World War One Changed Everything

Major wars have a tendency to define, or redefine history. But Historian and author Andrew Roberts argues that there was no

There was Nothing Great About it!

more definitive than World War One. In the following Prager University video, Roberts explains, correctly in my opinion, that World War I forever changed the landscape around the world. It had as much of a negative impact as did the American Revolution had a positive – maybe more.

And it all began with the assassination of one man in 1914 – Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria,  presumptive heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife Sophie. They were murdered by a Serbian nationalist. read more

My WND Weekly Exclusive

USA: TODAY’S WEIMAR REPUBLIC?

America is piling up debt like crazy. As of fiscal year 2013, our federal government was borrowing 46 cents of every dollar it spends, with seemingly no end in sight. Our national debt is almost $20 trillion, and unfunded liabilities are approaching a quarter of a quadrillion dollars. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there eventually will be an end. There has to be.

Article I, Section 10, of the Constitution: “No state shall emit bills of credit, make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts, coin money.” The Founding Fathers knew that irresponsible governments would print paper money, backed by nothing, overspend and devalue the currency, causing “inflation” and destroying the economy. But did we listen? Of course not.

In 1971, during the Nixon administration, we officially went off the gold standard and unpinned our paper money from anything of real or intrinsic value. George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Many question the brilliance of the founders who have warned us of virtually every major mistake our country has made, yet still we don’t heed them. read more

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS MOST …IS A LAW AGAINST WAR

Although provocative, I believe the following to be a human impossibility – Human nature being what it is.

But it’s nice to ponder.

 

Guest Posting by: J. Moore

We have plenty of laws on the books making it illegal to take, or even endanger life. Why not go the logical limit and enact a law making it illegal to start, or even engage in a war, the most notorious life-taker of all? Crazy idea? Of course. But hope springs eternal.

The amount of blood shed in these past ages would hardly fill an ocean; and the pile of bodies killed in action since then would make Mount Everest look like a sand pile. And we forgot, these were flesh-and-blood human beings, folks, with families, friends, occupations, objectives and dreams. Which brings me to the reason I wrote this article.

In WW 1, my father, a soldier in the American army, was fighting in Germany with the French. Because he was a musician they made him a stretcher-bearer. While “doing his duty” a shell landed near him and filled his back with mustard gas. It was in this war that the town of Verdun became famous as the longest battle of the war. Within the first four days, the French divisions had suffered 60% casualties, and German losses almost as heavy.

With a German death toll of 143,000, and a French and American toll of 162,440, Verdun would come to signify, more than any other battle, the grinding, bloody nature of warfare on the Western front during World War I.

Yes, I said grinding and bloody; and I might add bestial, hateful, and ungodly. But that was war in 1916. Fighting another human being in a two-foot, rat-infested, mud-deep trench, with rifles, pistols, daggers, anything that would tear a man’s guts open, disfigure his face for life, or cripple him and left him to die in the stinking trench. If you saw “ All Quiet on the Western Front”, you saw WWI as only the doughboys at war saw it. And if that didn’t turn your stomach and shock your mind you must have had on a different channel.

Man to man combat to the death in tight quarters surrounded by other bodies
is strange to us. Even our so-called modern wars with bigger guns, night glasses, hundred-pound packs, jet planes, and an invisible enemy, is critically different than the wars that went before; particularly WWl where hard-core, man-to-man, no-holds barred clashes were everyday expectations.

But today’s wars with their armor-piercing ammo, drones, long-range rockets and other high tech equipment have made a deadly impersonal game of war.

But in this game, one thing is missing. Human beings. In today’s wars we seldom if ever get to see human beings, real living, breathing human beings. Yesterday’s wars, however, were different. Men struggling hand-to-hand in mortal combat fighting face to face, had to know—he was trying desperately to kill another human being before the other human being killed him—both men not wanting to kill anybody, but in this case, having no choice in the matter. Kill or be killed.

Down where man meets man, no soldier or sailor really wants to go to war.
Only the greedy men see war as a way to assuage their greed: greed for money, greed for territory, greed for revenge, greed for religious differences.

We can’t rid the world of greed, but we could rid the world of war, by enacting a law against war. Before you say, “This could never be done, so why try?”, think hard about the human toll of fighting and dying in the trenches.

