Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11 11 18

  Yes, yes, yes, a repost.  But, unlike the others (which will come in nauseating abundance between now and January 1st), I will run this one every year because I feel it's so important (this and the one about 9-11).  Since it is mostly serious, I'll also run it picture free (mostly).  I know many of you have read it.  So, feel free to carry on. I won't mind (seriously, how the hell would I know?).  If you haven't read it, please feel free to read  (once again, though, how the hell would I know?).  
  In any event, keep veterans of all nations in your thoughts and prayers today.  And I'm not talking about just Americans.  I'm talking British, French, Canadians, and everyone from every nation who wore a uniform.  Yes, even Germans.  Millions of Germans did not go home to their families because of the insanity of war.
  The military.  Unless mankind changes its very nature, the military will be a necessary element of our lives.  I thank God for the men and women willing to serve.

Translated from the French*

"Okay, so whadda we do with the Germans?"
"Yeah, what about them?"
"We're gonna blame the whole thing on them."
"Well, that doesn't see fair."
"Pfffft!  Screw them.  What's the worst that could happen?"
*Because I don't know any effin' French, that's why

     Happy Veterans Day!

    I know most of you are expecting my typical wise-guy approach (for those of who aren’t, what have you been reading?).  Most of the time I oblige because there’s a lot of the ludicrous in our lives (if you think I’m wrong, just remember:  Red Cups at Starbucks). 

    This one time, though, no wisecracks, no innuendos, no witty asides.  In a break from my usual “shtick,” I’m going to play it straight and briefly speak on the significance of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

    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” (dropped the ball with THAT, didn’t we?).

    Following the Second World War (the “good” war, an oxymoron if I ever heard 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 a special day aside 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 solemn event that it is.  After all, Veterans Day is much more than sleeping in late and watching Sponge Bob Squarepants in your pajamas while wolfing down a bowl of “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs.”

    Unfortunately, many people don’t even know what Veterans Day is all about.  While at work last November 11th (2015 Al:  actually, it's now been several years), 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 coworkers 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 who the frontrunners were on “American Idol.”

    Shocking as it was, I know they weren’t the only ones who had no 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.

    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.


Wait, wait!  Before you go, I realized I do know some French!

Chapeau means "hat."
Merde means "shit."
Merde sur le chapeau means "shit on hat."

Although, I'm not sure how handy that expression is.  Except, hey, funny man, maybe you shouldn't feed laxatives to the seagulls.


  1. The way "they" are changing the history books in school, our history may soon be lost. That is very scary,
    Good job Al

    1. It's getting worse. For instance, I know I'm not alone in thinking that Germany is the sole reason for WWI. In my opinion, that "honor" should go to Austria. Would be a hearty debate, I'm sure. I hope with all my heart that the truth is never lost. But, yes, it is scary.

  2. Replies
    1. I took today off from work to celebrate/commemorate.
      And have lunch with my daughter.

  3. Yeah, doubt man will change their nature any time soon, if ever. All deserve respect indeed. Happy veterans day.

    1. Man being a beast to other men (and women and children) was the reason I had a job for 27 years.
      This is a tragedy. Which won't change.
      Even in Star Trek people were killing each other.

  4. excellent post that deserved re-posting. And yes, we can say thanks, merci *, danke, etc to all those that have served. *That's some more French for you.
    Now, I'll give you some real Philly talk since I was just back there: Yo, Al - you and youse guys all did good. Thanks, man

  5. How can people not know what Veteran's Day means? Maybe it's because my father was in the service, but I've always known what the holiday stood for and honored it.
    As I honor you for serving your country, Al. (That may or may not be a re-comment from last year.)

    1. I was flabbergasted. Luckily, in the years since, it appears that more people know. And I'm thankful for that.

  6. While i had a pretty good idea what veterans day was all about I didn't know about november 11, 1981. Guess that means I really didn't know. Can't believe I didn't read this last year .. or did i? hmmm .. I'm so confused! Thanks for an awesome vet though!!! :))

    1. You may have read it. You may not. Who knows? It's hard to keep up with the crap that you often find here.
      I actually think a lot of people don't know about the WWI connection.

  7. Since I am somewhat new to your blog I have not read this before and found it still funny but with a great message and point. In Canada land we call it Remembrance day. It is not an official holiday here although the government offices and banks get the day off. I am one who feels it should be a holiday but my best friend made a very good point. If it was just another day off then the schools would not be taking the kids to the Remembrance Day ceremonies. Every kid is also taught in school to memorize "In Flander's Fields." So I have to acknowledge that while it should be considered a holiday, now, the media marketing hype would create another event for trolls everywhere to go about and spend money on useless crap they will place in a garage sale 6 years from now. My dad fought in World War 2 and was wounded in April 1945. He would talk about his experiences but I was too young to keep questioning and he passed away when I was 23 so I was to young and stupid to ask more. My mom grew up in Germany, under the Hitler regime. She endured the bombing of Hamburg and Dresden, was taken away from her home since they were not "following the rules", lost her 1 yr old brother due to a bomb and her other 19 yr old brother, along with 178 other German soldiers all died of their wounds, all on the same day on June 30, 1945 after the Russians took over the hospital. It is a shame that I never was able to meet my Uncles. For all people who endured and continue to endure war and strife, we should never forget

    1. What a story! Thank you for sharing. I also feel that, if it were a regular holiday, people would view it as a chance to goof off. If children are taught what it's all about in school (and at least in the schools around here-I haven't see a repeat of what happened to me a few years ago), then that is a good thing.

  8. It's sad how commercialism has overrun Veteran's Day. We need to remember all of those who have served our country. Thank you for your service! (I got my poppy, too.)

    1. I'm just grateful it hasn't fallen victim to the "Three Day Weekend" philosophy.

  9. This generation needs to learn from the past and honor those veterans who gave them so much.

    Thank you, today and always, for your service, Al. It deserves a whole lot more than a day or a single thanks. I'm truly grateful.

    1. I know that old people are much more valuable than playing "pull my finger" jokes on the young'uns.
      As much fun as that is.

  10. I told you I was going to go back and copy/paste my last response on reposts. And I did. But I didn't comment last year. So, thank you for your service. I truly appreciate your sacrifices to make my lazy ass safe.

  11. Ja' screw it.

    Thank you for your service, Al!

    1. Omelet du fromage.
      Or "cheese omelet."
      I think.