Eighty years ago today on December 7, 1941, Imperial Japan attacked the neutral United States with a surprise Sunday morning ambush on naval bases at Pearl Harbor, HI.
During the unprovoked assault on the United States, aircraft from the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service killed 2,403 US citizens and injured 1,178 others. It also sank four battleships and damaged four others, damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Additionally, 188 aircraft were destroyed and another 159 planes were damaged.
The following day, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared before Congress and declaring the previous day “…a day which will live forever in infamy….” requested that Congress declare war against Japan. Congress quickly complied and the United States entered World War II hostilities against Japan.
My own father, HB Auld, Sr., was already serving in the US Army when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and spent the remainder of his military service fighting the Japanese on the island of New Guinea.
My father-in-law, JB Kattes, enlisted in the US Army on December 11, 1941, four days after the surprise attack, and served in the US Army in Washington, Alaska, and Georgia until the end of the War.
God bless all of the men and women who served and all of those who gave their lives in Pearl Harbor and elsewhere in the War.
ALWAYS REMEMBER: THAT DAY IN DECEMBER: God bless America!
Remembering “the quiet Beetle,” George Harrison who died 20 years ago today, November 29, 2001, of non-small cell lung cancer which spread to his brain. George Harrison was 58 years old.
George Harrison was born in Liverpool, England, on February 25, 1943. He met Paul McCartney on a bus on the way to school and bonded over music. Later, he auditioned for John Lennon with Paul who played as “The Quarrymen,” a skiffle group. John turned George down as being too young at 15. Later, he re-auditioned for John on the top of a double-decker bus. He wound up playing for The Quarrymen as a guitar fill-in when needed.
When The Beatles broke up in 1970, George Harrison released his “All Things Must Pass” album, which included his hit single, “My Sweet Lord.” George was sued by The Chifons in 1971, claiming his My Sweet Lord was plagiarized from their “He’s So Fine.” George denied consciously plagiarizing their hit, but lost in US court when the judge judge ruled that he had done so subconsciously.
In 1971, George joined Ravi Shankar in the live The Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden to raise money and awareness for the starving refugees of the Bangladesh Liberation War.
In 1988, George formed The Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and recorded “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1.” After Roy Orbison’s death in 1988, the group recorded their second album as a quartet. George came up with the prank idea to name it “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.” just “…to confuse the buggers.”
George and his wife, Olivia, were attacked in their home in Friar Park on December 30, 1999, by Michael Abram, a 34-year old suffering from mental illness. George was stabbed 40 times, including once which punctured his lung. Abrams later expressed remorse for the attack.
In May, 2001, George underwent lung surgery to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs. In November 2001, he began radiotherapy at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City for non-small cell lung cancer that had spread to his brain. When the news was made public, Harrison lamented his physician’s breach of his privacy, and his estate later claimed damages.
George Harrison died on private property belonging to Paul McCartney on Heather Road in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA. At his death, he was surrounded by his wife, Olivia; his son, Dhani; his friend, Ravi Shankar; and others. After George died, his ashes were scattered, according to Hindu tradition, by his close family in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers near Varanasi, India.
His final words before he died were to Olivia and Dhani: “Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.”
Today, Veterans Day 2021, is the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The three Unknown Soldiers from World War I, War II, and the Korean War, represent all of those who were killed in the service of our Nation.
Today is also Veterans Day, a day to express our gratitude to all current and former military men and women who serve and have served in the US Military. Veterans Day, formerly called “Armistice Day,” was established to be always celebrated on November 11 each year because the armistice ending the fighting of World War I went into effect at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918. Traditionally since then, Americans have paused at 11:00 a.m. each November 11th to remember Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Guardsmen who served in all wars. A formal peace agreement was reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.
The following description of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was published by the Association of the United States Army on February 2, 2021:
“In November, events will include a ceremony during which visitors may place flowers onto the tomb plaza. “This will be the first time in many years that the public will be allowed to walk across the tomb plaza and honor the unknowns at their gravesite,” said Charles Alexander, superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery.
“On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, there will be a full honors procession and a wreath-laying ceremony.
“Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of Arlington National Cemetery on March 4, 1921, according to the cemetery’s website. US Army Sergeant Edward Younger, a World War I veteran who was wounded in combat, chose the Unknown Soldier from among four identical caskets.
“The tomb, which stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, has since come to symbolize the sacrifices of all U.S. service members.
