Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the editor are a great way to communicate information and viewpoints to the members of your community. The Letters to the Editor section is one of the most popular parts of a newspaper because it represents the views of the average reader and gives the general public a forum to express their opinions and concerns.

Many of my letters/opinions have been published in USA Today, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but you may be out of luck if you request publication through the weekly newspaper, The Lawrence County Advocate in Lawrenceburg, Tenn. However, the quality of this so-called newspaper is nothing to write home about. It is so bad that it does not sell. It's free, and it is thrown from a moving vehicle on the property of homeowners within Lawrence County. If it is not retrieved, the papers are stacked up like fireplace cordwood. When that happens, thieves will realize that the homeowners are on vacation. It has been reported that the new Tennessee law includes newspapers in the category as litter, trash and garbage?

The new Tennessee Litter Law is designed to help reduce some of that trash.
Smaller amounts of litter will be punished by a $50 fine, while larger fines are reserved for larger amounts. Offenders can mail in the payment to the county clerk or plead not guilty and face the officer in court. If the judge finds the offender guilty, the person must pay the $50 and court costs. It is hoped that this new law will encourage more enforcement, since the fines are more appropriate for the offenses, and in most cases the officer and the offender will not have to go to court.

Anyone can write a letter to the editor as an individual, advancing essentially the same opinions and ideals. When you sit down to write your letter, keep this in mind:

* Your goal is to effectively communicate an important point to other readers.

With that in mind, here are some important tips:
1. Know Your Audience

Are you writing to a local newspaper? If so, you can touch on issues specific to your state and/or community. If you're writing to a nationally-read newspaper or news magazine, you will need to focus on issues of national importance, unless the specific article you are referring to is about a local event.
2. Make Reference to a Specific ArticleWhile some papers print general commentary, many will only print letters that refer to a specific article, opinion piece or editorial.

Keep it Brief
1. Different publications prefer different lengths, but the maximum length for most letters is 200 words — Viewpoints 500 words. The best thing to do is read the letters section of your paper before you start. This will give you an idea of how long your letter should be, and what kinds of letters your paper typically publishes. If you're still not sure about length, call your paper's letters to the editor office or visit their web site. Remember, if you send a letter that is too long, either it won't be printed, or edits will be made without your input (and you might not like them!)

2. Make it Simple
Be conversational, clear and concise. Settle on one main point and make it right away. Explain the thinking behind your point as simply as possible. If you have facts to back-up your opinion, include them. Just make sure you get your facts from a reliable source.

3. Personalize Your Message
Editors receive numerous letters every day. If you really want yours to stand out, make sure that it is not copied word-for-word from a form letter. If you have a personal story that shows how this issue affects you and/or your family, share it — briefly.

4. Be Polite
While your letter can be critical of the newspaper or author for misleading readers or omitting important facts, it should always be written in a civil tone. Papers will not publish insulting or offensive letters.

5. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
Don't forget to perform spell check on your letter. If you are not completely confident about the tone or content of your letter, have a friend read it and make suggestions. You should always read through your letter one last time for typos before sending it off.

6. Include Your Contact Information
When you send in your letter to the editor, you must include your name, address and daytime phone number. Your name is needed because anonymous letters are not as credible as those that are signed, and the large majority of newspapers will not publish them. Your address is important because papers prefer to print letters from local readers, and it lends credibility. Also, include your phone number because most newspapers will only print your letter once they have called and verified that you are, in fact, the writer.

1. Watch for Your Letter
If your letter is going to be published it will be within the next week. Save the original for yourself and send a copy by mail or send a link to it via e-mail.

I have written a letter to the editor each month for 23 years and all of them were published in the Pensacola News Journal. Letters to the editor are indeed a super good way to communicate. Most readers look forward to my next letter. Many have told me that when they receive the News Journal, they first glance over the front page and then go the opinion page to read what Noah said. In the month of June, the subject of my letter will be about the American flag. It will be published prior to Flag Day, June 14.
JUNE 2011 Letter to the Editor
Flag Day
It would be wonderful to see every home and business displaying our American flag on June 14. At my home, Old Glory is waving in the wind around the clock atop a 35-ft flagpole. A US Marine Corps flag is displayed under the American flag. They are illuminated during the dark hours.

