by baldilocks

Almost as if it isn’t an accident

I saw this yesterday. Dean Obeidallah is a radio host and CNN contributor.

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For the record. Captain Presson was the recipient of many decorations, including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts.

I almost feel sorry for Obeidallah. One has to be incredibly stupid to step into that gaping hole.

Obeidallah apologized – with some Trump bashing thrown in for good measure, of course. But we all know that this guy’s ideological forebears would have called the man a NAZI even if they did know that he was wearing the uniform of the US military. That’s what actually happened 48 years ago – and even 13 years ago.

John Kerry’s 1971 testimony before Congress, anyone?

The words of Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in 2005, anyone?

I don’t even like to think about all the foul words and drawings directed toward GIs during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

It’s just not good publicity to denigrate the memory of a dead GI on Memorial Day weekend. At least not this year.

But I suspect that the tide will turn again and it won’t be long.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!

Or hit Juliette’s!

This weekend I talked briefly about the crisis in England with Tommy Robinson’s arrest and the unwillingness of Englishmen to stand up and fight for the basic rights of Englishmen that back when I was born would have been an automatic reaction.

The question here is why and I think I have the answer.

In 1963 every single Englishman had either fought in the war (WW 2), had a family member serve in the military or personally knew someone who had fought and died in military service.

In 2018 how many Englishmen actually personally know another who served who is under the age of ninety?

Why would you fight for rights when you’ve never learned the virtue of doing so?

Today is Memorial Day in the US.

On Memorial day 1963 I was twelve days old and it would have been nearly impossible to find a person didn’t either serve in the armed services, had a family member who had served, or personally knew someone who had either served or fought and died.

On Memorial day 2018 I’m 55 years and ten days old and the opposite is now true. It takes no effort to find people who have never served, nor had a family member they know serve or don’t know a person personally who serves or has served.

I’m not saying where going to end up where England is, but I am saying that if we do end up there, this will be one of the primary reasons for it.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – This Memorial Day I am offering you a roundup of related readings.

Memorial Day often coincides with the end of the school year for children (and teachers) and has customarily been dubbed “the unofficial start of summer” holiday. That being said, and I’m preaching to the choir, I know, but we should always remember the purpose of this day: to remember and to honor the fallen.

A roundup of readings for you today:

The 31st Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride is this year.  Bikers from all over the country travel to Washington, DC to pay tribute.

Here is a collection of Memorial Day photos from around the world.

USA Today reminds you that Monday is also National Burger Day.

Here is my 2014 post on the Kelley Brothers; our hometown lost three brothers during World War II, one of them on D-Day.

Photos from Arlington Cemetery.

Here is a Memorial Day reading list.

Tropical storm Alberto is going to dampen a few Memorial Day BBQs.

A history of Memorial Day.

Some television somewhere will be showing Saving Private Ryan.

If you’re going to fire up the grill for Memorial Day here are some recipes for burgers.

And if burgers aren’t your thing, here are recipes for ribs and frosty, chilly drinks.

We have several local events we attend each year; there is always a service at our local veteran’s cemetery and then the American Legion has a wreath laying ceremony.  After that we usually spend the day just relaxing and grilling.  Yes, it’s the unofficial start to summer but as you are planning your day, take time to remember the fallen.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and Melrose Plantation, due out in October.  Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25.

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — On this Memorial Day 2017, I am re-posting my traditional Memorial Day post about a local family that lost three sons in World War II.   The story of the Kelley family always gives me pause and causes me to be thankful for the freedoms and blessings we have today.  They were truly The Greatest Generation.  I started researching this family years ago when my husband and I began visiting a local veterans cemetery — one of the oldest cemeteries in Shreveport, and we saw these two brothers buried side by side, one of whom died on D-Day. Their graves are always tended with fresh flowers (well, artificial but never faded and always in time with the season). I became curious about them and about the person who was still paying honor to their graves.  I found a couple of family members, one in particular, who was very generous about sharing their story.

So today, I’m remembering the Kelley brothers:

It’s probably safe to say that Saving Private Ryan is all over your television menu this Memorial Day weekend.   It’s difficult to escape the endless rebroadcasts of the moving story of Private First Class James Francis Ryan lost behind enemy lines after the Normandy D-Day invasion and the ensuing quest to save him.

The film is fiction but there is a real life version of this story right here in Shreveport.  In fact, this sort of scenario existed across the nation for multiple families during that turbulent time.  As we observe Memorial Day today, let me share with you the story of the Kelley family who lost three sons in less than two years.

Like all of America, Shreveport watched the unfolding events at Pearl Harbor in 1941 with horror.  In February 1942, William G. Kelley (his friends and family called him “Bob”) felt the call to service and enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  He had graduated from the local high school, attended Louisiana College, and was attending seminary.  He was ordained at the First Baptist Church in Shreveport by Dr. M. E. Dodd.  When he enlisted, Bob was preaching at the Evangeline Mission, a new church in town that he helped build with the assistance of the Queensborough Baptist Church.

William
William “Bob” Kelley

Bob Kelley went to officers’ school and became a bombardier; he went with the Eighth Air Force to England.  Lt. Kelley had been overseas only six weeks when his plane crashed near Fontainebleau, France and claimed his life on November 10, 1944.  He was twenty-four years old.

The Evangeline Mission, where Bob was a preacher, was renamed for him as Kelley Memorial Baptist Church.

