Happy Veterans Day


Just a quick post to wish John, Soonergrunt, and all the other veterans who read and/or comment here at Ballon Juice, and those who don’t, a Happy and Healthy Veteran’s Day!

It is, however, also important to remember as Shakezula at Laywers, Guns, and Money points out, that there are over 25 homeless veterans in the US per every 10,000 US veterans! I would argue that this is both a national political and a national moral disgrace. I leave you all with Five Finger Death Punch’s take on this:

* Veterans Day image was found here.

159 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I will be back later this evening with the post I promised for yesterday. I gave a pint of blood yesterday, and while not woozy, didn’t accomplish all that much after that…

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Thank you for your service…

    To this blog. ;-)

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    Thanks to all those that served.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: Tom Ricks once referred to me in regard to my service in Iraq as a veteran. It was a great compliment, and he defended it as civilian service should count too. I appreciated that, but the Soldiers, including those on my team, were the ones that took care of me and my teammates – and they earned the title veteran. We all do what we do for different reasons, wether uniform or civilian service, and when it works the motto of “one team one fight” is a thing of beauty to behold. But certain terms are reserved for certain folks for a reason.

  5. 5
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Well, there are guys like you who never wore the uniform but who provided (and provide) service regardless. But your point is taken about the terms.

    Then there are clowns who signed up for the National Guard to avoid fighting in their generation’s war…

  6. 6

    In my early 20s I thought about joining the military, but then thought, “What if there’s a war?” And I chickened out. Sooner, John, Raben, and all who served, whether voluntarily or via draft, have shown much more courage than I ever could.

    My thanks to all of you.

  7. 7

    Raven, not Raben! Damned iPhone. (And I can’t edit.)

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Someone has to do the filing…
    And thanks for the kind words.

  9. 9
    max says:

    Veterans Day should be in May, dammit (or in July around the 4th) when the weather is nice. Memorial Day should be today to fit with Armistice Day and the UK’s Remembrance Day – because the weather is crappy in November.

    Happy Veteran’s Day anyways!

    [‘And Labor Day should be on May 1st, dammit!’]

  10. 10

    Happy Veteran’s Day
    and Happy Diwali too!
    I will light a lamp tonight in honor of those who served.

  11. 11
    Elie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Adam, your body has already made up the volume (did that within a couple of hours after you gave) and has stores of red cells in the spleen that pumped into your blood stream and augmented any red cell loss. Your meal last night and your liver pumped in the other nutrients present in your plasma and the white cells, etc jumped aboard as needed all along. You should be good to go! Aint our bods a wonderful thing? Yes siree

  12. 12
    Elie says:

    With great respect to our BJ veterans and all our veterans — thank you for your service….

  13. 13
    Brachiator says:

    A great post and great reminder to think about veterans in unfortunate circumstances.

    And remember that this used to be Armistice Day, and that November 11 at 11 am in 1918, was supposed to mark the formal end of “the war to end all wars.”

    I salute all who served, and all who sacrificed.

    The Guardian UK recently published a piece about a lost poem by Shelley. Originally printed in 1811, a portion of the work bitterly reminds us that we have still not learned how NOT to go to war.

    A fiery denunciation of war and oppression, the abuse of press and dysfunctional political institutions, his poem goes even further, asking if “rank corruption” shall “pass unheeded by”, mourning how “Millions to fight compell’d, to fight or die / In mangled heaps on War’s red altar lie”. He also fulminates against the “cold advisers of yet colder kings … who scheme, regardless of the poor man’s pang, / Who coolly sharpen misery’s sharpest fang, / Yourselves secure.”

  14. 14
    trollhattan says:

    @Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA:
    On the plus side you may have provided him with a future dog name. At least it didn’t autocorrect to “rabid.”

  15. 15
    jeffreyw says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: In basic training they had all us boots yell out our service numbers when entering the mess hall, a method of drilling it into memory. There were three prefixes: US, RA, and NG – a US before the number meant Draftee, RA was for volunteers into the Regular Army, NG was National Guard. The first day I asked one of those who shouted “NGxxxxxxxx Sargeant” what the NG meant. He grinned and answered, “Not going!”. Left unsaid but implicit – “…to Viet Nam, sucka!”.

  16. 16
    JCJ says:

    While what you say is true I will definitely agree with Adam that I definitely feel it for a couple of days after I donate blood. I often notice it the next day climbing two or three flights of stairs. I make it up just fine but boy am I huffing and puffing! Two weeks ago I made my 87th donation of O- (and CMV-) RBC’s. I think I made about 30 donations before I moved here.

