Monday, February 27, 2012

Remembering old grandpa & a young Marine

Wars come and go, deaths happen. The chance finding a few days ago of a magazine published twenty-one years ago this month brought back memories of one war and one death in particular. There are a few words about this incident in the second element of this post. Semper Fi, until the end of time. But, before those words, here are a few about my old grandpa. Today is his day.

Happy birthday, old one

As I have done in past years, I want to note that today is my maternal grandfather's birthday. I grew up without a father in my life, and by the time a step-father arrived, I was entering my teenage years and had no time for strangers.

That is another story for another time -- maybe.

This grandfather was an identical twin. He loved horses and raised them. He rarely spoke to me or to anyone else. He drank too much. He loved to read. Drinking too much and reading too much are traits I probably picked up from him. (I think like Wolf Larsen thought: "My mistake was in ever opening the books." Or something like that. You do not know Wolf Larsen? What can I say other than, be curious.) Both habits -- drinking and reading -- have been much fun, no matter what else.

For better or for worse, old grandpa and my grandmother's brother were the two most influential men in my young life. Great uncle Harry had left the family farm and fought in Europe. I mean, actually fought. Most military veterans have never been close to real combat, although they usually like to pretend they have been. Harry later became a cop and a part-time farmer. From him, I learned about firearms and how to shoot.

Harry believed in the old saying about Samuel Colt: "God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal." Please, do not tell me you do not know Sam Colt. If you do not know who Sam Colt was, I feel sorry for you. And, if before you did not recognize the name of Wolf Larsen, either, that is two in a row. Then, I would feel really sorry for you. Obviously, you do not understand the reality of equality and live in a fairy tale world. (Do not take me too seriously this evening.) Anyway, I am like Harry in that regard. (Or, take me too seriously any evening, come to think of it.)

All right. Enough about this and that and other things. Happy birthday, old one. See you sooner or later, and we will have a beer together like we did the last time we saw each other. Your turn to buy the next round ....

The curse of political correctness

I have called October more-or-less a month of deaths in my life. January is almost as much so, and perhaps one of greater relevance in the course of my life. I doubt I ever will write about all of these things here, but I do want to pull from the recesses of my mind a January event which always lurks within me but seldom rises to the surface.

The event returned from memory to mind this week when I ran across an old magazine which contained an article about the incident. Eleven troopers of the U.S. Marine Corps were killed by friendly fire on January 29, 1991, during the opening days of the American invasion of Iraq in the so-called Gulf War. Two more Marines were badly wounded.

This "accident" (negligent homicide, I would call it) was broadcast live on television. I saw it happen, heard the chopper pilots celebrating their "kill," heard a ground control voice come on and say there might have been a "mistake," heard the talk slow and the silence grow -- then, the abrupt end of the transmission.

The trigger-happy crew in a U.S. Army helicopter had cut loose with missiles on a Marine convoy of Bradley armored vehicles engaged in a night-time reconnaissance patrol. One of the Marines killed was related to me through marriage. He was twenty-three years old.

I guess the losses were considered acceptable in context of the fact that thirty-three Iraqi tanks and twenty-eight armored personnel carriers were also taken out by American fliers that night. Apparently, most of these "heroes" actually were intelligent enough to tell the good guys from the bad guys, in a manner of speaking.

The really sick element about this incident is that today, in this age of political correctness, accounts of this "accident of war" and the Marine deaths are made to appear as though they were not caused by friendly fire.

Did you know that about one-quarter of all allied deaths in the Gulf War were caused by trigger-happy friendlys, most of them pilots? Not one of them ever faced courts martial for negligence.

Oh, well. What the hell. Time to shut my mouth and just glare. So ends February, not with a whimper, but with some vivid memories.


Anita said...

hi Fram..nice!1Very nice!!!

i think your grandpa is alot like you.dont you feel that!!

About wolf Larsen.Never heard of him..but i did read now..and i am going to buy that book..and also try to find that movie..

sam colt ..sure..who does not know that saying..I believe the the old saying, "God made man, but Samuel Colt made them equal," originated as advertising slogan for Colt Manufactuting...nice!!! s things going??why are there no people around here??

as for myself..i have a good life now..not on the net feels soo great not to be soon as i feel that..i go away!!

like to be a free bird!!

