Veteran’s Day And Remembrance Day

As most of you know, today is Veterans Day in the USA, and Remembrance Day in countries of the British Commonwealth, and many European countries as well.  In most of the rest of the world, the red poppy is the symbol used to commemorate the day, with a moment of silence at 11:00 AM local time, symbolic of the WWI Armistice starting at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

At varying locations around the US, there will be ceremonies of varying nature.  If I go to one, which is unlikely, I prefer the quiet ones.  I will spend today quietly with my wife and children because they gave up so much over the years, and while I try to show them daily how much I appreciate them and love them, this day is (for me, anyway) a special day to recognize their sacrifices.

I do not and never have believed that one had to serve in the military to be of service to one’s country or one’s fellow man.  I know plenty of teachers who work for decades for shitty pay and public mistreatment in a job that is probably far more critical to our national security than anything I ever did with a rifle.  And while I agree that military spending (it hasn’t been Defense spending since the collapse of the Soviet Union) must be cut, and can probably be cut a lot deeper than most people think, I want to take a moment to remind you all that the costs for Veterans’ benefits, military retirement, Veterans’ healthcare and all of the after-affects of war are only going up for the next few years.  Taking proper care of the men and women who’ve served is a national moral imperative.  For no other reason than because we as a society promised everybody who ever raised their right hand that we would do that very thing.

Thank you to my brothers and sisters who have served, and special thanks to the families who carried on in their absence and waited for them, sometimes in vain.  Thank you to the rest of you for everything you do everyday to make the US a country and a people worth serving and fighting for.

http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/11/11/remembrance-day-across-canada.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15710473

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/11/11/15079818-your-thank-you-to-veterans-is-welcomed-but-not-always-comfortably-received?lite






193 replies
  1. 1
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Thank you to my brothers and sisters who have served, and special thanks to the families who carried on in their absence and waited for them, sometimes in vain. Thank you to the rest of you for everything you do everyday to make the US a country and a people worth fighting for.

    Beautiful. Thank YOU, too.

  2. 2
    Mark S. says:

    That was very moving. Thank you, Sooner.

  3. 3
    Maude says:

    It has been expanded and diluted over the years. It is a day of sorrow and remembering the nightmare of WWI.

  4. 4
    Bunt says:

    Not a day goes by that I regret serving, mostly because I got to make friends with many people like you Sooner. Cheers brother.

  5. 5
    Brachiator says:

    A very moving tribute. Well done.

  6. 6
    dr. bloor says:

    Thank you, Sooner.

  7. 7
    dr. bloor says:

    @Maude: Completely unaware of the holiday this Monday, I began reading G. J. Meyer’s “A World Undone” this week, basically a one-volume overview of WW I for Military History Dummies (like me).

    What a colossal clusterf*ck and failing of the human race, in every imaginable way and at a scale never before seen. Good God.

  8. 8
    divF says:

    (reposted from a dead thread below)

    Veteran’s day has always had a special meaning in my family. It was my father’s birthday (he died in 2010), and as a career Army NCO it was doubly his holiday. In addition, his father, an Italian immigrant, became a citizen by serving in the US Army during WW I, with a cost to his health and a shortened life from exposure to mustard gas.

  9. 9
    Anya says:

    Thank you for your service and sacrifice, Soonergrunt!

    I always saw the army types as killing machines until I read Joshue Key’s memoir: The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq. Now I am more sympathetic and appreciative of the sacrifices of individual solders and their loved ones.

  10. 10
    NotMax says:

    Veterans’ healthcare and all of the after-affects of war are only going up for the next few years.

    Too big a chunk directly a consequence of the fiasco that was undertaken in Iraq.

    (NOT laying blame on those in service.)

  11. 11
    aimai says:

    Soonergrunt, I’ve been following your online career since you were posting on dkos originally and I feel filled with gratitude for your writing, as well as your service. Big hugs to you and your family on this and every day.

    aimai

  12. 12
    Raven says:

    Back atcha doggie.

  13. 13
    Steeplejack says:

    “[. . .] the red poppy is the symbol used to commemorate the day [. . .].”

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.
    __
    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    —John McCrae

    Peace to all veterans present and future. And a special prayer for Uncle Dean, killed in Vietnam in 1964. He left a wife and two young kids.

  14. 14
    Thlayli says:

    November 11 is not Rememberance Day in this country because we already had a day set aside for that purpose (in May). Today is dedicated to the living veterans.

  15. 15
    Betty Cracker says:

    Well said, Sooner, and thank you for your service.

  16. 16
    WereBear says:

    We MUST take care of our veterans, since we did make that promise.

    I am mentally joining a West Coast prayer that begins at 2 pm.

  17. 17
    Miki says:

    @Raven: And back atchoo, too, Raven. (USA, 1974-1977, 96B2LGM)

  18. 18
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Welcome home, Soonergrunt. Thank you for mentioning military families. I was a military brat and I later served in combat. Combat was easier on the mind and over more quickly.

  19. 19
    Maude says:

    @dr. bloor:
    I have read a lot of WWI history. For years I could not understand how it started and why. It was sheer insanity that began it and continued it.
    I have blocked out the British general’s name that kept repeating the same trench maneuvers over and over. He was pals with the King.
    They still find unexploded ordinance in Europe from WWI.

  20. 20
    Maude says:

    @Steeplejack:
    Wonderful and thank you for posting this.

  21. 21
    Emma says:

    Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
    In a mad world of blood, death and fire
    And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
    But around me the corpses piled higher
    Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
    And when I woke up in my hospital bed
    And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
    Never knew there were worse things than dying
    For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
    All around the green bush far and near
    For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
    No more waltzing Matilda for me.

    So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
    And they shipped us back home to Australia
    The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
    Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
    And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
    I looked at the place where my legs used to be
    And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
    To grieve and to mourn and to pity
    And the band played Waltzing Matilda
    As they carried us down the gangway
    But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
    Then turned all their faces away.

    And now every April I sit on my porch
    And I watch the parade pass before me
    And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
    Reliving old dreams of past glory
    And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
    The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
    And the young people ask, “What are they marching for?”
    And I ask myself the same question
    And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
    And the old men answer to the call
    But year after year their numbers get fewer
    Some day no one will march there at all

    Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
    Who’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me
    And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
    Who’ll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?

    Every time we send them to war we kill our best. And we forget we did it and do it all over again.

  22. 22
    MikeBoyScout says:

    All, there’s probably a VA facility not very far from where you live.

    Please, find time between now and next November 11th to visit with or in other ways lend your support.

    And to my Okie brother, right back atcha.

  23. 23
    Raven says:

    As many of you know, vets issues are important to me as well. My doctoral dissertation was about the GED and, necessarily, the GI Bill. When I went in the Army, 46 years ago yesterday, Project 100,000 was just starting. From 1966-69 we took 100,000 men into the military that did not meet basic military requirements. Combine this with draft deferments for those in college and you had a witches brew of inequality rooted in socioeconomic status. Of the many valuable lessons I learned in my three years in the big green machine was that educational and economic disadvantage did not equal moral or character disadvantage. A good buddy of mine, Nam vet as well, likes to send me information lauding vets and, by intonation, complaining about how we were treated when we came home. He sent me one this week and I sent him this documentary “The Quiet Mutiny” about the decline of morale among the grunts late in the war. I celebrate the service of anyone who raised their hand a stepped forward but I will not whitewash the waste and stupidity of the Vietnam war. Happy Veterans Day and keep up the fire.

  24. 24
    Ben Franklin says:

    We don’t just support the military when active duty.

    You watched our backs, now we watch out for you.

    Thanks for giving….now it’s our turn.

    http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/

  25. 25
    Taylor says:

    @Maude:

    I have blocked out the British general’s name that kept repeating the same trench maneuvers over and over.

    Haig.

    The generals at the time did not know what to do against barbed wire and machine guns.

    Patton, Rommel and Zhukov (in the next world conflict) figured out that the tank was the modern cavalry.

  26. 26

    Thank you Sooner, John, Raven, Omnes, and everyone else here that reads this that served. I spent a chunk of my morning thanking vets on FB, friends and family, and kicked in $25 to IAVA. Thanks again, for writing that blank check.

  27. 27
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Raven: And you are absolutely right to point that out at every opportunity. I think sometimes, having spent my career in the all-volunteer Army, that I forget that we had a draft and that for a significant part of that, it was tilted to compel the economically and socially disadvantaged into service that others, primarily through the luck of being born relatively well off, managed to avoid. And while people like me intentionally used the volunteer force to our advantage in that economic respect, there was and has been an aspect of the poor doing the blood work for the rich.

