Posts Tagged with "veterans-day"

Veterans’ Day 2012

November 11th, 2012 at 9:47 pm by Mark
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I’d just like to take a moment to say, “Thank you,” to all of those who serve, have served or were otherwise involved.

Veterans’ Day 2009

November 11th, 2009 at 8:46 pm by Mark
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aka  Before It’s Over, I Have to Say Something

     I usually write a post on Veteran’s Day.  Last year, I couldn’t.  I’d watched a friend get shipped off and returned a few days later, and had quite a lot of subsequent conversation with him that left me dry.
     He had really high expectations of himself.  He went through his education and training with honors.  He knew where he wanted to be, what he wanted to do.  He’d planned his entire life around his career in the military, and everything was going to be okay.
     When he finally got to Iraq, however, anxiety took its toll.  Sent home, he felt like a failure, like he hadn’t lived up to the expectations his family had.  Though all of them were supportive, he felt that they didn’t, even couldn’t, understand.  
     More than that, even, he wanted the respect of the people with whom he’d served, and knew that he’d let them all down.

     Through the course of the conversation with him, I tried to put it in real-life terms, hoping he could get his perspective back.  I told him to think of it as a job, and nothing more. 
     It was a job he was trained to do, and, many times, trained through repetition.  His job, a lower management position, was to manage and train others, often by repetition, as well.  Sometimes, no amount of training can prepare you for the reality of the job.
     I explained that it was like going to McDonald’s and training to be a run the drive through, and being thrown into it busy as Hell on the first day.  Things will happen, mistakes will be made.  People will be upset at you.  Some will even hate you.  But you do the job until you either get better, or you’re laid off, or you quit.  At either of the last two points, you find another job.
     “But you know,” I told him.  “What you tried to do carried with it a lot more prestige than some crappy job flipping burgers, or even selling advertising a company who’ll never last two years.  You were part of something bigger than yourself, and went duty-bound into something that most people are terrified to even think about.  And that, right there, is why you haven’t lost anyone else’s respect.  Not even the guys you served with.”


     It’s one of the things I always enjoyed about Military.  Guys who worked together consider one another friends.  Sometimes, they only see each other in an aeon, but will still have a clandestine beer, perhaps even in silence for the friends they knew and lost.

     That fact was driven home for me even more over the next few months.  Pretty much all of my uncles were in the military, and I just never was cut out for it.  But I’ve worked with and around them in a civilian capacity for quite a while.
     In December last year, a few of them looked for me, found me, and all but twisted my arms.  “Mark, what?  Man, you were right there with us.  Get your ass out of that damn house!”
     I was going through a really rough time a year ago.  If it hadn’t been for them, I was so stressed I might never have left the house again.  I never really told them what was going on, and just took the opportunity to get away, to get out of Knoxville, even, if only for a little while.
     Almost exclusively, it was just a bunch of us sitting around in a hotel bar.  We told stupid stories about each other, making sure to exaggerate as much as possible, smoked cigars, bitched about politicians, drank copiously and laughed a lot.  And then, there was always the silent drink to the ones who weren’t there…
     Philip, Joe, Terry, JD, Nate, John, Larry, Joel, Paul, Tony, Dennis, Neal… and I know there are more, but I just can’t remember right now…  You guys don’t even know what you did for me.  And I thank you all.

     Those little road trips always ended the same.
     “It was great to see you again, man.  If you ever need anything, you give me a call.  I mean it!”
     There’s an unspoken rule of mine, and that is that I respect them too much to ever ask them for anything.

     To my surprise in January, “Mark, I’m shipping out for Afghanistan.  You fixed this Xbox for us, so, uh, we won’t need it, figured you’d want it?  And give me your address… we’re gonna send you some games when we get tired of them.”
     So now you know the root of my other time-waster / stress-reliever…


     And so, back to Lt. Cpl. Jared…

     Jared, you didn’t get to serve your entire time, but you were let out honorably.  You did your job as best you could, and I seriously think it was just bad timing.  But for all that worry, all that being down on yourself, and all that crazy shit you were thinking back then… look at how you’re doing now. 
     You’ve got everything together, just like I told you would. ūüėČ

     And those people you crawled through mud and walked on sand with, even the ones you sat at a computer next to, or sat around all night in the barracks playing Xbox with, they are the salt of the earth.

