Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Day 2015: Flag Retirement Ceremony at Lowe McFarlane American Legion Post

The Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags is outlined in Resolution No. 440, passed by the 19th National Convention of The American Legion in New York, Sept. 20-23, 1937. The ceremony has been an integral part of American Legion ritual since that date.

WHEREAS, Americanism has been and should continue to be one of the major programs of The American Legion; and
WHEREAS, The observance of proper respect for the Flag of our country and the education of our citizenry in the proper courtesies to be paid the Flag is an essential element of such Americanism program; and
WHEREAS, It is fitting and proper that Flags which have been used for the decoration of graves on Memorial Day be collected after such service, inspected, and worn and unserviceable Flags be condemned and properly destroyed;

WHEREAS, Our Flag which we love and cherish
WHEREAS, In a proper service of tribute and memory and love, our Flag becomes faded and worn and must be honorably retired from life; and
WHEREAS, Such retirement of Flags that have become unserviceable may be done in public with respectful and honorable rites...

RESOLVED, That Flag Day, June 14, be recommended as the most appropriate day on which to annually hold this ceremony.

Sergeant-at-Arms: “Comrade Commander, we wish to present a number of unserviceable Flags of our Country for inspection and disposal.”
Commander: “Comrade Sergeant-at-Arms, advance with your detail and present the Flags for disposal and inspection.”

Second Vice Commander: “Is the present condition of these Flags the result of their usual service as the Emblem of our Country?”
Sergeant-at-Arms: “These Flags have become faded and worn over the graves of our departed comrades and the Soldier, Marine, Sailor, and Airman dead of all our nation’s wars.”

Sergeant-at-Arms: “Comrade Vice Commander, we present these Flags which have been inspected by the Second Vice Commander, for your further inspection.”
First Vice Commander: “Have any of these Flags served any other purpose?”
Sergeant-at-Arms: “Some of these Flags have been displayed in various public places.” 

Sergeant-at-Arms: “Comrade Commander, we have the honor to present for final inspection and proper disposal these Flags of our Country.”
Commander: “Have these Flags been inspected by the First and Second Vice Commanders?”
Sergeant-at-Arms: “They have.”

Second Vice Commander: “Comrade Commander, since these Flags have become unserviceable in a worthy cause, I recommend that they be honorably retired from further service.”
Commander: “Comrade First Vice Commander, what does your inspection show and what do you recommend?”
First Vice-Commander: “Comrade Commander, since these Flags have become faded and worn in a tribute of service and love, I also recommend that they be fittingly destroyed.”

Commander: “Comrades, we have presented here these Flags of our Country which have been inspected and condemned as unserviceable. They have reached their present state in a proper service of tribute, memory and love.
“A Flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for, and died for a free Nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.

“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked. Sergeant-at-Arms, assemble the Color Guard, escort the detail bearing the Flags and destroy these Flags by burning. The members shall stand at attention.”

Commander: “The Chaplain will offer prayer.”
Chaplain: “Almighty God, Captain of all hosts and Commander over all, bless and consecrate this present hour.
“We thank Thee for our Country and its Flag, and for the liberty for which it stands. “To clean and purging flame we commit these Flags, worn out in worthy service. As they yield their substance to the fire, may Thy Holy Light spread over us and bring to our hearts renewed devotion to God and Country. Amen.”

Commander: “Hand salute.”

(Text courtesy of The American Legion)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Red River Flooding Roundup June 7

Today is the day it will crest; the Mighty Red will crest at 36.5, they say.  At this moment it is at 36.39.

Nothing captures the devastation of this event like this new video from Sky Pixel LA; 

Check out their page for more videos and photos.

One of the dangers now is the sightseers, which is one reason I haven't been back out with my camera.  There are snakes, alligators and other critters that are in unexpected places.  The sightseers are stopping on top of the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge in the lane of traffic to gawk.  I know this because I was behind this person yesterday trying to drive to Bossier City.  One woman I know nearly rear-ended a sightseer yesterday who had stopped on I-20 to look at the river.

On the KTBS page there is a video that shows how flooded the sheriff's substation is; and of course the reporter parked on the bridge to get the video.

It is astounding when you drive over one of the bridges and see all that water in places it should not be.

Here is today's graph:

June 7, 2015
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's page continues to post vivid photos including some yesterday of the rescue of some dogs from a flooded home.

