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May 28, 2007


Last night my family and I were at a barbecue at the home of friends. One of the other guests was a man in his 80s; one of his children mentioned that he'd been in the Battle of the Bulge. I asked him about it, and, with prodding, he talked about it, a little. Like most guys of his amazing generation, he was resolutely modest. He was a machine gunner in the heart of the bloodiest battle of World War II, and what he had to say about it was this: "I was lucky."

Not every soldier was, of course. That's the real reason why we have Memorial  Day. We need to remember that, and tell our kids.


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observes early moment of silence.


My Memorial Day tradition every year is to watch the Memoral Day Concert from Washington, D.C. on PBS. It's always so moving, almost disturbing, and it always shakes me out of my complacency and reminds me to be grateful once again for our wonderful country.

Thanks Dave

indeed. we are humbly and truly grateful for the sacrifice of all previous and present generations of soldiers.

Yeah, tnx, Dave ...

I have a neighbor back home, who wuz also in that location at that time ...

He never speaks of it, at least to non-veterans ...

*goin' outside to put up the flag for remembrance*

My heart belongs to every man and woman who puts his or her life on the line for this country and for me in particular. I don't care where you're stationed, I don't care what your job is. You contracted out your life in the care of mine. You have my gratitude, my tears and my devotion. I love you unconditionally.

i have two uncles, still alive, who are WWII vets. one, now 87, was a navigator/bombardier on a B 24 Liberator in the South Pacific and retired a full Colonel from the Air Force in the early '70s.

the other, now 85, served on a minesweeper on U Boat patrol in the Carribean. our family have always been very proud of them, and our other uncle who passed away 9 years ago who was a signal man aboard a landing craft during the amphibious landing at (i think) an island called Tinian (sp?) in the Pacific Theatre.

he passed before i realized that i had never thanked him or any other WWII vets of my aquaintance. i have since rectified that grievous oversight. well, not with him of course. but with all the rest, including a veteran of D Day and a man who, like Dave's new friend, fought during the Battle of the Bulge.

Exactly, Dave.

My Grandad was in some of the worst fighting in WWII and he never spoke of it at all, he was that disturbed by it. That horrible sacrifice he made changed the world, and it would be a very different and horrible place had he not seen what he did. I think about that all the time, and not just Memorial Day. I hope everyone remembers everyday, and Memorial Day, how easy a life we have because a lot of people didn't.

I've been trying to explain to my 5 yr old what, exactly, Memorial Day is. She knows it's a day to "think about dead people".

May I ask this eloquent group of blog friends to summarize Memorial Day in a manner that will be understandable to my beautiful, innocent Emily? In only a very few years, she and her peers will be leading this country and I want to instill an appreciation for what our brave soldiers did and continue to do for our country.

my grandpa also saw horrible things and never did recover. the man my mother knew who went to war never came back. her brother, who is 12 years younger, has no good memories to fall back on. my grandmother only tells the good stories. the prewar, early romance, newly wed stories. none of us have any idea what he went through but i know what my nana went through in the aftermath and it breaks my heart.


blurk has a way with brevity and has a daughter himself. I'll bet he could do it better than any of the rest of us.

Here's my attempt (and I only say army cuz that's the word little kids know):

Memorial Day is when we say thank you to all the people in the army who fought wars so that we can be safe. Lots of them died doing that, and we want to remember that they did it for us. They are all very special people.

Punkin' ...

Off the cuff ... no (really serious) thot prior ... um ...

It's a day when we remember the love we have for people who have died, particularly very close friends and family, and all the people who loved us so much that they gave up their lives as part of serving the rest of us in our country ...

that's not very polished, but it's a start ...



These are great. It's so hard for me explain to her why we want to thank people who killed other people. (Of course, I would never put it that way, but you know how kids think) And, THANK GOODNESS, she has no concept of ever NOT being safe. That statement, right there, is why we thank our brave men & women.

My father in law was a navy medic attached to the First Marine Division at the battle of Okinawa. Even though he wasn't technically a marine they always invite him to any division reunion. They respect the guys who, while they got to stay in cover and fight back, would move about in the open, unarmed and patch them up.

