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  • 2 weeks later...

2 Texas veterans, both 107, meet for first time


AUSTIN, Texas – At age 107, World War II veteran Elmer Hill doesn't have many elders left. That's why meeting a fellow veteran and Texan who's three months his senior was a bit of a shock Friday.

Upon seeing Richard Overton for the first time, Hill suggested he might have to change his birthday. "He's 107? Well, I better move mine up a little bit!" Hill exclaimed.

The pair, who both fought in the war's Pacific theater, met at an Austin senior center where they shook hands warmly, had lunch and were honored by Mayor Lee Leffingwell. Some have said that Overton and Hill are the oldest and second-oldest living veterans in the U.S., but others dispute the claim and there is no way to fully verify who is right.

Overton worked at a furniture store and is a former courier at the state Capitol who grew up in Austin, where he still lives. Hill, a retired high school principal, lives in the East Texas community of Henderson and was driven about 240 miles for the event, which was organized by Emeritus Senior Living.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not have a complete list of all Americans who have served in the armed forces, making it impossible to know for sure that Overton and Hill are the nation's oldest veterans. Still, Overton went to Washington for Veterans Day this year and was personally recognized by President Barack Obama.

Hill, meanwhile, is set to visit Washington on Saturday.

His mind sharp and his wit quick, Overton quips about smoking cigars and having an occasional drink. As he stood outside the center amid chilly rain waiting for Hill's car, he joked that he hoped his new friend was bringing whiskey.

Both are black, and during lunch, Hill talked about being drafted in 1942 into the then-segregated armed forces, and serving in the Navy. He was a cook and gunner on an aircraft carrier.

"I didn't volunteer. They put me in there," he said. Asked later what advice he had for younger generations, Hill said: "Be good to yourself and your master and be a good citizen, wherever you are, whether it's Navy, Army or just as a person at the house."

He also joked, "I'm not that old. I've just been here a very long time."

Back then, blacks were assigned to all-black units and, at the start of World War II, they were often relegated to noncombat duties. As fighting continued, the heavy number of casualties forced the military to assign black troops to combat, and their numbers there spiked by 1945.

Overton was already in his 30s when he volunteered and served in the Army's 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion. He was at Pearl Harbor just after the Japanese attack.

"I want to ask him a few questions about the war," Overton said of Hill. "You're still fighting a war, you know. Now you're just fighting one with yourself."

With both hard of hearing, however, conversation on specific topics proved difficult.

Born May, 11, 1906, Overton recalled as a youngster seeing soldiers preparing for World War I. He said he was on a bridge and watched thousands of enlisted men arriving at Austin after walking 90-plus miles from San Antonio because there was no room for them on overcrowded trains.

Later, he found himself a soldier.

"Some things you went through in that Army you will never forget," he said. "But it's too much to tell. You can't tell it all."

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Native History: Sitting Bull Shot By Indian Police, His Legacy Remains

Christina Rose


This Date in Native History: On December 15, 1890, Sitting Bull, known as Tatanka Iyotake, was killed along the Grand River, near his birthplace in the Many Caches area of South Dakota, still only accessible on horseback. He was 59 years old. To his people, Sitting Bull was known as a Sun Dancer, a spiritual leader who came from a long line of spiritual people.

“Sitting Bull was a chief. He was a charismatic leader and war leader, and he won the following of his people,” said LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, Standing Rock.

She said many people have mistakenly called him a medicine man, but, “In reality he was a spiritual leader who gave of himself to pray for the people. He was a spiritual man, responsible for prayer.”

Sitting Bull fought his first battle against the United States in 1863. “The Northern tribes were led by Sitting Bull and the Southern tribes were led by Crazy Horse,” Allard said. “They fought together against the United States Army.” When Sitting Bull reached middle age, Allard said it was his place to give directions to the younger warriors rather than fight.

In June of 1876, just a week before the Battle of Little Big Horn, there was a Sun Dance in which Sitting Bull was said to have danced for 36 consecutive hours. There, he had a vision of a war victory. Just a few days after the vision, the Lakota won the Battle of Rosebud and just a week after that George Armstrong Custer was killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn.

“The people from the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota and other tribes were gathered at Greasy Grass for the summer hunt,” Allard said. “It was a huge, huge camp. Things were changing, the United States was demanding that people stay on the reservation, but they were all gathered in traditional hunting grounds, and nobody could tell us what to do.”

Allard said there were so many people gathered at Greasy Grass, three-quarters of the men didn’t even go out and fight. “Sitting Bull went up to the hill and started praying,” she said. “He was at that age—he was not expected to fight. His job was to support and pray.”

Accused by the United States as being the most fierce of the Plains warriors, Sitting Bull fought only to practice Lakota ways without interference.

Ernie LaPointe is a great-grandson of Sitting Bull. “By kerosene lamp, my mother would tell stories of her grandfather. She never used his name, she told me names are wakan (sacred). Then she told me who he was, and said from this day forth, do not give that name to your grandchildren. He gave his blood, sweat and tears for his people. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here.”

