When Capt. Gary and First Sergeant Goldy took a break from Gettysburg Eddie’s and walked out into Steinwehr Avenue, we were greeted by a cascade of aerial explosions maybe half a mile away. I will not try to describe it for you, although I know people who think they have sufficient talent and would try. They would be wrong. These were Zambelli fireworks. All that’s needed now, I told Gary, is for the U.S. Marine Corps Band to strike up “Stars and Stripes Forever” and a 105-mm artillery battery to fire off a few rounds. “I’ll take the Marine Band,” he said. “I don’t know about the 105s.” We found out later that the Marine Band was there, but we weren’t close enough to hear it. If there were any howitzers around, we’d have known it. We arrived in Gettysburg the same weekend that 19 Medal of Honor recipients and their families were there for a series of events. I have met two of these men: Woody Williams and John Baca were said to have been there, but I was never in a position to see them. In addition to fireworks, there were dinners and other ceremonies, including a speech by Tom Selleck. Some of it was free, but you had to go online ahead of time to get tickets, and the dinner cost $500. That left the captain and the first sergeant out, but that was OK. What happened to us at Little Round Top made up for anything else we’d missed. We met some of the people who founded the Wounded Warrior Project. They told us about a vintage car that was painted in patriotic theme and sold at a high-end auto auction. It was bought for far more than it was worth by someone who donated it back, and it didn’t end there. “A million dollars” was mentioned somewhere. A Yankee general and a major who joined us for a few minutes said they had been to one of the dinners. Both of them showed us a Medal of Honor challenge coin they got from a Wounded Warrior founder. (A case of “I got one and you don’t,” maybe?) The captain and I later agreed we had been tempted to show them the two coins the Wounded Warrior guy gave us; I wish I could remember his name. One bore the photo of Alfred Mac Wilson, U.S. Marine Corps, and the other the image of Marvin Rex Young, U.S. Army. Their names are among more than 58,000 engraved into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. You owe it to them to look them up and see what they did. Both were from Odessa, Texas, the Wounded Warrior guy’s home town. He said he was determined not to let them be forgotten, a sentiment I understood. These were top-flight well-made challenge coins. The man gave them to us after we handed him a “wooden nickel” coin from our local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 172. It has “WELCOME HOME” on one side and the VVA logo on the other, and we’ve given hundreds of them to Vietnam Veterans. Sometimes, the guy just stares at it for a long time and you think he’s about to cry. Other times, he doesn’t look at it right away and walks on, but comes back after he has seen what’s on it Only somebody who got spit upon and had dung thrown at him when he came back to America from that hellhole can appreciate what something like this means. A fellow who joined us two days in a row is the author of a book called “Six Degrees of the Bracelet: Vietnam’s Continuing Grip” that has had him travel more than 50,000 miles to talk to Vietnam Veterans. He said he got chills when he looked at the wooden nickel we gave him. When the Wounded Warrior guy gave us the Medal of Honor coins, I told Gary, “Now, I’m getting chills.” We met some of the honor guards, mostly Navy and Air Force, who were there to serve as escorts for the Medal of Honor recipients. The flight crew of a C-130 Hercules that came in for the ceremonies — a tall male major and two short, very cute female staff sergeants — also stopped to chat. I told them a friend of mine’s brother — Grady Cooke — was loadmaster in a Herky that was shot down in Vietnam while trying to resupply An Loc, and his body wasn’t identified and returned to the U.S. for more than 30 years. I went to Arlington for his funeral with a busload of men from the VVA Chapter and their wives seven years ago. Grady’s sister had hoped that maybe three or four guys in a car would show up. There was a C-130 flyover for him, but none for Major James Sizemore and Major Howard Andre, whose bodies were found in Laos last year and recently buried in Arlington. They had been Missing In Action for 44 years. The Air Force said that because of the sequestration and the approaching end of the fiscal year, it couldn’t afford to do a flyover. However, pilots from the non-profit Warrior Flight Team provided two flyovers in vintage P-51 Mustangs and an A-26, the same type of plane in which Sizemore and Andre were killed. It cost them $24,000 but, as the pilots said, it’s what they do. I didn’t know about this before I talked to the C-130 crew, who I suspect would rather have done a flyover at Arlington. Even if they knew about it — which I doubt that they did — it would not have detracted from our time with them. They were terrific examples of our service members ... friendly, funny, smart and sharp, with great personalities and who were interested in why the captain and his grizzled old first sergeant were at Little Round Top. They go where they are sent and do what they are told to do, to the best of their ability. It never ceases to astonish Gary and me that such folks actually thank us for what we do. Then there was a sudden, absolutely unexpected reminder of someone else who went where he was told to go and did what he was told to do above and beyond anyone’s expectations. I never knew him, but some of my friends did. Next week: A flash of Lightning.
