Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Army veteran Jesse Linn hugs his 9-year-old daughter Erikah Linn after a ceremony honoring veterans on Friday at Freeman High School. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland
As we look forward to Friday, it sounds like we can also look forward to some snow this weekend. I'm just glad I won't have to try to drive through any mountain passes anytime soon. Meanwhile, we have some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a testy recent East Valley School Board meeting where one board member walked out in the middle of the meeting. By the time the meeting was over, there were allegations of improper expense reports and disappearing reserve funds.
Lisa also stopped by the Freeman School District for their recent Veteran's Day breakfast. Students at the elementary, middle and high school all got involved by serving food and singing patriotic songs. The Spokane Valley City Council advanced an ordinance to regulate barista attire, a move that was greeting with praise from people in the audience. The issue is scheduled for a final vote at the Nov. 26 meeting.
The Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Chief spent some time at last week's commissioner meeting outlining his response to neighbors concerns about the department's response to a recent fire. There were rumors circulating that it took more than 20 minutes for crews to arrive, but the chief organized a meeting with the neighbors to refute that. The meeting appeared to be well received, he said.
Jump ahead to about 5:50 in the clip.
We buy poppy flowers and wear them on Veterans Day to remember those who died in war. Where did the tradition originate? What is the story behind the poem? On behalf of our community, thank you to all who have served and continue to serve our country.
In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
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.
(S-R archives photo)
Many of us remember the Viet Nam war and the turbulence and rage that erupted within our country during that time. Many people took out their rage in a despicable way: on some of the veterans who returned from that war.
For those of us who have never seen military combat, we cannot fathom the violence, the loss of life, the fear or the aftermath. But we can honor those women and men who served our country.
One woman started a magnificent gesture of kindness and care – giving quilts to combat service members and veterans. Catherine Roberts, a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador in the early 1970s, became a nurse and then a mid-wife. In 2003, her son deployed for Iraq as a gunner. She founded Quilts of Valor. To date, 91,566 quilts have been presented to members of the military.
“Knowing that I was ‘10 seconds from panic’ while he was deployed, I had this vision of a post-deployed warrior struggling with his war demons at 2 in the morning. I saw him sitting on the side of his bed wrapped in a quilt. That quilt not only comforted but warded off his war demons. Thus QOVF was founded. The mission was simple: To cover all those wounded warriors with both physical and psychological wounds with a Quilt of Valor.”
And for those veterans who returned from Viet Nam? While they may not have received a quilt upon their return, it’s never too late to say “thank you.”
(S-R archive photo: Sharon Ledbetter, director of the Quilts for Valor Foundation, is seen at the quilt show.)
We walked through the gates of the Normandy American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach just as the staff raised the twin American Flags that fly on the tall poles at the edge of green lawn dotted with rows of white marble crosses stretching as far as the eye can see. It was still early but I was surprised by the number of people that were already there. Some had come to find a particular name, others to pay their respects to lives lost, each to mark a dark moment in the modern world’s history.
At the visitor’s center I sat down on a bench to watch a film with short biographies of some of those killed during the Battle of Normandy. A man who looked to be in his 80s, or even older, was seated on the bench beside me.
Absorbed by the film, by the stories of the lives of ordinary people cut short by a brutal war, I’d forgotten I wasn’t alone until I heard a sound from the man seated next to me. It was the soft shuddering sound of a breath that could have become a sob. An involuntary cry that had been quickly covered. Surprised, I glanced over at him and then quickly looked away. He didn’t move, his eyes remained locked on the screen, and he did not make another sound. The movie ended and I saw him reach up to wipe his hand across his eyes.
We both stood to move on. He rose slowly, stiffly, leaning on a cane as he walked from the room, I stayed behind to gather my thoughts. I have no idea if the man was a veteran of the Normandy landings. I suppose it’s possible. We lose so many WWII veterans each day but a few are still healthy enough to make the pilgrimage to Normandy.
The man could have been a boy at the time, just old enough to enlist, and one of the thousands who waded into hell that day. Or he might have lost someone, a father, a brother, an uncle or cousin, and watching the movie brought back the pain of the loss. I’ll never know. But the man beside me in the darkened room, a man who caught his breath on a sob, reminded me that battles may end but pain comes and goes as it pleases. And time means nothing when the right trigger is pulled.