  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    Sooner, That was gorgeous.
    My best friend joined the Marines, went to Vietnam, served for his year there as a clerk. Had a few rocket attacks on his base but never fired his rifle. He has told me that he doesn’t feel like he deserved to be called a veteran because of all those men and women who were in battle and he wasn’t. I told him that many of us who joined were not sent to battle, we could have been, we would have gone even if we didn’t want to go, but we weren’t. We still served, we went where we were told, we did what we were trained to do, we did what was asked of us. We each serve in our own ways. That makes us vets. I still think of the men I met in hospital, the men and women I see at the VA, the ones with damaged bodies and brains and the friends who no longer have even those and wonder if it was worth it and no, it wasn’t. But it is what we do as members of a society, we help each other in what ways we can.

  29. 29
    Maude says:

    @Taylor:
    He didn’t know anything. He sat in comfort and sent the soldiers to die. What he did was to repeat the same wrong thing over and over. Nothing was gained the first time. He is truly hated.
    No one could stop him because of King Edward.

  30. 30
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    As a military brat, as someone who has had father, brother, uncles and cousins in war zones,this day is very important to me.

    Thank you soonergrunt and all our military past and present, for your service.

  31. 31
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @dr. bloor: World War I never been well taught in this country, the mass slaughter of men, so significant, was the reason commanders like Montgomery were unfairly tagged by the likes of Patton as timid. We on this side on the pond don’t know that some of these battles had casualties were equal or greater than Vietnam, and these had no advantage in ground gained. Also WWI produced some of the best writing about war that was very realistic, Like All Quiet On The Western Front By Remarque, the poetry of Wilfred Owen, even J.R.R Tolkein used his WWI experiences in the battles of his Lord Of The Rings

  32. 32
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Thanks, sarge, and thank you. I wish I had some of your clones as my squad leaders when I was nominally in charge of a platoon…but my PSG really ran the thing. I learned a lot from him.

    The Great War. The war to end all wars. How unfortunate it was not to be.

    The Germans finally, at long last, learned their lesson about wars 25 or so years later, although the German people were, at first, not very enthusiastic about the invasion of Poland. They cheered up somewhat after the Fall of France, but then Barbarossa came, and brought down destruction on them that they had not experienced in The Great War. That experience, along with the shame of The Holocaust, has transformed them, for the better.

    The Civil War and its destruction is too distant for most Americans (particularly the neo-Confederate types) to reflect on, and Iraq was experienced by too few to have a transformative effect on anyone but those in the military itself. It’s so bad that Michelle Bachmann actually prorposed, in public, that the VA was overfunded and needed to take some cuts, all in the name of the warped ideology of “conservatism”…the ideology that cannot fail, that can only be failed, as the Marquis du Mittens did on Tuesday last.

  33. 33
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Taylor:

    All of those guys owe their names as innovators to Guderian, who came up with it first.

  34. 34
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but Roger Waters and others are helping wounded warriors with music.

    Music Corp

  35. 35
    PurpleGirl says:

    Sooner and Raven and other BJers who served — thank you for your service, for your writings and clear thoughts about our military history and reminding us of what we owe those who have served.

    Sooner — a heartfelt and beautiful post.

    A friend’s brother volunteered for the Army during the Vietnam war. While he survived, he was injured physically and emotionally. Eventually he became a peer counselor with the VA and was dedicated to helping his fellow vets. Eventually, too, his wounds got him in the end — he died of Hep C, probably contracted during one of his hospitalizations. When I think of him, I mourn not only his loss but the loss of so many others and what they could have given to their families, local communities and the country.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Steeplejack:

    Thanks Steeplejack.

    One of the most profound moments of television, ever, is the end of the final episode of Blackadder Goes Forth.

  37. 37
    Maude says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:
    We need to take care of our vets who are ill, homeless, unemployed and suffering.
    Romney would have gone into Iran and Syria and sat home in comfort.

    Thanks to all here and everywhere who served our country. I have very deep feelings about this. I was and am female and couldn’t be drafted to Viet Nam. I would have died of fright like a rabbit on the way over.

  38. 38
    jon says:

    We cannot afford to cut defense spending! We need a space elevator so we can have solar-powered platforms that can deliver tons of molten metal with the force of megatons of explosives! We have to have a missile defense that can stop asteroids, wedding parties, and Martians! We need at least thirty more aircraft carrier groups! At least two for each Great Lake! And we need exosuits for all our troops! If they can’t operate in hot climates, blizzards, a mile underwater, and survive a fall from the space platforms, we’re letting our troops down! Why do you hate Freedom? Why? We must have an army of extraordinary magnitude!

  39. 39
    HRA says:

    Thank you to Sooner and Sooner family as well as all the vets here along with their families.

    Semper Fi from G.

  40. 40

    @jon:

    You shut ‘cher goddamn mouth about the space elevator. Some people actually would like to see that.

  41. 41
    Raven says:

    John Reed, West Point Airborne Ranger and Vietnam Signal officer on the travesty of the Wounded Warriors hustle.

    Which is it, guys? Is a Marine a good-looking guy in a dress blue uniform with white gloves tossing an M-14 rifle with a chrome-plated bayonet to another such Marine, or is he a pathetic, broken man with missing limbs, inability to speak, talking about brain or retina damage or suicidal impulses? Which is it? Is one of you lying? The two commercials certainly seem about polar opposites, yet they are each talking abouth the same thing—U.S. military personnel.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    A current TV show that addresses the aftermath of WWI is “Boardwalk Empire,” where a lot of the gang members are veterans. I haven’t been watching, but when I saw it in the previews, I knew exactly why one of the characters wears a tin mask on half of his face.

  43. 43
    Steeplejack says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    That is a powerful ending. Reminds me that I need to get the boxed set, which also includes the hilarious Blackadder take on “A Christmas Carol.”

  44. 44
    PurpleGirl says:

    D. H. Lawrence wrote three versions of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (version two published later under a different name). Although infamous for the sexual episodes, the novel was intended to be an anti-war polemic. Lawrence was writing about the physical, emotional and mental damage veterans experienced from World War I. Lord Chatterley came home disabled and unable to have sex among other problems. I prefer the second version (published as John Thomas and Lady Jane) because the anti-war theme is more pronounced.

  45. 45
    jon says:

    @freelancer (iPhone): No kidding. It would be an amazing and wonderful thing to have. But it would also more-or-less belong to the military, or it will never be.

    That, or Brazil makes it, since it almost certainly needs to be built on the equator.

  46. 46
    Raven says:

    @Mnemosyne: He’s a great character. John Huston, nephew of Angelica. The first season he and Jimmy, another vet, meet in a rehab hospital and walk out in disgust. He was a sniper and has a great code of justice he lives by. Don’t fuck with him fo sho GI.

  47. 47
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: Me too. That’s an extraordinary show. And I think Mr. Huston is doing a fantastic job with it. Just those little trembles in his voice, and the way he talks, to reflect the damage that would be there… a real pro.

  48. 48
    Maude says:

    @freelancer (iPhone):
    Did Mittens get a new car garage?

  49. 49
    Raven says:

    @WereBear: It’s also interesting that Capone was a fake vet. When I heard his line about the scar being from combat it set off an alarm. The google revealed that he told that bullshit story often. Fuckin phonies are everywhere.

    “Capone, however, would attribute the scar to wounds he received in battle while fighting with the famous “lost battalion” in France during World War I (the fact that Capone never spent one minute in the army was a minor point, apparently).”

  50. 50
    PurpleGirl says:

    Still relevant nearly a hundred years later:

    Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967). Counter-Attack and Other Poems. 1918.

    14. Does it Matter?

    Does it matter?—losing your legs?…
    For people will always be kind,
    And you need not show that you mind
    When the others come in after hunting
    To gobble their muffins and eggs.

    Does it matter?—losing your sight?…
    There’s such splendid work for the blind;
    And people will always be kind,
    As you sit on the terrace remembering
    And turning your face to the light.

    Do they matter?—those dreams from the pit?…
    You can drink and forget and be glad,
    And people won’t say that you’re mad;
    For they’ll know you’ve fought for your country
    And no one will worry a bit.

  51. 51
    JPL says:

    Sooner, Let me join the chorus and thank you for your service and for all those on this site and others who served.
    Fiscal cliff or no fiscal cliff we owe our vets more than just words.

