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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

12/15/2006

Sleep Well, My Brothers ...


Every December for the past fifteen years, Morrill Worcester, owner of one of the world's largest holiday wreath companies, has taken time in the midst of his busiest season to haul a truckload of wreaths to Arlington from his small downeast Maine town of Harrington.


For years, he and a small band of volunteers laid the wreaths in virtual obscurity. But in the last twelve months that has changed, thanks to a dusting of snow last year at the cemetery, an evocative photograph, a sentimental poem and a chain e-mail. And this year, Worcester went national. A new program, 'Wreaths Across America,' shipped a total of about 1,300 wreaths to more than 200 national cemeteries and vets' memorials in all fifty states.

Worcester, 56, says he wants to help Americans remember and honor deceased military veterans, particularly at Christmas, when they're missed most. On the Wreaths Across America website, he makes this comment: 'When people hear about what we're doing, they want to know if I'm a veteran. I'm not. But I make it my business never to forget.'

On Thursday he looked at the crowd of volunteers — five times as many as last year's — and said, 'I didn't realize there were this many people who felt as I do.'

The tradition grew slowly. Every year there were a few more volunteers in Harrington to load the truck and a few more in Arlington to lay the wreaths. Every January there'd be a few more calls, e-mails or letters. Worcester says that apart from a newspaper story here and a broadcast report there, 'it was almost a private thing.'

Until December 2005.

When the day was almost over and all the wreaths had been laid, it started to snow. Around the same time, an Air Force news photographer covering the event went back for a final picture before heading back to the Pentagon.

Master Sgt. James Varhegyi had shot hundreds of images that morning. In accordance with photojournalistic convention, almost all had people in them.

But this time Varhegyi took a picture that had no people, just rows of graves, decorated with bowed wreaths, on snowy ground. White, green, red — the colors of Christmas. He didn't think it was anything special.


When the Worcesters returned to Harrington, things quieted down as usual after Christmas. Except that instead of declining in January, the appreciative calls and e-mails began to increase.

Varhegyi's photo had been posted on an Air Force website, from which someone — the Worcesters don't know who — had lifted it, put it in an e-mail, and added a poem:

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell ...

'Please share this with everyone on your address list,' the e-mail read. 'You hear too much about the bad things people do. Everyone should hear about this.'

The e-mail became an Internet sensation. It spread like a virus, so far and so fast that Snopes.com, a website devoted to exploring myths and rumors, investigated and confirmed its existence.

More and more people contacted Worcester Wreath Co. with questions, thanks and requests. By February, the company was getting thirty to forty e-mails a day. People sent checks, which were returned. Company staffers found themselves devoting more and more time to phone calls about the Arlington effort.

One night, Sherry Scott, the office manager, was working late, trying to get caught up, when the phone rang:

It was an elderly woman from Texas. She says, 'Tell me you're the company that lays the wreaths at Arlington.' When I said we were, there was silence. Then she started crying. She says, 'My Dad's buried at Arlington.' Then I started crying.

Thank you, Mr. Worcester, for helping us not to forget.


(Thanks to John Cooper for steering me to this at Michelle Malkin’s site.)

25 comments:

daveburkett said...

So much of what is done today is just symbolism over substance. All the different color ribbons, etc.

This is so much more. Mr. Worcester's heart is in the right place.

Anonymous said...

Awesome!

Lori_Gmeiner said...

When I read about what some people are doing for our troops in the Middle East, and now this that is being done for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice I get misty eyed.

These are great Americans.

SharonGold said...

What a heartwarming story. In spite of all the negative news we hear every day, there are still good and caring people out there.

danthemangottschall said...

We don't need more government programs. We need more volunteers like the ones who are making this "Wreaths Across America" work.

John Cooper said...

Before I got into transmission (and website) repair, I used to launch space shuttles for a living. A friend-of-a-friend who is still down at KSC sent this recently:

VIP Launch Guests

"I wanted to take the time to write some of my thoughts on the STS-116 [the one that's up there now!] launch that recently occurred on 9 DEC 06. As usual, since I have no Firing Room launch duties, I volunteered to escort VIPs to view the launch. In the past we have escorted Presidents, their wives, Senators, Actors, and many other famous persons. It has always been an exciting time for me to be able to meet these VIPs and present our Space Center and launch to them. Always, their excitement pumps me up and makes me thankful that I have been blessed to work in such an exciting place.

