Brent Boyer

Brent Boyer

Brent Boyer: The cost of a free republic

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Brent Boyer

Contact Editor Brent Boyer at 871-4221 or e-mail bboyer@SteamboatToday.com.

I suppose I’m not alone in saying that I can’t wait for Memorial Day weekend. Three days of outdoor activities, good food and time spent with family. And if the forecast holds true, it might even be our first prolonged taste of summer here in Routt County.

The upcoming holiday weekend also serves as Steam­boat’s unofficial kickoff to the summer tourism season. There will be sidewalk sales at businesses along Lincoln Avenue downtown, not to mention the 30th annual Yampa River Festival, featuring all kinds of spectator-friendly events. Monday’s Paddling Life Pro Invitational will see some of the world’s best kayakers thrashing through the rapids on Fish Creek and the Yampa River.

And before we know it, we’ll be heading back to work Tuesday. Somewhere in our minds, we’ll be counting down the days until our next extended weekend or summer vacation.

But how many of us will take the time Monday to reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day and why it is a national holiday? Will we interrupt our scheduled outings to attend one of the local Memorial Day services?

Sadly, the answer for most of us is “no,” and I am no exception. So here’s a little history for those of us who could benefit from it:

■ Memorial Day’s roots are in the aftermath of the Civil War, when women gathered to mark the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. Three years after the end of the war, Decoration Day was established to set aside time for the nation to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. Decoration Day was declared for May 30, supposedly because it was a date on which flowers would be in bloom across the country.

■ It wasn’t until after World War I that Memorial Day was expanded to honor fallen soldiers from all American wars, not just the Civil War.

■ In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson officially declared Waterloo, N.Y., as the birthplace of Memorial Day in honor of a ceremony that had taken place there May 5, 1866.

■ In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to take place on the last Monday in May.

■ In 2000, Congress passed the “National Moment of Remembrance Act,” creating a White House Commission whose charter is to encourage and coordinate Memorial Day ceremonies and commemorations. A national moment of remembrance is at 3 p.m. Monday.

There are at least two local Memorial Day ceremonies. The first is an 11 a.m. ceremony in Steamboat Springs Cemetery. Hayden’s ceremony is at 6 p.m. in the cemetery there.

Information wasn’t available Wednesday about whether Oak Creek is holding a ceremony this year.

All ceremonies are open to the public.

Even if you can’t attend a ceremony, consider hanging the American flag outside your home Monday. At the very least, observe the national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. and honor the 1.1 million Americans who have died in battle with a moment of silence and gratitude for their sacrifice.

Finally, consider the words of John A. Logan, the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic who issued the first Memorial Day order in 1868. More than 140 years later, his message holds true.

“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? 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 pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.

“If other eyes grow dull and other hinds 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; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledge to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon the nation’s gratitude — the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.”

Comments

seeuski 4 years, 7 months ago

And the President will break tradition and go home to Chicago instead of laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Priceless.

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Guy 4 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for doing such a heartfelt piece Brent. We'll all benefit from it.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 7 months ago

seeuski - You are a POS at best. I'm elated that Obama controls your every motion. Give it a rest already.

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Steve Lewis 4 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad to have read this. Logan's words capture the meaning behind the day. Thanks, Brent.

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Ken Reed 4 years, 7 months ago

Steve and Guy, I agree. Read Logan's words several times. Thanks Brent.

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TWill 4 years, 7 months ago

Duke, you're a smart guy- can you not acknowledge that Obama's bucking a very serious Memorial Service sends an absolutely terrible message?

BHO is the current leader of our, once proud, nation (like it or not) and his skirting around memorializing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a slap in the face to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice and also to their families.

For the leader of the United States to downplay an event of such traditional and historical significance is utterly disgraceful. It could be his worst stunt yet. Very sad.

Remember, it takes a Carter to get a Reagan. 2012 is getting closer everyday.

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seeuski 4 years, 7 months ago

Duke, Thanks buddy. I will honor the fallen as Mr. Logan writes, and I have a folded flag in my home to salute which I have done for years when the President's have laid the wreath at Arlington. All traditions fade I guess. And sorry, I am not elated about the direction he is leading us so I can't rest.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 7 months ago

TWill - I don't agree with his decision to skip out on the service. I have WWI, WWII, Korean, and Vietnam veterans that are closely related. I pay my respects to those on a daily basis and Memorial Day does hit close to home. However, I also don't believe that the troops support Obama, so it's his decision.

seeuski - Duke bets that Papa Bush and Reagan both missed the service at least once. You probably did not know that or you would not have brought Obama up in this post.

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TWill 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't think the troops support him either. So this gutless gesture is how he gains their support?

This guy doesn't have the leadership skills to be a part-time assistant manager at a fast food restaurant. Nonetheless, leader of the free world.

Unbelieveable!

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jimmmmmm 4 years, 7 months ago

Seeuski-Your hero Reagan missed it 4 or his 8 years. So what's your point? Maybe you haven't bashed Obama in a few hours, so this is what you come up with?

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Duke_bets 4 years, 7 months ago

Twill - Were Papa Bush and Reagan also gutless for an identical act? Or, do you single out Obama for the sake of the debate. If that's the case, you lose! Obama is far from gutless..... That point does not need a response because it is an obvious observation.

Since Obama calls the shots, he actually is not in need of troop support. They are in need of his support, which he has granted since taking office.

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Duke_bets 4 years, 7 months ago

Twill - Don't worry about job security. When Obama retires, he won't be competing at the local Hardee's for your job.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 7 months ago

I suggest setting aside political differences during this solemn day.

A quick search confirms that President Reagan and both Presidents Bush missed the ceremony and delegated to their vice-presidents or others in the chain of command.

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TWill 4 years, 7 months ago

Name me one "obvious observation" of a difficult decision/ action that our "leader" has displayed thus far to free him of the gutless moniker.

Bush, Sr. and Reagan had the support of the troops (which I is something that is earned and not demanded) nor we were at war or entrenched in the global volitility that exisits today. BHO is obligated to be there to send our country (armed forces and civilians alike) the respectful message, affiliated with Memorial Day, that Brent Boyer and Mr. Logan describe above.

btw- I'm not worried about my job security. I've moved up to graveyard shift manager at a local convenience store and he's not qualified for that either.

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Kevin Nerney 4 years, 7 months ago

Don't hold back TWill tell us how you really feel. In the infamous words of Vince Lombardi "You don't demand respect you command it".

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seeuski 4 years, 7 months ago

"President George W. Bush also missed Arlington’s Memorial Day ceremonies in 2002, when he joined Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi, Secretary of State Colin Powell and a bipartisan congressional delegation for services at the American cemetery in Normandy, France, honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day. Certainly an occasion that was warranted." "former President Bush attended a ceremony in Maine while campaigning for re-election. In 1992 our nation was not at war. President Bush was himself a decorated war hero in World War II, risking life and limb to complete bombing missions in the Pacific and losing crewmates in the battles. His commitment to honoring his brothers-in-arms was never in doubt. So comparing 1992 to 2010 is not exactly an apples to apples debate."

Reagan was at a Summit meeting in Williamsburg, VA in 1983 with foreign leaders during peacetime.

But visiting friends in Chicago certainly has it's merits.

And anyone paying attention to what is going on under the leadership of Obama and cares about this Nation as a Republic will feel sick to the stomach. Did anyone know that Obama has just sent people down to Puerto Rico to complete the actions started by Congress last Month, making them the 51st state? Control over the Congress is obviously a priority, why did the Dems and Obama push for this? Who in Peurto Rico wanted this? The Socialists. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/05/26/obama-open-to-puerto-rico-statehood/2

And we have the case of Sestak and Romanoff both being bribed by this Administration. Anyone think that could be impeachable?

