Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget


With humbled hearts and grateful souls we thank and remember all who served and serve, and all who died. And we pay tribute to our fathers:

Lawrence J. Meaney US Army (RadioMattM's father):

Jack Greenwood (Fay's father) British Army.

Please post your tributes to your family members - including YOU. Photo's would be lovely as well.

ODE OF REMEMBRANCE (from the poem "For The Fallen")

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

- Laurence Binyon

THE FINAL INSPECTION (with thanks to Alison)

The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

‘Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you ?
Have you always turned the other cheek ?
To My Church have you been true?’

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
‘No, Lord, I guess I ain’t.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can’t always be a saint.

I’ve had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I’ve been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn’t mine to keep…
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I’ve wept unmanly tears.

I know I don’t deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
It needn’t be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don’t, I’ll understand.

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

‘Step forward now, you soldier,
You’ve borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
You’ve done your time in Hell.’

- Author Unknown


In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCrae


  1. I love the English tradition of wearing the poppies. I hope they wear them this time of year for many years to come. It's pitch perfect: somber, but not morbid.

  2. Thanks lewy, for me the poppy forever symbolizes the sacrifice of our troops.

    There has been an ongoing bruhaha the last week or so in th UK because FIFA (the soccer regulating body) pronounced that the English and Welsh teams playing this weekend could not wear the poppy on their shirts (which they have done for many a year. Stating that they do not allow "political, religious, or nationalistic" symbols displayed on their attire.

    Thank G-d, the Brits actually waged an all out war against the ban, including the objections of the PM, the Heir to the Throne, Prince William et al.

    Now, the poppy will be seen on black armbands worn by all the team.

  3. Fay, you would know better than I - but the poppy for me doesn't seem to be so "nationalistic". WWI wasn't such a great war - as wars go. No decisive outcome, really.

    Doesn't the poppy really symbolize the entire European generation which was lost? Or maybe that's just my interpretation.

  4. ^^^ In other words: a Frenchmen might take greater offense at the two fingered salute of the longbow men, in remembrance of the battle of Agincourt, than the average German should take from seeing a poppy on a uniform. If that makes any sense.

  5. lewy said: "Doesn't the poppy really symbolize the entire European generation which was lost? Or maybe that's just my interpretation. "

    You are right lewy, which is why I said:

    "for me the poppy forever symbolizes the sacrifice of our troops."

  6. Interesting lewy, the Germans flat out came out on the side of poppies in the team uniform FIFA farcicle.

  7. Canadians wear it to, which I like. I would love to start the tradition in the US.

  8. Fay, yes, interesting - I would have thought that they (the Germans) should see the poppy in this light; very encouraging that, in fact, they do.

  9. lewy, the whole thing has been ridiculous. The poppy has been a (mainly) British/Commonwealth symbol of respect for as long as I can remember (and I'm REALLY old) trying to get rid of it stinks.

    I'm as glad as anyone that the "Germans" got it!

  10. Thank you, Fay. Wearing a poppy for Remembrance Day was one of the first Canadian tradition I adopted when we moved here. It is the perfect symbol.

    I cannot forget; I will not let my children forget. Too many of their ancestors have fought to gain and keep the freedoms we enjoy.

    For Uncle Homer (US Army), a tank repairman who hit the beaches of Normandy the night after the initial invasion.
    For Uncle Pete (US Navy), his brother, who spent the war in the Aleutians as a telegraph operator.
    For Uncle Lloyd (not sure - guessing Army Air Corps), another brother, a fighter pilot who was shot down, severely wounded and spent time in a German prison camp.
    For Uncle Red (US Army - Cavalry when they still had horses) who spent WWII in Texas training soldiers.
    For my mother's father (Coast Guard) who patrolled the ocean off the Atlantic coast watching for U-boats.
    For my father (US Marines)who served as an embassy guard in Switzerland during the Kennedy years.
    For my father-in-law (US Army) who served at Ft. Meade in Maryland during the Korean War.
    For Uncle Joe (US Army Reserve) in Civil affairs
    For my husband (US Army Reserve) who mobilized reserve units in Gulf War I and then trained as an Arabic linguist.

