Saturday, August 22, 2009

Victory over Japan Day
2 September 1945 - 64 years ago

Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or V-P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event. The term has been applied to both the day on which the initial announcement of Japan's surrender was made in the afternoon of August 15, 1945 in Japan and to August 14, 1945 where it is observed as V-J Day in the United States when it was announced because of time zone differences in the Western Europe, the Americas, the Pacific Islands, and Australia and to September 2, 1945 when the formal signing of the surrender was made. The name V-J Day had been selected by the Allies after they named V-E Day for the victory in Europe.

A formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, Japan aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945. In Japan, the day usually is known as Shuusen-kinenbi, which literally means the "memorial day for the end of the war"; the official name for the day is however "the day for mourning of war dead and praying for peace". This official name was adopted in 1982 by an ordinance issued by the Japanese government.
The day is commemorated as Liberation Day in Korea and some other nations.

A little after noon Japan standard time on August 15, 1945, Emperor Hirohito's announcement of Japan's acceptance of the terms of the Potsdam Declaration was broadcast to the Japanese people over the radio. Earlier the same day, the Japanese government had broadcast an announcement over Radio Tokyo that "acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation [would be] coming soon," and had advised the Allies of the surrender by sending a cable to U.S. President Harry S Truman via the Swiss diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. On August 15 and 16 some Japanese soldiers, devastated by the surrender, committed suicide; over 100 American prisoners of war were also executed. In addition, many Australian and British prisoners of war were executed in Borneo, at both Ranau and Sandakan, by the Imperial Japanese Army.

Since the European Axis Powers had surrendered three months earlier (V-E Day), V-J Day would be the official end of World War II.

In his announcement of Japan's surrender on August 14, President Truman said that "the proclamation of V-J Day must wait upon the formal signing of the surrender terms by Japan". The formal Japanese signing of the surrender terms took place on board the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, and at that time Truman declared September 2 to be the official V-J Day.

In Australia and most other allied nations, the name V-P Day was used from the outset. The Canberra Times of August 14, 1945 refers to VP Day celebrations, and a public holiday for VP Day was gazetted by the government in that year according to the Australian War Memorial.

Surrender of Japan
March 18-June 23, 1945: Battle of Okinawa. 85,000+ US military casualties and losses, and 140,000+ to Japanese. Approximately one-fourth of the Japanese civilian population died resisting the invasion, often in mass suicides organised by the Imperial Japanese Army.

July 26: Potsdam Declaration is issued. Truman tells Japan, "Surrender or suffer prompt and utter destruction."
July 29: Japan rejects the Potsdam Declaration.
August 2: Potsdam conference ends.
August 6: An atomic bomb, "Little Boy" is dropped on Hiroshima.
August 8: USSR declares war on Japan, operation of August Storm
August 9: Another atomic bomb, "Fat Man" is dropped on Nagasaki.
August 15: Japan surrenders. Date is remembered as "V-J Day" or "V-P Day" and described as such in newspapers in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. That evening, General Frank Merrill announced, today is "B Day," the day on which peace talks would begin and occupation operations would be initiated.
September 2: Official surrender ceremony; President Truman declares September 2 officially "V-J Day".

November 1: Scheduled commencement of Operation Olympic, the allied invasion of Kyushu.
March 1, 1946: Scheduled commencement of Operation Coronet, the allied invasion of Honshu.

September 3 is recognized as V-J Day in the People's Republic of China. As the final official surrender of Japan was accepted aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, the Kuomintang (KMT) government, which represented China on the Missouri, announced the three-day holidays to celebrate V-J Day, starting September 3. There are still "September 3" streets (in simplified Chinese: 九三街) and primary schools (in simplified Chinese: 九三小学) in almost every major city in China.

V-J Day is celebrated as "Liberation Day" in both of the Koreas since part of Japan's unconditional surrender included ending its rule over Korea.

United States
V-J Day is recognized as an official holiday only in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The holiday's official name is "Victory Day", and it is observed on the second Monday of August. There have been several attempts in the 1980s and 1990s to eliminate or rename the holiday on the grounds that it is discriminatory. While those all failed, the state legislature did pass a resolution in 1990 "stating that Victory Day is not a day to express satisfaction in the destruction and death caused by nuclear bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Marines' Hymn

The "Marines' Hymn" is the official hymn of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest official song in the United States military. The "Marines' Hymn" is typically sung at the position of attention as a gesture of respect. However, the third verse is also used as a toast during formal events, such as the birthday ball and other ceremonies.

