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Recently in History Category
L-R: MLB, aka Band Sweetheart; Don Hanna, Director; Me, Head Band Geek
But I digress. Band-wise, this was a great year. I was first chair clarinet for most of the year (Del Yarbrough -- later known as Dr. Yarbrough -- assumed it for a brief period, as I recall; for the record, I doubt that I was a better player than him, but I suspect that Mr. Hanna wanted a senior as first chair). I was Band Captain and MLB was Band Sweetheart. I'm positive she was more qualified for her position than I was for mine. Both of us made All District band (she was also a clarinetist).
-- Loy Dean Lawler
and as a corporal after his return. He quipped that "any POW who survived
got an immediate promotion - some way to get a promotion, huh?"
- U.S. Army History (official): The Ardennes - Breakthrough at the Schnee Eifel (esp. pages 166-167)
In 1996, Americans with Internet access spent fewer than 30 minutes a month surfing the Web...
Via Slate.com's Jurassic Web (2/24/09); coincidentally, Slate went live in 1996
Note the totally pretentious copyright symbol
read_me.txtfile on each disk providing detailed instructions on how, exactly, to open the website via browser (along with assurances that we had scanned the diskette "for viruses using Norton © Anti-Virus For Windows©, V. 3.0; even then I was a Mac user, but I resisted the urge to add that Apple folks needn't worry about such things).
Personally, I prefer to remember the movie for
- Layla - Derek & The Dominos
- It's Too Late To Turn Back Now - Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose
- Sympathy For The Devil - Rolling Stones
- Immigration Man - David Crosby & Graham Nash
- Tumbling Dice - Rolling Stones
- I Need You - America
- Questions - Moody Blues
- Hot Rod Lincoln - Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
- I Didn't Get To Sleep At All Last Night - 5th Dimension
- Hold Your Head Up - Argent
- I Saw The Light - Todd Rundgren
- Wolfman Jack - Todd Rundgren
- What Is Life - George Harrison
- Troglodyte - Jimmy Castor Bunch
- Old Man - Neil Young
- Blue Sky - Allman Brothers
- 30 Days In The Hole - Humble Pie
- People Make The World Go 'Round - Stylistics
- Sweet Hitch Hiker - Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Someday Never Comes - Creedence Clearwater Revival
- Sylvia's Mother - Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show
- Layla - Derek & The Dominos
- Take It Easy - Eagles
- Sunshine Superman - Donovan
- Day By Day - Godspell
- Brown Eyed Girl - El Chicano
- Rip This Joint - Rolling Stones
- School's Out - Alice Cooper
- Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin
- Long Cool Woman - Hollies
- Conquistador - Procol Harum
- It's Too Late To Turn Back Now - Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose
- Who are these people? Are they married? If so, why are they standing apart from each other?
- On a related note, is the fact that the man is standing closer to the saw than to the woman meaningful?
- What was the woman's role at the job site?
- The woman seems to be dressed more formally than one might expect at a lumber harvesting operation. Was she a visitor?
- Her expression doesn't seem to indicate that she's happy to be there. Is there a reason other than that was the typical expression for photographic subjects during that era?
- The man's garb, on the other hand, is well-worn, even shabby. But should we assume that he was a member of the team who felled the tree?
- It's not readily evident from the full photo, but this man is missing part of his right forefinger. How did he lose it?
- Is that a wound on his forehead, or simply a strange hair pattern?
- The ladder on which he's standing is obviously hand-built. Was he nervous about mounting and posing on it?
- What was the purpose of the mallet (seen at the lower left of the original photo)? Was is used to drive wedges into the cut to keep the saw from binding?
- The white rod (seen leaning against the tree on the right of the photo) might possibly be a sort of crowbar, but it doesn't appear metallic. What was its composition and purpose?
- And while we're cogitating on the tools, how about that saw? If the circumference was 90', the diameter was almost 30' and you'd want a few feet extra for a good cutting action. Who made saws that long? From a distance, the photo suggests that two saws were welded together, but a closeup shows no obvious seam. Also, the saw is bowed along its length, rather than being straight. Did this provide more control of the cut, or is it designed to speed up the cut?
- However...the man standing on the ground is perhaps 6 feet tall. The trunk he's standing in front of is not five times his height...it's closer to three, making the circumference less than 60 feet. Assuming the 90' circumference reported for the Mark Twain Tree is true, this cannot be the same tree. So, where and when was this photo taken?
