Lest we forget. . . Remember the men in uniform who fought so we can have the freedom we enjoy today.
Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I, the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars,
It originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings, and participating in parades.
I found these old photos of my two boys joining their father in participating in the Memorial Day Parade in 1977 in Oyster Bay.
Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 pm local time.
It is unclear where this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. And some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations was organized by a group of formerly enslaved people in Charleston, South Carolina, less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866. It was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed, and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags.
By: Christopher F. Rufo, Founder and Director, Battlefront
Reprinted by permission from Imprimis, a publication of Hillsdale College.
Critical Race Theory is fast becoming America’s new institutional orthodoxy. Yet most Americans have never heard of it – and of those who have, many don’t understand it. It’s time for this to change. We need to know what it is so we can know how to fight it.
In explaining critical race theory, it helps to begin with a brief history of Marxism. Originally, the Marxist Left built its political program on the theory of class conflict. Marx believed that the primary characteristic of industrial societies was the imbalance of power between capitalists and workers. The solution to that imbalance, according to Marx, was revolution: the workers would eventually gain consciousness of their plight, seize the means of production, overthrow the capitalist class, and usher in a new socialist society.
During the 20th century, a number of regimes underwent Marxist-style revolutions, and each ended in disaster. Socialist governments in the Soviet Union, China, Cambodia, Cuba, and elsewhere racked up a body count of nearly 100 million of their own people. They are remembered for their gulags, show trials, executions, and mass starvations. In practice, Marx’s ideas unleashed man’s darkest brutalities.
By the mid-1960s, Marxist intellectuals in the West had begun to acknowledge these failures. They recoiled at revelations of Soviet atrocities and came to realize that workers’ revolutions would never occur in Western Europe or the United States, where there were large middle classes and rapidly improving standards of living. American in particular had never developed a sense of class consciousness or class division. Most Americans believed in the American dream – the idea that they could transcend their origins through education, hard work, and good citizenship.
But rather than abandon their Leftist political project, Marxist scholars in the West simply adapted their revolutionary theory to the social and racial unrest of the 1960s. Abandoning Marx’s economic dialectic of capitalist and workers, they substituted race for class and sought to create a revolutionary coalition of the dispossessed based on racial and ethnic categories.
Fortunately, the early proponents of this revolutionary coalition in the U.S. lost out in the 1960s to the civil rights movement, which sought instead the fulfillment of the American promise of freedom and equality under the law. Americans preferred the idea of improving their country to that of overthrowing it. The vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., President Johnson’s pursuit of the Great Society, and the restoration of law and order promised by President Nixon in his 1968 campaign defined the post 1960s American political consensus.
But the radical Left has proved resilient and enduring – which is where critical race theory comes in.
WHAT IT IS
Critical race theory is an academic discipline, formulated in the 1990s, built on the intellectual framework of identity-based Marxism. Relegated for many years to universities and obscure academic journals, over the past decade it has increasingly become the default ideology in our public institutions. It has been injected into government agencies, public school systems, teacher training programs, and corporate human resources departments in the form of diversity training programs, human resources modules, public policy frameworks, and school curricula.
There are a series of euphemisms deployed by its supporters to describe critical race theory, including “equity,” “social justice,” “diversity and inclusion,” and “culturally responsive teaching.” Critical race theorists, masters of language construction, realize that “neoMarxism” would be a hard sell. Equity, on the other hand, sounds non-threatening and is easily confused with the American principle of equality. But the distinction is vast and important. Indeed, equality – the principle proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, defended in the Civil War, and codified into law with the 14th and 15th Amendments, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – is explicitly rejected by critical race theorists. To them, equality represents “mere nondiscrimination” and provides “camouflage” for white supremacy, patriarchy, and oppression.
In contrast to equality, equity as defined and promoted by critical race theorists is little more than reformulated Marxism. In the name of equity, UCLA Law Professor and critical race theorist Cheryl Harris has proposed suspending private property rights, seizing land and wealth and redistributing them along racial lines. Critical race guru Ibram X. Kendi, who directs the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, has proposed the creation of a federal Department of Antiracism. This department would be independent of (i.e., unaccountable to) the elected branches of government, and would have the power to nullify, veto, or abolish any law at any level of government and curtail the speech of political leaders and others who are deemed insufficiently “antiracist.”
One practical result of the creation of such a department would be the overthrow of capitalism, since according to Kendi, “In order to truly be antiracist, you also have to truly be anti-capitalist.” In other words, identity is the means and Marxism is the end.
An equity-based form of government would mean the end not only of private property, but also of individual rights, equality under the law, federalism, and freedom of speech. These would be replaced by race-based redistribution of wealth, group-based rights, active discrimination, and omnipotent bureaucratic authority. Historically, the accusation of “anti-Americanism” has been overused. But in this case, it’s not a matter of interpretation – critical race theory prescribes a revolutionary program that would overturn the principles of the Declaration and destroy the remaining structure of the Constitution.
