Arlington National Cemetery

500,000 Souls Lost To COVID 19 Pandemic In One Year: A Great Human Tragedy!

In 51 weeks, one week short of a year, we went from zero deaths to 500,000 deaths from COVID 19–February 29, 2020 to February 22, 2021!

The population of Atlanta—the number of dead in Arlington National Cemetery—the total of deaths in World War I, World War II, and Vietnam combined, which took two years in World War I, four years in World War II, and 12 years in Vietnam—this is the loss of a half million souls!

A President (Donald Trump) who presided over the greatest loss of life in one year, and showed no concern, no compassion, no decency, no empathy, as compared to a President (Joe Biden) who commemorated the loss tonight at the White House, and exudes concern, compassion, decency, empathy, not only on the loss of life in COVID 19, but on all issues that affect the American people!

We are finally on the road to recovery, although it will still be a long, hard fought battle, but thank goodness we have a decent President to take us through the darkness!

Trump’s Massive Waste Of Government Spending: His Trips, The Wall, And A Military Parade, While Other Issues That Matter Are Ignored

Donald Trump has engaged in massive waste of government spending for his own personal desires, and plans to do more if not stopped by Congress and the Republican Party.

His excessive amount of travel to his Mar a Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida has cost the US government a massive amount of expenses, along with the costs to the local communities in Palm Beach County. He has spent more time on vacation than any President, and it is clear he does very little work, preferring to play golf, watch cable news, and eat McDonald’s Cheese Burgers and Diet Cokes.

Trump wants to spend billions of taxpayer money on the proposed Mexico Wall, a pure waste of money that will not work, and will have plenty of cost overruns if built. It also gives the United States a terrible image in the world, and will undermine relations with our 2,000 mile boundary neighbor to the South. It is certain that Mexico will not pay for the wall, should not pay for the wall, and that the taxpayers will be stuck with the bill, when the vast majority of the American people do not support the wall, and we could spend the tens of billions on such things as the opioid crisis, veterans health care, hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, infrastructure spending, and so many other priorities.

And now, Donald Trump wants an expensive military parade on Independence Avenue in Washington, DC, causing massive expenditures by the federal government, and the DC local government, and presenting security challenges. The military is celebrated on Memorial and Veterans Days with parades locally all over the nation, and with ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and that is more than enough in a nation that has civilian government, not military government. We do not need to spend tens of millions of dollars to stroke the ego of a crazy narcissist, who wishes he was a dictator in the line of Kim Jong Un of North Korea, or like China, the old Soviet Union, or the old Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, or other authoritarian dictatorships.

It is up to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party to stop Donald Trump dead in his tracks on the Mexico Wall and on the military parade, and say NO WAY!

Time Of Remembrance: 150 Years Of Arlington National Cemetery And 70th Anniversary Of D Day

We are today commemorating two solemn anniversaries: 150 years of Arlington National Cemetery, and 70 years on June 6 of the D Day Invasion at Normandy during World War II! Memorial Day is the proper day to mark these two anniversaries!

Arlington National Cemetery began as a place to honor Civil War veterans, and now honors veterans of all of America’s wars, those killed in battle and those who simply served.

The number of World War II veterans is declining rapidly, with the youngest participants now age 88 and over, with “The Greatest Generation” still honored for their sacrifices every year.

The crisis over the Department of Veterans Affairs is a sad event, since we face a mountain of commitment to all of our veterans over the next century, who have done their part to protect us, and no matter what the cost, our commitment MUST be met, when we send troops to war!

It should sober us to be more careful about military commitments overseas, and only engaged in wars that we have no choice but to participate in, for national security, but NOT for corporate greed or the promotion of oil interests!

And this is also a sobering time, as we soon will reach the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I in Europe this summer! The effects of that war, on the world and on America, still reverberate!

Barack Obama And Veterans Day: A Great President On Veterans Issues

Barack Obama may not have served in the military, becoming an adult during a time when military service by draft had ended, and instead choosing to become a community organizer, in many ways a domestic version of the Peace Corps.

Mitt Romney supported the war in Vietnam, but used his religious commitment to the Mormon Church to avoid service, and instead spent his entire life acquiring massive amounts of wealth, with no social commitment to anyone, and only using one term as Governor of Massachusetts as a tool to run for President, and become the ultimate “BOSS’, which has been his only goal in life other than materialism!