A second Kelley son, Bose, Jr., died in the D-Day invasion.  Al McIntosh, writing for the Rock County Star Herald, wrote on June 8, 1944, after learning that the expected invasion of France had finally taken place:

“This is no time for any premature rejoicing or cockiness because the coming weeks are going to bring grim news.  This struggle is far from over – it has only started – and if anyone thinks that a gain of ten miles means that the next three hundred are going to go as fast or easy he is only an ostrich.”

He was correct:  the grim news was only beginning.

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Bose F. Kelley, Jr.

Bose Kelly, Jr. enlisted in May 1942.  Bose graduated from Fair Park High School in Shreveport.  He was married to Betty Miller and working as a mechanic at Central Motor Company, a car dealership.  Bose volunteered for the Army Airborne, went to jump school and became a paratrooper.  Bose was part of the 507 PIR which became attached to the 82ndAirborne in 1943. The 507 PIR was activated at Fort Benning, Georgia on July 20, 1942 and trained there and in Alliance, Nebraska.  In 1943, the 507th PIR shipped out to Northern Ireland, then England, and it was in Nottingham where they prepared for the coming Allied invasion of France.  They studied sand tables, drop zones, and were given Hershey’s chocolates and a carton of cigarettes.

Bose was on a C-47, number 13 in his stick, as the plane lumbered through the fog banks toward Drop Zone T, near the west bank of the Merderet River.  Because of the fog and the incoming German flak, the C-47s flew faster and higher than anticipated which caused almost all of the paratroopers to miss the drop zone.  They were scattered over a 15 mile area.  The 507th was the last regiment to jump and by the time Bose Kelley’s C-47 was over the Cotentin peninsula the entire area was stirred up with flak coming from every direction. There were sixteen men in Bose Kelley’s stick and at least eight of them were killed that night.  The Germans had flooded the valley as a defensive tactic and some paratroopers, weighted down by equipment and unable to swim, drowned.  Bose Kelley was killed by a direct hit from an artillery shell.

Major General Paul F. Smith wrote in his Foreword to Dominique Francois’s history of the 507th,

“This regiment unquestionably received the worst drop of the six US parachute regiments dropped that night.”

Howard Huebner, who was number 3 in Bose’s stick, survived that drop.  He wrote:

I am a Paratrooper! I was 21 yrs old when we jumped into Normandy.

We knew the area where we were supposed to land, because we had studied it on sand tables, and then had to draw it on paper by memory, but that all faded as our regiment was the last to jump, and things had changed on the ground. Most of us missed our drop zone by miles.  As we were over our drop zone there was a downed burning plane. Later I found out it was one of ours. The flack was hitting our plane and everything from the ground coming our way looked like the Fourth of July.

When I hit the ground in Normandy, I looked at my watch.  It was 2:32 AM, June 6, 1944. I cut myself out of my chute, and the first thing I heard was shooting and some Germans hollering in German, “mucksnell toot sweet Americanos”.

We the 507th, was supposed to land fifteen miles inland, but I landed three or four miles from Utah Beach by the little town of Pouppeville. I wound up about 1000 yards from a French farm house that the Germans were using for a barracks, and about 200 feet from a river, an area that the Germans had flooded. If I would have landed in the water, I may not be here today as I can’t swim. A lot of paratroopers drowned because of the flooded area.

Local writer Gary Hines spoke to Bose’s widow, Betty, for an article he wrote for the August 2000 issue of SB Magazine.  She told him, “He was going to win the war and come back home.”  Betty was married at 18 and a widow at 20.  She told Mr. Hines “We were both young enough to feel that he was coming home.  He wasn’t going to be one of the ones who was lost.”

edgarrew
Edgar Rew Kelley

A third Kelley son, Edgar Rew, was drafted into the Army in 1943.  He was sent to Camp McCain in Mississippi where he died five weeks later from an outbreak of spinal meningitis.  He never made it out of basic training.  He was 27 years old; he left behind a wife of five years.

The remaining Kelley brother was Jack.  Jack Richard Kelley was serving in the medical corps in Washington at Fort Lewis.  His father, Bose Kelley, Sr., wrote to U.S. Representative Overton Brooks and pleaded with him to prevent his oldest son from going overseas.   It is reminiscent of the scene in Saving Private Ryanwhere General Marshall reads the Bixby letter to his officers.  In this case, in a letter dated December 8, 1944, Mr. Kelley received word that his son Jack would remain stateside for the duration of the war.  Jack Kelley died in 1998.

kelleys
Sunday, May 18, 2014

The bodies of Bose Kelley, Jr. and his brother William (Bob) were buried in separate military funerals in France but were returned to the United States in September 1948.  Bose and his brother now rest side by side in the veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport.  Their brother, Edgar Rew Kelley, is in a civilian cemetery across town, the Jewella Cemetery on Greenwood Road.  Their father, who pleaded for his fourth son to be spared, died just one month after Bose and William’s bodies were buried in Greenwood Cemetery.  It’s as if he was just waiting for them to come home.

For sixty-five years their sister, Ruby, tended the graves of her brothers.  There has never been a time that I visited the graves that there was not a crisp American flag flying over each and flowers.  Ruby died last year and the graves are now tended by Ruby’s daughter.  I visited the graves of Bose and William last week and sure enough, there were two new flags and flowers steadfastly in place.

As we observe Memorial Day today, we remember the sacrifices of young men like the Kelleys all across the country. Their name belongs alongside the Sullivan brothers, the Borgstrum brothers, the Niland brothers, and the Wright brothers.  It is their heroism and their sacrifice, along with that of so many others, that we remember and honor each Memorial Day.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.


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