Sunday, May 29, 2005

I Parted Then With Valiant Men

'Twas down the glen one Easter morn
To a city fair rode I.
When armed line of marching men
In squadrons passed me by.
No pipes did hum, no battle drum
Did sound its loud tattoo
But the Angelus bell o'er the Liffey's swell
Rang out in the foggy dew....

The bravest fell, and the solemn bell
Rang mournfully and clear
For those who died that Watertide
In the springing of the year.
And the world did gaze with deep amaze
At those fearless men, but few
Who bore the fight that freedom's light
Might shine through the foggy dew.

Ah, back through the glen I rode again
and my heart with grief was sore
For I parted then with valiant men
whom I never shall see more.
But to and fro in my dreams I go and
I'd kneel and pray for you,
For slavery fled, O glorious dead, when
you fell in the foggy dew.

May 30, 2005 is Memorial Day. The day we remember those who served and those that died.

In, Afghanistan, the Iraq War and the War on Terrorism, men from Missouri and Kansas, from small towns and big cities, have given their all so that we might be safe and that others might be free.

Roll Call:


Spc. Barnes, Jonathan P. Anderson, Mo
Spc. Bertoldie, Joel L. Independence, Mo
CWO. Blaise, Michael T. Macon, Mo
Sgt. Burkhardt, Travis Lee Edina, Mo
Spc. Campbell, Michael C. Marshfield, Mo
Sgt. Campbell, Ryan M. Kirksville, Mo
Spc. Carter, Justin B. Mansfield, Mo
Spc. Crane, Richard M. Independence, Mo
1st Lt. Edens, William A. Columbia, Mo
Pfc. Farnan, Colby M. Weston, Mo
Cpl. Fleischer, Jacob R. St. Louis, Mo
Sgt First Class Gottfried, Richard S. Lake Ozarks, Mo
Sgt. Hodson, Nicholas M. Smithville, Mo
Staff Sgt. Huggins, Jamie L. Hume, Mo
Sgt. James, Lindsey T. Urbana, Mo
Capt. Johnson, Christopher B. Excelsior Springs, Mo
Cpl. Kerns, Dallas L. Mountain Grove, Mo
Master Sgt. Kerwood, William J. Houston, Mo
Staff Sgt. Kisling Jr., Daniel Leon Neosha, Mo
Sgt. Mora, Melvin Y. Columbia, Mo
Sgt. Mowris, James D. Aurora, Mo
Spc. Neusche, Joshua M. Montreal, Mo
Staff Sgt. Sanders, Charles R. Charleston, Mo
Capt. Smith, Benedict J. Monroe City, Mo
Pfc. Smith, Jeremiah D. Odessa, Mo
Staff Sgt. Spink, Trevor Farmington, Mo
Sgt. Svitak, Phillip J. Neosho, Mo
Sgt. Walters, Donald R. Kansas City, Mo (1st MO casualty, Iraq. Ambushed Nasariyah)
Sgt. Wilkerson, William T. Kansas City, Mo


Sgt. Barry, Michael C. Overland Park, Ks
Sgt. Butler, Jacob L. Wellesville, Ks
Cpl. Cabral, Juan C. Cabral Banuelos Emporia, Ks
Sgt. Clary, Don A. Troy, Ks
Pfc. Cox, Ryan R. Derby, Ks
Pvt. Drexler, Jeremy L. Topeka, Ks
2nd Lt. Goins, James Michael Bonner Springs, Ks
Spc. Hall, David E. Uniontown, Ks
Spc. Herndon, Joseph F. Derby, Ks
Pvt. Kreider, Dustin L. Riverton, Ks
Spc. Lister, Joseph L. Pleasanton, Ks
Sgt. Maugins, Jamie O. Derby, Ks
Spc. McGaugh, Dustin K. Derby, Ks
1st Sgt. Millsap, Timmy J. Wichita, Ks
Sgt. Morton, Benjamin C. Wright, Ks
Sgt. Perez, Christopher S. Hutchinson, Ks
Staff Sgt. Peters, Dustin W. El Dorado, Ks
Spc. Thomas, Kyle G. Topeka, Ks
Lance Cpl. Wasser, Christopher B. Ottowa, Ks
Sgt 1st Class Wisdom, Clinton L. Atchison, Ks

[Legacy: In Rememberance via Castle Argghhh!

Men of Harlech stop your dreaming;
Can't you see their spearpoints gleaming?
See their warriors' pennants streaming
To this battlefield.
Men of Harlech stand ye steady;
It cannot be ever said ye
for the battle were not ready;
Stand and never yield!

I did not know these men, but I know men like them. I read everyone of their profiles, young men, men in their 20's and 30's. They were pranksters, dreamers, football players, fathers, sons and friends. They each had a reason to join the military. Some volunteered two and three times to go back so that they could be with their men or because they believed they were doing something important. Some had been boy scouts and volunteered to help disadvantaged children or coach children's soccer. Others were sons of military men, created in their fathers' image. There were men who joined directly from high school, the ones that joined after September 11, the ones that had served for many years. They were all colors, ethnicity and backgrounds.

They were loved and they will be remembered as have been all those that came before.