Our flag dates back to the late 17th century, but it wasn’t until 1949, when President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress that National Flag Day be observed each year on June 14.

The United States Flag Code, as adopted by Congress states; “The flag represents a living country and it itself considered a living thing.” This is only one reason why we should give the flag our full respect.

In 1805, the first American flag was raised in victory over captured territory (Tripoli) by US Marines in the Eastern Hemisphere. The most famous flag-raising was on Iwo Jima by five US Marines and one Navy medical corpsman in 1945.

Replace faded or torn flags. The Gulf Breeze Flea Market sells them at a reduced price.

Be proud – be American – show the red, white, and blue colors of the United States of America. The American flag is the most recognized symbol of freedom and democracy in the world.

Gulf Breeze, Florida

Friday, May 27, 2011

This was written in hopes that the weekly newspaper, The Lawrence County Advocate, Lawrenceburg, Tenn. would post it during the week prior to Memorial Day. It was denied. I sent a letter to publisher Sam Kennedy, pleading that it be published. He ignored me. Maybe you will ask him why lawcoadv@bellsouth.net

He does have the right not to publish it and he has the right to publish a free press, thanks to those of us who fought the enemies for it. That includes those brave heroes who are buried in the cemeteries around the world.

With this type heartless publisher and his employees of this newspaper, it reminds me why I left this God forsaken place in the early 1940s at age 14. Memorial Day has been designated in America for honoring the dead who served in the military defending our nation. It’s difficult for me to understand why my letter on this subject was not honored.

The content of my letter also reflects the history of the 1920s and ‘30s of what it was like when I was growing up with three older brothers, who also served on the battlefields during World War II. Since my Memorial Day remarks were denied caused me to wonder if any of Advocate employees were ever shot at on the battlefield.

I am a real patriotic American. I have been a warrior. I am a retired United States Marine who will not be denied. I will post this on my website for the world to read. Who would buy an ad from The Lawrence County Advocate?

Decoration Day aka Memorial Day
I remember when it was called “Decoration Day.” That was when I was growing up in the 1920s and 1930s while living with my parents in the community of Barnesville, Northwest Lawrence County, Tenn.

In Barnesville during the Great Depression (1929-1942), Decoration Day was not just a day off from scratching in the soil to survive; it was a day to honor and remember the valiant soldiers who had served and those who had given their lives in all the wars to keep us and others around the world free.

I recall Barnesville in the early 1930s when it had two general stores for shopping and freight trains traveling east and west which stopped in Barnesville for a new supply of water for the coal burning engine from Saw Creek. We also had a Methodist Church and a cemetery. Our log house and hilly farm was adjacent on the south side of Saw Creek.

The train stopped running on Sept. 30, 1934 since the operation of the train was no longer justified and Lawrence County purchased the railroad bed for use of a public road and named it Railroad Bed Pike. However, we still have the cemetery, and the Methodist Church is still standing with God locked inside with padlocks on the doors.

About 20 years ago, I requested Methodist District Headquarters, located at Martin Methodist College, Pulaski, Tenn. to assign a preacher to Barnesville Methodist Church. My request was denied over and over during a year or more.

To get me off their backs, they gave the Barnesville Methodist Church and grounds away to the Barnesville community without telling me. If the Methodist headquarters no longer owned it, no preacher would be assigned by them. The church is now in control of self-appointed committee and it is not used for any useful purpose. The one-room church building needs lots of repair and if the termites would stop holding hands, the church would fall to the ground for the last count.

On Decoration Day, neighbors in the community would gather at the cemetery to place flowers on relatives’ graves and chat with each other. This is not happening today. When the name Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day, it became a three-day weekend to party. How delightful it would be to once again see families celebrating this day, not only as a day to play but as a day to remember and honor our fallen warriors.

I am the last still living of the Barnesville Belew family. My mother, father, two sisters and a brother are buried in the Barnesville cemetery directly across the road from the 100 year-old Methodist Church. My parents were heavenly involved in the Barnesville Methodist Church. They always paid 10 percent of their income to the church. In later years after my father died, my mother bought the paint each year to be used for repainting the church.

