Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War II. Show all posts

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A date that will live in the infirmary

It's a day that will live in infamy, and a day that Greg Camp's aging father has never forgotten.
That's why today, Camp will sit down for lunch with his 92-year-old dad and four more survivors of the brutal Dec. 1, 1941, aerial attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese bombers.

SURE, it's fun to cut school and smoke weed all day long, and there's always someone you can pay to take the ACT for you . . . but then you end up getting a job at a newspaper in BF Georgia, and you can't pay some smart dude to write your feature story for you because there aren't any, and there you are.

"Pearl Harbor Day . . . Pearl Harbor Day . . . that's like in December, right? That crippled president said something famous about Pearl Harbor back in the day, dude.

"Uhhh . . . 'Tuesday, Dec. 1, 1943, a date that will live in the infirmary . . . .' THAT'S IT!

"OK, I got this. Kewl."

FILE UNDER: If You Can't Laugh . . .

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Toujours fidèle

As this 68th anniversary of D-Day comes to a close, please take some time to watch these On the Road reports from CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman.

William Faulkner once famously -- and truthfully -- wrote "The past is never dead. It's not even past." The past two nights on the
CBS Evening News, Hartman has shown us, heartbreakingly, how the Second World War may be over for a Texas widow and a French town, but it is anything but past.

It is a wound as fresh as today. It is an old debt still being repaid by a little town and the grateful Frenchmen who inhabit it.

It also is the story of how government incompetence and the malfeasance of a Texas congressman and his staff prolonged an old woman's heartbreak. And it is the tale of how her grace and forgiveness exposes how inconsequential can be the powers and principalities that possess our nation's capital.

Ne jamais oublier. Never forget.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Just the Libyans' way of saying 'Thanks!'

If you see a Libyan in one of your military cemeteries, and he's kicking over headstones and trying to fell a large cross with a sledgehammer, do not be alarmed.

He's just saying "thank you."

Unfortunately, irresponsible journalistic rabble-rousing could lead some among the British people to believe the worst as they assess certain cultural differences between the Western and Arab worlds, and thus be needlessly gobsmacked by online videos of freedom-loving Libyan rebels desecrating one of their World War II cemeteries in the north African sh*thole emerging democracy.

It would have been most helpful if Libyans had helped some of the more confused Brits bridge the cultural divide -- say by sending a nice exploding floral array to No. 10 Downing Street with a sentimental card attached.

Something like,
"We care enough to vandalize the infidels' very best."

gone a long way toward ameliorating this kind of bad press in The Telegraph:
In the videos posted online, headstones marking the final resting place of the famous Desert Rats in the Benghazi War Cemetery were torn down and crucifixes attacked with hammers.

More than 1,000 soldiers from the 7th Armoured Division were buried there after serving in the battle for control of Libya and Egypt between 1941 and 1943.

The men in the footage, seen by the Mail on Sunday, are heard saying: "They are dogs, they are dogs."

Among the graves defiled by the extremists was the gravestone commemorating the Reverend Geoffrey Bond, who was the chaplain to the forces until his death in 1941 at the age of 30.

His nephew, David Bell, told the newspaper the cemetery attack was "greatly upsetting, a disaster."

Describing the reverend, he said: "I was only a baby when he died but my mother absolutely adored him.

"She spoke of his special aura, a way he had of making everyone feel better about themselves."

Others buried at the cemetery include Geoffrey Keyes, who was the youngest lieutenant colonel in the British Army when he was killed aged 24 during a raid on the suspected headquarters of Rommel.

Former diplomat Edward Chaplin, who heads the War Graves Commission, said: "Clearly it’s a terrible thing to have happened. It’s shocking that attacks of this nature should be carried out against a cemetery. We take very seriously the preservation of these memorials to those who have given their lives in wars."

Speaking on the Sky News Murnaghan programme, Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne said the Libyan government has been "extremely apologetic" about the desecration.

But he said the attacks were not aimed particularly at Britain or Christians, and did not represent a Libyan response to last year's military action when British aircraft took part in a campaign which toppled Colonel Gadaffi from his role as dictator in the North African country.
THANK THE Mythological Opiate of the Masses Formerly Known as "God" there is at least one evolved life form -- namely, Jeremy Browne -- in the British Isles. Perhaps he can persuade the average dolt (like newspaper writers who can't tell a cross from a crucifix) how absurd it is to think Muslim mobs whacking away at crosses and kicking over headstones in a British military graveyard might be casting the slightest aspersion on either Britannia or followers of Jesus Christ.

I only wish he would have added, for diversity's sake, how idiotic it would be to infer that the population of a Muslim country might have some problem with Judaism just because this particular cultural expression also involved destroying headstones featuring the Star of David while repeating "They are dogs, they are dogs." Not to mention "kafir."

That truly would be unfortunate. If left unchecked, taxpayers in any number of NATO countries might get the wrong idea about the rightness of spending billions and billions of pounds, dollars and euros -- and endangering the lives of thousands of allied military personnel -- on helping Libyans build a bigger, smellier sh*thole modern liberal democracy in the Islamic world.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pigs fly. Europe over. End nigh.

Germany is the only country in Europe that can act to save the eurozone and the wider European Union from “a crisis of apocalyptic proportions”, the Polish foreign minister warned on Monday in a passionate call for more drastic action to prevent the collapse of the European monetary union.

The extraordinary appeal by Radoslaw Sikorski, delivered in the shadow of the Brandenburg Gate in the German capital, came as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development called on European leaders to provide “credible and large enough firepower” to halt the sell-off in the eurozone sovereign debt market, or risk a severe recession.

The OECD’s comments came as the organisation slashed its half-yearly forecasts for growth in the world’s richest countries, warning that economic activity in Europe would grind to a near-halt.