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Brent Boyer 4 years, 7 months ago

I think it would be great to hear some of the stories and memories each of you have about loved ones who served in the military. I recently spent some priceless time with my 90-year-old grandmother, who told me about how heartbroken her husband, my Grandpa Bill, was when he was told his heart defect would prevent him from joining his buddies in the Army and shipping out for World War II. He was moved by a sense of duty and responsibility that many of us have not known in our lifetimes. So he and my grandmother did what they had to to contribute to the war effort: they moved from Minnesota to Seattle to work in the ship yards. A few years later, Grandma Marguerite gave birth to my father. As for Grandpa Bill's best friends? None of them made it home alive. In honor of my grandfather, I'll be thinking of those friends this Memorial Day.

Brent

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Kevin Nerney 4 years, 7 months ago

I just received this story in my emails and since I can't seem to cut and paste it I'll give you the abridged version. Captain Ed Freeman was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and rescued 29 wounded soldiers with 14 trips into heavy ground fire after the MedEvacs choppers were told it was to hot an area to land. Captain Freeman was hit four times in the legs and arm and continued flying his Huey. For his efforts he received the Medal of Honor and Captain Ed Freeman US Air Force died this Weds. at the age of 70 in Boise Idaho. Somehow his passing was missed by the main st. media.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 7 months ago

Brent:

Thanks for a great piece.

WW2: My maternal grandfather found himself held by armed Americans behind barbed wire, under the provisions of Executive Order 9066. His little brother Satoru managed to evade the feds and enlisted in the 442nd Infantry, at the age of 17 (I've seen pictures of Uncle Sat at that age; he looked like he was 12 - he can't have fooled anybody).

Uncle Sat returned with medals & citations and a prosthetic left leg. I never could get him to talk about the war, and couldn't even elicit any complaints about my grandfather's incarceration. The one occasion that I complained about it in his presence, he advised me not to be a "whiny little pissant." My grandmother was more charitable: she simply waved it off, saying “shoganai” (c’est la vie is probably as accurate a translation as any).

After Uncle Sat died, we mobilized a caravan of pickups to move Aunty Shizu into a condo. One of the boxes I was carrying broke open & Uncle Sat's war memorabilia spilled out - including his Silver Star & Purple Heart. I was in my early 30s at the time, and had never seen any of it. Aunty Shizu walked in on me & said "you've found the lucky charms!" I asked her what she meant. She explained that Uncle Sat never could bring himself to display any of his decorations. He felt it would have been "vulgar" to celebrate them, in light of so many of his friends who never returned to their families. The citations, he felt, were nothing more than an indication of his great luck and his friends' even greater misfortunes. Aunty Shizu labeled them "lucky charms" - a private endearment between her and Uncle Sat. To the best of my knowledge, she and Uncle Sat are the only members of the family who ever laid eyes on them before 1995.

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TWill 4 years, 7 months ago

You're right Kevin & Brent. Rather than politicizing, we should be recognizing and appreciating the sacrifices made by the millions of veterans and active service men and women. They are true heros by all definitions of the term.

Those heros, and their selfness commitment to the greater good, are what allow us to engage in the types of open discussion that occur in this and similar forums that allow us to speak our mind and all other freedoms and opportunities that we enjoy as United States citizens. We should all be very grateful to them.

I could keep going about the disrespectful and weak-minded message the Commander in Chief sends by not participating in Memorial Day services, but I'll keep this a positive message focused on all that others have given to allow us to live the lives that we do.

Thank you.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 7 months ago

A good opportunity to flog one of my favorite non-profits: http://www.opgratitude.com/

An absolutely effortless way to support our men & women in uniform.

In memoriam to Uncle Sat: you are all better men than I, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

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JLM 4 years, 7 months ago

@ sep ---

Great story about your uncle. Did you know that the performance of the 442nd RCT in WWII was perhaps the critical political consideration in the ultimate granting of statehood to Hawaii about 50 years ago?

Until the performance of the 442nd RCT, there has been tremendous misgivings about adding a state which had a perceived majority minority population and the performance of the 442nd RCT was cited on numerous instances as an example of the value of that territory.

The 442nd RCT was the most highly decorated unit of the Second World War.

The 442nd RCT had a unique problem as it had to have its replacements be Nisei and they had to maintain their own training infrastructure.

The 100th Inf Bn is often mistakenly assumed to be part of the original 442nd RCT but it was the first Nisei combat unit --- the famous One Puka Puka.

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JusWondering 4 years, 7 months ago

Brent: Great story! Thank you.

As one who comes from a long tradition of military service to our nation (my great grandfather WWI, grandfather WWII, father the end of Korea, oldest brother the end of Vietnam, myself the desert [the first time], my nephews Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea) defending the free world and of others' ability to publicly bash the Commander in Chief without significant repercussions I thank you for taking the time to show some respect to those that sacrificed.

Unfortunately it seems most forget. I went into the Air Force to get a degree, not to protect our freedom, however I was keenly aware that I may die doing it. I was not motivated to "protect our freedom" like others were but I was cognizant that I could be placed into a position that I would have to.

I can remember growing up in South Routt learning American history from a WW II vet. Ray Revere (even the last name is patriotic). Although I don't remember all of the war stories Mr. Revere had (some of the pictures he had of the horrors of war still burn in my memory), I remember his devotion to our freedoms and to the best of America (this during a time when many "draft-dodgers" were entering the work force as educators). I remember his passion for the defense of our rights and the desire that no one forgets the sacrifice his peers made.

If we are to truly respect those that died protecting this freedom (whether they realized it or not), we will spend five minutes to honor their memory and take a break from the day off that they paid for in blood to attend one of the many ceremonies.

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George Krawzoff 4 years, 7 months ago

At the risk of getting off-thread, we can all do a little bit to help our community next week by registering for the Bonfils blood drive at the Yampa Valley Medical Center next Thursday June 3. Taking some time out of our day and donating blood to help our fellow citizens seems consistent with the spirit of the Memorial Day.

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John Fielding 4 years, 7 months ago

This bit was penned by my father, a Veteran of WWll

CINCINNATUS

I would be busy with my dream
I have my forge and plow.
Must freedom held be yielded?
What, pray tell, has gone wrong now?

The enemy are at the gate
And some are well within;
And I must beat my plowshare
To a sword and shield again?

It seems that, only yesterday
We drove the villains out!
And whence are these new enemies
We now must put to rout?

What is it we're defending
That we cannot ever use?
What is it they are seeking
That we haven't got to lose?

When freedom is no different
From a constant state of war
And I must sleep in armor,
What, pray tell, do I fight for?

So open wide our useless gate
And show them what we bear.
I warrant they will not come in
For fear they'll have to share!

R. Kent Fielding 4/2/74

.

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Brent Boyer 4 years, 7 months ago

Good point, George. It's been too long since I last gave blood. It's an easy thing to do that really can save lives.

Brent

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sledneck 4 years, 7 months ago

Are'nt you the same "brent boyer" who wants to card check all us anonymous posters? How does that sync with your lip-service to freedom and those who died to defend it?

It's been too long since you gave blood? Walking into a clinic and giving blood? This observance is about men and women who gave blood in a hell-of a lot different way. Nobody cares how long it's been since you or anyone else walked into a sterilized clinic and sat in a lounge chair.

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Ken Reed 4 years, 7 months ago

sledneck, that's one of the dumbest, rudest posts I think I've seen.

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aichempty 4 years, 7 months ago

Ken,

What you you think about Obama skipping the Memorial Day services at Arlington?

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 7 months ago

From today's NYT: an obit for John Finn, who died yesterday at the age of 100. Mr. Finn was awarded the Medal Of Honor for his heroism at Pearl Harbor http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/28/us/28finn.html?ref=obituaries

The attack awakened him just after 08:00. He got out of bed and hauled a$$ to the base hangars, where the Japanese were trying to destroy our planes before they got off the ground.

"When Chief Finn arrived at the hangars, many of the planes had already been hit. He recalled that he grabbed a .30-caliber machine gun on a makeshift tripod, carried it to an exposed area near a runway and began firing. For the next two and a half hours, he blazed away, although peppered by shrapnel as the Japanese planes strafed the runways with cannon fire.

As he remembered it: “I got shot in the left arm and shot in the left foot, broke the bone. I had shrapnel blows in my chest and belly and right elbow and right thumb. Some were just scratches. My scalp got cut, and everybody thought I was dying: Oh, Christ, the old chief had the top of his head knocked off! I had 28, 29 holes in me that were bleeding. I was walking around on one heel. I was barefooted on that coral dust. My left arm didn’t work. It was just a big ball hanging down.”

Chief Finn thought he had hit at least one plane, but he did not know whether he had brought it down. When the attack ended, he received first aid, then returned to await a possible second attack. He was hospitalized the following afternoon.

On Sept. 15, 1942, Chief Finn received the Medal of Honor from Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, in a ceremony aboard the carrier Enterprise at Pearl Harbor. "

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aichempty 4 years, 7 months ago

This isn't like sitting in a chair bleeding into a bottle, but it conveys the point Sled made to me . . .

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

SECOND LIEUTENANT JOHN P. BOBO UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

For service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Weapons Platoon Commander, Company I, Third Battalion, Ninth Marines, Third Marine Division, in Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 30 March 1967. Company I was establishing night ambush sites when the command group was attacked by a reinforced North Vietnamese company supported by heavy automatic weapons and mortar fire. Lieutenant Bobo immediately organized a hasty defense and moved from position to position encouraging the outnumbered Marine despite the murderous enemy fire. Recovering a rocket launcher from among the friendly casualties, he organized a new launcher team and directed its fire into the enemy gun positions. When an exploding enemy mortar round severed Lieutenant Bobo’s right leg below the knee, he refused to be evacuated and insisted upon being placed in a firing position to cover the movement of the command group to a better location. With a web belt around his leg, jammed into the dirt to curtail the bleeding, he remained in this position and delivered devastating fire into the ranks of the enemy attempting to overrun the Marines. Lieutenant Bobo was mortally wounded while firing his weapon into the mainpoint of the enemy attack but his valiant spirit inspired his men to heroic efforts, and his tenacious stand enabled the command group to gain a protective position where it repulsed the enemy onslaught. Lieutenant Bobo’s superb leadership, dauntless courage, and bold initiative reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

(signed) LYNDON B. JOHNSON

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Ken Reed 4 years, 7 months ago

Aich, I (I) was more focused on the intent of this positive and well written article and the responses, not BHO skipping the Memorial Day services. I don't know and have never met Brent, but enjoyed the reminder of what Memorial Day is all about. BHO and his political moves will take care of itself.

Whether we are right leaning or left leaning, who cares tomorrow...

God bless America.

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Ken Reed 4 years, 7 months ago

Brent, some of the best advice I ever recieved was from my mother (mama). She said, "have an open mind, thick skin and a short memory."

Hope you enjoy your day tomorrow with your family.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

Thousands of American veterans are laid to rest in national cemeteries less famous than Arlington - are they somehow less deserving of a Presidential visit on Memorial Day? Because the President will pay his respects today at the Abraham Lincoln Cemetery in Elwood, Ill.

3 years ago, W spent the holiday in Crawford while Cheney did the honors at Arlington. Dan Quayle was assigned the task in 1992 while W's daddy vacationed in Kennebunkport. In 1983, it was a DOD official at Arlington while Ronaldus Magnus was photo-opping with the G7 in Virginia.

Those who whine about the President's choice of locales today look very much like... well, whiners, with all due respect.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

I've always been intrigued with this little piece of our history, as it plays into the melodrama that was the Civil War:

Montgomery Cunningham Meigs was the Union General of the Quartermaster Corps during the war. He had served with Robert E. Lee (& with all the Confederate generals) during the peacetime army. After the war broke out, Meigs developed a deep resentment for the Confederacy in general, and for Lee in particular, whom Meigs regarded to be the worst sort of traitor.

It's interesting to note what a big deal Lee was in those days. Not only was he the nation's most promising soldier, he could trace his ancestry directly to the Mayflower. His wife Mary was a direct descendant of George Washington. They were probably our best analogue to an aristocracy at the time (perhaps like the Kennedys were in the 20th century).

The Lee home - where Lee and generations of his family had been born and raised - fell into Union hands very early on in the war. In 1864, as Union cemeteries were filling up, Lincoln ordered Meigs to choose a new site. Without hesitation, he chose the Lee property. He ordered that the dead be buried right up to the door, so no one could ever again live in the house. When Meigs' own son was killed, the General had him buried in Mrs. Lee's rose garden.

The home of the man who led the worst bloodletting in American history is now the nation's most hallowed ground: Arlington National Cemetery.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

As a whiner, I'd just like to say that there's a big difference between attending a memorial service at another veterans' cemetery in Illinois and "visiting friends in Chicago."

It's actually more appropriate for Biden to be at Arlington today since he has a son who has served in the Army in Iraq. Biden himself was rejected for military service due to asthma after receiving five student deferments during the Vietnam era.

Biden was also a star athlete in college. I guess there must be something about law school and shootin' wars that induces asthma.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

Bottom line: four Presidents commit identical infractions, and only one of them is guilty of anything.

It's tempting to call that childish, except that I'm reluctant to vilify children.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

One would suppose that maybe Abraham Lincoln shares some of the blame for that "worst bloodletting in American history."

The Confederacy did not invade the Union. The Union was responsible for the armed response and the incursions into the Confederate states. Lee was only defending his home from invading foreigners bent on subjugating the Virginians who sought freedom from the oppression of the Federal government.

Gosh, if only Robert E. Lee had suffered from asthma, there would have been no bloodshed at all. Damn the luck . . .

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

I'm pretty sure that Obama is the President today. That makes him responsible for what he does today. If there is fault today, it's in waiting until today to announce his plans, but I suppose "security" could be the reason for not making the plans public until the last minute.

Don't suppose that previous Presidents who have skipped memorial services are seen to be blameless. They're not.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

I remain unpersuaded. In fact, I think it would be a great idea for President Obama to start a new tradition: every other year, conduct the wreath laying ceremony at a national cemetery other than Arlington. Not only would it elevate the Arlington observances, but it would help military families experience a Presidential connection with the network of national cemeteries, and with Arlington itself.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

"The Confederacy did not invade the Union."

To paraphrase Tom Hanks from some movie: I don't even want to think about what they're not teaching you in school.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

Have you never heard the term, "The War of Northern Aggression?"

"The war began in Charleston, S.C., when Confederate artillery fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. Both sides quickly raised armies. In July 1861, 30,000 Union troops marched toward the Confederate capital at Richmond, Va., but were stopped by Confederate forces in the Battle of Bull Run and forced to retreat to Washington, D.C. The defeat shocked the Union, which called for 500,000 more recruits. The war's first major campaign began in February 1862, when Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant captured Confederate forts in western Tennessee."

http://www.answers.com/topic/american-civil-war

So, yeah, according to the historical records of Civil War battles it was the Union which first invaded Virginia to capture the Confederate Capitol, and then it was the Union again which marched against Tennessee. The failure of the troops at Fort Sumter to withdraw and surrender the fort to the sovreign state of South Carolina and the Confederacy was not an "invasion" of Union territory.

Tom Hanks is not a veteran, not a historian, did not save Private Ryan, and did not command Apollo 13. He's an actor. Maybe if he runs for President and gets elected his wisdom will gain historical importance, but in the meantime, the truest words he ever spoke in character were, "Stupid is as stupid does."

I make no distinction among venues where veterans are honored by the Commander-in-Chief as long as he goes to the trouble to do so. I'll write the lack of prior notice off to "security" and leave it at that.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

To say that attending the Memorial Day ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery is the equivalent of attending the same services as at Arlington is a bit silly.

Arllington is the home of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, is administered directly by the Army and not the VA and is the duty station of the 3rd Inf, the Old Guard.

