"[I]f we fail, then the whole world,…all that we have known and cared for…will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that…men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'”
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born 2 July 1923, Columbus, Mont. Accredited to: Montana. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman in an assault platoon of Company E, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, from 19 to 21 February 1945. Quick to press the advantage after 8 Japanese had been driven from a blockhouse on D-day, Pfc. Ruhl single-handedly attacked the group, killing 1 of the enemy with his bayonet and another by rifle fire in his determined attempt to annihilate the escaping troops. Cool and undaunted as the fury of hostile resistance steadily increased throughout the night, he voluntarily left the shelter of his tank trap early in the morning of D-day plus 1 and moved out under a tremendous volume of mortar and machinegun fire to rescue a wounded marine Iying in an exposed position approximately 40 yards forward of the line. Half pulling and half carrying the wounded man, he removed him to a defiladed position, called for an assistant and a stretcher and, again running the gauntlet of hostile fire, carried the casualty to an aid station some 300 yards distant on the beach. Returning to his platoon, he continued his valiant efforts, volunteering to investigate and apparently abandoned Japanese gun emplacement 75 yards forward of the right flank during consolidation of the front lines, and subsequently occupying the position through the night to prevent the enemy from repossessing the valuable weapon. Pushing forward in the assault against the vast network of fortifications surrounding Mt. Suribachi the following morning, he crawled with his platoon guide to the top of a Japanese bunker to bring fire to bear on enemy troops located on the far side of the bunker. Suddenly a hostile grenade landed between the 2 marines. Instantly Pfc. Ruhl called a warning to his fellow marine and dived on the deadly missile, at-sorbing the full impact of the shattering explosion in his own body and protecting all within range from the danger of flying fragments although he might easily have dropped from his position on the edge of the bunker to the ground below. An indomitable fighter, Pfc. Ruhl rendered heroic service toward the defeat of a ruthless enemy, and his valor, initiative and unfaltering spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
PFC Ruhl, we honor your service and sacrfice for the cause of freedom; this was your finest hour!
Before February 20, 1962 the United States was lagging in the space race and attaining President Kennedy's goal of reaching the Moon. Our Cold War, Communist enemies in the Soviet Union had racked up success after success (well, they didn't publicize their failures) and NASA had yet to put a human in orbit. On that morning, the hopes of the free exploration of space rested with an Atlas booster perched on the pad at Cape Canaveral's Launch Complex 14 with Mercury Spacecraft #13 mounted at the top. Into this titanium, cone-shaped spacecraft - not quite seven feet tall and just over six feet in diameter - climbed John H. Glenn, Jr. Glenn had named his spacecraft "Friendship 7"
His path to orbit was far from certain. To that point (by my count looking at Encyclopedia Astronautica) in a minimum of 79 times that either NASA or the USAF attempted to launch an Atlas missile, 33 times the launch ended in failure. That's a 58.2% success rate; hardly the confidence one would want to ride into space with!
At 9:47:35 EST, the Atlas roared to life and four seconds later Glenn, and the hopes of a nation, were airborne. Just five thrilling minutes later, and the first free man was safely in orbit!
Three times around our Earth later, Glenn prepared his spacecraft for reentry. Mission controllers had detected a problem that could lead to a disaster. Instrumentation reported that the spacecraft's heat shield may have come loose; without its protection, Glenn and his spacecraft would be incinerated.
The heat shield held (the instrumentation was later found to be in error), and Glenn splashed down safely in the Atlantic Ocean at 14:43:02. The official NASA history of his flight is found here. Throughout the rest of the Mercury program, in many ways the United States still trailed the Soviets. Glenn's successful flight put us solidly on the road to the moon, and there was no looking back.
John H. Glenn, Jr.: February 20, 1962 - forty-five years ago today - was your finest hour!
I have not had the chance to read over the communique carefully, but have given it a quick skim. My early take is that it is positive for the orthodox, evangelical Anglican Christians in the United States. Early takes from our side (see the usual go-tos of Stand Firm and TitusOneNine) are also encouraging.
Early takes from the reappraiser side of the equation (see here, here, or here) are up in arms over this, so that is also encouraging.
Early reports from the close of the Anglican Primates' meeting out of Tanzania today indicate that it could be a deciding moment for the future of the Anglican Communion. I'm going to wait until more information is available to comment on substance, but I have added two links under "Sites on My Mind" to Anglican churches in whom orthodox, Anglican Christianity is flourishing:
Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class (then S/Sgt.), U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 19 February 1968. Entered service at: Trenton, N.J. Born: 27 October 1942, Trenton, N.J. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sfc. Zabitosky, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving as an assistant team leader of a 9-man Special Forces long-range reconnaissance patrol. Sfc. Zabitosky's patrol was operating deep within enemy-controlled territory when they were attacked by a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army unit. Sfc. Zabitosky rallied his team members, deployed them into defensive positions, and, exposing himself to concentrated enemy automatic weapons fire, directed their return fire. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Sfc. Zabitosky ordered his patrol to move to a landing zone for helicopter extraction while he covered their withdrawal with rifle fire and grenades. Rejoining the patrol under increasing enemy pressure, he positioned each man in a tight perimeter defense and continually moved from man to man, encouraging them and controlling their defensive fire. Mainly due to his example, the outnumbered patrol maintained its precarious position until the arrival of tactical air support and a helicopter extraction team. As the rescue helicopters arrived, the determined North Vietnamese pressed their attack. Sfc. Zabitosky repeatedly exposed himself to their fire to adjust suppressive helicopter gunship fire around the landing zone. After boarding 1 of the rescue helicopters, he positioned himself in the door delivering fire on the enemy as the ship took off. The helicopter was engulfed in a hail of bullets and Sfc. Zabitosky was thrown from the craft as it spun out of control and crashed. Recovering consciousness, he ignored his extremely painful injuries and moved to the flaming wreckage. Heedless of the danger of exploding ordnance and fuel, he pulled the severely wounded pilot from the searing blaze and made repeated attempts to rescue his patrol members but was driven back by the intense heat. Despite his serious burns and crushed ribs, he carried and dragged the unconscious pilot through a curtain of enemy fire to within 10 feet of a hovering rescue helicopter before collapsing. Sfc. Zabitosky's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Thank you, Sergeant First Class Zabitosky for your service; this was your finest hour!
Saturday evening, my wife and I attended a Fasching celebration (a.k.a German Mardi Gras, or "Karneval") hosted by the Teutonia Mannerchor, a Pittsburgh-area German social club/heritage society/choir on the invite of a friend of ours. We had a wonderful time, and hopefully will make this a yearly event.
Of course, the free flowing (and for the US, cheap) Hacker-Pschorr and Spaten didn't make things worse. ;-)