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November 11, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

From cow fields to battlefields

Grandmother fleeing the Germans in WW II

An old woman harnessed her small dog and grandson to a wagon to flee through the snow fearing the Germans would retake Alsace, France during WW II.

A familiar sight in war: soldiers moving to the front past civilians hurrying back to safety.

Men with rifles (Rainbow Division Vet. memorial Foundation, Inc, 1979)

Not a time warp.

These 1918 style snipers were part of the Rainbow’s 168th Infantry Regiment in WW II .

Soldiers readying pigeons with messages/Rainbow Div. Vet. Memorial Foundation, inc. 1979

Pigeons were still used to send messages to the rear.

Yep, those soldiers are holding pigeons.

What would they think of drones?

Home, sweet fox hole home. / Rainbow div.Vet.Memorial Foundation, inc.1979

Pine boughs over a foxhole made things as safe and warm as possible.

Home, sweet foxhole home.

Supply mule loaded, soldier ready to move out with his new adopted friend.

Easy to forget how young many of these soldiers were. Many fresh off the farm.

The way it always seems to be.

Soldier with his pack mule and an adopted dog. Rainbow Memorial Foundation, inc.1979

Talk about off road.

Both mules and jeeps required a good deal of pushing to get them through the mountains.

Soldiers forcing jeep through mud/Rianbow Div.Vet. Memorial Foundation, inc. 1979

Too tense to really rest. Always the risk of ambush.

Würzburg’s factories being searched and cleared.

Soldier watching street while others search buildings/Rainbow Div.Vet. Memorial Foundation, inc.1979

With the news of the war’s end, a prayer in thanks for making it through alive, and for those who didn’t.

It wasn’t easy: fighting the war or living life afterwards.

A prayer for all those that died bringing peace to a war-torn Europe/Rainbow Div. Vet Memorial Foundation, inc. 1979

Soldiers from all four allied nations enjoy a short break before historic ceremony at Vienna.

Soldiers from all 4 Allied Forces relaxing before ceremony in Vienna. Rainbow Div.Vet Memorial Foundation, inc. 1979

Waiting for orders to head home, soldiers enjoyed relaxing with the local kids.

Small reminders of home – and what it’s all about.

Soldier with three children/ rainbow Div. Vet. Memorial Foundation, inc. 1979

Thanks, dad.

Thanks to all who serve for country, home, family, and children.

Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

More about the Rainbow Division’ s long history from WWI to present.

Letter. Rainbow Division Vet. Memorial Foundation. 1979






  1. easyweimaraner / Nov 11 2015 1:34 pm

    Thanks for a great post for all our heroes. I will never forget those who came to bring freedom and peace to my country….

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 3:01 pm

      Easy, you know, being there. Sadly, so many here who are young, who do not live near the battle zones, do not realize what happened and what courage and determination these very young men had – nor the courageous risks taken by so many of the residents of occupied territory. My dad was always fond of the people and areas he saw during the war and returned to visit several times. While he always said, being a farm boy he had never expected to see places he read about in school, that the people – and how much alike ordinary people are no matter the place – that is what surprised him. Farmers are farmers everywhere. Appreciate your kind words and remembering.


  2. shoreacres / Nov 11 2015 1:50 pm

    This is a splendid post, and a great collection of photos. Both wars can seem so long ago — until I remember my mother was born in 1918. Those were tough generations, with a low sense of entitlement. We owe them more than many people today realize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 3:22 pm

      It’s not just a day for sales. Europe seems to have more respect and understanding – but then they live in the middle of it and actually saw/know.
      So annoyed at news story. A WW II vet is one of the vets being “given” a new house. Actually, it’s not in honor of Veterans Day. His house was pretty much rendered hopeless by hurricane Ike. Federal rebuild money from IKE was awarded to him and the house was built. They just decided to conveniently feature him today – flags and all as their poster boy for Veterans’ Day. How long has it been since IKE? (And NOLA is STILL getting extra funds – how long ago was that and what all in between?)
      You would smile at a story by his daughter. Ike literally blew one wall of his house out of place – so he got in his truck and pushed it back into place. So representative of that WW II generation: problem solvers, self reliant.
      (Photos were collected from WW II vets at one of their reunions. I was lucky enough to go with Dad and meet the guys. True heroes with so many stories – and they were all so humble – thought they did nothing unusual. So few realize what is owed.)
      Thanks for the astute comment!


  3. Kate Crimmins / Nov 11 2015 2:11 pm

    My Dad was between wars as he liked to say. Too young for the first one and too old for the second. However, both my brothers served. One brought POWs home and the other served in Germany after the Korean war. They were both fortunate that there was no active fighting going on. I lost friends in Viet Nam (not a popular war). Thanks to all who served to keep us safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 4:13 pm

      War steals so many generations of prime young men. We lost friends in Viet Nam, too. A brutal intervention that should have been declared at war for honesty and for so many lives lost – or ruined. (Couldn’t give them enough bullets for goodness sake?). The ones that came back from Viet Nam were forever changed. Veterans are so stoic and easily over looked. If any group deserved, more, it’s vets. Thanks for saluting them with your comment


  4. Robin / Nov 11 2015 2:38 pm

    Great post, PhilosopherMouse. A wonderful way to honor your dad. What a great series of photos, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 3:36 pm

      A picture is worth a thousand words. The Rainbow veterans group collected pictures for a book in the 70’s. I was lucky enough to meet many of them at one of their reunions (when I was old enough to appreciate them). Totally in awe. What stories. Some of them faked ages to enlist. One vet said he and his buddy were told to drive their supply truck to point “A” and meet up with troops fighting through mountain forests. They drove the unfamiliar route in total darkness, got to the place, toss on branches to “hide” the truck as they decided to sleep until the soldiers showed up. The next morning they realized there were enemy troops all over the place. He was 14. Somehow no one noticed the truck and soon the intended soldiers showed up. Supposedly the 42nd rainbow division never lost a supply truck which ran constantly from the back to the leading edge of the front lines. Whew!
      Glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for driving along

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Robin King / Nov 11 2015 2:57 pm

    Yes. ⭐

    Liked by 1 person

  6. betterphotos4you / Nov 11 2015 3:14 pm

    I am Thankful everyday for FREEDOM but 11 11 11 Am always Everyday Remembering “Lest we never forget”

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark 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, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up 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 us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 3:26 pm

      Can’t tell you how much I appreciate you adding that poem. There was good reason so many of us had to memorize it in school. One everyone wore red poppies and the day meant more than just “sale!”. (Shopping will probably be determined as the actual cause for the downfall of modern civilization?) Thanks for remembering and reminding.

      Liked by 1 person

      • betterphotos4you / Nov 11 2015 7:19 pm

        You are welcome, It,s great It is still in the brain cells that stick around in thos P brain, I love the thought of “Having” to memorise this, As a Generation young people don’t “have” to do anything anymore, “If they (WANT) they can, but nothing can be forced, or coerced, which is part and parcel of the downfall of civilization as is shopping (No pun intended part and parcel) Thank you for a wonderful post as usual Phil osopher

        Doug I have a great Image from 11 11 11AM from 5 Years ago on the waterfront, I will pot it on my timeline with the poem

        Liked by 2 people

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 8:23 pm

          No longer the sit down, be quiet, and pay attention so you can make something of yourself instructions by parents/schools. Might be part of the problem: expectations.
          Pictures work when words fail. Will march over! Thanks saluting vets


  7. The Coastal Crone / Nov 11 2015 5:46 pm

    These photos remind us of the stark reality of war.

    Liked by 2 people

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 8:26 pm

      Movies are one thing. Stars are often the memories left by those. Without the bald glare of actual images, so easy to distort what the reality was. Thanks for seeing.


  8. sustainabilitea / Nov 11 2015 6:25 pm

    In Europe, there are so many memorials everywhere in honor of those who died. Today we remember those still living, but both are always worthy of honor and support. My f-i-l, now dead, landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day and was in the Pacific theater as well. There are so many stories and we do well to read and remember them because we forget at our peril.


