Thursday, November 11, 2010

For Veterans Day--Eagle Point National Cemetary

This site, twenty miles northeast of Medford, Oregon, in the southern part of the state, contains the remains of 12,049 men amd women who served their country in the Armed Forces. I took a few pictures here a couple weeks back when I was up visiting my parents' grave markers.


  1. And all for what Doug....a better country, a better world?

  2. A similar pattern of thought thought occured to me as I walked about these grounds.

    I wish we could ask these men and women about what they think of this present time, AA, especially those of them who fell in combat long ago.

  3. Some of the old timers of WW2 I literally have Doug. As well as a few that have been back and forth to Afghanistan. Seemingly the merit of what they have done is something that they don't regret. Yet many do feel the pain of those that they have lost. When there is someone that is covering you within the line of fire they really come to have a very significant bond.

  4. Yes that's something only those who have come through combat talk about--a feeling toward others that cannot be replicated in civilian life.

  5. Sorry I haven't commented, Doug. I haven't been much online since the midterm election; Multiply was down all day yesterday. I just didn't feel l could look at one more cemetery.

    Aaran asks a good question: "And all for what Doug....a better country, a better world?" That's what saddens me most.

  6. They were being somewhat overly optimistic saying that it was the war to end all wars methinks.

  7. I've had the same problems at this end, Lucija.

    It is a sad question. One can only wish all was much better after such barbarity but it doesn't seem we learn as much as we should about avoiding these catastrophes.

  8. That war must have been a huge shock to civilization, Jim. Many must have believed the leaders would gather somewhere and put an end to all major wars. Such idealism has long vanished.

  9. Sadly for me my entire working life has been involved in areas that had we lived in a utopian world would not have been needed.

    Whilst I strongly agree with Churchills message that it is better to jaw jaw than war war, I doubt that we will ever be able to dispense with the military.

  10. Churchill was right therr on holding talk to be above combat, Jim.

    But he also said that to be shot at--and hot hit---by one's enemy was a thrilling thing. Perhaps it is. It's also one of many reasons why I'm afraid we will never want for armies.

    Good of you to try and get us all to a better place though.

  11. Hadn't heard that one before Doug. Given his history before entering politics he would certainly know all about that.

    As for me leading us to a better place, you ascribe things to me that are not there I'm afraid, but thank you for the compliment.

  12. I find seeing gravestones like this, set out in rows which stretch on and on, it some how brings home the tremendous sacrifice.

  13. It does Cassandra---there should be a way to honor the courage of the individuals, their "last measure of devotion" as Lincoln said, and loss that families have had.

    And to remind others there is a price for both freedom, and I'm sorry to say, the follies of American leaders of the past-as in the Vietnam War.

  14. I'm not sure I can answer that question, I wish I could. The awful thing is, that we actually ask someone who has never killed before, or even thought of it, to gun down and bomb thousands. I suppose when the enemy comes at you, it would be stupid to simply stand there, so we kill. Men and sometimes women, are called to war by their leaders who don't make it fully clear what the fight is about. I think the big sacrifice is being asked to kill when it is abhorrent to you, but we fight because we are told it is for a purpose, such as freedom and rights.

    A person who hasn't had a good education may not question the fight, but just go willingly and join his fellow men, because to some extent they are programmed to do so. In many public schools young men were trained as cadets and became leaders, still never having knowledge of what it is to kill. I consider this is all sacrifice, doing something you fear, but not wanting to let your comrades down.

    We really must start sitting round the table to solve problems and somehow find the middle ground. Also, to understand each others cultures and not feel threatened by the differences.
    I am realistic, war brings about employment, making weapons and uniforms being involved in extensive experimental work, the hope of owning more mineral rights,etc.

    We need to be more questioning, but in my experience people will sit back and accept that which they are told is true. Oh gosh this make us so vulnerable for the coming sacrifice.

    But, no, there isn't a way to answer your question, because we will never know what would have happened had they not been sacrificed but stayed at home. These people died, so I'll give their sacrifice my respect. I will also work towards a better world in my own small way.

    Grins.... I'm aware you can tie me in knots by what I've said here.

  15. I do think most of us are to some extent, at the hands of those we voted in office and what they learn from their generals, where conflicts are involved. We can shout them down, but if we aren't as one we have little chance of making a difference, but that shouldn't stop us trying.

    Yes, it isn't only those who died fighting who made a sacrifice, but the parents who raise this child not to kill and then find it is all out of their hands and that much loved child, now a man, or woman, is killed. When will we ever learn?

  16. Sorry to bring this up again, Doug, I thought I was on the photo page you loaded recently, then saw the date.

  17. It's never too late for good input Cassandra. I really think you and Aaran have made some thoughtful points here and I'm glad for the reflections.

    Many of the most complicated feelings imaginable can come out in these final resting places of both honor and contentious debate over what the overall sacrifice was often about.

  18. Well that would be a bit boring of me especially on the eve of Valentines day, so I'll just say thanks for your thoughtful answer and if you're happy about it we can leave it at that :-)

  19. That is part of what is frustrating--to see a rush to war when those in power haven't made a convincing case a good deal of the time.