“Its white marble sarcophagus, which stands above the grave of the Unknown Soldier of World War I, depicts three carved Greek figures representing peace, victory and valor. Inscribed on the back of the tomb are the words: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”
“To the west of the sarcophagus are the crypts for an Unknown Soldier from World War II and the Korean War. A crypt designated for the Vietnam Unknown was dedicated on Sept. 17, 1999.
“In 1926, Congress established a military guard to protect the tomb, and since July 2, 1937, the Army has maintained a 24-hour guard over the tomb. Sentinels from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) assumed those duties on April 6, 1948, and they have maintained a constant vigil ever since.
“Congressman Hamilton Fish, who in 1920 proposed the legislation to create the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, said, “It is hoped that the grave of this unidentified warrior will become a shrine of patriotism for all the ages to come, which will be a source of inspiration, reverence and love of country for future generations.”
One of America’s favorite television shows of all time premiered 70 years ago tonight.
“The beloved sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, debuted on CBS television on October 15, 1951. The series, which aired from 1951 to 1957, was the most popular show in America for four if its six primetime seasons.”
“The storyline centered on the lives of Lucy Ricardo and her bandleader husband, Ricky, who lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and later in Connecticut.
In the show, their best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz, were former vaudevillians who were often involved in the Ricardos’ shenanigans. Ricky was played by Lucy’s real-life husband. The program won five Emmy Awards during its six-year run.” — The AMAC Magazine, October, 2021
The program, with its homespun “family-at-home” storyline, went on to be the formula for many of America’s family sitcoms, including “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Father Knows Best,” and many others.
Even though the four primary actors, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley (Fred Mertz), and Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz) have all passed on, the show, “I Love Lucy,” lives on in DVDs, in reruns, and in the hearts and memories of those who lived through the 1950s.
During this week in 1945, a [US Navy] Corpsman is awarded the Medal of Honor. Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class George E. Wahlen’s citation that day described him as “stouthearted and indomitable” for his perseverance at Iwo Jima.
Wahlen wasn’t really supposed to be a corpsman in the first place. His training was in mechanics, and he’d wanted to serve as an aircraft mechanic. Nevertheless, the military needed medical personnel, so that’s what he trained to do.
When he arrived at Iwo Jima in February 1945, it was his first time in combat. He was tasked with assisting an invading Marine battalion. The young corpsman was worried that he wouldn’t have what it took.
“I couldn’t imagine me being a Corpsman,” he later told an interviewer, “and when they had casualties, [it was] my job was to go out and take care of them. And it concerned me and I think it was the first time I ever prayed in my life. . . . [I figured if I ever] need help, this is when it is.”
Rough days ahead
The days that followed were rough. Wahlen would be on the island, supporting his Marines, for close to two weeks. Throughout those weeks, Whalen repeatedly stepped in to help his fellow Marines, even when he himself was already injured. At one point, he even went to the assistance of another battalion, helping 14 of those boys before returning to his own.
Whalen later recounted one of these experiences. The Marines were advancing up a hill when the Japanese opened fire. Our Marines hit the ground, looking for the source of the problem.
“Finally, we got word to pull off the hill,” Whalen said. “But there was two casualties over on my right flank.” He crawled through fire to get to them, but both men were already dead. Just then a grenade went off too close to his face. “And the shock from that kind of temporarily knocked me unconscious,” he described. “I laid there for a minute or two and kind of got my bearings back and I could feel the blood in this one eye—couldn’t see out of it.” He administered first aid to himself, then immediately turned in the direction of another Marine who was calling for help.
He wouldn’t be able to get to that Marine without taking out the machine gun nest in the area. Naturally, that’s what he decided to do.
He yelled over to another Marine, hollering for a grenade. He didn’t have any of his own, because he was a Corpsman.“
I decided I’d crawl up the hill and see if I [could] knock out that emplacement,” he said. He made his way to the machine gun nest. “I was going to lob the grenade into the hole. And so, I always remember I went to pull the ring out and the ring come off and the pin stayed in . . . . I got my knife out and straightened that pin out and pulled it off.” By then, he was pretty close to the Japanese, and he let the grenade fly.
It worked! Whalen was able to crawl back to the Marine, eventually getting him to safety.
Whalen’s worst injury came on the last day that he was there, on March 13.
He was looking for injured Marines when a mortar hit too close to him. “I heard [the Marines] holler and so I went to stand up to get to them and fell down,” he later recounted. “I couldn’t walk. And I looked down and my boot had been torn off. I’d been hit in the leg. And I later found out my leg had been broke.”
