May 29, 2017

Small Flags

Army Capt. Ed Arntson, of Chicago, kissed the grave of Staff Sgt. Henry Linck in Arlington, Va., National Cemetery Thursday. Staff Sgt. Linck was killed in Iraq in 2006. Armed forces placed flags at more than 300,000 gravestones ahead of Memorial Day.

The cemetery at the top of Queen Anne in Seattle is busy this weekend. This even though a cemetery under all circumstances is seldom thought of as a busy place. We haven't had busy cemeteries since 1945. Since then the long peace and its sleep was only briefly, for a few years every now and then, interrupted by a small war. The cemeteries fill up more slowly now than ever before. And our sleep, regardless of continuing alarms, deepens.

These days we resent, it seems, having them fill at all, clinging to our tiny lives with a passion that passes all understanding; clinging to our large liberty with the belief that all payments on such a loan will be interest-free and deferred for at least 100 years.

Still, the cemetery at the top of Queen Anne does tend to take on a calm, resigned bustle over Memorial Day weekend, as the decreasing number of families who have lost members to war come to decorate the graves of those we now so delicately refer to as "The Fallen." They are not, of course, fallen in the sense that they will, suddenly and to our utter surprise, get up. That they will never do in this world. For they are not "The Fallen," they are "The Dead."

In the cemetery at the end of my street , of course, all the permanent residents are dead. But those who are among the war dead, or among those who served in a war, are easily found on this day by the small American flags their loved ones who still survive place and refresh. In this cemetery atop Queen Anne hill in Seattle, the small flags grow fewer and smaller with each passing year. It is not, of course, that the size of the sacrifice has been reduced. That remains the largest gift one free man may give to the country that sustained him. It is instead the regard of the country for whom the sacrifices were made that has gotten smaller, eroded by the self-love that the secular celebrate above all other values.

As you walk about the green lawn and weave among the markers, the slight breeze moves the small three-colored flags. Some are tattered and faded. Some are wound around the small gold sticks that hold them up. You straighten these out almost as an afterthought. Then the breeze unfurls them.

Here and there, people tend the grave of this or that loved one; weeding, washing, or otherwise making the gradually fading marks in the stone clear under the sky. Cars pull in and wind slow, careful on the curves, and park almost at random. An old woman emerges from one, a father and son from another, an entire family from yet another. They carry flowers in bunches or potted and, at times, gardening implements and a bucket for carrying away the weeds. It's a quiet morning. Nobody is in a hurry to arrive and once arrived to leave.

When I lived in Villers-Cotteret , between Compaigne and Soissons, along the Western Front in France, the cemeteries were as quiet but on a scale difficult to imagine unless they were seen.

In the Battle of Soissons in July of 1918, 12,000 men (Americans and Germans) were killed in four days. Vast crops of white crosses sprouted from the fields their rows and columns fading into the distance as they marched back from the roadside like an army of the dead called to attention until the end of time. American cemeteries merged with French cemeteries that merged with German cemeteries; their only distinction being the flags that flew over what one took to be the center of the arrangement. I suppose one could find out the number of graves in these serried ranks. Somewhere they keep the count. Governments are especially good at counting. But it is enough to know they are beyond numbering by an individual; that the mind would cease before the final number was reached.

To have even a hundredth of those cemeteries in the United States now would be more than we, as a nation, could bear. It would not be so much the dead within it, but the truth that made it happen that would be unbearable. This is, of course, what we are as a nation fiddling about with on this Memorial Day. We count our war dead daily now, but we count mostly on the fingers of one hand, at times on two. Never in numbers now beyond our ability to imagine. This is not because we cannot die daily in large numbers in a war. September 11th proved to us that we still die in the thousands, but many among us cannot now hold that number as a reality, but only as a "tragic" exception that need not have happened and will -- most likely -- never happen again.

That, at least, is the mind set that I assume when I read how the "War on Terror" is but a bumper strip. In a way, that's preferable to the the mind set that now, in increasing numbers among us, prefers to take refuge in the unbalanced belief that 9/11 was actually something planned and executed by the American government. Why many of my fellow Americans prefer this "explanation" is something that I once felt was beyond comprehension. Now I see it is just another comfortable position taken up by those for whom the habits of automatic treason have become just another fashionable denigration of the country that has made their liberty to believe the worst of it not only possible but popular.

Like the graves in my local cemetery, these souls too bear within them a small flag, but that flag -- unlike their souls -- is white and, in its increasing rootedness in our body politic signals not sacrifice for the advancement of the American experiment, but the abject surrender of their lives to small spites and the tiny victories of lifestyle liberation.

In the cemetery at the end of my street, there are a few small flags. There are many more graves with no flag at all, but they are the ones that the small flags made possible. Should the terrible forests of white crosses ever bloom across our landscape -- as once they did during the Civil War -- it will not be because we had too few of those small, three-colored flags, but because we became a nation with far too many white ones.

The grave of James A. Wilmot, Pvt 49th Spruce Squadron, World War I. Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Queen Anne, Seattle

[Originally published Memorial Day, 2007]

Posted by Vanderleun at May 29, 2017 6:35 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Amen, Gerard.

