Archive for the ‘WW2’ Category

May Their Memory Be A Blessing

The Israelis know how to do this correctly.

On the Israeli Memorial Day at 11 AM a siren is sounded for two minutes and the entire country comes to a halt.

People stop whatever they are doing; cars stop on highways and the vehicles empty out for two minutes of silence to honor the fallen.

I remember back when Decoration Day as my mother referred to it was always on May 30, and not conveniently placed on the last Monday in May to create a three day weekend inaugurating summer.

There was always a parade with drum and bugle corps, bands, twirlers, close order drill teams and veterans, marching from city hall to the church, where there was a cemetery  for veterans of the Civil War, and the ceremonies were capped with speeches and a lone bugle sounding taps.

When I was in the high school band I got to be in the parade in my blue uniform with its epaulets, piping, and silver buttons, that would be the envy of any Fifth Avenue doorman.

It was a time when the day was celebrated  in towns across the country this way and not running to buy up bedding or furniture at cut rate sale prices.

It all seemed to come crashing down around eleventh grade when a substantial number of band mates refused to participate because honoring the dead in their minds glorified war and they couldn’t support anything harmful to Vietnamese children or water buffaloes.

Suffice it to say there weren’t enough of us to field a team and I was back to observer status.

In spite of all of that, it was still a time when the rights of felons and communists did not garner precedent over We The People.

So this weekend in the midst of flipping burgers or stuffing another set of towels into the shopping cart, stop for one lousy stinking minute, and remain silent for those who died, and most likely died horribly, defending our nation.

Jesus may have died for your past sins but the American serviceman and woman continue to die for you to be able to keep sinning.

Happy Memorial Day


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The first book is The 188th Crybaby Brigade by Joel Chasnoff.

Chasnoff relates his experiences as a Lone Soldier in the IDF around the turn of the century.

Being a stand-up comic adds to his narrative style and humanizes the warrior elites defending a country under siege.

It’s an enjoyable read and a must for anyone who imagines that Israel fields an army of mutant sociopaths hell-bent on killing who ever gets in their way. (Oh, that’s the other side.)

But I doubt anything will change those minds.

The second one, written in 1969, chronicles a campaign fought in the Pacific Theater during World War Two.

Lasting a year and a half it featured such luminous honors as having:

  • The first amphibious island assault by the Army since 1898;
  • The largest and last naval surface battle fought entirely with ships with no aerial assets used;
  • A battle second only to Iwo Jima in terms of proportional cost of life;
  • The first use of land based aircraft to bomb Japanese home territory;
  • And the unique feature of being fought entirely on United States soil.

The Thousand Mile War by Brian Garfield recounts the attack, invasion and occupation of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands by the Japanese Imperial Forces in 1942 and the subsequent American action to reclaim them.

To call these events a forgotten war is a misnomer. It was kept under wraps by the government and media to the point that hardly anyone knew about it in the first place. You can’t forget what you never knew.

This campaign siphoned off enough Japanese manpower and resources to help ensure American victories at Midway and in the Philippines.

The conditions were so harsh that more American casualties were caused by the climate and weather than actual combat.

The most striking note it hits is the vulnerability of the American homeland even when we were supposed to be insulated by two oceans.

Continued Japanese control of the area would have crippled Lend Lease shipments to Russia through the Bering Sea, giving an advantage to Hitler.

It would have also threatened America’s Pacific Northwest with air attacks, especially the aviation production coming out of Seattle.

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, but you have to know about it to begin with.

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