Sailors’ night before

December 20, 2018

Twas the night before Christmas, the ship was out steaming,
Sailors stood watch while others were dreaming.
They lived in a crowd with racks tight and small,
In a 80-man berthing, cramped one and all.

I had come down the stack with presents to give,
And to see inside just who might perhaps live.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stockings were hung, shined boots close at hand,
On the bulkhead hung pictures of a far distant land.
They had medals and badges and awards of all kind,
And a sober thought came into my mind.

For this place was different, so dark and so dreary,
I had found the house of a Sailor, once I saw clearly.
A Sailor lay sleeping, silent and alone,
Curled up in a rack and dreaming of home.

The face was so gentle, the room squared away,
This was the United States Sailor today.
This was the hero I saw on TV,
Defending our country so we could be free.

I realized the families that I would visit this night,
Owed their lives to these Sailors lay willing to fight.
Soon round the world, the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate on Christmas Day.

They all enjoyed freedom each day of the year,
Because of the Sailor, like the one lying here.
I couldn’t help wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve on a sea, far from home.

The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The Sailor awakened and I heard a calm voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, this life is my choice.”

“Defending the seas all days of the year,
So others may live and be free with no fear.”
I thought for a moment, what a difficult road,
To live a life guided by honor and code.

After all it’s Christmas Eve and the ship’s underway!
But freedom isn’t free and it’s sailors who pay.
The Sailor say’s to our country “be free and sleep tight,
No harm will come, not on my watch and not on this night.

The Sailor rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent, so still,
I watched as the Sailor shivered from the night’s cold chill.

I didn’t want to leave on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
The Sailor rolled over and with a voice strong and sure,
Commanded, “Carry on Santa, It’s Christmas, and All is Secure!”

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Remember…

December 7, 2018

On this date 77 years ago Pearl Harbor was attacked and after
just 90 minutes 2,386 American servicemen died and 1,139 were
injured. Although few are left that were there that day we
cannot forget them.


Today

November 11, 2018

We observe Veteran’s Day which celebrates all U.S. military
veterans. This is a holiday that falls on November 11th every
year. This is because WW I ended at the 11th hour of the 11th
day of the 11 month in 1918.

Yes, that means 100 years ago today World War I ended. Here’s
a short video that may bring a smile to my fellow veterans.


Did you ever wonder…

June 26, 2018

why whiskey and the military just seem to go together. Well,
according to Military Times whiskey has been a favorite of those
who wear the uniform as long as people have been wearing said
uniform.

Not all whiskey is bourbon yet if it’s made in America it is
considered bourbon. When the Revolutionary War started rum was
not an option as it was favored by the English so whiskey filled
the void. In November of 1775 our Congress authorized a whiskey
ration for the Continental Army.

Some even say heroic acts on the battlefield would be rewarded
with an even bigger ration of the whiskey! We can’t forget the
Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 almost threatened another revolution.

But too much of a good thing can be too much. By the early
1800s the ration was increased which caused Meriwether Lewis to
complain of incessant drunkenness in his company during the Lewis
& Clark expedition.

On September 14, 1803 wrote the following in his journal: Set
out at 11 oClock (sic) was prevented from setting out earlier
(sic) in consequence of two of my men getting drunk and
absenting themselves. I finally found them and had them brought
on board, so drunk they were unable to help themselves.

During the 8,000 mile expedition by boat and horseback, from
St. Louis to Oregon and back most of the company was drunk and
Lewis was shot in the leg during a drunken hunt.

During the Civil War medics used whiskey to calm the nerves of
the soldiers, which was also consumed freely during breaks in
the fighting. President Lincoln even developed an appreciation
for the drink. When asked about General Grant’s constant
inebriation Lincoln said: if I could find out what brand of
whiskey Grant drank I would send a barrel of it to all the other
commanders.

Jack Daniel’s started the “By the Barrel” bottling program
in 1997,and in 2016 one of the master distillers told Business
Insider that the U.S. Military is the largest purchaser since
the program began.

I no longer drink but when I did considered it patriotic to
have a shot of whiskey now and then. Enjoy our Tuesday as we’re
that much closer to hump day. Now I need coffee and a Snicker’s
so I don’t get grumpy.
Comments are always welcome.


Belated birthday wish

June 16, 2018

Happy belated 243rd Birthday to the U.S. Army. Created on 14
June, 1775 by the Second Continental Congress and the first
commander was George Washington. Keep rolling along.

On another note, we’ll have a Sunday snicker later today that
the wife shared. And if you have outside pets keep them in the
shade and their water bowls filled. Thanks.


LST tour

June 12, 2018

Iowa will be seeing the USS LST (Landing Ship Tank) 325 on the
Mississippi river in two different cities later this year. This
ship was launched on 27 October 1942 from the shipyard at
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and commissioned on 1 February 1943
under Lt. Ira Ehrensall, USNR.

The LST 325 is 327 feet 9 inches long, has a beam of 50 feet
and loaded with a 500 ton payload has a draft of 3 feet 11
inches forward and 9 feet 10 inches aft. On 6 June 1944 this
ship was part of the armada that participated in the Normandy
Landings at Omaha Beach where she carried 59 vehicles, 30
officers and 396 enlisted men.

1,051 LSTs were built in the 1940s and the LST 325 is the only
one still in operation in the U.S. Home port is now Evansville,
Indiana. It will dock at the Port of Dubuque August 23 though
August 27. Then the ship will be downstream at the Isle Casino
Hotel in Bettendorf from August 30 to September 3.

Tours of about 45 minute duration will be available each day
from 11 am to 6:30 pm and cost adults $10, kids 6-17 $5, and
kids 5 and under and WWII veterans get a free tour at both
locations.

As the date draws closer we’re sure there will plenty of
information for those of us who are interested. We will post
an update also in August.

Enjoy our Tuesday as we will. The wife returns to work
tomorrow and things may get back to as close to normal as we
let them. Now I need more coffee.
Comments are always welcome.


Remembering

May 28, 2018