December 22, 2002

HONOR

On October 7th, 2002, I returned to Los Angeles from Arlington National Cemetery where we'd interred my father, 2nd Lt. William Joseph Whittle, who died from what may have been sheer joy during a fishing trip in Canada.

My dad served in the US Army in Germany, from 1944 through 1946. He was an intelligence officer, and was responsible for recording the time of death of the convicted War Criminals at Nuremburg after the war. He saw them hanged -- he stood there with a stopwatch. He was 21 years old.

My father spent two years in the U.S. Military. He spent a lifetime in the corporate world. After twenty years as a world-class hotel manager, turning entire properties from liabilities into assets, he was let go without so much as a thank-you dinner or a handshake. Twenty years of service. He was a four-star general in the corporate world for two decades, and that was his reward.

Monday afternoon, at 1 pm, I stood underneath the McClellan arch at ANC. There were 13 family members there. There were also 40 men in uniform. I was stunned.

They took my dad's ashes, in what looked like a really nice cigar box (what a little box for such a big man, I thought at that moment), and placed it in what looked like a metallic coffin on the back of a horse-drawn caisson. His ashes were handled by other twenty-one year old men, men as young as he had been, men whose fathers were children when my dad was in uniform. Everything was inspected, checked, and handled with awesome, palpable, radiating reverence and respect.

As we walked behind the caisson, the band played not a dirge, but a march... a tune that left me searching for the right adjective, which I didn't find until the flight home. It was triumphal. It was the sound of Caesar entering Rome; the sound of a hero coming home. It was the only time during the service that I really began to cry.

My father received a military funeral: the folded flag, the 21 gun salute, the honor guard, and a Chaplain named Crisp who declared a grateful nation was welcoming their brother William home to rest among heroes.

My dad served for two years. He wrote on the back of his Army officer class graduation photo that he expected to die fighting for his country within a few months. Most everybody who signed his photo wrote the same thing.

The chaplain said, looking my stepmom in the eyes like this was the first time he'd ever said the words, that the men and women buried here had agreed to lay down their lives for their country and each other, and that THIS, not rank, or social status, or length in service, is what entitled them to be buried in America's most sacred ground.

Before the ceremony, I was looking at the headstones, and it's sad how each area of Arlington is like a forlorn vintage: here are buried the veterans who died around 1995, there is the 1982 pasture, the mid-fifties crop over on yonder hill. And standing between a Major and a Lt. Colonel, I saw a headstone for a PFC who was born in 1979, the year I entered college, and who had died in 1998. This young man, not even twenty, couldn't have been in the service for more than a few months, and yet there he lay, with the same headstone as colonels and generals and the many, many sergeants that cover those fields.

That is American honor, and nowhere else in the world does it exist in such a naked, magnificent form. Each of these men and women, this band of brothers, receiving the same heartfelt respect. For my father, who died at age 77, it was the honoring of a contract he had signed more than half a century before, defending Europe and helping bring those criminal bastards to justice. It was a contract paid in full, one that has given my family and me an indescribable sense of comfort and pride.

As we were leaving, it dawned on me that the ugly brown-grey building I had been looking at across the road looked suddenly familiar. I asked the funeral coordinator if that was, in fact, the Pentagon, and he replied that it was... indeed, it was the side that the aircraft struck.

On September 11, 2001, this man was about to conduct a morning service on a hill about 1/2 mile from that brown-grey wall. He heard a roar and a whine, saw a silver blur fifty feet above his head, and watched as a 757 immolated itself against the side of the Pentagon. It was my unpleasant duty to inform him that a book claiming that the plane crash had never happened, but was rather an intelligence service plot, had become one of the best-selling books in France, the country my father and millions of other Americans were willing to die for in order to liberate as young men.

