Posts Tagged With: War

STIRRING THE POT OF HATRED.

We have Christians in the United States that terrorize people who believe differently than they do.

The Koran says-kill the infidel.

Is there any difference?

Check it out: http://marysramblins.blogspot.com

 

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HISTORICAL FORT WORDEN

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Fort Worden at one time had 400 buildings, 90 remain. A huge military installation to guard against enemy attacks that did not come. Not one shot was fired from the huge gun batteries for anything but practice. It astounds me, sometimes, at how much money is spent on so many men, so many pounds of artillery, that even today, goes unused.

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The Army may have marched on its stomach, but the rations were pretty unappetizing.

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I guess this is a survival food, maybe higher calorie than normal soda crackers.

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Looks unappetizing.

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This was a typical size barracks area for one soldier. The barracks food was not the rations I took pictures of in the museum. I’m sure they ate pretty well. And, considering serving aboard a sub, these quarters were luxurious. Notice the pin-up picture.

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I’d love to know what happened to giant wrenches like these. I could build a gate with them.

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When they built Fort Worden, the troops at some point had to be billeted outside in these tents.  Brrrr!

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Entertainments were pretty thin, but at least they had something on this bleak, windy, mostly uninhabited point on the Straits of Juan De Fuca.

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Not only the commissary, and as one guy put it, the best thing about the station was 10 cent burgers and cheap, tax-free gas gasoline.  The music reflects the time, but I never heard either of these two songs. There was a piano on base, and possibly dances. A few nurses, but who did they dance with?

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Of all the war stuff and pictures in the Museum, this one is astounding. Any ship, friendly or otherwise could not make it through the straits with this great barbed chain.

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At West Point, we saw a narrow channel with a cable preventing ships from coming up the river, but not with barbs like these.

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Fort Worden was decommissioned in 1973 and turned over to the state and is now on the National Historic Register. The buildings and history here, are well maintained. The fort was used for a hospital, a juvenile detention center and a college before it was decommissioned and kind of fell apart. But years of neglect, the buildings fell into disrepair.

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Now there are two different colleges here, a conference center, it rents out the grounds for movies or other special events. Above is a ukulele student because they are staying in barracks for a six weeks conference/workshop in ukulele.

Alexander's Castle

And, then there is Alexander’s Castle. The only building on the site when the government chose it for a base. It now serves as a bed and breakfast. The story is that a Scottish immigrant built this house for his bride. When he returned to Scotland, she’d married someone else. I thought it looked a bit like a church. Kind of unusual. Sure enough, Alexander was a clergyman.  They don’t tell you what happened to Alexander with his broken heart. But with that many men on base, there most likely were a number of broken hearts over the years.

 

 

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SUPERIOR, WISCONSIN

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Leaving Ashland, we stopped at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center. They were celebrating the grand opening of a new exhibit about Aldo Leopold and the docent teasingly said this fall basket of mums matched my clothes and I should have my picture taken with it. The building is quite impressive but I found the displays rather plastic. A voices about Native Americans film was poorly done. The see-through lighted-from-behind screen was shadowed by the exit sign lights and other invasive light made it difficult to see.  The exhibits are designed to play with and press buttons and the story and pictures, except for a 75 foot tall mural, just didn’t give me a satisfied feel, or peak my curiosity, except for this sign:

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Just the sign, then very little about people settling here and struggling to make it. Duluth is in Minnesota, maybe that is why. But, Highway 2 is on a direct line to Duluth. I guess I’m jaded. I’ve seen so many wonderful visitors centers that give you a strong feel for where you are.

The Leopold exhibit was sparse. Aldo Leopold was one of America’s foremost conservationists.  He is renowned for starting the national wilderness system, founding the field of wildlife management and ecology, and writing the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac. He devoted his life to the question, “How do we live on the land without spoiling it?”  A question we are still asking today.  But, no counterpart of what Wisconsin has done to fulfill that goal. I asked the docent where I could see some big sugar maples, some huge hemlocks and pines and birches. She said there are a few stands here and there, on an island, or a park. Except for a nice garden in front of the center, it is surrounded by grass. A beautiful viewing tower to look at twigs for trees and grass. It makes me wonder, is this state way behind in recognizing the very lessons that Leopold brought to American consciousness? I was truly disappointed.

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This map is suggesting that climate change is a reality and this is what could happen. While we travel around the country we hear people everywhere, say:  “This is unusual weather. It isn’t usually like this.” At Ashland, a storm blew up like a veritable tornado. Campers commented at how unusual it is to get so many violent storms. In Michigan, the humidity and weeks on end of higher than normal temps? people were shaking their heads, “don’t know, this weather. My barley heads are bigger this year, but my corn is destroyed,” etc. etc.