- How long did it take to cut down the tree? Hours? Days? Did it fall precisely where the lumberjacks intended?
- Once the tree was felled, at least two additional cuts were made to create the cross sections mentioned in the article linked above. This implies that the saw operators worked from ladders on either side of the trunk. We might imagine that the sawing itself would be easier, but balancing on ladders surely complicated the process. Were there any ladder-related mishaps?
- And, finally, did those who cut down this centuries old tree feel any remorse at their actions?
Oath - Volunteers of Foreign NationalsAs long as I assist as a volunteer in the War of Liberation of the Nation of Israel - I hereby swear on my word of honor, to accept unconditionally and without reservations, the rules and discipline of the Israeli Defence Army, to obey all its orders and istructions given by the authorised commanders and to do all in my power, and even to sacrifice my life in the defence of the Freedom of Israel.
I graduated from Gainesville High School in May of 1940. I worked as an engine repair mechanic in Gainesville for about one year. I then went to work for Western Auto , where I was employed when I was drafted into the US army in February of 1943.
I went to Camp Wolters at Mineral Wells, TX for processing. From there I went into an anti-aircraft outfit at Palacios, TX. I served there for about one year. I was part of a gun crew that tracked planes to be shot down. While there the company was forced to make us march 40 miles. It was terribly hard on us and we decided to complain.
The gun crew I was on had ten members. We decided to talk to our commanding officer. He was not much help. We did find out that five of us had an IQ high enough to apply for Officer Training School. We were interviewed by a captain. He looked at me and said, "How old are you?" and I said, "I'm eighteen years, sir." He said, "You are too damned young to be a 2nd Lieutenant." He and I talked and he explained that my IQ was high enough to get into A.S.T.P. (Army Specialized Training Program.) I agreed to try it out. This training was for one year and I would be a 2nd Lieutenant in our engineering company, which would be building roads and bridges. He said I would go to Oklahoma A&M to get this training. I left my anti-aircraft outfit and went to Texas A&M for processing before going to Oklahoma A&M.
I stayed at Texas A&M for about two weeks before being sent to Oklahoma A&M, where I was assigned to a company of about 160 men and we lived in a dormitory. We went to class six days a week. We marched to class and to mess hall for meals. I lived in Main Murray Hall. Everything was going well until the middle of January when we were called out one morning and the commanding officer announced, "You are now members of the 104th Infantry Division and you will begin your new duty immediately in the desert, training." My new commanding officer was General Terry Allen, who was active in the African campaign.
We trained in the desert in Modesto, California about three months, then the 104th Infantry Division was transferred to Camp Carson, Colorado, for additional training. I had a 30 caliber machine gun as my weapon. I loved that weapon and when we fired for record, I fired a perfect score. I was a PFC (Private First Class).
We went on maneuvers (a large-scale tactical exercise carried out under simulated conditions of war) and I had my first accident. My job was to cut off a column of troops going uphill in a ravine and I ran down to cut them off, but when I got to the ravine I saw it was too wide and too deep and I could not stop so I tried to jump across. I made it to the other side but fell to the bottom of the ravine. When I fell, the machine gun hit the arch of my right foot and broke a bone in my foot. That cost me two weeks in the hospital.
I knew that we were going to be shipped out to Europe and the invasion of France was on schedule...I was afraid I would miss going overseas, so I aggravated everyone in the hospital to let me get back to my outfit. The lieutenant finally got tired of my griping and he released me back to my outfit. I could walk with a slight limp and was assigned to barracks orderly duty.
While stationed at Camp Carson, I was one of three soldiers who set a record by climbing to the top of Pike's Peak and back down in one day. We were in good shape. We tried to get to the top in time to ride the train down..well, we missed the train by about five minutes, so we had to return to the bottom of the climb. We made it down. I had blisters on my feet and my buddies had blood in their shoes. The M.P.'s (Military Police) caught us when we got to the bottom. After questioning us, they hauled us to our barracks and dropped us off. Our commanding officer recognized our injuries and assigned us to the barracks until we could work again.
1944 - The 104th Infantry Division finally went to Fort Dix, New Jersey. We stayed there a few days getting ready to leave the United States of America. The invasion of France had just started and we knew we would not be going to England, but would go directly into France at Omaha Beach, directly from USA. I and my machine gun fought in the hedgerows in Normandy and St. Lou. We could not go down a road because they were mined and the Germans had a habit of striking the road by aircraft. We followed the American tanks as they cleared paths through the hedgerows.
