Veterans Day 2016

November 11, 2016

All Posts, Editorials

Veterans Day 2016

This day of reflection began as a remembrance of the Great War, the war to end war.

The new technology of war that flowered between 1914 and 1918 included tanks, indirect artillery fire, aerial spotters, machine guns and the smokeless powder that made them feasible, telephones, electricity, topographic maps, rifles with interchangeable parts, hand grenades, napalm, aeroplanes, zeppelins and poison gas. More than 19 million soldiers and 20 million civilians died.

Eventually the Generals, on behalf of the politicians, signed an armistice in a railroad car near the small city of Compiègne in Northern France. The cease fire was to go into effect at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month Paris time, A year later President Woodrow Wilson renamed November 11 Armistice Day and asked that all Americans observe two minutes of silence at 11 a.m.

Some Sound Bites

Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday in 1938. For the next 15 years the world was engulfed in war again. President Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day in 1954.

Veterans Day became a Monday holiday in 1968, at the height of the Vietnam War, so that those who had sacrificed nothing might be rewarded with another long weekend.

In 1978, a year after President Carter pardoned the draft dodgers, Veterans Day was moved back to November 11.

Today the “average” veteran is a 65-year-old Vietnam Vet who was drafted or enlisted in 1969. As of 2013, when the average veteran was 63, about 320,000 Vietnam veterans had filed service related-disability claims and about 192,000 of those claims had been approved by the Veteran’s Administration.

About 875,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan receive service related disability payments for conditions such as tinnitus, back aches, high blood pressure and post traumatic stress disorder.

About 6.4 percent of veterans are “Hispanic,” 11.6 percent are Black and about 78.3 percent are White. An estimated 50,000 veterans are homeless. About a third of all homeless men are veterans. The most veterans live in California, Texas, and Florida.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, Veterans Day has become famous for retail sales. This year for example, “In honor of Veterans Day, Kmart is taking 10 percent off apparel, toys and home goods.” Macy’s. Sears, Overstock, Amazon, Lord & Taylor, Fred Meyer Jewelers and Hanes are also honoring veterans with a sale.

Some Poetry

Almost a century ago, the young British poet Wilfrid Owen used his magic with words to tell the truth about combat veterans. It is not a pretty truth.

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jays that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ teeth wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain, but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hands’ palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish?

These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.
Always they must see these things and hear them,
Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles,
Carnage incomparable, and human squander
Rucked too thick for these men’s extrication.

Owen didn’t make it to the Armistice. He died on November 4, fighting for a ditch called the Canal de la Sambre à l’Oise.

His words are still worth two minutes.

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19 Responses to “Veterans Day 2016”

  1. no use for a name. Says:

    >Today the “average” veteran is a 65-year-old Vietnam Vet who was drafted or enlisted in 1969.

    Today the average veteran is somewhere between 22 and 40, and has served in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Two conflicts individually dwarf the effort in viet nam.

    This is a generation that is almost defined by fighting the war, There is narry a soul in uniform without a combat tour.

  2. WARTHOG Says:

    It is well that war is so terrible – otherwise we would grow too fond of it.–Robert E. Lee

    FTP FTF FTW ACAB

  3. Caretaker Says:

    Veterans day is just another day for me. I get out of bed before dawn,lace up my boots,check myself in the mirror,and look at the flag I have folded there. I put on my cover,give a stiff salute,think of those serving,those who have served,and those who gave their all. Then I go to work. I do this every day,to honor our soldiers. Thank you to you all.

    Respects,
    Caretaker

  4. FF Says:

    Respect to you, Rebel. You put into words what so many feel but can’t coherently express it. Thank you.

