Pass on the Message

February 21, 2008

I have a complete post (I promise)

But, right now it is banging around in my head. When I get a couple hours (I type very slowly) I will  air my complete thoughts on the assault of our Troops.

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No Parade

November 14, 2007

Today I would like to share one of the poems written by a wonderful Vietnam Veteran. Please stop in and tell give Gary a hug for me. Nam Tour

No Ticker-Tape Parade
by Gary Jacobson © December 2004

For that little southeast Asian charade
For that fiercest of games we played
They gave no welcome-home parade
Fighting for freedom…far and away in Vietnam
Knee deep in mud, blood and fear
Fear that’s lasted many a bloody year.

There was no ticker-tape parade, or such
No hurrahs…no cookies…no punch
Not so much as a half-hearted cheer
For surviving hell our most excruciating year.
Though we didn’t ask for much…
By a grateful nation we wanted only to be heard
Wanted folks to hear our tales of war’s absurd.

We had so bloody much hurt to get off our chest
For devotion to duty honored with our country’s best
Just wanting to be recognized
For boyish youth in cruel war sacrificed
But America was just too weary of war
To welcome back boyhood soldiers war bore.

Men sorely staggered by war’s bloody insanity
Face now a bleak destiny
Futures beset with demonic fear’s depravity
I guess that’s why folks back here couldn’t see
How young value systems were twisted for eternity
How on young boys was impressed war’s barbarity
Giving rise to upheavals witnessed in war’s inhumanity.

So embarrassed, folks back home gave no parade,
No welcome home accolade
For warriors wounded in body and spirit
Soldiers disillusioned, lied to, desolate…
Men laid low by moral depravity’s greatest hit
Were turned away while countrymen on us spit.

Folks back home called us every conceivable name
For erstwhile young princes held such contemptuous shame
Calling us depraved baby killers, castigated with blame.
We’d so much to talk about of where we did roam
But found the only ones welcoming our arrival home
Were our mothers…and beastly traumatic stress syndrome.

Seeing the war daily on television made
Vietnam a condemned charade
People just too uncomfortable to honor with a parade
Returning warriors with souls burned-out
Who’d seen too much, no doubt
Waving the flag, all hale to their glory shout

Vietnam veterans buried “issues” down extra deep
Deep down in the dank where scary demons yet creep
Regurgitating violence that plumb our soul’s great depths
Forevermore haunted by comrades-in-arms’ deaths
Recurring memories of war’s hot fiery breath
Is it any wonder, vets now walk…so unafraid of death?

Parades are reserved for conquering heroes, glories to flaunt
Not for those whom Nam’s deep, dank jungles still haunt.
Not for those with compounded fears from a foreign land abused
With dread inlaid by vagaries of a non-caring world confused
Our fears earned fighting for home, freedom, beloved land
Great horrors, our people, did not even try to understand.

Beloved countrymen did not, would not, could not hear
Would not try their best to comfort a fellow man’s harrowing fear
By a nation we loved, unceremoniously denied
Promises not kept by a country we with all our hearts loved,
Bled for…died
For honor given, our country gave dishonor…

Yet Vietnam veterans still dream of the ticker-tape parade
Dreams still blow in the wind of a welcome home fusillade
For that war of a surety won by the blade
Lost only by politician’s bumbling charade
Our sacrifice in honor deprecated
Enslaving promises forever subjugated…decimated…trampled

That parade that should have been…
But never was…our nation’s great sin…


 


Korean War Veteran Receives High School Diploma

November 13, 2007

My plans for this week were pushed to the side when I read this article. It warmed my heart to read of a Veteran receiving recognition in such a special way.

 

LAWRENCE HAYES, center, left Fitch High School in Windsor during his junior year to join the Army and fight in the Korean War. He never received his diploma, but that was rectified Monday when it was presented to him during a special Veterans Day program at Windsor High School. U.S. Rep. John Larson, left, and Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, right, congratulate Hayes. (STEPHEN DUNN / November 12, 2007)

| Courant Staff Writer

WINDSOR – Korean War veteran Lawrence Hayes sat proudly with his peers on the stage at Windsor High School Monday.

Hayes was joined by veterans from World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq, as the school which was among 17 districts in the state that held classes on Veterans Day observed their sacrifices and accomplishments.

But Hayes, 76, also had another, more personal reason for being at the school.

He was there to get the diploma he passed up in May of 1950, when as a 19-year-old junior at John Fitch High School (predecessor of Windsor High School), he left school early and enlisted in the U.S. Army.

“I’m proud to get my diploma at this late a year,” Hayes said as hundreds of students in the audience rose for a standing ovation. “If I can do it somebody else can do it.”

Hayes, who spent three years in the Army including a year in Korea building bridges, was honorably discharged as a corporal and went on to spend 40 years as a truck driver. After retiring, the Norwich resident delivered Meals on Wheels for 10 years and now volunteers as a foster grandparent in local schools.

A few months ago, Hayes said, he decided to see if he could get his diploma and contacted the office of U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd. After being told he could, Hayes called the high school to see if they would be willing to give him a diploma. The high school was happy to oblige.

