The National Association of Blind Veterans

BLIND VETS SERVING BLIND VETS

Vets Gazette!

A BLIND VETERANS STORY


Doing More With Less

By Dick C. Nooe

I lost my sight and have been blind for over 63 years. This book describes my younger years, my adult life and my successful attempts to do more with less. This story is dedicated to my wife, Sara J. Nooe, Bill Hodge, and Terri Bemowski.

I grew up in Redmond, Oregon and lived a pretty active and reckless life. My mother, Nellie Nooe, was an aquatic director so I learned to swim at five years of age. She taught me all the strokes and I am able to use most of them at my present age. My favorite is the “breast stroke.”

I climbed my first mountain when 6 years of age. This is Bachelor peak in the cascade mountain range. I had two climbing partners, my mother and my Aunt Mary. As the years went by, I climbed the majority of the mountains in the Oregon cascades range.

By far the most treacherous peak was Mt. Washington or what the Native Americans called “Squaw tit.” It was named this because on the horizon during a clear day it looked just like a breast with nipple. There was nothing to climbing the breast part of the mountain. But, the nipple was very much a different story. The nipple was straight up and down with overhangs. Fortunately, the rocks were solid. On the south side of the mountain I could see Washington’s crater; which, was about 1,000 feet down. After a quick glance down into the crater I kept looking up in order to counteract my fear and dizziness. When I got on top of “Squaw tit,” I was so shook that I didn’t even enjoy the view.

When I was six and up through my teens, I learned to downhill ski and ski jump in the Cascade Mountains. After losing my sight I continued to ski. I wore a vest that said “Blind Skier.” I had an escort that also wore a vest saying “BOLD” (Blind Outdoor Leisure Development). My guide would ski close behind me with signals “left” and “right” or “hard left” and “hard right.” Left or right meant a 45 degree turn. Hard left or hard right was a 90 degree turn.

The skis were my pride and I kept them smooth and evenly waxed.

Once I was skiing and a lady in front of me was bent over fixing her binding. I hit her in the rear end and she went sprawling! My son was guiding me at the time and apologized profusely to the woman saying that I was a blind skier. The woman said, “I don’t give a god damn if he is deaf or dumb that hurt!”

I also ran a lot after I lost my sight. A guide would run behind me. Sometimes, I would run by myself at a school quarter mile track. It was made of asphalt. Grass surrounded the track, so I could tell when I was going off the asphalt and accordingly turn back onto the harder surface.

When I was at Hines VA Blind Rehab Unit, those of us being rehabilitated would go on weekly golf outings. We had very sweet ladies that accompanied us. My scores were fantastic! My mother was a great golfer, so now I thought surely I could beat her when I got home. This was not to be because my mother beat me soundly and I figured out why! At Hines the women that accompanied us golfing would always give us a good lie with the golf ball.

Bowling was always fun! I would have a bowling partner tell me what pins were still standing. From earlier years of sight I could picture where those pins were. Then, I would really wing the bowling ball down the alley! Some of the time, the ball would end up in the gutter and other times I would knock some pins down.

There will be other examples in this book about picturing things and helping you locate them. It will be harder to visualize for those of you who were born blind.

As a kid, I played ping pong in the Portland parks and I was pretty damn good! After losing my sight I still played well; particularly, with various kinds of serves.

My careless but interesting life also started at a young age. A bunch of us kids found a wild honey bee hive in the woods. Our plan was to get the honey and sell it. We were fighting with the bees, had swollen faces from bee stings, but did get honey. Unfortunately, nobody would buy it because it was full of dead bees.

About 1 1/2 miles out of Redmond were some spooky lava caves. My buddies and I found Native American artifacts in those caves. I took these artifacts to a Doctor Cressman at the University of Oregon. He was an anthropologist –archeologist and estimated that my artifacts were three to four-thousand years old. I hold on to these and cherish them to this day.

I was ten when WWII broke out. The air force built an airbase about two-miles out of town. At home, we had a barn. My friends and I climbed up on the roof of the barn where we wrote things in huge letters with chalk, supposedly, for the airplanes to see. There was a girl next door named Ila. So we proceeded to put such things as, “I love Ila” with the chalk. We were convinced that the planes flying over from the airbase could see what we scribbled.

There was a policeman that accused me of doing something I didn’t do. This angered me, so one day I snuck into the police station, lit some fire crackers, and threw them back into the offices.

In 1942, my father joined the army. One day he wrote my mother saying he wanted a divorce. This devastated both my mother and me. I put my head down on our bookcase and cried and cried. This bookcase is still in our home and when I touch it, it brings back terrible memories.

My mother was a very loving person and we did many things together. This included a vast array of sports. When she was in college at the University of Oregon, she broke the women’s world record in the Low Hurdles and the Fifty-Yard Dash.

In high school I played all sports; but was particularly fond of football. During my senior year, I received the “Most Valuable Player” award at the end of the football season.

At age 21, in 1951, I joined the Marine Corps. After boot camp, in San Diego, California, I was stationed at Treasure Island which was a Naval Base in San Francisco Bay. I did office work there and it was quite boring. Therefore, some of us “Jar Heads,” liked to have fun. One of the guys was drunk when he came back from Liberty and passed out on his cot. Several of us took the guy on his cot down to the ocean and plopped him on the beach. Then, the tide came in and he came back to the barracks soaking wet and “madder than a wet hen.”

 

I kept telling the Sargent Major that I didn’t join the marines to do office work and would like to be transferred. He got tired of listening to me and shipped me out to Camp Pendleton. There I was in a training and replacement command.

In 1953, I headed for combat in Korea. One of my most memorable experiences occurred on the ship while going over to Korea. We first docked at Kobe, Japan. The guys were on deck waving and hooting. I elbowed my way over to the railing to see what was going on. Then, I found out what all the noise was about. There was a mamasan (woman) who was taking a crap off the side of her little sampan boat. She smiled and waved back at us.

In the Korean War, twenty of my Marine buddies and I were on a hill called Outpost Esther. This was on the 38th parallel between South and North Korea as were other outposts. Most of the outposts were named after women. To the left of us was Outpost Ginger and to the right of us was Outpost Dagmar.

We were over-run by hundreds of Chinese soldiers who had joined the war on the side with the North Koreans. All twenty of us on the outpost were either killed or wounded. I lost my eyesight in that combat and have an artificial eye in my right socket. In addition, I have multiple fractures and wounds on my face, leg, and flank. I vaguely remember the wind as I was being flown, by a helicopter, in a basket stretcher to a M.A.S.H. unit. I must have been waving my legs, because someone in the chopper yelled, “Keep your goddamn feet down.”