My mother remains, to this day, a proud British Subject, the daughter of a man Awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1954 for his service in the Royal Marines. She, my grandfather and uncle were nearly murdered by Egyptian mobs during the Suez crisis, and she is fiercely proud of both her native country and the one she married into. Yet she said that nowhere in the world do ordinary servicemen or women receive anything like this level of honor and respect and reverence, and she is right. All nations honor their generals and heroes. This nation honors privates and sergeants in indistinguishable fashion.

Walking behind the flag-draped caisson of an Army 2nd Lieutenant that day, I felt that my father was receiving the funeral of the President of the United States. And, number of people on the parade route aside, as a matter of fact, he was.

Posted by Proteus at December 22, 2002 9:26 PM







Welcome to the Eject! Eject! Eject! commenter community. Please read and understand the following:


1. This is not a public square. This is a dinner party on personal property. Good conversation is not only tolerated but celebrated here. But the host understands the difference between dissent and disrespect, even if you do not. Louts will be ignored until the bouncers can show them the door.

2. This is a voluntary online community. Your posting of any material, whether in comments or otherwise, grants to William A. Whittle, Aurora Aerospace, Inc. and their affiliates, a perpetual, royalty-free, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, sublicense, reproduce or incorporate into other material all or any portion of the material posted, for commercial or other use.

3. If a comment does find its way into a main page essay, print, or other media, every effort will be made to credit the individual making the comment. So chose your screen name accordingly, SLNTFRT33@yahoo.com!

Now let's see some distributed intelligence and basic human decency! Don't make me come down there every five minutes!




Comments



I liked it the first time I read it, as well. Well said and well done.
Congrats on getting your blog off the ground. Looking forward to more cogent insight and reasonable ramblings in the future.



Geesh, Bill. I didn't know you wrote that one TOO. I didn't remember the names. Silly me!

Kim and I wept after reading that. Kim read it aloud to me, barely able to get through it. That night at dinner, we read it aloud to our kids. Kim and I had to take turns reading it, to give each of us a chance to recover our cracked voices.

Man-o-man, the kids STILL bring it up.



Sir: I had read your 2nd Ammendment essay on Ms. Lucas's column, and I'm beyond ecstatic to read your essay entitled HONOR.

I recall my mother's funeral--she was a librarian in the Navy (where she met my father) for two short years--and yet the US fulfilled its obligation to her--and to her father, who died a few months later.

I thank you for your words.

--Victor



Excellent. Welcome to the blog world!



Bill,

There is something special about our country and its treatment of its fallen soldiers. I definitely agree with your post, but there is also some additional points of information about the interrment of our soldiers.

Specifically, that the spouses of the servicemembers may be buried in the national cemetaries.

My mother passed away this past January, and as she and my father both have decided, wished to be cremated. We had a memorial for her and then had that service done in February. My father relocated back from Tennessee to here in the High Desert of California in May, and then we were trying to decide where to spread her ashes. In Central California, near Newman, CA is a very scenic and tranquil National Cemetary, and the thought was to spread the ashes from there. Then, it was brought to our attention that the deceased spouses my be interred next to their husbands/wives, regardless who passes first. We were able to have a very nice marker placed, and when my father passes on, they will be together there as they were for so long (45 years) on earth.

I don't know, but I don't believe another nation on the face of this earth treats their veterans and spouses of veterans in such a manner. There may be (and are) many things that aren't as good as they should be with the Veteran's Administration, but they certainly have gotten this one right.

Sapper Mike



God bless America and those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Our freedom comes with a price, and I hope we don't ever forget that. I'm looking forward to more of your posts.



Good things come to those who wait. US! Thanks for sage and uplifting words. Oh - and welcome and congratulations!



Well said, friend. I particularly liked this part:

(Some of us in
the Mojave desert may still
have few tricks up our sleeve
on this one. We're still free to
build airplanes and spacecraft
from our garages and fly the
goddamn things. Try and keep
up with a nation that builds
working spacecraft in the
garage. As a hobby. Out of
pocket. For FUN.)

