Marquis Lafayette: Great among Revolutionary War Heroes

Dinner Topics for Wednesday

Marquis Lafayette: Great among Revolutionary War Heroes

By Christopher Ruddy

It is doubtful the American Republic would have been born were it not for the courage and generosity of our greatest French friend, Marquis de Lafayette, who joined the Continental Army at the age of 19 with the rank of lieutenant general.

Ruddy-LafayeteGraveside-(1)Remembering General Lafayette, hero of the American Revolution. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy lays flowers at the grave of the Marquis de Lafayette on July 4, 2015, Picpus Cemetery, Paris.
It is doubtful the American Republic would have been born were it not for the courage and generosity of our greatest French friend, Marquis de Lafayette, who joined the Continental Army at the age of 19 with the rank of lieutenant general.

He helped provision George Washington’s army, led troops in several battles ,and played a key role at Yorktown.

He persuaded France to join the war on our side.

He was Washington’s surrogate son and a beloved American.

lafayetteWhen he died in 1830 he was eulogized by former President John Quincy Adams for three hours, and Congress and the nation mourned his death for 30 days.

All Americans today still owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Gen. Lafayette!
Read Latest Breaking News from Newsmax.com http://www.newsmax.com/Ruddy/ruddy-lafayette-hero-revolution/2015/07/04/id/653446/#ixzz3g79vshb3

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History Facts: Remembering the War Heroes of D-Day Invasion

History Facts:

Remembering the War Heroes of D-Day Invasion

O’Donnell: Beyond Valor: Rangers Lead the Way on D-Day

That was far from the last time the Rangers would meet Germans face-to-face. The elite American forces led the way across Europe, their sacrifices ensuring that freedom and democracy would continue to thrive, as they do to this day.

Patrick K. O’Donnell

“We were about two hundred feet from the beach when a shell blew off the front of our landing craft, destroying the ramp,” recalled Ray Alm from B Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion, which landed on Omaha’s deadly Dog Green Beach at approximately 7:40 a.m. on D-Day. “My two best buddies were right in front of me, and they were both killed. I was holding a .45 pistol and carrying a bazooka with eight shells; it was so heavy that I just went right under the water. So I had to let everything go except the shells.”

He continued, “When we were on the beach, there were two other Rangers and myself running, and a German machine gun was firing at us. We hid behind an anti-tank obstacle. The three of us ducked behind it. We then headed towards the front again. It was terrible; there were bodies all over the place. They wiped out almost the entire 116th Infantry Regiment; they just murdered them. They were floating all over the place, there was blood in the water—it was just dark.”

This June 6 marks the 73rd anniversary of D-Day. Nothing captures the drama and action of that day better than the words of the men who actually took part in the assault. Particularly poignant are the voices of the elite Army Rangers who led the way off bloody Omaha Beach.

Sadly, most of the men who remember that day have passed on. But their voices are immortalized in Beyond Valor: World War II’s Ranger and Airborne Veterans Reveal the Heart of Combat. For nearly twenty-five years, I’ve been interviewing American veterans from WWI to Iraq, and I have captured more than 4,000 oral histories from WWII veterans in elite units such as the Rangers. These men were my friends, men my daughter called uncle. In many cases, these great Americans did the impossible. Their individual actions changed history, and they did their duty in the face of tremendous odds.

On the morning of D-Day, members of the 5th and 2nd Ranger Battalions were making their way through the choppy waters off Normandy to their D-Day objectives. They were divided into three different groups, each focused on specific military targets. Their primary focus was the guns of Pointe du Hoc and the deadly German mortars on the high ground to the extreme left of Omaha.

For the bulk of the Rangers, including the 5th Battalion, their secondary objective if Pointe du Hoc failed was Omaha Beach. Faulty radar and failed radio transmissions led to a chain of events that put the 5th and several companies of the 2nd Rangers on their secondary objective: Omaha. At the right place, at exactly the right time, they led a crucial breakout.

Here are two of their stories:

“We went up on toeholds and by digging our fingernails and bayonets into the ninety foot cliff. . . . When we got up on top we had only nine men left in my platoon,” recalled my dear friend Lt. Sid Salomon.

Salomon was one of the first Rangers on the beach. C Company of the 2nd Ranger Battalion landed at 0645. Dodging mortar and machine-gun fire, the men scaled ninety-foot cliffs of Pointe-et-Raz-de-la-Percée. Under fire, the Rangers made it to the top and attacked the Germans in an effort to deny them crucial high ground over the Charlie sector of Omaha Beach.

“We had two platoons, each in its own landing craft,” Salomon said. “I was in charge of one, and the other platoon leader was in charge of the other. Our goal was to cross the beach, climb the cliff, and neutralize the mortars and machine guns that were positioned on top of a beach that intelligence had indicated could threaten the landing at Omaha Beach.”

The fight began even before the Rangers reached the shore. “The trip was tough coming in,” Solomon said. “Keep in mind, it was postponed due to rough seas. The men started getting sick. We were issued paper bags, like you get in airplanes. The men filled them up and threw them over the side. Some men started using their helmets. We could hear the ping of the machine gun bullets hitting the side of the landing craft, and mortar shells were landing near the landing craft. I could see the concentric circles formed by the shells hitting the water. It was quite something, of course. One of the men joked, ‘Hey, they’re firing at us.’ It added a little humor to the situation.”

When the landing craft hit the beach, Solomon was the first to exit the vessel. “When I jumped off, I held my tommy gun over my head. I jumped into not-quite-chest-high water, and it took a few seconds to get my feet on the ground. In the meantime, the second man, Sergeant Reed, jumped off to the left. I always figured that the first man out would be hit. Fortunately, the Germans didn’t know when the ramp would lower. But they had us zeroed in with their machine guns, and the second man, Reed, was hit. He had fallen down, wounded, and had slid underneath the ramp.”

Solomon dragged Reed to the water’s edge and told him, “Sergeant, this is as far as I can take you, I have to get along.”

Then he took off running. “A mortar shell landed right behind me and killed or wounded all of my mortar section. I got some of the shrapnel—it hit my back and I landed right on my face. I fell down in the sand and thought I was dead.” Solomon remembered.

But he refused to give up. “Right then and there, I said to myself that I wasn’t going to die. This was no place to be lying, so I took my maps, I got up, and ran toward the overhang of the cliff,” he recalled.

“An aid man came over to me and took my field jacket and shirt off and started digging shrapnel out of my back. These were the days before penicillin, and each man carried a sulfa pack, and he put it on my back.” The medic told him. “That’s all I can do for you now.”

Despite the pain, Solomon began to climb the ninety-foot cliff. “Each man had a six-foot piece of rope that had a noose at the end of it and, ideally, we were to link the ropes together and scale the cliff,” he explained. “We didn’t bother with that since, of course, so many men had gotten killed and wounded. . . . We went up on toeholds and by digging our fingernails and bayonets into the cliff.”

But of the 37 men in the company, only nine would survive the climb.

Those nine had overcome tremendous odds, but the fighting — and the dying — weren’t finished yet. Salomon and a fellow platoon leader lay in a shellhole from where they could see the German trench they next needed to assault. “We were there only a minute or two and all of a sudden Bill Moody, the 1st Platoon commander, fell over on my shoulder. He had been killed by a bullet hole through his eyes,” Salomon recalled.

Without pausing to mourn, Salomon grabbed another of the Rangers who had made it to the top and said, “Let’s go!” They ran and jumped into the trench, following it until they came to a dugout. “I threw a white phosphorous grenade through the entrance and waited a minute,” Salomon explained. “We then sprayed the entrance.” With no one inside, they continued moving through the maze of trenches.

“We went a little further around a curve and were face to face with a German soldier. We were both equally stunned, but I grabbed him, and I figured this might be a good time to have a prisoner instead of killing him right then and there. I said, ‘Let’s send him down to the company commander,’ who was down at the beach with dead and wounded men maintaining order.”

