10 Things to Remember About Memorial Day

H/T Mental Floss.

Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year’s first sunburn. It’s a time to remember the people who sacrificed their lives for their country. Here are some facts to give the holiday some perspective.

1. MEMORIAL DAY BEGAN AS A RESPONSE TO THE CIVIL WAR.

Memorial Day was a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which a total of some 620,000 soldiers died. The loss of life and its effect on communities led to several spontaneous commemorations of the dead.

In 1864, women from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, put flowers on the graves of their fallen soldiers from the just-fought Battle of Gettysburg. The next year, a group of women decorated the graves of soldiers buried in a Vicksburg, Mississippi, cemetery.

Two years later, women from Columbus, Mississippi, laid flowers on the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers. In the same month, in Carbondale, Illinois, 219 Civil War veterans marched through town to Woodlawn Cemetery in memory of the fallen, where Union hero Major General John A. Logan delivered the principal address. The ceremony gave Carbondale its claim to the first organized, community-wide Memorial Day observance.

Waterloo, New York, began holding an annual community service on May 5, 1866. Although many towns claimed the title, it was Waterloo that won congressional recognition as the “Birthplace of Memorial Day.”

2. MAJOR GENERAL JOHN A. LOGAN MADE MEMORIAL DAY OFFICIAL.

 

General Logan, the speaker at the Carbondale gathering, was also commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans. On May 5, 1868, he issued General Order No. 11, which set aside May 30, 1868, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion.”

The orders expressed hope that the observance would be “kept up from year to year while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades.”

3. MEMORIAL DAY WAS ORIGINALLY KNOWN AS DECORATION DAY.

The holiday was long known as Decoration Day for the practice of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. The name “Memorial Day” goes back to 1882, but the older name didn’t disappear until after World War II. It wasn’t until 1967 that federal law declared “Memorial Day” the official name.

4. MEMORIAL DAY IS MORE OF A FRANCHISE THAN A NATIONAL HOLIDAY.

Calling Memorial Day a “national holiday” is a bit of a misnomer. While there have been 10 federal holidays created by Congress—including Memorial Day—they apply only to federal employees and the District of Columbia. Federal Memorial Day, established in 1888, allowed Civil War veterans, many of whom were drawing a government paycheck, to honor their fallen comrades without being docked a day’s pay.

For the rest of us, our holidays were enacted state by state. New York was the first state to designate Memorial Day a legal holiday, in 1873. Most northern states had followed suit by the 1890s. The states of the former Confederacy were unenthusiastic about a holiday memorializing those who, in General Logan’s words, “united to suppress the late rebellion.” The South didn’t adopt the May 30 Memorial Day until after World War I, by which time its purpose had been broadened to include those who died in all the country’s wars.

In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act shifted Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May.

5. IN 1868, FUTURE PRESIDENT JAMES GARFIELD DELIVERED A VERY, VERY LONG SPEECH ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MEMORIAL DAY.

 

EDWARD GOOCH/GETTY IMAGES

On May 30, 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery—which, until 1864, was Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s plantation.

Some 5000 people attended on a spring day which, The New York Times reported, was “somewhat too warm for comfort.” The principal speaker was James A. Garfield, a Civil War general, Republican congressman from Ohio, and future president.

“I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion,” Garfield began, and then continued to utter them. “If silence is ever golden, it must be beside the graves of fifteen-thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem the music of which can never be sung.” It went on like that for pages and pages, lasting almost two hours.

As the songs, speeches, and sermons ended, the participants helped to decorate the graves of the Union and Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

6. CBS HELPED IDENTIFY ONE OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIERS.

“Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.” That is the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknowns, established at Arlington National Cemetery to inter the remains of the first Unknown Soldier, a World War I fighter, on November 11, 1921. Unknown soldiers from World War II and the Korean War were subsequently interred in the tomb on Memorial Day 1958.

An emotional President Ronald Reagan presided over the interment of six bones, the remains of an unidentified Vietnam War soldier, on May 28, 1984—Memorial Day. Fourteen years later, spurred by an investigation by CBS News, the Defense Department removed the remains from the Tomb of the Unknowns for DNA testing.

