Monday, November 11, 2013

11 11 18


  Okay, here's yet another frikkin' repost.  What's worse is that many of you have probably already seen this.  Either you're an unlucky follower of mine on Twitter or Facebook (masochists all).  Or, you clicked on the "Just An Observation" link over to the right.  No, not the link for the Robyn Engel book, which is sharing the neighborhood with some mystery novel I wrote for kids and the hideous Shag Carpet Toilet which is ranked 1,304,427 out of over one million books (yes, it's that good!).
  No, look just under the picture of me screaming at a mirror.  Yeah, that's right.
  Or you remember it from last year.  Or the year before that.  Whatever.  Like I've warned you, repeats for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are coming.  Speaking of, how'd you like that Resurrection Blogfest repost from Thursday?  Thanks, Mina Lobo! 
  But, unlike the crap I'll foist upon you in the coming six weeks or so, this is some important stuff.  So, I don't feel all that guilty about reposting it.
  Could be worse.  Could be about Heel Piss Cream.  Oh, I did that one, too.  Sorry.

**********

"Okay, it's settled, then.
We'll meet back here in a little over twenty years.
Only this time, you take Italy."

    Despite the Christmas displays in Home Depot, it’s not even Veterans Day yet.

    On November 11th, 1918, the Germans surrendered to the Allied powers in the Forest of Compiegne, ending what was then known as the Great War.  Little did they know there would be a sequel nearly 21 years later.

    But that’s another story.

    The following November, President Woodrow Wilson declared that “Armistice Day” would henceforth be observed in honor of those who had fallen during the “war to end all wars” (kinda dropped the ball with THAT one, didn’t we?).

    Following the Second World War (the “good” war, an oxymoron if there ever was one), the town of Emporia, Kansas changed “Armistice” to “Veterans” Day.  The idea was to honor everyone who had served in the armed forces rather than only those who’d fought against the Kaiser.

    As the years went by, the idea of setting aside a special day for veterans took hold throughout the nation.  In 1954, Congress made the name change official while President Eisenhower called on all Americans to observe the day.  But, surprisingly, it took until 1971 for Richard Nixon to declare it a federal holiday.

    In the years since, it’s become little more than an excuse to hold blowout sales on everything from bed linen to used cars (“Buy this Chevy because Patton would have wanted you to.”).  Ceremonies marking the day have been lost in the madcap frenzy of pre-Christmas commercialism.  In fact, what was once a universal day off has turned into pretty much a “federal government employees only” respite.

    I don’t have a problem with this, per se, if it was still recognized for the somber event that it is.  After all, Veterans Day is much more than sleeping in late and watching Sponge Bob Squarepants in your underpants while wolfing down a bowl of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.”

    Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what Veterans Day is all about.  While working at a local school district on November 11th several years ago, I was flabbergasted when the morning announcements proclaimed Veterans Day merely as a “day to recognize older people who had a lot of experience.”

    What!?  Now, I don’t wish to denigrate Grandpa’s fly-fishing prowess and, boy howdy, ain’t it cool that Great-Aunt Tilly can knit a quilt with her feet, but c’mon!  Since when is bowling a perfect game the same as convoy duty in Afghanistan?  Quick answer-it’s not.

    As a result, I spent the balance of the day quizzing my students on whether they knew what put the “veteran” in Veterans Day.  Sadly, I was depressed by their appalling lack of knowledge, as very few of them actually understood what all the fuss was about.  But, you can bet your bottom dollar they knew when the sequel to “Harry Potter” was coming out or who won the last American Idol.

    NOTE:  Like I said, this was several years ago.

    Shocking as it was, I know they weren’t the only ones who had little clue that the 11th of November was different than any other day.  It goes without saying there’s a need to set a few things straight. 

    So, I call on all of us who know better to teach others about Veterans Day.  Urge those around you to take a moment to remember our veterans and those who are still in harm’s way.

    You don’t have to go to a flag-raising ceremony, attend a parade, or even buy one of those “Buddy Poppies” (although I do, because I enjoy talking to those guys).  You don’t have to agree on this war or that war and you certainly don’t have to watch “The Sands of Iwo Jima” at attention.

    Although the Duke would love you for it, may he rest in peace.

    If nothing else, reflect on the service of all those who have worn, and continue to wear, our nation’s uniform.  From Lexington to Kabul, they deserve our respect and our thanks.

    As a veteran myself, I salute them all.
Have a Happy Veterans Day!
Better yet, a solemn one.

38 comments:

  1. Blogger insists on eating my comments for some reason. I said that it's probably a good thing that for us, Memorial Day is always held on a Sunday. Rather than being held on Armstice Day itself it's held on the second Sunday of November and called Remembrance Sunday. It's almost always a sombre and quiet affair where the original meaning is always kept. It's kinda a shame that Veterans Day has become what it has, but there are people who still understand and observe the original meaning and pay tribute to the fallen.