Posted by: Jimmy J. at May 28, 2007 7:56 PM

Have you seen the reports of vandals burning American flags decorating veterans' graves and replacing them with swastikas?

It happened in your neck of the woods.

If the perps were caught and given the beating they so richly deserve, in broad daylight, recorded in Hi-Def video, I wouldn't vote to convict the patriots administering the ass-whupping.

And I'm in law enforcement.

The venal stupidity, moral obtuseness, and just plain evil festering at the core of these people is staggering.

Posted by: Mike Lief at May 28, 2007 10:56 PM

Feburary last I visited a 'NAM war buddy [naval intel] who lives in Downeast Maine. We love each other all these years but his politics reflect the ME tagged auto shown. That amusing but pathetic photo recalled long heated arguments over the subjects noted there.

Mutual respect for our fighting skills, and age, convinced our wives that we would still be friends in the morning. And, of course, we are.

We swore an oath to the United States that we would never reveal or discuss, in public or private, the details of our service. We honor that pledge to this day.

We didn't think much of it at the time, but that oath of secrecy has been the bass line of our lives and friendship.

No matter our politics today, we still remain loyal Americans, ready, if called, to do our part to protect the American Dream.

Posted by: rexrs at May 29, 2007 7:46 AM

He really did have it right, didn't he.

Posted by: Eamon Stanley at May 29, 2007 9:35 AM

A thought HAS TO be small to be expressed on a bumper sticker.
That aside, what I told my sons was, in the words of George Patton, the idea is to NOT die for your country. Make the other dumb bastard die for his.
Sometimes, choice and willingness don't come into it, though.

Posted by: ed in texas at May 29, 2007 6:22 PM

Thanks to whoever sent you that great bumper sticker photo - so illustrative of the liberal mindset. Sadly I see many similar every day here in Seattle. I've often wondered why the occupants of those cars are almost exclusively middle-aged, bitter, grim looking women. Is it against the liberal code to have a positive cheerful attitude?

Posted by: askmom at May 30, 2007 7:52 AM

My father was stationed in France was I was a young boy (eight to eleven years old). I first saw the battlefields and cemetaries of Verdun and environs at that age and it made a lasting impression on me. As you noted, Gerard, we don't have analogues to those vast cemetaries, with Arlington being the possible exception. But Arlington contains selected dead from ALL our wars...not the dead from two or three or four BATTLES.

Posted by: Buck at May 30, 2007 8:28 AM

As a conservative who has fully examined the available evidence, it is my position that an independent investigation of the events of 9/11 has yet to take place and needs to take place. As Paul Craig Roberts, from the Reagan administration, has noted there is only one known fact with regard to the events of that day: the buildings, due to the laws of physics, could not have come down the way the official story has told us, they simply fell too fast. Certainly leftists have climbed aboard that ship, but it is the actual evidence of the days' events, as it has become more and more known, that is driving conservatives to the same conclusions. You seem to dismiss the idea before examining the relavent facts, as though our government has never perpetrated any misdeeds, like welfare (which has ruined countless lives), the war on poverty (also ruining countless lives), and so on. I wonder, if a democrat were in office when the attacks ocurred, if you could fathom the idea? Who, for example, doubted that Clinton's attack on the Sudanese medicine factory was simply to distract Americans from the Lewinsky affair? It is odd that "conservatives" have come to have so much "faith" in their goverment.

Posted by: Michael at May 30, 2007 12:02 PM

Great site, keep up the good work!

Please consider adding a link to my homepage The Internet Radio Network. At the IRN you can listen for free to 25 of Americas top Talk Show hosts via Streaming Audio. We have something for everyone on the IRN...

Posted by: Steve at May 30, 2007 4:21 PM

Investigate Pearl Harbor! Investigate the sinking of the Maine! Investigate Lincoln! Investigate the falling walls of Jerico! Investigate the murder of Abel!

Posted by: Stephen B at May 30, 2007 6:51 PM


To believe that our nation's government is both so evil that it would murder thousands of our own citizens and so competent that it could do so with utter secrecy and maintain that secrecy for years is an indication that you have lost touch with reality. You say you're a conservative yet you utter the words of on who is suffering from BDS...

Do you really think that the CIA, FBI and/or DOD could and would run such a covert operation and that it would not be leaked to the press by now?

Yes, President Clinton did "wag the dog", striking at a Sudanese phamacuticals plant in an attempt to divert attention away from the Oval Office BJ story. If 9-11 WAS done by the Bush administration, what was the motive? How would going to war help.

Mr. Paul Craig Roberts serviced his country in an excellent manner as an economist who was instrumental in implementing President Reagan's economic plans. But he has no expertise in the science and engineering fields that are necessary to properly analyse the failure of the WTC buildings on that fatefull day.

So why don't you take your conspiracy theories and go team up with Chuck Harder to expose the evil plot to take over the world that's been cooked up by the Masons, the Bilderbergers, the Skull and Crossbones and all the other bogeymen that you see in the shadows, hiding behind the screens, pulling the strings of the puppets who think they're in charge...

