Archive for the ‘Veterans Day’ Tag

Veterans Day 2019: The 442nd

We of Around the Grid always try to remember the men and women who have served in the military on Veterans (or Remembrance) Day. This year, I want to touch briefly on one group of veterans from World War II. It’ll be brief, only a few paragraphs, because I’m far from a professional historian, and all that the unit did in the European Theater would compose a book of its own.

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“… the eleventh hour of the eleventh day ….”

A recreation of The Cenotaph, the monument built originally to honor the British and Empire dead of World War I, here in London City.  (Some items on the wall are derendered for the photo.)

This year, November 11 will be extra notable in many countries.  It will have been one hundred years since November 11, 1918, the day that saw an armistice go into effect at 11:00 a.m. between the warring countries, ending fighting in what we now call the First World War.  Most people of the time hoped it would truly be the last major war, the “war to end war,” as it was phrased.  Sadly, as R. F. Delderfield suggested in To Serve Them All My Days, they had merely blown half-time.  It took only twenty years, along with a punitive peace treaty, governments using its terms to exact vengeance on Germany, and the general world economic collapse of the Great Depression (combined with the massive financial mistakes of the German government during and after the war), to open the path for the instigators of the next great war ….

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Veterans Day 2017

This blog always salutes our veterans of today in a more international manner, by recalling those who gave their all in service at one time or another, representative of the bravery those who are still with us showed.  This year, while considering what I would be writing about, I happened back across this story from World War II, not much remembered today by those of us obsessed with the fight against terrorism, or who champion veterans for more political purposes.  These four men show that there are many forms which bravery can take, and it can be exhibited even by those who swear never to take another’s life.

Learn more after the break.

For Our Veterans


Harper put up an excellent pair of pieces for her Veterans Day writing this week, but I decided to do something of my own.  In Canada, we call this Remembrance Day, and it’s more specifically to honour the soldiers and sailors who have fallen, like America’s Memorial Day, since the day’s origin lies in the end of what was then called the Great War, now World War I.  The Flanders poppy in my lapel derives from the poppies that dotted the northern European landscape, thus the inspiration for Canadian army doctor John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields.”

Je me souviens….

Conan's signature

Veterans Day and Election Day 2016


Jem, Conan (who couldn’t be present) and I all salute our country, our veteran relations and ancestors, and our democratic process.

In part, Veterans Day and Election Day are close enough together this year that I decided to combine the two together into one post. This isn’t normally my practice, but the theme I’m going to talk about here links into both, as it’s a matter that links the two days together.  As I’ve done before, I’m writing for all three of us, and adding their signatures to this article with my friends’ review and permission, for which I thank them most gratefully.

We at Around the Grid all have a father or grandfather who served in the U. S. armed forces at some point — as well, doubtless, as any number of ancestors we have never known — and we were raised “traditionally” enough to have a reasonably strong sense of patriotism, along with belief in our country and its inherent good and decency.  Our ancestors fought on behalf of the United States in any number of wars, going back to the Revolutionary War, because they believed in those facts.  They desired the right of a man — and now of a person — to be free, to determine their own destiny with the least imposition of rule by the government over them, and only by their own consent when the government did institute a law of some kind.  Jem and Conan haven’t mentioned any specifics about their fathers; but I can tell you that my own, as I think I’ve mentioned in the past, fought and bled for those ideals in France in World War II.  (This is the reason I wear the purple duster I have on above, for Dad’s Purple Heart; and the purple strip in Jemmy’s dress is suggestive.)  Many more since have fought, or simply served and stood ready to defend this country against its perceived enemies.  Again, as this blog tries to do every year, we salute those men and women — not always understood, never enough appreciated, often wounded in spirit as well as body, but willing to lay their lives down if called upon for the greater good.

Please don’t stop here; more words, even more important, are past the turn of the page.

Veterans / Remembrance Day 2014


On this 11th of November, let’s leave my usual talks about American veterans, and visit another country for a while — and reflect on recent history.

