I saw two items on the news tonight that reminded me of what is best about
America. A group of people, after witnessing a horrible motorcycle accident
in Utah, came together to lift the still burning car off the motorcyclist,
pulling him to safety at great risk to themselves. Standing shoulder to
shoulder to lift that car reminded me of the flag raising on Iwo Jima.
Women, men, blacks, whites, construction workers and passers-by, all pulling
together to help a fellow American in distress.
The second was about USMC "Jarhead" Dakota Myer, who got the Medal of Honor
for saving the lives of 36 men:
<< Just 21 at the time, Meyer made five trips into an ambush on U.S. troops,
exposing his body to gunfire repeatedly while serving as a turret gunner,
and ultimately helping to save the lives of 13 American and 23 Afghan
soldiers. "Because of your honor, 36 men are alive today," said Mr. Obama at
the presentation of the Medal. "Because of your courage, four fallen
American heroes came home.">>
Ìt boggles the mind how a soldier can deliberately fall on a grenade
to save the lives of his fellows. And yet it has happened
(Tiny historical note on the Iwo Jima flag-raising: It was re-enacted
for the photographer who, ISTR, didn't get it the first time. Still,
an iconic moment forever!)
On Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:45:46 -0700 (PDT), Higgs Boson
Rosenthal was the photog's name I think.
Ira Hayes is the only name I remember of the flag-raisers.
Read a book about him about 1960.
Turned to drink and drowned in his own puke after falling, on the
reservation I think.
Native Indian, don't remember the tribe. Maybe Pima.
Johnny Cash had a song about him.
Lee Marvin was wounded on Tarawa.
I knew a lot of WW2 vets, but they didn't talk about it, and I never
pressed for it, though I was WW2 history buff.
One of the strangest things that ever happened to me was me and a
millwright named Ziggy were eating lunch in a locker room at U.S.
Steel. I was his millwright helper.
We had never talked about the service.
For some reason I asked him if he was in the Pacific during the war.
He nodded yes, and looked and looked a bit surprised.
Then I said, "Tanker?" and his jaw dropped.
"How'd you know that?"
I said I don't know, just saw your head poking out of a tank hatch
with palm trees in the background.
It was just plain weird.
Nobody knew of his service there, because he didn't talk about.
I suspect most of those guys just wanted to forget it.
I often talk about my time in the Navy, but there was no blood and
guts and it was a walk in the park compared to what a lot of guys go
My Dad is a decorated WWII vet. Awarded a Bronze Star for service at Iwo
Jima. He never talked about it until we found his Bronze Star one day
and asked about it. He played it down of course. Iwo Jima was a fu@king
<<Ìt boggles the mind how a soldier can deliberately fall on a grenade
to save the lives of his fellows. And yet it has happened
Deep in the Pentagon there used to be a little alcove call the Hall of
Heroes. An odd mix of chapel, memorial and dent in the wall, it contained
the stories of every winner of the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest
award. Though it was a *very* humble looking place, when you entered that
darkened little room, you knew you were standing on sacred ground. In one
place are assembled acts of heroism so profound it restores the human spirit
that such amazing people exist willing to risk their lives to save others.
They fall on grenades, they charge withering machine gun fire, they carry
their wounded buddies for dozens of miles through enemy territory even
though they are horribly (and often mortally) injured themselves. Like Sgt.
Meyer, they go back to get fellow soldiers higher ups have left for dead.
Most get the MOH posthumously. They gave "that last full measure" of their
lives for their comrades. That's a hard thought to reconcile with guys who
are supposedly there just to "kill people and blow things up."
Along the canal in downtown Indy there is the National Metal of Honor
Memorial (http://medalofhonormemorial.com /). When it was dedicated I had
the honor of driving around some of the winners who came in. It was a
singular experience. To a man they said they did not deserve the metal
and that it really should have been given to those who died.
(Today's trivia: Indianapolis has more military-related monuments
than any other city not in the District of Columbia.)
People thought cybersex was a safe alternative,
until patients started presenting with sexually
Yes, that's what many of them say. I hate to say this but the Soviets took
a hell of a lot better care of their war heroes than we have.
MOH recipient: *BELLRICHARD, LESLIE ALLEN Rank and organization: Private
First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry. Born: 4
December 1941 Place and date: Kontum Province Republic of Vietnam, 20 May
1967. Threw himself upon a grenade, shielding his companions from the blast
that followed. Although severely wounded, Pfc. Bellrichard struggled into an
upright position in the foxhole and fired his rifle at the enemy until he
succumbed to his wounds.
