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  1. #1
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    Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    I always make a point of "celebrating" the time period from 4-6 June. Mainly, because I'm reminded that there have been much better men than me, who've done the truly hard things in life, so that I wouldn't have to.

    The facts behind how the Battle of Midway actually played out, humble me.

    The fact that Torpedo 8 attacked the Japanese fleet completely unsupported and were wiped out, despite really not having a chance.

    At the same time, the patrol bombers decided to fly just a little longer, despite passing "the point of no return, fuel-wise" spotted the Japanese carriers, maneuvering hard from the attacks of Torpedo 8, which had drawn the Japanese defenders away from their approach.

    The sacrifice of Torpedo 8 and the decision to continue past the fuel limits of the scout bombers possibly changed the history of the Western world.

    But the incredible hardness of the Carrier Admirals, to launch their deckloads of magnificent young men later that day, despite KNOWING that the Japanese fleet was out of range. (A one way trip would make it, there just wouldn't be enough fuel to return to the carrier.) And even later that night, as the survivors of those same raids started attempting to return, out of fuel, and at night, those same Admirals made the decision to light their decks to assist them, which was normally a suicidal move, at night, in the vicinity of an enemy fleet, shows me just what kind of big brass balls those Admirals had.

    And the 6th of June is special to me, because of the steadfast courage and sacrifice exhibited by everyone, from President Roosevelt, to General Eisenhower, to the newest Private soldier, hitting the beaches of Normandy.

    It just reminds me that there are, and have been, better men than me, and motivates me to be a better person.


    Last edited by Phaedrus; 06-06-2008 at 01:11 AM.
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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    while many times the dates elude me, I would have to say that I too am in great dept to such men...


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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    I would love to hear more about those details. I've heard about them, but not in great detail. If anyone knows a good place for me to read about them, or a book, let me know. Thanks.


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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    My grandpa waded into Normady. He was a sniper in WWII. Doesn't talk about it much. I have nothing but so much respect for all of those brave souls.


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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    Phaedrus - your last line sums it up for me, both of my grandfathers served (one a prisoner of war) in WWII and I can never come up with the words to thank them.



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    Quote Originally Posted by CTAClone View Post
    I would love to hear more about those details. I've heard about them, but not in great detail. If anyone knows a good place for me to read about them, or a book, let me know. Thanks.
    History of United States Naval Operations in World War II by Samuel Eliot Morison (Used, New, Out-of-Print) - Alibris

    Nothing Beats Morison's account of the Navy war in the Pacific.

    Basically, he shows pretty convincingly, that we didn't beat the Japanese through materiel superiority, as is the Conventional Wisdom on the war in the Pacific; we beat the Japanese because some incredible men made some very hard decisions at the right time, despite severe personal hardship.

    Launching the deckloads when the enemy is retreating, and out of range was a tough decision. I don't know if I could've made that decision. As was turning on the deck-lights. Do you risk the lives of entire ships' personnel for those few pilots who somehow made it back?

    How do you live with yourself, knowing that you were condemning those men to death; just to destroy an already defeated enemy?

    But like most things that happened that day; those gambles paid off for us in the long run.


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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    Quote Originally Posted by CTAClone View Post
    I would love to hear more about those details. I've heard about them, but not in great detail. If anyone knows a good place for me to read about them, or a book, let me know. Thanks.
    Read, then watch Band of Brothers. The book is by Stephen Ambrose.

    Excellent post Phaedrus



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclonepride View Post
    Read, then watch Band of Brothers. The book is by Stephen Ambrose.

    Excellent post Phaedrus
    I've watched Band of Brothers already. Great mini-series. I'm actually more interested in the Pacific. Most stories you hear are about Normandy and Europe. But not so much the Pacific.

    Thanks for the tip though.


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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    I am reading the book and have the series on DVD.

    My grandfather piloted a carrier at Normandy, by the time I understood what that meant, he started showing signs of Alzheimers. He died before I could ask him about the experience. I will always regret that.

    For my part, I play for Memorial Day ceremonies every year as my way of saying "thanks". The past couple of years I have played the ceremony at Fort Logan in Denver. It is a touching ceremony and very well choreographed.



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    Here's one that I really enjoyed.

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Pacific-Campaign-U-S-Japanese-Naval-1941-1945/dp/0671792172]Amazon.com: Pacific Campaign: The U.S.-Japanese Naval War 1941-1945: Dan Van der Vat: Books[/ame]



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    Before my great uncle passed away, I found out what he did during WWII, grave detail. After the Normandy invasion he and his unit had to sift through the destruction to find dead American soldiers and bury them, even if it was a limb. He did not go into great detail (thankfully) but it goes to show that each man and woman that has put on the uniform for this country has sacrificed one way or another so thanks to you all!



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    D-Day is certainly one of the days each year that I always take special time for rememberance of those brave men that ran down the ramp of a Higgins boat and stormed the beaches of northern France.

    I would strongly encourage anyone that has the opportunity to visit the D-Day Museum (which I believe is now called the National World War II Museum) in New Orleans to do so. It is an absolutely tremendous exhibit. They did a wonderful job of getting many oral histories down on tape which I really enjoy listening to.



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    I have been playing Memorial Day ceremonies now for about 17 years now. Being from Marshalltown, I played regularly at the Veteran's home.

    I recall playing there once in high school and the speaker asked the veterans of certain wars to stand up and be recognized. I was amazed to see 5 to 10 World War I vets stand up.

    The six gun salute near the completion of the ceremonies reminds me of those small ceremonies back in Iowa. One year, they had some of the VFW vets do the salute. The average age of the men had to be about 70. One of men was about 5'6", wore think glasses and had an obvious balance problem. The entire time he would lean to one side, correct himself and slowly start to lean to another. Anyway, it comes time to fire the rifle salute, the first time he aims above the tree line over our heads. The second time, he doesn't get the rifle up as high and fires. The third time, he aims straight for the band and fires!! The paper charge struck the upright bass drum as the band hit the ground. After the ringing from the shot cleared, you could still hear the bass drum.



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclonenum1 View Post
    D-Day is certainly one of the days each year that I always take special time for rememberance of those brave men that ran down the ramp of a Higgins boat and stormed the beaches of northern France.

    I would strongly encourage anyone that has the opportunity to visit the D-Day Museum (which I believe is now called the National World War II Museum) in New Orleans to do so. It is an absolutely tremendous exhibit. They did a wonderful job of getting many oral histories down on tape which I really enjoy listening to.
    Another must see experience for every American is the laying of the wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetary.



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    Re: Something I always celebrate this time of year.

    One of my grandfathers served in the Navy during WWII, and even though he never saw battle while sailing the Pacific (I think the biggest scare they got was an approaching submarine that turned out to be a whale), I still admire his sacrifice, and of those who enlist in the military to keep this country safe.


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