    All gave some, some gave all. We will remember.

  11. Thank you for the post, Fay. Great picture's of yours and Matt's dads.

    Lyana - That's a heck of a list and one to be proud of.

    I met a retired Marine a couple of months who during the course of our conversation mentioned that every generation of his family had had someone who had served in the Marines since the Marines inception on Nov. 10, 1775. Though, sadly, that tradition ended with his two sons. They elected not to serve.

    A good friend of mine here at work is back east today, attending the honor services for her son-in-law. LtCol David Cabrera, who was killed in Kabul as a result of the suicide attack on that bus at the end of October. They will lower Daves's body at 11:11:11 on 11/11/11.

    LtCol Dave Cabrera

    LtCol Dave Cabrera

  12. This is a somber day. Thank you for the lovely post Fay, and thank you to veterans who grace the pages of TCKT.

  13. img:""

    My brother, Larry (1950-2002), who served for twenty years and was the US Army's Soldier of the Year in Europe in 1974.

  14. Lyana, I was looking for the "Like" button for your comment with the list of family members, but, of course, we don't have one. If we did, I would have clicked it.

  15. When I was little, the VFW used to sell crepe paper poppies every year. Today, if I see them, I still buy them. But I rarely do, anymore. It's sad.

    My family's military heritage has been one of the most defining characteristics of my life - and one I'm tremendously proud of:

    My husband - Army service, then USAF service including multiple war deployments
    My brother - West Point graduate and multiple war zone deployments
    My mother - served in the USAF 1972 - 1973 (and whose service was ended by my appearance)
    My father - USAF Vietnam Veteran
    My uncle - US Army Vietnam Veteran
    My grandfather - Army Air Corps, Pacific Theater, WWII
    My maternal grandfather - Naval service, WWII
    My cousin - Coast Guard

    And I hope that my own children carry on this family tradition.

  16. AFW, see my comment #14 and add AFM to Lyana.

    Thanks unto all of them.

    My father told me that one of his uncles had been gassed in WWI.

  17. No wonder you refuse to forget and thank you for not letting your children forget.

    afw, ditto.

  18. Oh Luther, that picture of LtCol Dave Cabrera with his family is heart breaking.

    RIP and thank you LtCol Dave Cabrera.

  19. Wonderful post, Fay, TY.

  20. Matt, I think Larry may have won the cold war all by himself. Not sure I've ever seen a more serious demeanor. Has he lightened up any? Joking, of course... well, maybe not completely. But seriously, a big thank you to Larry for his service, and his seriousness.

    AFW, that's a damn fine list too, and you should be proud.

    The only list I know for sure is my paternal grandmother's. Her five daughters all served either during WWII or shortly thereafter. One son did Korea, and was never the same after. My father, however, managed to enlist in the CCC. He was always a chickenshit bastard anyway. Oh, my maternal grandmother did rewind aircraft generators and starters at Jacksonville NAS during the war, and after.

    Fay. the Colonel was a fine man, loved his children and his children loved him. His wife is a strong woman, and will overcome.

    War is a pitiless bastard. Strikes the lifeless laggard the same as it does the paragons of virtue. The thing to remember is that it will always be with us. And the stronger and smarter you (we) are the less you (we) suffer.

  21. Luther, LOL.

    The point behind those photos is that the US knew that the enemy had access to them. Consequently, they wanted the soldiers to appear to be really pissed off SOBs.


    Thanks for the chuckle.

  22. In answer to your question, though, he became a devout Christian. I had many interests in common with him. We both loved oldies music. We both loved old time radio. IHe (officially) died on my 46th birthday. It took me a couple of years before I came to terms with his death. I kept thinking, "Oh, I should tell Larry about this." Then I would realize that I could not, at least in mere mortal terms.

    As an interesting side note: My brother's first Yarzeit and Fay's mother's tenth Yaezezeit were on the same day.

  23. My dad.


  24. Thanks to everyone for sharing your photographs and stories. :X

    This is a wonderful thread Fay. Lyana and AFW, there are no words to express my gratitude for remarkable service of so many members of your respective clans.