Or better yet, sober up and get a life.

Posted by: Another Old Navy Chief at May 30, 2007 8:22 PM

Michael at 12:02, has your full examination of the available evidence perhaps managed to sidestep this?

or this?

Yes, parts of our government are capable at times of grievous misdeed and cover-up (as in Waco,) but in this instance I suggest you please examine further. As a conservative you, no doubt, still have an open mind.

Posted by: Rozar Smacco at May 31, 2007 6:05 AM

I definitely think we need an investigation: with all due respect it is to have Michael's head examined.

Posted by: Webutante at May 31, 2007 5:03 PM

askmom posted: Is it against the liberal code to have a positive cheerful attitude?

It's either that or all the grim-looking uptight people I see in Whole Foods are in dire need of high colonics.

Posted by: Yanni Znaio at June 1, 2007 6:37 AM

I never once said "who" did it, as when I say "government", I am NOT pointing my finger at any particular person or agency. I believe it was Eisenhower who warned of the immense danger of the military industrial complex, and he knew from whence he spoke. As to the ability to keep a secret, well, quite frankly, it is no longer a secret. 19 Arabs were also able to keep a secret for many years regarding the attacks of that day. In the world of baseball, one can look at the steroid scandal and see how that was kept secret for so many years, and still is, as, in that case, the ENTIRE organization was party to the deeds done. I have read the Popular Mechanics book, and David Ray Griffin's rebuttal. Griffin's is simply more convincing. If you have only read the Popular Mechanics book, then I assure you that you remain uninformed AND don't want to be informed, like liberals who don't wish to see Islamofascism for the evil it is. Further, a great many engineers, physicists, architects, pilots, etc. also believe that buildings cannot fall at free-fall speed, unless they have been blown up to do so with controlled demolition, and are saying so. Again, as to who might have done it, that is what a proper investigation would be for, to determine just that.

Posted by: Michael at June 2, 2007 7:02 AM

Michael, isn't it amazing that not one of the THOUSANDS who worked at or visited either of the towers or bldg. #7 has come forward to say they saw the explosives, the wires, the exposed beams, or the workers preparing the demolition putting these things into place? Have you seen the planning that goes into imploding a building? Are you familiar with how it's done? You may have read the Popular Mechanics 'book,' but you obviously failed to visit the other link.

Why would I read a retired professor of theology's book rebutting engineers and physicists?

Get a grip and solve the steroid conspiracy in baseball that no one knows about.

Posted by: Rozar Smacco at June 4, 2007 6:37 PM

It is also amazing as to the number of first responders who HEARD explosions!

The key fact that remains to be explained by "scientists" defending the official story (one wonders if these are the same scientists promoting human caused global warming), is how did the buildings fall so fast? Until that is properly explained, all peripheral evidence is of no account.

Posted by: michael at June 5, 2007 12:05 PM


Although you seem to think the towers fell too fast, I'm sure that to those trapped inside those few seconds felt like eternity.

Posted by: Another Old Navy Chief at June 7, 2007 12:14 PM

Ignoring the other arguments in the comments, I noticed the first sentence which stated that the grave was of a member of a Spruce Squadron. That is a part of American history that is all but forgotten. Not knowing when the fellow died, my first guess would be that he fell ill during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. That pandemic killed as many soldiers and sailors as combat with the enemy. The number of civilians who died is staggering.

Rest in peace, brave soldier, even though you did not see the trenches of France.

Posted by: Bob at June 7, 2007 6:14 PM


That reminds me, Ive got to remove that Ron Paul signboard somebody stuck in my yard.

Posted by: anybodyinpoulsbo at May 26, 2008 3:35 PM

All we can do with michael is what Bill Whittle suggests - point and laugh!

He, he, har de har - look at the stupid person!

Or per Bill Engvall - michael, here's your sign!

Gerard - The Santa Fe National Cemetery was BUSY today. All of the graves had American flags on them. My father-in-law passed this year. He was a WWII vet and retired as the commander of the NM National Guard branch in SF. (They gave him his star on retirement.) Most of the graves around him are marked as WWII, Korea, Vietnam with the odd Panama and Persian Gulf thrown in. I did not see a single Iraq marker in the area. (That does not mean they are not there, they are, but they are few.) We are losing the greatest generation. They will soon be all gone or in very reduced numbers much to our loss.

Remembering them all....

Posted by: Robohobo at May 26, 2008 9:12 PM

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day” (Macbeth 5.5.19-20)

Sound and fury Michael, sound and fury.

Posted by: David McKinnis at May 26, 2008 9:18 PM

Michael, those support beams didn't explode, they shattered. Like a rock shatters when it hits something hard at high velocity. Steel does that when it's put under an extreme strain extremely fast, shatter. The shattering can sound like an explosion, and do damage like an explosion, but it is not an explosion.

But since your parents and your teachers kept you away from Bad Things™, you wouldn't know about things like shattering, now would you?

Posted by: Alan Kellogg at May 27, 2008 2:01 AM

I watched the fires from the first strike from our living room, as my daughters sat speechless next to their almost- packed suitcases.

