Category Archives: Tributes

Honor A Local Veteran Today


These people are from Parsons Kansas, and are just a few veterans from my small town. I’m sure there are many more local veterans worth featuring. Parsons will always remember Cpl. Daniel Cox, killed in Afghanistan’s Wardak province in 2009.

Ron Phillips

Ron Phillips, 14th Air Force

My name is Ronald M. Phillips (Ron) and as I write this in Feb. 2012 I am within three months of turning 90. That means that I am a Veteran of WW-II, and I was drafted only a few months after the Pearl Harbor disaster at the age of 19. After my entry into the U.S. Military I managed to carefully observe the opportunities on the company bulletin board. By taking advantage of those opportunities I moved from Buck Private rank to that of “O” three, meaning–“Captain”, in the U.S. Air Corps. (which later became the U.S. Air Force.) After entering, and graduating, from the Airplane & Engine school in Glendale, CA, I entered the Aviation Cadet training center in San Antonio, TX and about a year later I graduated as a 2nd Lt. Fighter Pilot in Moore Field, McAllen TX. That put me into a ‘combat-ready’ status so I ended up being sent to China to join General Chennault’s 14th Air Force “Flying Tigers”. The “Tigers” by then, were known world-wide because of their record. In the nine months before Pearl Harbor they were known only as The A.V.G., or the “American Volunteer Group”. There were only one hundred of them to begin with. They were flying the previously used, beat-up old P-40 Warhawks, and had shot down 297 Japanese aircraft with a loss of only 12 of ours. I don’t believe that record was ever broken.

After Pearl Harbor the AVG became “The Fourteenth Air Force”, under the tutelage of Brig. Gen. Clair Lee Chennault, and that’s when I joined the Fourteenth Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group Flying Tigers. ~Ronald M. Phillips

Leon Crooks

Sgt. Leon Crooks (left) Rome, 1944

It took 66 years for Leon Crooks to be awarded a Bronze Star for his World War II service, including an act of heroism that saved the lives of around 30 soldiers.

Crooks served in Company B, Second Chemical Mortar Battalion, also known as the Red Dragon Battalion, which dates back to Aug. 17, 1917, in the first World War. It was the first chemical battalion in the U.S. ranks. Crooks had a total of 511 days in combat. This unit tied with one other unit for the number of days on the front line in the European theater of operations.

The Bronze Star award recognizes Crooks’ entire military service, from June 22, 1943, to Sept. 18, 1945, but focuses on an action on Feb. 12, 1944, after the end of the first Battle of Cassino in Italy against German and Italian forces.
The lull in fighting had provided the Allies and opportunity to relieve and replace war-weary troops, and First Sgt. Crooks and his driver, T/5 Herbert Aram were asked to move to the rear echelons to pick up replacements and bring back PFC Norman Gearhart and PFC James Egoff.

Leon Crooks receives the Bronze Star

The Germans opened up with 88mm guns, shelling members of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force, whose gear had been loaded on a mule train.

“I was talking to my driver, and I said, ‘A lot of men are going to die out there today unless we do something’,” Crooks said. “The driver said, ‘If you get a truck, I’ll drive’.”

They got a 3/4 ton weapons carrier and, making three trips under German fire, transported the New Zealand soldiers to safety.

“We’d pull up, I’d get out and load the guys up, and when we got all we could handle, we’d drive back to the aid station, which was not too far behind us,” Crooks said. “Then we went back for our men.”

The driver was injured during the rescue. Crooks said that Aram didn’t even realize it at first.

“He said, ‘Sarge, I  think I’ve been hit,’ and a piece of shrapel had got him in the arm,” Crooks said. “I was pretty lucky, I never did get hit.”

David R. Larsen

Dave Larsen (Navy Cross) left
Charlie Vance (Bronze Star)

David Larsen is a Navy Cross Recipient, for extraordinary heroism on 2 August 1969.