  17. 17
    raven says:

    If you have doubts about whether or not a civilian can be a veteran read abut John Balaban in “Late Thoughts on an Old War” by Phil Bielder. John so hated McNamara and the war that he became a civilian volunteer in the Mekong Delta and helped bring badly burned children to the states for treatment. In “Remembering Heavens Face” he recalls how, when he came home, he found himself throttling a driver who honked at him. He realized he was as impacted by what he did and saw as any vet. We were in the same place at the same time and he was kind enough to exchange email with me. Beidler was an Armored Cav officer and his chapter “Wanting to Be John Balaban” recounts how Phil had the awareness to resist the war instead of fighting it. Good stuff.

  18. 18
    raven says:

    @jeffreyw: Villago Delenda Est

    Too bad he didn’t end up in the NG outfit I was in in the Nam. Those dudes are still in shock that they got sent!

    Happy Vets Day Sky Soldier!

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @JCJ: It was never a problem for me, and I have ten “gallon” mugs (you get a coffee mug every 8 donations.) Unfortunately now I am “indefinitely deferred” due to having had babesiosis a couple of years ago, which is really a bummer. I always felt virtuous after donating.

  21. 21
    Thoughtful Today says:


    “Americans With Government Health Plans Most Satisfied.” – Gallup.com

    Satisfaction With the U.S. Health System Varies by Insurance Type:

    % Satisfied with the way the health system is working > Primary insurance type

    78 > Military or veterans
    77 > Medicare
    75 > Medicaid
    71 > Union
    69 > Current of former employer
    41 > Uninsured

    Jan.1-Oct.31, 2015

    “Socialism” wins.

  22. 22

    I would say “thank you for your service”, but what I really want to do is to apologize for sending our military into harms way for lousy reasons. The clusterfucks in Afghanistan and Iraq (and earlier in Vietnam and who knows how many tinier conflicts) are our collective responsibilities as Americans, and our veterans deserve not just thanks for serving but an acknowledgement of our guilt in sending them in vain. We ask you for your sacrifice, and you deserve better from the rest of us making sure that it’s genuinely in the service of the national good.

  23. 23

    What Roger Moore said x 10.

  24. 24
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    If you haven’t yet read these two pieces by Robert Bateman, I urge you to stop over at Charles P. Pierce’s place and have a look. They are related, and the one on Carson in particular provides a great deal on the history of our military academies that I, at least, never knew.

    Ben Carson Debunked: Inside his Made-Up West Point Story, November 10, 2015

    Why Veterans Day Exists, November 11, 2015

    I still can’t get the link function to work, so I expect I’m going to be thrown into moderation for a while. Can’t be helped, alas. I’ll ask in advance, with thanks, that Adam (or any other front-pager) please release me.


  25. 25
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Roger Moore: Amen.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Elie: Ixnay aonay atheay aruiningay amay aexcusay!

  27. 27
    rea says:

    Thank you for the Lacrosse, John, and for everything else as well . . .

  28. 28
    Keith G says:


    At least it didn’t autocorrect to “rabid.”

    It didn’t know him well enough to do that.**

    **As in rabid Dawgs fan, really.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: Raven, I know that civilians can be, I’m just loathe to claim the term for myself. The three nicest compliments I’ve ever received on top of Tom Ricks’s remarks were: 1) to be called an operator by an operator (I tend to use practitioner), 2) to be referred to as a scholar-soldier by one of my mentors (as opposed to the formulation used for actual uniformed personnel of Soldier-Scholar), and 3) as a consummate professional by the Corps commander I was serving as cultural advisor in front of a room of uniformed and civilian personnel including the CSA. Basically, I’m just happy to be counted as a civilian member of the Profession of Arms.

  30. 30
    Betty Cracker says:

    “Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.”

    — Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

    H/T: Wonkette

  31. 31
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: And a happy healthy vets day to you!

    IIRC there were like two NG outfits called up for Vietnam…LBJ didn’t want to do a mass callup of the NG because it meant ‘Nam was a “real war” and not a “police action”, but if you come back missing a leg, the nomenclature of the conflict doesn’t mean too much to you, as it does a cousin of mine who left one of his legs in a rice paddy.

  32. 32
    sharl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: You’re a credit to your profession – however it is defined – unlike Prof. Jeff Wilhelm (a parody, obviously, though maybe just a half-step ahead of real world examples).

  33. 33
    tsquared2001 says:

    @Betty Cracker: I like that. I like that a lot. Here is another:

    We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, is possible to carry this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield – George Orwell

  34. 34
    sharl says:

    g@Betty Cracker: Kurt Vonnegut’s letter home shortly after his liberation from a German POW camp is worth a read today or anytime.

  35. 35
    CaseyL says:

    Echoing the thanks to members of the service – whatever branch, whatever your responsibilities were. This day being specifically in remembrance of an Armistice, my hope is that the US learns to stay out of other countries’ wars, and stop starting wars of our own.