I had a different experience during this launch. I escorted the NASA Administrator's Guests, most all of them VIPs from the Washington D.C. area. When we got to the viewing room on the fifth floor of the Operations
Support Building, there were the usual speeches and flight overview by one of the Astronauts. I noticed that there were several reserved seats, about forty of them, that indicated "VA". I didn't know what to expect, but finally the honored guests were brought into the room. Looking at them I realized they were disabled veterans who were injured in Iraq. Some could walk, some were lead, and some came in wheelchairs. Some were spouses and children who came alone. They walked in to a standing ovation. When I realized who they were, tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't keep myself from crying.

Jim Kennedy, the Kennedy Space Center Director welcomed the Veterans and said they were the most important VIPs that have ever visited the Space Center. They were important because these men and families, and others like them, made it possible for us to live in this country and to do things like fly into space. I was very proud of them and also proud of the way they were treated. Several of the astronauts in attendance, including Eileen Collins, spent a lot of time visiting, thanking and loving on them. The vets were all smiles and seemed to enjoy being there, and of course they enjoyed the spectacular launch.

I spent quite a while with a particular young veteran named Steve Pyle. He was happy to share his experience with me and I would like to share his story with you. Steve was the leader of a small group of Army Infantry. Two of his men were pinned down in action from the enemy Iraqis. He threw two smoke bombs to provide some cover and then ran to the aid of his men.

During the run, he was hit with a mortar which severely injured him, nearly severing his leg. As he lay there bleeding to death, he saw two men running towards him. His first thought was that he would die, but then he had hope because he thought these two men would rescue him. When they got to him, they started kicking him. He called them "Pansies" because he was mortally wounded and yet they continued to kick him. As he curled up to cover himself, he realized that he had a bayonet. He managed to pull the bayonet out of its sheath and stabbed one of his attackers, eventually killing him. The other Iraqi enemy began to run. Steve found his gun nearby and crawled to get it. He shot the enemy three times and killed him before he passed out.

Steve has spent three years in the Veterans Hospital in Tampa. He couldn't walk or talk for one year. He is now walking with a cane and talking. While I was visiting with him, a cute little girl about six years old came running up to him and gave him a hug and a kiss. She was one of seven of his beautiful children. He said he would do it again. Yes, he is a hero.

No matter what you think of the war, how it started, or how it will end, we must be grateful to those who are making a sacrifice for our freedom. In the history of our Country, there has always been a great price to pay to preserve our way of life. The next time you begin to feel disappointment because of some inconvenience or minor injury, think of our veterans. Let us all remember and pray for our troops that are far from home and family this Christmas.

Thanks go to our Veterans and to Jim Kennedy for inviting them to this launch. It will certainly be a launch I will never forget.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

--Tom Overton
NASA Manifest Planning

John Cooper said...

Joanie--

Better have *two* boxes of Kleenex handy when you read this one:

A Warrior's Last Steps Home

joanie said...

John, thanks for the link to this incredibly heartwarming story.

We see this kind of thing, on a lesser scale, every day all over the country, as citizens express respect and gratitute for the courage and resolve of our troops.

It's too bad that same respect and gratitude isn't expressed equally well in the halls of congress.

Much of our leadership in DC could learn from observing the behavior of the Delta employees and all others who treated the returning hero with the respect, dignity and love he so deserved.

May God strengthen and comfort 2LT Lundell's loved ones.

MitchCassidy said...

It is only right that we shows such respect to our fallen heroes and thank you to those who are!

Al said...

One day a few months ago when I had worked up a big appetite I decided to give myself a treat in the middle of the day and started driving to a buffet type eating place I had been to a few times in the past.

My route took me on an expressway which seemed to be moving slowly for that time of day.

I pulled forward impatiently in the fast lane and eventually saw what the hold up was---

a long line of cars with lights on taking up one of the middle lanes.

As I pulled up further I saw a large black hearse at the head of the line. Through a window a large box with an American flag around it was visible. Seated next to the box was a young lady with long, well combed hair.

