Monday, May 31, 2010

Decorating Day Decorum

Today is, in the Colonel's not-so-humble opinion, the most sacred day on the American calendar.

As what has become known as the American Civil War (aka: War Between the States, War for Southern Independence, War of Northern Aggression) drew to a close 145 years ago this Spring, communities across the divided nation harbored in their cemeteries fresh reminders of the war's toll. Across the South, in particular, owing to the fact that most of the war's battles had been fought coincident with Union Army invasions of Confederate territory, cemeteries held the mortal remains of both Confederate and Union soldiers. Each Spring in many towns across the as yet unreconstructed South, the graves of Confederate war dead were decorated with flowers, and the graves of Union soldiers were left ignored. In 1866, the ladies in one southern town--Columbus, Mississippi--celebrated Decoration Day by not only placing flowers on the graves of Confederate dead, but by so honoring the Union dead as well. There that day in Friendship Cemetery, ground in which the remains of many of the Colonel's departed kin are interred, a movement of reconciliation began and spread across the land in the months and years following.

Decoration Day (beginning over time to be called by some, Memorial Day) persisted for the next several generations as a day of remembering the hundreds of thousands of young Americans who, in Abraham Lincoln's simple eloquence, "gave their last full measure of devotion" to their nation. Following the First and Second World Wars, in which over half a million young American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines gave their lives in the defense of freedom, Decoration Day became officially known as Memorial Day, with the sole purpose of remembering and honoring those who died in the wars to which their nation sent them.

While they are most certainly deserving of recognition, Memorial Day is not a day to thank the living who served in uniform. Veterans' Day is for that. Nor is it appropriate to recognize those currently serving--Armed Forces Day is for that. Finally, Memorial Day, although some have so perverted it, is not for remembering just anyone who has gone to their final reward.

Sadly, Memorial Day has lost its proper meaning in the lives of most Americans. The Federal Government is mostly to blame for this. The National Holiday Act of 1971 lumped Memorial Day in with several other much less meaningful holidays and decreed that each should be celebrated on a Monday in order to give Federal workers a three-day weekend. Since that time, "Memorial Day Weekend" has become more about celebrating the "unofficial start of Summer" and much less about remembering our fallen. What's even worse is that as a bookend, Memorial Day has been reduced to equivalency with that Marxist invention of the Labor movement--Labor Day--at the other end of the shelf of summer.

With its roots in Decoration Day, one of Memorial Day's customs is the placement of American flags on the graves of war dead. In addition, Americans who fly a national flag should lower that flag to half mast until noon on Memorial Day. Finally, 3:00 P.M. local time is set aside for a moment of silence and reflection on the sacrifice of those for whom the day is dedicated.

Unfortunately, by 3 o'clock this afternoon, most Americans will be so inebriated or so gluttonously stuporous to even remember where they are, let alone remember those whose lives paid for their freedom.

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


Lance Corporal Roy M. Wheat, Moselle, Mississippi, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 11 August 1967, in the Republic of Vietnam, Lance Corporal Wheat and 2 other Marines were assigned the mission of providing security for a Navy construction battalion crane and crew operating along Liberty Road in the vicinity of the Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province. After the Marines had set up security positions in a tree line adjacent to the work site, Lance Corporal Wheat reconnoitered the area to the rear of their location for the possible presence of guerrillas. He then returned to within 10 feet of the friendly position, and here unintentionally triggered a well concealed, bounding type, antipersonnel mine. Immediately, a hissing sound was heard which was identified by the 3 Marines as that of a burning time fuse. Shouting a warning to his comrades, Lance Corporal Wheat, in a valiant act of heroism, hurled himself upon the mine, absorbing the tremendous impact of the explosion with his body. The inspirational personal heroism and extraordinary valor of his unselfish action saved his fellow Marines from certain injury and possible death, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the
Medal of Honor


Private First Class Mack A. Jordan, Collins, Mississippi, U.S. Army, Company K, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.

On 15 November 1951, near Kumsong, Korea, Private First Class Jordan distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. As a squad leader, he was participating in a night attack on key terrain against a fanatical hostile force when the advance was halted by intense small-arms and automatic-weapons fire and a vicious barrage of handgrenades. Upon orders for the platoon to withdraw and reorganize, Private First Class Jordan voluntarily remained behind to provide covering fire. Crawling toward an enemy machinegun emplacement, he threw 3 grenades and neutralized the gun. He then rushed the position delivering a devastating hail of fire, killing several of the enemy and forcing the remainder to fall back to new positions. He courageously attempted to move forward to silence another machinegun but, before he could leave his position, the ruthless foe hurled explosives down the hill and in the ensuing blast both legs were severed. Despite mortal wounds, he continued to deliver deadly fire and held off the assailants until the platoon returned. Private First Class Jordan's unflinching courage and gallant self-sacrifice reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the infantry and the military service.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor


Private Robert T. Henry, Greenville, Mississippi,
16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division