“I sent the prisoner down the cliff,” he said. “I don’t know if he got down on his own or if they pushed him down—that was immaterial to me.”

It quickly became obvious that it would be silly to move much farther inland with so few men, Salomon said. “We proceeded to knock out a machine gun section and a mortar section. . . . We knocked out the German position and figured that we were doing our best by still holding our ground.”

***

“We could see the action from the landing craft as we came in,” recalled Ellis “Bill” Reed, a member of the U.S. Army 5th Ranger Battalion who fought at Omaha Dog White on D-Day. “There was a tremendous amount of firepower coming from both flanks. Machine gun fire and artillery fire was pouring in.”

Already, the beach in front of Reed and the other Rangers was littered with the bodies of Americans who had landed only to be gunned down by the Germans. Reed “had to run across about 150 yards of beach” with his platoon leader and his buddy Woody Doorman, who was a bangalore torpedo man. “Our job was to place the torpedo under the wire and detonate it, ripping a hole in the wire for the rest of the troops to move through.”

But before they could carry out their mission, they first had to reach the wire. “When we exited the landing craft many people had flotation belts, and if the water was over your neck you would turn upside down,” Reed remembered. “When we got off the boat and into the wet sand we had to run for the seawall. Men were dying around us, lying in different positions, and tanks were burning.”

Dashing behind the seawall, Reed heard General Cota, the commanding officer on the beach, utter the fateful words that became a motto for the Rangers: “Rangers, lead the way!”

Doorman and Reed did just that. “Woody and I had to assemble each piece of the torpedo, get up from behind the seawall, push the bangalore torpedo across the road on top of the bluff and put it under the concertina wire,” Reed explained. “Once we had the torpedo in place, we took the fuse wire out, pulled the fuse, and yelled, ‘Fire in the hole!’ and jumped back over the wall. The result, if it worked, was a hole in the concertina wire.”

With a laugh, Reed added, “They [the Germans] didn’t stop firing while we were doing this, if you know what I mean. They were firing down the line, and there was a lot of machine gun and mortar fire. I don’t know if I was so scared or what, but I moved as fast as I could to get everything set.” Still chuckling, he continued, “I made sure the fuse lighter went off, since we were told in our training that if it didn’t go off we were to sacrifice our bodies and lay on the concertina wire as the men stepped on us. So I made damn sure that the torpedo detonated.”

The torpedo worked as intended, blasting a hole in the German defenses and creating a crucial exit off Omaha Beach. “As the men moved through our holes in the wire, one of our scouts got cut in half by a machine gun,” Reed recalled. “I was told to fire the rifle grenade at a machine gun nest, but like everything else in the U.S. Army, it was a big dud. So at that point Lieutenant Dawson got up and charged it with his submachine gun and kept blasting. When we got up close they put their hands up. I remember that one German had his arm dangling by only a piece of flesh. That was our first visual face-to-face contact with the enemy.”

That was far from the last time the Rangers would meet Germans face-to-face. The elite American forces led the way across Europe, their sacrifices ensuring that freedom and democracy would continue to thrive, as they do to this day.

Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Dinner Topics for Memorial Day

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Memorial Day History: Honor the Fallen War Heroes

Some gave all

keyLord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget! ~Rudyard Kipling

memorialdaysomegaveallTeddy James, AFA Journal

In Flanders Fields* by John McCrae
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.
*Public domain

To some, it is just a flag, resting in a triangular box on a mantle. To others, it explains why there’s an odd number of place settings at the table, why the opposite side of the bed stays cold, why there’s a vacant seat at graduation, why a bride walks down the aisle alone.

To some, it is just a day, an excuse for a three-day weekend to barbeque and celebrate the beginning of summer. To others, it is a day to be alone, remembering daughters they can’t hug, dads they can’t call, friends they couldn’t save, brothers who saved them with the ultimate sacrifice.