While there are some amateurs working
toward building their own spacecraft,
the people I'm working with are firmly
convinced that if it is worth doing,
it's worth doing for money. I hope
I'll see you at the EAA banquet next month-

Doug Jones
Rocket Plumber



Bill, I first ran across your thoughts at Rachel's place and the piece quite impressed me. Congratulations on putting it up on your own! With your kind permission, I'd like to link to it for my buddies on various gun and shooting boards.

'Berg



Bill - As I said earlier in an email, "Welcome to the blogworld! As a non-blogger but rapt reader of many, yours is a brilliant addition to my personal bookmarks. Every one of your 'Wingmen' is on that list along with some others that you may add in time. I must admit that I have already downloaded, (via Rachel), your first essay and given out copies to friends needing assistance in framing their arguments for gun ownership here in NYC. With your permission I may now do the same with "Honor". I must admit it took me a little time to get through that one as I, like the du Toits above, had to take some time to wipe away the occasional tear. What beautiful writing.

Best, Terry Reynolds



Brilliant, Bill, it's even better the second time around.

In 1979, setting in my office at the Shedgum 4 Gas Oil Separation Plant in Saudi Arabi, I looked up as someone opened the Door, and, had a serious case of Deja Vu. I had seen this face before, somewhere, and, I couldn't help but think, "This guy looks like he just stepped out of a Concentration Camp." One of the Engineers from our office in Abqaiq, introduced him, and, it was the French Vendor Rep I had been looking for, for several weeks.

I told him to set down and relax, and, we'd take a tour as soon as I finished the Time Sheets for my Thai Millwrights. We bantered back and forth for a couple of minutes, and, while I worked, he settled back quietly for a couple of minutes, then, said haltingly, "You know this Abqaiq FCC we're staying at?"

I said, "Sure, why?" And, he replied, "It reminds me of Belthausen, the only difference is, the Guns are pointed out, rather than in."

Bang! I knew him...I remembered him, from the famous Life Magazine picture of the first Prisoner to greet the American Soldiers at the Gates of that infamous NAZI Death Camp, Belthausen. I could still see it in my head, and, he hadn't changed. The only different was his clothes.

He continued, "I don't know how long I can stay here, the similarity is too great." The Barracks are the same, the Watch Towers on the Corners look exactly the same, and, the lines are the same. Then, reached down into a Briefcase, and, pulled out a Photo Album to show me what he meant. I knew then this was going to be a very interesting few weeks.

He was one of the French Prisoners who was tasked with removing the Gold Teeth from the heads of the Cadavers before they were Bulldozed under. Though one of the first prisoners in the Camp, he survived the whole War, by simply following orders blindly, until one day, he looked up and the Gates were standing open, and, the Guards were gone. He stood there for a few minutes, thinking that it was some type of trick, then, seeing some soldiers coming down the road, he curiously, and, slowly went to meet them.

After the War, he moved to Nice, on the Riviera, with his Wife, and, had a Window that she most definately didn't like. Painted it black, she did. It looked out upon one of the most famous Islands in the Mediterrannian, with Nude Beaches. Took his Binoculars away, as well.

Yet, he never recovered from his wartime experiences. He lasted about a week at Abqaiq, collapsed with a severe stress attack, and, was rushed home before I knew he was gone. I understand he died within a couple of weeks of his return to France.

I wish I had recorded our conversations, they were more than interesting, more than horrifying, and, so numerous they run together in memory.

I can see him now, and, I miss him, though I hardly knew him.

Gordon DeSpain



Oh, and, BTW, ya need to put a Button somwhere, or, a larger Link than "Comments." It gets lost in the immensity of the Article above.

Gordon



Dear Mr. Whittle: Your father was a hero, a man of courage and of justice. I am proud that he was my countryman. I am proud also of my own father, who also bravely fought the Nazis (Ratzis, I call them) in that War. Would that I could equal him. Possibly these two noble men met at some point. Your story moved me deeply. Once again, thank you.



