OT: Veteran's Day (OT in this case = On Topic)

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I wasn't going to post anything as this venue can be a really strange place to be. But after watching the morning news and watching the vets speak about the day's ceremonies I felt like I needed to get typing. So few understand the importance of Veterans Day and what it really means.
I live (and grew up in) a military based city, and at one time we had five (yes, five) military bases that honored our fair city with their presence. This close up look at the system and its people no doubt color my perception as I have now lived here for 40+ years.
Military service is considered to this day an honor here, and those past their terribly confusing collegial years understand that the sacrifice made by so many transcends petty politics and party squabbling, and the current presidential policies. In fact, it is the sacrifice of others that make all the squabbling, disagreement, etc. possible.
There are plenty of vets here that have returned after training to settle in, and we honor them and their predecessors all during the year, not just once a year. Old timers have set up outreach programs for younger soldiers, and it is never unusual to see soldiers in their fatigues anywhere at anytime.
My next door neighbor received two purple hearts and a bronze star at Monte Cassino. LOML's recently passed father received the DSC for his actions at the same place, along with other accolades and personal letters from commanding officers for his service and bravery on that mountain.
One of the guys that subcontracts from me is a wounded door gunner from a Huey that fights his spinal injury hard almost every day. A fellow contractor that I partner with on occasion has long scars up and down one arm and down his back from his time in Korea. In ten years, he has never even hinted at what happened to him other than to say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The forklift driver at the lumberyard I buy from has so many skin grafts on his arms and chest he looks like a checkerboard from burns received in Desert Shield. One of my closest friend's Dad was at Pearl Harbor, and was there literally watching while the base was bombed. He witnessed the bombing and sinking of the battleships, the destruction the bases and the deaths of thousands of soldiers and civilians.
Military life is never far from us here, and I am glad of it. I think it helps us remember that there is strife and conflict outside of our normal mundane lives, and that those folks play(ed) a necessary and profoundly important role in the security and safety of our country. Soldiers have protected us and our way of life since the inception of this country. They have also protected the lives and beliefs of others, most of the time in far away places, out of touch with family and loved ones, missing birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and all manner of other things that are taken for granted by many of us.
It is important to note too, that the fine men and women in the service now are all volunteers. That's a helluva thing: to volunteer your life for the service of others.
This is an important day, one to recognize the sacrifice for soldiers past and present, and to preserve a sense of deeply felt appreciation for those living and dead.
I didn't write this out to start yet another thread debating/attacking the direction of The United States, its policies, it politicians, or its way of life. I am sick of that. This was a commentary on my personal beliefs that happen to be shared by many around me. Snide remarks, witty retorts, and cute sound bites are NOT welcome.
And this day has nothing to do with that type of dialogue, other than the fact it was made possible by a veteran. So I say if you see a vet wearing his hat with the service pins on it, or a younger soldier in his fatigues, make their day: shake their hand and thank them for a job well done.
Robert
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

<snip of a wonderful post>

Amen to all of what you said, Robert. We're likely of an age but from different countries. I'm in Canada.
As a teen, I grew up across the river from Port Huron MI, and watched what was happening in Vietnam and vowed that I'd never be pulled into a senseless conflict such as that. As opposed to all those other conflicts that make sense. (BTW, no politics in this post either. There are no criticisms here)
That period coloured my views on military to the point where I had some pretty unrealistic ideas about what military meant and what it stood for. i.e. All Military = bad. As I said, it was pretty unrealistic.
I share the view that what these people are doing for us to protect our way of life is nothing short of heroic. Even the ones that aren't the the classic "heroes". Hell, they all are. Because of them, we have the freedom to say pretty much what we want, go where we please and live a relatively strife-free life. For that I am extremely grateful.
People have lost limbs, the means to make a decent living, and their lives simply to uphold that freedom for us. It's an unbelievably sobering thought.
I have no real concept of the horrors they have gone through, but I appreciate the sacrifices they have made for us.
--
Tanus

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I didn't snip anything, Robert, because it won't hurt anyone to read it again. I live in El Paso and we have Fort Bliss as neighbors. I have many military friends who have come and gone and many who have retired here. It was great news to me when I heard that BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) program would bring the 1st Cavalry Division here to Ft. Bliss. I served with the 1st Cav in Korea ('50 - '51)
Thank You for your kind words.
Max
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"Max" wrote

military
Ahhh yes, good old Ft Bliss ...intro was being yanked from the bed of a lovely, warm young wife at 5AM to travel by bus from College Station to the induction station in Houston, then waking up in basic training, in Fort Bliss, the very next morning ... can you spell culture s h o c k?
Then back again in '68 as a shavetail 2nd looey for a memorable year before going to the inevitable South China Sea land of enchantment.
A summer of jack rabbit hunting with a pistol out of the bed of a pickup, dove hunting further down south on the Rio Grande where half the birds fell into Mexico and you didn't even have to get your feet wet to retrieve them, and the El Paso Sun Kings! Watching baseball, the way it was meant to be, outdoors, on a clear summer evening on that desert floor, and with the Franklin Mountain's as a backdrop, just before drugs, attitude and the TV culture ruined the game forever.
A buck for a ticket on the first base line with a military, ID and 50 cents for cold beer.
Surely things of the past ... but what memories (as my achilles tendons still remind me, thanks to that weekly 7 mile march/double time to the rifle range and back, in desert SAND!)
--
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LOL. You would be amazed to see what's happened to where the rifle range used to be. It was Castner Range. It's now "Castner Heights" addition. The Border Patrol is constructing a large facility on part of the old range close to the mountain. The "Sun Kings" are now the "Diablos". They have a new stadium near where the rifle range was. I came here in March, '50 to go to guided missile school. The cadre hadn't been formed yet and the school was delayed. Then came June, '50. I was invited to join the forces in Korea. Population of El Paso in 1953, when I joined the Fire Department was 130,000. When I retired as Deputy Chief, it was 600,000. It's close to 700,000 now. Lots of changes.
Max
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

