They’re scared

The political future of democrats continues to slide. In Missouri, State Treasurer, Clint Zweiful, has announced he won’t run again for any office. Zweiful is term limited as Treasurer.

[Zweiful] told The Associated Press he considered running for U.S. Senate or lieutenant governor in 2016. But he said he opted against a campaign partly because he wants to continue to be involved with the activities of his two teenage daughters. — KY3 TV.

Staying home with the family is the usual political cop-out when a politico thinks he is toast.

But Zweiful isn’t the only democrat running scared. McCaskill is too. How to I know? I observe her actions before and after the last election.

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Senator Claire McCaskill, D-MO

Before the election, an election that did not include McCaskill running for re-election, she was the dems fair-haired girl. Her prospects were good. She was rumored to be in the fast-lane as Missouri’s next democrat candidate for Governor or Eric Holder’s replacement as AG.

Then came the 2014 mid-terms elections. McCaskill did a 180º turn. The democrats were out. McCaskill started talking like a ‘Pub. She was against Harry Reid for Minority Leader, she was for passage of the Keystone XL pipeline. There were rumors, unsubstantiated so far, that she’d flip parties (gag!).

No, with the temperament growing in Missouri, McCaskill knows she’s toast when her term is up. Her plans for running for Missouri Governor dissipated with her criticism of Reid and other high-level dems in Washington. Her statements didn’t go well with the democrat establishment within the state. Those facts leave McCaskill with few options.

One democrat finally has gotten over his panic.  Mark Begich has tossed in the towel and has conceded his run for Alaska Senator to ‘Pub Dan Sullivan.

After holding on to dwindling hope for days, Sen. Mark Begich on Monday conceded he had lost his U.S. Senate race to Republican Dan Sullivan.

With the concession coming nearly two weeks after the Nov. 4 general election and with few votes left to count, the statement was largely a formality.

The Associated Press called the race nearly a week ago. Soon after, Sullivan attended orientation meetings in D.C. to prepare to take office and voted for Republican leaders in the new Senate majority that takes power in January.

The democrat who is running most scared is Mary Landrieu. She’s so scared she’ll lose next month to ‘Pub Bill Cassidy, that she’s suddenly embraced the Keystone XL Pipeline. Landrieu hopes voters will forget that she was the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and did nothing about the Keystone project…until she failed to win reelection.

The ‘Pub controlled House has aided her flip-flop by passing, again, a bill to allow the project. Landrieu has latched onto the Keystone pipeline as a last desperate attempt to gain some supporters. I doubt it will work. The last poll I saw, a week after the mid-term, had Landrieu down 16 points behind Cassidy and abandoned by her party.

The ‘Pubs won. Now they need to decide what to do with their success. Whatever it may be, we can be assured that Mitch McConnell will screw it up.

 

What’s next?

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A typical Tea Party meeting.

I attended a Tea Party meeting earlier this month just after the mid-term elections. Part of the meeting was to celebrate the wins by the GOP. One of the ladies who attended was asking what’s next? I had my opinion but I listened for someone to answer her. No one did. I didn’t either because my opinion would have differed with some of those in attendance.

There was a lot of talk, talk about Agenda 21, GMOs, Common Core, a plethora of opinions about many subjects. But not one said what really was the next step—elect a conservative ‘Pub into the White House and the Governor’s Mansion in 2016 while building a conservative majority in both Houses of Congress and our Legislature.

In truth, I didn’t expect anything more than I heard. It’s the failing of the Tea Party and why it has lost it’s influence in political events—no common plan on what to do next.

When the Tea Party first appeared, there were many agendas driving the Tea Parties, but there was one common theme—No More Taxes, hence the name T.E.A Party or Taxed Enough Already party.

The Tea Party has lost that cohesion and watching many grassroots organizations, I doubt it will recover. The Tea Party is not, was not, a singular organization.