Damn you, now I have to go and bookmark another mustread site. I will also have to spend more time every day reading the net. Your stuff is too good to miss. What's really irks me is there is nothing, yet, with which I can take issue.That will change I am sure, but always respectfully albeit with passion. To those would be gun takers with their autograph copies of
" Arming America " I say Molon Labe



Bill,
I just read your FREEDOM essay posted at FreeRepublic.com

THANKS



Copy Paste from: Anomalous Mars Discussion Board:__________________

Anomalous Mars

Re: Merry Christmas to all, and,...

Posted By: Gordon
Date: Tuesday, 24 December 2002, at 8:54 a.m.

In Response To: Merry Christmas to all. *NM* (George J. Haas)

...to all, best wishes for the coming year, from the living heart of Texas.

Remembering the past and looking at the future, consider this: We've all suffered our annual angst, in this season of shopping and dropping, under looming threats from all sides, not least of which are advertisements reminding us of gifts we haven't bought, and, our Government frantically trying to "help us" in this 'time of troubles' (re: the "ten most terrible words in the English Language," as in, "We're from the government, and, we're here to help you"). But, as individuals in an uncertain world, we'll survive, even thrive in the midst of Chaos, and, prosper in spite of the help enforced upon us.

On more than one Christmas Eve I've stood in the Desert of Saudi, Syria or Algeria, and, watched the rolling lightshows of the Trucks (of all sizes) on a nearby Highway, most of which required extra Alternators and Batteries to light up the night. It didn't really strike me then, but, I was looking at expressions of individuality in totalalitarian, 'collective' societies, complete with "Thought Police," a new phenomena in 'our' midst which we don't like to equate to America, but, now find at all levels.

With that thought in mind, I leave you this 'Christmas Gift' of a link to Bill Whittle,s Blog, "Freedom" (don't miss the tiny link, "Comments," at the bottom of the page...you might want to).

It's one of those things that reserves the full impact for the last word, and, it may not fully register for several days. It will slowly dawn on you that any of those "dead, old White Men," Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, Patrick Henry, or, anyone else who impacted or wrote our founding documents, would be proud to claim.

Again, Merry Christmas, and, a Happy New Year.

Gordon

End Quote_________________________

Goes double, here!

Gordon DeSpain



I think everyday of the proud people who have served before me. I think of their thoughts on the day they enlist and of mine. I think of why I am really here in the Navy. Sometimes I forget why I am here and then, amazingly, I am reminded of why. For instance, tonight, on Christmas Eve, I realize that while I am here in the U. S., there are many other Seabees overseas that aren't allowed to come home and have a nice turkey dinner, that there are, and always will be, brave and unsung heroes we never will know. There are all kinds out there, fighting for us and the right, especially as a military person, to bear arms and everything else we are allowed to stand up for this world we know.



On this Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 2002, I take this moment for quiet introspection, a time to gather and examine thoughts accumulating from events of the past year. A time to look at the past, and, realize that those who've forgot, are in charge of the future. As Nostradamus said in the Epistle to his unborn son, Cesar: "Beware of Peacemakers in Combat Boots, for they above all will ruin the World."

There are those, among us, who would say, "...in order to feel safe, to feel more secure, we must give up some of our inalienable rights." Personally, I would rather 'be safe', than "feel safe." I would rather 'be secure', than "feel more secure." I think every "right" is worth more than millions of laws that would make me "feel safe,", or, make me "feel more secure," in other words, more controlled! They're parsing words and phrases to mean things other than what the average person thinks he/she hears.

I don't parse words or phrases, I'm like the young Nun who rushed to the Mother Superior to report the language of the Construction workers building the new Rectory next door: "Mother Superior," she cried, "you should hear the horrible language they're using."

The Mother Superior, knowing the young Nun had been cloistured most of her life, replied, "It's OK, sister, they're just young, raw men who call a Spade a Spade."

Looking Horrified, the young Nun replied, in a rising, disapproving voice, "No, no, Mother Superior, you don't understand. They're not talking about Race, and, that's not what they call it. They call it a "Fuckin' Shovel.""

...th' Gender Gap bites us all.

