Posts tagged ‘World War Two’

December 1, 2014

Updated: Why Keep Remembering Pearl Harbor?

by lewwaters

pearl-harbor-uss-virginiaTo a lot of younger people today, the sudden attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 is just a note in history. A note that I am sure many think has no relevance on their lives today.

They couldn’t be more wrong. With the attack launching us onto World War Two and the all out effort to defeat the Axis powers, not only was our own freedoms preserved, but former enemies that we defeated came to enjoy freedoms and became our partners.

There have been efforts since the attack at controversy. Claims of advance knowledge of it coming, allowing it to happen, even that then President Roosevelt provoked Japan into attacking us (sound familiar, Ron Paulies?)

I doubt much of that mattered that peaceful Sunday morning to the men and women that were abruptly thrust into war by the surprise attack, though.

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September 22, 2014

POW/MIA Memorial

by lewwaters

I was pleased to read of the dedication this past Saturday of the POW/MIA Memorial at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on Fourth Plain. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend.

I was able to not only attend the POW/MIA recognition ceremonies in 2011, but to tape the speaker as well, former WWII POW Dale Bowlin, who also spoke this past Saturday, video below.

Sorry about background noise, but he was speaking very close to the freeway that day.

March 2, 2014

Luau 4 Veterans Sampling

by lewwaters

Very brief excerpts of some of the talent seen at the February 22, 2014 Luau to Honor World War Two and Korean War Veterans in Vancouver, Washington.

http://lewwaters.com/2014/01/05/a-luau-in-honor-of-the-greatest-generation/

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June 13, 2013

Veterans Ask For Help Preserving One of a Kind Historical Treasure

by lewwaters

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy’.” Former President and PT Boat Commander John F. Kennedy

DSC03274Once affectionately described as “barnacle-encrusted plywood motor boat hardly bigger than a stockbroker’s cabin cruiser,” mention of PT Boats usually triggers memories of former President John F. Kennedy’s PT 109 exploits, the 1945 John Wayne movie “They Were Expendable” and of course, the 1960’s television show McHale’s Navy.

Whatever vision they stir in us, PT Boats served an essential purpose during World War Two. Light weight, small and fast, they would go up against much larger and heavily armed vessels with their torpedoes.

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December 6, 2012

Remembering Pearl Harbor

by lewwaters

As we all know, Sunday, December 7, 1941 saw a sudden and deliberate attack on the U.S. Navy at anchor in Pearl Harbor Hawaii. The attack drew America into World War Two and was labeled by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “A day that will live in infamy.”

But few of us know much of what those men in the ships saw and endured on that fateful morning.

I was fortunate to have attended the 70th Commemoration of that attack last year and recorded the words of the few remaining survivors in our area.

May we never forget or let our guard drop like that again.

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December 9, 2011

Survivors of Pearl Harbor Share Their Memories

by lewwaters

Wednesday December 7, 2011 was the 70th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that thrust America into World War Two. In this video report, survivors recounted the horrific day.

On this 70th anniversary, 11 survivors of the attack from the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington area shared their memories at the commemoration services held at the Red Lion Inn at the Quay.

The event was hosted by the Pacific Northwest Sons & Daughters of the Pearl Harbor Survivors who will continue services previously hosted by the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, who have announced disbanding due to an aging and declining membership.

May God continue blessing these heroes. May their sacrifices never be forgotten.

May 5, 2011

Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day)

by lewwaters

The World Must Never Forget, lest it be repeated.

Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Ha-Shoah)

Videos and photos are graphic and disturbing, but necessary in order the world never forgets. Should they forget, it will happen again.

While stationed in Germany in the early 1970’s, I took the time to visit Dachau and walk through it. Cleaned up, all but 2 barracks torn down and those 2 newly constructed, memorials hosted by every group who met their fate there and massive graves of unknown people still leave an impression on a person.

In comparison, Dachau wasn’t near as gruesome as was other camps like Auschwitz, Treblinka and others.

Eisenhower was right to command it be documented as we all know, many today try to claim it never happened.