  52. 52
    WereBear says:

    @Raven: I understand it was a bar fight; started over a girl. But I am unsurprised Capone would lie about it :)

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    WWI was pretty fucking traumatic for Americans, as well, but the censorship of films that started in the mid-1930s suppressed a lot of it from our memory, just as it suppressed a lot of the trauma from WWII. How many people remember that The Best Years of Our Lives won multiple Academy Awards in 1946 and was all about WWII veterans having trouble with PTSD and war wounds? It was all shoved down the memory hole by the Cold War.

    A lot of the Pre-Code movies of the 1930s referenced WWI and veterans, and not in a dismissive way. I’ve posted this a million times before, but the final number of the otherwise goofy comedy Gold Diggers of 1933 is the immensely powerful “Remember My Forgotten Man.”

  54. 54
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    Hmmm. Somewhat angry ‘I’m a Viet Nam disabled Vet, BFD…”

    I guess because conservatives want to dismantle the VA, and replace with ‘charity’ the whole idea is verklempt.

    Identity politics.

  55. 55
    mamayaga says:

    Thanks for this, Sooner, and especially for emphasizing the obligation to care for people who take on dire risks for the rest of us. Although I am not at all in favor of stupid wars, going back to Vietnam, I believe that when people willingly put themselves in harm’s way for this country, our duty to them does not end, ever. This is another bullet we dodged with the defeat of Romney — Republican eagerness to pursue war for frivolous reasons and simultaneous reluctance to be taxed to pay to care for the people who carry them out.

    I worked for the VA during the Bush years, and the political incentive to minimize the costs of the two wars in the public’s eyes put the VA into very serious trouble. At one point the VA was running 4 billion in the red and no one knew about it. In the end Sec. Principi informed Congress about the shortfall, apparently against Bush’s orders, and was fired for it.

    War in Iran was definitely a gleam in Romney’s eye, and probably intervention in Syria as well. With all the trumped up ballyhoo over the deficit, do you think the VA would have gotten the funds to deal with the consequences?

  56. 56
    Bago says:

    @jon: We need a space elevator to cheaply move tonnage of gear out into orbit to assemble the machines that will get us trans-planetary. One rogue asteroid and we’re all dinosaurs.

    I mean sweet jubblies, a perterbutation of atmospherics on the east coast cost us billions of dollars and at least a hundred lives, and that was the properly managed response to the event. Humanity needs a backup planet, and the infrastructure to support it.

  57. 57
    Chris says:

    @Maude:

    nationalist posturing and insanity, much like you see here these days.

    You know what, though? I’ve always wondered how the world wars are seen in the developed world. To us, it’s an almost apocalyptic tragedy. But I wouldn’t be surprised if others saw it as a blessing, what with the Masters Of The Universe finally destroying themselves and making it possible for independence movements to gain ground.

  58. 58
    Raven says:

    @Ben Franklin: He’s got a bunch of stuff on there. The essay about bullshit medals is how I found him. With all his training he ended up in a signal unit like me and any close calls were during convoys, like me. I love it when he says the Southern West Pointers call the “Memorial Wall” the “Monument to Southern Marksmanship”.

  59. 59
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Happy Veterans Day

  60. 60
    AA+ Bonds says:

    .
    .

    ‘WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD’: Capitol Hill probe into Benghazi attack will include questions on Petraeus, FBI

    Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein says investigation into attack on US Consulate also will address why FBI failed to notify committee about former CIA Director David Petraeus’ affair.

    ^ top headline on FoxNews.com right now

  61. 61
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Chris:

    You know what, though? I’ve always wondered how the world wars are seen in the developed world. To us, it’s an almost apocalyptic tragedy. But I wouldn’t be surprised if others saw it as a blessing, what with the Masters Of The Universe finally destroying themselves and making it possible for independence movements to gain ground.

    In Vietnam there is the sense of tragedy but also a great deal of this, in part because the Communist Viet Minh considered us valued allies at the time

    To me, the perspective still most lacking among many Americans is the Russian one – WWII is known as the Great Patriotic War over there, and frankly, they earned it

  62. 62
    bemused senior says:

    I can’t pick up the phone and call my WWII vet father and career military officer on Veterans Day, because he passed away in 2007. But “my favorite veteran”, as I would always ask for in those phone calls, was brave (many combat decorations and many unsung examples of bravery), honorable, and not least a lifetime FDR Democrat who taught all his kids by example to stand up for the underdog and to be suspicious of taking the easy path when presented with a decision. The last Democratic convention I watched with him included watching Obama speak in 2004. He was so enthusiastic about him. He would have been so happy to see 2008 and 2012. I love and miss you Dad.

  63. 63
    Steeplejack says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The Best Years of Our Lives is an excellent movie, surprisingly underrated despite the acclaim it has received. Nothing sugar-coated, and great acting all around.

    Just checked TCM, and they are dropping the ball tomorrow! No war or veteran movies except From Here to Eternity at 10:00 p.m. EST. This in marked contrast to their Memorial Day and Fourth of July programming.

  64. 64
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Raven:

    John Reed, West Point Airborne Ranger and Vietnam Signal officer on the travesty of the Wounded Warriors hustle.

    John Derbyshire of National Review described the opposite focus perfectly in an article about our inability to use commonsense profiling to prevent terror attacks:

    Enemy of the people

  65. 65
    joel hanes says:

    I was one of the last men drafted, in 1972; the draft ended in Feb or Mar 1973.

    Never saw combat, thank the FSM, but served with many guys still carrying VietNam wounds in their bodies and heads and hearts.

    Here’s a favorite poem.

    ————-

    The Loneliness of the Military Historian

    Confess: it’s my profession
    that alarms you
    This is why few people ask me to dinner,
    though Lord knows I don’t go out of my way to be scary.
    I wear dresses of sensible cut
    and unalarming shades of beige,
    I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser’s:
    no prophetess mane of mine
    complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters.
    If my eyes roll and I mutter,
    if my arms are gloved in blood right up to the elbow,
    if I clutch at my heart and scream in horror
    like a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene,
    I do it in private and nobody sees
    but the bathroom mirror.

    In general I might agree with you:
    women should not contemplate war,
    should not weigh tactics impartially,
    or evade the word _enemy_,
    or view both sides and denounce nothing.
    Women should march for peace,
    or hand out white feathers to inspire bravery,
    spit themselves on bayonets
    to protect their babies,
    whose skulls will be split anyway,
    or, having been raped repeatedly,
    hang themselves with their own hair.
    These are the functions that inspire general comfort,
    That, and the knitting of socks for the troops
    and a sort of moral cheerleading.
    Also: mourning the dead.
    Sons, lovers, and so forth.
    All the killed children.

    Instead of this, I tell
    what I hope will pass as truth.
    A blunt thing, not lovely.
    The truth is seldom welcome,
    especially at dinner,
    though I am good at what I do.
    My trade is in courage and atrocities.
    I look at them and do not condemn.
    I write things down the way they happened,
    as near as can be remembered.
    I don’t ask _why_ because it is mostly the same,
    Wars happen because the ones who start them
    think they can win.

    In my dreams there is a glamour.

    The Vikings leave their fields
    each year for a few months of killing and plunder,
    much as the boys go hunting.
    In real life they were farmers.
    They come back loaded with splendor.
    The Arabs ride against Crusaders
    with scimitars that could sever silk in the air.
    A swift cut to the horse’s neck
    and a hunk of armor crashes down
    like a tower. Fire against metal.
    A poet might say: romance against banality.
    When awake, I know better.

    Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,
    or none that can be finally buried.
    Finish one off and circumstances
    and the radio create another.
    Believe me: whole armies have prayed fervently
    to God all night and meant it,
    and been slaughtered anyway.
    Brutality wins frequently,
    and large outcomes have turned on the invention
    of a mechanical device, viz. radar.

    True, sometimes valor counts for something,
    as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right,
    though ultimate virtue by agreed tradition
    is decided by the winner.
    Sometimes men throw themselves on grenades
    and burst like paper bags of guts
    to save their comrades.
    I can admire that.
    But rats and cholera have won many wars.
    Those, and potatoes
    or the absence of them.
    It’s no use pinning all those medals
    across the chests of the dead.
    Impressive, but I know too much.
    Grand exploits merely depress me.

    In the interests of research
    I have walked on many battlefields
    that once were liquid with pulped
    men’s bodies and spangled with burst
    shells and splayed bone.
    All of them have been green again
    by the time I got there.
    Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day.
    Sad marble angels brood like hens
    over the grassy nests where nothing hatches.
    (The angels could just as well be described as _vulgar_,
    or _pitiless_, depending on camera angle.)

    The word _glory_ figures a lot on gateways.
    Of course I pick a flower or two
    from each, and press it in the hotel
    Bible, for a souvenir.
    I’m just as human as you.

    But it’s no use asking me for a final statement.
    As I say, I deal in tactics.
    Also statistics:
    for every year of peace there have been four
    hundred
    years of war.

    Margaret Atwood

  66. 66
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @joel hanes:

    Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
    Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
    Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
    And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
    Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
    But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
    Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
    Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
    __
    Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
    Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
    But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
    And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
    Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
    As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
    __
    In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
    He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
    __
    If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
    Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
    And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
    His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

  67. 67
    AA+ Bonds says:

    One more:

    A TERRE by WILFRED OWEN
    (being the philosophy of many soldiers)

    Sit on the bed. I’m blind, and three parts shell.
    Be careful; can’t shake hands now; never shall.
    Both arms have mutinied against me,—brutes.
    My fingers fidget like ten idle brats.

    I tried to peg out soldierly,—no use!
    One dies of war like any old disease.
    This bandage feels like pennies on my eyes.
    I have my medals?—Discs to make eyes close.
    My glorious ribbons?—Ripped from my own back
    In scarlet shreds. (That’s for your poetry book.)

    A short life and a merry one, my buck!
    We used to say we’d hate to live dead-old,—
    Yet now…I’d willingly be puffy, bald,
    And patriotic. Buffers catch from boys
    At least the jokes hurled at them. I suppose
    Little I’d ever teach a son, but hitting,
    Shooting, war, hunting, all the arts of hurting.
    Well, that’s what I learnt,—that, and making money.

    Your fifty years ahead seem none too many?
    Tell me how long I’ve got? God! For one year
    To help myself to nothing more than air!
    One Spring! Is one too good to spare, too long?
    Spring wind would work its own way to my lung,
    And grow me legs as quick as lilac-shoots.

    My servant’s lamed, but listen how he shouts!
    When I’m lugged out, he’ll still be good for that.
    Here in this mummy-case, you know, I’ve thought
    How well I might have swept his floors for ever,
    I’d ask no nights off when the bustle’s over,
    Enjoying so the dirt. Who’s prejudiced
    Against a grimed hand when his own’s quite dust,
    Less live than specks that in the sun-shafts turn,
    Less warm than dust that mixes with arms’ tan?
    I’d love to be a sweep, now, black as Town,
    Yes, or a muckman. Must I be his load?

    O Life, Life, let me breathe,—a dug-out rat!
    Not worse than ours the lives rats lead—
    Nosing along at night down some safe rut,
    They find a shell-proof home before they rot.
    Dead men may envy living mites in cheese,
    Or good germs even. Microbes have their joys,
    And subdivide, and never come to death.
    Certainly flowers have the easiest time on earth.
    ‘I shall be one with nature, herb, and stone,’
    Shelley would tell me. Shelley would be stunned:
    The dullest Tommy hugs that fancy now.
    ‘Pushing up daisies’ is their creed, you know.

    To grain, then, go my fat, to buds my sap,
    For all the usefulness there is in soap.
    D’you think the Boche will ever stew man-soup?
    Some day, no doubt, if…

    Friend, be very sure
    I shall be better off with plants that share
    More peaceably the meadow and the shower.
    Soft rains will touch me,—as they could touch once,
    And nothing but the sun shall make me ware.
    Your guns may crash around me. I’ll not hear;
    Or, if I wince, I shall not know I wince.

    Don’t take my soul’s poor comfort for your jest.
    Soldiers may grow a soul when turned to fronds,
    But here the thing’s best left at home with friends.

    My soul’s a little grief, grappling your chest,
    To climb your throat on sobs; easily chased
    On other sighs and wiped by fresher winds.

    Carry my crying spirit till it’s weaned
    To do without what blood remained these wounds.

  68. 68
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    By Kurt Vonnegut, from “Breakfast of Champions”:

    “I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

    It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

    Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

    So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

    What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

    And all music is.”

  69. 69
    Ted & Hellen says:

    I am always very conflicted over observances such as this.

    How does one thank military people for their service when most of the wars in which they serve and which they make possible by their service, and the last two in particular, are completely bogus, unwarranted, illegal cluster fucks?

    I’d like to see a national day of respect and remembrance for the ones who were brave enough to say no and refuse to serve.

  70. 70
    Raven says:

    “Have you news of my boy Jack?”
    Not this tide.
    “When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Has any one else had word of him?”
    Not this tide.
    For what is sunk will hardly swim,
    Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

    “Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
    None this tide,
    Nor any tide,
    Except he did not shame his kind —
    Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

    Then hold your head up all the more,
    This tide,
    And every tide;
    Because he was the son you bore,
    And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

    Kipling

  71. 71
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Who cares if you do or not? I don’t.

    ” brave enough to say no and refuse to serve.” Like Cheney, Newt, Neal Boortz?

  72. 72
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    How does one thank military people for their service when most of the wars in which they serve and which they make possible by their service, and the last two in particular, are completely bogus, unwarranted, illegal cluster fucks?

    By lifting the heel of oppression from their backs and the backs of their children

  73. 73
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Raven:

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.

  74. 74
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Raven:

    Who cares if you do or not? I don’t.

    And, uh..who cares if YOU care about my opinion or not? I don’t.

    What? Are you eight years old?

  75. 75
    AA+ Bonds says:

    @Raven:

    Or,

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    Send forth the best ye breed–
    Go bind your sons to exile
    To serve your captives’ need;
    To wait in heavy harness,
    On fluttered folk and wild–
    Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
    Half-devil and half-child.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    In patience to abide,
    To veil the threat of terror
    And check the show of pride;
    By open speech and simple,
    An hundred times made plain
    To seek another’s profit,
    And work another’s gain.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    The savage wars of peace–
    Fill full the mouth of Famine
    And bid the sickness cease;
    And when your goal is nearest
    The end for others sought,
    Watch sloth and heathen Folly
    Bring all your hopes to nought.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    No tawdry rule of kings,
    But toil of serf and sweeper–
    The tale of common things.
    The ports ye shall not enter,
    The roads ye shall not tread,
    Go mark them with your living,
    And mark them with your dead.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    And reap his old reward:
    The blame of those ye better,
    The hate of those ye guard–
    The cry of hosts ye humour
    (Ah, slowly!) toward the light:–
    “Why brought he us from bondage,
    Our loved Egyptian night?”

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    Ye dare not stoop to less–
    Nor call too loud on Freedom
    To cloke your weariness;
    By all ye cry or whisper,
    By all ye leave or do,
    The silent, sullen peoples
    Shall weigh your gods and you.

    Take up the White Man’s burden–
    Have done with childish days–
    The lightly proferred laurel,
    The easy, ungrudged praise.
    Comes now, to search your manhood
    Through all the thankless years
    Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,
    The judgment of your peers!

  76. 76
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Well then try this. Thank them by saying you are sorry that your convictions about the war’s were not enough for you to resist by not paying your taxes and going to jail. Better?

  77. 77
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Your timing is off. This is a day of meditation on the good souls who have served, with honor and integrity. To dismiss their memory as futile is disrespectful.

  78. 78
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Emma:

    Every time we send them to war we kill our best. And we forget we did it and do it all over again.

    Not everyone forgets, Emma. I don’t.

    But as we saw in the lead up to the Bush child’s Iraq War, most people prefer war porn and martial hysteria over thoughtful reflection.

    They only remember when it’s convenient and fosters their sacharine crocodile tears.

  79. 79
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: And you did what, whine on a blog?

  80. 80
    AA+ Bonds says:

    .
    .
    Israel fires warning shots into Syria for first time

    Israel worries that Syria’s civil war could spill across into the Golan – a concern made more immediate by multiple cases of errant fire in recent weeks and Israel’s claim that three Syrian tanks entered the demilitarized zone on the plateau this month for the first time in 40 years.

  81. 81
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Raven:

    Well then try this. Thank them by saying you are sorry that your convictions about the war’s were not enough for you to resist by not paying your taxes and going to jail. Better?

    hahaha…pathetic. Please don’t waste your time trying to ease your guilty conscience at my expense. You’d be better served turning your energy toward exploring why you’re so hostile to everyone who disagrees with you.

    By the way, douche, let’s not waste time here: I’m the former Spatula and your bullshit cuts no ice with me. Spew it at someone who’s susceptible.

  82. 82
    scav says:

    Dory Previn The Veterans Big Parade

    In the veterans big parade
    Marched the businessmen’s brigade
    While behind the high school band
    The ladies fife and drum corps played
    In the veterans big parade
    The flag flew high and free

    Down they marched to Fourth and Main
    Our soldiers died but not in vain
    God was with us
    That’s for sure
    He proved it cause
    It didn’t rain
    Balloons batons you wanted to cry
    The best day in July

    At the veterans cemetery
    Then the services were said
    There the Mayor’s first assistant
    Wiped his glasses
    Put them on
    And read

    We’re gathered here
    Dear friends today
    To show our brave boys
    Where they lay
    We are with them all the way
    And I think it’s safe to say
    They are not
    Alone
    They are not
    Alone

    All the widows proudly smiled
    (Except for one with an infant child)
    Picnic time was then announced
    And all the little kids went wild
    Picnic blankets then were spread
    And the beer flowed fast and free
    There were clams and corn on the cob
    To feed the celebrating mob
    (Once in a while
    I don’t know why
    The infant child
    Began to sob)
    Other than that is was New Year’s Eve
    Till it was time to leave

    Then a fine Hawaiian band
    Played and sang
    Aloha oh
    And their voices drifted low
    Between the crosses
    Painted white
    Row on row on row

    Aloha oh
    And so goodbye
    Till next year boys
    Next July
    We are with you
    All the way
    And I think
    It’s safe to say
    You are not
    Alone
    You are not
    Alone
    You are not
    Alone

  83. 83
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Raven:

    Reed is an idiot. Adam Smith, of all people, saw the justice and necessity of a progressive income tax.

    If that makes me a Marxist, well, fuck it. It makes Smith a Marxist, too.

  84. 84
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Raven:

    Not to mention the entire Rmoney clan. Their “service” to their country is campaigning for the honorless cur that sired them.

  85. 85
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    my sweet old etcetera
    aunt lucy during the recent

    war could and what
    is more did tell you just
    what everybody was fighting

    for,
    my sister

    isabel created hundreds
    (and
    hundreds) of socks not to
    mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers

    etcetera wristers etcetera, my

    mother hoped that

    i would die etcetera
    bravely of course my father used
    to become hoarse talking about how it was
    a privilege and if only he
    could meanwhile my

    self etcetera lay quietly
    in the deep mud et

    cetera
    (dreaming,
    et
    cetera, of
    Your smile
    eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

    -e.e. cummings, “my sweet old etcetera”

  86. 86
    Chris says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I’d like to see a national day of respect and remembrance for the ones who were brave enough to say no and refuse to serve.

    I’d like to see some remembrance for the civilians who die in these wars – and those who live in the same war zones but didn’t volunteer for it, aren’t trained for it and, if they survive, don’t have an America to go home to but will have to live in the rubble for the rest of their lives.

    Wishful thinking, I know.

  87. 87
    SuperHrefna says:

    To all the BJ veterans of every nation: thank you so much for your service. I give you Martin Carthy leading the mighty Imagined Village in an updated version of My Son John (“My son John was tall and slim /He had a leg for every limb /But now he’s got no legs at all/ For he run a race with a cannonball”) taking it from the era of pressgangs and tall ships to the era of chickenhawks and prosthetics. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMpzWrDss_s

  88. 88
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    I’m the former Spatula and your bullshit cuts no ice with me.

    Ah, that explains why you would come into a thread full of veterans and tell them all that they’re assholes for going to Vietnam.

    Which war zone did you serve in again, Timmy? I forget. Or did you just take all of your deferments so you can sneer at the people who weren’t lucky enough to be able to do the same?

  89. 89
    Raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: He writes some funny shit.

  90. 90
    Ben Franklin says:

    What’s to be done with sock-puppets?

  91. 91
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Raven:

    I hope to FSM he was being sarcastic with that bit on the progressive income tax.

  92. 92
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: People here were breathless wondering who you are.

  93. 93
    Raven says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: There a hundreds of articles there, I didn’t read every one of them.

  94. 94
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ben Franklin: Well, I find that them being dealt with by the other commenters is usually the best way to treat trolls and other such.

  95. 95
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Steeplejack: Lew Ayers who starred in the 1930’s classic,All Quiet On The Western Front (see this if you haven’t , better yet read the book) was a pacifist who tried to declare himself a conscientious objector so he could at least serve in the medical corps in WWII initially was refused and was detained as well his movie career suffered, but eventually was allowed to join the Medical Corps.
    Speakin of conscientious objectors, Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist, won the Medal of Honor, for his actions as a medic in the Pacific, was a subject of a great documentary
    The Conscientious Objector Another one I recommend.

  96. 96
    Chris says:

    @Chris:

    ETA: such remembrance not to infringe on remembrance for veterans in any way, shape, or form, or the fact that today’s their day.

    (Qualification added in light of the entire argument I hadn’t read when I posted that…)

  97. 97
    Raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: There is a certain comfort to me that I attack it no matter what handle it uses.

  98. 98
    Ted & Hellen says:

    I change my name only by necessity: The spineless DougJ bans me without regard to Cole’s banning policy, and Cole reinstates; it’s an old dance we do.

    Cole is one of the few front pagers with any consistent integrity.

    I’ll leave you all to your comforting war porn thread, in which you glorify service to useless wars and thus prepare the way for the next useless war.

    Carry on, comrades!

  99. 99
    Raven says:

    @Mr Stagger Lee: No one has my respect more than those who stood up and said no. Canada, CO, whatever. The one’s that used their life circumstances to send someone in their place. Fuck em.

  100. 100
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: a weasel by any other name. . .

  101. 101
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Raven:

    There is a certain comfort to me that I attack it no matter what handle it uses.

    Raven, are you being treated for your own PTSD? Seriously.

  102. 102
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Raven:

    No one has my respect more than those who stood up and said no. Canada, CO, whatever.

    I admire you for saying this, Raven.

  103. 103
    R-Jud says:

    A long read from Esquire in 2011: “Vetville”.

    All he remembers is a huge explosion. It was like the ground came up to meet him; then everything went black. He woke up clear of the wreckage. He knew he was fucked: The tough-as-nails sergeant major was holding his hand like somebody’s mommy. “I guess this means I don’t have to shave,” Myers said, and everybody laughed.

  104. 104
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Raven:

    There is a certain comfort to me that I attack it no matter what handle it uses.

    An asshole caricaturist by any other nym is still an asshole caricaturist.

  105. 105
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    You need to be banned again, asshole.

  106. 106
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: I thought you were leaving. Don’t you have some child-like art to work on?

  107. 107
    scav says:

    ah, the little spurdle of faeces, our adorbs cut-rate, Wowbagger The Infinitely Prolonged has returned.

    seriously, wowbagger: works as a species type for me at least.

  108. 108
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    I understand that process, but it’s irritating when I get suckered into commenting to the false flag.

  109. 109
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @Raven: No argument from me, especially those like Dick Cheney(Mr 5 deferments)and Mitt Romney cheering the Vietnam war from the front lines of the Champs D’Elysees.

  110. 110
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Raven, are you getting any help for your ptsd?

  111. 111
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Raven: My comfort is derived from the fact that he is an inconsequential speck, who started as an inconsequential speck, and after a year+ of trolling here is still an inconsequential speck. He’s smart enough to know it, and egotistical enough to hate himself for it.

    I have a lot of respect for people who stand up for what they believe when that is unpopular or risky. Those people who get arrested at peace demonstrations–righteous. Those people who spend time in jail for damaging nuclear missile launch silos–righteous. Those who refuse to pay their taxes to support a government using their money for acts they consider evil, righteous. These people ACTED. And they acted when doing so obtained nothing to themselves, and frequently entailed great risk.
    Contrast that with Timmy and the chickenhawks (potentially a great jam-band name there, btw.) Attention-getting talk without any kind of commitment.
    The Taliban are more worthy of respect. Just pie-filter him and move on.

  112. 112
    JoyfulA says:

    My grandmother bought a burial plot for my father in 1942. She was sure she’d never see him alive again.

    Last week, he called the cemetery to make sure both his and my mother’s ashes could be buried in that one plot.

  113. 113
    Raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: I can’t get the damn thing to work anymore!

    OO, maybe I did. Hey douchebag, write me and see if it works.

  114. 114
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    after a year+ of trolling here

    make that eight years, dumbass.

    And you have no idea what I’ve done or do in meat space. Perhaps you should ask JC what I’m doing for Veterans in the real world.

    Your willingness to make completely unfounded assumptions tells us a lot about why you’re such a one-note front pager.

  115. 115
    Raven says:

    @JoyfulA: That is a wonderful story.

  116. 116
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @JoyfulA:
    Hugs to you for sharing that excellent story.

  117. 117
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Raven: Update the filter engine at cleek’s site.

  118. 118
    Raven says:

    @Soonergrunt: roger that

  119. 119
    joel hanes says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Perhaps some day you will come to see the honor that lies in the service rendered, the duty carried out, and the sacrifices made, and not in the moral virtue of those who send children off to die, or even in the cause for which they die.

    I think you misunderstand the purpose of this day. It’s not VE day, or VJ day, or the Fourth of July. It’s not a celebration.

    On this day we remember the courage and sacrifice of ALL the soldiers of all WW I nations, including our foes, because of what they suffered and endured, because they did their best and gave their all in intolerable conditions.

    This day is not about honoring those whose cause was just; there is in Armistice Day no thread of triumphalism or victory, only of horror and compassion and solemn rememberance.

    It’s meant to be a moment of silence in which we contemplate the monstrosity and horror imposed on those who serve by those, inside and outside governments, who seek or encourage war, and resolve never to make those mistakes again.

  120. 120
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    Does it work with a Nym change?

  121. 121
    dr. bloor says:

    @Raven:

    Canada, CO, whatever

    My brother-in-law was a CO who served in a noncombat capacity, and he had friends who went to jail for their beliefs. Please leave the guys who went to Canada out of this.

  122. 122
    Raven says:

    @joel hanes: I agree with what you say but, as my old buddy “Rags” used to say “Veterans day if for the living, Memorial Day is to honor those who are not”.

  123. 123
    JoyfulA says:

    @Raven and Higgs Boson’s Mate: Thank you. That’s why, when the time comes, a third of my ashes will be scattered there in the grass, at night, I guess, surreptitiously.

  124. 124
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ben Franklin: You have to add the nym to the filter, just like you had to add the first one. The filter will then contain both nyms.
    It would be nice to get one that bans by IP range or geolocation, but Cleek does it for free, so you’re getting a great deal even if it isn’t Star Trek-level tech.

  125. 125
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @joel hanes:

    Perhaps some day you will come to see the honor that lies in the service rendered, the duty carried out, and the sacrifices made,

    Seriously, I’m fascinated: So service, duty, and sacrifice is to be honored, NO MATTER what cause is being furthered by said service, duty, and sacrifice?

    Because we can all name a LOT of horrendous causes that were only made possible by service, duty, and sacrifice.

  126. 126
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Reed’s an interesting mix. Some of his stuff is right on the money (the wounded warrior hustle, why you shouldn’t go to West Point unless an Army career is your goal, and he definitely thinks it’s not a good goal) and some of it is straight-up crank’s rantings (economics especially). His idea that every adult should pay the same amount in taxes satisfies his own peculiar idea of fairness, but fails pretty much all other criteria ( practicality, ability to raise revenue, anyone else’s idea of fairness…).

  127. 127
    gogol's wife says:

    @joel hanes:

    Very well put.

  128. 128
    gbear says:

    The Zombies – Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)

    The Kinks – Some Mother’s Son

    In memory of veterans past and present and their families.

  129. 129
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @dr. bloor:

    My brother-in-law was a CO who served in a noncombat capacity, and he had friends who went to jail for their beliefs. Please leave the guys who went to Canada out of this.

    One of my friends at the time (1968) had “Fuck God” tattooed on the blade of his right hand. That got him rejected by the Draft Board. Another had mixed feelings that were cleared up as soon as he got to boot camp. He came up with the expedient of simply dropping to his knees and praying long and loud at frequent intervals. The Army gave him an administrative discharge. I admired both of them for their cleverness.

    I harbored no enmity for those who chose not to serve even if their reason was just not wanting to have their asses shot off. I harbor an abiding loathing for those who cheered on the war while making certain that they didn’t have to serve in it.

  130. 130
    Raven says:

    @dr. bloor: Why? They lost a great deal because of their convictions. I drove my sister up to Canada to be with her boyfriend who had split. Years later she and I were talking about the letters she still had that I sent home. I was surprised and she said, “oh yea, I have all the letters Mike’s friends sent”. She explained that five of them sat together deciding what to do and the others urged him not to go, they didn’t think he could hack it”. The rest of them went and he bailed. He ended up getting caught when he came back, did his time and then got pardoned. Shit it complex. In “The Things They Carried” Tim O’Brien explains that hey went because he could handle what it would have done to his family. As he put it “I was too embarrassed not to kill”. I spent 6 months at FT Lewis after my tour in Korea. The duty sucked and I considered going over the hill to Canada. In the end I PAYED my way into a unit going to the Nam just to get the fuck out of the chicken-shit stateside duty.

  131. 131
    Lojasmo says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    As one who was formerly in the military, and who removed myself by way of CO application process, I can honestly say i respoect those who have served our nation with honor.

    Now kindly fuck off and die.

  132. 132
    Raven says:

    @Ted & Hellen: IT WORKS< AMF ASSHOLE!

  133. 133
    Raven says:

    @Lojasmo: And I you.

  134. 134
    Taylor says:

    @Steeplejack:

    The Best Years of Our Lives is an excellent movie, surprisingly underrated despite the acclaim it has received. Nothing sugar-coated, and great acting all around.

    It is considered by many to be one of the greatest films ever made, and perhaps the greatest war film ever made, even though it takes place after war’s end.

    A remarkable film, and adored by WWII vets.

  135. 135
    joel hanes says:

    i sing of Olaf glad and big
    whose warmest heart recoiled at war
    a conscientious object-or

    his well-beloved colonel (trig
    westpointer most succinctly bred)
    took erring Olaf soon in hand:
    but — though an host of overjoyed
    noncoms (first knocking on the head
    him) do through icy waters roll
    that helplessness which others stroke
    with brushes recently employed
    anent this muddy toiletbowl,
    while kindred intellects evoke
    allegiance per blunt instruments —
    Olaf (being to all intents
    a corpse and wanting any rag
    upon what God unto him gave)
    responds, without getting annoyed
    “I will not kiss your fucking flag”

    straightway the silver bird looked grave
    (departing hurriedly to shave)

    but — though all kinds of officers
    (a yearning nation’s blueeyed pride)
    their passive prey did kick and curse
    until for wear their clarion
    voices and boots were much the worse,
    and egged the firstclassprivates on
    his rectum wickedly to tease
    by means of skilfully applied
    bayonets roasted hot with heat —
    Olaf (upon what were once knees)
    does almost ceaselessly repeat
    “there is some shit I will not eat”

    our president, being of which
    assertions duly notified
    threw the yellowsonofabitch
    into a dungeon, where he died

    Christ (of his mercy infinite)
    i pray to see: and Olaf, too

    preponderatingly because
    unless statistics lie he was
    more brave than me: more blond than you.

    e. e. cummings

  136. 136
    Mike in NC says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Not to mention the entire Rmoney clan. Their “service” to their country is campaigning for the honorless cur that sired them.

    Could you ever picture a President Romney laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? Me neither. Hell, Mitt would probably put some Bain crony in charge of Arlington National Cemetery and they’d charge admission.

  137. 137
  138. 138
    SuperHrefna says:

    Siouxsie & the Banshees’ Poppy Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI0rXclqoPU

  139. 139
    SuperHrefna says:

    I know silence isn’t part of the US tradition for today, but speaking as a British immigrant I wish that it would be (re) adopted. It’s such a powerful thing to have everyone fall silent at once no matter where you are- train station, supermarket, wherever. A couple of years ago the Royal British Legion released this two minute silence video (it was an mp3 as well :-) which is more eloquent than words could ever be: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2psO_o3jL1M

  140. 140
    Emma says:

    @Ted & Hellen: Of course you’re Spatula. Of course.

  141. 141
    Raven says:

    @SuperHrefna: “Moina Michael (August 15, 1869-May 10, 1944) was a U.S. professor and humanitarian who conceived the idea of using poppies as a symbol of remembrance for those who served in World War I.

    Born in Good Hope, Georgia, Michael was educated at Lucy Cobb Institute and Georgia State Teachers College, both located in Athens, Georgia, and Columbia University in New York City. She was a professor at the University of Georgia when the U.S. entered World War I. She took a leave of absence from her work and volunteered to assist in the New York-based training headquarters for overseas YWCA workers.[1]”

  142. 142
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @SuperHrefna:

    Evening Colors was one of the good parts, for me, about growing up on military bases. Everything stopped while we faced the colors, military in uniform saluted and the rest of us put our hands over our hearts.

  143. 143
    Mike in NC says:

    Today’s an appropriate time to read some Paul Fussell, who passed away this year.

    In addition, The Atlantic recently had an excerpt of Tom Rick’s new book, “The Generals”, and now I need to read the whole thing.

  144. 144
    dr. bloor says:

    @Raven:

    “I can’t do it” and “I won’t do it”–neither of which I have any problem with–are fundamentally different statements from “This war is unjust, and I’m prepared to pay the consequences.”

    Obviously those that went to Canada paid a price. But there was no statement of principle involved.

  145. 145
    Chris says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:

    I harbored no enmity for those who chose not to serve even if their reason was just not wanting to have their asses shot off. I harbor an abiding loathing for those who cheered on the war while making certain that they didn’t have to serve in it.

    I agree.

    I personally find it hard to blame the people who jumped ship for Canada, because to be honest, I have no idea how I’d react. I would hope I wouldn’t lose my shit and run, but I grew up in a world where the draft didn’t happen, so I really can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t. Especially if the cause was as shitty as Vietnam.

    People who jump ship AND cheer on the war, though – pond scum. Which is what Bush, Cheney and Romney are, especially the former who went on to attack as unpatriotic people who unlike him actually had the balls to serve.

  146. 146
    SuperHrefna says:

    @Raven: Do you know when it was that the US stopped observing the 11th with poppies? It’s such a nice way to express solidarity (and they come in white for the COs amongst us, too)

  147. 147
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Emma:

    Of course you’re Spatula. Of course.

    Thank you, dear.

  148. 148
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Well, after all, that’s “not important” to the Marquis du Mittens.

    Did you notice that Obama mentioned those serving in the military in his acceptance speech? He really believes in that shit, it’s not just political posturing. The Obamas are committed to military families, and not just for show, but in honest gratitude for the sacrifices they make on behalf of all of us.

  149. 149
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @SuperHrefna:

    Do you know when it was that the US stopped observing the 11th with poppies? It’s such a nice way to express solidarity (and they come in white for the COs amongst us, too)

    Seems to me I remember Poppies for Veterans Day in elementary school, which would be early/mid sixties.

    It was probably decided that a pretty red flower as a means of honoring the war dead was too damn sissy/touchy/feely for this macho country, fuck yeah.

  150. 150
    Raven says:

    @SuperHrefna: From the VFW site. I think, as I said earlier, the fact that Veterans Day in the US is primarily a celebration of the living veterans may account for why Poppy Day is more a Memorial Day thing here. Remembrance Day is a Commonwealth observance much like our Memorial Day.

  151. 151
    Yutsano says:

    @SuperHrefna: My grandmother still wore one every Veteran’s Day up until she passed away. I’m guessing it may be a post Viet Nam backlash.

  152. 152
    Raven says:

    @dr. bloor: Apparently we disagree.

  153. 153
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Scamp Dog:

    I wonder if he’s aware that the idea of a “head tax” has a long history of inspiring revolts and uprisings due to its fundamental unfairness…that those who are getting less out of the system have to pay the same amount as those getting the most out of the system.

    The progressive tax addresses that…those deriving the greatest benefit from the infrastructure, both visible and invisible, of society, should pay the lion’s share, as they’re getting the lion’s share.

    One of the things that brought Thatcher down was proposing a “head tax”.

  154. 154

    On this Veterans Day, I think of Vasili Arkhipov, a Russian submariner who stopped their submarine from firing a nuclear torpedo that would have brought about total nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    I only learned about him last week, thanks to curious Facebook posts which sent me to Google for more info, where I found this PBS documentary/re-enactment.

    Thank you veterans, for your service, and a very special thanks to Vasili Archipov, for your service. You saved the world. Literally.

  155. 155
    Svensker says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    The old guys from the VFW were selling red poppies for Memorial Day in the early 2000s when we were in Hoboken. I don’t think it stopped, just kind of petered out.

  156. 156
    SuperHrefna says:

    @Yutsano: There was an anti-poppy backlash in the UK too – I can remember in the late 80s wearing a poppy was seen as the sign of an imperialist pig. But once people got it together that we should blame our politicians, not our military, for the wars they fought and are still fighting poppies became a widespread symbol of solidarity once more, even on the left.

    And with that I’m off to see Argo (if I can get a ticket!). While not a full -fledged war film, it seems appropriate somehow.

  157. 157
    liberal says:

    @Raven:

    Thank them by saying you are sorry that your convictions about the war’s were not enough for you to resist by not paying your taxes and going to jail.

    Huh? That argument might hold some water if we had conscription.

    We don’t.

    …adding, things were different back in (say) Vietnam. While not everyone was conscripted, the lack of information about the war was pretty incredible by today’s standards.

  158. 158
    Batocchio says:

    I still call it Armistice Day.

  159. 159
    R-Jud says:

    @SuperHrefna:

    It’s such a powerful thing to have everyone fall silent at once no matter where you are- train station, supermarket, wherever.

    We were up on top of the Worcestershire Beacon today, chatting with other people who’d been hiking, when someone came up and announced “It’s eleven ‘o’ clock,” and we all went silent.

  160. 160
    karen says:

    I always got the feelings that to a lot of politicians (a lot of GOP especially) that the “troops” are only an abstract construct that is only useful to them as cannon fodder and a blood sacrifice to keep them in office. Their caring about the soldiers seems to end as soon as they return home from their various tours. They cut their benefits. They don’t do anything for them.

    That’s a big thing I respect about the Obamas and Bidens, they recognize that the soldiers are human beings who have lives they return to and families they left behind.

    I will say that although I don’t know who by name, there are Republicans who care about soldiers as more than as tokens they can use to show their support for wars, especially some of the more moderate ones.

    That’s a huge reason I’m so happy about Tammy Duckworth making into Congress, now maybe we won’t have any more horrors like Walter Reed’s old hospital and maybe even a bill that might offer real counseling to PTSD victims that return home and are not ready emotionally. That could do so much to help towards the end of the soldier suicides.

  161. 161
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    I didn’t know until recently that my Great Uncle Sam volunteered to serve in WWI. Sam was already a recognized surgeon and helped set up the field hospitals over there. Not a bad thing for a Sicilian immigrant to do. We were always proud of the fact that we were Americans first. My ol’ Man hit the beaches at Normandy in WWII and most of the uncles served in the Pacific. But the VA still takes forever to process aid claims because of the lack of manpower. Our Repuglican House refuses to provide the money to increase the manpower to process the claims. But they’ll hang Chinese “Support our Troops” stickers on their cars. Hmmph…

  162. 162
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    I harbored no enmity for those who chose not to serve even if their reason was just not wanting to have their asses shot off. I harbor an abiding loathing for those who cheered on the war while making certain that they didn’t have to serve in it.
    This. One million times this.
    I almost went to Canada. I have Quaker practitioners in my bloodline. I studied about being a CO. In the end I made a decision that I could live with. I joined. But I will never put down anyone who avoids war in any fashion as long as they don’t cheer for it when it doesn’t effect them directly. These are the biggest assholes. Old men yelling that war is the only answer, when it rarely is. Old men yelling that war is the only answer, when it makes the greedy more money, all the while they and their families avoid any service at all. And even the young, yelling for war when they know they will never serve. Assholes the lot.

  163. 163
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ted & Hellen: So for the first year that I was here you did nothing of note.
    And considering the attitude you’ve shown here, I’d hazard a guess that you haven’t done anything for Veterans in the meatspace or anything else.

  164. 164
    Ruckus says:

    @Soonergrunt:
    Is timmy a lino? A liberal in name only? Makes no sacrifice whatsoever but demands that others do.
    Real liberty and freedom have real costs and responsibilities. Many(most?) of us know this and act accordingly. Others can’t even talk a good game.

  165. 165
    RSA says:

    My thanks to all veterans. Great post, Soonergrunt.

  166. 166
    TheYankeeApologist says:

    To all you BJ veterans – thank you so much.

    I’ve seen what you guys go through. My brother got hit in Iraq and almost died. Two of my buddies have some pretty bad PTSD. Another one was Special Forces and his PTSD basically ruined his life.

    I wish I could do more to show y’all how much we respect you. I give to Wounded Warrior, but y’all deserve more.

  167. 167
    RSA says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I wonder if he’s aware that the idea of a “head tax” has a long history of inspiring revolts and uprisings due to its fundamental unfairness…

    Reed’s head tax idea has the virtue of simplicity…but that’s its only virtue.

  168. 168
    Yutsano says:

    @Soonergrunt: I can say thank you in seven different languages, and it still ain’t enough. So grazie. :)

  169. 169
    NotMax says:

    Long deceased now, one of my step-grandfathers punctured his own ear drum to disqualify for forced conscription by the Cossacks in World War One.

  170. 170
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    And considering the attitude you’ve shown here, I’d hazard a guess that you haven’t done anything for Veterans in the meatspace or anything else.

    And…that’s why you’re a tool, SG. You’re all about the surface. You might try to learn something from your blogmaster in that regard. He’s often wrong, but he’s much more willing that his writing indicates to dig deeper.

    I suppose that’s why you are unable to make the connection between warmongering and inappropriate veteran worship. Veterans are victims, not heroes. My dad suffered from ptsd from WWII and the 2 years he spent in a german POW camp until the day he died an early death at 61. His silent suffering–he NEVER, EVER talked about his experience without much reticence–is another magnificent tribute to the glories of war in your book, I suppose.

    So you may take your self righteous, self-hero war glorification and shove it.

  171. 171
    Corner Stone says:

    @Raven: I read that entire article (heaven help me), mainly becoming more disbelieving and incredulous.
    And then got to the part where he suggested what “units” people could serve and join if they wanted to promote freedom.
    I felt a little more stupid for having finished the entire thing at that point.

  172. 172
  173. 173
    General Stuck says:

    We got all kinds of it here on Balloon Juice. The Good The Bad and The Shovel Ready.

    So lemme guess who Sid and Nancy is.

  174. 174
    General Stuck says:

    And Happy Vet day. How clueless am I. Was chatting with a canuck friend on Flickr she had put up a Remembrance Day pic and I asked is that like our Memorial Day. Now that I am up on current events, where’s the beach?

  175. 175
    Annamal says:

    “Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives, you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears, your sons are now lying in our bosoms and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they become our sons as well.”

    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
    (from the Wellington memorial)

    World War 1 gets taught in a variety of ways in New Zealand but it definitely gets taught and reminders of the toll it took on our very small population are everywhere, despite the fact that the war itself never touched our shores.

  176. 176
    Gretchen D says:

    Thanks to you all, particularly Sooner & Raven. I appreciated the poetry and the thoughtfullness as well. In Doonsbury today, Toggle speaks of still walking around with his full of war…… xo

  177. 177
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    You do realize that you are not your father and you don’t get to claim his war experience as your own when talking to people who did actually serve in war zones, right?

    I’m still not getting what the difference is between you and the guy at the VFW who never left stateside and yet thinks he gets to criticize Vietnam vets for being weak because that war was lost.

  178. 178
    opie_jeanne says:

    @Svensker: They were here, just east of Seattle, a couple of weeks ago.

  179. 179
    Ruckus says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    It’s like a 2ft thick block wall with a mirror. Nothing gets through and the only reflection is it’s own. It does however expect everyone else to learn it’s ways, fuck forbid that it extend the same to anyone else.

  180. 180
    kabiddle says:

    Hey, thanks soonergrunt. I had the privelege of giving up my breakfast booth to a vet with the most wonderful shirt — all flags. Had forgotten that it was V’s day today. He was probably like 80. Got his b’fast and coffee without knowing. There is good karma.

  181. 181
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ted & Hellen: So you were born to a Vet. To a hero. Good for you, and God bless him, but it’s not remotely the same thing as having actually done things for Vets, as you’ve claimed here.
    In my time here at Balloon-Juice, both before and after I became a front pager, you have been nothing but an unrepentant attention whoring prick. Which you are clearly allowed to be. It’s John’s house, not mine. Even though he’s never told me anything like I can’t ban people, I wouldn’t anyway. The idea just feels wrong. But if it were my house, I’m pretty sure I still wouldn’t bother too much with you one way or the other. Honestly, this post right here, that I’m writing right now, is more energy than you deserve.

  182. 182
    Mnemosyne says:

    On a more interesting topic, I only recently found out about this guy: PFC Guy Gabaldon, the Pied Piper of Saipan, who single-handedly took 1,500 Japanese prisoners.

    His secret? He learned how to speak Japanese while growing up in East Los Angeles, so he was able to negotiate with the Japanese troops directly.

  183. 183
    debbie says:

    I can’t say I’ve read exhaustively about WWI, but the book that affected me the most was “Into the Silence” by Wade Davis. It’s about George Mallory and the others who attempted to conquer Mt. Everest. The author details the WWI experience of each (99+% of the climbers were vets), and each story is more horrific than the one before.

  184. 184
    opie_jeanne says:

    @SuperHrefna: I can not forward that link to my father because he died in September, but he would have appreciated it (and his loss has just hit me again, when I thought I was past tears). He was 94.

    Somehow, no one in my family on either side was in WWI. They were all the wrong age, either far too young or too old.

    Dad served in WWII in the Signal Corps after being declared 4F the first time his draft number came up. He volunteered anyway and was sent to Davis, to Camp Kohler, and attended classes in a new technology, a secret weapon that had no name. They discovered its name when one of the guys in his unit brought back a comic book that described exactly what they were working with: radar.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/s.....4282175455

    He was part of the group that landed in Normandy a week after the initial invasion. He drove a radio truck and served first under Bradley and then under Eisenhower.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/s.....4282175455

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowwhite/207457136/ Dad’s the little guy, which is why he was first rejected for the Army.

    After the war one of his buddies got a photo of Eisenhower coming out of a meeting where the peace terms were signed, and it’s a striking photo when you think about what Ike is wearing.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowwhite/249991418/

    He had a pass to attend the Nuremberg Trials but did not go. His father was annoyed because This Was History, but Dad said he had seen enough.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowwhite/249964783/

  185. 185
    opie_jeanne says:

    Ok, now my post is awaiting moderation. Is it because I attached 5 links to photographs of my dad in WWII?

  186. 186
    opie_jeanne says:

    @opie_jeanne:
    opie_jeanne Says:
    Trying again, this time without the photo links.

    @SuperHrefna: I can not forward that link to my father because he died in September, but he would have appreciated it (and his loss has just hit me again, when I thought I was past tears). He was 94.
    Somehow, no one in my family on either side was in WWI. They were all the wrong age, either far too young or too old.
    Dad served in WWII in the Signal Corps after being declared 4F the first time his draft number came up. He volunteered anyway and was sent to Davis, to Camp Kohler, and attended classes in a new technology, a secret weapon that had no name. They discovered its name when one of the guys in his unit brought back a comic book that described exactly what they were working with: radar.

    He was part of the group that landed in Normandy a week after the initial invasion. He drove a radio truck and served first under Bradley and then under Eisenhower.

    After the war one of his buddies got a photo of Eisenhower coming out of a meeting where the peace terms were signed, and it’s a striking photo when you think about what Ike is wearing: khaki pants and shirt, and not a medal in sight.

    He had a pass to attend the Nuremberg Trials but did not go. His father was annoyed because This Was History, but Dad said he had seen enough.

  187. 187
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I’m still not getting what the difference is between you and the guy at the VFW who never left stateside and yet thinks he gets to criticize Vietnam vets for being weak because that war was lost.

    Well Mnem, you’re not getting that because as has always been the problem, you are dirt stupid.

  188. 188
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Soonergrunt:

    So you were born to a Vet. To a hero.

    No, SG, despite your desperate need to toss around propagandistic words like “hero” my father was more victim than hero, just like most of the maimed and dead in any of your fabulous wars.

    Also too: Hilarious when front pagers who by the very nature of the posts they write for public consumption, are attention whores, accuse others of same.

    Project much?

  189. 189
    SuperHrefna says:

    @opie_jeanne: I love that story of your Dad & the “secret” weapon :-) And I can totally understand him not going to the trials after all the horrors he had undergone. I’m so sorry for your loss, he sounds like an amazing man. Hugs!

    Here’s another song I’ve been thinking of today, this time for the military families & friends: Blue’s Gaen Oot o’ the Fashion, by Rachel Unthank & the Winterset. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqPGhTz6MHk I find something comforting in the long thread of history that links us today with our ancestors as they dealt with the fallout from the wars of their times.

  190. 190
    SuperHrefna says:

    Argo was fantastic by the way! It was gripping, funny & brought back a lot of memories. When the voiceover by Jimmy Carter came over the credits I got all misty eyed.

  191. 191
    Jim Vandewalker says:

    Welll, I went. My great-grandfather went, in the Civil War; my grandfather went, my father went. At his funeral in 1967, he and his two sons were in uniform: navy for him, there in the box, army for me, air force for my brother, saluting while the guard fired 21 guns.

    God keep us. My granddaughter is a Marine. She’s going for Special Forces training.

  192. 192
    Anne Laurie says:

    Thanks, Soonergrunt.

    St. Martin watch over you, and all the other veterans and their families.

  193. 193
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Democrats, Republicans seem more ready to compromise on deficit deal, a weird Fox News story o_O

    No new information in it at all

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