     And I’ll guaran-damn-tee, after they’re back, given a little time, they’ll call you up and wanna go out for a beer…

     Jared … and everyone else … Happy Veterans’ Day, my friends.

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Veteran’s Day 2007

November 11th, 2007 at 12:51 pm by Mark
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Stupid Terrorist

American Flag: $24.99
Gasoline: $5.32
Cigarette Lighter: $2.50
Catching Yourself on Fire Because You’re a Flag-Burning Asshat?

Veteran’s Day 2006

November 11th, 2006 at 11:00 am by Mark
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     Throughout 1918, civil unrest in Germany was at critical point.  Following the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia, German workers began a wave of strikes and protest across the country.  On September 29th, the Allies had broken through the Hindenburg Line, and defeat during World War I seemed imminent.

     After suffering numerous defeats, General Eric Ludendorff urged his leaders to sign an armistice with Allied forces.  This did not sit will with newly appointed German Chancellor, Prince Maximillian of Baden, nor with other military leaders.  
     This move temporarily transferred power back to the German Monarchy, however, it was short-lived.

¬†¬†¬†¬† In the wake of Ludendorff’s resignation, some forty thousand Marines and Sailors defied their orders to attack the British Royal Navy.¬† After admission by their own officers that it was a suicide mission, they¬†overtook the port at Kiel between October 29th and November 3rd.
     The siege at Kiel added fuel to revolutionaries across Germany, and over the next few days, workers and soldiers began seizing control of major cities, transportation and manufacturing facilities.  Seeing this, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated his position as Emperor of the German Empire.  Hours later, Prince Maximillian of Baden abdicated and left Friedrich Ebert of the Social Democratic Party in charge.
     Ebert, well known for being a pro-worker politician, quickly assembled an interim civilian government, and began the arduous task of restoring order in the wake of widespread insurrection.

     At 5:12AM Paris time, November 11th, 1918, in a train carriage in the Compiegne Forest in northern France, a German representative, Matthias Erzberger, signed the Armistice Agreement at the request of Ebert.  Erzberger had been told by telegram to sign the Agreement regardless of Allied demands.
     Telegrams were dispatched, and all hostilities of World War I were to end at on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  It took some six months of negotiations, however, for Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles on June 28th, 1919.

     On November 11th, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson commemorated Armistice Day, declaring it a legal holiday:

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…

     Several Congressional resolutions were passed through the years, and finally by 1938, Armistice Day was finally declared a National Holiday.
¬†¬†¬†¬† In 1953,¬†Kansas Congressman Ed Rees¬†learned about a “Veteran’s Day” celebration on Armistice Day in his town of Emporia, Kansas.¬† He was so impressed with the idea that he immediately campaigned to other Congressmen, introduced a bill and the Veteran’s Day Act was signed into Law on June 1st, 1954.
¬†¬†¬†¬† Throughout the years, other laws like the Uniform Holiday Act of 1968, changed the day of observance from November 11th to promote three day weekends.¬†¬†However, in 1975, President Gerald Ford signed off on Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned Veteran’s Day to November 11th in 1978.¬† This preserved the original date set forth for Armistice Day, and gives it a historical tie to help us remember why we celebrate the day.

¬†¬†¬†¬† The reason that we celebrate this day is to honor those who served — or are serving — this country, in war and peace, and to remember the lives lost.¬† It’s a day to¬†celebrate all that we’ve gained, all that we’ve earned and be vigilant for those who are serving and those that we’ve lost.

     What amazes me is that in this time of anti-War protesters and cut-and-run Politicians, many schools around the country had day-long celebrations commemorating this day, remembered our troops, and even prayed for them.
     Our newly elected Congress and Senate would do well to keep that fact in mind.

Veteran's Day Remembered

* Photo Credit Susan Shelley, Wicked Wench Photography


To our Veterans and Troops on Veteran’s Day 2005

November 11th, 2005 at 11:03 am by Sam
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I read an interesting article by the father of a Marine on-leave, who relayed the sentiments of his son:

[According to said Marine] morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. They are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see shit like “Are we losing in Iraq” on TV and the print media.¬†

Today’s the day that we’re supposed to be thinking about all of our Veterans, and about those who are currently deployed. That speaks volumes.

And you can’t argue with it.

For all your sacrifices, guys and gals from past to present, I, for one, Salute you. Thanks for being there and doing what needs to be done.