  5. trebor Says:

    Friday as i laced up my boots to head out to work it once again dawned on me that the vast majority of working vets are doing the same.Veterans day is just another work day whereas for business people schools and the banking industry vast majority who are not vets its a day off.Up to me Vets who work on Veterans day would get time and a half.Want to keep telling us on this day how much you appreciate our service show us the money.Just saying

  6. BMW Says:

    To all veterans:
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!!
    One public shame of America is the lack of meaningful support for our veterans, after the violent battle is over. American presidents publicly support vets, then willingly and knowingly sign bills that cut VA funds. American citizens put “Support our Troops” bumperstickers on their imported cars, then pointedly ignore the vets as waits for service at VA hospitals grow to months.

    If our nation really wants to protect our country and our ideals, we must change to really support our veterans.

    LET’S MAKE ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE A REQUIREMENT FOR ELECTION TO ANY LEGISLATURE!!
    BMW

  7. NCRider Says:

    Paladin – I must tell you. “The Soldier” brought tears to my eyes, and everything just stopped as I read this and thought. Thank you.

    Respectfully,

    Cathy

  8. Paladin Says:

    The Soldier;

    These guys are the reason we can go to the church of our choice and go to bed at night without worrying about being awakened by bombs or some other type of attack.

    The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s, but he has never collected unemployment either.

    He’s a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

    He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

    He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.

    He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march.

    He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

    He has two sets of fatigues: He washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry.

    He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle.

    He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

    He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.

    He can save your life – or take it, because that is his job.

    He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all.

    He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short life. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat and is unashamed.

    He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to ‘square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

    Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

    He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding.

    Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

    Author: Dick Bennett

    Paladin

  9. Mercyful Fate Says:

    Homeless veterans. Two words that should NEVER appear in the same sentence.

    Rules of engagement. Made by dimwits who never saw the horrors of the front line.

    This shit pisses me off to no end. Fucking disgusting.

  10. Phuquehed Says:

    @Jim Jones – Over in Israel, when I was fighting the ragheads during the first intifada, the order changed almost daily – whether we had to ask permission to shoot back or not. Like for your boy, it became a political pile of nonsense, except that Israel, always in the limelight and hated by more than those who *SHOUILD* hate ragheads more, always has to tread lightly, even when threatened with war from an enemy 12 times it numbers and equipment.

    I got so tired of it that I started to notch my M16. Sarge caught me doing it at number 8 and that stopped real fast, heh. When we were in villages/towns/cities where one day the ragheads decided they were going to firebomb anyone driving on the road(s) in/near/around that area, shoot innocent women *AND* children (the fucking useless world media *NEVER* seemed to be there to get pictures of what I had to see!!), my company was always one of the first there to start trying to calm things down and/or bring some shit down on their heads. Me and my friend (another southern boy!) were always put far away from anything happening at first, when all the media *was* there trying to catch us Israeli’s doing anything they thought would get the world to bitch and whine…our company commander knew me and Hilben would tell the media to fuck off and we’d do what we figured needed getting done, thus, until they actually needed heads shot off, me and Hilben often missed the first stirrings so long as any media heads were around.

    When you got bullets and firebombs and IED’s and huge stones averaged two feet long x a foot to foot and a half high x a foot and a half wide, probably weighed three hundred plus pounds easily) made a thousand years ago being pried off the tops of buildings built a thousand years ago (the fucking ragheads have no care about anything) and used to drop on vehicles to crush anyone inside (I got to unfortunately see what this does to a mother and her three year-old daughter) and one has to ask if one can shoot the fucks doing this at you…yeah, it’s a fucking shitbag thing to have happen to you. Tell your boy he’s wasn’t alone and to just grin and bear it and stay strong. We were soldiers and took shit and still can when/if we need to.

    Rebel put it best though for what Veterans Day and some other ‘days’ have boiled down to: “…so that those who had sacrificed nothing might be rewarded with another long weekend.”, fucking poetic.

