425th Regimental Association

The regimental home of Company F (RANGER) 425th Infantry

The Path of a Warrior – Memorial Day 2014

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Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, as Decoration Day, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays).

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

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.”

This video may help you remember those whom in Lincoln’s words, gave their “last full measure of devotion” to this country and the ideals it represents.

All gave some, some gave all!

67th Anniversary of D-Day

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Today marks the 67th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion.  While many brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen died on that day, let us remember those brave men of the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions.  It was on this day that many brave Rangers gave what Abraham Lincoln called,  “the last full measure of devotion.”  John 15:13 says, “Greater love has nonormandy_om_02 one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  These Rangers put their lives on the line, and many gave the last full measure of devotion for their friends and comrades, their unit and their country.

It was in January of 1944, when GEN Omar Bradley gave LTC James Rudder, commander of the 2nd Ranger Bn the mission of capturing Pointe-du-Hoc.  Bradley finished by saying, “It is the most dangerous mission of D-Day.  LTC Rudder, replied, My Rangers can do the job.”

ddayss-pdh-lowtideThe Provisional Ranger Force (2nd and 5th Ranger Bn), under the overall command of LTC Rudder was divided into two elements.  Task Force A (Companies D, E, and F, 2nd Ranger Bn, under LTC Rudder) and Task Force B (Companies A and B, 2nd Ranger Bn and the 5th Ranger Bn, under the command of LTC Max Schneider).

The plan was for Task Force A to assault the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc, and once successful send a message to Task Force B to follow on as the second wave.  If Task Force B did not receive the signal by 0700 they were to land after the 29th Infantry Division on Omaha Beach and move overland to Pointe-du-Hoc to reinforce the 2nd Bn.

The 2nd Bn ran into more opposition than expected and took longer to take the cliffs and consolidate their position.  ByRangers-pointe-du-hoc-1 the time the signal was sent to Task Force B, LTC Schneider has already shifted the force to land on Omaha Beach.  This meant LTC Rudder and Task Focre A had to “hold until relieved” with a bare minimum force.

Task Force B landed in the middle of “Bloody Omaha” where assault waves of soldiers were stacking up against the seawall and the tide was coming in.  It was during this point in the assault when BG Norman Cota, Assistant Division Commander of the 29th Infantry Division said to the troops on the beach, “Don’t die on the beaches, die up on the bluff if you have to die, but get off the beaches or you’re sure to die”  Cota turned to LTC Schneider, telling him, “I’m expecting the Rangers to lead the way.”  That was the beginning of the motto, “Rangers lead the way!”

Rangers-OmahaDecades after the formation of the 1st Ranger Battalion in Scotland, Rangers continue to lead the way in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Veterans’ Day – 2010

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“At countless funerals and memorial services for those who lost their lives in the service of our country, I hear the question, ‘Why is such a good young person taken from us in the prime of life?’ Plato, the Greek philosopher, apparently sought to resolve the issue by observing, ‘Only the dead have seen the end of war.’ I prefer to take my solace in the words of Jesus to the Apostle John: ‘Father, I will that those you have given me, be with me where I am.’ … Those now in uniform deserve our thanks, for no nation has ever had a better military force than the one we have today. And no accolade to those presently in our country’s service is greater than honoring the veterans who preceded them on Memorial Day.” –Oliver North, LTC (ret) USMC

LTC North’s comment this year should remind us of the comments of President Abraham Lincoln on the first Memorial Day at Gettysburg in 1863:

taps“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of taps-1devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Abraham Lincoln, November 1863

If you can read this, thank a teacher.  If you can read this in English, thank a veteran!

Memorial Day – 2009

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Today my family and I attended the Memorial Day Parade in DeWitt, MI.  The parade in DeWitt is true “small town Americana,” with the VFW and the American Legion, some fire trucks and the high school marching band.  Although we had lived in DeWitt since 1985, I wanted to make sure we would be on time and couldn’t find ANY announcement whatsoever about the time of the parade.  But anyone who has lived in DeWitt for any amount of time will tell you the parade is always on Memorial Day (not Saturday) and it is at 10:00.  As always the parade was well attended and the ceremony solemn and respectful.  But as we drove into town I saw people out running and walking, working in their yards, going to the store to pick up a few things and I couldn’t help but think, “At this time, when we are truely at war and our sons and daughters are in harm’s way, couldn’t you take an hour out of your day to says thanks to those who, in Lincoln’s words, ‘Gave the last full measure of devotion’ to keep us free?”

So this afternoon I did some research to check some facts and made this entry as my own, humble step to remind people of why we celebrate this day.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, as Decoration Day, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee. In 1915 inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

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 die

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They 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 (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

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.”