The Lemming is pretty sure that facts in the following Associated Press story are accurate - as far as they go. There's more going on than what AP apparently decided we should know, though.
'The Government Oughtta Do Something?"U.S. Reportedly Ignoring Veterans' Graves in Philippines"
Associated Press, via FoxNews.com (July 3, 2011)
"Walking along the rows of tombstones here offers a glimpse of the wars America has fought and the men and women who waged them. But most of the grave markers have been half-buried for 20 years, and there is little hope that the volcanic ash obscuring names, dates and epitaphs will be cleared any time soon.
"Clark Veterans Cemetery was consigned to oblivion in 1991, when Mount Pinatubo's gigantic eruption forced the U.S. to abandon the sprawling air base surrounding it. Retired U.S. soldiers, Marines and sailors volunteer to keep watch, relying on donations to try to maintain the grounds, but they lament that they're helplessly short on funds to fix things, and that Washington is unwilling to help....
"... 'People celebrate on the Fourth of July but they forgot the 8,600 who helped make that freedom happen,' said former Navy Capt. Dennis Wright, who saw action in Vietnam and is now a business executive.
" 'We're trying to get the U.S. government to assume responsibility for maintaining the cemetery so we can get it up to standards ... not on nickels and dimes and donations and gifts,' said retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Larry Heilhecker, who served as cemetery caretaker for five years until last month...."
Should the United States government "assume responsibility for maintaining the cemetery?"
Ideally, in the Lemming's opinion, yes. The Lemming also thinks that the United States Congress, and every administration during the last half-century and more, has done a miserable job of mismanaging the government's finances.
With any luck, we won't have to auction off parts of the country to cover expenses. And that's almost another topic.
'It's the Fault of [insert villain]?'The Lemming's been over this before: this isn't a political blog. The Lemming doesn't think that one party's always right, and that everybody who won't say so is stupid.
In this case, there's quite enough blame to go around.
The fact is that right now America's national government is in debt up to it's virtual eyeballs: and Congress is actually talking about discussing means of deliberating on a solution.
It's a start.
The financial situation being what it is, a smallish (17 acres) cemetery in the Philippines may not be really high on the list of priorities: for the American Congress, or for folks in the Philippines. Some of whom are buried in Clark Veterans Cemetery.
Besides dumping ash on Clark Veterans Cemetery, Mount Pinatubo's 1991 eruptions did more than a little damage to homes and businesses. The AP article quotes someone who recognizes the potential for tourism in connection with a revitalized (if that's the right word) Clark Veterans Cemetery.
But - right now, with Congress finally going to the trouble of appearing to be interested in fixing part of the federal government's financial mess? The Lemming doesn't think that the folks inside the beltway will be all that inclined to throw cash at Clark Veterans Cemetery.
Besides, there are other solutions.
And Now, a Little SentimentSince this sort of account customarily includes a certain amount of pathos, here's more from that article:
"...Workers at the cemetery north of Manila recently dug to fully expose a gravestone for an Army sergeant who died in World War II in the Philippines. They discovered his wife's name engraved under his and a long-hidden tribute: 'Daughter, sister, wife and mother of veterans.'
"It's impossible to say what else remains hidden at the 17-acre (seven-hectare) cemetery. It holds the remains of 8,600 people, including 2,200 American veterans and nearly 700 allied Philippine Scouts who saw battle in conflicts from the early 1900s to the resistance against brutal Japanese occupation troops in WWII...."
(Associated Press, via FoxNews.com)
Hey, there's nothing wrong with sentiment - particularly if it motivates a person to do something sensible.
like not giving money to some scam artist.
Charitable Contributions: Useful and OtherwiseLet's say there's this fellow in America: he reads about the plight of the cross-eyed mud hens of Piskalooska Point - both of which are, the Lemming assures you, quite fictional.
This fellow is, quite sensibly, concerned about environmental stuff. And, not quite so sensibly: Googles "Piskalooska Point cross eyed mud hens," clicks on the first link he sees, and uses his credit card to donate $10.00 USD.
Nothing wrong with Google, the Internet, credit cards, or charitable donations. And the Lemming's posted about being careful before:
- "Citibank Card Data Hacked!! (but keep reading)"
(June 9, 2011)
- "Giving: From the Heart, and Other Vital Organs"
A Catholic Citizen in America (March 17, 2011)
- "Counterfeit Postage Stamps: No Kidding"
(December 6, 2010)
- "Credit Card Fraud: A Few Cents Here, a Few Dollars There"
(June 28, 2010)
Finding a charity that's not a scam? It's not all that hard, and the Lemming thinks it's worth the extra effort.
Now, about Clark Veteran's Cemetery, Philippines.
The Lemming found a very nice-looking website, right at the top of Google's list, written in coherent English. It looked like a nice place to suggest.
The Lemming did a little checking - pure routine, using a fairly high-profile WHOIS lookup service. That nice-looking website's URL was registered to a fellow with a very 'American' name, and a physical address - - - about halfway between the Philippines and the contiguous 48 states.
Names, Identities, and Getting a Grip'American' name? Make that an 'Anglo' name. Not everybody whose name suggests ancestry in the United Kingdom is an American - quite a few live in the United Kingdom, for starters. And not all Americans are WASPs. Most of us aren't, by now, and that's another topic.
That website may be legitimate - and just happens to be run by someone with a name that's foreign to the continent where it's registered. Or, it may not be. The Lemming might be able to work out who and what's actually running that show - but that could take time.
Another quick search found that there's a VFW post (VFW Post 2485, Angeles City, Philippines www.vfwpost2485.com) They're actively maintaining the Clark Veterans Cemetery, and willing to accept donations to help them get the job done.
They're also not mentioned in the AP article. Understandably, since VFW Post 2485, Angeles City, Philippines is apparently
- Trying to restore and maintain the cemetery themselves
- Not waiting until a government agency spends money
- Quite willing to accept financial help
- From folks who aren't from the government
So, does the Lemming think you have to give them money? That's up to you. Before you do, check them out yourselves. Just a suggestion, of course.
Now, a few pages at VFW Post 2485's website:
- VFW Post 2485 - Clark Cemetery
- VFW Post 2485 Clark Veterans Cemetery Burials and Other Memorials
- VFW Post 2458
- "Lemming Tracks: Inflatable Sharks? Swell!"
(June 28, 2011)
- No, really
- "It's Mother's Day in the Philippines - 'Read All About It' "
(May 9, 2009)
- The link's outdated
- The content isn't
- "Swine Flu 2009 on World Tour"
(April 28, 2009)
- "Memorial Day 2008: This isn't 1965"
(May 26, 2008)
- "The Life of an Oregano Addict: An Unexpected Blog"
(April 22, 2008)