Wednesday, November 19, 2008
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Monday, October 27, 2008
A peaceful demonstrator protesting the war in Vietnam displays his sign at the main gate of the station, 02/11/1971.
Photograph courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.
1. On Parade
This is how we shall parade.
Leftwards, the Opposition to Apartheid,
Glorious veterans of Halt All Racist Tours.
Three rows. Please. Keep in line.
You are each allowed a piece of fruit.
No coffee, tea or Coke. Otherwise you may have to pee.
Rightwards, the Protest Battalions Against Vietnam.
Please keep with your collective.
Those of you who fellow-travelled with the Reds
Have a special pink-enamel button you can wear.
No. You do not get a second line.
It does not matter what you thought that you would get.
Everyone can have sandwiches. Stop complaining.
Yes. You can eat at any time.
No. No hand-wrought signs and banners.
You have to have the proper printed ones.
Swearing at me doesn’t help. I don’t get paid for this.
Yes. The fruit is an orange.
The Central Committee wants to keep it all symbolic.
The order of the service is on the printed cards.
No yelling is allowed. The lead protestors in the green hats
Will signal when to chant. Remember this is reconciliation day.
No-one will call out pigs when the cops file past.
Likewise the Vietnam Vets. No baby-killers or spitting.
In the centre please the feminists. No. Heroic Gays
Will be at the back. Remember the Central Comm decision
That only the long Aids quilt can be paraded.
Not the square one.
And it cannot be raised above the shoulder height.
Yes. You can wear the condom medals.
Now, women, please remember, you can link arms
But rocking side to side is not allowed;
At least until we picnic in the park.
There are spare oranges if you lose the one you have.
2. Brown, David Samuel
David Samuel Brown, Lance-Corporal, Infantry,
Died twenty-seven times on June the fifth, nineteen-seventy-one,
At Duc Thoi.
Each death a bullet taken from his body.
His mum kept all his medals wrapped in a wrinkled envelope
Marked “Army,” inside a re-used Woolworth’s plastic shopping bag.
Junee her niece, she gave them to the Sallies when the old dear died;
Still inside the stained oak sideboard bought back in nineteen forty-one.
Some collector from the US bought them for a song.
Boy, did he ever think himself the lucky one!
Duc Thoi wasn’t even in the deep green.
Titch Kilroy was properly fucked off, as I recall.
The Cong had cut her throat an hour before.
“Nice kid like that.” He said. “Bloody shame. Shouldn’t happen.”
Her earring fell off because her head was wobbling around so much
When we shoved in her in the body-bag.
It was a sad end alright for a pretty teacher’s wife.
For him, they’d had more time and disembowelled him up against a Tree. Must have known we were coming.
Titch started off with Jimmy Sharman’s boxing troupe.
Fourteen years old he was; a hard little bastard.
But good-hearted though. The old gins in the pubs just loved him.
Fucked him all around the back-blocks, so the story goes.
They say he kept the earring till he tracked him down.
That’s the way with boongs, so they say.
The buggers just never will forget.
He caught up with him, at least that’s what I heard, and cut
His head right off; stuck it on a stick, so they say.
With the earring nicely hooked into his ear.
I only saw him once back home in Oz,
In the Hasty-Tasty at the Cross.
The bouncer had him down;
“Hey digger!” Titch sung out. “Could use some fucking help down here.”
Jacko Lubeski the big Serb kid from Parramatta
Punched the bastard in the neck.
Christ! I thought, he’s killed the fucking sod.
Nah. He just got up and shook his head.
But all of us was off, ran up the road like robber’s dogs.
“Good on yer mate!” Yelled Titch.
Robert William Gauldie publishes in the science literature as R. W. Gauldie and in the business literature as Bob Gauldie.
He has been married for 39 years to his wife Gail and they have three adult children.
His website: Robert.Gauldie.com
Poems copyright 2008, Robert Gauldie
Posted with permission of author.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
It's over now so who, I wonder, is going to count
------the arms, eyes, toes and almost bodies?
------Who's going to plant flowers this year
------to grow in the craters like little
isn't too busy finding the members of his family
------(and will try to bury them as one)
------The tall defenders are going home.
Goodbye, Big Brother. We will wave goodbye
to you, smiling our thanks for your help
------as we sweat and bend,
------stooping with our little baskets, picking
up the remains of our dead.
------Disturbing not the victor who
is totaling the sum of broken,
destroyed and dead bodies, bled
of all fluids, white and cold like
clay---.---infected---.---at the sores
with necrophiliac worms, bacteria.
War is not half so bad, me buckos,
------as is the counting of the winnings.
Slaughter Your Dog-faced Sisters
Slaughter your dog-faced sisters,
-----shred viscera and slice livers.
Sickening yellow lymphous over under leaves,
-----soak the soil with intestine juice.
Rid earth of them forever.
-----You are the zealous, but you're right;
-----your ways must prevail.
Butcher the human flesh
as though swine hung dangling on silver chains
in speckled abatoirs.
-----Your ways must prevail.
-----A threat to freedom cannot be
Rid the earth of them forever. And that leaves us
Woodstock: "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die," Country Joe, 1969
-----My ears have ached
-----with the thundering of bombs
-----& lifting, falling buildings,
-----the screeching of the rockets
-----& the instant flash.
-----My brain has rocked
-----with the explosions of war
-----& the howling
-----of the torn and maimed,
-----but the loudest sound
-----is the silence following
I Saw the Lonesome Soldier
-----I saw the lonesome soldier
-----coming home from war at last,
----------to his luscious-green and
---------------(however humble) home
-----from war at last, to his boyhood dreams
----------and Mom & Pop. Home to
----------Alice down the street.
----------He was dressed in greenwood
-----with 10 Penny cufflinks
-----and when I saw him,
-----being lowered off the Santa Fe freight,
I thought he was a box of radio component parts.
From: Evolving: Poems 1965-2005, by Gary B. Fitzgerald, Copyright 2005.
Posted with permission from author.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The following documentary depicts (in graphic detail) how the impact of the A-Bomb looked and felt to the citizens of Hiroshima.
This documentary offers a mix of real footage, re-enactment, and interviews with survivors and Pilot Colonel Paul Tibbets and Co-Pilot Captain Robert A. Lewis, the men who flew the Enola Gay and dropped the bomb, code name "Little Boy."
Not for the feint of heart.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Perhaps this is normal during wartime.
I hope this article is read far and wide. My heart is with this man's family.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
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Thursday, July 17, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Ernest Taylor Pyle (August 3, 1900 – April 18, 1945) was an American journalist who wrote as a roving correspondent for the Scripps Howard newspaper chain from 1935 until his death in combat during World War II. His articles, about the out-of-the-way places he visited and the people who lived there, were written in a folksy style much like a personal letter to a friend. He enjoyed a loyal following in as many as 300 newspapers.
In James Tobin's biography Ernie Pyle's War, the following excerpt "And So it is Over" describes the scene after Pyle, a popular war correspondent, was killed by a Japanese machine-gun bullet on Ie Shima:
APRIL 18, 1945
Ernie Pyle's body lay alone for a long time in the ditch at the side of the road. Men waited at a safe distance, looking for a chance to pull the body away. But the machine gunner, still hidden in the coral ridge, sprayed the area whenever anyone moved. The sun climbed high over the little Pacific island. Finally, after four hours, a combat photographer crawled out along the road, pushing his heavy Speed Graphic camera ahead of him. Reaching the body, he held up the camera and snapped the shutter.
