Saturday, March 27, 2010


For those of you who contacted my site to ask about John C. Burnam's book, there may still be some in circulation; google it up! (Or perhaps the website could provide information on availability of the book).

The complete title of the book is: Dog Tags of Courage: The Turmoil of War and the Rewards of Companionship.

The book reflects the guilt and grief of all the handlers who saw their dogs abandoned in Vietnam (the only U.S. conflict in which the military dogs were left behind).

Among the many written memories that have stayed with me over the eight years since I first read the book is Burnam's description of an enemy mortar attack on the military dog kennels.

The sleeping animals had been locked in for the night, and the handlers could only listen helplessly to the pain and panic of their dogs. Some dogs died in the attack; some were badly wounded. As for Burnam's own canine/soldier partner, Clipper was mid-kennel and survived.

That did not, however, keep Clipper from meeting an undeserved and tragic fate when these canine soldiers were ordered to be left behind in a country in which the dogs were feared, hated and (in cultural tradition) eaten.

That might shed some light on the tireless efforts of Burnam and others in the long campaign to get national recognition for the U.S. military working dogs of all wars.

Consider donating to this excellent cause.

If you've lost a treasured dog, consider such a donation a good memorial.

(JBMF, Inc., SunTrust Bank, Attn; Kevin Thorpe, 1445New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005)

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Friday, March 26, 2010


At last a national monument for American's war dog teams is to be built, after decades of campaigning on that behalf.

The John Burnam Monument Foundation, Inc. was approved by Congress to build and maintain the memorial, to be known as the "Military Working Dog Teams National Monument." It will stand in tribute to U.S. military working dog teams of every war, not just Vietnam.

Burnam was a dog handler in Vietnam during that conflict, and his dog Clipper was among the thousands ordered to be abandoned in place when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam. Burnam detailed his experiences in his book, "Dog Tags of Courage."

For more on the Military Dog Teams National Memorial, google up and surf the home page at:

(Special interest: Click up the Memorial links at that site for lists of dogs and handlers killed in Vietnam. So effective were these teams teams that there was a bounty established on both the dogs and the handlers).

Tax deductible donations to JBMF, Inc. can be mailed to SunTrust Bank, Attn: Kevin Thorpe, 1445 New York Ave NW, Washington, DC 20005.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Is it true that members of congress who voted YES on the Health Care Bill are receiving death threats?

I am totally against this version of the bill. I am also totally against the death threats.

To me, the bill is bad.

So are the death threats.

R.A.T. (Rose About Town) is grrrowling about both.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


At sunrise, this first full day of spring 2010, I was greeted by mourning doves. Their return to my neck of the woods is always one of my most cherished signs that springtime truly is here.

I opened my eyes to the sight of them---softly-plain love birds perched wing-to-wing on a branch outside my north window, singing that soft, cooing song that some see as a lament (hence their popular name).

But I call them morning doves, not mourning doves; from now until autumn, their song will begin my days at dawn and end them at twilight. Their repititious coos will be a croon that tells me it's time to come out of my sleep, or a lullaby that calms me as the dusk deepens into darkness.

Never have I lived where morning doves haven't nested around me. They seem to like perching on my deck rails and gutters, or on long branches near my windows. They don't seem to mind foraging in my early-spring gardens, feasting on renegade weeds.

They co-exist quietly with the small songbirds that frequent the Moore place.

Quiet and gentle as they seem on their perches, they can demonstrate a surprising spirit in the sky; taking off from their perches like jet planes, sometimes reaching an amazing bird-speed of 55 miles per hour on a bullet-straight path, their wings whistling and whirring as they ascend and descend, dodging each other like dog-fighting war planes.

In some parts of our country, they're an abundant bird species, popular with hunters who relish them barbecued.

As for me, they can hang out at my place with nary a risk of being shot at or eaten.

Happy spring to you all, from me and my doves.

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