected and therefore cure them BEFORE THEY GO TO HYPOXIA. This knowledge we have in JUNE 2020… not in February 2020.

4. Many Covid-19 patients die not just because of the virus but also due the patient’s own immune system responding in an exaggerated manner called CYTOKINE STORM. This stormy strong immune response not only kills the virus but also kills the patients. In February 2020 we didn’t know how to prevent it from happening. Now in June 2020, we know that easily available medicines called Steroids, that doctors around the world have been using for almost 80 years can be used to prevent the cytokine storm in some patients.

5. Now we also know that people with hypoxia became better just by making them lie down on their belly – known as prone position. Apart from this a few days ago Israeli scientists have discovered that a chemical known as Alpha Defensin produced by the patients White blood cells can cause the micro clots in blood vessels of the lungs and this could possibly be prevented by a drug called Colchicine used over many decades in the treatment of Gout. So now we know for sure that patients have a better chance at surviving the COVID-19 infection in June 2020 than in February 2020, for sure.

Going forward there’s nothing to panic about Covid-19 if we remember that a person who gets infected later has a better chance at survival than one who got infected early. Let’s continue to follow precautions, wear masks and practice social distancing. Please distribute this message, as we all need some positive news…

Lament for Ruth

JeanMarie is my friend and a North Carolina based poet. IMHO this one of her finest poems yet–timely, poignant and worthy of being shared. It is written from the heart.

This Breaking News has broken
my heart, my hope.

Justice, my grief is suspended in fear.

What is to become of the poor, the abused, and the desperate
with overburdened wombs?

What is to become of the immigrants and the asylum seekers
caught in wire nets?

Read the rest on JeanMarie’s page.

Escape from the Pentagon

This posting originally appeared three years ago. It’s now been 19 years since 11 September 2001.

e-Quips

Ann-2016On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, Ann Parham arrived early at the Pentagon, like she always did.   As Chief of the Army Library Program, she was responsible for establishing policy for Army Libraries around the world.  She had been stationed in Korea, Germany and the United States.   At fifty-eight, she was at the apex of her 35-year career.  Her beige linen dress, purple silk jacket, and low-heeled beige pumps were professional and practical, well suited to her trim athletic build.

pentagon layoutAnn’s office was in a newly renovated wedge of the Pentagon, iconic home of the Department of Defense. The five-sided Pentagon was made up of five concentric, separated rings and five floors.  The center courtyard was a park-like setting, providing a short cut from one side of the building to the other.  Ten corridors intersected the five rings like spokes on a bicycle wheel.  From the air, the…

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Reblog: Vote For Belgium’s Tree of the Year, 2020

Denzil Walton has written a wonderful post on voting for Belgium’s Tree of the Year. He includes pictures and a brief history of why each tree is worthy of consideration. The winner will compete in a European Tree Contest.

An example:

DE VIERSTAMMIGE KASTANJE: THE CHESTNUT WITH FOUR TRUNKS

Representing West Flanders is this Ypres survivor of two world wars. This imposing chestnut tree was planted around 1860, when the military fortress in Ypres was transformed into a public park. Along with the rest of Ypres, the chestnut suffered heavily during the First World War. Yet amazingly the stump remained alive. From the stump, four new trunks spontaneously arose.

Reblog: WWII Oldest Living Vet Birthday Card Request–Deadline 1 September

The following info is from the National World War II Museum’s Facebook Page. Deadline is 9/1. 

Mr Brooks, Oldest LIving WWII Vet
Mr Lawrence. Brooks, America’s oldest living WWII et.  Now and then–still looks about the same

This year, the birthday celebration of America’s oldest living WWII veteran Lawrence Brooks will look a little different. With the global pandemic, we must forgo our traditional get together in favor of some socially distanced fun. Mr. Brooks, a New Orleans native, will turn 111 this year, and we are asking everyone to send in birthday cards to the Museum so that we can deliver them to his home. Please send your card to the address below by Tuesday, September 1:

Please send your card to the address below by Tuesday, September 1:

The National WWII Museum
c/o Happy 111th Mr. Brooks!
945 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70130

Watch Mr. Brook’s Oral History:

Read an article from his 110th Birthday.