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Celebrities Sabrina A. Parisi and Donna Spangler arrive at the 19th annual Night of 100 Stars party on Sunday, February 22, at the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel.

© yohanes.budiyanto, 2012

 

HISTORY

Park Hyatt Sydney was built on the site of the former water police station on Hickson Road at Campbell's Cove, which was in operation from 1865 until 1986. The curvaceous low-rise building is designed by one of Australia's most celebrated architects, Ken Woolley (Ancher, Mortlock and Woolley) and opened in 1990. Ken Woolley is a prominent figure in the Australian architecture field with a career spanning more than 50 years and a recipient of many high-profile awards, including Australia's highest architectural honor, the RAIA Gold Medal, in 1993. The Gold Medal is the Australian equivalent to the much coveted annual Pritzker Architectural Prize (coincidentally founded by The Pritzker family, who owns Hyatt hotels). Pritzker Prize is the architectural equivalent to an Oscar award.

 

After its inauguration in 1990, Park Hyatt Sydney quickly established itself as the best and most luxurious hotel in the Southern Hemisphere. A series of cosmetic renovations were completed between 2004 - 2007 for most of the rooms; restaurant and bar; with a cutting edge contemporary design, most notably with the addition of Radar Chairs and other iconic designer furniture in the guestrooms and public areas. It is not until April 2011 when the hotel embarked on the biggest transformation in its entire history, renovating all rooms, bathrooms, public areas and added 3 rooftop Suites that finally completed in February 2012.

 

LOCATION

Park Hyatt Sydney is located at an enviable spot at The Rocks, an historic area that is perfect for all travellers and any first-time visitors to Sydney as it has a plethora of entertainment, cultural, shopping and dining options. The Harbour Bridge is literally on the back of the hotel and the Opera House is a lovely stroll away via Circular Quay. The Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) is literally next door to the hotel, allowing guests a glimpse of the gigantic Queen Mary 2 when it berths in Sydney.

 

Some of Australia's best and most high-profile restaurants could be found around The Rocks area promixity. Peter Gilmore, -Australia's most critically-acclaimed chef-, opened his eponymous restaurant at OPT, called Quay, earning him the much coveted 3 hats award, which is the Australian equivalent to a 3 Michelin Star. Its iconic Snow Egg dessert is as iconic as the Opera House now, since making a stint at the MasterChef TV shows. I have personally tried it and it exceeds my expectation. A visit to Sydney is not complete without visiting the Quay and sampling the Snow Egg.

 

Neil Perry, -another Australian icon, also has a flagship 3 hats restaurant nearby, called Rockpool; and so has Guillaume Brahimi with the venerable, 3 hats Guillaume, - housed in the smaller sail structure of the Opera House. If it's not enough, ARIA by celebrity chef Matt Moran is just next door with 2 hats. The Bridge Room, an impressive new restaurant in the area run by an extremely talented chef formerly of Amanresorts, Ross Lusted, is a pleasant walk just down the block near Circular Quay; and has been creating a buzz since its opening just a couple of years ago. It immediately scored an impressive 2 hats within a year of operation. It is without a doubt, one of my favourite restaurants in Sydney. You can certainly expect an Amanresorts caliber of service here.

 

Chef Shaun Presland also has a presence at the historic Argyle precinct with his 1 hat Japanese Restaurant, Sake; and a Sydney institution with 1 hat, Sailor's Thai is also nearby, serving award winning Thai cuisine that has been inspired by and continued the legacy of prominent Australian chef, David Thompson. Back in the 1990s, David used to run the restaurant and pioneered Thai cuisine in Australia. He quickly rose to stardom with the critical success of his Thai restaurant in London, Nahm, which was the first Thai restaurant in the world to earn a Michelin Star.

 

The Rocks area is a shopping mecca with the popular weekend outdoor street markets that are ideal for local shopping; and there is no shortage of luxury boutiques around this area, from Louis Vuitton to Gucci and Ralph Lauren; and many other luxury brands represented at the DFS. Pubs, restaurants and cafes are abundant nearby.

 

ROOMS:

Originally housing 158 rooms including 3 Premier Suites (73m2); a Diplomatic Suites (145m2) and The Governer Suite (185m2) over 4 levels, Park Hyatt Sydney has reconfigured all its rooms during the massive top to bottom renovation that lasted almost a year. It now has an inventory of 155 rooms including 11 Suites: Cove Suites (73m2); Quay Suites (120m); Rooftop Suite (142m2); Harbour Suite (145m2); Opera Suite (185m2); and a palatial 350m2 Sydney Suite on the rooftop, commanding a 360-degree views spanning Sydney’s iconic Sydney Harbour, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge; and a staggering price tag of $16,000 per night.

 

All rooms were completely remodelled by Melbourne-based interior designer BAR Studio and now sporting a more elegant look with residential feel, similar to that of Tony Chi's Park Hyatt Shanghai with dark wood furniture, limestone and luxurious fabrics against beige, ivory and natural tones background. A significant part of the renovation was the refurbishment of all bathrooms, which was left intact during past renovations. The new bathrooms are smartly designed with twin sinks; separate powder room (how clever); separate "wet" area with rainforest shower and a bathtub from the German-brand Kaldewei, who introduced the first free standing bathtub back in 1934 and was named "Brand of the Century" in 2010. Another amazing high-tech showcase at Park Hyatt Sydney's bathroom is the installation of a Japanese washlet by Toto as a standard in all rooms. Unlike other Park Hyatts in Shanghai, Beijing and Seoul; the washlet here only has basic function (heated seat; electronic flush; bidet and deodorizer) and does not have the sensorized version that could detect occupant presence and automatically opens the lid. Having said that, it is already an astonishment and blessing to see its debut in an Australian hotel.

 

Standard features in all rooms include Sealy ‘Grand Pillow Top’ beds, 40” LED Television by Sharp; Electronically controlled sheer and black out screens; Dining Table cum working desk for two; Bose ‘iPod/iPhone’ Digital Music System; Multimedia hub; Digital alarm clock in bathroom and bedroom; Steam Iron and Ironing Board; large safe deposit box enough to store your Macbook Pro or your old chunky laptops; and my personal favourite feature: a beautifully designed, custom-built, full height "mini-pantry" cabinet housing these wonders: Nespresso coffee machine and capsules; glass-fronted mini fridge; in-room wines (chargeable) and minibar; standard cutlery and electric kettle. Bathroom amenities are supplied by the famous New York perfurmer, Le Labo.

 

Despite criticism and skeptics in some online forums regarding the decision of using Le Labo amenities over the usual Park Hyatt standard of Aesop, Blaise Mautin, Acca Kappa and Aromatherapy Associates; I personally like the Le Labo's Bergamote 22 series,- which was part of the original debut lines of fragrances in 2006-, as it gives the room such a distinct, refreshing and calming smell. The number "22" in the fragrance line refers to the number of ingredients that make up the whole composition, and Bergamote is the ingredient with the highest concentration.

 

One fact that most people has yet to realize is that Le Labo founders, Edouard Roschi and Fabrice Penot, used to be the perfumers at Giorgio Armani. I am sure that this fact alone will silence any doubts and prejudice over Le Labo. This brand currently takes the hospitality world by storm. The Fairmont hotels has now ditched Miller Harris for Le Labo; Le Meridien has bathroom amenities with unique scents created by Le Labo, named LM01; and even the celebrity-hotspot Gramercy Park Hotel in New York uses Le Labo.

 

ROOM TO BOOK:

Personally, I would opt for one of the Opera Deluxe Rooms as it is technically a Suite; and in fact bigger than the standard Suite (Cove Suite). The 75 m2 room has open plan arrangement with two balconies; two-seater sofa; a round dining table that double as a work desk; and a bathtub with an Opera House view. These rooms are located at both ends of the hotel's elongated structure. The east end is closer to the lift bank; and has direct uninterrupted water and Opera House view; while the west end fronts Campbell's Cove with a framed view of Opera House and the hotel's low rise building on one side.

 

DINING:

There are 3 food and beverage outlets in the hotel: The Living Room and The Bar, both adjacent to the Lobby; and the former Harbour Kitchen & Bar has been resurrected into the elegant Dining Room with beautiful postcard views of the Opera House. Breakfast is served at both Living and Dining Room every morning with a choice of hot food to be ordered a la carte; and a buffet spread consisting a limited variety of pastries, fruits and cereals, all nicely presented in individual glass boxes, much like a jewelry showcase. Breakfast orders were delivered in a timely manner and cooked perfectly.

 

The choice of all day dining food is also limited in variety but consists of Australian-inspired cuisine and all time favourite dishes, from Caesar salad to burgers and pastas; to fish and chips and Wagyu beef steak.

 

LEISURE:

The small rooftop area has been expanded and refurbished with a larger sun deck area; three poolside cabanas; outdoor seating areas; a revamped existing small lap pool by the harbour bridge side; and an outdoor jacuzzi with the most amazing city views. There is a small gym located directly one level below the rooftop area, connected by an internal stair. Guests staying on Level 3 has easy direct access to the 24-hours gym (accessed by hotel card), which is conveniently located next to the lift bank. The Spa facilities has also been enhanced with 5 newly-designed treatment rooms, a relaxation room; whirlpool, sauna and 2 aromatherapy steam rooms. During my stay for almost a week at the hotel, I notice one favourite ritual by many in-house guests by the rooftop pool area is to order room service and celebrate a special occasion with champagne and killer views on the background.

 

MEETING & CONVENTION:

There are three different meeting venues within the hotel with 5 meeting rooms; The Gallery, which could accommodate up to 150 guests but could also be divided into three separate intimate event spaces; and a Guest House at the western edge of the hotel with the most beautiful, uninterrupted views of the Sydney Opera House. The Guest House is converted from what used to be The Little Kitchen and Harbour Bar; and is conveniently connected to both The Dining Room and The Gallery. There is an open theatrical live kitchen located at the center to serve these three interconnected areas. It is a unique venue, perfect to accommodate up to 70 guests.

 

X-FACTOR:

Park Hyatt Sydney is the preferred home of many Heads of State, dignitaries, royalty, rock stars and celebrities. Frank Sinatra & Billy Joel were rumoured to made headlines for a fight over a Suite in the past. Now the fight is surely to get even feistier with the arrival of the ultra-glamorous, 350m2, 360 degree view Sydney Suite at $16,000/night. In fact, the whole new rooftop suites addition could be booked as a whole (3 Suites altogether) for a "modest" $50,000/night with a minimum of 2 nights required. The bad news is? The Suite is reportedly fully booked until the end of the month.

 

The Opera House view on many rooms is unrivalled and has been so synonymous with the Park Hyatt Sydney; but with the recent addition of the TOTO washlet, the cult followers are surely to get even stronger.

 

SERVICE:

Park Hyatt Sydney has always raised the bar to a new height, and this applies to the level of service too. Based on my experiences at other top Australian hotels, the Park Hyatt service remains the best. Friendly staffs greeted me by my last name every time I walked pass through the Lobby and Living Room; and they always seemed so eager to please. There were a few stand outs, i.e. Ms. Honja from the reception; Chad from the Living Room; and most female staffs from The Dining Room performed at a different level to the rest of the staffs. They were truly exceptional and their service level was world class.

 

Park Hyatt Sydney has a staggering battalion of 20 butlers to serve all guests on its 155 rooms. They are on hand to help you with your minor tech glitches, packing and unpacking and other requests. This is probably a feature that sets Park Hyatt Sydney apart from the rest of the competitors. My charming butler even took a lengthy time to fix our IT glitches and make sure we are well taken care of. Another interesting note worth mentioning is the fact that many staffs here could be mistaken as fashion models. They do have good looks and the beautifully-designed uniforms on each staffs alone could already steal the show. Not sure if this should be included on the X-factor section.

 

VERDICT:

Park Hyatt is my favourite hotel brand. It has a collection of design-driven ultra luxury boutique hotels with unique unrivalled locations; contemporary design; fine food and highly-personalized service. The same applies to Park Hyatt Sydney as it is without a doubt the best hotel in Sydney; and one of the finest in the world. With such pedigree, amazing features and exceptional service, it is clearly in a different league from the rest of other Sydney hotels. No other hotels in Sydney have balconies with Opera Views; a team of 20 butlers and a TOTO washlets in the standard room. Any stay here is a lifetime experience and is recommended to visit at least twice before you die. I have stayed here a couple of times already and I still could not get enough of it and am longing for an excuse to come back to Sydney just so I can stay at the hotel again.

 

Make sure to book the Opera Deluxe Rooms on the top floor (3rd floor) for the most breathtaking view of the Opera House. If money is no object, I fully recommend the 350m2 Sydney Suite for a life time experience. It is actually a wise way to spend your $16,000 because the experience here is priceless. No money can buy..

  

PERSONAL RATING:

 

1. Room: 100

2. Bathroom: 95

3. Quality of Bed: 100

4. Service: 90

5. In-room Tech: 95

6. In-room Amenities: 95

7. Architecture & Design: 100

8. Food: 85

9. View: 100

10. Pool: 90

11. Wellness: 85

12. Location: 100

13. Value: 85

 

Overall: 93.84

 

PARK HYATT SYDNEY

7 Hickson Road, The Rocks

 

General Manager: Andrew Mensforth

Executive Chef: Andrew McKee

Architect: Ken Woolley, (Ancher, Mortlock and Woolley)

Interior Designer (Opening, 1990): Hirsch Bedner & Associates

Interior Designer (Refurbishment, 2004: Rooms): Chhada Siembieda Australia

Interior Designer (Refurbishment, 2007: Harbour Bar): BAR Studio

Interior Designer (Refurbishment, 2012): BAR Studio

 

sydney.park.hyatt.com

*“I’ve got a very bad feeling about this.”

 

This picture has become rather popular and I keep running into it online in assorted blogs and whatnot. Eventually D.K Books saw it and contacted me, asking if I could scan and/or take pictures of some of the individual items for use in their 2010 coffee table book, Star Wars: Year By Year. So, somewhat bemused, I did, and you'll find the results in the Star Wars: A New Hope section, along with credits in the back of the book. This makes me smile because now I get to say "SEE!! I told you there was a reason for keeping all this junk!"

 

"At last, the circle is complete."

 

A LONG TIME AGO IN 1977.....

 

-Australia had its worst railway disaster at Granville near Sydney, with 83 dead.

 

-The first Apple 2 computers were sold.

 

-Queen Elizabeth the 2nd toured the world.

 

-Optical fibre telephone cables were introduced.

 

-The worst single aviation disaster in history occurred in the Canary Islands when two 747s collided, killing 583.

 

-The first public telephones with buttons instead of dials were introduced.

 

-Toy fads included skateboards and.....Slime!

 

-Fashions included flares, disco hot pants, wide ties, moustaches and sideburns, big floppy hats for women and Punk swaggered down the street with torn clothing, aggro hair, safety pins and chains.

 

-In music the Sex Pistols and many others put the boot into Punk. Blondie released their eponymous album, David Bowie let Heroes take wing, and the Alan Parson's Project activated I Robot, while ABBA were THE Dancing Queens.

 

-Jimmy Carter was the US Prez.

 

-The Roots mini-series was on the telly. In Australia we watched Don Lane, Paul Hogan, and Mike Walsh in their shows. Graeme Kennedy hosted the game show Blankety Blanks, and long running soaps like Bellbird, Number 96 and The Box were winding up. Other shows new or popular that year included: Charlies Angels, Fantasy Island, Three's Company, Eight Is Enough, The Goodies, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Are You being Served?, Doctor Who, Fawlty Towers, Soap, CHiPs, The Love Boat, The Good Life, and The Naked Vicar Show.

 

-The Soviet Salyut Space Station was in orbit.

 

-UFOs were beginning to overfly Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Peg and Ed Blumquist were just starting to plot their bloody reign of terror, though no one would have believed it, if told.

 

-Malcolm Fraser was the Australian Prime Minister.

 

-Sarah Michelle Gellar, Orlando Bloom, Shakira, Tom Welling (Smallville's Superboy), and Liv Tyler were all born in '77.

 

-Elvis, BIng, Wernher von Braun, Joan Crawford, Zero Mostel, Chaplin and Groucho (and his brother Gummo) all died in '77.

 

-The Space Shuttle Enterprise (named after the US Navy vessels and the Star Trek ship) was undergoing flight tests as the testbed prototype for the future space fleet.

 

-Films released that year included Smokey and The Bandit, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Saturday Night Fever, Annie Hall, Airport 77, The Spy Who Loved Me, Looking For Mr Goodbar, The Gauntlet, Oh God!, The Goodbye Girl, The Island Of Dr Moreau, Sinbad & The Eye Of The Tiger, The Deep, Freaky Friday, ABBA-The Movie, Kingdom Of The Spiders, Capricorn 1, Empire Of The Ants, The Incredible Melting Man, Spider-Man (The Nicholas Hammond T.V pilot packaged for theatrical release), Wizards, Julia, and Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo.

 

And.. Star Wars!

 

Actually, I'm not a very keen Star Wars fan now, haven't really been since the series "Jumped The Sarlac" back in Return of The Jedi and certainly not at all impressed by the bloated toy franchise second trilogy...retro first trilogy or whateverthehell those three films were supposed to be. Of course, now we have a new cycle of Star Wars films...but I've evolved a bit since 1977 and the genre 'verse has too, so I'm unlikely to return to the franchise fold in a big way.

 

I wasn't going to go on a pre-Star Wars VII binge of rewatching the earlier movies before seeing The Force Awakens. Goodness, I'm not even sure I have copies! I think there was a set of preview screeners I got from somewheres, I did dig 'em out before the opening weekend and watched the first two, which proved to be a tactical error.

 

I couldn't bring myself to rewatch that first dreadful wave of bloated S.W preqs, though. Amongst their countless, inexplicably artlessly charmless moments, where they really misfired is not managing to effectively tell Anakin's fall into Vader as a genuine tragedy. Instead it's just...grubby, with a rather creepy and unlikely romance thrown in alongside stodgy political commentary that would've taken Aaron Sorkin's fine hand to make live. It does make me wonder if the prequels had actually come first if Vader would've been seen as being quite so cool.

 

The genre cinema landscape has changed a lot since 1977. It's a rare year now that doesn't have at least five aspirationally major science fiction movies hit the big screen, and then there's the amazingly deep work being done on television where the long form fiction game plays out in greater complexity than ever. Star Wars isn't the only rodeo in town, and its supervillains and superheroes would probably have to pass an entrance exam to join, say, the Avengers or Guardians Of The Galaxy. But that's okay, the genre is as mainstream as it is now because it's standing on the shoulders of Star Wars, and Star Trek, and 2001, and Planet Of The Apes, and Forbidden Planet....and, well, you get the idea.

 

Still, my old New Hope was that the new films were/are good 'uns too, and will help kick the genre can even further down the road!

 

Well, having seen The Force Awakens now, I must admit to being somewhat disappointment, especially now I have Rogue On" to compare and contrast it with. Several things to like about 'Force (truly!) but the intensively cloned plot wasn't one of them. Every time (and there were many) I settled into enjoying the film I kept getting tractored out of happyspace by the realisation that I had seen them do precisely the same thing in A New Hope. They tried way too hard to mimic precise plot details from that very first Star Wars movies. Yet another ginormous battlestation to be exploderated, the inevitable 'chosen one' Jedi rising from humble, deserty origins (a girl, and well past time, too!) with another pouty teenage Sith (Darth Vader's his Grandad!) to play the villain. Add a clumsily realized death for the beloved character, Han Solo. None of it works particularly well, save perhaps the introduction of a rebellious Stormtrooper, which ironically, leaves you awkwardly questioning the multitude of throwaway deaths of the hitherto faceless, thinly armoured soldiers throughout the series.

 

I don't know if the filmmakers were trying to be stylishly 'meta' but pretty much the entire story was lifted whole from the very first movie, with some bits thrown in from the others. A bit of a let down for me and inevitably it's going to be the Bantha in the room when discussing the new flick. I've since read that the aim was to remind the punters of the original films by presenting familiar plot points, but that didn't work out very with the first lot of prequels, did it?

 

Yet another prequel, Rogue One, fared much better, because it didn't even pretend to be doing something new, as it plugged so neatly, like an astro-mech droid into an X-Wing socket, into the immediate backstory of A New Hope. It did something entirely grimly necessary, which was to bring a a little bit more adult understanding and realization of the underlying interstellar struggle of the story into play. Simply put, it effectively put the "War" into Star Wars, in a way that rang tragically true, albeit in an admittedly watered down cinematic way. In fact, it's enough good at that, that A New Hope plays more naively as the now direct sequel, almost as if it's set in an alternate, much less nuanceduniverse.

 

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

 

But, back in the Day, in 1977....I was a potential Star Warrior, and it certainly had an influence upon my eventual uber-geekhood, though not as much as Star Trek did, to be sure. This collection of early Star Wars booty really represents a Road Not Taken by me.

 

Anyway, May 25th, 1977 was the day the film was released in the US but it didn't open in Melbourne until October 27th. We used to have a pretty big time lag between overseas film releases and them washing up Downunder.

 

I don't know exactly when I first saw it, I've long since tossed the 14 ticket stubs that would tell the story, but I may have seen it on my birthday, which was the day after it opened. The tickets cost $4.00 Australian each back then, so it cost me $56 plus just to see the film those 14 times. No wonder I never bothered getting the video when it came out!

 

Anyway, Star Wars was the very first feature film screened in a big city cinema (at the now defunct Hoyts Mid-City theatre) that I caught a bus to see all by myself.

 

I must have been about 16, which most folks would probably think was quite late. I actually did get around a lot on my own of course, just not to the city much. We had a small town hall in the suburb where I lived, where they played films on a miniscule screen. They even had a piano player for some silent flicks! :) I used to enjoy going out to the city with my mum and we'd go shopping, go to bookshops and sometimes to the pictures...I have vague memories of seeing Westerns and, of all things, a Man From Uncle television story tarted up as a big screen release. We used to get a lot of those here, in fact the cinema is where I saw the original Battlestar Galactica pilot.

 

But that Star Wars clone came later of course....

 

I think the only other film I have seen in the cinema more times was Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan....one reason for so many repeated viewings of that was to note down all the books on Khan's makeshift bookshelf so I could read them all! I don't think any other film has inspired me to do quite so much reading, certainly not Star Wars.

 

A couple of months after I saw Star Wars I caught a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was enjoying a re-release, perhaps because of the enormous interest in space movies that Star Wars helped kick-start again. Now 2001, was much more my idea of a Science Fiction movie I could sink my precocious intellectual teeth into and its high standards have influenced my genre tastes ever since.

 

“Don’t call me a mindless philosopher, you overweight glob of grease.”

 

So, my early Star Wars collection is really quite puny compared to ones compiled by folks who had or have more resources, both monetary and enthusiasm, to bring to this particular sub-genre of fandom.

 

Still, I think it's a fair cross section of the tie-in publications if not (thankfully!) the other merchandise available at the time. This, by the way, isn't all of it. Just what I thought made a decent composition. I also didn't mess with the set up much, didn't get anal about lining everything up perfectly. This is the raw way I would have pasted all this stuff into, say, a scrapbook, back in the 70s.

 

"I have you now!"

 

I was already a bit of a collector before Star Wars. Folks nowadays (groan!) sometimes think that Star Wars started the media spin-off explosion but that's just not so. Every category represented here was already well explored by the Star Trek marketers, at least, before the mid 1970s. Radio, film and television had been churning out saleable junk for decades. Still, Star Wars certainly plumbed new wallet depths.....

 

“Into the garbage chute, flyboy!”

 

The items in the list refer to numbered notes on the picture which run roughly left to right, row by row downwards.

 

1) Magazine. 1977. Star Wars Official Collectors Edition. Marvel Comics International. English Printing. 76 pages plus covers. Cover prices: Australia- $2.95. USA $1.75. U.K 95p.

 

The cover is the famous Brothers Hildebrandt one. Carrie Fisher used to hoot with laughter at the way they 'enhanced' her legs and breasts! Still, it's a cracking illustration that captures the feel of the movie very successfully. The contents were quite interesting. The usual retrospective on Science Fiction and cinematic influences was always handy, as I'd keep an eye out for films and books. There was a little glossary of terms (why did it take so long to put out a Star Wars Encyclopaedia?) and a comprehensive storybook of the film with lots of stills and articles about special effects, music and production artwork by the likes of Ralph McQuarrie. I really poured over the FX and behind-the-scenes shots in particular.

 

I still laugh at the breathless questions posed about sequels at the end of the mag. "Will the hero marry the strong-willed Princess Leia? (Ewwwww!) Or will he have to challenge Han Solo to a duel for Leia's hand?" Always with Star Wars it's about the lopping off with the Hans!

 

“Watch your mouth kid, or you’ll find yourself floating home.”

 

2) The original Star Wars bubble gum cards. 1977. These are the blue edged Topps ones, or a local Australian variant. 66 in all. You could put several of them together and the backs would form a mini-poster, there were also movie facts. I’ve tossed several of these cards into the picture.

 

3) Soft cover picture book. 1978. Story adapted by Geraldine Richelson. Armada Books. Wiliam Collins Publishers, Sydney. Printed In Victoria, Australia. Cover Prices: Australia $4.95. U.K 1 pound 45. Canada $4.50. The movie story with really well reproduced stills as illustrations. There was a great shot of Vader on the back cover that I still remember referencing for drawings.

 

4) Original Movie Programme Booklet. 1977. S.W Ventures Inc. New York. Printed in the U.S.A. Australian cover price unknown but you could get them for $1.50 in the U.S. Remember these? I don't know when they decided that we didn't need programme books for sale at Australian cinemas, but this was probably the first one I ever purchased. I never really saw one again after the mid 80s or so, although have since gotten some pretty nice ones in press kits as a movie reviewer. It had all the bells and whistles: good pictures, a cast list, actor bios and a bit of behind-the-scenes stuff.