The once-unknown fighter was identified as Air Force pilot Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie, whose jet crashed in South Vietnam in 1972. “The CBS investigation suggested that the military review board that had changed the designation on Lt. Blassie’s remains to ‘unknown’ did so under pressure from veterans’ groups to honor a casualty from the Vietnam War,” The New York Times reported in 1998.

Lieutenant Blassie was reburied near his hometown of St. Louis. His crypt at Arlington remains permanently empty.

7. ONE VIETNAM VETERANS’ RIGHTS GROUP HELD A VIRTUAL MOTORCYCLE RIDE TO HONOR MEMORIAL DAY IN 2020.

 

ANGELA WEISS, AFP/GETTY IMAGES

On Memorial Day weekend in 1988, 2500 motorcyclists rode into Washington, D.C. for the first Rolling Thunder rally to draw attention to Vietnam War soldiers still missing in action and prisoners of war. By 2002, the ride had swelled to 300,000 bikers, many of them veterans, and in 2018, the numbers were likely closer to half a million.

Though it was reported that 2019 would be the group’s last Memorial Day ride, the organization American Veterans (AMVETS) continued the tradition in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to WUSA9. Now known as Rolling to Remember, 2020’s ride was a bit different—instead of hundreds of thousands of riders going through Washington, D.C., organizers asked participants to ride 22 miles through their own community for a virtual Memorial Day demonstration on Sunday, May 24. Riders could track and share their progress using the REVER app.

Traveling 22 miles is significant, because in addition to raising awareness for soldiers missing in action and prisoners of war, AMVETS wanted to bring attention to the average 22 veterans who die by suicide every day.

8. MEMORIAL DAY HAS ITS OWN SET OF CUSTOMS.

General Order No. 11 stated that “in this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed,” but over time, several customs and symbols became associated with the holiday. Most notably, it is customary on Memorial Day to fly the flag at half-staff until noon, and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset [PDF].

The World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” by John McCrea, inspired the Memorial Day custom of wearing red artificial poppies. In 1915, a Georgia teacher and volunteer war worker named Moina Michael began a campaign to make the poppy a symbol of tribute to veterans and for “keeping the faith with all who died.” The sale of poppies has supported the work of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

9. SOME STATES STILL CELEBRATE A CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY.

Several Southern states continue to set aside a day for honoring the Confederate dead, which is usually called Confederate Memorial Day. It’s on the fourth Monday in April in Alabama and the last Monday in April in Mississippi, while states like Texas and Tennessee observe Confederate Heroes Day on January 19 and Confederate Decoration Day on June 3, respectively, but they don’t outright declare them state holidays.

10. EACH MEMORIAL DAY IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT.

There’s no question that Memorial Day is a solemn event. Still, don’t feel too guilty about doing something frivolous (like hosting a barbecue) over the weekend. After all, you weren’t the one who instituted the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911. That credit goes to Indianapolis businessman Carl Fisher. The winning driver that day was Ray Harroun, who averaged 74.6 mph and completed the race in six hours and 42 minutes.

Gravitas returned on May 30, 1922, when the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated. Supreme Court Chief Justice (and former president) William Howard Taft dedicated the monument before a crowd of 50,000 people, segregated by race, and which included a row of Union and Confederate veterans. Lincoln’s surviving son, Robert Todd Lincoln, also attended.

In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. in an act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.”

Biden’s Tax Increase: It’s Time To Get Real

Jim Campbell's

By Jim Campbell

May 31st, 2020

Please note that little Anthony is wearing shoes with lifts so that he can appear taller.

We are led to believe that inflation is running at 4%, enough to make most of us roll over and go to sleep.

What they are not telling us, is that the Consumer Price Index is 21%.

The CPI is all the nuts, bolts, and things we aren’t aware of that are needed to make make products.

Think about the Auto Industry in the U.S.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) doled out more than $3.5 billion in taxpayer money to Americans under the American Rescue Plan during the past two weeks.

Photo by 金 运

More than 900,000 payments, with a value of approximately $1.9 billion, went to people who recently filed tax returns.