Our company had two machine guns. I had one, and the other machine gunner was an Indian from Arizona. We were a good team.
We moved into central France and finally got relief to go to Paris for a few days. The F Company, the one I was a part of, rode a train loaded with five gallon containers filled with gas. For some reason, we stopped on our way to Paris, and we noticed a number of French citizens near the train. We thought everything was O.K., but we decided to check ..and found the French were busy taking the cans of gasoline and stacking them between the rails. We rounded up the French and made them place the cans back on our train. We got to Versailles, then decided to go into Paris. We stayed at the St. Mark's Hotel in Paris, which was nice, hot showers, soft beds, cheap food and French girls! We ate and partied at a restaurant, and had a big time for about a week. We discovered where the officer's mess was, so we went early in the morning to eat free and ate up all the food that was prepared for the officer's. Another trick we learned was to watch where our waitress went to get wine when we ran out; we soon saw her go downstairs and return with a bottle of wine. Later we kept her occupied while one of the group went downstairs and came back with several bottles of wine at no charge.
When we left Paris we were stationed in the Maginot line across the river from the Siegfried line. We stayed there about a week. The Maginot line was a series of bunkers and the Germans had every entrance zeroed in with mortar fire. We had strict orders to not stand in the openings to our quarters because we would attract German artillery. The Germans were noisy people at night, so we played a trick on them. The 415th Regiment (Timber Wolf) had at least two soldiers who could howl like a wolf. Around ten o'clock at night one soldier would howl, then another, then another. Everything on the German side became quiet and then they would set off flares to see what we were up to. This would go on every night while we were in the Maginot line.
The 104th division moved through France, fighting Germans. One day we filled fox holes that had American GI's that had been killed. We were under fire from time to time and could not locate the Germans. We saw a number of haystacks. We had a meeting and decided to fire tracer bullets into the haystacks, when we did, the haystacks caught fire. This brought the Germans out and the infantry killed all of them.
The 104th division moved out through Belgium. The people in this country were very nice to American soldiers. We were invited to spend the night in their homes. We enjoyed their hospitality for good home-cooked food. We left there and moved into Holland.
In Holland I received a wound in my right foot from an 88 shell. The shell landed behind me and exploded. I was digging my fox hole and crawling in as I was digging. The 88 shell landed behind me and dirt covered me up completely. My buddies thought I had been killed; they were happy and shouted when they saw me come up out of the dirt. This is when I received my first purple heart. The medics wanted me to go back to first aid, but I refused after they removed the shrapnel from my foot. The 88 gun that fired the shell was 2,000 yards away from us. My friends carried my machine gun and ammunition and my pack.
We moved from Holland into the Hurtegan Forest in Germany. We dug fox holes and spent two nights in them. The first day was spent aggravating Germans along a road 500 yards from our position. We ran about ten Germans into a rock house, where we attempted to shoot them, but we did not have the right guns for the job. One soldier, who was on a 155mm gun, came up to see what was going on and he said he would take care of it. His 155mm bullet made a direct hit on the house and that was the end of that.
The next morning we were preparing to move out when I noticed a new recruit standing under a pine tree. I told him to get into a fox hole because the Germans were near. He refused and a few minutes later I saw him fall. He was dead from a sniper's bullet. I was busy putting my pack on when I felt something hit my left side. The sniper had shot me. I did not lose consciousness. We located where the sniper was, and one of my buddies fired my machine gun until the sniper fell out of the tree where he was hiding.
The Germans began firing artillery while the wounded and dead were being taken care of by our soldiers. The medics were picking up dead GI's when the Lieutenant said, "Here is a live one..take him back to the medics." They loaded me onto the stretcher and carried me back., and at one time, they dropped me. I warned them if they dropped me again I would shoot them with my 45 pistol. We arrived at the medics, and there they cut my clothes off and were amazed at the damage the bullet had made. It was strange, but I felt no pain...I was probably in shock. The bullet had severed the tendons of my two middle fingers of my left hand. It shattered the bone in my upper arm, between the elbow and my left shoulder. The bullet stayed embedded in the muscle in the back of my left arm, where it still remains to this day. It destroyed the nerve of my left arm. I was told later by the medics that a German POW doctor put the bones back together as well as he could. I was shipped to a hospital in Paris for another operation, after which I was shipped to England for a period of time, and I had another surgery there.
