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  • For a writer, this is a sorry state of affairs. When asked, I find it nearly impossible to describe our trip to Antarctica. This was truly bucket list for me, something, though possible, I never thought probable.

    And then. . . I was there.
  • Refuge roads, lands and trails remain open for all normally allowed activities. All meetings, programs and activities on the calendar are cancelled or postponed until further notice.
  • A cold house of my childhood could be converted into a warm home with a pot of hot soup. It was an inexpensive type of central heating, and the varieties were infinite. I am a survivor of Mama's molten-lava treatment. One spoonful of her soup and I became a dragon, puffing smoke, some of it through my ears.

  • The end of a calendar year is the proper occasion for taking stock and recognizing those who have made outstanding contributions. Nominees for the 90th Academy Awards in film have been made, and we will find out the winners on March 4. There are numerous other annual awards, however, and one set I find especially interesting is the Darwin awards, named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution. They memorialize individuals who improved the human gene poll by removing themselves from it in ways that exemplify exceptionally stupid behavior.
  • 1968 – Vietnam War: Battle of Khe Sanh: One of the most publicized and controversial battles of the war begins. The Battle of Khe Sanh (21 January – 9 July 1968) was conducted in the Khe Sanh area of northwestern Quảng Trị Province, Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), during the Vietnam War. The main US forces defending Khe Sanh Combat Base (KSCB) were two regiments of US Marines supported by elements from the United States Army and the United States Air Force. There were also a small number of South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) troops. These were pitted against two to three divisional-size elements of the North Vietnamese Army. The US command in Saigon initially believed that combat operations around KSCB during 1967 were part of a series of minor North Vietnamese offensives in the border regions. That appraisal was later altered when it was discovered that the NVA was moving major forces into the area. In response, US forces were built up before the NVA isolated the Marine base. Once the base came under siege a series of actions were fought over a period of five months. During this time, KSCB and the hilltop outposts around it were subjected to constant North Vietnamese artillery, mortar, and rocket attacks, and several infantry assaults. To support the Marine base, a massive aerial bombardment campaign (Operation Niagara) was launched by the United States Air Force. Over 100,000 tons of bombs were dropped by US aircraft and over 158,000 artillery rounds were fired in defense of the base. In March 1968, an overland relief expedition (Operation Pegasus) was launched by a combined Marine–Army/South Vietnamese task force that eventually broke through to the Marines at Khe Sanh. American commanders considered the defense of Khe Sanh a success, but shortly after the siege was lifted the decision was made to dismantle the base rather than risk similar battles in the future. On 19 June 1968, the evacuation and destruction of KSCB began. Amidst heavy shelling, the Marines attempted to salvage what they could before destroying what remained as they were evacuated. In the aftermath, the North Vietnamese proclaimed a victory at Khe Sanh, while US forces claimed that they had withdrawn as the base was no longer required. Historians have observed that the Battle of Khe Sanh may have distracted American and South Vietnamese attention from the buildup of Viet Cong forces in the south before the early 1968 Tet Offensive. Nevertheless, the US commander during the battle, General William Westmoreland, maintained that the true intention of Tet was to distract forces from Khe Sanh.

  • The 11th Annual Heights Car Show will be 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Saturday, April 7 at The Heights in Richardson, benefiting the Network Food Pantry. Spectators are free.