They IRS says they were previously eligible for payments, but until they filed the new tax returns, the…

View original post 104 more words

MEMORIAL DAY 2021

Pacific Paratrooper

Our nation marks Memorial Day to honor and pay tribute to brave Americans who gave their life for this country. Many generations have sacrificed in defense of our nation, our liberty, and our desire to improve our country. On Memorial Day, we humbly honor these incredible patriots and have a solemn duty to uphold their legacy.

At its core, Memorial Day speaks of personal sacrifice for a greater good. It resonates in the stories of ordinary Americans, who fought for a better world and were willing to lay down their lives. Our way of life is shaped by those who have served and those who were lost. We have benefited from their positive influence on our world. It is our solemn duty to honor for our fallen brothers and sisters in arms and their families. This day reflects on heroes from historically distant wars passed and current operations. We honor…

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Taps

Hughes-Fig-8
It’s a simple and yet heart-rending melody.
It is only 24 notes long.
It always puts a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye.
It will also cause me to weep unashamed.
 
Most people have heard “Taps”, even if they don’t recall the name.
Most people, also, know no history of the famous song.
 
After the Seven Days Battle in July, 1862, General Dan Butterfield
and bugler Oliver Wilcox Norton reworked a bugle call known
as “Scott Tattoo” to create “Taps.”“Taps” was first used during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862 when a gunner from Battery “A” of
the  second artillery was buried.

As the battery was in a forward wooded area close to the Confederate lines, the traditional three shot volley was unsafe as it would have given the enemy a good idea of where the battery was located.

Captain Tidball ordered “Taps” to be used as a safe salute to a fallen comrade.

The Confederates also used “Taps.” Approximately ten months after it was written, “Taps” was also sounded over the grave of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson.

Starting in 1891, Army Infantry Regulations required “Taps”to be sounded at all military funerals.

Memorial Day Tribute: Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

H/T Town Hall.

Lest We Forget.

In 1967, “Memorial Day” became the official title of the somber holiday we observe on May 31. Across the country, ceremonies will take place at all 141 national cemeteries in the United States and 24 others on foreign soil. More than 3 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Guardsmen are interred in these hallowed burial grounds. In words written on stone markers, military cemeteries tell the story of who we are as a people.

Since 1776, more than 1.5 million Americans in uniform have given their lives for the cause of freedom. Regardless of when they served or how they died, all the heroes interred in our national cemeteries and elsewhere sacrificed for their country. To selflessly serve a higher cause, they gave up the comforts of home and the warmth and affection of loved ones.

In his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy said: “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival … of liberty.” On this Memorial Day, we remember and honor the American patriots who paid the price, bore the burden and met the hardships to assure the survival of our liberty.

There are few things more selfless or noble than sacrificing one’s life for a higher cause, particularly when that cause is the freedom and security of our fellow Americans. This is the reason the day is set aside to honor our military heroes who gave what Abraham Lincoln called their “last full measure of devotion” in defense of freedom.

Although Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, it is not an occasion for grief or mourning. Rather, it is a day for remembering and giving thanks. General George S. Patton said it best: “It is wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God such men lived.” Indeed, we should. America has survived as a nation for more than 240 years because brave men and women are willing to die for an idea; the idea that God granted them, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As citizens of this great country, we are able to enjoy the blessings set forth in the Declaration of Independence because God endowed us with these blessings and American heroes sacrificed their lives preserving them. As Americans enjoy Memorial Day cookouts and picnics, we pray they will stop long enough to remember why they are free to do so.

As citizens of the world’s foremost bastion of liberty, we have long benefitted from the freedoms spelled out in the Bill of Rights. We must never take these or any of our rights for granted or forget those who sacrificed their lives preserving them for us. This is why it is so important to set aside one day out of the year to remember our fallen heroes and give thanks for them.

 

More than 16 million Americans served in World War II. Only a handful of the “Greatest Generation” remain. Others died fighting the tyranny of communism in the mind-numbing cold of Korea while outnumbered 10 to one.

On the heels of the Korean conflict, more than 12 million Americas donned the uniform to serve in what was called the “cold war,” a decades-long conflict that was anything but cold. Then came the Vietnam War, during which more than 7 million Americans served and 58,267 warriors lost their lives.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, Americans have continued to sacrifice for freedom in far-flung hot spots such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa. Therefore, on this Memorial Day, we encourage all Americans to remember our fallen heroes and pass down the stories of their sacrifices so future generations never forget.