Last of the Dough Boys

The last of the American World War I veterans have described the perils of war, the emotional toll of fighting and the celebration of the armistice in a new book spotlighting their stories.

Author Richard Rubin spent 10 years compiling information for his book, The Last of the Doughboys, tracking down numerous veterans, all in their 100s, and traveling across the country to meet them.

Each of the subjects featured in Mr Rubin’s book have since passed away. The last World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died in 2011.

 
Doughboys: The last of the American World War I veterans have described the perils of war, the emotional toll of fighting and the celebration of the armistice in a new book spotlighting their stories
Doughboys: The last of the American World War I veterans have described the perils of war, the emotional toll of fighting and the celebration of the armistice in a new book spotlighting their stories

As he tried to track down the former soldiers, he was often met with disappointment, finding out that the man or woman he was looking to speak with was no longer alive.

Rubin told NPR that on one occasion, he discovered a 108-year-old vet who was alive and ‘clear-minded,’ but when Rubin showed up two weeks later, the man was unconscious in the hospital

He died the next day.

But dozens more were alive, well and willing to share their stories.

There was Arthur Fiala, who was 106 when he spoke to Mr Rubin. Mr Fiala spoke of his eagerness to pack his bags and join the Allies.

 
Anticipation: Arthur Fiala, who was 106 when he spoke to Mr Rubin, spoke of his eagerness in his youth to pack his bags and join the Allies
Anticipation: Arthur Fiala, who was 106 when he spoke to Mr Rubin, spoke of his eagerness in his youth to pack his bags and join the Allies

Mr Fiala, who was from Wisconsin, said: ‘I went to Green Bay and enlisted in the army. And the big war was on then. I said I want to get over to France quick.

‘You pick out the place where you want me to go. The place where I can be. Wherever I can be used, that’s where I want to go.’

Anthony Pierro, 107 at the time of his interview with Rubin, disagreed, saying that the Army is ‘a miserable life.’

He said: ‘You can’t do anything… on your own. They tell you what to do.’

At one point, Mr Pierro said the best part of his time in World War I was being in the French city of Bordeaux.

 
Trouble with war: Anthony Pierro, 107 at the time of his interview with Mr Rubin, disagreed, saying that the Army is 'a miserable life'
Trouble with war: Anthony Pierro, 107 at the time of his interview with Mr Rubin, disagreed, saying that the Army is ‘a miserable life’

‘The girls used to say, ‘upstairs, two dollars.’

But you didn’t go upstairs, his nephew Rick interjected.

‘I didn’t have the two dollars.’ Mr Pierro replied.

Howard Ramsey, who was 105 when he spoke to Mr Rubin in 2003, said that he and his colleagues were at one time so ill-prepared for the cold that they resorted to sleeping in a cemetery.

He said: ‘So I remember one night, it was cold, and we had no blankets, or nothing like that. We had to sleep.

‘We slept in the cemetery, because we could sleep between the two graves, and keep the wind off of us.’

 
Recollections: Howard Ramsey, who was 105 when he spoke to Mr Rubin in 2003, said that he and his colleagues were at one time so ill-prepared for the cold that they resorted to sleeping in a French cemetery
Recollections: Howard Ramsey, who was 105 when he spoke to Mr Rubin in 2003, said that he and his colleagues were at one time so ill-prepared for the cold that they resorted to sleeping in a French cemetery
 
Courage under fire: J. Laurence Moffitt, 106 at the time of this interview said he and his colleagues 'lived' under enemy fire, and 'disregarded it' after a while
Courage under fire: J. Laurence Moffitt, 106 at the time of this interview said he and his colleagues ‘lived’ under enemy fire, and ‘disregarded it’ after a while

When asked whether he came under artillery fire often during WWI, J. Laurence Moffitt, 106 at the time, replied: ‘All the time. We lived under it… After a while, you disregarded it.’

Mr Moffitt added that he had been ‘severely gassed several times – but I never went to medical for it.’

William J. Lake, who was 107 when he sat down with Mr Rubin, perhaps came the closest to losing his life during the war in one of the most poignant stories told.

