Category Archives: military

Viral Video: Oregon Vet Ty Raddue Is Reunited With Key Vietnam War Memento

You may know Ty Raddue. He’s an irascible presence on Facebook and in Oregon politics.

You may also know that he’s had a very tough year. Besides fighting physical problems, his wife, Sandy, died mere months ago.

So it was that Ty’s son Zane put a smile on his Dad’s face by reuniting Ty with an emblem of his service for our country.

Zane explains:

At the beginning of this year, I ran across a posting in a Vietnam reenactors group on Facebook by someone in the UK looking for more info on a helmet he had recently picked up. In the pictures that were posted, you could faintly make out my fathers name written on the sweat band of the helmet liner.

After contacting the owner, he agreed to ship the helmet to me so I could give it back to my father, in exchange for a similar helmet. After a month or so of back and forth contact, and waiting for shipping both ways overseas, my father, a US Army Veteran who served in Vietnam from 1968-1969 was reunited with his helmet. At the time that it was given to him, he had no idea about this exchange, and it came as a complete surprise to him.

The story has been featured on MSN and other sites.

Nice reunion. See it for yourself below.

Rees Lloyd: Marine Murdered in LA — Where is Obama, Hillary?


“The 19-year-old U.S. Marine who was shot in the head while on military leave in South L.A. last week has died, officials said.”

So reads the headline and lead sentence of the ABC news report of September 20, 2016, on the death of Carlos Segovia, U.S. Marine Corps, only 19 years old.

Marine Segovia, was not shot down in Iraq, Afghanistan, or other foreign terrorist war zone in the heat of battle with foreign enemies of America. He was murdered in cold blood on the streets of So. Central Los Angeles, apparently by urban thugs or gangsters, domestic enemies of America,  terrorizing communities  and turning urban areas like So. Central LA into domestic war zones with mounting death tolls. 

Photo Credit: Go Fund Me
Photo Credit: Go Fund Me

According to police, Marine Segovia, while home on leave from Camp Pendleton, was shot in the head, twice, on Sept. 16, 2016, at approximately 11:30 p.m., as he sat behind the wheel of his car waiting for a traffic light to change at 31st and Washington streets in So. Central L.A . The shots came from the car next to him, which apparently drove off when the light changed. Four days later, Marine Segovia was declared dead on Sept. 20, 2016. As of this writing, the murderers remain at large to continue on their murderous way, once again killing with impunity. 

This is apparently the new norm of “America transformed” under Barack Hussein Obama. Life is now that cheap and dangerous, and death so random, in L.A. and other American cities, even the life of a Marine who is living his life in service to America.

It is so much the new norm that, outside of local media reporting, the death, the wanton murder, of U.S. Marine Carlos Segovia in So. Central L.A. has not been deemed “news worthy” enough by the media  to be the subject of national news media reportage, nor media demands for action to stop such murders. The “talking heads” of television political punditry are not talking about the outrage of a Marine being cold bloodily murdered in So. Central L.A. There is no media outrage.

But, the most important question is not about just the failure of outrage or even concern over the murder of Marine Carlos Segovia by the political whores of the liberal national media who are  so willingly pimped by progressive liberals in political power from the White House on down. The most important question to be asked is: 

Where is Obama, Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Lynch, the Democrats most beloved Vietnam draft dodger, sexual predator, disbarred lawyer (for perjury) and Impeached President Bill (“BJ”) Clinton, California Governor Jerry Brown,  LA Mayor Garcetti, progressive liberal Democrats all, to denounce as an outrage the murder on South L.A. streets of a Marine home on leave, to pledge and take action to search out the murderers, and to vigorously prosecute the killers of this Marine? 

After eight years of ruling-by-race of the Obama regime, eight years of unequal enforcement or non-enforcement of the law based on race, eight years of refusal to act against urban gangsterism and thuggism and instead to appease, coddle, and make excuses for preening urban terrorist thugs who have no fear of prosecution and burn, loot, rob, rape and murder with apparent impunity, American urban streets are no longer safe, even for Marines.

Even the murder of a U.S. Marine home on leave draws no immediate expression of outrage from the progressive liberal Obama regime in Washington or the progressive liberal regime of Jerry Brown in Sacramento. There are no “executive” or other orders to finally take effective action against self-proclaimed urban terrorist gangster thugs from the government whose primary job is to keep Americans safe, at which Obama has been and is an abject failed President and Commander-In-Chief.