“For us it’s an absolute honor,” said Elizabeth Feser, Windsor’s superintendent of schools, who presented Hayes his diploma.

Monday’s graduation ceremony, which was also attended by U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, and Connecticut Attorney General and former U.S. Marine Sgt. Richard Blumenthal, was the culmination of a daylong focus on Veterans Day in the school district.

Three years ago, after gauging the feelings of local veterans, the Windsor Board of Education decided to hold classes instead of giving students the day off.

“We felt we would be able to educate the kids better about Veterans Day,” said Feser, adding that each of the seven schools in the district engaged in activities that focused on veterans.

At the high school, students created a 12-minute video dedicated to veterans that included a segment on the history of taps. About 1,400 students watched the video from their classrooms.

“It was very powerful,” said television production teacher Steve Hodges. “You could hear a pin drop.”

Eight veterans also spent the day speaking to students about their reasons for joining the military, how it prepared them for life and some of their experiences.

Junior Abbey Michaud said Monday that she has changed her mind about the district’s decision to hold school on the holiday.

“At first I thought it was definitely wrong,” Michaud said. “But then you get to the point that you appreciate it.”

Hayden Joseph, a captain and company commander in the Army, was among those who appreciated Hayes’ efforts.

“We thank you for serving our nation and congratulate you on this special day,” Joseph said.

Hayes said he plans to make a copy of the diploma and hang it on a wall in his home. The original, he said, will be placed on his late wife Teresa’s dresser. She died in 2005.

“So she can know I did it,” Hayes said. “She would have been proud.”


Courant News


WWII – The Return

November 12, 2007


Every Day this week I am posting a new video or story about Veterans from various wars returning home.

Today I am spot-lighting Les Newman, a WWII Veteran, who shares  his feelings upon returning to the States from Japan.

God Bless our Veterans.


The Parade of Colors

May 29, 2007

I would like to appologize for not showing pictures of every group that participated. I am sad to say I lost track of which group is in each picture. This is my last set of pictures

We are eternally grateful for all who have served.

The following pictures are in no particular order:

Disabled Women Veterans 

Pictured below: Special Forces Association Chapter 39


More pictures…

May 29, 2007

A moment to reflect

“The Nation Which Forgets Its Defenders Will Itself Be Forgotten”

We will Never Forget!

Old Glory at Half Mast

From the author of “America’s White Table”, Margot Theis:

 “Be it Memorial Day or Veterans Day or the Fourth of July, that’s the point,” she said. “The point is every single day of freedom is brought to you by that person who is not sitting there.”

Our Civil War Soldiers being honored

Forgive me for losing track ~ I believe these men are 1st Cav Veterans who served in Vietnam.

More 1st Cav Veterans!

The toll of the Bell

(next year I take my note pad and give proper recognition)

More Veterans

 


Memorial Day at the Houston National Cemetery

May 28, 2007

It is hard to explain the full range of emotions that I felt while in the presence of those who had served, while honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

I felt as if I was in the middle of the largest, most loving family in the world. The veterans were quick to offer a handshake, a hug, and a shoulder to lean on while we shared the tears.

They shared pictures and memories of buddies who were no longer with us.  

And they were quick to offer their thanks for my L’il Trooper and the guys serving with him. Son, I have been asked to tell you: “Young man, be careful. We plan on meeting you face to face and shaking hands with you next year.”

It took me a few tries (heading east when I should have gone south) to find Uncle Joseph’s grave site.  I know that you are sitting on high, keeping a sharp eye out for the men and women in the battle. Today, I reflected on the fire in your eye when we discussed David going to Iraq. I swear, if you could have mustered the strength to stand, you would have found a way to salute him when the plane left Texas. Dear Uncle Joseph, we know your heart has always been with the troops.  We miss you and love you very much.

I am going to post a few pictures from the day… I will add more as time allows.

A couple words from Texas Governor Rick Perry:

Let us pause today as one to reflect, to recall, to revere, to remember them and their families. Let us never forget the responsibility the men and women of the armed forces bequeath to each and every one of us. It is the responsibility that we have each day to look within and to go beyond, to in some way contribute to this great nation and its future.

The Riderless Horse

1st Cav Veteran Vietnam

Marine Veteran Vietnam

Zeke – WWII Veteran. He shared the story of his wonderful wife of 47 years, who is buried at HNC. She said if Zeke was good enough to serve this country, he was good enough to marry.

Members and family of the Vietnamese Troops who fought at our side. They were a wonderful group to meet and share hugs.

 

These two Marines showed me that Marines do know how to smile. They had me holding my side from laughter. (No, I won’t share what they said about the Navy)

Houston Chapter ~ Special Forces (Some of these men could still kick some serious butt!)

I had to share my disdane for “Jane Traitor Fonda” before I was welcomed to a hug from these two “hard core Patriots”

Our Future!

I offer a special hug to all who made this day one that I will never forget. God Bless the men and women who have served this great nation!