Starlet Turned Spy: The Double-Life Of Josephine Baker

H/T War History OnLine.

Josephine Baker was a remarkable woman.

Josephine Baker broke various color barriers, is a feminist icon, advocated for civil rights, and rose to be the most famous woman in France throughout the 1920s and 1930s.

 

Josephine Baker’s role in the French Resistance has received comparably little attention to her dances in “banana-skirts,” film appearances, and vaudeville routines. But she was able to use her star power to gain access to Axis secrets during the Second World War. While she is a  remarkable woman, her time as a French spy is truly fascinating.

Josephine Baker in her banana skirt
Josephine Baker posing in her banana skirt costume for her famous “banana dance” circa 1925.
(Photo Credit: Walery / Getty Images)

Early life

Josephine Baker was born on June 3, 1906, in St. Louis, Missouri. Josephine grew up without a father and in poverty. Between ages 8 and 10, she left school to help support her family doing odd jobs. When Baker was 16, she joined a dance troupe from Philadelphia to begin touring with them. Baker was a chorus girl performing in Shuffle Along and The Chocolate Dandies in New York.

Josephine Baker sitting on a tiger rug
Josephine Baker sitting on a tiger rug, circa 1925
(Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In 1925, Josephine went to Paris, where she became an overnight success, first as an erotic dancer but eventually as both a film star and singer. She rubbed elbows with a young Ernst Hemingway, was drawn multiple times by Pablo Picasso, and befriended Jean Cocteau, who helped her become the highest-paid entertainer in pre-war France. She became a French citizen in 1937 and was ready to risk everything for her new country.

The war begins

When France declared war on Germany in September 1939, French military intelligence agent Jacques Abtey met with Josephine Baker to recruit her to the Deuxième Bureau — the French military intelligence agency. The agency didn’t usually recruit female correspondents, but Baker was chosen because of her celebrity status.

According to Abtey, the intelligence agency was looking for patriotic agents who could offer strong connections

Maurice Chevalier and Josephine Baker at French Front
Entertainers Maurice Chevalier and Josephine Baker being greeted by French soldiers, 1940.
(Photo Credit: Three Lions/ Hulton Archives/ Getty Images)

Baker seemed to have just what the Deuxième Bureau was looking for. When Abtey first met with Baker, he recalled her saying, “France made me what I am. The Parisians gave me their hearts, and I am ready to give them my life.”

Not only was Baker ready to give her life for France, but she was able to offer invaluable connections to the French Resistance. Because of her celebrity status, she was able to secure invites to parties held at the Italian and Japanese embassies.

Baker would often write notes on her hands and arms about conversations she heard at these parties so she wouldn’t forget them. Although this was a dangerous practice, she would just laugh and say “no one would ever think I am a spy” when confronted about it.

The Nazis close in on Paris

It was clear to Jacques Abtey that Paris was soon going to fall to the Nazis, so he urged Baker to go South. After all, Josephine Baker symbolized all the things the Nazis hated. She was a successful, Black, bisexual woman who, in 1937, had married a Jewish man.

So, in June 1940, Baker packed up all of her priceless possessions (including a bed once owned by Marie-Antoinette) and headed 300 miles southwest of Paris. Here, she rented a chateau and hid refugees and French Resistance members in her new residence.

Josephine Baker in her uniform
Josephine Baker poses in her uniform, circa 1945.
(Photo Credit: Keystone/ Hulton Archive/ Getty Images)

In November 1940, Abtey and Baker worked together to smuggle documents to General Charles de Gaulle and the Free French Government in exile in London. Information that the French Resistance had gathered on the German army in France was transcribed in invisible ink onto Baker’s sheet music, while important photographs were pinned under Josephine’s dress.

Claiming to be embarking on a South American tour, Baker and Abtey planned to get to London through neutral Portugal. However, to do so, they first had to cross the Spanish border.

While this initially caused some concern for members of the Resistance and Jacques Abtey — who was posing as Josephine’s ballet instructor — the Spanish border guards and German police were so captivated by Josephine that the pair ended up having no problems crossing the border and their documents went completely undetected by German police.

