It is the veteran, not the preacher who has given us freedom of religion. It is the veteran, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press. It is the veteran, not the poet who has given us freedom of speech. It is the veteran, not the campus organizer who has given us freedom to assemble. It is the veteran, not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the veteran, not the politician who has given us the right to vote. It is the veteran, who serves under the flag and whose coffin will be draped by the flag. m a n t e c a b u l l e t i n • r i p o n b u l l e t i n • S ATUR DAY MAY 2 9 , 2 0 2 1
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MEMORIAL DAY Our debt to these heroes can never be re-paid Saturday, May 29, 2021
but our gratitude and respect must last forever
Eighty-one years ago, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed what many historians consider the greatest social legislation ever passed by the U.S. Congress. As popular as the GI Bill remains today, it took the horrific cost and bloodshed of World War II to remind many Americans just how great a debt is owed to our veterans. In 1932, thousands of World War I veterans camped out in Washington, D.C., to petition their government for bonuses that they felt were owed. Their campsite was forcibly overrun by the U.S. Army, and at least two veterans were killed by the police. President Franklin Roosevelt told The American Legion National Convention in 1933 that – quote “No person because he wore a uniform must thereafter be placed in a special class of beneficiaries over and above other citizens,” – unquote. While Roosevelt would later prove himself to be a great wartime commander-in-chief, what he and others failed to realize at the time is that veterans were not SEE
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MEMORIAL DAY FROM PAGE 3 asking to be part of a “special class.” They just wanted a shot at the American dream that they fought so hard to defend. Most Americans profess to truly love our veterans, especially at gatherings like this on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. And while their feelings are usually sincere, it is important to remember that veterans are defending us 365 days a year. The heroism that has been demonstrated time and again by veterans from the American Revolution to the Global War on Terrorism is sometimes unnoticed by those of us who enjoy the security that their sacrifice has provided. Army Staff Sergeant Clinton Romesha has seen war at its very worst. While serving at Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, he and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters on October 3, 2009. According to his Medal of Honor citation, Staff Sergeant Romesha took out an enemy machine gun team, and engaged in taking out a second, when he received shrapnel wounds from a rocket propelled grenade. He continued to fight on. He killed at least three other Taliban fighters and directed air support to destroy 30 other enemy fighters. After receiving the nation’s highest military medal, Staff Sergeant Romesha said he felt conflicted. “The joy,” he said, “comes from recognition of us doing our jobs as soldiers on distant battlefields but is countered by the constant reminder of the loss of our battle buddies. My battle buddies. My soldiers. My friends.” Staff Sergeant Romesha’s attitude is
not hard to find among the living Medal of Honor recipients. They will never forget the sacrifice of their friends and neither will the Gold Star families, who will have to cope without the embrace of their loved ones. The innocence of their grieving children will be challenged by the dramatic change affecting the balance of security and comfort in their family routine. The hearts of these families will feel the sharp sting of their loss, leaving them only with memories of their loving mom or dad. Life as they have known it will be much harder from now on. Our debt to these heroes can never be re-paid but our gratitude and respect must last forever. For many veterans, our nation was important enough to endure long separations from their families, miss the births of their children, freeze in subzero temperatures, bake in wild jungles, lose limbs, and, far too often, lose their lives. Military spouses have had to endure career interruptions, frequent changes of address, and a disproportionate share of parental responsibilities. The children often had to deal with changes in schools, separation from friends and, hardest of all, the uncertainty of whether or not Mom or Dad will live through their next combat tour. Warriors need advocates and that is why The American Legion exists. We are here to serve veterans, their families and our communities. Veterans need each other, but, more importantly, our country needs our veterans. You cannot fight a war without veterans and while the utopian idea of a society without war is appealing, let us not forget that wars have liberated slaves, stopped genocide and toppled terrorists. Stephen Ambrose once wrote, “America’s wars have been like rungs on a ladder by which it rose to greatness. No