GMG3 Larsen was serving as a gunner’s mater mate aboard PBR 775 which was part of a two-boat night waterborne guard post stationed on the upper Saigon River. Operating in conjunction with the patrol, a six-man ambush team, which was providing bank security for the guard post, engaged four enemy soldiers who were part of an estimated 35 to 50-man force that returned the contact with accurate rocker fire, killing or critically wounding all but one member of the six-man ambush team. One man from the team managed to call for the PBR crewmen’s help. Armed with a machine gun and several ammunition belts, Larsen hastened to the assistance of the ambush team. As he led his small force ashore, he saw three enemy soldiers about to overrun the friendly position. He immediately rushed toward them, firing his machine gun, and single-handedly tu rned back the enemy assault, killing at least one of the enemy. Larsen then maintained a one-man perimeter defensive position and, although under continuous enemy fire, succeeded in discouraging further enemy attacks until additional help arrived. Later, armed with three different weapons, Larsen was the first man to take his post on the perimeter established to provide security for the medical evacuation helicopter. By his extremely courageous one-man assault in the face of direct enemy fire, Larsen was responsible for saving the lives of three fellow servicemen, and for protecting his shipmates as they administered aid to the wounded. His valiant and inspiring efforts reflect the highest credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Charlie Vance of Portland, Ore., was there that August night, and earned a Bronze Star.

“I brought out ammo and helped bring the wounded back,” said Vance, a former petty officer.

He said Larsen was an unlikely candidate for heroics, but he rose to the occasion.

“He was just a quiet old farm boy and he took in an M-60, and he was the first one off the boat,” Vance said of Larsen. “He actually saved lives.”

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BE HERE NOW


For Lynn.

Immortal Bach translated:

Come sweet death, come blessed rest!
Come lead me to peace.

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Filed under Classical Music, Faith, Music, Religion, Tributes, Vocal Music

FAN MEETS ARTIST


PLEASE…listen to the video at the end of this post. If you think Shawn is worthy of more recognition, you can help!

Sign a petition HERE….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 No since even calling this post a review or critique. I’m not a very good critic of Shawn Phillips, as I’ve been a huge fan for over thirty years. With a style and range of music that can only be defined as eclectic, Shawn has refused to be boxed in by the music industry and practically led the way for the waves of independent rockers now on the scene. Although he did achieve some notoriety in the USA during the 1970’s, he has a much larger following worldwide. Now residing in South Africa with his family, he has toured the States on a limited basis for the last couple of years.

No need for me to review his song choices and every missed note. I’ll just say that Shawn seemed quite happy and his voice was great the night I saw him. His music is very difficult to perform, both vocally and the guitar techniques, so I was so pleased that he was able to use his full range without compromise.

Shawn plays his LesCaster/StrataPaul doubleneck.

Shawn plays his LesCaster/StrataPaul doubleneck.

Although Shawn never achieved the fame of some of his friends, he seems satisfied with his achievements and says that his defining moment was a standing ovation at The Isle of Wight in 1970.

Shawn Phillips (left) with sekanblogger

Shawn Phillips (left) with sekanblogger

A big thanks to UMG for allowing this video (below). WMG should learn a thing or two about common decency.

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Stairway To Heaven (for Hicks and Hillbillies)


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I Have a Dream / Give Me Your Hand


WARNING!

EQUALITY AND TOLERANCE PROMOTED HERE

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Elegy For Lisa’s Mother


May God bless Lisa in this time of sorrow.

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Most Of The Time


Cover of a Bob Dylan song, by Lefty Stagg  (Lynn V , you’ve already heard this one, maybe Rip will like it?)