I know the places that they come from, places that most people have never heard of: Bonner Springs, Kansas with it's town square where a gazebo has stood for years and every Saturday and holiday during the summer, a band plays the old songs and patriotic songs. Sometimes the people sing along.

Troy, Derby, Wright and Wellesville; just little towns on the map with little populations, a small grocer store, the local gas station and, if they're lucky, a bank. A place where people know your name and remember. A place where a small patch of land in the town square, in front of the court house or on the corner of Main Street, memorials to men fallen in the wars, sometimes clear back to the civil war, stand in granite and are always well maintained.

Mountain Grove, Urbana, Neosho, Weston; in every town a small diner where the older men sit around and drink coffee in the mornings talking about the weather, debating politics and whether they should pay to connect to the water rural water system or just keep their wells. The high schools where the football and basketball team are the pride of the town, regardless of how well they do in their districts.

Independence, Witchita, Topeka, Overland Park, Kansas City; the suburbs and the cities where these men might have been just another guy on the street, but, when they fell, their names were called out and the whole city felt the sadness and the pride. A place where the flags are lowered at half mast for a day when the news comes.

These are all places that sent boys to join the military, who then became men. Men who you would want your sons to grow up to be. Places where we don't forget what it means to serve and sacrifice.

Psalm 87

His foundation is in the holy mountains
The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ehtiopia; this man was born there
And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

My family has served our country in every conflict over 100 years in the military, not including those that have served as peace officers since they first settled in the Kansas and Missouri area.

In the Spanish American War, "Remember the Maine", brought my grandfather's great uncle from his farm to join the army.

In World War I, "Babe" Howard (deceased-non-military) served in the Marines, infantry. Much of his story is lost over the time and dispersal of our family, but we know that he was decorated for bravery.

In World War II, my grandfather Leroy Henry (deceased-non-military) and his cousin (deceased-non-military) served in the Navy. I wrote about my grandfather's service and what he meant to us last year in "The Flag on My Wall".

My mother's brother, Donald Kuehl (disabled-non military), served in both the Army, occupying Germany in 1948 and the Air Force during the Korean conflict. My grandfather's younger brother, Leon Henry (deceased-non-military) and my grandmother's youngest brother, Lonnie Howard (deceased-non-military), both served in the Navy.

My uncle, Louis Henry (disabled-military related), served in the Army during Vietnam. He was a helicopter crew chief. He was shot down twice and managed to escape capture both times. Part of his story is here. He enlisted so that my dad, who was newly married and me on the way, could get his status changed. On one occasion, when he was shot down, both of the M-60s were disabled, but he set them up in a perimeter to make the enemy think they had more fire power. The pilot was injured, the co-pilot was dead. He and another crewman took turns going from each spot with their M16s, talking loudly to each other and calling out the names of other non-existant crewman, answering each other and firing from those positions, to make the enemy believe that there were more men on the ground. They were surrounded by enemy on all sides, hiding in the tall grass around the field they had landed in. Finally, the helicopters came to rescue them.

The pilot credited my uncle and the other crewman with saving his life and keeping them from being captured. He received the bronze star. He also received a purple heart and still carries with him a bullet and a mangled piece of M60 which he credits with saving his life. He received many other medals, but they are all in a box.
My brother served in the Air Force Active Duty during Gulf War I, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo. His main duty station was Korea near the DMZ. Today he is a reservist and National Guard.

My third cousin Scott is Army infantry. He served a tour in Iraq, 2003.

There are some I know I'm missing. These are the men whose stories, at least some, I know.

Every year, we have a family reunion about this time. When I was younger, the old men would set around and tell stories. I was always too busy running and playing to listen long and now many of them are gone. Stories lost, but to a few.

Still, today I remember and salute them and all those known and unknown who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Arlington National Cemetary: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

"Here Rests
In Honored Glory
An American Soldier
Known But To God

Previous thoughts on The Boys in Blue and Khaki and Heroes

Swift Wind and Gentle Breeze

I dreamed a dream so sweet and true
Of skies the color of fearless blue
I soared with eagles on swift wind and gentle breeze
But one by one they took their leave

I flew for miles, searching far and wide
I missed them soaring by my side
With them near I felt secure and free
Without them I had lost part of me

Then came a dove that did sing
Of peace and love everlasting
Feel no sorrow nor shed a tear, it cried
On swift winds and gentle breeze they reside

It took to wing and left me there
Contemplating all my cares
It was for me they had taken leave
So that I might enjoy swift wind and gentle breeze

Suddenly, it little mattered
That sometimes my wings felt torn and tattered
I soared with eagles in skies of fearless blue
A privilege given to just a few

Finally, I had to go
Return to earth far below
As I touched down and closed my eyes
I felt them still by my side

I woke to skies of fearless blue
I heard the taps sound out the news
Another eagle had taken its leave
Soaring forever on swift wind and gentle breeze
-K. Henry

I parted then, with valiant men who I never shall see more


alix said...

fantastic tribute kat!
and quite an honorable family history...i was enthralled by the story about your uncle.

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

Men of Harlech was what they sang in the movie "Zulu" with Michael Caine. That ruled.