While in England, I was in a ward with about one hundred wounded soldiers. I remember talking to a soldier in the bed next to mine. He had wounds to both arms. We looked around and every soldier, except the two of us, had one or two limbs amputated. I could get out of my bed, so I went to the doctor's office where he told me that we were in the amputation ward. That excited me, but the doctor told me that I would make it without losing my arm, and the soldier next to me would not have to suffer an amputation, either.
I remained in the hospital for a couple of weeks before the doctor came around to tell me that I would be shipped to Scotland, and from there I would be flying back to the United States. When we got to Scotland the weather was bad and the officer in charge came by and said all that were able to walk would travel by ship, and all of the "litter patients" would travel by plane. Needless to say, I became a "litter patient" and would be flying back to the USA. The medics carried me on a stretcher onto the plane. When we arrived in New York, I was carried on a stretcher from the plane, and to my bed at the hospital. I thought they would kill me when I got off my stretcher and crawled into my bed.
The next day I was loaded onto another plane and was flown to Modesto, California. En route, we spent the night in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The officer in charge came by my cot and said, "Siegmund, I know you are from Gainesville, Texas, so I sure don't want you to leave that bed and try to go to Gainesville." I assured him that I was in no condition to do anything so foolish! When we got to Modesto, I underwent more nerve surgery to repair the damaged nerve in my arm. I was in the hospital about two weeks, and after the surgery, I received full use of my left arm. The tendons to both fingers had been repaired while I was in the hospital in Paris, so they turned out fine.
When I left California, I was sent to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas for physical therapy. I spent about two months in therapy to strengthen my left arm.
In October of 1945, I asked what kind of discharge I would get. The officer said it would be a medical discharge. I told them I wanted a regular discharge, but they told me that I had too much disability for a regular discharge. Well, they sent me back to my ward at Fort Sam Houston. To make a long story short, they sent me back to receive a medical discharge, which I refused again, but I finally did get a regular discharge. I worked for the next six weeks at the Occupational Therapy Center at Fort Sam Houston. On January 10. 1946, I told the person in charge of therapy that I was quitting to go to Texas A&M University to get a degree in Animal Husbandry.
I hitchhiked to Texas A&M University and enrolled in Animal Husbandry. The following May I received some good news from the US War Department informing me that I had been awarded a medical discharge and I would be paid disability compensation at 40 per cent level, which I still receive each month. My left arm is strong and I delight in talking to people who want to know how I got wounded, and they all are amazed that I still carry the bullet that did all the damage.
Sullivan was a boxer before turning to music, perhaps to avoid the burden of expectation that would accompany such a prestigious pugilistic appellation.
This flyer appears to be a promo for a tire company in Lubbock (the floating tire is obviously superimposed on a photo of the musicians; one can only guess at their relationship to the company). According to the bio, they worked radio stations in Fort Worth and Lubbock, so it's safe to assume that they were well known in Lubbock at the time this flyer was produced.
The duo formed in 1939, which seems to correspond with the general vintage of the collection of the miscellany I've been scanning and posting on this site. In 1941, they recorded "When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold," which Elvis Presley turned to money when he recorded a pop version in 1956. Here's a recording of the original version, courtesy of YouTube.
I suspect that most people in Texas have at least heard of the LCDs, which, according to Wikipedia (the font of all human knowledge, or at least semi-informed opinion and/or conjecture) bills itself as "the longest-running country band in the world." The group was created in 1931 to promote the products of Burrus Mill and Elevator Company of Fort Worth, Texas, back when radio advertising was in its infancy. That company's president, Pappy O'Daniel, was parodied in the movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou? The LCDs had a very popular live radio show that ran more than twenty years. For a comprehensive history of the group, check out a book entitled The Light Crust Doughboys are on the air: celebrating seventy years of Texas music.
Near as I can tell, Parker Willson fronted the band as emcee during the period around 1939-41. The photos below are scans of the flyer, and the reference to Vocalion Records on the reverse side seems to indicate that this was a promotional piece put out by that studio. The Vocalion label was discontinued in 1940 (again, according to Wikipedia), which further narrows down the age of the flyer.
Click on each thumbnail to see a larger version of the image.
