Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day

May 30 is Memorial Day. However because of the "National Holiday Act of 1971" passed by congress, Memorial Day is now celebrated on Monday after the last full weekend of May thereby creating a three day weekend. Memorial Day to some is still the official start of the summer season.

First known as "Decoration Day" the origins of Memorial Day are hard to trace. Many cities and towns have laid claim to the tradition but in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo N.Y. as the official birthplace of the tradition. The first proclamation of such a day of remembrance came from General John Logan (pictured right) on May 5th 1868. In that year on May 30 flowers were place on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers in Arlington Cemetery. By the year 1890 all of the Northern States recognized the day but most of the Southern States continued to honor their dead on various days and continued to do so until after WWI when is was declared Memorial Day would be for all Americans who had died fighting in any war, not just the Civil War.

In 1915 Moina Michael responded to Jon McCrae's Poem "In Flanders Field" with:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

With this poem she conceived the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who had given their all. She also sold poppies to friends and co-workers and used the money to benefit servicemen in need. The tradition spread to other countries and red poppies, real and artificial, are sold worldwide for similar causes. In 1922 the VFW was the first veterans organization to take up the cause and now sells artificial poppies made by disabled veterans.

Much of the meaning of Memorial Day has been lost to the ages. Fewer towns and cities have parades or programs for the day and many Americans know little about the day except that is another holiday.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

Many traditions however do continue. On the Thursday before Memorial Day, soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. This is the same detachment of soldiers that guard the "Tomb of the Unknowns" ( The soldiers then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.

In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day.

More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights.

Won't you please take just a few moments this weekend and reflect on the meaning of the day. And should a veteran offer up a poppy, be kind and be generous.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Camp E.S.P.A. Benefit

Uno's restaurant will be holding a benefit for Camp E.S.P.A. ( Eastern Shore Police Association) on Sunday and Monday, May 18th & 19th. 20% of your total tab, excluding tax and tip will be donated to Camp ESPA.
From the ESPA website:
"Camp ESPA was built by members of the Eastern Shore Police Association. The camp was built to educate and build relationships between the youths of the community and law enforcement. The officers elected to use Camp ESPA also as a memorial to those that had fallen in the line of duty on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There is no greater sacrifice that a law enforcement officer can make then to lay his or her own life down to protect an innocent. Unfortunately the memorial, like all other Law Enforcement Memorials across this great nation, is continually growing."

Wont you pleas consider printing out a copy of this certificate and dine at Uno's on Cedar Lane in Fruitland on one of the two dates. Thanks a lot! Your local Police agency and the community youth appreciate it.
(click on image to enlarge, then print)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Interesting Photo

I got this from another site I subscribe to from Australia. There was no photography credit on that site and as much I can't give credit either.

Look carefully. The photographer is directly overhead 14 Zebras when the sun was apparently fairly low in the sky. I saw a similar picture some time back with camels walking in a straight line across a dune.
What a great use of angle, light and shadows. I just thought it was a cool pic and wanted to share.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Boots & Spanner

With the recent posts and story about "Bert" the station mascot at the Salisbury Fire Department many years ago, it would be remiss of me to not mention other mascots the Department has had. "Boots" was Station 2,s dalmatian mascot at on the corner of Brown & Naylor Sts. from 1968 to 1980. After Boots passed another dalmatian was obtained. "Spanner" served from 1981 to 1990. Boots and Spanner are in a place of honor at Station 2 today located near the base of the flagpoles. Due to changes in staffing it was decided the time was not right for another live in mascot. Maybe in the future that will change and a dalmatian will once again grace the department and entertain the children that visit. Possibly I can find some photos of Boots & Spanner and udate this post a little later

R.I.P. Boots & Spanner.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Company, New Station 100

