Parade Magazine Features WWI Vet Frank Buckles

Frank Buckles
Frank Buckles at the WWI monument in Washington, D.C.

The piece in Parade was written by Richard Rubin, an author who is currently writing a book about the last American veterans of World War I.

Buckles’ cause is the creation of a National World War I Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. As the last living American veteran of that war, he says, “I know that I am a representative of all those who have gone before me. Those veterans, especially those who made the supreme sacrifice, should be remembered.”

Most of the First World War monuments are overseas, in Europe, and maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

“But few Americans visit those sites anymore. Few even know they’re there,” Rubin writes.

More Americans died in that war than in Korea and Vietnam combined. The U.S. played a significant role in winning the war for the Allies and, in the process, was transformed into a world power.”

Rubin describes a “territorial feud between those who want to enhance the existing D.C. monument and those who have insisted that the recently restored Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, . . . site of the National WWI Museum, already is the national memorial. Both sides have had strong supporters in Congress.”

For example, the National World War I Memorial Foundation‘s mission is to “advocate and raise funds for the re-dedication of the DC War Memorial as a national World War I Memorial.”

“Veterans of all the wars deserve their honor,” Buckles said.

AJH

Advertisements

‘A winding street, lined with stone and plaster houses’

Here is a letter from an American 42nd Division soldier about France, focusing on the towns.

The towns occupied by the regiment were typical French country villages. A winding street, lined with stone and plaster houses, each one like its neighbor, and all like those in every town of its size in the district—red-tiled roofs and cobblestone streets—no gutters, and before every house the inevitable pile of manure—such is the prevailing pattern on which French villages are cut.

The dwellings combined the house and barn under one roof which, while economical in some ways, had its drawbacks. The family lived on one side of the ground floor and the other side was devoted to barn purposes. The farmer had only to step out of his kitchen door to take care of his stock, but vice-versa it was just as easy for the chickens and pigs to enter the kitchen. Over home and stable there was always a large open hay mow and it was in these lofts that the majority of the men were billeted, sleeping in the straw. “Hitting the hay” and “Going to bed with the chickens” ceased to be merely figures of speech.

— Captain Raymond M. Cheseldine 166th Infantry, 42nd Division

Three Murders

Three young men, all students at one time of Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon, have met premature deaths in the past few years. Two in 2009, another in 2007. All were murdered. And no one has been arrested in any of the cases.  

Justin Little was killed by someone while in France. He was 21. Montez Bailey, actively involved in student government, was shot while chatting with a friend in a northeast Salem park. Bailey’s killing appeared to be gang-related, although it was likely a case of mistaken identity. 

Bill Mills was the first. In 2007, his “skeletal remains” were found in rural Linn County, though he may have left campus with his killer, as his car remained on campus “unlocked and with his books inside.” 

The Chemeketa Courier, the student newspaper, has reported on all three crimes and the aftermath. Local media have reported on the cases, too, including The Oregonian, Statesman Journal, and Albany Democrat Herald

William “Bill” Carl Mills was first reported missing in January 2007. A deer hunter didn’t discover his remains near McCully Mountain Road, south of Lyons, until October. 

No suspects have ever been named in the Mills case. 

“Somebody out there has the answers that we need,” Melissa Baker, a classmate of Mills, said. 

http://www.chemeketa.edu/shared/courier/oct2607.pdf  

http://www.chemeketa.edu/shared/courier/oct2309.pdf  

Justin Little “had traveled to France to gain a better understanding of world history.” Little was assaulted in the early days of October, perhaps on the 3rd, “by an unknown attacker” while taking a nap on a park bench in Paris. According to one report he was “bludgeoned to death.” 

The Oregonian, via OregonLive.com, has a special section dedicated to Justin Little news. His parents have established scholarships in his name, The Justin Little Memorial Foundation. 

According to Justin’s father, Jim Little, French police have no leads in the investigation of Justin’s death. 