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    1. There's quite a bit of confusion here regarding Memorial and Veterans Day. For us, Veterans Day is all about the veterans while Memorial Day is about those killed while in service (and draws its origins from our Decoration Day, itself a commemoration of our Civil War). Interesting that Veterans Day is on the anniversary of that horrific war. None of it good, though. :-(

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  2. what a horrid business both wars were. My own country lost about million people in the first one which is every eight or seventh citizen in total. Some places were even left without any men (who died defending the country from the Austrians and Hungarians) with only women and grannies left to continue with life..... And then as soon as that finished we lost another million in WW2.....

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    1. Tragically, we humans are little more than homicidal beasts.
      Not that ANY war makes sense, but WWI has to take the cake for murderous idiocy.
      And the effect of those wars reverberate to this day. I just hope they're not the death of us. Although I'm not holding my breath.

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  3. Thank you for serving, first off. My husband was in the Navy. He wears a "Retired Navy" ball cap wherever he goes, and I am surprised at the number of people who THANK him for serving. As the years go by, the numbers increase. It is really nice.

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    1. I have to admit to being taken aback sometimes when people do that. It just seemed like the thing to do for my country. Plus I saw a lot of neat places.

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  4. Good repost for the starry-eyed who do not know. Thank you for serving and to the men in my family who served and gave their lives. I can't help it, I've become brittle around the edges but I was once starry-eyed too.
    Are you dancing to Pennsylvania 6 5 0 0 0?

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  5. Thank you for your service, Al. I'm grateful.

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    1. I spoke at an elementary school today and I stressed to the kids that what I did was nothing special. They would (and quite a few probably will) do the same.
      Still...you're very welcome! :-)

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  6. All who have and who will sure deserve thanks and respect indeed. It is pretty pathetic how people have no idea, just another day off. And a way for them to commercialize the day with sales.

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    1. It's not good, but it's better than it was. When I saw all those little children at the school today, I felt like it was all worth it.

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  7. You are the most badass and amazing person that I don't know. Thank you for your service! My brother is in the army now. Mad respect bro!!! :0)

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Awwww....thanks! I'm just glad my uniform still fits. I just read your post about returning back to your hotel in Germany. I wanna party with you!

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  8. I so agree with you on the confusion between Memorial and Veteran's Day. I thought I was missing something somewhere. Perhaps you can teach a history class. Seriously. This was a good post.

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    1. Thanks. The differences between the two and their origins are fairly subtle. If I hadn't gone into the military, I would very much like to have been a history teacher.

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  9. I'm glad you explained for Mark the difference between Memorial Day and Labor Day. I know many people who don't know the difference and not all of them are young.

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    1. As you know, many people confuse the days. I find Veterans Day more of a celebration (although not really given its origins) when compared to Memorial Day when I reflect on those who paid the ultimate price.

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    1. Which is why I'm picketing the bakery in town. I don't trust their rolls.

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  11. Replies
    1. Thanks! Back to our regularly scheduled nonsense later this week.

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    1. Wouldn't it be nice (figure the odds) if wars actually became relics of a long -ago past and we COULD forget?

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  13. Thank you for serving Al. Sure hope you took advantage of some great sales, or at least got a free donut for your service.

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    1. I actually got a free meal at a place called 'Hawkeyes.' 8:50 Tuesday morning, I am still full. I guess this is how pythons feel.

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  14. I have a lot of respect for anyone that wants to serve their country in such a way. I may not agree with many things that our government does, especially military wise. But, that doesn't take away from what the soldiers do.

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    1. We can get into a long, drawn-out discussion about that (although I suspect you and I would agree on a lot of things), but you're right about the soldiers.

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  15. Thank you for the mention and link, Al. My book is ranked in the neighborhood of yours. I'm in great company.

    I'm glad you're around to educate us and others, in an entertaining and heartfelt way.

    For you, I have love and gratitude beyond words.

    xoRobyn

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    1. And your book showcases such a talent. Hmmm... people just don't know!

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  16. Are the veterans of the Civil War still honoured? I admire those guys with their big bushy beards and their long flashing sabres.

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    1. On a related note: I have some in-laws who live in the South. To them, I'm still a "damn Yankee."

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  17. Just brilliant man, huge respect to you and all your fellow veterans. In the mall I work in we had a really well observed two minutes silence yesterday, it's always good that we never ever forget, I salute you Al!

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    1. My talk (I can't call it a speech) to the elementary school kids yesterday really brought it home to me. I hope they will live to see a world where we don't need men and women in uniform-although, given the scope of thousands of years of human history, the chances of that happening are remote. This makes me sad.

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  18. It just wouldn't be right if you didn't post this again year after year. Thanks for serving our country Al, and thanks to all of the brave veterans.

    Julie

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    1. Some reposts are-no kidding-lazy ways to foist reruns on you. But, there are those like this (the other one being 9/11) that I feel I need to keep throwing out there.
      That being said, Thanksgiving and Christmas reposts? Oh yeah, those are kinda lazy.

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  19. Without you, we would know NOTHING!
    Another great thing about Veterans Day is that it's the day after the Marine Corps birthday! OOH RAH!

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