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May 29, 2006
Sacred Words RevistedBy Greyhawk
Words from the fallen - not the most treasured things they left behind, but perhaps treasured greatly by those who were. Continuing our Memorial Day 2006 salute, the following originally appeared here in May, 2003 - our first tribute to those who gave all. From the earliest days of combat in Iraq, those who were among the first to fall still speak to us today.
Mom & Dad,
Beaupre, 30, of Bloomington, Ill., was killed March 20 in a helicopter crash in Kuwait.
And this is from Marine Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams' final letter home:
...I know I am here to do a job that not everyone can handle or they just choose not to do. I can't help but wonder what God has in store for me and for us. God knows I live to love and would die to give just one person a chance for life in a peaceful world. My weakness in life just might be my willingness to sacrifice my life for the good of this world we live in.I am not trying to make you worry about me, but only to know that I am here because I want to be here and that I believe God has given me the chance to help the people who have helped me, and also the people I have not even met yet. I love you Heather, and I want to spend my life with you, but God has called me to do this first. There is a phrase the Marine Corps adopted, it is "Semper Fi." It means "Always Faithful." To God, my country, my family I will always be faithful. You are now part of my family. When all of this is over, God will have revealed his plan for me being here ..... For now, I belong to my country, when I come back, I am yours.
And Marine Sgt. Michael E. Bitz wrote:
Bitz, 31, of Ventura, Calif., and Williams, 31, of Yuma, Ariz., were killed March 23 in Nasiriyah by Iraqi soldiers who pretended to surrender, then opened fire when Marines approached.
Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address said: "...we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow, this ground-- The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here."
So what ground did these men hallow? Some sand? Your next tank of gas? No. Far from it. Freedom is the sacred ground hallowed by their blood. And it's yours and mine, to enjoy every day. To laugh, or cry, and hug our children. And hope that those miserable creatures that John Stuart Mill described may some day know of men and women better then themselves.
For those who can spare the time, you can get to know the people who died for you a little better here.
For those who can spare something more than time, please consider the following:
Posted by Greyhawk / May 29, 2006 3:48 PM | Permalink
This is just apart of the Memorial Day tribute over at Mudville Gazette. Please go there and read the whole thing. Nothing I've ever written compares to this letter home from Marine Capt. Ryan A. Beaupre: Mom & Dad, Well if you are reading th... Read More
Due to the long weekend in Nashville, I missed this post over at the Mudville Gazette. This post of letters home by soldiers in Iraq is a must read. Read More
Last Friday I was listening the Sean Hannity's radio show. They were 'interviewing' ordinary people, adults, on whether or not they knew what Memorial Day was for, along with a few easy history questions such as who fought in the Civil War. Some of the... Read More
Reposted from May 31, 2004, on what I think about on Memorial Day: I'm taking the time to remember my father today. He fought in the Second World War as an infantryman. He was "just" one of the mudfaces. Like many veterans, he almost never talked about... Read More
Interesting, since it's start in 1999 Google has tweaked their logo to celebrate all manner of holidays and anniversaries, but not once has there been even an acknowledgment of Memorial Day. Or Veteran's day, for that matter. Conspicuous by its... Read More
Obviously, the latest developments in the military investigation are fueled by chilling echoes of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, used to discredit our sacrifices in Vietnam. The anti-war mongers are perversely excited at the prospect of hitting anothe... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Furthermore, I will occasionally use satire or parody herein. The bottom line: it's my house.
I like having visitors to my house. I hope you are entertained. I fight for your right to free speech, and am thrilled when you exercise said rights here. Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1)the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2)the property of the Mudville Gazette, with free use granted thereto for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2003 - 2011 by Greyhawk. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com