Sunday, December 18, 2016

Video: Huron Carol

The Huron Carol has become part of the Brat Christmas. It is usually sung by a native Canadian, Tom Jackson - who has an amazing voice - and I finally found his version here.

The "Huron Carol" (or "'Twas in the Moon of Wintertime") is a Christmas hymn, written in 1643 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Christian missionary at Sainte-Marie among the Hurons in Canada. Brébeuf wrote the lyrics in the native language of the Huron/Wendat people; the song's original Huron title is "Jesous Ahatonhia" ("Jesus, he is born"). The song's melody is a traditional French folk song, "Une Jeune Pucelle" ("A Young Maid"). The well known English lyrics were written in 1926 by Jesse Edgar Middleton.
This version performed by Heather Dale, and sung in Wendat (Huron), French and English....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Eleanor Roosevelt and Pearl Harbor

[*Yes, this is a repost from a previous year*]


Eleanor Roosevelt had a career on radio that began in the 1920s and expanded while Franklin Roosevelt was president. She had commercial sponsors but gave the money she earned at this time to charity, such as the American Friends Service Committee.

Speaking in a personal, conversational style, with a high pitched voice and clear, upperclass East Coast diction, ER delivered listeners for her sponsors and proved that she was worth large sums to advertisers. She was especially interested in the participation of women in civic life and issues of education and youth. Between 1933 and 1945 Eleanor Roosevelt’s White House broadcasts addressed the challenges that depression and war posed as well as lighter topics and commentary. After 1945 ER continued her radio broadcasts with a focus on human rights, the Cold War, and world peace.

Beginning in October 1941 ER gave 26 Sunday evening broadcasts sponsored by the
Pan-American Coffee Bureau (eight Latin American coffee growing nations), and earned
a total of $28,000. Through these broadcasts she helped to ready the American people
for war. On the fateful Sunday, December 7, she changed her prepared remarks to rally
her listeners behind the administration as the country entered the war.  (source)

For the last year I had been saving a YouTube video of  Eleanor Roosevelt's radio address about Pearl Harbor, only to find this week that it has been removed from the internet, and I can't find it anywhere. However, the transcript of her December 7 radio address still exists.  From the FDR Library, here's an excerpt of the original draft:

  • Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. FDR Library.
    Eleanor Roosevelt Papers. FDR Library.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt also wrote a regular column called "My Day" and on December 8, 1941 she wrote - in part:

    My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

    DECEMBER 8, 1941

    WASHINGTON, Sunday—I was going out in the hall to say goodbye to our cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Adams, and their children, after luncheon, and, as I stepped out of my room, I knew something had happened. All the secretaries were there, two telephones were in use, the senior military aides were on their way with messages. I said nothing because the words I heard over the telephone were quite sufficient to tell me that, finally, the blow had fallen, and we had been attacked.

    Attacked in the Philippines, in Hawaii, and on the ocean between San Francisco and Hawaii. Our people had been killed not suspecting there was an enemy, who attacked in the usual ruthless way which Hitler has prepared us to suspect.

    Because our nation has lived up to the rules of civilization, it will probably take us a few days to catch up with our enemy, but no one in this country will doubt the ultimate outcome. None of us can help but regret the choice which Japan has made, but having made it, she has taken on a coalition of enemies she must underestimate; unless she believes we have sadly deteriorated since our first ships sailed into her harbor.
    The clouds of uncertainty and anxiety have been hanging over us for a long time. Now we know where we are. The work for those who are at home seems to be obvious. First, to do our own job, whatever it is, as well as we can possibly do it. Second, to add to it everything we can do in the way of civilian defense. Now, at last, every community must go to work to build up protections from attack.

    We must build up the best possible community services, so that all of our people may feel secure because they know we are standing together and that whatever problems have to be met, will be met by the community and not one lone individual. There is no weakness and insecurity when once this is understood....

    The rest is here.

    Within two hours, six battleships had been sunk, another 112 vessels sunk or damaged, and 164 aircraft destroyed. Only chance saved three US aircraft carriers, usually stationed at Pearl Harbor but assigned elsewhere on the day.

    The attacks killed fewer than 100 Japanese but more than 2,400 Americans died - 1,000 of those were on the battleship Arizona which was destroyed at her mooring. Another 1,178 US citizens were injured.

    The next day, President Roosevelt called the attack on Pearl Harbor "a day that will live in infamy" and America declared war on Japan ending its policy of isolationism. ...

    That excerpt is part of a column I wrote in 2010: Pearl Harbour: "By 9:55 it was all over. .." and there is included a timeline of the events on that terrible day, plus a first person account.

    Lest We Forget.

    Friday, November 11, 2016

    Video: UK Remembrance Day

    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

    Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915
    during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium
    (A great history of Flanders Field here)

    The ground surrounding the Cenotaph was covered by wreaths following the UK Remembrance Sunday ceremony.

    Video: Remembrance Day - "Pittance of Time"

    Today - we remember and honour.

    That is one of my all time favourites. I originally posted this on Tanker Bros here, where I included some history of Remembrance Day.

    Terry Kelly, the Canadian who wrote Pittance of Time, tells why here.

    We remember and honour - today and every day.