After being on two hospital ships I ended up in Yokosuka Naval Hospital in Japan. There was a very sweet nurse, Lt. Tallman, and I told her that I would really like a cold beer and she brought me one even though it was against the rules!

Next, I was flown to Oak Knoll Naval Hospital in Oakland, California where I was declared blind. My grandfather had relatives that lived nearby and they came to see me in the hospital. I was lying on my bed and they introduced themselves and added that they brought a lemon meringue pie for me. I said, “Oh boy!” and jumped up. They had put the pie on the chair next to my bed and unfortunately I plopped my bare foot right in it.

Then, I was transported to Hines Veterans Administration Hospital in Chicago, IL. There I was fitted with an artificial eye and had plastic surgery on my face. Also, the wounds on my leg and flank were repaired.

The symptoms I had after loss of sight were profound. When I was hit they gave me some shots, probably morphine, and I felt like a deflating balloon. I had flashbacks to Korea where it seemed like I was actually there experiencing fear and anger; escalating, into irregular shallow breathing, shivering, and sweating. Flashbacks occurred when hearing cars backfiring, gun shots, television describing war and having explosions, and during the Fourth of July. These events aggravated my flashbacks even more.

I have a camera that I had in Korea, which now sits on a shelf in my office. Another Marine who was on the Outpost later found that camera in my bombed out bunker. Many years later, I was at our H35 (How Company, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines) reunion and this same Marine asked if anyone had lost a camera on Outpost Esther. Sure enough, it was my camera! Every time I touch it, this takes me back to the Outpost.

There’s a lot about North Korea in the news and when hearing this; I would rub my head and face and feel the fractures or rub my tongue across my teeth and feel the broken ones. I also had startled responses. These would particularly radiate in my stomach and head.

I received counseling from several therapists which was extremely helpful. The most important thing was talking about Korea and the trauma. The ordeal was more troublesome when I left it tucked away in my head and body. For example, initially I spent a lot of time blaming the Chinese for my blindness; but, then began finding other ways to cope with my disability. I started taking more responsibility and thus learned how to personally cope with problems.

Initially, I thought that all of my PTSD symptoms were being done to me. Therefore, I not only had thoughts about Korea but feelings of anxiety and anger. In time, through counseling, I learned that I owned my symptoms. This left me room to change and be more creative. I could use slow deep stomach breathing and other ways of relaxing. I always had a lot of interests; and, by owning my problems I began seeing how I could pursue my hobbies and activities again.

There were other things to do to help my adjustment. I would take my artificial eye out and let MariKathryn’s friends hold it. It was also helpful for me to give talks about Korea and blindness at my daughter’s classes as well as other classes.

In February, 1954, I was transferred from Hines Hospital to Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center in Chicago, IL. Both of these facilities were the very basis of my productive years that followed.

The expectations of the staff at the Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center were high. For example, people most always want to help somebody that is blind. However, it’s best if someone with visual impairment do things for themselves as much as possible. If you don’t strive for independence, there can be feelings of helplessness and depression. This independence has aided me to adapt to my blindness. These same standards have carried me through my life.

While at the blind center, I trained with a white cane. I’ll share some of the training instructions:

When walking, keep the cane directly in front of you and use an arc technique while tapping the cement or grass. Grasp the cane with either hand and rotate your wrist, with your forefinger extended down the cane to assist with the arc.

Now I’ll tell you when all these fancy techniques with my cane “didn’t” work. My instructor walked behind me and expected me to travel on my own. Once while on a travel problem, there were boards over a hole in the sidewalk and these boards were separated by an inch or so. My cane went down between two of the boards, separating them further, and I fell in the hole up to my hips and did my share of swearing.

Now let’s continue with the instructions at the blind center. Take steps with your feet almost as wide apart as your shoulders. In the winter with the snow and ice picture yourself walking like a penguin does. Keep your back straight. Shoes should have rubber treads to prevent slipping and sliding. These techniques will help prevent falling and swearing.

When walking, put pressure on your heels then rock to your toes. This will help you know the terrain. For example, in my house there are rugs and linoleum. The heels to toes technique can help with adjusting to these variations and determining where you are. Do not count steps because it’s too much to remember and gets way too confusing.

When in a strange area, for example, moving from room to room; put your forearm across your face to protect yourself. Sometimes, I forget to do this and end up smacking myself in the head.

When walking down a sidewalk use the arc technique. In most instances, you’ll tap grass or cement. Your cane tip will drop off at a curb. Listen for traffic when planning to cross a street. Slide your cane back and forth along the curb to help your body aim straight ahead. This keeps you from crossing at an angle. When walking on a sidewalk next to a street, listen for traffic and you’ll be able to anticipate other streets coming up.

There are other readjustment exercises that I have benefited from being at the blind center. First, locate something in the house, such as a doorknob, steps, railings, windows, or doors. Second, after you have done that you’ll be more likely to picture it in your mind. Picturing is not as precise as seeing, but with practice you will be amazed at how close you come. Third, initially you may have trouble picturing things and experience a feeling of loss and end up frustrated; however, in time, your picturing will improve.

When looking for something such as a cup or glass, don’t sweep your hand across the tabletop because you may knock one of these over. Instead, use an up and down “patting” motion. When carrying a cup or a glass, hold it tightly so if you hit something you will not drop it.

When pouring something cold, you can put your finger into the glass or cup to determine how full it is. As you pour something hot, you can put your face near the top of the glass or cup to tell how hot it is.

I first learned Braille at the blind center and it is like acquiring a new language. I still use it and have a small Braille computer called “Braille Sense” as well as a larger “ASUS” computer. There are a variety of mechanical devices (smart phones, iPads, etc.) that can do some of the things that Braille can do. You will need to go to school to learn how to use these devices as well as Braille.

Among other things, the staff of the Blind Center said on Thursday evenings I would be able to socialize with the “Gray Ladies.” I was young and naive and thought that Gray Ladies meant “old ladies.” The following Thursday evening a Gray Lady introduced herself. Her name was Sara. She had a deep voice, so I was even more convinced she was ancient. We socialized for a time then danced. Her figure was fantastic and I remember saying to myself, “She ain’t no old lady!” Sara told me that Gray Ladies were volunteers with the Red Cross. We then got together and dated even though it was against the rules.

In July 1954, I returned to Oregon. There I attended college at the University of Oregon, but had Sara on my mind constantly.