President Kennedy, in his inaugural address, said, "...we have nothing to fear, but, fear itself." That's wrong. Maybe, not so much wrong, as misaddressing the problem, like the Mother Superior above. The greatest danger to "the People" and society as a whole, are, those who would teach us to fear.

It harks back to Lenin's orders to the "useful idiots" he'd chosen to spread the propaganda his committee was churning out (paraphrase), "Go among the people, and, spread dissatisfaction, distrust and fear" (Lenin - "...the world is full of useful Idiots,"...i.e. - Mike Carvell)

Ach, got a call from the job...to be continued...

Gordon



When you are in the position to be intimidated and controlled, you have truely lost the battle.



On Freedom:

As an Australian it took me some time to understand the import of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. After all, the Australian Constitution is very different.

Eventually, it did hit me. As clarified in 'Freedom', the pivot is TRUST and the acknowledgement that government is not an entity designed to perpetuate and serve itself, but is to serve the people and is limited by the people.

Here, we lose freedom after freedom. All for the greater good - or so we are told. As the New Year approaches I contemplate the confiscation of more of my legally aquired handguns. And why will I lose these firearms? Not because I have committed a crime, not because I have become a felon or mentally unstable, but purely because the Prime Minister of this country has decreed my sporting use of these handguns is not part of an Olypmic or Commonwealth sport.

Like the confiscations of 1996/1997 it is freely admitted that no decrease in homicide, suicide or violent crime will occur from the proposed confiscations.

Defend your Bill of Rights and your way of life. You are the only Nation in the World whose government is based on a foundation of service to the people and trust in the people. And I believe it is a most wonderful thing.



Bill,

Thanks for your site, and your excellent essays. I'm thrilled to have yet another blog to add to my "daily read" roster.

I'm a 28 year-old graduate student (studying Strategic Intelligence at American Military University) and hopefully, a soon-to-be Naval Intelligence Officer (I'm in the middle of the application process - Uncle Sam really knows how to generate paperwork!). I was inspired to join the service by a number of different people, but for purposes of (relative) brevity, I'd like to tell you about two men who personify the spirit of the American armed forces.

The first is a gentleman named Oris Gentry. Oris is 76 now, and is in declining health. He lives with his wife Evelyn in Indiana, and has raised two sons. Oris fought with the 34th Infantry (the Red Bulls) at Anzio and Monte Cassino. He saw some of the most ferocious fighting of the Second World War, and earned several commendations for valor. Oris is a hero. He refuses, however, to allow anyone to use this term in his presence. I correspond with him regularly, and in the instances that I've bestowed the name "hero" upon him, he's always given the same response in reply: "I was just doing my job. The guys who never came home are heroes - not me."

I'd also like to tell you about George Sakato. George volunteered for service from inside the barbed-wire fences of an Interrment Camp in the Southwest. He joined up with the famed 442nd regimental combat team, and saw action in Italy and France. While fighting in France, George performed a series of incredible feats that would eventually (though disgracefully late in his life) earn him the Congressional Medal of Honor. He, like Oris, refuses to allow himself to be described as a hero.

Both of these men gave their blood in defense of this nation (in Mr. Sakato's case, a nation that sent his family to live in what amounted to a prison). We owe them our thanks, and our respect.

I close this (long) post with a speech given by President Reagan on Veteran's Day in 1985 -

"It is, in a way, an odd thing to honor those who died in defense of our country - in defense of us - in wars far away. The imagination plays a trick. We see these soldiers in our minds as something like the Founding Fathers - grave and grey-haired. But most of them were boys when they died, and they gave up two lives - the one they were living, and the one they would have lived. When they died, they gave up their chances to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. They gave up their chances ot be revered old men. They gave up everything for our country - for us - and all we can do is remember."

So let's do just that.

Thanks again for the wonderful essay, sir.



Great essay!