Josephine Baker and an Allied soldier
Josephine Baker entertaining at a victory party in London, 1945. (Photo Credit: Jack Esten/Getty Images)

While Josephine was in Portugal and Spain on this business trip, she also continued her espionage work at embassy parties, gaining details on Axis troop movements. Instead of writing notes on her arms, she would write notes on pieces of paper and attach them to her bra with a safety pin.

Later, Josephine wrote that she wasn’t concerned about this tactic: “My notes would have been highly compromising had they been discovered, but who would dare search Josephine Baker to the skin? When they ask me for papers, they generally meant autographs.”

Off to North Africa

In January 1941, Jacques Abtey and Josephine Baker were sent to Morocco to set up a liaison and transmission center in Casablanca. For this trip, Josephine brought with her two emeralds, 28 pieces of luggage, a Great Dane, two mice, and three monkeys. It would have been more suspicious, Josephine reasoned, if she had been traveling light.

Josephine Butler with the Free French Women's Air Auxiliary
Josephine Baker as a volunteer with the Free French Women’s Air Auxiliary, circa 1940.
(Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In Morocco, Josephine worked closely with French Resistance networks and used her connections to secure passports for Jews fleeing Nazis in Eastern Europe.

However, in June 1941, Josephine fell ill with peritonitis leading to multiple surgeries and an 18-month hospital stay. She was so sick that multiple different news outlets ran stories about her death. In an interview for the Afro-American, she told reporter Ollie Stewart that this was a “slight error” because she was “much too busy to die.”

Josephine continued to be involved in her Resistance work even as she recovered, and both diplomats and fellow French Resistance members held meetings at her bed. When Josephine was fully recovered, she embarked on a tour in North Africa, entertaining the troops stationed there and bringing in more than three million francs for the French Free Army.

Along with the money made from her tour, she also sold her own personal possessions to raise money for the poor citizens of Paris and the French Free Army. She once auctioned off her gold cross of Lorraine for 300,00 francs and donated it all to the Resistance.

Awarded for her efforts

Although Josephine Baker refused to accept any money for her work in the French Resistance, she gained even more recognition than she had before the war began. For her courageous efforts and service, the women’s auxiliary of the French airforce made her an officer. For the rest of her life, Josephine wore her Air Force uniform for public appearances — including the March on Washington in 1963.

Josephine Baker in Uniform
Josephine Baker poses for a portrait in her women’s air auxiliary uniform, 1945.
(Photo Credit: ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

In 1945, General (and later Prime Minister of France) Charles de Gaulle presented Josephine with two prestigious honors, the Croix de Guerre and the Rosette de la RésistanceHe also named her a Chevalier de Légion d’Honneur — the highest order of merit for military and civil action.

When asked later about these awards, Josephine recalled asking why she was receiving them, feeling that “others deserved it more.”

Josephine Baker receiving the Legion of Honor
Josephine Baker receiving the Legion of Honor award at her chateau in Milandes, France on August 9, 1961. (Photo Credit: REPORTERS ASSOCIES/ Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

When Josephine was asked why she volunteered with the French Resistance, she recalled that “of course I wanted to do all I could to aid France, but the thing that drove me as strongly as did the patriotism was my violent hatred of discrimination in any form. The Nazis were racists. They were bigots. I despised that sort of thing. I was determined that they must be defeated.”

More from us: Babrak Karmal: From Exile To President

We remember Josephine Baker not only as an African-American star who broke color barriers throughout her life, but also as a French Resistance fighter who risked her life for the freedoms of all people.

 

Around the Web

The Legend Of Memorial Day

Most of us boomers and before remember Memorial Day as Decoration Day.

I recall my grandmother and great-grandmother  talking about having  picnics in the graveyards on Decoration Day.

 The legend says on April 25,1866 the women of Columbus, Mississippi started the tradition.

The women went to the Friendship Cemetery to decorate the  graves of the local soldiers.

After they finished decorating the Confederate graves, someone noticed some graves that were not decorated.

The women proceed to decorate them.

A passerby said these are Yankee Graves.