Their heads framed the screen as we listened to the pundits attempt to make sense of what we were seeing.

I told my wife that they had maybe an hour, if that, to get that fire out before the exterior beams failed from the heat and allowed the floor pans to shear; we were thinking... hoping... "accident". See, I'm not an engineer, but I've built big stuff and building big stuff requires you know something about materials. And anybody who tests materials knows that in steel temperature is a critical variable.

That's why they wrap it. Oops, would have wrapped it in the WTC but for the Greens.

When steel fails under traction or shear, it makes a "snap". A #4 rebar snapping inside a concrete wall can sound like a desk falling over. A main structure H or I -beam failure - components with dimensions measured in feet and tons- sounds like an auto accident impact. Or a bomb, if you will.

Then there's the sound an acre sized floor pancaking down on the one beneath it makes. A lot of floors in those buildings, and even if the Little Eichmanns softened the impacts, the noise and fury would be impossible to distinguish from explosions. This is especially true because the ejecta of corpses, ash, office equipment, glass, building face materials, ash, corpses, paper, concrete, more ash... that used to be corpses... would be intense as the air was slammed out from between the pans.

Anyway, shortly after I told the wife all that we were surprised to see the second aircraft strike and I knew then we were at war.

A lot of Democrats still don't get that, but I've ceased to be puzzled by that. Some folks you oppose, some you just have to beat.

Troofers. Proof that God likes a joke as much as the next guy.

God Bless our troops. Those that give now, and them that have given all. Thanks, ladies and gentlemen. Thanks.

Posted by: TmjUtah at May 27, 2008 7:19 AM

This is very fine writing, Gerard. I'm glad to have found this site.

Posted by: steve matlock at May 27, 2008 8:22 AM


Why wouldn't they have just either left the planes burning inside killing x amount of innocent people or let the buildings fall over killing y amount of innocent people? Either way, as the theory goes, the intelligence against
Saddam would have "hyped" and we would be in Iraq.

On another note, I just spent last week at Gettysburg battlefield with my son. Every patriot needs to make a pilgrimage there to reaffirm one of our country's sacrifices. Remember, the Democrats hated Lincoln and wanted to negotiate a peace with the south. Much the way some want to negotiate with terrorists and their supporters.

You must do your research on the battle before you go so that you can understand what you are seeing there.

Posted by: JD at May 27, 2008 10:39 AM


My grandfather was a postman in NYC and died in that epidemic.

I hate to do it, but, on another note, my great grandfather of German ancestry was a replacement in the 69th NY Infantry which was part of the famed Irish Brigade during the Civil War. The unit was so decimated over the course of the war that they apparently accepted "anyone" into their ranks.

I only note all this to hopefully poke a little inspiration into anyone out there who has not checked on their heritage. Whether we like to think of it or not, we are linked to history and need to know it and know of the sacrifices made by those before us.

You might want to start at this site:

Posted by: JD at May 27, 2008 10:56 AM

I have a correction to offer to my post above:

Mrs. Utah and I did indeed have a discussion about the engineering behind the collapse of the towers and of those other buildings that eventually collapsed or were shot.

But that happened long after the fact; probably concurrent with the first wave of trooferism and/or the first Popular Mechanics articles on the event.

On 9/11 itself, I did indeed tell the wife that it would be heat that would do the worst damage, but I never put a time on it, and certainly didn't suspect at that time that they didn't even fire wrap the structural steel that wasn't in concrete.

I mean, that would be just crazy to leave undone.

I did announce we were at war, correctly predicting with who, before the towers fell.

I apologize for running memories together. It happens more often than I would like.

Posted by: TmjUtah at May 27, 2008 4:50 PM

Numerous structural engineers now publicly challenge the government's account of the destruction of the Trade Centers on 9/11, including:

Two professors of structural engineering at a prestigious Swiss university (Dr. Joerg Schneider and Dr. Hugo Bachmann) said that, on 9/11, World Trade Center 7 was brought down by controlled demolition (translation here)

Kamal S. Obeid, structural engineer, with a masters degree in Engineering from UC Berkeley, of Fremont, California, says:

"Photos of the steel, evidence about how the buildings collapsed, the unexplainable collapse of WTC 7, evidence of thermite in the debris as well as several other red flags, are quite troubling indications of well planned and controlled demolition"
Ronald H. Brookman, structural engineer, with a masters degree in Engineering from UC Davis, of Novato California, writes:

"Why would all 110 stories drop straight down to the ground in about 10 seconds, pulverizing the contents into dust and ash - twice. Why would all 47 stories of WTC 7 fall straight down to the ground in about seven seconds the same day? It was not struck by any aircraft or engulfed in any fire. An independent investigation is justified for all three collapses including the surviving steel samples and the composition of the dust."
Graham John Inman, structural engineer, of London, England, points out:

"WTC 7 Building could not have collapsed as a result of internal fire and external debris. NO plane hit this building. This is the only case of a steel frame building collapsing through fire in the world. The fire on this building was small & localized therefore what is the cause?"
Paul W. Mason, structural engineer, of Melbourne, Australia, argues:

