The Walrus Says
“Tomorrow, Americans will be observing Veterans Day. Many workers and students will have a much-welcomed day off from the regular grind of their normal routines. Hopefully, most will reflect upon the true meaning of this holiday, and better yet, take some action – I’ll get to that later.
“But first, what exactly is Veterans Day, and what’s the difference between it and Memorial Day? The answer, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, is that Memorial Day is a day for remembering those who died in battle, or from sustaining battle wounds.
“Veterans Day, on the other hand, is a day set aside to thank all those who served honorably in the U.S. armed forces, particularly those who are still with us today. To put it simply, Memorial Day is one of remembrance, while Veterans Day is one of thanks.
“Of course, on both holidays, I’m sure we all think about those relatives and friends, present and past, who have served in our military, regardless of whether they died in battle or not. Maybe it’s because the holiday was established so long ago, at the end of World War I in fact, that Veterans Day sometimes appears to be an old-fashioned holiday of a bygone era. To me, however, Veterans Day is very much alive.
“My own personal thoughts tend to drift to two individuals who both served in World War II. One of them was involved in the Battle of the Bulge during the winter of 1944-45. Clint had several stories of his experiences as Hitler and the German army attempted a last-ditch effort at stopping the Allies. However, the thing I remember most from him is how wet and cold he was, nonstop, for six weeks straight. He painted a miserable picture in my mind, and yet I’m sure he would have done it all over again.
“Dwayne, a more reserved individual, doesn’t talk much about his experiences, but he has mentioned he was in Bavaria, Germany, when the allies won and the hostilities ended. By my calculations, that means he was pretty close to the fi- nal leadership remnants of the German high command. I’ll have to try to pry some more information from him when I next see him.
“As a military member myself, I’ve been fortunate enough to see many of the places where these two gentlemen fought. I was assigned to two different bases in Europe for the past six years, so I took full advantage of it and visited Normandy, France, and saw the forced landing sites of D-Day. I also saw much of Bavaria and several areas within the Ardennes forest, the site of the Battle of the Bulge.
“I’m sure you know people like Clint and Dwayne. With over 23 million veterans living in the United States today, chances are you know one, are related to one or maybe you are a veteran. Perhaps you knew somebody from the Great War itself, expected at that time to be the ‘war to end all wars.’ Or maybe you know or knew someone from the ‘greatest generation,’ as Tom Brokaw named them, the heroes who rose up from the Great Depression and defeated the Axis in World War II, such as Clint and Dwayne. Or maybe it’s somebody from Korea or Vietnam; or the first war with Iraq, Kosovo, or someone who has served or is presently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Regardless of who it is, I have a simple action I’d like you to consider: say ‘thanks.’
“You already know that I am a military member. My family and I just arrived in Jamestown this past September. We are temporary residents, just passing through while I complete some required military education at the Naval War College in Newport. What struck me immediately upon my arrival is that this community is especially appreciative of its military members. Wherever we go on the island, from the schools to the restaurants to the grocery store and the gas stations, we always receive a warm welcome. Our family is not the only one who has noticed it. There are numerous military families on Conanicut Island, and I hear the same sentiment from all of them – there is something special about Jamestown. I appreciate and am frankly quite humbled by the many people who have thanked me for my military service.
“Of course, it’s easy to spot me in my uniform. But what about all those who have hung up the uniform and are now co-workers, business owners, teachers, police and firemen? Would you please say ‘thank you’ to them tomorrow? I promise you I’ll contact Dwayne and give him a hearty ‘thanks.’ Unfortunately, Clint is no longer with us, but I’m still thinking about him, regardless of whether it is Veterans Day or Memorial Day. Thank you.”
Dewey resides here with his wife, Jane, and three children: Emma, 13, James, 11, and Sadie, 7. The children attend the Jamestown School.
Following are armed forces posers from B.J. for Veterans Day. Identify the songs and branches of service:
1. “In many a strife we’ve fought for life
And never lost our nerve.”
2. “Faith in God, then we’re right,
And we’ll fight with all our might …”
3. “From Aztec shore to Arctic zone,
To Europe and Far East.”
4. “Faith, courage, service true with honor over, honor over all.”
5. “If you’d live to be a greyhaired wonder …”
So what’s it like being in a play with your dad? Hayley Carlisle, who has the title role in Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” thinks it’s hilarious. Her dad, Clayton Carlisle, plays the king in the Jamestown Community Theatre’s production that opens Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Recreation Center. “While waiting for his scenes, he watches my scenes. That’s pretty weird. It’s fun doing the play together; he has some funny lines. He’s doing great.”
Hayley is 13 and an eighth grader at La Salle Academy. She also appeared in the JCT’s “Little Women.” She says her character in this play is sweet and mild in the beginning, but when she returns from the ball she gets bolder. At first she is naive but then she starts to believe in herself.
Hayley says it’s fun working with the entire cast. “We feed off each other’s energy.” She also has praise for artistic director Mary Wright. “She is an amazing director. Without her we wouldn’t have this play. Mary believes in the cast and that we can put on the production and everything will work out okay.”
Other performances are Sunday at 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 19, and Saturday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 21, at 4 p.m.
Notes from the wings:
There will be surprise cast members, well-known islanders, appearing each night in the play.
Talk about type casting. Attorney Debra Vierra Murphy plays a court jester.
Break a leg!
Cheryl Fernstrom was the only reply to last week’s poser. She wrote, “The words are from the song ‘Earth Angel’ sung by The Penquins in 1954. You may remember hearing it in the movie ‘Back to the Future,’ which is being commemorated on its 25th anniversary.”
*** Be true!
Call in your stuff to 829-2760 or 423-0383, or e-mail us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com. Thank you.