Patterico's Pontifications

11/11/2007

Remember Veterans Day

Filed under: Current Events — DRJ @ 7:51 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Veterans Day is today and will also be observed tomorrow by the government and many businesses. Veterans Day occurs November 11 because it replaced Armistice Day, the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

As stated in the President’s Veterans Day proclamation, it is a day “dedicated to the extraordinary Americans who protected our freedom in years past, and to those who protect it today.” In my community, many homes and businesses fly flags to honor our veterans and there are several memorial services, banquets, and other events scheduled to remember the vets. In addition, a local judge established a special memorial honoring area veterans who died in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tomorrow, a Viet Nam veteran will be laid to rest in Fort Worth, Texas:

“In the late summer of 2002, a team of Defense Department MIA hunters in Ho Chi Minh City got a call from their counterparts in the Vietnamese government. Some Vietnamese fishermen had discovered human bones and airplane wreckage off an Phu Quoc island in the Gulf of Thailand. They wanted to turn over the remains and believed that it would guarantee them an opportunity to immigrate.

The Americans took the remains and wreckage given to them and attempted — unsuccessfully — to get to the underwater site a few miles offshore. Some months later, the bones were flown to the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Hawaii, where they stayed in a laboratory for five years.

On Monday, those remains come home, to a hallowed ground that overlooks the old Naval Air Station Dallas, where a young Fort Worth man took the naval officer’s oath in 1964. That was before Lt.j.g. Frank E. Hand III left for the war in Vietnam, before he and 11 other young men went down trying to find Viet Cong gun-running boats.”

Lt. Hand was raised in Fort Worth with his younger brother Bruce. He enlisted in the Navy after he was declared eligible for the draft. By all accounts, he was an officer and gentleman:

“He was an outgoing boy at Carter-Riverside High School, an Eagle Scout, an accomplished swimmer. He, and later his brother, worked summers as lifeguards at the Ridglea Country Club. “He made enough money to buy a nice car,” his brother said. “He was mechanically inclined, so he could work on it. It was a black, two-door Pontiac Bonneville, a ’58, if I remember. Talk about a cool car.”

After graduation in 1960, Frank started at what was then Arlington State College to study architecture. He did that for three years but decided to take a break and work for an architecture firm to earn money. The draft board noticed the change and reclassified him as eligible. So Frank Hand, presumably unwilling to chance the Army or the infantry, went to NAS Dallas to compete for a spot in officer candidate school and a shot at naval aviation.

Linda Merriman, a local girl in Pensacola, Fla., thought she had met the most gorgeous man in the world. A Texas boy, a Navy officer candidate and pilot in training. He drove a new Corvette. He was, without a doubt, living the high life. “It was like Officer and a Gentleman,” Bruce said of his brother’s relationship.

After a year of dating, Linda and Frank Hand wed on a warm August day in 1966 in the First Baptist Church in Pensacola, an arch of crossed swords over their heads when they left the sanctuary.”

Frank and Linda had been married 15 months when he was deployed to Southeast Asia:

“He wrote Linda a letter every day he was gone, beginning in November 1967. “He just wanted me to stay busy and pass the time because I had so much free time on my hands,” she said. “He would tell me all was going well and ‘I wish I could be with you.’ They were great love letters. I kept all of them.

“He called me at Christmastime. I believe that’s the last time we were able to speak.”

Frank and his crewmates were all lost when their plane went down on a routine mission scouting for Viet Cong off the Vietnamese coast. Searchers recovered one of Frank’s boots but his body was not recovered. His funeral was held in the same church he had been married in 20 months before.

This past summer, the Navy notified Bruce Hand that his brother’s remains had been positively identified. Bruce requested burial in a national cemetery, something that normally would not be allowed since Frank already had one national cemetery burial plot. However, the regulation was waived and Lt.j.g. Frank E. Hand III will be buried tomorrow at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery:

“The Navy agreed to provide four F/A-18 Hornets to perform the “missing man” formation over the cemetery on Monday, a particularly special gesture for Bruce. The executive officer of Patrol Squadron 26 is coming to Texas for the service. “This has all been good,” Bruce said. “Everything has just come together beautifully.”

[Frank’s wife] Linda Shoemaker will be there, too, with the friend that introduced her to Frank 42 years ago. “I never, ever dreamed of something like this,” she said. “I’ve shed many tears since we got the information. I am thrilled to bring him home. But it opens up a lot of hurt, and a lot of happiness, too.”

God bless Frank Hand and his family. Please take a moment to remember and honor all current and former veterans.

— DRJ

12 Responses to “Remember Veterans Day”

  1. Thank you for the reminder that this is not just about another long weekend.

    Roberta (fc6c1f)

  2. Hear, hear! In Canada we had Remembrance Day.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  3. I honestly am trying not to cry.

    Thank god for men like these.

    Thank god it wasn’t one of my uncles, or my dad, or my grandfathers.