Mr Lake also fought at the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the deadliest battle in American history.

‘Well I’ll tell ya, just bullets zipping around you all the time,’ he said. ‘You just never knew when you was going to get hit. but I was lucky.’

He told Mr Rubin: ‘Another guy and I were sitting on a bank and a sniper shot him instead of me… We was no more than two feet apart and he picked him instead of me. He killed him of course.’

 
Lucky one: William J. Lake, who was 107 when he sat down with Mr Rubin, talked about how he was sitting with a fellow soldier when he was suddenly shot by a sniper. He said that the shooter 'picked him instead of me'
Lucky one: William J. Lake, who was 107 when he sat down with Mr Rubin, talked about how he was sitting with a fellow soldier when he was suddenly shot by a sniper. He said that the shooter ‘picked him instead of me’

He said that the allied forces later found the shooter in a tree and [killed] him.

‘Oh yeah. They didn’t take [snipers] prisoner.’

Hildegarde Schan, at 107, saw a different side of the war as a young woman.

After working for the War Department in Washington, she was worked for the Veterans Bureau in New York after the armistice.

It was the place where those who had served in the war went to collect their paychecks – and often received bad news.

 
Empathy: Hildegarde Schan, at 107, saw a different side of the war as a young woman, dealing with returning soldiers - some without arms or legs - looking to get paid by the Veterans Bureau
Empathy: Hildegarde Schan, at 107, saw a different side of the war as a young woman, dealing with returning soldiers – some without arms or legs – looking to get paid by the Veterans Bureau

 

 
 
Sickness: Reuben Law - 105 at the time of the interview -- said he was apart of a convoy en route to France in 1918 when a deadly flu epidemic struck
Sickness: Reuben Law – 105 at the time of the interview — said he was apart of a convoy en route to France in 1918 when a deadly flu epidemic struck

She told Rubin: ‘It was very sad… You see them coming in with one leg or one arm… I couldn’t take it anymore – to see them come in.

She added: ‘They’d borrow on their check and they’d have to pay it back next month and they didn’t have any money then.’

When the war ended with Armistice Day on November 11, 1918, George Briant wasn’t celebrating. In fact, he was mourning.

He said that he had seen a group of men take shelter in a wooded area before it was shot up by enemy soldiers, killing most of them.

Survivor: Frank Buckles, the final World War I veteran, outlived 4.7million other U.S. servicemen before he died at age 110 in March 2011
Survivor: Frank Buckles, the final World War I veteran, outlived 4.7million other U.S. servicemen before he died at age 110 in March 2011

Mr Briant, 103 during his interview, said: ‘Such fine, handsome, healthy young men, to be killed on the last night of the war. I cried for their parents.’

Reuben Law – 105 at the time of the interview — said he was apart of a convoy en route to France in 1918 when a deadly flu epidemic struck.

He told Mr Rubin: ‘I think we were in the water for 21 days… The thing about the trip across was the flu, and there were 91 who died aboard ship.

He said they converted the dining room of a ship to a hospital, where the sick soldiers had to sleep on tables.

Mr Buckles, the final World War II veteran, outlived 4.7million other U.S. World War I servicemen before he died at age 110 in March 2011.

But unlike the others, Buckles did not see World War I combat – at least not yet.

In World War II, Buckles was captured by the Japanese in Manila and was held for three years as a prisoner of war.

He told Mr Rubin about his dramatic escape when the camp was liberated by U.S. Army paratroopers. He said that he quickly grabbed his rucksack, got dressed and got out just before the burning roof collapsed.

The Last of the Doughboys, was released last week.

Attribution: Mail Online

World War One Wasteland

The World War One wasteland: Haunting rare images show apocalyptic destruct
ion  on the Western Front

It is could be the scene from a nuclear  holocaust.

A once-thriving city reduced to mere rubble,  a 700-year-old cathedral barely left standing, trees that proudly lined an  idyllic avenue torn to shreds.

There’s barely anyone in sight.

But the devastation wrought in these rare,  haunting images was caused long before the atomic bomb came into  existence.

It is the apocalyptic aftermath of dogged  fighting along the Western Front during World War One when Allied and German  forces tried to shell each other into submission with little success other than  leaving a trail of utter carnage and killing millions.

