I don't mean to be a braggart, but....the Field Jacket I am wearing here in this photo with my 10 year old Shorthair "Patch" taken on this last Memorial Day?
Yeah well, it's the very same Field Jacket that I was issued 52 years ago.
I added a few patches, and even had my name sewn on in Okinawa.
Unlike the ARMY, Marines were not allowed to have their names on their
Field Jackets or utility trousers. There was an old Okinawan woman who would sew your name on your uniforms and other items.
As some of you may or may not know, my local Veterans Post in Hampton does 4 services each and every Memorial Day. We do the same for Veterans Day. Four services. Back when I was Commander, I would stress all week long getting prepared for these somber and serious observances. It was always the complete opposite for Veterans Day. For starters, the crowds are less than half the size on Veterans Day. And you really can’t blame them. November 11th every year is a crap shoot. It could be nice, or it could be cold. And here in New England in the month of November, it’s usually cold.
That’s not the case on Memorial Day. It’s feast or famine on Memorial Day.
I’ve seen it in the 90’s, and I’ve seen it like it was this past week. In the 50’s and raining. In fact, this year it felt more like Veterans Day than it did Memorial Day. But the one glaring difference is, nobody wants to mess up. Because we are there to honor and pay respect to those who did not come home. In other words, those who were killed in the war. And with over 500,000 Americans killed in our nation’s wars since WWII, that’s a lot of people. Though we cover each war since the Civil War, and that number is well over a million killed in action. Think about that for a minute. Over one million killed in action.
But the other day I got to thinking about those who were killed.
I wondered how many of the 500,000 Americans who were killed since WWII were surfers. Now hear me out for a minute. There were surfers on the West Coast and the East Coast in the late 1930's and early 1940’s. There were clearly surfers in Hawaii pre WWII. And with over 400,000 Americans killed in WWII, there’s a pretty good chance, that there were surfers who were killed in WWII. And here we are on the 77th anniversary of the D-Day Landing on June 6th, 1944.
How many of those Americans who waded through the surf on Normandy Beach were surfers? And how many of those surfers were killed that day?
I’m not saying that all surfers are clueless to this day. I already mentioned that I know hundreds of surfers who get what Memorial Day is all about. I just wondered if they could relate to those who had the same passion for surfing that they did. That it might awaken that surfer’s soul, and maybe, just maybe, they would really understand what Memorial Day is really all about. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking on my part.
Same with Korea. The Korean war was from 1950 to 1953. Of the close to 40,000 Americans killed in Korea, I’m willing to bet anything, that some of them were surfers.
I know for a fact that there were surfers killed in Vietnam. 1959 to 1975.
Of the close to 59,000 Americans killed, I’m willing to bet that thousands of surfers were killed in Vietnam. Lets face it, the Vietnam war was raging in the 60’s. So wasn’t surfing. Surfers were being drafted left and right. There were thousands of surfers who were killed in Vietnam. *Picture above was taken in Vietnam in 1969. There was an R&R surf beach in DaNang that a lot of surfers got to go surfing. ( I never did. But I knew about it).
And America’s conflicts from 1975 to 1990.
How many surfers died in those conflicts?
The First Gulf War? How many of the 300 plus were surfers? And how many surfers have been killed since September 11th, 2001? Of the nearly 10,000 Americans who died fighting in the Global War On Terrorism in the last 20 years? How many were surfers? I’d bet anything at least a couple thousand. I already know of a few myself. How many surfers died fighting in the GWOT since September 11th, 2001?
And then there’s those who were wounded. Some were wounded so bad they never fully recovered. So what’s my point? Well, my point is simple. How many surfers do we know who pay little to no attention to Memorial Day? Especially if there’s surf. My close surfer friends are well aware of this day. But there are three times as many who do not.
And ironically, there was surf this year. Good clean fun surf. This was taken after the Memorial Day services *This is our 44th consecutive week for surf too! Waist high or better at least once a week. That's also a NEW record. More on that next week. But to have surf on Memorial Day is pretty special
I think if some of these surfers who don’t acknowledge this somber day, would just stop and think about those in uniform for just a moment, if they thought about those who had the same passion as they did about surfing, and how those surfers in uniform, answered to higher calling about serving our country. If they would just stop and think about the sacrifice they made. Of not only serving our country, and sacrificing their lives for our freedom, and the freedom of total strangers, but if they were to stop and think about the “Surf Sacrifice” they made. Think about it.
They "sacrificed surfing" to answer a higher calling.
I wonder if they would then, have a better understanding of the ultimate sacrifice, some of these men and women made fighting for our country. Because they really did make the ultimate “Surf Sacrifice.”.
So, I honesly think most people know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
Most, but not all. I know that every single Memorial day I will go out of my way to remember those who died fighting in our nation’s wars, and I will certainly remember those surfers who died fighting. For they not only lost their lives, they lost the ultimate stoke of surfing. Remember that the next time you paddle out on a perfect day. Remember the surfer who is no longer here, because of their selfless sacrifice they made for you, and for meI.
