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November 11th, 2016 at 2:31:48 PM permalink
He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast, and he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past. Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done. In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, everyone. And 'tho sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke, all his buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke. But we'll hear his tales no longer, for ol' Bob has passed away, and the world's a little poorer, for a Veteran died today.

No, he won't be mourned by many, just his children and his wife. For he lived an ordinary, very quiet sort of life. He held a job and raised a family, quietly going on his way; and the world won't note his passing; 'tho a Veteran died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state, while thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great. Papers tell of their life stories, from the time that they were young, but the passing of a Veteran, goes unnoticed, and unsung. Is the greatest contribution, to the welfare of our land, some jerk who breaks his promise and cons his fellow man? Or the ordinary fellow, who in times of war and strife, goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life? The politician's stipend and the style in which he lives, are sometimes disproportionate, to the service he gives. While the ordinary Veteran, who offered up his all, is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension, small. It's so easy to forget them, for it is so long ago, that our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys, went to battle, but we know. It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys, who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys. Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand, would you really want some cop-out, with his every waffling stand? Or would you want a Veteran, who has sworn to defend, his home, his kin, and Country, and would fight until the end?

He was just a common Veteran and his ranks are growing thin, but his presence should remind us, we may need his likes again. For when countries are in conflict, then we find the Military's part, is to clean up all the troubles, that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor, while he's here to hear the praise, then at least let's give him homage, at the ending of his days. Perhaps just a simple headline, in the paper that might say:


A. Lawrence Vaincourt
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction is supposed to make sense.
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November 11th, 2016 at 2:45:25 PM permalink
Strange thing today. Armistice Day Parade outside my office, I get a perfect view. Lots of HS Bands. Lots. But really, no vets. Saw a few Army and Marines around, but I think they work nearby as I see them in town all the time in uniform.

Youngest Vets from WWII are about 86 now, youngest from Vietnam are about 60. (Both of these figures assume some guys might have lied about their age to get in.) Number of vets since 1975 is much lower than before. Iraq War and Afghanistan vets just do not have the same numbers or get the same respect in these parades for whatever reason. Gulf War and Just Cause simply were not long enough to have a large number of vets.

In a few years, people may be watching these parades and wonder why they are there.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
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November 11th, 2016 at 4:24:15 PM permalink
Quote: AZDuffman

Number of vets since 1975 is much lower than before. Iraq War and Afghanistan vets just do not have the same numbers or get the same respect in these parades for whatever reason. Gulf War and Just Cause simply were not long enough to have a large number of vets.

Numbers is easy. Meat was replaced by machine. You no longer need to fling 12mm children into death when just 1mm can man the line from the comforts of a relative home. Think we had 12mm in WWII, whereas we have but 2mm now (800k of which are reserve).

Respect is more difficult. Revolutionary? That's some good ol' USofA right there. Civil? Dark, but still. WWII? Yup, still chuggin' along in harmony. 'Nam? Now we're starting to crack. And then in my lifetime with the 24/7 news and social media, war's in a different light.

No more do we have a defined enemy with a defined violation with reports coming across telegraph in fine print. Now we take "military actions" in some country many have barely heard of and a stunning majority could not find on a map. Now we war against "terror" or other incorporeal placeholders for manufactured threats. Now we get to see bombs pop and buildings burn and mothers scream. Smoking a civilian as you rip overhead in a whirlybird is possibly sweepable, you might just get it under that rug. Torturing captives and plopping it on Facebook doesn't have that same escapability.

Fact of the matter is, we haven't fought for "our freedom" in any of our lifetimes. The fight for our freedoms comes by way of protest, paper, and pen. The only risk our freedoms face is that posed by those we have hired to serve us. Sad to say, but the act of serving has lost its nobility. Not by actions of the boys in brown, but by the actions of the scumbags in suits.