Today, Jim and Tanya Little mix tears with laughter as they remember their son and his passion for history and Boy Scouts. 

“Justin’s great fear was that he would be forgotten and fall into obscurity,” Jim said. “I thought this would be an appropriate way to keep his memory alive.” 

In September, the Littles and their family and friends will be selling kettle corn at Mt. Angel Oktoberfest to raise money for the foundation. 

The Silverton Knights of Columbus donated a concession booth and Jim bought a kettle corn machine. 

“We plan on putting some money away for an endowment, so when we’re too old and tired to make kettle corn, we’ll still be able to provide something in his memory,” he said. 

“It helps,” Tanya said. “To do something good and nice for someone else through our personal tragedy; it helps.” 

According to Justin’s father, Jim Little, French police have no leads in the investigation of Justin’s death.

Today, Jim and Tanya Little mix tears with laughter as they remember their son and his passion for history and Boy Scouts.

“Justin’s great fear was that he would be forgotten and fall into obscurity,” Jim said. “I thought this would be an appropriate way to keep his memory alive.”

In September, the Littles and their family and friends will be selling kettle corn at Mt. Angel Oktoberfest to raise money for the foundation.

The Silverton Knights of Columbus donated a concession booth and Jim bought a kettle corn machine.
“We plan on putting some money away for an endowment, so when we’re too old and tired to make kettle corn, we’ll still be able to provide something in his memory,” he said.

“It helps,” Tanya said. “To do something good and nice for someone else through our personal tragedy; it helps.”

http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20100602/COMMUNITIES/306020012/1132/NEWS

AJH

I Always Liked Dennis Hopper

There was one overarching thing about Dennis Hopper. He was unique. He had his own perspective on the world. And this included acting is some great and not-so-great film projects.

An early one was The Sons of Katie Elder with the Duke and Dean Martin. George Kennedy plays a gun fighter hired by Hopper’s dad in the film, portrayed by James Gregory, a man most will recognize from reruns on television, but not likely by name alone. And Paul Fix, a remarkable man, is the sheriff. He helped Wayne with his acting and wrote a few screenplays, including Tall in the Saddle.

For quite awhile, I owned Paramount’s double DVD featuring Sons and The Shootist. After watching them repeatedly, getting the storylines and scenes down in my head, I sold the two to some woman whose husband is a diehard John Wayne fan.

Hopper was in a few more Wayne flicks, including True Grit. Later in his career, after he gained some notoriety, he never worried about being in odd, downright bizarre productions such as Blue Velvet.

His politics were a curious hodgepodge, going from life as a leftist to conservatism, strongly influenced by a sense of libertarianism.

The controversy about me, I don’t think it’s going to stop me. However, a lot of people treat me differently, and they do bring it up. I’ll be at a dinner party, and somebody will say, ‘Well, you couldn’t be thinking that …’ And then you realize that everybody at the table is looking at you, and they’re like, ‘You’re kidding! You’re not really for Bush.’ And it goes around the table. It can only stop me from eating, not working.”

Google News has a feed with the news of his death. USA Today has a blurb on some of his artwork soon going on display. Motorcycle Cruiser magazine has some details on his directorial debut, Easy Rider. And though I never watched the episodes, he was in season one of Fox’s 24.

James Dean convinced him to pursue his passion for photography, and he did, producing iconic images from the march on Selma, which became part of the book Dennis Hopper: Photographs 1961-1967. Some of the photos were featured in Vanity Fair.

AJH

Next Year’s TV Stars?

I discovered via Facebook that a classmate from high school, a big guy who played on the line for the football team, and his wife are working towards getting on the next season of The Biggest Loser. Since I am gradually becoming somewhat of a health nut and have worked hard to lose 30 pounds myself, I thought I should help publicize their effort and do what we can collectively to help them out in their quest. Read more about Jay and Laura on her blog.

AJH

Art Linkletter (1912-2010)

I sincerely and truly liked people, and I was curious about their answers. Even the jerks — I wanted to know what made them such jerks.”