If health permits, I will drive 400 miles north from my Northwest Florida home to honor those who are buried there and decorate my family graves with flowers. It would be happiness to see others there like in the old days. Maybe the padlock key keeper will leave the church door unlocked for this special day. Most everything changed for the better during my 85 years of life, but decorating the cementers is not one of them.

For those who want to place a flag or flowers on veterans’ graves, Lawrence County has dozens of cemeteries and a buried veteran(s) can be found in each of them. Visit the following Lawrence County Archives – Genealogical Society Web site for name and location of cemeteries.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

NOAH'S NOTE: Thanks to Arthur J. Young of San Luis Obispo, Calif. for his suggestion that this story of Iwo Jima be posted during the ceremonies of Memorial Day. Mr. Young was a United States Navy Midshipman during World War II, and a Lieutenant during the Korean War.

On March 26, 1945, Iwo Jima was declared "secured". The Marines handed the island over to the Army so the Army Air Corps could use the air fields. Then many of the Marines sailed off to another party on Okinawa where ongoing battles were fully engaged to secure the last island before invading mainland Japan.

The invasion of Iwo Jima started on February 19, 1945. That seems so long ago. But for the Marines and sailors who assaulted Iwo, every one of the 36 continuous days of that battle seemed nearly that long.

About 77,000 US Marines from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions converged on tiny Iwo Jima in late February. LtGen Tadamichi Kuribayashi had fortified Iwo for a full year before the invasion, and had an estimated 22,000 troops dug in under the island. US forces began bombing Iwo in June 1944, eight full months before the invasion. Naval bombardments then shelled the island mercilessly around the clock for four consecutive days prior to the invasion.

Iwo set a number of "firsts":
* It was the longest concentrated bombardment of any target in the history of mankind up to that date.
* It was the largest total tonnage of bombs and artillery ever delivered on a single target to that date.
* It was the largest armada of ships ever assembled for an invasion up to that date (about 700 ships).
* It was the largest number of invaders to ever invade any island up to that date (each of those new records was broken by the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945).
* It was the first (and last) time Seabees (construction battalion of the US Navy) accompanied Marines in the first waves of a beach invasion (they swore they'd never do THAT again!).
* It was the first and last time any Marine unit landed on D-Day and served an entire campaign without being relieved by another unit. And it was the only time in Marine Corps history when the number of in! vading casualties exceeded the number of defending casualties. More than 19,000 Marines were wounded on Iwo, and 6,821 died there. As such, it remains the costliest battle in Marine Corps history.

Now get this: one-third of all marines killed during World War II, died on Iwo Jima.

Let me repeat that: ONE THIRD of all US Marines killed during World War II, died on Iwo Jima.

All but about 200 Japanese defenders died on Iwo.

Marine LtGen Harry Schmidt and LtGen H. M. Smith led Task Force 56. It made up V Corps, composed of the 3rd MarDiv (MGen Erskine), 4th MarDiv (MGen Clifton Cates) and 5th MarDiv (MGen Rockey). The 5th Division had been formed expressly for the battle of Iwo Jima. It was disbanded following the battle.

Among the participants were names of distinction:
A· Son of the sitting Commandant LtCol A.A. Vandergriff Jr (3/24)
B· Future Commandant 1stLt Robert E Cushman, Jr (2/9)
C· Future Commandant Clifton Cates (CG 4thMarDiv)
D· Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal
E· LtGen "Howlin' Mad" Smith
F· And the first enlisted Marine Medal of Honor recipient of World War II, "Manila John" Basilone. Basilone had received his MEDAL OF HONOR from Lewis B. 'Chesty' Puller, for action on Guadalcanal. He was (KIA) KILLED IN ACTION on the island of Iwo Jima on D-Day.

The invasion planners felt confident the battle would take 7-10 days. It took 36. LtGen Kuribayashi's body has never been found.

The final two Japanese defenders surrendered four years after the battle. In January of 1949 two Japanese soldiers surrendered themselves to the occupying US Army garrison on Iwo. They had hidden in the 11 miles of tunnels and bunkers under Iwo, successfully raiding the Army supplies for food and water at night. They had found a Stars and Stripes newspaper which showed pictures of GIs celebrating New Year's Eve in downtown Tokyo, 1948-49, and knew Japan had lost the war.