When I glance at the burial flag behind glass hanging on my mantle, I feel a pride that has never faltered. That flag represents the life of my grandfather who sacrificed his to protect our country, our people, our way of life from those who wished to snuff it out. That's worthy of praise, of recognition, of respect. But when I am in the presence of today's soldier, or drive by the home of one of my fallen brothers as I just did a few hours ago, pride is the furthest thing from my mind. Mostly what I feel is sadness, sadness that those I love are being used as pawns in some f#$%ed up game of Castles. And I'm glad for it, because its wretched dampness that so casts a pall on my soul is about all I have tempering the white hot rage that simmers beneath. It's one of those things for which I cannot stand, yet I look around and see no one with which to fight.

Tell me why Sergeant James Hackemer died and what his sacrifice earned us.
Tell me what was received when Sergeant Matthew Austin gave his leg?
Tell me what to do when Sergeant Jack VanZile, the baddest motherf#$%er I know, collapses in a heap of nightmarish memories and acidic tears, his body before me but his spirit trapped in Bassra.

There is no nobility. There is no victory. There is only pain exchanged for profit. And I suppose, if anyone is anything like me, they're just wondering what in the f#$% they are supposed to be respecting.

May all those touched by service find peace.
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November 11th, 2016 at 8:03:32 PM permalink
Be honest. Your son or daughter wants to serve in the military, quite likely he or she will see combat. Would you be happy ?
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November 11th, 2016 at 9:02:52 PM permalink
Nobody is happy to see combat. Not for long at least.

Oh sure, the British marched off to the Sudan raring to teach the Fuzzy Wuzzy a thing or two, but as Kipling said "Here's to you Fuzzy Wuzzy for you broke a British Square".

Yes, the Thin Red Line stood at Rork's Drift with all the heroism that befits a surgeon operating on a wounded soldier while simultaneously directing the defense of the hospital. Let us not forget the soldier so wounded that he could only crawl along the ground dragging the final box of cartridges behind him. Parched men standing in the African sun that day learned that when it comes to slaughter they would indeed do their work on water. Yet let us not forget that five times that many men learned that day that officers could separate pickets by too great a distance and that urinating on a Mauser in the hot African sun did not cool it sufficiently to get it back into action, that quarter master corp officers would refuse them ammunition in the midst of battle and that it took so long to open up ammunition boxes that natives armed with spears handily slaughtered every one in that thin red line.

Was there honor in the Zulu Wars? One need only listen to a pub full of Irishmen singing Go On Home, British Soldiers to imagine what a twelve pounder howitzer did to an army carrying spears. When the British Army crossed the Trans-Vaal did it start the Anglo-Boer War or did it start the War of Zionist Aggression and open up the Kimberly to diamond mining. Ask your broker, as you buy shares in the Oppenheimer Fund.

Did Italy gain its Empire in Ethiopia by using machine guns and mustard gas on natives with spears? Were those Italians veterans?

When did diamonds become 'blood diamonds' when warlords were involved but legitimate diamonds when the DeBeers cartel was involved? Why is it legal to buy cocoa in Africa when the workers are slaves, but illegal when the workers are veterans of an uprising?

Veterans? Does one have to "join up" to become a veteran? What about the sailors aboard an American flagged whaler who when confronted by the British Navy with its twelve pounder and its fifty sharp shooters from the Territorial Guard grabbed harpoons and marlin spikes and lined the rail. The cook who tore off his white apron lest it be thought to be a sign of surrender was just as much a veteran that day as the fourteen year old cabin boy who stood there with his potato knife in one hand and marlin spike in the other.

What would I have done today if I had the ability? Marched in a parade? Wore a Poppy? Perhaps even worn a Poppy to an English bar for a few free rounds of English beer? Spoken of Armistice Day or Veterans Day?
Well, I don't have either the money or the mobility. Am I veteran? Well, I went from four in the morning to just shy of eight at night with nothing to eat or drink only to be denied a Dinner Chit for a meal at the Transient Mess by a rude, arrogant Lieutenant. So in a certain sense you can say yes.... because I learned that day what the military is really like.

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