February 2, 2011

FEBRUARY 3 –NATIONAL FOUR CHAPLAINS DAY

by lewwaters

By REES LLOYD (re-posted with author’s permission)

Also seen at World Net Daily

“Four Chaplains Day” is to be observed annually on February 3 in America by the unanimous resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1988. It is a day to remember February 3, 1943, one of the most remarkable and inspiring acts of heroism in the history of warfare took place in World War II. It is a day to honor the heroism of the Four Chaplains, who selflessly gave their lives “that others may live.”

However, although veterans in The American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other veterans organizations, will hold special observances on Four Chaplains Day, most American media, most American schools, and, therefore, most Americans, will not observe it. Indeed, most Americans, including children who will not be taught about in their schools, will not even know that there is a National Four Chaplains day, or why. This is true even though, as a former soldier who owed his life to them has said: “[T]heir heroism is beyond belief. That is one of the reasons why we must tell the world what these people did.”

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August 8, 2010

No Apologies Due Japan for Atomic Bomb

by lewwaters

UPDATE: For those that wish to berate me for saying Japan is owed no apology over America ending the war with the A-Bomb, Japan Developed Atom Bomb (1946 Atlanta Constitution Articles)

It’s difficult to believe that long before most of us were born, the entire world was embroiled in the bloodiest war in history, World War Two. Oh, we’ve read about it in books, learned about it from parents and grandparents who fought in it and saw the many movies made about it.

None can accurately capture the sheer brutality of war, though. Only participation can give the true feeling of that.

Being a Veteran of Viet Nam myself and growing up in the shadow of that brutal war, perhaps that is why I am so perplexed these past few years that the world now seems to demand America apologize to those who drug us into that war for our ending it by the two atomic bomb attacks on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Atomic weapons had never been used and it was not even known that they would work, having just been developed. But work they did and the Japanese agreed to an unconditional surrender, as had Germany many months before. The war ended and the troublesome task of peace began for a while.

But, why use such a brutal weapon that killed over 100,000, many ask today. Surely it could have been ended without taking so many lives, they opine. And, they are wrong.

The brutality of the Japanese Imperial Army is a well known historical fact today, thanks in part to such books as The Rape of Nanking by Iris Chang, which documented how they used the slaughter and beheadings of innocent Chinese for sport.

The maltreatment of Prisoners of War such as occurred during what is known as the Bataan Death March where “Beheadings, cutting of throats and casual shootings were the more common actions, compared to instances of bayonet stabbing, rape, disembowelment, rifle butt beating and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week in tropical heat” against captured American and Filipino soldiers and civilians are well documented.

Ignored or forgotten is that both Germany and Japan were also working on creating nuclear weapons as America was developing ours. Luckily, our scientists developed ours first.

Couple the Axis’ Powers development programs of Atomic Weapons with their work on developing delivery systems, such as the German Messerschmitt Me-264 Amerika Bomber and the sharing of technology between Germany and Japan prior to wars end, there can be little doubt that had they developed theirs first, it would have been used against Allied forces, if not America itself.

Much has been said over the years of the scientists that developed the American Atomic Bombs expressed hesitation on using it against Japan. While that will be endlessly debated, the decision was not an easy one for President Truman to make.

Given the Japanese refusal of the Potsdam Declaration and the fierce fighting seen in taking Okinawa and the high loss of life on both sides, every indication was that millions of lives would be lost to invade Japan and bring the war to an end by that means.

Many still claim a “demonstration” of the might of the “A-Bomb” would have encouraged Japan to surrender. But, remember that we only had two bombs built and there was still the question of whether or not they would actually work, even though one had worked in the New Mexico desert.

Even if it had worked, given the fanaticism of the Japanese Army at the time and even with the claims now of they were ready to quit anyways, Truman did not have a lot of choices if he were to end the war and avoid millions more in deaths on both sides.

Those now crying that America should now apologize for the Atomic Bomb conveniently leave out one little undisputed fact.

