Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Today actually is Veteran’s Day, which was cemented on the calendar to commemorate the end of World War I in 1918:  The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  With our reverence for three-day weekends, we too often forget that holidays used to be celebrated on a specific date for a reason.  World War I, of course, marked the first time that America embarked on her 20th- and 21st-century crusade:  wading into foreign wars to ensure that people other than Americans can enjoy the freedoms we too often take for granted.

While it’s been the politicians who have made the choice to send Americans abroad — twice to Europe, twice to Asia, and twice to the Muslim world, along with various sorties and battles in other faraway places — it’s been citizens, not government, who have actually boarded the planes and the boats that took them far from home to fight for others’ freedom as well as for our own.

In our grandparents’ time, in our parents’ time, and now in our own time, young American men and women, both draftees or volunteers, have always made America proud.  Whether politicians fought wars to win (WWI and WWII) or fought wars to stalemate (Korea) or, if Democrats, fought wars to lose (Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan), these men and women have always given their all.  Undeterred by partisan politics or fickle public support, they have taken their oath seriously, and given their hearts and souls and, too often, their blood and guts, to the fight.

Considering all that these troops have given to us and, sadly, how little is given back to them by our plutocratic Progressive government, saying “thank you” one day a year seems like a very small acknowledgment and repayment. Still:  THANK YOU!!

Incidentally, if you would like to add a little something to that thank you, I can recommend these military charities:

USO

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

Soldiers’ Angels

Navy SEALS Foundation

Also, to make a difference in non-partisan political support for all of the “sea services,” there’s always my favorite, the Navy League.

The new Progressive attitude towards veterans is just as bad as the old one

My childhood spanned the late 1960s and early 1970s.  In San Francisco, a few things were clear:  policemen were pigs; troops were baby killers; and veterans were crazy drug addicts.  Those older than I — say in their late teens through late 30s — were openly hostile to the military.  There was no back stabbing.  It was in your face.

Things are different now.  My “real me” Facebook page is crawling with encomiums to vets:

Isn’t that nice?  They love our vets and troops.  Indeed, the bottom image comes from a stalwart free-market, liberty-oriented website, even though I found it on the Facebook wall of a Lefter than Left Leftist.

It’s all smoke and mirrors, though.  The same people lauding the troops today also think funding the military (in which these same troops serve) is immoral.  They also believe that de-funding the military will solve our massive federal debt.  In fact, military spending makes up only 14% of the federal budget (and only the federal budget); with welfare getting 12% (which is tacked on to all state and local money spent on welfare); education 14% (which is tacked on to all the state and local money spent on education); health care 17% (in addition to state and local money spent on same), and pensions 16%.  Of those budget items, it’s worth recalling that only the military is a traditional part of the federal budget, with everything else have crept in during and after the Roosevelt years.  I don’t know what percentage of the federal debt itself stems from past military spending, but I’m pretty darn sure the military wasn’t the beneficiary of Obama’s (and Bush’s) many stimulus dollars.

Maybe I’m being petty, but I don’t think this backstabbing is much of an improvement over the old-style full frontal attacks.  Speaking saccharine words to our troops while weakening them on the battlefield is a sleazy tactic.

As for me, I think our veterans and our troops wholeheartedly, and I wish them (and us) luck in the coming four years.

A contemplative resting place in Italy

I do not believe there is anyone in the world who knows more about America’s military plans against Japan in the waning years of WWII than D. M. Giangreco.  If you ever have any questions or curiosity about the subject, just check out his bibliography, and you shall find answers.

On that same page, in the upper left hand corner, you will also find a tranquil and moving video about the American Florence Military Cemetery.  With Veterans Day drawing close, the video is a very good way to remember those who have given their lives for our country.

Thank you, America’s Veterans! *UPDATED*

I always have a difficult time on Veterans’ Day, trying to figure out what to say.  Words seem very inadequate to the task of thanking those who have given so much to defend the freedoms that we often take for granted.  My mind becomes a kalaidoscopic jumble of images — sepia photos of putti clad WWI troops; stark black and white images of WWII troops, storming beaches, holding woods, raising flags; muddy, grubby Korean War and Vietnam War troops, already starting to be abandoned by the American public; triumphant Gulf War troops, thinking maybe war isn’t that bad; and the brave men and women of my generation, fighting what is undoubtedly the greatest American existential war since the Cold War ended.

Layered over those frozen battle images are the Veterans themselves — men and women, some old, some young, who have resumed the lives the war interrupted, but who are still shaped by the battles they fought.  I know some of these people, fragile old people with memories of Bastogne and Normandy, Iwo Jima and Pearl Harbor.  For them, those times were the worst of times but also, for many, the best of times, since those years were defining moments when these men and women lived at adrenalin’s pitch, reached within themselves for qualities few of us ever know we possess, and made a stand for the most important value of all:  liberty.  Certainly that’s how my father felt about his five years of service in the RAF during WWII.  It haunted him, but it also gave him a sense of pride that was his companion until death.

I guess that I, always perched comfortably in the quiet of my suburban home, will be reduced this year to saying what I’ve always said in years past:  Thank you so much for the service you’ve given this country and for the sacrifices you were willing (and sometimes not so willing) to make.  Our current political class may desire, quite desperately, to gloss over your contributions to our freedoms, but I don’t, and I don’t believe most Americans do either.

THANK YOU!

And would you be surprised that others are blogging?  Two of my favorite Milbloggers, Blackfive (here and here) and Grayhawk, both have something to say on the subject.  As for me, as other links come my way tomorrow, I’ll update this post to add them.

Others writing:

Steve Schippert highlights his 2006 post about a vet’s stolen honor, reclaimed.

In, of all places, the Washington Post, David Ignatius pays homage to America’s amazing military.

Noisy Room has a post honoring our vets, and an excellent round up of other links.

Andrea Shea King honors America’s Forgotten Heroes.  (Although we here haven’t forgotten, have we?)

The Anchoress on great men you don’t know, some in the military, some just living lives of quiet service to their community.