US NAVY SAILOR’S “T’was The Night Before Christmas”

USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53)

USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53)

T’was the night before Christmas, the ship was out steaming,
Sailors stood watch while others were dreaming.
They lived in a crowd with racks tight and small,
In a 40-man berthing, cramped one and all.

I had come down the stack with presents to give,
And to see inside just who might perhaps live.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stockings were hung, shined boots close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures of a far distant land.
They had medals and badges and awards of all kind,
And a sober thought came into my mind.

For this place was different, so dark and so dreary,
I had found the house of a Sailor, once I saw clearly.
A Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in a rack and dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle, the room squared away,
This was the United States Sailor today.
This was the hero we saw on TV,
Defending our country so we could be free.

I realized the families that I would visit this night,
Owed their lives to these Sailors lay willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
Because of the Sailor, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve on a sea, far from home.

The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The Sailor awakened and I heard a calm voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice.”

“Defending the seas all days of the year,
So others may live and be free with no fear.”
I thought for a moment, what a difficult road,
To live a life guided by honor and code.

After all it’s Christmas Eve and the ship’s underway!
But freedom isn’t free and it’s sailors who pay.
The Sailor say’s to our country “be free and sleep tight,
No harm will come, not on my watch and not on this night.”

The Sailor rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent, so still,
I watched as the Sailor shivered from the night’s cold chill.

I didn’t want to leave on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
The Sailor rolled over and with a voice strong and sure,
Commanded, “Carry on Santa, It’s Christmas, and All is Secure!”

Merry Christmas to all my brothers & sisters currently serving on active duty, in the reserves, retired or veterans (like me). Fair Winds & Following Seas!  Never Forget; WE OWN THE SEAS!~ JGT

DoriNavy1stClass (4)

USN 1979 – 1990

0817-02TheSeaIsOurs

 

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FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE PETS & FOR THOSE THAT DON’T!

The Following is Posted Very Low on the Refrigerator Door.

Dear Dogs and Cats: The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Racing me to the bottom is not the object and I’ll have you know that tripping me doesn’t help because I will fall faster than you can run!

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this, however; do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch forever to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also realize that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm on your part.

And, for the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! I have been using the bathroom for years and canine/feline attendance is not required. If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to bark, claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door. Just realize I must exit through the same door I entered~ eventually!

The proper order for kissing is: Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat’s butt~ I cannot stress this enough!

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:

TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT & LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS:

(1) They live here. You don’t.

(2) If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture! That’s why they call it ‘fur’-niture.

 (3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

 (4) To you, they are animals. To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly.

Remember, dogs & cats are better than kids because they:

 (1) Eat less,

 (2) Don’t ask for money all the time,

 (3) Are easier to train,

 (4) Normally come when called,

 (5) Never ask to drive the car,

 (6) Don’t smoke or drink,

 (7) Don’t want to wear your clothes,

 (8) Don’t have to buy the latest fashions,

 (9) Don’t need a gazillion dollars for college,

and finally;

 (10) If they get pregnant, you can legally sell their children!

If you don’t like our rules, don’t visit us! Remember; I’ll be watching you!~Duffy

FSCN2514

Although the first writer of the above is unknown, I know that many “tweaks” to the original have been made over the years~ and through my own experience, I have done so as well! ~JGT

THE GETTYSBURG ADDRESS (154th Anniversary 2017)

Today, November 19, 2017 marks the 154th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Ever since Lincoln wrote it in 1863, this version has been the most often reproduced,  notably on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. It is named after Colonel  Alexander Bliss, stepson of historian George Bancroft. Bancroft asked President  Lincoln for a copy to use as a fundraiser for soldiers (see “Bancroft Copy” below).  However, because Lincoln wrote on both sides of the paper, the speech could  not be reprinted, so Lincoln made another copy at Bliss’s request. It is the last  known copy written by Lincoln and the only one signed and dated by him. Today, it  is on display in the Lincoln Room of the White House in Washington D.C..

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a  new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men  are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any  nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great  battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a  final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might  live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not  hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have  consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will  little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what  they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the  unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It  is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us —  that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for  which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve  that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall  have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people,  for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

~Abraham Lincoln November 19, 1863

Photo of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Feather Quill

Gettysburg, PA November 19, 1863

THE 16th ANNIVERSARY of 9/11 (NEVER FORGET!)