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The center had an artists rendering  of the extinct American Carrier Pigeons that were so important during WW1. I was amazed at how beautiful they were and wonder how our society let them die out. It bothers me still that these things happened. In fact, one poster of a former Wisconsin governor claimed, “We have enough great forests to last our population forever.”  If only they knew what greed could do.

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When we reached Superior, we spent the night at the Richard Bong Veterans Historical Center. Richard Ira Bong above was a WWII fighter pilot who surpassed Eddie Rickenbacker’s record for downing 27 enemy planes. Just a young kid of 18, his  first battle netted 6 kills. They stopped him at 22 kills thinking their new, young hero would make a better emissary for selling war bonds.  He got bored with that and asked to go back to battle. Then they stopped him at 40, for fear they’d lose their hero as the war just about over. This center is unusual in that it is mostly devoted to this one man’s exploits with a lot of war statistics and memorabilia to fill a huge three-story building. It is located here because Richard Bong was born and raised in Poplar, WI, just  a few miles away from this center. His control of the Japanese air attacks made a huge difference in the outcome of the war. Many battle plans rested on his ability to perform and he is fittingly a great American Hero. Well worth a visit. This visit came as a positive, in one way because I’d just finished reading In Harms Way, by Doug Stanton, about the horrible shafting the Navy dealt Major McVay, the commanding officer of the Indianapolis when it was sunk by a Japanese sub. It took until 2001, 56 years after the sinking, to exonerate McVay.

And, a negative because I am so anti-war. Not that WWII wasn’t necessary, it was. But most wars are over American expansionism, our corporate interests in foreign countries, intervention in foreign countries leadership, ideology, religion, lack of tolerance for other nations culture, oil, business.  Look at these statistics of World War II:

Of a global population at the time of 2.3 billion people, 85 million served as soldiers. Sixty million died, 38 million of them civilians.

2/3 rds of the Jewish Population was annihilated.  The Soviet Union lost 27.5 % of their population. 17% of Poles died. 19.4% of Germans died. 3.67 % of Japanese lost their lives.  All countries lost some.

I read here General MacArthur’s  statement after the war:

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We do have a better world. But we don’t have freedom, tolerance or justice. We give our freedoms away, piece by piece. We are at war on our city streets. Tolerance and justice are still unmet goals as a nation.

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Protesters then were women and had I been old enough, I’d have been there with them.  I do appreciate that I had the right to protest, a freedom much diminished, narrowing and threatened as I write.

Amen!

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MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE

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Camp Hostess, Pam, arranged for a Memorial Day Service at the entrance gate. The VFW came earlier than planned, gave their 21 gun salute and left before any one had a chance to gather. She explained there had been a snafu about timing. She read a script about honoring those who served and invited any veterans to speak to the crowd.

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This woman, a veteran herself, has two sons in the  military.

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This veteran spoke and saluted.

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This woman spent 20 years in the military.

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Jim got up and surprised himself; he got choked up and could hardly speak.

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Following the pledge of allegiance and a song, My Country T’is Of Thee, the parade of decorated golf carts made their way to the Family Center.

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Then the walkers followed the golf carts.

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This family joined the walkers.

I’m so anti-war.  Most of the invasions we’ve made on behalf of our government are in support of some corporate economic issue rather than defense of our country. The money spent on war could be put to such better use. But, make no mistake, being anti-war does not mean I don’t support our troops. I believe we should reinstate the draft and let all socioeconomic groups be responsible for military service and readiness.

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Bottom line, for me, Memorial Day is remembering our troops, those who served and those who fell.  It is not un-American to disapprove of war.

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SAVANNAH. TENNESSEE- RIVER TRAIL

As we move up the Tennessee River, through the river towns, signs explain we are traveling the Tennessee River Trail and much of that trail has to do with the Civil War. We spent an hour at the Savannah Museum and it was very comprehensive and well done. Well worth a visit for anyone passing through. It is divided into prehistoric history and early Native American history. Both of which I skimmed through except to say that flat Tennessee was an alluvial plain and shells and fossils are only 15 to 30 feet deep in their soil. Also from Tennessee 450 Chickasaw families were rounded up and made to follow the infamous Trail of Tears to Oklahoma Territory along with 16,000 Cherokees.

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Along  the river, and nearby Savannah are some old Indian Mounds if you like archaeology. They are just mounds of earth but once resembled the photo above; ceremonial altars, honorable places for a chief to live.

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All river towns have a steamboat history which was pretty exciting. Savannah has a steamboat logo for the town stamped in the sidewalks and on every sign and letterhead.

