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Archive for November 11th, 2009

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding:  33                              Consecutive Days Blogging: 34

Today’s Mileage: 7                                           Total Trip Mileage: 299

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Holidays and Holy Days on November 11:

Veterans Day (USA) 

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     As I ride today my thoughts go out to the family and friends of the Fort Hood soldiers who were honored yesterday for their sacrifice. As a Vietnam Era veteran it gives me a sense of pride to see our President at the memorial service for these fallen warriors, just as it did to see him honoring the fallen from Afghanistan with an early morning salute at Dover Air Force base.

  091029-obama-hlrg-4a_hlarge   No matter what you feel and think about the President or about the two wars we are currently fighting, I hope you will honor the soldiers who are putting their lives on the line.

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World War 1 Memorial

 Today is Veterans Day. Instead of visiting scenes and sites along the pilgrimage route, we will do a virtual tour of a number of the Veteran Memorials in Washington DC.  I have decided to not include any memorial sites pertaining to the Civil War or Revolutionary War.  Both wars have a number of prominent battlefield Remembrance sites but we will stop at these along Pilgrimage routes at some future time. 

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WW2 Marine Memorial

      It seems to me  the most poignant sites are those commemorating conflicts in which veterans who fought and sacrificed are still alive. Very soon our collective memories of WW1 will be just that, memories, as no one will be alive to personalize it for us.  They will become just another series of photos in the history books, or scenes in our video archives.

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Korean War Memorial

A quick study of history shows that wars are fought for many different reasons. But the “boots” on the front line, or in the aircraft, or on the ships do the fighting and make the sacrifices.  It is only fitting that we, as a people and nation, honor their efforts.  I ponder with great sadness the potential works of art, the scientific discoveries, and great leaders we lost with the death of so many young people.  We live on, laugh, love and enjoy the fruits of our efforts because of their sacrifices.

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Vietnam War Memorial

     Even for those who returned home alive there were sacrifices such as the loss of limbs, loss of innocence, and emotional scars which are carried for the remainder of their lives. I worked with vets in the VA Hospital who were haunted by their service on the shores of Normandy, the frozen hillsides of Korea, and the jungles of Vietnam.   Joining in now with memories and scars are new brothers and sisters in arms from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Hold all of them in your thoughts and prayers.

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

   Besides community and national sites of remembrance many of us also have family memories of service.  My grandfather was a WW1 Army vet, two uncles were WW2 Army vets, my father was a Korean War Navy vet, a cousin was a Vietnam War vet, and I am a Vietnam era Navy vet.  We were lucky that all returned home alive and unharmed.  Far too many families had to place “gold star flags” in their windows, indicating that a family member was not returning home alive. Today we honor all veterans, living and dead for their service and sacrifice.  Thank you… carry on soldier!

 

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Night View of World War 2 Memorial

 

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