Stay safe and dry!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

D-Day: Remembering the Kelley Brothers

Re-run of last year's post:

On this anniversary of D-Day, I'm running a version ofone of my columns at DaTechGuy; here in Shreveport, one family lost three sons in less than two years in World War II.  During that war many families across our nation lost more than one son, but as far as I know, the Kelley family is the only family in Shreveport that lost three sons-- one of them in the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.  

Like all of America, Shreveport watched the unfolding events at Pearl Harbor in 1941 with horror.  

In February 1942, William G. Kelley (his friends and family called him “Bob”) felt the call to service and enlisted in the Army Air Corps.  He had graduated from the local high school, attended Louisiana College, and was attending seminary.  He was ordained at the First Baptist Church in Shreveport by Dr. M. E. Dodd.  When he enlisted, Bob was preaching at the Evangeline Mission, a new church in town that he helped build with the assistance of the Queensborough Baptist Church.

William "Bob" Kelley
Bob Kelley went to officers’ school and became a bombardier; he went with the Eighth Air Force to England.  Lt. Kelley had been overseas only six weeks when his plane crashed near Fontainebleau, France and claimed his life on November 10, 1944.  He was twenty-four years old.

The Evangeline Mission, where Bob was a preacher, was renamed for him as Kelley Memorial Baptist Church.

A second Kelley son, Bose, Jr., died in the D-Day invasion.  Al McIntosh, writing for the Rock County Star Herald, wrote on June 8, 1944, after learning that the expected invasion of France had finally taken place:
“This is no time for any premature rejoicing or cockiness because the coming weeks are going to bring grim news.  This struggle is far from over – it has only started – and if anyone thinks that a gain of ten miles means that the next three hundred are going to go as fast or easy he is only an ostrich.”
He was correct:  the grim news was only beginning.

Bose F. Kelley, Jr.
Bose Kelly, Jr. enlisted in May 1942.  Bose graduated from Fair Park High School in Shreveport.  He was married to Betty Miller and working as a mechanic at Central Motor Company, a car dealership.  Bose volunteered for the Army Airborne, went to jump school and became a paratrooper.  Bose was part of the 507 PIR which became attached to the 82nd Airborne in 1943. The 507 PIR was activated at Fort Benning, Georgia on July 20, 1942 and trained there and in Alliance, Nebraska.  In 1943, the 507th PIR shipped out to Northern Ireland, then England, and it was in Nottingham where they prepared for the coming Allied invasion of France.  They studied sand tables, drop zones, and were given Hershey’s chocolates and a carton of cigarettes.

Bose was on a C-47, number 13 in his stick, as the plane lumbered through the fog banks toward Drop Zone T, near the west bank of the Merderet River.  Because of the fog and the incoming German flak, the C-47s flew faster and higher than anticipated which caused almost all of the paratroopers to miss the drop zone.  They were scattered over a 15 mile area.  The 507th was the last regiment to jump and by the time Bose Kelley’s C-47 was over the Cotentin peninsula the entire area was stirred up with flak coming from every direction. There were sixteen men in Bose Kelley’s stick and at least eight of them were killed that night.  The Germans had flooded the valley as a defensive tactic and some paratroopers, weighted down by equipment and unable to swim, drowned.  Bose Kelley was killed by a direct hit from an artillery shell.

Major General Paul F. Smith wrote in his Foreword to Dominique Francois’s history of the 507th,
“This regiment unquestionably received the worst drop of the six US parachute regiments dropped that night.”
Howard Huebner, who was number 3 in Bose’s stick, survived that drop.  He wrote:
I am a Paratrooper! I was 21 yrs old when we jumped into Normandy. 
We knew the area where we were supposed to land, because we had studied it on sand tables, and then had to draw it on paper by memory, but that all faded as our regiment was the last to jump, and things had changed on the ground. Most of us missed our drop zone by miles.  As we were over our drop zone there was a downed burning plane. Later I found out it was one of ours. The flack was hitting our plane and everything from the ground coming our way looked like the Fourth of July. 
When I hit the ground in Normandy, I looked at my watch.  It was 2:32 AM, June 6, 1944. I cut myself out of my chute, and the first thing I heard was shooting and some Germans hollering in German, "mucksnell toot sweet Americanos". 
We the 507th, was supposed to land fifteen miles inland, but I landed three or four miles from Utah Beach by the little town of Pouppeville. I wound up about 1000 yards from a French farm house that the Germans were using for a barracks, and about 200 feet from a river, an area that the Germans had flooded. If I would have landed in the water, I may not be here today as I can’t swim. A lot of paratroopers drowned because of the flooded area.
Local writer Gary Hines spoke to Bose’s widow, Betty, for an article he wrote for the August 2000 issue of SB Magazine.  She told him, “He was going to win the war and come back home.”  Betty was married at 18 and a widow at 20.  She told Mr. Hines “We were both young enough to feel that he was coming home.  He wasn’t going to be one of the ones who was lost.”