The following summer I took a train to Chicago to see my sweetie and her family. Sara met me at the train station and gave me a wonderful hug. She was wearing a cashmere sweater. I always think about our dancing and that cashmere sweater.

After another school year Sara came to see me in Oregon and met my family. We were then engaged.

Sara and I were married in Chicago on December 29, 1956. She has always been, and always will be, my special lady. Sara also gives me her constant love. However, it continues to puzzle me why she would marry someone who was blind. Her response to this is, “It’s worked out hasn’t it?” God bless her.

Married to me, Sara had to cope with a whole different lifestyle. She had to do all the driving and when I went to college she read my books to me. In addition, Sara would read the mail, help me pay the bills, and assist me in finding things when they were lost.

Sara and I have now been married for over 60 years.   My wife is now 91 years of age and I am 85. We are very close and supportive of each other.

Sara has Alzheimer’s and needs help. We have caregivers that do a wonderful job with my wife and me. Sara’s Alzheimer’s means that I too have to be of considerable assistance to her; and, handle a lot of the family business. I look back and remember the earlier years in our marriage where Sara was a great help to me. Now I am trying to return that love.

I’ve had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for years from my experiences in Korea. I am aware of sounds that other people would not normally pay attention to. Some of these sounds like cars back firing and fireworks result in flashbacks and hypersensitivity to my combat.

My sense of smell is gone as a result of my war injuries. Initially, this also dulled my sense of taste. However, I have now learned how to get the most out of my sense of taste. Although, it is no longer sharp I appreciate what sense of taste I have.

At the University of Oregon, I was originally interested in Archeology and Geology. However, these professions would not work well with my blindness. Therefore, I majored in Psychology; unfortunately, the department director was an “eight-ball.” I also had a course by a Psychiatrist who, among other things, talked about Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT). He told the class they could simply watch as he gave a woman patient this shock therapy. However, he turned to me and said, “Mr. Nooe, because you cannot see I’m going to shock you so that you can personally experience ECT.” This was shocking and I will never forget it!

I was then influenced by a fine man, Herb Bisno by name, who taught Sociology, so I changed my major to that and graduated with honors.

At the University, I joined Theta Chi fraternity and remained there until marriage. At the fraternity I was the official joke teller.

One of my fraternity brothers, Brad by name, bugged me insisting I could drive. Although I had a little light perception in my left eye, it certainly was not enough to operate a car. I got sick of listening to Brad about driving so one day I stole his car keys, started his car, and creped along in it. Fortunately, our fraternity was on a quiet street. I would drive a little and check the curb with my cane and did this many times. Then, just left the car and headed back to the fraternity. I presented Brad with his keys. There was a little disbelief in Brad’s voice as he exclaimed, “Where’s my car?” I said, “Hell, I don’t know, go find it!”

I then went to graduate school for social work at Washington University in St. Louis. This was an outstanding school with top of the line professors. My emphasis in Social Work was on mental health, working with groups, individuals, couples, and families; and working with the community.

I’ll always remember some experiences at grad school. There were several of us students involved in civil rights. We picked an area in St. Louis where there was one African American family living and the rest were white families. We interviewed the black family first and then the whites. Most of the whites saw the black family as intruders when in fact the black family had lived in the area much longer.

At Washington University, I had a school placement at a settlement house. The kids from about 12-14 years of age loved to go there to play basketball on the court. On my first day there I had a group of these kids to work with. We were meeting in a room and I was talking to them. However, they were dead quiet. Finally I said, “Don’t you kids have anything to say?” There was no response. I got up, went around the table to find that all the little monsters snuck out and were playing basketball. I gathered them up and sat them down again.

After graduate school I was fortunate enough to land a psychotherapy job in Topeka, Kansas and remained there with my family for nine years. Topeka got its name in an interesting way. There was an Indian crossing the Plains and looked down to see a hole in his moccasin. He then exclaimed, “Oh! Toe Peakey!”

I first worked in an outpatient mental health clinic and then in a psychiatric hospital, in Topeka. Liz Clark was my boss and a tough wonderful woman.

While working in the psychiatric hospital, I had a friend who was an eager psychiatric intern. He was working with a schizophrenic who had profound delusions. This patient insisted that he was dead. The intern asked the patient if dead people bleed and the patient said “No.” So the intern took out a needle and pricked the patients arm until it bled. The patient looked at the blood; then, smiled at the intern saying “gosh doc, I guess dead people do bleed.”

You may remember a non-fiction book called, “In Cold Blood,” By Truman Capote. This book was about the murder of several members of the Clutter Family. There was a patient, Jonathon Adrian, who always had a dramatic entrance into the hospital where I worked. Jonathon had gone to the Clutter house insisting that he was a deputy sheriff and shortly after was hospitalized.

At a later date, we were having a team meeting on the ward. This meeting was represented by a social worker (that’s me), a psychologist, nurses, and a psychiatrist or psychiatric intern. The team would discuss cases that we had and share ideas about how to precede with our patients.

During one of our team meetings, a nurse told me that Jonathon had pulled up in a car. She then gave me a “blow by blow” description of what happened. Jonathon took his suitcase out of the car. He then retrieved a can of gasoline that he poured all over the car and lit it.   He then picked up his suitcase and walked on to the ward.

At still a later time, Jonathon eloped from the hospital. He ended up in a “flop house” in downtown Topeka and I had to go and get him. He came back to the hospital like a lamb.

Eventually Sara and I had two children, Marikathryn and David. In turn, they have 6 of our grandchildren. David and his wife Jenny live in Nashville, TN and they have David’s son, Christiaan, 20 and two little tykes, Ella 5 and Nina 9. Our granddaughter Charlotte is dearly missed as she passed away just short of her 22nd birthday. Charlotte was David’s oldest child. Marikathryn and her husband Jim live 3/4 of a mile from us and they have two grown children, Sara Marie and Tony. Ours is a close family that works well together. For example, once I received a letter from our car insurance company saying that because “I have a good driving record” the cost of our car insurance would go down. My whole family and I chuckled and put our heads together to come up with the following reply, “Thank you for recognizing my good driving record. You will want to know that I’m blind, but use a 500 foot cane out in front of the car to detect any obstacles.”

We always had a dog. Consequently, the kids and I would periodically pick up dog crap in the yard. I would give the kids a bag to carry and we would go about the yard finding crap. They would put my hand on it and I would put it in the bag. We had a neighbor across the street and once she called out, “What are you doing Dick?” This was one of my more creative moments and I told her that the kids and I found some very nice mushrooms. I invited her over to see them. She trotted over, stuck her head in the bag, and I thought she was going to kill me.

