Archive for the ‘World War II’ Tag

Veterans Day 2017   1 comment

This blog always salutes our veterans of today in a more international manner, by recalling those who gave their all in service at one time or another, representative of the bravery those who are still with us showed.  This year, while considering what I would be writing about, I happened back across this story from World War II, not much remembered today by those of us obsessed with the fight against terrorism, or who champion veterans for more political purposes.  These four men show that there are many forms which bravery can take, and it can be exhibited even by those who swear never to take another’s life.

Learn more after the break.

From the Archives — “A date which will live in infamy….” (updated)

NOTE: This article was originally published on December 7, 2011, on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. Some changes have taken place in Second Life, and so I have revised the article where needed to avoid confusion.

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USS Arizona sinking following explosion of her magazine, 7 Dec 1941; photo from U. S. Navy History and Heritage Command collection

USS Arizona sinking following explosion of her magazine, 7 Dec 1941; photo from U. S. Navy History and Heritage Command collection

“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan….”— President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, December 8, 1941, speaking to a joint session of Congress.

The world changed — massively — for Americans on that December day.  While most of us were going about our Sunday routines — perhaps sitting in church for the day’s sermon or Sunday school, or getting out for brunch with friends — a squadron of Japanese aircraft carriers were turning into the wind and launching attack bombers.  Japan was stymied in its plans for expansion of its “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” by an American embargo on oil, machine parts and other needed goods, and afraid that the U. S. would respond if it attacked British interests in Southeast Asia, and planned a preventive strike against the American Pacific Fleet in Hawaii to forestall any action against it.  The Japanese had planned to shave its “notification” to the U. S. government of hostile intent as closely as possible to keep a warning from being sent to the American bases in and around Pearl Harbor; but clerical problems in decoding and typing the message eliminated any validity to their weak attempt to observe the niceties.

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“A date which will live in infamy….”

“Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan….”— President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, December 8, 1941, speaking to a joint session of Congress.

The world changed — massively — for Americans on that December day.  While most of us were going about our Sunday routines — perhaps sitting in church for the day’s sermon or Sunday school, or getting out for brunch with friends — a squadron of Japanese aircraft carriers were turning into the wind and launching attack bombers.  Japan was stymied in its plans for expansion of its “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” by an American embargo on oil, machine parts and other needed goods, and afraid that the U. S. would respond if it attacked British interests in Southeast Asia, and planned a preventive strike against the American Pacific Fleet in Hawaii to forestall any action against it.  The Japanese had planned to shave its “notification” to the U. S. government of hostile intent as closely as possible to keep a warning from being sent to the American bases in and around Pearl Harbor; but clerical problems in decoding and typing the message eliminated any validity to their weak attempt to observe the niceties.

The Navy, which had been able to break the top Japanese diplomatic code, had a rough inkling that something was going to happen, and a copy of the Japanese response had been decoded and distributed to top American officials; however, nothing explicitly stating that the Japanese would attack Pearl Harbor was ever sent or decoded by us.  If it had been, Pearl would have been notified, and the outcome of the battle would surely have been much different.

And so some 350 Japanese planes attacked the sleeping base early on Sunday morning, Honolulu time, in two waves.  Four out of the eight battleships at anchor, including the USS Arizona, were sunk, three more were damaged, and the last ran aground as it tried to make out of port into open water.  We also lost three other ships and nearly 200 planes; over 2,000 people were killed.  In this, the Japanese were successful; but no American aircraft carriers were in port, and so one of the planners’ main goals failed. The next day, President Roosevelt opened his speech to Congress with the words above, and they voted overwhelmingly to declare war on Japan.  Only one no vote was recorded, by Jeanette Rankin, who had also voted no to declaring war on Germany in 1917.

Pearl Harbor was cleared of all wreckage, except for the Arizona, which was so badly damaged from the explosion of her forward magazine that she was considered unsalvageable, and the Utah.  The Arizona was ultimately decommissioned 1, and a memorial to her dead and all the dead of the Battle of Pearl Harbor built across her sunken hull in the 1950s.  A replica of this memorial exists today in Second Life, in Oahu region.  I asked my friend, Conan Bankersbox, if he would pose there for me, and he happily obliged, first dressing in Navy casual whites as an ensign in tribute to the men who died that day, 70 years ago now.  Their comrades who survived, and all the others who came through the crucible of that war and helped keep our country free, are now very old men and women, and dying as the years progress.  I hope you will join me in honoring their sacrifice, their heroism and their dedication in Real Life today.  In addition, there will be a ceremony of remembrance at the Arizona Memorial replica today at 2:00 p.m. SLT, with music, remembrance of those lost, and the chance to throw a lei into the harbor water in tribute.

Lest we forget….

As I’m tired, and need to get a short nap in before work today, this will be mostly photos.  But the photos will say most of the words here, aside from this —

Beyond the fact that tomorrow will be Memorial Day in the United States RL as well as observed by many USA Residents in Second Life, we should also remember that this December will be the 70th anniversary of America’s entry into what became the Second World War.  In the Real World, the living memory of those years is rapidly fading as our parents and grandparents, those who Tom Brokaw referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” pass away.  Today or tomorrow, be sure to call or visit with them and thank them for all that they did, both then and after; speak with them, if they’re willing, of those days, and remember and record their memories, so that we shall always know what they did to save a world.

This, and all photographs following the break were shot at the virtual recreation of the World War II Memorial in WW2 Pacific. I hope you will visit, and that you will contribute to its upkeep when you do.

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London Blitz Memorial Services

A memorial service was held on 24 August 2010 within Second Life, to commemorate those who lost their lives in defense of London and England 70 years ago during the Luftwaffe attacks of World War II, better known as the Blitz.  The following machinima was taken by Zoe Connolly, sometime commanding officer of the Royal Caledon Air Force, and shows excerpts from the proceedings, stretching across three regions.

Lest we forget their sacrifice….

SL Tribute To the Tuskegee Airmen

I still consider myself a Michigan girl; but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and have an interest in the history of the state I currently live in.

While exploring MyBase, one of the sims operated by the U. S. Air Force in what is essentially a military sector within the Grid, I came across this plaque on a wall, celebrating the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee 1 Tuskegee 2

The story of the Airmen is well-known to many; but for those who may be unfamiliar by chance, please read this article at Wikipedia, and follow the external links as well.

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In Tribute on D-Day Plus 65 Years

D-Day

The uniform is from the 101st Airborne Division, one of the airborne groups that led the way into France on June 6, 1944.  To honor those men, including my father, who fought for the liberation of Europe 65 years ago, this photograph is dedicated.

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