Wednesday, April 18, 2012
As a Vietnam Veteran these fact tell a story. My annual motorcycle trek from Los Angeles to Washington DC is coming in 3 weeks. It is the Run For The Wall. (We don't actually physically run but ride motorcycles. We refer to an organized motorcycle trip with a destination as a "Run") This will be the 24th year for the Run, I have been on this ride for 3 years and have made it All-The-Way 2 times. This will be my 4th year to participate. Unfortunately I have other obligations that will not allow me t make it all-the-way this year, but I will be with part of the Run. www.rftw.org/
Here are the Stats:
Vietnam Wall Facts:
SOMETHING to think about - Most of the surviving Parents are now deceased.
There are 58,272 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2011.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.
Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E - May 25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall emerges from the earth (numbered 70W - continuing May 25, 1968) and ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war's beginning and end meet. The war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds the angle's open side and contained within the earth itself.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.
There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.
39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
8,283 were just 19 years old.
The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam .
1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam ..
31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
54 soldiers on attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia . I wonder why so many from one school.
8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.
West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest . And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.
The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam . In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy™s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.
For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
I belong to the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) group. Today we stood for Peter Jones Knapp and his wife, Georgianna Eliza Pierson Knapp. This will probably be the last time this will ever happen in the United States. It was a great honor for me to attend this funeral that has been waiting for 88 years, today, since his death April 13th 1924. Several TV stations and other various news correspondents were there in attendance to memorialize the funeral event. Below is the announcement of the funeral to the PGR. Also people can Google Mr. Knapps and find various history and information.
Peter Jones Knapp, Civil War Veteran, Georgianna Pierson Knapp, Portland, OR, 13/Apr/12
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Patriot Guard Riders, we have been given a very special honor. We have been invited by the great-great-grand niece to stand for Civil War Veteran, Peter Jones Knapp and his wife, Georgianna Eliza Pierson Knapp. They have waited far too long to reach their final resting place, and we are honored to be allowed to stand for them both. After each of their funeral services, they were taken to the Portland Crematorium, but for whatever reason they were never interred. This will be the original burial for them both.
Peter joined the Union Army at a young 19 years old and was thrust into battle immediately. Seven months and several battles later, he came down with typhoid. Deemed too ill to travel the 10 miles by wagon, he and others were left in an abandoned building without medical attention for three weeks. Surviving that, he was active in numerous noted battles of the Civil War. In the Battle of Iuka, war records show his regiment lost more in this one hour and twenty minute engagement than any other regiment lost in any one engagement during the war. He was taken prisoner in the battle at Missionary Ridge. After 17 months, starved and almost blind, he escaped with others. After the Civil War, he later re-enlisted and served 15 months in the Indian War. Mr. Knapp survived in a desperate time and against incredible odds to live a long, full life.
He and Georgianna married in 1870 and remained so for 53 years. They came to Kelso, WA in 1887 and he started in the mill business. He was a justice of the peace and a police judge. He was a G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) commandant for three posts in Kelso and in charge of the indigent soldier's fund for 35 years. Mr. Knapp passed away at the age of 82 on April 13, 1924 -- 88 years ago. Mrs. Knapp lived until 1930 and passed away at the age of 76.
Please join us for this never again opportunity as we pay our respects to one who helped shape our nation. This service will take place at the Rostrum and will include "the Grand Army of the Republic 1873 Burial of the Dead" Ceremony.
Mission Date: Friday, 13/Apr/12
Thursday, April 05, 2012
I am back on the "Diet" (LifeStyle change) band-wagon once again. I sure is a struggle trying to stay on this wagon with so many things trying, and succeeding, to throw me off. I have never lost sight of what I need to do and the goals I am trying to reach. I get side-tracked at times but I remember the guidelines I need to follow.
I am planning another motorcycle road-trip starting May 8th that will take me, for the 4th year, on the Run For The Wall annual event from Portland to Los Angeles to Washington DC. But...I will not be able to make it to DC this year since I have to be back home by the 3rd week of May or our 25th wedding anniversary. For the past 3 years I have called my wife while on the road-trip from Louisiana wishing her a happy anniversary. She has been very tolerant of my trips, so I need to comply with her request, plus I want to be here for our "special" 25th anniversary.
I have planned my route so that I will still get in about 4800 miles. This trip will take me to Lake Tahoe East shore, Carson City NV. to Bishop, CA through Death Valley where I will visit Scotty's Castle, Big Bear Lake CA Crestline, CA and on into Los Angeles area. After my portion of the Run For The Wall I will return back via the California Hwy 1 coast route.
The trouble I have on these trips is that my food choices suffer and throws me off the diet band-wagon. I will try and not let that happen this year.
I should think about what I should take along and what I should leave home.
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