Obama, the Narcissist-In-Chief, the Peacock President, preened before his election in 2008 that “we are the ones we have been waiting for,” and that he and they would “fundamentally transform” America. 

Indeed, he and they are the “ones [they] have been waiting for” and he and they have “fundamentally transform[ed] America: The streets of major American cities are now of “third world” danger under a corrupt government,  where even a Marine home on leave can be murdered without a peep of protest from the same President Obama and Would-be President Hillary Clinton who are so quick to condemn our police, or our military if they should commit an act of political incorrectness even in war, and to condemn “white” American patriots generally as “racists,” “bigots,” or “deplorables.” 

The names of thugs whose own misconduct has resulted in them being shot by police are now household names. They are made famous, rather than infamous. They are made “victims” of “police racism” rather than racist urban thugs terrorizing their communities, perpetrators not victims of  crimes, whose deaths are decried  as “racism” by police and whites generally. 

The President of the United States aids-and-abets them, excuses their misconduct, refuses to hold them equally responsible under the law for their acts. Obama even speculated in one famous case that “if I had a son  he would look like” the black alleged victim of a racist, unlawful homicide. Thus, before any evidence was in making an alleged victim of racist violence one who, when the evidence was in, was shown to be the perpetrator of violence who  died due to his own violent acts. 

Photo Credit: LA Daily News
Photo Credit: Facebook

More generally, Obama, the purported “post racial” president  further infamously observed  that non-Harvardonian, Yalean, or other Ivy League-educated white people are just backward, racist, bigots “clinging to their guns and religion.” Not to be outdone, she who would be President, Hillary Clinton, the Hillarybeast of Benghazi, recently informed all of America and the world that those Americans opposing her election are just a “basket of deplorables,” who are “irredeemable.” 

Why shouldn’t urban terrorist  thugs and gangsters believe they can get away with rioting, burning, looting, beating, knifing, shooting and killing, and murder of a U.S. Marine on American city streets  when government in the Age of Obama reassures them constantly they are but victims of racism and not responsible for their own choices and acts, and the media make  them famous as “heroes” to other thugs and gangsters by wall-to-wall coverage of their anarchic riots, interviewing them on national television in all their posturing self-glory as they riot, burn, and loot in alleged protest against “racism”?

Why shouldn’t such despicable cretins believe they can with impunity  stop at a traffic light, and open fire on the driver of the car next to them, murdering the driver, in this case a U.S. Marine, in an America “fundamentally transform[ed]” after eight years of Obama, and the prospect of more of the same by Hillary Clinton? They are but “victims,” after all, not to be equally held to the same standards of conduct as others. 

Here is a name that Obama, Hillary, all of those who are “the ones we [progressive liberals] have been waiting for,”  those “fundamentally transform[ing] America, and the media which is pimped by them should make a “household name” known to all Americans, of all races: 

CARLOS SEGOVIA, United States Marine, wantonly murdered on the streets of Los Angeles while home on leave from his chosen duty as a U.S. Marine to keep Americans, all Americans, safe from harm from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Dead at 19. 

May the God U.S. Marine Carlos Segovia served bless and keep him; may America and the Americans he served as a Marine remember and cherish him. May he not have lived, served, or died in vain.


(Rees Lloyd is a longtime California civil rights lawyer, veterans activist, and a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce)

Editor’s note: A GoFundMe account has been started to pay for any residual funeral expenses that the USMC stipend does not cover.

Rees Lloyd: Dec 7, 1941, Attack on Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Survivor S.J. Hemker Remembers: A Day of Infamy
December 7, 2015, Pearl Harbor Day, marks the 74th anniversary of the Japanese air attack on U.S. naval and air installations at Pearl Harbor, HI, at 7:53 a.m., Dec. 7, 1941, without a declaration of war. 
It was then the worst attack on American soil in history: Some 2,403 died, 2008 of them Navy personnel; another 1,178 were wounded. 
Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Eighteen Navy ships, including the U.S.S. Arizona, were sunk or damaged. Almost all the planes at the island bases were destroyed or damaged while still on the ground.
President Franklyn D. Roosevelt memorably called December 7, 1941, “a day which will live in infamy” in his dramatic speech to Congress, which then declared war on Japan. 
Only the sneak attack on America by radical Islamic terrorists on 9-11-2001 in New York resulted in more deaths. But for many Americans of this generation — and millions of immigrants, legal and illegal — the significance of Pearl Harbor is not fully known, or appreciated. 
One for whom it does “live in infamy,” is Pearl Harbor survivor S. J. Hemker, now 96, of Banning, California. A retired three-war combat Navy veteran, and an American Legionnaire, Hemker remembers Pearl Harbor up close and personal:
“Ordinarily, we would have been at sea. We were at Pearl Harbor because we had to repair an engine that had been sabotaged at the shipyard back in California. I was up on the fantail of our ship, the USS New Orleans, a heavy cruiser, with the Chief Master at Arms. The Quartermaster was there, getting ready to raise the flag,” Hemker recalls.
They were grinning at us as they went down toward Battle Ship Row. Grinning at me and the Chief. They were so close, you could have thrown something at them and hit them. A potato, maybe. 
“It was 7:53 a.m. when we saw the Japanese planes. They were flying so low I could see the pilots’ faces in the cockpit. They were grinning at us as they went down toward Battle Ship Row. Grinning at me and the Chief. They were so close, you could have thrown something at them and hit them. A potato, maybe. They were that close. Just skimming the top of the water. Torpedo planes. The pilots grinning at us,” Hemker reluctantly, but vividly recalls.
“The loudspeakers blared: ‘Man your battle stations – the Japs are attacking’. All hell broke loose.. It was terrible, horrible, …,” he says, pausing in his remembrance.
“I spent the next eight hours down in the magazine loading for our five-inch anti-aircraft guns. We fired everything. If we had been hit, that would have been it for us in the magazine. We would have been blown up. We had a big crane over the top of our ship. I think that’s what saved us,” he states matter-of-factly as to his own circumstance., then somberly relates:
“The Arizona capsized. Thirteen hundred men went down with her. Half the guys I was with in boot camp died on the Arizona. That’s where the Memorial is today. They say that oil still leaks out every day. Those guys…they’re still down there,” Hemker says quietly, his voice trailing off, as if physically turning away from a memory, and reality, which is still too painful to talk about.
Those guys…they’re still down there,” Hemker says quietly, his voice trailing off …
Getting Hemker to talk about it at all is no easy task. Like many of his fellow World War II veterans, he still doesn’t talk about his war experiences, never expects any thanks or gratitude, and never, ever boasts about it, despite the fact that after Pearl Harbor he served America in battles and combat zones for the duration of WWII, in the Korean War, and in Vietnam.
Hemker is a widower whose wife died more than 20 years ago. He has three sons. All served in the Vietnam War. Hempker, still roguishly handsome and possessed of a sly sense of humor, charms the ladies in the Legion Auxiliary with country gallantry. 
He is universally admired by his comrade veterans in the American Legion. “I’m not able to do what I used to do, but I do what I can,” he says.
Reflecting on Pearl Harbor seventy-four years after surviving it, Hemker, who has lost his eyesight but not his vision for America, observes: 
“We Americans should never forget. If we forget our past and those who died, we won’t have a future. A free one, anyway. Look at what happened on 9-11. More people were killed on that day then were killed at Pearl Harbor. It can happen again,” he warns.
“I don’t think people remember Pearl Harbor and what it means, the way they used to do,” Hemker concludes. “That’s too bad. A lot of us can’t forget. An awful lot of really good people died to keep America free. They shouldn’t be forgotten.”
(Rees Lloyd, a longtime California Civil Rights attorney and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.)

This 9/11 Tribute Tells the Real Story of War With Radical Islam … And Who’s Been Fighting It.

This Wall of Remembrance shows you how radical Islam has waged its modern war on the U.S. for decades.

Image Credit: Victoria Taft
Image Credit: Victoria Taft

This Wall of Remembrance is touring across the country to remember 9/11. On one side are the names of every single person who’s died fighting radical Islamists since the Beirut bombing that killed 241 of our finest U.S. Marines.

  • 1983 Beirut Marine barracks bombing
  • 1991 Operation Desert Storm to push Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
  • 1993 Blackhawk Down, Somalia
  • 1996 bombing of 19 servicemen in Dahrain, Saudi Arabia
  • 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa
  • 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing
  • 2001 Attacks on World Trade Center, U.S. Pentagon and Flight 93’s target was either U.S. Capitol or the White House.

Never forget.

I haven’t included all of the subsequent — hundreds — of attacks on the country since but you can in the comments section.

The Wall of Remembrance includes the anthrax attacks; Major Hassan’s attack on Fort Hood; the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya; the invasion of Iraq to get Saddam Hussein, a state sponsor of terrorism and many others. It’s worth a look.

This video was taken at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California.

Rees Lloyd’s Liberty Milestone: Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial — Saved ‘As it is, Where it is”!