I drove over into the lane next to the hearse and as I held my car in postion parallel to it and slightly behind it, I saluted and held it for a while.

Then I speeded up and drove on forward.

The long haired young lady seated inside had turned her head and looked at me for a few moments as I saluted, and then turned back to the box.

Shortly after I saw an exit sign on forward. I moved over and pulled off, made a U-turn, and got back on the expressway headed the other direction, back home.

I felt I did not deserve the treat for lunch that I had intended.

My appetite had disappeared anyway.
,

joanie said...

Al, thank you for the heart-rending story ... and for your heartfelt response to it. The fact that you turned around because you ‘did not deserve the treat for lunch’ that you intended speaks to the content of your heart.

I turned on FoxNews last night before going to bed. Haven’t been keeping up with the news much since the election, and I suppose I needed a fix.

After enduring nearly twenty minutes of coverage of the fact that Miss USA will not be losing her crown (replete with repeated references to Donald Trump’s ‘heart of gold’ and observations that ‘perhaps the rest of us can learn from this tragedy, and look within ourselves in order to correct our own shortcomings’) … and continuing round-the-clock coverage of the rescue mission at Mount Hood … I came away vowing not to turn on the news again for yet another six weeks or so.

Dozens (if not more) of courageous, duty-bound Americans are killed each month in the Middle East, while performing acts of genuine heroism – few or none of which are brought to the attention of the American public.

All one has to do is watch an hour of what passes for ‘news’ in this country in order to understand that we have gone the way of the Romans, and are fast losing our soul.

God bless those, like you, Al, who still comprehend what is of importance, and who are still willing to humble themselves before, and offer deserved honor and respect to, those who have offered the ultimate sacrifice in our behalf. God knows, much of the rest of the country is too busy admiring celebrity.

~ joanie

Al said...

I remember when effeminate Peter Jennings put on his best feminine sneer and spat at the Russians in reporting on the Beslan massacre, where Islamic terrorists had just shot over 140 little children in the back.

There was no mention of the word Islam from Peter Jennings. He falsely called them "Chechen seperatists" even though the majority of the Islamic child killers at Beslan were from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordanian palestinians, and so on)

140 little children were shot in the back by totally insane, animalistic Islamists,and Peter Jennings interpretation was to make his face into a prissy sneer and blame the Russians.

That is the News.

You can keep it.

joanie said...

I remember when effeminate Peter Jennings put on his best feminine sneer and spat at the Russians in reporting on the Beslan massacre, where Islamic terrorists had just shot over 140 little children in the back.

It’s hard to contemplate anything more barbaric than what took place in Beslan – except maybe for the Amish school shootings (on a lesser, but equally wicked, scale). The barbarians (and dare I add, once again, Islamic barbarians) consistently devise the most insidious forms of violence, and use them as a tool to bring to their knees whomever they have designated as their latest prey.

And the fact that Beslan is a pocket of Russian Christianity is no coincidence. We are indeed in a holy war, whether we choose to acknowledge that fact or not.

Christians and Jews, in particular, had better soon come to grips with the realization that there is an historically unprecedented malevolent movement afoot, with tens of millions of adherents (and growing), whose only aim is to eradicate any vestige of our faith, and to replace it with a ‘religion’ which demands loyalty to its god alone, and which vows death to those who refuse allegiance to their ‘god’.

Innocents will be unintentionally killed as we root the villains from their hiding places. We will have to mourn that fact, but not allow it to deter us from continuing the hunt. (I heard on the news on the radio tonight that nearly one hundred Americans have been killed in Iraq this month. While that is certainly a tragedy, especially considering the character and courage of those people who died, I wonder how many Americans are aware that we lost an average of eight thousand people a month … every month ... in the painful process of winning World War II.)

But we were a vastly different people sixty years ago.

We will continue to pay a dear price with deaths of our own people – the young, willing and able-bodied among us who are charged with identifying and eradicating the enemy. And shrill accusations and criticisms from weaker ranks (both abroad, and here at home) will continue. We will have to learn to turn a deaf ear. Anyone who claims that we must practice sensitivity in our dealings with terrorists, or that we must not act without first garnering a world consensus, or that we must receive our marching orders from any global entity, is an enemy of life, liberty, and sovereignty.