You don’t think a broken leg stopped him from helping those Marines, do you? Because it didn’t. He bandaged his leg and gave himself a shot of morphine. Then he was on his way again, ready to help the Marines that he’d found just before the mortar blast. He worked his way even further into enemy territory, continuing to help Marines before he was finally evacuated.
The broken leg would finally send Wahlen to a hospital to recuperate. After the war, he received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S Truman.
Greatest accomplishment ever
Many years later he was asked what the Medal of Honor meant to him. He was gracious and humble, as so many of our Medal recipients are.
“Well, it’s certainly the greatest accomplishment that I ever did,” he said simply. “And I think it’s important [to not] only be proud of it, but don’t do anything to disgrace it, either. And I tried to do that.”
Wahlen went on to serve in the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict where he was injured once again, this time while serving as a US Army Major. George E. Wahlen passed away June 5, 2009.
On this day in 1835, the Texas Revolution begins! Did you know that the first battle was fought because Texans decided that the Mexicans would have to pull an old, small cannon out of their cold, dead hands?
Does that fact, alone, explain my home state?!
The Texas Revolution wasn’t fought entirely over one old cannon, of course. That cannon was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, prompting a skirmish that came to be known as the Battle of Gonzales.
In 1835, Texans (or “Texians”) were concerned about the increasingly dictatorial Mexican government and its army. But the town of Gonzales found itself in the crossfire for a rather unexpected reason. It possessed one small cannon that had come from San Antonio de Béxar in 1831. Some thought the cannon was loaned, others thought it had been given. Either way, Gonzales felt that it needed the cannon to scare off local Indian tribes.
As tensions between the Mexican government and the Texians escalated, the Mexicans decided that Gonzales could not keep its cannon anymore. The given reason was that the cannon had been given only as a loan. But perhaps the real reason is that the government wanted to disarm citizens? Either way, town officials were notified that the cannon must be returned.
The alcalde, or mayor, of Gonzales called a town meeting and a vote was taken. All but three people agreed: Gonzales should keep its cannon!
Nevertheless, Mexican commander Francisco de Castañeda was sent to retrieve the cannon.
The Mexican force reached the Guadalupe River on September 29, but then it got stuck. Recent rains had made the river difficult to cross. Complicating matters, Texians had taken all the boats from Castañeda’s side of the river. Eighteen Texians were now guarding the river on the other side. In the meantime, Gonzales was calling for help from nearby towns. Its citizens buried the cannon in a nearby peach orchard.
Come hell or high water, they were not giving up that cannon!
The Texians managed to stall for a while. Castañeda wanted to talk, but the Texians noted that the talks were more properly held with the alcalde, Andrew Ponton. (Surprise, surprise. He wasn’t there.) Even when the Texians did engage in talks, they just shouted across the river at Castañeda. At one point, a single Mexican was allowed to swim back and forth with messages.
What a scene! Naturally, the delay mostly ensured that the Texians got reinforcements.
The stalemate continued until October 1, when Castañeda moved his men a few miles upriver. By now, the Texians were getting tired of the situation. They dug up the cannon and created shrapnel from anything they could find. They hauled the cannon across the river and approached the Mexican camp early on October 2. A thick fog hid them from view.
A few shots were exchanged during the early morning hours, but the more serious fighting began after sunrise. Naturally, the controversial cannon was brought into battle. The Texians had created a white flag, which waved proudly over the cannon.
Come and Take It
You guessed it. The flag bore the words: “Come and Take It.”
The fighting itself was more of a brief skirmish than a true battle. In the end, Castañeda quickly retreated because he thought his orders required him to do so before the conflict escalated into war.
His retreat came too late. The Texas Revolution was on.
One of our grandsons has joined the US military. Jaiden Auld will one day soon be a United States Marine.
Jaiden is the youngest son of my youngest son, Chuck Auld. I am like Chuck this morning; I have run the full gamut of emotions from pride and joy to absolutely terrified for his safety.
According to Chuck, this is something that Jaiden has planned for and wanted to do for a year. He has worked on his stamina and strength and built both of them up. Formerly, when a young man or woman joined the US Marines, they were pretty much shipped right out to Basic Training. Now, they have a program called “Poolies,” where men and women who join in the same area meet and work together as a “pool” of recruits-to-be. The allows them to build a camaraderie and esprit de corps for several months, up to a year, before they all go to Basic Training as a cohesive group. Occasionally, one will leave the group and go early, if an opening becomes available and both the Recruiter and the Poolie believe they are ready, but generally, they go in as a group.