other country has triumphed so long, so consistently or on such a vast scale through force of arms.” It has been often said that without our veterans, Americans would be speaking Russian, German or, perhaps, Japanese. Regardless of which view of alternative history you take, we do know that without our veterans America would not be America. And as we look at the Middle East today, we know that there is a large, dangerous and committed group of fanatics that wants us dead. And while ISIS, al Qaeda and other terrorists may lack the conventional weapons of Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan, they are every bit as evil in their intentions. Those who defend us from our enemies must be supported. Whether their service was in Baghdad or Beirut, we need to serve veterans as well as they serve us – even when the guns have temporarily stopped firing. The American Legion shows its support for America’s heroes through its Family Support Network, Legacy Scholarship Fund, Operation Comfort Warriors, Temporary Financial Assistance and the National Emergency Fund, just to name a few of our programs. Veterans don’t ask for much. They do not want to be in a “special class,” but benefits are a mere drop in the bucket compared to the financial and human cost of war. And while not all veterans see war, all who served in the military have expressed a willingness to fight if called to. You can show your support for these great men and women by hiring a veteran in your workplace, visiting a VA hospital or donating to a veterans program. Companies should understand that it’s smart business to hire veterans, and when members of the Guard and
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Reserves deploy, it is America’s business to ensure that their civilian careers do not suffer. Homelessness is another issue that affects veterans disproportionately. Too often today’s tattered citizen of the street was yesterday’s toast-of-the-town in a crisp uniform with rows of shining medals. This is hardly the “thanks of a grateful nation.” We can do better. We must do better. Historians have said that Dwight Eisenhower was prouder of being a soldier than he was of being the president. And while relatively few veterans ever reach the rank of general, pride in ones’ military service is a bond shared by nearly all who have served. This pride is on display on every obituary page in the country, where military service – regardless of how many decades have passed and subsequent achievements reached – is mentioned with the death notice of nearly every deceased veteran. Can any CEO or distinguished Ivy League graduate truly claim to have more responsibility than the 21-year-old squad leader walking point on patrol in Afghanistan? Fewer than 10 percent of Americans can claim the title “veteran.” Far less than 1 percent of our population is currently defending us in the Global War on Terrorism. And yet many seem intent on trying to balance the federal budget by diminishing the quality of life programs designed for the families who have already disproportionately made these sacrifices. Veterans have given us freedom, security and the greatest nation on earth. It is impossible to put a price on that. We must remember them. We must appreciate them. God bless you all for being here, God bless our veterans and God bless America.
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THE TRUTH IN
Editor’s note: Sammy Davis is a French Camp native and a former Manteca High student who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valor while serving in Vietnam. The following column is based on his 1992 appearance at Manteca High’s Gus Schmeidt Field where the Vietnam Moving Wall had been placed on the same turf where he once played football for the Buffs.
he truth — and what makes a man — is often found in the most horrific situations. Sammy Davis under-
DENNIS WYATT Editor
stands that. And so do countless other men and women who have served under this country’s flag defending the fragile concepts encompassed in two words that most Americans take for granted – “liberty” and “freedom”. True honor is born in acts of courage. Davis made that clear on March 19, 1993 during Moving Wall ceremonies at Manteca High. As 5,000 teary-eyed people watched, Davis dressed in his Army best embraced Gwyndell Holloway who was wearing his old Army fatigues. Applause drowned out what words the two were exchanging. The two hadn’t seen each other for 26 years. Then - regaining his composure Ñ Davis turned toward the bleachers
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where Manteca High students sat. “What you have to understand,” Davis started in a clear even voice, “Is all this bull---- about prejudice and racism is just what I said - bull----.” As tears of joy streamed down the two men’s faces, the applause took on a thunderous surge. Teens were wiping tears from their eyes. Marines in their best dress blues were blinking uncontrollably. A World War II veteran who had seen the worst that Hitler’s armies had to offer was smiling broadly with a tear streaming down his left cheek. Adults and children alike were unashamedly teary-eyes as the two men embraced. “We became brothers in Vietnam,” Davis added, as strong applause continued to provide the music for the emotion-choked moment. It didn’t matter that one was white and the other black. All that mattered was the fact they were both human beings caught in the most trying of circumstances. Twenty-six years earlier when the severely wounded Holloway hollered out for help from across a deep Vietnam river as 1,500 enemy troops were advancing on 90 Americans; Davis didn’t worry about the color of Holloway’s skin. Nor did he worry about the fact he couldn’t swim or that heavy incoming fire threatened to end his life at any second. David helped fire rounds back at the enemy located some 25 meters away when mortars hit American artil-