Canada, until this past month, has been largely ignored by terrorists.  Now, as a CBC writer has suggested, some of that innocence has been lost.  “Radical” Islamists have learned how to use the tools of the modern information age to gain adherents, and these converts are found around the world.  On October 20, a driver deliberately ran his car into two members of the Canadian Army, one of whom, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent (left) from the province of Québec, later died of his injuries.  WO Vincent was planning on retiring in the near future, having served his country for nearly 30 years.

Two days later, another man, with his face wrapped in a keffiyeh to hide it, carried a loaded hunting rifle up to Canada’s National War Memorial, and there shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo (center), standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier twice before being chased off and pursued by another member of the Ceremonial Guard.  Cirillo, a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, was standing his honor post as normal, with an unloaded rifle.  Bystanders attempted to revive the corporal and administer first aid, but he died en route to the hospital.

The gunman was not over.  He managed to elude pursuit all the way up Parliament Hill and made his way into Centre Block, the location of the House of Commons and the Senate.  Neither chamber was in session, but party leaders, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, were meeting with members in caucuses in several rooms nearby.  Shots were fired, including one that wounded a security guard who tried to wrestle the rifle away from the gunman as he entered.  The shooter eventually holed up in an alcove…near the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms of the Commons.  The Sergeant-at-Arms isn’t just a ceremonial post; he is also responsible for security in the building, and Kevin Vickers (right, carrying the Mace of the House of Commons at the next House session following the shooting), emerged from his office with a loaded automatic.  Vickers, a former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer with nearly 30 years of experience, did a dive-and-roll from behind a column and wounded the man, who was killed moments later by others in the security team.  A few days later, when Commons resumed, Vickers was given a standing ovation as he led the Speaker’s Parade into the chamber in the normal course of his more ceremonial duties.

It’s people like this that Veterans Day is for, to honor all the living who have placed themselves in harm’s way for the safety and security of our countries, and to remember those who, placing themselves in harm’s way, have paid the last full measure of duty.  I hope you’ll join me in saluting all military today on this day of remembrance.

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Reflecting On the Cost

Veterans Day blog

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world;
to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and to
bestow freedom upon all peoples,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

  • The Book of Common Prayer, 1979 edition


“Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day”

The wearing of a Flanders poppy on November 11 is not the fashion in the United States, though it still is in the countries and former dominions of the British Commonwealth.  Here, you see me beside a recreation of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, set here in Knightsbridge Region.  I feel it’s the appropriate thing, though, and so I have one on my lapel as I make my rounds today.

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place;wait and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead, short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields!…

Lt. Col. John McCrae, Canadian Army Medical Corps

Call for Pictures of SL and Veterans or Veterans Day

The American Veterans Day is coming up in a little under a month.  As I believe I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I have a special appreciation for this day because of my late father, who served in World War II and was wounded in Europe.

Last year, I founded a Flickr group dedicated to photos of veterans’ and similar service memorials in Second Life.  Please consider this an invitation to add your own photos to the group if you’re a Flickr member.  Pictures can be your personal tribute to their service as a whole, or for an individual in your own RL, or simply a shot of some memorial area on the Grid.  My only criteria are that they be on the Grid, appropriate to the theme, and no nudity or advertising.  Submissions don’t need to be restricted to American servicemen; there’s one shot of a recreation of the British Cenotaph from World War I — now apparently gone, as I understand.

Harper's signature

On Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Taken at The Wall, November 11, 2008.

The Purple Heart you see here is legitimate in a sense, though I have never served in the armed forces.  I wear this sometimes, both RL and SL, as a tribute to my father, who served in the 329th Infantry during World War II, and was wounded in France.

While “the last argument of kings” is never a desirable thing (except to madmen), there are times when the men and women of a country have stepped forward to serve that country’s needs.  I salute them and their memory on this day.

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