Voices from Russia

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Veteran’s Last Wish Granted by Anonymous Donor

00 flowers on grave. 18.11.12

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Editor:

If you can send a fin or two to help in a good cause, attend to the phone number listed at the bottom of the article. This is on the up and square.

BMD

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This old soldier didn’t quite make it to Veterans Day. Jim Ayers’ failing heart gave its final beat on 7 August. He was 91. Ayers left the world penniless and with no relatives around to pick up the tab for the cost of his send-off. Of course, those who served can always receive free burial in a national VA cemetery. However, one of Ayers’ last wishes was that he be laid to rest in the neatly groomed graveyard that’s just a short walk from where he worshipped with those he called his family… St John The Baptist Antiochian Orthodox Church in Post Falls. Thanks to an anonymous donor who paid 2,650 USD (123,000 Roubles. 16,200 Renminbi. 163,000 INR. 3,000 CAD. 3,030 AUD. 2,120 Euros. 1,680 UK Pounds) for mortuary and gravesite costs, Ayers’ got his wish. Since then, people raised about half that figure to repay the generous donor. Though important, getting the rest of the bill settled was only part of the reason they invited me to St John’s last week.

Those who knew the retired insurance salesman best believe that we should remember his service to our country and the positive way that he lived his later years. Jenny Dancy, a spokesman for St Johns, said, “Jim was a happy, good-natured guy. He was easy to make friends with and you could tell that he wanted to make the rest of his time on Earth as meaningful as he could”. Dancy met Ayers in 2007, just after she landed a job driving a bus for the independent living home where he lived. She was also working on her University of Idaho undergraduate degree in psychology with a specialty in gerontology. In simple English, Dancy has a real heart for the elderly. It didn’t take long for her to become fast pals with this aged guy addicted to Lifesavers and the raw oysters served at a nearby restaurant. It also didn’t take long for Dancy to become aware of Ayers’ service during World War II.

One giveaway was the large black-and-white photograph that Ayers hung outside his room. It showed that Ayers was a proud member of the 604 Field Artillery Battalion, which fought and bled in support of the élite 10 Mountain Division. It also didn’t take long for Ayers to tell Dancy about the nickname they had for the mules that hauled shells and artillery pieces up and down the steep and primitive terrain that was impassable for motor vehicles. They called them “Jennies”. Laughing heartily, Dancy said, “He loved telling me that one”. Dancy related that Ayers told her, “The conditions were brutal. Brotherhood and camaraderie were necessary just for sheer survival. Italy was a war-torn country and terrain made troop and supplies movement very difficult”. The army drafted Ayers in 1943; he trained in the Rockies where conditions sometimes reached 30 below zero Fahrenheit (-34.5 degrees).

She said that his medals included the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Service Medal, and the Bronze Star. By the way, they buried the medals along with the old soldier. Dancy said of her friend, “You could tell that in his younger days he’d been quite a strong man, but he also had a tender heart and really cared about his fellow man”.

Anyone wishing to help can call Dancy at (208) 640-8596

11 November 2014

Doug Clark

The Spokesman-Review (Spokane WA)

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/nov/11/doug-clark-veterans-last-wish-granted-by/

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

12 November 2014. A View From the East… Spying on Santa (Luo Jie/China Daily)

00 Luo Jie. Spying on Santa. 2013

Spying on Santa

Luo Jie

2013

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Yeah… it’s almost American Christmas season… that is, from American Thanksgiving to Catholic Christmas on 25 December. Unlike trad Christians in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Reformation Churches, Anglo Americans have a holiday season that PRECEDES the holiday (I shit you not). There ain’t no “Twelve Days of Christmas”… there’s four weeks of utter commercialised madness starting with Black Friday (the Black Mass of this “holiday”)… then, Catholic Christmas… and all Anglo Americans collapse in a stupor, glad that the “holiday season” is over for another year. There’s not even a New Year’s celebration of any note! It’s not like the Russian holiday of New Year’s-Christmas-Epiphany… nineteen days of partying hearty and fun (including jumping in an ice hole on Epiphany… no lie, I’ve done it… don’t knock it until you’ve tried it). It has none of the hearty exuberance of “c’était un Noël au Québec” (grand-père has to come and give the family bénédiction for the coming year first)… NOBODY decorates for the season “comme le font les québécois” (must be that Caribou that they drink… half moonshine and half homemade wine). It isn’t the Sicilian midnight feast after Christmas Mass… nor is it the homely joy of an English Christmas Cake… it’s a deadening exercise… so much so that I wonder why they even engage in it.

Keep your wits about you and stay out of the malls from Black Thursday until Catholic Christmas. Then… CELEBRATE… feast, feast, feast, like real men and women and kids should. Pass me the roast beast, please… I WILL take seconds, if you will.

BMD

12 November 2014. 96 Years Since the “Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month”… Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and France Unveils Memorial to the War Dead in Flanders

00 australian war memorial. remembrance day. 12.11.14

A man places a memorial poppy on the wall at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra ACT AUSTRALIA

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00 cenotaph. toronto. old city hall. 12.11.14

An honour guard at the Cenotaph near the Old City Hall in Toronto ON CANADA

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00 Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. Rmembrance Day at the Tower of London. 12.11.14

“Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” at the Tower of London London ENGLAND UK

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00 Notre Dame de Lorette. FRANCE. WWI memorial. 12.11.14

French troops at the dedication of the L’Anneau de la Mémoire/Memorial international Notre-Dame-de-Lorette (Ring of Remembrance) memorial wall with over 500,000 names of those of all nations who fell in Northern France, at the Nécropole nationale de Notre-Dame-de-Lorette in Ablain St-Nazaire FRANCE (the world’s largest French military cemetery). This event was also in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I (“The Great War”). 

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America’s Oldest-Living Veteran: 108-Year-Old Whiskey-Drinking, Cigar-Smoking Richard Overton

00 Richard Overton. US WWII vet. 12.11.14

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On Tuesday, Richard Overton, America’s oldest living veteran, participated in the Veterans Day parade in Austin TX, posing for selfies from the passenger seat of a slow-moving car along the parade route. Chances are, the 108-year-old World War II veteran began the day like any other… on the porch, smoking a cigar, sipping a cup of coffee stiffened with whiskey. Overton told CNN last fall, “I drink whiskey in my coffee. Sometimes, I drink it straight. I smoke my cigars, blow the smoke out … I don’t swallow it”.

Overton, who was born on 11 May 1906, in Bastrop County, Texas, served three years in the US Army, with stops in Hawaii, Guam, Palau, and Iwo Jima. According to the Austin American Statesman, the centenarian still lives in the house he bought when he returned from World War II, still drives an old Ford truck and a Chevy Monte Carlo, and still helps “transport widows to church”. Last year, he received formal recognition as the oldest-living veteran last year. At the time, Overton said, “It makes me feel pretty good. It makes me think I’ve done something right. If I’d done something wrong, I wouldn’t be here”.

Last Veterans Day, Overton travelled to Washington DC, where US President Barack Obama honoured him at an event at Arlington National Cemetery. Obama said, “When the war ended, Richard headed home to Texas to a nation bitterly divided by race. His service on the battlefield wasn’t always matched by the respect that he deserved at home, but this veteran held his head high. He carried on and lived his life with honour and dignity”. In May 2013, a local television reporter asked Overton how long he expected to live. Overton replied, “Whatever God gives me. If he gives me ten more years, I hope I’ll be able to take it. If he gives me five, I hope I’ll be able to take it”.

11 November 2014

Dylan Stableford

Yahoo News

http://news.yahoo.com/americas-oldest-living-veteran-richard-overton-whiskey-211033103.html

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