Thursday is Veterans Day here in the U.S. Also known as Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world, the date falls on November 11th (major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice).
I've mentioned in prior years that my family does not have much of a military heritage. Dad was in the Navy (but never left Bremerton, WA), my grandfather served between world wars (and I have no idea what branch or anything), and my mother's uncle was a Japanese P.O.W. for a few years, but he was never close to any of us, so we never heard any stories.
So the only thing I can relate to is nothing personal, but local to Helena. It was the formation of the First Special Service Force (FSSF) in 1942, later to be known as "The Devil's Brigade". A joint American-Canadian commando unit, it was based at Fort Harrison, which is just west of town. It was trained to become a small, elite force to fight behind enemy lines under Nordic conditions. Ft. Harrison was chosen due to its flat terrain for airborne training, as well as the winter conditions and nearby mountains available for training purposes. The unit was considered a huge success, and after the war, a second commando unit was formed that eventually became known as the Green Berets. Even the Delta Force (yeah, the Chuck Norris guys) can trace it's lineage to the FSSF. A movie ("The Devil's Brigade") was made based on the formation of the group.
Many members of the Brigade returned to Helena after the war and moved their families here. There is an annual gathering of survivors from both Canada and the US, and some of the biggest civic names in town are former members of the Brigade. A monument/memorial was built in, of all places, Memorial Park.
What's unfortunate is that I'd bet that less than 10% of the residents here could tell you anything about the FSSF, its role in WWII, its post-war legacy, or that the memorial is the reason that the park got its name. Except, surprisingly, the skateboarders in town, who use the benches and railings to practice their tricks. Not that the veterans approve, but most of the kids at least know why the memorial is there in the first place.
So even though I don't have any relatives that I could boast about as being a vet, I've got the home of the Devil's Brigade. If I knew any of them personally, I'd certainly shake their hand and thank them. Those of you with family who are vets, be sure to give them a big honkin' hug!
I know she waits below
Only to rise on command
When she comes for me
She’s got my life in her hands
Lady of the lake
"Lady of the Lake"--Rainbow
Our lovely Lady will be revealed on Thursday afternoon, though you might be able to find her elsewhere if you look hard enough!
If you checked out many of the other HNTs, you'd know that this week's Mystery Guest is Lola! Stop by and check out a couple of more pictures from this series over there, and say hi!
Always some new "faces" over at "...the Other HNT". Be sure to check out your fellow HNTers over there. They'd appreciate some comments! (NSFW, as usual)
I'm going to plug Ashly Star's Toys For Tots project for the next couple of weeks. Click on the link to read about it and/or to donate. It's one of the better things we've done out here. Go click her links and read how last year's project went too!
Back when I started this whole blogging thing, one of the first blogs I considered as a daily required read was "Lightning Bug's Butt". Easily one of the funniest, most sensible, easiest-to-read blogs out there. After awhile, he sort of dropped out of sight, maybe popping in on rare occasion. Imagine my surprise when I saw that he commented on one of my posts last week! I highly urge you to head over there and get a dose of his quirky view of the world!
Don't forget to check out the latest adventure of the OsShirt, and if you're really bored, my previous 270 HNTs, all gathered nicely on one site! Just for you!