I was in the Navy back in 1988 when my father passed away and was buried at Arlington. Believe it or not, while I was sad that my father had died (he passed away two hours before my plane landed at Reagan National), I was terrified that while I was standing there in my Dress Blues that I would do something considered "disrespectful" by military standards.

I guess it was my way of trying to honor the spirit of my father, not by being sad and crying - but trying to be the man that he had always hoped I'd be - a sailor honoring a fallen comrade.



Your father kept the faith, as did mine. Those who served, and those currently serving know there is a largely unspoken pact, we do not forget our own. When my time comes I too will be carried to my place of rest under a flag, I was no officer, not more than one among many, but in death all soldiers are brothers. That is why America is worth the cost of so many, conscripts or volunteers, we are all honored for our service. Our lives matter, our deaths are noticed, and we recieve dignity. My wife will pass on the flag from my passing to our son and daughter. They will see that America remembers her fighting men and women,... that maybe the future is something that has already been paid for.



Here's a little poem I encountered by a Father Dennis Edward O'Brien:

It is the Soldier,
not the reporter who has given us freedom of press

It is the Soldier,
not the poet who has given us freedom of speech

It is the Soldier,
not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to demonstrate

It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
who serves beneath the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protester to burn the flag



I'd better clarify that last post. Nobody _gives_ us our rights. We _have_ them, inherent in our being, endowed by our Creator. But it is the soldier (and the armed civilian) who defends these rights.




Even faith is worth questioning. As are notions of what is inherent, what is innate.




I think we'd better start questioning some of the questioners, too, before they completely erode the foundations of the West and deliver us into totalitarianism.



Creator, I wrote, but it is Creators. Gods and Goddesses.



I think you're onto something, you have to question questioners, but on what basis would you do it if they don't accept the rules of the game in the first place? If people are questioning your take on things, isn't it hard to make that take into something that can ask questions of them?



You are quite right there. We (the West, we who defend the West and the values of the West) and our adversaries, within and without, _do not play by the same rules_. It's time our diplomats realized this. Our fundamental value-premises are irreducibly and diametrically opposed. Ultimately, there can be no compromise or co-existence in this War we are fighting. Appeasement is suicidal.




This I find disturbing. At the end of the day your argument is based on nothing but insistence that your culture is right; which is fine, but you can't make claims to being rational or just if by those things you understand 'impartiality' or some notion of 'universal fairness'. At the end of the day reducing things to fundamentally opposed ways of going about things leaves only the option of conflict. Only if you keep dealing in things other than violence can there be alternatives to violence...



At the end of the day, some things just reduce to being fundamentally opposed ways and leave no other option than combat. It is not the desired result, nor the sought after result, but it unfortunately happens as fact. Denying it only leaves you as unrealistic. Ultimately you will pay for that with more blood.
P Neskow




Just pointing out...you can't claim to be 'the good guys' if you fight this way. No "Honor" in fighting for something that can't be shown to be just (can't even be shown to be meaningful in terms of "justice" or "injustice"). It comes down to "my country right or wrong", which as I said I would ditch in an instant, tho' I love my country, if I thought there was a better way of living that happened not to be to do with the concept of "nation".



My country, right or wrong,
When right to keep it right,
When wrong to put it right.
Still, always, my country...



My nephew is one of those young Army men of the Old Guard who perform that service at Arlington on a daily basis. My nephew had to fly back to Kansas last Sept. because his older sister died of cancer. His commander told him to wear his uniform to her funeral and it was he who laid her ashes to rest.(No one else in the Army has the same dress uniform and they can only wear it in the performance of their duties) I'm very proud of him and I teared up reading HONOR. I've posted a picture of him at the funeral on my webpage in memory of my niece. Thanks so much for a great website and much needed encourgement!



My Uncle was interred in Arlington National Cemetary this last summer. He was a Vietnam Veteran and spent 20+ years as a civilian contractor working out of the Pentagon. When I stood in Arlington and listened to the sounds of the trumpet and gun salute I too was moved to reflect on the honor this country pays its heroes. Thank you for your writing. It put the words in my mouth I couldn't find.



