Notes from around the Human Experience…
CAPSULE MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONY REVIEW: American Legion/VFW Ceremony, Steamboat Springs Cemetery, Steamboat Springs, Colorado: There are few things more deserving of a veteran’s time than honoring those who died in service to our country and our Memorial Day ceremony is something we take a great deal of pride in.
Even though we are a small post in a small town, we have no trouble filling out a rifle squad, flag detail, honor guard and a changing of the guard ceremony, among other things, and delivering a respectful and moving performance.
Dry, Technical Matter: American Legion membership is reserved for men and women who served our country for at least one day on active duty in time of war, regardless of where. For example, our Legion membership is from our service during the Lebanon/Grenada conflicts, even though we got no closer to either war zone than boot camp and A school.
VFW membership is reserved for veterans who have a campaign ribbon to show for their service. Since campaign ribbons were not issued for service, no matter how meritorious, at a certain San Diego strip joint known as the Body Shop, we are not entitled to VFW membership.
Back On Message: Though certain elements are held every year, like the rifle salute and the changing of the guard ceremony, we try to do something new every year. It could be an anniversary of the beginning or end of a war – always popular because of the sheer number of wars America has fought over the years – or, perhaps, a memorial service or something else we thought up.
A Warm, Personal Remembrance: Last year we presented American flags to the widows, or in some cases children, of local veterans who had died the previous year. We did this with a very high level of precision – to include a former Marine in his dress blues standing behind each recipient to ensure we didn’t screw anything up – and we can remember thinking that was about the most useful thing we’ll do this year and that, boy, this might be tough to top.
We did well this year, having a riderless horse, complete with boots facing backwards, presented with a reading about the history and significance of the riderless horse.
The horse, named Kermit, was in fine form, taking being paraded and displayed in front a couple of hundred people fairly well. He didn’t bolt, though he did require his handler to walk him in circles. He also didn’t crap while we were reverently remembering our war dead, either, which was nice of him.
MASH 4077: Two people , a bit more than our yearly average of .75, passed out during the ceremony. One was a boy scout standing post behind some older veterans who were seated for the ceremony, and another a member of our flag detail. He came back strong, though, and marched off with his detail at the end of the ceremony.
Final Rating: A+. Modesty is reserved for those who have nothing to be modest about and, like other years, our Memorial Day ceremony was done very well. And even if we all can’t march in step anymore, we carried it off with a precision that would probably make the Commandant of the Marine Corps smile, if not achieve and maintain a state of arousal.
WE THE PEOPLE: The Peasant’s Revolt begins in England on this date in 1381. The revolt was led by Tyler Wat who, not coincidentally, was beginning the last fortnight of his life. Wat, upset at the instituting of a poll tax, marched a group of rebels from Canterbury to London.
While the revolt did spread and the protesters did achieve some success, the revolt was suppressed in mid-June and its leaders, including Wat, executed.
Step Lively There, Guv’ner: Fearing further revolts, however, officials treaded very gingerly for a while, and they declined to pass further poll taxes.
Going, Going, Gone x 4: Bob Lowe of the Boston Beaneaters, later known as the Braves, becomes the first major league player to hit four home runs in one game on this date 1894.
Oh Yeah: The Beaneaters defeated the Cincinnati Reds 20-11 in the second game of doubleheader. Lowe had gone 0-6 in the opener.
The Post Game Show Is Brought To You By Old Style Beer: Lowe’s feet has yet to be surpassed, though it has been equaled on 15 other occasions, most recently by Josh Hamilton of Texas in 2012.
Oh Yeah II: Lowe’s four home runs represented six percent of his career home run output, and his 71 career home runs remain the lowest of those who have hit four home runs in a game.
3…2…1…BLASTOFF: Mariner 9 lifts of from Cape Canaveral, Florida on this date in 1971. In November it would become the first spacecraft to orbit another planet, beating a couple of evil Soviet probes by a month or so.
Thought For The Day: Each people is, I believe, inclined to believe it is the purpose of history, that all that has happened is leading to now, to this world, to this country. Few see ourselves as fleeting phantoms on a much wider screen, or that our great cities may someday be dug from the ruins… – Louis L’Amour, Education of a Wandering Man
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: England’s King Henry VIII had six wives.
Today’s Stumper: Who was the only batter to face a future Hall of Fame pitcher in the game in which he hit four home runs. – Answer next time!