Who we remember

soldierbrave-paulrsmith-medalhonorArmy Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith was part of B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division. On April 4, 2003, Smith participated in building an impromptu prisoner of war holding area in Baghdad, Iraq. During the construction, his unit was attacked by a group of Iraqi fighters. During the battle, an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier was hit, wounding the three soldiers inside. Smith saw to the evacuation of the injured soldiers. There was an aid station directly behind Smith and his team with already over 100 combat casualties. Smith and his team were the only obstacle between Iraqi attackers and the aid station.

Smith climbed into a damaged M113 to man its .50 caliber machine gun and ordered the driver to reposition the vehicle so he could fire on the enemy, leaving himself unprotected and exposed to enemy fire. He went through three boxes of ammunition before his gun fell silent.

Afterward, Smith’s team found him slumped over the machine gun. His armor showed 13 bullet holes. Before he died, he had wiped out over 50 enemy combatants and saved many American lives. SFC Smith was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Smith and countless other heroes who have given their all for America are who Memorial Day is for.

Why we remember

vetsweowethemNo fewer than two dozen cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day. President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Waterloo, New York, the original site in 1966. While the site is disputed, it is clear the tradition started around 1866 as a way to memorialize soldiers who died during the Civil War.

In 1868, General John Legend, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued this proclamation: “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”

soldiersfallenlestweforget2General Legend chose the date because it was not the anniversary of any particular battle.

In the little town of Columbus, Mississippi, also claiming to be the birthplace of Decoration Day, the tradition began with families entering cemeteries and caring for the graves of Confederate soldiers. It expanded when a group of women noticed local Union soldiers’ graves in disrepair and took it on themselves to correct the situation by pulling weeds, placing flowers, and paying respect.

The sentiment covered the country, and today, Memorial Day pays homage to those who surrendered their lives for a purpose they deemed bigger than their personal safety.

Memorial Day’s storied history continues to live in prose, legend, and lyrics. Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields,” a stirring poem published in 1915. The legend says he was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of his friend and fellow soldier Alexis Helmer, who died in World War I.

Inspired by McCrae’s poem, Moina Michael responded with “We Shall Keep the Faith.” She wrote:

soldiersfallenlestweforget1And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Michael decided to wear a red poppy on Memorial Day in honor of all soldiers whose blood was shed not only in Flanders fields, but also everywhere across the globe. Today many veterans’ groups hand out poppies for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

How we remember
libertyMorrill Worcester won a trip to Washington, D.C., and Arlington National Cemetery when he was 12. The image of rows and rows of headstones lodged itself in the mind of the preteen. The sight taught him real people gave their lives to pay for the freedom he enjoyed every day. That lesson never left him.

Years later, Worcester founded his successful business, Worcester Wreaths, in Harrington, Maine. One year he had a surplus of Christmas wreaths, and the image of Arlington’s unadorned headstones came back to his mind. With the help of Sen. Olympia Snowe (ME-R) and other volunteers, Worcester placed the wreaths in an older section at Arlington.

Worcester and his team quietly kept the tradition until 2005 when an image of the gravestones, semi-covered in snow and decorated with an evergreen wreath and hand-tied red bow, took the Internet by storm. Support poured in from people wanting to donate money for more wreaths in Arlington; others asked how they could start laying wreaths in national or state cemeteries close to home.

From the outpouring of support, Worcester and a team developed Wreaths Across America, and the movement continues to grow. In 2013, the volunteer wreath brigade laid over 540,000 Remembrance Wreaths at 908 locations. The wreaths are another fitting tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

Express your thanks
• Sponsor a wreath now that will be laid on December 13, National Wreaths Across America Day.
• Volunteer to lay wreaths at your local cemetery.
• Start a community fundraiser.
• Make Memorial Day an opportunity to serve those left behind. Spouses and children of deceased soldiers should hold a
special place in the heart of every American. They paid – and are paying – a price too.
• Build a relationship with the family of a fallen soldier. Learn their needs and meet them.
• Make this Memorial Day more than an excuse to barbeque. Let it be the starting point of a lifetime honoring, respecting, and remembering our military heroes.
• Contact U.S. senators or congressmen or local veterans organizations to ask for information on local Memorial Day events or projects.

