View Full Version : Solemnly, world remembers its war dead on WWI anniversary

11-12-04, 07:12 AM
Solemnly, world remembers its war dead on WWI anniversary

PARIS (AFP) - In sombre ceremonies, world leaders and war veterans paid tribute to their war dead on the anniversary of the end of World War I, a conflict remembered only by a rapidly dwindling band of survivors.

In London, Queen Elizabeth led a two-minute silence, a tribute especially poignant with British troops still in conflict -- and dying -- in Iraq (news - web sites).

As the Last Post sounded in the shadow of London's Westminster Abbey, the queen laid a cross at a special grass plot next to where relatives and friends of the dead will plant 20,000 tiny wooden crosses.

Each will be adorned with a blood-red poppy, the name and rank of a fallen loved one and a message of commemoration.

One cross was for Scotland's Black Watch regiment, currently stationed near Baghdad to relieve US-led forces elsewhere in Iraq. At its Scottish base, the flag flew at half-mast in memory of five of its soldiers killed in Iraq in the last fortnight.

Later, 1.3 million poppy petals -- one for every British and Commonwealth soldier killed in action since the beginning of WWI -- were to be dropped over the river Thames.

Armistice Day commemorations are held on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to mark the November 11, 1918 signing of the accord that ended World War I, although they also honour the dead from all wars.

More than 950,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers died in that war.

Few WWI veterans are left now. In France there are only 15, aged at least 105 -- last year there were 36 -- and none was able to attend the main French ceremony in Paris.

There, President Jacques Chirac laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier underneath the Arc de Triomphe.

He inspected troops assembled beside the landmark before laying the wreath on the grave marking the last resting place of an unidentified soldier killed in the 1914-1918 conflict.

Veterans minister Hamlaoui Mekachara said the homage was also in honour of nine French soldiers killed during an upsurge of violence in Ivory Coast over the weekend.

"Nine soldiers died while fulfilling their duty. They died defending peace, building it. They were killed in cowardly fashion."

Other ceremonies were taking place elsewhere around the world.

In Canberra, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said while the world of 1918 would be unrecognisable now, "what has not changed are the qualities of sacrifice and patriotism and independence of spirit,"

Australia has several hundred soldiers in Iraq, a deployment which remains highly controversial at home.

In Wellington, the remains of an unknown soldier from New Zealand killed in France during WWI were returned Wednesday to an emotional Maori and military welcome.

They were to be entombed Thursday at a national memorial following a lying in state and a funeral cortege.

New Zealand was thus becoming one of the last of the war's participants to create a tomb of the unknown soldier.

Other ceremonies were planned Thursday in Belgium -- the first country to bear the brunt of WWI and whose last veteran from the conflict died two months ago -- as well as Poland, Latvia and the Czech Republic.

Further afield, events including a wreath-laying by US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) at Arlington National Cemetery on what is known in the United States as Veterans Day, and in Hong Kong and elsewhere.



11-12-04, 07:14 AM
For Marines, the bond's still strong <br />
New faces, same spirit for league founded in 1927. <br />
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Tribune Staff Writer <br />
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SOUTH BEND -- In 1927, eight veterans of the Great War began a...

11-12-04, 09:24 AM
Utah Marines celebrate Corps' 229th
By Dawn House
The Salt Lake Tribune