That being, had there not been s sneak attack Sunday morning, December 7, 1941 against the United States Naval Forces moored in Pearl Harbor Hawaii, dragging a reluctant America into a war they were trying to avoid, there would have been no reason to drop any bombs on the cities of Hiroshima or Nagasaki just under 4 years later.

If any apologies are due to anyone, it should be from Germany and Japan for plunging the world into the bloodiest conflict ever seen in the history of mankind.

December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor, How Soon We Forget

by lewwaters

December 7, 1941, 68 years ago today is a date that was slated to “live in infamy.” Then president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, addressed Congress and the nation with a speech that began,

“Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

This date marked our country being drawn into the already ongoing war that would now and forever be known as World War Two, the bloodiest conflict in the recorded history of our planet. After the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, we as a country came together with resolve to end the tyranny of the Nazi’s, Fascist and Imperial Japanese.

In time, the allied forces drew the conflict to a victorious close. Life began anew as war weary Veterans came home and began raising families and building businesses. Memorials were erected across the nation to honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice to beat back the enemy and grant even them the freedom to rejoin the nations of the world.

One such Memorial still rests on the bottom of Pearl Harbor. The rusting hulk of the United States Battleship, USS Arizona with over one thousand of her crew forever entombed within her hull.

Each year, fewer and fewer aging Veterans travel to her to pay homage to their fallen heroes, their numbers dwindling at a rapid rate today. Former enemies stand together in respect of the crew and others who gave their lives to bring freedom back to the world. Some have difficulty facing each other, old wounds coming up just below the surface of these men, but they all show respect for those who paid the ultimate price of freedom.

General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, in accepting the unconditional surrender of the Japanese aboard the decks of the Battleship USS Missouri said in part,

“It is my earnest hope, and indeed the hope of all mankind, that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past — a world dedicated to the dignity of man and the fulfillment of his most cherished wish for freedom, tolerance and justice.”

America vowed to never be caught off guard like that again as we began a peacetime draft of a war ready Military with around the clock watches worldwide as a former ally returned to their villainous conquest of free nations.

Nearly 5 decades later, that “evil empire,” the communist Soviet Union imploded and collapsed upon itself, freeing even more nations from oppression.

During the 5 decades of the “Cold War,” voices that before were marginalized and ignored gained favor and were accepted wherever they spoke against our resolve to remain a free people. Agents of the Soviet Union successfully infiltrated and fed leftist groups sympathetic to the Soviet Cause and convinced all too many that standing for freedom was no longer noble, but a suckers game.

Where our resolve saw us through in keeping South Korea free from Communist aggression, these anti-war voices misled the populace, causing many to look upon the brave sacrifices of our Troops in standing up against Communist aggression in another Southeast Asian county with scorn.

They had us abandon that country to the dark days of years of Communist oppression, millions of their citizens just disappearing.

Elected leaders who spoke out against this evil empire of communism were ridiculed, scoffed at and undermined, some being driven from office and replaced by more leftist who had no resolve to protect the country, falsely believing all we needed to do was appease enemies to avoid war, ignoring that appeasement did not stop the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor long ago.

But, those officials stood fast. They faced communist leaders and the empire collapsed.

Almost immediately, those who favor appeasement began dismantling our around the clock guarding of the country. They spoke of a “peace dividend” and an end to war.

They lulled the nation back to sleep, almost as it was prior to that fateful day in December 1941. The growing threat of another enemy to mankind, even more brutal and savage than before seen was ignored, in spite of nearly three decades of attacks.

They were treated as criminal matters, marginalized as random events or excused as retribution for our own foreign policies from long ago.

Small skirmishes or limited missile strikes were launched in half-hearted strikes against the threat, but it did not deter this new enemy, it only gave them the resolve to continue coming as they saw this powerful nation as on its knees, merely a “paper tiger” now.

Our Military’s were “down sized” and intelligence agencies gutted.

