Friday, December 07, 2007

Pearl Harbor

It is the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii today. It plunged the United States into World War Two. This very short video has footage from that day as well as the beginning of FDR's speech to Congress asking for a declaration of war. The video has the wrong year at the beginning (it is 1941 and not 1942!) but other than that is well done and worth a minute and a half of your time.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Alabama soldier missing since Korean War has been found

And they are still being found almost sixty years later...

The Montgomery Advertiser has details. It notes, "The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Korean War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors. He is Army 1st Lt. Dixie S. Parker of Green Pond. He will be buried Dec. 6 in Arlington National Cemetery."

It is hard to believe that there are still unaccounted American soldiers from the Korean War. I guess it shouldn't be surprising as the fog of war and the chaos of the post-war political climate made it very easy for bodies to get lost. I know there have always been those unaccounted for in wars going all the way back to antiquity. How many families never knew what happened to missing kin in the Roman civil wars for example? It just seems that in the modern era that lost soldiers should be a thing of the past. This is probably an impossibility but at least the percentage of soldiers becoming missing-in-action for decades on end is much smaller.

Parker was assigned to Battery B, 8th Field Artillery Battalion, 25th Infantry Division then occupying a defensive position overlooking the Kuryong River in P'yongan-Pukto Province, North Korea. On Nov. 27, 1950, Parker was killed in his foxhole while serving as a forward artillery observer. His body was not recovered until recently.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

History Carnival LIX

History Carnival LIX is up at Westminster Wisdom. Thanks to Gracchi for putting together a well done carnival. The next History Carnival will be Jan 06, 2008 at The Victorian Peeper.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pole honors Germany's Red Baron

At least one Pole is attempting to honor a dead German from World War One. And not just any German but the infamous Red Baron. The article Pole honors Germany's Red Baron by Ryan Lucas has the details.

Lucas wrote, "Baron Manfred von Richthofen buzzed above the muddy World War I battlefields in his red Fokker tri-plane, downing a record 80 Allied aircraft on his way to becoming the war's top fighter ace and earning the famed Red Baron nom de guerre. But von Richthofen, who was shot down and killed just before his 26th birthday in 1918, has been a legend in limbo since Poland's borders moved west after World War II and swallowed the baron's hometown of Schweidnitz — today called Swidnica. The neglect has been largely due to apprehension about honoring a German, a legacy of the brutal Nazi invasion and occupation of World War II."

Swidnica resident Jerzy Gaszynski is attempting to have a memorial built. He said, "I think that with a figure this well-known around the world, it's a bit of a sin that he's not even that well-known here and that there's really no effort to remember him. Everybody here kind of said under their breath 'baron this, baron that,' but he was neglected, nobody was doing anything."

Gaszynski had a plaque put on the house the Red Baron was born in. It reads, " "In this house lived the best pilot of World War I, the Red Baron. Born May 2, 1892, he died in aerial combat April 21, 1918, Manfred von Richthofen."

Swidnica used to be a part of Germany. However, it was given to Poland after World War Two. So the Red Baron (German hero) was born in what is now Poland. As can be imagined, the Poles do not have fond memories of the German military. So, this makes it hard for the Red Baron to be honored in his hometown.

Lucas noted, "Honoring a German soldier in Poland, which lost some 6 million citizens under the Nazi occupation, can still be a touchy issue. The two countries continue to wrestle with efforts by some Germans to regain property lost to Poland when the borders shifted west after World War II."

It does seem strange that a town in Poland would honor a German pilot from World War One. However, the Red Baron is from the town. So it kind of makes sense.