Many Americans remember exactly where they were when first learning of  JFK’s death on November 22nd, 1963 in Dallas Texas, however; just one moment before 8:46 AM on September 11th 2001 in NYC, many more of us have the additional memory of the horrific events of “9/11” as well.   Today~  my generation remembers the frightening events of 9/11 to add to our memories of knowing exactly where we were when we first learned of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City, NY, the Pentagon in Washington DC & the Flight 93 plane crash in Shanksville, PA.  

Here is a look at a brief timeline courtesy of the History Channel. ~ JGT

• 9:03 am – Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building

• 8:46 am – Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

• 9:37 am – Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.

• 9:59 am – The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.

• 10:07 am – After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York and Washington, they mount an attempt to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.

• 10:28 am – The World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses, 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today is a difficult day. The memories are painful and some of the wounds I fear may never heal. Yet I pray you will help me to go on living for truth, firm in my hope of your salvation. May I live for you, Lord, and by doing so, be an example to my friends and family. I pray, just like Jesus, I may learn obedience through these things that I have suffered. Help me not to question why, yet even if I do, give me courage to continue to trust you. Help me take the comfort and strength you’ve poured into my life and use it to comfort and strengthen others who need hope.

I pray I might become a better person and help make the world a better place because of this terrible event. Thank you for the heroes that gave so sacrificially on September 11. Help me to remember their courage and learn from them. I want my life to be worthy of you Lord, so make of it what you desire, and use me to fulfill your purposes. May the evil of that day cause me and my family to work harder to do good on this earth and to bring your light into the dark places. Help me to never stop believing in you and living my life for you.

Lord, heal all those who were crushed and broken on that day. May they come to experience your presence and know your peace.

Amen.

 

THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The Pledge of Allegiance was originally written in August 1892 by a Socialist Minister, Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) from New York. He originally wrote it to promote Socialism & eventually the rise of Nazism in Europe and the United States.  Originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892, Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.

In its original form, it read:  “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, a National Flag Conference, presided over by the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, ordained that “my flag” should be changed to “the flag of the United States,” lest immigrant children be unclear just which flag they were saluting. The following year, the Flag Conference refined the phrase further, adding “of America.”  In 1942, the pledge’s 50th anniversary, Congress adopted it as part of a national flag code. By then, the salute had already acquired a powerful institutional role, with some state legislatures obligating public school students to recite it each school day.
A decade later, following a lobbying campaign by the Knights of Columbus—a Catholic fraternal organization—and others, Congress approved the addition of the words “under God” within the phrase “one nation,  indivisible.” On June 14, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill into law making it the same 31-word “Pledge” we recite today.
Section 4 of the United States Flag Code states:  “I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

The Pledge should be observed by standing at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove any non-religious headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should remain silent, face the flag, and render the military salute. ~JGT

 

 

VIDEO RUSSIAN TO JUDGMENT Evidence against Trump elusive despite 9 collusion probes

I will never understand why the American MSM is ignoring these important & disturbing US Government Investigations in lieu of insulting our President, Donald J. Trump for ridiculous & unfounded allegations invented by Liberal & Socialist sore-losers in the Democratic Party & their minions at main stream media outlets like ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, the NY Times, Washington Post, & many on-line outlets including Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc…. As a Christian, American, Veteran, Baby Boomer & Jersey Girl ~ if anyone can explain to me “why”, please feel free to try. ~ JGT

Reclaim Our Republic

June 29, 2017 By Cody Derespina

The expansive investigation into Russian meddling and possible collusion with Trump associates has grown so vast that no fewer than nine congressional committees and federal agencies are now examining some offshoot of the controversy.

And despite the inquiries to date having produced no indictments or hard evidence of collusion between the president’s men and a foreign power, even more officials and entities are looking to bite off a piece of the probe.

“The main problem is that after months and months of multiple investigations, no one has found any evidence of collusion,” a congressional source told Fox News. “So the Democrats are trying to shift the focus from collusion to obstruction, and since it doesn’t look like that will pan out for them either, they surely have some new accusation ready to put out there. It’s in their political interest to drag out these…

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The Battle of Monmouth ~ June 28th 1778

300px-BattleofMonmouthOn June 28, 1778, approximately 11,000 troops of the Continental Army (which included members of the New Jersey & Pennsylvania Militias) led by General George Washington & Major General Charles Lee, faced off against 14,500 British regulars led by Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton, Major General Earl Cornwallis and Major General Knyphausen at Monmouth Courthouse in New Jersey.

Although the Americans held the field and claimed victory, it is generally regarded as a draw, since the British were successful at defending their baggage train. This would be the last battle fought between the two MAIN armies as well as the longest. The remaining battles of the Revolutionary War would be fought by secondary forces in the southern states (colonies).

The Americans loved harassing the British by burning bridges, cutting down trees across roads & muddying wells & streams thus slowing down the march of the Redcoats and especially the Hessian troops who were carrying heavy backpacks & sweating profusely in the sweltering 98 degree June heat. Many of them fell from heat exhaustion and many more deserted. Indeed, the British only advanced about 40 miles a week!

As was his habit to dither & complain, General Lee continued advising Washington that he shouldn’t commit the American Army against British Regulars. However; in spite of Lee & his other generals, Washington ignored Lee’s advice because he knew that his troops are now trained and better equipped than they had been before and that he could not afford losing a major engagement at that point in the war. Yet; Washington also knew that the British would be vulnerable to attack since their army was now spread out widely across the state as he pursued them into New Jersey once leaving Valley Forge.

*Note: Washington & his army had spent the previous winter (1777/1778) in considerably deplorable conditions at Valley Forge, PA. Early on there was a lack of food and supplies. The Americans were suffering from starvation as well as influenza, dysentery, typhoid and typhus which killed two-thirds of the nearly 2,000 soldiers who died but the situation eventually improved with the proper issue of equipment and food rations. Once Washington put Prussian, Baron von Steuben in charge of training the American Regiments, morale improved and the Americans became eager to engage the British in the Spring.

The British left Philadelphia on 18th June 1778 and began the laborious march to the North-East into New Jersey. General Washington marched east from Valley Forge into New Jersey, determined to intercept the British. The two armies came face to face at Monmouth Courthouse, NJ.

General Washington moved his army forward with advanced force of some 4,000 troops which was designated to attack the marching British Army and cut it in half. He offered the command of this assault to Major General Charles Lee who eventually agreed to take charge once the troop force was increased to 5,000 men.  Lee had the task of attacking the British column in the flank and delaying it so that the main American army could come up and join the battle.NJ map Battle

The New Jersey militia warned that the British army was on the move so Washington ordered Lee to attack and bring the British withdrawal to a halt until he could bring up the main strength of the American army along the Monmouth Road. Lee lay to the west of the Middletown road and should have delivered a coordinated attack on the slow moving column. Properly executed, Lee could have halted the British withdrawal to the north east and enabled the main American army under Washington to attack from the rear.

However; history records that Lee gave no proper orders to his commanders and permitted them to commit their troops as they saw fit. Various skirmishes with small parties of British troops took place as Lee’s force moved tentatively forward towards the Middletown Road. Confused fighting broke out with Clinton’s rearguard, largely composed of British regiments. Finally, Lee ordered his troops to into a cowardly retreat on the main American army. As he withdrew down the road, Clinton launched his troops in pursuit.

General Washington, bringing the main American army along the Monmouth road, encountered, not the rear of the British column, but Lee’s regiments, retreating in considerable disorder with the British advancing behind them.

*Memorably this is the one occasion Washington is said to have sworn. He deployed a consignment of oaths directed at Lee, to the admiration of those listening, before ordering Lee to the rear. Washington then galloped forward and began the task of rallying Lee’s disordered troops.