Not every service member can be laid to rest at Arlington. It is the final resting place of Presidents, VPs, SCOTUS Justices, Medal of Honor winners and others of such renown and repute.

It's like the difference between the Golden Gate Bridge and a stone bridge on the 7th tee at Elberon Country Club. They're both bridges but they are on a different scale.

Who really cares what President Obama does anymore? He clearly has contempt for the military and the military returns the sentiment.

Gotta run, I am trying to find a documentary on the closing of Gitmo. LOL

Thanks Veterans, for making it possible for us all to carry on so.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

Re: your Civil War spin - semantic twaddle. Firing on Federal troops at Ft. Sumter was an act of war by the Confederate States upon the United States. Antietam & Gettysburg were not conflicts on neutral ground. After Lee defeated Joseph Hooker in his masterpiece at Chancellorsville, he moved north and invaded - no, really! - Maryland & Pennsylvania.

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Matthew Stoddard 4 years, 6 months ago

We now interrupt the Civil War to bring you The Cactus Cuties singing our National Anthem. From YouTube:

"The much requested studio recording of The Cactus Cuties singing our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, is now available for downloading from Cdbaby and Itunes. The Cactus Cuties, http://thecactuscuties.com, range in age from 8 to 13. The group is named for the Cactus Theater in Lubbock, Texas and they are coached by Cami Caldwell."

God Bless America!

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

Sep,

The attack upon Fort Sumter was justified because the Union was maintaining a hostile military force inside the Confederate State of South Carolina.

The Confederate incursions into Maryland and Pennsylvania were retaliation in kind for the invasions of Virginia and Tennessee.

The Confederacy was a sovreign nation, defending itself just as the original 13 colonies formed a sovreign nation and fought against Britsh oppression.

"Semantic twaddle" or not, the hostile actions against the Confederacy were no different than if Mexico invaded Colorado and tried to reclaim the territory for their own.

Again, Northern Aggression was responsible for the bloodshed. We could have existed as allies and skipped the slaughter.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

"retaliation in kind". But not "invasions." Got it. And when the Brits invaded and captured DC in 1814, forcing President Madison to flee the White House before it was torched, it wasn't an "invasion" at all. It was "retaliation in kind" for America having repeatedly attacked their interests & possessions in Canada. I'm glad we've cleared that up.

Semantic twaddle may have been too generous.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

During the Kennedy administration, it was made clear that a nuclear attack on Cuba, an ally of the Soviet Union, would have been met with nuclear retaliation on U S soil.

When Kennedy stated that an attack on our allies in this hemisphere would be considered an attack on the United States, that really got the ol' Cold War rolling.

There are a bunch of scary smart and phenomenally wise diplomats and scholars who deal with these kinds of issues all the time. Senior military officers attend "war colleges" to learn about these subjects.

Although I have not studied the War of 1812 in much detail, as you describe it, yeah, that's retaliation in kind. I suppose the reason we did not invade England and burn Buckingham Palace in retaliation was because we were too weak to pull it off.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

aichempty:

Apologies for any over-the-top snark. I've been a casual Civil War buff for a long time, and yours is an argument I've never encountered before - excepting variations of it from whacked-out Southern apologists who try to disguise their racism under the cloak of "state's rights." I see no indication that you're one of those, but the similarity of your argument to theirs is inescapable; and my irritation with it is somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction. I'll try to dial it back.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

Back to the discussion:

We’ll have to agree to disagree re: invasion. Via dictionary.com: The act of invading, especially the entrance of an armed force into a territory to conquer.

Lee invaded the United States, as did the British before him.

You write: “Northern Aggression was responsible for the bloodshed. We could have existed as allies and skipped the slaughter.”

“Naive” is the most chartitable characterization I can come up with. The very meaning and concept of freedom in America (both USA & CSA) would have inevitably been addressed, and there is no way the South would have ever peacefully abandoned the mechanism and depravity upon which its economy depended. The John Browns, Elijah P. Lovejoys, Harriet Beacher Stowes, William Lloyd Garrisons, Julia Ward Howes, Frederick Douglasses, Ralph Waldo Emersons, Charles Sumners, Harriet Tubmans, Wendel Phillips, Nathanial Taylors, Theodore Welds, Gerrit Smiths, Edmund Quicnys, et al, would have enraged by, and actively agitated against, any “alliance” with slave holding Americans next door. Bloodshed was inevitable.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

It is typically recognized that a region trying to leave the national government is, by definition, an act of war against the national government. So, by any standard for sovereign nations, the southern states that announced succession started the Civil War. There was also no history of the southern states existing as their own nation that had been conquered by the North which could raise questions of whether they were trying to regain their historical independence of the national government.

After Lincoln was elected and southern states announced succession, there was the serious question of what next. The North wanted to avoid firing the first shot, but didn't accept that the South could leave the union. So they did not abandon Fort Sumter, but neither was the North intending to attack the South using it as a base. Some of the leaders of the South were waiting to see what the North would do next.

The North, by not abandoning Fort Sumter, indicated it did not accept succession. Those advocating succession were forced to either accept the Union fort or fire the first shots and they fired first.

Who first the first shot played to the politics of the times because the North was originally concerned whether there was sufficient public support for a war. The South by attacking Fort Sumter crossed the line between a political dispute and turned it into a civil war.

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MrTaiChi 4 years, 6 months ago

My great-grandfather enlisted in the 27th NY and was in the first battle of Bull Run two weeks later.

One account I have read was that his regiment was marched in a blazing marine airmass weather system for six miles along a watercourse as the officers looked for a bridge, all the while the men seeing that the stream was only knee deep. They retreated in the same manner. Great-Granddad sweated up his nice wool uniform pretty badly as he apparently suffered a heart attack or had heat stroke. According to War Department records he was thereafter discharged for "total debility." Don't know if he was malingering or a broken man. He produced at least one noble son, my Grandfather, who was elderly when I was a boy. War is never all ruffles and flourishes, bugles and valor. Most times it's just a kid trying to do the right thing. Some don't make it. This holiday is for them and the future taken from them.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

These are good arguments, however, look a bit deeper. The 13 original colonies agreed to join the Union. They were not "conquered." The Constitution was only 65 years old, State's Rights were important because the technology of the day limited communication and the economy of the South was aricultural while the North was emerging as a manufacturing region. The need for a common defense which had brought the colonies into the Union no longer existed because the threats from Britain, France and Spain (the super powers of the day) had faded.

Slavery was a States Rights issue, but not as you've heard it defended. The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the "warring" states. The 13th Amendment which officially ended slavery in the United States was not enacted until 1865. If the 13th Amendment had included a provision prohibiting trade with slave-holding states, slavery would have come to a quick end out of economic necessity, without the turmoil of The Reconstruction and the lingering racial animus which led to the formation of the Ku Klux Klan. You may recall that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (enacted 99 years after the 13th Amendment) finally ended racial discrimination by the States, but racial equality is still catching up. An economic blockade against the Confederacy might have righted these wrongs by the turn of the century (1900). Britain, which abolished slavery in 1833, France (1848) and Spain (1817, except for Cuba, Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, which were freed in 1873 -1888) would have joined on moral grounds. The Confederacy would have been a despised rogue state left with no choice.

Sorry fellers, but the Civil War was about a bunch of people in some of the States who went to war to impose their will on people in the other States and a whole bunch of northern industrialists got filthy rich while a whole bunch of poor white northerners died in places like Tennessee and Georgia for a "cause" which would have died on its own if it had been addressed through economic sanctions.

Isn't this exactly the same argument that people use against the invasion of Iraq? If it would have worked against Saddam Hussein, it would have worked against Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis too.

War mentality led to the bloodiest war in American history and preserved the Union, but are we really better off today as a result? I guess we'll never know.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

The South had a different form of slavery than most other places. For instance, other places recognized the rights of free blacks and typically the child of a slave was not a slave for life. The South was not moving towards ending slavery, Quite the opposite. They were expanding the legal structure of slavery and with the Dred Scott decision had won the principle that a slave had no human rights and was nothing but property that could be retrieved.