Some of the lyrics were popular phrases before the song was written. The line "To the shores of Tripoli" refer to the First Barbary War, and specifically the Battle of Derne in 1805. After Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and his Marines hoisted the American flag over the Old World for the first time, the phrase was added to the battle colors of the Corps. "The Halls of Montezuma" refers to the Battle of Chapultepec, during the Mexican-American War, where a force of Marines stormed Chapultepec Castle.

While the words date from the 19th century, the author of the song itself is unknown. Anecdotal evidence supposes it was penned by a Marine on duty in Mexico. The unknown author transposed the phrases in the motto on the Colors so that the first two lines of the Hymn would read: "From the Halls of Montezuma, to the Shores of Tripoli," favoring euphony over chronology.

The music is from the Gendarmes' Duet from the opera Geneviиve de Brabant by Jacques Offenbach, which debuted in Paris in 1859. Correspondence between Colonel Albert S. McLemore and Walter F. Smith (the second leader of the Marine Band) traces the tune:

“Major Richard Wallach, USMC, says that in 1878, when he was in Paris, France, the aria to which the Marines' Hymn is now sung was a very popular one.”

The name of the opera and a part of the chorus was secured from Major Wallach and forwarded to Mr. Smith, who replied:

"Major Wallach is to be congratulated upon a wonderfully accurate musical memory, for the aria of the Marine Hymn is certainly to be found in the opera, 'Genevieve de Brabant'... The melody is not in the exact form of the Marine Hymn, but is undoubtedly the aria from which it was taken. I am informed, however, by one of the members of the band, who has a Spanish wife, that the aria was one familiar to her childhood and it may, therefore, be a Spanish folk song.”

John Philip Sousa once wrote:
“The melody of the 'Halls of Montezuma' is taken from Offenbach's comic opera, 'Genevieve de Brabant' and is sung by two gendarmes.”

The Marine Corps secured a copyright on the song on 19 August 1891, but has since expired and is now in the public domain. In 1929, the Commandant of the Marine Corps authorized the three verses of the Marines' Hymn as the official version, but changed the third and fourth lines:

Pre-1929 version
Authorized change
Admiration of the nation,we're the finest ever seen;And we glory in the titleOf United States Marines.

First to fight for right and freedomAnd to keep our honor clean; We are proud to claim the title Of United States Marine.

This older version can be heard in the 1950 film Halls of Montezuma. On 21 November 1942, Commandant Thomas Holcomb approved a change in the words of the first verse's fourth line from "On the land as on the sea" to "In the air, on land, and sea" to reflect the addition of aviation to the Corp's arsenal.

Marines' Hymn
Instrumental sample of a single verse of the Marines' hymn played by the President's Own Marine Band.

From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;
First to fight for right and freedom
And to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurled to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun;
In the snow of far-off Northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes;
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve;
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven’s scenes;
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Extra verses
Various people over the years wrote unofficial or semi-unofficial extra verses to commemorate later battles and actions, for example, this verse commemorating the occuption of Iceland during World War II:

Again in 1941, we sailed a north'ard course
and found beneath the midnight sun, the Viking and the Norse.
The Iceland girls were slim and fair, and fair the Iceland scenes,
and the Army found in landing there, the United States Marines.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Photo of General Andrew Jackson, U.S. Army
Don Tristan de Luna is no hero
The incompetent characters who control the Pensacola News Journal, Kevin T. Doyle, President and Publisher - Richard A. Schneider, Executive Editor - - Carl Wernicke, Opinion Page Editor - have been writing for weeks about Don Tristan de Luna, and his crew from Spain coming ashore in Pensacola 450 years ago. They have missed the boat.

According to history de Luna did arrive to what is now known as Pensacola in 1559, but they did more harm than good. After the hurricane paid them a visit, most of their ships and supplies went to the bottom of Pensacola Bay. What did they do? They ate the food from the native Indians, they raped their women and gave many Indians (VD) venereal disease. After they did that, they left. These intruders were no heroes.

Pensacola was blessed with a true hero in US Army General Andrew Jackson about 260 years later. We should be celebration Andrew Jackson arrival in Pensacola in 1818 rather than Don Tristan de Luna's disaster. This is part of the history of the man who became commander in chief of the American armed forces and President of the United States.

