Posts Tagged With: WWII



Murphys has a beautiful Veterans Park. The Ceremony to honor our veterans began at noon, the sun overhead, it was very difficult to get good photos and I must confess that I’d never been to the park before yesterday. I would see it go together, piece by piece in the newspaper on fleeting trips off the road. I’d estimate a crowd of about 2oo people were in attendance.


You can see my shadow as I tried to get a picture of the base of the flag pole. A local scout group raised the flag. The day became quite warm.


Our district Supervisor Oliviera spoke with these World War II vets, one who flew 93 missions over Germany, another who was part of the occupation forces in Japan. We are lucky there are WWII Vets left in our area to tell their stories. They had every branch of the service represented.

I was able to take five pictures and my battery went dead in my camera.

Jim took this picture of me looking for some of my husband’s friends, Norman Tanner, Leroy Parades was another. Dan Darby.


The whole community was involved, with our local community band, playing and singing the theme songs of every branch of service. It was so well done, it brought tears to my eyes at several points.

Jenifer Berry’s class of students read papers they wrote about appreciating veterans. They all had relatives that were veterans. Jim and I have seen veterans celebrations on the road, but none as thorough and comprehensive as this one. Murphys is one great place to live.


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On Friday, Karen and I took Paul Moeller to see a movie, UNBROKEN, after the book by Laura Hillenbrand. I became familiar with the story of Louis Zamperini’s amazing life when my cousin Gary, from Chatsworth, met Zamperini, signing books in a book store. He said “…at age 94 the guy exuded energy and moved around like he was a young man.” He died July 2, 2014 at 97.

DSC06055 (Copy)I rarely go to movies, but I knew if I didn’t take time-out and go on the last day it showed in nearby Angels Camp, I’d probably never see it on the “big screen”.

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Paul is a similar character in ways. He can no longer drive, he’s had several strokes, he is impaired but he continues to haul wood, paint the deck, travel to Germany alone, since his wife died, whatever it takes to carry on. His attitude is always, positive, can do.

But fortitude beyond measure embodied Zamperini. It is the story of a kid who fought to grow up when attitudes against “Wops” , or any immigrant, was ugly. His hero brother encouraged him to get revenge by being successful. He did that by becoming a track star at his high school and going on to medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He enlisted in 1941 and showed himself, his fellow prisoners and through Hillenbrand’s book, the world, about enduring unspeakable torture. His is not only a story of torture, but survival, resilience, and redemption.

Hillenbrand felt she had to do justice to his and his fellow POW’s most searing memories. After the war, he drank, he was full of rage, shame and suffered flashbacks and constant nightmares. And, once again, he persevered, changed his life and became a virtuoso of optimism. He quit drinking, repaired his marriage and his life and went on to open a boys camp and become an inspiration to others. Hellenbrand got thousands of letters and emails from people saying the same thing. ‘I never understood my father, my husband or grandfather, what they went through. Why he was in so much pain, why he drank.’

Understanding and forgiveness heal. He wanted his suffering to be meaningful, and it was. The movie was about his survival and torture, and it was great to see it acted out, but read the book for the full story.

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We left Murphys and spent the night at Thousand Trails Lake Minden, just north of Sacramento in the small town of Nicolaus. What a pleasant place. A cooling breeze across the lake and a green, private parking place. We listened to a chorus of bull frogs at night and slept like babies. It got cool enough to add a blanket, and then, and then we walked the lake in the morning, hit the road and arrived at the Redding Moose Club. Its 93 degrees outside and there is no shade here. What happened? The weather wimp is complaining big time.
Plus a relay switch keeps popping off giving us fits and starts on the water pump and the whole 12 volt system we use when boondocking.

The saving grace here is the friendly people you meet at Moose Lodge #1006.  Molly Smith has taken up the nearly lost art of tatting, something I tried  years ago and at which I failed. She showed me the basic steps and gave me some hints for practicing before starting a major project.

This piece is beautiful and will be a snowflake Christmas ornament when finished.

Her husband, Mark Smith is hoping to be the first Senator of the State of Jefferson. I’ve know about Jefferson, and heard the story before, but I didn’t know that the Redding Moose Club falls within the boundaries of the State of Jefferson.
Jefferson is roughly 100,000 square miles and uses up part of California, Nevada and Oregon. All of the work for forming this state was done years ago. The various counties involved signed and voted for it; the bill for establishing Jefferson got to the floor of Congress and was set to be voted upon December 8, 1941. It took an immediate back seat when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.
But around Jefferson, hope never dies. You can read why on their website:

And here is a map from Wikkipedia showing the territory involved. If it had passed, the State of Jefferson.
would have been our 49th state.
We also found a couple who represent a different kind of road warriors. They,like us were at a shopping mall. Unlike us, rolling on wheels, they have a back pack and walk it.

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Home is busy time, and once again I enjoy looking back at favorite places. The small town of Franklin, Louisiana was one of those. Not only did we find friendly people there, but much that was unique about it. It has moss covered trees with old antibellum mansions, but its more than that. Its modern and up-to-date, yet ageless, with great history…well, lets let the pictures speak.

A fancy building facade from 1892.

A modern clock hangs off the side of a Main St. building.

Decorative curbside lighting allows theater patrons to disembark their cars at night without stumbling on the curb.

Old time wrought iron graces this building.

The tires, the tires! Amazing tires. Not junk. It tells of an agricultural presence.

I wonder who stacked these babies.

Their old jail had windows, with bars on them, but at least a view.

A nifty museum chock full of interesting stuff. I liked the doily and old silver jewelry.

And giant wooden gears from old machinery.

Mardi Gras costumes hide out in every little town in Louisiana.

LeJeune’s is still in operation and is on the National Historic Registry. If the light is on, they still have bread available. We got there in time.