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John Fielding 4 years, 6 months ago

I think one significant factor in the antebellum Nation has been overlooked here.

In many ways the war was the result of the Peoples reaction to their governments failure, either to protect slaveholders rights, or to prevent the spread of slavery.

The issue that generated the most debate and compromise was the extent to which slavery could be expanded into the Territories.

Slavery had been recognized since the Nations inception as a problematic institution, Limitations had been placed on importation of slaves and other expansions. Representatives of slave holding States recognized that a vast majority of the populace would support continued restrictions toward the end of its elimination.

The only way they could preserve it, and the wealth that proceeded from it, was by maintaining political power sufficient to prevent such measures. That required expanding slavery in spite of the will of the people.

Even slave holders recognized the problems, as Thomas Jefferson noted so eloquently, "I tremble for my Nation when I reflect that God is just, and His justice cannot sleep forever".

He also summed up the greatest dilemma, how to end slavery, when he said" We have the wolf by the ears, and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go".

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhH5UkDfRoE

.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

That "wolf by the ears" analogy is one of my favorite Jefferson quotes, and beautifully illustrates how contentious an issue it had always been, since the instant we accepted constitutionally sanctioned slavery.

“There was never a moment when slavery was not a sleeping serpent. It lay coiled up under the table during the deliberations of the Constitutional Convention. Owing to the cotton gin, it was more than half awake. Thereafter, slavery was on everone’s mind, though not always on his tongue.” ~John Jay Chapman

By the 1850s, it was boiling, and violence over the issue reached the Senate. In 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks beat the snot out of abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner on the Senate floor, for having made an anti-slavery speech a few days earlier. Legislators in both houses began arming themselves with daggers, derringers, and pistols. Hardly the foundation for reasoned dialogue and civil alliances.

Thanks to Eli Whitney, slavery was immensely profitable. Before the cotton gin, it took a single slave 10 hours to produce a pound of lint. The cotton gin enabled the same slave to crank out 1,000 pounds a day. Production skyrocketed, the money rolled in, and by 1860 one out of every seven Americans belonged to another American. The Southern slave economy would have easily been viable at least through the turn of the century, and there is no reason to believe the North would have been willing to wait that long to see it eradicated. There is also no reason to believe that the South would have capitulated to economic sanctions, any more than they were willing to acquiesce to the election of Lincoln - who had campaigned merely to contain slavery where it existed – not to eliminate it. Secession began immediately after he was elected . The South would have viewed something like an embargo as a dire threat; precisely as they viewed the election of Lincoln. It was demonstrably unwilling to accept any impediment to its slave economy, and there is no way the USA & CSA “could have existed as allies”.

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carlyle 4 years, 6 months ago

Robert Fogel won a Nobel Prize in economics for his trenchant analysis of the economic effects of slavery. James McPherson has written extensively of the rebelling states rewriting of history while implementing a reversal of Grant's reconstruction policy. As a very knowledgable person on the history of the Civil War (and qualified for burial at Arlington), I contend that aichempty's comments reflect that rewriting of history. The Civil War was fought because of slavery. Sep has it right: slavery was profitable and there was no way the USA and CSA "could have existed as allies". The officer corps of the Union Army was overwhelmingly the sons of northern wealth and they died in enormous numbers.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ carlyle ---

I certainly hope and am pretty sure you are not "qualified for burial at Arlington". That would mean that you are dead. That would likely be a bad or at least unpleasant development.

I hope you are "eligible" for burial at Arlington when the times comes --- some far distant instant in what I hope is a long, prosperous, healthy and wonderful life.

As to the issue of the officer corps of the Union Army, the professional officer corps was quite good most having been grads of West Point. The South had its share of West Pointers and, in addition, Virginia Military Institute where Stonewall Jackson taught before the Civil War.

VMI produced a fair number of well qualified artillerists, Jackson having been a professor of such things. His own battery from the Mexican War which also saw action in the Civil War sits on the VMI campus. The guns are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

What was terrible in the Civil War was the lack of maneuver. Guns had advanced a bit while tactics were stuck in the last century. The Golden Boy was an awesome weapon. Do you know what a Golden Boy is?

There is some thought that the Southern cavalry was a bit better than their northern horsemen. I suspect that was correct though the basic problem became that the South simply could not replace its combat losses.

When plumbing the depths of the origins of the Civil War, it is relevant to explore the fact that most of the original settlers of South Carolina had come to the US through the Caribbean where they had been wealthy, successful and very well connected planters. The Caribbean was controlled by the then Prince of Wales and his buddies were very, very used to getting their own way.

It is this petulant attitude and sense of entitlement which gave rise, in part, to their initiation of the assault and bombardment of Ft Sumter. Also, remember that more Revolutionary War battles were fought in SC than any other state.

The Civil War was a travesty which continues to this day to impede the economic progress of the Nation. Reconstruction was an occupation by a foreign army which has never really been explored in the history of the country --- victors being the authors of history, mind you.

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carlyle 4 years, 6 months ago

To JLM - You are right - I am eligible, not qualified. My senior year in high school I wrote a paper "The Strategic Employment of Union Artillery in the Civil War". My artillery experience was OCS at Fort Sill. As a DMG I availed myself the opportunity of the good military courses available to company grade officers. I was also fortunate enough to have taken a 47 week course in North Vietnamese before OCS. I know there was a lever action rifle made ~ 1865 that had a brass receiver that was called a "Golden Boy", but I am unaware of an artillery piece with that name.

Re history being written by the victors... According to McPherson, southern political leadership enjoyed long terms in office and controlled the major house and senate committees. Those political leaders had significant influence on the textbooks required by school systems. The collapse of U. S. Grant as a truly heroic figure can in large part be layed on those politicians. Why R. E. Lee enjoys such a reputation vis-a-vis Grant is beyond me.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

History is also written by the losers. Hitler wrote his own history of why Germany lost WW I. The South had no shortage of people that wrote their own history of the Civil War.

I am not sure there was any way to deal with slavery other than a Civil War. Note that the South went to war over the election of a President opposed to slavery. The great travesty, in hindsight, was failing to enforce racial equality laws immediately after the Civil War. The years of segregation economically hurt the southern states for nearly 100 years. The economic growth there since the 60s has been dramatic and indicates how much the area was hurt by the years of segregation.

R E Lee is the greater "hero" because he was the underdog and was the more dramatic general that won some early battles by brilliant tactics. Grant was just the general that won the war by effectively utilizing his advantages. Grant was very effective while Lee had moments of brilliance. Just like Rommel is among the most famous generals of WW II.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

I am in the first generation of my family that did NOT pick cotton by hand. They were paid one cent per pound in the 1930s. Kids were let out of school to help with the harvest. Hiring "free" labor to pick cotton during the harvest turned out to be much cheaper than supporting whole families of people all year long. Cotton was much cheaper to produce when the "free labor" of slaves was replaced with paid labor. Children came along at the rate of one every two or three years and families were large, providing a pool of "free" labor that did not have to be purchased for a price equivalent to a BMW 325 in today's dollars.

Think about it. What's cheaper; taking your car to the car wash or feeding and housing a teenager to do the job by hand? Paying for labor when you need it is far cheaper than supporting a dependent.

The original need for slave labor was not an economic decision. It was the only labor available in sufficient quantities to clear land and establish acreage for cotton and tobacco. Once the land was cleared and under cultivation, the requirement for labor was much less. Hoeing weeds until the bolls were ready to pick was, literally, child's work, and children as young as nine or ten regularly did it.

