Veterans Day 2019

Let me start off by thanking everyone who served in the military regardless of branch. Without your service, in both peacetime and war, we wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have today.

I was thinking about my Dad this morning. He served 28 years of active duty in the Army and was medically retired in 1972. He was 53 and was suffering from a wide range of health conditions probably brought on by his military service.

My Dad died at age 62 and 10 days. He was actually born on April 3rd and not April 13th like it says on the grave marker.

On May 5th, I officially outlived him. Unlike him, I never smoked, I never was in a war zone, and I was never exposed to Agent Orange. With the exception of not smoking, I wasn’t exposed to the things he was thanks to his service and that of millions of more men and women just like him.

So on this Veterans Day, remember and thank those family members and friends who did serve. Thank them for the lives we live thanks to their hard work and sacrifices.

And At The Eleventh Hour The Guns Fell Silent

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H. G. Wells called the Great War or World War I the “war to end all wars.” We know that was a mythical false hope. Indeed, it can be rightly said that the Treaty of Versailles created the conditions that led, in no small part, to World War II.

The Armistice that ended the fighting on the Western Front went into effect at 11 am Paris Time on November 11, 1918. At that time, fighting was to cease. However, as I noted in a post a few years ago, fighting continued and men still died right up to until that time. Private Henry Gunther of Baltimore continued fighting to the end and was killed at 10:59 am as he charged a German machine gun nest. He was officially the last Allied soldier to die in combat.

Thus, this recording released by the Imperial War Museum in London is all the more eloquent as it begins with artillery fire and ends with the sound of birds singing. It comes from a recording made in the American sector near the River Moselle just before and after the eleventh hour.

So on this Veterans Day, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending fighting in World War I, let us remember all those living and dead who served in our country’s armed services.

Thank You To All Our Veterans

Veterans Day honors all those who served in any branch of the military. It was originally conceived as Armistice Day and was first celebrated on November 11, 1919. The significance of the date is that it was the day that the armistice was declared effectively ending World War One.

I never served in the military but my dad and my Uncle George served in the Army while my Uncle John and Uncle B served in the Navy during WWII.

I have many friends in gun rights community who are veterans and I salute them for never forgetting the oath that they took to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Kudos To Brownells

Many companies are offering discounts on this Veterans Day. However, in my opinion, Brownells and these companies are doing something even better. They are donating a portion of their sales from today to an organization that helps those from the Special Operations community that have been wounded. While all of our military veterans deserve help, few have been called upon as much over the last two decades as those in special operations.

Brownells & 11 Industry Partners Join Forces to Support Veterans

GRINNELL, Iowa (November 10, 2016) – Brownells is proud to announce it has formed a coalition of industry partners to donate sales dollars on Veterans Day – Friday, November 11, 2016 – to Special Operations Wounded Warriors(SOWW).

On Veteran’s Day 2016, Brownells will donate five percent of its total sales to SOWW. In addition, the following companies have agreed to donate five percent of their Veterans Day sales at Brownells to SOWW:
  • Magpul
  • DoubleStar
  • Faxon Firearms
  • JP Enterprises
  • Midwest Industries
  • Wilson Combat®
  • Leupold
  • Trijicon®
  • Otis Technology
  • LifeStraw®
  • XS Sight Systems®
Earlier this year, Brownells partnered with Magpul to donate a percentage of sales on Memorial Day to SOWW. The Veterans Day donation event, with 11 industry partners participating, represents a significant increase in support for SOWW.

“We could not be more appreciative and grateful for the outstanding and continued support of Brownells, its Senior Management, its employees, and its customers,” said SOWW Vice President Joel Pellicci. “As a Tier One level sponsor, our highest level of support, Brownells is a major contributor and supporter of our mission to provide thanks, fellowship, and therapeutic retreats to wounded members of the U.S. Special Operations Communities. Brownells’ aggressive support of SOWW has positively affected the lives of many people in need over the last five years.”

Customers can learn more about the Veteran’s Day promotion by visiting the Brownells/SOWW Veterans Day page.

About SOWW
Special Operations Wounded Warriors (SOWW) is a not-for-profit group that provides outdoor experiences and therapeutic retreats, as well as assistance with medical, physical and mental therapies for both veterans and active-duty members of the Unites States Special Operations Forces who have been wounded in action.  For more information, visit www.sowwcharity.com.

At The Eleventh Hour

Today, November 11th is Veterans Day. It is a day in which we honor all of veterans. To which I would like to offer my sincere thanks to all who have served in our armed forces.

However, this post will be about an earlier time. Before 1954, November 11th was known as Armistice Day. It commemorated the armistice which ordered the cessation of hostilities and ended World War I. The telegram below shows the orders received by Allied units on the Western Front.

