Tag: WWII

Sidebars of History: Radio, War and a Man of God

 

Modern communication covers the globe so thoroughly these days that Tinder even works in the vast wastland of Antarctica and with the proper amount of internet bandwidth it’s possible for just about anyone to produce a broadcast-acceptable audio feed from just about any place in the world.

Of course that wasn’t always the case. Just 34 years ago when ABC’s Sam Donaldson broke the news of John Hinckley Jr’s attempt on the life of President Reagan, he did it by yanking someone off their call at a phone booth across the street from the Washington Hilton.

In Thanks to Those Who’ve Killed for Their Country

 

Seventy years ago today, my father and his buddies hit the beaches on Iwo Jima. They had been told that the battle would last a handful of days. The Army Air Corps had bombarded the island for weeks. The Navy, which had amassed an enormous armada, had pounded Iwo with the big guns. The Marines were told that, although it would be a tough fight, the Japanese were so outnumbered that the worst part would be over quickly.

It didn’t go down as predicted. Instead, the 22,000 Japanese defenders had spent years building a honeycombed fortress beneath the rock, which offered not only protection from the bombs and shells but a means by which to attack the Marines up top, then disappear back into the underground safe haven. There was little cover for the advancing Marines. As my dad explained to me, Iwo was black with volcanic ash. There was almost no vegetation and the ash on the beach made it nearly impossible to dig in. The rocks that could have provided cover were far away and to venture out into the open was a deadly business. I remember pop telling me that those first hours “were something else.” My dad was a master of understatement.

Member Post

 

We in the English speaking democracies are often faulted for our supposed ill motivations in going to war. At this Christmas Season, and at a time we continue to be under the attack of monstrous forces who would destroy everything that we hold dear, it is important to recall why we do at time have […]

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Hatred Dies Hard

 

ToraToraTora1970When I was a young man, my hometown in the Midwest was introduced to pay television. Warner Cable introduced Star Channel, the direct precursor to The Movie Channel. It offered 10 movies a month, with just one offering a day, shown six times in a row, starting at 9 AM. It changed my family’s life.

Dad was a steelworker and money was always tight. If we were going to pay for something as extravagant as cable TV we were going to watch. So, on many nights, dinner moved to the living room and we watched movies while we ate. It was the first time I had ever heard the F-bomb come through the television (Chinatown) and also the first time I ever heard it pass the lips of my mother.

The latter was during a showing of Tora! Tora! Tora! 20th Century Fox’s retelling of the events of December 7, 1941. As the Japanese made their bombing run, a very familiar female voice behind me left off a string of expletives that would have made a longshoreman blush in embarrassment.

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Late in 1944, OSS sent my Dad and his buddies in Field Photo to Washington, D.C, to spend several weeks with Signal Corps, learning to use their serious cameras.  After that would come Catalina and then CBI, but at this point they had photography lessons on the Mall, and practiced all over town.  Here are […]

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I know it is a cliché, but sometimes being a hero means being a stubborn man with an unpopular opinion in the right place at the right time. General Lucius Clay was just this sort of man. Due to antics at West Point, when his class skipped its senior year to serve in WWI he […]

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Country Club Sues WWII Vet over Petty Property Dispute

 

Virgil Wesley has lived in his modest Kansas City area house since 1995. Now, a posh county club is suing the 86-year-old World War II veteran over the placement of his garage. According to the Brookridge Country Club, a corner of Wesley’s small garage crosses onto their property and Something Must Be Done.

Family members say Brookridge Country Club is suing Wesley for $75,000, because they allege 60 square feet of his garage is on country club property, according to a survey. “I thought somebody was crazy!” Wesley said, “I’ve been maintaining it all these years!” “He’s a WWII veteran, he’s 86 years old, he’s wheelchair bound, he has no money, no ability to hire an attorney, and they know that!” said Virgil’s daughter, Louanna Davis.