    US: Veterans Day

    To all US Veterans (and their families):  THANK you.

    Read Bouhammer: What Veteran’s Day should mean to this country

    Thursday, October 13, 2016

    Remembering SSG Brian Cowdrey - family man

    Yes, this is a reprint.  No, no apologies from me, as today I remember and honour Brian, beloved family man: son, husband, father. Just as I remember and honour him - and his family -

    As my regular readers know,  my friend Brian Cowdrey gave his life in service to his country.

    As has been shared since that terrible day, Brian was one of the best of the best at what he did in his professional life. NObody ever doubted that when Brian answered a call to GO, lives would be saved.  That is what he did, and there are many of our Military (yes, including coalition Troops) who are alive today because Brian never hesitated to go into danger, because there were wounded who needed his skills and dedication.

    THIS is one of my favourite pictures of Brian at work.

    I knew Brian for many years, and it was my privilege to come to see the private Brian, the Brian who loved (LOVES)  his family - Brian the family man:  the son, the brother, the lover, the husband, the oh so proud dad,  the goofball at play...

    Even though Brian talked to me many times of Jill, his kids and his family, it is only in the last year that I have been blessed to come to know Jill, and Brian's family,  first-hand..

    This has always been one of my favourite pictures of Jill and Brian..  As anybody who knows me at all knows,  how our Fallen Heroes LIVED and loved really matters to me, and must be remembered and honoured.

    Of this picture above, Jill says:

    This is one of the last pictures of Brian and I together. We had gone to Great Wolf Lodge before he deployed in August & in the arcade they had a picture booth. We sat down to take the picture & he leaned in & kissed me. Such a treasured picture now.


    Jill graciously agreed to share her favourite pictures and memories of her best friend, and has given me permission to share them here so that the world would gain a glimpse of the private Brian, the man she has known since she was about 5 years old..

    We had just gotten engaged in this picture. One of my favorites! We were both so happy! April 1994

    Our wedding day. July 30 1994

     In early 2006 Brian came to Ft Bragg as a brand new Flight Medic. Whenever family came to see us we always took them out to see the helicopters & we climbed up on top of the bird & took this picture. Another one of my favorites!

    This picture is of our family:  Brian,  myself, Justin,  Nathan,  Jacob,  Quentin,  Jen, Morgan & Julia.

    Brian with his mom Donna, we had a lovely day walking around the park near her house!

    This is the five of us with my Momma & Pops. We were visiting after Justin graduated high school & right before he went into the Army!


    Justin & Reena went to the senior prom in May of 2010. We didn't realize when we went to see them off that we would be in a picture with them!

    Nathan looks so much like his dad! We had gone to Cracker Barrel (one of Brian's favorite places to eat) and they were sitting across the table from Jacob and I and they had happened to look at each other when I was shocked at just how much they looked alike! So I made them look at each other while I took a picture!


    This is the day that Justin was sworn into the Army. I am so glad Brian was there to see him do that! Afterwards we were able to take pictures & I didn't get a really good one of them shaking hands so I asked them to do it again...this is the result!

    Brian absolutely loved living in Virginia & we went back whenever we could! This is up on the Blue Ridge Parkway back in 2006. We always had so much fun on the Parkway!

    Brian & I at a friend's birthday party! 

    Anybody who knows anything about Brian, knows about him and dogs.  THIS picture that Jill sent me is also one of my favourites (and Bratdog's, of course!)

    And Jill says this:

    If you know Brian at all you know that he was a HUGE dog lover. German Shepherds in particular! He dreamed about working with them & was always honored to be able to medevac a working dog! We went to the hanger one day with Sampson & Brian got the dream he had dreamed to be in his bird with his dog!

    That Brian's sons are so proud of their dad - just as he was always so proud of them - is obvious to any who know any of them even a little.   Last October, his son Jacob made this video for his dad, which serves as reminder for those that might need it, that the family also Serves.

    I have told Jill that I have absolutely NO doubt at all that her Brian is still around her and his family..

     I also know that while Brian may be physically apart from those he loves the most - for now - he will always be an important presence in their family, and in every event.

    I know that the accepted wish for our Fallen Heroes is that they rest in peace.  Goodness knows, Brian has earned the right to rest, but I somehow have difficulty imagining Brian resting.  I always see him flying through the Heavens, still watching over his most precious family.

    Brian and Jill:  Never, ever doubt that I will always remember, always honour and ALWAYS love you...

    Love never dies. 

    Previous posts about Brian:

    SSG Brian Cowdrey: "Who shall I send?" 

    Fighting for a Life; Fighting to Bring Home Every Body He Could

     Remembering SSG Cowdrey( Brian) in AFG

    RIP SSG Robert B. Cowdrey

    [BratNote:  Every picture here is owned and copyright protected by Jill, Brian and their family. These photos represent but a small part of Jill's what I call "photo album of the heart" and are used here with their permission.  Anybody who even thinks about using them for any political ends, or for earnings via PayPal,  will be hunted down.  Brian would expect nothing less.]

    There is a FaceBook page that Jill set up in memory of Brian, and I promised that I would link to it, since it is her hope that those who know Brian will share their memories of him there, as a permanent tribute.  Please go here....: In Memory of SSG Robert Brian Cowdrey