Several years ago we all went to Hawaii. What an experience seeing Pearl Harbor through the eyes of a man who, when he was last there was still recovering from December 7th!

A wonderful posting and a humbling way to describe his heroic efforts. My thoughts and prayers for all veterans, family and friends, this day is in remembrance of you.

What is 24?

There are sometimes bad people in the world who want to hurt other people, even Americans. So, to keep us all safe from the bad guys, there are very brave men who go fight the bad guys for us, because they don't want us getting hurt. Our soldiers have to fight very, very hard and sometimes they die from fighting so hard. But they are willing to do that so that we will always have a safe place to live.


WHERE have you BEEN, Albuqurkey?!

Check out this site for Fox's information, but here's our version of the scoop:

24 is a BADLY written show by some really crummy writers that started out as a great action show. Now, we blog to it on Monday nights just because it's so darned bad it's funny.

Punkin' try this.

There are some bad people in the world. Some of them would even like to hurt you and me. Today is the day we say thank you to the men and women who go and find those people and tell them, "You're not gonna go hurt Emily...I won't let you."
Sometimes the good people who protect us from the bad people get hurt. Sometimes, they even get killed. But they do it anyway. Because they love us.


Val, Blurk..... you've done it.

Thank you so much.

For everything.

... um ... not (NOT) to be a wet blanket or nothin' ... but Memorial Day (where I grew up) wuz IMPORTANT, for the Veterans, yes ... (I wuz one of many Cub Scouts that distributed Poppies every spring, around town) ...

... but it is not ONLY for veterans ... it is to remember ALL of the people who have loved us, whom we have loved, and even those we have never known (such as great-grandparents or others) ... merely sayin' ...

and, that bein' said, I'll post (again) this:

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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.


Are the 24 writers from Fox the same ones that write for their sportscasters? I've learned to watch sporting events without sound, unless of course it is the one and only John Madden.

Val, your eloquence is humbling.

Well, gang, it's time to head to the cemetery and say MY thanks.
I hope you all have a wonderful day.

I fashioned my life after my grandfather. Just a decent, honest hard working man. Soon after arriving in this country, he joined the armed services when WW 2 started. What little I know about his war years is that he was some how related to/worked on the "Enola Gaye" and had a leather bag with Iwo Jima Painted on it. The war was absolutely never spoken of. After his return, he joined the NYC police department and retired a Detective. On a recent trip to Ellis Island, I was shocked to find a marble plack with his name on the wall. Choked up. What an incredible, nobal generation.

blurk, THIS is what I meant.

*humbled into silence*

Great post, one and all.

Off now to the cemetery with my rugrats to thank my dad.

Have a safe and happy weekend, everyone!

O, thanks for saying it. memorial day is the day a family sets to go clean up the gravesites, remember the departed, perhaps have a picnic. not just a day for war vets. with families scattered far and wide it just doesn't happen that way much. what do i tell my kids? simply put, it's a day to remember loved ones that have died and to thank the men in the army (insert military branch of choice). i tell them what we would do if there were graves to visit but we haven't gone so far as to choose unknown dead to adopt. i've considered it though.

Wow, Dan.

I remember and honor my father today. I was a late-in-life (adoptive) baby for him. He was born in '24 and in '39 at the tender (under)age of 15 joined the Marines. Well, until his father came and hauled his fanny home.

A couple of years later he joined the Army legitimately and caught the tail end of WWII. I thank the LORD that he never saw fighting, or I might not have had a dad.

Wyo, Al, Wes, I know you have all fought as well (Al I know you're just a little farther north than the rest of us, you Canuck, but you fought in pursuit of the same cause, so I include you, Dear.) Any of the rest of you that I don't know about, I include you here also.


My dad died in 2000. Since I can't thank him (if I ever did, which I doubt), I will thank you instead.

(Hope I typed this OK. It's hard to see through tears. I get waaaaaaaaay emotional over patriotic festivals and such.)

*snaps an earnest salute*

Yeah, OK. Silence doesn't go long in my life. :-)


Blurk, thank you so much. That means a great deal, coming from you. I'm honored.



