‘This Day Shall Be For You A Memorial Day’

I will have to remember this one.

“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a holy day. Throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.”
Exodus 12:14

There are dates, special days, in every family that people mark to celebrate. Birthdays and wedding anniversaries are probably the most common.

I’ve been thinking about those days that were noteworthy in our ancestors’ lives. Of course, there are many. But some have a significance that others do not.

July 28th is one, the day my great grandmother’s younger brother died in France.

I need to make note of these and find ways to remember and honor those who are no longer with us.


July 2014

My great uncle's 99th birthday party.
My great uncle’s 99th birthday party.

This July is replete with significant milestones in our family.

My great uncle celebrated his 99th birthday two weeks ago. He has led a remarkable life. His love of funny stories and anecdotes has entertained us for decades. Thankfully, I’ve been around to hear many of them, and I’ve even recorded some on video.

He was a mere toddler when his uncle, Leslie Darling, went off to France to fight the Hun1 after America became entangled in the First World War. His uncle, Private Darling, died in late July of 1918, succumbing to a wound from a German machine gun crew he encountered near Épieds, France.2

The firefight is known as the Battle of Croix Rouge Farm. There is now a memorial on the farm where he was mortally wounded.

Leslie W. Darling
Leslie W. Darling

Douglas MacArthur, then chief of staff for the 42nd Division, which included Leslie Darling’s infantry regiment, the 168th of Iowa, noted the heroism of the men in his autobiography.

“ . . . the 167th Alabama assisted by the left flank of the 168th Iowa had stormed and captured the Croix Rouge Farm in a manner which for its gallantry I do not believe has been surpassed in military history. It was one of the few occasions on which the bayonet was decisively used.”

I should probably be there in person, in France, for the 100th anniversary in 2018.


1. Hun was a derogatory word used to describe the Germans during both world wars.

2. Leslie Warren Darling died either July 28 or 30, 1918. I would suspect the 28th is the correct date, since a letter is signed noting the day and details. A book compiled by the unit chaplain lists the 30th, but this is most likely a mistake.

‘I Want That’

I've had 12 year-olds tell me this. “You're not the boss of me.”
I’ve had 12 year-olds tell me this. “You’re not the boss of me.”
I don’t know John Hawkins, but he succinctly summed up my thoughts the other day on Twitter.

Hysterically demanding the gov’t force people to pay for your birth control doesn’t exactly say, ‘Strong, independent woman.’”

First, there was Sandra Fluke, then the Hobby Lobby case. What will people be demanding next?

My niece has been saying, “I want that.” She says this a lot. She sees something, and she wants to get it immediately. Fluke & Company are worse than my adorable two-year-old niece.

Dennis Miller has said similar things, as I’m sure others have, too, but Hawkins really nailed it.


Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th. I didn’t even realize it until reading a few headlines.

Reading about the 13th immediately reminded me of my late aunt, Carol. She was a remarkable woman, with a folksy common sense about her.

Aunt Carol loved celebrating holidays, particularly the odder ones, such as Halloween. She also was a bit superstitious, and Friday the 13th was one of those days for her.

It was nice to be reminded of her. She died after years of fighting off various cancers.

Approximately 17 million people fear Friday the 13th.1 They share this phobia with at least two presidents, FDR and Herbert Hoover. Neither would travel on the 13th if it was a Friday.

“This Friday the 13th . . . is even more unusual: Tonight happens to include a full moon.”

It won’t happen again until 2049.

“Since this is a phobia, there are names for it: friggatriskaidekaphobia, derived from the Norse goddess, Frigga, wife of Odin the ‘allfather’; and paraskevidekatriaphobia, the Greek root for fear of Friday the 13th. Triskaidekaphobia simply means fear of the number 13.”

“There can be as many as three Friday the 13ths in a single calendar year, such as in 2009 or 2012. The next year in which the day will occur three times is 2015. The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is 14 months.”

“On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days.”


1. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina

Now, This Is Funny

And sad, on so many levels.

On a recent evening in Austin, Texas, homeowners gathered in a church for a meeting.

It was about taxes, local property taxes. Even in this reliable bastion of progressivism, some are fed up.

One woman explained the irony of the situation — without realizing it — and displayed the bankruptcy of modern-day liberalism perfectly.

I’m at the breaking point. It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes. I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

She doesn’t mind paying taxes? Until now, that is. Well, I don’t like paying taxes, but I am not also the one to blame: I have a general rule of voting against tax increases. Government, including schools, always seems to find a way to manage, no matter what the budget.

Thanks to the Austin American-Statesman for accidently revealing a little bit about the leftist mindset.


Memorial Day 2014

Yesterday, Memorial Day, I went with my nephews, niece and sister to visit The Museum of Flight.

Brigadier General Richard “Steve” Ritchie
Brigadier General Richard “Steve” Ritchie

We arrived just after Brigadier General Richard “Steve” Ritchie of the Air Force addressed the crowd. Ritchie shot down five MIG-21 fighters during the Vietnam War.

We did get the chance to hear Bill Wilson, an Air Force pilot who flew F-111s in Vietnam.

He became a prisoner of war for a short time after being shot down over enemy territory. On December 22nd, 1972, while attacking a target in vicinity of Hanoi, Bill’s aircraft was shot down after an assumed lucky shot to an engine gearbox. After a valiant escape and evasion lasting a few days, including a near rescue by a HH-53C “Jolly Green Giant” while under heavy ground fire, Bill Wilson and his crewmate Bob Sponeybarger become POWs. They were repatriated on March 29th, 1973.

Amazingly, there is an audio recording of radio communication between Bill and his rescuers, made during the operation.

We then went on to tour the place, which has numerous exhibits, first stopping at the cafe for a bite to eat. While they were eating, I toured through the main area, where there are many planes and helicopters on display.

Some hang from the ceiling, others are placed on the ground. There seem to be hundreds of them. The museum could easily take up an entire day. It closes early, at five, so we only had a few hours.

Thankfully, my nephews like playing the flight simulator in the World War I area, otherwise I might have missed it. Since my great-great uncle served in the AEF and is buried in France, I have a particular interest in the First World War.


Challenge All Dogma

Adam Carolla with Greg Gutfeld
Adam Carolla with Greg Gutfeld

I haven’t seen this, but I love me some Greg Gutfeld. Here is what he said recently on Fox NewsThe Five:

“WE CORRUPTED SCIENCE, which is why now, especially even with climate change and things like that, you have to CHALLENGE ALL DOGMA because science is never settled. It’s never settled. It’s been POISONED BY POLITICS AND IDEOLOGICAL CRUSADERS. But you’ve got to KEEP FIGHTING IT. Every space of your lives is HIJACKED BY LIES.”

What may be even more notable is that someone at The Washington Post insinuated that Gutfeld may have some actual talent and described The Five as an “excellent roundtable show.”



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