Andrew Jackson was given a major generalship in the U.S. Army and put in charge of the Gulf Coast region. He seized Spanish Pensacola in the fall of 1814 and then marched to New Orleans to counter a British invasion. After a series of largely successful preliminary engagements, on 8 January 1815 he and his troops won the main Battle of New Orleans, one of the severest defeats ever suffered by a British army. Jackson emerged a national hero.

Retaining his major generalship after the war, Jackson in 1818 pursued Indians into Spanish Florida and again occupied Pensacola. The Monroe administration reluctantly supported him, using the conquest to force Spain to sell the Floridas to the United States. Jackson resigned his commission in 1821. Except while acting as commander in chief during his presidency, he never held another command.

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) was an American military hero who twice captured Pensacola, then capital of Spanish West Florida, during military campaigns - first in 1814 (part of the War of 1812) and again in 1818 (part of the Seminole Wars), after which he established an American provisional government in the city. He returned to Pensacola in 1821 to oversee the transfer of Florida to the United States and serve as the new territory's first governor. He made Pensacola his capital, and he named many streets.

Jackson's military accomplishments made him a popular figure, and he was elected in 1828 as the seventh President of the United States and served two terms in office, from 1829 to 1837.

Early life & career
Andrew Jackson was born to Presbyterian Scots-Irish immigrants Andrew and Elizabeth Jackson on March 15, 1767, approximately two years after they had emigrated from Northern Ireland. The youngest of the Jacksons' three sons, Andrew was born in the Wikipedia:Waxhaws area (near the border between North and South Carolina) three weeks after his father's death. He received a sporadic education in the local "old-field" school.

During the American Revolution, Andrew and his brother Robert Jackson were captured by the British and held as prisoners of war; they nearly starved to death in captivity. When Andrew refused to clean the boots of a British officer, the irate redcoat slashed at him with a sword, giving him scars on his left hand and head, as well as an intense hatred for the British. While imprisoned, the brothers contracted smallpox. Robert died a few days after their mother secured their release. Jackson's entire immediate family died from war-related hardships which Jackson blamed on the British, and he was orphaned by age 14.

From 1781, Jackson worked for a time in a saddle-maker's shop then taught school and studied law in Salisbury. In 1787, he was admitted to the bar, and moved to Jonesboro, in what was then the Western District of North Carolina and later became Tennessee.

Though his legal education was scanty, Jackson knew enough to practice law on the frontier. Most of the actions grew out of disputed land-claims, or from assaults and battery. In 1788, he was appointed Solicitor of the Western District and held the same position in the territorial government of Tennessee after 1791.

In 1796, Jackson was a delegate to the Tennessee constitutional convention. When Tennessee achieved statehood that same year, Jackson was elected its congressman. In 1797 he was elected U.S. Senator as a Democratic-Republican. He resigned within a year. In 1798, he was appointed a judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court, serving until 1804.

Besides his legal and political career, Jackson prospered as a planter and merchant. In 1803 he owned a lot, and built a home and the first general store in Gallatin. In 1804, he acquired the "Hermitage", a 640-acre plantation in Sumner County, near Nashville. Jackson later added 360 acres to the farm. The primary crop was cotton, grown by enslaved workers. Jackson started with nine slaves, by 1820 he held as many as 44, and later held up to 150 slaves.

Military campaigns
War of 1812 & Creek War
Jackson was appointed commander of the Tennessee militia in 1801, with the rank of colonel. During the War of 1812, Tecumseh incited the "Red Stick" Creek Indians of northern Alabama and Georgia to attack white settlements. Four hundred settlers were killed in the Fort Mims Massacre on August 30, 1813. In the resulting Creek War, Jackson commanded the American forces, which included Tennessee militia, U.S. regulars, and Cherokee, Choctaw, and Southern Creek Indians.

Jackson defeated the Red Stick Creeks at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend on March 27, 1814. Eight hundred "Red Sticks" were killed, but Jackson spared chief William Weatherford. After the victory, Jackson imposed the Treaty of Fort Jackson upon both the Northern Creek enemies and the Southern Creek allies, wresting twenty million acres from all Creeks for white settlement. Jackson was appointed Major General after this action.

Knowing that British forces were using Spanish West Florida as a staging ground for their attacks, Jackson established a force at Mobile in August 1814 in preparation to march on Pensacola. They arrived at the city on November 6 and initiated communication with the Spanish governor, Mateo Gonz?les Manrique. The first messenger Jackson sent, Major Henri Peire, was fired upon by the garrison at Fort San Miguel despite Peire's white flag of truce. Next Jackson sent a Spanish prisoner to the fort bearing the same demand to surrender, insisting he was not making war on Spain, but Manrique refused. As Jackson's forces advanced upon the city the next morning, Manrique surrendered within minutes - though the commanders stalled for several hours in vain hope of British reinforcement. Before Jackson could move on the remaining British forces at Fort San Carlos de Barrancas, they organized a hasty retreat on November 8, blowing up the harbor defenses as they evacuated.

