Wednesday, March 31, 2010

65th Anniversary of Battle for Okinawa

Today is the 65th anniversary of the battle for Okinawa but it is unlikely that there will be many ceremonies to commemorate it, even though it was the last great battle of World War II and led to Japan's surrender and the end of the war. Few people realize that Okinawa was the largest sea and land operation of the war, larger than Normandy in ships, men and supplies. The island of Okinawa lies only 350 miles from Japan and in American hands could be used as a staging area to attack Japan. Japanese leaders realized that a loss here would leave them with two options, surrender or commit national suicide. They hoped to wage a war of attrition, exacting so high a cost the United States would agree to lenient surrender terms.

Casualties were huge for both sides, more people being killed than lost their lives in two atomic bomb attacks. According to Google, American casualties were 12,000 killed, including almost 5,000 Navy dead and almost 8,000 Marine and Army dead, and 36,000 wounded. In addition non wounded casualties numbered 26,000. Japan lost 130,00 soldiers killed and 10,000 surrendered or captured. The Army estimated the 82-day campaign resulted in 142,000 civilian deaths.

Allied forces lost 34 ships sunk, mostly by kamikazes, 368 ships and crafts damaged, and 763 aircraft destroyed. Casualties were so high there were congressional calls for an investigation into the conduct of military commanders. The cost of the battle influenced President Truman to drop the atomic bomb and avoid invading the Japanese mainland.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

USS Pickens (APA 190) at Okinawa

Tomorrow will be the 65th anniversary of the battle for Okinawa, one of the fiercest and bloodiest of World War II. Most Americans seem to have forgotten and fewer and fewer veterans are alive to remember it. I will have more to say tomorrow, but today I am reflecting on our ship's part in what took place that Easter morning April 1.
It was around 5 that Sunday morning and all ships were at general quarters, preparing for what was sure to come. The Pickens was second behind the Hinsdale in a column of attack transports loaded with the second marine division. We had seen how effective a few kamikazes were at Iwo Jima and knew many more would greet us. The Japanese suicide planes came in a wave. The Hinsdale was hit and at almost the same instant a plane headed for us hit the mast of an LST and crashed to the deck, causing explosions and fires. We quickly put boats in the water and picked up survivers from the Hinsdale, LST 584 and LST 724. Flag officers transferred from the Hensdale to our ship, and we helped take care of their troops. Planes crashed into ships all around us and set the stage for a battle that lasted for 82 days and took thousands of lives.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday --A Day of Triumph

Jesus and his disciples had been on a slow but determined trip to Jerusalem. On the way Jesus had preached and healed the lame and blind, and he warned his disciples that he would be put to death. Now, he entered Jerusalem, riding on a colt, and he was welcomed with adoration and acclaim. People carpeted the street with their cloaks and many waved palms. The crowd shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the heavens!" (Matthew 21\9)
Jesus faced arrest and crucifixion but that day he could enjoy the excitement, joy and love that the people wanted to give him and that he deserved.

1 Hosann

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Patrick Henry Has a Message for Us

""Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it Almighty God --I know not what course others may take, but as for me-- give me
liberty or give me death." Patrick Henry March 23, 1775.

A week from now, April l, 1945, will mark the 65th anniversary of the battle for Okinawa, the last great battle of World War II and one of the bloodiest in American history, with enormous casualties on both sides. What would those Americans who died there think of what is now happening in the country they fought for? As one who took part in that battle, I do not like the socialism and government interference in our lives that the Obama administration has brought us. I would welcome another Patrick Henry. Liberties lost are seldom regained.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Struck by Liightning (almost)

I was picking peas fairly far from the house when, typically for summer, a thunderstorm came up suddenly with thunder and lightning and rain beginning to fall. I started home jogging along a path through the field when lightning flashed and thunder clapped simultaneously and I felt as if the top of my head had caught fire. I began to run as fast as I could, scattering peas along the path. When I got home I burst through the door and shouted that I had been hit by lightning.
Everyone laughed at me and said if that happened I would be dead. Sometime after the storm we went into the field and discovered that a telephone pole by the path had strips of wood torn from it and scattered along the path. Evidently the lightning had hit the pole or the telephone wire as I passed under it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The New Story of Jonah

Jonah was content. He was in his LSU room where the walls were covered with autographed pictures of Tiger heroes, national championship posters, banners and other trophies. Jonah was watching (for the umpteenth time) a video of Jacob Hester scoring the winning touchdown against Florida in 2007 when he heard his name called, "Jonah," and he knew instantly it was God calling. "Jonah," God said, "The Ole Miss football team is in trouble. The Rebels lost their first two games and will continue to lose unless some changes are made." (Ole Miss is losing and all is right with the world, Jonah was thinking.) God continued, "Jonah I want you -- no, I'm ordering you -- to go to Oxford and tell Coach Nutt that as long as he plays his current quarterback Ole Miss may not win a game this season. Explain to the coaches that there is a quarterback on the squad who is a walk-on, not even on scholarship. Tell Nutt to play this boy and Ole Miss will start winning and save the season."