Please take a moment to pause, and lest we forget, Memorial Day is all about the members of the armed forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all of us to be free. It is not about enjoying the long weekend going to the beach or having a BBQ in your backyard.
It is about those Americans in military uniforms who served and never came back.
655,000 Americans killed in the Civil War. (est. Union & Confederate)
116,516 Americans killed in WWI.
405,399 Americans killed in WWII.
Source: Wikipedia – U.S. Military Casualties of War
Here is one way you can participate in this year’s celebration of Memorial Day. CBS News “On the Road” correspondent Steve Hartman and retired Air Force bugler, Jari Villanueva, are again inviting musicians of all abilities and ages to sound Taps on their front lawns, porches, and driveways at 3 p.m. local time on Monday, May 31, for Taps Across America.
Taps is the somber 24-note bugle call played at American military funerals and ceremonies. Hartman and Villanueva hope that the nationwide event, now in its second year, will offer an opportunity to pause for a moment to pay tribute to fallen service members. Traditionally, when people hear Taps, they respond by standing, facing the music and placing their hands over their hearts.
Last year’s Taps Across America project drew tens of thousands of participants across the world. Anyone who can sound Taps can participate.
Here is the sheet music:
Dust off your trumpet or bugle to sound the call this Memorial Day. Join the thousands who will play Taps tomorrow.
Here’s what CBS want you to know.
CBS plans to show some of the videos on the CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell. Take a video of your performance. You can use any phone with a video camera and hold the phone horizontally. If neighbors or friends come to listen, get a shot of them too! Then send the video from your computer or phone via this link. Make sure to click “show metadata” after uploading your video to share information about your performance with us. If the player is under 18, CBS ask that you instead upload your video to social media with the hashtag #CBSTaps. CBS will be browsing public posts with that hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
Let’s all thank the armed forces’ men and women for their service, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their families and our country.
If you know someone who served and died for our country, you may share their name and the war they served in the comment below to educate the public of what FREEDOM and MEMORIAL DAY are all about.
Most WWII books are written about the European Theatre, but few are written about the war that took place in the South Pacific. With most attention given to the European Theater, it is great to see books written about the forgotten men not only fighting the Japanese aggression in the Pacific but also constant typhoons, inhospitable terrain, heat, diseases from the jungle, malaria-causing mosquitoes, poisonous snakes, unfriendly tribes and not enough men, food, supplies, and equipment. Overshadowed by the heroics of the 8th Air Force fighting in Europe, the men of the 5th Air Force had to make do with what little aircraft and spares were eked out to them to stop the Japanese quest to control southeast Asia and the Pacific.
I’m always on the lookout for WWII books about the Pacific Theater. Lucky 666 by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin is the true story of one of the most important air reconnaissance missions of World War II. The book started slow by talking about the crew’s childhood and their lives. This backstory helps to figure out why they made the choices they did. From childhood, Capt. Jay Zeamer and his bombardier, Joe Sarnoski, looked up at the sky and dreamed of flying and commanding some of the most advanced planes of their time.
Zeamer was always a rebel and a maverick and wanted to do things his way. When confronted with any challenge in his life, from elementary school through his time in the USAAF, Jay Zeamer found a way around it with ingenuity, knowledge, and unstinting effort. He was always willing to take on any job or mission that others avoided if he could do it his way.
The book also chronicles in large part the initial U.S./Allied air campaign and military strategy, the generals, aircrews, and other battles against Japan in the South Pacific. It helps set up the background of the long march of island hopping to start the defeat of Japan’s aggression.
Lucky 666 is about pilot Capt. Jay Zeamer judged to be a misfit by his superiors and bombardier Sergeant Joseph Raymond Sarnoski and their crew of misfits of the 43rd Bomber Group of the Army Air Force. They were denied their own plane but wanted to fly, so they rebuilt a dilapidated B-17 bomber from spare parts in the base junkyard. Its tail identification numbers end in 666, so they named it Old 666 and transformed it into a true Flying Fortress equipped with the best guns to survive a dangerous reconnaissance mission.
In 1942, the Japanese war machine had rolled up nearly all of the Pacific Theater, and the American forces were clinging to what little unconquered territory remained. Following the capture of Guadalcanal, Americans prepared to invade Bouganville, but very little was known about this island’s defenses, so U.S. forces planned a reconnaissance mission.
