Honor Our Veterans

Ode to this Veteran Page's Music

Hand Salute!

Welcome Westbury High School Veterans

And welcome to your loved ones. They are the people for whom you fought and died. And welcome to those who love you for your service to them and to us all.

Through this page, America and Westbury High School's classes of 1962-1965 honor all who've served this country, and are still doing so today. They were your husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins, classmates, and neighbors. Now, they are your sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, and even again your neighbors.

Why did — why do they still today — give so much? So answer those who understand, who've given that special aspect of themselves to mankind, who know this extraordinary and profoundly meaningful truth, and who've etched it as the most succinctly profound cliche ever repeated and now made visible for eternity on the Wall of the Korean War Memorial; it summarizes in four words the purpose of the American veteran, here in this granite monument for the world to see with absolute clarity forevermore:

 Korean War Memorial Wall

Forgotten Veterans?

The Korean War has been dubbed by the glass-is-half-empty observers of humankind as the "Forgotten War."  Oh?

At ages 4 through 7, the era being 1949-1952, I sat every Sunday morning in the first pew of Broadway Baptist Church on Houston's east side as the pastor — a chaplain from the battlefields of Italy, Normandy and then going deep into the heart of Europe, supporting the American servicemen and women nurses who on their patrols saved the refugees as the Russian onslaught neared Auschwitz and the extermination camps — led us in solemn prayer for our boys who were fighting and dying, over 38,000 by the end  of it, in some place called Korea. My mother, who only had an eighth grade education, and who was not studied in the subleties of Containment versus its foreign policy antithesis, American Imperialism, explained "Our 'boys' in Korea" to me this way.

"Those are our most magnificent men. They are like your Uncle Steve."

Following WWII, her brother lived reclusively in a small bedroom size of a house in Hull-Daiesetta, TX. His back, I was later to find, had been broken at Iwo Jima.

Korean War Memorial

I made my own solemn prayer. I asked God to give to me the strength to ascend to those men and women's levels of character, courage, stamina, stalwartness of priniciple and dedication to duty. I would need outside help, as I knew in my core that I was not strong enough to be of them when or if it ever came my time.

I never forgot them. And my time did come.

Vietnam Wall War Memorial

In establishing this site, I discovered that Westbury High School produced more veterans than certainly I ever knew. I was amazed after six months of statistical analysis of the membership to find that a full 65% of our classes' , 1962-1965, men served in the United States military. And you did it against a highly proficient enemy that has stabbed its daggers into the hearts of consentially managed societies since Thusydides explained the process in his archiving of the Peloppenision Wars, the crucible of democratically run civiliations, now 2500 years ago. I am uplifted. And, I'm inspired by every one of you!

In talking with those who were married to veterans, in our instance mostly of the Vietnam War era, I found out how proud the class was and is of you. This section is intended, therefore, for honoring you, your families, and other loved ones from that past time.

We also distinguish through recognition those who served in that war, or who were spouses of such people, and who continued to defend our country ever since in some additional enormously meaningful service capacity. They include federal Marshals like Kearby Swofford (US Marine Corps and class of 1965), Police Officers - James (Price) Bell (US Army and class of 1964), Firemen - Jimmie Sanders (Merchant Marine and Class of 1962), Emergency Medical Service personnel - Jimmy Lube (US Army medic and class of 1965), VA volunteers - Linda Lambright Hagerman (Navy Waiting Wife and class of 1965), Federal Judge - Larry Kelly (US Navy and class of 1964) and a host of same finely charactered people who in their avocations and professions have given of themselves in caring for our safety, our healths, our minds, and our children, and in doing so often protecting our homes, families, neighbors and loved ones.


When searching for and evaluating music for this section, I received an email from Mrs. Hagerman, who I consider to be the mother of Westbury Reunions. I will tell you more about her at another time, as she dearly deserves her own page or section for what she has done in bringing this population together over the last 30 years. In addition to that, she is directly responsible for the lessons I learned about the role of Westbury veterans in the defense, protection and love of this country.

In this correspondence, the referenced fine lady highlighted my shortcomings in design, art application, and especially representation of the truth as these 3 variables pertain to Westbury veterans. Here is a copy of Mrs. Hagerman's contribution.


No medley of all branches of the military?  The Navy, Army, Coast Guard, Air Force, and I guess Merchant Marines also had great songs.  As long as we are honoring Veterans it shouldn't be just the Marine Corps.  Yes, Administration, there are other branches of the military other than the Marine Corps. And I still like "Soldier Boy".  The Waiting Wives loved it."

So I also put that song by the Shirelles honoring Doggies onto the music selection as it was a part of our cultural response in our expressions of love for the American Vietnam veteran during 1967 - 1968. And as you see, the Waiting Wives demanded its inclusion herein.

Other Branches of the United States Military?

Yes, that sensitive fact checker may have been on to something. After researching the matter further, I found out that the Navy, which for and wherein the Marine Corps always thanked its sailors for "Driving us to the Battle," had its own history in combat. Of course, that organization's incomparable contribution to the preservation and safety of the world will only be partially told here. Albeit, you can discover it in great detail anywhere in the World Library, also noted as the Internet.