Everyone has an agenda. I do, too. I want to elect conservatives into office. That is the only way to effect change. Once we have those conservatives in office, then, we can change those push-buttons, like Right-to-Work, Common Core, Agenda 21, repealing Obamacare and Frank-Dodd and others. But, without achieving that first goal, there will be no success achieving the second nor the third.

Not only are those other agendas diverting our attention, some of them are questionable validity. Too many of us, now, have no experience in critical thinking, nor interest in validating their viewpoints.

There was a TV ad this last year, one about a dating service I believe, where a woman dates a phony Frenchman with an obvious phony French accent. She met him on the internet and “everything on the internet is true.” We all laughed. But it is an example of the failings of too many.

The left has created a religion of global warming based on a computer model that was created to fit the theory that Man was ruining the planet. Us unbelievers, looked outside an the lowering temperature averages, looked at the average temperature for the last fifty years, and saw no evidence of global warming. Then we watched while the studies supporting global warming were found to be manufactured and filled with cherry-picked and false data. We pointed out these flaws to the believers…and they refused to understand, nor accept any criticism of their beliefs.

We, like them, have our faulty beliefs. Beliefs founded on faulty science and the believers will allow no one to argue contrary to those beliefs. We’re just as bad as are those on the left.

But I digress.

So, what’s next? Is there a plan? Do we have a goal?

I do. I’m going to work to elect conservatives at all levels of government. I will do my own vetting of candidates. I’ll not rely solely on others who may or may not have the same agenda as I. I will make mistakes. I will, at some point, support someone who is not worthy. When I do so, it will be my error, not that of someone I followed blindly.

The lack of critical thinking, a concept no longer taught in school, is one reason why so many are lead astray. The lack of critical thinking like the failings in teaching real science, instead of pseudo-science, is one reason why our attention is diverted from a common goal, why we cannot reach a common consensus. We have not learned to question assumptions or even recognize when arguments are based on unsupported theory.

Like the TV ad, we believe whatever we’re told if the source appears to support our thinking while never questioning its validity…just like the left and the global warming advocates.

I have friends whose sole focus is fighting against Agenda 21. Other friends are strong activists for Right-to-Work, others are against Common Core. I will support them as I can because with my support, they will support me, in turn, towards my goal, electing conservatives.

I will not, however, allow myself to be diverted from my goal to theirs. The fault of the Tea Party today is that too many have no common view, no central goal. They’ve allowed themselves to be nothing more than a debating society with a different discussion topic each month.

The Great Grass Roots Uprising of 2010 has failed. Unless we conservative Tea Partiers consolidate our efforts towards a single goal, the Tea Party will just be another footnote in history, if that. Its epitaph may read, “The Tea Party. Died while dithering about a direction.”

Friday Follies for November 14, 2014

I haven’t used the ‘Follies’ headline for awhile. I do so when there are a number of items appearing on the ‘net but none worthy for a longer post nor discussion.

We won the mid-term ten days ago. We should be celebrating but we’re not. Why? Because we are watching the Washington GOP leadership selling us down the river0—again. The day after the election, McConnell tells a reporter he will not use Congress’ more potent weapon, the power of the purse. “We won’t shut down the government!” he declares meaning he will continue with the stream of CRs and upholding Harry Reid’s plan for funding everything we’re against—Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, open border, and governmental tyranny across the nation.

“Throw the bum out!”  Too late, McConnell has been re-elected as Majority leader. Boehner was re-elected Speaker of the House with only three dissenting votes.

McConnell chosen as next Senate majority leader, Boehner re-elected as House speaker

Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell joined House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Thursday at the pinnacle of the congressional and Republican power structures in Washington — two establishment deal-cutters, each on occasion frustrated by the other’s inability to rein in their party’s most zealous ideologues.

The pair, formally selected Thursday to lead their party’s new majority control of Congress, will be charged with guiding Republicans on Capitol Hill for the final two years of President Obama’s presidency. Their success or failure could determine whether the GOP can take back the White House in 2016.