Here spring slowly is coming around..we have 8 degrees..a little fog and dusky oslo they have 17 to get the bikinis!!woo hoo!!

when do you think you will visit your family in europe??

or are you settled down now.. son ghas two weeks more of that plaster on his arms so no winther sports here..may be a quick flight to oslo..i dont know..

ok..glad to hear from you Fram..also to know about your family :)

Fram Actual said...

I really am not sure how much my grandfather and I are alike, Anita, but we share some very similar traits.

That you should do a bit of research about Wolf Larsen is impressive. Jack London has been one of my favorite writers since I was young. It occurs to me now that he was a San Francisco man, and just how many writers I admire have ties to that city. There have been a number of film versions of the book. Let me know if you watch one. I think London's short story, "To Build a Fire," is among the greatest ever written.

Good work, also, regarding old Sam Colt.

As to why there are no people here other than you and I, I suppose you would have to ask them.

To be honest, I have had no contact with my cousin in Stockholm since she returned to her home last summer, so I still have no address for my relative in Bergen. Anyway, I am trying to decide if I will spend money going to Europe or use it to buy a boat. As for settled down, no, not at all. I am trying to decide where I might find the greatest happiness. I will never, ever, never settle down.

I wore a cast on my left arm from armpit to finger tips for eight weeks, Anita, so I sympathize with the ordeal your son is going through right now. But, it gave my arm more strength over the long run because I worked and worked to make it even better than it had been before the broken bones. That is what he must begin to do when his casts come off.

Take care ....

Bitch said...

Here I am!!
I love to read your posts, dear Fram..
And more to hear Richard Wagner!!!

As I am a "mute" person there is really nothing to say or to write about.. I really don't know..
I had a quick visit to my hometown in Germany, where my sister lives.
Now back here in Greece, things are having its old shape..
The people are on strike (when they don't burn their city)!

not blogging is maybe
good for you and not being addicted to anything!!!
I was looking out for you these days...

Well have you both a nice day (and night)...

Fram Actual said...

Well, Monika emerges from the mists of Greece to voice her greetings. Thank you, for your visit and for your kind words.

Greece really is in turmoil, it seems, and it is difficult -- actually, impossible -- to understand the logic behind burning and looting to accomplish any manner of positive results. This is an illness which seems to afflict the people of many countries today.

Like Anita, I am struggling with mixed feelings about the sea of blogs. I cannot decide whether to stay or whether to go, which is why my appearances are sporadic and my comments on the blogs of others few. What can I say ??

Anita said...

hi Fram and monica!! is indeed good to be nada.just relaxion ,love and fun!!woo hoooo!!

yes i have a great time of my life!!not beeing addicted as a drug it is to be stuck on facebook blogger or whatever..well i got you the only thing i care music music!!

enough about me..

how are you fram??

what are you doing..creating?

iam thinking of having a little weekend holiday to see those ancient buildings and so on..later i will travel to Cyproz again for 3 weeks..

Also thinking again..of buing masself a little house by the in the movie with liv ullman we loved from minnesota..when i have done that i will invite you for a holiday!!

ok..hasta la vista and may the force be with you all muah muah mauh..xxxxx

Fram Actual said...

In answer to your question, Anita, I am doing nothing of consequence and creating nothing of interest. Mostly, I am waiting for spring while I wander aimlessly through a maze formed by my own imagination.

That was a great film and I do think the emigrants were the lucky ones in most respects. Sure. You buy a little house by the sea and sooner or later I will put in an appearance. The only question would be how I would arrive: By land, on the sea or from the air.

If you go to Rome and Cyprus, you will have to begin a new blog to show some of the photographs from your trips.

Thank you, Anita. It is always nice to have you visit.

Anita said...

noooo..nooooo.noooo..i never will do that again!!be on the internet!!!

well may be later(years) i dont know..whats the use of doing that any way..iam much more happy to come here and write a word or two..and read what you write.. make me laught on the way you will visit me..i pick you up at the airport.finish with that problem.but i will not buy now.havent found the right house yet.try to see it in my dreams ,by the you live by the sea??or river??

well now i have to go again..

thanx for reply great fram!))

Fram Actual said...

There is no sea here, Anita, but there are many lakes and I live about two or three km from the Minnesota River and about ten or twelve km from where it meets the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, I cannot see them from here.

There are nearly twelve thousand lakes in Minnesota, so a person is never very far from one.

I should also mention when I said arrive "by land, on the sea or from the air," I was not thinking of an airport. One never knows what might fall from the sky.

Anita said...


i will look at the sky never know you know..hahahahahahaha

Something special ....