Sunday, December 21, 2014

Music and Me - Belleau Wood (Repost)

2nd Battalion 6th Marines after the battle at Belleau Wood

Belleau Wood
. Last week, a friend of mine - Sylvia - reminded me of the story of Belleau Wood. I knew the story, but had forgotten the name of the place where it happened. Terrible confession, I know, and I decided, as I usually do, to research Belleau Wood. This is a memorial at Belleau Wood:

"an aerial view of the Monument to the Marines who fought at the Battle of Belleau Wood in France during WW I. "

There is also a great video history of the US Marines in Belleau Wood. It also describes the origins of the name Devil Dogs for our Marines.

The most famous story out of Belleau Wood is what happened that Christmas: a Christmas Truce. At Wikipedia, along with a lot of factual data about the event, I found the following:

Christmas Truce Letter

On November 7, 2006, singer Chris de Burgh paid £14,400 at Bonhams auction house for an original 10 page letter from an unknown British soldier that records events and incidents with the Germans on that night describing "the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent".

The letter begins:

This will be the most memorable Christmas I've ever spent or likely to spend: since about tea time yesterday I don't think theres been a shot fired on either side up to now. Last night turned a very clear frost moonlight night, so soon after dusk we had some decent fires going and had a few carols and songs. The Germans commenced by placing lights all along the edge of their trenches and coming over to us—wishing us a Happy Christmas etc. They also gave us a few songs etc. so we had quite a social party. Several of them can speak English very well so we had a few conversations. Some of our chaps went to over to their lines. I think theyve all come back bar one from 'E' Co. They no doubt kept him as a souvenir. In spite of our fires etc. it was terribly cold and a job to sleep between look out duties, which are two hours in every six.

First thing this morning it was very foggy. So we stood to arms a little longer than usual. A few of us that were lucky could go to Holy Communion early this morning. It was celebrated in a ruined farm about 500 yds behind us. I unfortunately couldn't go. There must be something in the spirit of Christmas as to day we are all on top of our trenches running about. Whereas other days we have to keep our heads well down. We had breakfast about 8.0 which went down alright especially some cocoa we made. We also had some of the post this morning. I had a parcel from B. G's Lace Dept containing a sweater, smokes, under clothes etc. We also had a card from the Queen, which I am sending back to you to look after please. After breakfast we had a game of football at the back of our trenches! We've had a few Germans over to see us this morning. They also sent a party over to bury a sniper we shot in the week. He was about a 100 yds from our trench. A few of our fellows went out and helped to bury him.

About 10.30 we had a short church parade the morning service etc. held in the trench. How we did sing. 'O come all ye faithful. And While shepherds watched their flocks by night' were the hymns we had. At present we are cooking our Christmas Dinner! so will finish this letter later.

Dinner is over! and well we enjoyed it. Our dinner party started off with fried bacon and dip-bread: followed by hot Xmas Pudding. I had a mascot in my piece. Next item on the menu was muscatels and almonds, oranges, bananas, chocolate etc followed by cocoa and smokes. You can guess we thought of the dinners at home. Just before dinner I had the pleasure of shaking hands with several Germans: a party of them came 1/2way over to us so several of us went out to them. I exchanged one of my balaclavas for a hat. I've also got a button off one of their tunics. We also exchanged smokes etc. and had a decent chat. They say they won't fire tomorrow if we don't so I suppose we shall get a bit of a holiday—perhaps. After exchanging autographs and them wishing us a Happy New Year we departed and came back and had our dinner.

We can hardly believe that we've been firing at them for the last week or two—it all seems so strange. At present its freezing hard and everything is covered with ice…

The letter ends:

There are plenty of huge shell holes in front of our trenches, also pieces of shrapnel to be found. I never expected to shake hands with Germans between the firing lines on Christmas Day and I don't suppose you thought of us doing so. So after a fashion we've enjoyed? our Christmas. Hoping you spend a happy time also George Boy as well. How we thought of England during the day. Kind regards to all the neighbours. With much love from Boy.
Just this past Remembrance Day, November 11, 2008, Wikipedia reports:
Christmas Truce Memorial

On 11 November 2008, the first official Truce memorial was unveiled in Frélinghien, France, the site of a Christmas Truce football game in 1914. After the unveiling and a Service of Remembrance, men from 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) played a football match with the German Panzergrenadier Battalion 371. The Germans won, 2-1.