Apocalypse: This was all that remained of the Belgian town of Ypres in March 1919 after fierce fighting during World War One reduced it to mere rubble
 This was all that remained of the Belgian  town of Ypres in March 1919 after fierce fighting during World War One reduced  it to mere rubble

In rehab: An aerial view of Ypres under construction in 1930 which gives an idea of how the city looked before it was bombarded during the Great War
 An aerial view of Ypres under construction in  1930 which gives an idea of how the city looked before it was bombarded during  the Great War

 

Felled: Trees along an avenue in Locre, Belgium, lie torn to shreds. These images are from a series documenting the devastation caused along the Western Front
 Trees along an avenue in Locre, Belgium, lie  torn to shreds. These images are from a series documenting the devastation  caused along the Western Front

 

Destroyed: The Hotel de Ville in Arras, Northern France, looks more like a medieval ruins after it was heavily shelled during World War One
 The Hotel de Ville in Arras, Northern France,  looks more like a medieval ruins after it was heavily shelled during World War  One

Shaping nature: A huge bomb crater at Messines Ridge in Northern France, photographed circa March 1919, soon after the end of World War One
 A huge bomb crater at Messines Ridge in  Northern France, photographed circa March 1919, soon after the end of World War  One

Reflected glory: A peaceful pond is what remains today of the craters made by massive mines on the Messines Ridge near Ypres. Their explosion was heard in London
A peaceful pond is what remains today  of the craters made by massive mines on the Messines Ridge near  Ypres. Their  explosion was heard in London

The strategically important Belgian  city of  Ypres, which stood in the way of Germany’s planned sweep into  France from the  North, bore the brunt of the onslaught.

At its height, the city was a prosperous  centre of trade in the cloth industry known throughout the world. After the war,  it was unrecognisable.

The Cloth Hall, which was one of the  largest  commercial buildings of the Middle Ages when it served as the city’s main market  for the industry, was left looking like a medieval ruin.

Its stunning cathedral, St Martin’s, fared  little better.

Outside of the towns and cities, the  countryside also cut a sorry sight.

Sorry sight: The Cloth Hall at Ypres, which was one of the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages when it served as the main market for the city's cloth industry
 The Cloth Hall at Ypres, which was one of  the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages when it served as the main  market for the city’s cloth industry

Standing proud: How the Cloth Hall looked just before before the 1st bombardment by the Germans during the first battle of Ypres in October 1914
How the Cloth Hall looked just before  before the 1st bombardment by the Germans during the first battle of Ypres in  October 1914
Doomsday: St Martin's cathedral at Ypres, which was rebuilt using the original plans after the war. At 102 metres (335 ft), it is among the tallest buildings in Belgium
 St Martin’s cathedral at Ypres, which was  rebuilt using the original plans after the war. At 102 metres (335 ft), it is  among the tallest buildings in Belgium

Devastation: St Martin's Cathedral was the seat of the former diocese of Ypres from 1561 to 1801 and is still commonly referred to as such
 St Martin’s Cathedral was the seat of the  former diocese of Ypres from 1561 to 1801 and is still commonly referred to as  such

How it looked before: The cathedral was rebuilt to the original Gothic design, with a spire added, as seen here in 1937
 The cathedral was rebuilt to the  original Gothic design, with a spire added, as seen here in 1937

Barely left standing: The front wall of the Hotel de Ville at Bethune in Northern France as seen after heavy shelling during the war
War of attrition: The destruction was caused by Allied and German forces which tried to shell each other into submission with little success
The front wall of the Hotel de Ville  at Bethune in Northern France (top) and St Martin’s cathedral (bottom) are  barely left standing after heavy shelling
Clear-up effort: The East end of the Nave in the Basilique at Saint-Quentin in Northern France photographed soon after the end of World War One, circa March 1919
 The East end of the Nave in the  Basilique at Saint-Quentin in Northern France photographed soon after the end of  World War One, circa March 1919
The moat and the ramparts at Ypres: The city was the centre of intense and sustained battles between the German and the Allied forces
  The city was the  centre of intense and sustained battles between the German and the Allied  forces

One tree-lined avenue in France was  left  looking like wasteland, while a huge bowl sunken into Messines  ridge near Ypres  is the legacy from the huge explosions of buried  British mines that were heard  160 miles away in London in 1917.

