Monday, March 21, 2011

"MY FATHER DIDN'T PRAISE TOO MANY PEOPLE, BUT HE ALWAYS TOLD ME, "IF YOU WANT TO BE AN OFFICER IN THE ARMY, BE ONE LIKE DICK WINTERS. HE TOOK CARE OF HIS MEN AND LED BY EXAMPLE":  Two humble soldiers were honored in memorial services this past week -- Maj. Richard "Dick" Winters of Easy Company, with Tom Hanks among those in attendance in Hershey, and Frank Buckles, laid to rest at Arlington as the last surviving American veteran of World War I, age 110. If you have a few minutes, do read his 2001 interview for the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress.

Finally, as long as I'm on the topic of men who risked their lives for their country, I need to link to the recent heartbreaking NPR story, via Ann Althouse, of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov's death during a 1967 mission he knew was doomed, but from which he didn't want to back out because otherwise his friend Yuri Gagarin would have met the same fate.  Warning: there's a graphic picture near the start, but bonus: you also get to see the speech William Safire drafted for President Nixon in case Apollo 11 had failed.


  1. Contemporary composer Brett Dean composed a short piece based on Komarov's last minutes, entitled "Komarov's Fall."  The composer's thoughts on it are here  The piece is recorded and available along with Holst's The Planets and some other pieces, here

  2. The Pathetic Earthling11:03 AM

    Gagarin's problem here was compounded greatly by the fact that Sergei Korolev, the Chief Designer of the Soviet program, and the one guy with any political clout in the program, had died the year before.  I imagine the book goes into this, but the Soviet program became far less focused after Korolev's death and much more subject to political whim.

  3. black magic woman1:22 PM

    so, I read your post as "but he always told me, 'if you want to be an officer in the army, be one like Dick <span>Whitman</span>."

    I was horribly confused by this statement, because I figured your father was being ironic.  Then I clicked the link and realized it was my reading comprehension.
    <span> </span>

  4. Nancy5:46 PM

    "Pennsylvania Cable Network will show the [Maj. Winters] memorial service on PCN at 8:30 p.m. Monday, March 21, at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, March 24, and at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 25." 

    I would so love to see this. Is there any way it may end up online?

  5. I would not be surprised -- check