On 3 December 1944, near Luchem, Germany, he volunteered to attempt the destruction of a nest of 5 enemy machineguns located in a bunker 150 yards to the flank which had stopped the advance of his platoon. Stripping off his pack, overshoes, helmet, and overcoat, he sprinted alone with his rifle and hand grenades across the open terrain toward the enemy emplacement. Before he had gone half the distance he was hit by a burst of machinegun fire. Dropping his rifle, he continued to stagger forward until he fell mortally wounded only 10 yards from the enemy emplacement. His single-handed attack forced the enemy to leave the machineguns. During this break in hostile fire the platoon moved forward and overran the position. Pvt. Henry, by his gallantry and intrepidity and utter disregard for his own life, enabled his company to reach its objective, capturing this key defense and 70 German prisoners.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Memo

The Colonel stumbled (electronically) across a group on FaceBook this morning that piqued his interest. The title, Boycott Memorial Day and Veteran's Day Sales! (, made him think initially that perhaps this was some mouth-breathin', America-hatin,' wacky liberal site devoted to trashing real Americans. As has become a disturbingly more frequent occasion of late, the Colonel was wrong. Much to the Colonel's delight, the group was created by a young Marine!

Just when the Colonel had settled comfortably into the plush armchair of curmudgeonly disdain for the brainlessness and traditionless condition of the current twenty-something generation, along comes something like this to bring him to the position of attention--feet at a sharp forty-five degree angle, fingers of his left hand curled slightly with thumb along the outseam of his trousers, and the fingers of his right hand ramrod-straight in salute at the outside edge of his right eyebrow.

The Colonel has many causes and crusades to which he devotes his energies, but none more dear to him than the effort to educate those within reach of his voice and pen regarding the sacredness of Memorial Day, and the distinct difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. While he always appreciates the sincerity of the sentiment, it has always frustrated the Colonel to be thanked for his military service on Memorial Day. The Colonel did not die (at least he doesn't think he's in Heaven, presently--although Eegeebeegee is close, and the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda is an angel) on a battlefield in service to his nation.

Memorial Day is reserved solely for remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in the wars to which our nation sent them. Memorial Day should not be a celebratory holiday. It should be a day of solemnity and thankful remembrance of our honored war dead. The trivialization of Memorial Day as a beach holiday and a shopping summons denigrates the memory of the fallen.

Period. End of discussion.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Failure to Lead

The Colonel was the least effective leader to ever make rank in the history of the United States Marine Corps (maybe even in the history of organized armies), but even he cringes at the total lack of leadership on display at the White House this Spring. The young man from Chicago/Harvard/Indonesia/Hawaii/Kenya has a a truly enviable oratorical ability, but every lance corporal in the last rank of the third platoon of any rifle company knows that a speech from the man in charge is just that--a speech. The Colonel knows--he's given quite a few speeches over the years that fell lightly on the auditory systems of those over whom he held a position of authority and yet caused not one muscle-moving synapse to fire.

Speeches don't lead--action leads.

One needs only a cursory glance at the headlines to see examples of leadership failure by this President and his administration. Every page front portrays weakness on every battle front. The three of you who regularly waste valuable rod and cone time perusing posts hereon don't need the Colonel to tell you what is going on.

Gonna tell you anyway.

The destructive slick of oil washing ashore in Louisiana on the otherwise gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico is analogous to the dangerous slick of criminality riding the otherwise gentle waves of migrants crossing our border with Mexico. Our national leaders have done nothing to prevent either. In response to both national emergencies, the Obama administration has done little more than give speeches pointing fingers at others (BP and Arizona, in particular) for what the administration portrays as "inappropriate" actions to protect the American people from the destructive effects of both.

News flash, Mr. President--of all of your responsibilities to the citizens of these re-United States, keeping us safe from invasion--be it human or chemical--is your paramount priority. The great irony is that you want the federal government intimately inserted into every orifice of our lives and yet sit fiddling like Nero as two immense threats to our domestic ease sweep over us like fire.

There is even further irony to consider. The world, for which our President pines to be the Messiah, sits precariously this warm season on the precipice of hot war. As the Colonel tippy-taps this missive, Israel prepares to strike Iran's nuclear capability; the powder keg on the Korean peninsula has a lit fuse; China is flexing its new muscle in the Western Pacific; and our troops in Afghanistan are preparing for what may prove to be the most pivotal campaign in the entire Global War on Terror (or whatever other misnomer by which our fight with radical Islam is referred today). In response, our President is attending political fund-raisers in California and playing golf with cronies in Chicago.

And to top it all off, President Obama delegates the duty of attending the Memorial Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery to the man who would prefer that the title "Capital of the Free World," for which the men and women lying in honored repose therein gave their last full measure, be given to Brussels instead of Washington.

To quote what our current Vice President claims he told President Bush, "Look behind you, Mr. President, nobody is following you."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Mississippi Purchase

The Colonel's vast holdings here at the northern end of southern nowhere nearly doubled this afternoon and all it took was the remainder of his meager life savings and his signature on more forms than President Obama has hidden about his life prior to ten years ago.

