Theodore's World: Every Friday in The Pentagon is Memorial Day ~ Media Won't Tell About This

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June 03, 2007

Every Friday in The Pentagon is Memorial Day ~ Media Won't Tell About This

Every Friday in The Pentagon is Memorial Day

God Bless ALL of you, & ALL WHO SERVE IN HARM'S WAY.
McClatchy Newspapers

This is written by Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a year tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning.

It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Web site.

"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This
section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is
broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the
corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all
crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands

"This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices
line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate
conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other
for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.
Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air
conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.
The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.

"10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of
the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the
building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a
deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in
the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the
first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are
still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a
private first class.

"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as
they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of
these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The
applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in
the burden ... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair,
also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the
sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I
believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his
peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field
grade officer.

"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I
laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. `My hands hurt.'
Christ. Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has
come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and
perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

"They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a
private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the
generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their
chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this
hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and
smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of
them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her
19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband
is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never
shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps
more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given
on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is
ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger
wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd
have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

"These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers,
and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all
year long, for more than four years." Did you know that? The media hasn't
told the story.

Wild Thing's comment............

With so much happening in our world and especially in our country it means even more to hear of things that show us once again why America is the land of the free and truly the home of the brave. This could be filed under little known facts and how sad that is that it is little known. No thanks to our media for being too busy telling us the latest on Paris Hilton instead of the remarkable men and women that serve our country.

Posted by Wild Thing at June 3, 2007 12:47 AM


Also I'll never forget that on 9-11-01, five Islamomaniac terrorists hijacked AA #77 and flew her through the outer 'E' 'D' & 'C' rings of the Pentagon, killintg 125 U.S. military personnel and civilians. "Our Father...Deliver US from evil...Let's Roll!"

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at June 3, 2007 01:48 AM

God Bless the USA!
Every day should be Memorial Day.
We helped raise a young boy, now a grown man with children of his own, who worked at the Pentagon as a barber when the plane hit. Thank the good Lord it was his day off. He was also a member of the honor guard. I have always felt like his second mommy. I love Brandon to pieces. I always will.
Yes, we should honor each and every one of our soldiers, airmen, shipmen and marines with flags, hugs, handshakes, love.
They work hard so we don't have to.

Posted by: Lynn at June 3, 2007 07:00 AM

I have always loved the family that is the US Military. The fact that we honor and take care of our own is always comforting. Yes, this ceremony on Friday mornings should be covered by the major media. But then, maybe the media is not invited and I can understand that.

Posted by: TomR at June 3, 2007 09:50 AM

Darth, I will never forget and thank you so much for your comment on this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 3, 2007 11:12 PM

Lynn, wow that is really something. Thank you so much for sharing about him.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 3, 2007 11:13 PM

Me too Tom, the Military family is so very special.

Posted by: Wild Thing at June 3, 2007 11:15 PM