    It has also occurred to me, reading BJ as I have for lo these many years, we have a high number of highly-accomplished people here. (And also of people who are just plain high…) It’s a real pleasure to be rubbing (virtual) shoulders with y’all. Thanks!

  36. 36
    Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi) says:

    Steep checking in from the gate before jetting out to Las Vegas to house- and dog-sit for my RWNJ brother

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    I notice and echo Cole’s discomfort with the phrase “Thank you for your service” that he has been tweeting about. I did it. I got paid for doing it and I qualified for a number of contractually promised benefits. That’s all.

    If you want show appreciation for someone’s unappreciated services, go find and thank a teacher.

  38. 38
    tsquared2001 says:

    When I was a little kid, there was a boy who lived next door to us in the projects. He had the sweetest ’67 Mustang – powder blue that matched his eyes. He never came back from Nam and his death, more than anything, had my parents putting together an Canada escape plan for my older brothers if that war continued and their draft numbers came up snake eyes.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, “Thank you for your service” rubs me the wrong way for reasons I can’t easily articulate. I know there’s an appreciative motive behind it, but so often it seems to said (especially by the military fetishists of the right wing) in an almost dismissive tone. The best way to thank vets is to work to not make more of them, especially those who leave the service with disabilities because they left something in some damn desert someplace.

  40. 40
    Satby says:

    Great video, shameful facts in it. We owe our vets so much more than they get.

  41. 41

    The two veterans in our family have now passed, but I’ll put in a quick shout-out for those who served in peacetime — my dad was in the Army post-Korean War but pre-Vietnam ramp-up. Though since my Marine brother had breakfast in the barracks that was blown up in 1983 (his company returned to their ship about an hour before the explosion), I’m not entirely sure that counts as “peacetime.”

  42. 42
    gogol's wife says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Well said.

  43. 43
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Adam, could you kindly take me out of moderation? Comment posted at 3:48 p.m. Many thanks!

  44. 44
    Satby says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: @Villago Delenda Est: My Marine son, a vet of 5 combat tours during the W years, REALLY hates when people thank him for his service. He can’t really say why either and he’s learned to just nod; but the thought that people think a ribbon magnet and a tossed off thanks somehow makes up for sending him and his buddies into the clustfuck that was Iraq is part of it.

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That drives me nuts too!

  46. 46
    rikyrah says:

    For all those serving or did serve – thank you.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: done. For some reason the site went bye bye for a while on my computer! And I know Bateman. Good guy and those are two great posts.

  49. 49
    rikyrah says:

    Because, of course, the only people who suffer racism in America are ghetto-dwelling, welfare-taking Black people.

    And, if you have some success, you no longer have the right to voice the injustice and racism that you see occurring DAILY in your life?

    GET.DA.PHUQ.OUTTA.HERE with the bullshyt.

    I bet this young man’s father could tell stories that would make your head shake in disgust.

    And, I also bet his father couldn’t be more proud of his son today if he tried.


    Mizzou hunger-strike figure from Omaha, son of top railroad exec

    Jonathan Butler, a central figure in the protests at the University of Missouri, is an Omaha native and the son of a railroad vice president, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

    Butler refused food last week in a move to force the university system’s president, Timothy M. Wolfe, from office. Wolfe resigned Monday and Butler ended his hunger strike.

    Jonathan Butler played high-school football at Omaha Central High, where he won a state championship, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mizzou, the newspaper reports. He is working toward a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy.

    He is a member of a prominent Omaha family. The newspaper says that Butler’s father is Eric L. Butler, executive vice president for sales and marketing for the Union Pacific Railroad. His 2014 compensation was $8.4 million, according to regulatory filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Eric L. Butler and his wife, Cynthia Butler, serve as pastors of Joy of Life Ministries, the newspaper reported. Along with Jonathan Butler, the couple has two other children.


  50. 50
    raven says:

    @Satby: Isn’t it a difficult situation. There are people who say it and I have the same visceral reaction but I last have good friends that say it and I’ve tried to explain how it can be taken badly. They mean well just like the people here at BJ that same thing. It’s just intentionality I guess. If Ben Carson stabs a dude in the gut it’s negative, if he cuts his head open it’s positive. The old duality of man sir!

  51. 51
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I hear this every Memorial Day and Veterans Day. I’m not going to question the sentiment and, even though I’ve never served, I think I get where it’s coming from. But truth be told, I’m not sure what alternative pleasantry one is supposed to say. “Thank you for your service” has the benefit of being a fairly simple concept to convey.

    Would it be preferable simply to ignore the fact of military service?

