Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day

The parade kicked off from 110th and Longwood Drive and proceeded north. The Color Guard was from 2/24, the Marine Infantry Battalion on the west side of Chicago.  

I marched in a similar parade on Longwood Drive leading a large platoon of Marines in 1973. I spotted my MPHS Russian teacher Miss Petrus. I was in her Russian class in 1964-65. 

We were trained to greet her, so I belted out "Zdravstvuy te, Soyia Sergeavna, a kok vi pushaviatee!!", Which means, "Greetings, Mrs. Petrus, How are you?!"

Soyia Sergeavna frantically looked around trying to find who was calling her, clearly one of her former students. But she did not see me and I had to keep marching in front of the platoon. I am sure she never figured out who I was, considering I was one of her worst pupils.

Dos Vedanya, Soyia Sergeevna. 

Thanks for posting Empehi Heros again this year. The older I get, the greater impact it has on me. How lucky we really were to get through that and how sad for the guys who didn't. At this age, you truly realize how much of life they missed and what a great sacrifice they made.


Jack Barber MPHS Jan 66

Click to see the Video of The Jesse White Tumblers

The Model A Roadster above looks like the Model A Roadster I drove on Longwood Drive to MPHS in 1965, although the one in the photo is in much better condition.
My Model A at

Great fun to drive past the school in the morning, throwing the hand throttle with the spark advance to make very loud backfires, announcing that the Model A and I were on the premises.

Click for a Bagpipe Video

My personal favorite - this bus from Smith Village carried a number of World War II and Korean Veterans, including my father Clif Hullinger. 

More about Clif's service in North Africa and Italy at:

The group above are the Southsiders for Peace.

The dance group below showing some energetic moves.

I'm getting in just under the wire here for this holiday-related blog, which deals in part with the Memorial Day Parade down Longwood Drive.  I'd love to hear what memories of that event others have, to see how they do or don't jibe with my own.

Thanks to all who have served, and absolute gratitude to those who paid for our freedoms with their lives.

Taffy Cannon, June '66
Carlsbad, California

Click below to read a blog post written by Taffy about Decoration Day:

2 Jun 2004 Ron Wozniak wrote:

Memorial Day and a Very Important PS

Early Monday morning I gave a concerned look at Katie and wondered why she was not ready for school yet. I knew she had off, but wanted to jack her chain a bit.

She did not fall for it, and looking at me with that "child knowing everything and parent knowing nothing look," she promptly told me it was Memorial Day, and she had no school.

I was surprised she even knew it was Memorial Day, but then asked her what that meant. Well, she didn't know, so then I told her how after the American Civil War, Southern women saw that many Confederate and Union soldiers who were killed in the fighting, did not have marked graves. 

They felt sorry for them, so far from home, and no one to properly take care of their grave, let alone mark it. It started as a tradition and spread till eventually it caught on across the nation, It was originally called Decoration Day, and finally the President of the United States declared the last Monday of May as Memorial Day.

I told her about Punchbowl and how I saw on the news  that the Boy Scouts were out there placing an American Flag at each Veterans' grave. One Boy Scout who was interviewed, placed 200 flags himself, and in all 35,000 small American Flags were put in the ground next to each grave marker. She expressed an interest to visit it, even though she initially said , "Dead people are bad and scary, and would not want to see all the decaying bodies."

The Punchbowl in Hawaii

I explained that they were not bad people, and asked if she thought her Grandparents, who she loved so much were bad people. She really did not mean "bad" as being terrible mean people. I told her the Veterans were buried under the ground and covered with nice grass, and the cemetery had lots of trees, bushes, and flowers. I asked her if she was ever at a cemetery, and she replied, "No." She actually had, but did not remember being at the cemetery when her Grandparents died.