Jackson's actions at Pensacola were precarious for American diplomacy, and Secretary of State James Monroe wrote with instructions to "withdraw your troops from the Spanish Territory, declaring that you had entered it for the sole purpose of freeing it from the British violation." Even before receiving this correspondence, Jackson had returned the city to Manrique's control on November 9, saying that the "enemy having disappeared and the hostile creeks fled to the Forest, I retire from your Town, and leave you again at liberty to occupy your Fort."

Jackson returned to Mobile on November 19, and thence to New Orleans. In the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, Jackson's 5,000 soldiers won a victory over 7,500 British. At the end of the day, the British had 2,037 casualties: 291 dead (including three senior generals), 1,262 wounded, and 484 captured or missing. The Americans had 71 casualties: 13 dead, 39 wounded, and 19 missing. The war, and especially this victory, made Jackson a national hero.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My First Amendment
(freedom of Speech)

Even though I will celebrate my 83rd birthday this August, it has not been a good month for me.

Over the years it has been my pleasure to see my opinions published in our daily newspaper – Pensacola News Journal, a Gannett owned newspaper. This month, my words of wisdom will not be there.

I was informed by Carl Wernicke, Opinion Editor, that my letter to the editor was too self-indulgent, and too long for the 200-word limit policy. The extra words could have been edited out. Please read my letter below.

Much, if not all, that I have written in the past has been about issues of politicians mismanaging our government. I have mentioned that I served in the United States Marine Corps, but they were aware of that because I attack the subjects like a Marine.

The Pensacola News Journal enjoys a circulation of about 60,000. It’s delivered to subscribers living in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. In most months, I get two or three readers that disagree with my opinion. I encourage that because it is healthy. However, a few of the lowlife Republicans attack my personal character. I never respond to them even though many of them are not aware that I earned my freedom of speech the old fashion way – by fighting on the battlefield defending the US Constitution.

This letter that Mr. Wernicke rejected was written by me with a request of publication in the month of my 83rd birthday. None of us live forever and I wanted to tell my life story before it’s published in the Death Page of this newspaper. And besides, the person who writes it might not get it right. This is my story, and I will stick with it until I die.

It must be said that newspapers are not obligated to post opinions from the subscribers, the people who buy ads to make them rich. However, all good newspapers welcome letters of opinions from the readers.

I would not say that the Pensacola News Journal is a good newspaper, but it is the only daily newspaper in the greater Pensacola. I have always said; “The only thing I do not like in Pensacola is the News Journal.”

I am thankful that I have a Web site. It is mine just like my home. You may visit it, but you can’t change it. I am the President, Publisher, writer, and Editor.

These are the three people who run the Pensacola News Journal:
Kevin T. Doyle, President and Publisher (
Richard A. Schneider, Executive Editor (
Carl Warnicke, Opinion Page Editor (

This was my letter that was denied:

Let me tell you a story – “Once upon a time…”
I have expressed my opinions many times through our local newspapers and it was always based on the truth as I understood it to be. For those who care to know; pull up a chair, and I will tell you my story.

Once upon a time a baby boy, Noah, was born in the hills of Tennessee. Calvin Coolidge was president then. Noah survived the Great Depression and was just 16 at the beginning of World War II. Since he lived in the great state of Tennessee, proudly known as the “volunteer state”, Noah declared himself a man, left school and joined the United States Marine Corps. At age 17, this young man was in the infantry and on the battlefield fighting the Japanese as a member of the First Marine Division. See results:

His three older brothers also joined the military – one in each of the other branches of the armed forces. Each of them fought in combat, and with the help of God, they all survived. Noah also fought the Communist North Koreans and Chinese in the Korean War. In the early 1960s, he retired from the Corps.

I, Noah, am proud to be an American, a retired United States Marine, and a member of the Greatest Generation. I am also proud of the characters that disagree with my words of wisdom and repeat my opinions published last month. I have earned the right to freedom of speech by defending our cherished US Constitution. So, this is my story and I will stick with it.

Remember; “He who angers you, controls you.” “Let’s roll.”

Gulf Breeze