... snip of some good stuff, only to preserve bandwidth

Well stated and well-spoken. Thanks to all who have served, are serving now, and those who will volunteer to serve in the future.
--
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough

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wrote:
[snipped for brevity]

None of us should ever be allowed to question the reasons why a soldier volunteers. Sure there are some who just want a free education and hope that they won't see combat. Some have no other place to go. Some just use it as a form of voluntary exile. ...those are just a few.
The bulk of them want to serve their country. Those volunteers are already heroes in my book, without having done any heroic deeds. Those soldiers deserve all the help and respect in times of combat and AFTER their tours are up.
The way so many people pay their respects for the troops speaks volumes. The way the vets are discarded after their usefulness is used up...also speaks volumes.
The percentage of vets who become homeless...is a horrifying disgrace. What does that say? "Thanks for losing that leg, buddy...now you may rot."
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Someone far smarter than I has suggested the if the draft were reinstituted, the country would become more unified in a hurry.
It is a point well worth considering.
Lew
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wrote:

I agree with you.
I really do not fault the younger kids today I think they are more patriotic then the older 60's retards. It's a shame that these retards are trying to impose their beliefs and ways they think this country should be governed today. Half of them have fried brains. The kids that cause the problems today with drugs etc. in my opinion are probably the children of these people. Their philosophy in those days -- if it feels good do it and they are raising their kids that are causing problems the same way. I feel you reap what you sow. The ones that dodged the draft are people I would not want in my outfit to begin with. When the going got tough they would be the first ones to take off.
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Dave wrote:

I don't see people who dodged the draft in Vietnam as being "unpatriotic". In fact in retrospect they made the right decision. The poor kids who got drafted and went did a Hell of a job that has never been properly appreciated and then the politicians threw it all away and gave the country to the people they had been fighting, so they died for no purpose at all.
Do you really trust the politicians not to do the same thing again? I mean look at the crap that's being pulled today--it should be "General Petraeus, what do you need? OK, go get it." not "General Petraeus, we're going to nail your ass to a cross if you don't achieve a miracle with the pittance we let you have".
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What incredible disrespect and ignorance! Those who fought believed in their duty if not the cause, their country if not its policy. They were putting something above self. They should be commended.
Since the battle against crime, drugs, poverty ... etc can never be won, should we glorify the criminals and druggies for their clever assessment? We glorify the poor, even when it's because of their bad choices, which I guess shows we've learned nothing about individual responsibility, only a way to alibi, making it the fault of the system.
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I wasn't planning to do much replying, but So many good points here...
I was drafted and went to Nam.. I wasn't brave, or patriotic, or noble.. just too unaware of word events and passive to think of alternatives...
I have no bad feelings for those who refused the draft or went to another country to avoid it... we all have to make choices and live with them..
However, I do have bad feelings about the people that didn't have to make choices but made careers out of protesting.... IMO, it took guts to give up a life in the States and go to Canada or wherever.. but no guys at all to be safe and warm and call those who did make choices cowards or baby killers..
It's been almost 40 years and I still won't watch anything with Jane Fonda in it.. She should have been shot for treason..
mac
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mac davis wrote:

Don't get me started on Jane.
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Maybe that's why the neocons are trying to avoid a draft. They'd rather send recruiters out to the inner city schools and make promises they have no intentions of keeping.
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If the draft were re-instituted, "They" (Repubs or Dems, makes no difference) Would simply use a bigger army to get into bigger wars, and therefore speed the path to Empire. And make no mistake, just as happened with the Roman Republic this nation was founded to replicate, it IS headed down the path to Empire - and has been for nearly 70 years.
Yeesh - here I am yakkin politics instead of making sawdust.
-Kevin in Indy To reply, remove (+spamproof+) from address........
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wrote:

In case you hadn't given it a bit of thought, which I suspect to be the case, the draft makes everyone eligible, _except_ those category IV types we now recruit because there aren't enough capable CITIZENS to fill even our smaller pool.
Without a draft, the danger is an army of compliant dolts led by an officer corps who think of nothing but their personal ambition. In short, a Banana Republic.
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George wrote:

If we ever resume the draft, I think it should be universal. Those who don't serve in the military for whatever reason should be drafted for public works projects (like depression era Civilian Conservation Corps), or for helping others less fortunate (like Job Corps, Habitat for Humanity, etc.). No exceptions for anything. No conscientious objectors. No hardship exceptions. No exceptions for physically impaired (OK, maybe for the mentally impaired). No exceptions for education. Maybe deferments for some fields, if when they graduate they are required to use their education in the service they're drafted into. No exemptions for rich, powerful, or otherwise "connected" people. 'Course, I'm not advocating ANY draft. Smacks too much of involuntary servitude (read the 13th Amendment) to me. I'm just saying, if it's fair for anyone, it's fair for everyone.
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Just Wondering wrote:

How about Heinlein's system, where you don't get the vote until you complete a term of completely voluntary government service?
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Unfortunately, too many people already don't care if they vote or not.
r
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Robatoy wrote:

And the ones who don't care wouldn't have any right to complain when they didn't like what the government did.
People don't vote these days because the feel that no matter who they vote for it's not going to make their lives better. And there's merit to that view--nobody is running on the platform of cutting government services back to the 1907 level for example and short of doing that we're just going to pay more taxes and have more bureaucrats on our backs no matter who we vote for.
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