Some reports claim that Sitting Bull murdered Custer, but LaPointe said: “From the east to west, we had leaders who were compassionate. The history books, religious books, they always said we were so war-like. But when we fought each other, we counted coup, it was an embarrassment to get hit. Ever since I been alive, the Americans have been at war. Now they are at war with terrorists,” LaPointe laughed, “They will never end that.”

After Little Big Horn, Sitting Bull led his people to Canada where they stayed for four years until they were overcome by starvation.

Ephriam Dickson, a historian with the National Museum of the U.S. Army, has spent years working with tribal historians to accumulate information about the wars. Several years ago, he found nearly all of the reservation census records of the late summer and early fall of 1881, just after Sitting Bull had surrendered and was brought in as a prisoner of war.

“Included in the records was a speech by Sitting Bull that granted permission for this census to be taken,” Dickson said.

For the last few years I have been in the North, where there are plenty of buffalo, for the buffalo were my means of living. God made me to live on the flesh of the buffalo, so I thought I would stay out there as long as there were buffalo enough for us. But the Great Father sent for me several times, and although I did not know why he wanted me to come down, at last I consented to do so. I never, myself, made war against the children of the Great Father, and I never sought a fight with them. While I was looking for buffalo, they would attack and shoot at me, and of course I had to defend myself or else I should die. But all the blame is put on me. I have always thought that the Dakotas were all one body, and I wanted to make an agreement with them to come and settle down. While I have been in the North, here and there, a good many things have happened, and I have been blamed for them; but I know that I am innocent.

Sitting Bull gave his age at the time of that speech as 43 years old and the census showed there were 40 families in his band.

Sitting Bull was allowed to return to his people at Standing Rock, but in 1890, as the Ghost Dance Movement began to sweep across Indian country, Sitting Bull was again blamed and arrested in fear of an uprising.

History.com reports that Sitting Bull was woken up at 6 a.m. by Indian police. A crowd gathered and as the young Lakota people taunted the police, a shot was fired hitting an officer. In response, Sitting Bull was shot twice—once in the chest and once in the head.

RELATED: This Date in History: Indian Agent Involved in Death of Sitting Bull Dies

“We remember him here in everything and everywhere,” Allard said. “We do our best to remember this great man, this common man. He called himself a common man, which is the greatest man of all.”

“After all these years, we still quote his words, we still remind the children, we still see his descendants here,” Allard said. “We haven’t ever had a tribal council without a descendent of Sitting Bull. He left us with a legacy, and because of him we still know who we are. Is that not amazing?”

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/12/15/native-history-sitting-bull-shot-indian-police-his-legacy-remains-152717

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Everyone gets excited about professional athletes and sports heroes, but we must be reminded that the real heroes are not on the football field, but the battlefield! We applaud the Philadelphia Eagles for doing the right thing and recognizing some real Hometown Heroes at their games. This is an amazing story about one of their own team cheerleaders who went on to join the US Army and defend our great nation. Incredible!

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  • 4 weeks later...

This has been around but it is to true, "how soon they forget" Let's keep it going again.................

Subj: This video humbles you right down to your toes.



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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Obama to award Medal of Honor to 24 overlooked Army veterans

WASHINGTON – Seeking to correct potential acts of bias spanning three wars, President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice.

The unusual mass ceremony, scheduled for March 18, will honor veterans, most of Hispanic or Jewish heritage, who had already been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second-highest military award. Only three of the recipients are living.

"I never really did worry about decorations," said one of those being honored, Melvin Morris of Cocoa, Fla., who was commended for courageous actions while a staff sergeant during combat operations on Sept. 17, 1969, in the vicinity of Chi Lang, South Vietnam.

Morris, who is black, said in an interview that it never occurred to him that his race might have prevented him from receiving the Medal of Honor. He said it was a huge surprise when the Army contacted him last May about the review and then arranged for a call from Obama.

"I fell to my knees. I was shocked," Morris said. "President Obama said he was sorry this didn't happen before. He said this should have been done 44 years ago."

The other living recipients are Spc. 4 Santiago J. Erevia of San Antonio, cited for courage during a search and clear mission near Tam Ky, South Vietnam, on May 21, 1969; and Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela of San Antonio, cited for courage during combat operations in Phuoc Long province, South Vietnam, on Sept. 1, 1969.

The Army conducted the review under a directive from Congress in the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. The law required that the record of each Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran who received a Service Cross during or after World War II be reviewed for possible upgrade to the Medal of Honor.

The Pentagon said the Army reviewed the cases of the 6,505 recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars and found an eligible pool of 600 soldiers who may have been Jewish or Hispanic. The Army also worked with the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, the Jewish War Veterans of the USA and the American GI Forum, the largest Hispanic-American veterans group, to pinpoint potential medal recipients.

Of the 24, eight fought in the Vietnam War, nine in the Korean War and seven in World War II.


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The posthumous recipients are:

--Sgt. Candelario Garcia, born in Corsicana, Texas, for courageous actions during combat operations in Lai Khe, South Vietnam, on Dec. 8, 1968.

