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For Those Who Served

Discussion in 'Honor, Service and Valor' started by Biak, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Today is Veterans Day. A day which we should set aside our differences (and God knows we have a few) and give thanks to those few who stepped up when almost no one else would. Yeah I know I stole that line from someone else, Major Lacey was/is a Soldier, retired now and pursuing the good life but still serving his Bothers and Sister of the US military by working with an organization that makes sure they receive the helping hand they may need. A man I'm fortunate to call my friend and an example of why we Honor the best this Country has to offer. I know he wouldn't mind.
    Currently our family has three serving; a Lt. Col. with the 101st, a Sgt with the Army Reserve and the latest addition: a Private 1st class with the US Army. If this keeps up it won't be too long until our family tradition will consist of 100 years of continuous service. While I didn't have the privilege of serving I've done my best to do as the Major once told me:" You have your part and we have our part. Your support is a powerful weapon in it's own right."
    I guess what I'm trying to say is while we go about our usual daily grind keep in mind those currently serving who are going about their day and never forget those who went about their day. If you see a Soldier, Sailor, Coast Guardsman, Airman or Marine acknowledge their dedication to the most important 'job' ever offered; Protecting Us. A simple nod and a smile goes a long way. Standing in line? Buy them that cup of coffee or sandwich. See a youngster in uniform pumping gas? Pony up and slip the cashier an extra 10 or 20 and tell them, "put it on pump #". You'll be glad you did trust me!
     
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  2. gtblackwell

    gtblackwell Well-Known Member

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    Well said Biak, a good reminder for all of us. An uncle of mine, my mother's older brother, died at 90. He ended WW2 in an artillery battalion of the 4th Armored division. Never discussed the war, led a dignified successful life and was buried in a rural Alabama cemetery. He requested a bugler, also to be a veteran. to play "Taps" at his funeral and left an envelope for the minister to give to said bugler with a hundred dollar bill in it with the request he takes his family out to dinner. Your suggestion above brought back good memories of his funeral and it is something I always try to do when the opportunity presents itself.
     
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  3. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Thanks Gaines, it only takes a few seconds but can last a lifetime.
     
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    "While you're on active duty you will be called on to defend the ungrateful as well as the grateful. We don't sort them out." Fourth of July motivational speech by MMC(SS) H. K. Wiggins, 1969.
     
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  5. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    A wise man : MMC(SS) H. K. Wiggins.
    And I'll throw you in there as well. But not too far, I'm getting old and your a big guy.
     
  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    I can recommend a trebuchet builder. He throws cars two hundred yards. Don't ask him for a ride home.
     
  7. Poppy

    Poppy grasshopper

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    pardon my tardiness.
    busy as bee.

    glad to see OP back at it

    best wishes to all who joined the military.
     
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  8. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    In Australia today...
    "Defence Veterans’ Covenant"
    https://www.dva.gov.au/about-dva/pu...-no1-autumn-2019/veterans-recognition-package

    The biggest problem is the veterans using it! Only a tiny percent use it and the government is in the process to try and get more vets to use the card/s...gives them discounts on heaps of shit.
    But most vets don't think they are special, don't want to be singled out etc etc...bugger that mate! Get in there!
     
  9. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day

    Celebrated every November, Veterans Day honors all who have served in the U.S. military.

    The federal holiday is observed on Nov. 11, the day World War I ended in 1918.

    A year later, President Woodrow Wilson celebrated what was originally known as Armistice Day for the first time. But it wasn't until 1938 that Congress recognized it as an official federal holiday.
    In 1954, the holiday's name was changed
    to Veterans Day, to honor the veterans of all wars the U.S. has fought. In France and elsewhere in Europe, the day continues to be known as Armistice Day.

    Veteran's Day was actually celebrated in October for several years, though.

    The Uniform Holiday Act of 1968 moved the holiday from Nov. 11 to the "fourth Monday in October" to move ensure a long weekend for workers.