Thank you, Friend.

LTTG (under the weather). There's an element to cg's post that relates to the history, as it was originally Decoration Day, for tending and decorating the fallen from the Civil War. Many never made it back at all from WWI and WWII, so it was altered to a day of remembrance. Today, we also try to remember those that made it back and are still with us.

Along those lines, a few airlines are matching any frequent flier miles donations, up through the end of the day. These miles are used to help family members join the injured, etc. Check them out, if you please:


In Memoriam, RayJrun and RoyJrun....

Hi, CJ. Hope you're feelin' better soon.

cg made an excellent point way up there (@ 10:11 or so) - there are many who came home with scars we can't see. Their bodies came back, but they buried their hearts and souls. They are forever defending our livestyle against the demons that still plague them. And their loved ones still miss them.

Please remember them, reach out somehow, even if they don't want it, even if they're gruff. There is still someone in there that needs to know they're appreciated, respected, and loved.

OtheU: "In Flanders Fields" never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Thank you for posting it again for us.

Diva: I appreciate the honor, but I should point out that while I served my country in the military, and served honorably, I fortunately never had to fight for my country.

And I'm humbled by those who have, including my paternal grandfather Nelson "Gene" Seaton, who passed two years ago at age 81. I knew he'd seen combat in WWII, and had been wounded at some point in Normandy, but it wasn't until I went to his funeral that I found out he'd served through the whole war. Grandpa Gene had actually enlisted in 1939, and left the Army in '46.

He said little about his experiences while he was alive - he just refused to talk about the war - and now that he's gone I regret all the more I'll never have the opportunity to get the history of that part of his life. Stories like that of my grandfather make up an irreplaceable part of our nation's history and heritage...and the tragic thing is, we're losing those stories as the veterans of past wars pass on, all too often before passing on their share of our national heritage to us.

I'll be honoring my grandfather today.

I'll be honoring all of them today.

*bows to Annie*

Yes. My former BIL is one of those. Viet Nam. He's gotten better, but I was terrified of him when I was a child.


Wes - I'll tell you something similar to what I said to another good friend. You signed your name. You agreed to fight. You agreed to die. Whether or not you were called upon in the end to do so is immaterial. You were willing. Therein lies sacrifice.

... um ... speakin' of grandfathers and such ... one of my great-grandfathers served during the Great Conflict, he wuz @ Vicksburg, and (as a Sergeant) wuz in daily contact with Gen. U.S. Grant and other officers during the seige/campaign ... we have a mild anecdote or two about his service with the 33rd Illinois ... but no real stories ...

One tale is of how, long after the war, one of my great-grandfather's (I believe it had to be the same one) uniforms wuz taken from storage (camphorballs in a trunk, one would assume) (possibly for his funeral, when he passed in 1929)and, upon examination, wuz found to have two (apparent) bullet holes, thru the body region ... but g-grandpa wuz NEVER wounded ...

Yes, the stories that have been lost are myriad and legion ... perhaps someone could have learned from them, but the pain of the experience belonged to those who could not share the stories with others ...

Via Michelle Malkin, here's a poem by Wallace Stevens, which she found at a tribute site for a fallen Marine (LCpl Aaron Austin, KIA Fallujah, Iraq, April 2004):

The shadows of his fellows ring him round,
In the high night, the summer breathes for them
Its fragrance, a heavy somnolence, and for him,
For the soldier of time, it breathes a summer sleep,
In which his wound is good because life was.
No part of him was ever part of death.


Thanks, Dave, for this post. And thanks to you wonderful bloglits for your contributions. Above all, thanks to everyone and their families who serve, or have served, to protect and defend this magnificent country of ours.

My father landed at Omaha Beach in WWII. I didn't find out about that little detail until after his death in 1998. His very few war stories always involved chocolates and nylons ;-). During the Vietnam war, Mr. Ducky was a Marine, and his oldest brother was a medic in the Army. I'm proud of all of them, and of all the current and former servicefolk here on the blog.

God Bless you all.

Yesterday's Doonesbury.


