Sunday, May 31, 2009

Richard Wheeler Memorial, May 30th, 2009

A painting of Wheeler done by sister Margery Wheeler Mattox

Wheeler at Gettysburg Memorial

Wheeler with fellow 3rd Platooner Leonard Mooney who was in attendence Saturday at age 96.

Veterans Day 2006 with President George and First Lady Laura Bush

Front row from left to right: Chick Robeson and Wheeler. Back row from left to right: Chuck Lindberg and Ira Hayes

This past Saturday, May 30th in Pine Grove, PA, a memorial tribute was held for author Richard Wheeler at the Pine Grove Theater. Wheeler who passed away on October 22, 2008 was cremated by request with no formal service. The event was presented by Wheeler's sister, Margery Wheeler Mattox and the Pine Grove Historical Society.

Presentations were given by Steven Krott and Steven Wagner. Guest speakers included Dr. Joe Yarworth of Albright College, Sargeant Major Herman Clemens (Ret.) Army National Guard and Steven Krott. Remarks were given by Joel Whitehouse and Dennis Chamberlain of the Pine Grove Historical Society. The introduction was given by Margery Wheeler Mattox.

I had a chance to meet Wheeler some six years ago while convalescing from an illness. I thought I would try to research if there were any men still alive that served with my grandfather in Guam in August of 1944. My grandfather was wounded in August of 1944 receiving the Purple Heart. Since my grandfather died in 1976, I knew this would be a huge mountain to climb. Wheeler was able to provide information on few army units to serve in the Pacific during World War II. Naturally, I spoke to Wheeler about his three days on Iwo and wrote about it here. I was able to locate families of men that served in my grandfather's unit but they rotated through either before or after my grandfather.

A reception was held after the tribute at the Wheeler's home, Nutting Hall. Among those in attendance was 96 year-old Leonard Mooney who served as Colonel Dave Severance's (Ret.) communication man. Mooney was accompanied by his nephew who was also a Marine that served in Iraq. I made the comment to the nephew that I hope I can get around that well if I make it to 96. His nephew said, "When my unit was deployed to Iraq, he firmly shook all 200 members of the group."

Throughout the day, people remembered Wheeler for his shyness, but also his sense of humor. Wheeler was limited by his war injuries and had to use a cane and suffered from vertigo. Recently, he was hospitalized for a shrapnel infection some 60 years after the battle. In international circles he was known as being a military author and historian, but also wrote a collection of over 800 poems typically in humorous rhyme.

This poem was given to my by Wheeler a few weeks before his death:


My years are nearing 87.
I'm mighty close to Hell or Heaven.

Though Heaven's touted as very nice,
I plan to spurn this Paradise.

Whenever I ponder its effort-free quiet,
I'm moved to dismal boredom by it.

Iver lived as and active kind of guy
Who rated creative endeavors high.

Perhaps I can wangle a deal with Satan
To spend Eternity busy matin'.

Here is my favorite Wheeler quote taken from Bloody Battle:

"As for Death, I had come face to face with that old ogre
and noticed he was mostly a sham.
I'd enjoy the truce he granted me,
but would live with the feeling that when he renewed his fight in earnest,
I'd be able to make my surrender without begging for terms."

Once again, another member of the "Greatest Generation" has passed. A man who I called on as an author and historian, in the end I would call friend.

Semper Fi.

Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25th, 1984

This is the first time I make the date the title of a blog post. Although today is Memorial Day throughout the land(See previous post), the title date has historical significance in this blogger's life.

On May 25th, 1984, I graduated from Lourdes Regional High School in Shamokin, Pennsylvania. Although May 26th wasn't much different, May 25th, 1984 became a continental divide in my life.
Gone was getting up and going to school day after day for the same time for the past 13 years. I was expected like the rest of my graduating class to go out forage an existence in the world.

In a way we had our class's year had a lot of press with George Orwell's book, 1984. Orwell's book was published in 1949, but it's theme resonates in today's politics. Although Orwell a democratic socialist wrote about Big Brother, socialism is feared most by those who fear our government.

Van Halen also had a #2 album titled 1984 released the same year. The album never reached #1, but obtained 8X platinum in 1999. Michael Jackson's, Thriller ruled the 1984 music universe.