(Army photographer: Alexander Roberts)
The lens captured a face at rest. The only sign of violence was a thin stream of blood running down the left cheek. Otherwise he might have been sleeping. His appearance was what people in the 1930s and '40s called "common." He had often been described as the quintessential "little guy," but he was not unusually short. In fact, at five feet eight inches, his frame precisely matched the average height of the millions of American soldiers serving in the U.S. Army. It was his build that provoked constant references to his size -- a build that once was compared accurately to the shape of a sword. His silver identification bracelet, inscribed "Ernie Pyle, War Correspondent," could have fit the wrist of a child. The face too was very thin, with skin "the color and texture of sand." Under the combat helmet, a wrinkled forehead sloped into a long, bald skull fringed by sandy-red hair gone gray. The nose dipped low. The teeth went off at odd angles. Upon meeting Pyle a few months earlier, the playwright Arthur Miller had thought "he might have been the nightwatchman at a deserted track crossing." In death his hands were crossed at the waist, still holding the cloth fatigue cap he had worn through battles in North Africa, Italy, France, and now here in the far western Pacific, a few hundred miles from Japan.
A moment later the regimental chaplain and four non-commissioned officers crawled up with a cloth litter. They pulled the body out of the machine gunner's line of fire and lifted it into an open truck, then drove the quarter-mile back to the command post on the beach. An Associated Press man was there. He already had sent the first bulletin:
COMMAND POST, IE SHIMA April 18, (AP) -- Ernie Pyle, war correspondent beloved by his co-workers, G.I.s and generals alike, was killed by a Japanese machine-gun bullet through his left temple this morning.
The bulletin went via radio to a ship nearby, then to the United States and on to Europe. Radio picked it up. Reporters rushed to gather comment. In Germany General Omar Bradley heard the news and could not speak. In Italy General Mark Clark said, "He helped our soldiers to victory." Bill Mauldin, the young soldier-cartoonist whose warworn G.I.'s matched the pictures Pyle had drawn with words, said, "The only difference between Ernie's death and that of any other good guy is that the other guy is mourned by his company. Ernie is mourned by the Army." At the White House, still in mourning only six days after the death of Franklin Roosevelt, President Harry Truman said, "The nation is quickly saddened again by the death of Ernie Pyle."
One of Pyle's editors at the Scripps-Howard newspapers, George Parker, spoke on the radio. "He went into war as a newspaper correspondent among many correspondents," Parker said. "He came back a figure as great as the greatest -- as Eisenhower or MacArthur or Nimitz." Parker spoke of "that strange and almost inexplainably intimate way" in which Pyle's readers had known him. Indeed, people called newspaper offices all day to be sure Ernie Pyle was really dead. He had seemed so alive to them. Americans in great numbers had shared his life all through the war -- his energy and exhaustion; his giddy enjoyments and attacks of nerves; his exhilarations and fears. Through Pyle's eyes they had watched their "boys" go to distant wars and become soldiers -- green and eager at the start, haggard and worn at the end. Through his eyes they had glimpsed great vistas of battle at sea and they had stared into the faces of men in a French field who thought they were about to die. So no one thought it strange for President Truman to equate the deaths of Franklin Roosevelt and a newspaper reporter. For Pyle had become far more than an ordinary reporter, more even than the most popular journalist of his generation. He was America's eyewitness to the twentieth century's supreme ordeal.
The job of sorting and shipping Pyle's personal effects fell to Edwin Waltz, a personable and efficient Navy man who had been working as the correspondent's personal secretary at Pacific Fleet headquarters at Guam. There wasn't much to go through -- a few clothes and toilet articles; books; receipts; some snapshots and letters. Here was Pyle's passport, stamped with the names of places he had passed through on his journeys to war -- Belfast and London; Casablanca and Algiers; and on the last page, "Pacific Area." Waltz also found a little pocket notebook filled with cryptic jottings in a curlecue script -- notes Pyle had made during his last weeks in France in 1944.
9 killed & 10 wounded out of 33 from D-Day to July 25 ...
... drove beyond lines ... saw orange flame & smoke -- shell hit hood -- wrecked jeep -- dug hole...with hands -- our shells & their firing terrible-being alone was worst...
Blowing holes to bury cows -- stench everywhere.
Waltz also found a handwritten draft of a newspaper column. Knowing the war in Europe could end any day, Pyle had collected his thoughts on two sheets of paper, then marked up the sentences with arrows and crossings out and rewordings.
"And so it is over," the draft began. "The catastrophe on one side of the world has run its course. The day that had so long seemed would never come has come at last." He was writing this in waters near Japan, he said, "but my heart is still in Europe...For the companionship of two and a half years of death and misery is a spouse that tolerates no divorce." He hoped Americans would celebrate the victory in Europe with a sense of relief rather than elation, for in the joyousness of high spirits it is easy for us to forget the dead.
...there are so many of the living who have burned into their brains forever the unnatural sight of cold dead men scattered over the hillsides and in the ditches along the high rows of hedge throughout the world. Dead men by mass production -- in one country after another -- month after month and year after year. Dead men in winter and dead men in summer. Dead men in such familiar promiscuity that they become monotonous. Dead men in such monstrous infinity that you come almost to hate them. Those are the things that you at home need not even try to understand. To you at home they are columns of figures, or he is a near one who went away and just didn't come back. You didn't see him lying so grotesque and pasty beside the gravel road in France. We saw him. Saw him by the multiple thousands. That's the difference.
For unknown reasons Scripps-Howard's editors chose not to release the column draft, though V-E Day followed Ernie's death by just three weeks. Perhaps they guessed it would have puzzled his readers, even hurt them. Certainly it was a darker valedictory than they would have expected from him. The war had been a harsh mistress to Ernie. First it had offered him the means of escaping personal despair. Then, while his star rose to public heights he had never imagined, the war had slowly driven him downward again into "flat black depression." But he kept this mostly to himself. Instead he had offered readers a way of seeing the war that skirted despair and stopped short of horror. His published version of World War II had become the nation's version. And if Ernie Pyle himself had not won the war, America's mental picture of the soldiers who had won it was largely Pyle's creation. He and his grimy G.I's, frightened but enduring, had become the heroic symbols of what the soldiers and their children would remember as "the Good War."
Copyright © 1997 by James Tobin (Review of Ernie Pyle's War)
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
When I first saw this extraordinary image, I stopped in my tracks; I was immediately drawn to the picture of a young man just taking a nap--a very ordinary activity for a 20-something man.
Yet the circumstances are anything but ordinary; Jeremy, using an old tire for his pillow, is snoozing. I remember my own son Eric, years ago, flopping on the sofa to grab a few winks, but he did it in the comfort of our home, not in a war zone.
Fifteen years ago, Jeremy may have been napping with a teddy bear. Certainly that rifle across his chest represents, in a war zone, a sense of security.
I have never met Jeremy, but according to Deb, Jeremy is proud to be serving our country and has no regrets about joining the Army and being stationed in Iraq.
Drop Jeremy a line and let him know how much you appreciate his putting his future on hold for you and our country:
PFC Hoel, Jeremy
377 Trans Co
2nd Platoon Camp Taji, IRAQ
APO AE 09378
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
From conniving tongues, lies were flung
to pave the way for war.
