Monthly Archives: May 2012

Whisper Leading the Way

Whisper Leading the Way

For those of you not on Facebook, last week Whisper posted a note saying he’s be leading a 4 ship up the Hudson for the Parade of Ships. I took an early lunch and got to see them fly over. I didn’t have my camera since I didn’t know til the last minute, but a nice young lady standing by me sent this to me today.

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by | May 29, 2012 · 12:51 pm

This could be a problem

Originally published May 29th, 2008.

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by | May 29, 2012 · 3:24 am

Kat has Lex’s Blog back up!

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by | May 28, 2012 · 5:44 pm

Memorial Day Aerial Video

H5 – WWII Bombers over Arizona Landscape from H5 Productions on Vimeo.

SaberCat1 filming in HD the B17 and the B25 WWII Bombers over and around Arizona's Superstition Mountains and Saguaro Lake. H5 Productions, in conjunction with The Commemorative Air Force filmed these aircraft during the Veterans Day Celebration on Saturday, November 13th, 2010. The B17 Bomber was flown by pilot Russ Gilmore and the B25 Bomber was flown by pilot Spike McLane. The base for these bombers is Falcon Field located in Mesa, Arizona. SaberCat1 pilot, Mitch Kelldorf. SaberCat1 aerial cinematographer, Mike Murray. Editor, Mike Murray.

Today is Memorial Day which is a somber holiday in my way of thinking. That’s why I didn’t use the normal term for visual material such as this. I thought it was a fitting video for today as we remember those who never came back and gave everything so that we could enjoy our lives. To them, I say thank you and I will remember you and what you’ve done.

I also feel that Lex should be remembered today as well. He might have been retired from the U.S. Navy, but he was still serving his country when he passed away in Fallon, NV. I’ll have a Guinness later tonight in your memory, Lex.

Of course, those who never returned often left behind family and friends who also made the sacrifice when they lost someone they loved. To them, Lex’s family included, I say thank you and you will remain in our thoughts and prayers as well.

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Filed under Airplanes, Flying, In Memoriam, Lex, Patriotism

Memorial Day

From Buck at Exile In Portales

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by | May 28, 2012 · 12:22 pm

Among The Joshua Trees

This Memorial Day

From The Most Excellent Blog, Castra Praetoria. It is the blog of America’s Sergeant Major.

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The “Fort Snelling Eagle”

The chill fog remains this Memorial Day morning.  There is promise that it will lift and the days’ long rains and storms will finally be done.  No matter what, it remains Memorial Day, and later, I shall join members of our community at one of our local cemeteries to pause and remember those from our small religious community up here who served, and those who gave all in service to their country.  I note with a bit of interest that our religious leader, with us now for about 18 months, helped put together the newest program for our brief remembrance service last year.  He told me that in all the congregations he has served, ours is the first that actually goes out and gathers to remember the fallen and those who served who are no longer with us.  What I also note, with pride, are the large numbers of my congregation who have served or are still serving.  Not something that is oft noted by many.  Maybe it’s just us up here in the Great North Woods.  Maybe it’s recognition that it was here, in this Great Experiment, despite many generations of sometimes overt institutional and cultural bias, that we have thrived.  While there are still idiots out there, by-and-large this country has given us peace, freedom to worship and opportunity.  Many of us have chosen to return the favor.

But that’s not really the reason I stop by this morning.  The picture included in the attached story has been reprinted, even by Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant as recently as this morning.  I have seen postings elsewhere, NOT I note by any of this lot, that it was PhotoShopped, or actually a painting or in some way less than genuine.  It is real, and it was snapped not by some highly reimbursed professional, but by a citizen.  As well it should have been.  Here’s the story behind the Fort Snelling Eagle

May you all have a fitting day.

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The Daily Lex – May 28th

Celebrating Memorial Day

By lex, on May 29th, 2006

Odds are people asked you, “What are you doing for Memorial Day weekend?” Because that’s what people do, when the weather’s fine and a long weekend’s coming up. They ask in a well-meaning, value neutral kind of way, the question taking the place of the equally meaningless conversational things people may ask such as, “Do you think it’s going to rain?” Because as far as the Memorial Day weekend is concerned, for many it’d be OK if you were planning on a trip to the beach with the kids, or to Disney, or maybe just to the park for a picnic. It’d even be OK if you were just going to kick back, relax, chill out. See some old friends.

Because for many people, it’s just a long weekend to do with as you want – the open parenthesis to the brackets of summer. Memorial Day on this end, Labor Day on the other. The most civic minded of us will plant flags at our local military gravesites. And we may ask our children to remember those who gave the utmost level of devotion to secure our freedoms. But we mostly don’t talk among ourselves about the fact that names are still being added to the list of the lost, names that until recently belonged to people, but now belong to memory, belong to the ages. Names that once brought smiles to parents’ faces and light to a lover’s eyes but now bring only a whistling blow to the pit of the stomach for those who loved them. Names that now signify a vast, empty, mournful space that actual people used to fill. People with nearly infinite personal complexities, fears, hopes, dreams and yes, flaws.