McConnell, 72, is taciturn and rarely cracks a smile. “Why don’t you get a life?” he joked to photographers trying to snap photos of him after he was unanimously chosen by his Senate GOP colleagues Thursday to serve as the new majority leader starting in January.

The article blathers on here, if you’ve the stomach to read it.

***

For some good news, Sullivan has been declared the winner in the Alaska Senate race. Begich continues to wallow in his fantasy and has not, as far as I know, conceded the race. No class. A common fault of democrats.

Sullivan brings up the number of GOP Senators to 53. The last race still to be determined is Cassidy vs. Landrieu in Louisiana. Landrieu is pushing the Keystone Pipeline bill in an attempt to gain votes but it doesn’t appears to have helped.

  • Poll commissioned by GOP candidate’s campaign shows massive advantage leading up to Dec. 6 runoff 
  • Win by GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy would bring total Republican pickup to a whopping 10 seats
  • Landrieu is hoping a long-awaited vote on the Keystone XL pipeline will improve her fortunes
  • Poll was leaked in Washington to send a message to energy lobbyists who think she can prevail
  • Survey is an ‘automated’ phone poll that Landrieu’s campaign considers less credible than traditional surveys conducted by voice
  • ‘Her campaign is running on fumes,’ the pollster told MailOnline 

Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is trailing her Republican challenger by a giant 16-point margin in a runoff for one of Louisiana’s two U.S. Senate seats, according to poll results obtained by MailOnline.

The survey, commissioned by GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy’s campaign, was leaked to media in order to fire a shot over the senator’s bow and send a signal to energy lobbyists that her ship is taking on water.

It suggests that Democrats’ worst fears have been realized even though Landrieu edged Cassidy by 1 percentage point on Election Day.

A second Republican candidate, Rob Maness, won 14 per cent of the vote on Nov. 4, enough to deny them both the 50-percent showing required to avoid a December 6 runoff. 

Now Maness has endorsed Cassidy, helping him erase his 1-point deficit with Landrieu and adding far more.

Cassidy is ‘trying to shut K Street down for Mary’ by selectively releasing the polling data, a source close to his campaign in Louisiana told MailOnline.

‘The energy folks, the lobbyists, keep trying to say she has a chance to win. That’s why it was leaked.’

Landrieu has lined up for what Republican Capitol Hill aides are calling the ‘Hail Mary XL,’ a legislative strategy to save her Senate seat by winning a vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 700,000 barrels of oil daily from the Canadian province of Alberta to the Gulf coast.

From the information I’ve been able to gather, Landrieu is toast. Cassidy will bring the total number of GOP Senators to 54. It would be nice if McConnell would use that number as leverage dealing with Obama and the democrats but my expectation for that is…nil.

One question I have…why do we see these breaking news stories in the UK Daily Mail instead of a US news outlet? Our country is in sad shape when we have to use foreign sources for news here in the US.

***

I wrote yesterday about the push to expand Missouri’s medicaid using the three-year funding promised as part of Obamacare. What the advocates for that expansion don’t bother to tell you is that the state would be responsible for the added ocsts after that third year. Why is Jackson County and Truman Medical Centers in such dire straits? Increased cost of medical care compounded by the cost of complying with federal regulations.

Those increased cost are having another negative medical impact—rural hospitals.

Rural hospitals in critical condition

Rural hospitals serve many of society’s most vulnerable.

Jayne O’Donnell and Laura Ungar, USA TODAY

RICHLAND, Ga. — Stewart-Webster Hospital had only 25 beds when it still treated patients. The rural hospital served this small town of 1,400 residents and those in the surrounding farms and crossroads for more than six decades.

But since the hospital closed in the spring of last year, many of those in need have to travel up to 40 miles to other hospitals. That’s roughly the same distance it takes to get from Times Square to Greenwich, Conn., or from the White House to Baltimore, or from downtown San Francisco to San Jose.

Those trips would be unthinkable for city residents, but it’s becoming a common way of life for many rural residents in this state, and across the nation.