I’ve just read the news that Mr. Art Linkletter has passed on, at age 97. Why so many people had to change their names when hitting Hollywood is really beyond me, but I like his ultimate choice.

Obituaries are hitting the Net, including good ones from The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and National Public Radio. Google News has links to a bunch. He was a consummate businessman, as noted in the Post piece,

He owned a million-acre ranch in western Australia where he raised sheep. He had an oil field, was an early investor in the Hula Hoop and, through a close relationship with Walt Disney, had a contract for the exclusive rights to film concession stands at Disneyland.”

Among “his far-flung business interests” were “oil wells and toys. (One of his companies manufactured a version of the Hula-Hoop.)” He was quoted as saying, “I’ve learned it’s always better to have a small percentage of a big success, than a hundred percent of nothing.”

Listening is an important part of being a good interviewer, he noted.

You have to listen. A lot of guys can talk.”

A chick in Sunday school class said that she had met him once. Of course, the reference was dated even then. It was an odd answer, I thought, especially given the original prompt, which I can’t recall. It was apparently a device to generate discussion. I doubt most there at the time knew who he was.

The class, known as GAP (or Grace for All People), was a rag-tag mix of single men and mostly psycho, perhaps divorced single women. The name really should have tipped me off as a huge warning sign. It was filling a huge gap for the college-aged folks at Salem Alliance, but was also a huge disappointment.

One gal lamented how I there just weren’t many men to choose from in the class and chastised me for not bringing my male friends. A few years later, after the group’s demise, she was fawning over my younger brother after church. I had given up on the place and was just visiting for some reason. But I digress.

The bottom line is Art was a classy guy.

Here’s perhaps his best advice:

Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.”

AJH

30 Years of ‘Empire’

The George Lucas empire and legions of fans are celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. StarWars.com has tons of material on the goings-on, including a special section. The Star Wars Wiki, Wookieepedia, is often a better, and a much cooler, source. According to the Empire page, a 3-D (three-dimensional) release of the film is being planned.

A screening of Empire with Harrison Ford, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew and Ewan MacGregor attending was recently held to benefit St. Judes. It is part of the The Empire Gives Back initiative. The 501st Legion: Vader’s Fist is a terrific group which has local chapters worldwide and participates in events globally.

The Star Wars parodies by the guys behind Family Guy continue with Something, Something, Something, Dark Side, which is based on Empire. Although it is the hour-long season finale of the eighth season of Family Guy, it works well as a stand-alone movie. The first parody was Blue Harvest, which I rented at a Red Box after its DVD release.

From what I remember, I think Something, Something is better. Hulu has it available. The music alone, the original score by John Williams, is reason to watch. There are some really funny clips intermixed, from Rocky and Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I.

AJH

Big Mac

I really didn’t know what to think of General Douglas MacArthur. Of course he’s always come off as arrogant and a show off. But upon reading about his gallantry during World War I, I am really becoming a fan of the man. I’ve been reading American Caesar by William Manchester.

MacArthur was chief of staff for the Rainbow Division, and I did not realize how pivotal a role he played, both prior to official American involvement and on the scene in Europe. Obviously he was a complicated personality, but his dedication to this nation and the Army was never in doubt. Pershing and others began to realize this, when time after time, the young MacArthur worked to win the war. Whatever it took, whether sufflign papers or directly leading the charge in the trenches.

Gregory Peck portrayed him in the film MacArthur, although I have never watched it. The television show American Experience on PBS produced a documentary on him as well. Unfortunately both focus on the Second World War, skipping over his time in the Great War. Yet there is an article on the Cote de Chatillon.

He was America’s most decorated officer during World War I, 13 times, and cited seven additional times for bravery.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_summary_of_Douglas_MacArthur#World_War_I

The New York Times has his obituary online.

http://www.history.com/topics/douglas-macarthur

AJH