Forgotten was the lesson of needed vigilance learned by an earlier generation at Pearl Harbor as yet another early day saw our country once again “suddenly and deliberately attacked” by high jacked airliners flown into civilian buildings occupied by thousands of innocent people just beginning their days ritual of work.

The death toll of September 11, 2001 exceeded that of the Pearl Harbor Attack as the country rallied behind our president and Troops as once again we went to war to push back an enemy that threatens the peace.

Unlike 1941 though, the country’s resolve for victory was short lived as opportunistic politicians began seeing their chance at seizing political power.

Instead of fighting the radical Jihadists, calls for investigation of the president permeated the air in efforts to have him removed from office. Some of the most ludicrous conspiracy theories were advanced as truths with little or no evidence.

Our Troops were sent off to battle and as we saw in Southeast Asia, prevented from engaging the enemy by “rules of engagement” as politicians decided we must play “nice” with those who would brutally behead our people they captured.

The same “anti-war” voices granted voice in the 1960’s regained their voices and actively hamper the effort at defeating this enemy drowning out the resolve shown shortly after September 11, 2001.

President Roosevelt genuinely felt that December 7, 1941 was a “date that will live in infamy.” He didn’t count on a loud voice from within that cannot even remember September 11, 2001 68 years after.

President Roosevelt told the country,

“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”

In the midst of the Cold War, then President John F. Kennedy told us,

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001 former President George W. Bush said,

“This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”

Current President Barack H. Obama, after delaying nearly 3 months, announces fewer Troops to the war effort than sought and gives a date he intends to begin to quit.

Gone is that resolve for victory, replaced by talk of limited engagement, exit strategy or it costs too much.

Sorry President Roosevelt, but that day you thought would “live in infamy” does seem largely forgotten today.

November 9, 2008

America’s Veterans, A Better Breed

by lewwaters

A repost in honor of all of Clark County’s Veterans and all Veterans throughout America. Our Veterans are owed what can never be repaid.

victoria-taft-washdcthewall
America’s Veterans, A Better Breed

November 10, 2007

It may be very difficult for many to understand, but there exists a segment of our society, a minority within, that willingly place themselves between our enemies and the rest. That segment has always been there throughout our history and will remain there in the future.

They come down from the mountains. They come from the cities of the North and the Bayous of the South. They leave the beaches of California and Florida. North, South, East and West, they leave the comfort of their homes and loved ones to volunteer for America. Young and older, Black, White, Brown, Red and Yellow skinned, historically male, but now female too, they come with no desire of praise or large salaries, but a desire only to see America remain the freest nation on the planet and to see others share in the freedoms we do.

Not all face battle, but many do. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice and end up forgotten by all but family, loved ones and maybe those that sent them. Some never return, lost forever, their fate unknown to all who know and love them.

Others return wounded, broken in body or mind. They may face a life of scorn by the very ones they were protecting. All too often those who wish to use them to further political agendas and who could care less about them use them as political props. They are looked upon as victims instead of as the heroes and patriots they really are.

Many desire to return to battle alongside their comrades as soon as possible, missing limbs and fitted with prosthetics. Lifelong friendships may be forged after the battle ceases while others shun closeness, fearing the pain of losing a friend during another battle.

Our media pages and reports are filled with bad news and claims against them. Some of our politicians denigrate their sacrifices for political gain. And still, they continue to come from all corners of the nation to fight for our freedoms, liberties and to keep our great nation free.

These are the ones that fill the ranks of our Armed Services and our Veterans Groups. They are America’s Veterans.

I once received in email what I consider to be the very best Definition of a Veteran I have ever seen.

A veteran – whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve – is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The ‘United States of America’, for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’” (Author unknown)

That is Honor. An Honor that too many Americans no longer understand. That is the courage to leave everything behind and possibly travel to far lands to face an enemy to keep people you don’t even know free or to free a people you also don’t know.

I am one who has a very difficult time affixing “Greatest” to any generation as every generation has faced their trials and tribulations. World War Two gave us many who traveled far to fight oppression and tyranny. Many were forced into the Military and many others volunteered.