Most farmers did not have large plantations and liveried servants working in the Big House. Washington, Jefferson and the like certainly did, but they were the Bill Gates and Donald Trumps of their day. My great-great grandfather owned enough land to require a few slaves, but after the Civil War when the slaves were freed, the land was parceled out to relatives who sharecropped it. The freed slaves found work where they could, and were paid wages in return. Slaves certainly lived in oppression, but they did not starve or lack for medical care any more than the mules that pulled the plows and the cows that provided the milk. Slaves were valuable, and they were cared for because of their value. Once freed, many of the slaves stayed put and worked for wages, sharecropped, or otherwise struggled to make it on their own while living in abject poverty. So did a lot of poor whites, by the way, who had no other choice. Meanwhile, land that had been dedicated to food crops under slavery became available for the cash crops when the only food that had to be raised was for the farmer, his family, and their animals.

I know people who raise cotton and peanuts for a living. Their labor costs are minimized, because those are the most expensive costs of running a business. Crews running machinery to plant and havest those crops come in, do the job, and move along to the next job. You NEVER see a human being on the ground tending those crops.

The assertion that the South would have continued to use slave labor in the face of economic sanctions is a buy-in to anti-white prejudice. The southern farmers would have done what every other farmer did; mechanize, cut labor costs, and compete or go bankrupt.

(cont.)

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

My great grandfather was a small boy during the Civil War. My grandfather came home from WW-I, got married, started raising a family, and sharecropped on my great grandfather's land. They were dirt poor, but raised their own food and never suffered from a lack of anything except things that only money could buy. My grandfather worked for cash on the railroad as a fireman when firemen still shoveled coal into steam engine boilers while my father and his siblings worked the farm. All of my grandfather's nine children are still alive, have their own families, and have been self-supporting all their adult lives. That was the typical pattern following the Civil War up until the 1940s when manufacturing, mechanization and urbanization changed the face of agriculture.

Every crop that can be worked and harvested by a machine is worked and harvested by a machine. That's the cheapest way to do it. Nobody touches cotton anymore. It's not because of a lack of slave labor. It's a matter of economics.

Machines replaced human labor. Rural electrification eased the burden of labor and allowed a few people to do the work of many. The tipping point between mechanization and human labor quickly falls in favor of purchasing machines (even those that were horse-drawn at first) which require no food, housing, heat, medical care and don't cause problems when they're not at work.

Slavery was not some southern religion which people followed, uh, religiously. It was a burden on everyone. It was always wrong. I don't believe that a Confederate States of America would have granted equal rights to former slaves without some kind of fight, but again, economic sanctions by all of the trading partners which had abolished slavery could have been brought to bear. Southerners are not stupid. Faced with bankruptcy or forced cultural change, the choice would have been change. If the federal government had cut off federal funds to the states that still had Jim Crow laws back in the 1920s or 1930s, the civil rights movement would have come while Roosevelt was President.

The temptation to rewrite history to villify southerners is great. There are many slaves buried in New York City, too. That's a part of history I wish we could have done without, but taking the easy out of blaming the carnage of the Civil War on the evil southerners is short-sighted.

The Union had been busily throwing Native Americans off their ancestral lands for a long time when federal troops marched on Richmond, VA. Conflicts were settled by force. Blame the war loving Union for what happened at least as much as you blame the Confederacy. If the Union had not fought to recapture the Confederate States, there would have been no Civil War.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 6 months ago

Aic, Most southern whites were sharecroppers prior to the Civil War. If sharecropping was economically going to replace slavery then why had it not replaced slavery prior to the Civil War. The sharecropping arrangement is generally recognized as being deeply unfair to the sharecropper. Modern labor laws tend to outlaw that practice by ensuring the sharecropper gets the equivalent of minimum wage.

I do not think Southerners are generally vilified or hated for starting the Civil War. That the South started the Civil War is far more fact than blame. Attacking Fort Sumter was not an evil sneak attack. When a region announces succession then it is expected that they takeover, with force if needed, the remaining national properties. The succession was the act of war. Fort Sumter was just the shots that starting the fighting.

There was vilification of southern whites during the civil rights era, but that was because we saw them on TV being so vile defending segregation. With all the progress that has been make, it is now clear that the large majority of southern whites were willing to accept civil rights.

The southern soldier is so revered for fighting the impossible fight (against the larger and better equipped north) that the young me of the south join the military at a far higher percentage than the rest of the country.

FDR was unwilling to integrate the armed forces prior to, or during WW II, because of the threatened backlash from southern senators. There is no way he could have withheld federal funds from the south. And think of how weird it was for black northerners to have lived in an integrated (although hardly free of racism) society and then joining a segregated military.

The great opportunity missed was Plessy v Ferguson, the Supreme Court failed to uphold the Constitution and its amendments in order to avoid another conflict with the south.

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MrTaiChi 4 years, 6 months ago

Trying to stay on topic, I had two ancestors who were at the battle of Fort Montgomery in the War of Independence. One of them was a descendant of a Dutch family that settled in New York in the 1660s, Johannas Hardenbergh. He was wealthy and owned about seventeen slaves at a time when a well off family in New York could afford to maintain about two slaves if they chose to. His son, a great uncle X times removed from me living in Hurley, NY, outside of Kingston, owned a nine year old slave named Isabella Hardenbergh. Dutch New Yorkers spoke Dutch as their primary language even into the nineteenth century. When little Isabella was sold to an English speaking family, they took her non-responsiveness to direction as insolence and beat her. I'm not aware of her intervening history, but ultimately she became a freed adult and took the name, Sojourner Truth, becoming the most famous American who had been a slave except for Stephen Douglas. Slavery was legislatively banned in New York in 1828, surprisingly far into the nineteenth century. What happened to little Isabella is a poignant reminder that to be in servitude to another is cruel and debasing even in the best of circumstances.

There is a scrappy personna of southerners, particularly those descended from the Scots-Irish immigrants who came from the border of England with Scotland, the region least under governmental control, the most invaded and abused by invading armies and the most lawless. The South has produced our most reliable manpower for our armed forces and many of our best officers. There is an understandable defensiveness about the justice of the Confederacy's position in the Civil War, but it is emotional rather than intellectual. Slavery was an unredeemed evil. 1861 was even then too late for its elimination.

JLM, are you sure that South Carolina claims the most battles in the Revolutionary War? New York battles: Long Island, White Plains, Stony Point, Fort Montgomery, Oriskany, Ticonderoga, Saratoga, and an unending succession of Indian and Tory raids from Canada into northern New York; and New York served as the staging area for the invasion of Canada and the defeat of British forts protecting Montreal that was captured. Obviously, New York is the home of my ancestors, and I take pride in their service in that campaign, about seven ancestors having served and dozens of relatives.

And for my poetry contribution: "Death comes to all, soon or late, and what better way to die than facing fearful odds, for the ashes of your fathers; for the temples of their Gods. McCauley

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ mr tai chi ---

I am damn sure that SC makes such a claim, as to its truthfulness, well I, ah, umm, can't really speak to that. Not being a SC-ian, I cannot rise to its defense nor vouch for its character.

NY is certainly rich w/ its Revolutionary War experience and battles. I once read a set of private memoirs which described the arrival of the British fleet off Long Island and it is the greatest description of --- OMG what have we gotten ourselves into now?

As to the impact of the Scots-Irish in America, they were the overseers to the English landed gentry who climbed the mountains to the next valley.

The English held sway with magnificent architecture on the east side of the Appalachians pressing up against the mountains as in Charlottesville while their Scots-Irish overseers made a pretty penny, climbed the mountains and settled the Shenandoah Valley beyond.

The Scots-Irish had more pedestrian and crude architecture as they spent their money on carving out farms and plantations from the wilderness. Yes, the Shenandoah Valley was completely wooded in those days before it was completely denuded to produce "coke".

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

Obviously slavery was an abomination but its study is quite illuminating as to what humans are capable of doing.

There is ample evidence that slavery did not even remotely originate in the Colonies, it being a well established and common practice in the Caribbean.

The planters who came up from the Caribbean (which was the domain of the Prince of Wales and these were his pals who sent him 15% of whatever they made), they mostly went to SC.

The comparison between SC (indolent, wealthy vice appreciating successful planters) v NC (religious refugees of all stripes) is quite interesting.