We never planned to remain in Topeka. Sara always wanted to live closer to her family in Chicago, but neither of us wanted to live in the big city. Therefore, after Topeka, we moved to Neenah, Wisconsin (which is about 3 hours away from Chicago) where I obtained a job at Winnebago Mental Health Clinic. I also secured a supervisory position at a state hospital. In addition, I started a private counseling practice.

In Neenah, we purchased a two-story house. Upstairs is our bedroom, two other bedrooms, and my office. Downstairs there is a front room, dining room, kitchen, eating area, and family room.

We have a fairly large yard. When younger I did a lot of work outside. For example, I had some minimal vision in my left eye and thought I could mow the lawn. I purchased a lawn mower, got a white piece of cloth thinking the white cloth would make enough of a contrast on the green lawn. The idea was that I would mow up to the cloth, pick it up and throw it ahead so that I could mow up to it again. I was convinced this would work; the first time I tried it the lawn mower ran over the cloth and screwed up the mower good. That was the end of this marvelous idea.

I planted trees, flowers, pulled weeds, and had a vegetable garden. There are several ways to get around outside. More specifically, on the north side there are shrubs to locate and on the east and west sides are windows. Then, on the south side there are two flower gardens and our deck. On the extreme east side there are huge pine trees. Together with Sara, we planted these thirty years ago when they were tiny.

In the winter we have a lot of snow and ice. I would put on my rubber cleated boots and go after the mail. There were plenty of times when I slipped, slid, and fell down. Due to the weather it was hard to tell where the driveway ended and the grass began. It was equally hard to tell when the driveway turned into the street. Therefore, I had Sara stand at the front door and tell me when I was getting close to the mailbox.

At the mental health clinic, in Neenah, I had a client who was mentally ill and was sexually aroused by throwing his shoes into Lake Winnebago. At the lake (which was by the state hospital) he would stand on the shore, kick his shoes into the water and then go in after them. I told him that I wanted to witness this, so I went to the lake with him. Sure enough! I heard the shoes go cur-splash and then heard him wading in after them with many self-contented sighs.

Another patient at the hospital was truly frightened of large leafy plants. There was a community garden near the hospital where leafy vegetables were planted, so I eventually took him there. Sure enough! He was terrified of the leaves. After several trips to the garden he was able to first touch them with the tip of my cane and then feel them with his fingers. His desensitization got to the point that he decided to grow Venus Flytraps (which is commonly referred to the Latin word for mousetrap as the plant catches spiders and insects like a mousetrap would catch a mouse)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Supervision at the State Hospital was stimulating but frustrating. There were tunnels at the hospital and I would need to go through these to get to the various counselors offices. I was constantly getting lost in these tunnels and ending up in the wrong buildings. People could probably hear me cussing loud and long.

In 1973, my family and I plus my mother-in-law, Mary, went to Europe. Among other things, Sara and her mother wanted to see their relatives in Calabria, a province in Italy. We purchased railroad passes to use throughout Europe. From our local bank I obtained money from the various countries we planned to visit and studied this currency so I understood the exchange rate.

We went to England, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Some of the relatives from Italy had moved to France. They could not find work in Italy, but in France they secured jobs in a stocking factory. We spent time with them and it was great!

In Austria, we were at a restaurant and Sara wanted to order a Brandy Old Fashioned. The waitress said “Ya we’ve got Schnapps,” and they brought her straight whiskey! We saw a concentration camp in Germany; and, I don’t even want to describe it. In Italy the train stopped and people pushed my little son, David, right off the train. My mother-in-law got so mad that she swung her purse at some of these people.

The further south we went into Italy the more Italians brought their livestock onto the train. This particularly included ducks and chickens. We finally reached our destination and had a wonderful time with family in southern Italy.

Now, let me tell you about my current schedule. Sara and I go to bed between 9:30pm- 10:00pm. I have a frequent urination problem and am up about every 2 1/2 hours to go potty. I follow the bed around with my knee and this gives me a straight shot into the bathroom. Our bedroom is carpeted and the bathroom has linoleum. This is another indicator that I am going the right way. If this is not enough to head me in the right direction I can use my wife without waking her up. My wife Sara snores when she is asleep. I can orient myself from the sound of her sawing logs.

I get up before my wife between 10:00am – 11:00am. If it is a shower day I follow the bed around again with my knee and go straight into the bathroom to the shower. I get a large towel and wash cloth out of the cabinet and put the bath mat down in the tub so I don’t slip. I check to make sure the soap is in the container. I wash my hair with shampoo, then wash the rest of myself with the soap and wash cloth and then rinse. I turn the water off, step out of the tub, and dry myself. After my shower, while in the bathroom, I also brush my teeth. Then, I head back into the bedroom, again, using my knee to position myself around the bed. Moving to the dresser next to my bed, I get out fresh underwear, undershirt, socks, and handkerchief. These are all in specific parts of my dresser. If there is nothing going on in a particular day I lounge around in my warm ups and sandals. If I am going out of the house, I put on nicer clothes. These are in my closet; trousers are hanging on the left, shirts are hanging on the right, and my shoes are arranged on the floor. My apparel has small metal tags on them with Braille so that I know what colors I am putting on. For example: “BL” for blue, “BK” for black, or “BR” for brown.

Then, in order to head downstairs, I walk completely around the bed. I can picture in my mind’s eye where things are. For example, knowing when to turn to go left down the stairs. Also, I am acutely aware of sound changes when entering the hall. This kind of picturing and hearing is not as accurate as if I were seeing where I was going, but it is still very helpful. Another good example of picturing is putting on shoes. I position my shoes left and right. Then, picture where I put my feet in these shoes. This is always pretty accurate.

When moving about the house I can think about other things and know at the same time where I am. I then take ahold of the railing down the first two steps and turn to the left taking our chair stairs (this is an electric chair with an excelorator; push down to go down or pull up to go up) down or walk down. I reach for the front door knob and that’s my queue to turn left down the hall. I am more likely to find what I am reaching for if I do it with my fingers spread. Then, I touch the divider that is between the kitchen and the kitchen table. This divider is important because the right edge takes me to the garbage can, the sink, the stove, and refrigerator. If I turn around, the left edge of the divider will take me back down the hall, out the front door, or up the stairs.