War seems to be a more casual thing these days. Looking around me at airports, at the grocery store, at the mall, I see men and women in uniform every day. We’re quick to thank them for service and then move on. I know of some who served and returned to pick up their lives and go on and others who came home to find they no longer fit as comfortably into the lives they’d shed. Too many never make it home at all.
Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I can’t shake the image of more than 9,000 stark white crosses on a hillside overlooking the sea.
I keep hearing the sound of an old man trying not to cry.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
When the United States became involved in World War II, Willys-Overland Motors and Ford Motor Company won a government contract to produce the military’s first general purpose vehicle. The result would soon become known as Jeep. The little workhorse won the hearts and rattled the teeth of most every solider that had a chance to ride in one, and single-handedly created the post-war concept that off-roading could be a leisure activity. In honor of Veterans Day, take a few minutes to appreciate the autobiographical story of how the instant American icon came to be, narrated by none other than Jeep himself.
We would see flags displayed on Veterans Day when we were children and knew the day was about “soldiers.” I knew my dad had been a Marine and served in China toward the end of WWII.
I have a little jade goat he brought home– long before I was born. But when I was a child, I told people he bought it for me. Little did I understand that he spent not his money there, but his time there – for me.
How did this holiday of honor and remembrance begin? See story.
(S-R archive photo: U.S. Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division, raise the American flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima, on Feb. 23, 1945.)
“How about make love to a veteran,” wrote Karen Reinhart. “My husband was in Vietnam for a year from 1969-70.”
Good morning, Netizens…
Here is one of my favorite quotations about Veteran's Day and all veterans everywhere:
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, 1915)
Boise State University, with more 2,200 veterans among its students, was one of 150 colleges and universities across the nation today to participate in Remembrance Day National Roll Call, in which the names of the casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars over the past decade were read aloud and tributes offered. You can see the Idaho's Fallen Heroes list here; it's 56 names long. More than 250 people attended today's ceremony at Bronco Stadium, which included remarks from BSU President Bob Kustra, student body Vice President Eric Schuler and Jim Vance, director of the regional office of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The ceremony was followed by a reception and dedication of the new campus Veterans Services Center, just across University Drive from the stadium. More than one in 12 BSU students are either veterans or active military members, which is among the highest ratios in the nation.
What are you going to say to veterans tomorrow?
“Been there, done that.” — Gary Polser
“Thank you.” — Marilyn Othmer
“Thank you.” — Tawnia Penick
“I never say 'Happy Veterans Day' to anyone, especially those I know who have lost friends or family in combat. It is more appropriate to wish them a peaceful Veterans Day.” — Carol Edgemon Hipperson
Remember that opening/closing scene from “Saving Private Ryan” when the guy who got saved is walking among the rows of white crosses, wondering if he was worth the effort? Well, Cis/From A Simple Mind has a post today along the same lines. With Veterans Day on her mind, Cis points out that so many have died for us — you and I and the rest of the country — to preserve our freedoms. Then, Cis writes: “Which makes me wonder sometimes — were we worth it? … We have become a whining, sniveling bitching country. Nothing is good enough for us. We want everything now. And as our country sits on the edge,we citizen cry about us. What it is doing to us. We want the government out of our hair, yet blame it when we don’t have what we want.” (AP photo: Deborah Barr, of Ortonville, Mich., grasps her brother U.S. Navy HT1 Daniel Doule’s gravestone earlier today in Holly, Mich.)
Question (from Cis): Are we worth it?
Former Sandpoint soldier Brandon Adam is doing incredibly well after losing both legs while serving in Iraq in 2007. Today, Brandon is married to a teacher, expecting his first baby, and enjoying life in Colorado Springs, Colo. Marianne Love/Slight Detour updates Brandon’s progress for a Veteran’s Day salute today. More here.
- Second thoughts about your child’s name?/A Butterfly Moment
- Agenda inside Clinton White House/Arch Druid
- The weigh in/Bent’s Beer Garden
- Old soldiers & youngsters/Community Comment
- I’m thankful for veterans in my life/Crazy Homeschool Mama
- TSA: Breeding ground for sexual predators/Dogwalk Musings
- The last dance of fall/Live, Love, Laugh, Hope
- Breaking records with Betty Owens/More Main Street
- Lost and found/Notes on a Napkin
- C. Rodney Wolfe, 1925-2010, RIP/Skookum Photography
- Tracking time/Tumblewords
Hucks Numbers (for Wednesday): 10756/5650, (for Tuesday): 9966/5221, (for Monday) 9600/5137.