Little boys were sent to fight
to return again no more.
He used a country’s broken heart
to mastermind the plan.
He kindled their very real fear
all across the land.
In ancient far off cities
different lies were told
lines were drawn upon the sand
and prophecies were told.
A child lost his father,
a mother’s lost her son
thousands of times over
since the war begun.
Our infrastructure is crumbling
beneath the weight of debt.
Families living on the street
more not less the threat.
Five years ago it began,
with the invasion of Iraq.
Though many of us wish we could,
we cannot take it back.
This infant country is so great
so expansive is our power.
yet we cannot make it right
twice burning of the tower.
Revenge is not an option
without the doer of the deed.
Does anybody feel better
watching those that didn’t bleed?
In six years soldiers will be scarce
and my children will be of age
will they be told they must bear arms
in this dirty war you wage?
I will never dig my child’s grave
because they fought a war
that lined the pockets of those oil men
whose kids stayed safely on our shore.
(Today is the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq.)
(Art work copyright by the webmaster)
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Frank Woodruff Buckles (born February 1, 1901) is, at age 107, the last known surviving American-born veteran of the First World War.
Buckles is the last living WWI U.S. veteran to finish basic training and be stationed overseas prior to the end of the war. The US Library of Congress included him in its Veterans History Project that has audio, video and pictorial information on Buckles' experiences in both World War I and the Second World War, and which includes a full 148-minute video interview or the same interview in 11 segments. 
He was born in Harrison County, Missouri, and enlisted at the beginning of the United States' involvement in World War I in April 1917. Before being accepted into the army he was turned down by the marines due to his weight. Also, he was only 15, so he had to lie about his age stating he was 18. Yet, he actually had to be 21. Soon after he visited his aunt in Florida and came back and stated he was now 21. During his time in service for the United States Army, Frank was stationed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Buckles was sent to France in 1917 at age 16, where he was a driver; after the Armistice was signed in 1918, he escorted prisoners of war back to Germany. In 1919, after the war had ended, Frank Buckles was stationed in Germany, and he was discharged from service in 1920 having achieved the rank of corporal. In the Second World War, in the 1940s, Buckles was a civilian working for an American shipping line. He was captured by the Japanese, however, and spent three years in a Japanese prison camp during most of that war. 
Buckles has at least one interview on a daily basis. He has stated in many interviews that he doesn't understand why people in the twenty-first century are in such a rush. He commented "What's the hurry?" Also, he does not own a television and has stated that people today watch too much television. He has said the worst president in his opinion was McKinley. Once asked about Nixon, he replied "He said a few bad things here and there." When asked on how he could live so long, he replied "Hope." On a daily basis he lifts 2-pound weights and does stretches in the morning. He does, according to his care taker, do around 50 sit-ups before he gets up in the morning.
Buckles was awarded the légion d'honneur by then French president Jacques Chirac, and he currently lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. His story was featured on the Memorial Day 2007 episode of NBC Nightly News. He was also at the 2007 Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C., riding in a buggy. Buckles stated in an interview with The Washington Post that he feels that the United States should only go to war when "it's an emergency." 
1. http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp-stories/loc.natlib.afc2001001.01070/#vhp:clip, May 29, 2007, Library of Congress, Veterans History Project.
2. "'One of the last': WWI vet recalls Great War", USAToday.com, March 27, 2007, Andrea Stone.
This article is from Wikipedia and has been reposted here under its GNU Free Documentation License
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Cpl. Ciara M. Durkin, 30, of Quincy, Mass., died Sept. 28 at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered from a non-combat related incident. She was assigned to the 726th Finance Battalion, Massachusetts Army National Guard, West Newton, Mass.
Read more about Ciara.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Source: U.S. Department of Defense
A eulogy to Luke S. Runyan, a local man who sacrificed his life for our country, was published in the York Daily Record [York, Pa.], February 25, 2008. It is reprinted here with permission.)
Army Spc. Luke Runyan lived life on his own terms and died doing it.
To all of those he left behind, Luke Runyan will forever be frozen in their memories.
They will recall the energetic child who was described as being more animated than the Cartoon Network. They will recall the thrill-seeker, the guy who liked to ride motorcycles, fast. The guy who loved to surf. The guy whose devotion to his nation and his comrades could not be measured.
To his daughter, 1-year-old Brynn, he will live only in the memories of others. Her father may not be physically present, but he will be there in spirit, handed down moments at a time to Brynn by those who loved Mr. Runyan.
His wife, Courtney, asked him once to write a letter to Brynn, something that could be put away should he not return from the war. Mr. Runyan told his wife not to worry about it, that wasn't going to happen. He was young and tough and smart and had that sense of invincibility that comes with youth and confidence.
He was a thrill-seeker. He put this quote in his high school yearbook: "If you want to be able to experience the ultimate thrill, you have to be willing to pay the ultimate price."
Mr. Runyan was doing what he wanted to do with his life when he was killed last Sunday in Iraq. His unit was ambushed in Diyala Province. Runyan and another soldier, Spc. Chad Groepper of Iowa, were killed. He was the 20th soldier with York County ties to die in the war.
Mr. Runyan was only 21.
His biography may be slim, only spending slightly more than two decades among the living, but he lived a lot of life in his time here. He loved life. He loved Courtney. He loved Brynn.
And he loved the guys he served with.
They had a special bond. They witnessed the horror first-hand. They witnessed the worst inhumanity you can imagine. They also witnessed the best humanity, evidenced by the story of Mr. Runyan saving the life of an Iraqi child.
When young men die at war, the word "hero" gets thrown around a lot.
Mr. Runyan was a hero, to be sure. He died so others could live. There is nothing more heroic.
But he was also just a man. A husband. A father. A son.
And no matter what you think about this war, its purpose or lack thereof, its execution or lack thereof, its conclusion or lack thereof, you have to respect Mr. Runyan's service and sacrifice.
"Now . . . it kind of leaves a hole in your heart," said his high school guidance counselor Margaret Mummert.
For now, and forever.
Harley David Semple, known by family as "Dee Dee," was born in Bronson, Iowa, on January 6, 1901. He died on March 16, 1974, at 73, from a condition similar to Lou Gehrig's disease.
Harley was my grandfather; I was seven years old when he and my grandmother took me in permanently and raised me until my high school graduation at 17, so, of course, I'm slightly biased--and why I'm featuring him on this blog.
(Harley, Jennifer, and Olive Semple, circa 1954)
Dee Dee joined the Army when he was just 16 or 17; by the time he was 17 (in 1918), he was serving in France, just before Armistice, which effectively ended World War I. I'm not sure if he served in actual combat because he never talked about his war experiences, and I was too young to ask the right questions. At his passing, I was just 23, by then married and living away from Iowa and in Pennsylvania--besides, from my perspective, World War I was just a piece of history.
I would love to read his letters home to his family, but I'm not sure that they exist anymore. Dee Dee had not yet met my grandmother, so I suspect that most of his letters went to his mother in Bronson.
I can't imagine Dee Dee engaged in combat, but war is funny that way; war yanks ordinary young people, mostly boys, who still have one foot in childhood, from their normal lives and asks them to make life and death decisions. War demands that young men carry arms and kill other people--how can that not inform someone's future life?