 

5) Magazine. Famous Monsters Of Filmland #137 September 1977 Yearbook. 90 pages plus cover. Cover Price $1.90 Australian. $1.50 U.S. Warren Publishing. U.S. My favourite magazine treat back then, along with the later, glossy Starlog. Absolutely crammed with all kinds of groovy ghouly fan treasures! The yearbook was just a cheap way of recycling stories of course, but useful if you'd missed previous issues. I have several surviving copies from this era. I like the titles in burnt orange...surely the signature colour of the 70s? Well, along with brown and assorted garish greens....

 

In spite of the cover there was actually minimal Star Wars content in this issue. Everything else though was magic! Features on the Japanese monster Ghidrah, a story by Edgar Allan Poe and Robert Bloch called "The Horror Of The Lighthouse" (Illustrated with movie stills that included Doctor Who's Jon Pertwee playing a cross eyed vampire from The House That Dripped Blood film), an account of a fan's phone call with actor Christopher Lee (Lee, of course, had his own part to play in the Star Wars saga decades later), and those advertisements! Page after page of fascinating odds and sods: Planet of the Apes and monster masks, a Frankenstein bust plaster casting kit, Dick Smith Monster make-up kits, Super 8 films of Zorro, Tarzan, and of course Star Wars, and the projector to show 'em with! Posters, vinyl L.Ps, Frank Frazetta art books, glow in the dark (anatomically correct!) skulls, Star Trek posters that you hand coloured, model Batmobiles, and....curious underwear that featured covers from this mag and its sister titles, Creepy and Eerie.

 

“You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

 

All accompanied by what were allegedly Forry Ackerman's exuberant puns and “Forrest” of exclamation marks..."Every ghoulboy reader...", "You won't be dozing when you read what this half dozen horror stars did in THE BLACK SLEEP!" *Bliss*

 

The name Dick Smith stuck in my head (THUNK !!) and would later prove pivotal in interesting me in the fine art of monster making myself....

 

6) Magazine. 1977. Science Fantasy Film Classics Collectors Edition #1 Tandem Corporation Chicago, USA. Cover price $2.00 Australian. 70 pages. This was a thoughtfully produced magazine with some quite intricate, well researched articles. This first issue focused on Star Wars, Forbidden Planet and 2001 making it very attractive to me. There was a piece on the science of light sabres, Robby the Robot and an extended analysis of 2001. A big foldout poster used original artwork to create a homage to all three films. On the back of it was a concise guide to the special effects seen in them.

 

7) Magazine. Famous Monsters Star Wars Spectacular. 1977. Warren Publishing. New York. 50 pages. Cover Price: $1.55 Australian. $1.25 US. More bandwagon repackaging. The picture captions were frakking unbelievable! For example..."There have been a handful of monumental landmarks in the history of Earth: the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel, man on the moon*, the birth of Famous Monsters...and now - STAR WARS! Buy ten copies of this issue and they'll send your kids to college in the 21st century." Well, by 'sending to college' they must have meant bus fare, 'cos I've seen this on eBay from $3.00....

 

“That’s no moon, it’s a space station.”

 

8) Poster Magazine. Star Wars Official Poster Monthly #2. 1977. Paradise Press, London. Cover Price $1.50 Australian. Identical to the Star Trek poster magazines these foldouts packed in quite a few articles on the back of the poster, which in this case was a neat still of Vader and the Stormies in a corridor of the captured Reb Blockade Runner. In this issue a rather gushing expose on Vader also opinions that "The Galaxy was ruled by wise members of the Senate". Guessing that would be the likes of Senator Jar Jar Binks ? Righhhht. Other pieces included a focus on Tatooine, and how the space dogfights were filmed. Never letting a chance to sell more stuff go by an advertisement lists, amongst other allegedly cool junk, a "Genuine Darth Vader Communicator for sending light signals through deep space." A tricked up mirror, in other words, though the copywriter earnestly assured, "The mirror can be used to see your own reflection!" Guess D.V used it to touch up his lippy, the Sithy!

 

"Vader was seduced by the dark side of the Force"

 

9) Artwork Portfolio. The Star Wars Portfolio: Paintings by Ralph McQuarrie. September 1977. Ballantine Books. New York. I was quite used to the beaut Star Trek range of technical manuals and other related material that Ballantine Books produced and wasn't surprised that their Star Wars merchandise was also of a high standard. This classic artwork folio contains twenty one 35 cm X 27 cm colour prints of Ralph McQuarrie's glorious preproduction paintings for the film. Mine are still in excellent nick, and are just as handsome to look at today as they were then. McQuarrie's evocative artwork, if anything, looks better than the finished film. McQuarrie, born in Gary, Indiana, in 1929 is a fine futurist artist, formerly a conceptual design artist for Boeing (his aviation and aerospace art is stunning!) whose film and television work included Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Cocoon (he won an Oscar for that one), E.T, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, *batteries not included, Cherry 3000, Total Recall, and Battlestar Galactica. He has an excellent online gallery at:

 

www.ralphmcquarrie.com/index.html

 

10) Soft cover Sketchbook. The Star Wars Sketchbook by Joe Johnston. Ballantine Books. New York. 96 pages. A lot of fan artists loved this book! Ballantine, primed with its Star Trek tie-in experience, was quick off the mark, no doubt because the preproduction artwork was both high quality and readily translated into print. Johnston's work, a mixture of pen and ink and brushed washes or perhaps illustrator markers, is evocative but clear, just the thing for the model-makers to base their work on! Evolutionary sketch sequences trace the design development of iconic hardware from the films and I was particularly chuffed with the modular drawings of the Death Star which explain how the sections could be mixed and matched to make the battlestation look as vast as it did.

 

There was even a little size comparison chart that showed how humungously big a Stardestroyer was supposed to be! (Ssshh! It's only a model...)

 

"Look at the size of that thing!"

 

Joe Johnston worked for Lucasfilm as a storyboard artist straight out of college. Lucas later helped fund his entry into film school, and Johnston became a director in his own right. After graduating he directed films including: Hidalgo, Jurassic Park III , October Sky, Jumanji, The Pagemaster, The Rocketeer, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and of course, Captain America: The First Avenger.

 

11) Magazine Cover. Movie News. September/October 1977. Volume 13, Number 5. Cover price: 75 cents Australian. This is actually a cover cut and glued into one of several scrapbooks I made of Star Wars related ephemera, newspaper clippings and so on. I used to hand letter captions for the articles and photos and draw spacey little borders around them. A friend pointed once pointed out that I was still doing the same with Flickr! So it goes. :)

 

Some of the articles proved useful when I was writing this little monograph. For example, I got the ticket prices and cinema location from the advertisements and reviews. One review, by Melbourne's beloved film critic Ivan Hutchinson is particularly poignant. Who would've guessed that I'd be sitting next to him reviewing films (thanks to my Science Fiction and Fantasy radio show) 17 years later?

 

“Sometimes I amaze even myself.”

 

Anyway, I'm glad I never tossed these scrapbooks out, as they're also reminders to me that when it comes to being a fan of anything for me it's also about interactivity. Costumes, artwork, photoshoots, writing...I’m happier than a womp rat in a sand wallow!

 

12) 12 inch Vinyl L.P Record Album. 1977 (?) Themes From The Movies. Peter Pan/Rainbow Records. The Marty Gold Orchestra. RPG 7233. Cover price $2.99 I threw this one in as an example of how iconic the Star Wars music became. John Williams rousing main title theme was a ‘must have’ addition to any musical compilation, and could likely be found several times amongst any soundtrack buff’s Easy Listening collection amongst their K-Tel record selector! Many a good record ended its days abruptly when those damned things overbalanced and fell off tables....

 

“Put that thing away, you'll get us all killed.”

 

Marty Gold’s Orchestra was a staple of space age music covers and you can hear its work on dozens of these compilation albums. The popcorn rendition of Star Wars has the usual disco beat and R2D2 mimicking sound effects but Princess Leia's theme is soooo laid back it nods off and would not be out of place as department store Muzak. Some of the other tracks are hard to fathom, especially main titles of The Deep but The Spy Who Loved Me theme actually benefits from the brassy, sassy treatment. The cover artwork is laughable, though the sleeve hype is worth bottling: “Stupendous! Far out! Exhilarating!”

 

“What a piece of junk!”

 

13) 12 inch Vinyl Double Disc Record Album. Star Wars: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra. 1977. 20th Century Records L 45753/4. Manufactured in Australia by Festival Records.

 

Here’s one that could justify any amount of marketing hype on the cover but instead settles for two words stark against a space black background. STAR WARS. Strewth, it’s not hard to recall how big this was back in the day! Sold in starship cargo hold loads and was one of the all-time most popular soundtrack albums. The double disc format facilitated a nice selection of good quality stills in the gatefold that made it look like a photo album. There was a glorious additional poster of the Death Star battle by artist John Berkey, which I remember clearly had more than one Millennium Falcons dogfighting! I originally misremembered the poster as being done by Bob McCall but a kind visitor to this picture (ta stasiuwong !) put me right. Berkey did quite a few film posters back in the 1970s, with the 1976 King Kong remake poster being one of the best remembered. I also recall his cover for the book Colonies In Space, which depicted a glorious future in space that has still, sadly, yet to come to pass.

 

John William’s music for the film was mind bogglingly rich, and for many fans of a certain age would prove an introduction to classical music, as I’m sure it was the very first such album they purchased. An enticing entry point to the likes of Max Steiner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and even Gustav Holst, Richard Wagner and William Walton. As a radio D.J I’ve got a pretty good musical memory, but even without that re-listening to this album now is like having an old friend around for tea. I can anticipate most of the cues and recognise the major thematic leitmotifs at least. Even though the main movements have passed into cliché over time it’s a lot of fun exploring the other pieces, especially some of the more subtle tracks backing the action on Tatooine.

 

Go on, you know you want to drag it out and sling it on the turntable....don’t bother trying to stop the dialogue quotes scrolling through your head....though I must say that if George Lucas wrote dialogue as strongly memorable as this music I’d still be a fan of the movies today!

 

As it is, although I’m generally somewhat weary of John Williams’ now universally copied musical style, I still appreciate his immense body of work. My favourite scores of his include: Jurassic Park, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, The Last Crusade, Superman, 1941, Jaws, The Reivers, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The Empire Strikes Back, Saving Private Ryan, The Time Tunnel, Lost In Space, and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea.

 

And this one, of course!

 

14) I was just starting to record my own cassette tapes back then (the cool new media!) so promptly dubbed a copy of the soundtrack onto a “G-Tape” a cheap, recordable cassette that was very popular. The copy was for my own use, so I could play the album away from the turntable. Still plays to this day, in spite of dire warnings about tape decay. I cut and pasted a newspaper ad for the movie as the cover. Talk about Close Encounters of the Nerd kind!

 

15) Album Notes (From Item 13) Double sided, these notes provided copious insight into John William’s methodology.

 

16) Paperback novelisation. Star Wars by George Lucas. 1977. Sphere. Printed In Australia by the Dominion Press. 190 pages. Cover price: $2.50 Australian. Every fan had to have this one! Take home your very own genuine relic of Alderaan.....buy the book, the record, the Wookie grooming comb.....

 

I started re-reading this just before "The Force Awakens" came out, and realised that I hadn't opened the still crisply feeling novel in three decades.

 

Thing is, here in Australia at least, the novelization came out well before the film! What a tease....I can remember tentatively reading a chapter or two, trying not to go too far. Spoilers in the Seventies!

 

“It's all just a bunch of simple tricks and nonsense."

 

It is immediately apparent to anyone familiar with author Alan Dean Foster’s original fiction and many movie and television novelisations that he ghost-wrote this book for George Lucas. The style, vocabulary and other aspects were highly suggestive and it was hardly a surprise when it was finally revealed that he was the co-author. My favourite Foster novel remains Cachelot, a story set on a world of sentient cetaceans and humans. His novelisations of Alien, Aliens, Dark Star, The Thing and the Star Trek Animated Scripts should serve as models for all such screen-to-print adaptations. I was quite startled that the publishers included a bunch of colour stills in the centre of the book, along with some film notes. Wicked! Oh, and the cover was another John Berkey picture.

 

17) 12 inch Vinyl Record Album. Star Wars And Other Galactic Funk by MECO and the 1977. Millennium Records DXL1 3043. RAC Victor. Manufactured in Australia by RAC Limited. The original disco remix version of all your fave Star Wars themes! The album went platinum in the US, and the single was a chart topper too. The “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” single was the biggest selling instrumental single in recorded music history, being the only certified platinum (2 million units sold) instrumental single ever. Although for the life of me I don’t think the disco version of the Cantina Band is all that radically different from the film version!

 

The single bore a similar symbiotic pop culture relationship to the movie as David Bowie’s Space Oddity had with 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Carpenters Calling Occupants had with C.E.3.K.

 

Meco was Domenico Monardo, born in 1939 in Pennsylvania, USA. Whilst the cover is fun in itself with its Robert Rodriguez (not the filmmaker!) illustration featuring Flash Gordon retro-rockets and bopping Spacers it’s Meco’s lively remixes with its funky signature disco beat That You Could Boogy To that made this album a killer. It had some damn fine sound effects, warbling wookies, whistling R2s and more amidst all that synth and orchestral music . Meco kept producing ‘meco-ised’ movie and telly tunes into the 1980s, not forgetting the ...memorably awful.... Christmas In The Stars- Star Wars Christmas Album. He retired from music in the mid 80s and worked as a commodities broker in Florida.

 

The “B’ Side is completely undistinguished apart from the odd fact that the three tracks are listed as 1. Other, 2. Galactic., 3. Funk. Well, at least the cover notes list the intergalactic session players from the CorMar Galaxy, including (Live from the Planet Fooyea courtesy of the Nomel Tribunal) Thur-M76 and Thassu-L46, amongst others!

 

18) The cover of Item 13.

 

“Aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?”

 

19) 9 cm Plastic Action Figures. Stormtrooper and Boba Fett. 1977 and 1979. I never got into Star Wars toys at all, these came from a mixed bag of no longer loved toys I found at a school fete. (A Fett worse than Darth?) They do make lovely ‘trophies’ for my Predator figures to drag around when tied together by their feet. Curiously, given my armour and costuming fetish, I never ‘got into’ Stormy armour either. In fact, I’ve always seen these bumbling goons as silly comic relief characters. To this day I can’t listen to Ben Kenobi point at the blaster marks on the wrecked Jawa Sandcrawler and say “Only Imperial Stormtoopers are this precise” without cracking up. Marksmen enuff to hit the broadside of a Sandcrawler maybe...! But nothing smaller. C'mon, a legion of crack Troopers taken out by...teddy bears? Sheesh.

 

Just when I thought ‘Troops were inept along came Boba Fett to set a new low water mark for armoured incompetency. Although his dad was rather cool in Attack Of The Clones it was pretty clear Jango was no tactical genius either, since his idea of combat smarts involved jumping into an arena full of light sabre wielding Jedi Knights to take them on hand-to-hand! Anyway, I included the Fett figure; cos I have few other Star Wars toys. Weird though, this one has a quite neat little missile in its backpack that’s spring loaded to fire straight up. Would’ve thought that somewhat dangerous for the younglings back in the day!

 

“You're braver then I thought!”

 

They didn’t crank up the production lines after the unexpected success of the film in 1977 in time to get major toys into the shops by Christmas. I bet you could hear a vast disturbance in the Force that year as the licence holders cried out!

 

20) 12 inch Vinyl Record Album. Star Wars And Other Space Themes by Geoff Love & His Orchestra. 1978. EMI AXIS 6340. Geoff Love (who also released albums under the pseudonym of Manuel And His Music Of The Mountains) was born in 1917 in Yorkshire and died in 1991 in London. His Music For Pleasure covers of movie and television themes sold many an album in the 1970s.

 

The cover themes on this album range from good to indifferent, with some, like Star Wars, being fairly straight forwards with a quite “Big Band’ feel to them. There’s a very cool arrangement of Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme that I particularly like. A lot of the tracks slope off into extra disco riffs that are mostly harmless. Some television show title music was halfway onto the dance floor anyway, including Gerry Anderson’s UFO and Space 1999. Beware the magically flat Star Trek theme cover though!

 

The sleeve artwork plays fast and loose with familiar subjects. The Enterprise is barely recognisable under numerous add ons, the 2001 space station has three wheels, and Princess Leia has a war chest that would swell the coffers of the entire Rebellion...

 

21) Paperback Original Novel. Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster. 1978. Sphere. Printed in London. 222 pages. Cover Price: $2.75 Australian. 85 p U.K. This was the first of the Star Wars original fiction spin-off novels and it was a beaut! Fresh from his ghost-writing of the movie novelisation Foster locked his S-Foils into attack position and zoomed into this action packed adventure on the swamp world of Mimban. This novel may have been intended as the template for a low budget sequel to Star Wars if the movie had proved less successful than it was. Intriguingly it contains stray story elements that fell by the wayside in early versions of the first film’s script, and also a fair amount of sexual tension between Leia and Luke. (Aw, c’mon, let me have just one restrospective snigger!)

 

22) Home-made Audio Cassette Tape. The Making Of Star Wars documentary. Broadcast GTV-9, Melbourne, Wednesday 7.30 pm. March 8th 1978. In the days before VCRs all I was able to do to preserve fleeting moments of television was to make audio tapes so I could listen to them over. Hello, ubergeek, remember?

 

23) Commercial Audio Cassette Tape. A Stereo Space Odyssey- Music From Star Wars by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. 1986. Tee Vee 5. London. Side A covers Star Wars themes and the B Side is a seriously grand planetary suite cobbled together from pieces by Strauss, Wilfred Holcombe and Tchaikovsky. This is the best B-Side for a Star Wars knockoff album that I’ve ever heard, and for my money, was more than a match for the A-Side.

 

Well now, there you go, it’s been a nostalgic flight down the old thermal exhaust shaft. Congratulations if you made it this far far away, as these notes take as long to scroll by as all the six film titles rolled together!

 

And, since he didn’t get a bloody medal at the awards ceremony on Yavin I’ll let Chewy get the last word...again!

 

“Waraggghhh!”

        

The GMO patriot parallel universe fades to black: -RT

******************************************************************************************

Behind the Great Western Firewall Is the Ugly Truth

 

By Jeff J. Brown • February 15, 2015

 

The Great Western Firewall vs. the Great Firewall of China: different methodologies, identical results

 

A truth untold is a lie. A fact hidden is censorship. – The Author

 

When I recently signed off of Reflections in Sinoland, saying I was not going to do any more columns for the time being, so as to write my third book, Red Letters – The Diaries of Xi Jinping, I really meant it. But an interesting and thought provoking series of events happened over the last couple of weeks, which has inspired me to write a non-fiction piece again.

 

This is a plea to everyone reading, that we Westerners had better wake up before it’s too late. If we don’t, we are going to continue to have many repetitions of Ukraine, Serbia, Georgia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya, Mali and the list goes on, non-stop, since the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917. That was when the West’s elites perceived a genuine global threat to the status quo of capitalism and their dominion over Earth’s resources. Now with the world being more multipolar than ever, we come to China and Russia. As Western Empire’s decline accelerates, in desperation, America is trying to take down these two colossal civilizations. This, even as Russia and China work openly and secretly to interlock their cooperation and resistance. It is clear they are creating a unified front in the face of Western bellicosity. Yes, the United States is delusional and megalomaniac, but it’s frightening to know that if carried to its logical conclusion, it will mean the end of humanity as we know it.

 

A big part of this plea to my readers is for Westerners to quit using the mainstream media and to start seeking out alternative news sources, as frustratingly fractured as they are, and to invest a modicum of time to do some research and investigation along the way. A good place to start would be all the hyperlinks below and then take advantage of the list of resources at the end of this article. The other plea is to come to terms with just how evil and corrupt our Western governments and capital are, in spite of what we learned in school text books. All of our lives and future absolutely depend on it. You will see what I mean after reading this.

 

An author friend of mine sent me a hyperlink about Hillary Clinton and her possible political downfall. This is due to America’s decision to destroy Libya, using France and the UK as proxies. It was also a major slap in the face to China and Russia, who did not veto the US led, 2011 UN Security Council vote for a “no fly” zone over Libya. “No fly” as in bombs away, baby, much like Slim Pickens’ Major Kong riding bronco in Dr. Strangelove. We know how this flagrant disregard for international law is playing out. Under the guise of “humanitarian” wars, the West pushes its fatuous, well-worn R2P (so called “Responsibility to Protect”), to overthrow, or at least control, resource rich governments. In reality, R2P really means the West’s “Right to Plunder”.

 

According to this article series, Hillary apparently went over the heads of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA to push through the bloody regime change. I replied to my friend that given Americans’ predilection to cheer on their government’s slaughter and maiming of millions of dark skinned, mostly Muslims, across the planet (not to mention, by current Kiev proxies, thousands of fair skinned Ukrainians as well), then surely this macho orchestration of Kaddafi’s murder might actually help her win the White House. I then said that even if Queen Clinton is not the Democratic candidate, her replacement will just be another Wall Street-Anglozionist-Russophobe one percenter, so what difference does it make? Think Joe Biden or John Kerry. His closing comment was that I was probably right, but “he despises Bill and Hillary Clinton with a passion”.

 

That got me to thinking about how much my thinking has evolved and grown in the last 4.5 years of living in China. In 2010, I thought Bill and Hillary were good leaders and capable politicians. I voted for Clinton twice and Obama the first time. By 2012, I futilely wrote in the Green Party presidential candidate on my Oklahoma ballot, as my awareness of the truth was growing. But I still thought that Hillary would make a great president. Not anymore. Being a dual national, that same year, I also voted for François Hollande, thinking that he, as a so called Socialist, would be different than Mini-Me Nicolas “W.” Sarkozy. Wrong again and if I have to, I’ll write in a name on my ballot for France’s elections in 2017.

 

Working as a school teacher affords me a lot of personal time. We work about 190 days a year and I can usually leave my professional life on campus, so I have my evenings and weekends to myself. As a result, since 2010, I have spent thousands of hours writing books, columns and more importantly, doing the necessary research to generate my work as accurately and as truthfully as possible. It is this massive amount of investigation that has opened my eyes about how the world really works. Especially revealing has been the West and its 500 years of brutal colonialism, with its exploitation of our planet’s human and natural resources. The myth is that the West has nobly done all this in the name of progress and the pursuit of knowledge. But the impetus has been and continues to be profit, Empire and global domination. To legitimize it all in the eyes of its citizens, throw in God, Country and King. Voilà, the annals of history as told by the Princes of Power.

 

The second thing that happened these last few days was an exchange of emails with another writer friend of mine. This time, it was to congratulate them for having an article published in a heavyweight American newspaper. In their article, they forcefully condemned a Communist country’s use of censorship to control its version of history. To get published in this newspaper is a quite an achievement. It is one of those news sources which is so well respected, that if they print something, it’s the truth. And if they don’t write about an event happening in the world, it never occurred. So, my friend can now stake claim as a mainstream “made” (wo)man in the news establishment world, and I am truly happy for them and their success. It is a dream that many a writer and journalist fantasize doing.

 

Yes, this Communist country’s censorship is more overt compared to what I like to call the West’s Great Western Firewall (GWF), but the aims and results are identical. Why do countries like Cuba, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, Ecuador and countless others not have faith in the West’s tried and true GWF, where the state and capital know that merely controlling the mainstream media is enough to define what is true, not true, what happened and didn’t happen? That the alternative media is too diffuse, too fractured and ultimately only constitutes feeble background noise, attenuated over time?

 

The difference is that for 80% of the world’s people and their governments, they have been the victim of five centuries of Western colonialism and exploitation. And all these countries continue to be ceaselessly assailed by so called Western “civil society” and “democracy” NGOs, to effect psyops, destabilization and ultimately, regime change through assassination, coups and armed uprisings (not to mention the economic and social predations of the IMF and World Bank). With these examples of “superior” Western virtues and civilization trying to tear the 80%’s countries apart, one can empathize with their belief that they need to be more controlling and heavy handed than maybe they would like to be. Being the aggressor and not the victim, the West plays by a different, privileged set of rules. For 500 years, the West has had and continues to own the copyright to the human race’s history books and current events. These other countries must battle against this massive, distorting prism of perceived reality.

 

A long time ago, I had a girlfriend who had been savagely raped at a young age. She kept a pistol in her purse 24/7, even going to the bathroom, and slept with it under her pillow. She was paranoid and trusting of nobody, not even me in our intimate relationship. Can’t say that I blame her. And she reminds me of China, Vietnam, Cuba and all rest of the 80% of the people of the world, who were and are being savagely raped during 500 years of Western colonialism. Like my old friend, I can empathize with their paranoia and lack of trust.

 

In any case, the West can be just has heavy handed at censorship as these more criticized countries. Westerners who criticize Baba Beijing for setting up thousands of social media accounts to help control the official government narrative don’t realize that their governments spend billions doing exactly the same thing. If you think all those thousands of comment trolls who haunt mainstream and alternative websites across the planet work for free, think again.

 

I have learned over the last 4.5 years that my friend’s mainstream acceptance can sometimes come at a cost. They replied to another email I had sent. My original email contained a link for an article that explained the background history of this very same Communist country that my friend wrote about. The revelations in this article that I sent were written by a non-establishment journalist who researches FOIA released documents, testimonies, court documents, interviews, etc., and has contacts in the dark, dank netherworld of spydom. I was very surprised to get back a reply from my writer friend, saying that this investigative journalist is, “a nut case conspiracy theorist”. I wanted to reply to this riposte that I wasn’t sure who was sending it, the friend I’ve known for 30 years, or the one who wrote the article for that high powered, establishment newspaper. I joked to myself saying maybe they wrote it, knowing that the NSA and America’s 15 other spy agencies would store a copy for future reference.

 

Alvin Toffler said,

 

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

 

Being outside of the West for the last 4.5 years has afforded me the opportunity to leave the Matrix and its iron fisted control of the Washington-London-Paris consensus. As a born scientist, I am in a never ending quest for the truth, as uncomfortable as it may be to discover. All my research has allowed me the luxury of unlearning and relearning humanity’s ancient and modern history, up to our resulting current events. I am not sure, if I were still living in the West, if I could have broken my brainwashed chains and set myself free from the bondage of its suffocating conventional narrative.

