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26 May 2019


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Col., here I was thinking only REMFs (& geeks like yours truly) love these sugared treats...

Mark Gaughan

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
John F. Kennedy

The Twisted Genius


That quote was emblazoned in six inch high letters on the wall in the main lobby of my grammar school in Prospect, Connecticut. It's meaning was also impressed on our young minds by our teachers. This is not surprising since our town, founded by Separatist Puritains, still valued this very Puritanical idea of community first.


TTG - When my wife and I owned a farm in the Shenandoah Valley, we were invited one memorial day to such a ceremony at Strasburg, Virginia. It was held in the HS football stadium. This little town and the surrounding countryside lost 120 men killed in the WBS. The whole town seemed to have assembled. The evening of memorial remembrance ended with the stadium in darkness while the crowd stood. One at a time high school girls walked onto the illuminated field each in a white gown and carrying camellias and wearing a sash that named one by one the states for which their people had fought. Maryland was included. We were honored to have been invited.

The Twisted Genius

These ceremonies were a fairly big deal in Prospect, Connecticut when I was young. Surprising since we were so far from any of the fighting. Prospect sent 75 volunteers to the Civil War, over half the voting population at the time. Our town soldiers monument is a Union Civil War soldier in short jacket and trousers tucked into his socks. As young students we made shakos out of construction paper. Dressed in our finest clothes, we would march around the monument, wearing our shakos, holding our US flags and singing our patriotic songs. Most of our parents and town dignitaries watched.


None of my family were professional soldiers but served in every war from
the Revolution up to the Gulf war and I have great respect for our soldiers...makes me a little teary eyed and heart fluttery on Memorial Day thinking about the whole sweep of soldiers in our history.
One of our family's most treasured items is a letter my great grandmother wrote to her two sons in 1812 instructing them to beware the hardening of the heart incidental to camp life and to do their duty for the country and uphold the honor of the family. Its now in the North Carolina Museum of History.
I always think of this when I see cemeteries with the flags planted :
''Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?
Who, doomed to go in company with Pain,
And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train!
Turns his necessity to glorious gain;
But who, if he be called upon to face
Some awful moment to which Heaven has joined
Great issues, good or bad for human kind,
Is happy as a Lover; and attired
With sudden brightness, like a Man inspired;
And, through the heat of conflict, keeps the law
In calmness made, and sees what he foresaw;
Or if an unexpected call succeed,
Come when it will, is equal to the need:

Conspicuous object in a Nation's eye,
Or left unthought-of in obscurity,—
Who, with a toward or untoward lot,
Or if he must fall, to sleep without his fame,
And leave a dead unprofitable name—

Finds comfort in himself and in his cause;
And, while the mortal mist is gathering, draws
His breath in confidence of Heaven's applause:
This is the happy Warrior; this is he
That every man in arms should wish to be.''



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