"Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit." Elbert Hubbard

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day, when we honor our dead and their survivors. Those who didn't make it home, those who have passed on since, and the families left behind.

Here in Barnegat, we had two days of ceremonies. On Sunday we honored the fallen and were proud to officially present a brother with long overdue recognition for brave deeds from forty years ago. Monday was celebrated with a parade and barbeque at the American Legion hall.

VFW Post 10092 Commander and American Legion Post 232 Commander laying the wreath at the Barnegat memorial to veterans, fire-fighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians. We had a small crowd in attendance, which I did not get any pictures of unfortunately. Our neighbors, friends, and family; we are grateful for their support.

We remembered the fallen, but also honored a comrade in our ranks, affectionately known as "Captain Jack" .

1LT John Monahan, Vietnam-1970.

CPT (Retired) John Monahan-2010.

CPT Jack being presented with his medals by his son, also an officer in the US Army and Iraq veteran. In attendance was his father-in-law, the oldest member of our VFW Post at ninety-seven years of age, a B-17 bomber pilot in WWII.

These four medals were for actions committed forty years ago in Vietnam. The Silver Star, Bronze Star, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Vietnam Wound Medal with two Oak leaf clusters.

1LT Monahan was a Mortar Platoon Leader with A Company, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. The Bronze Star Medal was awarded for his service in Vietnam and Cambodia while the other three were specifically for his actions during 19-25 May, 1970.

In essence a platoon from his company was pinned under extremely heavy fire and taking severe casualties. He fought his way forward through enemy fire with several other soldiers carrying much needed supplies. Discovering that the leadership of the platoon was killed or wounded, he assumed command and was wounded several times during the day from both enemy fire and napalm while directing artillery and airstrikes danger close to his own position, managing to keep from being overrun by the enemy. After the better part of a day, he was able to move the platoon back to the company position and finally accepted medical aid for himself.

In the most important words of the citation, I quote: First Lieutenant Monahan's valorous actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

I cannot do credit to the narrative of that day. His son read to us a full and proper account of the battle in detail. We are honored to count him in our ranks. CPT Jack left the Army in 1971 and served with both the Army Reserve and Army National Guard until 1982, when he retired from military service.

On Monday we had our parade which I marched in for the first time. Which unfortunately means I did not get any pictures to show here. It was a good event nonetheless, excepting whoever set off a firework as the veterans marched past. It went from downtown Barnegat, up Route 9 to the American Legion hall, where they graciously hosted a barbeque for the marchers and viewers. I met more of my brother veterans and several friends. Had some food and was also introduced to kind people who offered assistance if I need it in taking advantage my veteran's benefits.

I'm glad I moved here and decided to stay after returning from Iraq.

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan...

Pres. Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address-4 March 1865

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