    But in 1975 President Gerald Ford returned the holiday to its original November date, due to the significance in marking the the end of the war.

    Memorial Day has its roots in the Civil War
    In contrast, Memorial Day specifically honors those who have died in U.S. military service. It was originally created to honor soldiers who fought in the Civil War, but like Veterans Day, was also later expanded to include those who died in all wars.

    Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, history professor Matthew Dennis told NPR in 2005, and was celebrated on May 30. It was the day when people decorated the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War — both those who fought for the Union and for the Confederacy.
    The annual tradition of decorating fallen soldiers' graves with flags and flowers is believed to have originated in Waterloo, N.Y. That tradition is still carried on today all over the country.

    Almost a century later in 1971, Congress switched the official holiday to the last Monday in May, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Veterans Day and Memorial Day both honor those who've served. Here's how they differ
     
  10. Biak

    Biak Adjutant Patron  

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    Visiting Arlington National Cemetery is indescribably uplifting and devastatingly depressing at the same time. I will revisit before I die.

    WASHINGTON -- A casket containing the unidentified remains of a World War I soldier was carried in a horse-drawn wagon through Washington, D.C., across the Potomac River, and into Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11, 1921.

    Thousands of dignitaries, veterans and American citizens packed into the Memorial Amphitheater at the cemetery, where then-President Warren G. Harding led a state funeral for the unknown soldier. When the ceremony began at noon, bells tolled, and Americans across the country observed two minutes of silence for the fallen man.

    "The name of him whose body lies before us took flight with his imperishable soul," Harding said. "We know not whence he came, but only that his death marks him with the everlasting glory of an American dying for his country. He might have come from any one of millions of American homes."

    Thursday marks 100 years since the remains were entombed at Arlington, creating the iconic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb, which attracts millions of visitors every year, now includes the remains of soldiers from World War II and the Korean War. In the past 100 years, it has become a symbol of American service and sacrifice, as well as a place for mourning and reflection.

    To mark the anniversary, Arlington National Cemetery planned a series of events, including a procession Thursday that is intended to evoke elements of the unidentified soldier's funeral procession from 1921. For the first time in decades, visitors to the tomb this week will be allowed to approach it and place flowers near its base.

    "One hundred years ago, we laid to rest an unidentified American who fell in the First World War. He has been in our charge ever since," said Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries. "The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands, physically and symbolically, at the heart of the cemetery -- and the heart of the nation."

    The idea for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier came from Britain and France, which created similar tombs in 1920. Unidentified remains of fallen World War I soldiers were buried that year at Westminster Abbey in London and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In both countries, one unidentified soldier symbolized all the unknown troops who were killed in action.

    In December 1920, New York Congressman Hamilton Fish Jr., a World War I veteran, proposed legislation that ordered the entombment of one unidentified American soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Its purpose was to "bring home the body of an unknown American warrior who in himself represents no section, creed or race in the late war and who typifies ... the soul of America and the supreme sacrifice of her heroic dead," according to the legislation.

    Congress approved the burial on March 4, 1921. In October of that year, four bodies of unidentified soldiers were exhumed from American military cemeteries in France. Sgt. Edward Younger, a World War I veteran, selected the soldier who would be sent to Arlington National Cemetery by placing white roses on one of the caskets. Younger was given the honor because of his superior service record.

    The remains arrived in Washington by ship on Nov. 9, 1921. The casket lay in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Nov. 10, where about 90,000 people came to pay their respects before the remains were taken to Arlington the following day.

    More remains added

    More remains were interred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the following decades, first in 1958 and then in 1984.

    After World War II, Americans supported the idea of adding remains to the tomb that would represent the unidentified dead from that conflict. However, the start of the Korean War delayed those plans.

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the idea in 1956 to entomb unidentified remains from World War II and the Korean War. The Army started an extensive process in 1958 to select the remains that would represent World War II soldiers.

