2007-11-08 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

Veterans Day is coming up on Sunday. But, what is it all about?

We asked islander Tom Bailey, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, if he would give us his thoughts on the holiday. Here is his reply:

"Several years ago, on a cold, rainy November morning in France, Veterans Day took on new meaning for me. All across the countryside, antiquated trenches were still visible, like scars marring the muddy earth. Large sections of each village cemetery paid silent tribute to the generation lost in the "War to End all Wars" that had ended 73 years before. As I stood wet and shivering on the broken, twisted, and rusting ruins of the fortress at Verdun at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of that month, I gained a better appreciation for the physical hardships veterans of past wars endured and the extent of the sacrifice a nation must sometimes make in response to aggression.

"On another crisp, clear autumn day, I stood among a field of white monuments, gleaming against the still green grass in Luxembourg. On that sacred ground, General George S. Patton and more than five thousand other veterans of DDay and the Battle of the Bulge were laid to rest. While the initial attack that plunged us into that World War killed fewer than three thousand, millions would eventually leave their homes, families and the tranquility of America to fight for freedom around the globe. Those veterans that returned home victorious have lived to share with us the fruits of the better world they created. Those that never returned continue their service to humanity in places like that one, as constant reminders of the high cost of the freedom and benefits much of the world enjoy.

"In years since, I have commemorated Veterans Day several times in our nation's capitol. On each pilgrimage to the smooth black wall of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, I saw veterans weep over their fallen comrades, touch the name of a lost friend, and toast the living who returned with them from that war, changed by the experience but still cognizant of the good that has come from their generation's sacrifice. Fewer veterans can be found at the World War II and Korean War Memorials, but members of those great generations are there too, among the many visitors to the memorials of "their" wars-shrines that pay homage to the men and women who answered the call in their times to respond to aggression and serve in the defense of others.

"At Arlington Cemetery, where generations of men and women who have served America through peace and war since the Civil War are interred, I've seen Presidents honor our veterans, living and dead, with speeches and ceremony. There, if only too briefly, the partisanship and politics of Washington are set aside, and all Americans are united in respect and reverence for the men and women who have proudly worn the varied uniforms of our Armed Forces and especially for those who have been buried in them.

"America's veterans are anonymous heroes who represent many generations and backgrounds. They fought on many continents; in jungles and deserts, on beaches and mountains. They patrolled on and under the seas, and secured the skies and space above. Regardless of how or where they served, our veterans answered their nation's call with honor, integrity and determination. In conflicts hot and cold around the world, they have won the priceless gift of liberty for millions. However, all of our nation's wars- from the Revolution that gave us our independence to today's war against a new kind of tyranny- have been accompanied by great divisions in our society. In the midst of this turmoil, our veterans have consistently risen above the political fray and remained true to their oaths to support and defend a set of higher ideals that are embodied today in our Constitution. We remember them as selfless patriots who helped shape America's history (and the world's) and set a new standard of idealism and courage for all to see. For their bravery and sacrifice, they deserve the deep respect and admiration of a grateful nation.

"The members of America's Armed Forces today share in this proud tradition. All of us who serve have volunteered to put service before self in order to defend the nation we love and promote the ideals upon which our nation was founded. Through our efforts, we hope to add to the storied legacy of the minutemen and doughboys by advancing the cause of freedom around the world and laying the foundation for a more peaceful tomorrow. The current war may not be a popular one, but today's soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen are performing their assigned missions admirably and making real progress. We can all be proud of what they have done to free millions from oppression and plant the seeds of liberty and peace in a region of the world where those blessings are rare indeed.

"Today, there are 24 million veterans living among us, in every state and territory and from every walk of life. As this Veterans Day approaches, I urge you to take a moment or two to remember the brave service members of our present and past. America's veterans have helped us grow stronger as a nation and made the world a better place. We should be forever grateful for their courage, devotion to duty and, above all, love of our great country and the freedom it represents."

(Tom resides here with his wife, Julie, and children- Colleen, a junior at NKHS, and Danny, an eighth grader at the Jamestown school. He is on the faculty of the Naval War College where he teaches Strategy on Policy. He will be promoted to colonel on Dec. 1).