Found on Tumblr

Thus, at “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918, the war ended.

You would think that with the cessation of hostilities scheduled for 11 am that most soldiers and most units would do everything in their power to avoid any contact with the opposing forces. You would be wrong. There was still fighting that November morning and men still died.

The last British soldier to die was George Edwin Ellison who was shot while on patrol in Mons, Belgium at 9:30 am. He is buried near Mons and his grave faces that of John Parr who was the first British soldier killed in 1914.

At 10:45 am on the November day, Augustin Trébuchon became the last French soldier to die. Because the French were embarrassed for having sent soldiers into battle without knowledge that the Armistice would begin that morning, they listed the date of death as November 10th. This was corrected in 1998.

George Lawrence Price, a Canadian soldier, was killed by a German sniper at 10:58 am. He had been in a house near Ville-sur-Haine, France and had been warned about snipers in the area.

While the United States did not enter the war until 1917, we had the last soldier to die during WWI. He was Private Henry Gunther of Baltimore who died at 10:59am. Gunther was assigned to Co. A, 313th Infantry Regiment, 79th Division.

From Obit of the Day:

Private Henry Gunther, of Baltimore, had learned of the planned cease fire at 10:30 a.m. He and his company remained pinned down by German machine gun fire waiting for the minutes to pass.

But in a surprise to his compatriots – and the Germans – Private Gunther scrambled out of his foxhole, rifle in hand, and began to charge the gun battery. The Germans pleaded with the 23-year-old to stop his charge reminding him that the war was soon to end but he continued running and firing his rifle. They had no choice but to return fire.

Private Henry Gunther died at 10:59 a.m. on November 11, 1918. The last soldier killed in action in the conflict later called World War I.

Although he never gave a reason for his actions, Pvt. Gunther was recently demoted from sergeant to private after a letter critical of Army life was intercepted by military censors. A German-American, he was already under some level of suspicion this did not aid his cause. He would tell his fellow soldiers that he wanted to “make good.”

Following his death Private Gunther was returned to the rank of sergeant and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. His body was returned home and buried in Most Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Baltimore.

More on Sgt. (then Private) Gunther can be found at the Baltimore Sun.

At The Eleventh Hour On The Eleventh Day

Today is Veterans Day. Up until 1954, it was known simply as Armistice Day. The change came about due to the efforts of WWII veteran Raymond Weeks who had the idea to celebrate all veterans and not just the veterans of WWI. Thus, I would like to give my thanks to all veterans, living and dead, for their service to our country.

Armistice Day which commemorates the end of WWI got me to thinking about my grandfathers. While neither served in WWI, I was able to find their draft cards.

My paternal grandfather, William Thomas Richardson, was a farmer and had four children when he registered for the draft in 1918. My father did not come along until 1919.

My maternal grandfather, John Francis Sheridan, was a tax assessor with the City of New York. He registered for the draft in 1917. He did not marry my grandmother until 1918 and my mother was born in 1919. My mother told me that he was always disappointed that he was turned down for service due to his eyesight.

If you look at the lower left corner of my Grandfather Sheridan’s draft registration, you will see a tab that reads, “If person is of African descent, tear off this corner.” I find it interesting that this is on the card belonging to my grandfather residing in New York and not the one residing in North Carolina.

I found these on Ancestry.com. Today it is free to search their military records collection. They have draft cards from WWI and WWII as well as US Navy ship muster rolls. If you want to do more in-depth searching on an ancestor’s US military background, you can get records from the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records.

At the Eleventh Hour

Lest I forget to say it, thank you to all of our veterans, living and dead. Without you, we would not have the freedom we have today.

The Deceased

My father, 1SGT Paul Richardson, was an Army veteran of both WWII and Vietnam who was originally drafted in October 1940.

My Uncle John Sheridan was a WWII Navy vet who enlisted on December 8, 1941 and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bennington towards the end of the war.

My late wife’s father, Ray Lipe, was a WWI Navy vet. No, I didn’t forget the extra “I” – Ray really was a WWI vet. When the Selective Service called his mother to ask why he didn’t answer his Army draft notice, they were told that he was at boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes. He tried to get the Navy to allow him to serve again during WWII but was told he was too old.

The Complementary Spouse’s father, Clarence, was a Korean War vet who served in the USAF’s Air Weather Service and was stationed in Japan providing weather briefings to pilots heading into North Korea. He served in the Air Force Reserve later in the 50’s and left as a Major.

The Living

My best friend’s son, Capt. John Rodriguez, is now serving with the 3rd Infantry, the Old Guard. Prior to that he spent a year in Afghanistan in the Korengal Valley with Viper Company, 1-26 Infantry, 3IBCT, 1st Infantry Division.