lery positions and gravely injured his comrades. Between valiant efforts to keep the enemy from advancing, Davis grabbed an air mattress and struck out across the river to rescue his wounded comrades one by one. Each time he reached the far shore; Davis stood up and opened fire on the enemy to prevent them from advancing and finishing off the three soldiers. His heroics continued after he pulled the last man back across the river. Davis and Holloway learned a basic lesson that day that we all tend to forget - our differences aren’t what count. What matters are the things that unite us. They both probably knew that deep down before being sent to Vietnam as 19 year-olds. But it took the horror of war to drive the point home. Days later in a military hospital, Holloway had the chance to return the favor. Davis’ body temperature was at 106 degrees. His blood was curdling. The Army hospital was low on blood. The doctors were about to give up on Davis and were going to wheel him into a corridor for what they thought was an inevitable fate. But Holloway would hear nothing of it. He demanded that the doctors give Davis a direct transfusion from his veins. As the fever threatened to tighten its grip on Davis, the precious gift of life flowed from Holloway to the former Manteca resident. They never saw each other again until 26 years later when another incredible SEE
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man - retired Manteca High teacher and fellow veteran Harry Nagy - brought them together for that inspiring spring afternoon on the same field where Davis once played football for the Buffaloes. Davis has dedicated his life to one clear and poignant message - the freedoms we cherish, yet take for granted, in this land exist only because of the men and women who have been willing to spill their blood for them over the past 240 years. Freedom isn’t something you get for free, nor is it automatic, and it certainly isn’t a forever thing unless someone is willing to stand up against the forces that threatened to take it away from not just us but all of America’s brothers and sisters around the globe. The forces of evil may ebb but they never vanish. All it takes is for good men to stand idly by for evil to extinguish the flickering flames of liberty and freedom. Those two concepts are an aberration in the history of civilization. Evil, left unchecked, will snuff out those flames. When the final tally is taken, all that really matters is that we’re in this together. And that’s the truth — in black and white. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis is shown at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
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For many Americans, Memorial Day has lost its meaning ANNVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Allison Jaslow heard it more than once as the long holiday weekend approached — a cheerful “Happy Memorial Day!” from oblivious well-wishers. The former Army captain and Iraq War veteran had a ready reply, telling them, matter-of-factly, that she considered it a work weekend. Jaslow will be at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to take part in the annual wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. She’ll then visit Section 60, the final resting place of many service members who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. “You can see it in people’s faces that they’re a little horrified that they forget this is what the day’s about,” said Jaslow, 34, who wears a bracelet bearing the name of a fallen comrade. “Culturally, we’ve kind of lost sight of what the day’s supposed to mean.” While millions of Americans celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend as
the unofficial start of summer — think beaches and backyard barbecues, mattress sales and sporting events — some veterans and loved ones of fallen military members wish the holiday that honors more than 1 million people who died serving their country would command more respect. Or at least awareness. “It’s a fun holiday for people: ‘Let’s party.’ It’s an extra day off from work,” said Carol Resh, 61, whose son, Army Capt. Mark Resh, was killed in Iraq a decade ago. “It’s not that they’re doing it out of malice. It just hasn’t affected them.” Veterans groups say a growing militarycivilian disconnect contributes to a feeling that Memorial Day has been overshadowed. More than 12 percent of the U.S. population served in the armed forces during World War II. That’s down to less than one-half of a percent today, guaranteeing more Americans aren’t personally
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acquainted with a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine. With an all-voluntary military, shared sacrifice is largely a thing of the past — even as U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan and Iraq nearly 16 years after 9/11. “There are a lot of things working against this particular holiday,” said Brian Duffy, commander in chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “It hurts,” Duffy said. For combat veterans and Gold Star families especially, “it hurts that, as a society, we don’t truly understand and appreciate what the true meaning of Memorial Day is.” Jaslow’s group, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, is trying to raise awareness with its #GoSilent campaign, which encourages Americans to pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. Monday to remember the nation’s war dead. Of course, plenty of Americans already observe the holiday. At Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, about 100 miles northwest of Philadelphia, fresh flowers mark hundreds of graves, and fields of newly erected American flags flap in the breeze. Hundreds of motorcyclists thundered in for a Saturday service. By the end of the weekend, thousands of people will have come to the cemetery to pay their respects. “This is our Super Bowl,” said Randy Plummer, the cemetery’s administrative officer. Jim Segletes, 65, a Vietnam-era Marine visiting the grave of his father-in-law, a World War II veteran who died in 2000, said he thinks Americans became more patriotic and aware of military sacrifice after 9/11. “Everyone is more in tune with veterans, more so than when I was in the service,” he said.