Great news: The Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, CA, has been purchased — and hopefully thereby saved …

Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd  Photo: Victoria Taft
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd
Photo: Victoria Taft
…  “as it is, where it is,” with Cross intact, for generations of Americans to come —  by the non-profit Mt. Soledad Memorial Association from the federal Department of Defense.
The Memorial Association announced on Monday, July 21, 2015, that its purchase of the Memorial for $1.4-million was finalized on July 17. This effectively transferred ownership of the memorial site honoring veterans from “public land” under federal ownership to “private land” of the Association, a non-governmental, non-profit, private organization. The Association has maintained the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial since its founding in 1954 in conjunction with  wartime veterans of American Legion La Jolla Post  275.
Originally established to honor Korean War Veterans, it was expanded to honor all veterans, especially those who gave their lives in defense of American freedom. The Memorial is on land originally owned by the City of San Diego, which was transferred to the federal DOD in 2006. It now has some 3,500 plaques on tiered walls beneath a 29-foot cross honoring all veterans atop Mt. Soledad. (See,
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
The secular extremist American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been suing for some twenty-six (26) years now to destroy the Mt. Soledad Memorial on the basis that the Cross honoring veterans there has been on “public land” and, therefore, violates the Establishment of Religion Clause of the First Amendment. However, it is now on “private land.” That has an enormous impact on the ACLU’s lawsuit, which is again  pending in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal.
The DOD was authorized to sell the Memorial to the  Association by the National Defense Act of 2015,  adopted by House and Senate and signed by President of Obama last December.
That legislation was the result of a bill initiated by Congressman Duncan Hunter, former U.S. Marine combat veteran who represents the District  and who has led the effort in Congress to save the memorial.
Photo: Politico
Photo: Politico
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the ACLU  in the similar case of Buono vs. Salazar, commonly known as the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross Case. There, the ACLU sued in 2002  to destroy a veterans memorial established by VFW members to honor WWI veterans in 1934. ACLU sued because it included a cross on a rock outcrop on federal land in the remote Mojave Desert Preserve. ACLU sued even though there was no complaint in some 70 years, and the Cross was twelve miles off the highway and a person had to drive to it to be offended by it. 
Photo: Cafe Press
Photo: Cafe Press
After the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ordered the the Mojave Cross had to be destroyed, Congress voted to exchange that one-acre site for five acres of private land donated by Henry and Wanda Sandoz, who had cared for the memorial for decades. Since the Cross was now on private land, the Supreme Court nullified the 9th Circuit decision that the Establishment Clause was violated and remanded the case. ACLU finally surrendered on remand in 2012, announcing in court it  would cease attempting to destroy the cross.
While there is no way to know to a certainty whether the ACLU will finally cease its quarter-century of litigation to destroy the Mt. Soledad Memorial now that it is on private land, the Association, and those public interest law firms who have been representing veterans against the ACLU’s lawsuits, have hailed implementation of Duncan Hunter’s land-transfer legislation as signaling that the memorial will at last remain “as it is, where it is” without further successful litigation molestation by the ACLU.
Bruce Bailey, President and CEO of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association board of trustees, said:
“I am honored to be leading our Association at this most significant time in our Memorial’s history. It marks for the first time where our membership can manage the Memorial’s affairs from a place of ownership and accountability for the property, which is a new and welcomed step for the Association.”
Reacting to the news of the transfer to the Association of the Mt. Soledad Memorial originally founded by the local American Legion La Jolla Post 275 more than a half-century ago,  American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm said he hoped it would end the litigation attacks of the ACLU:
“Frankly, it shouldn’t have been necessary for the government to sell the land to a private group in order to preserve a memorial that is deeply significant to so many people. The American Legion believes in ‘God and Country.’ Unfortunately, some courts don’t always see it that way. “
(For the full response of the American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans organization, see
Liberty Institute, based in Texas, represents the Memorial Association against the ACLU in the present Mt. Soledad case pending in the 9th Circuit. LI issued a statement that “after a 25-year legal battle, the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial is finally saved…[it] ends a legal dispute regarding the constitutionality of the memorial on government land.”
Photo: Liberty Institute
Photo: Liberty Institute
Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Deputy Chief Counsel, said:
“The Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Cross has stood since 1954 as a symbol of the selfless sacrifice of our nation’s veterans. Such a sacred memorial should receive our highest honor and protection. Today’s actions will ensure that the memorial will continue to stand in honor of our veterans for decades to come. This is a great victory for the veterans who originally placed this memorial and the Korean War veterans the memorial honors. We thank our lead counsel, Allyson Ho, and her team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, who worked tirelessly to defend the memorial, leading to this ultimate victory.”
