"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

Yesterday in Milwaukee was glorious -- mid-80s, pushing 90 degrees, sunny all day, not a cloud in the sky.  After a truly dismal spring of weather in the 40s and 50s (we haven't had a Little League game yet where the parents weren't huddled under blankets), it was like a get-out-of-jail-free card.   So we swam and we played Indian ball (a baseball game we play where the hitter tries to get hits between a short outfielder and a long outfielder -- we play with a tennis ball and the outfield is the lawn of the rectory across the street) and we cooked out and drank beers on the patio with neighbors.   We did just about everything except look at a computer screen and do any blogging.   So here is a belated Memorial Day shout out to all of the servicemen and families of servicemen (like ours), and particularly to my late Dad, 1st Lt. Richard H. Bauer, and my nephew, currently in Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne, Sgt. Jason McCullough.   Thank you for all that you've done and all that you're still doing for our country.   Via con dios.   

Also, continuing on a Memorial Day theme, something that the Internet allows you to do is to get access to information and history that you couldn't get very easily.   For instance, one of the things I've enjoyed and been awe-struck by are the citations for Medal of Honor winners, which are available here.    Here is one from 101st Airborne in Vietnam:

Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Troop D, 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division. Place and date: Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam, 23 March 1971. Entered service at: Jamestown, N. Dak. Born: 9 March 1950, Jamestown, N. Dak . Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Fitzmaurice, 3d Platoon, Troop D, distinguished himself at Khe Sanh. Sp4c. Fitzmaurice and 3 fellow soldiers were occupying a bunker when a company of North Vietnamese sappers infiltrated the area. At the onset of the attack Sp4c. Fitzmaurice observed 3 explosive charges which had been thrown into the bunker by the enemy. Realizing the imminent danger to his comrades, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, he hurled 2 of the charges out of the bunker. He then threw his flak vest and himself over the remaining charge. By this courageous act he absorbed the blast and shielded his fellow-soldiers. Although suffering from serious multiple wounds and partial loss of sight, he charged out of the bunker, and engaged the enemy until his rifle was damaged by the blast of an enemy hand grenade. While in search of another weapon, Sp4c. Fitzmaurice encountered and overcame an enemy sapper in hand-to-hand combat. Having obtained another weapon, he returned to his original fighting position and inflicted additional casualties on the attacking enemy. Although seriously wounded, Sp4c. Fitzmaurice refused to be medically evacuated, preferring to remain at his post. Sp4c. Fitzmaurice's extraordinary heroism in action at the risk of his life contributed significantly to the successful defense of the position and resulted in saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. These acts of heroism go above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect great credit on Sp4c. Fitzmaurice and the U.S. Army.
Wow.   A 21 year-old kid did this.   We can't thank these guys enough.  

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