I don't know if Dee Dee ever killed anyone in the war--he never said. Even if he had been asked, he probably would have dodged the question. I always had the feeling that he would have rather forgotten that war.
I don't know what Dee Dee did directly after the war; he probably went back to Bronson and tried picking up the thread of his youth. According to a Bronson Town History, Dee Dee, in 1916, was one of the first Boy Scout members in a new troop founded by a Mr. Erkman, a list which noted,
"Harry Oertel, Ray Johnson, Allan Talbott, Harley Semple, Roy Johnson, and Ernest Johnson. When Mr. Erkman left, in 1918, the troop was forgotten..."
--Possibly because of the war?
Imagine: in two years, from Boy Scout to soldier.
But how can one return home and pick up the youthful thread of his life after experiencing a soldier's life in a foreign field?
Harley spent most of his adult life in Sioux City, Iowa; in 1924, he married Katherine Olive ("Mo Mo") Quirk, and they raised four children: Richard, George, Mary Lou (my mother), and Colleen.
And one grandchild: Jennifer.
This is what I remember about Harley Semple: he was a quiet and gentle man who loved to tell stories. I, a troubled child, often sat at his knee to listen to his "Old Sport" stories. Old Sport, a mongrel with a curly tail, thought he was a person and acted accordingly, such as wanting to attend school and sleeping in Jennifer's bed. These corny tales offered an obvious moral (and I knew it even back then), but I didn't care; I still loved them because Dee Dee made them exciting and fun.
Although I don't have any of Harley's war letters, I do have two of his "Old Sport" letters, written just before I moved to Iowa to finish out my childhood, and I would like to share them here:
Dear Angel Kisser:
I haven’t seen you for a long time. Maybe you and Mo can come home soon. I looked all over the neighborhood for Old Sport and can’t find hide nor hair of him. Maybe he doesn’t live here anymore. The other day, I saw a spalpeeny dog around Otoe St. with a round ball on his nose and a curly tail. He was jacking around and following a little girl. He was acting like Old Sport but his feet were dirty and his hair wasn’t combed and he hadn’t washed his teeth so I knew it wasn’t old Sport. I asked the little girl to tell me his name. She said it was Old Ortspay and that he was always following her. She said he followed her to school and wanted to sit in a seat just like Old Sport and pretend to read and the teacher hit him on the bare rudy and run him out. She said she didn’t want an old dirty dog like that in her school. Then he went all over the neighborhood and tried to get in the houses and nobody would let him in. He was cold and wet and hungry but he was such a spalpeen nobody cared. Then he saw a little dirty girl who lives in a dirty house and her name is Efferjay and he followed her home. What do you think? Her mamma let the dirty old thing in out of the cold and fed him some Pard out of a dirty dish and gave the old jerk a dirty pillow with the name “Ortspay” on it to sleep on. And do you know what? The old spalpeen liked it. I was glad the dirty old thing found a place to live. But I’m kind of mad at him for pretending he was “Old Sport.”
Colleen has a dog named Speenart. He is big as a mule but you will like him. And when you come home you can visit them. Saw Timmy the other day–he had a cowboy hat on. It is warmer here now. It has been awful cold. Not much snow. The streets are all dry. See you soon.
Saturday Nite 
Dear Angel Kisser
I looked all over and I couldn’t find Old Sport anywhere. Maybe he went away to school. I’m getting the house nice and warm and clean for you and Mo so all you have to do is move in. There is some snow out side and is snowing a little now. The weather is nice and fresh. Tell Mo that I finally went to work. I made a door hood to-day and Monday I have to make 10 awnings. Your bed is still here–it didn’t run away. Why don’t you have Mo tell you about the bed that ran away?
Did Mo ever tell you about the lazy cat she had when she was a little girl? When Mo was a little girl she had a pretty cat but it was lazy. The other cats all went out to the field to catch mice and caught themselves a nice mouse but Mo’s cat was just too lazy. She just laid around in the sun and was hungry all the time and she kept getting thinner and thinner and skinny but she wouldn’t go out to catch a mouse. Mo tried every way to her to go out and work for her dinner but she was so lazy she would rather be hungry. Finally she got so skinny and weak she couldn’t even catch a mouse if she tried. So do you know what Mo did? She went out to the field herself early in the morning and worked all day and finally caught enough mice for a nice mouse dinner and brought them in to the lazy old thing and her cat gobbled them up. Just like Old Sport with his Pard. And every day for a long time Mo went out and caught a nice mouse dinner for the lazy old thing and finally the cat got big and strong and fat and healthy and Mo said, “Now look here, cat, you are strong again and if you want to eat from now on you will have to catch your own mice.” After that she went out every day and hunted mice with the rest of the cats. She had learned her lesson. Ask Mo she will tell you all about her lazy cat.
Hurry up and come home and you can meet Colleen’s dog–his name is Speenart.
Love Dee Dee
But this is how I prefer to remember this man who was so important in my life. I adored him. We had our issues, of course. The late 1960's intervened, and I rebelled in a rather spectacular manner. The double generation gap drove a wedge between us.
(Jennifer and Harley, circa 1965)
I now understand how the psychedelic 1960's might have bewildered and saddened him; he came of age during a time when mores were set in stone and good folks behaved in certain prescribed ways; the late 1960's turned that truism on its ear when my generation questioned the values of Harley's generation.
Just before he died, we came together again and put our differences behind us--for that, I am grateful.
Journalist Tom Brokaw refers to the World War II generation as "The Greatest Generation," but I believe that that honor should go to the World War I generation.
In terms of technological advancement, Harley and Olive's generation might have well spanned 500 years. This generation was forced to accept tremendous technological adjustments in a relatively short time. In 1901, automobiles were in their infancy, certainly out of reach for Iowa farm families. The Wright brothers were two years away from their first historic flight at Kitty Hawk. Radios were not in every home. TV was just a fantasy.
By the time Harley died, just about everyone had a car, ordinary people were jetting across the country, radio was practically passe, and television was nearly 30 years old. He missed the internet (although Olive, who died in 1987, did know about Apple Computers, PC's, and Bill Gates). All that advancement must have made Harley's head spin, but he seemed to take it all in stride; we owned all the major gadgets of the day. Still, it must have been a major adjustment for a child born into an agrarian society, who grew into a boy who had trudged through the fields of France, and the man who tried to make sense of a troubled world on the edge.
The older I get, the more I marvel at the accomplishments of the World War I generation, who set the groundwork for what we enjoy today. My sitting in front of this computer and blogging about my grandfather so that the world can know him and, perhaps, others like him is possible because his generation accepted and even embraced technological advancement and change.
Perhaps if some Semple family members read this post, they can fill in the gaps, and I will update this entry.
If you knew Harley David Semple, please post something in the comment section of this post or email me, and I'll post any additional information and memories about our Dee Dee.
Friday, February 8, 2008
According to the blogmeister, Mr. Lamin's grandson, the blog "is made up of transcripts of Harry Lamin's letters from the first World War. The letters will be posted exactly 90 years after they were written. To find out Harry's fate, follow the blog!"
The blog is comprised of scanned letters along with the transcribed text as written by Mr. Lamin from the front to his family.
William Henry Bonser Lamin's profile: "He was born in August 1887 in Awsworth Notts, to Henry and Sarah Lamin. Elder Sisters Catherine (Kate) and Agnes (Annie) and Elder brother John (Jack). Educated at Awsworth Board School, just outside Ilkeston, Derbyshire, England."