"In my view, the chances of the three buildings collapsing symmetrically into their own footprint, at freefall speed, by any other means than by controlled demolition, are so remote that there is no other plausible explanation!"
David Scott, Structural Engineer, of Scotland, argues:

"Near-freefall collapse violates laws of physics. Fire induced collapse is not consistent with observed collapse mode . . . ."
Nathan Lomba, Structural Engineer, of Eureka, California, states

"I began having doubts about, so called, official explanations for the collapse of the WTC towers soon after the explanations surfaced. The gnawing question that lingers in my mind is: How did the structures collapse in near symmetrical fashion when the apparent precipitating causes were asymmetrical loading? The collapses defies common logic from an elementary structural engineering perspective. “If” you accept the argument that fire protection covering was damaged to such an extent that structural members in the vicinity of the aircraft impacts were exposed to abnormally high temperatures, and “if” you accept the argument that the temperatures were high enough to weaken the structural framing, that still does not explain the relatively concentric nature of the failures.

Neither of the official precipitating sources for the collapses, namely the burning aircraft, were centered within the floor plan of either tower; both aircraft were off-center when they finally came to rest within the respective buildings. This means that, given the foregoing assumptions, heating and weakening of the structural framing would have been constrained to the immediate vicinity of the burning aircraft. Heat transmission (diffusion) through the steel members would have been irregular owing to differing sizes of the individual members; and, the temperature in the members would have dropped off precipitously the further away the steel was from the flames—just as the handle on a frying pan doesn't get hot at the same rate as the pan on the burner of the stove. These factors would have resulted in the structural framing furthest from the flames remaining intact and possessing its full structural integrity, i.e., strength and stiffness.

Structural steel is highly ductile, when subjected to compression and bending it buckles and bends long before reaching its tensile or shear capacity. Under the given assumptions, “if” the structure in the vicinity of either burning aircraft started to weaken, the superstructure above would begin to lean in the direction of the burning side. The opposite, intact, side of the building would resist toppling until the ultimate capacity of the structure was reached, at which point, a weak-link failure would undoubtedly occur. Nevertheless, the ultimate failure mode would have been a toppling of the upper floors to one side—much like the topping of a tall redwood tree—not a concentric, vertical collapse.

For this reason alone, I rejected the official explanation for the collapse of the WTC towers out of hand. Subsequent evidence supporting controlled, explosive demolition of the two buildings are more in keeping with the observed collapse modalities and only serve to validate my initial misgivings as to the causes for the structural failures."

Edward E. Knesl, civil and structural engineer, of Phoenix, Arizona, writes:

"We design and analyze buildings for the overturning stability to resist the lateral loads with the combination of the gravity loads. Any tall structure failure mode would be a fall over to its side. It is impossible that heavy steel columns could collapse at the fraction of the second within each story and subsequently at each floor below.

We do not know the phenomenon of the high rise building to disintegrate internally faster than the free fall of the debris coming down from the top.

The engineering science and the law of physics simply doesn't know such possibility. Only very sophisticated controlled demolition can achieve such result, eliminating the natural dampening effect of the structural framing huge mass that should normally stop the partial collapse. The pancake theory is a fallacy, telling us that more and more energy would be generated to accelerate the collapse. Where would such energy would be coming from ?"

Posted by: Silver at May 28, 2008 1:38 PM

As the author of this essay, I shall step in just to say that I felt the first plane hit the first tower from inside my home in Brooklyn Heights that morning. Then I SAW with my own naked eyes the second plane hit from the second tower from the Promenade in Brooklyn about a half a mile away.

Following that I saw the first tower go down with my naked eyes and breathed in the dust from the collapse before taking shelter.

That said my firm and final position on the matter is that if you are a person so utterly fucked-up that deep your brainpan that you believe there was a scintilla of a shred more to it than that.... then you need to remove yourself from the human race this instant since you cannot tell reality from your own inner drool.

If you will please do this I will personally buy you the bullet and send it to you.

Thank you for listening. Moron.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 28, 2008 2:19 PM

Silver -

I watched the action from my living room in Utah, which interrupted my kids' packing their suitcases for the flight to their Grandma's memorial service. Our flight was scheduled through OHare.

Now you need to understand this: the same stripe of barbarian fucks that killed six of my friends in 1983 were on the flight decks and guarding the cockpit on those Boeings. Those animals were able to be here because people in power, elected by people like you, thought that history had ended.

I don't give a flying fuck what two Swiss engineers have to say about chocolate, unlubed gay sex, or even goddam global warming even before they weigh in on 9/11.

Silver, have you ever experienced overpressure concussion from a source as simple as a slamming door? I've felt the kiss of a quarter pound of high explosive detonating less than ten feet away on multiple occasions, and on one memorable lapse in judgement I got to experience a whole hell of a lot more, about twelve consecutive times. Have you ever had a shipping crate land next to you? It stings.

Try a couple hundred thunderclaps, each one rising in intensity, and coming from a different angle, in under a minute. Imagine you are a concrete building standing next to over two hundred concussions, each greater than the last, the very last concussions very comparable to sonic booms, and measuring on the Richter scale? What, you still don't get it?