(For more information,
Charles S. LiMandri, President and Chief Counsel for the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), has actively participated in efforts to maintain the Memorial Cross “as it is, where it is” since 2004.  The FCDF, along with Attorney Peter Lepiscopo, represents Congressman Duncan Hunter. 
LiMandri, who has been credited with doing more than any other single person to save the Mt. Soledad Cross,  said of the Memorial’s transfer to the Association:
“We are delighted that the longest running religious liberty case is coming to a successful conclusion after 26 years.  Any future legal challenge to the transfer of the Memorial property from the federal government to the Memorial Association is likely to fail in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Salazar v. Buono, 559 U.S. 700 (2010), which approved trade of federal property to private ownership for the purpose of preserving the Mojave Memorial Cross. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund extends its hearty congratulations to the Memorial Association and its counsel.”
(For more on FCDF, see
Joseph Infranco is Senior Counsel of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and co-founder, with me, of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project of The American Legion Dept. of California and the Alliance Defending Freedom. 
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd  Photo: Victoria Taft
Charles LiMandri and author Rees Lloyd
Photo: Victoria Taft
He said of the transfer of Mt. Soledad to the Memorial Association:
“Monuments that honor the very people who have fought and died to protect our freedoms should be preserved in the best possible way. Though perhaps understandable, it’s unfortunate that Congress felt forced to take the safe route of a land transfer to protect this cherished memorial. Memorial crosses on government land honoring those who served and died are not an establishment of religion any more than the memorial crosses that grace Arlington National Cemetery. Nonetheless, all should take some comfort that the Mount Soledad Memorial will be  well cared for and free from the illegitimate attacks of those who have sought to uproot it.  We trust that this move will allow the memorial and its cross to be enjoyed and revered for generations to come.”
(For more on ADF, see
Our Defense of Veterans Memorials Project was created, and first became involved in litigation combatting the ACLU in 2006 when a U.S. District Court ordered the City of San Diego to destroy the Mt. Soledad Cross within 90-days or it would impose a fine of $5,000 per day. We entered the litigation to support Attorney Chuck LiMandri who at the time was carrying the legal battle against ACLU almost alone. 
Mt Soledad Freedom Isnt Free
To the shock of most in the legal community, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay order preventing destruction of the Cross after the Ninth Circuit had denied a stay order pending appeal. 
The Memorial was saved at the time by passage of the Mt. Soledad National War Memorial Protection Act of 2006, which transferred Mt. Soledad from the City of San Diego to the federal DOD. This effectively nullified the U.S. District Court’s destruction order, since that case was tried under the California Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. That Mt. Soledad Protection Act passed the House overwhelmingly, and the U.S. Senate without objection, including no objection by then Sen. Barack Obama. 
Then-President George W. Bush signed the Mt. Soledad Protection Act into law. Attorney Charles LiMandri, because of his singular and remarkable pro bono efforts to save the Cross was invited by President Bush to attend the signing ceremony.
Now, with the Mt. Soledad Memorial again facing destruction by the ACLU’s lawsuit, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a combat Marine, has led the effort in Congress to authorize a transfer of Mt. Soledad by sale into the private hands of the Memorial Association, as Congress did in the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross case (Buono vs.Salazar).
This may or may not deter the ACLU in its secular-cleansing, cross-destroying fanaticism, even to the point of attacking veterans memorials. If it does not, those who have fought to preserve Mt. Soledad will continue to fight, as long as it takes, to prevent the desecration of it or any veterans memorials by intolerant extremists epitomized by the ACLU, which, in my opinion, has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism.
Photo: Victoria Taft
Photo: Victoria Taft
As co-founder with Joe Infranco of the Defense of Veterans Memorials Project, I thank Joe Infranco and all at ADF; Hiram Sasser, Kelly Schackleford, and all at Liberty Institute; Chuck LiMandri and all at Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund; Attorney Pete Lepiscopo; Congressman Duncan Hunter; and all of who have fought so long and so hard to save Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial “as it is, where it is,” and as it was intended to be by the American veterans who founded it to honor their comrade veterans.
This thanks includes American Legionnaires in California who have continued to fight against the ACLU. They have, among other things, established plaques at Mt. Soledad honoring Maj. General Patrick H. Brady (USA, ret., Medal of Honor, Vietnam); Admiral Jeremiah A. Denton (USN, ret.; Navy Cross, POW for seven years/seven months in Vietnam); Legendary Legionnaires Leo Burke (USMC, WWII), and Robert J. “Uncle Bobby” Castillo (USN, WWII); and, on February 3, 2014, the Immortal Four Chaplains. (See, attached photo of California Legionnaires at Four Chaplains ceremonies beneath the Cross at Mt. Soledad, joined by former Navy Seal Larry Wilske (ret.), now Executive Secretary of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association.)
Photo: Free Republic
Photo: Free Republic