Edgar Rew Kelley
A third Kelley son, Edgar Rew, was drafted into the Army in 1943.  He was sent to Camp McCain in Mississippi where he died five weeks later from an outbreak of spinal meningitis.  He never made it out of basic training.  He was 27 years old; he left behind a wife of five years.

The remaining Kelley brother was Jack.  Jack Richard Kelley was serving in the medical corps in Washington at Fort Lewis.  His father, Bose Kelley, Sr., wrote to U.S. Representative Overton Brooks and pleaded with him to prevent his oldest son from going overseas.   It is reminiscent of the scene in Saving Private Ryan where General Marshall reads the Bixby letter to his officers.  In this case, in a letter dated December 8, 1944, Mr. Kelley received word that his son Jack would remain stateside for the duration of the war.  Jack Kelley died in 1998.

Sunday, May 18, 2014
The bodies of Bose Kelley, Jr. and his brother William (Bob) were buried in separate military funerals in France but were returned to the United States in September 1948.  Bose and his brother now rest side by side in the veterans section of Greenwood Cemetery in Shreveport.  Their brother, Edgar Rew Kelley, is in a civilian cemetery across town, the Jewella Cemetery on Greenwood Road.  Their father, who pleaded for his fourth son to be spared, died just one month after Bose and William’s bodies were buried in Greenwood Cemetery.  It’s as if he was just waiting for them to come home.

For sixty-five years their sister, Ruby, tended the graves of her brothers.  There has never been a time that I visited the graves that there was not a crisp American flag flying over each and flowers.  Ruby died last year and the graves are now tended by Ruby's daughter.  I visited the graves of Bose and William last week and sure enough, there were two new flags and flowers steadfastly in place.

As we observe this 70th anniversary of D-Day, we remember the sacrifices of young men like the Kelleys all across the country. Their name belongs alongside the Sullivan brothers, the Borgstrum brothers, the Niland brothers, and the Wright brothers.  It is their heroism and their sacrifice, along with that of so many others, that we remember and honor.

For further reading:

Friday, June 5, 2015

Red River Flooding Photos: Part 5

Here are a few photos I took today.

As I said earlier, at this point drone pictures and other aerial photography is best as many streets are now flooded or blocked.

It is still possible to get to the Stoner Boat Launch though, which was my first stop today.  To give a sense of perspective, this image from Google shows what the area normally looks like:

Stoner Boat Launch, Google Maps

You can see the Clyde Fant Parkway north and south bound over to the left.  The parking lot at the top left is the VA overflow parking lot and parking for the Skate Plaza which you see next to the parking lot.  Right now, if you drew a vertical line from the skate park straight down, everything to the right of that line is now water.

So, with that blue pavilion as a point of reference, here's the parking lot which is now a fishing pond:

Stoner Boat Launch, 6/5/2015
In that photo the blue pavilion is on the far right.

People were catching some very large fish out of there today.

Stoner Boat Launch, 6/5/2015
A butterfly was enjoying the rails at the skate park...

Literally everywhere you go on the river people are taking pictures.

High water; Stoner Boat Launch

And the Clyde Fant Parkway is closed.

Turn around.

Undaunted, I put the shoe leather to work...

Clyde Fant Parkway, facing north
Well that would be the Frisbee golf course under water, and that water is getting awfully close to the road.

East and west sides of Parkway under water.
The walking path is well under water but this looks like a great fishing spot, now:

End of the road...
Downtown, things are not any better.

Riverview Hall is sandbagged.

Riverview Hall, 6/5/2015

The Parkway is closed downtown, too; the water is coming up through the drains in front of SciPort:

SciPort parking lot
Why the Parkway is closed:

Clyde Fant Parkway, 6/5/2015
Again, as a point of reference, these are the stairs I was using a few days ago.  The barricades have been moved back closer to the street now, and they aren't letting anyone past them.