Occam's Razor. It's still the best shave in town, putz.

""We design and analyze buildings for the overturning stability to resist the lateral loads with the combination of the gravity loads. Any tall structure failure mode would be a fall over to its side. It is impossible that heavy steel columns could collapse at the fraction of the second within each story and subsequently at each floor below."

Silver, did you even read the PM articles? ALL the strength in the structure was vertical; the exterior columns tied to the central column clusters (where the elevators were) via the edges of the floor pans.

Take four two by fours, stand them on end in a square formation, then notch them to hold a square sheet of common cardboard at whatever interval you choose. These are your floors.

Get a ladder. Take a sixteen pound bowling ball up to the top and then drop it dead center in the middle of the top piece of cardboard.

You tell me if the two by fours fall over before the floors pancake. And since they are two by fours and were just notched to hold the cardboard by friction, and not segmented steel beams tied by welds, bolts, and gussets to concrete/steel pans, the wood WILL fall over as a unit. The external columns at WTC were snatched inward as each floor received the load of the collapsing floors from above. BOOM upstairs arrives SNAP the impacted floor fails to sustain the load BUT the impact pulls and in many cases shears, the vertical columns and they fall inward and BOOM the whole mess goes down to the next floor...

This demonstration skips the weakening of the external columns in exchange for clearly demonstrating the mechanism of failure in the pans at the external/internal column ties on all the floors immediately after the pan ties on the impact levels gave way after impact and sustained heating.

Geeze. I can't believe I've wasted time on a goddamn troofer.

Just fuck you, Silver. And the braindead gutless losers like yourself who clutter the air supply of what was once a great nation.

Gerard, you do what you need to do here. I just had to vent. Sorry for polluting your blog.

Posted by: TmjUtah at May 28, 2008 8:15 PM

There is a greatest generation, and they're in Iraq and Afghanistan today ... or just getting home now, like the 111th En Bde from West Virginia ... or getting ready to come back.

Posted by: Robineus at May 30, 2008 3:50 AM

Vandy and Ute,

So, if I understand you correctly, seeing and hearing the planes hit the buildings for one of you and being near explosives for the other makes you...what? Passionate leftists, I would say, based on your subsequent ad hominem comments. Essentially, anyone who questions any aspect of the official story basically should kill themselves?

Yes, lets drop a bowling ball through cardboard, 'cause that's exactly how the towers were constructed! Watch video footage of the buildings dropping sometime, you'll see that it just cannot have happened the way we are being told it did. And all three building the exact same way, all dropping down at free fall speed into their own foot prints? Your passions delude your minds. Breathing the dust of the buildings does not make the official story accurate. How far were you from the buildings by the way Vandy? Have you ever wondered how in the world that much dust came from the towers that simply fell? Or how bone fragments of victims were sent hundreds of feet away to the top of nearby buildings? Do you really think that's what would happen if the buildings simply fell? People were left in tiny fragments, the concrete turned to dust, the largest objects found, other than the steal beams, were postage stamp sized, and this from a building filled with office furniture, filing cabinets, carpet, and less than a tenth of the floors on fire. Sorry, that dog just doesn't hunt. Don't be afraid, the truth won't hurt you as bad as you think it will. Ask Scott McClellen.

Posted by: Silver at May 30, 2008 7:58 AM

Alas, I seem to have attracted a drooling moron to the thread.

My apologies to all an sundry.

I'll let his moronic troofer babble hang around for a few days and then erase it.

Posted by: Vanderleun at May 30, 2008 10:11 AM

Excellent critique!
I have to admit that I did really make a lot of shit up about the WTC. It seemed to me the best thing I could do under the circumstances of my birth. My education was also lacking so I decided to go with the least bit of argument I could muster. The people who believe this stuff seemed to me to be the kind of people who would talk to me if I agreed with them. So I sucked up to them and hoped to suck up to you since I am, by heritage and inclination, a suck up. I apologize and hope you will recognize that there is nothing I can do about my sorry self, except to start arguments with insane drivel and then apologize after you've paid attention to me.

Posted by: silver at May 30, 2008 1:26 PM

Silver, I did forget one thing:

A.R. Jones
Orem, Utah
aka TmjUtah

I try not to cuss folks at a distance. It's cheap and cowardly. But dammit I just can't afford another monitor, ya know.

And no, Bush didn't have to explain shit to me.

"Do you really think that's what would happen if the buildings simply fell?"

Bone fragments on top of a building?

Take a rat, put it on an anvil, and hit it with a sledge. Go find the pieces, Silver. Oh, sorry, shit, a rat's not a person and there weren't any sledge hammers at WTC.

You begin by thinking you have any valid frame of reference for the mechanisms or forces involved. You pick and choose explanations based on your desire to validate a narrative. My efforts at framing the effects in ways you can understand them don't matter. After all, I'm not a Swiss engineer. Furthermore, I don't believe in the pit of my soul that George Bush eats little babies for apertifs in the afternoon, before getting his marching orders from Haliburton. So that kind of makes it hard for us to communicate, I know.