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Joshua C. Stoddard invented the Calliope and every steamboat on the river had to have one. Made of from 8 to 56 graduated steam whistles the music could be heard for miles in every direction. Children squealed and screamed, dogs barked and grownups smiled and held their breath with excitement as all made a mad dash to the river to meet passengers, pick up their mail or goods.

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The graceful old paddle-wheelers like this one were made on the Ohio river. It is obvious from this museum that rivers were the major roads of the day, with danger, excitement, and goods  traded up and down the river.

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Steamboats came before train bridges. They carried trains across the river to the tracks on the opposite side. The displays explain the dangers and disasters that happened to them, hitting snags, or boiler fires, accidental rammings, and running aground on sandbars.DSC05166 (Copy)

A steamboat needed a compass, whistle and a list indicator. I don’t know why that amused me, it is so simple.

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And those speaking pipes we saw on the old movies with submarines?  They were first used on steamships. You can whisper down this tube and your partner can hear it on the upper or lower deck.

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Then there was war. The Iron Clads had six cannon per side and could guard the banks, deliver men and supplies to the battle. Many forts were built along rivers and the ships  played a vital role in the Civil War. Before the Iron Clads were built, regular steamers were outfitted with rail road iron three-quarters inch thick above the water line and special protection for her boilers.They were called Tinclads..

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On land, within 300 yards, cannon were very effective. They could shoot two rounds per minute and a station of six cannon could pour about 9,700 balls at the enemy in two minutes. The balls could mow down small trees and expose soldiers cover. The history of this area cannot be told without the horrors of the Civil War.

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A gruesome task made real.

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Bedford was a hero. (Click to enlarge)

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The City of Savannah has this to say about heroes posted on their war memorial near City Hall.

We visited City Hall, and drove by the River Park. More about that tomorrow.

After asking three people about where to enjoy good food, we got the same answer all three times:  The Hickory Pit for barbeque and Hakes for fish. Hakes wasn’t open on Tuesday and since chicken was served at “The Pit” we enjoyed a great lunch.

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Hickory smoked chicken and green fried tomatoes for me. Fried potato skins  served with REAL bacon,cheesse,  green onions and ranch dressing or sour cream and half a smoked chicken. Delicious. I asked was there a local specialty in the area. The waitress said no, but the menu was definitely a mine of specialties that may not seem special to her.

Deep fried dill pickles, green beans, mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, and corn nuggets. You can get chicky  and pig frys, which are french frys with pulled pork or chicken on top. And neon frys with cheese and meat on top. They offered nine different vegetables with okra, slaw and just about anything else you can think of.  And, the tomatoes and potato skins are nicely flavored, not over dependent on salt, home-made, delicious and all given with excellent service. Stop in and enjoy this very southern restaurant. (The southern accent is a bonus.)

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U. S. NATIONAL CEMETERY AND BATTLEFIELD AT SHILOH

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The visitors center for the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh is located near Savannah, Tennessee. We stopped there and saw a 45 minute, excellent film re-enactment of this important, strategic battle before venturing into the park. The U.S. National Military Cemetery is close to the Visitors Center.

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A sad but meaningful walk among those who gave all dots the landscape.

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It is a reminder that every state was involved in the Civil War when you see Iowa, Ohio, and Michigan on the tombstones.

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Markers like this, of the unidentified soldier outnumber those identified of the 3500 men buried here.

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Cannon balls and barrels mark this spot where once a huge tree sheltered General Grant.

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Positioned cannon are located and pointed in the direction of the battle. The battle ground covers an area of three miles and we drove from stop to stop.  There are many tombstones along the route that  indicate where the bodies fell. The Confederate bodies were buried in two mass graves.

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The visitors center has pictures of idealistic young men going off to stand for their country. The youngest soldier in this battle according to historians was 16. Most were aged 21 to 30. The youngest person in the battle was not a soldier.

10 year old Drummer

It is hard to believe this ten-year old boy served as a drummer and marched to war, most likely along with his father. Each regiment had a young drummer as part of the corp, most of them were 12 to 15 years old. Incomprehensible to me.

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Visiting the battlefield was meaningful after the film which explained the importance and the strategies both failed and successful of both sides. It re-enacts those people who witnessed, who wrote letters, who survived to tell the tale; and a sad tale of unimaginable carnage is told here. It also makes one remember the word unity that Lincoln spoke so eloquently about at the close of the war. Unfortunately, with his assassination, that unity did not come about and that same problem resonates to this day. History’s lessons are soon forgotten. If you travel along this major waterway, the Tennessee River, make Shiloh a place to stop and remember.

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