Statewide, media have provided coverage of the anniversary. Perhaps the most widely seen coverage will be the story in the current edition of Texas Monthly Magazine. I haven't read the article, but by all accounts it's an accurate and even moving description of the disaster, as well as an unexpectedly sensitive treatment of the tradition and meaning for A&M students. (I say "unexpected" because Texas Monthly has a reputation for being biased toward A&M's arch-rival, the University of Texas.) The website also has an interesting video about the creation of the photo on the cover of the magazine, which features a computer-generated version of the bonfire. (Perceptive viewers will notice that a Mac was used for the 3D modeling.)
Locally, Jimmy Patterson has written an article for the Midland Reporter Telegram about the anniversary of the bonfire collapse. He's done his typically excellent job in reporting, and the only quibble I have with the article is one that probably isn't his fault anyway: if you're going to refer to the aforementioned University of Texas using the Aggie acronym, it's "tu" (lower case). I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and chalk that up to an editor's eye.
I worked on one bonfire during my five-year stint at A&M. As a freshman in the Corps of Cadets in 1970, about the only thing I remember is how long the four-hour work sessions were, and how short the four-hour rests seemed. I was perpetually sleep-deprived anyway (that being the typical state of a Corps fish), so the bonfire work is really just a hazy memory. It was also the hardest work I'd done in my life up to that point.
The fact that I never participated in another bonfire construction (I didn't return to the Corps after my freshman year) probably puts me in that shameful "two-percenter" category, but it's a fact of Aggie life that far more students didn't work on the bonfire than did. That doesn't lessen my respect for the tradition it represents.
However, I also agree with a number of commenters on the Texas Monthly article who point out that the bonfire is not Texas A&M, nor are the rich heritage and traditions of the university diminished significantly by its absence.
My wife and I visited the on-campus Bonfire Memorial a couple of summers ago, on a day so brutally hot and humid that it was all we could do to muster the energy to walk from the car to the Stonehenge-like setting where the twelve students who perished were honored. But we found the memorial to be so moving that we spent more than an hour reading the stories of those young people, and watching other visitors move respectfully along with us, no one speaking above a whisper. To me, that desire and ability to honor fellow Aggies is the most important tradition of them all, and as long as that doesn't change, the A&M heritage is secure.
I find no small comfort in believing that for every Fort Hood mass murderer (I refuse to type his name), there's at least one Chiune Sugihara.
This cool, gray and damp morning - unusual for west Texas this time of the year - seemed fitting weather in which to contemplate the event that continues to unfold. War. It's an ugly word, and Edwin Starr asked the right question in his Viet Nam-era song (no, kiddies, it wasn't written at Jackie Chan's request for Rush Hour). I don't think he had the right answer, or at least not a complete one, but the question was and is legitimate.
God help us if we ever stop asking the question.
[As I went outside to hang my flag as a show of support for our troops and my country, I was conflicted in the strangest way. "Should I be putting the flag out in the drizzle? Is that proper?" I don't know. I should know. I'm creating a website for the local Boy Scout Council; they all know the proper flag protocol, but I don't. I decided that I would err on the side of patriotism, and hope that any unintended disrespect would be overlooked in light of our circumstances. But I will do some study.]
Doing the right thing is easy when everybody else tells you it's the right thing to do. Doing the right thing when almost everyone else tells you just the opposite is quite difficult; it's not for the faint of heart.
That's the situation our country finds itself in today. We're taking an assertive and proactive approach to solving a problem that hasn't fully revealed itself. We're addressing a situation enveloped by complexity and uncertainty, and doing so in a manner that we would applaud if we were to see it in a James Bond movie or read it in a Tom Clancy novel. In those instances, the protagonist always recognizes the evil and moves against it, even when no one else has a clue.
But how often do we have the courage and perception to do that in real life?
Inevitably, at the end of the movie or book, the real stakes are revealed and the agency/nation/world/society breathes a grateful sigh of relief that someone wasn't duped. I'm not holding my breath for that outcome here, because in real life, people (and countries) continue to be incredibly shortsighted (or intentionally self-deluding). And, in real life, the outcomes are not always black and white.
This is not the war to end wars; there's no such thing, and never will be as long as God allows our planet to continue to be inhabited by His creature, man. In theological terms, we live in a "fallen world" and conflict - man against man, man against God - is inevitable. But, perhaps - I pray - this is a war to prevent the one (or two or...?) that might have otherwise been on the calendar of the Cosmic PDA.
May God protect our troops; may our cause be just; may our demeanor be humble; and may God bless America.