Since the beginning of 2010, 43 rural hospitals — with a total of more than 1,500 beds — have closed, according to data from the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. The pace of closures has quickened: from 3 in 2010 to 13 in 2013, and 12 already this year. Georgia alone has lost five rural hospitals since 2012, and at least six more are teetering on the brink of collapse. Each of the state’s closed hospitals served about 10,000 people — a lot for remaining area hospitals to absorb.

The Affordable Care Act was designed to improve access to health care for all Americans and will give them another chance at getting health insurance during open enrollment starting this Saturday. But critics say the ACA is also accelerating the demise of rural outposts that cater to many of society’s most vulnerable. These hospitals treat some of the sickest and poorest patients — those least aware of how to stay healthy. Hospital officials contend that the law’s penalties for having to re-admit patients soon after they’re released are impossible to avoid and create a crushing burden.

“The stand-alone, community hospital is going the way of the dinosaur,” says Angela Mattie, chairwoman of the health care management and organizational leadership department at Connecticut’s Quinnipiac University, known for its public opinion surveys on issues including public health.

The closings threaten to decimate a network of rural hospitals the federal government first established beginning in the late 1940s to ensure that no one would be without health care. It was a theme that resonated during the push for the new health law. But rural hospital officials and others say that federal regulators — along with state governments — are now starving the hospitals they created with policies and reimbursement rates that make it nearly impossible for them to stay afloat.

Low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements hurt these hospitals more than others because it’s how most of their patients are insured, if they are at all. Here in Stewart County, it’s a problem that expanding Medicaid to all of the poorest patients -– which the ACA intended but 23 states including Georgia have not done, according to the federal government — would help, but wouldn’t solve.

“They set the whole rural system up for failure,” says Jimmy Lewis, CEO of Hometown Health, an association representing rural hospitals in Georgia and Alabama, believed to be the next state facing mass closures. “Through entitlements and a mandate to provide service without regard to condition, they got us to (the highest reimbursements), and now they’re pulling the rug out from under us.”

For many rural hospitals, partnering with big health systems is the only hope for survival. Some have resorted to begging large hospitals for mergers or at least money to help them pay their bills. But Douglas Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, said these days, “I’m not sure they can get anyone to answer the phone when they call.”

The article continues at the website. Obamacare does not just increase the cost of an individual’s medical care, it also reduces the reimbursement of those services to hospitals and physicians. In the end, we all suffer. The institutions with tighter cash flows are hit first and worse.

Crunch…crunch

In many areas of the country, it’s hunting season. I saw a notice warning hunters to prepare for severe cold when hunting deer this coming weekend. The progressives are still waiting for global warming to appear. The rest of us look at the sunspot cycle and, seeing little to no activity, know that solar heating will be less. That means a cold winter…and snow. The Kansas City area may receive up to four inches of snow this coming weekend.

When I was growing up on the farm, we didn’t have long term weather forecast. Our long-term weather prognostications came from the Farmer’s Almanac. I don’t remember how accurate the Almanac was. Dad’s only interest was when to start planting in the Spring.

We looked for our first snow, or sleet, or some form of frozen precipitation, around Halloween. I remember numerous times when plans to go Trick ‘r Treating went awry because of snow and/or sleet. Starting with November, I seem to remember one snowfall after another until March and occasionally in April. One of my least favorable memories was Easter Sunrise services, outside, while it snowed. The point to my ramblings to this point was that hunting in the snow, was the norm for the 1950s and early 1960s.

Our farm was in three segments. The original part, around the house and barns, was about 30 acres that included a one-acre apple orchard and a three acre woodlot along the backside of our acreage. The other two segments were leased. One was a large fifteen acre field a half mile away from the home patch, but within walking distance. The third portion was a bit over a mile away bordering the wooded Big Muddy river bottom. With the leases came exclusive hunting rights.

During the Fall through the Spring, we ate a lot of wild game. Dad had at least a number of rabbit traps scattered around and one of my duties, when I got home from school, was to check the traps…regardless of the weather.