Some 7.5million men lost their lives on the  Western Front during World War One.

The front was opened when the German  army  invaded Luxembourg and Belgium in 1914  and then moved into the  industrial  regions in northern France.

In September of that year, this advance was  halted, and slightly reversed, at the Battle Of Marne.

Wasteland: The canal at Diksmuide in Belgium. The Western Front was opened when the German army invaded Luxembourg and Belgium in 1914
 The canal at Diksmuide in Belgium. The  Western Front was opened when the German army invaded Luxembourg and Belgium in  1914
Shot to pieces: The wreckage of a tank. Some 7.5million men lost their lives on the Western Front during World War One
 The wreckage of a tank. Some 7.5million  men lost their lives on the Western Front during World War One

 

Forlorn: A little girl cuts a sorry figure surrounded by the ruined buildings in the French village of Neuve Eglise, which was heavily bombed
 A little girl cuts a sorry figure surrounded by  the ruined buildings in the French village of Neuve Eglise, which was heavily  bombed

 

In the line of fire: Two soldiers pose for the camera at a Franco-British frontier post in Northern France during the war
 Two soldiers pose for the camera at  a Franco-British frontier post in Northern France during the war

 

It was then that both sides dug vast  networks of trenches that ran all the way from the North Sea to the  Swiss  border with France.

This line of tunnels remained unaltered, give  or take a mile here and a mile there, for most of the four-year  conflict.

By 1917, after years of deadlock that  saw  millions of soldiers killed for zero gain on either side, new  military  technology including poison gas, tanks and planes were deployed  on the  front.

Thanks to these techniques, the Allies slowly  advanced throughout 1918 until the war’s end in November.

But the scars will forever  remain.

 

Attribution: Simon Tomlinson, Mail Online

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2282108/World-War-One-wasteland-Haunting-rare-images-apocalyptic-destruction-Western-Front.html#ixzz2LZqd61hJ Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

In Memory

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – A History

 

IN THE BEAUTIFUL Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on a hillside overlooking the historic Potomac River is a Shrine that has become the mecca for not only all Americans who visit Washington but many prominent dignitaries and persons from foreign lands. It is the Tomb of America’s Unknown Soldiers, symbolizing those Americans who gave their lives in defense of the Nation’s integrity, honor and tranquility.

Following the custom inaugurated by other allied countries in World War I, the Congress on March 4, 1921, approved a Resolution providing for the burial in Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater on Armistice Day 1921 of an unknown and unidentified American soldier of World War I. The Secretary of War delegated to the Quartermaster Corps the duty of selecting the Unknown Soldier and accordingly the Quartermaster General directed the Chief American Graves Registration Service in Europe to select from among the burials of America’s Unknown Dead the bodies of four who fell in the combat area in order that one from among them could be anonymously designated as the one for burial in accordance with the provisions of the Resolution.

Four bodies of Unknown Soldiers were selected, one from each of the following cemeteries Aisne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, Somme and St. Mihiel, and brought to Chalons where they were placed in the Hotel de Ville. The fact that the bodies selected were those of Americans was determined by the location of place of death, original burial and uniforms. The utmost care was taken to see that there was no evidence of identification on the bodies selected and no indication that their identity could ever be established.

After the four bodies were arranged in the Hotel de Ville, the next step was the matter of selecting the one from among them to represent all the Unknown American Dead. This ceremony though simple was most impressive. In view of his outstanding service, Sergeant Edward Younger, on duty with the American Forces in Germany, was given the honor of making the final selection. On Monday morning, October 24, 1921, at 10 :00 A.M. in the presence of The Quartermaster General, the Commanding General of the American Forces in Germany, the Mayor of Chalons-sur-Marne, high officers of the French Army, distinguished French citizens and eminent American and French civilians the selection was made.

While a French military band played, Sergeant Younger slowly entered the room where the four caskets were placed. Passing between two lines formed by the officials he silently advanced to the caskets, circled them three times and placed a spray of white roses on the third casket from the left. He then faced the body, stood at attention, and saluted. Officers of the French Army who saluted in the name of the French people immediately followed him.

