Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Honoring Webster, N.Y., Firefighers Killed On Duty; RIP Charles Durning: Actor & War Hero; Sen. Inouye Medal of Honor Recipient Dies; RIP Police Officer Jimmie Norman

"I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine." Kurt Vonnegut

Webster, N.Y., Firefighters Ambushed

On Christmas Eve, a crazed gunman ambushed firefighters responding to a house fire, murdering two and injuring two others.

The slain firefighters included Webster Police Lt. Mike Chiapperini, 43, also a volunteer firefighter and Tomasz Kaczowka, 19, who worked as a dispatcher. Two weeks ago Chiapperini was named "Firefighter of the Year."

The two other injured firefighters include Joseph Hofsetter and Theordore Scardino.

Charles Durning: Actor and War Hero Died on Christmas Eve

Most Americans know Charles Durning as a great Hollywood character actor who appeared in The Sting, Tootsie, Dog Day Afternoon and countless other films.

But Durning is known for something even more important and heroic. He served in the Army in WWII. He was also the recipient of the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and The Purple Heart.

 Senator Daniel Inouye (D-H) RIP

Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii died last week. He was 88. He was first elected to Congress in 1962 and was the Senate's most senior member.

But here's something you might not know about Sen. Inouye. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism during WWII.

During WWII, he was part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit made up of second-generation Japanese-Americans. In 1944, his regiment was sent to Italy and France.

On April 21, 1945, near Tuscany, Italy, he was seriously wounded. While wounded, he took out an enemy machine gun nest with hand grenades and his machine gun. Refusing treatment for his wounds, he rallied his troops and took out a second machine-gun nest.

While still seriously wounded, he crawled toward another German bunker. It was then when a rifle-grenade struck him in his right elbow, almost severing his arm. Even as his men tried to come to his aid, he told them to stay back. He took out another grenade, and, as the German soldier stood up to shoot at him, he threw the grenade with his good arm and destroyed the bunker.

If that was not enough, he continued fighting. He was wounded again in his leg and then tumbled down the hill losing consciousness. He later had his right arm amputated.

Sen. Inouye was the first Japanese-American to serve in both the House and Senate.

Cpl. Jimmie Norman, Belaire Police Department (TX) End of Watch: Monday, Dec. 24, 2012

Cpl. Jimmie Norman was shot and killed after making a traffic stop on Christmas Eve. After a short pursuit,  Cpl. Norman caught up to the subject who was hiding behind a dumpster in a service station. A struggle ensued while Norman was attempting to place the subject in custody. During the struggle, the service station manager came to the assistance of the officer. During the struggle, the subject pulled out a handgun and fatally wounded both men. The subject was later apprehended after shooting at responding officers. He was shot and wounded and placed into custody.

Cpl. Norman was a 23-year veteran of the department. He is survived by his wife and children.

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