Riverview Park, 6/5/2015

The current is incredibly fast.

Red River
A now familiar reference point:

Near Riverview Park
City trucks not afraid of water:

Clyde Fant Parkway
Another familiar reference point:

River Cruise
SciPort is sandbagged:

SciPort sandbagged
And more photographers:

Clyde Fant Parkway
This sculpture is looking more like a watercraft these days:

Along Clyde Fant Parkway
You can see in this shot how close the water is getting to the road:

Clyde Fant Parkway
The J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Visitor Center:

You are no longer allowed on the viewing areas behind the Barnwell; it's all barricaded off now.  Some city employees were behind the barricades looking at the river and some curious citizens went through the open barricade; this is the city employee chasing people off.

It's safe for me but not for you!  Go away!
And a final shot from under the Texas Street bridge:

Through the day the crest prediction was raised to 36.5.

Current levels:

Some apartment complexes are facing possible evacuation.

And, of course, Bobby Jindal was here today.

Thanks for the donations!  It helps keep gas in the Jeep.

Stay dry and watch out for your neighbors.  Be wary of things in the water.  And there are several reports of livestock stranded as officials work rescue operations to save them.  Be safe and help where you can.

Red River Flooding Roundup June 5
Red River Flooding Photos: Part 4 (June 3)
Red River Flooding Roundup June 3
Red River Flooding Photos: Part 3 (June 1)
Red River Flooding Roundup: May 31, 2015.
Red River Flooding photos: Part 1 (May 17)
Red River Flooding Photos Part 2  (May 30)


Red River Flooding Roundup June 5

Taking pictures of the river just got a whole lot more challenging unless you are a drone or a helicopter:  both the Clyde Fant and the Arthur Ray Teague Parkways are closed.

The new projected crest is a foot higher than expected and crest is now expected at 36.5.

I'm going to see what kind of photos I can get today, but in the meantime, there are some great things online.

A little roundup:

The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office posted some amazing pictures yesterday.  This one is the Stoner Boat launch:

Stoner Boat launch (BPSO photo)
You can see the water getting very close to the Parkway toward the left side of the photo.  The parking lot is entirely under water.  The skate park and VA overflow parking lot appears okay in this picture.

This is why you don't build inside a levee:

River Bluff subdivision, Bossier (BPSO photo)

This is the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge and you can see the water gathering on the other side of the Parkway and War Veterans Home.  This water was increasing and getting on the road which is why they closed the Parkway; they capped the culverts and are pumping the water back into the river.

Red River and Arthur Ray Teague Parkway (BPSO photo)
Here is video from the Bossier Sheriff's office:

The Hayride has a nice roundup of photos.

The KTAL news anchor waded out into the water in front of SciPort this morning:

Clyde Fant Parkway is flooded in front of SciPort (KTAL photo)
Wells Island road:

Current status and projections:

Via KTBS, here are the road closures as of about 9:30 this morning:
Clyde Fant Parkway SB from Milam to Stoner Ave
Clyde Fant Parkway NB from Shreveport-Barksdale Hwy to Milam
Crockett Street EB from Spring Street to Clyde Fant Parkway
100 Block of Crockett Street to 600 block of Commerce Street
Hilary Huckaby III @ Russell Road
Holcomb Drive @ Old Blanchard Road
Jack Wells Boulevard / Clyde Fant Parkway to Airport Drive * 1 block
Wells Island Road /Mayfair
Russell Road/I-220
Nash Street, Bonnie Street, Gain Street, Hall Street - 1700 blk
Perrin Street / Hartman Street 2100 block
Dixie Shreveport Road - I-220 to George Road
Old Mooringsport Road- Dixie Shreveport to I-220
Russell Road-Hilary Huckaby III to Cross Bayou
Russell Road - Gain Street to Hilary Huckaby III

Governor Bobby Jindal will be in town today to support and monitor flood response.

You can still get sandbags.

Check the current river levels here.

And remember, HIT THE TIP JAR!

Red River Flooding Photos: Part 4 (June 3)
Red River Flooding Roundup June 3
Red River Flooding Photos: Part 3 (June 1)
Red River Flooding Roundup: May 31, 2015.
Red River Flooding photos: Part 1 (May 17)
Red River Flooding Photos Part 2  (May 30)