One of the women said  there are  wivessisterssweethearts, mothers, daughters and grandmothers are mourning these men.

As the wives, sweethearts, sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers are mourning our boys.

So we will decorate these graves also.

I do not know if this story is true or not.

I think it may be the truth.

I do know the following is true. 

[Photo courtesy Tom Bell, Director of Media Services & Telecommunications, John A. Logan College, Carterville, Illinois]

General John A. Logan
 
I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.

In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

We are organized, comrades, as our regulations tell us, for the purpose, among other things, “of preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion.” What can aid more to assure this result than by cherishing tenderly the memory of our heroic dead, who made their breasts a barricade between our country and its foe?

Their soldier lives were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains, and their death a tattoo of rebellious tyranny in arms. We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. All that the consecrated wealth and taste of the Nation can add to their adornment and security is but a fitting tribute to the memory of her slain defenders.

Let no wanton foot tread rudely on such hallowed grounds. Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and found mourners. Let no vandalism of avarice ofneglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of free and undivided republic.

If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed, gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with choicest flowers of springtime; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us as sacred charges upon the Nation’s gratitude, — the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

II. It is the purpose of the Commander-in-Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.

III. Department commanders will use every effort to make this order effective.

By order of

JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief
N.P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant General

Official:
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

The first ceremony on May 30, 1868, was truly inspired by the local observances that had been taking place in many towns across America since the end of the Civil War.

At this first celebration of Decoration Day General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetary, after which 5,000 participants helped decorate over 20,000 graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried in the cemetery.

TX: Constitutional Carry to go to Governor Abbott

H/T JPFO.

Texas will soon join the ranks of states with Constitutional Carry.

On 24 May, Monday afternoon, the last significant legislative hurdle for restoring Constitutional Carry to Texas was overcome.

After years of toil, time and trouble, of betrayal and loyalty, of primaries and resignations, a significant Constitutional Carry bill has passed the Texas Legislature and is expected to be sent to Governor Abbott.

HB1927, in its final form, passed the House 82-62, and reported privately to me, passed the Senate on a straight party line vote.

Constitutional carry is a reasonable facsimile of the state of law about the carry of weapons when the Second Amendment was ratified, in 1791. At the time, no government permits were required to carry weapons, openly or concealed, by any State or the Federal government. That situation remained the state of law for about two generations.

It is almost certain Texas will become a member of the Constitutional Carry club in 2021. It will make Texas the 21st state to join the club. There have not been any statistically significant ill effects from Constitutional Carry in any of the previous 20 states.

HB 1927, in its final form of the Conference Committee report contains some relatively minor amendments wrangled over and included in the legislative process.

Here are some highlights of HB 1927, as interpreted by this correspondent, who is not a lawyer.

1. Peace Officers may disarm a person at any time the officer reasonably believes it is necessary for the protection of the person, officer or another person. The officer shall return the handgun if the officer determines the person is not a threat, before the person leaves the scene.

2. Peace Officers, in the lawful performance of their duties, may temporarily disarm a person when the person enters a public, non-secure portion or a law enforcement facility, if a gun locker or other secure storage areas is/are provided. The firearm shall be returned immediately after the person leaves the unsecured area.

3. Persons convicted of illegal possession of a weapon under Section 46.02(a), before September 1, 2021 are :
    “entitled to have all records and files relating to the arrest expunged”
Subject to certain time limits and procedures.

4. Carrying a firearm, if forbidden to do so in public, has a five year mandatory sentence.

5. The Department of Public Safety will publish a report on firearm statistics related to the carrying of firearms each year.

6. The department of Public Safety will create a course on firearm safety and handling, available on the Department’s Internet site, freely accessible to the public.

7. In order to legally carry without a permit, in public, outside of a motor vehicle, it is required the person has not been convicted of one of the following offenses in the previous five years:

• Assault with bodily injury;
• Recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury (shooting at building or cars, or pointing guns at people);
• Make a terroristic threat;
• Discharges a firearm in a public place other than a public road or sport shooting range;
• Displays a firearm in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.

8. A person who is a member of a criminal street gang may not carry a handgun on or about their person in a motor vehicle or watercraft. (with exceptions for traveling, hunting, or fishing).