Actually, the Colonel's No. 2 son--the single, rich one (the latter primarily because he is the former)--joined him in the purchase of the acreage adjacent to Eegeebeegee, so it's not exactly accurate to claim a doubling of the Colonel's vast holdings.

But, since when have the three of you who regularly waste precious rod and cone time perusing posts hereon ever noticed the Colonel allowing accuracy to prevent his telling a story?

The aforementioned acreage acquisition reunites two halves of a piece of property sold asunder by the previous owner. While there is nothing particularly special about the new addition to the Tallahatchie Free State's capital city limits, the Colonel and his kin have wanted it, more than any other reason, so that nobody else would get it.
The last thing the good citizens of the TFS wanted was to have some developer try to put in a subdivision next door. That would have put a significant crimp in the freedom of the Hope of 21st Century Civilization--dashes One and Two (H21CC-1 & 2) to make water at the base of any random tree on the Colonel's property without fear of offending the tender sensibilities of some suburban house- er, um,.. significant other.

Not to mention putting a significant crimp in the Colonel's similar freedoms.

The really great part of this good news story is that the extra acreage brings with it a whole set of its own required capital improvement projects. There are extra fields to plant to feed the antlered and bearded fauna, more trees to selectively log to feed the Colonel's sawmill (Semper Filet), and another stream across which another bridge must be built in order to provide far field access for the Colonel's rusty red pick-up (Semper Fillit) and his trusty red tractor (Semper Field).

The Colonel is considering recruiting and commissioning a Corps (pronounced core, Mr. President) of Discovery to explore and map the new territory. H21CC-1 & 2 are the most likely candidates for co-captains of the adventure.

With any luck, they'll find a navigable route to Sardis Reservoir that will negate the need to pay the Feds a fee to launch the boat next duck season.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

When in the Course of Eegeebeegee Events

An emergency meeting of the Tallahatchie Free State executive cabinet convened yesterday evening on the front porch of Eegeebeegee's Big House aboard the Colonel's vast holdings here at the northern end of southern nowhere. Seems that a crisis of confidence in the Colonel's competency to govern has crept into the collective consciences of his constituency.

The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda, whose standing as sage counsel to the Colonel is unquestioned (particularly by the Colonel), and whose loyalty and best-friendship to the Colonel has survived the ravages of the Colonel's idiocy and idiosyncrasy for mere months shy of four complete decades, rose in the well of the House (in this case, rocked on a chair on the porch) and called for a vote of no confidence, citing the following as evidence of the Colonel's unsuitability to continue as the people's sole representative and chief executive of the Tallahatchie Free State:

(Italics indicate specific charges)

1. The Colonel has failed to complete even one shovel-ready project among the more than a dozen edificial improvements to the vast holdings that comprise Eegeebeegee, the physical capital of the Tallahatchie Free State--a virtual government in opposition founded as much hand-on-wallet as tongue-in-cheek--whose plans were hatched in the fallow fields of the Colonel's imagination and approved by the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda.

The Colonel rose to counter, and pointed out that the Chicks of Eegeebeegee were now ensconced in the coop with integral hen house over which the Colonel has labored lo these many weeks since their arrival. The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda conceded that such was the case, but pointed out that, while habitable, the chicken coop with integral hen house was far from complete and not nearly up to the ascetic standards against which all additions to the grounds of Eegeebeegee are held.

2. The Colonel has failed to keep the flora and fauna aboard the immediate grounds of the physical capital of the virtual Tallahatchie Free State safe from terrorist attack and danger of criminal invasion. Rabbits and deer continue to raid and raze new growth, and an attack by an eastern indigo snake on the newborn of the nesting pair of eastern bluebirds in the nest box at the corner of the vegetable garden was thwarted only by the bravery of Ma and Pa Bluebird and the sharp eyes of the Colonel's firstborn grandson; the Hope of 21st Century Civilization, Dash One (H21CC-1).

The Colonel's assertion that the snake's plot was foiled due to superior construction and siting of the bluebird house was met with the deadpan facial expression which graces the visage of the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda when she really wants, with all of her kind heart, to expound in detail on the mental short-comings of her mate.

3. The Colonel has acted with wanton disregard for the express desires of the citizens of the Tallahatchie Free State, by word and deed too many to enumerate, doing as he darned well pleased, since the founding of said virtual government in opposition, and must step down as chief executive and sole representative of the people.

The Colonel rose and concurred with the third charge. The Colonel's question, "So?" was met by the deadpan facial expression that graces the visage of the comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda when she really wants, with all of her kind-heart, to expound in detail on the mental short-comings of her mate.

The comely and kind-hearted Miss Brenda continued for the better part of the next hour and a half, listing, in detail that the Colonel will spare the three of you who regularly waste valuable rod and cone time perusing posts hereon, the gross malfeasance with which the Colonel has executed his duties as chief executive and sole representative of the people, concluding with the announcement that "the people of Eegeebeegee, T.F.S. do hereby unseat the Colonel and relieve him of all duties of governance."

Whereupon the Colonel woke from the slumber induced by the detail spared the three of you who regularly waste valuable rod and cone time perusing posts hereon, immediately declared martial law, and suspended all fun until morale improves.