Tag: Memorial Day

Memorial Day Weekend: Civil War Dispatches from Arizona


Picacho Peak is located on the west side of Interstate 10 about 45 miles north of Tucson. Drivers making the trip between Phoenix and Tucson, unless they visit Picacho Peak State Park, may not realize that Union and Confederate forces fought the westernmost skirmish of the Civil War in what was then the location of an isolated Butterfield stagecoach station.

Our loneliness … [was] indescribable. We were cut off from all communication with the civilized world, in a desert and inhospitable country. Ahead of us was an enemy of whose numbers we knew little, and behind a forbidding desert … To add still more to our loneliness, as the sound of the pick and shovel were heard, was the dismal howl of the wild coyote … The graves being dug, without a word or a prayer we rolled the bodies in their blankets and laid them to rest.”

“Shiloh: A Requiem,” By Herman Melville


In honor of Memorial Day, I wanted to present a poem that captured the ultimate sacrifice of our military, and this poem by Herman Melville was intriguing and fit the bill.   Yes, this is the famous Herman Melville, author of the great—and to some—greatest American novel, Moby Dick.  Melville, after early success with his romanticized sailing adventures—which were a comingling of biography and tall tale—turned to serious fiction, and though in retrospect he has been revised to be considered one of the great American novelists, in his day was met with both critical and financial rejection.  It was not until almost thirty years after his death that he was reassessed to receive the stature he deserves.

After about a decade of writing novels, and being rejected, Melville turned to poetry.  That too was met with critical and financial rejection.  He is not as widely known as a poet, but some of his poetry is impressive.  In some ways, Melville’s poetry is the opposite of his prose.  Melville’s prose is mellifluous, rhythmic, and at times reaches the heights of Shakespearean poetry.  His poetry is noticeably the opposite: hard, minimalist, and bare.  In the 1860s, with the country torn apart by the Civil War, Melville decided to visit some of the battlefields and capture something of the war in poetry.  Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War was the book that came out from it, a collection of 72 poems.

As a 19-Year-Old He Never Lettered in a Sport


My late father enlisted in the Navy as a 17-year-old during WWII. Shortly before his 18th birthday, he completed Submarine School. Fifty percent of the candidates that entered Submarine School failed to graduate. When WWII ended, he was 19 years old.

During World War II, the U.S. Navy’s submarine service suffered the highest casualty percentage of all the American armed forces, losing one in five submariners. Some 16,000 submariners served during the war, of whom 375 officers and 3,131 enlisted men were killed, the highest casualty rate of any American force in World War II.

Quote of the Day: Remembering the Dead


“All gave some. Some gave all.” – Howard William Osterkamp

Osterkamp of Dent, OH, served in the US Army 1951-1953. He fought in Korea as part of C Company, 5th Regimental Combat Team, receiving a Purple Heart. He gave some. Many in his company gave all — their lives.

Quote of the Day: Calvin Coolidge on Memorial Day


Our country does not want war, it wants peace. It has not decreed this memorial season as an honor to war, with its terrible waste and attendant train of suffering and hardship which reaches onward into the years of peace. Yet war is not the worst of evils, and these days have been set apart to do honor to all those, now gone, who made the cause of America their supreme choice. Some fell with the word of Patrick Henry, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” almost ringing in their ears. Some heard that word across the intervening generations and were still obedient to its call. It is to the spirit of those men, exhibited in all our wars, to the spirit that places the devotion to freedom and truth above the devotion to life, that the nation pays its ever enduring mark of reverence and respect.

It is not that principle that leads to conflict but to tranquillity. It is not that principle which is the cause of war but the only foundation for an enduring peace. There can be no peace with the forces of evil. Peace comes only through the establishment of the supremacy of the forces of good. That way lies only through sacrifice. It was that the people of our country might live in a knowledge of the truth that these, our countrymen, are dead. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

This spirit is not dead, it is the most vital thing in America. It did not flow from any act of government. It is the spirit of the people themselves. It justifies faith in them and faith in their institutions. Remembering all that it has accomplished from the day of the Puritan and Cavalier to the day of the last, least immigrant, who lives by it no less than they, who shall dare to doubt it, who shall dare to challenge it, who shall venture to rouse it into action? Those who have scoffed at it from the day of the Stuarts and the Bourbons to the day of the Hapsburgs and the Hohenzollerns have seen it rise and prevail over them. Calm, peaceful, puissant, it remains, conscious of its authority, “slow to anger, plenteous in mercy,” seeking not to injure but to serve, the safeguard of the republic, still the guarantee of a broader freedom, the supreme moral power of the world. It is in that spirit that we place our trust. It is to that spirit again, with this returning year, we solemnly pledge the devotion of all that we have and are.