While this is certainly not about me but ALL about Jaiden, as a career Sailor who is the son of a World War II Infantryman, I am so very proud that Jaiden has chosen to serve his Nation as a member of the United States Marine Corps.
Please pray for him, and all of the other service members today, who have chosen to answer this call.
The photos here are of Jaiden and his USMC Recruiter, Sergeant Ross.
God bless these men and women and God bless America.
Today is September 22nd. Happy birthday to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, cousins who are hobbits of the Shire in John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
Tolkien is famous for his works of high fantasy. He was born in South Africa, but grew up in England.
As a youth, he and several cousins invented several “new” languages and alphabets.
At the age of 16, he fell in love with childhood sweetheart Edith Mary Bratt, three years his senior. He proposed to Mary, but was forbidden from marrying or communicating with Mary until his 21st birthday by his guardian, Father Morgan. On the evening of his 21st birthday, he wrote Mary a letter, again proposing. She revealed she had become engaged to someone else, but his letter persuaded her to soon break off her engagement and accept his proposal. They married in 1916 and remained married 55 years. Their union produced four children, one of whom, Mary Ann Reuel who was born in 1929, is still living.
J. R. R. Tolkien is responsible for convincing his wife Edith to convert from Protestantism to Roman Catholicism, a move which enraged her guardian and resulted in her being asked to leave the home of guardian and family friend C. H. Jessop where she was living at the time.
Tolkien’s Catholicism is credited with converting the famous writer C. S. Lewis from atheism to Christianity. Tolkien was upset, however, that Lewis chose to join the Church of England and become a Protestant instead of a Roman Catholic. Without Tolkien, it is quite possible we would have been denied the great Christian lay theologian writer Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and other great classics.
J. R. R. Tolkien died September 2, 1973 at 81 years, two years after his beloved wife, Edith.
But today is the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo, according to Tolkien. My older son, Scott, says that he always takes this day to begin re-reading the Tolkien classic, The Lord of the Rings. And that seems like that’s a good way to celebrate this birthday.
A 31-year veteran of the Houston Police Department was shot and killed and an accompanying Police Sergeant was critically injured as they executed two felony narcotics warrants Monday morning, September 20, 2021.
Houston Police Department Sergeant Michael Vance and Senior Officer Jeffrey were both transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where Officer Jeffrey was pronounced dead. Sergeant Vance remains hospitalized in stable condition and is expected to survive his injuries.
According to Houston Public Media: “The officers, members of the department’s major offenders division, were executing a high-level felony warrant around 7:30 a.m. at an apartment complex on Aeropark Drive near Bush Intercontinental Airport, Chief of Police Troy Finner said.
“The 30-year-old man’s wife or girlfriend opened the door, and as the officers spoke with her, he opened fire, Chief Finner said.
“You got a suspect, with a female girlfriend with small kids in that apartment complex and he still fired upon our officers,” he said.
“The officers returned fire, struck the man and killed him, Finner said.
“Chief Finner said he has known Officer Jeffrey for his entire career and considered him one of the department’s best officers. He said Officer Jeffrey’s wife, who was also a police officer, had just retired.”
Senior Police Officer Jeffrey is the fifth police officer killed in the line of duty in Houston in the past 16 months. Those four Houston Police Department officers are: Sergeant Sean Rios, Sergeant Harold Preston, Officer Jason Knox and Sergeant Christopher Brewster.
The dead suspect was identified as Deon Ledet, who had a a rap sheet with seven prior felony convictions, including two aggravated assaults with a deadly weapon and three evading arrest. In November 2020, he faced felony charges for possession with intent to deliver and one for possession and bond is set at more than $60,000.
Then, Ledet goes to court where the judge lowered the bond to $20,000. The next day he walked out of jail. In January, 2021, Ledet failed to show up for court and two felony Failure to Appear arrest warrants were issued for him. Sergeant Vance and Officer Jeffrey were serving those warrants Monday morning when Ledet opened fire, killing Officer Jeffrey and seriously injuring Sergeant Vance.
The Houston Police Union has called for the resignation of the judge who lowered Ledet’s bond from $60,000 to $20,000.
Senior Police Officer Bill Jeffrey’s daughter, Lacie, said she was heartbroken that her daughter will now grow up not knowing “Grandpa Bill.”