The body lay in State for several hours watched over by a guard of honor composed of French and American Soldiers while the people of Chalons reverently paid their respects and left offerings of flowers and other tributes. After brief official ceremonies by the City of Chalons the casket was placed on a flag-draped gun carriage and escorted by American and French troops to the railroad station where is was placed aboard the funeral car in a special train for the journey to Le Havre.

Upon arrival at Le Havre, French officials, troops and citizens of the town who had gathered that they too might pay homage to America’s Unknown Soldier met the train. Accompanied by many floral tributes and escorted by French and American troops, the solemn procession moved through the City of Le Havre to the pier where the American Cruiser “Olympia”, Admiral Dewey’s flagship at the battle of Manila Bay, awaited with her flags at half mast to receive the precious cargo which she was to bring to America. Here, with ceremonies befitting the solemn occasion, the casket was turned over to the United States Navy and placed on the flower adorned stern of the cruiser for the long journey to America. Slowly and silently the “Olympia” moved from the pier and with a salute of seventeen guns from a French destroyer, to which she promptly responded, the journey of the Unknown Soldier to his homeland began.

On November 9, 1921, at 4 :00 P.M., the “Olympia” reached the Navy Yard at Washington, D. C., where the flag-draped casket was delivered by the Navy to the Army, represented by the Commanding General of the District of Washington, and escorted to the rotunda of the Capitol. Here upon the same catafalque (hearse) that had similarly held the remains of our Presidents, Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, the body lay in State under a guard of honor and composed of selected men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.

All during the next day thousands of patriotic individuals, including the highest officials of the Government, members of the Diplomatic Corps and private citizens, passed before the casket to pay homage to The Unknown Soldier who symbolized all our Unknown and the purpose for which they died.

On the morning of November 11, 1921, Armistice Day, at 8: 30 A.M., the casket was removed from the rotunda of the Capitol and escorted to the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery under a military escort, with general officers of the Army and Admirals of the Navy for pallbearers, and noncommissioned officers of the Navy and Marine Corps for body bearers.

Following the caisson bearing the flag-draped casket, walked such a concourse as had never before followed a soldier to his final resting place-The President of the United States, the Vice-President, Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Diplomatic Corps, wearers of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Senators, members of Congress, the Generals of the Armies of World War I, and former Wars, and other distinguished Army, Navy and Marine Corps officers, Veterans of World War I, and former Wars, State officials and representatives of patriotic organizations.

Solemnly through streets lined with thousands gathered to pay homage to those who died on the field of battle, the procession moved on to historic Arlington. Upon arrival at the Amphitheater the casket was borne through the south entrance to the apse where it was placed upon the catafalque. During the processional, the vast audience both within and without the Amphitheater stood uncovered. A simple but impressive funeral ceremony was conducted which included an address by the President of the United States who conferred upon the Unknown Soldier the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. Following this ceremony, special representatives of foreign governments associated with the United States in World War I each in turn conferred upon the Unknown the highest military decoration of their Nation.

At the conclusion of these ceremonies the remains, preceded by the clergy, the President and Mrs. Harding and others seated in the apse, were borne to the sarcophagus where a brief committal service was held. With three salvos of artillery, the sounding of taps and the National Salute, the impressive ceremonies were brought to a close.

It was originally intended that the simple white marble Tomb placed over the grave of The Unknown Soldier immediately after the interment should serve as a base for an appropriate superstructure. Accordingly, very shortly after the ceremonies on November 11, 1921, the question of selecting a suitable monument to complete the Tomb was given consideration. It was not until July 3, 1926, however, that the Congress finally authorized the completion of the Tomb and for it, the expenditure of $50,000.

The Act referred to above provided that the Secretary of War secure competitive designs according to such regulations as he may adopt to complete the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The Act further provided that the accepted designs should be subject to the approval of the Arlington Cemetery Commission, the American Battle Monuments Commission and the Fine Arts Commission. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Secretary of War prepared a program for the completion of the Tomb and invited architects of standing reputation who were citizens of the United States to submit designs. Seventy-four designs were submitted and, from among them, five were selected for further study.