Washington ordered General Wayne, with the last of Lee’s regiments, Stewart’s 13th Pennsylvania and Ramsay’s 3rd Maryland, to form to the North of the road and hold the British advance. These regiments resisted strongly but were driven back by the British 16th Light Dragoons. Their stand gave Washington the time to form the rest of the American army, with artillery on Comb’s Hill to the South of the road. Ferocious fighting took place as the British attempted to drive back the American line. This was the first test of Steuben’s re-trained American Continental Foot regiments and they withstood the trial well. As the evening wore on, the British troops fell back, and returned to their journey north, leaving the Americans on the field. ~ Dorian F. Howard© 2016

Illustration depicting American widow Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley (1754 - 1832), nicknamed 'Molly Pitcher,' stoking a cannon for the US Pennsylvania artillery in the Battle of Monmouth, during the American Revolutionary War, Freehold, New Jersey, June 1778. She replaced her fallen husband John Hays as a cannon loader. (Photo by Kean Collection/Getty Images)

The Battle of Monmouth is often remembered for the legend of “Molly Pitcher.” While many of the details regarding “Molly Pitcher” have been embellished or are in dispute, the story refers to a woman who brought water to American artillery during the battle. This water was intended for swabbing the guns during the reloading process as well as cooling the hot gun crew. In one version of the story she replaced her husband on a gun crew when he fell wounded or from heat stroke. The Molly Pitcher of Monmouth, New Jersey is generally identified Mary Ludwig Hayes. 

 

 

HISTORY & OBSERVATION OF “FLAG DAY” IN THE UNITED STATES

360px-US_Flag_Day_poster_1917Flag Day is a celebration of the adoption of the American flag by Continental Congress in the First Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777. Although the 200-year anniversary of this date was celebrated by flying flags on public buildings and holding remembrances in several cities, Flag Day wasn’t officially recognized until President Harry Truman signed it into law in 1949.  The week of June 14 is designated as “National Flag Week.” During National Flag Week, the president will issue a proclamation urging U.S. citizens to fly the American flag for the duration of that week. The flag should also be displayed on all Government buildings. Some organizations hold parades and events in celebration of our national flag and everything it represents. It’s also a time to remember and honor military men and women who defend our flag and our country. ~ JGT

HISTORY

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as ‘Flag Day’, and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children’s celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.  Courtesy of  USFlag.org:- The History Of Flag Day.

This Jersey Girl couldn’t let this article be complete without including a tidbit of New Jersey  history. ~JGT

1913, City of Paterson, New Jersey

During the 1913 Paterson silk strike, IWW leader “Big” Bill Haywood asserted that someday all of the world’s flags would be red, “the color of the working man’s blood.” In response, the city’s leaders (who opposed the strike) declared March 17 to be “Flag Day,” and saw to it that each of the city’s textile mills flew an American flag. This attempt by Paterson’s leaders to portray the strikers as un-American backfired when the strikers marched through the city with American flags of their own, along with a banner that stated:

WE WEAVE THE FLAG

WE LIVE UNDER THE FLAG

WE DIE UNDER THE FLAG

BUT DAM’D IF WE’LL STARVE UNDER THE FLAG.

 

 

OPERATION OVERLORD and OPERATION NEPTUNE D-DAY JUNE 6, 1944

This year, June 6, 2017 marks the 73rd Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. WWII’s D-Day.Operation Overlord 1944 Joint Forces Pic

Immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the Allies created the “Combined Chiefs of Staff” (CCS) comprising of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff and the British Chiefs of Staff. Their function was to assist and advise U.S. President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Churchill on the direction and conduct of the war. The CCS confirmed a previous policy of “Germany First” and, from March 1942, their planning group began work on an outline plan for a full-scale invasion of Europe. They initially hoped to invade Europe in 1943 but the realities of insufficient materials and manpower, and the demands of other operations agreed upon, delayed this effort until 1944 – this despite persistent agitation from Russian Dictator, Stalin to open a second front to relieve pressure in the East.

When America joined the war on the side of Britain in 1941, the two made plans to retake France from the Germans. The situation looked bleak. Britain was running out of food, Western Europe was under the Nazi heel, and the Soviet Union was near collapse. The Russians were begging for an immediate second front to stop the Germans. It was clear that an U.S. invasion of Germany itself was necessary to overthrow Hitler.

Operation Overlord, also known as the Normandy Invasion or simply D-Day, was the code name for the Allied invasion of northern Europe in World War II. It began with the landings on the beaches of Normandy in northwestern France on June 6, 1944, and accomplished the largest amphibious invasion in the history of mankind, using 200,000 men, 9,000 planes, and over 5,000 ships.

