Type 2 Diabetic. Cyclist Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rain Cape, Soupaneur 2013-3, Douglas MacArthur

12/09/2013 35F #212 17m

Started riding in the rain at 35F this afternoon, so: rain capes! Because: rain capes! There's really very few days when a rain cape is called for, and you also happen to have a rain cape on hand.

What's great about wearing a rain cape is it keeps you truly dry (with good fenders and booties) and at a comfortable temperature, without building up a personal biosphere of warm persiration within your waterproof rain suit. The downsides of the rain cape are the large sail surface presented to the wind, the absolutely ludicrous personal appearance, and there's always Edna's advice from The Incredibles (2004): No Capes!

Took the 16th Street Bridge to the Strip District, ended up at Pho Van at 2120 Penn Avenue for Soupaneur visit 3.

As you can tell, one of us is riding in Christmas-elf garb.

I've never had a chance to enjoy Vietnamese food before and this was an excellent introduction. I had brisket-beef soup, it was very good and enough to make a meal out of. S had chicken soup.

Once fortified, we rode across Grant Street to the Jail Trail, to the Hot Metal Bridge, to the South Side Trail. Ft. Pitt and Ft. Duquesne Bridges to get back to the North Side.

Stopped to check out the just-dedicated World War II memorial, designed around a steel-and-glass theme. The memorial is very well done, but I am puzzled at the Duty-Honor-Country inscription on the entranceway obelisk - why the invocation of Douglas MacArthur?

Certainly, WW2 ended with MacArthur's acceptance of the Japanese surrender. But MacArthur was removed from command during the Korean War (1951) by President Truman for disobeying an order and publicly challenging the President's strategy.

The selection of a dismissed general's shibboleth is perplexing. Surely they didn't choose it for symmetry with three rivers, three words?

Addendum I had a very nice email from the primary artist for the memorial who explained that Duty, Honor, Country is the motto of West Point, and predates MacArthur's speech. A veteran's committee has selected the phrase for the memorial as representative of all who served.


  1. Perhaps they're not attributed solely to MacArthur? http://www.usma.edu/news/SitePages/Coat%20of%20Arms%20and%20Motto.aspx

  2. Top marks, R-R! I received a very gracious email from the lead artist/architect explaining that Duty, Honor, Country is the motto of West Point, embedded into it's Coat of Arms. It was adopted in 1898 and predates the speech by MacArthur. These three words were approved by the Veteran's content committee as applicable to all that served. It was very kind of him to answer a question from out of the blue-ether, I thought.