My own grandfather, Harley David Semple, was born in 1901 and served in France in 1918--just a lad of 17. He never talked about his war experiences (at least to me), and if any letters exist, I don't know of them. He was so young that he had not met my grandmother yet; I suspect that any letters went to his mother and siblings.
I often wonder how the war affected him, but he was not one to ruminate much about such events.
He was a quiet man who loved to tell stories.
And I miss him.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I knew Kris and he long ago gave up worrying about how either of his names were spelled but I thought that now that he's gone we could at least try to get it right.
I noticed from your Blog that you're in York, PA. Kris was from PA also (Doylestown) and his mom was responsible for the PA Hometown Heroes program in Harrisburg that displayed a banner for many of the PA casualties on the light poles. It ran through the summer of last year. She also got the legislation passed for a Gold Star Family license plate here in PA.
Your comments that there are far too many names and the difficulties of assembling such a "sad roll" are so true. All those now in the services certainly knew what they were getting into and yet they still volunteered. We're lucky to have such men and women. Since Kris' mom lost her son (she has another still in the army) I've accompanied her to some of the Ranger events and met many of these young men. They are the polar opposite of those you see on the nightly news. Highly trained and competent and getting self confidence and leadership skills that will make them very good citizens when they get out. I was impressed and I think the country will be better having them.
The above photo is Ruth's favorite, taken of Kris only 3 months before he was killed.
The actual link for the PA Hometown Heroes site is: http://www.pahometownheroes.org.
The one for the Gold Star Family license plate is: http://www.goldstarmoms.com/States/PA/GSFPlate.htm.
As for spelling names correctly - even the army got Kris' name wrong on his purple heart certificate.
Thanks for your efforts to keep the memory of these young men and women alive. That's what Kris' mom has adopted as her "mission."
–Submitted by H. Davis
(NOTE: If you have a story, memory, or poem about a fallen loved one and would like to see it posted here, feel free to email it to me.)
Sunday, February 3, 2008
(Apologies to Captain John W. Consolvo, Jr.)
You were not an only love.
After mourning, She
Dug a hole
And loaded herself
With another man's seed.
Now another man's fruit
My war raged with a love-
On the tail of Purple Haze.
We rolled nickels
All through the fight;
Your blood arced,
You were not real then,
Just a nameless G.I.,
Wasted in the jungle:
We were conned into thinking
The War would be solved by Christmas.
Oh, you never knew, of course;
You would never know.
But the steel part of me
Tells me all I need to know:
USMC 07 MAY 72 SVN VA
(NOTE: I have worn Captain Consolvo’s MIA bracelet since 1991. I never knew him in life, but he lives in my heart.)
Captain John W. Consolvo, Jr. Links:
A Tribute to Capt. John W. Consolvo, USMC
Arlington National Cemetery Website
Consolvo, John Wadsworth, Jr. "Jack"
Capt. Consolvo's Mother Speaks of Hope
He is Seaman 1st Class General P. Douglas, U.S. Navy, of Newcomb, Tenn. He will be buried Jan. 26 in Sneedville, Tenn.
On July 6, 1943, the light cruiser "USS Helena" was struck by torpedoes fired by Japanese destroyers off the coast of Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands, in what would become known as the Battle of the Kula Gulf. More than 700 servicemen were rescued, but Douglas was one of more than 150 servicemen who were missing as the ship sunk.
In June 2006, a resident of Ranongga Island, Solomon Islands, notified U.S. officials that he exhumed human remains and Douglas’ dog tag that he found eroding out of the ground near a trail by his village. The officials contacted the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) who subsequently traveled to Ranongga Island to examine the burial location where they verified that no additional remains were present.
Among dental records, other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.
Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Sgt. Shawn F. Hill, January 2, 2008
Staff Sgt. Ryan D. Maseth, January 2, 2008
Spc. Joshua R. Anderson, January 2, 2008
Maj. Andrew J. Olmsted, January 3, 2008
Cpt. Thomas J. Casey, January 3, 2008
Cpl. Jason F. Lemke, January 5, 2008
Petty Officer Second Class Menelek M. Brown, January 4, 2008
Cpl. James D. Gudridge, January 6, 2008
Pfc. Timothy R. Hanson, January 7, 2008
Maj. Michael L. Green, January 7, 2008
Sgt. James K. Healy, January 7, 2008
Sgt. David J. Hart, January 8, 2008
Pfc. Ivan E. Merlo, January 8, 2008
Pfc. Phillip J. Pannier, January 8, 2008
Sgt. David J. Drakulich, January 9, 2008
Cpl. Todd E. Davis, January 9, 2008
Staff Sgt. Jonathan K. Dozier, January 9, 2008
Staff Sgt. Sean M. Gaul, January 9, 2008
Sgt. Zachary W. McBride, January 9, 2008
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew I. Pionk, January 9, 2008
Sgt. Christopher A. Sanders, January 9, 2008
Lt. Col. Richard J. Berrettini, January 11, 2008
Pfc. Keith E. Lloyd, January 12, 2008
Lance Cpl. Curtis A. Christensen Jr., January 11, 2008
Pfc. Danny L. Kimme, January 16, 2008
Pfc. David H. Sharrett II, January 16, 2008
John P. Sigsbee, January 16, 2008
Staff Sgt. Justin R. Whiting, January 19, 2008
Spc. Jon M. Schoolcraft, III, January 19, 2008
Spc. Richard B. Burress, January 19, 2008
Lance Cpl. James M. Gluff, January 19, 2008
Sgt. Michael R. Sturdivant, January 22, 2008
Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, January 25, 2008
Sgt. Tracy R. Birkman, January 25, 2008
Cpl. Duncan C. Crookston, January 25, 2008
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew R. Kahler, January 26, 2008
Staff Sgt. Robert J. Wilson, January 26, 2008
Maj. Alan G. Rogers, January 27, 2008
Sgt. Mikeal W. Miller, January 27, 2008
Sgt. James E. Craig, January 28, 2008
Staff Sgt. Gary W. Jeffries, January 28, 2008
Cpl. Evan A. Marshall, January 28, 2008
Spc. Brandon A. Meyer, January 28, 2008
Pfc. Joshua A. R. Young, January 28, 2008
1st Lt. David E. Schultz, January 31, 2008
Cpt. Michael A. Norman, January 31, 2008
If your loved one appears on this list and you would like to post a comment about him or her here, please feel free to do so, or email me.
This list was compiled using the U.S. Department of Defense Archive.
To the best of my knowledge, this list is complete, but I'm human and sometimes make mistakes. If your loved one should be on this list and isn't, please let me know.