Yates fires 804
Derek Yates led all scoring for the week ending March 28 with an 804 series featuring a 290 game at Rainbow Lanes.
Bobby Benton actually came in second and third for the week with a 748 on the House pattern at White Oaks and 742 on the USBC Open pattern in the Sport league. Steve Ravenscroft had a nice 740 at Rainbow and Darren Durbin and Teddy Inman rounded out the scoring with 737s apiece at White Oaks.
The huge woods fire in nearby Pennsylvania shows just how much devastation can take place when a blaze breaks out during early spring. In this case, 900 acres of forest — much of it public game land — became engulfed in flames.
There are an estimated 47,000 deceased veterans whose remains are unidentified and unclaimed throughout the U.S. A group of senators and congressmen hope to do something to
bring these men and women some dignity after death.
For the world’s more than 2 billion Christians, Easter is the day that defines their faith.
The exact date of Christ’s resurrection is unknown, and even the precise locations of his crucifixion and burial are uncertain. This hasn’t stopped some people from saying they know the answer to these questions and others from trying to find out for themselves, or simply arguing about it.
Odds are good that you didn’t know this
Odds or Probabilities fascinate many people. There is a special website called www.BookOfOdds.com and an accompanying location on Facebook at /BookofOdds .This website lists 400,000 odds. Three of the people who are involved in this media display have coauthored a book, “The Book of Odds” that presents some of key odds, drawing from polls and statistics published in journals. The authors are A. Shapiro, L.F. Campbell and R. Wright. This paperback was published this year by Harper Collins with ISBN 978-0-06-206085-3.
Trivial questions you don’t have to answer
Every so often in this life, my mind, all on its own, generates questions that have no real answers. So I have decided to pass them on to you. I’m tired of them. If you come up with any answers, let me know. Remember when TV jealously guarded the time zone before 9 p.m. for wholesome shows that children could watch. My gosh, how many years ago was that? It seems like another world nowadays, when you can see murders, torture and rape, or those implied, every hour on the hour, somewhere on your public screen. It might be comforting then, to remember that most children nowadays are glued to their little machines with whole different worlds on them, that they can access all day long. Except that in these different worlds they also can view murders, torture and rape on demand.
Think it’s not a small world? You’re wrong
Yes, you read that right in the paper a couple of weeks ago. I covered a wedding as a newspaper reporter. I’ve retired from doing regular stories because my primary duties lie elsewhere, and I don’t have the time or mental energy for it. But I agreed to do it for a couple of reasons, one of which goes back more than 40 years. The former proprietor of The Famous North End Tavern told me about a wedding that was to take place at the Lions Center for Rehabilitation and Extended Care, where his wife works.
No Bambi for you, Mrs. Doe
Some people want so badly for deer birth control to work that they actually think it will, even on wild populations.
I wish I had a couple bridges to sell.
A week ago on the Outdoors page we ran the deer there do what deer everywhere do. They eat the easiest food available such as gardens and ornamental plantings. They walk in front of moving cars. They give ticks and parasites a place to live.
We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:
Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.
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