It was just over 4 years ago when l was on a several week trip to the US to do research for this blog. My daily entries at the time, told of progress as I had to venture back and forth between Gettysburg and Washington DC for various aspects of this work.
And sure enough, whilst there the government bolted the doors to one of the most important repositories of the secrets I hoped to unveil. Those of the National Archives and Records Administration, NARA for short.
Several successful days of search produced real gems. But about 1/3rd of my planned research came to a screeching halt as the government shut down and locked out many services to those who voted them into office.
I can remember like it was yesterday, the veterans wanting to get into various areas to see monuments of remembrance to those they fought with it, and they were none to happy.
Luckily the nation's most famous cemetery at Arlington was still open and many Canadian graves on my list were located. But there too, were plenty of disgruntled workers, some being forced to work without expectation of a payday in the near future. One fellow, I believe being a National Parks policeman, was about to tow my rental vehicle off because it had wondered into an unauthorized area.
I say unauthorized as all are given passes that indicate where the driver will be visiting. I was going from one area to another in this very large cemetery to see yet another grave when I came along side of the Unknown Soldier and decided that I must visit this. But alas, it was not on my pass.
On looking at graves close to this national monument, and moving towards it, I looked back at my car to see the policeman writing up a ticket. On approaching and asking what was going on, he was none to happy and seemed little interested in my story on why that specific location was not on my pass. Nor in my cursing the heat, the frustration of not find some graves and then this.
He then gave me a lecture about his having being forced to work, and told me would not be getting paid for his work. with no idea when the next pay check was coming, Such of course was not the case. It was simply WHEN he would next get his wages. The encounter was not very pleasant for either of us, but in the end I escaped with a stern warning.
This year I see that yet again many services will be performed with possibilities of delayed, but probably not cancelled payments for services provided. Nevertheless this no doubt throws family finances for a real spin in many cases.
Hopefully the men and women on capital hill with soon, put antics behind them, on both sides, and remember that their actions, or failures may well come back to bite them sooner than later.
In 2013 it took 16 days. Let's hope this one takes less!
Moving along, but still with government service to the nation, I most recently saw an article on the net that can teach each of us quite a lot about humility. It also notes that we have an obligation to serve those around us.
Governments at DC and indeed, all across North America should heed its message!
I have borrowed the article word for word, because I believe you should read every word in the message. Further, it should be widely circulated and given serious thought, by all. Please pass it on.
Here it is.
Hershel (Woody) Williams Is the last living Medal of Honor recipient of almost 30, being awarded a MOH for heroism during the deadly fighting at Iwo Jima back in 1945. He is now 94 years young.
The stern looking fellow standing, and beside the Woody image above, is Lt. General Alexander Vandegrift, commandant of the Marine Corp in 1945. When Williams was seen by the General the day after he was presented his MOH, Woody got a stern lecture.
Details can be seen in the wonderful 7 minute U Tube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGts5WeLEgk
He was told that..."That medal does not belong to you. It belongs to all the Marines that did not get to come home." He added that Woody had better not... "do anything that would tarnish it." The General well knew of the responsibility of wearing that medal, because he too carried the same obligation as a fellow recipient.
Next weekend I will bring you an interesting story about the Gold Star families that Woody dedicated so much time to support.
Hope you will join me,