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Memorial Day

"What do you mean 'he's right behind me'?"

We spend the day BBQing with an army of newly minted FBI agents. But then, my life’s gotten a lot more interesting every since I’ve started sprinkling hallucinogenic mushrooms on my breakfast cereal.

This baby should stop drinking

Some nice things about a barbecue on a roof in Brooklyn: you get a great view of the bridge and the harbor, and some Osprey’s flying over shortly before getting in yet another accident. Deathtraps those things, I swear. You also get to wear a babybjorn while doing squats and eating ice cream in the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Downside? Minor sunstroke the following day.

Chinese Junker in the East River, Bound for Singapore

It would be remiss of us to let Memorial Day go by without a nod for the reason we have the day off in the first place. So let’s talk about Medal of Honor winner Sgt. Thomas Baker. From the citation:

When his entire company was held up by fire from automatic weapons and small-arms fire from strongly fortified enemy positions that commanded the view of the company, Sgt. (then Pvt.) Baker voluntarily took a bazooka and dashed alone to within 100 yards of the enemy. Through heavy rifle and machinegun fire that was directed at him by the enemy, he knocked out the strong point, enabling his company to assault the ridge.

That’s pretty impressive. But that’s not the half of what he did.

On 7 July 1944, the perimeter of which Sgt. Baker was a part was attacked from 3 sides by from 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese. During the early stages of this attack, Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded but he insisted on remaining in the line and fired at the enemy at ranges sometimes as close as 5 yards until his ammunition ran out. Without ammunition and with his own weapon battered to uselessness from hand-to-hand combat, he was carried about 50 yards to the rear by a comrade, who was then himself wounded. At this point Sgt. Baker refused to be moved any farther stating that he preferred to be left to die rather than risk the lives of any more of his friends. A short time later, at his request, he was placed in a sitting position against a small tree . Another comrade, withdrawing, offered assistance. Sgt. Baker refused, insisting that he be left alone and be given a soldier’s pistol with its remaining 8 rounds of ammunition. When last seen alive, Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly facing the foe. Later Sgt. Baker’s body was found in the same position, gun empty, with 8 Japanese lying dead before him.

He was 18 years old when he died. He was from Troy, NY. And it’s because of him and millions like him I can eat a hot dog under the Brooklyn Bridge, while wearing a goofy hat and drinking a beer.

His actions are not forgotten.

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