For more information, visit wreathsacrossamerica.org or call 877-385-9504.

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/may/some-gave-all/

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Operation Gratitude: Write Letters to Honor our Heroes

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Operation Gratitude: Write Letters to Honor our Heroes   It has been said that war is organized boredom pierced by moments of sheer terror. On top of fending off attacks from enemies, soldiers must combat boredom, loneliness, homesickness and low … Continue reading

Support our Veterans, Honor War Heroes

Support our Veterans, Honor War Heroes

 

veteran-thanked-600On November 1919 – one year after the armistice ending World War I went into effect – then-President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as a day to formally honor the heroism of those who served in the first World War. In 2015, we honor all veterans who have served this great nation with their commitment and sacrifice to uphold freedom.

 

 

vetwomanandhorsePass on the tradition of honoring veterans
Pass on the tradition of honoring veterans: While it’s too late to submit an entry, you can look forward to the announcement of our Poetry and Poster contest winners on Veterans Day. You can also engage in dialogue with your children about how the service and sacrifice of veterans throughout American history has made freedom and democracy possible.

Volunteer your time
There are many ways to get involved.

Donate
Support our mission and empower disabled veterans to achieve the very things they fought for – freedom and independence.

No matter how you choose to contribute, thank you for helping honor the brave men and women who served and sacrificed to protect our freedoms. Learn more about Veterans Day at www.pva.org/VeteransDay.

Homer S. Townsend, Jr.
Executive Director (and paralyzed veteran)
Paralyzed Veterans of America

See how PAVA is paving the way to employ veterans

 

 

YouTube Video honors War Heroes

Just a Common Soldier: A Moving Tribute for Memorial Day

 

For many years, Stephen Clouse has made videos designed to inspire donations to worthy causes. Recently, he made a different kind of video. It’s not designed to solicit donations but to honor those who have given so much for our country.

In this video, veteran Hollywood actor Tony Lo Bianco reads a poem called “Just a Common Soldier.” It’s a moving tribute to the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who have served our country. As Tony reads the poem, viewers are treated to emotional images of our honored vets. As they were on the battlefield; and as they are now.

Clouse is asking Americans to share the video with their followers on Facebook and other social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter. The goal is to get 21 million “likes”—that’s one for every one of the estimated 21 million living veterans—between Memorial Day on May 25 and Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11.

Memorial Day Meaning: Boy Honors War Heroes

11-Year-Old Boy Held Salute For One Hour On This Beach. Who Joins Him At 5:02? Beautiful!

YouTube video of true Memorial Day Meaning

keyThis young man gets it more than too many adults. If you can watch this entire video dry-eyed, I’d be surprised. ~C.D.

In June 2014, an 11-year-old boy visited Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. As part of the boy’s personal project, titled “Project Vigil,” this little boy spent four days teaching visitors and tourists about three paratroopers who had been buried in the American Cemetery.

During the official D-Day celebration, local police didn’t allow the boy to enter the cemetery in his WWII-style uniform. So the boy took his American flag down to Omaha Beach and planted it in the sand. Staring out at the ocean, the little boy wanted to thank all the Americans who died 70 years earlier in the fight against fascism and evil.

As the young boy struggled to hold the flag steady in the forceful wind, he suddenly witnessed a vision of American infantry soldiers heading bravely towards their fate on the morning of June 6, 1944. Gazing across the English Channel, and so moved by this vision, he brought up his hand to salute the past.

Standing alone, holding the American flag, this little boy stood firm and held his salute for over an hour and a half. While he continued this vigil, interested tourists, children, veterans, well-wishers and all sorts of people went down to see if the story was true, that on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, there stood a boy and an American flag.

Please watch this heartfelt video of a proud American boy memorializing and honoring our fallen soldiers. And wait for the five-minute mark to see who joined this little boy’s silent watch.

And please SHARE this post if you know that Memorial Day is about more than just a good BBQ!

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