So, we headed out on the Windward coastal ride, took our time, and visited, the Federal VA Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl. There were thousands of American Flags, all in neat rows, up and down the slopes of the dormant volcano overlooking Honolulu...quite a sight. As we drove down one lane I noticed an American Flag that had blown over, stopped the jeep, got out, and up righted it, got back in and continued on. Then we saw there were more fallen over, I stopped again, and eventually Linda and Katie joined me in up righting more flags, and flower pots, that had blown over. I was real proud of both of them.

We visited the immense monument depicting the Battle of the Pacific, and let Katie go at her own pace, asking questions and wanting to "touch"

the mosaic maps of the different campaigns and battles. I think she wanted to touch them just because they were fenced off.

Anyway we got back home about 1800, had Mahi Mahi on the grill and ate outside with the tiki torches going...really nice and relaxing.

Semper Fi,

and God Bless America!!!




Woz, Beautifully written.

My Great Uncle Walter Anderson died on Kwajalein and is buried in the Punchbowl in Hawaii. On behalf of our family we thank you, Katie, and Linda tor your gesture and this story.

Semper Fi

Craig Hullinger


 Letters about my Great Uncle

APO 7, c /O Postmaster
San Francisco, California

20 February 1944

Mr. & Mrs. Peter. Anderson
Murdo, South Dakota

Dear Mr. & Mrs. P. Anderson:

Words are inadequate in trying to express the feelings of the officers and men of this organization over the death of your son, Walter Anderson.

Early in this training phase Walter was singled out as an outstanding noncommissioned officer, and was assigned the duties of Platton Sgt. over numerous senior Sgts. Such an assignment meant that Walter was second in command of thirty-eight men. While serving in such a capacity the men in his platoon soon realized and appreciated his fine qualities, namely, fairness, coolness, and a great deal of common sense.

During the operation S/Sgt. Anderson became platoon commander, again in which capacity he skillfully led his men. For above action I have recommended that S/Sgt. Anderson be awarded the Bronze Star. Walter was struck by rifle fire and died shortly afterward.

Please feel free to call upon me for additional
information you may desire.

Military restrictions are such that any information you may desire concerning grave locations, dispositions of remains, effects, and other related matters will be furnished by the Quartermaster General.

You have the deepest sympathy of the men and officers of this organization in your bereavement.

Yours most sincerely

Capt. Infantry


Murdo, S. D

December 20, 1991

Dear Craig:

Walt graduated from Murdo High School in 1936, during the worst of the big depression. It was next to impossible to get a job but he worked for Edna
and Helmer Liffengren most of the time until 1940.

He was one of the first volunteers for service and left from Murdo in January 1941. Basic Training in Camp Roberts in California, later in Fort Ord, CA. His outfits stormed ashore on an island in the Aleutions, Alaska sometime before 1943, but the Japanese had all left so they went on to Hawaii. Walt was a very good all around athlete so he was picked to take Ranger training while there. A very tough course, so they say.

The Navy had shelled the small island of Kwajelein, about a mile wide and two deep for days until not a tree was standing but when the infantry went in there were still enemy in underground bunkers who came out and shot 3 or 4 hundred of our men. Walt was one of them, on February 4, 1944. His body was buried nearby until the war was over. With the parents request, he is buried in the National Cemetery in Hawaii, the very beautiful Punch Bowl. We were there in 1974.

Paul Anderson (Brother of Walter Anderson,
Uncle to Louise Liffengren Hullinger


My Uncle received the Bronze Star 50 years after he earned it. My cousin knew the story that the award had been recommended, but lost in the shuffle. He wrote to his Congressman. They found the citation, and awarded it to the family.