My next important thing is to turn right into the kitchen to make some hot tea in the microwave. To make sure I have the right amount of water poured, I put my finger into the cup. I put Braille markers onto the microwave. Some of these markers indicate how long I am going to heat whatever I put in the microwave. Another marker will start the microwave and a third marker will stop it. I have also arranged things in the refrigerators in the garage and in the house. In the house, the milk and juice are on the top shelf, large jars are on the next shelf, cold cuts and cheese, oranges and apples are on the next two shelves. Then, on the shelves on the door there are smaller jars. There is a freezer unit in this refrigerator full of meat, frozen vegetables, and ice-cream. In the garage refrigerator there are supplements to all the things found in the house. After it is hot, I put lemon and brown sugar into the cup with the tea bag. I do a 180 degree turn to take my tea into the family room. The hallway, kitchen, and eating area have linoleum floors. Then, the family room has a rug. As mentioned earlier, the linoleum and rug feel quite different. Thus, this is another way of orienting me. After passing the last chair in the eating area, I take a 45 degree angle where I put my tea down on the table next to my big chair. Walking angles such as these are a challenge and you will need to concentrate on staying with the slant. In the winter, I go straight ahead passing the rocking chair to the gas fireplace and turn it on. I then locate the TV remote, check the markings, turn on CNN for news and cozy up with my tea.

When Sara comes downstairs, she has some favorite TV programs. I switch the TV to these programs. In the fall, we turn on the TV so that Sara and I can watch the Packer football games. We turn the volume on the TV down and the radio on because radio announcers are far superior in announcing football games.

On the way to the family room, the door to the basement is on the left wall. There is a chair stairs that I can take into the basement. At least once a day I go down into the basement to exercise. My exercise systems include a stationary aerodyne bike, a stationary regular bike, a treadmill, and a rowing machine. When I can get my wife down into the basement, she will ride the stationary bike.

On the basement walls, in the room where our exercise equipment is, there is my collection of WWII memorabilia. On the right hand wall is my collection from the allies. Among other things, this includes a British Knife with Brass Knuckles.

On the left hand wall are the axis powers. This includes a Nazi armband. When I was about 13-years old, my buddies and I were hanging out on one of the street corners. A kid by the name of Popish came running over brandishing this Nazi armband. He yelled that there were Nazi saboteurs in that vacant house on 4th Street and gave me the armband that he supposedly found there. Ours was a small town, so I knew exactly where that vacant house was. My buddies and I decided that we were going to invade that house. We spent several days gathering our weapons together; including, BB guns and Rubber guns and deciding how we were going to strike those Nazi’s. Then, one evening we planned to attack. I can remember just as if it were yesterday. At night, we snuck up on the house and I peeked through a window. There was nothing there! Then, we went inside the building and there truly wasn’t anybody there! Come to find out this Popish had an older brother that was in the military in WWII and came home with Nazi memorabilia.

Traveling upstairs again, we also have a front room and dining room on the main floor. The dining room is next to the kitchen. The front room has several items that I can picture and, thus, maneuver around them or toward them including the piano, couch, and stereo.

I spend lots of time on the phone with family, friends, people I counsel, and business persons. I spend the most time with business individuals.

There are multiple ways for me to get around in the community. One is walking with my cane as described earlier. I can also take “dial-a-ride” or “Running, Inc.” These are actually taxis which are available to people over 62 years of age. The cost is $3.50/ride, which is reasonable. I take my credit card and cash when I go. There is a device which will tell the value of my money. However, it is cumbersome. Therefore, I fold my 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s in three different ways in my wallet.

I have a relief map at home. This is of the city so that I can feel where the streets are. Also, I ask whoever I am riding with to tell me where we are. I know my way around at several places that I go, such as Theda Clark Hospital in Neenah, Appleton Veteran’s Administration, and Green Bay Veteran’s Administration. Other places, that I am not familiar with, I will ask for help and people are always gracious. I will either walk alongside the person or hold on to the person’s left arm; so, my left arm is available to use my cane. I usually walk a step behind the person guiding me so that I can anticipate the person’s next move.

Sometimes when I am out of the house, I have to go to the bathroom. I have no hesitation in asking where bathrooms are. Then, I’ll ask the person who found the bathroom where the toilet or urinal, and sink are.

My daughter, MariKathryn helps out tremendously. She provides transportation, manages most of our bills and dispenses our medications. MariKathryn works for Reach Counseling and specializes in working with sexual perpetrators. I do contract work with Reach Counseling. This includes a group of sexual perpetrators that MariKathryn and I work with. Sometimes I will see them individually. I also counsel a visually impaired support group and see individuals, couples, and families in therapy.

In my private practice, I saw a woman with a diagnosis of Identity Dissociative Disorder or IDD. Typically a person with this diagnosis has a variety of personalities. This woman had, among other personalities, a young child and a vicious male adult. Once, when I was seeing this patient, the young child came out and was very frightened and tearful. The child was referring to the vicious man and whimpered “He’s got a knife!” I then got very loud and said “Give me that knife!” After insisting on this several times he handed the weapon over. From then on when I saw this woman I had someone else in my office with me for my own protection.

I contracted with the Veterans Administration to see mostly Vietnam Veterans, many of whom were returning from combat with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The veterans had flashbacks to Vietnam characterized by angry outbursts, physical abuse, and other internal upsets of various kinds. The vets might say, “These Vietnam experiences are doing this to me!” The first order of business was to help the vet understand that he is doing these things to himself. Then, when the vet began taking responsibility, he was in a much better position to come up with ways of reducing and eventually stopping the PTSD.

I saw a vet who was on a bridge in Vietnam. The bridge was bombed by the enemy. The vet landed in the water in a tangled mess of bridge parts and almost drowned. When I saw him, he had never crossed a bridge since the disaster. Needless to say, this made it difficult for him to get around. After prolonged therapy he finally recognized that the bridge was not in charge of him, but rather the opposite. He got to the point where I could ride with him across a bridge and then eventually he was able to travel over a bridge by himself.

There was another Vietnam vet who was in combat. He was hit in the face and various other parts of his body. He could relate to me because of similar injuries. This vet had PTSD, but because of the positive relationship we had he began talking openly about his war experiences. Then, they became less traumatic memories.

When in Neenah, I met Ed Faulkner who was the director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He turned out to be one of my very best buddies. I was matched with three little brothers. It was a great experience for Sara and me, and I think for the boys too. I was named Big Brother of the Year for the whole United States. I am still in touch with two of my little brothers, Jimmy Seidling and Kevin Mesko.

