This Veterans Day morning I’m enjoying a live broadcast/webcast on KHVH AM featuring a U.S. Pacific Fleet Band quintet, veterans and active duty servicemembers. The band just performed a set that included patriotic music, Amazing Grace, A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, Glenn Miller’s Tuxedo Junction and a surprise version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody! (I’m almost finished reading a book recommended by bandmaster Lt. Cmdr. Dave “Duna” Hodge, Molly Kent’s USS Arizona’s Last Band. Review coming soon.
Meantime, I want to share a recent podcast I heard by one of the best interviewers in the business, Tom Ashbrook.
Tom’s guests on his On Point show on WBUR Boston were Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories, and Adm. Robert F. Willard, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, the nation’s largest combatant command, encompassing half the world.
The discussion first focused on the early origins and history of the Atlantic and ended with current politics and peacekeeping in the Pacific. The discussion reminded the listener of how people can work together -- whether laying cable across the Atlantic to link North America with Europe in 1858 (permanently in 1866) or meeting and collaborating diplomatically and militarily as partners and friends in the Pacific to keep sea lines of communication open in the 21st century.
Here’s how On Point cued up the dialog:
“Four hundred thousand flights a year now zoom over the Atlantic. But the sea beneath was for eons the great barrier and bridge to humankind: Phoenicians, explorers, pirates, slave traders and sea captains... Simon Winchester brings the great Atlantic story back to light.”
“Admiral Robert Willard, head of U.S. Pacific Command, joined On Point Monday in the studio for a wide-ranging discussion of the Asia-Pacific region and American military policy. With President Obama in South Asia ... he also touched on issues relating to India.”
Today, free nations work together to protect commerce, communication and the “commons.” The waters of the Atlantic and Pacific and other oceans and seas lap at the shores of most nations.
On this Veteran’s Day we reflect on the quiet heroes, past and present, who served or serve to keep us safe.
Former Command Master Chief Jim Taylor, participating in the KHVH program this morning, reminds us to also think of the veterans’ families -- Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and grandparents who share the sacrifices of their Sailor, Soldier, Airman, or Marine.
KHVH host Rick Hamada asks us to think of our veterans, not just today but every day. Another guest challenged listeners to teach their children history and heritage so they never take their freedom for granted.
A good place to start might just be a book.