Memorial Day Monday

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This year, Memorial Day comes on the heels of two big anniversaries — the 70th observance of V–E Day and the 45th of the evacuation of the U.S. embassy in Vietnam.

Created after the Civil War as “Decoration Day”—for the flowers decorating graves—Memorial Day tends to evoke memories of some very specific losses and of related acts of heroism. But this year’s double anniversary also brings to mind those who fought in the 1940s but went on to form the first line of defense in the antiwar movement of the 1960s and ’70s. They were priests, poets, politicos and pranksters—all, in their own way, keeping alive the memory of those we honor on Memorial Day.

The priests included William Sloane Coffin, a former Army intelligence officer who remembered of boot camp: “Oh, it’s great stuff—almost as good as the bayonet, which is still my favorite exercise. There’s much satisfaction in a vicious thrust, jab, slash, smash. . . . How I love it.”

Another priest was Philip Berrigan, who went from being anxious to being able “to charge pillboxes, blow up machine-gun nests and fight hand-to-hand with my country’s enemy.” He survived the Battle of the Bulge, amid bombed battlefields “stacked high with charcoal logs that looked nothing at all like human beings.”

One of the poets was Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who as a prisoner at Dresden witnessed the now-controversial saturation bombing of the city: “First came the soft murmur of their dancing on the outskirts, then the grumbling of their plodding toward us, and finally the ear-splitting crashes of their heels upon us—and thence to the outskirts again. . . . Our little prison was burnt to the ground.”

The bombardiers delivering such relentless payloads included later politico Howard Zinn. Of the war, he said: “I was eager to get into combat against the Nazis. I saw the war as a noble crusade against racial superiority, militarism, fanatic nationalism, expansionism.” Many years later, Zinn met a couple from Pilsen, one of his crew’s targets: “They said, ‘When you finished, the streets were full of corpses, hundreds and hundreds of people killed in that raid.’”

Intelligence officer William Kunstler returned from years in the Pacific with memories of the “disturbing” Battle of Leyte and the Philippines’ carpet-bombed churches; those memories also included meeting a conscientious objector serving unarmed as an Army medic because of his beliefs.

To a man, the group returned home proud of their service and empowered to make a difference here at home. Most gravitated to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, with Coffin befriending the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But in 1965, when a new war was escalating in Southeast Asia, most of them questioned the need to inflict the horrors they’d seen on a new generation of draftees.

@ Fredricksburg.com

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About Den

Always in search of interesting things to post. Armed with knowledge and dangerous with the ladies.
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23 Responses to Memorial Day Monday

  1. Den says:

    We would have a lot less dead and dismembered troops if kids would quit the insane practice of volunteering. The Department of Defense means just that, DEFENSE, now The Department of Corporate Aggression for Profit. (DCAP)

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  2. º¿carol says:

    Two days w/o having to cook. We had hot dogs for lunch, yay! I guess that’s cooking though, had to warm them up on the stove and nuke baked beans for Bob, pour something to drink. It’s still cooking, but easy cooking.

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  3. º¿carol says:

    Got the pool up and running a couple days ago. Had to backwash and add new DE twice already. Water still looks awful but I can see it has cleared up a tad.

    Got really windy this afternoon. Someone around here must have got a storm. Now the place is a mess. The maples up my drive are/were loaded with seed and the winds came from the south and the helicopters are everywhere. I keep going out to the pool and taking the lid off the skimmer to scoop out hundreds of helicopters and Chinese Elm tree seeds, and other leafy matter blown into the pool. The back deck needs to be swept, debris all over it.

    Oh! I need to tell you last night’s raccoon story. I posted it on FB, I’ll paste it here.

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  4. º¿carol says:

    Velociraptors! I know there’s been a raccoon around here. He knocked a bird feeder down two nights in a row. Saw evidence of him trying to get to another feeder in the snowball on the side of the house.

    Last night I was sitting on the garage patio, enjoying the night when suddenly something between me and the house snarled and hissed. It was LOUD! I carry a small LED flashlight in my pocket, whipped it out and aimed it toward the house, RACCOON! Standing there, staring at me.

    I stood up, backed to the people door, opened it and hit the switch for the patio lights. He finally turned toward the back of the house and ran to the lilac wall and hopefully into the cornfield.

    After a bit I turned the lights back off and sat down, thinking about velociraptors and how horrible THEY would be judging by how much the raccoon scared me. As I sat there I thought I heard a noise toward the front of the house, took out my little flashlight and two eyes lit up maybe 30 feet out on the front lawn. I waved that flashlight every which way, wondering if there were more. I finally went up on the back deck and waited. In the light of my little flashlight a pair of eyes came from the lilacs to the pool. Another set from further down the lilacs, so that was two of them. Who was out front?

    I went up on the pool deck later, everywhere else seemed too scary. Sat up there for awhile then went in.

    Around 2:00 a.m. when I was on my way to bed I decided to look out the backdoor. Dammit! Big old raccoon was on the lawn a couple feet from the deck stairs and he just looked at me. I shooed him with my voice, and he just continued to look in the grass, and to look at me. Doesn’t that seem weird? Scary, maybe he has rabies! He finally took the hint and waddled off around the east side of the pool.

    I removed the tempting bird feeders. Removed the food sources so he, or they move on. I can’t live w/ velociraptors about to pop out from around every tree and bush. *shiver* I need to feed safe again.

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  5. David B. Benson says:

    @ Nuevo Vallarta after a 75 minute stick walk up to Merry Cellars & back. On the return I began to notice my thighs. As that was just over 3 miles I have some stamina to build before attempting the 8.1 mile loop trail this year. Anyway a lovely evening for a walk up to part of Pullman I have never before seen.

    Unfortunately Merry Cellars isn’t open on Mondays. So here instead.

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    • David B. Benson says:

      Walk certainly improved my appetite.

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    • º¿carol says:

      Too bad we’re not neighbors, Doc. I would go for walks with you all the time. I’d love to walk the roads around here. Would be nice to have someone walk with me. My road is a 55 mph road, farm country so not much traffic, still enough that it’s scary. I walked up the road by myself a few times when I was young and fearless.

      Well, I wasn’t all THAT adventurous, but certainly more than I am now.

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  6. Den says:

    Walking for me consisted of back and forth to the toolbox, to the truck, installed ‘dummy’ radio (Original Looks) and mounted a Pioneer unit below the dash, new door speakers too, all is good in radioland, rocks out well.

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    • jimhitchcock says:

      My first car was an Old’s Dynamic 88, paid $300 for the car and $150 for the Pioneer 8-track under the dash. I had my priorities right when I was 16.

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      • º¿carol says:

        Two things we never bought, we never had an Atari 2600 and we never had an 8-track player. I can’t explain it, we had everything electronic right from the beginning of our marriage in 1963. We were always into the latest technology.

        When the Atari 2600 came out the Atari 400 and 800 computers were about to come out. We waited and bought the 400. It was our game machine. We still have several of them and all the games in the basement. We bought more than one when we opened our video store and rented the games and the systems out.

        We went straight from vinyl records to cassettes. Never got an 8-track. We bought a used Cadillac one year and it had an 8-track in it, our son found us a couple cartridges to play in the car.

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        • jimhitchcock says:

          8-track (actually 4-track, but that was before my time) preceded cassette for mobile use, but when Dolby NR immeasurably improved the audio quality of cassettes, the handwriting for 8-track cartridges was on the wall.

          Avoided Atari’s, the Commodore C-64 was the game machine of choice for me. Then, 3 years later, the magnificent Amiga 500.

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  7. David B. Benson says:

    So far 2 CFLs have failed. High rate for just 6 installed.

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  8. Den says:

    LED lights are far superior in quality of light while being non toxic. I bought a 3 way LED bulb that is as good as any incandescent for my floor lamp a year ago, $20 but worth it so far.

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  9. Den says:

    late again, llamas here I come…

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