I was discussing Veteran’s issues and the like with a friend on Google Talk the other evening, and the conversation got around to regalia. In the context of the conversation, it was in regards to my regalia I wear to Powwows, and the significance behind it, the story it tells in how it appears. Thinking about the way riders would decorate their ponies in olden times gave me the idea to extend the regalia, and my story, to the Tank itself.
Regular visitors to my blog might recall one I made three years ago regarding the Military Covenant in the UK, and how it was being broken on a regular basis by the powers that be and ignored by the majority of the general public.
Yesterday, BBC News Online ran an article detailing how the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat government was planning on making the Covenant part of British law.
Wreaths Across America took place this morning, at Arlington National Cemetery just outside DC, and at locations across the US, and overseas.
This was the 18th year the Worchester Wreath Company has provided the wreaths, brought in by 18-wheelers all the way down from Maine, provided by themselves and through donations from many many others.
It’s hard to describe the event – it seems so simple, it went flawlessly, but there’s so much behind everything that words aren’t really adequate.
This coming Saturday morning, December 12th, several thousand people won’t be home in the warm, cuddled up in their beds all comfy and toasty.
Instead, they’ll have made their way early that morning to Arlington National Cemetery, as well as other locations spread out across the United States, Iraq, and other foreign locations.
This will see the final phase of the annual Wreaths Across America project to completion for the 18th year.
The trucks, carrying over 150,000 donated wreaths, are in transit as I write this entry, escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders, and many others – organizations and individuals.
A common refrain over the past several years has been a perceived silence on the part of Muslims condemning terrorism. That’s been expanded to include criticism of the same perceived silence over the more extreme interpretations and implementations of Sha`ria law.
Wandering around the ‘net, I’ve found there are a lot of “moderate” Muslims who have been doing just that – criticising the actions of those who take Islam to lengths others (especially in the west) find abominable.
It is said that the measure of a man is not so much by his deeds in life, but by how he is seen after he dies.
If that is true, Petty Officer Harris must have been a man I should regret never having met.
The Washington Post ran a story, back on September 3rd 2008, in which PO Harris’ mother described him as a “Renaissance Man”. I never knew him, but if the ~400 people in attendance at his funeral today at Arlington National Cemetery are anything to go by, he was that and more.
It’s been a while since I was able to go on a PGR Mission, but thankfully circumstances have conspired to make them possible again.
Today, with the family’s permission, we were able to escort them to Arlington National Cemetery to lay to rest Specialist Michael Gonzalez.
Specialist Gonzalez hailed from Spotswood, New Jersey, and was assigned to the 340th Military Police Company in Baghdad. On August 28th 2008, he was killed by an improvised explosive device.
The first parts of the mission were carried out by PGR members in New Jersey itself. Four of them also escorted Specialist Gonzalez, his family and friends, to ANC today, driving all the way down.
So it was off to YouTube to find some videos.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a Private or a General – if the family asks, as many of us as are able will turn up to show respect and our thanks.
You can find more here.
We’re still working on cleaning up the pictures we took over Memorial Day Weekend, and will post them as soon as they’re ready, but in the meantime, here’s the videos we shot.
Apologies for the quality, the videos were taken with a digital camera, not a video camera. The sound isn’t “wonderful” for the same reason, but you get the idea of why “Rolling Thunder” is a very appropriate name for the event.
This was the lead elements of Rolling Thunder XXI
A short clip of the military truck passing by.
People “back home” are seriously fucked up when it comes to veterans.
Recently, a group of disabled veterans from the only real rehabilitation center in the UK were at a local public swimming pool. One lane was roped off for them to use.
A few of the locals objected to their presence. They were told they didn’t belong there, they were scaring the children. Some people went so far as to object to the veterans getting to “use” the pool “for free” whilst they (the objectors) had to pay a couple of pounds to use it.