... and we’ll have to stop caring about the trials and tribulations of Miss USA (I don’t know her name, and I don’t want to), and start caring about winning this war. There will not be a World War IV.

~ joanie

Al said...

It’s hard to contemplate anything more barbaric than what took place in Beslan – except maybe for the Amish school shootings (on a lesser, but equally wicked, scale).

I wish that were true.

Unfortunately the very same barbarity has gone on for much longer and in many more situations than those two.

Ask someone with Armenian ancestory to tell you what the Turks did in the Armenian genocide, where the muslim Turks wiped out more than half of the Armenian population (Orthodox Christians). The Turks specialized in raping little boys, among other things, before killing them.

That is just one example. Killing little children in an attempt to wipe out future generations is nothing new for Islam.

joanie said...

Dave, Lori, John, Mitch, Sharon, Dan, Al --

An elementary, but must-see, 2 1/2 minute video tribute to "Modern American Diplomacy":

http://youtube.com/watch?v=-w77sLtz754

MitchCassidy said...

Perfect! I'm sending this to everyone I know. :-)

daveburkett said...

Joanie,

Yeah, Chamberlain was a fool, but he was in the minority as far as "statesmen" went back then. Now we have a whole mob of congressman and senators who have decided that they are going to act as "statesmen" and run all over the world doing what the administration and the State Department should be taking care of (not that the State Department does its job well either).

They're all overstepping their bounds and acting like idiots and compromising our security.

Damn them all.

(Good video.)

danthemangottschall said...

Chamberlain was an imbecile. Jimmy Carter is a modern day version of him. The news media ought to declare a blackout on anything he does because hes either a Chamberlain-like idiot or an enemy of America.

And forget about Baker. He's just as bad, and he has some actual power. It's frightening and getting "frighteninger" every day.

jim said...

Joanie,

Jim Baker's conflict of interest:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/200411
01/klein

AL said...

Nobody mentioned the UN, the European Union, the US State Department, US Academia,

when it comes to appeasement.

Anonymous said...

Now somebody tell about Colin Powell's conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

http://www.city-journal.org/html/14_2_the_fruits.html

sandra said...

Some of the people I meet in the U.S. are particularly worried about the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe. They are correct when they fear that anti-Semitism is also on the rise among non-immigrant Europeans. The latter hate people with a fighting spirit. Contemporary anti-Semitism in Europe (at least when coming from native Europeans) is related to anti-Americanism. People who are not prepared to resist and are eager to submit, hate others who do not want to submit and are prepared to fight. They hate them because they are afraid that the latter will endanger their lives as well. In their view everyone must submit.

This is why they have come to hate Israel and America so much, and the small band of European “islamophobes” who dare to talk about what they see happening around them.
West Europeans have to choose between submission (islam) or death. I fear, like Broder, that they have chosen submission – just like in former days when they preferred to be red rather than dead.

excerpt---

http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1609

The Rape of Europe
By Paul Belien

Al said...

People who are not prepared to resist and are eager to submit, hate others who do not want to submit and are prepared to fight. They hate them because they are afraid that the latter will endanger their lives as well. In their view everyone must submit.

Excellent.

Anonymous said...

The Tyranny of Tolerance: A Sitting Judge Breaks the Code of Silence to Expose the Liberal Judicial Assault
by Robert H. Jr Dierker
List Price $ 26.95 / Crown Forum / 2006-12-26 / 030733919X
Hardcover / 288 Pages

• Why do the courts claim the power to tax us?
• Why is a Christian fired when he voices opposition to his employer’s favoring homosexuals?
• Why are airline pilots sued and sent to “diversity training” for recommending that suspicious-looking people of Middle Eastern appearance be kept off planes?
• Why does a judge who defends a monument to the Ten Commandments in a courthouse lose his job?
• Why are speech codes imposed on employers, university students, lawyers (and judges!), while “artistic” indecency is protected from even the mildest regulation?
• Why are peaceful abortion protesters thrown in jail, their right to free speech crushed?
• Why are white and Asian students denied admission to colleges and universities in the name of “diversity”?
• Why is an enemy fighter captured in Afghanistan granted access to U.S. federal courts, overturning judicial precedent safeguarding the president’s wartime powers—to say nothing of common sense?