Spc. Matthew K. Reece, December 1, 2007
Sgt. Kyle Dayton, December 3, 2007
Sgt. Eric J. Hernandez, December 4, 2007
Pvt. Dewayne L. White, December 4, 2007
Capt. Adam P. Snyder, December 5, 2007
Spc. Randy W. Pickering, December 9, 2007
Cpl. Tanner J. O’Leary, December 9, 2007
Cpl. Johnathan A. Lahmann, December 10, 2007
Staff Sgt. Gregory L. Elam, December 11, 2007
Chief Petty Officer Mark T. Carter, December 11, 2007
Staff Sgt. Michael J. Gabel, December 12, 2007
Sgt. Joshua C. Blaney, December 12, 2007
Spc. Brynn J. Naylor, December 13, 2007
Sgt. Samuel E. Kelsey, December 13, 2007
Pvt. Daren A. Smith, December 13, 2007
Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan A. Lowery, December 14, 2007
Sgt. Austin D. Pratt, December 15, 2007
Pfc. Juctin R. P. McDaniel, December 17, 2007
1st Lt. Jeremy E. Ray, December 20, 2007
Pfc. George J. Howell, December 21, 2007
Senior Airman Nicholas D. Eischen, December 24, 2007
Sgt. Peter C. Neesley, December 25, 2007
Sgt. Bryan J. Tutten, December 25, 2007
Capt. Rowdy J. Inman, December 26, 2007
Sgt. Benjamin B. Portell, December 26, 2007
Pfc. Joseph R. Berlin Jr., December 30, 2007
Petty Officer 1st Class Victor W. Jeffries, December 31, 2007
Pfc. Brian L. Gorham, December 31, 2007
Sgt. Reno S. Lacerna, December 31, 2007
If your loved one appears on this list and you would like to post a comment about him or her here, please feel free to do so, or email me.
This list was compiled using the U.S. Department of Defense Archive.
To the best of my knowledge, this list is complete, but I'm human and sometimes make mistakes. If your loved one should be on this list and isn't, please let me know.
Monday, January 28, 2008
On the escalation of troop strength in Iraq:
Our foreign policy is based on a clear premise: We trust that people, when given the chance, will choose a future of freedom and peace. In the last seven years, we have witnessed stirring moments in the history of liberty and these images of liberty have inspired us. In the past seven years, we have also seen images that have sobered us (and) serve as a grim reminder: The advance of liberty is opposed by terrorists and extremists — evil men who despise freedom, despise America and aim to subject millions to their violent rule.
The Iraqi people quickly realized that something dramatic had happened. Those who had worried that America was preparing to abandon them instead saw our forces moving into neighborhoods, clearing out the terrorists and staying behind to ensure the enemy did not return. While the enemy is still dangerous and more work remains, the American and Iraqi surges have achieved results few of us could have imagined just one year ago.
Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt. Al-Qaida is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated.
On 2008 objectives in Iraq:
Our enemies in Iraq have been hit hard. They are not yet defeated, and we can still expect tough fighting ahead. Our objective in the coming year is to sustain and build on the gains we made in 2007, while transitioning to the next phase of our strategy. American troops are shifting from leading operations to partnering with Iraqi forces and, eventually, to a protective overwatch mission.
On this generation's response to the war on terror:
We must do the difficult work today, so that years from now people will look back and say that this generation rose to the moment, prevailed in a tough fight and left behind a more hopeful region and a safer America.
Our message to the people of Iran is clear: We have no quarrel with you, we respect your traditions and your history, and we look forward to the day when you have your freedom. Our message to the leaders of Iran is also clear: Verifiably suspend your nuclear enrichment so negotiations can begin. And to rejoin the community of nations, come clean about your nuclear intentions and past actions, stop your oppression at home and cease your support for terror abroad. But above all, know this: America will confront those who threaten our troops, we will stand by our allies and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf.
On the American people:
The secret of our strength, the miracle of America, is that our greatness lies not in our government, but in the spirit and determination of our people.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Can you imagine if we were forced to ration in 2008?
During the war, goods were scarce: The basics, such as metal, rubber, sugar, and butter were carefully rationed.
Everyday items, such as shoes, were nearly impossible to obtain, and the ration book helped spread basic goods around.
Yet, according to my late grandmother, people willingly accepted rationing as a necessary part of the war effort.
I can't imagine having to do without; I come from the boomer generation, a group used to having what it wants, when it wants it.
I suspect that there was some black market activity, but most people probably followed the rules, which, by today's standards, seem draconian:
1. This book is valuable. Do not lose it.
2. Each stamp authorizes you to purchase rationed goods in the quantities and at the times designated by the Office of Price Administration. Without the stamps, you will be unable to purchase those goods.
3. Detailed instructions concerning the use of this book and the stamps will be issued. Watch for those instructions so that you will know how to use your book and stamps. Your Local War Price and Rationing Board can give you full instructions.
4. Do not throw this book away when all of the stamps have been used, or when the time for their use has expired. You may be required to present this book when you apply for subsequent books.
Rationing is a vital part of your country's war effort. Any attempt to violate the rules is an effort to deny someone his share and will create hardship and help the enemy.
This book is your Government's assurance of your right to buy your fair share of certain goods made scarce by the war. Price ceilings have also been established for your protection. Dealers must post these prices conspicuously. Don't pay more.
Give your whole support to rationing and thereby conserve our vital goods. Be guided by the rule:
If you don't need it, DON'T BUY IT."
Friday, January 25, 2008
VIETNAM WAR: President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Address to the Nation--Vietnam Renunciation Speech (March 31, 1968)
No other question so preoccupies our people. No other dream so absorbs the 250 million human beings who live in that part of the world. No other goal motivates American policy in Southeast Asia.
For years, representatives of our Government and others have traveled the world--seeking to find a basis for peace talks.
Since last September, they have carried the offer that I made public at San Antonio.
That offer was this:
That the United States would stop its bombardment of North Vietnam when that would lead promptly to productive discussions--and that we would assume that North Vietnam would not take military advantage of our restraint.
Hanoi denounced this offer, both privately and publicly. Even while the search for peace was going on, North Vietnam rushed their preparations for a savage assault on the people, the government, and the allies of South Vietnam.
Their attack--during the Tet holidays--failed to achieve its principal objectives. It did not collapse the elected government of South Vietnam or shatter its army--as the Communists had hoped.
It did not produce a "general uprising" among the people of the cities as they had predicted.
The Communists were unable to maintain control of any of the more than 30 cities that they attacked. And they took very heavy casualties.
But they did compel the South Vietnamese and their allies to move certain forces from the countryside into the cities.
They caused widespread disruption and suffering. Their attacks, and the battles that followed, made refugees of half a million human beings.
The Communists may renew their attack any day.
They are, it appears, trying to make 1968 the year of decision in South Vietnam--the year that brings, if not final victory or defeat, at least a turning point in the struggle.
This much is clear:
If they do mount another round of heavy attacks, they will not succeed in destroying the fighting power of South Vietnam and its allies.
But tragically, this is also clear: Many men--on both sides of the struggle--will be lost. A nation that has already suffered 20 years of warfare will suffer once again.
Armies on both sides will take new casualties. And the war will go on.
There is no need for this to be so.
There is no need to delay the talks that could bring an end to this long and this bloody war.
Tonight, I renew the offer I made last August to stop the bombardment of North Vietnam. We ask that talks begin promptly, that they be serious talks on the substance of peace. We assume that during those talks Hanoi will not take advantage of our restraint.
We are prepared to move immediately toward peace through negotiations.
So, tonight, in the hope that this action will lead to early talks, I am taking the first step to de-escalate the conflict. We are reducing - substantially reducing the present level of hostilities.
And we are doing so unilaterally, and at once.
Tonight, I have ordered our aircraft and our naval vessels to make no attacks on North Vietnam, except in the area north of the demilitarized zone where the continuing enemy buildup directly threatens allied forward positions and where the movements of their troops and supplies are clearly related to that threat.
