Sunday, November 11, 2007

Musings on Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. It seems lately that every time you turn around there is another day paying tribute to our veterans of military service. In fact I think you would be hard pressed to find any other group in this country that gets so much recognition. Some of the days are not specifically set aside for veterans and the military but they have strong connections to the military community such as the Fourth of July. Are we deserving of all of the attention? In a day and time when so much scorn and contempt is heaped upon members of the military, both past and present, from everyone from Congress to the mass market media and certainly among the liberal/progressive side of the blogosphere I guess you could say it balances out.
What separates the national days of commemoration from those by the critics however is the nature of that attention. The criticism is mainly directed personally while the praise is conferred upon the group. Individual praise is hard to find for those who have served or are serving, while any condemnation of any service member immediately thrusts that service members name into the spotlight.
Don't believe me? Simple test. What do the names Lynddie England, Paul Smith, Charles Grainer, and Jason Dunham mean to you? If you could not answer this without looking up the names you are in that group.
I am not writing this to criticize folks. I realized a long time ago that in the American culture we have a Warrior class. It is a very select group, and with the advent of the All-Volunteer Force it has become even more elite group. Most, like me, actually don't seek out the attention. Of course mine is born of a dread that if folks know my name then it probably means I am in trouble. It is not the average persons fault for that, but rather it is derived from decades of conditioning. Lt Calley's name is forever etched in the psyche of Americans but how many know Gary Gordon or Randall Shughart?
Equally important is to remember how this day, Veterans Day came about. It was originally called Armistice Day declared so by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I the previous year. In 1954 Congress amended the resolution to change the name of the day to Veterans Day. At one time there was some confusion regarding which day to observe this on since in 1968 Congress included Veterans Day in a list of National Holidays designed to give Americans a 3 day weekend. This was corrected in 1975 when it was resolved that Veterans Day would be commemorated on Nov 11th, regardless of which day of the week it fell on.
And now you know.
So if I could ask one thing of everybody, if you know a veteran or suspect someone is a veteran or currently serving say thank you to them, personally. Not in an email, not in the comments on a blog, or not as part of a mass gathering.
I retired in 1999 from the Army and in the time that has transpired since only 2 people have said that to my face. One was the young lady working the ticket booth at the Renaissance Faire near Atlanta in 2000 and the other was a coworker last year. Like I said I don't promote my veteran status so I do fly under the radar, but as you can tell I remember both cases because they were unique and touched me deeply.
For the liberals/progressives who would rather insult me or my family than thank me try to restrain yourself. You do that enough during the rest of the year.

I would also like to add a reminder about the Project Valour-IT fund raiser which is now in its' last day.

UPDATE: Linked by LGF. Thanks for the link.

Also check out The Jawa Report.

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