Douglas and Rene Kicklighter, Iraq veterans at the cemetery with their 10and 12-year-old sons, said they believe most people understand what the holiday’s about. But they, too, cringe when they hear: “Happy Memorial Day.” “It’s not happy,” said Rene Kicklighter, 37, who retired from the Army National Guard. “It’s somber. I try to flip the lens on the conversation a bit and gently remind them what it’s really about.” Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was conceived after the Civil War as a way to honor the Union’s war dead, with Southern states setting aside separate days to honor fallen Confederate soldiers. By the early 20th century, the holiday had evolved to honor all military members who died in service. Some veterans say Memorial Day began to be watered down more than four decades ago when Congress changed the date from its traditional May 30 to the last Monday in May to give people a three-day weekend. Arguing that transformed a solemn day of remembrance into one associated with leisure and recreation, veterans groups have long advocated a return to May 30. For years, the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, asked Congress to change it back, to no avail. That leaves it to people like Resh, the Gold Star mother, to spread the message. Invited to speak to high school students in Allentown, Pennsylvania, she said she told them, “What is the true meaning of Memorial Day? Ask any Gold Star family and they’ll tell you what it means. It’s not about the picnics. It’s about the men and women who have given their lives for this country. “Every day is Memorial Day for us.”
Saturday, May 29, 2021
Things could be worse
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following editorial by George Murphy Jr. first appeared in his column, “Batting the Breeze,” in the Dec. 28, 1950 issue of the Manteca Bulletin. Murphy, who has since passed away, was publisher of the Bulletin at the time. He also was a serving on board a ship when Pearl Harbor was attacked 67 years ago on Dec. 7, 1941.
e would like to apoloGEORGE gize to all serviceMURPHY JR. men — it seems we Former Manteca Bulletin Publisher have been developing a case of civilianitis. And that means a lot of crying about life on the home front, in case you didn’t know what civilianitis means.
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We were lying in bed the other night worrying about this and that — then we heard our conscience open fire. Our conscience made a little speech like this: You’re worried, aren’t you, Murph? You’ve got big problems. Things look tough next year. No new cars, maybe; so perhaps there’s no automobile advertising. And that’s a good chunk of your revenue, isn’t it. And you’ve got big payments at the bank to meet, and maybe you can’t get enough newsprint to put out enough pages to make the payments. Things are sure rough. But how about the boys in Korea, Murph? What have they got to lose? Not much. They don’t own anything. No, they haven’t much to lose — just their lives. Yeah, you sure got it rough. Wor-
ried about the Roe Bowl and whether Cal can win one for a change. That’s a big problem, Murph. How many people in the Rose Bowl? About a hundred thousand, maybe? That’s about one person in each 1,500 in this great nation. Pretty small percentage, isn’t it? Ever stop to think that about one in each 1,500 is saving your comfortable neck? That’s right. There are only about 100,000 of our men in Korea. And how many men are 42,000? Why, that’s no crowd at all. But that’s a lot of men to stop bullets in a little place like Korea. And that’s how many casualties we’ve had over there so far. It might be a tough year all right. Just as you’re thinking — no gasoline, shoe shortage, high prices for eggs, coffee and so on. You don’t
think there’s much to look forward to, do you, Murph? The trouble with you is, you forget too easily. You forget that this war is just as tough as the last one — or maybe tougher. But you don’t think it’s so bad because you’re not in it. What does a casualty list mean to you? Nothing but a bunch of figures. Just a bunch of guys you don’t know and never heard of before. Well just remember one thing. Those guys are just about the same as they were the last time. And they’re having the same horrible things happen to them, and you don’t give a hoot because you’re busy worrying about life on the home front. Think back a few years, Murph. Yeah, those guys are just the same. Remember Sam Neville? He was SEE
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FROM PAGE 9