Faulkner and I did a lot of crazy things. For example, we went “blinding” together in Plainfield, Wisconsin in a bar. This was without any little brothers. Faulkner had a pair of dark glasses and I had an extra white cane for Ed to use. We told the bartender that we were patients at Tomah, Wisconsin VA Hospital. We went on spinning our tale, by telling the bartender that Ed and I had been weaving baskets to make enough money to go out of the hospital. We ordered some beer and I “accidently” spilled Faulkner’s beer all over the table. Several of the guys in the bar began gathering around and feeling sorry for us. Of course they bought us more beer. Some of them asked how we lost our sight. I said that Faulkner was in a whore house and the Madam got mad at Ed and poked his eyes out with a hat pin. Ed was always good at “one -up-man-ship” and told the guys that I lost my sight because of venereal disease.

We own a cottage on Wilson Lake, which is about an hour and a half drive west from our home, with an address in Wild Rose, Wisconsin. We spend as much time as possible at our cottage in the summer months. The cottage is small and easy to get around in. It has a kitchen, front room, and two bedrooms. There are cottages all around the lake and we have some pretty wild parties with our neighbors!

Swimming and waterskiing in the lake are my greatest pleasures. Getting to the lake is definitely a challenge. My son and I put down cement blocks to the lake and dock and this helps. There’s a narrow board walk. I can feel the edge of this walk with my cane as I move along to the end of the dock. I have a battery operated “beeper” that I place on the dock and activate while I am swimming. It will lead me right back to where I started from.

When waterskiing in the lake I hold onto a rope that’s attached to the boat. When the boat takes off, I skim the water; sometimes on one ski and other times on two, but then drop a ski. Whoever is in the boat uses a horn; this is to let me know if boats are nearby.

For those of you that are blind, hopefully you found this story both informative and entertaining. For those of you who are not blind I hope you will get a charge out of this story. If any of you have questions, feel free to contact me.

Dick C. Nooe

567 E. Peckham Road

Neenah WI, 54956

 

Phone (920-725-7102)

 

There are several places I want to talk too about my book in an effort to get a sponsor.

 

These are as follows:

 

Blinded Veterans Association Auxiliary National

Blinded Veterans Association of Wisconsin

Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired – Winnetka Illinois

Hines Blind Rehabilitation Center

National Association of Blind Veterans

Wounded Warriors

Jack Rupert with associates and coaches at the Kentucky Tournament.
On September 13 and 14th I attended the fourth annual United States blind golf Association's
Kentucky regional golf tournament. This is the first time for me to play in a competitive format
golf tournament. It was also the first time I had ever used an official coach and scorekeeper.
The tournament is played by USGA standards of play with a couple minor modifications to the rules
for the blind golfers. Most importantly we are allowed to not only have a coach but we are also allowed to have
a caddy for our clubs. Our coaches allowed to place the ball on the T and line us up for our tee shot,
as well as finding our ball and line in sub for our next shot. We use what is called a stableford scoring
format. Which is a point system rather than a par, bogey, double bogey, etc. we receive a score
of a five for a par and that works its way down, the highest score you can get on a whole is a double bogey.

We played 36 holes of golf for this tournament on a course that I would classify as a fairly hard course,
as it had several bunkers and water features and greens that were odd shaped and it angles so putting
was a challenge.

Golf is not a new sport for me as I have been playing often on since my high school days.
Over the last 10 years I probably average playing at least once a week but would play more
if I had a coach to work with meeting on a regular basis. Currently my wife drives my card for me
and does the best she can on lining up for whole shots and drives. I would like to be able to find more
local blind golfers to establish some kind of a league in our local area. I was declared legally blind
in August 2009. My vision is currently less than 5° perphial and 10/100. My close-up and no side vision or up and down vision makes it hard to physically get around sometimes. Fortunately I can still see
some of the ground when I look downward to allow me to get set up on the tee box in the ball.
By distance before getting very blurry is about 10 feet, otherwise at a distance I maybe can make out
a color or color contrast between green and brown but do not know what the object is.

Thank you for the donation of $400 to help offset the expenses to attend this tournament
is greatly appreciated and without your generous donation I would not of been able to have the great opportunity to play in this Blind Golfers Tournament.
____________________________________________________

CVS PHARMACY OFFERS SCRIPT TALK FREE TO THE BLIND!

We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.

We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.

wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.

hare some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
We wanted to share some good news about the availability of prescription information. CVS/pharmacy has announced that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a convenient way to access information on prescription labels privately and independently for individuals who cannot read print.  The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or have low vision. Customers can obtain from Envision America a free ScripTalk reader, which is needed to hear the information on the ScripTalk label. To request that the labels be attached to your prescriptions ordered through CVS.com, call CVS.com at 888-227-3403.  To obtain your free ScripTalk reader, call Envision America at 800-890-1180. It is recommended that you call CVS.com first.
Officer Doesn't Let Blindness Stop Him

 

Posted on Nov 07, 2012 | Category:

<https://www.usaa.com/inet/ent_blogs/Blogs?action=blogsummary&blogkey=newsroom&categories=Latest%20News> Latest News

 

 

Capt. Scotty Smiley - the Army's first blind active-duty officer - lives the true meaning of perseverance.

 

One of the last things Smiley remembers seeing is a parked vehicle on a roadside in Mosul, Iraq, in April 2005. The rear sagged toward the ground, perhaps heavy with explosives. The man beside it looked suspicious.

 

But in his Stryker armored vehicle, head and arms exposed, Smiley followed the Army's warfare rules of engagement that encourage minimum force to achieve the mission. "We don't just shoot people because they look scary.

Maybe the shocks were out in the back of the car," he explains. "The decision I made was to ensure that, if the man was bad, not to let him harm anyone else. I shot two rounds in front of the vehicle, and that's when the man blew up the car and himself, and metal entered my eyes."

 

Why He Still Serves

 

Surviving an explosion that almost killed him was just the start of Smiley's ordeal. Recovering at Walter Reed National Medical Center, he struggled with the reality of losing one eye entirely and his sight in the other. He asked, "Am I truly blind? Will I always be blind?"

 

The day he received the Purple Heart in his hospital bed was difficult.

"Receiving a Purple Heart was recognition that my life was changed. Yes, you were wounded. Yes, you are blind."

 

With the support of his wife, high school sweetheart Tiffany, he admits to spending time "under a cloud," wondering why this had happened to him. He embraced a mourning process for his sight, working to focus not on the hardship, but on the good that has come from it. "You have to accept the life you've been given," he says.

 

And he worked to get to an even more remarkable place in his heart. "I had to forgive the man who had blown himself up," he says.