Toward the end of May 1943, Jay Zeamer found out that the 43rd headquarters needed volunteers to do the most dangerous reconnaissance mission, photo mapping over Bougainville Island. Nobody wanted the mission but Zeamer sensed an opportunity. Zeamer explained the situation to his “Eager Beavers” who all agreed to do it. On June 16, 1943, Zeamer and Sarnoski and their crew, against overwhelming odds, went on an incredible 1200-mile solo suicide mission and brought back films of hidden reefs off Buka and enemy defenses in Bougainville Island. Their successful mission laid the groundwork for the next offensive and changed the momentum of the War in the Pacific. Their sacrifice and bravery saved the lives of many Marines who would safely pass those reefs and eventually capture those islands critical to victory.
The narration of the flight comes near the end of the book. It is a gripping account of the longest continuous dogfight in the annals of the U. S. Army Air Force history lasting about 40 minutes, with one B-17 against as many as 30 Japanese fighter planes. Luckily, Old 666 was the most heavily armed B-17 bomber of the war. They made a crash landing back with crippling damage to the aircraft and wounded crew members, and one dead – Sarnoski, who was supposed to go back to Washington in the last week of June but decided to go on one more mission with the crew before heading back home. The plane received 187 bullet holes and five cannon holes, but it still landed. The film was developed, and the photos were invaluable to Adm. Halsey and his invasion planners.
The mission won pilot Jay Zeamer and bombardier Joe Sarnoski who died on the mission, our country’s highest honor – Medal of Honor. It is the most highly decorated bomber crew in the history of U.S. military service. The mission resulted in every crew member earning the Silver Stars, Distinguished Service Crosses, Purple Hearts, and two Medal of Honor. The single bomber shot down several enemy fighters. According to the Far East Air Chief at the time, General George Kenney, “Jay Zeamer and his crew performed a mission that still stands out in my mind as an epic of courage unequaled in the annals of air warfare.”
Lucky 666 is an inspiring WWII story of bravery, duty, and heroism. It is also a tale of leadership, friendship, and sacrifice set against the horrific backdrop of dangerous aerial warfare, wounded crewmates, and a pulse-pounding emergency landing in the jungles of New Guinea. It’s a shame that the suffering, devotion, and sacrifice made by the men in the Pacific is not widely known.
I close with this quote from Jay Seamer: “You can always find a way to do anything you want if you are dead set on doing it, come hell or high ack-ack.”
On September 11, 2001, an evil force struck the heart of New Yorkers and all mankind for that matter. There isn’t an American who is not affected by it. Everyone who died in that tragedy left someone behind who loved them.
Show respect for police officers and firefighters.
Reblogged from last year – Evolution of Veteran’s Day
Veteran’s Day evolved in the years following World War I, or “The Great War,” as it was known at the time. The Great War, a war to end all wars, ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month in 1918 when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of the war to end all wars. In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. In 1938, Armistice Day became a legal holiday by an act of Congress.
World War I or “The Great War” officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, at the Palace of Versailles, France, when all warring powers executed a formal declaration of peace. Fighting, however, had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
The major players on the stage of history at this time were known as The Big Three: President Woodrow Wilson, Prime Minister David Lloyd George of Great Britain and President Georges Clemenceau of France.Pfc. Henry Gunther will be remembered as the last soldier to die on Nov. 11, 1918 with one minute remaining before the armistice would end all conflict. This otherwise unknown man would charge a German machine gun encampment disregarding their attempts to wave him back, knowing that in a matter of seconds they could all leave their trenches and once again breathe the soft air of peace. Gunther fell after a short blast of fire joining the 116,000 of his fellow American comrades that died in that war.
The last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, age 109, died in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2011. In December 2010, he appeared before Congress to plead for the approval of a memorial to honor those American soldiers who died in the Great War. He had enlisted at the age of 16, but his service to his country did not end there. He also served in World War II and was captured by the Japanese, enduring the infamous Bataan Death March. He survived three years in a Japanese prison camp, weighing only 85 pounds when he was finally liberated.
November 11 continued to be observed as Armistice Day until 1954 when, at the urging of the veterans’ organizations, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an act of Congress on June 1, 1954 formally changing the word “Armistice” to “Veterans” in order to expand the significance of that (Armistice Day) celebration and in order that a grateful nation might pay appropriate homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this nation.
In 1968, Congress moved Veteran’s Day to the fourth Monday in November, but returned it to its traditional date in 1978 after heavy lobbying by veterans groups and concerned citizens, who believed that moving the observance to create a three-day holiday only served to take the focus off the historical significance of the day. The original concept for the commemoration was for a day observed with parades and public gatherings and a brief suspension of business at 11 a.m. At New York Stock Exchange, trading stopped at 11 am for a 2-minute silence. Unfortunately, we have gotten away from that original concept, and many people look upon November 11 as simply a day off from work to relax or take advantage of store sales and forget that the reason the day was set aside was to honor our nation’s veterans.