We agree on some things, at least.
General George Patton said "I'd sell my immortal soul for that medal."
Harry Truman said "I would rather have the blue band of the Medal of Honor
around my neck than to be President."
Don't know what the current stats are, but it used to be that it was more
often awarded posthumously than to a living recipient.
I sadly recall more than one episode where an elderly MOH winner was duped
out of his medal by a quick-change artist that had a replica medal. Some
have died in poverty and obscurity. As you can tell, I am on a rant here.
I spent long hours reading every story in the "Hall of Heroes" and it's
clear that there are people who love their country and their fellow citizens
more than their own lives. That's why HeyBub's "they join to kill" speech
has me so riled up. That give me an idea . . .
*ANDERSON, JAMES, JR. Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S.
Marine Corps, 2d Platoon, Company F, 2d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine
Division. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 28 February 1967. Born: 22
January 1947, Los Angeles, CA. Unhesitatingly he reached out, grasped the
grenade, pulled it to his chest and curled around it as it went off. His
body absorbed the major force of the explosion.
(an asterisk indicates awarded posthumously)
Um, sort of. The original flag was itty-bitty. Orders were given to find a
GIANT flag and replace the teeny-tiny one so it could be seen all over the
It was the erection of this second flag - not a reenactment of the first -
that became the iconic photograph.
The successes we had in the Pacific, Guadacanal, Iwo Jima, etc., were at the
expense of the Imperial Navy Marines.
In consideration of invading the home island itself, we would be up against
the Imperial ARMY. Best estimates were the Japanese army consisted of 2.5
million soldiers, fully equipped, trained, and experienced from fighting in
Burma, Korea, the Philippines, and elsewhere.
The plans for invading Japan tasked the Fifth Marine Division with the
initial assault. By day three of the conflict, the 5th Marines did not
appear on the Order of Battle.
Those are great stories. Just as a side note. They had some of the
rescuers on one of the early shows this morning (CNN?) and a couple of
them sounded like immigrants. Possibly Arab, Pakistani or Indian.
Bravery isn't just an American trait.
This whole thread reminds me of something my father said when we asked
him about Iwo Jima and his Bronze Star. Basically he said there is a
fine line between bravery and stupidity. He was awarded a Bronze Star
for running ammo on the beaches of Iwo Jima under heavy fire. He said he
didn't realize the real danger he was in until after the war was over.
With that said, he is the bravest man I ever met. He even met his own
death with bravery.
There is a supple difference between the type of bravery displayed in
war and the bravey displayed by the rescuers in Utah. Bravery at war
could be classified as "patriotic" bravery and the other "human"
bravery. Both admirable. Patriotic bravery is both "human" and
"patriotic" but can be inspired by a love of country. The bravery
displayed by the Utah rescuers has little to do with country. That is
why I take exception to the title of the thread. It sounds like what the
rescuers did was somehow an American trait. I suspect those people would
have displayed the same bravery anywhere in the world. To say they would
only do it because they are Americans lessens the meaning of the word
If you haven't seen "Letters from Iwo Jima", get the DVD from NetFlix
or your local libarry.Battle seen from the Japanese perspective.
Revelatory glimpse of how the Japanese Imperial Army can FUBAR just as
well as our military can. The usual mix of heroism, cowardice,
incompetence, innovativeness. Highly recommended.
<<If you haven't seen "Letters from Iwo Jima", get the DVD from NetFlix
or your local libarry.Battle seen from the Japanese perspective.>>
Wasn't that directed by notorious "Leftist" Clint Eastwood. (-:
There's a remarkable series on educational TV by the AFI. One episode is
about war movies. I've seen it three times, Netflixed at least a dozen
films mentioned in it and was enlightened greatly. They use "Platoon" to
teach soldiers the value of good public relations.
*DAHL, LARRY G. Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army,
359th Transportation Company, 27th Transportation Battalion, U.S. Army
Support Command. Place and date: An Khe, Binh Dinh Province, Republic of
Vietnam, 23 February 1971. Born: 6 October 1949, Oregon City, Oreg.
Citation: Sp4c. An enemy hand grenade was thrown into the truck in which
Sp4c. Dahl was riding. He threw himself directly onto the grenade saving the
lives of the other members of the truck crew while sacrificing his own.
Careful of the stereotype. Not ALL Hollywood types are liberal.
Eastwood registered as a Republican and voted for Eisenhower. He voted for
In 2008, he endorsed John McCain for president.
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