Another excellent job. I have been to the Soviet War Memorial in Berlin before the Wall came down, and to the USS Arizona and Vietnam Veterans Memorials. What's the major difference? The two in the United States lists the names of individual soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. This sends the message that a grateful nation remembers each of these heroes as human beings, not as part of an undifferentiated mass.



I was very moved by this, I myself am in the Military and have walked those grounds many times. I have been to funerals and the changing of the guard. I have participated in this great ceremony to honor those who gave their lives for this wonderful country. To your father and those who lie in rest, we owe ourselves a debt of honor. I just hope that we as Americans never forget that.







i am here by asking tjhe imformations.



I came searching the net tonight for honor. I started out looking for ways to describe it to my 12 year old son. I found myself looking to understand it. Your letter greatly helped me achieve both. I thank you for writing it, and your father for living it.



A veteran - whether active duty or national guard or reserve - 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. Thanks, Bill.



I wish that every veteran could receive such a memorable service. However, due to budget cuts, veterans being buried in our local military cemetary no longer have the military honor guard. They get a tape recording of taps. No escorts at all. It is a sad situation to see this.

In addition, all of the grass surrounding the graves is being replaced by gravel. I guess they don't expect anyone would want to kneel at their loved one's grave.



"There has never been a better people, and don’t you forget it."

It is precisely this sort of arrogance in Americans which is so patently offensive to the rest of the world.



Dear Bill,
As I write this, I am sitting in the Balkans on watch. I just sent two soldiers back to the barracks because there is little to do while the system is going through maintenence. Free time is our most prescious commodity here. I have serve in the military for over 25 years now. I have had the opportunity to speak with many other soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen. Many have experienced the horror of combat, to me, they are deserving of the highest honors we as a nation can bestow. They are the ones who have laid it on the line and wrote that blank check to our Nation. I am here not because I got some orders sending me here, I am here because there is a task and mission that needs to be done. A commitment was made. We are here to see it fulfilled. I am also here because men and women committed themselves and given much if not all for our Nation. Can I do any less? As I write this I think of my brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afganistan, and any number of places in the world where we have committed ourselves. I am humbled by their commitment and sacrifice. Like many before me, I am here doing a job, I will do it well, and I will do it right. In this way, we who serve now, honor those who stood up and wrote that blank check. I salute the memory of your Father, and his band of Brothers. I thank you for the essay, and will pass it on to my fellow soldiers.



Well done.



Sir,

I am a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, and I am currently in charge of a project called the Class of 2006 Honor Book. In a couple years, my classmates and I will be graduating and heading out to take our place in this world and in this war. I would be honored if you would allow us to publish a copy of your essay "Honor" telling the story of your father's funeral in Arlington in our Honor book. This book is a collection of stories about integrity and honor, especially as it relates to the military, and I feel this essay makes a very important message. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully,
Melissa Myers
MIDN 2/C USN



I just started reading your essays today. I just finished the one about Honor.
I am so impressed about your stance I sent this site address to all my friends and relatives to read. Then asked them to send it to all their friends. I hope within three weeks half of the country on the Internet will have read several if not all your essays published online to date.
I salute you sir.
Fred Jones



Sad to see what poluted minds can do to a otherwise intelligent wwebsite. These brain farts of humanity should have these messages imbeded into their forheads prior to drowning them in Islamic urine.



I've just discovered your blog, and will return regularly. As a former member of "The Old Guard", I was once honored to participate in the burial rites of many of our nation's "heroes". Now a new generation of "heroes" will be interred there, and in our military cemeteries around the country. I can attest to what you have written being true--all did and shall recieve honors befitting their sacrifice.



