Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Gettysburg’

Memorial Day Graveyard at dawn

We thank you for your sacrifice…

Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki
A Memorial Day Message from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki
Washington, DC
May 30, 2011
Today, we pay homage to those who placed themselves on the Altar of Freedom for love of country.  Memorial Day is a time for remembrance, reflection, and respect — for honoring the men and women who gave their lives in service to the Nation.
On the last Monday of May each year, we observe moments of silence and moments of tribute to acknowledge the sacrifices by these brave few for principles greater than self. In answering their calls to duty — at Tarawa and Normandy, Seoul and Chosin, the Ia Drang and Khe Sanh, and at Baghdad and Mosul, the Shahe’ Kot, Korengal, and Marja, or any of a host of other crossroads of conflict — these American men and women stood their ground, held back the dark forces of oppression and destruction, and advanced our founding principles, ideals, beliefs, and values about the right of self-determination.  They cherished liberty and loved freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life.
Many lie in final rest in our national cemeteries.  Whether at Gettysburg, one of our country’s first national cemeteries, or at Washington Crossing, our most recent dedication, each VA national cemetery is a sacred place of honor befitting the great deeds and sacrifices of the Fallen.
More than 3.7 million Americans — Veterans of every war and conflict, from our Revolution to the Global War on Terror — have been laid to rest in these hallowed shrines.  The quiet serenity, pristine nature, and strict adherence to time-honored Service traditions make our cemeteries the healing places where families and friends can remember and honor those who gave, in President Lincoln’s words, “the last full measure of devotion.”
This Memorial Day, a Nation at war prays for peace and the safe return of our sons and daughters, even as it exacts justice from those who trampled our most cherished principles.  Now, as then, in addition to our prayers for peace, we pray for the families of the Fallen.  And we pray for the Almighty’s continued blessings on this great and wonderful country of ours.
[The above photo and remarks have been taken from the Department of Veterans Affairs web site.   —   KMAB]
[The following is taken from the Wikipedia biography about General (now Secretary) Shinseki:
“General Shinseki publicly clashed with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the planning of the war in Iraq over how many troops the U.S. would need to keep in Iraq for the postwar occupation of that country.  As Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki testified to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that “something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” would probably be required for postwar Iraq.  This was an estimate far higher than the figure being proposed by Secretary Rumsfeld in his invasion plan, and it was rejected in strong language by both Rumsfeld and his Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was another chief planner of the invasion and occupation.  From then on, Shinseki’s influence on the Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly waned.  Critics of the Bush Administration alleged that Shinseki was forced into early retirement as Army Chief of staff because of his comments on troop levels, but the claim is disputed.
When the insurgency took hold in postwar Iraq, Shinseki’s comments and their public rejection by the civilian leadership were often cited by those who felt the Bush administration deployed too few troops to Iraq.  On November 15, 2006, in testimony before Congress, CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid said that General Shinseki had been correct that more troops were needed.”
I remember watching the evening’s news clips of General Shinseki’s Congressional testimony and thinking – “there sits the last honorable General on active duty”.  When he was later proven correct, I smiled to myself and wondered how many of our losses could have been avoided if the General’s testimony had been received by an equally honorable Congress.   —   KMAB]
.

 

Read Full Post »

Last Thursday, I had my 1,000th workout at the gym in the building where I work.  Friday was off, Saturday was Christmas and yesterday was Boxing Day.  Today, it was back to work.
And of course, that meant back to the gym – for workout 1,001.  When you say you’ve done something one thousand times, it sounds like such an achievement.  When you say you’ve done it a thousand and one, you put it back into perspective.  To me, it’s not: “Did you win the race?”  It’s: “When did you run again?”  Or as some would say: it’s not the goal, it’s the path.
Today was my last day for a while.  I’m going on a detail for work back to Baltimore, Maryland.  The detail is 120 days.  I’ll be leaving in January and back in May.  I’ll be documenting it (the trip) on this blog.  I’m not sure what to expect.  With the exception of Saudi, most of my trips away from my family have only been for a week at most and I’ve usually stayed in a hotel room.  I’m told I’ll be in some kind of longer-term accommodation.  I’m not sure what that means exactly.  I think it means a hotel room with a small kitchen.  We’ll see…
I’ll be taking some books with me, but mostly I’m planning to work, workout and blog.  Again, we’ll see…
I don’t know how many times I’m going to  get opportunities to visit the east coast, so I’m hoping a bit to get a chance to visit some of the Civil War battlefields – Gettysburg, Antietam and Manassas are the one’s which come to mind.  Gettysburg is a must.  The other two are names which have always struck me when I’ve heard them, but not being a “true” Civil War buff, I don’t currently know much about them.  Again, I’m not sure what I’ll find when I go looking, but I hear their names calling to me across the haze of history through the fog of bitter conflict.
Reading
Last Friday (X-mas eve), I finished reading “Shit My Dad Says” by Justin Halpern (2008©).  This is one seriously funny book!  More than once, I laughed until I cried.  It is just sooo hilarious.  I highly recommend it!
Movie Reviews
Yesterday, I went to see “Tron: Legacy” with my son James.  It’s a sequel of TRON, a movie which came out way back in 1982.  The funny thing is I remember seeing the original, but it could not have been before 1987, because I didn’t start programming until late 1986, so the movie would not have meant anything to me before that.  As it was, I felt I was inside a little club of folks who knew something about a world that most people didn’t.  I knew about TRace ON (TRON) and TRace OFF (TROFF), CPUs, bits, bytes and the whole speed of light, MHz cycles (light-cycles), etc…
Anyway, this version is not nearly so enthralling.  The animation / special effects are superb, and the story is fairly deep, but it just wasn’t entertaining enough for me.  Pleasant, but not enjoyable.  Reminiscent, but not inspiring.  I’m not sure how to describe a movie you expect to touch you one way, which does mean something, but just doesn’t quite reach you there.  I’m glad I saw it.  It’s worth the $7.25; but, I’m glad I didn’t pay full price and definitely glad I didn’t splurge for the 3D version.
After I got home from TRON, I had dinner and watched a terrific movie with my Hil: “Julie and Julia“.   It’s a movie about a woman who decides to write a blog about cooking her way through a cookbook written by Julia Childs.  Meryl Streep plays Julia Childs and she is fantastic.  The movie is wonderful on many, many levels: a story of newly-weds starting out, a woman finding herself, a new blogger, a new writer, a woman deeply in love with her husband and with living life, cooking (of course), and food.  Some of the levels are Julie.  Some of them are Julia.  And, some of them are both ladies (and all of us as viewers).  I would say this though, it was an intimate movie which I enjoyed watching at home (with just my wife).  I’m not sure it would have been as enjoyable on a big screen and with a crowd of strangers.   Just an observation.
And one final movie review: “Miracle On 34th Street“.  This is simply my favorite Christmas movie of all time.  If you haven’t seen it recently, you need to see the original (in black and white).  It is incredible “Americana” at it’s best.  The details are everywhere.  You really can see history in movies which are meant to be contemporary when you view them 60 to 70 years later.
Art is supposed to speak to us individually.
Enjoy all three – then drop me a comment and let me know if they spoke to you, too.
Oh, yeah.  1,002 may not be for a while, but tomorrow I start jogging at home – after work…  I guess that will be 1.
.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: