us marine corp memorial

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Around 100 Marines from my area, of 3/5, took time off of their 96 hour liberty to go back up to 1Sgt’s Hill and place over 2 dozen crosses back to their rightful spot.

Orginally about a week ago, 4 Marines and 2 US Navy Corpsman went up the hill because the fire in Camp Pendleton was spreading pretty well all over the base. They made it just in time, taking down the last cross before the fire (only 30 ft away now) engulfed the rest of 1Sgt’s Hill.

The Marines vowed that they would get the crosses back up at the end of the week and stuck to it, restoring one of the most beloved memorial us Marines have.

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Photos I took during an excursion into Arlington National Cemetery and Washington D.C. on Memorial Day. I wanted to visit and photograph each of the memorials as well as take time to reflect on the sacrifice the men and women of our armed forces have made throughout the years so that we may live free. It was a successful mission. I got some good shots and had the pleasure of meeting many fellow veterans while exchanging some stories.

75 years ago today - December 7 1941

Destroyers USS Downes DD-375 (left) USS Cassin DD-372 (leaning against Downes) and the Battleship USS Pennsylvania BB-38.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, USS Downes was in dry-dock with ‘Cassin’ and 'Pennsylvania’. The three came under heavy attack and an incendiary bomb landed between the two destroyers, starting raging fires fed by oil from a ruptured fuel tank. Despite heavy strafing, the crews of the two destroyers got their batteries into action, driving off further attacks by Japanese planes.
The dry-dock was flooded in an effort to quench the fires, but the burning oil rose with the water level and when the ammunition and torpedo warheads on board the destroyers began to explode, the two ships were abandoned. Later 'Cassin’ slipped from her keel blocks and rested against 'Downes’. Both ship’s hulls were damaged beyond repair but machinery and equipment were salvaged and sent to Mare Island Navy Yard where entirely new ships were built around the salvaged material and given the wrecked ship’s names and hull numbers.

USS Pennsylvania managed to escape the dubious honor of having been on Battleship Row during the attack on Pearl Harbor, but this fortunate set of circumstances also did not give her as much visibility in the public eye. For the older battleships present during the attack, 'Oklahoma’ and 'Arizona’ were destroyed and 'Nevada’ gained fame attempting to escape out of the harbor. And the newer “Big Five” battleships would be resurrected and some would be completely transformed to the point they were almost unrecognizable. But 'Pennsylvania’, stuck in drydock, became best known for being in the background. In this case, the background for the wrecks of the destroyers 'Cassin’ and 'Downes’.

'Pennsylvania’ sustained relatively minor damage during the Pearl Harbor attack, then spent much of 1942 training and conducting patrols of the United States west coast. In early 1943 she was sent to the Aleutians to help force out the Japanese forces on Attu and Kiska.

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

Honor the Sacrifice Even if You Can’t Honor the Sentiment

Today, I thought about doing a post about Memorial Day outfit inspiration. But I decided that like most holidays, the meaning of Memorial Day is growing farther and farther away from us.

As someone so fiercely patriotic, it’s easy to say “land of the free because of the brave.” It’s easy to post sentimental videos and info graphics to social media. It’s easy to wear red white and blue.


But what kind of comfort is a recent widow given by a cliche (but true, and appropriate) quote? What comfort is a parent that’s lost a child given by a picture of a golden retriever holding an American flag? What does a Memorial Day OOTD do for a child orphaned by war?

I think that most civilians recognize that the reality of war is something they’ll probably never fully understand. People are changed by war, and while some are able to readjust, others return mere shadows of who they once were, if at all. As much as proud Americans like myself would like to think that everyone in the military make a sacrifice of selflessness for something they may not always agree with or understand because of their boundless love for old glory and what she represents, but the truth is often more complicated. The truth isn’t always the Chris Kyle story. Sometimes it’s the story of someone who forgot what they were fighting for.

I think that this Memorial Day, it’s important to remember that what we celebrate today is more than an idea or a spirit, it’s millions of individual names and stories and loved one left behind. And as we commemorate the ultimate sacrifice, we can’t selectively remember the lives we’ve lost, or their legacies. We must honor those that protected and served honorably, no matter how much their perspectives differ from our own.


The FDNY Marine Corps Association transported a piece of World Trade Center steel to Virginia on Oct. 4, to use for a memorial at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The steel was dedicated on Oct. 5, in a special memorial honoring the 17 FDNY U.S. Marines who died on Sept. 11, 2001. In this photo, a steelworker installs it into the Memorial.