The Scuttlebutt by Pat O'Connor
Welcome to the Scuttlebutt. We strive to provide information to local veterans and share a little bit about life in the military.
This week, I wish to share a bit of history about the origin of Memorial Day. The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries. By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers. Did you know? Each year on Memorial Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.
It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
Waterloo—which first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. Memorial Day, as Decoration Day gradually came to be known, originally honored only those lost while fighting in the Civil War. But during World War I the United States found itself embroiled in another major conflict, and the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars. For decades, Memorial Day continued to be observed on May 30, the date Logan had selected for the first Decoration Day. But in 1968 Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees; the change went into effect in 1971. The same law also declared Memorial Day a federal holiday. Please take the time to honor the veterans in your life and if you know of a current veteran, or their family, who is having trouble and needs some help, please contact us at the numbers listed below. At the very least, please, be kind to others and PRAY FOR PEACE!
Our Military Hero’s Teddy Samuel (Ted) Williams Lt. USMC
Beyond his heroic contributions to America’s pastime, Williams was a U.S. Veteran and enlisted in the military in 1942, after the U.S. entered World War II. He joined the Navy Reserve on May 22,1942 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps as a Naval Aviator in 1944. Williams was part of only 10 percent of Navy fliers to earn their wings, graduating at the top of his class at the Pensacola Naval Air Base. Refusing to play on a service team, he chose combat and refused the chance at discharge. After his service to his country, Williams returned to playing baseball at the highest level for the Red Sox, breaking numerous records and earning the highest honors in the sport. In 1946 and 1949, he was named the American League’s MVP and in June 1960, became the fourth player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs. Williams was selected to the All-Star Team a total of 17 times. In 1952, Williams was recalled to the military to participate in the Korean War conflict. He joined the Third Marine Air Wing, 223rd Squadron. Williams participated in numerous flying missions during his second stint in the military. He was hit by enemy fire during a mission over Kyomipo, Korea but safely crash-landed uninjured, flying again the very next day. Williams flew a total of 39 missions and earned numerous military accolades and medals during his military tenure. He left the military in 1953 as a result of personal health issues.
On the Light Side- “No Room at the Inn!
By the time the sailor pulled into a little town every hotel room was taken. "You've got to have a room somewhere," he pleaded. "Or just a bed, I don't care where."
"Well, I do have a double room with one occupant - an Air Force guy," admitted the manager, "and he might be glad to split the cost. But to tell you the truth, he snores so loudly that people in adjoining rooms have complained in the past. I'm not sure it'd be worth it to you."
"No problem," the tired Navy man assured him. "I'll take it."
The next morning, the sailor came down to breakfast bright-eyed and bushy tailed. "How'd you sleep?" asked the manager. "Never better." The manager was impressed. "No problem with the other guy snoring?" "Nope. I shut him up in no time," said the Navy guy.
"How'd you manage that?" asked the manager.
"He was already in bed, snoring away, when I came in the room," the sailor explained. "I went over, gave him a kiss on the cheek, and said, 'Goodnight beautiful,' ...and he sat up all night watching me."
Upcoming Events and Meetings
American Legion – 3rd Wednesday at Legion Hall - Dinner @1800, meeting at 1900
VFW – 3rd Monday of month at Cameron Veteran’s Home Chapel -1900 hours
For more information or to offer help: Contact Pat O’Connor (816) 575-2568
Veterans Clinic (CBOC) @ MVH (816) 632-1369
Veterans Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-8255