[Nfbnet-members-list] Memorial Day Reflections

joe ruffalo nfbnj1 at verizon.net
Sat May 25 01:17:03 UTC 2019

Greetings to all!
For the past several years, I have forwarded the following reflections on
Memorial Day.
Please read through and hoping you will share with others.

We care. We share. We grow. We make a difference
Joe Ruffalo, President
National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey
973 743 0075
nfbnj1 at verizon.net
Raising Expectations To Live The Life You Want!

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or call 855 659 9314

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years
following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many
Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding
family gatherings. God Bless You All!


Memorial Day Opinion Article

Written by a Navy SEAL, so I think we should listen. Listen not because he's
a famous Navy SEAL, but because he's a member of our Armed Forces, and along
with all those men and women who've more than earned our respect and our
ear, this day should belong to them.


Opinion: SEAL who shot bin Laden: Don't wish me a happy Memorial Day

Don't wish me a happy Memorial Day. There is nothing happy about the loss of
the brave men and women of our armed forces who died in combat defending
America. Memorial Day is not a celebration.

Memorial Day is a time for reflection, pause, remembrance and thanksgiving
for patriots who gave up their own lives to protect the lives and freedom of
us all - including the freedom of generations long gone and generations yet
unborn. We owe the fallen a debt so enormous that it can never be repaid.

Memorial Day is a time to honor the lives of those who would rather die than
take a knee when our national anthem is played. But they will fight and die
for the rights of those who kneel.

This holiday is a time to think of young lives cut short, of wives and
husbands turned into widows and widowers, of children growing up without a
father or mother, of parents burying their children.

Memorial Day is a time to think of might have beens that never were. Of
brave Americans who put their country before themselves. Without these
heroes, America would not be America.

Unfortunately, for many Americans this solemn holiday might as well be
called Summer Day - marking the unofficial start of the season of barbecues,

days at the beach, time spent on baseball fields and golf courses, hiking

and enjoying the great the outdoors. All those things are great - we all
appreciate them and they are some of the best things in life.

But Memorial Day is not Summer Day. Nor was the holiday created as a way to
promote sales of cars, furniture or clothes.

Another Memorial Day brings with it a whole lot more than the start of
summer. Since last Memorial Day, grass is now growing above the final
resting places of many young men and women whose lives were taken too soon
while defending our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other far-off
places many Americans have rarely heard of.

When Army Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Sgt. 1st Class

Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright were killed last October in an
ISIS ambush in Niger, many Americans asked: We have troops in Niger? These

unknown soldiers lost their lives protecting you - every one of you reading
these words.

Think about this: Millions of high-school seniors are walking across
auditorium stages this season, receiving their diplomas. Most will go on to
college or jobs, but some will choose a career of military service, joining
the second generation of American warriors fighting in the Global War on
Terror - a war that began with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that

took the lives of almost 3,000 people in our homeland.

Most of these new recruits - who were not even born or who were just infants
when the 9/11 attacks took place - will make it home just fine. But some
will not. I pray that I am wrong, but the sad truth is that the number of
American war dead on Memorial Day in 2019 will be higher than it is on this
Memorial Day.

On Memorial Day, I salute my brothers and sisters-in-arms who have served
beside me in War on Terror. My heart especially goes out to the families of
those who did not return home. In fact, I think about all those who served

and those who have given their lives fighting for America from our country's
earliest days in the Revolutionary War. They all have my gratitude.

We think we are strong, but in war any of us can be turned into just a
memory in an instant. And war seems to have been the universal experience of
just about every society on the planet at one time or another, for as long

as there have been human societies.

How do we stop the wars resulting in such tragic waste of lives? How do we
stop the number of American war dead and war dead in other nations from
growing? I wish I knew the answer. But battle lines are being drawn and
redrawn, and wars and terrorist attacks just keep going on and on. Weapons

are getting bigger. Bombs are becoming smarter and more lives are being lost
every day all over the world, leading to more death, more anger and more

Some are so loyal to their cause that they strap bombs on their bodies or
fly passenger jets into buildings. They conduct beheadings. They set
prisoners on fire. How do we find common ground with them? Do we even try to
find common ground, or do we finally take the gloves off and start landing
punches intended to take our enemy out for good?

I've been on over 400 Army combat missions and have seen more war than most
Americans. More than I care to remember, but cannot forget. There is never a
shortage of war. War spreads faster than fire and like fire it leaves
destruction in its wake.

It hurts my heart as an American every time I see another service member's
body being brought home draped in an American flag. But it hurts my heart as
a human being with every act of war we are all unleashing against each other
around the world.

This Memorial Day, I urge all Americans to remember all the fallen sailors,
soldiers, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard members who have so bravely served
our country, as well as their families.

And I urge all Americans to join me in the hope and prayer that somehow,
someday people around the world will focus more on our similarities than our
differences and that we will move closer to a time when war is just a memory

- part of our past but not our future.

Robert O'Neill is a Fox News contributor and ex-Navy SEAL best known as "the
man who killed Usama bin Laden." O'Neill joined the Navy in 1996 and
deployed as a SEAL more than a dozen times, participating in more than 400
combat missions across four different theaters of war.

C2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

Veterans poem

It???s the veteran

not the preacher

Who has given us the freedom of religion.

It???s the veteran

Not the reporter

Who has given us the freedom of the press.

It???s the veteran

Not the poet

Who has given us the freedom of speech.