    A former American Secretary of State (Madeline Albright) is supposed to have said to a general regarding a pending war in the Balkans or somewhere, "What is the use of having this great military we have if we don't use it?"
    Now I understand there might be some context I'm missing here, but her statement to me is the sum of the problem. People have to be heard over elitist mind-sets like this--war is not a chess game and just because we send men and women out to be trained to fight somewhere doesn't always mean they should. I fully agree we as a species have to learn to talk to each other--our ememies--to survive. If we can't always do it at a government level, at least we can TRY to be heard to our countrymen and maybe, with the Internet, we can be heard on those of the other side, ordinary people who might be thinking the same thing but are drowned out by the drumbeats of war their leaders send up.

    Thanks Cassandra.

  20. How can I be absolutely happy about my answer? I still feel it is wrong to go to war because we should try harder to resolve issues around the table. I'm always writing letters to our Ministers if I'm not happy about something and if I get an answer it is usually pretty weak. At least I have made them aware of my disagreement or annoyance about their policies, instead of reading the paper and tut tutting before closing it.

    Thank you for going easy on me this Valentine's day.:-)

    I wonder, do you have an answer about our continually going to war and never learning from the experience?

  21. I'll anwer your comment later Doug, I'm off to earn a crust.

  22. Yes the rush to war and the fact we beilieve those who are sending us off to fight know what they are talking about.

    As for Madeline Albright, that was a pretty flippent remark

  23. Yes it is frustrating, and we rarely question those sending people to war, we assume they know what they are doing.

    As for Madeline Albright, that was a pretty flippant remark. How wonderful if we didn't have to use the military.

    When I write my letters I often wonder if they get thrown in the waste bin. I don't always send email I'm a letter writer with a fountain pen, simply because I love to set things down that way. I'll admit an email can reach a wider audience. Sometimes I write to my local MP and other times to the top dog.
    As I said in another article, they are pushing things through too fast without much thought. I am sure they'd tie us into another war regardless of the cost.

    But Doug, it's the far reaching happenings of war that scare me. In Germany alone 800,000 children were orphaned and then allegedly passed on to the care of Catholic and protestant churches. Those children were used as slave labour, and beaten daily. That is what war does, it isn't only those who went willingly to fight, but the widespread seemingly wicked abuse of the helpless innocents.

    We need to educate our young on the evils of war, not make it all look fun as some films do with the gung ho attitude. We as adults can see through that, but not always children.

    We do need to see where our leaders are taking us when they hear those drum beats of war.

    I'm sure you will know more about this than me.

  24. Thank you, Doug. I'm sure you and Aaran are experts on this subject.

  25. Sorry for the delete, Doug, the first sentence of my comment shot off all on its own for some reason.

  26. It's interesting how we find out from memoirs and such how much (or how little) our leaders know. President Lyndon Johnson was very gung-ho about escalating the American war in Vietnam, for example, yet tapes of phone conversations in the last few years have revealed he was uncertain and how anguished he was about the course of the war. The one thing our leaders don't do is admit a mistake very easily, if at all.

    I'm glad to hear about your writing MP. I've want to get a letter off myself about the latest budget cuts, some of which are pretty draconian... like cutting the Federal funding to Public Television, government funding to the agency who tracks hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico watching, and even meat inspectors(?!)

    There is some thing substantial about a real letter that I like. For many years elected Representatives after the anthrax-letters scare in Washington requested e-mails over letters because of security issues. Still, holding something in the hand is harder to "delete" I'd say.

    The last letter I wrote recently to a Senator was a real hoot. It was about the pension system (Social Security) and how we tax working people now to pay for current pensioners. Well, I get a e-letter back last week which summed up by stating "thanks for congratulating me--my Senator--- on holding the line on unnecessary taxes".


    A form letter with not a word on public pension funding. How heart-warming. ;-) I should add I've had better responses in the past.

    wonder if movies, especially those about World War II and Korea, often made war look heroic even if they did show violence in realistic ways. So many of the details of the conflicts--like the loss of childhood and beatings delivered to those German children, were covered up or just forgotten. It's those stories that need to be told more often ----the losses that are incalculable.

    I did see a lot of movies growing up of John Wayne or somebody younger later on throwing a grenade into a fortified Japanese bunker or some hijinks like "The Dirty Dozen" where you have what is basically a high-testosterone action-story in a WWII movie that isn't really about the war at all. Books like "The Longest Day" (about D-Day) tended to be morereliable.

    There might have been some tough scenes to watch in those movies, and a bit of cynicism in the ranks, but there was always a rousing fanfare of music at the end. I am somewhat heartened by the fact that those movies have been replaced by the likes of "The Hurt Locker".

    I often thought how much quicker wars would end if all in a nation had to really got involved and make sacrifices. In the USA, we don't pay for the wars--we just put them in as "emergency spending"" (i.e., more debt.)

    I wish I knew a lot more than I do, Cassandra. It's only by opening myself to other ideas like yours and through books and articles that I catch a bit of a grasp of this greatest human folly--war.