Barack Obama has been very respectful and supportive of the plight of veterans who have served in our various wars, and he has done so much for their needs when they return, and he is pledging again our total commitment to them in the future. with recognition of the reality that much needs to be done.

As we become aware that one out of four homeless people in this nation are veterans, and that many veterans are unemployed, it means that no stone shall be unturned to do what must be done to help these people who served with courage and determination.

There may be budget cuts coming, but not at the expense of veterans!

Seeing Barack Obama speak at Arlington National Cemetery right now is such an inspiring moment, and realizing that one of our heroes, Tammy Duckworth, who gave up both legs and one arm in Iraq, is now the Congresswoman Elect in an Illinois district, having soundly defeated one of the worst Tea Party elected Representatives of 2010, Joe Walsh, is a very exciting moment! And seeing Allen West of Florida, who abused his power in Iraq and was drummed out of the military, also leaving Congress in January, is a very satisfying event!

Some Facts And Figures Appropriate For Memorial Day

As we honor veterans of all of our wars, with survivors from World War II on to the present on Memorial Day, it is worth some time to reflect on what war means.

So therefore, the following statistics gathered about the effects of war on America:

4,488 have died in the Iraq War, and 1, 973 in Afghanistan, for a grand total of 6,461 men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. And about 35,000 veterans of both wars have been wounded, with about 20 percent of this total severely wounded!

24 Presidents have served in the military, out of 43 total, a little less than 60 percent.

29 presently serving US Senators and 21 percent of members of the US House of Representatives (about 92) have served in the military.

Only 3.3 percent of the American population, about 10 million people, have served in the military.

27-30 veterans are interred in Arlington National Cemetery every day.

124, 909 American veterans, both men and women, are interred in foreign soil.

Finally, 67,000 veterans are homeless and on the streets on any given night, and this is the greatest injustice imaginable!

Not one veteran should be homeless or jobless as a result of his service to his country, and much more needs to be done to help these people who gave of themselves to their country, returned, and have not been able to fulfill the American dream!

Two Deaths Of Note: Frank Buckles And Duke Snider And The True Arrival Of History

Yesterday, February 27, was a day where the nation lost two significant public figures, one who had no desire to be, and one who was in the headlines for many years.

Frank Buckles, the last surviving American veteran of World War I, which he entered at age 16 in 1917, passed away within a month after his 110th birthday. He sought no fame, but testified before Congress last year for a World War I Memorial on the level of the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II Memorials already on the Washington Mall, to honor veterans of those wars.

Buckles never actually came close to war duty itself, being at least 30 miles from the war trenches in France, but he came to represent the nearly five million Americans who served in World War I, and the two million who actually went off to the war front.

He became nationally known in 2007, when he was named grand marshal of the National Memorial Day parade in Washington, DC. He also was a guest at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day 2007 for a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. He also was honored by Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Pentagon, and met with President George W. Bush at the White House in 2008.

He was a prisoner of war in the Philippines in World War II, due to his work for a shipping company in Manila, and the seizure of that country by the Japanese, surviving 38 months of harsh imprisonment and finally freed by an American rescue mission.

Buckles will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with a traditional white marble headstone, the last living memory of the Great War, the war to end all wars, which did no such thing, regrettably.

Also passing away was a famous baseball slugger, Duke Snider of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, one of the favorite players of the author as a child growing up in New York City, and being a fan of “dem Bums”!

Snider had to compete with Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees as a center fielder, and was often thought to be just number three when compared to them, but to many, he was simply “the Duke”!

Snider had 40 or more home runs five straight years, something not achieved by Mays or Mantle. He helped the Dodgers to win their only World Series in Brooklyn in 1955, and was seen as the super star of the team, even as compared to Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Carl Furillo, and Carl Erskine, among others.

Snider managed to hit 407 home runs lifetime, batted .300 or better seven times, had a lifetime batting average of .295, and had over 2,000 hits, and was among the leaders in runs batted in numerous times.

With his death, the last significant player on the old Brooklyn Dodgers has passed away, age 84, and makes the Dodgers truly a part of history, just as much as Frank Buckles’s death marks the true end of World War I for America!

This is a sad time for those who realize how history has truly taken over, not only with Buckles and Snider, but also last month with the death of Sargent Shriver, marking the true end of the Kennedy Presidency and its entrance into history, much the same as the First World War and the Brooklyn Dodgers!