But here is a beginning of one story, the fight for survival in the Pacific. Others follow. And they go on beyond comprehension by us mortals of the inordinate sacrifices made by the men and women serving therein.

USS Franklin March 19, 1945

Of the 500 images I reviewed for the Navy's initial photo representation in this section, this picture of the USS Franklin hallmarks for me that great institution's sacrifices found at that time almost to be a common, that is, repeated occurrence during WWII. The story behind this photo numbs one with disbelief at the phenomenal courage of these men and women. The image also stood out to me because I recognized the ship to be an LPH. It was one of the classes of Navy vessels that included the carrier USS Princeton, from which 20 years later I would as a next generation veteran participate in the first combined amphibious air and ground assault operations beginning August 28 in I Corps Vietnam, 1965.

Sailing into Japan's waters on March 19, 1945, the Franklin, with its aviation squadrons on deck and preparing to launch again at the Japanese mainland, was attacked by a single enemy bomber first obfuscated in the cloud covering. When it broke into the open, the plane found  itself coincidentally atop the noted ship. The two bombs, which were dropped straight in from directly above, caused not only the structural damage shown here, but also killed in pretty much of an instant 724 personnel of the United States Navy, wounding 265.

Flying in 1944 over 50 Navy fighter missions from the famed "Ship that Wouldn't Die,"  the USS Franklin, and previous to that having flown from the decks of the USS Enterprise — the most decorated US Navy ship in WWII — bombing missions in support of the Marines at Guadalcanal, Naval Aviator Bruce Allen McGraw survived the Pacific War to become a Lt. Commander. He returned  with 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 9 Air Medals, and 2 Presidential Unit Citations in 1949 to his home in Houston, Texas, to raise the gifts of his daughters, one of whom was and is today Tana McGraw (Shaffer), a graduate of Westbury High School class of 1963.

Before that fight, another occurred with such valiant representation of fortitude, selflessness, dignity and dedication to cause that it must be noted here, especially in that its name was intended to honor our culture, the City of Houston, TX. The 2nd USS Houston, commissioned within the United States Navy as a light to later heavy cruiser shown here —

 The US Navy's Distinguished Cruiser USS Houston, 1930-1942

engaged the Japanese fleet at the onset of WWII immediately following the attack on Pearl Harbor. The naval battles and the Houston's illustrious and honored history and contributor to our heritage are reported in fact at USS Houston. But highlighting that Navy story here, the Houston's Commanding Officer, Captain Rooks was killed as the torpedoed and embattled Houston sank during its last conflict. He was accorded postumously the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Houston was then recognized with a Presidential Unit Citation for its crew's actions going above and beyond what anyone within its country asked or expected of it. With humility, connecting the tradition of meeting the call  for duty during difficult times, the Marine unit referenced above which landed from the USS Princeton, that is, in concert with the United States Navy in August, 1965, was accorded 2 Presidential Unit Citations for its contributions to humankind made over the next 2 years, 1965 - 1967, in the newer theater.

After the Battle of the Java Straights where the Houston and her captain died,  Southern California's beaches were saved at the naval, air and land Battle of Midway. At that small island, which John  Ford documented just before, during and after Japan's attack upon it, the United States Navy and US Army (were any Marines there?) turned the course of World War II. Here is the artist's drawing-photo of our Naval Aviators' views.

Every American knows this story. Our fathers dissassembled the Japanese Navy as it came again to our shores. They sank 4 carriers, 30 additional cruisers, battleships and destroyers, and cleared from the battlefield 300 aircraft. The Japanese's Empire Development Program wasn't just halted here, it was turned around and sent back across the Pacific, all the while trying to figure out what it had run into. It was the United States Navy!

In the "Pacific War" fought between 1941 and 1945, the Marine Corps lost just over 17,000 men Killed in Action. The Navy, our "drivers" as we fondly called them when on board their tasks forces and landing craft, lost more than 37,000.

Returning for one more second to the issue of inter service rivalry — for which Mrs. Hagerman's scrutiny of has no doubt necessarily called me to task, but in the process has protected these magnificent brothers and sisters from my apparent prejudices — a sign was posted above the notably Navy Aviators bar at Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. In 1943, the words read:

"The Marine Corps just isn't what it used to be.
But then, it never was.


Paying Respect to This New Era's Veterans

Mrs. Hagerman's brave, brilliant and wonderful son, Clayton Hagerman, is now defending us against another attack force, which as usual most of our peaceful citizenry don't understand, while serving as a LT JG in the United States Navy. This site honors him, her and the indomitable likes of Captain Andrew Houghton, KIA in Iraq, 2004, and his family which includes his aunt Mrs. Karon Houghton Mathews, a graduate of the Westbury High School class of 1965. Adding even today as we proceed, Jimmie (class of 62) and Linda Buck (class of 65) Sanders' son Justin has now graduated from Marine Corps boot camp, becoming part of that fine ongoing group of defenders of this country. The following is a tribute to these and all the men and women who've fought and are fighting, and who have died for us in this era.

