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World War II Tag

The Battle of the Bulge was a turning point in World War II, when American troops turned back the final Nazi counter-offensive on the Western front. Over 100,000 Americans would be killed or wounded before it was over.

It's a little quiet here in the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Because today is Victory Day, formerly known as VJ Day, formerly known as Victory Over Japan Day. The progression of names to the generic Victory Day was to accomodate the hurt feelings of, umm, who exactly? The Japanese over whom we were victorious and who started it but couldn't finish it? Historically the day is to mark Victory Over Japan, but history is a casualty of the war waged by political correctness and hurt feelings.

Today in History Clouds hung low over the cold summer beaches of Normandy on the morning of June 6th, 1944. The French countryside had been subjected to a night of heavy bombing by the Army Airforce and the US Navy but the vital bunkers and artillery emplacements protecting the beaches had hardly been scratched. The clouds had protected them. This would become quite unfortunate for the first waves of soldiers who would find themselves walking right into them.

The 8th Army Airforce

Of all the branches of the military, the Army Airforce had an especially dangerous job. Leaving aside even the common flight risks of mid-air collisions and frostbite from flying in non-pressurized aircraft five miles in the air, the 8th Army Airforce dealt with unique horrors. Over Germany, B-17 bombers couldn't be accompanied by escort fighters due to a lack of fuel range, leaving them particularly vulnerable to Luftwaffe raids during their bombing runs near the targets. Even when they weren't being raided they were subject to constant anti-aircraft bombardment from 88mm howitzers that shredded the planes.

It's unclear at this point whether there will be a short-term budget deal, or a government "shutdown." Despite the drama, a shutdown is not really a shut down. Essential services continue. It's more of a scale-back, and the government has a lot of discretion as to what gets scaled back. In a press conference today OMB Director Mick Mulvaney made the point that many agencies have reserve funds that can be used, but weren't used in the 2013 shutdown.

On Christmas Eve 1944, U.S. troops were in the freezing cold of the Ardennes forest during the Battle of the Bulge, waist-high in snow. We have remembered and told that story on recent Christmas Eves: I encourage you not only to read the posts and the comments, but also the comments to our prior Facebook threads [here and here] and our current Facebook thread [here] in which people recounted their family experiences.

There are days in the year we should commemorate yearly: 9/11, D-Day, V-Day, July 4. December 7, the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, is one of those days. We lost 2,400 in the attack, the majority on the USS Arizona. Today at Pearl Harbor, a sailor who saved six men finally received his recognition. Also, President Donald Trump signed a presidential proclamation to recognize December 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Seven survivors joined him for the event.

The only state which still celebrates Victory Over Japan Day is my home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Except, we can't call it Victory Over Japan Day. Because that is a microaggression against Japan, even though they did start the war and we are celebrating victory over Japan. I've covered this holiday numerous times in the past.