Posts Tagged ‘Military’
Most folks know I like Cold War stories here on the blog.
I’ve written quite a few and they are frankly probably the most popular pieces on the site.
I’ve written a couple about the SR-71. Actually, written is rather a strong word. I have republished stories, that have been written or told by the actual men who flew these ridiculously powerful machines. Mostly because I see them floating in cyberspace but never find a good single collection of them. So I enjoy doing it.
I enjoy them, as I have a child like affection for the black metal monster that borders on obsession. My first model was a Blackbird for instance.
So when I came across this story about the SR-71, I couldn’t help but add it to the slowly growing collection here.
(Editors Note: I first published this at the beginning of 2012. For March, I thought it was a good story to bring back up and republish. Enjoy!)
The Irish and the British will always have issues because the British never remember, and the Irish never forget.
It’s a hot button issue in Ireland.
At the time, and now to an extent, many feel that the over 5,000 Irishmen who left Ireland to fight against Nazi Germany in World War II were and are criminals, or deserters.
They left the Irish Army, leaving Ireland who was neutral, to fight to stop the Nazi’s in World War II.
Today, there is a possibility they may be pardoned.
The Starvation Orders were the orders to blacklist those 5,000 troops upon their return. They could not get jobs, welfare, pensions or any assistance what so ever, some of them made a go at it. Others left the country yet again. Whats more the orders extended beyond just the individuals, but their families as well. It’s how my own family ended up in America.
Five thousand Irish soldiers who swapped uniforms to fight for the British against Hitler went on to suffer years of persecution. They were formally dismissed from the Irish army, stripped of all pay and pension rights, and prevented from finding work by being banned for seven years from any employment paid for by state or government funds.
One of them, 92-year-old Phil Farrington, took part in the D-Day landings and helped liberate the German death camp at Bergen-Belsen – but he wears his medals in secret. Even to this day, he has nightmares that he will be arrested by the authorities and imprisoned for his wartime service.
“They would come and get me, yes they would,” he said in a frail voice at his home in the docks area of Dublin.
And his 25-year-old grandson, Patrick, confirmed: “I see the fear in him even today, even after 65 years.”
Mr Farrington’s fears are not groundless.
Are we on the verge of a second Korean War? Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to say with North Korea, whose leadership system and propaganda machine portrays their leaders like demigods (Such as his awe-inspiring 11 hole in ones upon playing golf for the first time ever in his entire life…or maybe thats smell inspiring). Predicting North Korea falls in to 2 basic categories:
- Boating and threatening- This will continue until China reaches from around the curtain and drags them back stage whereupon they smack them in the head while saying “Nice Doggie” until they halt.
- Hot war – Playtime is over.
I notice a lot of folks from my generation, the so called Generation X, asking “Why are we there? Why are we sticking our nose in it?”
I’ve been packing and working on some work relatted paper work since last night. I took a brief respite and turned on the news while putting the finishing touches on my check in luggage. The programming put me to thinking.
I’ve been flying so much the last two months that it feels like I live in an airport.
Thats not usually a big deal for me but it has made keeping up with Graduate school, to put it very mildly, a challenge.
When I get home my daughter craves, no, demands my undivided attention. Work is a huge demand on my time right now and school is just as bad, if not worse. It’s further complicated by the fact I sometimes jump three to four time zones in a single day.
But its good work, and I am doing my best too do a good job, even if the political enviornment is one I am not fond of. Anyone who knows me knows that I am about as politically correct as a an Irish bordello. So I usually just keep my mouth shut, keep my head down, to my job and move out smartly.
Truth be told in this area the travel is a relief. I grow weary of the huddeled whispers in corners sometimes, and it makes my head hurt when folks talk about the latest TV programming. While the latter is entirely me, and I admit that the former is just eye ball rolling and navel gazing. But I digress.
It has been nice seeing old Ft Carson again, sadly no one that I know is stationed here any longer. That much is somewhat telling, as well as vaguely disturbing. In our minds we often picture a place as frozen in time, in a single pane the way it was we last saw it. So it is often shocking when we return to a location and see the changes that have been wrought in our absence.
Cartersville and Ellijay, GA are both this way for me. Often I hear folks say “Oh its only grown a little.” While I stare at them flabberghasted. However my Ft Carson experience is more unsetteling than normal, whereas Cartersville and Ellijay have people I know who can help me identify changes or find places I used to haunt, with Ft Carson I have none of that. Too many years have passed, to many duty stations have changed and too many personell have left for Fiddlers Green from the wars and “peace actions” since my time here.
In High School, one of our yearbook themes was “We are only just passing through”. My good friend, lets call him Gas-man due his MOS and to protect the guilty, and I noted how many folks just passed through our active duty units. Compared to a dinner we had recently with a group of National Guard veterans who I think may have a more solid bonding experience as their personell usually stay until retirement, with minimal change due to personell rotation, or MOS branch orders like in Active Duty.
I think I envy them that. A steady parade of faces over the years, folks I knew only breifly or not at all move past my minds eye as I board another plane and then another. Watching folks in uniform shuffle from one Gate to another to catch flights from here to yon. The last time I flew on Active Duty we were told we could not wear our uniforms for security concerns. We wore civillian clothes. I consider the fact that those instructions were pre 9/11 and now after the fact we openly have folks wearing. Its a juxtaposition to be sure for me, but one that I can not take a position on as I see points in both aspects. But the faces move on and fade out.
In the end we all do, we make only a few marks in the worls, on the people we meet. There are no more Alexanders, no more Hannibals. There will be no more grand parade of soliders from Antietam, The grand movements are done, the band has ceased. It is not what we mark anymore it is who.
Do I sound tired? I am. Very tired.
I turn off the TV and finish packing my bag. If our network programming is of any indicator, I think I’d rather read the works of Tacitus and remember than see what we have become.
I won’t be on line much this weekend (not that I’m here for any length of time to begin with lately). Frankly its my intent to avoid it as much as I can. I’m sure I won’t be able to resist sending some random inane update via my phone that no one will read. But here’s something that I hope you do read.
Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored. ~Daniel Webster
Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language? Are they dead that yet act? Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism? ~Henry Ward Beecher
Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays…. The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms. ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich
I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day. I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did. ~Benjamin Harrison
These heroes are dead. They died for liberty – they died for us. They are at rest. They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest. Earth may run red with other wars – they are at peace. In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death. I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead: cheers for the living; tears for the dead. ~Robert G. Ingersoll
Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes – Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth. ~W.J. Cameron
So when ya’ll pop that first beer, throw on the first burger. Before your family takes the first step out the door upon their weekend, take a moment….even if it is just a single moment to remember that the freedom you are supposed to experience this weekend was bought, paid for in full, by another’s willingness to sacrifice his and or her self for a cause bigger than all of us: that of freedom for a nation.
Tears for our fallen. Cheers for the Living. From my house to my brothers and sisters in arms and my friends across the country…
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day.
We want to see you again come Tuesday.
Wikipedia: A room is any distinguishable space within a structure. →
That said I think my thoughts were best summed already by another writer, and very well:
“They say, ‘What’s your show about?’ I say, ‘Nothing.’”- Jerry Seinfeld
I was reminded of the Seinfeldian idea, the show about nothing, as I listened to the State of the Union. Don’t get me wrong, President Obama said a lot, and some of the things he said I enjoyed hearing, but ultimately it was a speech about nothing. — Karol Markowicz
Much Ado about nothing indeed.