Greetings, Quoteaholics: Well, I m embarrassed. About ten of you wrote back to let me know that the story in Friday s RGQ was total BS. It was. I was duped,Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2002View Source
Well, I'm embarrassed. About ten of you wrote back to let me know that the story in Friday's RGQ was total BS. It was. I was duped, bamboozled, fooled, tricked, cheated, and deceived. That doesn't bother me much. I've been wrong before. Just ask my wife. What really pisses me off is that some idiot somewhere decided it would be a good idea to write and distribute a piece like that in the first place. Why?
I do not know Bob Keeshan, nor did I ever meet Lee Marvin, but I'd bet my last dollar that neither of them would be happy about what was written. Even though the writer of that piece bestowed on both a Navy Cross that they didn't earn, and turned them into folk heroes at one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, I'm sure that both would be outraged by what was said. Why? Because men that have served have more character than that. They would see it as an affront to the memory of those who did fight and die there to allow some unknown author to falsely claim that they had fought there honorably when they did not.
Evidently the writer of that piece of shit had no compunction about disgracing and trivializing those who were there with his own lies and distortions, nor did he give a damn what kind of position he put Lee Marvin (or his memory) and Bob Keeshan in. It was only an e-mail. It was only a joke. Ha ha ha. Isn't he the clever one?
I never expected to write a column like today's, but since it came up the way it did, a battle fought some 57 years ago unexpectedly became our current topic of discussion. It struck me that there are likely many readers who know nothing at all about Iwo Jima. Perhaps you remember the name from a movie or something, but I am guessing that many of you have no clue what it was all about. Maybe by bringing that back to the front burner for a brief moment, you'll understand why I'm so damned angry.
The U.S. was dealt an almost lethal blow at Pearl Harbor in Dec. 1941, and we lost virtually every major battle until a combination of heroism, dumb luck, excellent command, and enemy code-breaking resulted in a costly but decisive victory at the Battle of Midway in June of 1942. From that point forward, the Japanese never won another major engagement and the painful but inevitable retreat that led back to their home islands began.
General Mac Arthur chose a strategy of "island hopping", bypassing some Japanese-held islands completely, leaving their troops idle and unable to be resupplied, and invading and fighting at other, more important locations. Through intense jungle warfare, and fighting in conditions that would gag a maggot, Allied troops continued to advance slowly but inexorably toward Japan.
Fast-forward now to February 1945, six months before the end of the war. Allied forces had taken the island of Saipan, about 1300 miles south of Tokyo. (Incidentally, Lee Marvin did serve there, and was wounded there.) Iwo Jima was Japanese territory located only 650 miles south of Tokyo. It was a tiny, miserable, God-forsaken, pork chop-shaped piece of land with a volcano and a plain, about 8 square miles in total (4 miles by 2 miles), but it had three airstrips on it. Those airstrips were deemed critical to the ultimate victory of Allied troops, and so the decision was made to invade, and secure the island and those airstrips to be used by Allied forces for the anticipated invasion of the home islands of Japan.
To the 31,000 Japanese troops on that island, this decision had long been anticipated. They had dug 16 miles of fortified tunnels through hard obsidian and choking volcanic ash, and they had all the time in the world to set up defensive positions and booby traps wherever they felt it was necessary. They were able to practice their gunnery and defensive techniques for years, and there was no possible location for an invasion that had not been zeroed in on their gunsights. They had all taken an oath not to be taken prisoner, and they were determined to protect that land or die trying, for they knew full well that this was the last stop before Japan.
The most massive and intense aerial and naval bombardment of the war started, and for several weeks the Japanese positions were "softened up". We literally threw everything we had at them. Unknown to U.S. commanders, the tunnels were almost completely unaffected, and the Japanese lost little capacity to fight back for all the U.S. efforts. Finally, on Feb. 19, 1945, 880 ships surrounded the island, and 110,000 U.S. Marines went ashore, the first day of a 36-day trip to hell.
To put the Allied losses in perspective, consider one battalion of 1,688 Marines that went ashore. 1,511 of those men were killed or wounded. Only 177 walked off the island, and of those 177, 91 had been wounded at least once and had returned to battle. When it was finally over, 6821 Americans and 20,000+ Japanese lay dead. More than 26,000 U.S. Marines were wounded in that short 36 days. Marines fought in the Pacific for 43 months, and yet they suffered 1/3 of all their wartime deaths in one month at Iwo Jima.