The eldest child of an itinerant farm worker enlisted in the Marines a week before his 17th birthday, in the last days of World War II. The Marines put him up in a hotel room, in case he changed his mind, until he could legally be shipped off to boot camp.
On Wednesday, retired Maj. Clay Boyd - who didn't change his mind - joined a 229-mile anniversary relay in West Valley City celebrating the day on Nov. 10, 1775 - 229 years ago - when the Continental Congress established the United States Marines as the land army of the U.S. Navy.
"I'm not a hero," said Boyd. "I was the oldest of 14 children working on farms and ranches in Utah, Montana and Washington. We lived under a tarp and later in a tent. My mother cooked my birthday cake in a skillet over a campfire. Joining the Marines was the best thing I ever did."
Boyd, 76, of Pleasant Grove, spent his 18th birthday in Rome. He turned 19 in Bizerte, Tunisia, as a bodyguard for an admiral. During the first three years of his marriage, he was home on liberty for a total of eight months, prompting family members to tease his wife about where all those babies came from when no one had ever seen her husband.
He is among 14 family members who have served in the Marine Corps since World War I. An uncle waded ashore at Pelieu in a sea red with blood and fought in hand-to-hand combat at Okinawa in the South Pacific during World War II.
Boyd served in Korea, building roads and digging tank placements on the front lines with a bulldozer. He and a buddy took turns returning fire and driving. He advised a Korean unit that fought in the Vietnam War.
His brother Mike Boyd, a state social worker, spent months in the jungles of Vietnam. Their cousin Stephen Fillerup, an FBI agent, fought in an artillery unit in Vietnam.
Today, the Marine Corps' battle rages in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. Since the U.S.-led invasion on March 19, 2003, 14 Utahns have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq,

four of them Marines.
"The Marines there are on my mind all the time," said Sgt. David Taylor, who won a coveted place in officer candidate school. "I feel like I should be there."
Taylor, 26, West Valley City, has a younger brother, Chris Whittington, of Lewiston, Idaho, who recently returned from Fallujah, where he drove a light armored vehicle.
The brothers have many friends who are still fighting in the bloody Iraqi province of Al Anbar.
Taylor and his wife, Melanie, a Marine corporal, married and joined the Marines together. They also are adding to the Marine family: They have one child and are expecting twins.
Shortly before a celebration Wednesday at the Pentagon, the Marine Corps' top general said today's Marines have much in common with their 18th-century comrades.
"We are a force in readiness, and we've always been a force in readiness," said Commandant Gen. Michael Hagee in an interview with American Forces Press Service. "We're an expeditionary force . . . In other words, when we arrive, we can sustain ourselves."
Still, modern-day Marines shoulder more responsibility. Hagee said the war on terrorism is "essentially a war at the squad-leader and platoon-leader level."
"We've got corporals and sergeants out there making very important decisions. They don't have time to get a 3-by-5 card out of their pocket, and they don't have time to check with anyone," he said.



11-13-04, 10:03 AM
Journey of remembrance: Harley group rides to grave of WWI veteran in Italy

By Kent Harris, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Friday, November 12, 2004

REVINE LAGO, Italy — The life of Mogens George Jorgensen may forever be a mystery to a group of motorcycle enthusiasts based at Aviano Air Base. They just know he once served in the U.S. armed forces.

But that didn’t stop them from paying tribute on Veterans Day.

It was the second straight year that members of the Aviano Chapter of Harley-Davidson owners visited the site where the senior master sergeant lies interred — an Italian cemetery at the base of the mountains about 25 miles northwest of the base.

“Hopefully, for next year, we’ll be able to find out more about this individual,” said Wayne Parks, who serves as the unofficial sponsor of the chapter.

The site was only discovered during a search by members trying to locate the reported gravesites of a pair of Americans who served with the Italian air force in World War I. Two of the streets on base are named for them.

“I’ve been to about seven cemeteries around here trying to find them,” said Ross Martinka, a contractor on base.

The placard where Jorgensen is interred says he was born in Denmark in 1939 and died in Germany in 1987. The group figures he married an Italian, and so is buried in Italy. It’s possible he served at Aviano in the distant past.

Parks placed an American flag amid the flowers adorning the placard, then read a few tributes to veterans before the group observed a moment of silence.

When asked what the point of spending half the day traveling through 50-degree temperatures with brooding clouds hovering overhead, Parks replied: “To honor the people who have come before us.”

“Harley groups tend to do things like this,” said Jeff Jamison.

The group was a bit disappointed by the turnout. Only eight bikes — seven of them Harleys — made the trip this year. Last year, more than three times that number were present.

But they were enough to turn more than a few Italian heads on the journey through a dozen small villages hugging the base of the Dolomite mountain range. And the weather, despite the threatening clouds, remained dry during the trip.

Parks said the group would try to make a trip again next year on Veterans Day.

“Probably the same place, unless we can find Americans buried someplace else,” he said. “In which case, maybe we’ll visit them all.”