The SC slave population counted amongst its members true craftsmen (carpenters, masons, glaziers, silversmiths, etc) whose owners rented them out to build buildings of some note and to train other slaves in their trades.

The agrarian economy in SC was more tea and rice rather than cotton though Sea Isle long strand cotton was quite popular in both SC and GA.

The building trades and the expertise of the slaves gave rise to an interesting development, the ownership of slaves by freed slaves. The most noted builder of the times in Charleston was a freed slave who owned a huge number of trained and skillful craftsman slaves who built many of the most important buildings of the times.

Charleston, which was the summer homes for the planters, was built almost entirely by skilled craftsman slave labor.

The Citadel --- the military college of SC located in Charleston --- came into existence to provide a military force to counter real and prospective slave uprisings in Charleston where the slaves outnumbered the white citizens.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ carlyle ---

The Golden Boy is the Henry repeating rifle. The rifle the North initially possessed which could be loaded on Sunday and fired until Saturday. A huge increase in firepower.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ carlyle ---

Grant was a plodder just like Bernard Law Montgomery in WWII. A guy who liked to have huge manpower and firepower advantages and then ground out victory through attrition. Not glamorous but very effective indeed. He strangled his opponents slowly.

Lee --- Corps of Engineers officer, then cavalry officer --- was a peacock who understood and preferred a terrain advantage. He had soldiered as a cavalry officer on the Texas frontier and learned a bit from his Indian adversaries. He had a very varied career having built the breakwaters and jetties in Galveston as an Engineer officer.

Gettysburg was lost by Lee because for once he got second choice on terrain. An obscure Union cavalry BG grabbed the high ground forcing the South onto a disadvantageous point of departure.

Lee also was a damn good "game day" General able to make quick movements and deployments. Once he had you fixed to the terrain, he maneuvered to defeat you. This is a war which had damn little real maneuver.

He also was a damn good artillerist. Not a cannon cocker himself, he had soldiered with Jackson in the Mexican War learning how to fix the enemy to their defensive positions and then to bring up his artillery (Jackson) to pound the snot out of them.

Lee also knew how to use cavalry for intelligence gathering and as a covering force forcing adversaries to abandon an approach march and to deploy in their attack formations long before they got to the line of departure. Thereby providing an earlier insight into what the enemy really intended to do. He was a skillful warrior.

The Lees also had a bit of a family military tradition which stood him in good stead. West Pointer at the top of his class, soldiering was the family business to some extent.

The Union wanted to execute Lee at the end of the Civil War but let him slip through their fingers. He became the President of Washington College --- becoming W & L University in Lexington and was literally protected by the cadets of VMI right next door.

The Lee Chapel at W & L is the resting place of the Lees from before the Revolution in the Colonies, disinterred and moved there.

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MrTaiChi 4 years, 6 months ago

@ JLM

If you haven't read it, I'm reasonably sure that you would like reading ALBION'S SEED by David Hackett Fischer. He describes, (and debunks myths) about the four waves of British migration to America. The Socts-Irish were the last of them. He indictes the the coastal regions had been settled by what he calls the Cavalier culture of English, from the south of England, who, incidentally, brought their southern accents with them. When the Scots-Irish began to immigrate, the clash of cultures caused the established colonists to urge/push these people of rougher cut to move inland and settle over the Appalachians. As the Scots-Irish were historic fighters, they didn't mind shouldering out the native Americans there.

Fischer says that the Puritans were obsessed with sex and assumed that if a man and woman were left alone they would give in to natural passions and have sex. Yet they believed in romantic love and took pains to try to have their children find their life partners rather than arrange marriages. Thus the New England customs like bundling. Analysis of birth and baptismal records of that time reveals that a large percentage of babies were baptized less than nine months after their parents were married. I guess even then, where there was a will, there was a way.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

As it pertains to the Southern military tradition, there is a very clear narrative as from whence it comes as many of the land grant schools in the South were originally military schools perhaps not so much as a means of developing military talent but rather as a model through which to deliver education in the model of West Point.

These were primarily engineering schools and engineering education lends itself to the Socratic/military method of teaching as it is a pragmatic and hard science.

There is an obvious notice of such places as VMI, the Citadel, Texas A & M (founded by primarily VMI grads and the spiritual successor to TMI) but also Clemson, Auburn, Virginia Tech.

The Southern military ethos is founded on the intellectual construct of the"citizen soldier" who in times of peril drops his plow and takes up his rifle to defend his family, neighbors and State.

A great book on the topic is --- "Long Gray Lines: The Southern Military School Tradition, 1839-1915". I think the author is Rod Andrew. I may have butchered the title and author. Sorry.

Another good read is "Drawing Out the Man" re VMI.

During Reconstruction many of the Southern military schools were disbanded. Literally.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

As it pertains to the Southern military tradition, there is a very clear narrative as from whence it comes as many of the land grant schools in the South were originally military schools perhaps not so much as a means of developing military talent but rather as a model through which to deliver education in the model of West Point.

These were primarily engineering schools and engineering education lends itself to the Socratic/military method of teaching as it is a pragmatic and hard science.

There is an obvious notice of such places as VMI, the Citadel, Texas A & M (founded by primarily VMI grads and the spiritual successor to TMI) but also Clemson, Auburn, Virginia Tech.

The Southern military ethos is founded on the intellectual construct of the"citizen soldier" who in times of peril drops his plow and takes up his rifle to defend his family, neighbors and State.

A great book on the topic is --- "Long Gray Lines: The Southern Military School Tradition, 1839-1915". I think the author is Rod Andrew. I may have butchered the title and author. Sorry.

Another good read is "Drawing Out the Man" re VMI.

During Reconstruction many of the Southern military schools were disbanded. Literally.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ mr tai chi ---

I actually have that book on my summer reading list which I think is now rubbing up against summer of 2023 but I will get to it eventually.

I find the historic immigration patterns of the US to be fascinating and how they have impacted various regions of the country.

While the country is becoming more vigorous in the immigration debate, it is interesting to project what might be possible or likely. The phenomenon of the Vietnamese immigration has been good for the country's work ethic and is greatly appreciated except perhaps for the KKK shrimp boat red neck population along the TX coast?

At the end of the American Revolution, Washington was faced with the issue of what to do w/ about 9,000 Hessian mercenaries who had been captured. He did not have the money to send them home to an uncertain fate having failed in their contracts and there being no welcome in Hessia.

He brilliantly gave them what is now Ohio and what was totally Indian country. The Hessians simply took Ohio from the Indians, carved out a very orderly state, pushed the frontier ever westward and created a new midwestern work ethic.

This is why cities like Steubenville exist and why Columbus has a huge main street wide enough for a German regiment to "wheel about" and counter march into itself while on parade. And, of course, good German neighborhoods and good German food.

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Brian Kotowski 4 years, 6 months ago

JLM - I was under the impression that "Golden Boy" was the label applied only to gussied-up presentation pieces. But I could be wrong.

An aside: Shelby Foote was a Southern novelist who wrote (among many other things) one of the definitive accounts - a narrative, actually - of the Civil War. I heard him interviewed years ago, and he explained that while researching the Civil War project, he got to know Nathan Bedford Forrest's granddaughter pretty well. While on the phone with her one day, he told her: "I think the war produced two authentic geniuses. One was your grandfather, and the other was Abraham Lincoln."

Foote said there was a LONG pause at the other end of the phone. Finally, she replied "Well. You know, in ouah family, we nevah thought too much of Mistah Lincoln."

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ sep ---

Yes, I am sure that the term Golden Boy was applied to the rifles that were specially pimped up for presentation. It is a hell of a weapon. Today they are literally worth their weight in gold. They were the precursor of the lever action rifle which tamed the West and made America great.

I would read anything Shelby Foote ever wrote though it is an acquired taste. He is a favorite of mine having gone to UNC Chapel Hill, having been an ATO (founded at VMI by the way), having been an Army officer and a Marine enlisted man.

