Posts Tagged ‘World War II’

This isn’t going to be a long blog.  Today is a point in case where a picture is worth a thousand words.  There are some holidays that really make me miss my Dad.  I always used to call him on Veteran’s Day; He was so proud of his naval service during World War II and then subsequently in later years he joined the Naval Reserve as an officer.  

However, this weekend is not about honoring those that served and lived to tell about it.  Memorial Day weekend is all about honoring those that died while serving the cause – whether you agree with the cause or not is irrelevant because some mother or father somewhere is mourning the loss of their child who went to war.  There are thousands and thousands of white crosses in cemeteries around this country….and yet we keep on sending our youth, our future, off to fight  wars on the other side of the world!  WTF?  WHERE is it written that the United States is the peace keeper of the world?  Or that it’s our business to decide what political group is running a country other than ours?  

I’m not going any further with this little rant because ALL I REALLY WANTED TO SAY was “It’s Memorial Day weekend and it’s not all about picnics and parties. 

photo courtesy of montyrainey.wordpress.com



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April 2, 2014 is

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

It’s National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day! Did you know that the average American consumes 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by the age of 18? The combination of sweet jelly and salty peanut butter has been a staple in school lunchboxes for over fifty years.

According to one story, American soldiers invented the peanut butter and jelly sandwich during World War II. They decided to combine their bread, jelly, and peanut butter rations into a fabulous new treat. When the soldiers returned home after the war, peanut butter and jelly sales soared.

To celebrate National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, make this iconic American sandwich for lunch!

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month & National Grilled Cheese Month.


My Favorite Sandwich

My Favorite Sandwich

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Book given to U.S. veterans in 1919 to help th...

Book given to U.S. veterans in 1919 to help them readjust to civilian life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or for that matter, the hundreds of thousands of U.S. Veterans we hail JUST for returning.  We salute the Veterans of all wars; today the oldest living veterans are from World War IIThe Big One, as my parents generation referred to the war that shaped and altered their lives.  That war brought about many changes in life as they knew it.  My father and his friends grew up in an America that was growing industrially and agriculturally and with an ever-expanding middle class. Most were raised by frugal parents (my grandparents) who remembered all too clearly the sufferings of the Great Depression.  However, their lives were not overshadowed by nuclear threat and they were the children of a people who were thrilled and excited to be in the United States and imbued their children with a love of their newly-adopted country.  And so their sons went to war.  Most of those remaining veterans are now in their 80’s.  My dad died a few years ago and I remember vividly how in the last ten to fifteen years, he spent hours reminiscing about his days aboard a destroyer, how scared he was in the Battle of Leyte, how he and his buddies got drunk in Hawaii and all got tattoos.  I never understood this almost-obsession with the war days.  His life was certainly more than the years he spent in the Navy, but as he got older, he just wanted to talk about the 1940’s.

We also honor the Veterans of the Korean War and the Vietnamese War today.  Those veterans are in my age group; I don’t know any in my present circle of friends so not sure if as we age, they’re going to spend hours discussing those days in Asia.  My brother served in Vietnam as a tail gunner on helicopters, a very hairy position.  He returned home in one piece, at least physically.  However, when they came home, there were no ticker tape parades, there was no big fanfare – I think the best they got was a chance for a VA mortgage.  In the end, although serving your country is always a noble deed, the war itself was not popular and many who were honorably discharged, returned home feeling dishonored.  BUT today, you too are celebrated for your service to our country.

Now we are winding down not one but two wars and our veterans are coming home and many not all in one piece. It is important that we support a government that welcomes these servicemen and women home, that we offer them continuing education and the opportunity to find decent jobs.  Hopefully we have elected a President who will honor these moral obligations and a Congress and Senate that will enact the necessary legislation to make it happen!

I always used to call my Dad on Veteran’s Day because I knew that call was as important to him as one on his birthday.  If you know a veteran, call him or her and thank them!

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Red Tails, Tuskagee Air Men, fighter pilots, George Lucas,

Red Tail Airplane

Can you imagine yourself sitting in the cockpit of a P-47, a refurbished hand-me-down plane?  Better yet, imagine you’re piloting this plane as it soars, dips, twists and dodges strafing bullets.  Well if you can’t imagine it, then head to your local movie theater and watch RED TAILS.  In the first 10 minutes of the film, you WILL feel like you’ve been flying, swooping down to attack a German munitions train.

The special effects  are worthy of a blog post of their own, however, this writer doesn’t have the technical knowledge or background to speak intelligently on the subject.  All I can tell you is that they are phenomenal and the movie credits  list no less than 100 digital artists.

It took George Lucas, that Hollywood icon, twenty years to produce this film about a story begging to be told.  And it was about time!  Thank you George!