    I was going to post a pic of my uncle, but it seems photobucket doesn't like the fact that I haven't been there in eons. Go figure.

  25. Aww, he looks like a big cuddly teddy bear florrie. He has a very warm, kind face.

  26. Lady Red, email it to me and I will post it if you would like. I know the rest of us would like to see it.

    Florie, I don't have a formal photo of my father in his dress blues, but I do have a picture of my parents ready to go out to some function and he is wearing them. I'll scan that real quick and post it. As we can see from the photo of your father, men just look so impressive in their dress blues.

  27. Thank you, guys.

    Yes, we kids always loved it when the folks "dressed up" for an event.

    Of course, back in those days, the ladies always wore heels, nylons, slips, hats, etc. Not much fun for them in tropical Panama but we kids lived like little savages and loved it!

    I'd like to see your dad's pic in his dress uniform, Matt.

  28. Thanks Matt, the photo is coming your way!

    Florrie, your dad does look like a cuddly bear. :X

  29. Here are some more pictures of fine men in uniform.

    First we have Lady Red's beloved Uncle Arnie, who passed away in 1964. He is missed and appreciated still.


    Next we have the photo of my parents in December, 1967. This photo shows my father in his dress blues and, just as did Florie's father, he cut a fine figure.


    And one more photo of my father, circa 1957, in his "pink pants." This is a color photo, but it is quite faded by this point. I am not adept enough in Photoshop to fix the colors.


  30. And from what you can see, you can rest assured that my mother is dressed just as Florie described.

  31. Thank you Matt. I always loved this picture of my uncle; he looks like he was on a heckuva bender the night before his picture was taken! He joined the Navy at age 17.

    Your mom is lovely, and your father is dashing in his dress blues!

    All the dads are dashing. Thank you Fay, florrie, and Matt.

  32. Great pics, Matt and lady red. Gosh how we miss them...

  33. Yes, we sure do miss them florrie.

    Neither of my grandpas served during the war. My maternal grandpa had health issues, and they wouldn't let him enlist, although he tried repeatedly. I think he always carried a sense of shame that he didn't march off with the other men in the family. He spent the war working in the shipyards, painting ships.

    My paternal grandfather wasn't allowed to enlist. He was a railroad man, and the government uprooted the family from Oregon to California, where he spent the war doing something railroad-y for the war effort. He had many uncles, and most of them served.

    My dad wasn't born until 1937, that magical spot that missed both Korea and Vietnam. He had a wife and three children by the time he was in his mid-twenties. I don't know why he never served; I never got the chance to ask him.

    Noah is an Air Force vet. My BIL is also an AF guy. We have two nephs and one niece currently serving in the Navy. And that's my family roll call, unless we go back more generations! :)

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  36. Thanks, Luther.

    Want me to post the pic for you?

  37. A timely and necessary thread. Thanks.

    My father was RCN (Korea), my great-uncles were RCAF; CDN Army (1st Cdn. Artillery- awarded the MC- Sicily, etc.) and CDN Army (87th Btn, buried in france).

    RIP, all. Hard, driven men who got the job done as part of the Greatest Generation, and my namesake among those that won the Great War.

  38. Matt, thanks for the offer, but no, I'll leave them up for a day or two over there and then take them down.

    Earl, my salute to your family. The freedom loving countries have sacrificed much to bring the world to its present state. I suppose we'll hold fast or piss it away. It's 50/50 now the way I see it.

  39. You look very handsome in your uniform Luther! ;)

    Can I put a link to your blog in the sidebar?

  40. Luther, That's why I didn't just go ahead and do it. Thanks for giving us the link, though. I am glad to see the photos.

    Earl, a salute to your family as well. It would be nice if we could offer more than our humble words to honor the fine people who served to protect us (present company most definitely included), but I hope the words do convey a sense of gratitude.

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  42. I didn't get to see your pictures, Luther :-( We just got home from an all day trip, I miss everything.

  43. Sorry, florrie. But I got carried away, suffice to say you didn't miss a thing.