I walked into the K-2 computer lab, ready to service one of the desktops.
Roughly twenty 1st graders sat clicking away - their darling young faces illuminated by bright LCD screens; their heads gently cradled by giant plastic headphones - as Reading Blaster assaulted their senses.
In the back of the room sat the teacher and her assistant - the latter wearing large sunglasses despite the fact that it’s currently February 13th in Rochester, NY and we haven’t seen the sun in approximately 5 months.
"Oh good, are you here for my desktop?"
"I am! Which one is it?"
"It’s #20, on the end of the row there."
That’s when I first hear the sound. It echoed forth from the back row like a shotgun blast in an empty cave. I held my breath, made my way down the row, and took my seat at the computer. A few seconds passed before another shot rang out, this time closer. Too close, in fact. Right behind me.
"You’re going to want to get out of here as soon as you can! This whole building is sick!”
As I turn to acknowledge the teacher’s warning, I’m assaulted by a third explosion. The attack had officially begun. I looked directly behind me and saw an adorable little girl wiping her nose onto the pink sleeve of her Dora sweatshirt. Before I could turn back towards my computer, another shot was heard from across the lab. Then another, from the same area, but definitely a different weapon. Within moments, the lab was filled with a deafening chorus of filth.
"She’s got pink eye!"
She. With the sunglasses. Of course.
Quickly, I repaired the computer and stood to make my escape. The air in the lab had become thick with invisible bacteria and viruses - unseeable by the eye, yet unavoidable by the immune system - like the countless billions of galaxies that mankind has yet to discover across the vast, cold, and dark expanse of the universe.
My eyes plotted the quickest path to the exit before my brain remembered that I had just been touching keyboards and mice that live in the warzone - each of them hundreds of times more infectious than any of the 3-month old magazines that rest on the table at your doctor’s office. Without breaking stride, my brain took command and rerouted me to the nearest Purell dispenser. Calmly walking past it, I silently pumped three squirts into each palm, exited the lab, and began my defense.
31 Americans Killed In Afghanistan Helicopter Crash (via NPR)
That’s devastating news. Truly sad.
‘Operation Tidal Wave’ (Black Sunday)
On August 20th 1944, 69 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses of XX Bomber Command were engaged by over a hundred Japanese Army and Navy fighters over Yawata. this was the seventh mission for the B-29s over Japanese soil.
This mission also saw the first instance of a ramming attack over Japan when Sgt Shigeo Nobe, flying a Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (屠龍, “Dragon Slayer”), sliced into the wing of B-29 “GERTRUDE C”, piloted by Lt. Col. Robert Clinkscales. The collision caused the bomber’s wing tank to explode - disintegrating both aircraft and hurling wreckage into the B-29 formation. Nobe and his gunner, Sgt Denzo Tagaki, were killed instantly.
There were no survivors from “GERTRUDE C”, which was named after Lt. Col. Clinkscales mother. Also aboard was “Sally”, his pet spaniel.
“CALAMITY SUE” was named after Capt. Stauffer’s baby, born just before the crew departed from America. Only three crew members survived - 2nd Lt. A. Charles Shott (Flight Engineer), 2nd Lt. Irving Newman (Navigator-Bombardier), and Staff Sgt. Walter Dansby (Radio Operator) bailed out and were captured. The peace declaration saved them from excecution.
(The co-pilot, 1st. Lt. James Wine, bailed out and evaded capture for eleven days. He was shot dead on the early morning of August 31st while attempting to steal a plane from Ashiya Airfield.)
The photograph above was developed from a camera found in the wreckage of the “CALAMITY SUE”, showing the moment of impact on the left.
“Dear Parents :
Please congratulate me. I have been given a splendid opportunity to die. This is my last day. The destiny of our homeland hinges on the decisive battle in the seas to the south where I shall fall like a blossom from a radiant cherry tree.
I shall be a shield for His Majesty and die cleanly along with my squadron leader and other friends. I wish that I could be born seven times, each time to smite the enemy…
…Thank you, my parents, for the 23 years during which you have cared for me and inspired me. I hope that my present deed will in some small way repay what you have done for me. Think well of me and know that your Isao died for our country. This is my last wish, and there is nothing else that I desire.
How glorious is the Special Attack Corps’ Giretsu Unit whose Suisei bombers will attack the enemy. Our goal is to dive against the aircraft carriers of the enemy. Movie cameramen have been i here to take our pictures. It is possible that you may see us in newsreels at the theater.
We are 16 warriors manning the bombers. May our death be as sudden and clean as the shattering of crystal.
Written at Manila on the eve of our sortie. [28th October 1944]
Soaring into the sky of the southern seas, it is our glorious mission to die as the shields of His Majesty. Cherry blossoms glisten as they open and fall.”
Beautiful, chilling, sobering, etc. It truly speaks to the honor of the allied forces that fought in the Pacific that they were able to defeat an enemy that was so willing to die.
Dick Winters, a decorated Army officer whose World War II service was recounted in the best-selling book and HBO mini-series “Band of Brothers,” died Jan. 2. News reports listed his age at 92.
[…] Mr. Winters, who separated from the Army at the rank of major, and his men fought together through D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge and later occupied Adolf Hitler’s mountainside retreat, the Eagle’s Nest, near Berchtesgaden.
A charismatic officer who led by example, Mr. Winters received the Distinguished Service Cross, the country’s second highest decoration for valor, while conducting combat operations on D-Day.
Rest in peace.
This man was true hero.
Vets Memorial 3 (via Steelopus)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Rochester, NY 2007
Eighteen year old Rifleman Craig Wood, from Doncaster, United Kingdom, participates in a remembrance ceremony under the Menin Gate in Ieper, Belgium, Wednesday Nov. 11, 2009. Rifleman Wood was wounded in Afghanistan by a bomb and is one of only three triple amputees who have survived the war. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
The world, especially Americans, needs to see more pictures like this. I’m not saying it’s OK to exploit disabled veterans, but when people start to criticize the president for being hesitant to send tens of thousands more troops off to war, they should perhaps stop for a second and consider exactly how heavy a decision it is.