"They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven."One of the saddest duties is dealing with the death of a shipmate. Recently, the Veterans Association of Sailors of the Vietnam War lost two of our members to the ravages of the diseases caused by herbicide exposure. Rich Appling, ExIntrepid to those who knew him, who served on the USS Intrepid CVA 11, and Bruce Langston who served on board the USS Takelma ATF 113, both served gallantly in the Vietnam War on board their ships. The fact remains that we are reduced in numbers by two more. We mourn their passing as they were our shipmates. But they have gone home now. Our loss is nothing compared to the loss of the widows left behind. We pray for Rose and Ann, two strong, wonderful ladies, the kind of ladies the Blue Water Sailors are known for marrying. To them we pay our respects so that they might know that we honor and love them. Rich and Bruce were fortunate to have them, and they were fortunate to have Rich and Bruce.
Psalms, 107:23-30, KJV
Shakespeare talks of sailors in his play, the Tempest:
Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Hark! now I hear them — Ding-dong, bell.
The great English metaphysical poet John Donne wrote in his Meditation XVII:
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Now we must recall the good times, when the calm sea mirrored the many colors of the sky, the starlit night sky in warm waters, the sun that rose and set with such great speed, leaving a red-gold path between you and it.
And so we offer a final "Hand Salute" to Shipmates Rich and Bruce! "Two"!
Calm seas, shipmates, calm seas.
Calm seas, shipmates, calm seas.
”It is a stain on this nation's honor that the Department of Veterans Affairs has become a deadlier and more difficult adversary to the American veteran than any they have ever faced on a battlefield."-- VNVets
"The concept that Agent Orange, and its effects, stopped dead in its tracks at the shoreline is simply too illogical, and too ludicrous to accept. What does that say about the Obama Administration and his Department of Veterans Affairs?"--VNVets
"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." --President Abraham Lincoln
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