  52. 52
    raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: John Paul Vann was a civilian when he died in the chopper crash in the Nam. Strange indeed.

  53. 53
    Josie says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That is a really nice thing for you to say. After 30 years in the middle school trenches, it feels good to be appreciated.

  54. 54
    Fixing It says:


    The only election in history in which stabbing someone in in the gut is a good thing.

  55. 55
    Botsplainer says:

    In honor of the day, all Republican candidates are going to support the privatization of veteran’s services and a big bruising land war in Iran and throughout the Persian Gulf on behalf of BiBi’s Likudniks. Since the GOPers support the troops, there won’t be any Rules of Engagement, so as many collateral damage casualties as can occur will be celebrated.


  56. 56
    Satby says:

    @raven: I would rather do what I can to vote for and agitate for better benefits for our vets. Knowing how that phrase can grate I try to appreciate in tangible ways. But the respect and appreciation are very much there for all of you.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Josie: My mom is a retired elementary school teacher; I have some idea of what you guys do.

  58. 58
  59. 59
    raven says:

    @Satby: I hear ya.

  60. 60
    Pogonip says:

    I wish all veterans a great day and wish even more that by the NEXT one, vets will get something besides thank-you-for-your-service.

  61. 61
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    I think the vets here are Sooner,Cole, Raven, VDE, JefferyW, Omnes and anyone I forgot. Thanks. And I know my old man and raven’s were also in the shit in an earlier war.

  62. 62
    trollhattan says:

    Wow, a true wonder he lived. I only knew the basics of his experience but never these details. Sounds like it was a tossup as to how many died from the Germans and from “friendly” fire.

  63. 63
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: My daughter has begun her tenth year of teaching elementary school, in a “majority-minority” school system. The teaching part isn’t hard, it’s all the rest that they’re called on to do.

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: Happy Veterans Day works.

  65. 65
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @trollhattan: My father was a German prisoner. He never spoke a word of it, ever.

  66. 66

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    Though since my Marine brother had breakfast in the barracks that was blown up in 1983 (his company returned to their ship about an hour before the explosion), I’m not entirely sure that counts as “peacetime.”

    I think VFW would count that as making him a veteran of a foreign war, which seems about right to me.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Poopyman says:

    @raven: Wait! Did John Balaban teach at Penn State in the fall of 1973? Because I will swear he was my English prof for the English for non-idiots class (those of us AP students who placed out of English 101). My only memory is reading one part in Romeo and Juliet and he reading the other. I was Juliet.

    Was that him? We had no idea ….

  69. 69
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Thanks. That seems like an odd to say the other 364 days of the year, but I’ll go with it if the situation arises.

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Thanks so much! Glad you’ve read the pieces, and impressed (envious) that you know Bateman personally. He doesn’t post all that frequently at Esquire these days, but his articles and essays are invariably worth reading. I’m a very big fan.

  71. 71
    Poopyman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: How in the HELL did you end up with babesiosis? I’ve got 110+ platelet donations. The RC used to be my source for dirty work tee shirts until they stopped giving them out.

  72. 72

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Yeah, “Thank you for your service” rubs me the wrong way for reasons I can’t easily articulate.

    I’m not a veteran, but it rubs me the wrong way, too. It seems like a ritual phrase rather than a genuine expression of gratitude. It’s like sending a robosigned Hallmark “Thank You” card- the minimum possible expression of gratitude, expressed because it’s expected rather than the result of any kind of genuine, heart-felt appreciation.

  73. 73
    raven says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): He would have an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for Lebanon 1 June 1983 to 1 December 1987. This is the same award that was given for Vietnam Service until 1965. I received it for Korea Service 1 October 1966 to 30 June 1974 in what is called “The DMZ War”. A few years ago it was replaced by the he Korea Defense Service Medal.

    The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) is a military award of the United States military, which was first created in 1961 by Executive Order of President John Kennedy. The medal is awarded for participation in “any military campaign of the United States for which no other service medal is authorized.” [1]

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Baud: On the other days, it would be odd. Seriously though, if you feel that thanking someone for serving in military is warranted, I would try to avoid that exact phrase.

  75. 75
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I don’t know about real life, but in that photo he looks like the young Kirk Douglas!

  76. 76

    @Roger Moore:

    He’s the one who died of lung cancer this summer, so it’s all academic now, unfortunately.

  77. 77
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Poopyman: Bit by a tick.

  78. 78
  79. 79
    Fixing It says:

    Jeb did himself a lot of favors last night–the gloom over the campaign has vanished and he’s eve beginning into reel in some big time endorsements.

    Jeb now has breathing room. The reboot is under way….


  80. 80
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @raven: I don’t think any of them could have been larger than a battalion. In WWI and WWII, we called up entire divisions of the NG.

