Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day of Remembrance

There has been a lot of talk lately, including here, about the police state we are becoming, or that we are.  Can we agree to put this aside today and pay respect to those who gave their all?  This feeling isn't universal; I even saw a reference - somewhere - that those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice didn't do that for us, they did it for the government.  They did what they were told.  And that observation was delivered in a way to diminish that sacrifice.

That war is "the extension of politics by other means" is credited to Clausewitz in  the 1800s.  It doesn't take a genius to see the author is right in assertion but terribly wrong overall.  

Yeah, I'm torn up by the murder of Jose Guereno, too.  And, as we've all pointed out, signs of the coming police state are everywhere.  But it's a simple act to pause, pay respect, remember the men of Omaha Beach, Chosin, and Operation Redwing.  That these men were conductors of US foreign policy does nothing to diminish their honor.  They gave their all for the men there with them.  But they gave more.  They gave us the chance to represent them. 

4 comments:

Reg T said...

I frequently wear a hat with the name of the USS Piper (SS-409) on it, a WWII submarine that my brother-in-law, Paul Baker, Sr. (deceased) served on during that war. His boat patrolled the Sea of Japan, that treacherous, shallow sea around the islands of Japan, during the months leading up to VJ Day. Paul was a good man. Loving father to his children, loving husband to my sister, his second wife, honest workman, and a good friend to all. He passed away in 2004.

My blog is dedicated to my father, who was a B-17 pilot during WWII, flying out of Eye, England with the 490th bomb group, Eighth Army Air Force and later flying B-52's for SAC out of various bases across the country. (I was born in Houston when he was stationed at the old Ellington Field.) I admit I am biased, but he was the best natural pilot I've ever met, and having served in Naval aviation myself, I have managed to meet a few.

I had the opportunity to talk with a couple of his B-17 crew who are still alive. They raved about his flying ability, and stated that he was responsible for the fact that they all made it home without serious injury or wounds. They spoke of the only time they lost a plane, when the B-17 they were flying back from Germany suffered enough damage from flack that they had to land. The only place available was a tiny metal airstrip laid out in a field in Belgium for fighters to use. They said my father managed to land on it without wrecking the aircraft, and that the Belgians dressed them all in Belgian uniforms and helped smuggle them back to England.

My father was 21 at the time he was piloting a Flying Fortress over Germany for daylight bombing runs through German flak and German fighters. That is just incredible to me. I look at most of the 21 year old males I see now and realize 90% of them just don't have what it would have taken to do what so many of that age did during WWII. I was glad to make contact with his old crew members, and for being able to thank _them_ for helping to bring my father back alive. When he returned, he finished his degree in electrical engineering, but reenlisted in the new US Air Force, flying bombers for the Strategic Air Command as a captain. Later, when my mother forced him to choose between the Air Force and her, he was able to find work flying for Martin-Marietta and the Sperry Rand Corporation, first as an engineering test pilot and later as an executive pilot, when they closed the Gyroscope Division.

He passed away in 1973 from cancer, at the age of 50. He was still a pilot when he died, and there was nothing he loved more than flying. He was an incredible man and always a patriot.

Graybeard said...

That was excellent, Reg. I really value this sort of history that we can get from these folks. Unfortunately, we're losing that as the WWII generation passes on.

BTW - you've never left a link to your blog. You should leave one here for reciprocal blogging.

Reg T said...

Well, my blog doesn't hold a candle to most of what I read and follow. It's meant more for the few family and friends who like to stay in touch, and in an attempt to make sure they get a little wider world-view than what Fox and the MSM make available. Oh, and I like to vent from time-to-time ;-)

http://sloggingtowardliberty.blogspot.com/

Reg T said...

SG,

My mentation often lags behind my typing by a significant margin. The post concerning my father and his crew isn't at the very start of this blog, mostly because I am a scattered, non-linear thinker. I try to be logical, but am definitely not organized. F'rinstance, I was following TL Davis through his Guardians of Liberty site instead of his "TL Davis in Exile" site, and then realized the format of "In Exile" was actually what he intended to be followed.

My post on my father is at: http://sloggingtowardliberty.blogspot.com/2011/01/photos-from-wwii.html

and includes the photo I use in my short profile.