 

I worked in the corporate world for 25 years before becoming a teacher. Like almost all of us, I felt compelled to spout “the imperial party line” of the West’s tightly scripted version of history and current events. In fact, until 2010, I still believed much of it was true. Conformity is society’s most powerful control mechanism. Those who don’t go along to get along can pay a very heavy price. Just ask Malcolm X, JFK, RFK, MLK, Oscar Romero, Gandhi, Ché Guevara, the four American nuns raped and killed in El Salvador, Jesus Christ and millions of other (less) well known martyrs, whose lives were and still are being cut short, or imprisoned, beaten, raped, tortured, bankrupted, ostracized, or made stateless or jobless. Just in the last week alone are the cases of Sami Al-Arian, Barrett Brown and Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary, which brilliantly leaves in line after line of blacked out text – pages and pages of censored truth. Makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it? There are many multitudes like them who are ignored by the mainstream media. And we know that if they are not objectively reported on in the New York Times, Washington Post or on CNN and Fox, then they don’t exist and they don’t matter.

 

As I wrote in a Reflections in Sinoland column, it takes courage to leave the Matrix and seek the truth. For the multitudes who escape martyr status, sacrifices still often have to be made, both professional and personal. Rejection and ridicule by the vast majority, who is still ensconced in the mainstream propaganda bubble, are commonplace. It means being labeled a conspiracy theorist. In reality though, it is those in the Matrix who are the real conspiracy nuts, for trying to rationalize and justify the world they are selectively presented, in the suffocating cocoon of the GWF. Baba Beijing has its just as ruthless and controlling Great Firewall of China and the outcomes are identical. Only the methodology is different. The big difference is that most Chinese know their information is censored. Most Westerners obediently believe they have “freedom of the press” and that censorship is everybody else’s problem. Sadly, Westerners are deluded, gullible and easily manipulated. But this has been true of all citizens of Empire, since the dawn of civilization.

 

It is hard to accept and very disillusioning to realize just how irredeemably corrupt and evil are the West’s supposedly democratic systems and the political and business leaders who own the process. All my thousands of hours of extensive research confirm this and nothing surprises me anymore. Especially that false flag operations are not the exception, but the banal norm of imperial national governments. They most certainly have been the weapon of choice since the first civilizations in Sumer, China, India and Africa, and they continue at a fast and furious pace in current events. This article lists many false flags that governments have admitted to, or were exposed by FOIA laws, while they last. False flags routinely change the course of human history. Let’s remember that Maidan in Ukraine was a classic false flag and since then, at least weekly, the West is launching one after another there, which has brought our planet to the threshold of World War III.

 

False flags are ingrained in the DNA of Empire, to control and manipulate their subjects. Empire keeps on perpetrating false flags relentlessly, because they are so ruthlessly successful at achieving their aims. False flags brilliantly create mass fear and uncertainty among the people and justify the persecution of the group to be dehumanized for exploitation or destruction. The shock and awe of false flags allow governments and capital to herd the masses like sheeple, to induce them to gleefully go to war, commit genocide, accept economic servitude and environmentally destructive resource extraction, while willfully renouncing their free will to the tyranny of fascism and oligarchy, for “security and safety”. It’s been working like a charm since 5,000BC and will undoubtedly continue to work, because of all our embedded social memes for group survival and evolutionary genes for individual survival. At the end of the day, in spite of our “superior” intelligence, we as a species are not much better than a herd of gazelle or a colony of ants.

 

Unless we get smart and get involved, it brings me to a frightening conclusion: false flags will continue unabated, until they cause the demise of the human race. To put the challenge before us into perspective, here are a few recent cases, going back in time.

 

Charlie Hebdo. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. Even my Parisian wife was raising her eyebrows: how could they get so many thousands of matching Je Suis Charlie t-shirts on people and color placards in their hands, for mass television exposure, immediately after the incident? A supposed terrorist just happened to “leave” their ID in the getaway car? This is as laughable as Mohammed Atta’s fake passport “found” in the molten rubble of the 9/11 Twin Towers, which the FBI then conveniently “lost”, when even the mainstream media had the temerity to question its validity. But it was enough to “identify” the supposed 9/11 perpetrators immediately after the supposed attack. Ditto Charlie Hebdo.

 

My extensive research shows that one of the key components of successful false flags is to imprint in the minds of the sheeple exactly who the perpetrators are, as soon as it happens, almost like embedding a social meme across the population. If the sheeple are given any time at all to think about it and to ask questions, then the false flag can easily fail. Thus, the 9/11 Nineteen, Lee Harvey Oswald , James Earl Ray, Sirhan Sirhan, the “Communists” who burned down the Reichstag, the Spanish who “blew up” the USS Maine, the North Vietnamese who “attacked” the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, the supposed Boston bomber brothers Tsarnaev and on and on, were clearly and convincingly identified by the authorities within hours of the false flags. Surely, Nero loudly accused the Christians, as soon as his arsonists were setting fire to Rome, while sending out crisis actors to dramatize these followers’ perfidy. He not only got his grand palace, for which the Roman Senators were refusing to give the (now) burned neighborhoods’ land to build it, but Nero also got to kill thousands of Christians in the process. The hallmarks of a truly successful false flag.

 

A few hours of research on Charlie Hebdo makes it glaringly apparent that the deep state was involved. The film footage of the police officer supposedly shot in the head at point blank, while lying on the sidewalk, was quickly extirpated by the mainstream media. With millions of views on YouTube in just two days, it was censored. In the West, our masters have learned that the alternative press is like low grade interference. It is too scattered and diffuse to cause critical mass. But when something like the censored Charlie Hebdo hoax assassination goes viral in a matter of hours, then it can become a threat to the official narrative, and often gets censored. On alternative websites, it’s still there. Break out the popcorn and beer, boys and girls, and watch crisis actors help dupe the world.

 

The shooter supposedly blasts a bullet at point blank range into the cop’s head with a high powered machine gun, yet there is no blood and the “victim’s” head stays intact. Had he really been shot, his skull would have exploded like a gangrenous pumpkin. He wasn’t shot at all. So, a combat trained “terrorist” just happens to miss his target from centimeters away. Yet, all the mainstream media are lined up with their propaganda, saying a police officer was viciously assassinated by the so called terrorists, while lying helplessly wounded on the sidewalk. Later, a Star News reporter had a colossal slip of the tongue and stated that (fake) blood was put on the ground after the fact, which is obviously true. It goes on and on. The supposed hostage taker, Amedy Coulibaly, at a (surprise, surprise) Jewish grocery store, was obviously already handcuffed when he was practically pushed outside into a hail of fire. I wonder what his handler inside was telling him in his final moments? We’ll never know, because dead men don’t talk. Neither can his supposed Charlie Hebdo shooter partners, the Kouachi Brothers, who got cut to pieces the same day.

 

Speaking of important dead witnesses, there was a top cop, Helric Fredou, investigating the Charlie Hebdo hoax. Lemme see if I got this right. The day after the false flag, late in the night while he was writing his report, Mr. Fredou “commits suicide”. Whatever he was writing was surely destroyed on the spot. The biggest case of his life, one of the great cases of the decade and he offs himself? Yeah, sure. My research shows that deadly accidents, sudden fatal illnesses and suicides happen inordinately often in false flags. Funny how it works out that way. This very important story was largely censored in the West.

 

There is another Charlie Hebdo story that the West highly censored, A third suspect, Hamyd Mourad, turned himself in, declaring that he had an unassailable alibi – he was in class at high school. Alternative media reported this faithfully, but I found only The Daily Telegraph which reported that Mourad had an alibi. The rest of the MSM Ministry of Truth omitted this key fact, leaving everyone with the impression that he turned himself in, because he was guilty:

 

• The Washington Post (January 7) “Charlie Hebdo suspect said to surrender; two others at large after Paris terror attack”

• Die Welt (Germany), “One suspect has turned himself in to police in connection with Wednesday’s massacre at the offices of Parisian satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo”

• ABC News (January 7), “Youngest suspect in Charlie Hebdo Attack turns himself in”

• CNN (January 8), “Citing sources, the Agence France Presse news agency reported that an 18-year- old suspect in the attack had surrendered to police”

 

This is not coincidental. There is a concerted effort by the MSM to act as ventriloquist dummies on TV and marionettes in the newsroom, to do the bidding for the West’s elite owners. The MSM is riddled with CIA agents and “intelligence” NOCs (non-official covers) of all stripes, to help keep everybody singing in unison. A journalist with the courage to spill the beans has turned this truth into a best seller in Germany. Former CIA Director William Casey was just stating the obvious, when he went on record saying,

 

The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.

 

There are many, many videos on the internet exposing the Charlie Hebdo false flag: Here is a French SWAT member opening machine gun fire into the backs of his comrades, obviously shooting blanks. Here’s another cop setting off an explosion in the middle of the swarm of cops surrounding him. Had it been a real stun grenade, everybody around him would have been floored by the percussion wave. You can compare all these videos to an “official” mainstream NBC video to see how the latter one has been expertly edited to excise all the incriminating evidence. Winston Smith in 1984’s Oceania would feel right at home in the West’s “newsrooms”, as history is cut, pasted and censored to the requisites of Big Brother. Just like my friend lambasted a Communist country for censorship, the West works tirelessly to control its past too.

 

Apparently, in false flags, there is a psychological slip of the tongue, where crisis actors can’t help but smile or smirk when they get in front of the camera, for the joy of fooling the world. It’s called “duping delight” and this website has catalogued a bunch of them. Even the million man march in Paris, supposedly led by the defiant leaders of the “free world” was a hoax. Benjamin Netanyahu is waving to nobody. Who needs Kim Jong-un? Heck, he probably gets his best ideas from his Western counterparts. Nobody does censorship and propaganda better than Westerners do. After all, they’ve been writing the playbook for 500 years.

 

As all false flags are used to manipulate the masses after the fact, it is happening in spades, thanks to Charlie Hebdo. France’s authorities and thus their mainstream media marionettes are already talking about how Charlie Hebdo is France’s 9/11 and the government will be passing a Patriot Act law, like the United States. Sayanora to Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité. You can kiss your Quiche Lorraine goodbye, mes chers. Say hello to indefinite imprisonment, black sites for torture and murder, SWAT teams and military weaponized police replacing cops on the beat, shooting first and asking questions later, while committing what used to be illegal search and seizure. My fellow French citizens, welcome to Angloland’s New World Order. Kafka was a fellow European, remember? It’s reality imitating art.

 

It keeps on keeping on. Just Google “crisis actors Boston bombing” and you will see real actors pretending to be injured. The hoax double amputee, Jeff Bauman, is photoed after supposedly losing both legs, conscious and sitting up, with a phony tourniquet that is loose. The joke is on us. I’ve had the good fortune to work on major movie and TV sets numerous times in France and China and all the photos and this video look like, well, a movie set. One lady has been interviewed on international TV for at least three different “terrorist acts”, and has apparently even been identified. There are many videos showing similar actors before and after the supposed bombing. Also, the private “security” contractors near where the supposed bombs went off,dressed identically like the two patsy Tsuravev brothers, replete with carbon copy, oversized backpacks are a nice touch. They were from a company owned and operated at the time by Chris Kyle, of American Assassin fame, who has mercifully been put out of his psychopathic misery.

 

If you believe the official, Hollywood version of 9/11, you are saying on that day, the natural laws of physics, chemistry, gravity and matter were supernaturally suspended. You are insisting that Newton, Einstein, Bohr, Planck, Lavoisier, Mendeleev and all the foundations of science did not apply that morning in New York City and Washington, D.C. No, it was pure Harry Potter. You are claiming that for the first time ever, 815°C, burning jet fuel melted thousands of tons of steel, steel that has a melting point of 1,510°C. That’s more fantastic than alchemy. You are claiming that tens of thousands of massive, bolted, welded, riveted steel I-beams, girders, piers and supports just miraculously gave way, like hot butter, and collapsed at nearly the same rate as an object falling off the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And not just the two 110 story Twin Towers, but WTC 7, which wasn’t hit by an airplane. Yet this massive, 52 story skyscraper (226m/743ft) went down in free fall in six seconds flat. If you had jumped off the top when WTC 7 began to collapse, you would have hit the ground at the same time as the top of its roof did.

 

There is only one compound that can cut through hardened steel the way the three WTC skyscrapers were brought down in the blink of an eye, and that is military grade thermite, which is what is used for controlled demolition of steel buildings. Its use outside the military is tightly regulated and licensed, just like dynamite is. Independent scientists found military thermite at the WTC sites. They also found pools and puddles of still molten steel, several days after the supposed terrorist attacks. Only military grade thermite can heat up hardened steel and keep it that hot for so long. Otherwise, the steel would have cooled off much quicker.

 

Again, you have to suspend the natural laws of the Universe to swallow the guffaw, official story about the Pentagon being hit by a Boeing 757. This was a plane with a 38 meter wing span (124ft), still carrying 32,000 liters (8,600 gallons) of highly flammable jet fuel in its wings and two massive jet engines, along with its 47m long (155ft) fuselage, plowing into the outside of the building at several hundred kilometers/miles per hour. Miraculously, that 38m, fuel-filled wingspan supposedly left only a narrow, 19m gash in the Pentagon. Plane wreckage and debris just magically disappeared, no dead bodies, no luggage, no plane seats – it all just evaporated into thin air, like Bewitched. Just as damning, all those supposed 32,000 liters of burning jet fuel did not rage into a towering ball of inferno, for hours on end. Nope, all the contents of the offices right next to where the supposed 115 ton plane careened at flight speed into the Pentagon, were still sitting there. Desks, computers, file cabinets, chairs – even papers and documents were miraculously still sitting on tops of desks right where the fiery “crash” supposedly occurred. A security camera accidentally caught the explosion on film and that massive 757 jetliner never enters the picture, although it looks like possibly a missile on the right came in low for the strike, if it was not blown up from inside. That could explain the damage done. But a 757? No way. Where I grew up, in Oklahoma, we are fond of saying that you can’t stuff ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag. Well, you can’t slam a 38m wide jetliner into a 19m hole.

 

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg of what a hoax the official 9/11 fantasy story really is. I have studied it for many countless hours, analyzing all the evidence. An outstanding, one hour-forty five minute documentary, Zero Hour, fills out the whole sordid saga. A brave, highly qualified group of 1,500 architects and engineers has come together, to make the public aware of the greatest false flag in modern times ever being pulled off. They all deserve our attention.

 

It all goes back to the murder of the JFK, by the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff doesn’t it? In fact, in their heart of hearts, Americans know the truth. Since the Warren Commission, in its annual Gallup poll, a majority of Americans believe the deep state killed Kennedy. A solid majority believe the same deep state was responsible for Martin Luther King’s murder. A solid plurality of Americans think there was a cover up about 9/11. This plurality will surely grow to a majority with the help of groups like AE911.

 

It’s not just Americans who recognize rotten fish when they smell it. My high school daughter was fascinated by all the evidence I showed her and my wife about Charlie Hebdo, so she agreed to watch Zero Hour. She not only watched it, but took it to school and gave it to her Theory of Knowledge teacher, who in turn showed it to the class. Hats off to the prof. They would surely have been fired had they done that in the United States. The shocking result: my daughter said all of the students already knew that 9/11 was perpetrated by the American government. And it is their sense of resignation to do anything about that I find so disturbing and shameful. My wife too was just as telling. After looking at all the evidence about Charlie Hebdo and glancing over at the TV screen and seeing millions of sheeple wearing their t-shirts and holding up their absurd Je Suis Charlie placards, she said, “OK, so what can you really do about it”? It is this feeling of helplessness that is so damning of the West’s state of affairs. Our so called democracy is a hollow mirage.

 

This brings me to the crux of this article. In spite of our evolutionary tendencies to deny and block out unpleasant events, deep down, we know our governments and capital are committing very bloody and disastrous false flags. And it is our acquiescence to all these false flags that is giving the Princes of Power a carte blanche to drive the human race towards a dystopian, fascist future. After all, if our leaders can murder their own president and get away with a coup d’état in Dealy Plaza in broad daylight, they can bring down the 9/11 towers and will surely do much worse, confident of humanity’s powerlessness. And it makes the Iraq’s, Ukraine’s and all the other false flags just that much easier for them to pull off.

 

Until we rise up and protest openly against our leaders’ false flags, we will have no freedom in our future and probably no future at all. For our very survival, we must, in mass, get informed of the truth and stop saying, “No, it can’t be”, because it is. False flags is where it all starts and where the nightmare has to end. The Princes of Power are playing for keeps and it’s either us or them, now or never. Who knows how long internet freedom and FOIA laws will stay on the books? Another 9/11 sized false flag is inevitable, at which point we can kiss goodbye the alternative media and a still relatively open internet.

 

OK, I said it. I don’t think this article will be appearing in a mainstream newspaper any time soon. Such is life. But I can live with that.

 

Postscript: The United States just weighed in as having the 49th most free press in the world, behind Malta, Niger, Burkino Faso, El Salvador, Tonga, Chile and Botswana. You can rest assured this story will not see the light of day in the mainstream West. Stand tall, stand proud.

 

Alternative News, Information and Research Sources: Operation Get Smart

 

In 1807, Thomas Jefferson wrote,

 

Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.

 

Great advice to us all, two centuries later. The disinformation, propaganda and myth making have never stopped. So, quit flagellating yourself by wasting time accessing the mainstream media. You know they are marionettes for the One Percent, and that includes PBS, NPR, BBC and ersatz “liberal” aggregators like Huffington Post and Slate. When I stopped, I felt like I got off bad drugs. My mind cleared and I could think objectively again. At the end of the day, whose voice has the most credibility: the world’s victimized 80% or the West’s aggressor 15% (20% if you throw in vassal Japan, South Korea and the other usual suspects)?

 

Instead, use that time to read the following books, as weapons of truth to combat Western Empire. All three are exhaustively researched and referenced. Like William Blake’s cleansed Doors of Perception, they literally changed my life:

 

• JFK and the Unspeakable, by James W. Douglass. This was the American deep state’s great first false flag, a coup d’état that changed the world for worse, much worse. Our slippery slope started here.

• NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, by Daniele Ganser. A gripping, sordid account of how NATO has killed, assassinated, maimed and terrorized thousands of their own European citizens and leaders, while overthrowing a few more, and most assuredly still are.

• Killing Hope, by William Blum. It’s all here, a detailed dirty laundry list of the CIA’s endless coups, assassinations, psyops, (mainstream) propaganda, destabilization, running drugs, partnering with the Mafia, ad nauseam, across the four corners of the planet. The heart of the deep state.

 

On the internet, only two “mainstream” Western sources are listed here. The Guardian is usually good, but their bias against Russia since the 2014 Ukrainian junta has been servile abomination. If you want to really know what’s going on in the Middle East, its history and interrelationships, Robert Fisk at The Independent pushes his editors to the limit. My daily dose from A-Z is Al-Jazeera, Global Research, Global Times, The Guardian, RT, Russian Insider, Saker, Sputnik News, teleSUR and Voltaire. For several, like Paul Craig Roberts, American Conservative and ICH, I get email alerts. They all get looked at in cycles, over the days and weeks. I’m still looking for alternative Indian and Brazilian websites in English, and I’m committed to finding one in South Africa, to fully cover BRICS.

 

Al Jazeera English – Live US, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Sports, Weather & Business News

The American Conservative

Antiwar.com

China Daily Website – Connecting China Connecting the World

China | South China Morning Post

chomsky.info : The Noam Chomsky Website (his website is always outdated, but he’s all over the internet)

Chris Hedges, Columnist – Truthdig

ClubOrlov

CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Deena Stryker

Fort Russ

Trends Monthly – Trends Research Institute

Fire Dog Lake (I contribute to this website)

Globaltimes.cn | Latest China, world news and business stories, comments from the Global Times

Guardian | World news | The Guardian

Global Research

The Greanville Post • Vol. VIII

Hidden Harmonies China Blog | 中国博客 探索和谐

INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE

Russia & India Report: Top Stories

The Intercept

The Journal | Articles & Archives | Life+Outdoors | Field Notes (great site for science, history, etc.)

MintPress News | Independent, non-partisan journalism

The Nation

New Eastern Outlook

Oped News (I contribute to this website)

Oriental Review | Open Dialogue Research Journal

Outlookindia.com

Paul Craig Roberts – Official Homepage

People’s Daily Online – Home Page

Asia Times Online :: the best of Pepe Escobar

Press TV

Réseau Voltaire (in French, the English version is below)

The Independent | Robert Fisk

RT

Russia Insider: politics and news

Sputnik international

teleSUR

This Modern World

TomDispatch

Truthout

The Vineyard of the Saker

Voltaire Network

Worldbulletin – News on Turkey, Middle East, Muslim World, Latest News, Culture&Islamic History Worldbulletin News

World Socialist Web Site – Marxist analysis, international working class struggles & the fight for socialism

Xinhua – English.news.cn

新华网_传播中国报道世界

 

While it is not strictly politics, to keep up on the latest in Science and Technology, I read ZME Science almost daily.

 

Want a fun, low cost honorary degree in Chinese Studies? Jeff’s book, 44 Days, will have you laughing while learning and becoming an expert on all things Middle Kingdom. If you live in China, buy it on the 44 Days website, clicking on either Print Book, Ebook or Color Ebook.

 

Author’s Bio:

Jeff J. Brown is the author of 44 Days Backpacking in China: The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass (2013),Reflections in Sinoland – Musings and Anecdotes from the Belly of the New Century Beast (2015), and Doctor WriteRead’s Treasure Trove to Great English (2015). He is currently writing an historical fiction, Red Letters – The Diaries of Xi Jinping, due out in 2016. He is a member of The Anthill, a collective of authors who write about China, and also submits articles on Oped News and Firedog Lake.

 

In China, he has been a speaker at TEDx, the Bookworm Literary Festival, the Capital M Literary Festival, the Hutong, as well as being featured in an 18-part series of interviews on Radio Beijing AM774, with former BBC journalist, Bruce Connolly. He has guest lectured at international schools in Beijing and Tianjin.

 

Jeff grew up in the heartland of the United States, Oklahoma, and graduated from Oklahoma State University. He went to Brazil while in graduate school at Purdue University, to seek his fortune, which whet his appetite for traveling the globe. This helped inspire him to be a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia in 1980 and he lived and worked in Africa, the Middle East, China and Europe for the next 21 years. All the while, he mastered Portuguese, Arabic, French and Mandarin, while traveling to over 85 countries. He then returned to America for nine years, whereupon he moved back to China in 2010. He currently lives in Beijing with his wife and younger daughter, where he writes, while being a school teacher in an international school. Jeff is a dual national French-American.

The swinging sixties were in full flow, but in some corners of the world the peace and love mantra of the flower-power generation could not be heard.

 

Even as hippies in London and San Francisco were weaving daisies into their hair, in China Mao Tse-Tung launched the Cultural Revolution, a 10-year political campaign aimed at rekindling revolutionary Communist fervour. Brandishing their copies of Mao's Little Red Book of quotations, students of the Communist Party - the so-called Red Guards - pursued an ideological cleansing campaign in which they renounced and attacked anyone suspected of being an intellectual, or a member of the bourgeoisie. Thousands of Chinese citizens were executed, and millions more were yoked into manual labour in the decade that followed.

 

Meanwhile, the US government, under president Lyndon B Johnson, was escalating its military presence in Vietnam. By the year's end, American troop levels had reached 389,000, with more than 5,000 combat deaths and over 30,000 wounded. The war was a brutal and dirty one, with many US casualties caused by sniper fire, booby traps and mines.

 

The Americans responded by sending B-52 bombers over North Vietnam, and by launching the infamous Search and Destroy policy on the ground.

 

"To know war," Johnson said in his State of the Union address before Congress, in January 1966, "is to know that there is still madness in this world".

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=InRDF_0lfHk

 

There was bloodshed on the streets of London too, when Ronnie Kray, brother of Reggie, shot George Cornell dead in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel in March.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rhr8Vjzy8E

 

Two years after his proclamations about the "white heat of technology" Harold Wilson was prime minister of a Labour government that included technology minister Tony Benn. If Benn was pleased to witness the introduction of the first homegrown UK credit card - The Barclaycard - in 1966, he was in the minority. The card was met with "a tidal wave of indifference", according to a Barclays executive.

 

Perhaps the UK public simply had other things on their minds.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRuVVqn63co

 

This was, after all, the year in which Bobby Moore's England beat the Germans 4-2 to lift the World Cup at Wembley.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T6IY2fz_Mc

 

Musically, 1966 was a vintage year. Jim Reeves' Distant Drums knocked the Small Faces' All or Nothing off the top spot. Other number ones in the year included Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the Night, Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys, the Walker Brothers' The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore and The Green, Green Grass of Home by Tom Jones.

 

The Beatles and the Rolling Stones also continued their dominance of the music scene, with Yellow Submarine, Eleanor Rigby, Paperback Writer and Paint it Black all topping the charts.

 

A Man for all Seasons won Best Picture at the 1966 Oscars, and its star Paul Scofield won Best Actor. Other films released this year included Georgy Girl, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Alfie and the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzQTF--oQ-U

 

On the small screen, viewers were subjected to the rants of Alf Garnet in Till Death us do Part; while US audiences were introduced to the delights of the Monkees and Star Trek. And the dynamic duo, Batman and Robin, thwarted lute-playing electronics genius the Minstrel as he tried to sabotage the computer systems at the Gotham City Stock Exchange.

 

"Batman heads off new corporate IT disaster" - now there's a headline to conjure with.

 

The Queen opens the £10 million Severn Bridge on September 8. The Severn Bridge was opened in 1966 to replace the ferry service crossing from Aust to Beachley. The new bridge provided a direct link for the M4 motorway into Wales.

