Topic: MAIL CALL

AUSTRALIAN WEB PAL

I recently received an item,THE GOOD EARTH, from Brenda in Australia - which is currently on this site under that title. I wrote the following in my message back to her:

“It is nice to have someone from so far away clicking on Keeping Apace. Isn't the World Wide Web great?!

During the Korean War (at the conclusion of my last tour of duty there aboard an aircraft carrier) our ship was scheduled for a cruise to Australia before returning home. Everyone on board was looking forward to the treat. Unfortunately, we were caught in a heavy typhoon that damaged our flight and hangar decks, requiring return to the states for shipyard repairs instead of proceeding on to visit your wonderful country.”

Jug.

She responded with the following message:

“The web sure is an incredible piece of technology. Some see it as computers, but really it's all about connecting people together…

We quite often get US ships docking in Sydney - at the navy base of Garden Island right in one of the best locations in the harbour. And whenever they dock and have an open day the queues are huge. Families are everywhere and the atmosphere is wonderful. On a big port visit all the sailors add kind of festive feel to the inner city.

But there's one ship visit a few years ago that has really stayed in my memory.

The ship (wish I could remember the name) was in Sydney for Anzac Day. To Australians Anzac Day is probably the most meaningful day of the year. It started as a commemoration of the World War I landings at Gallipoli, but has evolved to be a “veterans day”. Every year there's a dawn service and a parade of veterans in all the cities and towns.

This particular Anzac Day it rained.

The veterans kept marching of course and for a while the crowds along the roadside kept their positions, too. Then it rained a little heavier and gradually the crowds shrank back a couple of metres to shelter under the awnings of shops.

And as the crowd moved back one figure remained standing straight and unconcerned as the veterans marched and rain poured. He was impeccably dressed and groomed and seemed not to have even noticed the rain.

It was a lone US sailor from the visiting warship.

It was a touching, symbolic moment better than any media report, speech or tv show. It was a bond between friends and allies which I think everyone there felt. The US Navy won some more friends in Sydney that day.

Even now the whole scene - a parade of old veterans in the rain, the crowd shrunk back, the sailor standing alone - the memory of it is vivid and I can feel the tears in my eyes. I wish I had of said something to that sailor but maybe he knew what we were feeling.

Regards,
Brenda



FROM THE MAILBAG

One of the enjoyable things about the Internet is the people you “meet”… and their contributions to Americana. While you may never meet them in person, you communicate with them on common interest grounds and often develop Internet friendships. Sometimes these can develop into personal friendships as well.

E-mail visitor John Roat recently sent a “thank you” for some KA articles he liked… which made me feel good, of course… but he also included two links of his own that were highly interesting, so I checked them out and am passing them along to you. Like many professions, his http://offshorediver.com/ [http://offshorediver.com/] has a language all of its own, but even if you are unfamiliar with deep sea diving you should enjoy various aspects of this site. His other site contains some reviews of his book Class-29 about Navy Seals, http://sealstrike.com/jcroat.htm [http://sealstrike.com/jcroat.htm]. I haven’t read it yet, but these reviews seem worthy of a visit to the bookstore.

Coincidentally, I received in the mail a copy of another KA visitor’s work, The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, by author Army Sgt Michael Volkin. It is on my reading list to review when time permits, but a quick scan looks interesting. I was particularly intrigued by why he wrote the book and how he researched it while undergoing basic training himself. See http://ultimatebasictrainingguidebook.com [http://ultimatebasictrainingguidebook.com].

Another interesting message came from Bernie at huebiemars@yahoo.com [mailto:huebiemars@yahoo.com] about the KA article, Twin of the Iwo Jima Monument. He said in part, “There was another artist who designed two statues of the Iwo Jima Monument. His name was Philip Bernhard Johnson (a.k.a. Ben Johnson), an artist who worked for Gorhams Silver in Providence, RI. Ben created the Iwo Jima statues from the original pictures which were sent to Gorhams during the War. There was an article in the Providence Journal describing how he worked after hours to finish the statue. Two were made; one was given to Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and the other to the Secretary of War. I believe these were the very first statues made, before any other artist had seen the pictures.” He is sending me more information for a possible KA article.

From Pruden414@aol.com [mailto:Pruden414@aol.com] was this response: “Mainstream media is despicable, and unworthy of my time, money, and attention. I have been pissed about this issue since I returned from Marine Corps duty in Iraq last summer. I prefer to spend my precious time reading sites like yours and of course the official Marine Corps web site/Iraqi Freedom news stories. I'm also in receipt, as I'm sure you are, of email blurbs directly from the Marines currently in and around the Al Anbar Province. I love “truth data”. Too bad the press hasn't given attention to the four Marines recently awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary gallantry in action in Iraq last year! Although our dear Sgt. Conde's intrepidity in combat was awesome, the citations of these four Navy Cross Marines will knock your socks off.”



WE GET LETTERS

Writers always appreciate feedback on their articles, whether pro or con, and I am no exception. It lets us know that someone out there is reading our stuff. In the press of busy lives, however, few people take the time to respond. Here are some recent ones on various subjects: So far I haven't received any irate ones, but when I do I will let you know.

FLYBOYS
Many thanks for your terrific book review and commentary of FLYBOYS by James Bradley. I have circulated it here in-house and forwarded it on to the author.
All the Best,
Kelly Leonard, Publisher's Promotions

TOMB OF THE UNKNOWNS
Thank you for publishing this article on your website. The young man, Sgt. Christopher Holmes, is my son. He was sent to Ft. Myer directly out of basic training to the Old Guard Unit and has been proudly serving there for 6 years. Needless to say, I am very proud of him and the fact that he would give his life to guard the Tomb of the Unknowns. This only goes to show the great training these young men have had and how much patriotism has been instilled in them. It's not considered a job to them… it's an honor. Thank you again for letting everyone know that we should be proud of all our servicemen for the wonderful job they are doing for us!
Pat Holmes, Port Arthur, TX.

(Mrs. Holmes: Thank you for your e-mail. I am sure most military people understand and appreciate your son's service, as I do. I am not certain how many civilians know about this particular duty and the high standards it requires. Maybe those who read the article will better appreciate all who serve - whatever and wherever the duty station might be. BV.)

RETIREES POLITICAL PARTY
Floyd Sears passed your message to me concerning the ridiculous idea of a retiree political party. I just wanted to tell you that I agree with every word you said. I have said those things myself and it is nice to hear someone of your experience and knowledge state them so eloquently. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
George A. White, Capt USAF-Ret

(Thanks George and to several others who made similar comments. I have not heard anything from the negative side as yet. Maybe they didn't read my article. BV)