The selected competitors were required to restudy their designs and prepare models of plaster of paris. When these models were received, the Jury of Award studied each one, taking into consideration the surroundings of the Tomb, the Amphitheater in which it is located and which serves as a background for it and the final effect after the completed monument was in place.

After going into the matter most carefully and thoroughly, the Jury finally recommended an anonymous design to be the winning one. When their decision had been reached a sealed envelope accompanying the design was opened and it was found that the winning design was the work of Thomas Hudson Jones, sculptor, and Lorimer Rich, Architect, of New York City.

The design selected was in the form of a sarcophagus, simple but impressive, and most appropriate for the purpose for which desired. The total height is 11 feet, the width is 8 feet at the base and 6 feet 8 inches at the top, and the length is 13 feet 11 inches at the base and 12 feet 7 inches at the top. The severity of the design is relieved by the Doric Pilasters in low relief at the corners and along the sides. The panel of the front, facing the City of Washington and the Potomac, has carved upon the marble a composition of three figures commemorative of the spirit of the Allies in the War. In the center of the panel stands “Victory”, with her palm branch to reward the devotion and sacrifice that went with courage to make the cause of righteousness triumphant; on one side a male figure symbolizes “Valor” and on the other stands “Peace.” Each of the sides is divided into three panels by Doric Pilasters, in each panel of which is carved an inverted wreath. On the back appears the inscription “Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God”. This is the only inscription appearing on the Tomb.

The marble is the finest and whitest of American marble–Yule, Colorado, marble, and same as used in the Lincoln Memorial. The Tomb is made of only four pieces of marble–the die, which is all in one piece and one of the largest ever quarried, weighing over 50 tons; the base; the sub-base, and the capstone.

An appropriation from Congress for the work was secured and on December 21, 1929, a contract for completion of the Tomb itself was entered into.

In order to provide an appropriate setting for the Tomb when completed certain changes were necessary in the grounds, roadways and landscaping in the immediate vicinity of the Tomb. To accomplish this, plans were prepared to provide an elaborate approach from the East and on February 28, 1929, Congress authorized the construction of the necessary approaches to the Tomb.

Attribution: Quartermaster Review

The New Navy

I recently read that former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who, last year, survived an assassination attempt is receiving a real honor. She is having a Navy ship named after her.

 My first thought was, good for her. Then I began to ponder it further. Why her? I feel for her & her family but I’m not sure this is appropriate. Yes, she was in congress. So what?

 As is usually my want, I started to look a little further.

 It seems this is the “New, socially conscious, Navy”. In 2010 the USS John P. Murtha was unveiled, of course, named after said liberal shady dealer.  Earlier this year, the Navy announced plans for the USNS Cesar Chavez, after the labor leader.

 Are you kidding me? What’s next, the USS George Soros or maybe the Saul Alinsky? Are there no American traditions left?

 Rather than ranting over it, I’ve compiled a history of how naval ships were named. You may be the judge of whether this new nepotistic method is appropriate.

 The Navy traces its ancestry to 13 October 1775, when an act of the Continental Congress authorized the first ship of a new navy for the United Colonies, as they were then known. The ships of the Continental Navy, and of the Navy later established under the Federal Constitution, were not named in any strictly categorical manner.

Ship names in the Continental Navy and the early Federal navy came from a variety of sources. As if to emphasize the ties that many Americans still felt to Britain, the first ship of the new Continental Navy was named Alfred in honor of Alfred the Great, the king of Wessex who is credited with building the first English naval force.

On 3 March 1819 an act of Congress formally placed the responsibility for assigning names to the Navy’s ships in the hands of the Secretary of the Navy, a prerogative that he still exercises. This act stated that “all of the ships, of the Navy of the United States, now building, or hereafter to be built, shall be named by the Secretary of the Navy, under the direction of the President of the United States, according to the following rule: Those of the first class shall be called after the States of this Union; those of the second class after the rivers; and those of the third class after the principal cities and towns; taking care that no two vessels of the navy shall bear the same name.” The last-cited provision remains in the United States Code today.

Ships armed with 40 guns or more were of the “first class”; those carrying fewer than 40, but more than 20, guns were of the “second class.” The name source for the second class was expanded to include principal towns as well as rivers.