    Foxfier (9f310f)

  4. I work at The local VA Hospital. I am a vet (Go Navy LT(jg) Hand!). Over the past week running up to Veterans Day I asked about 110 of my vet patients the following question.
    “had you to do it all again and you had a choice, would you still have served?”
    Only two said “No way”
    One man paused to think before he said “Of course”
    The rest of responses were ” ‘Sure’, ‘Who wouldn’t?’ ‘Without a doubt’ and ‘I’d go back tomorrow if they’d let me.'”
    Unscientific survey to be sure.
    But it’s the major reason I go to work every day.
    So, thanks to my to my sons, our shipmates and Comrades-in-arms as the chain goes unbroken.
    And thank God for America.
    Paul Skurnick
    HM2 (sw) 1977-1983

    paul from fl (47918a)

  5. Cherish and enjoy your living vets. I buried my Air Force Vet father Saturday.

    PCD (b7be44)

  6. And remember why we celibrate VETERANS DAY and why were a free nation and why we should pull out of the UN

    krazy kagu (376605)

  7. The First World War was an incredible disaster; an insane orgy of blood which sacrificed a generation for no particular purpose.

    May it never happen again.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  8. It is the VETERAN , not the preacher,
    who has given us freedom of religion.

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

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

    It is the VETERAN , not the campus organizer,
    who has given us freedom to assemble.

    It is the VETERAN , not the lawyer,
    who has given us the right to a fair trial.

    It is the VETERAN , not the politician,
    Who has given us the right to vote.

    It is the VETERAN ,
    who salutes the Flag,

    It is the veteran ,
    who serves under the Flag.

    Thank you. Godspeed.

    JD (6887fb)

  9. JD…
    The full speech, by Adm. Jeremiah Denton, USN (Ret) is:

    “It is the soldier, not the reporter,
    Who has given us freedom of the 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 the 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.”

    To all those who have, and do serve:

    Thank you!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  10. JD,

    Off-topic but: 28-21 at the Shoe. Wow.

    DRJ (9578af)

  11. Viet Nam War Memorial Defaced

    I just became aware today of the defacement of the Viet Nam War memorial in Washington courtesy of my blogger colleague, Lew Waters. It appears that the incident happened sometime around September 7. The perpetrators are as yet unknown. It appears that someone sprayed an oily substance onto parts of the wall which have caused damage to the marble surface and affected the legibility of many of the names. Aside from the outrage this is causing many of us, I am asking- Why didn’t the mainstream news media cover this story?

    Let’s talk first about the outrage we feel toward the perpetrators. That some segment of our society is so twisted with hate for our country and its military to commit this kind of act sickens me to my stomach. Yet, it doesn’t surprise me. We indeed have a segment of our population, almost exclusively on the far-left, that hates America. They want us to lose in Iraq, and they want this country to collapse into the mire, so that people like them can reshape it into their own preferred model. Lew, in his blog, was seething with rage-to the point of using profanities to describe his contempt for the perpetrators. I don’t blame him one bit. I myself knew and grew up with two men whose names are on that wall. While I served in Germany during the Viet Nam War, they went to Viet Nam and died, not yet 21, one receiving a Silver Star in the process.

    As Lew so eloquently points out, our Viet Nam veterans were despised by the far-left, largely on our university campuses during that conflict. Many were shunned, even spat upon when they returned home, never receiving the respect and gratitude they deserved. They watched while one of their own, John Kerry, savaged them and called them murderers, parlaying his fame with Viet Nam Veterans Against the War into a US Senate seat. Is it any wonder that many of them are still walking around with psychological scars, in some cases, drug-addicted and homeless? They were betrayed by counter-culture bums of their own age who did everything they could to evade military service-most notably, Bill Clinton.

    Today, we have the children of that mixed generation (my generation) pulling the same antics, disrespecting our soldiers, past and present. We have a political party that runs Congress, many of whose leaders have called our soldiers Nazis, operators of Soviet gulags who terrorize Iraqi women and children in the middle of night, bomb villages and commit cold-blooded murder and torture. Want some names? How about John Kerry, Dick Durban, John Murtha and Barack Obama?

    Our Viet Nam vets were also betrayed by the liberal elite in our country. It is commonly said by many on the left that Viet Nam was a military defeat for America. It wasn’t. Our soldiers were never defeated in a single battle by the enemy. It was a political defeat because the country and its leadership at home lost the will to continue.

    Speaking of the liberal elite, have you noticed how many liberal blogs marked Veterans Day? Very few. The only thing I found on Daily Kos was an article whose theme was Veterans as homeless people-no tribute to the noble job they did while in service. In contrast, the overwhelming majority of conservative blogs posted tributes to our veterans and current military to mark Veterans Day. Shouldn’t that tell you something about which side is right?

    My next issue is why are we now just hearing about this defacement that apparently occurred on or about September 7. Doing a Google search on “Viet Nam Wall Defaced”, it seems that the only sector reporting on this incident is the conservative blogosphere. What about the Mainstream Media? Missing in action, folks, as usual. Why? Because to report this story just might awaken some patriotic outrage on the part of the public-the last thing the MSM wants to do. This only reinforces the obvious fact that the MSM selectively reports stories that further their leftist agenda while ignoring or downplaying those that run counter to that agenda.

    Make no mistake about it, we are engaged in battle for the direction this country will go. If the elements that would deface the Viet Nam War Memorial-probably the most moving memorial in our land- prevail in this battle, then America will go right down the drain and suddenly, like the Soviet Union, collapse like house of cards.

    gary fouse
    fousesquawk

    fouse, gary c (29a184)


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