9. Creates the signage requirement for a 30.05 sign to go with the 30.06 and 30.07 signs. The 30.05 sign is not necessary if 30.06 or 30.07 signs are used.

The law, if signed by Governor Abbot, will go into effect on 1 September, 2021.

While HB1927 is not perfect, it removes 90% of the restrictions against Constitutional Carry which existed before the bill passed. 90% of adults will be able to carry, without government permission, in 95% of the places they could not carry before.

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

A Humble Hero: Man Revealed As Hero When His Medals Are Discovered

H/T War History OnLine.

R.I.P. Donald Helfer.

We often see stories of valor, bravery, and medal ceremonies for members of the armed forces, on television and on the news, past or present. It is an accepted fact that bravery must be rewarded, and the recipient should be praised. Rightfully so, as the difficult actions of heroes have carved the world we live in and the freedoms we enjoy, and that should be celebrated. However, not all heroes consider themselves one, or want to be praised.

 

This was true for U.S. Navy veteran Donald Helfer.

Helfer fought during WWII, where he flew 28 hazardous missions over enemy territory. During his service, he became a highly decorated servicemember, which he kept a secret from everyone, including his own children.

He was awarded the Navy Flying Cross and a Bronze Star. In addition to this, he also received a letter from U.S. President Harry Truman, who offered the “heartfelt thanks of a grateful nation” for his service and referred to him as “one of the nation’s finest.”

Helfer’s achievements, including a letter from U.S. President Harry Truman, were completely unknown. (Photo Credit: FOX 46 Charlotte / YouTube)
Helfer’s achievements, including a letter from U.S. President Harry Truman, were completely unknown. (Photo Credit: FOX 46 Charlotte / YouTube)

This amount of decoration is incredible to most people, who would be proud to be recognized for their actions. Not Helfer, though, who kept this action-packed part of his life to himself.

Later in life, Helfer worked as a police officer in upstate New York, which he was still doing when he died in 1993. His children knew he served in the U.S. Navy during WWII, but they were completely in the dark about his wartime activities.

Donald Helfer’s secret wartime experiences are revealed

After his death, his wartime medals and documents went missing, not that this was known at the time. In a case of incredibly slim odds, someone recently found a WWII identification card, Navy ribbons, pins, and other documents — all belonging to none other than Donald Helfer.

Helfer's documents, medals and photos
The documents, medals, and photos were found in a dumpster. (Photo Credit: Fox 46 Charlotte / YouTube)

Where were these rare items found? Well, in a trash bin in Hickory, North Carolina.

Recognizing their potential significance, the discoverer of these relics thankfully passed them on to Jeff Truitt of the American Legion Post 544 in Hickory, in the hopes that he could return them to Helfer’s family.

With the use of Facebook, followers quickly discovered Helfer’s death notice, which revealed he was a police officer in New York with four children, and had died in 1993 from cancer at the age of 69. After discovering the Helfer family, Truitt arranged to meet them to present the items, which came as a big shock.

Helfer's daughter receives her fathers documents and medals from Legion member
Photo Credit: Fox 46 Charlotte / YouTube

“There’s so many unanswered questions,” Scheid said. “We knew very little about his time in the service,” She added.

Scheid said that her parents divorced when she was 10, and that contact with her father reduced when he moved away. The discovered items have helped the children fill in some of the blanks about their father’s life.

“Just to hold something that was his — something that was part of who he was before I knew him, obviously — but something that contributed to who he was, the man that he was [is meaningful]” Scheid said.

The family is, however, confused by how Helfer’s possessions found themselves in North Carolina, with Scheid saying, “Both of my sisters and my brother are like, how the heck did any of that get to North Carolina? I don’t know.”

One idea is that they may have got there via Helfer’s second wife, who moved to Hickory at some point.

This incredible story of chance has enabled a family to know more about their father, but it also shows that not everyone wants to be praised for what they did.

In fact, its common for veterans to refuse to admit that they are heroes, often referring to those they served with as the true heroes. Similarly, many recipients of the highest military awards like the Medal of Honor often claim the medal is a heavy burden, and that they feel unworthy of such a prestigious decoration.