I thank them all for fighting as Patton taught—“Audacity, Audacity, Always Audacity;” and staying the course as Churchill taught:
“Never give up. Never, never, never give up.”
As veterans, and as patriots, we must not, we will not, allow desecration  of memorials honoring veterans, no matter how offensive those memorials may be to enemies of America, foreign or domestic.
(Rees Lloyd, a longtime California civil rights attorney and veterans activist, is a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce)

Rees Lloyd On Memorial Day 2015: Can We Live In Freedom, If We Don’t Die For It?

Memorial Day is a day to remember what should be remembered every day–the more than 1.3-million American veterans who gave their lives in war so that they, and we, their posterity, might live as free Americans.



The questions are raised: Should remembrance of the price of freedom be limited to one Memorial Day a year? And, can we Americans live in freedom if we are no longer willing to die for it?

Each of us owes a debt  to all those Americans who came before us and sacrificed their lives for freedom. We pay that debt by what we do to preserve freedom for all those Americans who will come after us.

While many Americans, unfortunately, do not even know what Memorial Day represents, many millions of others do. Among them, of course, are veterans. All across America, veterans of The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans,and other veterans, gather at their Posts, or at National or State Veterans Cemeteries, or at community events, to remember the high price of freedom, paid by those veterans who purchased and preserved our freedom with their lives.

For example, one of those American Legion Posts is Riverside Post 79, in Riverside, CA, of which I am partisan as a Life Member. It was founded in 1921 by WWI veterans, only  two years after the founding of The American Legion in 1919 by WWI GI’s in Paris, France, awaiting repatriation home after winning WWI. (For this long and proud history, see; or

Post 79 members conducted Memorial Day Ceremonies at Evergreen Cemetery  at 9 a.m., after earlier affixing flags to the headstones of veterans there. Honors ceremonies were conducted also at noon outside Post 79, immediately across from the WWI Pershing Tank which is located at the edge of the lake at Fairmount Park, daily reminding Post members of the sacrifices made in WWI. 

The ceremonies were led by Commander Deno Blankenship (Army, Vietnam), assisted by acting Chaplain Marcos Enriquez (USAF, Desert Storm-Iraq -and Afghanistan).They each followed in the footsteps of past Post 79 Commanders and officers in what is now a ninety-five year Legion Post 79 tradition of remembering and honoring fallen comrades in Memorial Day ceremonies. 

The solemn ceremonies of morning and noon, with the Flag first lowered to half-staff then raised again, were followed by a “Family Day” at the Post. Hamburgers, hotdogs, beverages, and “Pot Luck,”  were provided to Legion families. The afternoon was one of camaraderie of families of those who have served, amidst the joyous laughter on Memorial Day of their children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren  — who, in their turn, may one day be called to serve to preserve the nation’s freedom.

The earlier honors ceremonies included tribute rifle volleys and the playing of Taps by the Robert J. “Uncle Bobby” Castillo Honor Detail, Team 12, named for its late founder, a D-Day WWII Purple Heart survivor, Past Post 79 Commander, and  a beloved legendary California American Legionnaire. The Post 79 Honor Detail, too, crosses generational lines. Its  current members range from veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Post 79’s MHD Team 12 is one of some 29 Memorial Honor Details of volunteer veterans who provide dignified military services for fallen comrades at Riverside National Cemetery. Team 12 members perform military services at usually from six to ten funerals at RNC on the first and third Tuesday of each month, and the fifthTuesday when there is one. The Team also provides Honor Details on call at community events, schools, universities, government installations, funerals for veterans at cemeteries other than RNC. 

Post 79’s military honors ceremonies at Evergreen Cemetery were carried out in front of the rough-cut stone Cross at Evergreen Cemetery which was established in 1924 by Auxiliary Unit 79 of the Riverside Post to honor WWI veterans who gave their lives. The current Auxiliary Unit 79 President Judy Benzala, following the tradition of Auxiliary Presidents for some nine decades, placed a wreath at the foot of the Cross to  honor  all veterans who have given their lives in all of the wars in defense of American freedom. 