I didn’t mind that little chore. I liked walking around outside, as long as it wasn’t raining. Usually, the temp when I got home hovered around the freezing mark. There may have been a little thawing during the day, but in the late afternoon, whatever had thawed was refreezing. When I took a step, it was always accompanied by a ‘crunch’, the crushing sound of stepping on ice and snow.

Frequently, whatever I retrieved from the traps was what we ate for supper, that day or the next. With six traps scattered around the farm, it was an unusual day when I didn’t find one trap, or two, sometimes three, occupied.

Dad’s traps were hand-made from scrap 1X4s. They were about 2 1/2′ to 3′ long, 7″ on a side with one end plugged and a falling trap-door on the other. Towards the plugged end was the bait, usually some vegetable (carrot) or dried fruit on a stick that ran up through the top of the trap. The stick was attached to the trap-door release by a piece of string or cord. When a rabbit entered the trap and nibbled the bait, the movement of the stick caused the trap-door to fall. Simple.

When I got home, I would change clothes into some old jeans, plus a sweater, lace-up boots, coat with a hood and gloves. I would take my single-shot Stevens .22 rifle along in case the trap contained something other than a rabbit or squirrel.

I usually got home from school by 3:30pm and was outside heading for the traps by 3:45pm. Dad worked in the mines and would be home by 4:30pm, Mom, teaching school in another small town, would get home around 5:00PM. Grandma lived with us at the time and she was fixing supper and often was waiting for me to bring home the entree.

Crunch…crunch…crunch. I don’t remember being cold outside. My face would sting a bit when the wind picked up. My nose, too. My eyes would water when I walked into the wind but I loved being outside.

When I neared a trap, I could easily see if it had been sprung. If it was, the trap-door would be down. It the trap-door was still up, I still had to check to see if the bait was still there. Sometimes, if the bait wasn’t firmly attached to the stick trigger, the animal could get the bait and back out of the trap without causing the trap-door to drop.

If the trap was sprung, my chore could get interesting. How? Well, you see, I never knew what was inside the trap. Dad’s later traps used a heavy wire door on a hinge. In those traps, I could see what was inside. But his more common trap had a wooden door and that was what made the chore…interesting.

The conundrum was that the trap had to be big enough to allow the game to enter, but small enough to keep predators out. The problem was that a trap big enough for a large rabbit, was also big enough to trap a ‘possum, raccoon, or a skunk.

I had some heavy leather gloves that I used to extricate the game. If it was a rabbit, I’d grip the rear legs in one hand, the head carefully, rabbits can bite, in the other, a quick twist and into the bag with it. I’d do the same if the trap contained a squirrel.

But, if it didn’t? Ah, that was the interesting part. In our area, it wasn’t uncommon for a predator to find the trap with a rabbit, or whatever inside, and think it was going to be an easy meal. It was not unusual to check a trap and find it empty but with the remains of a rabbit or whatever scattered around the trap amid many tufts of fur. Some raccoon found it easy to lift the heavy wire door and get at the rabbit inside. Sometimes that lead to the ‘coon being trapped with the remains of a rabbit or squirrel.

More than once, I’d receive an order from Grandma to bring back a raccoon if I found one. Grandma had a recipe for BBQ’d ‘coon that was very good. A bit stringy, perhaps. Stewed, a raccoon was indistinguishable from a strewed rabbit or squirrel.

If the trap contained a ‘possum, I’d just open the door, kick the trap a few times and let the ‘possum escape. I’d do the same if it contained a skunk. The difference with the skunk was that I’d step further back and have my rifle ready in case the skunk decided to do some retribution for being trapped. In that case, I’d have a skunk-hide drying on the barn-door the next day.

On rare occasion I’d find something else in the trap. Feral cats weren’t too unusual. I’d let them go like I did with the ‘possums. On one occasion, I found the frozen carcass of the neighbor’s dog inside a trap. I don’t remember if anyone told him what happened to his dog.