Yesterday's OPUS was very good too, Desk.

I didn't have any family who fought in any war, WWII, or Viet Nam, so my knowledge of all of it was just from newspapers and books and movies.
Until I went to Hawaii and went to Pearl Harbor and took the little boat out to the Arizona Memorial. I'm crying now, just remembering the emotional impact of it. Not only the names carved into the memorial wall but to see the bubbles coming up, after all those years.

Thank you to everyone who sacrificed - in any way.

My wife's grandfather was in the BB. He was taken P.O.W. there. He was later freed. Coincidentally, our next door neighbor's husband was also in the BB.

i've been trying to find the essay my friend wrote. she won 5th place in last year's (i think) Writers Digest contest. it is relevant from a gulf war perspective. if anyone cares to read it, email me and i'll forward it as soon as it's located. it's called "Layover".

Found this at "ancestry.com" Is free military service/campaign records Search Individual Military Collections

Psst, it may sound silly, El, but I hate being called, "Desk." :-) No harm, natch. DD or Diva (Or even Double D like a few notable gents have used) are great. Just a weird personal pref. ;-)

ANYWHO, I loved yesterday's "Opus" too. Berke and his dandelions have always been supremely important to me.

Brian - what's BB?

cg - when you find it, I'd love to see it.

I mentioned, last Veteran's Day that I recently went to Uncle RayJrun's funeral. He and I were close and I 'interviewed' him quite often; I thought I knew about him. In this tiny church in tiny Penn's Grove NJ, a modest service was held for a very elderly man. Then the doors to the chapel were swung open and an Air Force Honor Guard marched in, up to the front, struck the colors, folded the flag, and presented it to the widow. Everybody was stunned.

After the service I thanked the Honor Guard Captain and asked her what could possibly have inspired that? Certainly, he had had a long and honorable career, but he retired 30 years ago! She explained to me that LtC RayJrun had been somewhat of a legend. One of the things she told me about was that he had been shot down 4 times over Europe and taken POW. Each time, he had escaped and made his way back to the Allied lines on foot, where he climbed back into another plane. Just Dayyum, when you consider that some people will complain about not being able to park near their destination!

Diva, thanks for posting OPUS. I'm in the middle of cooking something and didn't have time.

pssst, DD, I understand completely. There are variations on my name that I hate. :)

dandelions one got to me Diva. Is true

Heh, El - you go right ahead and cook. :-)

CJ - wow.

I find it amazing how much we don't know about the men and women we love who have served. There are just some things we can never understand, I guess. I don't know that I'd want to explain that kind of experience to someone who had no frame of reference to comprehend it, like me. I can never pretend to know.

Yeah, Dan. Me, too, as he just silently waits for the next one.

CJ - amazing. Although knowing you, I believe it. Something in the water. With you, literally.

WOW CJrun, wow. Read that 3 times and still don't know what to say. I am sorry for your loss

CJ - it also kinda begins to explain you just a little. Apples an' the distance they fall from trees an' all that....

My grandpa was in the Navy during WWII...he never talked about it and the most I could get out of him was that he was on a minesweeper, but my dad said he was a captain. I wish to this day that he would have talked about it more...but I thank him, my dad (Army), and my uncles that were in the various branches of service...not to mention all of those who serve today


Let us not forget our new Filly friend who is in the Air Force.

Whoops, y'all...I wasn't payin attention to what the foal was doin right before I hit post...


I missed you on my earlier hug posts, Sister. :-)

And **SNORK** @ Filly's Foal. Hug 'im fer me. I wanna meet the li'l bugger. :-)

Thanks, Diva...I'm sure he'd love to meet you too, he's a sucker for gals...biiiiig flirt already *eyeroll*

Obviously, Filly's Foal was trying to send her respects, too. ;-)

Oops, "his" respects. Sorry 'bout that...

cj, dayyum.