Fortunately, that tradition continues, as, to date, that Cross established by the patriotic women of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 79 of the WWI generation to honor Americans who died in that and all wars, has not yet been targeted for destruction by litigation by the intolerant secular extremists of the ACLU, which has become the Taliban of American liberal secularism. 

In contrast to the respectful honors ceremonies by veterans and other patriots on Memorial Day and every day, the ACLU sued for ten years to destroy the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial Cross until finally forced to surrender in 2012, and is now in its 46th year of litigation to destroy the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial Cross which honors the service of all veterans there, as a universally recognized symbol of selfless giving of one’s life for others. (For more information on the ACLU’s anti-Cross jihadism, see,,) 

The Post 79 honors ceremonies cited here are but one example of veterans-honoring-veterans — in ways, words, and symbols veterans choose, exercising their “right to choose” — in ceremonies large and small on Memorial Day, in the some 14,000 American Legion Posts, VFW, DAV, other veterans service organizations Posts, as well as in community observances throughout the nation.

That is good. But the question is raised:  Should those who have given their lives for our freedom be remembered only on Memorial Day?

The California Legislature last year adopted a statute  based on the “21-Second Rembrance Resolution written by former Marine and Riverside Post 79 Sgt.-At-Arms Ray Trosper,  and adopted by the 2014 California Legion Convention. The statute, like the Legion Resolution, calls on California citizens not to honor veterans only on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, but by observing 21-seconds of silent remembrance on the 21st day of every month, in emulation of the honor of the traditional 21-gun salute, or the 21-steps of the honor detail members guarding the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier.

USMC Veteran and Legionnaire Ray Trosper who authored the Legion 21-Second Remembrance Resolution which is now codified in California statutes, states the matter concisely: “Those Americans who died in service gave their lives for us. We should be willing to at least remember them for 21-second moments of silence, one time a month, on the 21st day of each month. ” (For more information on the “21-Second Remembrance,”  see

Times change, but fundamental truths do not. One of those truths is that freedom is not free, and those unwilling to fight and die for freedom will soon no longer be able to live free. As former President Ronald Reagan, who volunteered for service in WWII, said, liberty has to be defended by every generation if it is to be preserved.


More than 1.3-million Americans have died in war that we might be free. (See, data attached below on all those who have given their lives in war through the generations, from the Revolutionary War to the War Against Islamic Terrorism today.)

Also, on this 100th year anniversary of its writing by Canadian Major John McCrae, a physician in military service in the battle of Ypres in WWI, we do well to remember the words of the  immortal war poem, “In Flanders Fields.” It is as moving, meaningful,  and applicable to the wars and veterans of this day, as it was when written in May, 1915, in WWI. (“Flanders Fields” is attached below in full.)

The challenge we Americans and American freedom face today is from Islamic jihadist fanaticism — which openly seeks the death of freedom, and proclaims that Islamic jihadism will defeat and conquer America, destroy the Contstiution, and impose Sharia Law on Americans “because you [Americans] believe in life, and we [Islamic jihadists] believe in death.” I

In short, they exude confidence that they will defeat us and destroy freedom because they are willing, even eager to die, defending their cause in “holy war” (sic),  no matter how misbegotten, and we, they believe, are no longer willing to die for freedom.

There can be no doubt that Muslim jihadist terrorism is as great a threat, if not greater, than was the threat to freedom of the totalitarian National Socialism (Fascism) of Adolph Hiter in WWII or the totalitarian International Communism of Lenin-Stalin-Mao-Ho Chi Minh-or Pol Pot in the Vietnam-era, which like Muslim jihadism sought world domination—the actual end of freedom, while proclaiming to provide “social justice” and “equality.”

Thus, another question raised by Memorial Day 2015 remembrance of those who gave their lives for our freedom is simply this: Can American freedom long survive if we, the heirs to the freedom preserved for us by those American veterans who came before us and gave their lives defending freedom, are no longer willing to fight — and to die, if necessary — to preserve freedom for those Americans who will come after us? 

Will those American children at play on Memorial Day Holiday 2015, and their children, live in freedom tomorrow, if we are not willing to not pay the price for their freedom as did our American patriot ancestors to preserve our freedom?   

May the sacrifice of each American who gave his or her life in defense of American freedom always be remembered, honored, and willingly emulated if the freedom for which they died is to endure.