Korea and Viet Nam were similar but with the Korean Veterans simply being forgotten and the Viet Nam generation facing the scorn of a thankless nation for many years. Yet, the Viet Nam generation had a greater percentage of volunteers than did the World War Two generation.

Today’s Military and Veterans of the current battles are 100% volunteer, no one is forced into the Military against their will. How can we rate these Soldiers, Airman, Sailors and Marines any less than earlier Veterans we consider “the Greatest?” I cannot.

As we reminisce and celebrate another Veteran’s Day, let us recall that we still have several in Harms Way, doing what many of us did before, facing an enemy to keep America free. Facing an enemy to free an oppressed people.

America owes its Veterans, all of its Veterans, a debt of gratitude. It is a debt that can never be adequately repaid. We can never regain what we gave up in our youth to face the enemy. We can never repay what others give up today to keep us free.

The best we can do is honor and respect them, teaching our children to also honor and respect the sacrifices they made and are making today.

Until such time that the world stops producing despots, tyrants and those who feel they have a right to rule all others, we will keep on producing Veterans and they will continue coming forth for all of us. I thank God that they keep coming.

To all my fellow Veterans, Welcome Home! Thank You!

November 9, 2008

Is This How The Columbian Honors Veterans?

by lewwaters

Army Medics

Army Medics

Yesterday saw our annual Veterans Day Parade through Officer’s Row. A rainy day, umbrellas rivaled flags as the parade made its way through Officer’s Row past those who braved the weather to give Honors to our nations Veterans.

Tom Voght presents us with a very uplifting account of how the estate of Frank and JoAnne Lough has given the Vancouver National Historic Reserve Trust over $1 Million to help “fund the annual Celebrate Freedom Veterans Day Parade and support educational programs at the Pearson Air Museum.”

Vancouver will benefit for many years from their final act of such generosity.

Moving ahead, today’s Columbian also sports a headline of Salute To Service, highlighting an 84 year-old World War Two Veteran Medic who rode in yesterday’s parade.

Isolde Raftery tells us that former Pfc Richard Mathews “vivid memories of wartime France haven’t faded in 44 years,” before letting us know the all-important quip of, “[he] won’t divulge how much Cognac he drank when he was a young medic.”

After enlightening us with Mr. Matthews 5 mile hike to Normandy and on to Cologne, Germany, trading K and C rations Chocolate along the way, Raftery again reminds us that “perhaps,” Mr. Mathews traded for “a half barrel of Cognac as well.”

While I wasn’t present for the “interview,” surely Raftery must know that Military Medics during War perform other duties than to imbibe Cognac.

As a Veteran myself, I too consumed probably more alcohol than I should have, if back at Base Camp after duty hours. Never during duty hours or if standing Perimeter Guard. Mr. Mathews says pretty much the same, that “he tipped back his canteen cup after duty only.”

Perhaps Raftery attempted to give a light-hearted view of Mr. Mathews Service, which undoubtedly included many cases of at least helping to save the lives of our Brave Warriors, either on the Battlefield or even if at a Tent Hospital in the rear.

Army Medics are at the front in saving the lives of our Fighting People, they are the first responders to battle and many a Veteran owes their life to them. Even veterans who weren’t Combat Troops and who were in “the rear with the gear,” depended on Medics for treatment that doctors could not always get to right away or were of a more minor variety.

Have we become so desensitized to our veterans that we now see focusing on how much Cognac one might have consumed during a war as a “Salute to Service?”

Do we not see that it was these Brave people, back then and even today, that are placed between our enemies and us in order to protect America so we don’t have to face what they and citizens of countries ruled by despots do?

From this Veteran to Mr. Mathews, thank you, sir. Thank you for being one of those who gave me a safe country to grow up in. Thank you for all the freedoms and liberties I have enjoyed over the past 60 years. Thank you for the possibility that it might have been you that helped save my own fathers life during WW2, otherwise I wouldn’t have even been born to enjoy the greatest freedoms and liberties known to mankind.

To all Veterans, Thank You, Welcome Home.