A billion tons of steel, concrete, glass, and protein doesn't just fall. It's more akin to an explosion in the effects and aftermath.

You have a fine day, Silver. You've made my weekend. No matter what life may bring my way, I'll never have to wake up facing the world you've invented for yourself.

Thanks, pilgrim!

Posted by: TmjUtah at May 30, 2008 2:28 PM

Top Ten Photos 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts Hate | The Lay Scientist

Ultimately this sort of blogging is an exercise in futility. There is no evidence, no matter how convincing, that will ever be accepted by the 9/11 "Truth" Movement's hardcore evangelists. The irony is that the people who claim to be searching for the truth are so willing to ignore evidence and react angrily to those with conflicting evidence and testimony.

A bigger irony is that if there is a conspiracy, truthers with their deluge of disinformation are doing more than anyone else to help cover it up.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 30, 2008 8:24 PM

How did such a fine thought regarding those who have sacrificed all turn into a troofers moronic convergence? "How did the buildings fall so fast" Michael? Gravity. Look into it.

I attended the small Memorial day parade that Bainbridge Island puts on a couple of years ago and was confronted with the spectacle of some in the crowd waving "9/11 was an inside job" signs and shouting insults at the soldiers representing the various services. "Not my war", "you don't represent me". I have to believe that there is a special place in hell that involves corn cobs and KY (on second thought scratch the KY) in eternity for such lowly life forms.

Posted by: MSL at May 22, 2009 10:53 AM

A beautiful post, Mr. Vanderleun.

Thank you.

Posted by: Deana at May 22, 2009 4:59 PM

As I eagerly and selfishly awaited this three day weekend, I came across your post.
Reminding me of what is important.
I will be at my local military cemetary first thing in the morning, to say thanks.
And thank you, Mr. V, for the reminder...

Posted by: Andrew at May 22, 2009 6:33 PM

I'll be at my father's grave this weekend. My 87 year-old mother will fret that the flag placed there by the local veteran's group is not vertical.

She'll fuss with it and I'll pretend not to be stifling sobs as I pull the pungent weeds that the mower missed.

I often wonder what Dad would have made of 9/11 and its aftermath. I'm pretty damn sure he'd have felt we are engaged in 'a global war on terror' and not an 'overseas contingency operation.'

A lovely, sad essay, Gerard.

Posted by: Cathy at May 22, 2009 6:43 PM

Gerard, I'm sorry your post has been hijacked. I'd like to shift it back to your original intent if I may by quoting a poem it reminded me of. A bit of background: this was written by Leo Marks, a French emigre and a brilliant cryptographer who ran spies behind the Nazi lines in occupied France. His British bosses wanted to base their code on well-known British poetry. When he pointed out that Nazis knew such poems they told him to obey orders. So he wrote a poem the Nazis couldn't have heard of, as a basis for code:

The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.

Posted by: Wenda Morrone at May 23, 2009 4:46 PM

Soldiers at Fort Sill will make sure every grave has a flag at the post cemetery. I'll be taking a photo of the new stone on my Dad's grave for my brother. The old Sarge's name is now joined by that of his devoted Army wife. The young bride saw him off to war in '42, not knowing where he was going until she heard that Patton had landed at Casablanca.

Posted by: Gary Ogletree at May 24, 2009 9:33 AM

That was magnificent, Gerard. You left me with tears spilling and my heart filled with pride.

I love your essays.

Posted by: Daphne at May 25, 2009 3:00 PM

Posted by: FalseFlags at May 26, 2009 10:05 AM

Michael & Silver please die in a fucking fire.

I hope you and your ilk spend the afterlife experiencing for all of eternity what those poor souls in those aircraft and buildings experienced in the final moments of their lives.

Gerard, please feel free to erase this when you clean up the troll droppings.

Posted by: butch at May 29, 2010 7:06 AM

Sometimes the trolls just underscore the point. But that they die in a fire I can support.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 29, 2010 8:47 AM

Beautiful essay, Gerald. As relevant today as it was three years ago.

Sorry the trolls polluted the commentary.

Posted by: Aquila at May 29, 2010 1:46 PM

Very nice essay, Gerard.

I'm actually glad that you left the troofer comments up, along with the masterful takedowns. If our nation and civilization should fall, they will give future historians clues as to why it happened.

Posted by: rickl at May 30, 2010 9:55 AM

Tomorrow, in the afternoon, I'll do what I always do when the friends are over.
Open that first cold beer, stand, raise it and toast to "Absent Comrades."
Memorial Day is their day, may they never be forgotten down through history.

Posted by: Peccable at May 29, 2011 2:25 PM

Beautiful essay as always, Gerard.

And as always, I thank you - even though 99% of the time it is silently, as I am primarily a lurker only, on this and other sites. But know that I appreciate your work. The best writer on the Net.

You know, I wonder what happened to all the Truthers, once President Lightworker replaced W. They seem to have all disappeared. Are they still out there, gnashing their teeth and quoting Rosie "steel can't melt" O'Donnell, but since they no longer provide ammo to attack W - they've just been Cindy Sheehan-ed by the Left Stream Media - so that we don't hear about them anymore?