 

The Severn Bridge has now carried more than 300,000,000 vehicles since it was opened in 1966. Between 1980 and 1990 traffic flows increased by 63% and there were severe congestion problems in the summer and at peak times each day. Further increases in traffic flows were expected in the years ahead. The problems encountered on the Severn Bridge were made worse by the occasional high winds, accidents and breakdowns. It is for these reasons that the Second Severn Crossing was constructed as without it congestion would become more serious and frequent on the M4, M5 and the local road network.

 

Bristol's Mecca Centre opens

 

1966 - Thursday May 19 is a glittering night in Bristol when 800 of the West Country’s VIPs are invited to the opening of the city centre’s brand new £32 million leisure complex on Frogmore Street With a dozen licensed bars, a casino, a cinema, a night club, an ice rink and a thousand plastic palm trees, this is the biggest entertainment palace anywhere in Europe and somewhere to rival the West End of London. There are girls! In bikinis! There’s even pineapple! On sticks! Drivers park their Hillman Imps in the multi-story car park!

 

And, amazingly enough, the venue has been an entertainment centre ever since. Bristol . . . entertainments capital of the South West, and one of the entertainments attractions of Europe. That was the talk of the town when Mecca moved into Bristol, splashed out a fortune and began building the New Entertainments Centre in Frogmore Street, towering over the ancient Hatchet Inn and the Georgian and Regency streets nearby.

 

The New Entertainments Centre wasn't just big, it was enormous and it was what 60s leisure and fun-time were all about, Mecca promised. Here, slap bang in the middle of Bristol, the company was creating the largest entertainment centre in the whole of Europe. A dozen licensed bars, an ice rink, bowling lanes, a casino, a night club, a grand cinema, asumptuous ballroom and, naturally, a multi-storey car park to accommodate all those Zephyr Zodiacs, Anglias, Westminsters, Minis, Victors and Imps etc which would come pouring into town bringing the 5,000 or so customers who would flock to the centre every day.

 

London might have its famous West End. Bristol had its Frogmore Street palace of fun and the opening night of the biggest attraction of all, the Locarno Ballroom, on May 19th was the Night To Crown All First Nights, the Post proudly announced. Sparkling lights, plastic palm trees in shadily-lit bars, a revolving stage, dolly birds in fishnet tights and grass skirts . . . this was glamour a la mid-60s and Bristol loved it.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNk8yuZ4lbI

 

Horace Batchelor K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M

 

1966 - KEYNSHAM became a familiar household name to millions of Radio Luxembourg listeners across Europe in the 1950s and 1960s — thanks to a local betting expert.

 

Self-styled 'football pools king' Horace Batchelor helped punters win a total of more than £12 million between 1948 and 1971 at a time when £75,000 was a fortune and his series of radio ads always mentioned mentioned Keynsham, which Horace would then spell out.

 

Customers followed his unique 'infra draw' tip system, which forecast which matches would be drawn in the pools. He put the otherwise little-known town on the map by spelling out its name letter by letter so listeners would address their applications correctly when ordering tips by post.

 

His ads included genial patter such as: 'Hello, friends — this is Horace Batchelor, the inventor of the fabulous Infra-Draw system. You too can start to win really worthwhile dividends using my method.'

 

Members of the system clubbed together to enter very large permutations with a good chance of winning the pools and then sharing the takings — though each individual only received a small fraction of each big windfall. Horace himself set a world record by personally netting more than 30 first dividends and thousands of second and third dividends.

 

During his heyday up to 5.000 orders a day were delivered via Keynsham to his office in Old Market, Bristol. His first major pools win came in 1948 when he was presented with £11,321 at Bedminster’s Rex Cinema —part of the biggest dividend then paid by Sherman’s Pools.

 

It also included £45,000 which he shared with syndicate members. - By 1955 he had won enough to live in luxury, running three cars and puffing cigars in an 18-room house. He later retired to a 27-bedroom ‘Batchelor pad’ in Bath Road, Saltford, a small village just outside of Keynsham, which he named 'Infra -Grange' after his system.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU7MMdlATZQ

 

Pickles was made Dog of the Year in 1966

 

Pickles, the mongrel dog who found the World Cup in a London street after it had been stolen three months before the 1966 finals, became a bigger story than that year's general election.

 

In March 1966, a few months before the start of the World Cup finals in England, a mongrel dog named Pickles found the missing Jules Rimet trophy in a London street.

 

One week before Pickles came to the rescue, the priceless trophy had been stolen from the Westminster's Methodist Central Hall where it was being displayed, albeit in a glass cabinet.

 

And this despite the presence of no less than five security guards. On that fateful Sunday, however, the guard stationed next to the trophy had taken the day off. The thieves stole in through a back door and snatched away the World Cup.

 

For his winning role in the tale, Pickles was made Dog of the Year in 1966 and awarded a year's free supply of dog food. His owner, a Thames lighterman named David Corbett, was a prime suspect in the case and police questioned him for hours before he was cleared.

 

With a dramatic goal in the final moments of what was a nail-biting match, England finally became soccer World Cup champions, securing a 4-2 win over West Germany at London’s Wembley Stadium. It was just one of the many highlights of 1966 that are etched on my memory from a year that had its fair share of controversy and tragedy as well as producing some outstanding music.

 

'more popular than Jesus’

 

Controversy come in the wake of John Lennon’s quip in a newspaper interview that The Beatles were ‘more popular than Jesus now’. It caused a furor and led to thousands of the group’s records being burned on bonfires in protest in some parts of America. I recall seeing the news coverage on TV showing angry groups of people tossing piles of vinyl in to the flames. It was far cry from the outpourings of adoration and admiration that the Liverpool lads usually enjoyed. And for a while threatened to damage their reputation.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZ6NL3iNNMs

 

The anti-Beatles outcry did however subside following an apology from Lennon and things eventually got back to normal on the Fab Four front. The catchy Paperback Writer topped the charts and their imaginative album Revolver reinstated their popularity.

 

Aberfan coal tip disaster in Wales

 

One of the most tragic events that year In Britain was the Aberfan coal tip disaster in Wales that claimed 144 lives, including 116 children. I was at work on a weekly newspaper on the October morning it happened. My colleagues and I had a radio on and listened to updates on and off throughout the day as rescuers dug through the tons of slurry that had roared down the hillside, desperately trying to find survivors in the mangled remains of the school building. I’ll always remember that it was a very dark period, particularly as so many young lives had been lost in what was later shown to have been an avoidable tragedy.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lzJLww3DvM

 

On the music front, 1966 threw up several gems, not least some groundbreaking offerings from The Beach Boys. It was, of course, the year that the magical singles Good Vibrations and God Only Knows and the grandiose album Pet Sounds set new standards in rock recording. Indeed, such was the excellence of the band at that time that it spurred The Beatles on to experiment and push their own musical boundaries still further.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOMyS78o5YI

 

Motown was in its glory too, and The Four Tops epitomized all that was great about the sounds made under the guidance of Berry Gordy in the bustling, vibrant city that was Detroit. Reach Out I’ll Be There.

 

Other memorable songs, were Dusty Springfield’s You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, the Spencer Davis Group’s Somebody Help Me, the Rolling Stones Paint It Black, The Walker Brothers’ operatic The Sun Ain’t `Gonna Shine Anymore, and Chris Farlowe’s cover version of the Stones’ Out Of Time. All of them are classics of rock.

 

Tom Jones’ Green, Green Grass of Home was the biggest selling single. Way before The Voice!

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSajFnkUxQY

 

George Harrison married Patti Boyd.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm8oTkuIJgs

 

Sergio Leone created the spaghetti western with The Good, The Bad and The Ugly starring Clint Eastwood. Due to the striking height difference between Clint Eastwood and Eli Wallach of over 9 inches, it was sometimes difficult to include them in the same frame.

 

Because Sergio Leone spoke barely any English and Eli Wallach spoke barely any Italian, the two communicated in French.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PgAKzmWmuk

 

In the 1960s Michael Caine was a cocky young British movie star with a Cockney accent. He played a caddish womanizer in Alfie (1966) "Not a lot of people know that"

 

Adam Sandler, Halle Berry, David Schwimmer, David Cameron, Cindy Crawford, Helena Bonham Carter were all born in 1966.

 

The first episode of Star Trek aired.

 

Walt Disney died.

 

The Beatles achieved their 10th number 1!

 

The Sound of Music won Best Picture at the Oscars.

 

Twiggy was named the face of ’66 by Daily Express.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncuD39xi-7M

 

1966 was also the year that the term Swinging London was coined by Time magazine, and as they say the rest is history

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDIxIqc0Qkw

 

For a few years in the 1960s, London was the world capital of cool. When Time magazine dedicated its 15 April 1966 issue to London: the Swinging City, it cemented the association between London and all things hip and fashionable that had been growing in the popular imagination throughout the decade.

 

London’s remarkable metamorphosis from a gloomy, grimy post-War capital into a bright, shining epicentre of style was largely down to two factors: youth and money. The baby boom of the 1950s meant that the urban population was younger than it had been since Roman times.

 

By the mid-60s, 40% of the population at large was under 25. With the abolition of National Service for men in 1960, these young people had more freedom and fewer responsibilities than their parents’ generation. They rebelled against the limitations and restrictions of post-War society. In short, they wanted to shake things up… Added to this, Londoners had more disposable income than ever before – and were looking for ways to spend it. Nationally, weekly earnings in the ‘60s outstripped the cost of living by a staggering 183%: in London, where earnings were generally higher than the national average, the figure was probably even greater.

 

This heady combination of affluence and youth led to a flourishing of music, fashion, design and anything else that would banish the post-War gloom. Fashion boutiques sprang up willy-nilly.

 

Men flocked to Carnaby St, near Soho, for the latest ‘Mod’ fashions. While women were lured to the King’s Rd, where Mary Quant’s radical mini skirts flew off the rails of her iconic store, Bazaar.

 

Even the most shocking or downright barmy fashions were popularised by models who, for the first time, became superstars. Jean Shrimpton was considered the symbol of Swinging London, while Twiggy was named The Face of 1966. Mary Quant herself was the undisputed queen of the group known as The Chelsea Set, a hard-partying, socially eclectic mix of largely idle ‘toffs’ and talented working-class movers and shakers.

 

Music was also a huge part of London’s swing. While Liverpool had the Beatles, the London sound was a mix of bands who went on to worldwide success, including The Who, The Kinks, The Small Faces and The Rolling Stones. Their music was the mainstay of pirate radio stations like Radio Caroline and Radio Swinging England. Creative types of all kinds gravitated to the capital, from artists and writers to magazine publishers, photographers, advertisers, film-makers and product designers.

 

But not everything in London’s garden was rosy. Immigration was a political hot potato: by 1961, there were over 100,000 West Indians in London, and not everyone welcomed them with open arms. The biggest problem of all was a huge shortage of housing to replace bombed buildings and unfit slums and cope with a booming urban population. The badly-conceived solution – huge estates of tower blocks – and the social problems they created, changed the face of London for ever. By the 1970s, with industry declining and unemployment rising,

 

Swinging London seemed a very dim and distant memory.

 

1966 in British music

 

14 January – Young singer David Jones changes his last name to Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Jones (later of the Monkees).

 

19 January - Michael Tippett conducts the performance of his cantata The Vision of St Augustine in London.

 

6 February – The Animals appear a fifth time on The Ed Sullivan Show to perform their iconic Vietnam-anthem hit "We Gotta Get Out of this Place".

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=D88vc_GWw-g

 

4 March – The Beatles' John Lennon is quoted in The Evening Standard as saying that the band was now more popular than Jesus. In August, following publication of this remark in Datebook, there are Beatles protests and record burnings in the Southern US's Bible Belt.

 

5 March – The UK's Kenneth McKellar, singing "A Man Without Love", finishes 9th in the 11th Eurovision Song Contest, which is won by Udo Jürgens of Austria.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH8BQmfhUgo

 

6 March – In the UK, 5,000 fans of the Beatles sign a petition urging British Prime minister Harold Wilson to reopen Liverpool's Cavern Club.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1SQ99AYudo

 

16 April - Disc Weekly is incormporated with Music Echo magazine.

 

1 May – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Who perform at the New Musical Express' poll winners' show in London. The show is televised, but The Beatles' and The Stones' segments are omitted because of union conflicts.

 

13 May - The Rolling Stones release "Paint It, Black", which becomes the first number one hit single in the US and UK to feature a sitar (in this case played by Brian Jones).

 

17 May – American singer Bob Dylan and the Hawks (later The Band) perform at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. Dylan is booed by the audience because of his decision to tour with an

electric band, the boos culminating in the famous "Judas" shout.

 

2 July – The Beatles become the first musical group to perform at the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo. The performance ignites protests from local citizens who felt that it was inappropriate for a rock and roll band to play at Budokan, a place – until then – designated to the practice of martial arts.

 

11 August – John Lennon holds a press conference in Chicago, Illinois to apologize for his remarks the previous March. "I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. I'm sorry I opened my mouth. I'm not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better."

 

29 August – The Beatles perform their last official concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.

 

16 September - Eric Burdon records a solo album after leaving The Animals and appears on "Ready, Steady, Go", singing "Help Me Girl", a UK #14 solo hit. Also on the show are Otis Redding and Chris Farlowe.

 

9 November – John Lennon meets Yoko Ono when he attends a preview of her art exhibition at the Indica Gallery in London.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhJIiEeMeF0

 

9 December – The Who release their second album A Quick One with a nine-minute "mini-opera" A Quick One While He's Away.

 

16 December – The Jimi Hendrix Experience release their first single in the UK, "Hey Joe".

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3JsuWz4xWc

 

1966 in British television

 

3 January – Camberwick Green is the first BBC television programme to be shot in colour.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWUu-LTFJjE

 

3 March – The BBC announces plans to begin broadcasting television programmes in colour from next year.

 

5 April – The Money Programme debuts on BBC2. It continued to air until 2010.

 

23 May – Julie Goodyear makes her Coronation Street debut as Bet Lynch. She did not become a regular character until 1970.

 

6 June – BBC1 sitcom Till Death Us Do Part begins its first series run.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNSbMNl9K7Q

 

30 July – England beat West Germany 4-2 to win the 1966 World Cup at Wembley.

 

Summer – Patrick McGoohan quits the popular spy series Danger Man after filming only two episodes of the fourth season, in order to produce and star in The Prisoner, which begins filming in September.

 

2 October – The four-part serial Talking to a Stranger, acclaimed as one of the finest British television dramas of the 1960s, begins transmission in the Theatre 625 strand on BBC2.

 

29 October – Actor William Hartnell makes his last regular appearance as the First Doctor in the concluding moments of Episode 4 of the Doctor Who serial The Tenth Planet. Actor Patrick Troughton briefly appears as the Second Doctor at the conclusion of the serial.

 

5 November – Actor Patrick Troughton appears in his first full Doctor Who serial The Power of the Daleks as the Second Doctor.

 

16 November – Cathy Come Home, possibly the best-known play ever to be broadcast on British television, is presented in BBC1's The Wednesday Play anthology strand.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMR8KYDkRqk

 

BBC1

 

3 January – The Trumptonshire Trilogy: Camberwick Green

5 January – Softly, Softly (1966–1969)

10 March – The Frost Report (1966)

7 May – Quick Before They Catch Us (1966)

17 May – All Gas and Gaiters (1966–1971)

24 May – Beggar My Neighbour (1966–1968)

7 August – It's a Knockout (BBC1 1966–1982

17 November – The Illustrated Weekly Hudd (1966–1967)

 

BBC2

 

5 April – The Money Programme (1966–2010)

 

ITV

 

22 March – How (1966–1981)

 

1966 Events

 

3 January - British Rail begins full electric passenger train services over the West Coast Main Line from Euston to Manchester and Liverpool with 100 mph (160 km/h) operation from London to Rugby. Services officially inaugurated 18 April.

 

Stop-motion children's television series Camberwick Green first shown on BBC1.

 

4 January – More than 4,000 people attend a memorial service at Westminster Abbey for the broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, who died last month aged 52.

 

12 January – Three British MPs visiting Rhodesia (Christopher Rowland, Jeremy Bray and David Ennals) are assaulted by supporters of Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith.

 

20 January - The Queen commutes the death sentence on a black prisoner in Rhodesia, two months after its abolition in Britain.

 

Radio Caroline South pirate radio ship MV Mi Amigo runs aground on the beach at Frinton.

 

21 January – The Smith regime in Rhodesia rejects the Royal Prerogative commuting death sentences on two Africans.

 

31 January – United Kingdom ceases all trade with Rhodesia.

 

9 February – A prototype Fast Reactor nuclear reactor opens at Dounreay on the north coast of Scotland.

 

17 February – Britain protests to South Africa over its supplying of petrol to Rhodesia.

 

19 February – Naval minister Christopher Mayhew resigns.

 

28 February – Harold Wilson calls a general election for 31 March, in hope of increasing his single-seat majority.

 

1 March – Chancellor of the Exchequer James Callaghan announces the decision to embrace decimalisation of the pound (which will be effected on 15 February 1971).

 

4 March - In an interview published in The Evening Standard, John Lennon of The Beatles comments, "We're more popular than Jesus now".

 

Britain recognized the new regime in Ghana.

 

5 March – BOAC Flight 911 crashes in severe clear-air turbulence over Mount Fuji soon after taking off from Tokyo International Airport in Japan, killing all 124 on board.

 

9 March – Ronnie, one of the Kray twins, shoots George Cornell (an associate of rivals The Richardson Gang) dead at The Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel, east London, a crime for which he is finally convicted in 1969.

 

11 March – Chi-Chi, the London Zoo's giant panda, is flown to Moscow for a union with An-An of the Moscow Zoo.

 

20 March – Theft of football's FIFA World Cup Trophy whilst on exhibition in London.

 

23 March – Pope Paul VI and Michael Ramsey, the Archbishop of Canterbury, meet in Rome.

 

27 March – Pickles, a mongrel dog, finds the FIFA World Cup Trophy wrapped in newspaper in a south London garden.

 

30 March - Opinion polls show that the Labour government is on course to win a comfortable majority in the general election tomorrow.

 

31 March – The Labour Party under Harold Wilson win the general election with a majority of 96 seats. At the 1964 election they had a majority of five but subsequent by-election defeats had led to that being reduced to just one seat before this election. The Birmingham Edgbaston seat is retained for the Conservatives by Jill Knight in succession to Edith Pitt, the first time two women MPs have followed each other in the same constituency.

 

6 April – Hoverlloyd inaugurate the first Cross-Channel hovercraft service, from Ramsgate harbour to Calais using passenger-carrying SR.N6 craft.

 

7 April – The United Kingdom asks the UN Security Council authority to use force to stop oil tankers that violate the oil embargo against Rhodesia. Authority is given on 10 April.

 

11 April – The Marquess of Bath, in conjunction with Jimmy Chipperfield, opens Longleat Safari Park, with "the lions of Longleat", at his Longleat House, the first such drive-through park outside Africa.

 

15 April – Time magazine uses the phrase "Swinging London".

 

19 April – Ian Brady and Myra Hindley go on trial at Chester Crown Court, charged with three so-called Moors Murders.

 

30 April - Regular hovercraft service begins over the English Channel (discontinued in 2000 due to competition with the Channel Tunnel.)

 

Liverpool win the Football League First Division title for the second time in three seasons.

 

3 May – Swinging Radio England and Britain Radio commence broadcasting on AM with a combined potential 100,000 watts from the same ship anchored off the south coast of England in international waters.

 

6 May – The Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley are sentenced to life imprisonment for three child murders committed between November 1963 and October 1965. Brady is guilty of all three murders and receives three concurrent terms of life imprisonment, while Hindley is found guilty of two murder charges and an accessory charge which receives two concurrent life sentences alongside a seven-year fixed term.

 

12 May – African members of the UN Security Council say that the British army should blockade Rhodesia.

 

14 May – Everton defeat Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, overturning a 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday lead during the final 16 minutes of the game.

 

16 May – A strike is called by the National Union of Seamen, ending on 16 July.

 

18 May – Home Secretary Roy Jenkins announces that the number of police forces in England and Wales will be cut to 68.

 

26 May – Guyana achieves independence from the United Kingdom.

 

6 June – BBC1 television sitcom Till Death Us Do Part begins its first series run.

 

23 June – The Beatles go on top of the British singles charts for the 10th time with Paperback Writer.

 

29 June – Barclays Bank introduces the Barclaycard, the first British credit card.

 

3 July – 31 arrests made after a protest against the Vietnam War outside the US embassy turns violent.

 

12 July – Zambia threatens to leave the Commonwealth because of British peace overtures to Rhodesia.

 

14 July – Gwynfor Evans becomes member of Parliament for Carmarthen, the first ever Plaid Cymru MP, after his victory at a by-election.

 

15 July – A ban on black workers at Euston railway station is overturned.

 

16 July – Prime Minister Harold Wilson flies to Moscow to try to start peace negotiations over the Vietnam War. The Soviet Government rejects his ideas.

 

20 July – Start of 6-month wage and price freeze.

 

26 July – Lord Gardiner issues the Practice Statement in the House of Lords stating that the House is not bound to follow its own previous precedent.

 

30 July – England beats West Germany 4-2 to win the 1966 World Cup at Wembley. Geoff Hurst scores a hat-trick and Martin Peters scores the other English goal in a game which attracts an all-time record UK television audience of more than 32,000,000.

 

1 August – Everton sign Blackpool's World Cup winning midfield player Alan Ball, Jr. for a national record fee of £110,000.

 

2 August – Spanish government forbids overflights of British military aircraft.

 

4 August – The Kray Twins are questioned in connection with a murder in London.

 

5 August – The Beatles release the album Revolver.

 

10 August – George Brown succeeds Michael Stewart as Foreign Secretary.

 

12 August – Three policemen are shot dead in Shepherd's Bush, West London, while sitting in their patrol car in Braybrook Street.

 

15 August – John Whitney is arrested and charged with the murder of three West London policemen.

 

17 August – John Duddy is arrested in Glasgow and charged with the murder of three West London policemen.

 

18 August – Tay Road Bridge opens.

 

24 August – Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is first staged, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

 

29 August – The Beatles play their very last concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.

 

3 September – Barely five months after the death of Barry Butler, a second Football League player this year dies in a car crash; 30-year-old John Nicholson, a Doncaster Rovers centre-half who previously played for Port Vale and Liverpool.

 

5 September – Selective Employment Tax imposed.

 

15 September – Britain's first Polaris submarine, HMS Resolution, launched at Barrow-in-Furness.

 

17 September – Oberon-class submarine HMCS Okanagan launched at Chatham Dockyard, the last warship to be built there.

 

19 September – Scotland Yard arrests Ronald "Buster" Edwards, suspected of being involved in the Great Train Robbery (1963).

 

27 September – BMC makes 7,000 workers redundant.

 

30 September – The Bechuanaland Protectorate in Africa achieves independence from the U.K. as Botswana.

 

4 October – Basutoland becomes independent and takes the name Lesotho.

 

18 October – The Ford Cortina MK2 is launched.

 

20 October – In economic news, 437,229 people are reported to be unemployed in Britain – a rise of some 100,000 on last month's figures.

 

21 October – Aberfan disaster in South Wales, 144 (including 116 children) killed by collapsing coal spoil tip.

 

22 October - British spy George Blake escapes from Wormwood Scrubs prison; he is next seen in Moscow.

 

Spain demands that United Kingdom stop military flights to Gibraltar – Britain says "no" the next day.

 

25 October – Spain closes its Gibraltar border against vehicular traffic.

 

5 November – Thirty-eight African states demand that the United Kingdom use force against Rhodesian government.

 

9 November – The Rootes Group launches the Hillman Hunter, a four-door family saloon to compete with the Austin 1800, Ford Cortina and Vauxhall Victor.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6aTt-zFlo4

 

15 November – Harry Roberts is arrested near London and charged with the murder of three policemen in August.

 

www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXp36IUpDkU

 

16 November – The BBC television drama Cathy Come Home, filmed in a docudrama style, is broadcast on BBC1. Viewed by a quarter of the British population, it is considered influential on public attitudes to homelessness and the related social issues it deals with.

 

24 November – Unemployment sees another short rise, now standing at 531,585.

 

30 November – Barbados achieves independence.

 

1 December – Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Rhodesian Prime minister Ian Smith negotiate on HMS Tiger in the Mediterranean.

 

12 December – Harry Roberts, John Whitney and John Duddy are sentenced to life imprisonment (each with a recommended minimum of thirty years) for the murder of three West London policemen in August.

 

20 December – Harold Wilson withdraws all his previous offers to Rhodesian government and announces that he agrees to independence only after the founding of black majority government.

 

22 December – Rhodesian Prime minister Ian Smith declares that he considers that Rhodesia is already a republic.

 

31 December – Thieves steal millions of pounds worth of paintings from Dulwich Art Gallery in London.

 

Undated

 

Centre Point, a 32-floor office building at St Giles Circus in London, designed by Richard Seifert for property speculator Harry Hyams, is completed. It remains empty for around a decade.

 

London School of Contemporary Dance founded.

 

Mathematician Michael Atiyah wins a Fields Medal.

 

The motorway network continues to grow as the existing M1, M4 (including the Severn Bridge on the border of England and Wales) and M6 motorways are expanded and new motorways emerge in the shape of the M32 linking the M4 with Bristol, and the M74 near Hamilton in Scotland.

 

Japanese manufacturer Nissan begins importing its range of Datsun branded cars to the United Kingdom.

 

The 1966 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Brands Hatch on 16 July 1966. It was the fourth round of the 1966 World Championship. It was the 21st British Grand Prix and the second to be held at Brands Hatch. It was held over 80 laps of the four kilometre circuit for a race distance of 341 kilometres.

 

The race, the first of the new three-litre engine regulation era where starters reached 20 cars,

 

was won for the third time by Australian driver Jack Brabham in his Brabham BT19, his second win in succession after winning the French Grand Prix two weeks earlier. New Zealand driver Denny Hulme finished second in his Brabham BT20, a first 1–2 win for the Brabham team. The pair finished a lap ahead of third placed British driver Graham Hill in his BRM P261. Brabham's win ended a streak of 4 consecutive wins by Jim Clark at the British Grand Prix. Brabham's win put him ten points clear in the championship chase over Austrian Cooper racer Jochen Rindt with Hulme and Ferrari's Lorenzo Bandini a point further back.