American Wars: Killed In Action

Revolutionary War………………………….  25,324

War of 1812…………………………………      2,260

Mexican War………………………………..  13,283

Civil War……………………………………. 650,000

Spanish American War…………………….    7,166

World War I………………………………… 116,708

World War II…………………………………408,206

Korean War…………………………………   54,246

Vietnam War………………………………..   58,223

Persian Gul War……………………………        363

Afghanistan…………………………………     2,215

Iraq…………………………………………..      4,212

     TOTAL KIA:             1,342,206


flanders field

In Flanders Fields

by Major John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

[For the full story on Flanders Fields and the Poppy tradition,



(Rees Lloyd is a longtime California civil rights lawyer, veterans activist, and a member of the Victoria Taft Blogforce.) 

Rees Lloyd: MEMORIAL DAY 2015

From Rees Lloyd’s post from 2010:


The Soldier

It is the soldier, not the reporter, 
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, 
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, 
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer, 
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier, 
who salutes the flag, 
who serves under the flag, 
and whose coffin is draped by the flag, 
who allows the protester to burn the flag.
[By Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, USMC]
A  time to remember the price of our freedom, 
and the veterans who paid that price…
American Wars Killed In Action
Revolutionary War…………..  25, 324
War of 1812………………………      2,260
Mexican American War……  13,283
Civil War……………………….. 650,000
Spanish American War……..      7,166
World War I………………………. 116,708
World War II……………………. 408,306
Korean War………………………     54,246
Vietnam War ……………………    58,223
Persian Gulf War………………       363
(Desert Storm)
In the War on Terror there were:
Photo: iCasualties
Photo: iCasualties

Rees Lloyd: February 3rd is Four Chaplains Day. Will America Remember?

This is the yearly reminder from Blogforce member Rees Lloyd

four chaplains

February 3 every year is ““Four Chaplains Day” in America by the unanimous resolution of the U.S. Congress in 1988, although millions of Americans are unaware of that fact, or unaware entirely of the “Four Immortal Chaplains,” whose extraordinary courage, self-sacrifice, and heroism, and should resonate, and be honored, through generations of Americans.
Will they be remembered on Four Chaplains Day 2009? Will the media report their inspiring story? Will teachers charged with educating our young allow them to learn of these great, humble, American heroes, men of faith who gave their lives so others might live?

On February 3, 1943, during World War II, the U.S.S. Dorchester, a converted luxury cruise ship, was transporting Army troops to Greenland  On board were some 900 troops, and four chaplains, of different faiths, but common dedication.
The four Chaplains are:Rev. George Fox (Methodist); Father John Washington (Roman Catholic); Jewish Rabbi Alexander Goode; and Rev. Clark Poling (Dutch Reformed).
At approximately 12:55 a.m., in the dead of a freezing night, the Dorchester was hit by a torpedo fired by German U-boat 233 in an area so infested with German submarines it was known as “Torpedo Junction.”
The blast ripped a hole in the ship from below the waterline to the top deck.
Many troops were scalded to death below decks; others leaped into the freezing waters to save themselves. More than two-thirds of the troops died; many who survived, had lifelong disabilities from their time in the freezing waters.
In the chaos, the Four Chaplains worked together to aid the troops, and then made the ultimate sacrifice. As one survivor testified: “I saw all four chaplains take off their life belts and give them to soldiers who had none.”
Another soldier testified: “The ship started sinking…I looked back and saw the chaplains with their hands clasped, praying for the boys. They never made any attempt to save themselves, but they did try to save the others. I think their names should be on the list of ‘The Greatest Heroes’ of this war.”
The Four Chaplains went to their deaths together, their arms linked, praying together, singing hymns together, giving their lives for God, country, and the troops they served, setting an example of heroism and self-sacrifices for the ages.
On February 7, 1954, as author William J. Federer records in his book, “America’s God And Country; Encyclopedia of Quotations” (and see his, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had been Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, remarked: 

“And we remember that, only a decade ago, aboard the transport Dorchester, four chaplains of four faiths together willingly sacrificed their lives so that four others might live. In the three centuries that separate the Pilgrims of the Mayflower from the chaplains of the Dorchester, America’s freedom, her courage, her strength, and her progress have had their foundation in faith. Today as then, there is need for positive acts of renewed recognition that faith is our surest strength, our greatest resource.”

May we Americans remember and honor these American heroes, and their exemplary sacrifice, on this and every February 3, “Four Chaplains Day.”
Rees Lloyd is a civil rights attorney, Veterans activist, American Legionnaire and a member of the Blogforce.