-- Spc. 4 Leonard L. Alvarado, born in Bakersfield, Calif., died during combat operations in Phuoc Long province, South Vietnam, on Aug. 12, 1969.

-- Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon, born in Juncos, Puerto Rico, killed during combat operations in Ap Tan Hoa, South Vietnam, on April 4, 1969.

-- Spc. 4 Ardie R. Copas of Fort Pierce, Fla. killed during combat operations near Ph Romeas Hek, Cambodia, on May 12, 1970.

-- Spc. 4 Jesus S. Duran of San Bernardino, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in South Vietnam on April 10, 1969.

-- Cpl. Joe R. Baldonado, born in Colorado, killed during combat operations in Kangdong, North Korea, on Nov. 25, 1950.

-- Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza of El Paso, Texas, for courageous actions during combat operations in Chorwon, North Korea, on Aug. 1, 1952.

-- Sgt. Eduardo C. Gomez, born in Los Angeles, for courageous actions during combat operations in Tabu-dong, South Korea, on Sept. 3, 1950.

-- Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, born in New York City, killed during combat operations in Yangpyong, South Korea, on March 6-7, 1951.

-- Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Kalma-Eri, North Korea, on April 28, 1951.

-- Master Sgt. Mike C. Pena, born in Newgulf, Texas, killed in action during combat operations in Waegwan, South Korea, on Sept. 4, 1950.

-- Pvt. Demensio Rivera, born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Changyong-ni, South Korea, on May 23, 1951.

-- Pvt. Miguel A. Vera, born in Puerto Rico, killed during combat operations in Chorwon, North Korea, on Sept. 21, 1952.

-- Sgt. Jack Weinstein of Saint Francis, Kan. for courageous actions during combat operations in Kumsong, South Korea, on Oct. 19, 1951.

-- Pvt. Pedro Cano, born in La Morita, Mexico, for courageous actions during combat operations in Schevenhutte, Germany, on Dec. 3, 1944.

-- Pvt. Joe Gandara, born in Santa Monica, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in Amfreville, France, on June 9, 1944.

-- Pfc. Salvador J. Lara, of Riverside, Calif., for courageous actions during combat operations in Aprilia, Italy, May 27-28, 1944.

-- Sgt. William F. Leonard, of Lockport, N.J., for courageous actions during combat operations near St. Die, France, on Nov. 7, 1944.

-- Staff Sgt. Manuel V. Mendoza, born in Miami, Ariz., for courageous actions during combat operations on Mount Battaglia, Italy, on Oct. 4, 1944.

-- Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel, born in New York City, for courageous actions during combat operations in Heistern, Germany, on Nov. 18, 1944.

-- 1st Lt. Donald K. Schwab, born Hooper, Neb., for courageous actions during combat operations near Lure, France, on Sept. 17, 1944.

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True story, according to Snopes:


In light of the recent appeals court ruling in California, with respect to the Pledge of Allegiance, the following recollection from Senator John McCain is very appropriate:

"The Pledge of Allegiance" - by Senator John McCain

As you may know, I spent five and one half years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War. In the early years of our imprisonment, the NVA kept us in solitary confinement two or three to a cell.

In 1971 the NVA moved us from these conditions of isolation into large rooms with as many as 30 to 40 men to a room.

This was, as you can imagine, a wonderful change and was a direct result of the efforts of millions of Americans on behalf of a few hundred POW's 10,000 miles from home.

One of the men who moved into my room was a young man named Mike Christian.

Mike came from a small town near Selma, Alabama. He didn't wear a pair of shoes until he was 13 years old.
At 17, he enlisted in the US Navy. He later earned a commission by going to Officer Training School. Then he became a Naval Flight Officer and was shot down and captured in 1967. Mike had a keen and deep appreciation of the opportunities this country and our military provide for people who want to work and want to succeed.

As part Of the change in treatment, the Vietnamese allowed some prisoners to receive packages from home.
In some of these packages were handkerchiefs, scarves and other items of clothing.

Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.

Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell
and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.

One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it.

That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours.
Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.

The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.

As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to Pledge our allegiance to our flag and country.

So the next time you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you must never forget the sacrifice and courage that thousands of Americans have made to build our nation and promote freedom around the world.

You must remember our duty, our honor, and our country.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God ,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

PASS THIS ON... And on... And on!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Paul Harvey was one of my hero's....

Paul Harvey

Subject: 47 years ago -- it will give you chills

(And we did not head his warning!)

The pictures are loaded by the producer. Harvey was on the radio. No
pictures, just sound.

This was 47 years ago. April 3, 1965. An amazing prediction, too bad
it had to come true.

Do you remember the famous ABC radio commentator Paul Harvey?
Millions of Americans listened to his programs which
were broadcast over 1,200 radio stations nationwide.

When you listen to this, remember the commentary was
broadcast 47 years ago on April 3, 1965.

It's short...less than three minutes. You will be amazed.


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  • 3 weeks later...

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