Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


A Century of Naval Aviation

Exactly 100 years ago today, Eugene Ely made history.  By flying a Curtiss bi-plane off the deck of the cruiser USS BIRMINGHAM, off Old Point Comfort near today's N.A.S. Norfolk in southeast Virginia, he demonstrated that planes could indeed be flown from ships.

The five-degree inclination of the wooden ramp, and the forty-foot drop to the water, allowed Ely to get enough airspeed to remain aloft for 2-1/2 minutes before landing at nearby Willoughby Spit.  Within months, Naval Aviation was founded -- and less than ten years later, USS LANGLEY (the world's first aircraft carrier, built on the hull of USS JUNO) was built.


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Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans Day

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in the year 1918, "The Great War" ended.

Of course, it couldn't have been known as "World War I" at the time -- because that would mean the insanity of wholesale slaughter and wanton destruction would happen again.  What a difference a generation makes....

92 years after the poppy has come to signify remembrance of those who fell in defense of the State, whether in Flanders Fields or France or the coral atolls of the Pacific or the rolling hills of Korea or the jungles of Vietnam or the deserts of Iraq or the river valleys of the Hindu Kush, today we are living off the interest earned by their blood.

It is a bittersweet blessing that we can live in such ignorance and apathy of those who serve today.  The strength of the American nation -- even in the midst of a global recession -- and the interconnectedness of the developed world means that we DON'T have to sacrifice like our parents and grandparents did when war consumed the nation.

Our blessing to is live as if nothing is happening.  We are free from want, from rationing, and from the personal sacrifice to ensure our servicemembers have the materiel they need to succeed.  And only those families who have an immediate relative serving in a combat zone truly grasp the heartbreak of "Deployment".

But this blessing is also a curse.  The nation that loses touch with its most dedicated citizens is a nation that does not deserve their service.

And yet they serve.

They serve so that we have the right to ignore them, to belittle them, to contradict them, to purchase "The Communist Manifesto" freely in bookstores, and to picket at their funerals in our feeble outrage at a nation's policies.

Theirs is a dignity few can grasp, and even fewer know.

They are who we honor today, but who deserve our honor EVERY day.



Happy 235th Birthday, Marines!


The Other 9/11

Today, 09-Nov-2010 (or "9/11" in European notation) is the 21st anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Though "9/11" is seared into our memories as the day terrorists killed thousands in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, it can also represent the beginning of the end of the Cold War -- and the liberation of millions from the grip of Communist totalitarianism.

Let us never forget either -- and in so doing, create a better world for our children's children.