Budget cuts withhold honorary ceremony for U.S. military units
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Nov 07, 2013 | 1051 views | 0 0 comments | 179 179 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Our own Marcel Chapuis is disgusted. So is American Legion National Commander James E. Koutz.

And although I’m not a military veteran myself, I share their disgust. Thoroughly.

Let’s go back to June 6, 2013. That was the 69th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy and the beginning of a deadly offensive struggle that led to the end of World War II.

French citizens and Normandy officials annually devote the first week in June to a massive expression of gratitude and remembrance of U.S. military sacrifices that drove the Nazis out of France.

Koutz took part in the June 6 ceremony. He reported that he… “received the timeless gratitude of a nation liberated by the sacrifices of American military personnel.” The Normandy American Cemetery is the final resting place for 9387, who did not return home from the fighting at war’s end.

But Koutz, while representing all American veterans in the ceremonies, was one of the precious few attendees from this country. He was told that because of budget cuts, no U.S. military units were sent to Normandy this year. No fly-overs of the cemetery or Pointe du Hoc, where U.S. Rangers climbed rope ladders under deadly enemy gunfire. No military honor guard to present our nation’s colors on the memorable occasion. No military officer of rank to receive the French expressions of remembrance of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

As Koutz reportedly pointed out, sending an honor guard, an officer or a single plane flyover … “would not have wiggled the needle on the defense budget.” He added that this nonparticipation sends the wrong message about the importance America places on its military heritage and its current status in the world.

In letters to President Obama and Defense Secretary, Koutz strongly let his disappointment be known. He asked that next June, on the 70th Normandy anniversary, that our government and military be present at the ceremony to receive the gratitude it deserves for being the WWII liberator of Europe.


A woman in Hawaii with no ties to Stanislaus County is putting together a photographic tribute to the 56 county residents who died in Vietnam. She is still in need of either military or yearbook photos of Charles Mears (PHS class of 1963) of Patterson and Antonio Silva of Westley.

Anyone with information should contact yours truly.


It didn’t take long to determine that last Thursday was going to be a bad day. Getting dressed, I broke a shoe string. It went downhill from there.

When plopping down with my cup of coffee, HM (Housemate) looked out the window and asked, “Where’s the car?” It certainly wasn’t where it should have been – in front of the house.

The police are still looking. Thursday continued downhill from there.


Heartfelt thanks are extended to the 31 local clubs, youth organizations, churches, schools and celebrations who planned their 2014 activities for next year well ahead of normal.

These 31 (out of a total of 55) will now have their activity paperwork placed on Patterson’s first-ever community calendar. The cooperation of these 31 is much appreciated by Boy Scout Troop 82, which took on the project.

The listings – and there will be nearly 200 of them – are at no charge. The Scouts will recover their printing cost and hopefully show a profit by asking for a donation of $7 (heck, how about two for $15?).

If it goes well, the project will be repeated each year. Local businesses will now be solicited as points of sale for the calendars. Those volunteering know how to reach me.


We’ll add Agritima Guerra to our list of local residents who are 90 and over. She turned 93 in October when she enjoyed pizza and cake for lunch at the Senior Center.


Dear Mr. Swift: What if you received a cell phone for Christmas. Would you be a prude and not use it? Be unappreciative? Lacking in modern thinking? Have a Neanderthal attitude? Just asking. – Modern One

Dear Mod: Yes, yes, yes and yes.

This is the BIG WEEK for Patterson High gridders and their fans – Central Catholic this Friday night. Not since the fall of 1975, when the Tigers went 8-1, has the opportunity for a perfect regular season presented itself. The culprit that year: the Raiders, who won a last minute thriller.

With both PHS teams now 9-0, last weekend was another good one for Northern California fans. MJC pulled a major upset, Fresno State remained unbeaten, and only the Raiders lost while Stanford and the Niners were idle.

Oh, and then Cal. The Bears played much better last Saturday, yet still lost. Yes, and I have a solution for that. After being ranked dead last among the Pac-12 football programs in the percentage of players who actually graduate, I suggest that Cal recruit smarter players. Look what Stanford has done.

And now to the weekend score that all football fans have been awaiting: Cole 2, Haskell Indian Nations 0. No misprint – 2-0.


More woes in the job market. Here’s the latest from our readers:

“I became a professional fisherman but found I couldn’t live on my net income.”

“I got a job with a pool maintenance company but found the work too draining.”

“I thought about becoming a dentist but figured it might be too boring.”

I see the need, good readers, for one of you to open an employment agency.

Ron Swift is the editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at ronkay@gvni.com.

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