 

1965–66 in English football

 

7 October 1965: An experiment to broadcast a live game to another ground takes place. Cardiff City play Coventry City and the match is broadcast to a crowd of 10,000 at Coventry's ground Highfield Road.

 

20 March 1966: The World Cup is stolen from an exhibition at Central Hall, Westminster, where it was on show in the run-up to this summer's World Cup in England.

 

27 March 1966: The World Cup is recovered by Pickles, a mongrel dog, in South London.

 

16 April 1966: Liverpool seal the First Division title for the seventh time in their history with a 2–0 home win over Stoke City.

 

14 May 1966: Everton win the FA Cup with a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the final at Wembley Stadium, despite going 2–0 down in the 57th minute.

 

11 July 1966: England, as the host nation, begin their World Cup campaign with a goalless draw against Uruguay at Wembley Stadium.

 

16 July 1966: England's World Cup campaign continues with a 2–0 win over Mexico (goals coming from Bobby Charlton and Roger Hunt) that moves them closes to qualifying for the next

stage of the competition.

 

20 July 1966: England qualify for the next stage of the World Cup with a 2–0 win over France in their final group game. Roger Hunt scores both of England's goals.

 

23 July 1966: England beat Argentina 1–0 in the World Cup quarter-final thanks to a goal by Geoff Hurst.

 

26 July 1966: England reach the World Cup final by beating Portugal 2–1 in the semi-final.

 

Bobby Charlton scores both of England's goals.

 

30 July 1966: England win the World Cup with a 4–2 win over West Germany in extra time.

 

Geoff Hurst scores a hat-trick, with Martin Peters scoring the other goal.

 

Honours

 

Competition Winners

First Division Liverpool

Second Division Manchester City

Third Division Hull City

Fourth Division Doncaster Rovers

FA Cup Everton

League Cup West Bromwich Albion

Charity Shield Manchester United and Liverpool (shared)

Home Championship England

From WGAL News 8, U-Photo's. Submittee, said this is near State College, PA.

Yesterday at about 3:21 PM, a shale oil train came thru Ettrick Va.

It was at a safe speed of 30-35 mph, but was still in acceleration from having to wait south of the Appomattox River Bridge, a single track crossing of the river, for a southbound AMTRAK passenger train to come across and clear the automatic switch on the south side. Several tankers, as seen with car number CBTX 742063, were of the newer design, with vertical steel plates welded onto each end of the car just above the catwalk over the coupler mechanism, and reinforced sidewall rings around the dome at the top with about 32 heavy duty steel bolts, hopefully titanium, joining the ring to the body of the car, and what seemed to be somewhat larger diameter axle stems than the usual.

one additional item that could make these cars even safer would be over-sized couplers; the type that was prevalent on chemical tankers back in the 1980's, designed to resemble a giant baseball mitt. these could keep up-right or at least arrest the rolling over of cars whenever one side of the ballast and earth grade under the track over which the train is travelling caves in or blows out from water damage.

The front locomotive was NorfolkSouthern Hammerhead diesel-electric number 9923 with two CSX hammers in the back, and was going at about 30-35 mile per hour, creating very little wind-wash from the main body of the train.

The primary problem with railroads of transport in the crude oil business is that the rails of the tracks upon which these tanker trains operate are not holding up to 107 tonnes per tanker car exerting a downward pressure from each wheel truck of 53 tonnes every 0.625 seconds, or, theoretically, about 13.25 tonnes every 0.15 seconds. that is a LOT OF POUNDING..

one more feature which could prevent the liquid oil loaded in the tank from sloshing too much and causing this pounding stress to overburden one corner of the container in certain situations would be to add to the inside of the tank a series of baffle plates. these plates could be hexagonal grating, horizontally welded at intervals that are placed and spaced by hydraulics engineers in just the right spots to keep the car's load well balanced no matter what the speed of the train or the roughness of the tracks.

In the winter the rails are subject to temperature stresses which are causing the top of the rail, the ‘railhead’ to snap off of the vertical stem, and the bottom of the rail. Most of the tracks of all of the Class I railroads are 133 pound rail, weighing in at this poundage on a per yard basis. Most of the tracks being used for the trans-shipment of oil in the USA should probably be up graded to 144 pound rail. And x-rays of the rails should be taken at least once a year, looking for hairline fissures in the critical zone where the rail top and stem join together.

 

#########

## ## ##

#####

## <<<<___ THIS is the weakest point in the rail,

## as seen here in a shadow cross-section

## of the typical railroad rail, of all poundage ratings.

##

##

###

######

##########

AND NOW...THE WHITE HOUSE is going to get involved....have not the people there, in almost infinite need of more adult supervision, already messed up enough of this country???

===========================================

 

“…. People say they love a lot of things, but they really don’t. It’s just a word that’s been overused. When you put your life on the line for somebody, that’s love. But you’ll never know it until you’re in the moment. When someone will die for you, that’s love, too.”

 

Bob Dylan, in interview with Mikal Gilmore, excerpted from Rolling Stone magazine, Issue No. 1166, September 27, 2012

=========================================

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea” by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia , Laos , and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina , Virginia , and Maryland .

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam . Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk , rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5’9″, I now weighed 128 pounds – 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant’s desk and said, “Sergeant Jolly, I’m Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket.”

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, “How long were you there, Colonel?” I replied “18 months this time.” Jolly breathed, “Jesus, you must be a slow learner Colonel.” I smiled.

Jolly said, “Colonel, I’ll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, “No, let’s just go straight to his office.”

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, “Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He’s been in this G*dd@mn job two years. He’s packed pretty tight. I’m worried about him.” I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major’s office. “Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, “Good to see you again, Colonel.” I responded, “Hello Walt, how are you?” Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt’s stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, “Walt, what’s the h-ll’s wrong?” He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, “George, you’re going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here.. I’ve been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I’m putting my letter in. I can’t take it anymore.” I said, “OK Walt. If that’s what you want, I’ll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps.”

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION My third or fourth day in Norfolk , I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine’s death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy’s family lived over the border in North Carolina , about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina , I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, “Hello John . Good morning Mrs. Cooper.”

I was stunned. My casualty’s next-of-kin’s name was John Cooper !

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, “I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Copper of (address.)

The father looked at me-I was in uniform – and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, “Mister, I wouldn’t have your job for a million dollars.” I shook his hand and said; “Neither would I.”

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk . Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.

THE FUNERALS Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.” I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation.” I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn’t speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder.

They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, “I’m so sorry you have this terrible job.” My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother’s house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenlythe door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, “You’ve got another one, Colonel.” I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person’s address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman’s Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father’s schedule.

The Business Manager asked, “Is it his son?” I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, “Tom is at home today.” I said, “Don’t call him. I’ll take care of that.” The Business Manager said, “Aye, Aye Sir,” and then explained, “Tom and I were Marines in WWII.”

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, “Is Mr. Smith home?” She smiled pleasantly and responded, “Yes, but he’s eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?” I said, “I’m sorry. It’s important, I need to see him now.”

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, “Tom, it’s for you.”

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, “Jesus Christ man, he’s only been there three weeks!”

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth…. I never could do that… and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, “Got it.” and hung up. I had stopped saying “Thank You” long ago.

Jolly, “Where?”

Me, “Eastern Shore of Maryland . The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam .”

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, “This time of day, it’ll take three hours to get there and back. I’ll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I’ll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief’s home.”

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father’s door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, “Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?”

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). “I’ve gone through my boy’s papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?” I said, “Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will.”

My wife who had been listening said, “Can you do that?” I told her, “I have no idea. But I’m going to break my ass trying.”

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, “General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?” General Bowser said,” George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

I was and the Admiral did.. He said coldly, “How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel.” I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, “Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?” The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, “Captain, you’re going to do a burial at sea. You’ll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed.”

He hung up, looked at me, and said, “The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don’t have to sic Al Bowser on my ass.” I responded, “Aye Aye, Sir” and got the h-ll out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship’s crew for four days.

Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, “These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?”

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, “Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out.”

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, “It’s simple; we cut four 12″ holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat.”

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever.

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, “General, get me the f*ck out of here. I can’t take this sh_t anymore.” I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, “Well Done, Colonel. Well Done.”

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

That is all

s/f

Tags: Burial at Sea, George Goodson, Lt Col George Goodson USMC (Ret)

  

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

 

oasisgrp.org/

 

www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/2705089414www.flickr.c...

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

============================================

postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice everything they have to save the life or lives of other persons. it does not belong to the recipient of the Medal. it belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing value that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

 

www.marines.com/home

 

the owners of the Frenchman’s Rough Map:

www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/

 

the Second (maybe Third) Cittie of the Colony:

www.henricus.org/

 

the folks with the records:

www.dhr.virginia.gov/

 

those whom the POTUS has to salute:

www.cmohs.org/

 

www.amazon.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia

 

www.monster.com/

 

www.tikvatisrael.com/

 

www.nasa.gov/

 

rvamag.com/

 

forbes.house.gov/

chaffetz.house.gov/

johnboehner.house.gov/

watsoncoleman.house.gov/

www.welch.house.gov/

mulvaney.house.gov/

lawrence.house.gov/

desaulnier.house.gov/

  

www.airforce.com/;http://www.navy.com/;https://www.cia.go...; www.nscorp.com/;

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kschL6-ViEs

www.whitehouse.gov/ www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

www.si.com/swimsuit/2015/ www.fluor.com/pages/default.aspx

jenniferlawrencefoundation.com/ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Lawrence

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihadi_John

www.cnn.com/2015/02/27/europe/jihadi-john-mohammed-emwazi...

www.cyclingnews.com/races/uci-road-world-championships-2014

richmond2015.com/ navyseals.com/nsw/bud-s-basic-underwater-demolition-seal-...

keystone-xl.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAsdCnBRC86PeFkuDJt_MBEiQAUX...

www.energytomorrow.org/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAsdCnBRC86PeFkuDJt_M...

www.economist.com/ www.generaldynamics.com/

www.ge.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAsdCnBRC86PeFkuDJt_MBEiQAUXJfLdH...

www.kevincostner.com/

 

DENNIS TAFLAMBAS

www.dktassociates.com/

 

www.victoriassecret.com/ www.wunderground.com/ www.bp.com/

www.economist.com/ www.halliburton.com/ www.csx.com/

www.netflix.com/us/ www.playboymagazinestore.com/

corporate.exxonmobil.com/ time.com/

  

From wikipedia:

 

The dachshund is a short-legged, elongated dog breed of the hound family. Variations of the pronunciation include däks'hoont, -hʊnt, -hʊnd, -ənd, dɑks-, dæks-, dæʃ-), the breed's name is German and literally means "badger dog", from [der] Dachs, "badger", and [der] Hund, "dog". Due to the long, narrow build, they are sometimes referred to as a wiener dog or a sausage dog. Not withstanding the German origin of the dachshund's name, within German-speaking countries, the breed is known—both formally and informally—as the Dackel, or in the case of certified hunting and tracking rank, as Teckel.[1] While classified in the hound group or scent hound group in the United States and Great Britain, there may be some who consider the classification to be arguable[2], speculating that it arose from the fact that the word Hund, is similar to the English word hound, and the word "Dachshund" has even been both pronounced and translated, albeit incorrectly, as "Dash Hound".[3] Many dachshunds, especially the wire-haired sub type, may exhibit behavior and appearance that are similar to that of the terrier group of dogs.[4] The standard size was developed to scent, chase, and flush badgers and other burrow-dwelling animals, while the miniature was developed to hunt smaller prey, like rabbits. An argument can be made for the scent or hound group classification because the breed was developed to utilize scent to trail and hunt animals, and probably descended from scent hounds, such as bloodhounds, pointers, Basset Hounds, or even Bruno Jura Hounds; with the dogged and persistent personality and love for digging that probably developed from the terrier, it can also be argued that they could belong in the terrier, or "earth dog", group.[4] In the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (World Canine Federation), or FCI, the dachshund is actually in its own group, Group 4, which is the dachshund group.[5] Part of the controversy is due to the fact that the dachshund is the only certifiable breed of dog to hunt both above and below ground.[6] [7]

.......

 

Dachshunds are playful, known for their propensity for chasing small animals, birds, and tennis balls with great determination and ferocity. Many dachshunds are stubborn, making them a challenge to train. Several quotes have been recorded regarding the training of dachshunds; one is from E. B. White:

 

"Being the owner of dachshunds, to me a book on dog discipline beomes a volume of inspired humor. Every sentence is a riot. Some day, if I ever get a chance, I shall write a book, or warning, on the character and temperament of the dachshund and why he can't be trained and shouldn't be. I would rather train a striped zebra to balance an Indian club than induce a dachshund to heed my slightest command. When I address Fred I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes. He even disobeys me when I instruct him in something he wants to do."[16] [17]

 

They have a loud bark, making dachshunds good watchdogs. Dachshunds are known for their devotion and loyalty to their owners, though they can be standoffish towards strangers. If left alone, many dachshunds will whine until they have companionship. Like many dogs if left alone too frequently, some dachshunds are prone to separation anxiety and may chew objects in the house to relieve stress. They rank 49th in Stanley Coren's Intelligence of Dogs, being of average working and obedience intelligence. The dachshund will, in some cases, show above-average intelligence, being able to break out of improperly made cages or figuring out how to get their favorite blanket out of a basket.

 

According to the American Kennel Club’s breed standards, "the dachshund is clever, lively and courageous to the point of rashness, persevering in above and below ground work, with all the senses well-developed. Any display of shyness is a serious fault."[18] Their temperament and body language give the impression that they do not know or care about their relatively small size. Like many small hunting dogs, they will challenge a larger dog. Indulged dachshunds may become snappy.[19]

 

The dachshund's temperament may vary greatly from dog to dog. Long-haired dachshunds have a calmer, intelligent character inherited from the spaniel. Wire-haired dachshunds have much of the terrier's spunky personality.

 

Many dachshunds do not like unfamiliar people, and many will growl or bark at them. Although the dachshund is generally an energetic dog, some are sedate. This dog's behavior is such that it is not the dog for everyone. A bored dachshund will become destructive. If raised improperly and not socialized at a young age, dachshunds can become aggressive or fearful. They require a caring owner who understands their need to have entertainment and exercise. The best way to prevent future anxiety or stress is to take your Dachshund with you to public places, such as parks, or just running errands. The more socialized your Dachshund is with people and other dogs, the better off it will be around strangers in the future. Although some might say Dachshunds may not be the best pets for small children, like any smaller breed dog they need the proper introduction at a young age. Otherwise they may be aggressive and bite an unfamiliar child, especially one that moves quickly around them. However, many Dachshunds are very tolerant and loyal to children within their family, but these children should be mindful of the vulnerability of the breed's back and not carry them around roughly.

 

A 2008 University of Pennsylvania study of 6,000 dog owners who were interviewed indicated that dogs of smaller breeds were more likely to be "genetically predisposed towards aggressive behaviour". Dachshunds were rated the most aggressive, with 20% having bitten strangers, as well as high rates of attacks on other dogs and their owners. The study noted that attacks by small dogs were unlikely to cause serious injuries and because of this were probably under-reported.[20]

 

Some writers and daschund experts[28] have theorized that the early roots of the dachshund go back to ancient Egypt, where engravings were made featuring short-legged hunting dogs.[29] Recent discoveries by the American University in Cairo of mummified dachshund-like dogs from ancient Egyptian burial urns may lend credibility to this theory. But in its modern incarnation, the dachshund is a creation of German breeders and includes elements of German, French, and English hounds and terriers. Dachshunds have been kept by royal courts all over Europe, including that of Queen Victoria, who was particularly enamored of the breed.[30] They were originally bred for hunting badgers by trailing by scent.

 

The first verifiable references to the dachshund, originally named the "Dachs Kriecher" ("badger crawler") or "Dachs Krieger" ("badger warrior"), came from books written in the early 1700s.[citation needed] Prior to that, there exist references to "badger dogs" and "hole dogs", but these likely refer to purposes rather than to specific breeds. The original German dachshunds were larger than the modern full-size variety, weighing between 30 and 40 lb (14 and 18 kg), and originally came in straight-legged and crook-legged varieties (the modern dachshund is descended from the latter). Though the breed is famous for its use in exterminating badgers and badger-baiting, dachshunds were also commonly used for rabbit and fox hunting, for locating wounded deer, and in packs were known to hunt game as large as wild boar and as fierce as the wolverine.

 

There are huge differences of opinion as to when dachshunds were specifically bred for their purpose of badger hunting, as the American Kennel Club states the dachshund was bred in the 15th century, while the Dachshund Club of American states that foresters bred the dogs in the 18th or 19th century.

Dachshund circa 1915

 

Double-dapple dachshunds, which are prone to eye disease, blindness, or hearing problems, are generally believed to have been introduced to the United States between 1879 and 1885.[citation needed]

 

The flap-down ears and famous curved tail of the dachshund have deliberately been bred into the dog. In the case of the ears, this is so that grass seeds, dirt, and other matter do not enter the ear canal. The curved tail is dual-purposed: to be seen more easily in long grass and, in the case of burrowing dachshunds, to help haul the dog out if it becomes stuck in a burrow.[7] The smooth-haired dachshund, the oldest style, may be a cross between the German Shorthaired Pointer, a Pinscher, and a Bracke (a type of bloodhound), or to have been produced by crossing a short Bruno Jura Hound with a pinscher.[31] Others believe it was a cross from a miniature French pointer and a pinscher; others claim that is was developed from the St. Hubert Hound, also a bloodhound, in the 1700s[32], and still others believe that they were descended from Basset Hounds, based upon their scent abilities and general appearance.[28]

 

What is clear, however, that no one seems to know for sure. According to William Loeffler, from The American Book of the Dog (1891), in the chapter on Dachshunds:"The origin of the Dachshund is in doubt, our best authorities disagreeing as to the beginning of the breed."[28] What can be agreed on, however, is that the short haired dachshund gave rise to both the long-haired and the wire-haired varieties.

 

There are two theories regarding how the standard longhair dachshund came about. One theory is that smooth Dachshunds would occasionally produce puppies which had slightly longer hair than their parents. By selectively breeding these animals, breeders eventually produced a dog which consistently produced longhair offspring, and the longhair dachshund was born. Another theory is that the standard longhair dachshund was developed by breeding smooth dachshunds with various land and water spaniels. The long-haired dachshund may be a cross among any of the small dog breeds in the spaniel group, including the German Stoberhund, and the smooth-haired dachshund.[31]

 

The wire-haired dachshund, the last to develop, was created in late nineteenth century. There is a possiblilty the wire-haired dachshund was a cross between the smooth dachshund and various hard-coated terriers and wire-haired pinschers, such as the Schnauzer, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, the [[German Wirehaired Pointer], or perhaps the Scottish Terrier.[31] [33]

 

Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (January 2009)

 

* William Randolf Hearst was an avid lover of dachshunds. When his own dachshund Helena died, he eulogized her in his "In The News" column.[39]

* Fred, E.B. White's dachshund, appeared in many of his famous essays.

* Lola bean is a black dachshund who has starred in many motion pictures, but is much more notably known for her vast awards and honors she has received for being one of the first dachshunds to function as a seeing eye dog.

* A collection of Gary Larson's Far Side cartoons was published in the 1990 book Wiener Dog Art. A special section was inserted that chronicled the presence and influence of dachshunds throughout the history of art.

* Lump, the pet of Pablo Picasso, who was thought to have inspired some of his artwork. (Pronounced: loomp; German for "Rascal") Picasso & Lump: A Dachshund's Odyssey tells the story of Picasso and Lump.

* Kevin Smith has a dachshund named Shecky.

* Jack Ruby the killer of U.S. President John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald had a dachshund named Sheba who he often referred to as his wife.[40] At the time he committed his infamous murder, he had four of them - although he'd had as many as ten.[40]

* Andy Warhol had a pair of dachshunds, Archie and Amos, whom he depicted in his paintings and mentioned frequently in his diaries.

* Stanley and Boodgie, immortalized on canvas by owner David Hockney, and published in the book David Hockney's Dog Days.

* Howie in the Bunnicula books

* Wadl and Hexl, Kaiser Wilhelm II's famous ferocious pair. Upon arriving at Archduke Franz Ferdinand's country seat, château Konopiste, on a semi-official visit, they promptly proceeded to do away with one of the Austro-Hungarian heir presumptive's priceless golden pheasants, thereby almost causing an international incident[citation needed]

* Senta, Kaiser Wilhelm II's companion during World War I and his exile to Huis Doorn. Senta died in 1927 at age 20 and is buried in the park of Huis Doorn, near the Kaiser's grave.

* Hot Dog in renegade Krypto the Superdog

* Schatzi (German for "little treasure") in That '70s Show

* Itchy Itchiford in All Dogs Go to Heaven

* Boots in Emergency!

* Dennis the Dachshund, a German sausage dog in the BBC's Children's Hour radio serial Toy Town, a scheming ne'er do well who spoke English with a German accent.

* Little Dog in 2 Stupid Dogs

* Slinky in Toy Story and Toy Story 2

* Buster in Toy Story 2

* Wiener Dog, the name of Norm Henderson's dachshund on The Norm Show

* Mr. Weenie in Open Season and Open Season 2

* Jorge in Clifford's Puppy Days

* Both Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, from Hanna-Barbera are weiner dogs.

* Waldi, the mascot of the 1972 Summer Olympics

* Dinah the Dachshund

* Pretzel in Pretzel by H.A. and Margaret Rey

* Hundley in Curious George by H.A. and Margaret Rey

* Weenie, the pet of Oswald the Octopus, Oswald

* Oscar, in the comic strip Liberty Meadows.

* Schnitzel von Krumm, in the Hairy Maclary series of children's picture books by Lynley Dodd.

* The dogs of The Ugly Dachshund

* Willie from the books by Ezra Jack Keats

* Oliver in the anime series Ginga Nagareboshi Gin

* Bodo in Hausmeister Krause (a German sitcom)

* Origami in Raising Helen

* Rufus "The Red" (of Morehead, Kentucky). Credited for saving 4 children from a burning daycare in Kentucky. Has appeared on many talk shows.

* Belle Constantine Chappy, [Katakana: ベルコンスタンティンチャピ-] the name of the miniature dachshund owned by Japanese artist Gackt.

* In the early Mickey Mouse comics, Mickey had a dachshund named Weenie.

* When Cap Toys resurrected Stretch Armstrong in the 1990s, they also created Stretch's dog, a dachshund named Fetch Armstrong.

* Joe, owned by General Claire Lee Chennault and the mascot of Chennault's Flying Tigers of World War II.

* Shadow and Duke from the Shadow Adventures by Mavis Duke Hinton.

* Petey from Searching For A Starry Night by Christine Verstraete.

* Schultzie from Lady and the Tramp trying to tunnel out the Dog Pound while the dog quartet sings.

* Cheerio from Hank Zipzer

* Jepha Howard from The Used has a Long Haired Miniature named Zelda

* Wally - the dachshund in the Drabble comic

* Dusty- the dog of the Fariss family

* Dogs looking like dachshunds appear in the clip "Number 1" by Goldfrapp where they appear as plastic surgeons; though more probably they are Saluki.

* Harry Mulisch, one of the three famous Dutch postwar writers, owns a dachshund. He once said his dog is more intelligent than a lot of people.

* On the TV show iCarly there are many Dachshund-related items on their set.

* The character of the Baron in Edmund Goulding's classic film Grand Hotel (1932) is accompanied by a dachshund.

* On MTV's A Double Shot At Love with the Ikki Twins family visits, contestant Rosie owns a dachshund named Donkey.

* In Lewis Black's album Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center Blues, he remarks that it would be more fun to watch a dachshund defecate than hear Condoleezza Rice talk.

* Japanese singer Namie Amuro owns two Miniature Long-haired Dachshund, named Koto and Gat-chan.

* Blitzkrieg (lightning war), a mean Dachshund from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody that belongs to Mr Moseby's business rival.

* Mike Graziola from Gennero has a Miniature named Artie, after Artie Lange

* Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was asked, in 2003, whether he has duct tape, plastic sheeting and a three-day supply of bottled water at home. He replied, "I would like to say I did. I don't believe we do. But I do have a miniature dachshund named Reggie who looks out for us."[41]

 

.

.

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea” by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia , Laos , and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina , Virginia , and Maryland .

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam . Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk , rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5’9″, I now weighed 128 pounds – 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant’s desk and said, “Sergeant Jolly, I’m Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket.”

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, “How long were you there, Colonel?” I replied “18 months this time.” Jolly breathed, “Jesus, you must be a slow learner Colonel.” I smiled.

Jolly said, “Colonel, I’ll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, “No, let’s just go straight to his office.”

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, “Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He’s been in this G*dd@mn job two years. He’s packed pretty tight. I’m worried about him.” I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major’s office. “Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, “Good to see you again, Colonel.” I responded, “Hello Walt, how are you?” Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt’s stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, “Walt, what’s the h-ll’s wrong?” He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, “George, you’re going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here.. I’ve been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I’m putting my letter in. I can’t take it anymore.” I said, “OK Walt. If that’s what you want, I’ll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps.”

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION My third or fourth day in Norfolk , I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine’s death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy’s family lived over the border in North Carolina , about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina , I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, “Hello John . Good morning Mrs. Cooper.”

I was stunned. My casualty’s next-of-kin’s name was John Cooper !

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, “I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Copper of (address.)

The father looked at me-I was in uniform – and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, “Mister, I wouldn’t have your job for a million dollars.” I shook his hand and said; “Neither would I.”

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk . Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.

THE FUNERALS Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.” I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation.” I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn’t speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder.

They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, “I’m so sorry you have this terrible job.” My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother’s house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenlythe door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, “You’ve got another one, Colonel.” I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person’s address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman’s Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father’s schedule.