The dialogue is lame and wooden BUT the battle scenes are spectacular, thanks to those 100+ digital artists.  The main story line is between two pilots, the squadron leader and the reckless hotshot.  Much like Maverick and Ice Man in Top Gun. The script is highly predictable with way too obvious foreshadowing.

There are a lot of good actors in this film, however unfortunately their characters are as complex as cardboard game pieces stating the obvious. Their lives are never fleshed out and we never learn any of their back stories.  Even the make up of the squadron is formulaic: There is the alcohol abuser son trying desperately to please Daddy, , a testosterone – charged ladies man and daredevil,  a devoutly religious good boy, and the eager fresh meat new recruit.  Almost as typical as a reality TV show cast.

For those of you too young to “get” the title of this blog,…There was a very popular song in the 1950’s entitled, Red Sails in the Sunset  and the 332nd fighter group aka the Red Tails always took off at sunrise.

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New York City skyline with Empire State Building

Image by meironke via Flickr

Of course we’re ALL too young to remember D-Day when it happened – June 6,1944, BUT you’ve seen the old war movies, you’ve heard your parent’s and grandparent’s stories about WWII-The Big One and you may have even watched Band of Brothersthe HBO series about D-Day and the invasion of Normandy.  This past Tuesday was D-Day all over again.

The general in command of a motley band  of brothers and sisters  was Chiara Clark.  She had assembled her squad earlier in the month and with consistent email reminders and one to one training she had turned us all into crack soldiers ready, willing and able to march in battle for the cause: Finley Ray MUST get into one of the chosen Nursery schools for next year.

You think I’m exaggerating about this soon-to-be executed attack on the New York Nursery School system?  Then you haven’t met General Clark!  Two days before the set date of the invasion, assignments were reviewed, personnel notified to be on ready alert. On the day before the big battle, encouraging words from our leader were sent out via email.  A few of us even received personal greetings from our esteemed commander.

We were under strict orders to man our battle stations by 0800 the morning after Labor Day.  Not one to let anything possibly interfere with the plan, General Clark personally called each combatant to make sure they were at their stations at least an hour prior to the sounding charge.  This battle plan was well thought out, success was almost assured – but as in any war zone, you never know what might foul up the works.

Not like the actual D-Day which relied heavily on man’s willingness to take risks of personal injury for the cause, this day’s battle would rely the human capacity for patience and frustration and the advanced state of modern communications technology.  The troops were in a Tri-State formation; New York, Boston and New Jersey.  Our means of keeping abreast of the various battle fronts would be thru G-mail (appropriately named).

The trumpet was sounded, the call went out and each of us in our own foxhole attacked the schools we had been assigned.  I was one of the lucky ones;  removed physically from the actual battleground of New York City, I was able to perform my duties while tucked safely away in New Jersey, far from the fray of the raging fronts all over the City.   Armed with a land line, a definite advantage in this kind of warfare and a laptop, I stepped into battle confident I would succeed.

Things went well; there were some early on victories, exalted by our leader who spread the word through the G-Mail system.  However, shortly thereafter,  battle fatigue began to set in with some of the squad.  The pent up frustration, the potential of carpal tunnel dialing finger and the sheer repetition of the dialing was beginning to fray some nerves.  A few of the soldiers resorted to name calling and derision of certain recalcitrant application offices.  The schools wouldn’t answer the calls and in some cases the lines went dead.  There was even talk of physically storming one the schools!!

General Clark tried to keep the troops in good spirits and in line, while she  remained firmly in command.  However, there were a couple of soldiers who were too smart in their subordinate roles (or at least they thought so) and eventually we had a short period of mass confusion and communications breakdown.  Not to point fingers at anyone in particular because we all know who it was that began to use the G-Mail to send out his own directives about battle fronts and assignments!

By the end of the second hour of the battle, we had lost a few soldiers but the core remained on the line so to speak and in the end we had lost St. Thomas Moore and worst of all, the 92nd St Y – which was only disappointing because we felt we never even had a chance.  So disheartening to receive an email stating the 3 year old tours were all booked up.  HOW COULD THAT BE WHEN THE PHONE WOULDN’T EVEN RING?  Well when one plan of attack doesn’t work, a good general has a back up plan and in fact she did.   Personal calls to several well-connected people were made and I’m happy to report that by the next day, we had Finley not only on a waiting list BUT ALSO within the hour, she had been given a tour date.  Wow! You know it’s who you know, don’t you?

Clearly the Tuesday after Labor Day in New York City is its own kind of special day; the day that every determined mother marshals her forces and gets  applications for the coveted few openings in a New York Nursery School.  See  Extreme Sports: Portable Cribs and New York Nursery Schools.

On Wednesday, the New York Times ran the following article:

A Frenzied First Day for Applying to Private Kindergartens

Thank God, the bun in the oven now (known as Frankie, Cessca, Franny) will be able to be among the elite corp of toddlers who gain entrance into those hallowed halls by virtue of being a sibling!

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