OLYMPIA — Veterans Day brought out a few historic uniforms, including this World War II U.S. Army military police uniform, complete with rifle and fixed bayonet.
Butch Ayala of Olympia was on hand for a concert in the rotunda, taking up a post at one of the columns insided the north entrance. Ayalay said he’s a member of the Friends of Willie and Joe history group that provides a living history of the war.
A veteran himself from 1979 to 2003, Ayala said he’s always had enormous respect for the generation that fought in WWII. “It’s my way of saying thanks to a generation that saved the planet.”
Everything in his ensemble, including rifle and bayonet, were originals. Wonder if Ayala would be available to keep order next year during the session?
Uniforms everywhere. Campaign caps on senior citizens and neckerchiefs on Boy Scouts.
The American Legion band playing in the Capitol Rotunda.
Speeches of duty. Speeches of thanks.
It’s Veterans Day in Olympia. And since Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day, here’s the capitol’s memorial to the War to End All Wars.
Vietnam veteran Chris “Hammer” Hamilton pays his respect to a friend and fallen comrade at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Question: The names of two of my high school friends and my wife’s cousin is written on the Vietnam Wall. Did you know someone whose name is on that wall?
Good morning, Netizens…
Old soldiers seldom forget to salute the flag. It is ingrained in their memories, even long after their service to our country. This morning’s picture, shot of a statue in Ohio of a soldier saluting the morning sunrise, somehow is fitting given that today is Veterans Day.
For most people Veterans Day appears to be a “disposable holiday”. Sure, it’s great that parking in Spokane is free, that most government agencies are closed for the day. For some it is even a paid holiday. Does it ever sink into our collective conscientiousness that nameless men and women gave their lives so that we might live free? Does it ever filter down into our minds how many American young men and women there are scattered around the globe today in mortal danger? Sadly, I wonder.
The word heroes has somewhat of a false ring to me, mostly because so many people who have never served in a time of conflict are proclaimed by the news media as being heroes, when they have done nothing to earn that title. They have not given their lives so that someone else could live, nor have they given their lives for our country. That is my definition of what it takes to be a true hero. Most of our veterans who are heroes came home in boxes, although a few survived.
Happy Veterans Day? In my opinion there is nothing happy about today. There are still the memories of veterans who are eking out horrible lives in pain and anguish from their service, veterans for whom there is little care and assistance, and I don’t give a damn what the Veterans Administration has to say about it. There is acre after acre of silent graves, the anguish of families and loved ones and the knowledge that young men and women gave their lives for our country.
It is much more than the list of names on a wall or even the memories of a loved one who died in some far-off war. Today commemorates veterans for their service to our country, and it is incumbent upon each of us to remember their service. That is our obligation as citizens in this country. It is sad that so few Americans take the time, save one day each year, to remember their service.
Search out all the veterans you know, walk right up to them and eyeball-to-eyeball, shake their hands and say thank you.
Zach Ginnaty of Kalispell, Mont., power washes the top of the Veterans Memorial in Kalispell, Mont. The Memorial and the Walkway will be thoroughly cleaned and will have new engraved bricks and new bronze name plates installed in time for the Veteran’s Day ceremony which will take place on Thursday at 11 a.m. (AP Photo/The Daily Inter Lake, Brenda Ahearn)
Question: Are you a veteran? Can you tell us which branch of the service you served in? When you served? And for how long? Do you miss your active duty?
“I came on to HBO looking for a specific Vets Day thread to say thanks to folks like Stickman and other HBO’ers who have served our country. My great grandfather, Roy Hooper, fought in the U.S. Army during World War I in France (Fourth Engineering Battalion, the combat troops they were attached to were low and he would end up with rifle in hands fighting a German push for 23 days), my grandfather, Wallace Kenyon served in the U.S. Navy, my great uncle David Taylor just recently retired as a supply Sgt. for the U.S. Army, my recently-passed-away uncle Nick Laskey fought in Vietnam as a helicopter gunner (who would receive a purple heart) and I’ve got two cousins on both sides of my family who served in the Army and Navy.
A big thanks to my friends and family who have served!”
Please consider this thread a place to express your thanks to our veterans, including our own Stickman. I’m sure we’ve got many other Hucksters who have served their country.