 MOST OF THE TIME

Most of the time
I’m clear focused all around
Most of the time
I can keep both feet on the ground
I can follow the path, I can read the signs
Stay right with it, when the road unwinds
I can handle whatever I stumble upon
I don’t even notice she’s gone
Most of the time

Most of the time
It’s well understood
Most of the time
I wouldn’t change it if I could
I can’t make it all match up, I can hold my own
I can deal with the situation right down to the bone
I can survive, I can endure
I don’t even think about her
Most of the time

Most of the time
My head is on straight
Most of the time
I’m strong enough not to hate
I don’t build up illusion ’till it makes me sick
I ain’t afraid of confusion no matter how thick
I can smile in the face of mankind
Don’t even remember what her lips felt like on mine
Most of the time

Most of the time
She ain’t even in my mind,
I wouldn’t know her if I saw her
She’s that far behind
Most of the time
I can’t even be sure
If she was ever with me
Or if I was with her

Most of the time
I’m halfway content
Most of the time
I know exactly where I went,
I don’t cheat on myself, I don’t run and hide
Hide from the feelings, that are buried inside
I don’t compromised and I don’t pretend
I don’t even care if I ever see her again
Most of the time

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Irena Sendler – worthy of a symphony


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Kingfisher – Shawn Phillips and Donovan


This year is the 45th since this video was made.

The singer is Donovan, of “Sunshine Superman” fame. If you know my humble blog, you know who Shawn Phillips is. If you are an old guy like me, you know that the interviewer with the banjo on his lap is Pete Seeger.

Shawn and Donovan recently reunited at The Royal Albert Hall in London.

Also joining in the fun were other notable musicians like Jimmy Page!

Shawn Phillips & Jimmy Page

And not the least to join the fun was Mr. Danny Thompson, original Bass Player for Pentangle.

  It seems that Rolling Stone Magazine wrote a “review” of the whole gig, but spent much time carrying on about Jimmy Page appearing, much to the disappointment of Shawn and his fans! Shawn did share a letter he wrote to the magazine:

Dear Mr. Somaiya, and RollingStone Magazine,
                                                                                 I am writing this message on behalf of the rest of the people who took part in the recent Donovan Concert at the Royal Albert Hall, on June 3rd. It would be nice if you could do a followup review. There were a few folks there beside Jimmy Pageyou know. Saw no mention of Mr. Danny Thompson, original Bass Player for Pentangle, and the Bass Player for the momentous event when Miles Davis played, at the Isle Of Wight, and sessions for renowned musicians too numerous to mention.

 Also participating was Shawn Phillips who was the original session Sitar, and Guitar player on ALL THE SESSIONS for the “Sunshine Superman” album, and co-composer of the song “Season Of The Witch”. Would have been nice to note that Mr. Phillips took time off, and canceled 4 concerts to do this from a tour he is currently in the midst of in the U.S. and Canada, that consists of more than 68 concerts away from his home and family from April till Nov. and that he has some 23 CD’s of original music under his belt, and last year celebrated 50 years on the road, but as they say, “Money talks, and bullshit walks”.

 Listen man, the guy played a couple licks, while what should have been 2 weeks of rehearsals packed into 2 days with a full orchestra, went off very well considering the intricacies of the arrangements by John Cameron. A few more lines on his work could be appreciated as well. Would be lovely to have an OBJECTIVE review of what actually went down that night. I have read some of your other work in researching you, and you can write quite well on occasion. Personally, I do know a little about writing, as my Father was an author, and one of his favorite things in teaching me about writing was, “Don’t say Bloodbath”, say, “But did the multitudinous seas encarnadine”.

So c’mon man, write a REAL review. They’ll publish it, even if it’s a few days after the fact. Thank you. I wish you Health, Love, and Clarity,  Shawn Phillips

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The Saddest List


State: All are now accounted for following 5/22 tornado

Updated 4:15 PM CST:  When the Missouri Department of Public Safety released its official list of persons unaccounted for, that number was down to zero.

Officials say the Missouri State Highway Patrol has accounted for all individuals on that list.

They say 144 persons on the list have been located; and, next-of-kin of 134 deceased individuals have been notified.

MORE HERE: list of deceased

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