I also haven't heard much lately from "the science is settled so STFU" crowd, and haven't been seeing accusations of climate skeptics being exactly the same as holocaust deniers.

Posted by: southernjames at May 29, 2011 2:35 PM

I knew a young man by the name of Brian Weaver. We weren't friends, but we worked together occasionally at our squadron. My thoughts turn to him on Memorial Day. I feel somewhat lucky that I only have one name to remember from my service. Also, a little sad that Brian never made it home to see his momma again, or she him.

Posted by: Big Mo at May 29, 2011 7:11 PM

Nice thoughts Gerard, I did a year as a drafted infantryman in Viet Nam and been grimacing at left wing dicks maligning our efforts for 40 years. Memorial Day is a time to remember brave men in hard places not to listen to paranoid turds spouting their tinhat crap about the land we love.God bless the USA!

Posted by: bill at May 29, 2011 10:07 PM

In Flanders Fields - John McCrae 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That marks our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
Loved and were loved, now we lie
In Flanders fields

Take our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Posted by: Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas at May 30, 2011 2:50 AM

If ye break faith with us who die.

Omitted "us" in above poem.

Reading this poem on this day makes me go through a box of tissues.

Posted by: Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas at May 30, 2011 3:00 AM

If you really think that I would imagine you've skipped anything that resembles a study of history and have become a free-rider and parasite on the sacrifice of others. Shame on you.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 30, 2011 6:17 PM

Bill Jones, My namesake, Ist Lieutenant Bill Joseph US Army Rangers died assaulting Anzio Beach. Whose crazy dream was that?

Posted by: bill at May 30, 2011 7:12 PM

Mr. Jones,

If your name sake is after a US Army Ranger who died in Anzio Beach, then he must be turning over in his grave after he viewed your statement.

You used your time in history class sleeping, didn't you?

Posted by: Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas at May 31, 2011 1:10 PM

"... automatic treason ..."

Reprehensible reflex, retrogression.
No obligation to virtue,
No trust, no search for truth.
No sense of gratitude --
Sinking, stinking into
soul-less turpitude.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at May 26, 2014 7:31 AM

And for all the noble fallen, the maimed, the still sorrowing, as I know you do, remember the love, remember the laughter, remember it now, and forever after.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at May 26, 2014 7:47 AM

Such a beautiful essay. I was truly moved. Thank you for this, Gerard. May our loved ones and all the brave souls who once fought for this country be never forgotten.

Posted by: JeryNorton at May 26, 2014 8:53 AM

All the men and women that gave their lives so that we could live with Faith, Hope, and Love in Freedom:
if we could but ask them "Was it worth it?" how would they answer, after seeing what our country has become since they lay down?

Posted by: chasmatic at May 22, 2015 7:05 PM

Unfurled flags of freedom
Signal heroes underground.
When need again is great enough
New heroes will be unbound.

Posted by: H at May 27, 2015 10:22 AM

So much for the Popular Mechanics clingers.
Nothing is constant but change.
Clingers still?

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 30, 2016 4:41 AM

Cowardshima and now this:

Posted by: Will at May 31, 2016 5:39 PM

Thank you.
This was very nice...

Posted by: ChrisP at May 31, 2016 8:23 PM

Parramatta finally had some possession and field position and started to threaten the tryline.

Posted by: hot handbags at June 10, 2016 8:34 PM

Pvt. Robert D. De Witt, KIA 27 November, 1944.

I will remember.

Posted by: Rob De Witt at May 29, 2017 8:54 AM

Head stones, foot stones, stepping stones remembering what really matters.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at May 29, 2017 6:41 PM

A Find A Grave photo request has just been made in your area. If you are able to take this photograph, please read the 'Instructions for Photographers' paragraph at the end of this email.

Name: Edmond J Harvey (unknown - Jan. 14, 1945)

Several years ago, after receiving this email, I set out to photograph this man's resting place. Shortly afterwards I sent this email back.

"I've just received the location information about this grave.
Returning veterans bodies whose families could not afford a grave-site were buried in the veterans section (2). Within the cemetery that is between Immaculate Conception Ave. and St. Francis Ave., beyond that there was no record of the row or plot as the men were buried as they came back. "

Section two was about two acres, I came to find that the majority of the WWII graves had only a flat, 12"x5" rectangular stone marker with Name, Date and Unit. I walked every inch of that section, but I never found "Edmond J Harvey". I did find a number of stone markers after going to unmarked areas when the spacing should have had a grave and dug around under the sod until I found (and in some cases could uncover them) the buried markers. By rain and weather and growing grass did disappear the markers of forgotten men, those whose families had moved away or never thought to maintain their resting place.

The next Memorial Day (aka Decoration Day), overcast and rainy, I (rather self-consciously) walked to the middle of the field in an area without visible markers or headstones, and placed a small batch of flowers alone on the wet ground. Edmond J Harvey is there, somewhere, and on each Memorial Day since as I go by that place I think about him and whisper a short prayer. For all the forgotten men.

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Posted by: Aly Chiman at April 3, 2019 8:19 AM
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