47 Years After Kennedy Funeral, Has America Lost Its Idealism and Optimism About the Future?

A half century ago, when John F. Kennedy was President, there was a sense of idealism and optimism, a sense of commitment to others, and a belief that challenges could be overcome and great things accomplished!

Today, there is little sense of these feelings in America, and we have become a very self centered, materialistic society, in which family life has deteriorated, and gloom and doom resonates! 🙁

There is cynicism, pessimism, fear, and hysteria present among a large portion of the population, and no longer do most people believe in the so called “American Dream” of happiness and success!

We are being told that we cannot sustain New Deal social programs, cannot promote a decent education system, deal with the energy crisis, create jobs for millions of unemployed Americans, and rebuild our infrastructure which is in desperate need of repair!

A nation that does not have dreams and goals, but instead practices the art of personal destruction of public figures in the name of partisanship, is a nation in a terminal state if we cannot revive faith in the future! 🙁

Could it be that 47 years ago, with the Kennedy funeral and burial in Arlington National Cemetery on this day,  our nation’s greatness had reached its peak?

Some would say absolutely YES, that the nation never has fully recovered from the horrors of the Kennedy Assassination, and that we are in a funk of our own making that will bring us down to a second rate power, unless we can restore the feelings and beliefs so prevalent when John F. Kennedy was President of the United States!

The Death Of Ted Kennedy An Immense Loss! :(

The death of Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts late last evening is an immense loss to the nation.

Kennedy certainly had his critics and naysayers, and not all of the criticism is undeserved.

This man was exasperating much of the time in his personal life, particularly when he was middle aged and stupid and reckless, as for instance when he was driving drunk in Martha’s Vineyard, and drove his car into a canal at Chappaquiddick, nearly causing his own drowning death, and actually causing the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who was with him at a party he should not have been at, since he was a married man. Many have said he murdered her, but that is not true, but still his wild, reckless behavior is rightfully condemned.

Ted often seemed undirected, as when he decided to challenge President Carter in 1980, and yet could not explain WHY he wanted to be President. That, plus the fact that the Chappaquiddick affair besmirched his reputation for all time, prevented him from ever reaching the Presidency.

But after continuing to womanize, drink too heavily, and divorce the mother of his three children, he finally grew up and married his second wife in 1992, and that seemed to stabilize his existence, and one could say that FINALLY at age 60, he grew up and began to act responsibly.

At the same time that Ted misbehaved in a horrible way for so many years, he also dedicated himself to a life’s work fighting for the poor, the disadvantaged, the sick, the elderly, the working people, and racial and ethnic minorities. He headed the Judiciary Committee and later the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, fought for a higher minimum wage and education reform, and promoted the concept of universal health care, his last great battle of many in the Senate.

He managed to make friends of Republican colleagues, who often fought him on many issues, but respected him greatly despite their ideological differences. Among those he worked well with were Arizona Senator John McCain and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.

Kennedy gained the name LION OF THE SENATE, and he is going to be much missed by all of his Senate colleagues who knew him to be a man of great energy and tremendous commitment to the causes he believed in.

Kennedy also did many small deeds in his home state of Massachusetts and in the city of Washington, DC, without wanting attention or publicity to be brought to his activities, such as reading to elementary school classes in the capital city and visiting hospitals.

He was constantly in the limelight, but did not seek constant attention, and always demonstrated a good sense of humor and tons of compassion, seeing his luck of being born wealthy as the opportunity to serve others and give back to the nation.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once stated that a person who dedicates his life to those less fortunate is more to be remembered and revered, than one who spends his lifetime enriching himself and displaying greed and lack of concern for those below him. This is the true meaning of our existence, and our western religions teach that we should follow the road of compassion, concern, and good deeds and not be greedy, selfish, or self centered.

Ted Kennedy was a great servant to his country and the world, and he is really irreplaceable.

In conclusion, there is no doubt that Ted Kennedy will be ranked as one of the most prominent, influential senators of all time, certainly in the top ten of our history since 1789, and as the giant of the last 30 years in particular, for sure. He might have been in opposition most of the time with Republican Presidents, but he still left a heavy footprint on his times and provided us with an amazing legacy.

It can be hoped that his death will promote a substantial reform of health care in his honor, and because it is right to bring about such a change.

He will be buried alongside his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, so Americans will be able to visit and come to realize the tremendous impact this family had on American history.

Ted, we will never forget you, and may you rest in peace!