the first man you saw die at Pearl Harbor. You remember Sam, he was that guy in C Division you always thought looked awfully old to be only a third class radioman. Remember how you were standing on the second deck and watched Sam run down that ladder? He slipped, didn’t he, and was wedged between the ladder steps flat on his back. And the guys at Pearl Harbor were panicky, weren’t they? And they came down that ladder behind Sam, and one by one they stepped in his face. And you watched them crushed by his own shipmates. That was panic, Murph, and don’t you think for a minute that there wasn’t plenty of panic when the Chinese broke through in Korea. And there was some nice old guy like Sam Neville there, too, and don’t forget it. Remember Terlizzi? Always good for a laugh — the ship’s comedian. But he wasn’t laughing the last time you saw him, was he? Remember when that torpedo plane hit and its gas tank blew up? You looked up quick to secondary aft when you felt the heat. He was swaying back and forth on the gun platform, his mouth working like he as trying to talk. He still had his phones on, didn’t he? But no clothes. They were burned off and his flesh hung from his body in SEE
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“And you’re worried about the price of eggs. Quit worrying. Forget it. You never had it so good.”— the late George Murphy Jr. worse FROM PAGE 10 strips. He was dead when you got up there, wasn’t he? Somewhere in Korea is a guy just like Terlizzi. Maybe he burned up in tank, a jeep, or an airplane. It doesn’t matter where or how — but he got burned up. Maybe he was just number 31,467 on some casualty list but to some people he was a nice guy with a sense of humor and had a name like Terlizzi. And Boats Powell. You remember him. A quiet guy with a crooked smile, but one of the best little gunners in the business. That torpedo plane got him, too, didn’t it Murph? And you took a chipping iron and scraped him away from his 20-millimeter gun where his flesh had fused with the metal. A lot of guys in Korea have been scraped up by their buddies, and you might remember that once in awhile. And what about Smooge Scroeder? Used to be a wrestler in a carnival and just as tough as they come. But he was always good fort a laugh when the going got rough, wasn’t he? Take that night when you guys on the fantail heard your first big shell scream over your heads. Smooge
shouted: “I’m a lover, nit a fighter”, and your nerves felt better after a good laugh at his joke. And when that shell hit, Murph, you both went down together. Remember? Only Schroeder didn’t get up. He was cut in two by a big chunk of hot metal. And you thought you were a dead pigeon because you didn’t know that most of the blood and bits of flesh on you were Schroeder’s and not yours. That’s the night it first dawned on you that war is a bloody mess. You used to think people got killed with neat little bullet holes. They don’t, though, do they? They usually get smashed up and there have been over 45,000 smashed up already in Korea. And they claim this is just the start of the war. And there are probably a few guys in Korea like Jack McBride. You remember Jack, don’t you Murph? You never liked him too well — a kind of a wise guy. But when the chips were down he always came through, didn’t he? You’ve always wondered what made Jack do what he did the night the shell hit your gun. He was up in the director tub and lost both legs at the knees. But somehow he crawled out of the tub, dragged himself across the deck in
front of you, crawled down the ladder into chief’s quarters, and backed into a corner where he died. And when they carried you down to the chief’s quarters, the first thing you saw in the dim light was Jack. And you felt a little sick to your stomach, didn’t you? Wonder how many guys in Korea are going to feel the same way — if they haven’t already. And when they set your stretcher down on the table you didn’t feel very funny, did you? the doc cut your pants away and you could see the bones sticking through the flesh. You turned away and saw Sig Hanna on
the table next to you. Yeah, Murph, it was Hanna, that little redheaded coxswain. He was half propped up against a stanchion and you could see his guts oozing through holes in his shirt. Remember how he leaned over a little an said to you: How ya doing, Gunner, isn’t this a helluva a way to make a living?” And in 20 minutes he was dead. And Korea is full off guys — just good old American guys that can still crack a smile 20nminuts before they die. And you’re worried about the price of eggs. Quit worrying. Forget it. You never had it so good.
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