1st Battalion The Royal Welsh and Panzergrenadier Battalion 371 were invited to take part because their regimental ancestors from 2nd Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers and the 134th Saxon Infantry Regiment had held the Truce at Frelinghien on Christmas Day, 1914. The match was played in the presence of retired Major Miles Stockwell, grandson of Captain C. I. Stockwell, who commanded 'A' Company, 2/RWF in 1914 and wrote about the Truce in his diary. Mrs Margaret Holmes, daughter of Welsh Private Frank Richards, DCM, MM, and Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant-Colonel) Joachim Freiherr von Sinner, grandson of Hauptmann (Captain) Maximilian Freiherr von Sinner. the commander of the Machine-gun Company of the German 6th Jäger Battalion, were also present at the game.

Before the match, as happened in 1914, a Saxon soldier rolled a barrel of beer towards the Welsh while Major Stockwell offered Lieutenant-Colonel von Sinner a plum pudding and a cigar. The football, signed by all players, is now in the possession of the Arbeitkreis für Sächsische Militärgeschichte. It will be displayed in the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr in Dresden, Germany..[Wiki here]

And then we have Garth Brooks' song called "Belleau Wood", which is where my research journey began...(Thank you, Sylvia!)

"Belleau Wood"

Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
Over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared
By both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing
A song that we all knew

Though I did not know the language
The song was "Silent Night"

Then I heard my buddy whisper,
"All is calm and all is bright"
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
'Cause I'd die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench
And I began to sing along

Then across the frozen battlefield
Another's voice joined in
Until one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn

Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
'Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here's hoping we both live
To see us find a better way

Then the devil's clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again

But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's just beyond the fear

No, heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's for us to find it here

May we never forget - and ALWAYS honour.

OP/Ed: Obama, Holder, Sharpton - Shame on YOU

On December 20 - yesterday afternoon -  these two New York Police Department Officers were executed by a hate-filled racist pig.

This coward, who had also just killed a woman, heeded the call of the race-baiters, and went looking for cops to kill.

“They were, quite simply, assassinated,” a shaken NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said Saturday night.

The shooter — identified as Ismaaiyl Brinsley — boasted about wanting to murder cops in the hours before he ambushed the officers outside the Tompkins Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant about 2:45 p.m.

“I’m putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours ... let’s take 2 of theirs,” Brinsley, 28, wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of a silver handgun.

He also included three hashtags: ShootThePolice, RIPErivGarner (sic) and RIPMikeBrown.

“This may be my final post ... I’m putting pigs in a blanket.”

At that link, deBlasio (Mayor of New York) says this in the aftermath of the slaughter:


...described the double murder as “an assassination” and a “despicable act.”

It “goes at the very heart of our society and our democracy,” he added. “When a police officer is murdered, it tears at the fabric of our society.”

Mr deBlasio, why don't you tell THAT to those racist mobs who yell "What do we want?  Dead Cops.  When do we want it? Now!"  Yes, those chants were being said on the streets of America, as that coward murdered the two Hero Police Officers.

Flashback to one week ago in NYC:

 As the demonstrations have continued, no word from either Obama (guess none of the cops could be his son), Holder and Al Sharpton said nary a word to denounce this call for open hunting season on Police Officers whose sworn duty is to Serve and Protect ALL Americans.

Go look what Sharpton was telling DeBlasio back in August  (Warning: It IS disgusting) Sharpton warns de Blasio: I’ll be your worst enemy

Now?  Race-baiter Sharpton has apparently released a statement:

Of COURSE he plans another press conference.  That, and agitating is what Sharpton does best.  Never mind, NO matter what else spews forth from his hateful mouth, he and his ignorant, racist rhetoric is directly responsible for the death of these two Officers.  Period.

Ignorant?  Absolutely, and it has not gone unremarked that these two Officers were not even white cops.

On Twitchy was this:

Lost in the rhetoric: The two cops killed yesterday were Hispanic and Asian.
Where's the activists to lead marches on their behalf?
Damn good question.

What about these two?  Well, I am still waiting for Holder to send his 'investigators' directly to New York.  No, not holding my breath.

Meanwhile,   it seems that Obama took time out from his busy Saturday night schedule to release a statement:

I unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City.

Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification.

The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day – and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day.

Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal – prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen. [emphasis mine]

 Interestingly, this has not made it to the official White site yet (yes, I did check) I found it at the Chicago Sun Times - you know, the city where on a daily basis innocents are slaughtered in anonymity, and not a word from the politicians.  Too bad the Mouth In Chief - you know, the one who has always been touted as the 'great unifer'  - and his minions,  do not encourage such rejection of hatred and race-baiting by their ACTIONS.

Meanwhile, two more families are left to mourn the loss of their loved ones.

My heart is hurting for this young man and all who love these two Fallen Police Officers.  My heart aches for all those in the NYPD who even today are  putting on their uniforms and going out into the deadly streets to Serve and Protect.  On their shifts there is no black or white skin, there is NO politics.  There is - God and the race-baiter cowards willing - survival, and going home to hug the family.