An act of May 4, 1898, specified that “all first-class battleships and monitors [shallow-draft coast-defense ships completed between 1891 and 1903, armed with heavy guns] shall be named for the States, and shall not be named for any city, place, or person, until the names of the States have been exhausted, provided that nothing herein contained shall be construed as to interfere with the names of states already assigned to any such battleship or monitor.”

However, in 1894 the famed Civil War sloop-of-war Kearsarge ran aground in the Caribbean and had to be written off as unsalvageable. There was so much affection for that ship in the Fleet that the Secretary of the Navy asked Congress to permit her name to be perpetuated by a new battleship. This was done, and Kearsarge (Battleship Number 5) became the only American battleship not to be named for a state.

Ship name recommendations are conditioned by such factors as the name categories for ship types now being built, as approved by the Secretary of the Navy; the distribution of geographic names of ships of the Fleet; names borne by previous ships which distinguished themselves in service; names recommended by individuals and groups; and names of naval leaders, national figures, and deceased members of the Navy and Marine Corps who have been honored for heroism in war or for extraordinary achievement in peace.
As battleship construction went on through the early 1900s, state names began to run short. The law stated that battleships (first class) had to bear state names; to comply with this, monitors and armored cruisers were renamed for cities within their respective name states to free the names of their states for assignment to new battleships. The monitors Florida and Nevada, for instance, became Tallahassee and Tonopah, while the armored cruisers Maryland and West Virginia became Frederick and Huntington. By 1920, state names were the sole preserve of battleships.

World War I brought the development of mine warfare necessitating the introduction of a new type of ship, the minesweeper. A new type of ship required a new name source. The then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had a keen interest in amateur ornithology. This led him to select bird names as the name source for these new ships, and “F.D.R.” signed the General Order assigning names to the first 36 ships of the Lapwing class.

Between World War I & II, the Navy’s first aircraft carriers came into service. Our first carrier, converted from the collier Jupiter, was named Langley (CV 1), in honor of aviation pioneer Samuel Pierpont Langley. Our next two carriers were built on the unfinished hulls of battle cruisers, two of a canceled class of six fast capital ships, which had already been assigned the names of American battles, and famous former Navy ships. These new carriers kept their original names, Lexington and Saratoga. The original battle-cruiser name source continued as carriers Ranger, Yorktown, Enterprise, Wasp, and Hornet entered service between 1934 and 1941, carrying on through World War II and into the postwar years.

Having their names reassigned to new construction normally honored ships lost in wartime. Names like Lexington, Yorktown, Atlanta, Houston, Triton and Shark were perpetuated in memory of lost ships and gallant crews. Unique among these names awarded in honor of lost ships was Canberra, assigned to a heavy cruiser in honor of the Australian cruiser Canberra. It was sunk while operating with American warships during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942. This was seen to be an appropriate exception to the custom of naming cruisers for American cities.

During World War II the names of individuals were once again assigned to aircraft carriers. The Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first aircraft carrier (CVB 42) to be named for an American statesman. Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal suggested that name to President Harry S. Truman, shortly after FDR’s death in 1945. The first “Supercarrier,” the Forrestal (CVA 59), was named after the aforementioned Sec. Nav.

With the onset of the new age, Nuclear-powered fleet ballistic missile submarines, built to carry the Polaris strategic deterrent missile, began to go into commission in the early 1960s. These were rightly regarded as ships without precedent. Thus, a name source of their own was deemed appropriate. Our first ballistic missile submarine was named George Washington. They were classified as the  “41 for freedom” and bore the names of famous Americans and others who contributed to the growth of democracy, such as Patrick Henry and Ethan Allen.

All the ships of the current Nimitz class bear the names of such national figures as Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and Ronald Reagan

Many naval ships are non-combatant in nature. Examples include, Submarine tenders that bear the names of sub pioneers, such as Simon Lake, Hunley & Holland. Ammunition ship names are of volcanoes or words denoting fire and explosives, such as Suribachi or Pyro. Fleet tugs, rescue & firefighting craft bear American Indian names like Powhatan and Navajo.

I’m sorry but I don’t see our naval history replete with any junior congressman or labor leaders.

Attribution: Naval Archives