The area in which we are stopping our attacks includes almost 90 percent of North Vietnam's population, and most of its territory. Thus there will be no attacks around the principal populated areas, or in the food-producing areas of North Vietnam.
Even this very limited bombing of the North could come to an early end--if our restraint is matched by restraint in Hanoi. But I cannot in good conscience stop all bombing so long as to do so would immediately and directly endanger the lives of our men and our allies. Whether a complete bombing halt becomes possible in the future will be determined by events.
Our purpose in this action is to bring about a reduction in the level of violence that now exists.
It is to save the lives of brave men--and to save the lives of innocent women and children. It is to permit the contending forces to move closer to a political settlement.
And tonight, I call upon the United Kingdom and I call upon the Soviet Union--as co-chairmen of the Geneva Conferences, and as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council - to do all they can to move from the unilateral act of de-escalation that I have just announced toward genuine peace in Southeast Asia.
Now, as in the past, the United States is ready to send its representatives to any forum, at any time, to discuss the means of bringing this ugly war to an end.
I am designating one of our most distinguished Americans, Ambassador Averell Harriman, as my personal representative for such talks. In addition, I have asked Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson, who returned from Moscow for consultation, to be available to join Ambassador Harriman at Geneva or any other suitable place-just as soon as Hanoi agrees to a conference.
I call upon President Ho Chi Minh to respond positively, and favorably, to this new step toward peace.
But if peace does not come now through negotiations, it will come when Hanoi understands that our common resolve is unshakable, and our common strength is invincible.
Tonight, we and the other allied nations are contributing 600,000 fighting men to assist 700,000 South Vietnamese troops in defending their little country.
Our presence there has always rested on this basic belief: The main burden of preserving their freedom must be carried out by them--by the South Vietnamese themselves.
We and our allies can only help to provide a shield behind which the people of South Vietnam can survive and can grow and develop. On their efforts--on their determination and resourcefulness the outcome will ultimately depend.
That small, beleaguered nation has suffered terrible punishment for more than 20 years.
I pay tribute once again tonight to the great courage and endurance of its people.
South Vietnam supports armed forces tonight of almost 700,000 men--and I call your attention to the fact that this is the equivalent of more than 10 million in our own population. Its people maintain their firm determination to be free of domination by the North.
There has been substantial progress, I think, in building a durable government during these last 3 years. The South Vietnam of 1965 could not have survived the enemy's Tet offensive of 1968. The elected government of South Vietnam survived that attack and is rapidly repairing the devastation that it wrought.
The South Vietnamese know that further efforts are going to be required:
--to expand their own armed forces,
--to move back into the countryside as quickly as possible, to increase their taxes,
--to select the very best men that they have for civil and military responsibility,
--to achieve a new unity within their constitutional government, and
--to include in the national effort all those groups who wish to preserve South Vietnam's control over its own destiny. Last week President Thieu ordered the mobilization of 135,000 additional South Vietnamese. He plans to reach--as soon as possible - a total military strength of more than 800,000 men.
To achieve this, the Government of South Vietnam started the drafting of 19-year-olds on March 1st. On May 1st, the Government will begin the drafting of 18-year-olds.
Last month, 10,000 men volunteered for military service--that was two and a half times the number of volunteers during the same month last year. Since the middle of January, more than 48,000 South Vietnamese have joined the armed forces--and nearly half of them volunteered to do so.
All men in the South Vietnamese armed forces have had their tours of duty extended for the duration of the war, and reserves are now being called up for immediate active duty.
President Thieu told his people last week:
"We must make greater efforts and accept more sacrifices because, as I have said many times, this is our country. The existence of our nation is at stake, and this is mainly a Vietnamese responsibility."
He warned his people that a major national effort is required to root out corruption and incompetence at all levels of government.
We applaud this evidence of determination on the part of South Vietnam. Our first priority will be to support their effort.
We shall accelerate the re-equipment of South Vietnam's armed forces--in order to meet the enemy's increased firepower. This will enable them progressively to undertake a larger share of combat operations against the Communist invaders. On many occasions I have told the American people that we would send to Vietnam those forces that are required to accomplish our mission there. So, with that as our guide, we have previously authorized a force level of approximately 525,000.
Some weeks ago--to help meet the enemy's new offensive--we sent to Vietnam about 11,000 additional Marine and airborne troops. They were deployed by air in 48 hours, on an emergency basis. But the artillery, tank, aircraft, medical, and other units that were needed to work with and to support these infantry troops in combat could not then accompany them by air on that short notice.
In order that these forces may reach maximum combat effectiveness, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have recommended to me that we should prepare to send--during the next 5 months--support troops totaling approximately 13,500 men.
A portion of these men will be made available from our active forces. The balance will come from reserve component units which will be called up for service.
The actions that we have taken since the beginning of the year
--to reequip the South Vietnamese forces,
--to meet our responsibilities in Korea, as well as our responsibilities in Vietnam,
--to meet price increases and the cost of activating and deploying reserve forces,
--to replace helicopters and provide the other military supplies we need, all of these actions are going to require additional expenditures.
The tentative estimate of those additional expenditures is $2.5 billion in this fiscal year, and $2.6 billion in the next fiscal year.
These projected increases in expenditures for our national security will bring into sharper focus the Nation's need for immediate action: action to protect the prosperity of the American people and to protect the strength and the stability of our American dollar.
On many occasions I have pointed out that, without a tax bill or decreased expenditures, next year's deficit would again be around $20 billion. l have emphasized the need to set strict priorities in our spending. l have stressed that failure to act and to act promptly and decisively would raise very strong doubts throughout the world about America's willingness to keep its financial house in order.
Yet Congress has not acted. And tonight we face the sharpest financial threat in the postwar era - a threat to the dollar's role as the keystone of international trade and finance in the world.
Last week, at the monetary conference in Stockholm, the major industrial countries decided to take a big step toward creating a new international monetary asset that will strengthen the international monetary system. l am very proud of the very able work done by Secretary Fowler and Chairman Martin of the Federal Reserve Board.
But to make this system work the United States just must bring its balance of payments to--or very close to--equilibrium. We must have a responsible fiscal policy in this country. The passage of a tax bill now, together with expenditure control that the Congress may desire and dictate, is absolutely necessary to protect this Nation's security, to continue our prosperity, and to meet the needs of our people.
What is at stake is 7 years of unparalleled prosperity. In those 7 years, the real income of the average American, after taxes, rose by almost 30 percent--a gain as large as that of the entire preceding 19 years.
So the steps that we must take to convince the world are exactly the steps we must take to sustain our own economic strength here at home. In the past 8 months, prices and interest rates have risen because of our inaction.
We must, therefore, now do everything we can to move from debate to action--from talking to voting. There is, I believe-I hope there is-in both Houses of the Congress--a growing sense of urgency that this situation just must be acted upon and must be corrected.
My budget in January was, we thought, a tight one. It fully reflected our evaluation of most of the demanding needs of this Nation.
But in these budgetary matters, the President does not decide alone. The Congress has the power and the duty to determine appropriations and taxes. The Congress is now considering our proposals and they are considering reductions in the budget that we submitted.
As part of a program of fiscal restraint that includes the tax surcharge, I shall approve appropriate reductions in the January budget when and if Congress so decides that that should be done.