 

The struggle strengthened not only his personal faith, but also his desire to serve others and his country. "One of the Army's values is selfless service. I don't think anyone would ever say Scott Smiley has not served his country," he says. But he wasn't ready to stop.

 

Still Fit to Serve

 

Once an Army medical review board declared Smiley mentally and physically fit to serve, he was ready to move forward. Despite his blindness, he earned a Master of Business Administration from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he went on to teach military leadership at West Point and to command the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point's Keller Army Medical Center. He also earned the Army's prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award, which recognizes junior officers who demonstrate the ideals espoused by Gen. Douglas MacArthur: duty, honor, country.

 

When he wasn't working, he challenged himself in the great outdoors. "For me, being blind wasn't necessarily a total transformation of my life. Many of the things I do now, I did before. I just do them differently," Smiley says. Things like, say, skydiving.

 

Always physically active, Smiley jumped in tandem with the U.S. Army's Parachute Team, the Golden Knights. He skied in Vail, Colo., surfed in Hawaii and completed triathlons. "I did not want to give up physical activity," he says. "It's just my personality." His efforts led to a 2008 ESPY award from ESPN as the Best Outdoor Athlete.

 

Inspiring Others

 

His athleticism and positive attitude garnered Smiley an invitation to speak to groups nationwide, including the U.S. Men's Olympics Basketball "Dream Team" before their 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics gold medal victories. "I wanted to give them a small glimpse of what wearing the American flag on their uniform means," he says. "It's not about profitability. It's not for endorsement. It's for the men and women who live here [in the United States]."

 

In his talks, he typically shares ideas such as:

 

§ Serve others. "Give back more than we receive," he says.

 

§ Lead by example. "Understand what you're asking others to do," he says.

"You shouldn't lead an organization unless you understand the mission."

 

§ Persevere. "Life is worth living," he says. "We all go through trials and hardship. Working through those trials, we all can improve."

 

He wrote about these concepts and told his story in a memoir, Hope Unseen:

The Story Behind the U.S. Army's First Blind Active-Duty Officer©, co-authored with friend Doug Crandall.

 

Today, he lives with his wife and their two young sons in Spokane, Wash. - just two hours from the town where he and Tiffany grew up - and works in an administrative role at the Gonzaga University R.O.T.C. program.

 

"I tell many people I wouldn't change a thing," he says. "I would still make all of the same decisions. I don't think I would even change the day I was blinded, just because of the opportunities I've had."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


