We will remember them.

November 8, 2010

One of many cemeteries in Europe where Canada's war dead lie.

I will be leaving this up all week as a reminder of the cost of suppressing tyranny and keeping the peace.

No one likes war, but sometimes it is necessary to kick the bullies out of the schoolyard. Hitler, Tojo, Mussolini, the Kaiser, and other despots had no respect for peace, human rights, and international law.

May we never forget the young men and women who gave their service and their lives for our country,

They shall not grow old
as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
we will remember them.


D-Day: Turning point of WW II

June 7, 2010

A vet remembers. Photo- Matt Cardy-Getty Images

66 years later a vet visits the graves of his buddies in Normandy. The fact these veterans still fondly remember their friends so vividly all these years later illustrates the bond they had for each other.

They did not die in vain. Hitler and the Nazis were defeated. Germany is now democratic, and the world is a better place for it. These vets did what had to be done. They faced fear, manned up, and did the job. I thank them and remember them.

Fifty Years On – One Boomer’s Perspective

March 2, 2010

As a child in the 1950’s I often thought what life would be like fifty years on, especially when the new century started in the year 2000. It seemed so far away. Fifty years seemed a lifetime to a boy of ten. I am over sixty now and I wonder where the years went.

Age was always in the discussion. Why I’d be over fifty in the year 2000. Likely I would be married with children and working to support the family. What I’d be doing or where I’d be living, I had no idea; after all I was only ten years of age.

Some magazines of the time thought everyone would be riding in space cars and robots would be in every home. That sounded kind of neat. Many thought people would be working less and less, perhaps only a few days a week. Experts predicted more leisure time. Earlier retirement seemed a given based on predictions of experts.

The year 2000 is now past. We are ten years into the 21st century. Space cars don’t exist. The cars we drive have computers on-board controlling all the anti-pollution devices. They have global positioning systems (GPS) to help us find the mall. Some have video cameras on the rear to stop the driver from running over Suzie’s bicycle. Almost all have exotic sound systems to bombard us with favorite tunes as we speed down the highways and by-ways. Automobiles still do not have auto-pilot like airplanes. The driver still has to stay alert and awake.

Robots are not commonplace in our homes. The only one I know of is the vacuum that cleans floors by itself. It scoots around by-itself. Builders are wiring homes, so the owners can remotely control appliances and the furnace to cite two examples.

They are common in manufacturing plants. Robots even build cars in the new century.

In the working-world people work longer hours each day and more hours per week. People delay retirement longer and longer in this century. It seems many of us are fated to die at our desks.

There are so many “baby boomers” approaching old age and retirement that medical systems and pension plans are beginning to stress out. “Baby boomers” or “boomers” are the generation of children born post-Second World War, in the late 1940’s and the 1950’s. We make up the largest segment of the population. The boomers toiled all our working lives, paid taxes, and contributed to pension plans, but now governments deem us a liability. It is not fair. Society should have planned for this day.

The retirement of older workers will create opportunities for younger generations. On the downside knowledge will be lost with the death and retirement of the boomers. More on this issue to follow.

Glenn Miller – Another Mysterious Disappearance

February 10, 2010

On December 15, 1944 Glenn Miller took off in a light plane from England to entertain troops in France. The weather at the time was atrocious and he was told to wait, but he said the troops needed him. He disappeared somewhere over the English Channel. No trace of him or his plane have ever been found. He was only 40 years old.

Glenn Miller was arguably the greatest Big Band leader of the era. His music was the anthem of the 1940’s. Girls swooned and men cheered his band’s sound. It was like rock and roll today.

During the Second World War he and his band volunteered to travel to the war zone and entertain the troops. They also traveled all over the United States building morale and selling War Bonds.

His story was told in the 1953 movie, “The Glenn Miller Story”, starring James Stewart.

On this day in 1942 he was awarded the first ever Gold Record for selling 1.2 million copies of “Chattanooga Choo Choo”. Other great songs include, “In the Mood”, “Moonlight Serenade”, and “Pennsylvania 6-5000”.

The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in 1996 honoring him. It is shown below.

Remembrance Day 2009

November 9, 2009

ca-cem-normandyThe Canadian Cemetery near the villages of Beny-sur-Mer and Reviers, next to where the 3rd Canadian Division landed at D-Day. Over 2000 Canadian, British and French soldiers are buried here, they paid with their lives in the fight for liberty.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurenc Binyon

KEN_JAP My Uncle Ken Davis at age 20 shortly before he was killed in a flying accident during training for the war. He was only 20 years old and the youngest of five brothers.

In the photo he is with his mother Janet (my grandmother). Photo was taken late 1943 or early 1944.

Ken was 6’5″ tall and an outstanding athlete during his years in high school. He always wanted to fly. At age 19 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was granted his wish of being assigned to pilot training.

One of the many who didn’t have the privilege of growing old.

70th Anniversary of World War II

September 1, 2009

wwii_book_valor_lgToday is the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War. The worst conflict of the 20th century the effects of which changed the world we live in today. It’s been described as the last “good” war because it was clear to everyone what we were fighting for, good versus evil.

Veterans of this war are dying everyday. We are rapidly losing our direct connections to this time. My father and two of his brothers served. His youngest brother paid the ultimate price.

It’s important in my opinion not to forget those who fought and especially those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom.

I’m fascinated with the stories of those who fought. It’s amazing to me how they suffered through it and got the job done. I’m not all that interested in generals and vast battle plans. I love to read about the men on the front lines, the average soldier. That’s who won the war.

I like to recommend the following for reading,

The War by Ken Burns (companion to the PBS Series)
Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose
Citizen Soldiers by Stephen Ambrose
The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

My Name is Steve and I am a Boomer

March 6, 2008

wwii.jpgI am a baby boomer. There I’m out of the closet now. Not only that but I’m proud that I am a “boomer”. Many of you reading this will say, “What is a baby boomer?”

Well here is the simple and basic explanation. When the Second World War ended in late 1945 the soldiers, airmen, and sailors started coming home. These were people who had not seen loved ones in some cases for years. They wanted to get back to normal, start working, make love, and make babies. Hell there is no other way to put this – they were horny!

Above: famous photo of celebration at end of WW II, “The Kiss”.

The result was that starting in 1946 there was a baby boom in both Canada and the United States. It was a virtual manufacturing industry. Babies and more babies, babies everywhere. The boom continued into the early 1960s, when along came the birth control pill. This technology coincided nicely with the fact that by then most of the returnees had produced families and had jobs. Life was good, except they had to find a way to stop having more babies, or at least slow down, so that the number of mouths to feed was limited.

Today in Canada and the United States the largest segment of the population are the baby boomers. Like me most of them are now over 50 and getting ready to retire in the near future. The result will be a shortage of experience, skilled workers in the workforce. On the plus side this will provide many opportunities for younger workers, on the negative side employers will be scrambling to replace the knowledge lost.

Statistics Canada data shows that just over 15% of Canadian workers are 55 or older and close to retirement. It also shows that for the first time there are just as many workers over age 40 as under.

The other area of society impacted will be the health care system. As the boomer generation ages, their large numbers will create a major stress on health care providers.

Boomers are often criticized for wanting to retire and enjoy our golden years. Younger society is dreading the costs of health care and other services that boomers will be accessing. The cost to society will be great.

To critics I say this, the majority of boomers have worked productively for over 40 years, paid taxes, contributed to pension plans, and given in time and money to society. In my case I have been employed full-time for almost 40 years and have never collected unemployment or welfare in all those years. We boomers have earned our retirement and the health care that we will surely need.

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