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Remember those who survived

Friday, June 6, 2008

Editor's note: The following address was delivered by E. Ray Farley at American Legion Post No. 39's annual Memorial Day dinner.

By E. Ray Farley

Guest Columnist

This day was set aside that we might, as a nation, remember those who served their country, and lost their lives. It is also a time to remember all others who served, but lived to tell the tale. I've a few disjointed reminiscences about the armed services.

We honor:

-- That naval hero who was taught to swab decks, then promoted to painting walls and turrets and hulls, and walls and turrets and hulls, over and over. I think that the purpose might have been twofold: First, if you put blue-gray paint over and over on a ship, it becomes invisible to the enemy. Second, if you put enough on, it is bulletproof.

-- That Army lad who was taught to peel potatoes for a mess serving 1,500. He peeled, opened cans of green beans and then learned how to pour water into dried eggs. Then they put live rounds of .30-caliber ammunition into a rifle, set the safety (important). The largest thing he had ever fired was a Daisy 310. If he pulled this trigger, nothing would happen. They told him how to carry it, then they showed him a perimeter to walk on guard duty. All day and all night, two-hour shifts. In the middle of the night, he suddenly became overwhelmed. He was guarding thousands of sleeping soldiers on the inside from thousands of sleeping soldiers on the outside!

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