  81. 81
    trollhattan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    One can only wonder at the horrors he kept locked away.

    Of the WWII vets in my neighborhood growing up (most of the dads–testament to how immersed the entire nation was) few spoke of their experiences. My dad (Pacific Fleet) would tell stories from time to time and of course I never wrote anything down so my sketchy recollections of his stories are totally inadequate for sharing with my own child. The glory that is the internet slowly gathers information about his ship, even to the point of a few photos taken from neighboring ships of Japanese aviators trying to kill dad. Thanks, gunners and fighter pilots! The splash just astern is a dive-bomber.

  82. 82
    Baud says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Thanks. Really. I don’t like to be unintentionally offensive. And, you know, with the campaign and all…

    This is helpful.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    trollhattan says:

    @Fixing It:
    How many tries before that last paycheck cleared?

  85. 85
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Poopyman: You know, it was always one of those funny questions on the screening questionnaire – ha, ha, babesiosis, who the hell gets that, it even sounds funny. It isn’t. It’s easily comparable to malaria.

  86. 86
    raven says:

    @trollhattan: The Yorktown? My stepmom just took a tour from Guadalcanal up through Iron Bottom Sound and the “Slot” to follow my old man’s path. You know their were more sailors killed in the sea battle of Guadalcanal than Marines on the ground.

  87. 87


    True story: my mom flipped out when the news about the bombing broke, because we knew he was in Lebanon but everyone was on lockdown. She refused to answer the front door for at least two weeks because she didn’t want to see two uniformed Marines standing there. She was so upset that my dad somehow managed to call our congressperson or senator and get the Marines to allow my mom to call my brother on his ship. During the lockdown.

    I suspect his shipmates never stopped razzing him that his mommy called him, but I bet they were a little envious, too.

  88. 88
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Fixing It: Huzzah, huzzah, Jeb didn’t step on his own dick.

    Talk about damning with faint praise.

  89. 89
    Fixing It says:


    The cash burn rate has slowed by quite a bit. We’re budgeting our money, living within our means, but to be honest the donors are about to come on board the bandwagon once we show some real movement in the NH polls.

    Jeb is going to lead one of the most amazing, astounding comebacks in Republican Party history. Stay tuned folks!

  90. 90
    trollhattan says:

    Am now crushed to learn “babesiosis” does NOT mean “inexplicable ability to attract babes in copious quantities” a.k.a. Sam Malone Syndrome. Hrrrmph.

  91. 91
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @trollhattan: This was from the other side.

  92. 92


    How in the HELL did you end up with babesiosis?

    It’s apparently spread through tick bites, and is a growing disease here in the US.

    I’ve got 110+ platelet donations.

    I have about 35 whole blood, close to 40 platelet, one white cell, and one stem cell donation. The white cell and stem cell donations are way worse than whole blood or platelets, because they give you medicines beforehand to boost your cell count (prednisone for white cells and Neupogen/Filgrastim/G-CSF for stem cells) that make you feel as if you’re coming down with a severe infection.

  93. 93
    WaterGirl says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I see your point, but really, for Jeb, not stepping on his own dick is a pretty high bar!

  94. 94
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Fixing It: That toast is going to need a lot of fixing because the crusts are close to pure carbon now.

  95. 95
    RaflW says:

    Off topic but can I just say that I thought maybe Ray La Hood was a different sort of Republican, but — surprise! — he’s just an as$hole and apparently a believer bipartisan unicorns (if they help him blame Obama).

    Fvk him.

  96. 96
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Fixing It: There’s been plenty of movement, it’s just been down.

  97. 97
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): They certainly were. I can tell you that if I got a package from home when I was stationed in Germany, it was all over the Battalion HQ and troops would come up to me and look for cookies, because my mom was really big on sending me packages of cookies.

  98. 98
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Roger Moore: “Nantucket fever.” It’s big here in New England.

  99. 99

    Also, in the annals of accidentally awkward conversations you have with teenagers:

    My 15-year-old niece found pictures of her late dad when he was stationed in Hawaii and said, “There were a lot of pictures of him with a really pretty Asian woman. I wonder if that was his girlfriend.”

    I said, “Oh, that was probably his first wife, Yuki.” Beat. “Wait, crap, I probably wasn’t supposed to tell you that. Don’t tell your mom I told you.”

  100. 100
    WereBear says:

    I honor veterans.

    My brother came back from Marine boot camp and the first thing he said to me was, “You are not cut out for the military.”

    I agreed.

  101. 101
    trollhattan says:

    Thankfully no, CV20 Bennington. She was Essex class launched in time for the war’s last year. Worst things that happened to her in the war were taking a 500# bomb to the flight deck and having her bow practically ripped off in Halsey’s typhoon. Their main bragging point was playing a big part in sinking the Yamato.

    She was refitted and served into the Vietnam era. We were lucky in touring her as part of the Seafair Fleet when I was a kid, growing up. That’s when we got most of the stories, as dad had no qualms about walking us around her–and I’ll add she’s still the largest ship I’ve ever boarded.

  102. 102

    @Fixing It:

    Since it’s Veterans Day, remind us which branch Jeb served in, again?

  103. 103
    Poopyman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I did not know it’s tick-borne. Oh joy. Luckily (?) i had a month long course of antibiotics after my 5th tick bite this year. It was for something totally unrelated, but I’m sure it wiped out whatever the ticks may have been carrying. (Plus I’d pulled them off within an hour or so of attaching.)

  104. 104
    Poopyman says:

    Also too, did the site just fart? Seemed more than a hiccup.

  105. 105
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Poopyman: Yeah, the “connection reset by server” thing happened a few minutes ago.

  106. 106
    Cervantes says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Then there are clowns who signed up for the National Guard to avoid fighting in their generation’s war…

    Which war? Which generation?

  107. 107
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Satby: Maybe we should say : “I respect your service.”

    My brother failed out of college and joined the Air Force. I have a childhood friend who ended up with a lottery number in the high 300s. However since he had never renounced his Italian citizenship, he was eligible for the Italian draft. I don’t know what process he went through to get that quashed but it eventually was.

  108. 108
    trollhattan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    I demand limericks!

  109. 109
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I guess that’s my cue to say you look like a young Michael Douglas.

  110. 110
    Fixing It says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    Jeb registered for the draft but was not called up on the final draft drawing of the Vietnam War, the only one he was eligible.

    That’s in contrast to certain husbands of certain presidential candidates who spent their time during the Vietnam War trashing the troops in a foreign country, and even visiting the Vietcong’s benefactor in the midst of that bloody conflict.

  111. 111
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Cervantes: George W. Bush. Dan Quayle. Vietnam.

    Then there’s Dick “Other Priorities” Cheney and his five draft deferments.

  112. 112
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Fixing It: Oh, what bullshit.

  113. 113

    @Fixing It:

    Too chicken to sign up like John Kerry and Al Gore did, huh?

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): Just as there is no particular glory to bask in for having served in the military, there is no shame in not having served.

  115. 115
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, unless you’re like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney and enthusiastically supported a war so long as your precious ass was not in any danger of getting shot at.

  116. 116
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Poopyman: I was on a three-drug course for a month.

  117. 117

    @Fixing It:

    And if spouses are fair game, how big of a fine did Columba have to pay for trying to smuggle jewelry through US Customs, again?

  118. 118
    lurker dean says:

    happy veterans day to the blog’s veterans. if anyone has any suggestions for a good charity for veterans, please post. i’ve looked on charity navigator, but of course other research raises questions about some of CN’s ratings.

  119. 119
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @trollhattan: I think the real challenge is how to use “Nantucket” in a non-obscene limerick.

  120. 120

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It’s only shameful to have not served in the military when your foreign policy plan is to send other people’s children to fight and die in Iran.

  121. 121

    @lurker dean:

    I make a charity donation to Fisher House on my mom’s behalf for Christmas every year. They’re kind of like Ronald McDonald House for veterans’ families so they have a place to stay near the VA hospital where their family member is undergoing treatment. They have a high rating with Charity Navigator and an overall good reputation.

  122. 122
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    Happy Veteran’s Day to all the veterans on the blog.

  123. 123
    PurpleGirl says:

    @lurker dean: A close friend recommends Eastern Paralyzed Veterans (PVA.org), another older group is Disabled American Veterans (DAV.org). Both have been working with and for veterans for many years.

  124. 124
    trollhattan says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    Right up there with the unpossible mission of brewing a tasty NA beer.

  125. 125
    raven says:

    @trollhattan: Aha, my old man was on the Oriskany after he got his commission after the war. It must have been cool going aboard. A Measureless Peril: America in the Fight for the Atlantic, the Longest Battle of World War II is an interesting book written by a fellow whose father was an officer a DE during the war. He has this great part at the end where his dad takes him down to the docks in NYC durning fleet week to see the ship. He had always seen his dad as just a guy in a suit but when the his old WW2 captain tells his dad to “take her out so sea” he has a whole other perspective.

    Have you read “The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors” about the Batlle of Samar? The Yamoto is the prime Japanese craft and, while it survived, it was the beginning of the end.

  126. 126
    geg6 says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Yes, this. Thanks for saying what I wanted to say.

    And huge thanks to all the BJers who served or who have loved ones who have or are.

  127. 127
    raven says:

    @Fixing It: Fuck you douchebag,

  128. 128
    J R in WV says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Me too. I’m glad to have served, although no one ever shot at me we did have dangerous work to do. I was lost-time injured 3 times in 3 years. But being thanked for my service is uncomfortable somehow.

    My draft lottery number was either 27 or 72… I’m thinking 72 now. I didn’t get a letter from the draft board right off. By the time they were writing me I was enlisting in the Navy. The Coast Guard wouldn’t take me, I wore glasses that were too thick. My folks knew I was (obviously) against the war, and even though they were Republicans mentioned that they knew folks in various Canadian cities… amazing, huh?

    But on the days like today I think of all those who served, hard, and never came home, or came home with major permanent disabilities. For LBJ’s war. We know now that the Gulf of Tonkin attack (which in theory caused the “police action” war in Viet Nam) was more fiction than fact.

    Just like the war in Iraq. Whatever patriotic name they gave it, it was a fraud on America, and G W Bush, Dick Cheney, General Powell (ret) are responsible for every single death of every American and every iraqi person who died. Or was maimed.


    And thanks to Raven, and Sooner, and Ozarky, and all the rest of you that served! Best of luck to all of you and yours!

  129. 129
    namekarB says:

    I really dislike people wishing me a “Happy” Veteran’s Day. I did not volunteer, I was drafted. In another era that was also called Shanghaied. Ended up in an infantry unit in the jungles of Vietnam. Saw too much death, destruction and a first hand view off how fxxked up our military was (during that time). I did not fight for your “freedom” or “the American Way.” My brothers and I fought to stay alive and return home with all our body parts.

    Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day do NOT bring happiness to my day. Rather just painful memories.

  130. 130
    Satby says:

    @Baud: I’m not a vet, so I think Omnes answer is what I default to.
    My son’s nod as a response is after a lot of work though, in getting to the intent behind the words. Or like raven said.

  131. 131
    shomi says:

    That video is kinda lame. This one is more my speed.

  132. 132
    Steeplejack (sky-high wi-fi) says:


    Thanks! Just got connected to the in-flight wi-fi. They had some problems and rebooted their gizmo.

    United 866, for disaster tracking purposes. Headwinds and some turbulence, which has interrupted my gin-and-tonic flow.

  133. 133
    James Campbell says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Mugs? I have donated more than eight gallons and have not seen a mug lately. Man!

  134. 134
    lurker dean says:

    thanks mnemosyne and purplegirl for the suggestions!

  135. 135
    Ruckus says:

    I wrote this in Tom’s post in 2010 about vets day.
    Thanks for the great posts.
    They stir up things in my head that I try to, if not forget, to try to diminish their brightness. These are not bad things on their own but they bring back memories of times and things I don’t normally feel the need to be reminded of. But every once in a while it is good to dust off the old internal history brain and remind oneself not just who and where we are but how we got here. Thank you for that. And all the commenters as well.

    There are many things in these posts to jog memories that I had not heard or read in a long time. Someone asked me if I would be celebrating Veterans Day and I said I normally don’t. Like many here who served in the military, I served my time during warfare and even though I wasn’t sent to combat I could have easily been. I went where I was sent, did what I was told. There is no honor in that, only duty. But there is much more honor in doing that then sending humans to wage needless war and far more honor than that in demanding that other people send humans to wage needless war that will never affect them directly. I did spend 2 months in a hospital with Marines who fought in Vietnam and the first person stories are as much warfare as I need. The look in the eyes of these men would tear out your heart. The words they spoke are even more haunting. Thinking about it affects me greatly just trying to type this and it has been almost 40 years. The average age of these men was probably 20-22 years old. I wonder what these decades of that pain has done to them? To their lives? To their families? I know what my limited contact to it has done to me. And I know why many vets spend their lives trying to forget the horrible things they know.

  136. 136
    catclub says:

    @JCJ: I think I have a 5 gallon pin and a 4 gallon pin ( from different blood organizations) but just boring A+.


  137. 137
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I want to ask the people who say thank you if they voted for people who wanted to/actually did send people to a war waged for no valid reason. I wonder if they feel guilt about that and if not, why.
    Omnes, what I want is for people to work to make sure that the vets get those contractually obligated things, I don’t need their thanks, I need the follow through. And others need far more than I do.

  138. 138
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: I think you may have hit on a major reason that the phrase bothers me. And you are also right about making sure that people who served get the benefits that they were promised. It is, in my mind, a contractual obligation. If it is played as a moral debt, the hagiography chorus could try to get away with saying “We are venerating you. What more do you want?” If portrayed in contract terms, it is “I fulfilled my part of the contract. Fulfill yours.”