I had to read some of his stuff as a cadet but really began to read his stuff when he was so prominent on the Ken Burns Civil War documentary series.

I think I recall a hugely funny story of his being discharged from the Army as a Captain under less than honorable circumstances and then having enlisted in the Marines at the end of WWII --- he was told that as a former Army Captain, he would probably make a decent Marine private. I may have this all wrong.

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MrTaiChi 4 years, 6 months ago

@ JLM

Like all generalizations, one made is always prone to a contrary fact, even though the weight of truth is in the generalization.

Grant was a plodder, it is true, if the maneuvers that led to Petersburg, (the Peninsular campaign?) is held out as his masterwork. He was willing to take casualties to attrit the resourses of his opponent. That said, however, his capture of Vicksburg required a flanking maneuver around the city fortifications by constructing a canal on the west side of the Mississippi River, and from there he violated military dogma by driving eastward with no supply lines, living off the land to come up behind Vicksburg and capture it. Not entirely the action of a plodder.

Lee was no aristocratic sissy. In the Mexican War as a relatively junior officer, he volunteered to scout out (something) which involved working his way through malpais, a lava field with sharp shards of lava glass. He completed his mission, which I think involved finding a route through the lava field for the army to bypass Mexican fortifications. I wish I could be more specific, but I'm responding from memory.

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aichempty 4 years, 6 months ago

Scott,

Just to cap our discussion quickly:

If the nations which had abolished slavery had boycotted slave-produced cotton and tobacco, the Confederacy would have abolished it too. And replaced it with what? Sharecropping.

How do I know?

Because that's exactly what happened when slavery was abolished.

The bloodshed of the Civil War could have been skipped, and the USA and CSA could indeed have been allies because of common ties to ancestry and economics.

The threat we face today is from Mexico. The National Guard is already being deployed on that border. This is a case where violence needs to be met with overwhelming force and the ones causing the problems need to be eliminated.

Stay tuned for a war much nearer to you than Iraq and Afghanistan.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ Mr Tai Chi

If I have given the impression that Lee was a sissy, I have done him an unforgiveable and huge injustice. I think very highly of his career having been both a Corps of Engineers officer who was detailed Infantry and having been educated at VMI.

Having studied the Civil War (what VMI cadet gets away without studying the Civil War in which the cadets actually fought at the Battle of New Market seizing a Union battery in a bayonet charge), I am always just sickened by what a wasteful exercise war is in general and that war in particular. Over 500,000 of our countrymen killed, ugh!

Lee would have been a notable soldier absent the Civil War given his feats of military and civil engineering and his transfer to the cavalry and service on the Texas frontier. He had a sterling record at West Point equalled by only two other cadets, one of them being MacArthur. Soldiering was the family business.

Years after the Civil War, Lee used to hold court at the Greenbriar in W Virginia and met many of his General officer adversaries and re-fought the battles of the Civil War. Apparently it was quite an exercise and he would spend a couple of months on the veranda meeting old adversaries.

If the energy, capital and lives wasted in the American Civil War could have been redirected for good, it would really have been something. Of course, that is true of all wars.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ Mr Tai Chi ---

Funny you should mention Vicksburg as I walked and rode that battlefield for 6 weeks once upon a time a long time ago. I had just returned from overseas and needed a good way to recharge my batteries, more accurately to become re-civilized, and me and a couple of VMI classmates undertook to investigate every square foot of the battlefield which took every daylit hour of that 6 weeks even on horseback. 6 weeks is a long time in a saddle. A bit of horseflesh between your legs has a way of clearing your head.

Vicksburg was a siege and Grant choked off the city, pinned down huge Confederate forces and then delivered the coup de grace with a bit of bedevilment.

The funniest result of Vicksburg was the surrender of Nachez, then the wealthiest city in the US, at the shot of a single Union cannon. Nachez is 60 miles down the Mississippi from V'burg and watched carefully what happened to their neighboring city --- basically leveled. That is why the greatest collection of ante-bellum mansions is in Nachez today.

The military has great need for plodders as victory is more often the product of good supply lines and logistics and manpower development than brilliant tactics.

I have studied the German Russian campaign for years --- I am currently studying von Manstein's memoirs for about the 8th time but with much better maps, the maps make the story more understandable --- and it is amazing how close the Germans came to winning everything and just came up short on manpower and supplies. Hitler was brilliant on the way into Russia and cost them the war on the way out.

The Russians never had any particular tactical creativity but they could replace their manpower losses and their tanks and artillery. And they had good depth in which to refit and they had the US as their industrial partner. Nonetheless, they produced almost all of their own tanks, the Germans never being able to interdict them with bombing.

The Germans captured more Russian tanks and howitzers than they themselves brought to Russia and yet still the Russians were victorious in the end.

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JusWondering 4 years, 6 months ago

Thank you all for the great education and giving me fodder for so many things to Google. This is why I continue to read these comments. Some great pearls of knowledge (some of it even accurate once one researches using credible sources) from some good people regardless if I know their names. I love the diversity of our nation and our locals.

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Cooke 4 years, 6 months ago

JLM - would it be too much of a violation of anonimity to ask what class at VMI you were in?

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

1839 --- you would have had to have gone to VMI to get the joke

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Cooke 4 years, 6 months ago

My family is 1874(?), 1944, 1970, 1998, 1998 (my brother and I both) plus an uncle that got kicked out for hitting the Commandant with a snowball (among many other things).

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

I guess our "free republic" now comes with a disclaimer. Reader beware...

http://iowntheworld.com/blog/?p=25288

Apparently, the book form of our republic's Constitution comes prefaced with an ACTUAL disclaimer that reads..., "This book is a product of it's time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today. Parents might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work." I'll give you a moment to wrap your brain around that one....

"Classic work?" Are you joking me? Talking about one of the foundational documents of our nation like it's some sort of fictional sci-fi thriller novel that might give kids some dreadful nightmare about freedom and rights as a citizen! FRIKING INCREDIBLE!!! Well, maybe they're right? Maybe freedom is dead and slowly being relegated to the stuff of old stories and myths? And, "allowing" them to read it?! Again, are you joking me? I'm almost speechless. Why isn't our Constitution, at least in lay terms, posted in the hallways of every school in our country? Why wouldn't they want us to be fully aware or amply informed of our rights?

Shame on the publisher of that disclaimer!

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seeuski 4 years, 6 months ago

Welcome to Progressivism 101. This type of thing is what is charging up the Tea Party movement mmj? Did you follow the School book debate in Texas recently? They want to teach the history of the USA from the late 1800's forward, that is when the Progressive movement started it's assault on the minds of the masses here in the USA. Watch some Glenn Beck especially on Founder Fridays, quite inspirational and informational. Read the "Road to Serfdom" and see where we are going as a Country. The assault over free thought and the truthful history of America is a planned weapon of the Progressive movement.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

Did you honestly just recommend that I lend an ear to...Glenn Beck?!?! Really? Thanks....but no thanks. I don't think I'd have enough medicine to get me through a show with Mr. Beck at the helm.

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ cooke ---

You must be Tommy Cooke '70''s son?

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

@ cooke ---

You must be Tommy Cooke '70''s son?

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JLM 4 years, 6 months ago

I was there at the same time as your Dad. Your Dad was a damn good guy and a real character --- which of course is not a huge distinction at VMI as you well know.

I was close w/ Bill O'Connor and Dick Sisler in his class.

Small world.

What ever happened w/ the Cancun restaurant?

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Cooke 4 years, 6 months ago

We are very close with O'Connor and Sisler still. Sisler's daughter married Ralph Costen's son Trip '97 and one of our best friends growing up.

My dad will be here in a few weeks if you are interested. Not sure about the Cancun establishment - I'm sure it's one of the many stories I was never allowed to hear growing up around a bunch of VMI classmates!

They are all still a bunch of characters.

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

Is this turning into a class/family re-union blog?

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mmjPatient22 4 years, 6 months ago

And feel free to completely abandon the topic of the article.

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