With a book and album to our credit, we will meet again as a class on July 11th. We will discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of what happen to us since the above date.

What will be the next thing named after our year???? Stay tuned!!!!

From Van Halen's, 1984 here is Jump.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Please remember what the meaning of the first two words in the above title mean. Since I will be out of town on the majority of Monday, I have honored those in my family that served their country.

Graves were visited, prayers were offered and reflections of their lives were made.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Search of Bishop Martino

WNEP aired a story about the Bishop of Scranton not appearing for a live interview. So far the Bishop has made the following criticisms:

Misercordia for allowing a gay author a forum to speak.

Blasting Kings College for having Senator Casey speaking at graduation.

In a stack of press releases, he still hasn't made any comment on torture. We are waiting Bishop Martino.

More Local News Bites the Dust

First, WYOU News goes dark in Scranton. Now, the blood-letting starts in Philly.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Primary Day in Pennsylvania is Today

Today IS Primary Election Day in Pennsylvania. Please be a citizen and exercise your right to vote.

For the future of Shamokin schools, Wednesday will be an interesting morning.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Primary Day is on Tuesday

With a building project in the future and the hiring and firing of coaches and an athletic director fresh in voters minds, Shamokin Area has four seats up for grabs with 11 candidates in the field.

Here is their debate.

Amazing Race

This Saturday, the Shamokin Art Festival with help of Amzing Race contestant Peach Krebs will sponsor a version of the Amazing Race. Recently, Krebs has been angered about comments that she is using this venue to promote her own self-gain. In this letter to the editor, Krebs had announced this year will be the last year of the event.

In a follow up letter, Lonie Feudale Kieffer offers nothing but praise for Mrs. Krebs.

People of the community, the is what the race is all about. Although I have witnessed the event in Shamokin, I hope Peach sits down and reconsiders her decision to shut down the Amazing Race.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pfizer offers "Stimulus" Plan

Pfizer offers free drugs, Lipitor, Viagra, to unemployed

Pfizer has turned altruistic and is offering free prescription drugs for up to a year including Lipitor and Viagra.

I am happy to see in these tough times Pfizer is concerned about the "hard ons" of men.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Local Jounalism Takes It On the Chin!!!!

This fall while everyone will be going back to school and high school sports begin the new school year you will see a noticeable absence on the sidelines. More importantly, that something missing on the sideline will also be missing the next day in the Bloomsburg Press-Enterprise and Reading Eagle.

The Eagle laid off 52 staff or 12 percent of it work force. Among those cut according to some sources are most of the high school sports staff including those who do the Anthracite section in your Sunday paper.

Over at the P-E, Mitch Ruppert and Scott Dudinskie who were award winners for the paper were let go.

The layoff cuts the sports department in half from 4 FT and 4 PT down to 2 and 2. The good news is that Mitch Ruppert has landed a full time gig with the Williamsport Sun-Gazette.

It looks like between both papers the target is high school sports. The local sports scene needs people like Mr. Dudinskie. He was great with his previews and outstanding with his coverage. I would like to commend him and Mr. Ruppert on the excellent work they did with their weekly football tab. I wonder if there will be one in the fall.

One of the my complaints of the PE had nothing to do with it's sports staff but it's online version. It decided early on that it was going to have subscription service. It was at this time I turned away from the paper.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Death and Taxes

One of the greatest quarterbacks ever to wear the Red and White of Mount Carmel passed away on April 26th. His career and season records stood until they were broken by Mike Higgins (1995) and Dave Shinskie (2003). Here is the rest of what was in the today's News-Item.

When I read Mr. Bushinski's guestbook there were many posts by student athletes he had met and coached over 20 years ago. The Coal Region's loss was Florida's gain. Now both are at loss. God Bless the Buchinski family.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Remembering Miss Kate Smith

Kate Smith would have been 102 today. Passing away in 1986, Smith was held in high regard by Philadelphia Flyers fans and has almost taken on a mythical aura in the years following her death. When the Flyers brass show her singing her trademark "God Bless America" the Flyers win nearly 80 percent of the time.

With the wrecking ball to the Spectrum coming due, here are some clips of Miss Smith: