Should have stayed home yesterday?

Well, if I mention this is the 77th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbour, and the video relates to the climax of said event, you might have worked out what it is already?

No, I’m not going to bore you, or otherwise by going through the events of that fateful day, I could only copy large chunks of Wikipedia and the like if I did that anyway. So yes, if you want that, go visit Wikipedia. What I’m going to tell you is a side story to the event, which I only know about thanks to ESPN.

In those days, when the college football regular season ended, that was pretty much it, get on with the awards, and wait for the next season. There were a few bowls of history, like the Rose Bowl, but nothing like the 39 we are having this year! Part of that was down to the fact that whereas now, a team from California can get to the East Coast in a few hours, back then you were talking several days, by train!

So, in those days, the selection of, and awarding of the Heisman Trophy, to the best player of the year wasnt some massively hyped TV event, because most people didnt have TV! So, by the beginning of December 1941, it was already announced that the winner of said award was Bruce Smith, a running back from Minnesota. Therefore on the 5th December 1941, he set out for New York, to receive the award, 2 days later. He had his acceptance speech prepared before he reached New York, on the morning of the 7th December, when he heard the news about Pearl Harbour, and the inevitability that the US was going to war with Japan.

So basically, the speech got a total rewrite, and was squeezed into a radio presentation on the 9th December, shortly before Roosevelt made it official, that America was now at war with Japan. The rest, as they say, for the next 4 years or so, is written in history. Bruce Smith clearly was one of the fortunate ones who survived the war, given that the short documentary included his 2 sons. Sadly, many millions didnt, on all sides.

Of course, this war ended with a first. Not necessarily a good first, but a first, all the same. Yes, thats right, the 2 nuclear warheads dropped on Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, that finally forced Japan into surrender.

Smith finally did get to play in the NFL after the war, for Green Bay, and the Los Angeles Rams, but much of his career was lost to the war. Also sadly, he didnt have a long life, dying at the age of 47 from cancer, in the days long before all the modern treatments for that ghastly disease.

So yes, on this day, let us remember all those brave people that died at Pearl Harbour on that fateful day, in the war that followed, but lets also remember the guy whose life was changed while travelling on a train.

OK, the video is the one I hope you’ve worked out. A live version from 2016, rather than the regular video, which I’ve probably used before

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In Memory of those who gave their lives

This is one of those rare events, a bank holiday weekend, both sides of the pond. Over here, in the UK, its simply called the Whitsun Bank Holiday, but in the US, its something considered far more important, that being Memorial weekend. And yes, today is actually Memorial Day.

Its fair to say, I think, that over here, beyond 2 days in November, remembrance of those who died in the various wars, arent a general thing. In the US, its a whole different thing. Without wishing to get political, the forces in the US are more respected, and have a better reputation than over here. I must admit, the amount of times I’ve come across forces, from either country are limited, but yes, I’ve never seen US force people behaving badly, and I only wish I could say the same for ours. I know, I’m an Ameriphile, so may be biased, but I dont think so.

Of course, there is the thing that the American’s have been in a few more wars over the years, both recent, and in the past, so maybe thats why they need to be remembered more? But in truth, in my opinion, all those people gave their lives, so we could be here today, in relative safety, so they should all be remembered.

Of course, the saddest ones are where families, for whatever reason, have no one to bury. Indeed in some cases, we dont even know how, or where they died, they just disappear, and we assume in time, that they died, somewhere, fighting for us.

Lets all pay our due respects. Yes, there were a number of movie stars who died, either in the actual war, or serving their country in other ways, lest it be forgotten.

OK, the video. This is one of those gentlemen who disappeared during the war, assumed dead, when he never arrived in France. We can only assume his plane crashed, or was attacked over the English Channel, in December 1944, we will never know the full story now, I’m sure.

A day of remembrance, a day of celebration too

Well, seriously, given the date and everything, what else were you expecting tonight?

Strictly, the centenary of the significance of the 11th November is still 4 years away, but given this is the centenary of the start of World War 1, its a major landmark anyway. And at the 11th hour today, we have, or will (depending on your time zone) remember them.

Not that we just remember those who fell during that awful war, but on the battlefields everywhere, ever since. I suppose, strictly, those who died before too, but its fair to say that 1918 was of course the day that Remembrance Day over here, Veterans Day in the US, is the one that all are remembered for.

No, I’m not going to get political on the matter, though its fair to say that in hindsight, the leaders on both sides in WW1 didnt think too much about planning.

But anyway, for all those brave souls who died then, and since then, I remember, and respect all you did for us, who followed you.

Oh, the celebration? Well, two friends, one long term, one who I have only got to know recently both celebrate their birthday today.

The new one, that wonderful lady who showed Kate, and I around Cherryvale, less than 2 months ago. I think it was towards the end of last year when we first made contact, due to a posting I made about, yes, going to Cherryvale, the home town of Louise Brooks. Finally, I got to meet her in September, and she was just as wonderful to me in real life, as she had been in cyberspace.

Thanks, Tina, hope you’ve had a wonderful day.

Its fair to say I’ve known James a lot longer, though I’m not sure now, just how many years it has been. But in that time, he has become a true friend, a confidant, my editor, to name but 3 things! This man is simply amazing, believe me. Oh, and to top all this, he is the one who has invited me, in less than 2 weeks now, to celebrate Thanksgiving with him, my first time doing so.

So yes, as well as remembering the brave who died fighting for us, I am celebrating the birthday of 2 wonderful people.

The video, well yes, its a war related one, though possibly not one that people would immediately relate to events.

Jersey day 5 – Invasion of the Channel Islands

Yes, thats right, its not so loudly recorded in the English history books, perhaps because of the way that Britain just left the Channel Islands to ‘do the best they could’, but part of Britain was invaded during World War 2. From July 1940, until May 1945, all of the Channel Islands became part of Hitler’s Third Reich, after Churchill, and the Navy declared that protecting them (given they were only 14 miles from occupied France at the nearest point) wasnt practical.

So after one brief bombing session on the 28th June (after which the Germans were quietly told that the Islands were demilitarized), the invading force arrived on the 1st July, and didnt leave until the 9th May 1945, after the war was over, given the Allies bypassed them on the D-Day invasion, and given the strong German defences, didnt go back and help until after the war was won! Given that the Island’s supply route was cut off at the time of D-Day, the situation there, for the locals was pretty awful before the end, not that for some it was all that good before then.

Today I paid a visit to the War Tunnels, built by the Germans during the occupation, created by a combination of exceedingly badly treated slave labour from Eastern Europe (due to every abuse known, men generally survived about 6 months of this, and far better paid workers from France, Spain and the Islands themselves.

Over 30 years ago, when I last visited the tunnels, the display was basic, to say the least. Nowadays, care of modern video and graphic capabilities, the display is far more impressive. Of course now, even allowing for inflation, its far more expensive to get in.

Obviously its impossible for me, at this point in time, to conjecture as to why Churchill did what he did, but…

All I know is, the Americans, when the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands (far less populated, far less a strategic outpost), they very quickly drew up plans to regain them, and did! But Britain…rolls eyes! In a sense, its amazing they still want to be part of our country!

The video, an amusing touch. A German lady, singing in both German, and English, about a little peace. More than these islands got during World War 2!