The Business Manager asked, “Is it his son?” I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, “Tom is at home today.” I said, “Don’t call him. I’ll take care of that.” The Business Manager said, “Aye, Aye Sir,” and then explained, “Tom and I were Marines in WWII.”

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, “Is Mr. Smith home?” She smiled pleasantly and responded, “Yes, but he’s eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?” I said, “I’m sorry. It’s important, I need to see him now.”

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, “Tom, it’s for you.”

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, “Jesus Christ man, he’s only been there three weeks!”

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth…. I never could do that… and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, “Got it.” and hung up. I had stopped saying “Thank You” long ago.

Jolly, “Where?”

Me, “Eastern Shore of Maryland . The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam .”

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, “This time of day, it’ll take three hours to get there and back. I’ll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I’ll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief’s home.”

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father’s door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, “Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?”

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). “I’ve gone through my boy’s papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?” I said, “Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will.”

My wife who had been listening said, “Can you do that?” I told her, “I have no idea. But I’m going to break my ass trying.”

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, “General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?” General Bowser said,” George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

I was and the Admiral did.. He said coldly, “How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel.” I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, “Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?” The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, “Captain, you’re going to do a burial at sea. You’ll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed.”

He hung up, looked at me, and said, “The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don’t have to sic Al Bowser on my ass.” I responded, “Aye Aye, Sir” and got the h-ll out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship’s crew for four days.

Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, “These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?”

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, “Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out.”

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, “It’s simple; we cut four 12″ holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat.”

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever.

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, “General, get me the f*ck out of here. I can’t take this sh_t anymore.” I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, “Well Done, Colonel. Well Done.”

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

That is all

s/f

Tags: Burial at Sea, George Goodson, Lt Col George Goodson USMC (Ret)

  

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

 

oasisgrp.org/

 

www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/2705089414www.flickr.c...

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

============================================

postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice everything they have to save the life or lives of other persons. it does not belong to the recipient of the Medal. it belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing value that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

 

www.marines.com/home

 

the owners of the Frenchman’s Rough Map:

www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/

 

the Second (maybe Third) Cittie of the Colony:

www.henricus.org/

 

the folks with the records:

www.dhr.virginia.gov/

 

those whom the POTUS has to salute:

www.cmohs.org/

 

www.amazon.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia

 

www.monster.com/

 

www.tikvatisrael.com/

 

www.nasa.gov/

 

rvamag.com/

 

www.airforce.com/;http://www.navy.com/;https://www.cia.go...; www.nscorp.com/;

  

DENNIS TAFLAMBAS

www.dktassociates.com/

 

----APPOKANT NOTES----

 

APPOKANT: Algonquian words strung together possibly meaning: Place of Mystery (Sacred) Tobacco Where We Dance....the language has many 'holes' in it from an un-necessary demise. possibly this was an area very productive of jimmson weed, accompanied with the un-inhibited enjoyment of the hallucinatory effects of this weed, and the celebration of the good and strenuous life and...most of all...sex...with friendly members of the opposite one...look, with women walking around most of the year wearing nothing but a leather apron, maybe not thonged up in back very often, this place could have made Hedonism II look like amateur-hour...

========================================================

Captain Smith writes:

"At the end of forty miles this river environeth many low islands, at each high water drowned for a mile, where it uniteth itself at a place called APOKANT, the highest town inhabited"

===============================================================

WHAT WE SEE HERE BY CROSS-COMPARING THE ACCOUNT WITH THE MAPS IS AS FOLLOWS:

Note that the mapping shows that the FIRST PLACE on the Chickahominy River where all of Smith’s descriptions fit the terrain is just north of Roxbury, an old Chesapeake & Ohio Railway depot on the mainline from Richmond to Williamsburg.

 

since 1607, the river has silted and filled-in from the rain-runoff, due to un-wise farming practices being used in the fields adjoining the river during the intervening 4 Centuries. you must remember, Smith wrote that the river bottom here was hard. we moderns must mitigate our doubts about this location being Appokant due to the terrain contouring on the present-day USGS map. at the time of the Smith exploration, since the depth of the main-stream was greater, the barge would have been able to go about this far, even though an exact replica of it could not navigate to Roxbury in 2013 without a very shallow draft.

 

Smith is telling us that he can get 10 miles further up the river in 1607, but his military-mind is telling him that if the Indians were to attack his party on the water at the 50 milepost, they would all be looking Death in the face without any Hope. they would be unable to handle the barge properly for a swift retreat and would be captured by warriors and handed over the Indian women to be cut up into pieces with sharp oyster shells.

 

in the 1880’s, when the C&O Railway civil engineers were locating the rails through this area, they were able to make use of the “many low islands” along the river. this would minimize the chances of logs and other debris floating along the river during a flood from doing significant damage to the piers of the bridge crossing here.

 

we can also see that the river does have a number of branches all along this section, with 7 forks of contributing streams in a 5 miles length of the main-stream. Smith would have ‘assumed’ that the many side-branches were, perhaps, just as great in watershed area and drainage volume, as well as length-to-source, as the mainstream would turn out to be.

 

at several points along this area of the river, we can also observe that there is about a mile of distance from one side of the tidal flood-ebb zone over to the other side of it.

 

if this ‘village-outpost’ was indeed the last one possessed by the tribe before the cross-over into Pamunky tribal areas, the Chickahominy would NOT want to leave such an important and populous settlement ‘hanging in the air’, as would be said in military parlance. that would be inviting an attack from other tribes of the Confederation, if or when Wahunsenacock decided to try once again to subjugate the independent ‘Chicks.’ the postion of this last village or town would have to be militarily defensible. it would not be a place that ‘invited attack’. so, it would most likely:

 

1. be on high ground, enabling villagers to see well into the surrounding woods and up & down the river channels.

2. have a narrow isthmus approach from the land side, with a ‘choke-point’, enabling just a few warriors to delay a surprise attack, while women and children and older folks could escape to the river.

3. would be near to the river and the canoes collected there on the north shore, for fast escape.

4. would have plenty of cleared-off land near the village for the growing of food-stuff crops.

5. would have fresh-water springs in abundance for the easy supplying of a multitude of family cooking pots.

6. would, ideally, have flanking and active streams on both sides of the village, allowing for one stream to be continuously considered a ‘fresh water supply’, and the other one to be considered a ‘bathing side’, or a ‘grey water effluent run-off side’...in other words, they had figured out not only that the sewerage treatment plant is always downstream from the fresh water filtration plant...but it is even better to keep the streams-of-duty wide apart.

 

from the current-day map, we have located three possible village sites.

all of the sites fit somewhat into the Captain’s description of the river’s conditions at the distance of approximately 40 miles up from the Chickahominy’s mouth at the James. (this writer has no clue what-so-ever as to why the Captain would measure the length of any river by using the Fort at Jamestown as the ZERO MILEPOST. Smith really was not a confusing writer very often, and his editors may have been very often off-base and doubly confusing, but he would not have allowed this error to go to print and stay in-print for long)

 

the first one reached by the exploring party in 1607, to the south of Mountcastle, is a ‘shot-in-the-dark’ site. it might fit into a romantically alluring description given by some people that Powhatan’s last lodging place was ‘Orapacks’, and was ‘in the middle of a swamp’. you usually have more questions than answers scratched to the surface by 19th Century ‘historians’ and by ‘uncle henry said it was there’ legends being handed on by generations of Virginians who never really looked at the written records or the maps to decide for themselves what is true and what is lore.

 

so the Mountcastle site, and any sites thought to be to the southeast therefrom, do not fit the Smith record.

 

if anything, the river was MUCH MORE STRAIGHT IN 1607, and has become more curved and sinuous in the 400 years since, which in reality would stretch the riverine centerline distance of 40 miles that Smith wrote about further UPSTREAM, toward the west. get a string of spaghetti off your plate one night and test this out for yourself. fascinating…

 

the second defensible village site is at exactly 40 miles from the river’s entrance as Smith is counting the oar strokes of his ‘bargemen’….or is having one of his bargemen keeping count for him so he can think clearly and do more important things. this site is about 60 acres up front, and it also has two streams flanking it, one for fresh water and one for grey water. it also has about three spring-sites and a narrow land-side approach gap that is about 700 feet across. it is on very high ground, about 100 feet aloft of the river plain, and is accessible to a small off-shooting tributary of the river by descending a ravine or two. and there is a distance of about 4300 feet across the river's alluvial-plain here. Smith’s story is a very near-perfect match with this place.

 

however, this tributary joins the main river only after running roughly parallel to it for ½ a mile. this would make it possible for attacking Indians to cut-off the river escape route if the aggressors decided to attempt a two pronged strike.

 

it is highly probable that the Chicks were using SEVERAL SITES here in the area that they called “appokant” (place of the sacred tobacco plants, or jimsonweed). so the modern researcher would look in this site area to see if there could be found an abnormal amount of healthy jimsonweed and ground covers that indicate a long term human presence.

 

so far, we have a down-river site where it is possible the males might ‘hang-out’ to fish and cook the catch while getting away from the women for ‘man-cave activities’. we have a second site that fits all criteria perfectly, but is only the size of an ‘outpost’, if that is an issue that amounts to anything.

 

the third site is about 400 acres in area, and has over a dozen possible spring-sites, as well as flanking streams, and much high and clear ground for cultivation. it could supply 3 to 4 hundred people with food and community defense and safety. HOWEVER….(oh, crap, what now?)…it is also the place we moderns call ‘Orapax Farms’.

 

does THIS mean that Appokant and Orapacks were the SAME PLACE? wellllllll…. you be the judge on this issue. Orapacks was never as well described by anyone as Smith described Appokant, which description is about 33 words in length. and Orapacks is somewhat cloaked in legend. besides, why would Wahunsenacock be WANTED as a resident of a Chickahominy Indian village of such strategic importance, by people who essentially HATED the thought of a kingly ruler in the first place?? until the 1640’s the Chickahominys considered themselves to be the closest of allies with the English colonists. the chance that the Paramount Chief of 37 confederated tribes would live at a place WITHIN their territory, whether called Orapacks, or Appokant, is remote in the extreme.

 

Uncle Henry may not have thought much about that issue either…..

 

from Smith’s record, we see that Appokant was located someplace between Mountcastle and the mouth of Crump’s Creek. it cannot be southeast of Mountcastle, nor northwest of Crump’s Creek. IT HAD TO BE WEST OF (up-stream from) about 3 islands in the middle of the river, as shown on the Smith Map. a number of peninsulas, containing higher than normal terrain, with open and flat fields that could have supported 2 to 4 hundred persons comfortably, that are environed with plenty of freshwater springs and escape routes via the river, are in this zone of probability.

 

we rest our case….we have enough evidence for the Grand Jury but not enough to convict anyone.

 

GO AND DIG...but do not hold your breath waiting for any Federal Grant money.

 

=================================================================

  

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea

 

by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

 

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time,

as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

 

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it.

Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded

there, Vietnam was my war.

 

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days

in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams

of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North

Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

 

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina,

Virginia, and Maryland.

 

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam.

Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to

Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth

new school, and bought a second car.

 

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek,

Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is

important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine.

I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At

5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My

uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication,

and I think I had a twitch or two.

 

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the

nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm

Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification

Jacket."

 

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out

his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I

replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, "you must be a slow

learner Colonel." I smiled.

 

Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the

Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office."

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant

Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm

worried about him." I nodded.

 

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major,

this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major

stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I

responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an

eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

 

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee

and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the h-ll's wrong?" He turned his chair,

looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were

back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since

1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam

for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter

in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want,

I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it

through Headquarters Marine Corps."

 

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good

Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much

suffering. He was used up.

 

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28

military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines

that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of

those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory.

Four, however, remain.

 

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION

 

My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19

year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters

Marine Corps. The information detailed:

 

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air

Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or

closed.

 

The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles

away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line

into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service

station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

 

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small

Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and

addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."

 

I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!

 

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you

Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address.)

 

The father looked at me-I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at

the waist, and vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I

think I caught her before she hit the floor.

 

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr.

Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I

drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and

followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began

arriving.

 

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said,

"Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his

hand and said; "Neither would I."

 

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five

Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I

sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the

door, and sat there all night, alone.

 

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death

notification.

 

THE FUNERALS

 

Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed

Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a

military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how

to fold the flag.

 

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said,

"All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On

behalf of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful,

so I didn't say that.

 

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When

that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They

would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you

have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and

kissed her.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young

PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and

driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a

deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open,

a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the

yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"

 

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and

whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up

and carried her into the house.. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten

or fifteen minutes later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel.

I have no recollection of leaving.

 

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill.

The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook

his head sadly.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant

Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I

nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked

the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who

had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates

telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.

 

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my

office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the

Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked

for the father's schedule.

 

The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a

moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't

call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye

Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."

 

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I

knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw

instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She

smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now.

Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to

see him now."

 

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for

you."

 

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door.

He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said,

"Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"

 

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while

I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a

loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth....... I never could do that...

and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

 

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got

it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.

 

Jolly, "Where?"

 

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty

Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam...."

 

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of

day, it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval

Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get

one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."

 

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He

opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at

parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it,

Colonel?"

 

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and

home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

 

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my

boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you

make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."

 

My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I

have no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying."

 

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet

Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and

asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at

Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said," George, you be there

tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

 

I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the

Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of

Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of

Staff responded with a name.

 

The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at

sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this

mission is completed."

 

He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship,

Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I

responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the h-ll out of his office.

 

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the

Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four

days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said,

"These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from

floating?"

 

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the

Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the

retired guys from World War II hang out."

 

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and

said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the

casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the

casket. We can handle that, no sweat."

 

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General

Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The

sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The

ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

 

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed

on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag

was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played

"Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the

head and it slid into the sea.

 

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming

water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket

stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet,

stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising

from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket

disappeared from sight forever....

 

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar

Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of

here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.

 

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and

too much suffering. I was used up.

 

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car

convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved

at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention,

saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."

 

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

 

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank

check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of

'up to and including my life.' That is Honor, and there are way too

many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

==================================================================

 

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

  

www.flickr.com/photos/22616393@N04/6939207073/in/photostream

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

============================================

Mr. Bury's postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice everything they have to save the life or lives of other persons. the word 'VALOR' means in several old languages that the person possessing it has extremely great 'VALUE'. but for a moment in the recipient's life he or she thought of everyone else in his/her unit as having much more 'value' than himself/herself.

therefore, the Medal of Honor does not belong to the recipient of the Medal, but instead belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the people who were serving with the recipient on the day it was merited..and it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing 'value' that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

DENNIS TAFLAMBAS

www.dktassociates.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rescue_of_Jessica_Buchanan_and_Poul...

 

www.jimmydean.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&a...

 

www.jimmydean.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Dean

 

www.cmt.com/artists/jimmy-dean/biography/

 

www.biography.com/people/jimmy-dean-575760

 

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

 

www.google.com/search?q=lt+col+george+goodson&rls=com...

www.victoriassecret.com/ www.wunderground.com/ www.bp.com/

www.economist.com/ www.halliburton.com/ www.csx.com/

www.netflix.com/us/ www.playboymagazinestore.com/

corporate.exxonmobil.com/ time.com/

www.onemarinesview.com/one_marines_view/

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaWvdJBVBSc

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NnB9O1fWj4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3RuGQluDXs

 

www.snopes.com/

 

on the southern shore of the James River, about 2.12 miles from the brick church built in 1639, is a "grave"; standing on the spot marked on the USGS quadrangle map, scale= 1:24000, that is available to us today, we observe that the north azimuth from the 'grave' to the church is spot-on with the azimuth at which the Sun would arise over the far horizon, directly in-line with the church, on the10th day of April of 1639 at 05:47:20 local eastern standard time, when the Sun is about 1 degree of arc above the local horizon at this longitude/latitude position on the Earth's surface. this was, on the Julian Calendar, being used by the English colonists at that time, Easter Sunday, 1639. to the Spanish colonists 500 miles to the south, who were using the modern and more accurate Gregorian Calendar, it was Wednesday, 20 April, and Easter Sunday was 3 calendar days ago, on the 17th.

 

now. has anyone ever gone over to Surry County to see just what that 'grave' is all about?

 

remember, this site is on PRIVATE PROPERTY. ASK FOR PERMISSION FIRST, SHOULD YOU GO FOR IT.

 

of course, if you go, why not make it there at about 05:45 hours on 10 April, 2017, get to an opening to see the Sun rise thru the trees, and have your GPS with you, just to check the math....a good surveyor/geodetics person ALWAYS likes to have someone else check the math....

 

==================================================================

 

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea

 

by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

 

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time,

as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

 

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it.

Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded

there, Vietnam was my war.

 

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days

in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams

of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North

Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

 

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina,

Virginia, and Maryland.

 

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam.

Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to

Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth

new school, and bought a second car.

 

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek,

Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is

important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine.

I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At

5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My

uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication,

and I think I had a twitch or two.

 

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the

nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm

Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification

Jacket."

 

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out

his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I

replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, "you must be a slow

learner Colonel." I smiled.

 

Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the

Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office."

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant

Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm

worried about him." I nodded.

 

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major,

this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major

stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I

responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an

eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

 

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee

and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the h-ll's wrong?" He turned his chair,

looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were

back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since

1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam

for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter

in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want,

I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it

through Headquarters Marine Corps."

 

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good

Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much

suffering. He was used up.

 

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28

military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines

that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of

those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory.

Four, however, remain.

 

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION

 

My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19

year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters

Marine Corps. The information detailed:

 

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air

Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or

closed.

 

The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles

away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line

into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service

station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

 

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small

Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and

addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."

 

I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!

 

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you

Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address.)

 

The father looked at me-I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at

the waist, and vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I

think I caught her before she hit the floor.

 

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr.

Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I

drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and

followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began

arriving.

 

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said,

"Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his

hand and said; "Neither would I."

 

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five

Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I

sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the

door, and sat there all night, alone.

 

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death

notification.

 

THE FUNERALS

 

Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed

Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a

military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how

to fold the flag.

 

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said,

"All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On

behalf of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful,

so I didn't say that.

 

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When

that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They

would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you

have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and

kissed her.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young

PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and

driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a

deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open,

a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the

yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"

 

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and

whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up

and carried her into the house.. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten

or fifteen minutes later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel.

I have no recollection of leaving.

 

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill.

The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook

his head sadly.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant

Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I

nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked

the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who

had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates

telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.

 

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my

office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the

Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked

for the father's schedule.

 

The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a

moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't

call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye

Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."

 

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I

knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw

instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She

smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now.

Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to

see him now."

 

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for

you."

 

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door.

He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said,

"Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"

 

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while

I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a

loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth....... I never could do that...

and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

 

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got

it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.

 

Jolly, "Where?"

 

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty

Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam...."

 

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of

day, it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval

Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get

one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."

 

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He

opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at

parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it,

Colonel?"

 

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and

home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

 

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my

boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you

make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."

 

My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I

have no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying."

 

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet

Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and

asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at

Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said," George, you be there

tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

 

I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the

Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of

Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of

Staff responded with a name.

 

The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at

sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this

mission is completed."

 

He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship,

Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I

responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the h-ll out of his office.

 

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the

Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four

days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said,

"These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from

floating?"

 

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the

Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the

retired guys from World War II hang out."

 

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and

said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the

casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the

casket. We can handle that, no sweat."

 

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General

Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The

sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The

ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

 

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed

on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag

was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played

"Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the

head and it slid into the sea.

 

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming

water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket

stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet,

stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising

from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket

disappeared from sight forever....

 

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar

Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of

here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.

 

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and

too much suffering. I was used up.

 

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car

convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved

at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention,

saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."

 

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

 

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank

check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of

'up to and including my life.' That is Honor, and there are way too

many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

=====================================================

 

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

 

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

  

www.flickr.com/photos/22616393@N04/6939207073/in/photostream

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

====================================

Mr. Bury's postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING they have to save the life or lives of other persons. the word 'VALOR' means in several old languages that the person possessing it has extremely great 'VALUE'. but for a moment in the recipient's life he or she thought of everyone else in his/her unit as having much more 'value' than himself/herself.

therefore, the Medal of Honor does not belong to the recipient of the Medal, but instead belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the people who were serving with the recipient on the day it was merited..and it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing 'value' that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

 

MATCHUT or MATCHCOT: how it is SPELLED now is very different from how the Indians PRONOUNCED it back in 1614….hehehhee. you have to make a good guess at what the Indians SAID…after you make a good guess at what the the English HEARD… after you have deciphered what they really MEANT to write down on the parchment….after you have looked at all the different ways they WROTE it on the paper…....

 

a Virginia-London Company man named Ralph Hamor wrote that his 1614 overland trip to have parley with the mamanatowick, the Chief Werowance of the Powhatan Confederation, Wahunsenacock, was the walking distance of threescore miles from Jamestown Fort to the village which the great chief had removed himself to in that year. It was at a place called Matchut…..with some commonsense and careful thinking about the issue, you can figure out the approximate spot where Wahunsenacock's last home would have likely been located.

 

mapping.

 

the DeLorme 3-D TopoQuads program in my computer is ancient. it can run pretty well with a squirrel in a small barrel turning a 12 volt generator!!... but really, this is a mapping program that is at least 12 years out on the market, and it has been used by me innumerable times for surveys and mapping jobs on my office computer... it is a bit primitive and therefore difficult to use…the program is essentially a series of electronic raster images of all of the USGS quadrangle maps of the state of Virginia as of the late 1990's, divided into 5 large regions, and each region is put onto a separate CD disk. the images can then be brought up on the computer screen and the operator can use his/her drafting skills to make additions to the original map surface and save the image into memory.

 

I took this program and plotted on it, mile by mile, the 'most-likely Indian trail' route, from Jamestown to the upper Pamunkey River area in north-central Hanover County. an electronic line that automatically curves slightly as you pick points for it to go to next was drawn onto the map, and at the end of each mile of line an electronic-dot mile-post was tacked on, and thence more line for another mile was drawn. by the time the 51st mile-post was reached it was fairly easy to see where the pathway would lead. it 'pointed' to a high bluff on the northern bank of the Pamunkey that was called WASHASATIAK many years ago by the native people. this river bluff was the SAME PLACE that the natives had tried to pick a fight with Sir Thomas Dale at an earlier date, as he and 150 men equipped with muskets and other armourments had ascended the river on a shallop, in search of the Chiefs; and the Sir had realized that he was about to get his butt seriously kicked by an estimated 400 warriors, and he eventually pulled back out of the situation, an 'exfiltration of convenience' that saved his life and his men for another day...and the settling of Henricus.

 

defense.

 

Hanovertown, to the south of the place that may be Matchut, is the highest place on the river that can be navigated by a sea-going vessel. it became a small tobacco port later in the 1600's, because of this reason. Wahunsenacah, being a man of shrewd military wisdom, knew that the English had used their large merchant vessels, in years past, which were equipped with cannons that had a much longer range and were much deadlier than the typical English match-lock musket, to rake with shot several Indian villages. he knew just how much ‘draft’ these ships had, therefore knew just where they would have to stop and anchor….and so he knew he would be safe from such an attack if he was living on the river well above the point where they would be unable to go any further with these murderous machines.

 

terrain.

 

most of the sites used by werowance chiefs in the Tsennacomacah Confederation were positioned near against major tidal rivers and/or creeks, and had a high bluff or hill upon which to perch their yehaken houses, made of reed mats tied onto a series of bent saplings. the ‘high ground’, always being desireable from a military stand-point in our modern time---the natives had to do this continuously in order for the tribe to survive. many times there would also be a large field for growing corn/grain and various squashes/gourds/melons, on a flat plain of ground between the river's edge and this high bluff. such was the method of obtaining the benefits of the rich nutrients in the riverine soils, with the food-growing plots of each year occupying only a small portion of this plain during any one growing season. the next year the crops would be shifted over to another part of the plain where the soil was still rich; thus the village could stay in the same place, without having to be constantly moved from one location to another.

 

Personal politics.

 

the last of the Powhatans of his generation, this old and wise man, whose favorite and most beloved daughter was now in Henricus as a guest of an English parson, being indoctrinated in the tenets of the Christian faith... saddened and disgusted to no end by many let-downs from the English colonists... making up his mind that these intruders were not here to trade and co-exist in the same manner as the Frenchmen up in Champlain's colony on the St Lawrence.... realizing that he now was becoming a weaker and less combative warrior.... wanting to have his younger brother, Opecancanough, as near to him as possible..... understanding the Pamunkeys were the most powerful, numerous, and supportive tribe in his Confederation..... and finding that the spiritual peacefulness of the upper Pamunkey valley was much to his liking......he decided on Matchut as his last camp-ground.

 

defensive strategies

 

WASHASATIACK is not far to the southeast from Matchut. Is it the actual residence of the mamanatowick chief ??..or is it simply a neighboring village that is mistakenly identified as Matchut’? How can we find out without going to the two sites and digging some holes with the shovel?

 

YOUGHTANAN, to the south of the river, is supposed by most experts to be the village of the chief’s younger, but more ‘Type A’ brother, a very cunning and fierce warrior who was going to do everything possible to make the English feel unwanted….and will be the mastermind of the March, 1622 attacks. It stands to reason from English accounts that the younger brother was given the task of protecting Wahunsenacock with all resources at his disposal, including his own life.

 

so, would Opecancanough want the older beloved brother & chief to be very far out of sight, or even ‘hollering distance’? Go and dig. That is what answers the questions better than anything else.

 

just imagine…the man who was possibly the most powerful Indian leader in America at the time, would die close to this place, somewhere on this map for sure, on a piece of high ground, next to a river, looking southwest toward many acres of good corn-ground in a valley, all of it reminding him of his birthplace near Libby Hill Terrace, in what is now eastern Richmond, Virginia. as can be seen from this map---

 

1.The Bend in the Pamunkey River: just at the SAME angle as the bend in the James River at Libby Terrace Hill. the terrain here is uncannily similar to the layout of eastern RVA, with the hills and cliffs on the north shore having turned the river's flow to the south over many hundreds of years of geological morphing.