    Five bodies were exhumed from cemeteries in Hawaii and the Philippines to represent the Pacific theater of the war. To represent the Atlantic theater, 13 bodies were exhumed from cemeteries across North Africa and Europe. Officials selected one casket from each group, and they met on the USS Canberra off the coast of Virginia.

    William Charlette, a Navy hospital corpsman who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service in the Korean War, chose one of the caskets to be entombed at Arlington. The others received burials at sea.

    About the same time, the Army exhumed four unidentified bodies from the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii to represent a soldier from the Korean War. Army Master Sgt. Ned Lyle, a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, selected one.

    The caskets of the World War II and Korean War soldiers arrived in Washington on May 28, 1958, and lay in state at the Capitol for two days. They were then transported to Arlington National Cemetery, where they were placed in crypts beside the World War I soldier.

    Years later, following the end of the Vietnam War, Congress faced pressure to designate an unknown soldier from the war to place in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A set of remains was chosen in 1984, and a casket with the remains was entombed on Memorial Day that year.

    Following the entombment, work continued at the Defense Department to identify remains recovered from Vietnam. Through those efforts, scientists found evidence that suggested the remains placed in the Tomb of the Unknown soldier were Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, a pilot who had been shot down in 1972.

    Blassie's family requested the Pentagon exhume the remains. They were removed from the tomb in 1998 and positively identified as Blassie's using DNA testing. Blassie's family had him reinterred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.

    The crypt meant for a Vietnam War soldier remains vacant. It was rededicated in 1999 to honor all missing U.S. service members from the Vietnam War.

    According to Arlington National Cemetery, there are no plans to inter any more service members in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    "Due to the advancement of mitochondrial DNA sequencing and other forensic technologies, along with improved and faster recovery of fatalities in theater, unidentified American casualties are now exceedingly rare," cemetery officials said in a statement. "There are no current plans to place unknowns from recent wars."

    Changes through the years

    In its early years, the tomb was a simple marble slab.

    Congress acted in 1926 to finish the tomb, kicking off a national design competition to do so. The tomb, as it is today, was designed by two World War I veterans -- architect Lorimer Rich and sculptor Thomas Hudson James. They submitted a design for a white marble sarcophagus with neoclassical carvings.

    Construction on their design began in 1929 and was completed in 1932. The tomb was decorated with three wreaths on each side panel. Three figures on the front represent peace, victory and valor. On the back is the inscription, "Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God."

    About the time Congress acted to finish the tomb, another change happened -- it was given a guard.

    By then, visitors began to treat the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as a tourist attraction. The Army decided in 1925 to post a civilian guard near the tomb to discourage people from climbing or stepping on it.


    One year later, soldiers from nearby Fort Myer, Va., were assigned to guard the tomb. At the time, they guarded it only during daylight hours.

    The tradition started in 1937 of guards always standing watch over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, day and night. Now, soldiers who volunteer to become guards must undergo a strict selection process. They're trained on precise rituals meant to honor the unidentified soldiers entombed there.

    During the "changing of the guard" ceremony, guards take 21 steps to the rear of the tomb, then turn to face east for 21 seconds. They then turn to face north for 21 seconds before taking another 21 steps back to the start. The number 21 symbolizes the 21-gun salute, the highest symbolic military honor.

    The guards also perform a "shoulder-arms" movement as part of the ceremony during which they place their weapon on the shoulder closest to visitors, signifying they stand between the tomb and any possible threat.

    This week is the only time in recent history that visitors have been allowed close to the tomb to place flowers. The public flower-laying ceremony will last through the day on Tuesday and Wednesday. Flowers will then be collected and placed at headstones throughout the cemetery.

    In addition to a procession, the cemetery will hold a Veterans Day observance at the tomb Thursday.

    Military Headlines Army Military History
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    In a way I am sorry we do not have a day to remember those that died during Winter War etc. With Guards changing places. Remember, Stalin was pro-Axis then. Hitler's close friend. I love the US way to do this remembrance.
     
  12. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    I heard that it was the ladies of Petersburg, Virginia who began the tradition of decoration. Anyway, honor to those who served.
     

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