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I have a small collection of veteran stories that I hope warm your heart and bring you a deeper appreciation of our fine men and women who are serving and have served our nation unselfishly and with honor and dignity.  I hope you can pause today for a few minutes to think good thoughts or say a prayer for our many unsung heroes.  

A third-generation soldier, Vermont National Guard Captain Zachariah "Zac" Fike received a gift on Christmas Day 2009 from his mother, Joyce - a Purple Heart medal that she had found in a local antique shop.  Zac, who collects antiques, was fully aware of the sentimental nature of the Purple Heart as he earned one himself when he was wounded in Afghanistan in September of 2010.

Fike noted the name engraved on the medal, Corrado A.G. Piccoli and immediately took to the internet hoping to find clues to help him locate Piccoli.  Zac learned that Piccoli had served and died in France during WWII.  With other information and records he then found Piccoli's sister, Adeline who lived in Watertown, NY and called her with his news.

“I had the conversation with Zac and it was like opening a door in a closet that’s full of secrets — memories and everything just floats out,” Adeline said. “And the memories came back, they were very vivid.”
Since this first experience two years ago, Zac has made it his mission to find purple hearts for sale online and in antique stores and do his best to reunite them with their owners or the owners' families.  He has established a nonprofit which can be found on facebook: Purple Hearts Reunited INC.

Further reading:
Sending Vets' Lost Medals, And Memories, Home

Medal peddlers: Thriving Purple Heart market has fans and foes

Captain's mission: Reunite Purple Hearts with recipient's families


Don Rose of Winchester, Kentucky was a Marine in the Korean War era in the early 1950s and when he learned that over a thousand American military vets die every day, he was disturbed that their personal stories would be lost to history.

Beginning in 2003, Don and his friend, Richard Doughty decided to seek out many of these veterans to audio and video tape their stories: accounts of lost buddies, the fears they faced, their homesickness and their injuries.  Thus the history of our wars would also be preserved for future generations.  Don and Richard spend about 35 hours for each interview.

Don works out of his home in Winchester through several organizations: the Library of Congress Veterans History Project, the American Folklife Center, and the national AARP.

The sessions are archived at the Clark County Public Library in Winchester and at the Morehead State University History Department.

Grateful for what Rose has done, Dr. Yvonne Baldwin, chair of the history department at Morehead State said:

I was amazed at his dedication to the cause, but also by his demeanor. she said.  He simply wants the stories told and wants them to be accessible for future generations.
Seldom receiving any help with costs, Don thinks what he spends is tiny in comparison to the price paid by America's veterans.  Suffering from prostate cancer the last few years has not deterred Don who says like a Marine who knows and accepts his mission:
As long as I have names given to me, I will continue to interview.
Wincester veteran preserves stories of those who served

This week at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida, the USS Bataan was visiting from her homeport in Norfolk, Virginia.  The amphibious assault ship's deck was being temporarily converted into a basketball court in order to host the Navy-Marine Corps Classic game held on Friday between the University of Florida and Georgetown University.  

The USS Bataan was commissioned in 1997 and named in honor of those who helped defend the Bataan Peninsula and participated in the Bataan Death March.

Two Bataan Death March survivors honored in Jacksonville, FL on board the USS Bataan for Veteran's Day 2012.
Two Jacksonville residents, Patricio Ganio and Donato Abalos were in the Phillipines 70 years ago helping defend the Bataan Peninsula from a Japanese invasion.  On Thursday, in honor of Veteran's Day, these two WWII "death march" survivors [were] honored aboard the USS Bataan.

Commanding officer, Captain Erik Ross welcomed Ganio and Abalos aboard, calling them "heroes". During a short ceremony he said:

This ship wouldn't have been commissioned were it not for your heroism.  You sir, both of you, are true heroes.
Ross added that the men stationed aboard the Bataan have the “humbling challenge of living up to” the example set by men like Ganio and Abalos.


Lt. Col. Herbert Carter, Tuskegee Airmam
Lt. Col. Herbert Eugene Carter, USAF (Ret), one of the original Tuskegee Airmen who broke color barriers during WWII by becoming the first black aviators in the U.S. military, died Thursday at the age of 95.  

Carter had been scheduled to speak on Wednesday at a veterans celebration in Gadsden, Alabama but was unable because he was hospitalized.

Carter, who flew 77 mission with the Tuskegee Airmen during the war with only a single crash, was one of the last remaining 33 original Airmen who trained as a segregated unit in central Alabama at Tuskegee Institute. Carter was in the first group that trained for the 99th Fighter Squadron.  Once admitted to the Army Air Corps, they were prohibited from fighting alongside their white counterparts and faced extreme prejudice, yet they went on to become one of WWII's most respected fighter squadrons.