Operation Neptune was the name given to the Naval Armada of allied ships & the allied Air Corps involved. On the 450px-Into_the_Jaws_of_Death_23-0455M_editwhole, the naval fleet was composed of five forces, one for each beach. (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno & Sword) Utah & Omaha beaches were invaded by American Forces. The other three by British, Canadian & a free French Battalion. Eight to sixteen distinct convoys composed the five principal convoys. These forces represented more than 5300 ships of all types plus the 4000 relay boats between the shore and the ships. During the landing, 3460 heavy bombers and 1650 light bombers dropped hundreds of tons of bombs on the Normandy coast, targeting the batteries and the fortifications of the German’s Atlantic Wall. The 82nd and 101st American airborne divisions had been parachuted in hours preceding the amphibian offensive, in the western sector of the allied invasion, West and South-west of Utah Beach, located in the Cotentin peninsula. Once on the ground, the Americans of the 82nd and 101st got under way immediately towards their objectives. Despite an extremely high number of losses (50% in the only night of June 6, 1944), the American parachutists of the 82nd and 101st Airborne achieved a great number of their missions.

Years in the planning~ the Battle of Normandy was fought during World War II in the summer of 1944, between the Allied nations and German forces occupying Western Europe. Seventy years later, the Normandy Invasion, or D-Day, remains dday_mapthe largest seaborne invasion in history, involving nearly three million troops crossing the English Channel from England to Normandy in occupied France. Twelve Allied nations provided fighting units that participated in the invasion, including Australia, Canada, Belgium, France, Czechoslovakia, Greece, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  The American, British, and Canadian troops were under the command of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, and crossed the English Channel on June 6, 1944, landing on six beaches along sixty miles of the Normandy coast. Their intention was to drive German forces east and out of France while Russian forces in Eastern Europe slowly pushed west. The heaviest fighting occurred at Omaha Beach, where perhaps as many as 3,000 American men were killed or wounded. By contrast, fewer than 200 casualties (out of 23,000 soldiers engaged) were suffered at Utah, the next beach over.

Operation Overlord was the codename for the Allied invasion of northwest Europe. The assault phase, or the establishment of a secure foothold, was known as Operation Neptune. Operation Neptune began on D-Day (June 6, 1944) and ended on June 30, when the Allies had finally established a firm foothold in Normandy. Operation Overlord continued until Allied forces crossed the River Seine on August 19, 1944.

The battle began months before the invasion, when Allied bombers began to pound the Normandy coast and farther south, to destroy transportation links, and disrupt the German army’s build-up of their military strength. More than 300 planes dropped 13,000 bombs over Normandy in advance of the invasion. Six parachute regiments, with more than 13,000 men, also went ahead to cut railroad lines, blow up bridges, and seize landing fields. Gliders also brought in men, light artillery, jeeps, and small tanks. ~ D. F. Howard© June 1, 2014

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Portion of the American Cemetery in Normandy, France.

Death Tolls: Germany had 320,000 deaths, followed by the United States with 135,000, then the United Kingdom, Canada, and France where the last three all with less than 65,000.

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The OVERLORD ARCH located at the National D-DAY Memorial in Bedford, Virginia USA.

 Courtesy of Wikipedia. The National D-Day Memorial is a war memorial located in Bedford, Virginia. It serves as the national memorial for American D-Day veterans. However, its scope is international in that it states, “In Tribute to the valor, fidelity and sacrifice of Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944” and commends all Allied Armed Forces during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 during World War II.[1]   The memorial, bordering the Blue Ridge Mountains in southwestern Virginia, is an area comprising 88 acres (360,000 m2) that overlooks the town of Bedford. It officially opened on June 6, 2001 with 15,000 people present, one of whom was then-President George W. Bush.[2] About 70,000 people have visited the memorial each year. Of those, more than half are from outside of Virginia. Bedford was selected for the National D-Day memorial because the town suffered the greatest per capita loss of life during the invasion of any town in the country.[3]

TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER

tomb-of-unknown-soldier-usa-121. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns and why? They take 21 steps. This alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin  his return walk and why? It takes 21 seconds for the same reason as the answer above.

3. Why are his gloves kept wet? His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and if not, why not? He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb.   After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed? Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to? For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5′ 10′ and 6′ 2′ tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30.’