My family has a lot of vets in it - from the Revolution up to WWII (both my dad and my mom's dad joined their services when they were barely out of high school). No one ever spoke about their time in the service - even the Civil War great-great-uncle whose letters home are microfilmed at the University of Missouri (Samuel Wiley Cunningham, Illinois 22nd Reg. U.S.A.) didn't speak much of the battles, but wanted to tell his wife to tend to the kids and buy a good cow and maybe make shirts for him - he could get her a few bolts of homespun and she could make good money doing that. My grandfather said his father never spoke of his time in the Civil War and he never spoke of his time in WWI. My dad never said anything about his service either, but his records said he missed the "real" action, which was just as well. I like to think that people who started this country and tried to do so with peace and tranquility are also memorialized this day and should be each time we must pray for those who have given their lives, their futures or their souls to the country they call home.
Thank you all for helping us all remember - and thanks to those of you who still defend us.

An insightful column by Ernie Pyle


An insightful column by Ernie Pyle


Punkin Poo, I have four new nephews, so I understand you not wanting to explain about the killing other people to be safe! Their little ears don't really need to hear that, cause they'll learn that stuff soon enough. I would probably say, "Today is the day we thank some very brave men that made it possible for mommy, daddy, and you to be a happy family."

Crossgirl, my Grandmother went through the same thing. She was pregnant when my Grandad went off to war, and when he came back, both she and my dad (who was just a baby) really had to go through some hell. What a horrible time, and there are a lot of families today who are going to experience the same thing.

I am eternally grateful to all service men and women, past, present and future.

I'm also humbly proud of my grandfather, who served in the Navy through three wars and who is buried in the national cemetery named for the General who gave us what is now Memorial Day. Anyone who'd like to read more, it's up on my blog. (I'd clip & paste it, but I'm not sure WordPress' WYSIWYG interface will play nice with TypePad.)

*salutes veterans*
Dad was in the Air Force in Vietnam. My brother is currently serving in the Army.
*salutes family members*

My Dad tried to enlist to fight in Korea. He was too flatfooted. He considers that the biggest regret - that he didn't get to fight for his country.

My neighbor told me a couple of weeks ago that her nephew sent her an email from Afghanistan, telling her what an amazing brotherhood the Army is and that he would give up his life to save any one of his platoon mates.

Two days later, he did.

Wes, we share another coincidence. I just got back from the cemetery after bringing my kids to thank our "Grandpa Gene" (my dad).

My father did not see battle, but he was in the Army, and was stationed in Germany during the Korean conflict. I'd like to check out what I can find about his service (I'll check out that link posted above). His military years were over before he met my mom.

The rugrats and I brought ten flags with us to the cemetery. I only wish I'd have brought more. Dad already had a flag from us, but we looked around -- really looked around -- for the first time today and within 15 minutes had put all ten flags on bare veteran graves all around my dad. And it wasn't even a "military" section, either. World War I, World War II, Vietnam. Most of them single graves, with simple, dignified markers.

I'm really glad for this post. It got my kids off their "look for cicadas" kick for a brief moment, and onto thinking about the meaning of today. My younger daughter wanted to go buy more flags and go back. We didn't, but we walked around the section and took a moment to read the markers of all of the military men we found. We could have easily used a dozen more.

tips hat to cat. makes note on calendar to purchase multiple flags next may. i'll see you there.

I'm a bit saddened, Cat', that there apparently was not a veterans organization or family member to take care of that flag placement duty ... seems a bit odd, to me, that there isn't such ... tho perhaps the Vets had not yet arrived at this cemetary ...

Tammy ... please pass along my "Welcome Home" to your dad ...

Philintexas - um ... I'm gonna try to email you on the Pyle deal ... if that doesn't werk, mebbe y'all will drop me a note so I can connect? Bein' almost twins on Wyo's foto site, and all ...

Oh, Punkin.


((((((((((((Punkin's neighbor))))))))))))

My father was in the Army during WWII. He was sent to San Francisco to ship out to Japan. I guess they were headed for what might have been considered at first a major battle. Not long after their ship had pulled out, they were told that the bomb had been dropped on Japan and the war was essentially over. They still made them go anyway - he spent a year in Japan as part of the occupational forces. His year there consisted of playing baseball for the U.S. Army. They traveled all over the area (well, at least the ones that were safe) playing baseball against other Army companies. He played alongside MLB pros who had been drafted. So, when you see the love of baseball amongst the Japanese today, you know where it came from. I kinda like to think my father was a tiny bit of history being made over there.

