Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day Salute

Before we start I wish to offer this because it is worth repeating:

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

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.

My family has a long proud tradition of serving our country one way or another.  My father was born in 1900 (I came along a tad late in his life).  He was drafted for World War I !!  One of the stories he used to tell was that while he was in boot camp, somewhere in Texas, the Armistice was signed and they released many people.  He then rode the rails for a couple of years before settling down.  During World War II he was too old for service but he did work in a factory which he said made landing gears for on of the bombers.  While working there he invented a motorized crane to replace the hand-winched crane, used to raise the landing gear apparently into the nacelles.  For his service he received a certificate and a pin - no money, because during the war all inventions directly related to the war effort were automatically the property of the government.   He fathered a son by his first wife (who would pass away at a young age).  This son, Raymond, is the brother I never knew having been killed in Rittershofen, France in January of 1945, years before I was born.  Raymond was assigned to the 14th Armored Division, 48th Tank Battalion.  Apparently there was an uncle of mine in the Army during the same time and close to the same battle.  Another uncle retired from the Army and was apparently an editor for 'Stars and Stripes' newspaper.  My nephew was a Marine and assigned to the Presidential Guard and worked guarding both President's Reagan and the elder Bush.  (There's a photo of my nephew in 'Newsweek' standing on the portable stairs leading up to the helicopter carrying President Reagan on his farewell flight from the White House). 

And me, I'm retired Air Force.  So, it is no wonder that the largest toy in my collection, my 3-rail tinplate train layout, would feature the military in some fashion.  Today's photos show the Naval Base I built as well as the Parade I originally set up for Memorial Day but which works just as well for Veteran's Day.  Unfortunately I'm again working on the layout and haven't had time for a special tribute.  As time progresses I hope to have more content in this regard.  

One theme I hope to have recurring in this blog is the ability to display or set up our toys and collections in neat ways.  One way of course is to utilize them in a setting that kinda makes them natural.  It's nice (but not essential) to have a train layout to display things.  Our Veteran's Day Salute takes place on my train layout, The Marxville and Plateau (MaP).  The Navy Base utilizes toys from T. Cohn (aka Superior), Marx, Ideal, and others.  The actual Navy Base playset from T. Cohn contains a lot more items than what appears on my layout, but at the time I built it I didn't have a complete set - sooooo, I had to make do with the toys and materials at hand.  The parade is marching down Marxville's Main Street and features servicemen from Marx, but the vehicles are mostly from other makers and feature both plastic and tin litho.  Well, this sure did get long-winded huh?  Hope you enjoy! And remember to Thank a Vet!