... of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the guns in
Europe fell silent at last. The United States built a wall inscribed
with the names of servicemen killed or missing in the nine years' war in Vietnam.
In three-and-a-half years, the Allies in WW1 suffered deaths amounting
to 103 Vietnam walls. That's just over 2.5 Vietnam walls every month.
|Harry Singley, TOF's grandfather|
Today is the 101st anniversary of the Armistice, an event nearly forgotten today. Harry
, 304th Engineers, describes the day in a letter published in the local paper:
"It was on Sept. 26 when the big drive started in the
Argonne Forest and I saw all kinds of things that I never witnessed
before. We started out on the night of the 25th. At 9 o'clock we
commenced a tank road and worked our way almost to the German's front
line trenches. At 2:30 one of the greatest of all barrages was opened.
It was said that between 3500 and 4000 guns, some of them of very large
calibre, went off at that hour just like clock work. We worked on this
road under shell fire until about 3:45 and then went back until the
infantry went over the top at 5 o'clock. We followed with the tanks.
That is the way the Americans started and kept pounding and pushing
ahead until the great day on Nov. 11. ...
|Harry Singley, 304th Engineers,|
It was some life. I am proud that I went through
it, for nobody on the Hill [i.e., Fountain Hill, PA] will have anything on me... I was a little
with sneezing or tear gas. It made me sick but I remained with the
company for I did not like to leave my detachment at any time for if
something would happen, I thought, there would be plenty of help. I
felt much better in a few days. A small piece of shrapnel splinter hit
me below the knee. Otherwise I was lucky. ..."
"Somebody will wake up soon when the boys get back to the States....
it was only an armistice, and 21 years later, they had to do it all
over again. Since then, Armistice Day has been expanded to include all veterans of all
wars. As he has generally done on Veteran's day, TOF appends here a short
account of veterans in my own and in the Incomparable Marge's families.
TOF himself is not a veteran. The
closest he got was two years of Artillery ROTC in which he achieved the alleged rank of cadet staff sergeant (so he
knows how to call down fire on your location. You have been warned.) But he
classified 4F by a wise military. This was at the height of the Vietnam
War, toward which TOF had expressed opposition, though unlike other opponents,
it was LBJ's inept micromanagement that irritated him, along with Sec. McNamara's weird obsession with corporate-like numbers
crunching. He never imagined, as others did, that the victory of Ho Chi Minh would be rainbows and fluffy bunnies, rather than re-education camps and boat people.
|TOF in uniform, Artillery ROTC, Caisson Ball 1965|
with Sweet Sharon