Jonah protested vigorously. He told God that Coach Nutt and his staff would never believe him. God replied," Do as I say and if the Rebels do not believe you and refuse to make the changes I have ordered it will be on their heads and the team will not win a game this year."

Jonah did not want to go to Oxford and tried to avoid or at least delay going. He started to Oxford by way of New Orleans and spent two days and two nights on Bourbon Street. He boarded a river boat, intending to ride up and down the river, but the boat began to shiver and shake, sending the passengers into a panic. Realizing this was his fault Jonah jumped overboard and swam to shore, finally heading for Oxford. There he met with Coach Nutt and his staff and informed them that unless they replaced the quarterback with the walk-on the Rebs would lose all their games and the season would be ruined. Surprisingly Nutt and his staff believed him and to Jonah's amazement and sorrow installed the new quarterback.

Ole Miss won the very next Saturday and kept on winning with the next game to be with LSU. Jonah had grown more unhappy with each Ole Miss victory and could not even relax or find peace in his LSU room. He went out into his backyard and sought the shade of a gourd vine which grew on his garden fence. A worm had entered the vine and it wilted, leaving Jonah in the sun. This was just too much for Jonah. He sought out God, saying "God, this isn't fair. Now we are to play Ole Miss tonight and to be fair you should guarantee a victory for the Tigers." God answered, " Jonah, I don't pick football games, and besides I don't have to play fair; I'm God."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spelling Disaster

My wife was cleaning out some cabinets and found some papers my mother had saved for years. My diploma from LSU was included but what I found interesting were three spelling certificates from my fourth, fifth and sixth grade years. They brought to mind my great spelling disaster. Louisiana used to send out lists of 100 words appropriate to each grade. Teachers called out the words and certificates were given for getting all 100 right. I took the test three years and made perfect each time. So, what was my spelling disaster? My sixth grade teacher set up a spelling bee matching girls against boys. Some boys didn't try and it became me against the girls with me ending up winning. My teacher challenged another sixth grade and the other teacher called the words, asking me something that sounded like rual. I couldn't visualize the word and missed it. My teacher kept saying, " I can't understand it; he spelled down a room full of girls." A spelling disaster and a real embarrassment.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Let's become self sufficient in energy

Why cannot the United States commit to become self sufficient in energy and by doing so strengthen national security, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and save 300 billion dollars we are sending over seas every year to purchase oil from countries who could shut us off at any time?Obama is wedded to "green" energy which will cost jobs and lower our standard of living. If he gets even part of what he wants gasoline will exceed 7 dollars a gallon and utility rates will double, and every thing we buy will cost more. Just remember what ethanol has done to the price of grain, reflected in higher prices for eggs, milk and cereal. This nation has the coal, oil and natural gas to meet l00 per cent of our needs. Nuclear energy can help if regulations are sensible. Coal, because it is so abundant, should be the first choice for producing electricity even though we have much natural gas in shale that is now recoverable. Germany and Spain have tried to go green with poor results. Despite spending l00 billion dollars Germany gets only 6 per cent of its electric power from wind and less than one per cent from solar. Jobs have been lost, also. Please, let's do the sensible thing and utilize our availale resources to help, not harm ,
our economy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Scholar shares lunch during depression

I got to wondering the other day what became of Lloyd Blevins, a boy I went to school with in Minden Grammar School. During that time of depression and poverty it was not unusual to have your lunch stolen .When this happened one day Lloyd invited me to go to the cafeteria with him and share his lunch. He had 15 cents which enabled him to buy a jar of milk for a nickel and a split hamburger for a dime. He gave me one half of the hamburger and we shared the milk. You can't get much kinder than that.

To be honest I must admit to a trick I played on Lloyd. The class was being visited by a medical team which required us to answer a few questions on a form, including whether male or female. Lloyd asked me how to answer that and I said it depended on which month a person was born and that meant he was female. The doctor made fun of Lloyd but he only smiled sheepishly and never blamed me. Yes, I hope life has been good for Lloyd.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Reid calls job losses a great day

Harry Reid calls it a "great day, only 36,000 lost their jobs today." Great for whom; the nation has an official unemployment rate of 9.7, but counting those who had given up looking for jobs the unemployment is nea 17 per cent.

According to a New York Times-CBS poll, only 6 per cent of Americans think the stimulus bill has created or saved jobs. They know that personally spending money like a drunken sailor does not improve their economic situation and the government wasting trillions does not translate into jobs, either. That 6 per cent must be congressmen and members of the Obama administration.

Now the congressional budget office estimates that Obama's budget is more than a trillion dollars worse that Obama had predicted. The nation's debt is skyrocketing; how much can our nation endure?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Reagan speech in 1964 valid today

A speech Ronald Reagan made in 1964 is getting a lot of play on the internet because it seems made for conditions that exist today. The speech is the essence of Reagan, his thoughts and ideas. Does not this sound like it applies today," No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector's share ..." Not only does he talk about the economy but also about keeping the nation strong and letting nations know that there is a price we will not pay. He takes on social security, asking that it be put on a sound basis.

Videos of the speech are plentiful on the internet and a script is posted for those who want to read it or make a copy. It is well worth anyone's time.