Maybe not a popular thing everywhere, but they kind of revere their Confederate past.

Citizens here knew two wars. I got a kick out of the “friendly behavior.”  I guess a prisoner of war camp in the U.S. was preferred to starving in Germany.

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In war, ordinary men become heroes. To give your life for your country, to put yourself in harms way for others, is heroic.
We find ourselves in Fredricksburg, Texas where one of the best WWII Museums in the U.S. surrounds the accomplishments of Admiral Nimitz who was born here. He was a modest man, from a small community who gave up his high school education to study for entrance into Annapolis. He rose to great heights in the Navy and was admired by his peers and the enlisted men as well. He was against the bomb; he always wanted peace before killing.
He refused lucrative jobs after his retirement from the Navy and chose to serve his country in other ways. Alameda County, CA has a freeway named for him and I always wondered about this man’s accomplishments. Now I know.
This unusual looking building was the Nimitz family hotel that is now part of the National WWII Museum complex. This is a thorough and excellent presentation of his career and the war. He was raised here by his mother and grandparents. His father died when he was 5 months old. It takes about 5 hours to get through the exhibits in the 33,000 square foot complex.
Early in his career, midshipmen Nimitz met Heihachiro Togo and was very impressed with the Japanese leader. In the end, he was part of the surrender group and signed the papers with the Japanese on behalf of the United States.
In the Presidents Plaza, I couldn’t help but admire Dwight Eisenhower’s statement about war: “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its stupidity.” It is an ugly truth that the past indicates war is a constant among tribes, communities and nations and always will be.
Nimitz instructed that all men who served under him and gave their lives for us be remembered on this memory wall. It is in reality many walls that stretch for a block. It also encloses a peace garden built by the Japanese after the war.
The town is historic and quaint with many wonderful old buildings and shops. We found people here friendly and fun. Today we expect to taste some authentic, old style German food at Lindenbaums.
They have a brewpub here where I got to sip my favorite porter while Jim tasted that weak looking little glass of “horse piss.” Well, not everyone is perfect.
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Today is a travel day, heading north for Kanchanaburi through lush river country. Our goal the famous bridge over the River Kwai. But, traveling with OAT (Overseas Adventure Travel) is so much more. Panu points out the salt flats, where ocean water is piped into clay pads. Salt is made only in summer. With the intense hot sun, ten inches of water can evaporate in one day. The farmer uses the salt for pit toilets, house use, preservative and to put in the soil to sweeten the mangosteens and coconuts. When the rains come, the same flats are used to raise fish and shrimp. They produce fish sauce for sale. Thais have used windmills for years to pump water and are now experimenting with wind power.
Panu stops at a fruit stand and buys for our tasting pleasure, Longan, Mangosteen, Pomelos, lychee, and tangerines.
Our second stop is this amazing woodcarving company that ships beautiful pieces all over the world. Oh, how I wanted the bench above with its bird arm rest and pheasant back piece. Gorgeous. The pieces are drawn on paper and deeply chiseled to produce a dimensional work of art. The piece is drawn on a paper and pasted to the wood. The carver below is nearly finished.
Next stop a coconut processing plant. Its a family affair, not for export. People in the region produce for their own use and barter with neighbors. Transportation was made easy by the canals built by the king before good roads were built.

It was absolutely fascinating to realize this wok is boiling coconut milk into a syrup using the coconut shells to fuel the stove. The foaming sugar boils up but instead of boiling over onto the stove, it seeps through the bamboo slats and drips back down into the wok again. So clever.
This photo shows ground coconut meat fried until it releases its oil. Then the oil floats and is separated. A tool called a rabbit is used to remove the fresh meat from the shell easily. We tasted, fresh, juicy and delicious. I learned that coconut milk is plentiful in a green coconut. When the coconut ripens, the meat gets thick and is taken for oil and food. This family allowed us to traipse through their house and see how a typical,middle class Thai farm house looks inside. People here live simply and spend much time out of doors. Can you imagine us allowing 10 people to roam through our houses?

Our next stop was the floating market, kind of carnival in atmosphere. This farmer augments his income by bringing his elephant to town. People pay him to have their picture taken with the elephant. It is against the law to have an elephant in town, but in this country place, the people seem to ignore the law. Most Thais have no refrigeration, or traditionally had no refrigeration and they bought their daily food fresh from the market. Everything transpires here on the canal. Goods brought to town from outlying farms, they cook on the boats, eat, sleep and socialize. At one time they threw all their garbage in the canal. The king beseeched them not to do that and a market place on land as well as on the canal developed. Toilets and washing places and garbage containers helped take the stink away and what is left is a fascinating, wonderful place.

This woman is cooking and arranging her wares on banana leaves.
Fruits and flowers of all types are available as well as dry goods like hats and pots and tools. In recent years, souveniers as well.

When your shopping is done you can sit in the Gossip Cafe for a sip and a treat.
Or, have your picture taken with a snake.
We finally reach Kanchanaburi. Above is one of the original Japanese steam engines used on the rail over the River Kwai.

At lunch, we view the new Bridge over the river Kwai. We walked the bridge and could see a small remnant of the original bamboo bridge that was blown up by the Brits.
Later we visit the War Museum and War cemetery with graphic pictures of the Allied POWs and the Asian conscripts forced to work themselves to death on the infamous railway.

200,000 Asian laborers and 61,000 Allied POWs built a 260 mile stretch of rail in abominable conditions. For every half-mile of track, 38 POWs died, 700 Americans, 13,000 Aussies, 18,000 Dutch, 30,000 Brits. If a prinsoner had no solid feces, they were made to catch 2000 flies a day before they died. They actually counted the flies.

The Chinese cemetery.
Flat Stanly managed to hook a ride on a wooden elephant at the market before we got to our hotel and dinner.
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