"All Earthly Glory is Fleeting"
On D-Day, Lt. Gen. Omar Bradley commanded the First
Army. Informed of the crisis developing
on Omaha Beach, the general went ashore to see
for himself if the situation was so dire as to require the abandonment of the
beach. Even as he landed, however, the
troops had begun their heroic movement off the beach. After a short inspection, Bradley boarded a
landing craft to return to the USS Augusta
(CA-31), which was serving as his
floating headquarters, while delivering hundreds of rounds of 8-inch shell into
the enemy's defenses.
As the landing craft neared the cruiser, a crowd of sailors
could be seen at the rail, trying to get a look at its passengers. Perhaps it was best that Bradley was a man
little interested in glory or the admiration of his fellow men, for as the landing
craft came alongside the cruiser, he heard someone cry out, "Oh, nuts!
It's only General
It seems that a rumor had spread aboard the ship that a boatload
of German prisoners was being brought aboard, and the men all wanted to get a
look at the enemy.
Bradley would later record the incident with some relish in
his memoirs, A Soldier's Story (Modern Library War)
Marcus Fabius Buteo Restores the Senate
The first two years of the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.)
brilliant commander Hannibal Barca inflict a series of devastating defeats on
the Romans. At the Trebbia
(December 22, 218 B.C.) the Romans may
have lost 25,000 troops, while at Lake Trasimenus (June 24, 217 B.C.) they lost another 15,000, and at
Cannae (August 2, 216 B.C.) perhaps 40,000 or more; so numerous were the
casualties at this last battle that Hannibal is said to have sent back to
Carthage several bushels gold rings taken from the fingers of dead Roman knights. The flower of Roman manhood had perished in
these two years of slaughter, including two sitting consuls and two former
consuls, numerous lower ranking magistrates, and more than half the 300 members
of the Senate.
In the aftermath of their defeat at Cannae,
the Romans named Marcus Fabius Buteo Dictator for the purpose of appointing new
members to replenish the depleted ranks of the Senate. A member of the patrician nobility, Fabius,
about 70, had served during the First Punic War (264-241 B.C.), including a
term as Consul in 245 B.C., and was the senior living former censor, having
held that honor in 241 B.C. He also had
the reputation of being a paragon of traditional Roman virtue and discipline,
having actually exercised his right as pater
familias to have his own son executed for a crime around 230 B.C.
Fabius appointed 177 men to the Senate. In choosing men for this high honor, Fabius
set up a simple set of criteria, selecting those who had,
elective office, but had not yet been admitted to the Senate, which could only
be done by the Censors, the next pair of whom would not be elected for two
elected to office but not yet assumed their posts,
an enemy champion in single combat, securing his arms and armor as trophies, or
awarded the “Civic Crown” for saving the life of a citizen in battle
Fabius' criteria could hardly be argued with, since the men
chosen had clearly gained some distinction, and the guidelines by no means
favored patricians or the very wealthy.
Having completed his task, Fabius promptly resigned, to
return to his place in the Senate, where he served until his death in about 210