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July 2, 2011     Times
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July 2, 2011

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Mel Siagley and Chick Holmes at Arlington National Cemetery Honor Flight Vets Fly into Washington, special honor given to other deceased WWII veterans. Mel honored his brother, William L. Singley, who served in the US Army in Europe. There was coincidently a traditional Fife and Drum corps performing at the Memorial, which added to the richness of the event. After re-loading the buses, the group traveled to the Korean, VietNam, and Lincoln Memorials. With lunch served on the buses, the tour group went to the Air and Space Museum, located near the Dulles Inter- national Airport. There a docent took each small group around to show high- lights of WWII era planes, including the Chick Holmes met up with his grandson - Mike - at the WWII Memorial. Mel Singley Honored his brother - William L. Singley (U. S. Army) at the WWlI Memorial. With a summer sky full of rain, light- ning, and thunder, Mel Singley, 87 years old, and his daughter, Rebecca, arrived at Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport at 4:30 am to begin an exciting, full day of events. Mel was one of 80 WWlI veterans, who were partici- pants in the June 14th (Flag Day) Land of Lincoln Honor Flight. Mel served from 1942-1945 in the US Navy Seabees in Hawaii, Guam, and Japan. Mel Singley and Rebecca Drake at WWlI Memorial. The vets and their escorts, many were sons, daughters or volunteers, loaded onto a Sun Country charter flight land arrived in DC by 9:45 CST. They arrived to a rousing, cheering line-up at the National Airport. The weather was beautiful in the nation's capital. The vets were taken by chartered buses to the WWII Memorial for a group photo. There they enjoyed the site with many photos taken and a Enola Gay, which dropped the Atom bombs over Japan. Also on display were several WWII German planes and those planes the US used to defeat them..The tour concluded with seeing the Slealth Bomber on display. It can fly so fast that a person would not even see it, but, would feel the rush of air. On the buses again, the Vets moved to the Iwo Jima Memorial for another moment of remembrance and more photos. Enroute to Arlington National Cemetery, a stop was made at the Air Force Memorial, too. The busy day concluded with a moving, silent Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Besides the spectacular view from Arlington National Cemetery, the ceremony is awe-inspiring. The Guards did a silent acknowledgement to the visiting Veterans by doing an intentional "drag step" during their paces. Many of the veterans were tremendously moved by this final event. Some walked over to the nearby final resting place of WWII hero, Audey Murphy, a flying ace that downed 40 enemy planes. DC The day concluded by having a sand- wich and chips at the airport before catching the flight back home. On the way back, all the Veterans were treated to "Marl Call". Each vet received handmade bags with mail from family and friends back home. With lots of applause, laughter, and joking, the veter- ans safely landed back in Springfield. Then to their surprise, a bagpiper lead the line of veterans through a crowd of over 150 people, cheering, clapping, waving flags and posters to say "Wel- come Home"! If a WWII veteran is interested in par- ticipating in the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, contact Ray Wiedle at 10912 St. Francis Lane, St. Ann, Missouri 63074 ( or Joan Borto- Ion at 57 Country Place, Springfield, II., 62703 217) 585-1219. Time is of the essence because 1000 WWlI Veterans die each day across the United States. This is a wonderfifl opportunity to recognize the "Greatest Generation" for their service to their country. All provisions and arrange- ments for the veteran are free through the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight orga- nization. THANK YOU: We would like to thank Ray Wiedle, Chairman of Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, and Joan Bortolon, our bus Cap- tain, Carol Locke, the traveling nurse, and the whole Honor Flight team who made this trip possible. We also thank our family and friends who sent notes for my "Mail Call". We thank John, Andrea, Didi, Nick and Sebastian for attending the "Welcome Home" recep- tion at the airport. It was a great day! Mel Singley Rebecca Drake (Cont'd from June 18 Edition) By Scott Tate One of the big sports in Thailand is Thai boxing. A conglomeration of boxing gloves and kicking it origi- nated here. Matches are held in a local stadium nightly. I witnessed a range of matches between thirteen-year- old boys to men in their early twenties. The surprise of the night was a blond Australian teenage girl who took on a Thai girl. Although it was clear the Aussie girl should have been the winner the outcome was influenced due the betting done by the hawkers who worked the stands. A rowdy bunch of June 30, 2011 Along The Silk Road Vol. 14 Aussie men had bet on their homeland favorite and once their bets were in the hands of the locals, the judges made sure the money stayed there. A day trip to Phi Phi Island is on the list for what makes this area famous. Several hours off the coast by boat it's the epitome of the tropical island with jungle foliage and starkly white powder sand beaches. It became more publicized over a decade ago from the movie, ""The Beach" with Leonardo DiCaprio. Like many other places its beauty cannot be captured on film. Side trips after Phi Phi Island included stops to swim and snorkel in the crystal clear water saturated with schools of colorful fish. A final touch to the day included a stop on Monkey Island where the wild monkeys would eat bananas from your hand. A trip cut too short compliments of my airline experience soon had me back home for a short stint. In another blink I found myself back in Dubai and on the cusp or returning to work. While there I visited the hotel salon and engaged in a conversation with one of the attendants who was a young lady from the Philippines. She had lived in Dubai the last ten years and rode the train 1-1/2 hours every day each way to work. Her husband lived in the Philippines with their 12-year-old son and she made one trip home a year to see her family. Mt. Pulaski Times I have known many Filipinos through the years with similar tales. Like the Thais, the Filipinos are no strang- ers to leaving their homeland to find work. They do what they have to do to make a living. Until the' onset of the Great Recession, most Ameri- cans were fortunate to find work close to home. Things are different now, forcing many of those able to find work to now live in places far from their homes and gain new perspectives that could have hardly been imagined before. Younger Americans are only beginning to learn the struggle experienced by our grandparents. The Thais and Filipinos have known this struggle for genera- tions. My grandpa never spoke of his struggles with con- tempt nor did he speak of having to work for a dollar a day during the Depression with bitterness. Like my grandpa and his generation, the Thais and Filipinos take what life gives them and use it to strengthen rather than break them.! was always jealous that my grandpa was able to live his life where he wanted doing the job of his choosing and for this I always thought he was lucky. The trip to Thailand taught me otherwise. Now I know my grandpa wasn't lucky. He used his attitude to control his life, rather than let his circumstances control him. The Thais also follow this credo. Sounds like a plan to help get us all through the Great Recession as well as life. ll