It???s the veteran

Not the campus organizer

Who has given us the freedom to assemble.

It???s the veteran

Not the lawyer

Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It???s the veteran

Not the politician

Who has given us the right to vote.

It???s the veteran who honors the flag

It???s the veteran who serves under the flag

No matter where they serve,

God Bless Them All!

God Bless America!



God Bless The USA


Frank Sinatra considered Kate Smith the best singer of her time, and said
that when he and a million other guys first heard her sing "God Bless
America" on the radio, they all pretended to have dust in their eyes as they
wiped away a tear or two.  Here are the facts... The link at the bottom will
take you to a video showing the very first public singing of "GOD BLESS
AMERICA". But before you watch it, you should also know the story behind the
first public showing of the song.  The time was 1940. America was still in a
terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe, and Americans
were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for
most Americans.  This was the era just before TV, when radio shows were
HUGE, and American families sat around their radios in the evenings,
listening to their favorite entertainers, and no entertainer of that era was
bigger than Kate Smith.  Kate was also large; plus size, as we now say, and
the popular phrase still used today is in deference to her, "It ain't over
till the fat lady sings".  Kate Smith might not have made it big in the age
of TV because of her size and appearance, but with her voice coming over the
radio, she was the biggest star of her time. Back then, music was more
important than appearance or the ???program???. Kate was also 
patriotic. It hurt
her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would
bring. She had hope for America and faith in her fellow Americans. She
wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American
song-writer, Irving Berlin (who also wrote "White Christmas") and asked him
to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their
country.When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the
song for her. He went to his files and found a song that he had written but
never published, 22 years before -- way back in 1917. He gave it to her and
she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not
sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they
would not take any profits from ???God Bless America???. Any profits 
would go to
the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts have received
millions of dollars in royalties from this song.  This video starts out with
Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience.
She introduces the new song for the very first time and starts singing.
After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background still
singing, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, "You're In the Army Now." At
the 4:20 mark of the video you see a young actor in the movie, sitting in an
office, reading a paper: it's Ronald Reagan.  To this day, ???God Bless
America??? stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in
1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her
fellow Americans, I doubt whether she realized just how successful the
results would be for her fellow Americans during those years of hardship and
worry..... And for many generations of Americans to follow. It has been
suggested that this song replace the ???Star-Spangled Banner??? as 
our national
anthem because it???s easier to sing, and most folks already know the words.

Now that you know the story of the song, I hope you'll enjoy it. Many people
don't know there's a lead in to the song since it usually starts with ???God
Bless America???....." So, here's the entire song as originally sung.....




This is really an awesome sight to watch if you've never had the chance.

Fascinating. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

1.How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the
Unknown Soldier and why?

21 steps:

It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which is the highest honor given any
military or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face

to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason

as answer number 1.

3. hy are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and, if not,
why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march
across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the
outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5' 10'
and 6' 2' tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30".

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under
the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their
lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot
disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel
signifying they served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently
worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up
the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold
from their feet.

There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to
make the loud click as they come to a halt.

There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty
in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV.

All off duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in
Arlington National Cemetery.

A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the
notables are: President Taft, Joe Lewis {the boxer} Medal of Honor winner
Audie L. Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard


In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching Washington, DC, our US
Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC
evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the
hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of
the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They
respectfully declined the offer, "No way,

Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm,
they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment,

   it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The
tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

God Bless and keep them..

Submitted by, Debbie Azzarone, Vision Loss Alliance, editor, Blind Vine .


The following was written by Natasha ishaq,  an Employment Development
Engagement Guidance, EDGE, program blind high school student.

Heroes: A Tribute To Those Who Sacrifice Themselves For Others
By Natasha Ishaq

You venture to the lands beyond
To the seas that shall forever stand strong
Living as legends Dying as heroes
Out on those battlefields You serve as our shields
Bearing those great burdens of pain
Through sunshine and through rain

When the homes burn down
And we all weep
When the bombs explode
And we all loose sleep

Our prayers are with you
Because we want you to be safe too
For you are out there sacrificing yourself
Saving the lives of others, as it is not one man for himself

Where you go and what you do
You are always pushing through
All the war zones of blood and death
Where you struggled to catch your breath

Up in the air you fly
Through the hard-blowing winds that sigh
But come down to respond to the injured ones who cry
Calming them down as their tears begin to dry

Living on the sea
Because an unknown face needed help to be free
Riding the ocean waves
In order for all those who are lost to be saved

 From the shooting guns
To the many runs
To the child who is dying
You carry them away from harm, even though inside crying

Out there where piercing screams slice the air
Out there where the dirt and mud of the earth cling to the clothes you wear
Out there where the arms of death may embrace you at any given time
Out there is where you fight for us while we wait to hear the chime

The chime telling us that the streets you roam
Will become the ones of your home
The chime telling us that the battle is done
And your journey home has just begun

You venture to the lands beyond
To the seas that shall forever stand strong
Living as legends
Dying as heroes

To all of those who serve our country--soldiers, veterans,
firefighters, physicians, rescue teams, police officers--all of you who put
the lives of others before you in times of great catastrophe, I thank you
all. Whether you roam the streets today, or rest at last in peace, your
efforts and sacrifices are the marks that are forever engraved in the world
that shall forever remember you, as your simple but complicated acts of
extreme kindness and compassion speak for themselves.

Cadet Private Natasha Ishaq

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