My dad served in the Army Air Corp (later the Air Force) during WWII. He was a career Air Force officer, retired in 1967.

My mom served in the Army as a nurse during WWII.

They both are buried at National Cemetary in San Antonio, TX.

Mom & Dad, Thank you for your service to our country. You are my heroes, and I'm so proud of you both.

Love, daisy

BB = Battle of the Bulge

Filly, I swear your post was not there when I posted mine about 3-4 minutes later. Refresh, refresh should by my mantra. I just happened to remember that you were AF and other names of our friends were mentioned here and I did not see yours, so I wanted to remind everyone of your service too.

Thank you.

Send me pics of that foal. I have 3 mares myself. Two of which were pasture raised, one of which I raised from 5 months. You can definately tell who is who. The baby (who is now 5) is a spoiled rotten brat that I love with all my heart. Vet was out last week and first thing out of her mouth was "you hand raised this one didn't you?" So obvious.

*VERY VERY LTTG* but I wanted to express my sincere THANK YOU to all the brave men and women in our service, past, present and future that have given so much for our freedom. God Bless you all!!

Siouxie, you're never late. :-)


Good one, Elaine Sue!!!


Oops. Sorry.


It was a good one, huh?


Well, perty good ... eh?

I've got an update about the poor whales.

They've gone under that bridge. (I forget what was the name of the bridge, but it was the one that they seemed unwilling to go under.) Anyway, they swam under it yesterday and went downriver for 24 miles! Now they are seemingly afraid to go under another great big bridge.

Right now they are 2/3 of the way to the Golden Gate Bridge!

They are in much saltier water and the officials(whoever they are) are now much more optomistic.

The only logistics problem is that they are in shipping lanes. I say "Put the Coast Guard on it. They will know what to do).

OU, last.

The amazing things about WW2 is

Germany never attacked us;

Until the war was over we didn't know about the death camps;

And yet we still fought as hard as possible, because we knew those guys were jerks.

Can ya HEAR me Ahmadinejad?

My dad fought in Europe in WWll. He didn't participate in D-day but came over a couple of weeks later.
Because in the early sixties there were a lot of war movies I used to prod my dad whenever I could about his war stories. He just said it wasn't like in the movies. Everyone was scared to death and as often as not didn't know where the hell they were.

My father was an MP in the 4th Armored Division at the Battle of the Bulge. He never talked much about the war, but I did manage to get these tidbits out of him:

- One night he was sleeping by a hedgerow and got up to use the latrine. When he got back, a heavy vehicle had rolled over his sleeping bag.

- A shell blew up under his Jeep, sending a piece of shrapnel into, but thankfully not through, the tool box under his seat.

- During the Bulge, a package from home caught up with him. He was rag-tag, holes in his socks, no clean underwear for weeks. My mother, totally unaware of his situation, had sent him some of those springy metal things they used to clip under shirt collars to keep them stiff. They always did chuckle over that one.

When I was growing up, Vietnam made it hard to talk about the armed services, and he passed on before I got out of my “me” phase and truly appreciated the sacrifices of his generation. He would have loved the national WWII memorial.

As for talking to a child about Memorial Day, I always think of a line from “A Few Good Men”, when Galloway is talking about the Marines she’s defending:

Lt. Weinberg: Why do you like them so much?
Galloway: Because they stand upon a wall and say, "Nothing's going to hurt you tonight, not on my watch."

Oh, and Dad… Thanks!

My Dad was the pilot of a B-17 on D-Day and was shot down. He rescued his entire crew and won the DFC, twice.

He was 21.

I find it amazing how much we don't know about the men and women we love who have served.

About a year ago, on a whim I bought Flags of Our Fathers while in an airport at the beginning of a business trip. Between this one and the followup Flyboys (which I bought a week later) you can learn exactly why those brave boys didn't talk about it when they got home, or ever.
Flags is a must-read, but Flyboys will be too explicit for some.

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