  139. 139
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @raven: As was Bernard Fall. Though he was blown up on the Street of Joy while on patrol with the Marines.

  140. 140
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I only know him through correspondence. He’s a sharp guy and an excellent historian.

  141. 141
    Ruckus says:

    @J R in WV:
    My number in the first lottery was 15. I’d been 1A for 18 months at that time. My ass was going. But I had joined the navy about 60 days prior so I never got a notice.

  142. 142
  143. 143
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Fall was a journalist when he was killed, but he had been a member of the Resistance and also served in the French army.

  144. 144
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    “I fulfilled my part of the contract. Fulfill yours.”
    And that’s the rub. Not really being done. And like all things republicans touch, getting worse.
    It’s also the phrasing, it sounds like an ad slogan. And how many vets actually served in an “honorable” war in my lifetime, if such a thing even exists? Not me. Gulf war 91? Possibly.
    Happy Veterans Day is more than enough, this is the day we supposedly celebrate coming home alive, even if not in the same condition as we left.

  145. 145
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I’m aware, I was referring to being a civilian at the time of his death.

  146. 146
    J R in WV says:

    @Ruckus: My notice was just to report for a physical. I was already scheduled to enlist in the Navy, so I never got an actual draft notice.

    Being against the Viet Nam war, it was pretty hard to take the oath, step forward, all that.

    Arriving at boot camp at 4 am in Great Lakes, Illinois in early March in a freezing rain, being formed up in ranks, kind of, in that rain… I knew I was fucked from day one. Before Boot camp was over I had pneumonia, and was accused of being a slacker. Then the medics put me to bed, the CO was furious! 45 years later it was funny, but only because I lived through it.

    Best to all you other Vets!! I’m gonna go get a glass of bourbon, and hoist one to all of us!

  147. 147
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: I set my phone with a 11:00am alarm. When it went off, I stood for a personal moment of silence for those I’ve known and those like them whether they came back or not.

    @Adam L Silverman: I figured that you knew. It is worth mentioning though. Part of Fall’s effectiveness as a writer is that he had experienced the what the people he was writing about had been through. Same with Hemingway (once one wades through the macho BS); he saw and was part of the ugliness.

  148. 148
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J R in WV:

    Best to all you other Vets!! I’m gonna go get a glass of bourbon, and hoist one to all of us!

    And one more to absent friends. Cheers.

  149. 149
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I constantly find insights in Fall’s writing for things we’re facing today.

  150. 150
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    History does after all and most often unfortunately repeat itself.
    People such as yourself keep trying to get people to understand history for the lessons it holds and many of them keep having the same issues in thinking that they can do it differently this time. Seems like beating one’s head against the wall might just be as beneficial.

  151. 151
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ruckus: Yes, but it doesn’t pay as well and it hurts more.

  152. 152
    Ruckus says:

    @J R in WV:
    I’d already been through the “physical.” Pee in a plastic jar that’s put in a rack with no number/name/ID with every one else. Same with blood, they draw a test tube, put it in a rack, you walk away. I had suspected it was all bullshit but that confirmed it. But the kicker was standing in the hallway in your shorts with all the rest of your clothes in your arms, while the other side of the hallway had a group of guys going in that day. In the middle was a Marine drill sargent. Let’s see if I can get the gist of it from 48 yrs ago. Standing with his back to us, talking to the lucky guys getting inducted, “I’m going to count off and every third guy take a step back against the wall.” He does. “All you motherfuckers in the middle go with the girl down at the end of the hall. You’re in the army now. The rest of you, you’re mine. You’re in the marine corp.” My internal response was “Oh fuck me.”

  153. 153
    Ruckus says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Great response.

  154. 154
    raven says:

    @Ruckus: They went down the line in Chicago and just counted off, Army-Marines-Army-Marines. I went IN on not only my birthday but the Marine Corps Birthday as well. I’ve always pondered what would have happened if I had volunteered for the draft and gone in the croch instead of taking 3 in the Army. The would have had to have waited until I was 18 to go to the Nam so I might not have gone. On the other hand, some of the most fucked up people I know are jar heads who didn’t go.

  155. 155
    lurker dean says:

    @Adam L Silverman: thanks Adam.

  156. 156
    Ruckus says:

    some of the most fucked up people I know are jar heads who didn’t go

    Thinking you are tough shit without having to find out that everyone is scared and that death is random fucks up a moron.

  157. 157
    Paul in KY says:

    @tsquared2001: We had one of those too. RIP, Frank Brawner.

  158. 158
    Paul in KY says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Great book. All here should read it.

  159. 159
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Paul in KY: His shorter essay, based on a lecture, Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency, is also well worth the time. You can find it here: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/aw.....t5-w98.htm.

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