 

2. the Elevation: the position here would have been as high up off of the river bed as Libby Hill, affording the old Chief almost the same view in the mornings as his birthplace in modern-day eastern Richmond.

 

3. the Rules of Engagement: the Chief always wanted to be high up---above the heads of all his enemies...and his friends too.

 

4. the Healthy Life: he descended the cliff and waded out into the river every day of the year to wash and invigorate his body in the clear, clean water. YES, EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. The Polar Bear Club was started centuries before Europeans arrived here in Virginia. (CLEAN WATER??: made so by hundreds of beaver dams along all of the up-stream creeks and smaller rivers we call today South Anna, North Anna, Little, Newfound; these dams strained out of the usual rain-runoff, all of the mud, and silt, and tree limbs, and grass stalks, and dead animals, and other detritus, that is not checked and held back today by much of anything since we have only one percent of the beaver population that was in the country of those times. He could even cup his hands into the stream flow and drink without much worry....he could also see his feet on a hard clay bottom, through four feet of crystal clear water. where could we do that now???)

 

5. the Food Factor: with all of the surrounding indian villages, as well as thousands of acres of fertile river-bed, this area afforded the old man a plentiful supply of food the entire year. YES, this is the nearest thing on Earth to the fabled 'Happy Hunting Grounds".

 

6. the Order of the Chief Body Guard: in the five Indian villages within a 7 mile radius of the Chief's, with each village housing as many as 50 warriors, the old man of the confederation would have had a small army for his protection and escape, just in case the English decided on making a local raid or an attempt at a 'kidnapping'.

 

sometime around 1618 Wahunsenacah passed on to the spirit-land of his ancestors. he was buried just a few miles away, near these villages. the American natives have never divulged to any white person exactly where his bones rest to this day... and so be it....

===========================================

 

“…. People say they love a lot of things, but they really don’t. It’s just a word that’s been overused. When you put your life on the line for somebody, that’s love. But you’ll never know it until you’re in the moment. When someone will die for you, that’s love, too.”

 

Bob Dylan, in interview with Mikal Gilmore, excerpted from Rolling Stone magazine, Issue No. 1166, September 27, 2012

============================================

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea

 

by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

 

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time,

as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

 

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it.

Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded

there, Vietnam was my war.

 

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days

in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams

of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North

Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

 

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina,

Virginia, and Maryland.

 

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam.

Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to

Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth

new school, and bought a second car.

 

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek,

Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is

important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine.

I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At

5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My

uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication,

and I think I had a twitch or two.

 

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the

nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm

Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification

Jacket."

 

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out

his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I

replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, "you must be a slow

learner Colonel." I smiled.

 

Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the

Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office."

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant

Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm

worried about him." I nodded.

 

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major,

this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major

stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I

responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an

eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

 

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee

and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the h-ll's wrong?" He turned his chair,

looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were

back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since

1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam

for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter

in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want,

I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it

through Headquarters Marine Corps."

 

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good

Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much

suffering. He was used up.

 

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28

military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines

that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of

those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory.

Four, however, remain.

 

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION

 

My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19

year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters

Marine Corps. The information detailed:

 

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air

Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or

closed.

 

The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles

away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line

into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service

station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

 

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small

Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and

addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."

 

I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!

 

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you

Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address.)

 

The father looked at me-I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at

the waist, and vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I

think I caught her before she hit the floor.

 

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr.

Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I

drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and

followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began

arriving.

 

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said,

"Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his

hand and said; "Neither would I."

 

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five

Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I

sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the

door, and sat there all night, alone.

 

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death

notification.

 

THE FUNERALS

 

Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed

Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a

military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how

to fold the flag.

 

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said,

"All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On

behalf of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful,

so I didn't say that.

 

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When

that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They

would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you

have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and

kissed her.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young

PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and

driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a

deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open,

a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the

yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"

 

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and

whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up

and carried her into the house.. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten

or fifteen minutes later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel.

I have no recollection of leaving.

 

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill.

The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook

his head sadly.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant

Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I

nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked

the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who

had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates

telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.

 

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my

office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the

Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked

for the father's schedule.

 

The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a

moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't

call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye

Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."

 

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I

knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw

instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She

smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now.

Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to

see him now."

 

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for

you."

 

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door.

He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said,

"Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"

 

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while

I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a

loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth....... I never could do that...

and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

 

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got

it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.

 

Jolly, "Where?"

 

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty

Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam...."

 

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of

day, it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval

Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get

one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."

 

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He

opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at

parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it,

Colonel?"

 

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and

home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

 

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my

boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you

make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."

 

My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I

have no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying."

 

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet

Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and

asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at

Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said," George, you be there

tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

 

I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the

Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of

Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of

Staff responded with a name.

 

The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at

sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this

mission is completed."

 

He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship,

Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I

responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the h-ll out of his office.

 

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the

Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four

days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said,

"These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from

floating?"

 

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the

Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the

retired guys from World War II hang out."

 

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and

said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the

casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the

casket. We can handle that, no sweat."

 

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General

Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The

sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The

ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

 

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed

on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag

was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played

"Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the

head and it slid into the sea.

 

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming

water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket

stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet,

stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising

from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket

disappeared from sight forever....

 

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar

Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of

here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.

 

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and

too much suffering. I was used up.

 

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car

convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved

at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention,

saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."

 

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

 

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank

check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of

'up to and including my life.' That is Honor, and there are way too

many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

==================================================================

 

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

 

oasisgrp.org/

 

www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/2705089414www.flickr.c...

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

============================================

postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice everything they have to save the life or lives of other persons. it does not belong to the recipient of the Medal. it belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing value that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

 

www.marines.com/home

 

the owners of the Frenchman’s Rough Map:

www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/

 

the Second (maybe Third) Cittie of the Colony:

www.henricus.org/

 

the folks with the records:

www.dhr.virginia.gov/

 

those whom the POTUS has to salute:

www.cmohs.org/

 

www.amazon.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia

 

www.monster.com/

 

www.tikvatisrael.com/

 

www.nasa.gov/

 

rvamag.com/

 

www.airforce.com/;http://www.navy.com/;https://www.cia.go...; www.nscorp.com/;

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaWvdJBVBSc

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NnB9O1fWj4

www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3RuGQluDXs

  

DENNIS TAFLAMBAS

www.dktassociates.com/

   

Yesterday at about 3:21 PM, a shale oil train came thru Ettrick Va.

It was at a safe speed of 30-35 mph, but was still in acceleration from having to wait south of the Appomattox River Bridge, a single track crossing of the river, for a southbound AMTRAK passenger train to come across and clear the automatic switch on the south side. Several tankers, as seen with car number CBTX 742063, were of the newer design, with vertical steel plates welded onto each end of the car just above the catwalk over the coupler mechanism, and reinforced sidewall rings around the dome at the top with about 32 heavy duty steel bolts, hopefully titanium, joining the ring to the body of the car, and what seemed to be somewhat larger diameter axle stems than the usual.

one additional item that could make these cars even safer would be over-sized couplers; the type that was prevalent on chemical tankers back in the 1980's, designed to resemble a giant baseball mitt. these could keep up-right or at least arrest the rolling over of cars whenever one side of the ballast and earth grade under the track over which the train is travelling caves in or blows out from water damage.

The front locomotive was NorfolkSouthern Hammerhead diesel-electric number 9923 with two CSX hammers in the back, and was going at about 30-35 mile per hour, creating very little wind-wash from the main body of the train.

The primary problem with railroads of transport in the crude oil business is that the rails of the tracks upon which these tanker trains operate are not holding up to 107 tonnes per tanker car exerting a downward pressure from each wheel truck of 53 tonnes every 0.625 seconds, or, theoretically, about 13.25 tonnes every 0.15 seconds. that is a LOT OF POUNDING..

one more feature which could prevent the liquid oil loaded in the tank from sloshing too much and causing this pounding stress to overburden one corner of the container in certain situations would be to add to the inside of the tank a series of baffle plates. these plates could be hexagonal grating, horizontally welded at intervals that are placed and spaced by hydraulics engineers in just the right spots to keep the car's load well balanced no matter what the speed of the train or the roughness of the tracks.

In the winter the rails are subject to temperature stresses which are causing the top of the rail, the ‘railhead’ to snap off of the vertical stem, and the bottom of the rail. Most of the tracks of all of the Class I railroads are 133 pound rail, weighing in at this poundage on a per yard basis. Most of the tracks being used for the trans-shipment of oil in the USA should probably be up graded to 144 pound rail. And x-rays of the rails should be taken at least once a year, looking for hairline fissures in the critical zone where the rail top and stem join together.

 

########

## ## ##

#####

### <<<<_____ THIS is the weakest point in the rail,

### <<<<_____as seen here in a shadow cross-section

### of the typical railroad rail, of all poundage ratings.

###

###

###

######

##########

#############

AND NOW...THE WHITE HOUSE is going to get involved....have not the people there, in almost infinite need of more adult supervision, already messed up enough of this country???

===========================================

 

“…. People say they love a lot of things, but they really don’t. It’s just a word that’s been overused. When you put your life on the line for somebody, that’s love. But you’ll never know it until you’re in the moment. When someone will die for you, that’s love, too.”

 

Bob Dylan, in interview with Mikal Gilmore, excerpted from Rolling Stone magazine, Issue No. 1166, September 27, 2012

=========================================

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea” by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia , Laos , and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina , Virginia , and Maryland .

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam . Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk , rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5’9″, I now weighed 128 pounds – 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant’s desk and said, “Sergeant Jolly, I’m Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket.”

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, “How long were you there, Colonel?” I replied “18 months this time.” Jolly breathed, “Jesus, you must be a slow learner Colonel.” I smiled.

Jolly said, “Colonel, I’ll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, “No, let’s just go straight to his office.”

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, “Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He’s been in this G*dd@mn job two years. He’s packed pretty tight. I’m worried about him.” I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major’s office. “Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, “Good to see you again, Colonel.” I responded, “Hello Walt, how are you?” Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt’s stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, “Walt, what’s the h-ll’s wrong?” He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, “George, you’re going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here.. I’ve been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I’m putting my letter in. I can’t take it anymore.” I said, “OK Walt. If that’s what you want, I’ll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps.”

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION My third or fourth day in Norfolk , I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine’s death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy’s family lived over the border in North Carolina , about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina , I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, “Hello John . Good morning Mrs. Cooper.”

I was stunned. My casualty’s next-of-kin’s name was John Cooper !

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, “I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Copper of (address.)

The father looked at me-I was in uniform – and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, “Mister, I wouldn’t have your job for a million dollars.” I shook his hand and said; “Neither would I.”

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk . Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.

THE FUNERALS Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.” I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation.” I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn’t speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder.

They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, “I’m so sorry you have this terrible job.” My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother’s house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenlythe door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, “You’ve got another one, Colonel.” I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person’s address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman’s Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father’s schedule.

The Business Manager asked, “Is it his son?” I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, “Tom is at home today.” I said, “Don’t call him. I’ll take care of that.” The Business Manager said, “Aye, Aye Sir,” and then explained, “Tom and I were Marines in WWII.”

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, “Is Mr. Smith home?” She smiled pleasantly and responded, “Yes, but he’s eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?” I said, “I’m sorry. It’s important, I need to see him now.”

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, “Tom, it’s for you.”

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, “Jesus Christ man, he’s only been there three weeks!”

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth…. I never could do that… and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, “Got it.” and hung up. I had stopped saying “Thank You” long ago.

Jolly, “Where?”

Me, “Eastern Shore of Maryland . The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam .”

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, “This time of day, it’ll take three hours to get there and back. I’ll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I’ll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief’s home.”

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father’s door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, “Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?”

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). “I’ve gone through my boy’s papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?” I said, “Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will.”

My wife who had been listening said, “Can you do that?” I told her, “I have no idea. But I’m going to break my ass trying.”

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, “General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?” General Bowser said,” George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

I was and the Admiral did.. He said coldly, “How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel.” I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, “Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?” The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, “Captain, you’re going to do a burial at sea. You’ll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed.”

He hung up, looked at me, and said, “The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don’t have to sic Al Bowser on my ass.” I responded, “Aye Aye, Sir” and got the h-ll out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship’s crew for four days.

Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, “These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?”

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, “Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out.”

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, “It’s simple; we cut four 12″ holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat.”

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever.

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, “General, get me the f*ck out of here. I can’t take this sh_t anymore.” I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, “Well Done, Colonel. Well Done.”

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

That is all

s/f

Tags: Burial at Sea, George Goodson, Lt Col George Goodson USMC (Ret)

  

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

 

oasisgrp.org/

 

www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/2705089414www.flickr.c...

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

============================================

postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice everything they have to save the life or lives of other persons. it does not belong to the recipient of the Medal. it belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing value that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

 

www.marines.com/home

 

the owners of the Frenchman’s Rough Map:

www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/

 

the Second (maybe Third) Cittie of the Colony:

www.henricus.org/

 

the folks with the records:

www.dhr.virginia.gov/

 

those whom the POTUS has to salute:

www.cmohs.org/

 

www.amazon.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia

 

www.monster.com/

 

www.tikvatisrael.com/

 

www.nasa.gov/

 

rvamag.com/

 

forbes.house.gov/

chaffetz.house.gov/

johnboehner.house.gov/

watsoncoleman.house.gov/

www.welch.house.gov/

mulvaney.house.gov/

lawrence.house.gov/

desaulnier.house.gov/

  

www.airforce.com/;http://www.navy.com/;https://www.cia.go...; www.nscorp.com/;

www.youtube.com/watch?v=kschL6-ViEs

www.whitehouse.gov/ www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

www.si.com/swimsuit/2015/ www.fluor.com/pages/default.aspx

jenniferlawrencefoundation.com/ en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jennifer_Lawrence

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihadi_John

www.cnn.com/2015/02/27/europe/jihadi-john-mohammed-emwazi...

www.cyclingnews.com/races/uci-road-world-championships-2014

richmond2015.com/ navyseals.com/nsw/bud-s-basic-underwater-demolition-seal-...

keystone-xl.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAsdCnBRC86PeFkuDJt_MBEiQAUX...

www.energytomorrow.org/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAsdCnBRC86PeFkuDJt_M...

www.economist.com/ www.generaldynamics.com/

www.ge.com/?gclid=Cj0KEQiAsdCnBRC86PeFkuDJt_MBEiQAUXJfLdH...

www.kevincostner.com/

 

DENNIS TAFLAMBAS

www.dktassociates.com/

 

www.victoriassecret.com/ www.wunderground.com/ www.bp.com/

www.economist.com/ www.halliburton.com/ www.csx.com/

www.netflix.com/us/ www.playboymagazinestore.com/

corporate.exxonmobil.com/ time.com/

  

Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth attend 'Snow White and the Huntsman' movie premiere - Bondi Junction, Sydney

 

Kristen Stewart, Australia's own Chris Hemsworth and a swag of other celebrities attended the Sydney premiere of 'Snow White' at Bondi Junction in Sydney earlier this evening.

 

Hundreds of fans and dozens of news media covered the event for the movie which is tipped to be a big money winner and a favourite with critics.

 

Well done to everyone involved in the success of this hot new Hollywood movie.

 

News Update...

 

Australian star Chris Hemsworth has been enjoying some time off back home with his family, ahead of the Australian premiere of Snow White And The Huntsman.

 

Hemsworth was photographed earlier today enjoying some free time in Sydney.

 

On a rare day-off the former Home And Away star took the opportunity to go for a surf, despite the cold weather.

 

He was also photographed with his shirt off taking a dip in the pool at the Park Hyatt.

 

Hemsworth's acting career has taken off in Hollywood with recent appearances in super-hero blockbusters Thor and The Avengers.

 

He credits much of his success to his parents, who always supported his career. "When most people said it (acting) is crazy ... they said, "The couch will always be your spare bedroom ..." Hemsworth told the Seven Network's Sunrise program on Tuesday.

 

The new father also said he gained a lot of experience with children from babysitting his manager's kids and his older brother's three children.

 

"We were around kids a lot," Hemsworth said.

 

Hemsworth walked the red carpet with co-star Kristen Stewart at the film premiere at Bondi Junction's Event Cinemas tonight.

 

In his next project, Hemsworth plays racing-car driver James Hunt in Ron Howard's Formula One film Rush.

 

A release date for the film hasn't been set but we understand it will be in time for the 2013 Oscars.

 

Websites

 

Snow White and the Huntsman

www.snowwhiteandthehuntsman.com

 

Universal Pictures (Australia)

www.universalpictures.com.au

 

Event Cinemas

www.eventcinemas.com.au

 

Eva Rinaldi Photography

www.evarinaldi.com

 

Eva Rinaldi Photography Flickr

www.flickr.com/evarinaldiphotography

 

Music News Australia

www.musicnewsaustralia.com

the high ground Indian hunting encampment that Captain JOHN SMITH was taken to after a slightly-more-than six mile hike from the Chickahominy River at the Richmond-Henrico Turnpike crossing where he had been captured just southwest of present-day Mechanicsville, Virginia, several hours prior.

 

the Pamunky people believed in finding high ground that was fed by a large number of natural springs, which had, over the years, attracted generations of white-tailed deer. they also favored an area fairly cleared of trees and brush by intentional burn-offs over the centuries, so that when an arrow was shot at a deer the flight of the projectile was not thwarted by briars or sapplings. the camp would also be surrounded by the springs, for both the ease of obtaining a fresh water supply for cooking and hydration, and for the ambushing potential.

 

these terrain features would then make for the least amount of time and energy being spent on hunting, and more time that could be spent on tool making & repairing, teaching children, cleaning and tanning hides, cooking, eating, dancing and having sex. each morning of the hunt the hungry men would arise from their yahakens, go outside and look at the smoke coming from the fires, discuss which direction they would go in to keep the wind from giving away their approaching of the herds, smear onto their legs and arms some bear grease from a pot over a fire to keep away from their skin such woodland delights as ticks, gnats, redbugs, and poison ivy oils, grab the bows, arrows, spears, and knives, and then take off for the nearest pond up-wind from the camp.

 

they spotted the deer, or the game animals watering in the pond, approached silently by leap-frogging closer and closer and hiding behind the large trees and then shooting just enough animals for the warriors to carry back up to the camp without becoming exhausted...

 

Opechancanough, the more aggressive of Wahunsenacock's brothers, and his men were able to make their way from this camp as soon as runners from the south came in with the news that SMITH was coming up the Chick without many men-in-escort, and he would make an very easy catch if the deed was thought out and carried forth with alacrity. the six miles to the river was just a jog in the park for these people.

 

one of the things which made for that ease, was that the Pamunky, and most of their indian brothers, did a bit more civil engineering than we suspect. over time, they had found plenty of pathways from one village or camp to another that did not cross a stream at any wide points, and that skirted swamps en-totem. but they also had used stone axes and fire, in a technique we still call 'slash and burn', to fell one or more large trees across most of the creeks and streams, if not small rivers in eastern Virginia, to afford hundreds of dry-foot crossings for year-round travelling. once two trees were horizontally in place beside one another, it was not much more work to throw soil into the 'V' between them, and tamp it down tight with dozens of feet dancing away, making the wooden bridge more easy to traverse for warriors, women, and children using the over-land thoroughfares from place to place.

 

SMITH wrongly ascertained the camp to be a temporary encampment. in actuality it was a very important 'protein factory' for the 'harvesting' of land-based mammalian meats from various species. the Indians had probably been meeting here at this spot for centuries, and possibly letting Iroquoian tribes into the area for hunting during times of peace and plenty...the plenty usually occurring BEFORE the peace. the southern Indians would come in and haul out tonnes of dried and smoked meats in huge canoes, some as much as 50 feet long, making the trips up and down the Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound in a few days.

 

part of the beauty of this process was the way in which the Natives contributed to their pantry stores and The Peace Process, by letting the beaver population build hundreds of dams all up and down the creeks in this part of pre-history America. the ponds these little pre-civil engineers constructed did many different things: keeping the Bay and tributary rivers so clean of muddy rain-water run-off that, along with the purification provided by huge and healthy oyster beds, as well as massive riverside swamps of eel-grass, SMITH said you could see down into the water in most places he explored as much as 40 feet to the bottom.

 

another benefit of beaver ponds in the Tidewater region was that it provided the Natives with a cheap 'canal system'. imagine if you can: about every mile of inland stream MAY have been be-jeweled with as many as 20 beaver dams and the incumbent ponds that they backed up, some as long as 1000 feet in length. four Native warriors, in a small log-canoe, could paddle or pole their way for many miles up rivers and creeks that in today's time would be way too shallow, winding, and tree-choked for this kind of travel to even be imaginable. true, every quarter-mile they had to dis-em-barque and pull the canoe around a 4 to 9 foot high beaver dam, but ... once again we have to think of the commonsense they adroitly used everyday...they could pull the canoe along a well trod portage-pathway using 20 foot long ropes of deer gut without having to actually pick up the canoe and carry it. the leverage of using 15 foot-long naturally produced roping of deer gut, possibly even using pathways around the dams that were hard and slick from decades of usage, would take only about three to five minutes to make the average portage of a beaver dam.

 

all in all, this human cooperation with the natural world made the life of the Tidewater Virginia Natives much easier than was suspected until open-minded researchers in the mid-20th Century began to do their homework and to really think about what it must have been like before Western Civilization arrived here in the early 1600's.

 

due to the clarity of water during the centuries of time before human pollution in the rivers and creeks of eastern Virginia clouded up everything, the Indians had harvested aquatic food protein using a number of different techniques:

BOW AND ARROW FISHING. usually done at night from the log-canoe. sand and stones would be spread into the floor of the canoe, amid-ships, and a fire of small kindling-sized sticks would be set a-light. then the canoe would be paddled out to a marsh or a shallow area of the river, the paddles would be withdrawn from the water, and the crew of the boat would stand in the boat perfectly still, with bows and arrows drawn back....waiting...for the fish below to 'think' it is daylight, and 'think' it is safe to come up to the surface to do some feeding on the smaller fish or the surface bugs and flies...which, who knows, the Indians MAY have thrown onto the water surface some dead dragon-flies??... then, several Indian men or women, with strongly torqued bows, and arrows tipped on the 'business end' with very small chert-stone points, having well barbed edges, maybe even barbed copper-tip points made of the soft, easy-to-work metal, with a long string of deer-gut sinew that had been twisted into a line that makes Kevlar look weak, tied to the back-end of the arrow with the other end of the line tied onto a toe, would let fly with a volley of bow-shots, once everyone had a good sized fish in the kill-zone lined up. goodness, this sounds like a lot of FUN...and it provided the natives with hundreds of pounds of good, tasty, clean, nutritious meat every year, all year.

 

little wonder then, that the Natives got very peeved with English gentlemen who preferred to goof off inside their Fort for weeks on end, playing games at bowling and politics, and then come out on armed raids to 'secure' corn provisions for the coming winter by essentially robbing and pillaging the Tidewater villages within an easy boat ride of Jamestown. the newcomer's 'work ethic', or lack thereof, and total inability to act somewhat like responsible grown-up persons rubbed the nerves fairly raw after a few years...did it not make much more sense to work when you should and fiddle when you can??...or at least make your protein harvesting into an enjoyable sport, instead of an onerous task?

==============================================

  

“…. People say they love a lot of things, but they really don’t. It’s just a word that’s been overused. When you put your life on the line for somebody, that’s love. But you’ll never know it until you’re in the moment. When someone will die for you, that’s love, too.”

 

Bob Dylan, in interview with Mikal Gilmore, excerpted from Rolling Stone magazine, Issue No. 1166, September 27, 2012

 

==============================================

 

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea

 

by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

 

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time,

as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

 

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it.

Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded

there, Vietnam was my war.

 

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days

in Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams

of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North

Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

 

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina,

Virginia, and Maryland.

 

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam.

Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to

Norfolk, rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth

new school, and bought a second car.

 

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek,

Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is

important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine.

I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At

5'9", I now weighed 128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My

uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication,

and I think I had a twitch or two.

 

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the

nameplate on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm

Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification

Jacket."

 

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out

his hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I

replied "18 months this time." Jolly breathed, "you must be a slow

learner Colonel." I smiled.

 

Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the

Sergeant Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office."

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant

Major. He's been in this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm

worried about him." I nodded.

 

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major,

this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major

stood, extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I

responded, "Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an

eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

 

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee

and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, "Walt, what's the h-ll's wrong?" He turned his chair,

looked out the window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were

back in Nam before you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since

1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam

for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter

in. I can't take it anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want,

I'll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it

through Headquarters Marine Corps."

 

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good

Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much

suffering. He was used up.

 

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28

military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines

that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of

those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory.

Four, however, remain.

 

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION

 

My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of the death of a 19

year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters

Marine Corps. The information detailed:

 

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air

Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or

closed.

 

The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles

away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line

into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service

station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

 

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small

Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and

addressed them by name, "Hello John. Good morning Mrs. Cooper."

 

I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin's name was John Cooper!

 

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you

Mr. and Mrs. John Cooper of (address.)

 

The father looked at me-I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at

the waist, and vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I

think I caught her before she hit the floor.

 

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr.

Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I

drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and

followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began

arriving.

 

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said,

"Mister, I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his

hand and said; "Neither would I."

 

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five

Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I

sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the

door, and sat there all night, alone.

 

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death

notification.

 

THE FUNERALS

 

Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed

Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a

military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how

to fold the flag.

 

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said,

"All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On

behalf of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful,

so I didn't say that.

 

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When

that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They

would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you

have this terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and

kissed her.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young

PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in uniform and

driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a

deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door flew open,

a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the

yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"

 

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and

whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up

and carried her into the house.. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten

or fifteen minutes later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel.

I have no recollection of leaving.

 

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill.

The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook

his head sadly.

 

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION

 

One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant

Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one, Colonel." I

nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked

the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who

had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates

telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.

 

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my

office. I called the Longshoreman's Union Office and asked for the

Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked

for the father's schedule.