A Brief Memorial Day Observation


I am happy to report that our local veterans’ organizations have shaken off the COVID coma and reinitiated the long-standing Memorial Day ceremony at the old Mesa Cemetery. A decades-long tradition was suspended by public authorities for the past two years, in the name of safety. Starting with this past Veterans Day, we saw a return to sanity and a bit of perspective offered by the occasions of public holidays commemorating military service in our nation’s wars.

This year’s Memorial Day ceremony was small but a good start, getting local veterans’ organizations back into the groove of annual planning for two major remembrances. The Mesa police department added a brief early morning flag raising and taps ceremony, a brief yet meaningful observance. Well done, Mesa.

‘Corregidor Used to Be a Nice Place; It’s Haunted Now’


The Allied command center on Corregidor.

The Japanese Imperial Navy began shelling Corregidor three weeks after their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The Philippine island was the strongest fort in the Pacific, nicknamed “the Gibraltar of the East” by the US troops stationed there. Corregidor was a two-square-mile tangle of tunnels, bunkers, and heavy guns preventing the Japanese from securing Manila Bay.

So the enemy kept bombarding. For four months, a valiant group of US Marines, Army, and Navy fighters — joined by Filipino soldiers — held out against the incessant Japanese aerial, naval, and artillery attacks. But they couldn’t hold out forever.

Quote of the Day: From ‘Old Blood and Guts’


File:A Memory of a Field of Heroes.jpg

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

This is the quote attributed to General George S. Patton in his extemporaneous remarks at Boston’s Copely Plaza, on June 7, 1945. There’s no written record (on his part) of his saying such a thing, and the historical recounting depends on William Blair’s New York Times article of June 8 of that year for substantiation. Bartleby.com reports that “other newspapers of that day have variant wording.

As the the nation pauses for Memorial Day, Jim and Greg also take time to honor the brave Americans who gave their lives for this nation and their families who have sacrificed so much. They also take some time to give you the background on how this podcast began and how each of them became conservatives


Memorial Day: More Than the First Day of Summer


Memorial Day brings back memories of rich traditions in my mother’s and father’s households, and service in our Armed Forces by multiple generations.

Growing up, my parents would have their three children dress up a little and visit cemeteries in Oklahoma and Lincoln Counties to pay homage to deceased family members. It was a wonderful tradition capped by a picnic lunch at terrific Tilghman Park in Chandler, Oklahoma, complete with fried chicken. It used to be a historic National Guard encampment site.

Memorial Day: Submarine Lifeguard League


My late father enlisted in the Navy as a 17-year-old. Shortly before his 18th birthday, he completed Submarine School and was in combat as an 18-year-old. The Submarine Lifeguard League in the Pacific rescued about 500 airmen from all services.

When the numbers were added up after the surrender and using Japanese records, U.S. submarines had sunk 1,314 enemy vessels of 5.3 millions tons including a battleship, eight carriers, eleven cruisers and innumerable destroyers and escort ships.

Member Post


This weekend is Memorial Day weekend.  It’s often thought of as the traditional start of Summer.  It’s a time for putting the dock in, getting the deck or patio ready for outdoor gatherings and meals, or putting in your garden (for  us northerners).  However, it’s still a holiday meant for remembering those who have served […]

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This article was written by Michelle Black and published in the NY Times (I know collectively our favorite). I truly love this article. It captures the surreal rawness of dealing with death interspersed with bursts of humor that somehow accompany emotionally charged events. I thought it appropriate in light of the pending holiday and remembering […]

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Lincoln’s Second Inaugural and Memorial Day


She began to read aloud. We stood, my daughter and I, inside the Lincoln Memorial in 1999. Etched to the right of the president’s statue, Chelsea read from Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. The boisterous noise of others around subsided to silence as this 12-year-old recited the heart-rending words from a leader whose nation had been wounded by The Civil War.  Perhaps the audience was suddenly quiet out of respect for a young woman’s voice emboldened to repeat a historical text.  But I would like to think that the words themselves brought solemnity to the monument. America, torn by internal strife, reflected the soul of Abraham Lincoln.

Upon the occasion of his reelection, Lincoln chose to be generous with those who opposed him.  In part he said,