NO words from anybody can change what happened yesterday - the huge holes left in our world because of ignorance.  Nothing I can do will bring back these brave young men.

And I am sick about it.

Claudia E. Thomas speaks for me when she says:

Our hearts go out to our Brothers and Sisters who see the face of evil daily ... For our brothers, Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu - never again shall you need deal with the insanity of this world ... Soar with angels and thank you! May your families be surrounded with the prayers of millions who cry out in our anguish with them for an end to the evil that permeates our lands.

Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu's watch may be done here on earth, and I wish I could believe that their loss would herald an end to the deadly racist evil parading the streets of America.  The realist in me knows this will not happen.

Again from Claudia:

THERE ARE NEW THREATS BEING MADE TOWARDS NYPD OFFICERS via Instagram, etc. If you become aware of a threat - take action and not just re-post this stuff. Call 1-888-NYC-SAFE which is the terrorism hot line for the NYPD. The Instagram user, "woodgramflexinn" has made new threats. DO NOT call in this one as I've already checked and the NYPD is aware of him. IF YOU SEE OTHER threats, to the NYPD, call the above. For other agencies, look up the number and CALL IT IN! The what if's involved had someone called in the threats by today's murderer are endless. STAY SAFE BROTHERS & SISTERS ... We got your 6!

I echo her call, and I stand with ALL our Police Officers, and pray for their safety.

May these two Fallen Heroes Rest In Eternal Peace.

Related: Police officers turn their backs on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as he is accused of having 'blood on his hands' over anti-police sentiments

Two NYPD cops murdered for revenge

(As always, read the comments there)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Red 'Chute (Shirt) Friday

Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks 

With their signature Canadian flag parachutes, The Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks, is Canada’s only military parachute demonstration team. Over the last 41 years they have represented Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces to over 75 million spectators worldwide.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Video: A Soldier's Silent Night as told by Father Berndt

Audie Murphy American Legend

A Soldier's Silent Night was written by U.S. Marine Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt in 1987 under the title "Merry Christmas, My Friend." It was later retitled "A Soldier's Silent Night."

The audio recording of this adapted version was recorded by Father Ted Berndt and his daughter Ellen Stout. Father Berndt was a priest at Bread of Life Charismatic Episcopal Church in Dousman, Wisconsin, a proud Marine, and a WWII Purple Heart recipient.

The poem was recorded in one take. The recording received a national A.I.R. (Achievement in Radio) award from the [u]March of Dimes [/u]and continues to be played in radio stations across the country. 

Father Berndt passed away March 19th, 2004 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. According to his daughter, "All he ever wanted to do was touch make a difference. We are blessed to share "A Soldier's Silent Night" again with you this Christmas."

Video: Huron Carol

The Huron Carol has become part of the Brat Christmas. It is usually sung by a native Canadian, Tom Jackson - who has an amazing voice - and I finally found his version here.

The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Christmas hymn, written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.
This version performed by Heather Dale, and sung in Wendat (Huron), French and English....

Syria: 200+ bodies of ISIS victims found

From the BBC:

Syria conflict: 230 bodies 'found in mass grave' in Deir al-Zour

17 December 2014

The bodies of more than 230 people believed to have been killed by Islamic State (IS) have been found in a mass grave in eastern Syria, activists say.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they were thought to be members of a tribe that fought the jihadist group in Deir al-Zour province in the summer.

The mass grave was discovered after the tribe, the Sheitat were allowed to return home by IS leaders, it added.

Last month, the UN said it had received reports of a massacre there in August....

Iraq: ISIS beheads pregnant women

 Obama told us all, 'war is over in Iraq.'  Somebody forgot to tell the murdering, cowardly thugs.. The depravity of the Religion of Terror continues.  From Jihad Watch:

Islamic State beheads 150 women, some pregnant, for refusing to marry jihad terrorists

December 17, 2014

This is all part of the Islamic State’s treatment of these women as the sex slaves, the “captives of the right hand,” that men are allowed in the Qur’an (4:3, 4:24, 23:1-6, 33:50). They have no say in the matter, and if they refuse their fate, they are to be killed.

“ISIS beheads 150 females, including pregnant women, for refusing to marry terrorists,” Zee News, December 17, 2014

Baghdad: As the world along with Pakistan mourns the death of children killed in the dastardly carried out terrorist attack in an army-run school in Peshawar by Taliban, reports of more violence from another brutal terror group have emerged.

Islamic State militants have reportedly beheaded at least 150 women, some of them pregnant, for refusing to marry them.

Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights, in a statement released, said that the women in the western Iraqi province of Al-Anbar were attacked by the Islamic State terrorists and were later buried in mass graves in Fallujah....