reflections of a pragmatic optimist, lover of freedom

Category: Honoring Our Veterans (Page 1 of 4)

Memorial Day

Photo of people gathering for our town’s Memorial Day ceremony. Attendance was good despite the rain. (If I’d taken another photo later you’d have seen many more umbrellas.)

gathering in the rain for Memorial Day ceremony

We were there with my son’s Cub Scout troop, which brought back memories of planting flags on soldiers’ graves at the Los Angeles National Cemetery in L.A. when I was a scout.

The bravery and sacrifice of those who risked and lost all for us humbles me as always. May we forever remember them with heartfelt gratitude, and strive ceaselessly to make ourselves worthy of the ultimate price they paid for our lives and liberty.

Plzeň Liberation Day

An amazing 70 years ago today, the Czech town of Plzeň was liberated by the United States Army.

Plzen, 1945

Thousands of residents, visitors, and veterans gathered to celebrate this anniversary with the Plzeň Liberation Festival (Slavnosti svobodi Plzeň), as they have since 1990 when recognition of the day was no longer outlawed. My thoughts have been with the surviving veterans and our true friends the Czechs, as they celebrated this extraordinary day of hope and freedom. Na zdraví!

Plzen Liberation Day

From České Noviny:

Crowds of locals today applauded the veterans who jointly laid wreaths and flowers to the memorial.

The veterans still regret that they had to stop on the demarcation line and could not continue eastwards to liberate Prague as well.

Veterans Salute at Plzen Liberation Day

My hat is off to these men, with the deepest admiration and gratitude for their tremendous courage and sacrifice.

Radio Praha:

Perhaps one of the most moving events of the week took place on Tuesday when around 300 Czech teenagers from local schools gathered in a city cultural centre to hear veterans from Plzeň’s liberation. Altogether there were around a dozen veterans, now mostly in their nineties, both from the US and Belgium. Their broad message was simple: ‘We helped to liberate this county 70 years ago. Now it is up to you to make sure you safeguard the liberty you now enjoy.’ At the end of the session many of the veterans and audience had tears in their eyes.

Don’t miss this photo essay from 2010, which I mentioned a few years ago — especially the story of Zdenka Sladkova, who has tended a memorial at a U.S. pilot’s crash site since 1945.

9/11, Twelve Years On

It’s hard to know what to add this year. Nothing feels all that surprising anymore — and yet, this year, the insanity in need of remark seems to be layered on as thick as ever.

Twelve years after a band of homicidal Jihadi scumbags flew aircraft full of people into buildings full of people, we’re on the verge of supporting al-Qaeda-linked “rebels” in Syria. (Yes, they really are that bad. No, really. Seriously. I’m not kidding.) We still don’t have answers or accountability regarding four Americans who, after repeatedly pleading with the State Department for increased security in preceding months and having their requests denied, were left to die in Benghazi a year ago today, when special forces who could have reached them were ordered to “stand down”. We were told the Benghazi attacks were a spontaneous uprising triggered by a YouTube video critical of Islam, only to learn that the attackers were well armed and had clearly planned and coordinated the attack — a fact that was known at the time, but not disclosed. Meanwhile, a “Million Muslim March” — whose purpose presumably includes asking Americans to exercise ever-greater cultural sensitivity — has been scheduled on the most culturally insensitive date I can imagine. If there’s any hope in all that’s happening on this twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it’s in the “2 Million Bikers to D.C.” ride that’s also happening today, and the fact that its attendance appears to outnumber the former event by something in the neighborhood of 880,000 to 21. Gotta love these guys (and gals). Bless their rugged, patriotic hearts.

In the chronicles of local ineptitude: a 9/11 memorial ceremony at New Jersey’s “Empty Sky” memorial (which I posted pictures of last year) was unceremoniously cancelled without the families who were to attend being notified. *sigh*

That’s all I’ve got for this year, for now at least. I may add more later. Most of what matters to me, I’ve already written about in previous years:

My Previous Years’ 9/11 Posts

2012: 9/11, Eleven Years On

2011: A Plea, Ten Years After: Please, Open Your Eyes ~ Ten Years Later: 9/11 Links

2010: 9/11: Two Songs

2009: Tomorrow is 9/11 ~ My Experience of September 11, 2001 ~ 9/11 Quotes

2008: 9/11, Seven Years On ~ 9/11, Seven Years On, Part 2 ~ 102 Minutes that Changed America

2007: 9/11, Six Years On

2006: Soon, Time Again to Reflect ~ 9/11 Observances ~ 9/11 Observances, Part 2

2005: I Remember

2004: Remembering and Rebuilding (republished here September 12th, 2014)

« Older posts

© 2005-2021 Troy N. Stephens

Theme based on “Hemingway” by Anders NorenUp ↑