  11. Jim Jones Says:

    After WWII, the Geneva Conventions of 1949 came up with “conduct of war under international law”. Anyone remember watching the Star Trek episode “A Taste of Armageddon” where wars were computer simulated war and the casualties reported to be executed. You might ask what the 2 have in common? Well it’s this nice clean war that we play now, where the opposition don’t go by the rules, and we do! When my son came back from Iraq (been there in combat twice), and told me when he was under fire, he had to call and get permission to fire back, it all kinda sunk in for me! A War is suppose to be dirty and nasty like WWII, as a deterrent to future wars, not this clean political action we have now! And before you ask, my family has a Military history, GF WWI DAV, Father WWII DAV, my self Post Vietnam (only one that did not go to war), son Iraq X2, his wife Afghanistan.

  12. Wino Enzed Says:

    World War one, the war to end all wars.
    My Grandfsther and his two Brothers landed in Gallipole (Turkey) in 1915 they fought right through except one brother died in France in 1917.
    The other two were wounded but there was never enough soldiers so they were sent back and back.
    In WW1 New Zealand lost more soldiers per capita than any other nation.
    We are only a little country on three rocks at the bottom of the Pacific.
    But we try to make a difference.

  13. Bone Head Says:

    I don’t want strangers walking up to me and saying “Thank you for your service”. Half of them more than likely didn’t serve; they don’t know what they’re thanking someone for. They’re doing it because it’s now politically correct.

    I rode today. Next county over is a cemetery where a couple of guys I went to high school with rest. We all went in in the same year; I’m suppose to be the lucky one I guess. Doesn’t matter. I spent part of today with those that deserve thanks…and remembrance.

    R.I.P. Dennis, Sandy.

  14. WheresMyBoots Says:

    Hand salute to all the vets today.
    Bravo Zulu (Well Done).

    Respects, and Ride Free,
    -WMB

  15. Aanon Says:

    I’ve never served my country beyond powering schools and other federal/state work projects that I was compensated for. No comparison at all. To those of you that have served, families of those who have served, and to those of you that signed the lines of those stripes on the flag with your lives; thank you on behalf of myself and my family. And welcome home. I am now going to say a prayer with my family and enjoy my dinner, because of some damn fine Americans that have provided me that comfort. Thank you again to the veterans.

  16. FXRNIT Says:

    If you can read and write.. then GOD bless your
    Parents & Thank a teacher.
    If it’s English that you can read and write…
    then THANK A VETERAN!!!!

  17. MK Says:

    A man I respect forwarded this to me today.

    This one’s for you Rebel. Thanks for everything.

    Team,

    I may be one of the few people here who’s parents referred to Veterans Day as Armistice Day, commemorating the armistice that ended the First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Armistice Day honored those who gave their lives in “the war to end all wars”— a day of hope that they had not given their lives in vain. I came upon this piece of prose that reminds us all today that freedom isn’t free and we should pause at this 11th hour of the 11th day in this 11th month to remember…

    Promise of Tomorrow

    We bow our heads this day in memory of those who laid down their lives that others might live.

    They redeemed for us our liberties. They saved us from oppression and debasement; they pushed back barbarous evils that were threatening to engulf us.

    They gave us, at fearful cost, the promise of tomorrow.

    To them, as to us, the life of earth seemed fair and bright. They loved the blueness of the sky, the firmness of the ground beneath their feet, the snows of winter, the blossoming of spring.

    They loved their homes, their families, the companions they had chosen for life’s journey, their intimates and friends.

    But more than this they loved the virtue that man must live by. The truth was being trampled and vision profaned.

    They loved their honor and their duty; and so they fought and so they died.

    They gave us tomorrow. The tomorrow they themselves would not return to share.

    They left us bright dreams. Dreams that for them would not come true; paid for in blood; the blood of youth with pulse and passion

    And in the grief on the vainly waiting, who were told that those they loved would not come back.

    This was the price they paid, the cost unspeakable.

    May we lift them up in high resolve.

  18. Paladin Says:

    The only thing uglier than war are the politicians that start them.

    Paladin

  19. Sieg Says:

    Drive on.

    RIP/GBNF

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