At the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., 2005. (Note: The wheelchair was temporary due to a back problem.)
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America.
The name Memorial Day was first used around 1882, but did not become more common until after World War II. Memorial Day was declared the official name by Federal Law in 1967. .
On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
At Gettysburg National Park, the ceremonies and Memorial Day address became nationally well-known starting in 1868. In July 1913, veterans of the United States and Confederate armies gathered in Gettysburg to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Civil War’s bloodiest and most famous battle.
(Source: usmemorialday.org and wikipedia.org)
Effective this month–and every month thereafter until the war’s end in 1945–I will be posting selected actions as they occurred in World War II. This is in response to a number of requests from readers who would like to have discussions with the younger generations about the challenges of war. I will be drawing from my 1991 copy of the excellent reference book WORLD WAR II: America at War, 1941-45 by Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen.
May 9 – The German submarine U-110 is captured at sea by the Royal Navy, revealing considerable ENIGMA material.
May 20 – German AIRBORNE troops begin assault of CRETE as part of the BALKANS-GREECE-CRETE CAMPAIGN. The island is held by British and New Zealand troops, mainly withdrawn from Greece, and irregular units.
May 21 – The U.S. freighter Robin Moor is sunk by the German submarine U-69 in the South Atlantic while en route to South Africa. She is the first American merchant ship to be sunk by Germany.
May 27 – President ROOSEVELT broadcasts a declaration of Unlimited National Emergency–“The war is coming very close. . . . [I]t would be suicide to wait until they are in our front yard.”–and proclaims a State of Emergency.
(Source: “WORLD WAR II: America at War, 1941-1945″ by Norman Polmar, Thomas B. Allen)
One of my absolute favorite memories is of my 1973 Nepal trek. These gentle people don’t deserve this horrible tragedy.
In Kathmandu, the children were fascinated by my World War I movie camera and tape recorder.
Kathmandu street scenes, 1973
Looking at the Mt. Everest summit from 19,000 ft. elevation.
There are many organizations that are raising most-needed funds for this tragedy. Please consider checking the websites of your local media outlets for how to help.
In 1991, I went on a roots quest across the United States to meet and interview all of my maternal and paternal relatives that I could find. I spent 70 days on the road in my Chevy Blazer and covered more than 11,000 miles. I kept a journal which then sat on the shelf for the next 24 years. Thanks to the help and good eyes of my wife Sandra, I invite you to click on the link to view a PDF of My 1991 Roots Quest Journal by William L. McGee
In 2014, I tackled a project I had been thinking about for years: writing my memoirs. By the time we reach age 89, most of us have experienced different phases of our lives. So rather than write one memoir, I decided to divide my life into its different phases which, in my case, turned out to be five–or maybe six. With the good eyes and help of my wife Sandra, we completed two memoirs covering the years 1947 to 1989, and published them this year as eBooks available from Amazon. Though I’m not a celebrity or household name, I had the following objective in mind when writing about my life:
“It is my intent that each of my memoirs may inspire anyone without a formal education how they can still succeed in business and life with self-education and generous doses of self-starter and “can do” self-confidence.” –Bill McGee
The Cowboyin’ Years, 1947-1950: A Nevada Dude & Divorce Ranch Memoir
by William L. McGee as told to Sandra V. McGee
I recount “three of the best years of my life” cowboyin’ at Yellowstone, Lake Tahoe, and on the legendary Nevada dude and divorce ranch, the Flying M.E. 186 photographs and illustrations. (Updated/condensed from the 2004 hardcover edition of The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler by William L. McGee and Sandra V. McGee.)
The Broadcasting Years, 1958-1989: A Memoir
by William L. McGee as told to Sandra McGee
In 1958, I decided to try for a career in the field that had always interested me: broadcasting. Through hard work and innovative thinking, I’m lucky to enjoy a 32-year career in syndicated television program sales, television and radio representation, and television station management. In 1971 I launch my own company, Broadcast Marketing Company (BMC), which became a nationwide retail sales training and development program for the broadcast industry. I think anyone interested in the early days of television would enjoy this read.
Preview the first 10% of each eBook for free at Amazon.
Attending a Memorial Day Service, May 27, 2013.
Today I attended a Memorial Day Service in San Rafael, California and was reminded of this little-known fact: In World War II, 145,000 U.S. Navy Armed Guard served on thousands of merchant ships (freighters, tankers and troop transports), and protected and defended the ships from enemy air and submarine attacks. I served in the Naval Armed Guard and wrote about it in my memoir, Bluejacket Odyssey, 1942-1946: From Guadalcanal to Bikini, Naval Armed Guard in the Pacific. I’m always proud to wear my Naval Armed Guard ballcap and jacket–guaranteed to be a conversation starter.
“Little has been written about service in the Naval Armed Guard in which nearly 145,000 men served… William L. McGee remedies this with Bluejacket Odyssey, 1942-1946: From Guadalcanal to Bikini, Naval Armed Guard in the Pacific, a book that has value for historians.” —Naval History Magazine