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The Jamestown Community Piano Group will sponsor a recital of "Rising Stars" at 4 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. University of Rhode Island piano students of Manabu Takasawa and Grace Urrico will perform on the community piano.

Janet Grant, a member of the piano group, said that Dr. Takasawa, associate Professor of Music at URI, has performed here several times in the past few years. "Now is a chance to hear some of his students, one of whom is Adam Salisbury, the grandson of Jamestowner Donald Richardson," she said.

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And, on the night before, Nov. 17, at St. Matthew's, a rare event may very well occur.

Jamestown school eighth graders may turn the tables and serve dinner to their parents.

It will be the first in a series of fund-raisers to enable the eighth grade to travel to Washington, D.C. in June.

Sue Fay said that all dinners are $30 each and only 120 tickets are available. Menu choices are prime rib, chicken or vegetarian lasagne plus salad, rolls, baked potato, vegetable and dessert.

There will be two sittings of 60 people each, 5 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased from Sue, 423-3027, or Liz Perez, 423- 2641.

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The Providence Country Day varsity girls' tennis team swept the Rhode Island Interscholastic League Division IV championship against Middletown, 7-0. Islander Lisa Brendlinger played second singles and was undefeated for the entire season.

Bravo, Lisa!

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I've got a lovely bunch of................

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The Jamestown Community Theatre's "Into the Woods" opens tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at the Jamestown Community Center. Tickets are available at the door.

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When you go shopping for winter clothes for the family, don't forget Biff says Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic in his Pet Tip of the Week.

"Although most dogs are covered in a good layer of fur, some of the smaller, short-haired dogs may still get cold very easily and may benefit from wearing a doggie sweater or jacket when they have to go out this fall and winter. "Look for doggie clothing that is appropriately sized and not too baggy. If your pet is not used to wearing clothes, it may take time for him to accept wearing the outfit. Start by just letting him sniff at the clothes or maybe rubbing it on hisfur to pick up their scent.

"When you do first put the pet sweater on your dog, reward him with praise, treats, and keep him distracted with play or by going on a walk so he learns to ignore the sweater for longer and longer periods of time. And don't leave him unattended with his clothes on because he may try to get out of the outfit and get snagged or stuck as he wiggles about."

WOOF! Brrrrrrrr!

*** What was The Fighting Lady?

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Did you wonder what the students were doing aboard the R.V. Eastern Surveyor pictured on the front page of last week's Press.

Surrounded by the latest of today's electronic gear, the students were determining the speed of the vessel the old fashioned way, with a "chip log."

Going back hundreds of years the chip log (known later as the mariners' speedometer) was one of the early tools for navigating the oceans.

The log being used aboard the research vessel was the creation of islander Vic Richardson. The 83-year-old acquired 1,000 feet of 1/8-inch line on a reel, attached a leader and added markers, or knots, every 50 feet. Hence the nautical term "knots" rather than miles. With a stop at Toys' R Us, Vic was able to put together two Coke bottles to be used as a timer. The sand for the timer was purchased from a model shop. The chip itself is 1/4- inch plywood, shaped like a piece of pie. Determining the length of time between the markers gives the speed of the ship.

Vic was invited aboard the vessel, that was going out that day searching for a sunken crane, by Ocean Engineering.

"If I hadn't been invited I never would have had the chance to try out the chip log," he said.

Incidently, the vesssel's electronic speed indicator verified the accuracy of Vic's handiwork.

KUDOS!, Vic!

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Professionals from "Wood Boat and Motor" will take you on an informative largemouth bass fishing trip on Saturday morning's edition of "Kettlebottom Outdoor Pursuits," on Cox 3 at 10:30 a.m.

Capt. Ralph Perna then hosts Todd Mannarino and John Longo on a bluefish and fluke fishing trip. The Pernas then whip up some bluefish "pesce e patate," guaranteed to change your mind about whether or not to keep those pesky fighters.

The program is produced by Robb Roche's Kettlebottom Outfitters."

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Sunday is Veterans Day. Join the ceremonies at East Ferry at 11 a.m.

*** Be true!

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Call in your stuff for this column to 423-0383 or 829-2760. Send e-mails to jtnwalrus@hotmail. com, or drop your items off at the Jamestown Press office.

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