One thing is unmistakably clear, however: Our deficit just must be reduced. Failure to act could bring on conditions that would strike hardest at those people that all of us are trying so hard to help.
These times call for prudence in this land of plenty. l believe that we have the character to provide it, and tonight I plead with the Congress and with the people to act promptly to serve the national interest, and thereby serve all of our people. Now let me give you my estimate of the chances for peace:
--the peace that will one day stop the bloodshed in South Vietnam,
--that will permit all the Vietnamese people to rebuild and develop their land,
--that will permit us to turn more fully to our own tasks here at home.
I cannot promise that the initiative that I have announced tonight will be completely successful in achieving peace any more than the 30 others that we have undertaken and agreed to in recent years.
But it is our fervent hope that North Vietnam, after years of fighting that have left the issue unresolved, will now cease its efforts to achieve a military victory and will join with us in moving toward the peace table.
And there may come a time when South Vietnamese--on both sides--are able to work out a way to settle their own differences by free political choice rather than by war.
As Hanoi considers its course, it should be in no doubt of our intentions. It must not miscalculate the pressures within our democracy in this election year.
We have no intention of widening this war.
But the United States will never accept a fake solution to this long and arduous struggle and call it peace.
No one can foretell the precise terms of an eventual settlement.
Our objective in South Vietnam has never been the annihilation of the enemy.
It has been to bring about a recognition in Hanoi that its objective--taking over the South by force--could not be achieved.
We think that peace can be based on the Geneva Accords of 1954--under political conditions that permit the South Vietnamese--all the South Vietnamese--to chart their course free of any outside domination or interference, from us or from anyone else.
So tonight I reaffirm the pledge that we made at Manila--that we are prepared to withdraw our forces from South Vietnam as the other side withdraws its forces to the north, stops the infiltration, and the level of violence thus subsides.
Our goal of peace and self-determination in Vietnam is directly related to the future of all of Southeast Asia--where much has happened to inspire confidence during the past 10 years. We have done all that we knew how to do to contribute and to help build that confidence.
A number of its nations have shown what can be accomplished under conditions of security. Since 1966, Indonesia, the fifth largest nation in all the world, with a population of more than 100 million people, has had a government that is dedicated to peace with its neighbors and improved conditions for its own people. Political and economic cooperation between nations has grown rapidly.
I think every American can take a great deal of pride in the role that we have played in bringing this about in Southeast Asia. We can rightly judge as responsible Southeast Asians themselves do--that the progress of the past 3 years would have been far less likely--if not completely impossible--if America's sons and others had not made their stand in Vietnam.
At Johns Hopkins University, about 3 years ago, l announced that the United States would take part in the great work of developing Southeast Asia, including the Mekong Valley, for all the people of that region. Our determination to help build a better land--a better land for men on both sides of the present conflict--has not diminished in the least. Indeed, the ravages of war, I think, have made it more urgent than ever.
So, I repeat on behalf of the United States again tonight what I said at Johns Hopkins--that North Vietnam could take its place in this common effort just as soon as peace comes.
Over time, a wider framework of peace and security in Southeast Asia may become possible. The new cooperation of the nations of the area could be a foundation-stone. Certainly friendship with the nations of such a Southeast Asia is what the United States seeks and that is all that the United States seeks.
One day, my fellow citizens, there will be peace in Southeast Asia.
It will come because the people of Southeast Asia want it--those whose armies are at war tonight, and those who, though threatened, have thus far been spared. Peace will come because Asians were willing to work for it--and to sacrifice for it--and to die by the thousands for it.
But let it never be forgotten: Peace will come also because America sent her sons to help secure it.
It has not been easy--far from it. During the past 4 1/2 years, it has been my fate and my responsibility to be Commander in Chief. I have lived--daily and nightly--with the cost of this war. l know the pain that it has inflicted. I know, perhaps better than anyone, the misgivings that it has aroused.
Throughout this entire, long period, I have been sustained by a single principle: that what we are doing now, in Vietnam, is vital not only to the security of Southeast Asia, but it is vital to the security of every American.
Surely we have treaties which we must respect. Surely we have commitments that we are going to keep. Resolutions of the Congress testify to the need to resist aggression in the world and in Southeast Asia.
But the heart of our involvement in South Vietnam--under three different Presidents, three separate administrations--has always been America's own security.
And the larger purpose of our involvement has always been to help the nations of Southeast Asia become independent and stand alone, self-sustaining, as members of a great world community--at peace with themselves, and at peace with all others.
With such an Asia, our country--and the world--will be far more secure than it is tonight.
I believe that a peaceful Asia is far nearer to reality because of what America has done in Vietnam. l believe that the men who endure the dangers of battle fighting there for us tonight-- are helping the entire world avoid far greater conflicts, far wider wars, far more destruction, than this one.
The peace that will bring them home someday will come. Tonight I have offered the first in what I hope will be a series of mutual moves toward peace.
I pray that it will not be rejected by the leaders of North Vietnam. I pray that they will accept it as a means by which the sacrifices of their own people may be ended. And I ask your help and your support, my fellow citizens, for this effort to reach across the battlefield toward an early peace.
Finally, my fellow Americans, let me say this:
Of those to whom much is given, much is asked. l cannot say and no man could say that no more will be asked of us.
Yet, l believe that now, no less than when the decade began, this generation of Americans is willing to "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
Since those words were spoken by John F. Kennedy, the people of America have kept that compact with mankind's noblest cause.
And we shall continue to keep it.
Yet, I believe that we must always be mindful of this one thing, whatever the trials and the tests ahead. The ultimate strength of our country and our cause will lie not in powerful weapons or infinite resources or boundless wealth, but will lie in the unity of our people.
This I believe very deeply.
Throughout my entire public career I have followed the personal philosophy that I am a free man, an American, a public servant, and a member of my party, in that order always and only.
For 37 years in the service of our Nation, first as a Congressman, as a Senator, and as Vice President, and now as your President, l have put the unity of the people first. l have put it ahead of any divisive partisanship.
And in these times as in times before, it is true that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand.
There is division in the American house now.
There is divisiveness among us all tonight. And holding the trust that is mine, as President of all the people, l cannot disregard the peril to the progress of the American people and the hope and the prospect of peace for all peoples.
So, I would ask all Americans, whatever their personal interests or concern, to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences.
Fifty-two months and 10 days ago, in a moment of tragedy and trauma, the duties of this office fell upon me. I asked then for your help and God's, that we might continue America on its course, binding up our wounds, healing our history, moving forward in new unity, to clear the American agenda and to keep the American commitment for all of our people.
United we have kept that commitment. United we have enlarged that commitment.
Through all time to come, l think America will be a stronger nation, a more just society, and a land of greater opportunity and fulfillment because of what we have all done together in these years of unparalleled achievement.
Our reward will come in the life of freedom, peace, and hope that our children will enjoy through ages ahead.
What we won when all of our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness, and politics among any of our people.
Believing this as I do, I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year.
With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, l do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office--the Presidency of your country.
Accordingly, l shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your President.
But let men everywhere know, however, that a strong, a confident, and a vigilant America stands ready tonight to seek an honorable peace--and stands ready tonight to defend an honored cause whatever the price, whatever the burden, whatever the sacrifice that duty may require.
Thank you for listening.
Good night and God bless all of you.
Source: The Official Site of the U.S. Constitution