In an interview with the AP in 2008 Mr. Carter spoke to the adjustment of being a respected soldier on base, then having that dignity snatched away once off base, where they were "just another Negro in Alabama in the eyes of the civilian population."

Lt. Col. Herbert Carter, Tuskegee Airman
Carter said they had been told "they didn't have the ability, dexterity, physiology and psychology to operate something as complicated as aircraft or tanks."  The airmen's response was "train me and let me demonstrate that I can.  We said the antidote to racism was excellence and performance and that is what we did."

Lt. Col. Carter retired from his 25 years with the Air Force in 1969 after having earned his B.S. degree and a master's degree in education from Tuskegee Institute while on active duty.  After his military retirement, Carter was associate dean for student services, associate dean for admission and recruiting, and financial aid counselor at Tuskegee Institute.

Video by Lt. Col. Carter on the Tuskegee Airmen 60th Anniversary

A midair courtship: Tuskegee's historic love story tells the incredibly moving story of Herbert Carter and Mildred Hemmons who would become known as the first couple of the Tuskegee Airmen. It covers Mildred's history making as a Tuskegee Airman which was mostly ignored and how she wasn't allowed to "officially" earn her wings  because she was a woman and black.  The couple married in 1942 and Mildred died in 2011.

Tuskegee Airman retired Lt. Col. Herbert Carter died today, reports state (video).  The video, entitled "My Greatest Challenges" was taped when Carter was 92.

(h/t to gooderservice for alerting IGTNT to the news of Lt. Col. Carter's death)

Originally posted to MOT - Morning Open Thread on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:30 AM PST.

Also republished by IGTNT Advisory Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good Veteran's Day Morning! (14+ / 0-)

    A heartfelt thank you to all veterans.


    Have a great day, everybuddy ;~D

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 02:25:11 PM PST

  •  Ok... (7+ / 0-)

    The good news is that I finished up ink the jalopy drawing last night. I have today off and may clean it up and start coloring it.

    The bad news is that there is a Facebook page for a nasty populist movement brewing for employers to fire people who they think voted for Obama or Gary Johnson.

    Oddly, the hype would have you think that businessmen and Libertarians should be the bestest buddies....

    Maybe I'll diary this later today if somebody doesn't beat me to it.....

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:41:36 AM PST

  •  The rest of the world (allies) (10+ / 0-)

    Observe Remembrance Day. In England the country comes to a halt for two minutes. We shop.

    We used to commemorate Armistice Day.

    The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

    ...Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations...

    An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday - - a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day.

    I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

    It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

    Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.

    So I will throw Veterans' Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things.

    What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

    And all music is.

    Kurt Vonnegut
    Breakfast of Champions (1973)

    My contribution will be to pick up a puppy to foster for a homeless Iraq vet until he can get housing.

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:52:32 AM PST

    •  Thank you for these additions, BOHICA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, gooderservice

      I don't recall having seen the Vonnegut piece before.

      I don't want to throw away any sacred things.

      Thank you too for your service - both active duty and since.  The community service geared towards our service members and vets that you provide is invaluable.  You, BOHICA, certainly are an angel among us.  Thank you.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:03:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two or three silences (4+ / 0-)

      The Queen often observes three two minute silences each year.

      In recent years the tradition of a general public silence at 11.00 on 11/11 ("the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month") has been revived.

      The main official ceremonies are held at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on the following Sunday. The Cenotaph is the war memorial erected shortly after WWI and replaces the wood original temporary version. (The name means "empty tomb" and was a great comfort to the many widows and families whose loved ones had no known grave.) The silence starts at about 34:45.  

      The evening before she attends the Remembrance Festival of the Royal British Legion (the organisation for veterans and current members of the armed forces). That ends with a "drumhead service" in which regimental drums are formed into a makeshift altar. Start at 12:30 to include the traditional valedictory, known in Canada as the Act of Remembrance:

          They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
          Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
          At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
          We will remember them.

      The silence ends with a exhortation taken from the memorial at Kohima:
       When you go home
       Tell them of us and say
       For your tomorrow
       We gave our today

      Two 6 year olds present a posy of poppies to thank their forebears for preserving their freedoms, Poppy flowers, the British symbol of remembrance also rain down on the assembled service personnel during the silence.

      BTW the serices include prayers for peace for the Queen, Commonwealth and all people and for harmony between nations.

      This year of course 11/11 is on a Sunday so there have been only two acts of rememberanc. The next time this will occur will be 11/11/2018, the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI

      "Who stood against President Obama in 2012?" - The trivia question nobody can answer.

      by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:11:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you, Lib (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for adding these traditions from Great Britain and these videos as well.

        I sometimes use the quote you included from Robert Laurence Binyon in his poem, For the Fallen in my IGTNT tributes.  Here is the complete piece:

        For The Fallen

        With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
        England mourns for her dead across the sea.
        Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
        Fallen in the cause of the free.

        Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
        Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
        There is music in the midst of desolation
        And a glory that shines upon our tears.

        They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
        Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
        They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
        They fell with their faces to the foe.

        They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
        Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
        At the going down of the sun and in the morning
        We will remember them.

        They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
        They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
        They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
        They sleep beyond England's foam.

        But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
        Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
        To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
        As the stars are known to the Night;

        As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
        Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
        As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
        To the end, to the end, they remain.
                    ~ Robert Laurence Binyon

        He wrote this in 1914 during the Great War and it is recited on Remembrance Sunday in Great Britain, Remembrance Day in Canada and in Australia and New Zealand as part of their Anzac Day ceremonies.

        Prayers for peace...

        As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

        by JaxDem on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 06:35:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Once I was a soldier (11+ / 0-)

    I wasn't that brave but I sure did get that desperate.
    I don't know how much good it did, but youre Welcome America.
    For what its worth


    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 03:59:37 AM PST

  •  Good times (10+ / 0-)

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:02:47 AM PST

  •  For a party who just won the election (4+ / 0-)

    we sure are talking about Republicans alot on this site.


    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ~ Jerry Garcia

    by DeadHead on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:08:17 AM PST

    •  There is a lot of chatter. (4+ / 0-)

      Is it relief
      Whistling past the graveyard
      Victory afterglow
      Natural desire to dissect the win (for us)/loss (for them)
      Difficulty coming down from the frantic excitement pre-election

      I'm just enjoying the probably temporary respite from the normal in-fighting.  Hope this calm lasts.

      Have a great day, DeadHead and thanks for joining us this morning.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:16:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Talking about the Republicans certainly is preferable to the pie wars.

        It just caught my eye the shear volume of diaries geared towards the Republican side of the election equation, that were/still are travelling down the recent diary list.

        Have a great day, as well... :-)

        Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
        ~ Jerry Garcia

        by DeadHead on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:50:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Words to the wise by the first (7+ / 0-)

    Commander in Chief

    "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, will be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."

    - George Washington

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:17:57 AM PST

    •  Lifting the media ban at Dover (5+ / 0-)

      was one of the earlier actions Obama made as POTUS along with ordering the DoD to pay for the families to fly there.  

      To me, that act restored the dignity our warriors deserved.  I wrote a piece on that back in July: Why I Vote For Democrats: Supporting Our Military: Dignity & Respect

      In addition, in 2010, President Obama donated $250,000 to Fisher House out of the $1.4 million he received for winning the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

      These two acts by our president provide a stark contrast from the previous president who actually began one of those wars Obama inherited.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:31:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh my sweet little man, Dad (6+ / 0-)

    How I miss him. Indulge me...I was 14 years-old and rummaging in Mom's huge cedar chest. And on the bottom covered up, I discovered Dad's Army Air-core records and medals: a Distinguished Flying Cross, Flying Eagle(Air Medal), three bronze stars and four Oak Leaf Clusters.

    Thirty-two missions over Germany in a B17 and he had never said a word about it. Mother didn't know about the medals.

    Later in life, he opened up and shared.

    Dad was the most loved man in our small town, he did not believe in conflict of any kind and would give a stranger his shirt, crying now, thanks for letting me share.

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:24:41 AM PST

  •  Good Morning (7+ / 0-)

    Hope everyone has a decent day

  •  Recognizing my uncle, (8+ / 0-)

    Staff Sergeant Earl K. Castner

    who was the 1st engineer - gunner on a B-24 with the 13th Army Air Force.

    On June 18, 1944 they failed to return from a bombing mission over Truk Island (is now Chuuk Island).

    Declared dead by the War Department on March 6, 1946.

    Years later, information came to the oldest son in the family which he withheld until my grandmother died -- that Earl had been taken POW and was later beheaded.

    His remains have never been recovered.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 04:44:37 AM PST

  •  Unintended consequences (5+ / 0-)

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 05:01:55 AM PST

  •  GM (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    with the passing of my spouse this year, every day is Veteran's Day even more, as I may soon diary

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 07:54:44 AM PST

    •  {{{annieli}}} (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I remember your Grieving Room diary and I am sorry for your heartbreak.

      Please give us a "head's up" if you do decide to diary as I would like to read and support it.

      My husband, who was retired Navy, passed in May of 2010 and is buried at the Jacksonville National Cemetery which I visited yesterday.

      Many blessings and prayers for strength, dear heart.

      As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

      by JaxDem on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 08:28:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Beautiful diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Thank you.

  •  MOTher of all Vet day diaries. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You maybe MOTley, but you too I rec/ tip and reserve to return later in a more reflective moment. for now, tipp'ed rec'd for this and for all you..,..every day.

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 09:17:37 AM PST

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