Dad used to trap the year-around. That is until he found a bull snake inside a trap with a squirrel half-way down its throat. He stopped trapping after early Spring after that.

One winter, on a weekend, I think, I was checking the traps on the land down near the river bottom. The trap was one of Dad’s older ones, all made of wood. It had snowed overnight and when I approached the trap, the area around it was covered with blood and bits of fur. The trap was completely torn apart. The fur lead me to believe the trap had contained a raccoon. The tracks around the trap looked like those I’d see from time to time, a bear. A small bear, likely a black bear that had traveled up from the Illinois Ozarks fifty to sixty miles south of us. Dad and I had seen bears tracks but few, other than our neighbors, believed us. The county conservation agent didn’t. Regardless, whatever had torn the trap apart was bigger than a raccoon or a wild cat. Dad’s traps were build strong.

When I heard the forecast calling for snow this weekend, and that it was hunting season, I thought of the farm. I remembered walking through the brush and fields of the farm, the crunch that accompanied me as I walked along on the frozen ground, the snow and utter stillness of the land, silence everywhere except for the wind and me.

I don’t care for the cold anymore. Cold makes me ache but the memories of being outside, face stinging, eyes watering, walking along the fence-line to the next trap, keeps me warm.

Crunch…crunch…crunch…

A new push for Obamacare in Missouri

The new push is medicaid expansion, a part of Obamacare. Missouri has been successful pushing back on this part of Obamacare but that hasn’t deterred the big-city progressives. Their newest tactic is to hire a former ‘Pub state senator, Charlie Shields, to be their front-man in their continued search for more money.

In Kansas City, the issue is the failing Truman medical system, two publicly funded hospitals with a track record of failure. Jackson County hopes their new man will succeed when their democrat puppet didn’t.

Hospital CEO Contends With Medicaid Conundrum

Former Lawmaker Needs to Prod Legislature Into Expanding Federal-State Health Plan or Face Losses

By Anna Wilde Mathews,

Repost: A Remembrance on Armistice Day

Before November 11th was known as Veteran’s Day, it was known as Armistice Day, the day World War ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. We remember our veterans this day, those few from World War II, those from Korea, Viet Nam, Grenada, Panama, Gulf Wars I and II, Afghanistan and all the little ones that many have never heard of that took lives of our military.

We remember those who are gone, those who were injured, baring wounds, scars and lost limbs…and those wounded who exhibit no scars. Here is a story about one just veteran of World War I, my distant cousin, Heinie Mueller. (I’ve posted the story of Heinie Mueller in past years, usually for Thanksgiving. This year, posting his story on Armistice Day seems more fitting.)

Heinie (Henry) Mueller http://www.wegowild.com/ReinkeWWI.jpgwas Grandmother’s nephew. He served in the US Army during WW1 though most of the battles on the front lines. He was gassed twice, received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star plus some French medals.

Heinie was a character. He walked with a slight limp and cussed every third word. He didn’t care who he was with nor who heard him. If somebody didn’t like his language, it was just too bad. Usually, Heinie would send them on their way with a few choice words and phrases.

After the war, he married a lady named Irene and moved to Woodriver, IL. When I was small, they would drive down to visit us every few months—more often after we moved to the farm. Heinie liked to hunt squirrels, rabbits, and geese and he would frequently appear during hunting season. He, Dad and I would go hunting while the women-folk visited.

I don’t remember Heinie ever shooting much. He seemed to just like getting outdoors and walking in the woods. When we flushed some game, he would more than likely let Dad or me have the shot.

One year, Heinie and Irene came down for Thanksgiving. They arrived on Wednesday and Irene brought makings for oyster dressing. She and Grandma would fix Thanksgiving dinner the next day while Mom went to pick up my sister who was attending college. Heine, Dad and I planned to get up early Thanksgiving morning and go goose hunting.

We left the house early Thanksgiving morning, about an hour before sunup, and drove down to the Muddy River bottoms where Dad share-cropped corn on a ten-acre field. Dad built some hunting blinds along the edge of the field when Heinie called to tell us he and Irene were coming.

The hunting blinds were set up along a tree line with an open view across the corn field. The field had been picked late in the season and there was a lot of corn spillage to attract geese and an occasional deer.

It was cold. Ice had formed on the surface of the field and crunched as we walked across it towards the blind. It had been built out of salvaged two-by-fours and rusted scrap sheet-metal for the roof with a covering of corn stalks for camouflage. Across the front was a tarp that would be dropped to allow us to step forward to shoot.

For whatever reason, the wind, or low hanging gray clouds or just general cussedness, the geese didn’t appear that day. Heinie had brought a hip-flask and would take a nip every so often. Dad was a Baptist and didn’t drink, but Heinie didn’t care.

By 11 o’clock, we decided that we’d give up hunting for the day. Dad started a fire to make some coffee and to fix a quick lunch hoping to sober Heinie up a bit before we went back to the house.

Heinie had been nipping steadily since we arrived and was feeling good. While the coffee was perking in an old coffepot, Heinie started talking about when he was in the Army. He had joined the US Cavalry in 1912 at the age of 17 and had gone down into Mexico with Black Jack Pershing after Pancho Villa.

After a bit, he talked about going to France to fight the Germans. Heinie was a Corporal by that time and had transferred from the Cavalry to the Infantry. After Mexico, he said, he didn’t want to ride or see another horse for the rest of his life.

Heinie was promoted to Sargent on arriving in France and took over a rifle platoon. He fought in a few battles and managed to survive with only some minor wounds. He was lightly gassed with chlorine a couple of times when his British-made gas mask leaked.

After we had finished our coffee and the fried egg and bacon sandwiches Dad had warmed over the fire, Heinie was silent for awhile. Then he began to talk about the ‘big fight’, the Second Battle of the Marne and tears started flowing.

Heinie had been in charge of a rifle squad when they had left the US, first as a Corporal and then as a Sargent. Not long after arriving in France, he was made a Platoon Sargent and Company interpreter. Heinie had known many of the men in the platoon for several years, some from the excursion into Mexico.

Heinie’s grandparents had immigrated from Hesse, German in the early 1880s. They spoke both German and French. Heinie, born in Illinois, didn’t speak English until he entered school and retained a slight German accent the rest of his life.

Heinie’s company was in the front line trenches and preparing for battle. The Battle of the Marne had been going on for some time and the allies were preparing counter-attacks. An hour before the company was scheduled to attack, Heinie was sent back to the battalion headquarters. It had been decided that all interpreters would be held back and would not attack with their troops because they would be needed to help translate for all the prisoners that would be captured—so they assumed.

Heinie paused several times to blow his nose and wipe his eyes before continuing. The whistles blew and the troops attacked. After several hours, survivors began filtering back through the battalion headquarters area. It was later determined that out of Heinie’s company, he and seven others were the only survivors. None were from Heinie’s platoon.

Later, Dad told me that every year Heinie would get a bit liquored up and start talking and remembering. One of my uncles, Dad’s older brother, joined the Army just before WW1 but had spent the war in the Cavalry patrolling the Mexican border out of El Paso. Usually Dad wasn’t too tolerant of drunkenness but Heinie was different. Dad said it was a small thing to give Heinie an audience. It quieted his ghosts.

Heinie is long gone now. But every Armistice Day and Thanksgiving, I remember him.

Happy Birthday, U. S. Marines

This is a repost from last year.  Happy Birthday, US Marines!

The Marine Corps was created on November 10, 1775, in Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by a resolution of the Continental Congress. In 1834 the marines became part of the Department of the Navy.

The globe and anchor signify worldwide service and sea traditions. The spread eagle represents the nation itself. The motto, Semper Fidelis, or Always Faithful, is clenched in the beak of the bird.

To all you current, inactive and retired Marines,

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mathew 25-21.

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