HISTORY OF THE TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER

The Quartermaster Review
September-October 1963
Since Memorial Day, great interest has been expressed by the many inquiries concerning the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in  Arlington Cemetery.  In 1958, the Quartermaster Review published the story of the interesting measures taken in the selection of the Unknown Soldier who died in World War I.  That story bears repeating here.  In a future issue, The Review will add the history of the Unknowns of World War II and Korea.
IN THE BEAUTIFUL Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on a hillside overlooking the historic Potomac River is a Shrine that has become the mecca for not only all Americans who visit Washington but many prominent dignitaries and persons from foreign lands. It is the Tomb of America's Unknown Soldiers, symbolizing those of America who gave their lives in World War I, World War II and Korea, in defense of the Nation's integrity, honor and tranquility.
Following the custom inaugurated by other allied countries in World War I the Congress on March 4, 1921, approved a Resolution providing for the burial in Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater on Armistice Day 1921 of an unknown and unidentified American soldier of World War I. The Secretary of War delegated to the Quartermaster Corps the duty of selecting the Unknown Soldier and accordingly the Quartermaster General directed the Chief, American Graves Registration Service in Europe to select from among the burials of America's Unknown Dead the bodies of four who fell in the combat area in order that one from among them could be anonymously designated as the one for burial in accordance with the provisions of the Resolution. Four bodies of Unknown Soldiers were selected, one from each of the following cemeteries Aisne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, Somme and St. Mihiel--and brought to Chalons where they were placed in the Hotel de Ville. The fact that the bodies selected were those of Americans was determined by the location of place of death, original burial and uniforms. The utmost care was taken to see that there was no evidence of identification on the bodies selected and no indication that their identity could ever be established.
After the four bodies were arranged in the Hotel de Ville, the next step was the matter of selecting the one from among them to represent all the Unknown American Dead. This ceremony though simple was most impressive. In view of his outstanding service, to Sergeant Edward Younger, on duty with the American Forces in Germany, was given the honor of making the final selection. On Monday morning, October 24, 1921, at 10 :00 A.M. in the presence of The Quartermaster General, the Commanding General of the American Forces in Germany, the Mayor of Chalons-sur-Marne, high officers of the French Army, distinguished French citizens and eminent American and French civilians the selection was made. While a French military band played an appropriate air, Sergeant Younger slowly entered the room where the four caskets were placed. Passing between two lines formed by the officials he silently advanced to the caskets, circled them three times and placed a spray of white roses on the third casket from the left. He then faced the body, stood at attention, and saluted. He was immediately followed by officers of the French Army who saluted in the name of the French people.
The body lay in State for several hours watched over by a guard of honor composed of French and American Soldiers while the people of Chalons reverently paid their respects and left offerings of flowers and other tributes. After brief official ceremonies by the City of Chalons the casket was placed on a flag-draped gun carriage and escorted by American and French troops to the railroad station where is was placed aboard the funeral car in a special train for the journey to Le Harve. Upon arrival at Le Havre the train was met by French officials and troops and citizens of Le Havre who had gathered that they too might pay homage to America's Unknown Soldier. Accompanied by many floral tributes and escorted by French and American troops, the solemn procession moved through the City of Le Havre to the pier where the American Cruiser "Olympia", Admiral Dewey's flagship at the battle of Manila Bay, awaited with her flags at half mast to receive the precious cargo which she was to bring to the Homeland. Here, with ceremonies befitting the solemn occasion, the casket was turned over to the United States Navy and placed on the flower decked stern of the cruiser for the long journey to America. Slowly and silently the "Olympia" moved from the pier and with a salute of seventeen guns from the French destroyer, to which she promptly responded, the journey of the Unknown Soldier to his homeland began.
On November 9, 1921, at 4 :00 P.M., the "Olympia" reached the Navy Yard at Washington, D. C., where the flag-draped casket was solemnly delivered by the Navy to the Army, represented by the Commanding General of the District of Washington, and escorted to the rotunda of the Capitol. Here upon the same catafalque that had similarly held the remains of our Presidents, Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, the body lay in State under a guard of honor and composed of selected men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. All during the next day thousands of patriotic individuals, including highest officials of the Government, members of the Diplomatic Corps and private citizens, passed before the casket to pay homage to The Unknown Soldier who symbolized all our Unknown and the purpose for which they died.
On the morning of November 11, 1921, Armistice Day, at 8 :30 A.M., the casket was removed from the rotunda of the Capitol and escorted to the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery under a military escort, with general officers of the Army and Admirals of the Navy for pallbearers, and noncommissioned officers of the Navy and Marine Corps for body bearers. Following the caisson bearing the flag-draped casket walked such a concourse as had never before followed a soldier to his final resting place-The President of the United States, the Vice-President, Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, wearers of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Senators, Members of Congress, the Generals of the Armies of World War I, and former Wars, and other distinguished Army, Navy and Marine Corps officers, Veterans of World War I, and former Wars, State officials and representatives of patriotic organizations. Solemnly through streets lined with thousands gathered to pay homage to those who died on the field of battle the procession moved on to historic Arlington. Upon arrival at the Amphitheater the casket was borne through the south entrance to the apse where it was reverently placed upon the catafalque. During the processional the vast audience both within and without the Amphitheater stood uncovered. A simple but impressive funeral ceremony was conducted which included an address by the President of the United States who conferred upon the Unknown Soldier the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross. Following this ceremony special representatives of foreign governments associated with the United States in World War I each in turn conferred upon the Unknown the highest military decoration of their Nation.
At the conclusion of these ceremonies the remains, preceded by the clergy, the President and Mrs. Harding and others seated in the apse, were borne to the sarcophagus where a brief committal service was held. With three salvos of artillery, the sounding of taps and the National Salute, the impressive ceremonies were brought to a close.
It was originally intended that the simple white marble Tomb placed over the grave of The Unknown Soldier immediately after the interment should serve as a base for an appropriate superstructure. Accordingly very shortly after the ceremonies on November 11, 1921, the question of selecting a suitable monument to complete the Tomb was given consideration. It was not until July 3, 1926, however, that the Congress finally authorized the completion of the Tomb and the expenditure of $50,000 therefore.
The Act referred to above provided that the Secretary of War secure competitive designs according to such regulations as he may adopt to complete the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. The Act further provided that the accepted designs should be subject to the approval of the Arlington Cemetery Commission, the American Battle Monuments Commission and the Fine Arts Commission. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Secretary of War prepared a program for the completion of the Tomb and invited architects of standing reputation who were citizens of the United States to submit designs. Seventy four designs were submitted and, from among them, five were selected for further study.
The selected competitors were required to restudy their designs and prepare models of plaster of paris. When these models were received the Jury of Award studied each one, taking into consideration the surroundings of the Tomb, the Amphitheater in which it is located and which serves as a background for it, and the final effect after the completed monument was in place. After going into the matter most carefully and thoroughly, the Jury finally recommended an anonymous design to be the winning one. When their decision had been reached a sealed envelope accompanying the design was opened and it was found that the winning design was the work of Thomas Hudson Jones, sculptor, and Lorimer Rich, Architect, of New York City.
The design selected was in the form of a sarcophagus, simple but impressive, and most appropriate for the purpose for which desired. The total height is 11 feet, the width is 8 feet at the base and 6 feet 8 inches at the top, and the length is 13 feet 11 inches at the base and 12 feet 7 inches at the top. The severity of the design is relieved by the Doric Pilasters in low relief at the corners and along the sides. The panel of the front, facing the City of Washington and the Potomac, has carved upon the marble a composition of three figures commemorative of the spirit of the Allies in the War. In the center of the panel stands "Victory", with her palm branch to reward the devotion and sacrifice that went with courage to make the cause of righteousness triumphant; on one side a male figure symbolizes "Valor" and on the other stands "Peace." Each of the sides is divided into three panels by Doric Pilasters, in each panel of which is carved an inverted wreath. On the back appears the inscription "Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God". This is the only inscription appearing on the Tomb.
The marble is the finest and whitest of American marble--Yule, Colorado, marble, and same as used in the Lincoln Memorial. The Tomb is made of only four pieces of marble--the die, which is all in one piece and one of the largest ever quarried, weighing over 50 tons; the base; the sub-base, and the capstone.
An appropriation from Congress for the work was secured and on December 21, 1929, a contract for completion of the Tomb itself was entered into.
In order to provide an appropriate setting for the Tomb when completed certain changes were necessary in the grounds, roadways and landscaping in the immediate vicinity of the Tomb. To accomplish this, plans were prepared to provide an elaborate approach from the East and on February 28, 1929, Congress authorized the construction of the necessary approaches to the Tomb.

      Here are some other  important facts about the
Arlington National Cemetary and :
The Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier
 
How many steps does the guard take during his
walk across the tomb of the Unknowns
and why?

21 steps:
It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which
is the highest honor given any
military or foreign
dignitary.

How long does he hesitate after his about face
to begin his return
walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number
1

Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his
grip on the rifle.

Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all
the time and,if not, why not?
 He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path,he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes,
twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a
year.

What are the physical traits of the guard
limited to?
For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he
must be between 5' 10' and 6' 2' tall and
his waist size cannot exceed 30 inches.

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb,
live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot
drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of
their lives. They cannot swear in public for the
rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the
uniform or the tomb in any way.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that
is worn on their lapel signifying they
served as guard of the tomb. There are only
400 presently worn. The guard must obey
these rules for the rest of their
lives or give up the wreath pin.

Their  shoes are specially made with very thick soles
to keep the heat and cold from their feet.
There are metal heel plates that extend to
the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as
they come to a halt.

There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards
dress for duty in front of a full-length
mirror.

The first six months of duty a
guard cannot talk to anyone nor
watch TV.
All off duty time is spent studying the 175
notable people laid
to rest in Arlington   National Cemetery .
A guard must memorize who they are and where
they are interred. Among the notables are:
President Taft, and Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most
decorated soldier of WWII and of  Hollywood  fame.
Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for guard duty..
ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.
Special Note:
In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was
approaching Washington , DC , our
US Senate/House took 2 days
off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC
evening news, it was reported that because of
the dangers from the
hurricane, the military
members assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb
of the Unknown Soldier were given permission
to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, "No way,
Sir!" Soaked to the skin, marching in the
pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that
guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment,
it was the highest honor that can be
afforded to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled
continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

May God Bless and keep them all as they risk their lives everyday
to protect us and defend our freedom. 
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