Hi, im only 13 and this story about honor really touched me...your father was really brave and was very worthy of being honored. I think that you don't have to be in a war for honor though. Honor in my opinion is something that just occurs within the fact knowing you did something well. In schools today kids want something more than just a good job or something like that. they feel they need an award. In band it's just like the war except without guns and stuff. we fight and want the honor of being in first chair or in top band. But, in schools, kids that do bring guns to school are through with trying to get honor from people. they are the ones who need honor in their lives. in fact, everyone in the u.s. deserves a little honor. It doesn't matter what you have done whether it be wars, help kids, help adults, or just plain help. just going to this site brings you a little honor deep down because you may not of known a whole lot about honor like you thought you did. it helps to know that you can also help yourself recieve honor just by being a friend or helping out a little...thanks....i just thought that honor was more than fighting wars and stuff....



Bill:

I, too, stood at Arlington while my grandfather, Col. Wm. Anderson Raborg (15th Cav.) received the same honor your father received -- and later my grandmother who lies beside him. In a small churchyard in West River, Maryland, my father, Colonel Ernest N. Cory, Jr. (10th Mountain Div.) received similar honor from the Maryland Old Guard. I am proud of their sacrifice. It caps a dozen generations of family sacrifice for our country. Yet, there is a greater sacrifice that goes unsung. As a writer, I hope you will consider how you might address it to future gnerations.

We honor our fallen volunteers in each conflict. We honor the life they sacrificed for our country. We seldom recognize the sacrifice their families make -- sometimes for generations. The loss of the family breadwinner and male rolemodel, the resulting poverty and lack of higher education, is all part of the sacrifice made by those left behind when volunteers fall. The sacrifice can continue for generations.

For each fallen volunteer, there may be dozens of descendants that make the sacrifice, who continue for decades or more the struggle to regain what was lost. How can we find them, identify them, and honor them? It seems to me that this would be a suitable way to honor the fallen -- recognise the continuing sacrife their families make. Yes, the project may be far too broad ever to accomplish. On the other hand, a good writer might inspire a worthy effort.



Finally found this site!



A friend asked this question of me. I have looked and have not found an explanation, maybe you could help. She attended a Military Funeral with an Honor Guard and wanted to know why they changed the Flag so many times. The funeral was for a friend who had been killed in Iraq. Thank you for any information you could supply.



Bill, thanks. My father passed away not too long ago, and you've given a beatuiful voice to a delicate and difficult sentimate. I hate to use the words of others as a proxy for my own voice, but you've said it simply and proudly in a way I lack the skill to replicate. So, thank you.



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It took me 2 days to read HONOR.
I served in the Military yet I feel like my country (my values) is sick and dying and I should have done more.



This article hit me to the bone. My grandfather was a Lt. Colnel in the US Army during WWII, the highest ranking lawyer at the time. He was Secretary General for the US during that time, and by all accounts one of the best military lawyers in US history. Yet, he requested to be buried at the National Cemetery at Ft. Custer. He could have been buried at Arlington... I think he earned it. But he is now in one of many identical graves with no designation other than his rank. Almost anonymous. This saddens me a great deal, especially since I didn't really understand him until after he died... until he was buried. To me he'd always just been a cranky old man with a drinking problem. It never really sunk in that he was on the flag ship, the first person to open the gates of POW camps in the Eastern Theater. Watching "A Band of Brothers" helped me to understand, as well as having befriended a man who who had trained Rangers for the Army. The thing is, one of the things I inherited was a bunch of chopsticks crudely carved of ebony. Dozens and dozens, kept in a drawer, and never eaten with. My cousins nearly threw them away, but something about them made me keep them. I asked around, and I later discovered that one of the common tasks for a Eastern Theater POW was carving chopsticks. These were from the POW camps, and this is why so many servicemen from that era never ate rice with chopsticks but with their fingers. What happened was that the POWs *carved* them, but tended to not give them back to their masters... since that would be tantamount to surrendering. So when the US troops showed up to liberate them, thousands and thousands of these chopsticks came out of the woodwork and were presented to their liberators.



Thanks to people like your father and you this Republic will go on.We should all do our duty no matter how big or how small it is to preserve this wonderful Republic.Thank you for Honor and God bless you and your family. Gregory Brian Webber