    Other Requirements of the Guard are:  

  1. They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform {fighting} or the tomb in any way.
  2. After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn.  The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.
  3. The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.
  4. There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform.  Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.
  5. The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone, nor watch Television. 
  6. Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty.
  7. All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred.

Among the notables are: President Taft, Joe E. Lewis {the boxer} and Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, {the most decorated soldier of WWII} of Hollywood fame.

     ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington , DC , our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the  Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment.

They respectfully declined the offer, ‘No way, Sir!’ Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can  be afforded to a serviceperson.  The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

God Bless and Keep Them

Without sounding too self-serving, I’d like to add that all Americans should be very proud of our young men and women in the service of the United States of America no matter where they serve. ~JGT

tomb_of_the_unknown_soldier_-_nw_view_detail_-_arlington_national_cemetery_-_2012Duty – Honor – Country
IN GOD WE TRUST

THE HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY

 THE HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY ~ by Dorian F. Howard© (Jersey Girl & U.S. Navy Veteran)

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the thDG2GUUZ6Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. It started as an event to honor Union soldiers, who had died during the American Civil War and was declared that Decoration Day should be observed yearly on May 30th. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The current name for this day, Memorial Day, did not come into use until after World War II. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery,** across the Potomac from Washington DC.  The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

NOTE**Arlington was for many years the estate of Colonel Robert E. Lee. At the onset of the Civil War, after first refusing the command of all Union forces, he volunteered his services to the Confederate Army. During the course of the war, his former estate was seized by the Union Army, which made it a headquarters. In 1864, with Union dead piling up throughout the Washington area, the search for a suitable site for a military cemetery resulted in a recommendation that Lee’s former estate be converted to a burial ground. Out of the death and destruction of the Civil War, was born Arlington National Cemetery.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities. It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Decoration Day and then Memorial Day used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, on which it fell. In 1968, the Uniform Holidays Bill was passed as part of a move to use federal holidays to create three-day weekends. This meant that that, from 1971, Memorial Day holiday has been officially observed on the last Monday in May. However, it took a longer period for all American states to recognize the new date.

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

thXTV02NDRThe National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.  As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

“Changing the date of Memorial Day merely to create a 3 day weekend has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt this has greatly contributed to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.” ~ VFW 2002 Memorial Day Address.

Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance. Many people choose to hold picnics, sports events and family gatherings on this weekend. This day is traditionally seen as the start of the summer season for cultural events. For the fashion conscious, it is seen as acceptable to wear white clothing, particularly shoes from Memorial Day until Labor Day. However, fewer and fewer people follow this rule and many wear white clothing throughout the year.

It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. Memorial Day used to be a solemn day of mourning, a sacred day of remembrance to honor those who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms. Businesses closed for the day. Towns held parades honoring the fallen, the parade routes often times ending at a local cemetery, where Memorial Day speeches were given and prayers offered up. People took the time that day to clean and decorate with flowers and flags the graves of those the fell in service to their country. We need to remember with sincere respect those who paid the price for our freedoms; we need to keep in sacred remembrance those who died serving their country. We need to never let them be forgotten. However, over the years the original meaning and spirit of Memorial Day has faded from the public consciousness. I consider it to be a national day of mourning. Do you?

On Memorial Day we need to stop and pay with sincere conviction our respects for those who died protecting and preserving the freedoms we enjoy, for we owe those honored dead more than we can ever repay. How many graves of our fallen do we in America leave dishonored by leaving their resting places forgotten and neglected? Unfortunately, when Congress made Memorial day into a mandatory three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363), it made it all the easier for us to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day.

However, during their 2010 legislative session, the State of New Jersey passed legislation urging congress to Restore Memorial Day to its original observance day of May 30th.   Their bill is SR17. Thank you New Jersey. You make this Jersey Girl and U.S. Navy Veteran very proud! ~ JGT

In my opinion as well as those of others; in order to keep the number of three day Federal Holidays the same, Armed Forces day, the third weekend of every May, could easily become a three-day holiday. On that holiday we can celebrate our freedoms won and maintained by our Armed Forces – a three-day holiday to focus on our active duty men and women in uniform and to expressively show them our love and support.

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IN FLANDERS FIELDS

~ By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (18721918)

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….
 

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium

 

 

 

 

DEMOCRATS PUT BOTH FEET IN THEIR MOUTH!

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