    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 8:38 pm

      My dad had been told they would be headed to the Pacific theater shortly. Then word came of surrender. My F-i-l as a doctor started in San Antonio base training medics, but ended up in the Pacific theatre. When headed out, a very large farm boy noticed the short medical officer was a little mouthy and some of the other men weren’t giving him the respect he should have, so he practically became his body guard. Some of the worst tales were the stories of injuries of men as the left the big battle ships for landings.I think the “body guard” kept F-i-l from getting crushed a couple of times. They remained friends the rest of their lives – race made little difference. As you say, so many stories that must be told and remembered. Thanks for adding your memories and support


  9. sportsattitudes / Nov 11 2015 6:28 pm

    A fitting tribute indeed. I pray today …and everyday…for all troops past, present and future. They especially deserve our very best after active duty …because they gave their very best during it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 11 2015 8:46 pm

      Vets and all who serve now give so much with so little thanks and appreciation. If schools aren’t taking kids to memorials and parades, they ought to at least spend a day talking and listening to real stories by vets of what was/is accomplished and why. Real lessons. Thanks for stepping over to join the salute.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. EllaDee / Nov 12 2015 3:02 am

    Lovely tribute. Yesterday I said a sincere Lest We Forget after the minute silence. The ANZAC legend is very popular and topical in Australia but we need to remember there’s more to the history of our nations and people that the big name stuff… it’s about people… too many people and what they fought and died for.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 12 2015 2:39 pm

      Simply people – ordinary individuals who choose in times of great danger and crisis to step forward to defend and protect those they don’t even know and to try to create a safe more perfect world. Thanks for the thoughtful comment and joining the salute.


  11. roughseasinthemed / Nov 12 2015 6:07 pm

    Love those photos. Amazing selection, so evocative of a period long past, but the wars continue 😦

    Enjoyed reading the links about the Rainbow Division. When I went to Munich I visited Dachau. Spooky place. Or maybe it was just my imagination? Cold. Soulless.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 12 2015 9:52 pm

      There’s another photo of a cart being pulled by a dog similar to Molly in a long line of refugees trying to escape. That little dog reminded me of Snowy’s will to survive. You might think Snowy would insist on riding on top, but in a crisis, no doubt Snowy would do his best to protect and assist. And the soldier with the dog and mule/ the soldier with the children once soldiers were allowed to talk with the kids. We all have so much in common. Maybe I’ll pull some other pictures for a later post – not all of them are grim. Glad you clicked on the links.
      No, Dachau is probably as close as you can get to a black hole. Even in pictures, it’s very spooky.
      Possible reasons wars seem to keep happening? Those who fought in the middle of them get old and die off, so their observations and warnings of war are no longer told. Leaders not having been soldiers don’t seem to have any problem sending others into battle. Cities, towns, and communities destroyed by war are rebuilt, with scars unseen by younger generations. Land of battlefields is slowly healed by nature.
      There’s a difference between political wars and war involving crimes against innocent people and humanity. Grant us all the wisdom to know when to step back to let the dust settle and when to stand and defend.
      Thanks for loading up a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. marthaschaefer / Nov 13 2015 12:38 pm

    Though the photos are “old” the sentiment and scenes of young soldiers lives on. When will we learn? Thanks for putting together such a wonderful selection, Phil.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 13 2015 3:10 pm

      They’ve tried the brutal war images to shock. People just turn away. As the battle weary soldiers age and die, the memories and the brutal reality of war forgotten. It’s always the young at the front. Sometimes it’s a worthy cause and sometimes not. Would be a good cycle to break. Something that will require a change of heart and minds on all sides. Thanks for traveling through the timeless pictures.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Littlesundog / Nov 15 2015 5:12 am

    What a lovely tribute to your Dad. Not one person in my family served in a war. My Dad was enlisted but sent home because of physical problems (asthma and severe headaches). But I have known many elderly vets and also Vietnam vets. When I have met someone who served in a war, I always thank them. I have yet to have any one of them look at me like I’ve lost my mind. I believe we all need to feel loved, and cared about. We owe these folks so very much.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 15 2015 9:41 pm

      The declared wars are slipping into the past and with it goes the understanding/knowledge gained by fighting those wars. Thanks so much for appreciating those that served and kept us safe.


  14. jannatwrites / Nov 17 2015 2:35 pm

    This is a beautiful tribute to your dad, and remembering all those who served.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 18 2015 12:53 am

      I was lucky enough to attend one of dad’s army reunions when he could no longer really travel alone. Those veterans – such heroes everyone. So young during the war – some just 14. Humbling experience. Thanks for marching by



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