Memorial Day

Memorial Day

By:  Garland Davis

Unfortunately, many Americans have come to confuse Memorial Day with Armed Forces Day, where we celebrate those Americans presently serving in the Armed Forces and Veteran’s Day where we celebrate those who have served and are no longer serving.

The Memorial Holiday Weekend is not about new car or mattress sales.  Nor is it about baseball games or automobile races, picnics or campouts.  It is a day set aside to remember and honor the hundreds of thousands of Americans who gave their lives to the United States while serving in the Armed Forces.  Many Americans have relatives or know someone who lost their life in service to the United States.  A cousin I never knew, was lost flying fighter planes over Italy in WWII.  Another cousin died in Korea attempting to bring the wounded, under his care, to safety. I remember my good friend and shipmate CS2 Ronald Muise who is still at sea in USS Thresher.  Those of us who served in a carrier know of someone who gave his life on the flight deck, “the most dangerous six acres in the world.”  And we all know someone who gave his life in our generations war, Viet Nam. Many of us know someone suffering from the ravages of Agent Orange, a person killed in Viet Nam who just hasn’t died yet.

In 1866 a Northern town in New York and a Southern town of Georgia began the practice of memorializing their war dead.  The towns of Waterloo, New York and Columbus, Georgia remembered their lost sons by placing flowers and plants upon their graves.  On May 26, 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation recognizing Waterloo as the birthplace of Memorial Day and became an official holiday in 1971.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed services. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.

Our National Cemeteries, on Memorial Day, have nothing to do with the sweep and grandeur of history, nor the gigantic commitment of resources to battles and wars; nor grand strategies and brilliant tactics. They are places where – and the day when – we remember the individual men and women who were killed at Bull Run, and Belleau-Wood, at Iwo Jima, on Omaha Beach, and in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq and all the other un-locatable places with unpronounceable names where we have too often sent young men and women to fight and, too often, to die.

I’m not saying that you should not celebrate the holiday weekend. Watch the car race, go to the beach, have a cookout, I only ask that you pause for a minute and remember that

Some Gave All

By:  Billy Ray Cyrus

I knew a man, called him Sandy Kane
Few folks even knew his name
But a hero, yes, was he
Left a boy, came back a man
Still many just don’t understand
About the reasons that we are free

I can’t forget the look in his eyes
Or the tears he cries
As he said these words to me

“All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all”

Sandy Kane is no longer here
But his words are oh so clear
As they echo throughout our land
For all his friends who gave us all
Who stood the ground and took the fall
To help their fellow men

Love your country and live with pride
And don’t forget those who died
America can’t you see?

All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the Red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all

And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall, yes recall
Some gave all
Some gave all

In Flanders Fields

By:  John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; 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.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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My Vietnam

My Vietnam

By: GMGCS Charles Knowlton

The Americal was reactivated 25 September 1967 at Chu Lai in Vietnam from a combination of units already in Vietnam and newly arrived units. Its precursor, a division-sized task force known as Task Force Oregon was created in Quảng Ngãi and Quảng Tín provinces from the 3rd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division, the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade (all separate brigades that deployed to Vietnam in 1966). Task Force Oregon operated in close cooperation with the 1st Marine Division in the I Corps Military Region. As more US Army units arrived in Vietnam the two divisional brigades were released back to their parent organizations and two arriving separate brigades were assigned to Task Force Oregon, which, was in turn, re-designated the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal). The division was composed of the 11th, 196th, and 198th Light Infantry Brigades and divisional support units. Both the 11th and 198th brigades were newly formed units.

On 13 April 1967, half of the 148th MP Platoon, 18th MP Brigade and half of the 544th MP Platoon, 196th Light Infantry Brigade came to Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam with Task Force Oregon under the operational control of the Provost Marshal’s Office. On 8 December 1967 the platoons joined, first as the Americal Division Military Police Company and then the 23rd Military Police Company, Americal Division. Attached to the company at that time were about 25 Marine and Navy personnel who worked as MPs on Joint Patrol with their US Army counterparts. Later the 6th MP Platoon, 11th Light Infantry Brigade and the 265th MP Platoon, 198th Light Infantry Brigade joined the company. The 23rd MP Company then had 4 platoons. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Platoons attached to the 11th, 196th, and 198th LIBs respectively, and HQ and Security Platoon at Americal Division HQ. The platoons were widely dispersed on firebases, LZs, and Cities throughout southern I Corps. HQ Americal Division left Vietnam in 1971 and stood down at Ft Lewis, Washington on 29 November 1971. The unit, now the 23rd MP Company, 196th Light Infantry Brigade remained in Vietnam. On 28 June 1972, the 23rd MP Company furled its guidon and stood down in Danang. During almost 5 years of service in I Corps, Republic of Vietnam, the 23rd MP Company participated in 13 campaigns and received two awards of the RVN Cross of Gallantry with Palm as a unit citation. The 2nd Platoon, attached to the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, received the Army Valorous Unit Award for combat action in the Hiep Duc Valley on 11-31 August 1969. Thirteen warrior police of the 23rd MP Company gave their lives in defense of freedom in the Republic of Vietnam.

I want to honor all who made the ultimate sacrifice as this Memorial Day comes before us. My prayers go to all the warriors within the 23rd MP’s, Task Force Oregon & Americal 23rd Infantry Division who didn’t come home. I wish you all “fair winds and following seas.” May you never be forgotten.

CHAZ “Bore Clear”

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