Throughout the history of our great nation, courageous men and women have served in the armed forces to secure, defend and maintain the freedoms upon which our nation was founded. They represent the finest in the American character who answered our country’s call during WWII, suffered through biting cold winters and scorching summers in Korea, endured booby-trapped jungles and steamy heat in Vietnam and are currently fighting in the unforgiving mountains in Afghanistan and the deserts in Iraq. They came from all walks of life, religions and ethnic backgrounds. Right now, members of our armed forces are putting their lives on the line in the war against terrorism, and hardly a day goes by when there is not a report of one or more of these brave soldiers paying the ultimate price. Their sacrifices have given us the freedom we enjoy today which is why we remember and salute their service.
On Nov. 11, our country honors all veterans and active duty soldiers on Veteran’s Day. We remember Henry Gunther and Frank Buckles and all those who laid down their lives in the defense of freedom and pray that our brave men and women, now serving in our armed services, return to us and lead long, safe and productive lives.
“On October 20, 1944, MacArthur landed in Leyte, fulfilling his promise to the Filipino people by wading ashore at Leyte, but the evening before the Leyte landing, MacArthur spoke through a radio transmitter announcing . . .
“People of the Philippines, I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil. . . Rally to me! Let the indomitable spirit of Bataan and Corregidor lead. . . The guidance of divine God points the way. Follow in His name to the Holy Grail of righteous victory!”
MacArthur, wearing his field marshal’s cap, sunglasses and freshly pressed khakis wanted to land on the beach but ran aground in the shallows while still 100 yards from the beach. The commander of the craft could not bring the landing craft in any closer and so an irritated MacArthur accompanied by President Osmeña and their staffs had to wade ashore. It became one of the most famous images of World War II. Upon seeing the newsreels of his landing, MacArthur was so stirred by the picture that he ordered his staff to arrange for all subsequent island landings to begin offshore so he could walk through knee-deep water onto the beach.”
There isn’t an American who is not affected by that tragedy at the New York Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Everyone who died in that tragedy left someone behind who loved them. Rose is a flower of love. To honor and pay tribute to all the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Sue Casey of Portland, Oregon formed an organization called Remember Me” Rose Gardens to create three rose gardens on or near the sites of the terrorist attacks in New York, at the Pentagon and at a field in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County in Pennsylvania.
The intent of “Remember Me” Rose Garden” is to affirm love and life year after year with the blooming of each rose bush. It is a national opportunity for us to remember the fallen and celebrate life, liberty and freedom through roses.
“Firefighter” – In September, 2003, “Remember Me” Rose Garden announced “Firefighter” the first of the eleven roses to be named. “Firefighter” is a red hybrid tea rose to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
“Soaring Spirits” – In September, 2004 “Remember Me” Rose Garden announced “Soaring Spirits”, the second rose to be named. “Soaring Spirits” is a new cream pink and yellow striped climbing rose to honor the more than 2,000 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 as they worked in the World Trade Center Towers.
“We Salute You” In September, 2005 “Remember Me” Rose Garden announced “We Salute You”, the third to be named. “We Salute You” is an orange/pink hybrid tea to honor the 125 service members, employees, and contract workers who died in the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
“Forty Heroes” On April 27, 2006 “Remember Me” Rose Garden announced in New York City, “Forty Heroes”, a beautiful golden yellow floribunda named for the crew and passengers of United Flight 93. Courageously they fought back forcing hijackers to crash the plane in rural Pennsylvania instead of the intended target in Washington, D.C., changing the course of history.
“The Finest” is a beautiful white hybrid tea rose that honors the 23 NYPD Officers lost in the line of duty on September 11, 2001. These 23 NYPD Officers, in their dedication to protect the lives of fellow citizens, gave the ultimate sacrifice-their lives. “The Finest” honors the NYPD.
“Patriot Dream” honors the 64 people who were the crew and passengers on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. A family member of the Flight 77 crew suggested the name for this beautiful salmon colored rose. “Patriot Dream” is a shrub rose with a light fruity fragrance. “Patriot Dream” will be planted at the three Washington, D.C. schools who had students and teachers aboard Flight 77.
“Survivor’s Rose” The name “Survivor” was suggested by a group of Survivors’ who worked in the World Trade Center. Lead by JoAnn Pedersen, the group said there could be no other name for the dark pink rose. The survivors who made it out of the World Trade Center helped rescue others, aiding in their escape down the stairwells before the Towers collapsed. At the Pentagon, survivors struggled to reach safety after Flight 77 crashed into the building. Ordinary people became heroes to one another.
“Wings of Courage”, a beautiful butter yellow rose with a halo of white petals. It is mildly scented and can have up to thirty blooms at one time. “Wings of Courage” is named in honor of the crew and passengers of American Airlines Flight 11 which struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001.