"REMEMBERING THE FALLEN SURFER, HEALS ALL WOUNDS!"
This week's Ed's corner pic is from May 1st, 2008. This is Jack Cadagan. Jack still surfs, as do his kids, though it's been a while since I personally shot Jack. Thank God for these Ed pics.
Photo by Ed O'Connell
*Click the photo above to see a larger version of Ed's Pic.
Now for Some Local and National News
THE SURFER’S EDGE by Eric Zinnkosko
The SURFER’S EDGE A Guide To Conceptual Surfing
This book is for novice to beginner surfers who are just getting their feet wet into our world. While this type and style of book has been done many times before, author Eric Zinnkosko comes at this from a unique perspective. He’s been surfing for the last 35 years, having spent every waking moment on or near the ocean. In other words, he has legit “surf cred.” He knows what he’s talking about. And for all you surfers who are cringing about new surfers paddling out to your local break?
You can rest assure that Eric goes out of his way to educate these new surfers as to the “Do’s and Don’ts” about surfing. And he minces no words when it comes to the warnings. He hits the nail on the head, that other books missed completely when writing a How to Book on Surfing. Eric gets our frustration only too well, and he spells it out over and over again throughout the book.
And while this book is basically for Kooks (And I say that in a positive way). Because let’s face it, we all start out as kooks, and we all end up as kooks. There’s actually something for everyone here. He’s written some personal stories about his surfing life that many of you will find interesting, and he’s got some interesting facts about the ocean, swells, tides, traveling, mental and physical health, equipment, safety, and the most important subject of all SURF ETIQUETTE.
I found myself chuckling at some of his comments when dealing with locals and serious surf conditions. In short, I highly recommend this book. It’s the book that you wish every Kook on the planet had read before paddling out at your home break.
You can purchase The SURFER’S EDGE here
Thank God things are getting back to normal again. The Music
is back and so is the Comedy! Click on the image below for more of Jimmy's upcoming shows.
KSM Photoshop of the Week
I'm currently in a Hockey frame of mind. The Boston Bruins are in the play-Offs with the NY Islanders. The series is tied 2-2 in the best of 7 games. Game 5 in Monday June 7th, 2021 at home in Boston. Watching the goalies play in today's NHL I thought about the goalies of yesteryear. And wouldn't you know it? This pic pops up. I had no idea Khaliddy played goalie back in the day and didn't wear a mask. Not that I'm surprised by any of it. Nor should you be. Just another week of KSM and my photoshop skills.
And so my friends, please take advantage of this weekly photo shop of the mastermind who planned 9-11 and resulted in the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians by KSM (Khalid Sheik Mohammed).
*Note to self -must pick up a case of Goalie Masks at
Home Depot this week.
HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY Mike Rosa June 5th, 2021!
We should all be in the shape that Mike is in at any age, let alone 70! Have a great year Mike! Looking forward to sharing some waves with you.
PLEASE Keep 90 yr old Chuck Dreyer (Kim Grondin's dad)
in your thoughts and prayers as he recovers from surgery.
PLEASE Keep JoEllen Bunton in your thoughts and prayers too.
PLEASE Keep longtime NH Surfer Greg Smith in your Prayers.
PLEASE Keep local Surfer/Musician Pete Kowalski in your thoughts and prayers throughout the year.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE DIPG AWARNESS TEAM!
Support ALL The photographers who contribute to
Ralph's Pic Of The Week every week for the last 16 years.
** BUY a HIGH RES Photo
from any of the weeks on RPOTW.
my friends... Surfing Heals All Wounds.
Pray for Surf. Pray for Peace. Surf For Fun.
Yesterday- Tom Curren, Sid Abruzzi, Gail Greenwood, and Ralph Fatello Jamming at the Jobless Party in RI Circa 1990's
(Below) This video frame grab from a short clip of this impropmtu jam of the four mentioned above happened in the 90's in Rhode Island. My buddy Geoff Haenn had a company called JOBLESS and well, we all went down to celebrate and party with world famous Surfer Tom Curren. He was just starting to get into the whole music scene. Sid is not only the King of water Bros in RI but he's also a rocker. Gail Greenwood was the bassist for the band BELLY. And me? Well, you alreday know enough about me. Sid says he has a longer version of that night. I'd love to see it. Maybe someday.
Video Frame Grab courtesy of RALPH
*Click on the pic to see a larger version.
I kept a daily Blog on my CATCH A WAVE FOR MOLLY surf campaign, when I surfed every single day for 365 consecutive days. Click on the Banner above to read entries of my daily journey. There's some really interesting and true experiences
that happened during that year. Some of which are to this day, unexplainable. Some are just mind blowing. But all true.
I started on July 26th, 2010 and ended on July 26th, 2011.
Some rainy Sunday, pour yourself a cup and go through the journal.
Pay close attention to the month of May in 2011. Read that month and let me know what you think of that. Be forewarned it will change you forever.