Try to imagine for a moment the terror in the heart of a young Marine as his landing craft approached a beach, knowing that brave and determined Japanese soldiers were waiting, sworn to defend it. Imagine those Japanese soldiers, looking out to see an armada of 880 ships and 110,000 Marines coming ashore, and knowing that there was no possible way for them to ultimately prevail against such a force, and yet, try to imagine their resolve to make it as costly for us as possible. This was pure, unadulterated hell for both sides.
To think that some asshole would tarnish the sacrifices made by more than 140,000 soldiers by embellishing what really happened with a complete fabrication just fries me. What is the point of someone sitting down to write an interesting, well-written piece of bullshit? What do they gain from it? Maybe they get some macabre thrill seeing it reprinted or hearing it repeated somewhere. I don't know. I just hope that there is a special place in hell for that writer, maybe with the angry spirits of 6821 dead Marines waiting to have a little talk with him when he arrives. How can he gleefully turn something so painful and so terrible into a point of personal gratification when he himself isn't even named? It is beyond me. Those that were there were grateful just to be alive.
There are thousands of 'lucky' survivors on both sides of the Pacific that have awakened every day for the 57 years that have passed since Feb., 1945 sightless, or in wheelchairs, or with prosthetic limbs, or with the scars of terrible burns. I guarantee you that all still live with nightmares of those 36 days in hell.
I'm sorry I went off on this, but there are some things you just don't joke about. You don't cry "fire" in a crowded theater, you don't wisecrack about bombs on airplanes, and you don't trivialize the sacrifices made by combat soldiers, especially when they were there in your name. You just don't take that and toy with it. You honor it, you respect it, and you hope to God it never happens again.
P.S. The following is chiseled outside the cemetery on Iwo Jima.
When you go home
Tell them for us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today
The raising of the flag atop Mt. Suribachi. Considered to be the "most reproduced picture in the history of photography". "Suppose you were an idiot; and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself." - Mark Twain, American Humorist (1835-1910) "I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US congress." - Ronald Reagan "While you are away, movie stars are taking your women. Robert Redford is dating your girlfriend, Tom Selleck is kissing your lady, Bart Simpson is making love to your wife." - Baghdad Betty, Iraqi radio announcer, to Gulf War troops Support , and find the best deals on internet access, long distance, and just about anything else you can think of. Products from over 350 vendors in one place. Check it out! You'll be glad you did. Come visit my website!
A Classic Fairy Tale
King Arthur was in Merlin's laboratory where the good wizard was showing him his latest invention. It was a chastity belt, except it had a rather large hole in the most obvious place. "This is no good, Merlin!", the king exclaimed. "Look at this opening. How is this supposed to protect m'lady, the Queen?"
"Ah, sire, just observe," said Merlin. He then selected his most worn out wand, one that he was going to discard anyway. He inserted it in the gaping aperture of the chastity belt whereupon a small guillotine blade came down and cut it neatly in two.
"Merlin, you are a genius!" said the grateful monarch. "Now I can leave, knowing that my Queen is fully protected." After putting Guinevere in the device, King Arthur then set out upon his Quest. Several years passed until he returned to Camelot. Immediately he assembled all of his knights in the courtyard and had them drop their trousers for an informal 'short arm' inspection. Sure enough, each and every one of them was either amputated or damaged in some way. All of them, except Sir Galahad.
"Sir Galahad," exclaimed King Arthur. "My one and only true knight! Only you among all the nobles have been true to me. What is it in my power to grant you? Name it and it is yours!"
But, alas, Sir Galahad was speechless.
"Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so. " - Bertrand Russel "Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact. " - George Eliot
"Last week, by a vote of 420 to 1, the House voted to expel Congressman James Traficant. Traficant was convicted for bribery, extortion, and tax evasion or as Congress calls it, the Triple Crown." - Jay Leno
The awful thing about this. this expulsion is true... and the ONLY
dissenting vote was from ... Gary Condit - Peggy
On your response to Robert concerning misplaced blame on cell phones. I agree that in this instance the accident was surely caused by an overly aggressive personality and not directly attributal to the phone - But wait, maybe the person on the other end severely pissed the guy off! and he's normally a level headed careful driver...It's been my experience that driving or walking-I say this cause I've encountered the same species on the highway and the food store.- A person with a cell phone to the ear is usually going much slower than the norm.(speed limit) just like a drunk. But for some reason the mind set of law enforcement is that minimum speed is far less worthy of enforceement time than excess speed -(unless of course they're cruising for drunks) Although just as dangerous, except the danger exists for the misfortunate chump trying to get around the babbler.The bottom line is- If it's potentially distracting to the driver its a safety hazard! There is no room for debate. - Jim
[In my original piece, I was not defending distracted driving. I made a specific point of saying that I didn't think folks should be watching TV, or receiving faxes, or surfing the net while driving. The point that I was making was that the actual statistics from the state show absurdly low percentages that they are able to attribute to cellphones. Those numbers are slightly better than chance. I haven't changed my view. If the state can't show that cellphones are a hazard, they ought to leave things the hell alone. If anything, they should look at the statistics from New York in a year or two and see if the ban on hand-held phones had any impact at all on their highway safety. I hate the quick-fixes that politicians rally behind without any knowledge at all of whether it will do anything for the public.]
Re: Red Lights:
I strongly disagree with the camera company getting paid on volume, and this seems to have changed in many places. But the revenue issue is not valid, any more than arguing about fines for parking tickets: enforcement costs should be borne by lawbreakers. And in cities (like SFO) where many pedestrians are threatened, injured and many times killed, I wonder how many may actually be saved if the cameras start reducing red-light running (I've seen videos of cars and 18-wheelers entering intersections 3-5 seconds after the light was red). Maybe if the fines were increased to $1500 per offense we would see a difference. If 1 camera saved 1 life per year, is it worth it? - Robert
[As with cellphones, I feel my position is being misunderstood. I hope no reader believes that I advocate running a red light, much less doing so 3-5 seconds late. My point was that using a camera to time people and then issue citations for tiny fractions of a second that can be timed but not even perceived by humans is not a safety, but a revenue issue. If this reader saw a video of cars and trucks blowing red lights that late, I think their licenses ought to be suspended. I'm only saying that money, and not safety, drives this push toward Big Brother type "solutions". Do any of you disagree that the same level of safety, or even more, could be achieved by flashing the green light, extending the duration of the yellow, and leaving both sides briefly red? Those solutions do not require cameras, and I think they should be explored first, if safety is the primary concern of those passing these laws.]
Re: Reader's Own Quote:
Hi Bruce, my husband has been saying this for a few years..."Remember, you too could become a statistic" - Quoteaholic-wanabe, Lisa
Another reader with a great sense of humor humbles herself before the world! Thanks for this.
I was a member of a small church (about 300) and it was my duty to keep the church phone list updated. We didn't have a membership per se, if someone came several times, it was assumed that they became a member and their name belonged on our telephone list. This job was good for me as I was a bit shy and this forced me to approach new people and get information from them. I was also single, and any new guys were prospects.
A redheaded guy started coming and I thought, "I like this job, now I can find out who he is and get his phone number." You know, for emergencies or some such thing like that.
I didn't want to ask him directly because I was afraid he might not understand I was just doing my job and think me too forward. I knew through the grapevine that he was staying with another family and but when I asked his name and they told me, they also mentioned that he had recently moved to an apartment down the street. Since several of our members lived on that street, I queried several of them, none of whom knew his number. I'd say I'd probably asked 5 or 6 families.
Finally, one night at church, out of desperation, I approached him, told him what I was doing and mentioned that I needed his phone number for our church directory. I mentioned that I'd asked several others but no one seemed to know his number. His reply: "Well, why didn't you call 'Information'?"
But probably the most embarrassing was the time I was looking for a CD by Mose Allison. I fell in love with his music back in the 60s, but had sold the albums during a time of negative income. Now I could afford to buy his music again. I found myself at one of those mega-stores where they sell everything. If anyone had it, they would. I walked in and was pleasantly surprised to see that there were computers set up for customers to do their own checking. I walked over and keyed in his name, when an employee walked up and asked if he could help. I explained my situation, and what I was doing. I mentioned to him that the computer brought up the name I was looking for, but didn't tell me where in the store I could find the CD.
The employee's response: "Ma'am, those are the cash registers."
True story, I guarantee.
I'm waiting for more readers to send me in their work for 15 mins of fame! Looking forward to hearing from you!
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