MEMORIAL DAY: On this Memorial Day, we honor all of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. In my family, I salute my late mother's brother, Harold Swysgood, an Army medic who died in the Battle of Anzio in February of 1944. He was just 22 years old.
VIETNAM: Some interesting statistics on the Vietnam War: 2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam; Vietnam veterans represented 9.7 percent of their generation; 240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 58,148 were killed in Vietnam; 75,000 were severely disabled; 23,214 were 100 percent disabled; 5,283 lost limbs; and 1,081 sustained multiple amputations. Of those killed, 61 percent were younger than 21, and 11,465 of those were younger than 20; 17,539 of those killed were married; the average age of men killed was 23.1 years; five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old; and the oldest man killed was 62 years old.
A special Memorial Day observance will be held today at Greenlawn Funeral Home on Panama Lane. It starts at 11 a.m. and will feature a patriotic motorcycle even, a military vehicle display and a cookout following a tribute to veterans. At the River Boulevard location, there will be a 2 p.m. event featuring American Legion Post 26 and music.
SPOTTED: Best T-shirt spotted on Memorial Day has this inscription on the back: "If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a veteran."
ACCIDENT: Manuel D. Fuderanan is a city traffic engineer who was conducting a traffic study at the intersection of 23 and L streets on Tuesday when a "traffic accident happened right before our very eyes. A pickup truck with a trailer sideswiped a man on a wheelchair at the southeast corner. Both had the green light -- the northbound vehicle on L Street to make a right turn to eastbound 23rd and the man on the wheelchair to go northbound on the crosswalk across 23rd. We are quick to vilify police personnel and accuse them of alleged 'abuses' in the performance of their jobs, but this time around I was much impressed by the quick response of a couple of police technicians. They were the first to arrive and secure the scene in less than two minutes. I have to doff my hat in admiration to these police technicians, and the fire truck paramedics and ambulance personnel who arrived later. Their swift, competent and efficient response is reassuring."
PANHANDLERS: More testimony from local folks on the explosion of panhandling in Bakersfield. From Mary Louise Durham: "Richard, I went to a very popular fast food place on Stockdale Highway Tuesday and as I entered a man asked me if I could help him out. He needed more money to buy food and he showed me he only had two 1s and some change. I said I would give him 35 cents and he could buy himself a cheeseburger, and he told me he wanted more than that. I smiled and moved on. When I left the same thing happened outside on the patio. This was an older man, and I did give him my french fries. What would this type of panhandling be called?"
Email Richard Beene , Californian president and CEO, at email@example.com. His column appears here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; the views expressed are his own. Read more on his blog at BakersfieldObserved.com.