More on my uncle below:


Memorial Day - Last Saturday in May

Memorial Day
Graves at Arlington on Memorial Day.JPG
The gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery are decorated by U.S. flags on Memorial Day weekend.
Official nameMemorial Day
Observed byUnited States
ObservancesRemembrance of American war dead
DateLast Monday in May
2015 dateMay 25
2016 dateMay 30
2017 dateMay 29
2018 dateMay 28

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces.[1] The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May,[2] originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.[3] By the 20th century, competing Union andConfederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.[1] It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


Congressman Sam Johnson and Dr. Kay Tracy


I am attaching a copy of my "bracelet speech". I belonged to an organization in DC called Capitol Speakers. Women in the public eye, such as ambassadors' wives, as well as TV personalities, etc., joined to take a speech course and then practice speaking at monthly meetings. I wrote this little talk to give to that group. Sam Johnson, Congressman, from Texas, was supposed to attend for the presentation but that was the day when the Capitol was evacuated because of an anthrax (?) scare, so he didn't make it. Subsequently, I, along with George and some friends, went to his office and had the presentation there.

Sam Johnson read the little talk into the Congressional Record. As you will gather, I had his bracelet. I am attaching a picture as well. Sam has a bad arm, suffered as a result of torture while imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton, where he was John McCain's roommate.


I still find the whole thing moving. By the way, a nun had John McCain's bracelet.

Dr. Kay Blythe Tracy

[Congressional Record: December 20, 2001 (Extensions)
Page E2347] From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access  [] [DOCID:cr20de01pt2-31]



of Texas
in the House of Representatives
Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I submit the following article by Kay Blythe Tracy, Ph.D.:


Americans now are inspired and united by every musical note of "God Bless America.'' But back in the sixties, we were a nation in discord, singing many different tunes. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote songs of Camelot, while Pete Seeger asked, "Where have all the young men gone?''

The story I'm going to tell you today is about what happened to one of those young men. This story began in the sixties, when POW/MIA bracelets were conceived as a way to remember missing or captive American prisoners of war in Southeast Asia. Traditionally, a POW/MIA bracelet is worn until the man named on the bracelet is accounted for, whether it be 30 days or 35 years.

I bought my bracelet in 1970 for $2.50. It has, "Lt. Col. Samuel Johnson, April 16, 1966'' engraved on it. I wore the bracelet faithfully for many years, but eventually took it off and put it away. But every time I opened my jewelry box, I saw it. And every time I saw it, I was saddened, and I thought of Lt. Col. Johnson, and I said a little prayer.

The bracelet led to my first foray into the wonderful world of e-Bay, the on-line auction service, where I listed it for sale. I thought that anyone who would buy it would treasure it and it would be out of my sight, out of my mind. To my surprise, bidding on the bracelet was brisk.

On the seventh, and final, day of the auction, my husband George asked me if I knew what had happened to Col. Johnson.

"No,'' I replied. "I never wanted to know.'' But George went to the Internet, and returned with information. Of the more than twenty-five hundred POWs, and the three to six thousand MIAs, only 591 men returned. My brother, a Marine Lieutenant, did not.

After spending seven years as a prisoner of war, Sam Johnson did.

I was so happy I cried.

When I contacted Congressman Johnson's office, his aide, McCall Cameron, told me that he and Mrs. Johnson were on vacation with their grandchildren.

Grandchildren! More tears.

Congressman Johnson said he would very much like to have his bracelet. So, I cancelled the e-Bay auction, and today I am returning this souvenir. In the words of Randy Sparks, "A million tomorrows will all pass away, ere I forget all the joy that is mine today.''

And in my own words, I say to Sam, finally,

"Welcome home.''


To Dr. Tracy, I say, "Thank you. We will never forget. God bless you.''

Congressman Sam Johnson

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Military Stories

MOAA Stories

We are collecting stories by and about military personnel. 
The stories will be on  

If you would like to have your story published email your story to Craig Hullinger at:

Your story can be long or short. The story can cover an interesting event or your entire life. You can write about yourself or a friend or relative that you would like to honor. 

Pictures are worth a thousand words. You can write the story for a relative, friend, or ancestor. You can add to your story. We look forward to publishing your story on the blog.

Take a look at the stories to see what people have already written. There is a link on our MOAA blog to the stories:-
  Look for our MOAA Emblem.

Thank you for your stories.