They reported in full uniforms, well fed, and surrendered clean, fully-functional weapons.

Iwo Jima stands as an icon for every Marine who has earned the! Eagle, Globe and Anchor since 1945. The men who fought there ar e true heroes to our nation and our Corps. We can never thank them enough for what they went through for us on that small patch of hell.

I've often thought about the heroes that fought and won there. It fitting that these facts of history be told again on Memorial Day. If the Marines had not won all the battles of the Pacific islands that were occupied by the Japanese during World War II, we would be speaking Japanese today instead of English.

I'll never forget what the United States Marines gave for this nation and for our Corps. They remain my personal heroes, and I am proud to be one of them.

Semper Fidelis aka Always Faithful

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Continental Marines
The Continental Marines were the Marine force of the American Colonies during the American Revolutionary War. The corps was formed by the Continental Congress on November 10, 1775 and was disbanded in 1783. Their mission was multi-purpose, but their most important duty was to serve as on-board security forces, protecting the Captain of a ship and his officers. During naval engagements Marine sharpshooters were stationed in the fighting tops of the ships' masts, and were supposed to shoot the opponent's officers, naval gunners, and helmsmen.

In all, there were 131 Colonial Marine officers and probably no more than 2,000 enlisted Colonial Marines. Though individual marines were enlisted for the few American naval vessels, the organization would not be re-created until 1798. Despite the gap between the disbanding of the Continental Marines and the current organization, the United States Marine Corps celebrates November 10, 1775 as its birthday.

In accordance with the Continental Marine Act of 1775, the 2nd Continental Congress decreed:

"That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates as with other battalions, that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines."

These two battalions were initially intended be drawn from George Washington's army for the planned invasion of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the main British reinforcement and supply point. In reality only one battalion was formed by December, with five companies and a total of about 300 men. Plans to form the second battalion were suspended indefinitely after several British regiments-of-foot and cavalry, supported by 3,000 Hessian mercenaries, landed in Nova Scotia, making the planned amphibious assault impossible. Washington was reluctant to support the Marines, and suggested that they be recruited from New York or Philadelphia instead.

The Continental Marines' only Commandant was Captain Samuel Nicholas, commissioned on 28 November 1775; and the first Marine barracks were located in Philadelphia. Though legend places its first recruiting post at Tun Tavern, historian Edwin Simmons surmises that it was more likely the Conestoga Waggon, a tavern owned by the Nicholas family. Robert Mullen, whose mother owned Tun Tavern, later received a commission as a captain in June 1776 and likely used it as his recruiting rendezvous. Four additional Marine Security Companies were also raised and helped George Washington defend Philadelphia.

The Marines were used to conduct amphibious landings and raids during the American Revolution. The Marines joined Commodore Esek Hopkins of the Continental Navy's first squadron on its first cruise in the Caribbean. They landed twice in Nassau, in the Bahamas, to seize naval stores from the British. The first landing, named the Battle of Nassau, led by Captain Samuel Nicholas, consisted of 250 Marines and sailors who landed in New Providence and marched to Nassau Town. There, they wreaked much damage and seized naval stores of shot, shells, and cannon, but failed to capture any of the desperately-needed gunpowder. The second landing, led by a Lieutenant Trevet, landed at night and captured several ships along with the naval stores. Sailing back to Rhode Island, the squadron captured four small prize ships. The squadron finally returned on 8 April 1776, with 7 dead Marines and four wounded. Though Hopkins was disgraced for failing to obey orders, Nicholas was promoted to major on 25 June and tasked with raising 4 new companies of Marines for 4 new frigates then under construction.

In December 1776, the Marines were tasked to join Washington's army at Trenton to slow the progress of British troops southward through New Jersey. Unsure what to do with the Marines, Washington added the Marines to a brigade of Philadelphia militia, also dressed in green. Though they were unable to arrive in time to meaningfully affect the Battle of Trenton, they assisted in the decisive American victory at the Battle of Princeton.