And I can understand this reticence to talk about it, even while I think it a shame. The knowledge of loss is painful of course, but it’s become all tied up in low, spiteful, vile politics somehow. We’re at least a little bit afraid that if we answer the question, “What are you going to do for Memorial Day Weekend?” the way we really ought to – with something about remembering the sacrifices of those who made it possible for us to enjoy a long weekend in May, for example – we might see the pleasant blandness on our interlocutor’s face turn to something mean and hard. The passions of the moment.

And that’s a shame too, because the politics behind the policy we are embarked upon – support them or no – have no bearing upon the purity of the soldiers’ sacrifice. One year after this post, another 878 names have been added to the list of those Americans who have fought and died in Iraq. Eight hundred and seventy-eight names, life experiences, unique windows on the universe – closed now, shuttered forever, a howling absence.

They didn’t fight for a president, they fought for a country, the one that gave them birth, gave them a home. They didn’t fight for a party, they fought for a people, and that people’s way of life, its rights and freedoms and yes, it’s responsibilities too. Our soldiers know them all too well, the obligations of a free society. It is a burden that they have shouldered for us, as free men and women, as volunteers. And for all too many of them, it was a burden that finally brought them low.

It is indisputable that they fought and died in a noble attempt, and were a part of freeing nearly 50 million minds. Whether or not we – and those minds that they liberated – are worthy of their sacrifice is something history will judge through a long and severe lens. And we should keep in mind, for better or for worse, that it will not only be the soldiers being judged, nor their captains and generals nor even presidents, but we ourselves who sent them. We ourselves for whom they fought. We ourselves for whom they died.

Remember then, and celebrate. Celebrate the fact that for over 200 years, nearly one million men and women have honored us enough to fight for us – enough, in the end, to die for us – over the course of our country’s birth, the agony of our Civil War, a “War to End all Wars,” and the war that it did not, Korea, Vietnam and now two wars in a far place, for a people we do not know. Celebrate the fact that no matter how bitter our internal divisions, no matter how imperfectly we have trod the world stage, there are still people willing to stand on the line for us, for the ideals we represent, for the man or woman on their left or right who is all they know of America when the bullets snap and whine. Soldiers on their left or right who held them in their arms for us, when the pain seeped away with the blood, who held them still as they finally offered up their names to us.

In return we must honor them. In return, we must earn this.

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Memorial Day

There is a memorial looking over the old seaplane base in Oak Harbor, Washington. The seaplane base is part of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. On the memorial are the names of the men who died flying the A-6 Intruder in service to our country as a part of a Pacific Fleet squadron. You can find the list, along with the names of those from the Atlantic squadrons and the Marines, here:
 http://www.intruderassociation.org/in_memory.html

The first and only time I visited the memorial was when the last A-6 was finally retired.  That in itself is a story, the gathering of warriors to see the old bird off was impressive, but when I went to visit the memorial the next day I was reminded that war, and flying war machines, can take full measure of those who venture to engage in such endeavors.

It was a quiet sunny morning, and as I took in the list of names on the memorial I was taken aback. So many names. I began to look at each entry, an initial for the first name and then the last name. It was obvious to me that the listing was in chronological order.

Most of the names on the first part of the list were not familiar to me, I came to Whidbey Island when the war in Southeast Asia was winding down in the early 70’s, so there were men on the list I would have never known.

But then the names further down the list became familiar.

Phil–Dave–Shelly–Mike–Charlie–Denny–Greg–Ken–Lloyd–Steve….and more.

It was sobering to see all those last names and come up with the first names easily, men who were real to me twenty, thirty, forty–can it be that long–years ago and then gone in an instant.

As I was digesting this, lost in thought, a man came and stood beside me. He wasn’t a big guy, you couldn’t pick him out in a crowd, and he had more years on this planet than I. He quietly studied the names. All of them. We stood there side by side for a long time.

Then I broke the silence.

I asked him if he knew any of the men listed.

“Oh yes,” he, said, and pointed to this one, then that one, then more. The names were all accompanied by an asterisk or star, which meant Killed In Action.

“I had to write letters to their parents and wives when they didn’t return,” he said.

We both stood quietly looking at all the names for a few moments more.

Then he said, maybe to me, but I think he was saying it to himself:

“It was the hardest and saddest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

Then he turned and walked away.

Today is Memorial Day. We take a moment or two to remember those who gave all in service to our country. We fly the flag, maybe attend a ceremony where veterans are buried. It’s easy for us to do.

The man who wrote those letters knew how hard it really is.

For every name on the memorials there is a wife, a mother, a father, a sister, brother, son, daughter, aunt or uncle that knows the pain and anguish of losing a loved one.

It’s not just a name on the plaque, the wall, the headstone.

It’s the sacrifice of an entire family.

God Bless them all. God Bless America.

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