 

The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a

moment, he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't

call him. I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye

Sir," and then explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."

 

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I

knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw

instantly that she was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She

smiled pleasantly and responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now.

Can you come back later?" I said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to

see him now."

 

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for

you."

 

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door.

He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said,

"Jesus Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"

 

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while

I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a

loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth....... I never could do that...

and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

 

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got

it." and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.

 

Jolly, "Where?"

 

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty

Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam...."

 

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of

day, it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval

Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get

one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."

 

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He

opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at

parade rest beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it,

Colonel?"

 

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and

home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

 

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my

boy's papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you

make that happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."

 

My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I

have no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying."

 

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet

Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and

asked, "General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at

Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?" General Bowser said," George, you be there

tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

 

I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the

Marine Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of

Staff and said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of

Staff responded with a name.

 

The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at

sea. You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this

mission is completed."

 

He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship,

Colonel, call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I

responded, "Aye Aye, Sir" and got the h-ll out of his office.

 

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the

Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four

days. Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said,

"These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from

floating?"

 

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the

Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the

retired guys from World War II hang out."

 

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and

said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the

casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the

casket. We can handle that, no sweat."

 

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General

Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The

sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The

ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

 

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed

on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag

was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played

"Eternal Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the

head and it slid into the sea.

 

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming

water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket

stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet,

stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising

from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket

disappeared from sight forever....

 

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar

Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of

here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.

 

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and

too much suffering. I was used up.

 

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car

convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved

at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention,

saluted, and said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."

 

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

 

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank

check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of

'up to and including my life.' That is Honor, and there are way too

many people in this country who no longer understand it.'

==================================================================

 

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

 

oasisgrp.org/

 

www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/2705089414www.flickr.c...

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

============================================

Mr. Bury's postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice everything they have to save the life or lives of other persons. the word 'VALOR' means in several old languages that the person possessing it has extremely great 'VALUE'. but for a moment in the recipient's life he or she thought of everyone else in his/her unit as having much more 'value' than himself/herself.

therefore, the Medal of Honor does not belong to the recipient of the Medal, but instead belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the people who were serving with the recipient on the day it was merited..and it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing 'value' that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

 

www.marines.com/home

 

the owners of the Frenchman’s Rough Map:

www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/

 

the Second (maybe Third) Cittie of the Colony:

www.henricus.org/

 

the folks with the records:

www.dhr.virginia.gov/

 

those whom the POTUS has to salute:

www.cmohs.org/

 

www.amazon.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia

 

www.monster.com/

 

www.tikvatisrael.com/

 

www.nasa.gov/

 

rvamag.com/

 

www.airforce.com/;http://www.navy.com/;https://www.cia.go...; www.nscorp.com/;

  

DENNIS TAFLAMBAS

www.dktassociates.com/

   

it may positively stun some people when they look closely at an old map; most certainly an old map that shows accurately a lot of the past history of a place that is now familiar territory to only a few men and women of The Greatest Generation.

 

the streets of the Capital City have these perpendicular hack-marks down the centers...what are they telling the modern viewer??.... that Light Rail was a concept that a man named Frank Sprague thought would work anywhere in the world, no matter how steep the grades might be...

 

Richmond Union Passenger Company:

The Richmond system was not the first attempt to operate an electric trolley. According to the IEEE, there were at least 74 earlier attempts to provide electric trolley service in over 60 communities in North America, the United Kingdom, and continental Europe. However, these earlier attempts were not reliable enough to replace the existing animal-powered trolleys.

 

The Richmond system was designed by Frank Julian Sprague. After trials in late 1887, it began regular operation on February 2, 1888, with 10 streetcars. Electric power was supplied through overhead trolley wires (450 volts) for two 7.5 horsepower (5.6 kW) motors on each car. Large cars weighed 6900 pounds, provided 40 seats, and carried up to 100 passengers; small cars weighed 6700 pounds with 22 seats and up to 65 passengers. Running speed was 7.5 miles/hour, with 15 miles/hour as a maximum speed. By June 1888 the system contained 40 cars running on some 12 miles (19 km) of track, including steep grades, and with 30 curves.

 

Its success proved that electric traction was both safe and reliable. The Boston City Council, after inspecting Richmond's system on September 7, 1888, approved construction the second such project by the West End Street Railway. Boston's trolley was closely patterned upon Richmond's, and again demonstrated its practicality. By 1895 almost 900 electric street railways and nearly 11,000 miles (18,000 km) of track had been built in the United States, and in a little over a decade animal-powered street railways had essentially vanished.

 

Richmond's electric trolley service ended on November 25, 1949.

 

now, can you believe that?? Richmond was actually at the cutting edge of a modern technology in the 1880's?? and BOSTON people came down here to take a look at what we had done so THEY COULD COPY IT??

 

WOW.

 

now we have a company called Rolls Royce, locating a plant down in Prince George County, just 30 miles to the south, and they are going to show the world how to build jet engine turbines using computer operated additive manufacturing machines. This technology, that is suddenly receiving much attention in the major medias, is a HUGE leap into a form of ‘making things’, i.e., ‘manufacturing’, that will be a THIRD WAVE in the great leveling processes of modern history. The FIRST WAVE: the development of electricity production and distribution, first in the democracies of the North and, after World War One, in the rest of the World. The SECOND WAVE: the development of mass communications linkages, just in the recent four decades, in which the computer, the internet, the cell phone, and the social network began to make a person in Mali realize that he has a lot in common with a person in Frankfurt. The THIRD WAVE will be the development of additive manufacturing; the ability, one day, of a shade-tree mechanic who needs a certain part for his antique Studebaker, to be able to take the old one, photograph it with a digital camera, diagram it with a 3-D AutoCADD Program, and then MAKE it from a bag of composite-material-granules and his 3-D Hot Metal Printer into an exact reproduction of the part that broke, and has not been made by anyone since the 1960’s.

  

this THIRD WAVE is going to turn on it’s head the Economies of Scale class that you took in college. Well the little old economics professor always said ‘the real world is a special case’.

 

and....maybe the Bostonians will be paying us another visit soon....

 

with Main Street Station dead center in this map, you must first notice that RVA is the Virginia Capital of Railroads.

www.piedmontsub.com/Richmond.shtml

  

Some years ago, at a Times-Dispatch newspaper Public Forum, a Federal Reserve Board Governor who works at our local Federal Reserve Bank at the foot of 8th Street in the heart of the city, was asked a question. ‘how do you know when the economy is coming back up again?’, and he answered that he could tell, on his morning jog across a bridge over the old Atlantic Coast Line Beltline tracks that run between the lanes of the I-195 corridor, by the number of freight trains he could look down and see stopped cold on the rails by the traffic controller of Acca Yards. THAT was the best indication he could find as to how well the national economy was doing… did he know that his office was a few hundred feet over what was once a small freight yard of that same railroad, that in the 1970’s was torn up in order for the foundations of the Bank, designed by the same architect who did the World Trade Center in New York City, to be dug into the thick sandy clay of the Virginia Piedmont?

 

the old short lines that made Richmond and Petersburg a strategic target for the Yankee General named U. S. Grant, can be identified on the map. the politicians and clerks that operated the Government of the Confederacy made their fiery and famous exit from town 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down', on the trains of the Richmond and Danville Railroad. Two days later, Abraham Lincoln came up to Rocketts Landing on the River Queen, to pay a visit to the White House of the Confederacy, and to sit in the chair of Jefferson Davis’ office. Years later, after the hostilities had died away and the ashes were gone, the Danville ‘Road and the Richmond and York River Railroad were bought up and unified as the Southern Railway Company, and you can sit on the deck of Legends Brewery on an early Spring Friday night and see the old freight-yard office over toward the south river bank. the Norfolk and Western railway would merge with this company one day to form NorfolkSouthern.

 

Not far from Rocketts Landing is Fulton Bottom, an old African-American neighborhood that was virtually abandoned in the mid-Twentieth century and eventually destroyed by urban renewal projects. Why?...where did the people go?...most of the male breadwinners that settled their families there had good paying jobs until the 1960’s…on the Railroads. Then came along the Interstate Highway System. A Federally subsidized program for the Trucking Industry…and it still is to this day. These black and brown men worked in the car shops, the engine shops, the rail yards, all around the town… yes, as axle oilers, steam engine firemen, engine hostelers, spike drivers, track gang men, sledgehammer mechanics, boilermakers, coaling tower operators. Hard, grimy, thankless, hot, dangerous, hellish work. But it got unionized...eventually…and it paid the bills...and the Railroads began to die after the Second World War...and so did Fulton Bottom. The Interstate Highway System………….

 

Next to Fulton Bottom, to the south, is naturally Fulton Yard(s), home of the massive CSX freight and coal car operation; for most of the 110 years, from the day Collis P. Huntington, a small-time California hardware store owner who had sold a LOT of equipment, somewhat overpriced, to gold-bug crazed men looking for fortunes in 1849, had taken over a number of short line railroads in the Virginias after the Civil War, until the deregulation of transportation companies in the mid-1980’s, this rail-yard was where eastbound coal trains stopped, the weary crews changed over, and the pusher locomotives were coupled to the rear of the train just back of the caboose, to push the entire consist up the high grade just to the east, and over into the Chickahominy River Basin. This flatland had been one of the legendary and huge ‘Indian Fields’ that once dotted the riverine plains of Tsenacomacah, or Tidewater Virginia, as the people of the Powhatan Confederation once called the place in the Algonquian language back when the English first arrived in 1607. a slew of English ‘Captains’ had crossed over this field, or one to the north, between the riverbank near the old Ship Lock Canal Bridge, and the foot of a very steep hill, which they had climbed up, a hill that was very prominent and strategically utilized for tribal defense, to visit one Tanx-Powhatan in the summer of 1607. Was this hill the modern-day Powhatan Hill, or Chimborazo Hill or Libby Terrace Hill? Good gracious, perhaps the occupants of these various promontory abodes should have a good, old-fashioned, round-robin rugby match every October to obtain the bragging rights for the next year.

 

the Richmond Bridge Company: you see this huge building as you go south on I-95 headed to the Ruritan Club Shad Planking or Nags Head (the back way, so you can go to Wakefield and have some Virginia Diner ham-biscuits for breakfast, or can go thru Edenton NC and lust over the Victorian houses). that giant of a brick & steel structure was, at one time, a mechanical shop for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, a presumptuously monikered and under-capitalized undertaking, that got a late start in the 1900's, with the beginning of the "let's go to Florida for a week of horse race gambling" craze. did Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe actually spend a night in the same berth on one of those New York to Miami specials???. well, Some Like It Hot you know....

 

the Richmond and Petersburg Railroad, the very important link with the port of Wilmington NC that came under General Grant's eye of interest in August of 1864, was later united with the Petersburg and Weldon line, and one or two more lines, to form the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad. the tobacco factory and storage warehouses that you see at Jefferson Davis Highway and Maury Street, next to the rails of this road, used the contents of the hogsheads of North Carolina flue-cured leaf that were off-loaded there to eventually end up in the cigarettes smoked by thousands of boys-become-fighting-men in the Eighth Army Air Force as it bombed the Nazi war plants… is it just a legend that there was a pack of Lucky Strikes in the survival kit?

 

and is keeping a separation between the passenger rails and the freight rails a new idea??? maybe you should think again and read the words of King Solomon some more...

 

the trolley tracks coming into town from Ashland, down the middle of Hermitage Road, almost parallel to the Richmond Fredericksburg and Potomac tracks... it appears some of the people with investment money to spend were thinking that the RF&P railroad would be happy to shed off some paying-passengers so that their high-dollar freight trains would not have to wait on the rails very long on the morning run north to Potomac Yards. a good way to kill two birds with one stone. whenever you are playing a round of golf at Belmont Golf course, take a good look at the well engineered little bridge that goes over the stream known to Lakesiders as North Run, that enabled these inter-urban trolley tracks to make their way up to the Center of the Universe...

 

it was called the Richmond and Chesapeake Bay Railway. it's investors made tracks to Ashland, but never the Bay. the trick with any railroad-trolley line construction is to get the Location Engineer to put the route along contour lines, not across them; along side of creeks and rivers if necessary, on just one side thereof, holding bridges to a minimum; up on high and flat ground as often as possible. back in our history when land was plentiful for the settlers, and was being sold by the square mile by the Federal Government, the common sense wisdom was to build towns and farms and industries on 'good, high ground', and avoid swamps and mosquitoes and drainage problems. so therefore, railroadmen had few squablles about placement of tracks, because both they and the local citizens were usually on the same page about things.

 

Edward Gillette, one of the men like Jed Hotchkiss, who did a huge amount of this location work in the West after the Civil War ended, would later on write in his bio that one of the most important facets of putting down railroad track was to make sure maintenance of those tracks was stupid-simple for future owners/operators of them. easily said, but not so done.

 

And currently there is a small, but growing number of people, who would like this old foregone right-of-way to either become another addition to the inventory of Rails-to-Trails, or a Light Rail line again, which is not entirely a pipe dream, since Dominion Resources/Virginia Power is still using most of the strip for the transmission of high-voltage electrical current.

 

In RVA, the THIRD WAVE is rolling on down the rivah….

===========================================

“…. People say they love a lot of things, but they really don’t. It’s just a word that’s been overused. When you put your life on the line for somebody, that’s love. But you’ll never know it until you’re in the moment. When someone will die for you, that’s love, too.”

 

Bob Dylan, in interview with Mikal Gilmore, excerpted from Rolling Stone magazine, Issue No. 1166, September 27, 2012

========================================

 

THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SHORT STORIES EVER WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR

 

Subject: Burial At Sea

Powerful stuff. Please take time to read all of this. I wish each American could read this one. I feel too many of us fail to grasp what our young troops have done for us for so long, the freedoms they have protected for us. To only those who would and could appreciate it. This account is one of a kind...a powerful one that touches your heart. Read this slowly and to the end. Tough duty then as it is now.

 

Burial at Sea” by LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a series of vignettes. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam was my war.

Now 37 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in Cambodia , Laos , and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of Americans and Montangards fought much larger elements of the North Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina , Virginia , and Maryland .

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam . Casualties were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk , rented a house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek, Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5’9″, I now weighed 128 pounds – 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously, my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate on a Staff Sergeant’s desk and said, “Sergeant Jolly, I’m Lieutenant Colonel Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket.”

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his hand; we shook and he asked, “How long were you there, Colonel?” I replied “18 months this time.” Jolly breathed, “Jesus, you must be a slow learner Colonel.” I smiled.

Jolly said, “Colonel, I’ll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant Major. I said, “No, let’s just go straight to his office.”

Jolly nodded, hesitated, and lowered his voice, “Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He’s been in this G*dd@mn job two years. He’s packed pretty tight. I’m worried about him.” I nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major’s office. “Sergeant Major, this is Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office. The Sergeant Major stood, extended his hand and said, “Good to see you again, Colonel.” I responded, “Hello Walt, how are you?” Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt’s stress was palpable.

Finally, I said, “Walt, what’s the h-ll’s wrong?” He turned his chair, looked out the window and said, “George, you’re going to wish you were back in Nam before you leave here.. I’ve been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I come here to bury these kids. I’m putting my letter in. I can’t take it anymore.” I said, “OK Walt. If that’s what you want, I’ll endorse your request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters Marine Corps.”

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28 military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four, however, remain.

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION My third or fourth day in Norfolk , I was notified of the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine’s death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy’s family lived over the border in North Carolina , about 60 miles away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line into North Carolina , I stopped at a small country store / service station / Post Office. I went in to ask directions.

Three people were in the store. A man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, “Hello John . Good morning Mrs. Cooper.”

I was stunned. My casualty’s next-of-kin’s name was John Cooper !

I hesitated, then stepped forward and said, “I beg your pardon. Are you Mr. and Mrs. John Copper of (address.)

The father looked at me-I was in uniform – and then, shaking, bent at the waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion. I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr. Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, “Mister, I wouldn’t have your job for a million dollars.” I shook his hand and said; “Neither would I.”

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk . Violating about five Marine Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat there all night, alone.

My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made my first death notification.

THE FUNERALS Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals.. I borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said, “All Marines share in your grief.” I had been instructed to say, “On behalf of a grateful nation.” I didn’t think the nation was grateful, so I didn’t say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn’t speak. When that happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder.

They would look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, “I’m so sorry you have this terrible job.” My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION Six weeks after my first notification, I had another. This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother’s house. As always, I was in uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenlythe door flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across the yard, screaming “NO! NO! NO! NO!”

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried her into the house. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later, the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head sadly.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, “You’ve got another one, Colonel.” I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes, thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly, who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates telephone numbers into the person’s address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my office. I called the Longshoreman’s Union Office and asked for the Business Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the father’s schedule.

The Business Manager asked, “Is it his son?” I said nothing. After a moment, he said, in a low voice, “Tom is at home today.” I said, “Don’t call him. I’ll take care of that.” The Business Manager said, “Aye, Aye Sir,” and then explained, “Tom and I were Marines in WWII.”

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she was clueless. I asked, “Is Mr. Smith home?” She smiled pleasantly and responded, “Yes, but he’s eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?” I said, “I’m sorry. It’s important, I need to see him now.”

She nodded, stepped back into the beach house and said, “Tom, it’s for you.”

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, “Jesus Christ man, he’s only been there three weeks!”

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud whistle, two fingers in his mouth…. I never could do that… and held an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, “Got it.” and hung up. I had stopped saying “Thank You” long ago.

Jolly, “Where?”

Me, “Eastern Shore of Maryland . The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer. His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam .”

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, “This time of day, it’ll take three hours to get there and back. I’ll call the Naval Air Station and borrow a helicopter. And I’ll have Captain Tolliver get one of his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief’s home.”

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father’s door. He opened the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest beside the car, and asked, “Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?”

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). “I’ve gone through my boy’s papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that happen?” I said, “Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will.”

My wife who had been listening said, “Can you do that?” I told her, “I have no idea. But I’m going to break my ass trying.”

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked, “General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic Fleet Headquarters?” General Bowser said,” George, you be there tomorrow at 0900. He will see you.

I was and the Admiral did.. He said coldly, “How can the Navy help the Marine Corps, Colonel.” I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and said, “Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?” The Chief of Staff responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, “Captain, you’re going to do a burial at sea. You’ll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is completed.”

He hung up, looked at me, and said, “The next time you need a ship, Colonel, call me. You don’t have to sic Al Bowser on my ass.” I responded, “Aye Aye, Sir” and got the h-ll out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship’s crew for four days.

Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, “These government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?”

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the Senior Chief stood and said, “Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired guys from World War II hang out.”

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and said, “It’s simple; we cut four 12″ holes in the outer shell of the casket on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We can handle that, no sweat.”

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played “Eternal Father Strong to Save.” The casket was raised slightly at the head and it slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight forever.

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, “General, get me the f*ck out of here. I can’t take this sh_t anymore.” I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too much suffering. I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy. I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and said, “Well Done, Colonel. Well Done.”

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

That is all

s/f

Tags: Burial at Sea, George Goodson, Lt Col George Goodson USMC (Ret)

  

A BIT MORE ABOUT THE COLONEL:

www.thesandgram.com/2009/12/22/internet-legend-ltcol-geor...

THE STORY THAT APPEARED IN THE MARINE CORPS GAZETTE

www.marinecorpsgazette-digital.com/marinecorpsgazette/200...

 

oasisgrp.org/

 

www.flickr.com/photos/10393601@N08/2705089414www.flickr.c...

 

==================================================================

 

With Regret

Whitney Houston's death, while a sad thing, was the direct result of very unwise life choices. It dominates the news.

Charlie Sheen is 45 and his story is all over the news because he is a substance abuser, an adulterer, sexually promiscuous and obnoxious.

Lindsay Lohan is 24 and her story is all over the news because she is a celebrity drug addict and thief.

Something as frivolous as Kim Kardashian’s stupid wedding [and short-lived marriage] was shoved down our throats.

 

Meanwhile.....

Justin Allen, 23

Brett Linley, 29

Matthew Weikert, 29

Justus Bartett, 27

Dave Santos, 21

Jesse Reed, 26

Matthew Johnson, 21

Zachary Fisher, 24

Brandon King 23

Christopher Goeke, 23

and Sheldon Tate, 27.....

 

Are all Marines that gave their lives last month for you. There is no media for them; not even a mention of their names. Honor THEM by sending this on.

============================================

postscript:

The Medal of Honor is a Valor medal and says this on the Medal itself. it is bestowed on men and women in the military who, in moments of extreme danger, have been willing to sacrifice everything they have to save the life or lives of other persons. it does not belong to the recipient of the Medal. it belongs to everyone BUT the recipient. it belongs to the People of the United States of America as a tribute to the extreme and continuing value that we still place on Honor....a set of Beliefs and Values and Faith that the Nation was founded upon and that will live forever…and the recipient has been recognized by The People of this Country for acting on those Beliefs, those Values and that Faith ‘above and beyond the Call of Duty’.

 

www.marines.com/home

 

the owners of the Frenchman’s Rough Map:

www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/

 

the Second (maybe Third) Cittie of the Colony:

www.henricus.org/

 

the folks with the records:

www.dhr.virginia.gov/

 

those whom the POTUS has to salute:

www.cmohs.org/

 

www.amazon.com/

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia

 

www.monster.com/

 

www.tikvatisrael.com/

 

www.nasa.gov/

 

rvamag.com/

 

www.airforce.com/;http://www.navy.com/;https://www.cia.go...; www.nscorp.com/;

  

DENNIS TAFLAMBAS

www.dktassociates.com/

   

Note: this photo was published in an Apr 27, 2010 EveryBlock New York City zipcode blog with the title of "10036." It was also published in a Sep 22, 2010 blog titled "Reclaim Your Streets: How to Create Safe and Social Pedestrian Plazas." And it was also published in a Sep 28, 2010 blog titled "Reclaim Your Streets: How to Create Safe and Social Pedestrian Plazas." It was also published in a Dec 21, 2010 blog titled "Taming the mean streets: A talk with NYC transportation chief Janette Sadik-Khan."

 

Moving into 2011, the photo was published in an undated (mid-Mar 2011) blog titled "Bring Your Home to the Current Times with Sea Gull Lighting." And it was published in an Apr 13, 2011 blog titled "Surprise! Times Square air cleaner now that cars are gone"; the same article was published in an Apr 14, 2011 SmartPlanet blog titled "Times Square’s pedestrian plaza improves air quality." It was also published in an Apr 26, 2011 blog titled "By The City/For The City: Civic Involvement Improves New York."

 

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Jan 12, 2012 blog titled "Trace Adkins Tickets – Trace Adkins assimilated a tag Keith." And it was published in an Oct 15, 2012 blog titled "TIMELAPSE: CREATING A PEDESTRIAN PLAZA."

 

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in an Oct 22, 2013 blog titled "'The jury's out': De Blasio evolves on the Times Square pedestrian plaza."

 

*****************************************

 

Times Square, in case you cared, was not always known as Times Square. Until 1904 it was known as Longacre Square; it got that name because, back in the mid-1800s, it was a center for carriage-making in New York City, and was considered to be similar to a carriage-making district in London known as Long Acre. Later on, it was nicknamed the "Thieves Lair," because of its reputation as a low entertainment district. The first theater on Long Acre Square was built by cigar manufacturer Oscar Hammerstein -- and by the 1890s, it was thronged by crowds of restaurant and cafe patrons, and middle- and upper-class theater aficionados. It was the year 1904 when Mayor George G. McClellan yielded to the pressure from New York Times owner and publisher, Adolph Ochs, and renamed the intersection of 42nd Street, Seventh Avenue, and Bloomingdale Road with its current name -- Times Square -- in honor of the Times Building.

 

Most visitors and tourists, of course, know nothing about this; nor do they know that the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street is the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway, which was the first road (5,869 miles long) across the United States -- covering a total of 14 states, 128 counties, and over 700 cities, towns and villages. Indeed, most New Yorkers don't know any of this history either, and their eyes would probably glaze over if you explained it all to them. It's sad, too, because most people think that Times Square is a garish invention of the modern age, and that it sprang into existence with the arrival of ... oh, I don't know ... the Beatles.

 

All that history notwithstanding, Times Square underwent another major transformation back in February 2009, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that traffic lanes along Broadway, between 42nd and 47th Street, would be transformed into pedestrian plazas between Memorial Day and the end of the year. The plaza was originally supplied with inexpensive multicolored plastic lawn chairs ... but you won't see any of those in this Flickr set, because they've all been replaced with relatively sturdy metal furniture (though, like the tables and chairs in Bryant Park, none of it is chained or bolted into place; people can move things around to suit their immediate needs). On Feb 11, 2010, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the pedestrian plazas in Times Square would remain permanent; and now there is a similar plan underway to experiment with a pedestrian plaza on 34th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

 

I was vaguely aware of this development, and I've occasionally seen the tables, chairs, and pedestrian plaza while traveling around the city. But it was cold in February, and there really weren't all that many visitors. Now it's spring, and it's warm, and the tourists have begun to arrive. So I took the subway down to Times Square this past weekend, and spent an hour or two wandering around, mostly between 42nd and 47th Street, to see how people were using this newly-transformed part of the city.

 

Aside from the people hustling theater tickets and guided tours, as well as a preacher or two, I didn't really see any New Yorkers. Almost everyone was a tourist -- either from some other part of the country, or from some other part of the world. I heard a dozen different languages, saw a dozen different fashion styles, and observed a dozen different reactions to the huge signs (known locally as "spectaculars" and "jumbotrons") advertising the products of Coca-Cola, Samsung, and other huge companies. ABC's Times Square studios are located here, Good Morning America is broadcast from here; and there are more movie theaters and Broadway theaters than most people can cope with during a single visit.

 

In my case, there was no need to try to see everything or experience everything in one swell foop; I simply thought it would be interesting to capture a cross-section of the visitors to this small part of the city in which I live. Once you've seen it all, you can decide for yourself if it's someplace you want to visit...