Continental Marines landed and captured Nautilus Island and the Majabagaduce peninsula in the Penobscot Expedition, but withdrew with heavy losses when Commodore Dudley Saltonstall's force failed to capture the nearby fort. A group under Navy Captain James Willing left Pittsburgh, traveled down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, captured a ship, and in conjunction with other Continental Marines, brought by ship from the Gulf of Mexico raided British Loyalists on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain. The last official act of the Continental Marines was to escort a stash of silver crowns, on loan from Louis XVI of France, from Boston to Philadelphia to enable the opening of the Bank of North America.

At the end of the Revolution, both the Continental Navy and Marines were disbanded in April 1783. Although individual Marines stayed on for the few American naval vessels left, the last Continental Marine was discharged in September. In all, there were 131 Colonial Marine officers and probably no more than 2,000 enlisted Colonial Marines. Though individual Marines were enlisted for the few American naval vessels, the organization would not be re-created until 1798. Despite the gap between the disbanding of the Continental Marines and the establishment of the United States Marine Corps, Marines worldwide celebrate 10 November 1775 as the official birthday. This is traditional in Marine units and is similar to the practice of the British and Netherlands Royal Marines.

Monday, May 9, 2011

War with Tripoli-Barbary
Pirates War 1801-1805
President: Thomas Jefferson
Commandant of the USMC:
Lt. Col. Franklin Wharton 1804-1818
Manning of the USMC: 26 officers, 453 enlisted
USMC Causalities: Dead-4, Wounded-10
Weapons Used:
.69 Cal. Flintlock Musket

At this point in American history, the Barbary states, Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis were exacting tribute, (bribes) from American merchant class ships sailing into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Barbary ports were heavily fortified with numerous corsairs manning well armed, swift ships. By 1785, American ships were being captured regularly and their crews enslaved. America was paying the Pasha of Tripoli $100,000 to ensure the safety and unimpeded passage of her ships.

In June of 1801 the Pasha declared war on the U.S. An early American expedition succeeded in landing a combined force of Marines and sailors which burned several Tripolian ships. In Oct. of 1803, The U.S. frigate Philadelphia, while on a punitive raid was captured after running aground with 43 Marines and the crew taken. (Later, this ship was destroyed in the harbor during a daring raid by U.S. Marines.)

Approximately 400 Marines (4/5ths of the Corps) was embarked upon Naval ships to eliminate Barbary threat to American shipping. Marine Operations aboard naval ships continued through 1804.

A plan was submitted by William Eaton, (to replace the belligerent Pasha Yusuf Karamanti with his brother Hamet,) and was approved by President Jefferson. Eaton sailed for Alexandria aboard USS Argus, which had a detachment of Marines commanded by Lt. Presly Neville O'Bannon.

On 29 Nov. O'Bannon, a Sergeant, and 6 Marines landed with Eaton and by March 8, set out with Hamet, and 500 men, some Greek mercenaries paid for with American gold: along with 107 camels overland through the desert to capture Tripoli and install Hamet as the new ruler.

After a march plagued by mutinies (which the Marines repeatedly suppressed,) and, with the additions of native tribesmen the army of now nearly 1200 set out for Derna. Supported by U.S. ships which proceeded to bombard the city Eaton, O'Bannon the Marines and other troops attacked the city of Derna. By 3:30 the American flag was raised over the captured citadel.
Campaigns and dates:
* Enterprise vs Tripolian Tripoli Aug. 1, 1801
* Raid on Tripoli May 20, 1803
* Capture of Philadelphia by Tripolians Oct. 31, 1803
* Constitution, Siren, Argus, Scourge, Vixen, Nautilus, & Enterprisevs Tripolitian vessels Aug. 3, 1804
* Capture of Tripolian fortress at Derne-Triploi Apr. 25-27, 1805
Significant Events:
* This was the first time the Stars and Stripes flew in victory over captured territory in the Eastern Hemisphere.
* Legend states that Hamet, as a measure of gratitude, presented O'Bannon with a saber 32 1/2 inches long with a distinctive, jeweled "Mameluke" hilt. This style of hilt has remained to this day the pattern of the Marine Officer's saber.
* It was during this campaign that part of the first verse of the future Marine's Hymn was written : "...to the shores of Tripoli..."