My wife and I had an occasion to stop by the new Pocomoke VFD fire station yesterday and by chance met Mr. Mike Dean as he was raising the flags for the day. We introduced ourselves and before we could ask if it were possible to get a tour Mr. Dean offered to do so. He seemed a little enthusiastic about it and after just a few minutes inside it was easy to see why. Their new building is quite beautiful on the outside and very spacious on the inside. Five bay doors line the front of the brick facade structure and and the brickwork is very nice indeed. I didn't peek at the 14th street side of the building from the outside but on the inside there are two more bay doors facing that street. The lobby currently has on display their hand drawn hose cart and Mr. Dean advised the Clap & Jones horse drawn steamer is also slated to be moved here. Behind the engine bay Mr. Dean showed us the meeting room, lounge area, kitchen, 2 offices and bunk room. Upstairs from the engine bay is a large storage area.

New gear racks with plenty of room are located in the engine bay and an air filtration system is in place for removal of fumes when the engines are started.

Finally Mr. Dean showed us what is know as Phase II. The adjacent commercial building that used to be Drug Fair will converted to a community hall that should seat in the neighborhood of 400 people. A commercial kitchen is planned and possibly movable partitions in order to use smaller spaces when necessary. Mr Dean clearly showed his pride in the new facility and I would imagine that pride is common among the 60 active members, 16 Gold Badge members, 22 life members, and 2 cadets on the current role call of the department.

Indeed it is a fine building for the community it serves and I encourage anyone who happens by to stop in and take a look if possible. Thank you Mr. Dean for the time you took for us to tour your station. It was quite enjoyable and informative.

Congratulations also to the entire Pocomoke Volunteer Fire Company for this fine facility.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Story of Burt

Below is a poem that was written about Bert (Burt). This poem was done on a typewriter and a framed copy was in the display case at Station 16, along with this picture. I hope a place can be found to dispaly these in the new Station 16 as well.
I have been unable to determine the author but the with initials w.c.t. at bottom I may be able to find out.

I have copied this poem exactly as written including the punctuation.

The Story of Burt, The Fireman’s Dog

To begin with, Burt was just a dog,
And not very strong for looks;
She might have been a mongrel or a cur-
But smart! There isn’t a dog in the books,
In a fancy kennel or anywhere else-
Where good dogs have a part,
That could fill by half the warm—soft spot
Burt held in the Fireman’s heart.

Burt of course was a Fireman’s dog;
With nothing like a family tree;
But true blue boys, that dog was it,
Charlie Livingston said, if your asking me.

She was just a dog as I said before;
A homeless dog that drifted in,
And took her place with the rest of the crowd
As if they’d all been kin.
Burt was the company’s mascot,
And she never missed a fire.
Her short little legs could make the run
With a speed that didn’t tire.

Burt knew the whole outlandish bunch
That hung around the place;
When a fire was due—she knew that too;
Seems like she had a hunch.
No, she wouldn’t bite, that dog!
Too smart for a trick like that.
But let the bell tap one-two—three,
She was off at the drop of a hat.

She was killed in the line of duty
On her way to a fire;
Like the brave old scouts with whom she lived,
Her work wasn’t done for hire.
An Accident, of course, Bill Downing
Would never have run over Burt;
Not Bill! Good Lord no’
Bill was the one who was hurt.

Burt was just a dog-but tenderly
They draped her lifeless form
In something clean for a winding sheet-
Something to keep her warm;
They dug a grave in a quite spot—
I’ll say the boys were hurt—
And they lowered the box with misty eyes
As they said “goodbye” to Burt.

Goodbye little dog goodbye,
Who said you’d be forgot?
While a fireman lives
And a stone is left
To mark that quiet spot.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bert Has Been Located !

As faithful as Bert was was to the fireman of her time, so too are the firefighters today in Salisbury. A few days ago Bert was moved with honor to a new resting place at Station 16 on Cypress St.
Not wanting to leave such a faithful friend behind the stone has been laid among the decorative paver blocks placed beneath bell near the flagpoles. Bert is with friends still and not forgotten.

R.I.P. Bert