Yet their calls were met by a stubborn insistence in Berlin that only EU treaty change to forge a “stability union” in the eurozone would revive confidence in the markets.

In a startling comment for a senior Polish minister, Mr Sikorski declared that the biggest threat to his nation’s security was not terrorism, or German tanks, or even Russian missiles, but “the collapse of the eurozone”.

“I demand of Germany that, for your own sake and for ours, you help it survive and prosper,” he said. “You know full well that nobody else can do it. I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity. You have become Europe’s indispensable nation.

-- The Financial Times,
Nov. 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Socialized swing

Today, the tea party would call this "socialized music."

And if you recognize what "this" is, you're either over 80 or a certified geek.

(No, I am not over 80. Therefore, draw your own conclusion.)

Suffice it to say that during World War II, the government was in the music business in a big way with V-Discs, special recordings of popular music that went to the troops -- and which couldn't be sold or broadcast in this country.

Even during a full wartime mobilization, socialism in popular entertainment only went so far.

Today, this morale-boosting service likely would be performed by the military-industrial complex -- Halliburton Records, anyone? -- and would consist of bad knockoffs of popular acts. These compact discs, sold to the Pentagon for $99.95 per, would contain only eight songs and would tend to fly apart when played.

The first CD to be released would be Melvin Klingman's cover of Cee Lo Green's "F*** You."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A message etched in shellac

It's kind of like a message in a bottle, only on a record.

It's kind of like it's been bobbing atop the storm-tossed seas for 66 years, only it probably was in someone's basement.

It's definitely a message from 1945, someone committing something he or she thought important to a Presto transcription disc -- someone reaching out to a future and to Omahans then unknown, conveying a slice of what was then into what someday would be.

Message received.

Welcome, fellow survivors of the postmodern age to a time of America triumphant and evil vanquished . . . at least for a brief moment in time. Welcome to Nov. 22, 1945. It's Thanksgiving Day, and this is the world news over radio station WOW, Omaha, Neb.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

On a note of wistfulness

What you are about to hear is a voice -- a voice lost. A voice faded into the haze of the memories of old men and old women, a world lost in the fog of history.

The voice speaks in an unfamiliar dialect. It speaks of strange things in a strange manner.

This voice -- this lost voice -- calls to us from a nation that is no more. A people who are no more.

The voice is strident. It is confident. It is imperfect, and its sins are as manifest as its hope for the future and its determination to do better tomorrow.

This alien voice sounds like Shakespeare, performed in a tavern. By Broderick Crawford.

who hear this voice are strangers to its cadences. The future that plucks this voice from the ether -- from the past -- belongs to an alien people, a weary people, a frightened people. They, I think, are a beaten people, though I am not sure they would recognize this.

They would not recognize this voice
on a note of triumph. Nor would they any longer recognize the name Broderick Crawford.

Certainly they will not recognize the name Norman Corwin.

This program,
On a Note of Triumph, was regarded as his masterpiece -- a masterpiece among many Corwin masterpieces -- aired on every radio network on the occasion of the end of the European War, May 8, 1945.

Adolf Hitler was dead. The Third Reich was vanquished. Americans remembered, and took stock, and gave thanks.
On a Note of Triumph.
Lord God of trajectory and blast,
Whose terrible sword has laid open the serpent
So it withers in the sun for the just to see,
Sheathe now the swift avenging blade with the names of nations writ on it,
And assist in the preparation of the plowshare.
Lord God of fresh bread and tranquil mornings,
Who walks in the circuit of heaven among the worthy,
Deliver notice to the fallen young men
That tokens of orange juice and a whole egg appear now before the hungry children;
That night again falls cooling on the earth as quietly as when it leaves Your hand;
That freedom has withstood the tyrant like a Malta in a hostile sea,
And that the soul of man is surely a Sevastopol
Which goes down hard and leaps from ruin quickly.
Lord God of the topcoat and the living wage
Who has furred the fox against the time of winter
And stored provender of bees in summer's brightest places,
Do bring sweet influences to bear upon the assembly line:
Accept the smoke of the milltown among the accredited clouds of the sky:
Fend from the wind with a house and a hedge
Him who You made in Your image,
And permit him to pick of the tree and the flock,
That he may eat today without fear of tomorrow,
And clothe himself with dignity in December.
Lord God of test-tube and blueprint,
Who jointed molecules of dust and shook them till their name was Adam,
Who taught worms and stars how they could live together,
Appear now among the parliaments of conquerors
and give instruction to their schemes;
Measure out new liberties so none shall suffer for his father's color
or the credo of his choice:
Post proofs that brotherhood is not so wild a dream
as those who profit by postponing it pretend:
Sit at the treaty table and convoy the hopes of little peoples through
expected straits,
And press into the final seal a sign that peace will come
for longer than posterities can see ahead,
That man unto his fellow man shall be a friend forever.
LORD GOD of history and culture . . . we do not understand. This world is lost to us.

Lord God of reality TV and bling, what is the past trying to tell us?

Lord God Almighty, are we all the better or all the worse for all the "progress" we, Thy unfaithful creation, hath wrought?

We laugh at the strange cadences. We laugh at the naiveté. We laugh at the world-weary optimism. We laugh at the reverence.

We, the sophisticates of monosyllabic mindlessness, have no time for these earnest ghosts.

Norman Corwin, the genius of glowing vacuum tubes and the "Golden Age of Radio," turned 100 on Monday.
Unfortunately, this is no country for old men.

Or their genius. Or their poetic prose. Glorious words lovingly set so gently, so precisely onto the airwaves of a lost civilization.

I can't unders. . . .

Gone. The signal --
I lost it.