Here's To the Heroes
by The Ten Tenors

Pause Music

Tell Us Your Stories.
Or if for some reason you can't, or won't,
then let those who can, do it for you and for our benefits!

I'm putting this section together now to let you know that it is coming soon. I will make it better! This music and these photos function only as temporary place holders. I'll add various media for displaying this, that is, our, virtual history as it can be employed in conjunction with Westbury personal resources. Westbury memoriabilia like private and public photos and appropriately publishable letters or articles from that era exemplify "resources."

You might first place your descriptions in your individual profiles and then publish them here, or vice versa.  I'll add this section's writing options later when I have a little more time.

Westbury Alumni Family Section for Veterans In Memorium

Responding to offline discussions, I've recently (April, 2010) opened a section in the Discussion Forums for Westbury High School alumni (classes 1962-1965) so that they may tell the stories of their loved ones who were veterans, and who are no longer with us, except in memory. The veteran may have been a father who served at Guadalcanal, in Europe, in Korea, or the Mideast, or he or she may have been a nurse in Vietnam, or represented our country during times of peace, but no matter that hoped for safety was still always vigilant to protect us. The time and circumstance of the veteran's death does not delimit  the criteria for submission of the family's tribute. He or she need not have died in war, or even while in the military. This section honors those family members and their loved ones, American veterans wherever they served and whenever they left us.

Guarding The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Aside from the disclaimer (Site Author's Message) accorded in the final heading, these dedicated representatives of America's finest, the United States Army guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, close this section letting us all know that American veterans today are on guard not just of that soldier's remains, or even only our culture and individual lives, but what remains of the world's hope for continuing and ever brightening light and all that is good that comes from it.

Thanks to Westbury High School's Waiting Wives — 1965 through 1973 — for sending
this image of the United States Army's Guard of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Site Author's Message!

This site only Honors Our Veterans. It does not support political exploitation of the trauma, loss and sacrifices that they, their families and the country made during times of war, especially those which attended the Vietnam era. Furthermore, thought constructs or other ideologies which defame the veteran persona and individual character have been, are and will always be addressed herein declaritively. I preclude them from this discussion, referencing them to the rest of the Internet.

There are places in the discussion forum for discussion of this policy as it elicits or in other ways stimulates controversy. But all the erudite spin available to Western civiliation will not allow me to ever again tolerate defamation of this class of people.

To support the epistemological needs of the first perspective, meaning to support our endeavor to honor veterans, please make ideas, music, imagery and creative expression available to us in order that this section eventually represent the best that we can do to thank these men, women and their loved ones.

They've given us freedom. They've given us life. In this esteemed honorage of virtue and valor, we can give them love. I know for a fact, that is all they've ever wanted from America, if any reciprocation of their gifts was even expected or otherwise contemplated.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he today that sheds his blood with me,
Shall be my brother."

Wm Shakespeare, Henry V

Semper Fi



Sources and Historic Archives

(Also supporting future and yet published work or other articles-slide music presentations provided or being provided on this site)

USS HOUSTON 1930-1942 "Galloping Ghost of the Java Coast" with two Battle Stars and one Presidential Unit Citation. The largest US Navy warship in the Far East sent immediately following Pearl Harbor in February, 1942, to hold against the Japanese onslaught taking everything to Australia.

Battle of Midway: Here is the 1942 Academy Award winning presentation of the Battle of Midway as it was originally filmed by then Commander (later to be Admiral) John Ford with a 16 mm camera while he was on the island during the full Japanese attack.



USS Franklin "The Ship that Wouldn't Die!"

"Magnificent 7th Marines"; Victor Vilianos archives the 7th Marines' introduction into Vietnam at Chu Lai in August, 1965.

St. Crispian Day Speech from Henry V.; Wm Shakespeare author; Kenneth Branagh artist; The Battle of Agincourt, October 25, 1415

Non Nobis and Te Deum Henry V.; Wm Shakespeare


Westbury Alumni Family Section for Veterans In Memorium

Here's To the Heroes by the Ten Tenors was referred by Ralph Corry, Web Administrator of Timpson High School, Timpson, Texas.



Ode to the Music Played on This Site

In accordance with Texas high school football tradition from our era, the early 1960s, we invited our competitor for the evening to play its school anthem in front of our students, and no matter, or particularly due to, the more intense levels of competition we all endured. So in keeping with that honorable spirit of openness, fairness, and even showing some respect for the opposition, I do the same here playing some of the West's — as Westbury Rebels ascended into adulthood and faced a combative world — and emphasizing America's and our school competitors' anthems alongside ours. In all music searches, however, although I did acquire the Soviet National Anthem, the Germans' "Panzerlied," and the Spaniards' "Deguello" (played by Mexico at the Battle of the Alamo), I was neither able to find songs for the Viet Cong, North Vietnamese, North Korean, and Chinese People's Volunteer Armies, Hezbollah-Hamas-Taliban  — the more recent constituents comprising Al Qaeda-ISIS-Boko Haram — nor the Bellaire Cardinals.