Tuesday, November 13, 2018

TheList 4857 Happy Veteran's Day

Due To The Fact That This List Has Arrived Late, And The Fact That It Is A Great Tribute Post To Our Veterans All, I Will Leave This Special Edition Up Front A While Longer.


The List 4857 TGB

To All
Today is Veteran's Day. I want to wish all my fellow Veterans a wonderful day with your loved ones and friends and your brothers in arms.

Worth repeating
Patriot Veterans, Then and Now
"It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
Mark Alexander · Nov. 8, 2017
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it." —Thomas Paine (1777)
From the first shots of the American Revolution until this day, what has distinguished American Patriots then and now is their willingness to sacrifice all in defense of Liberty — for themselves and their posterity. It's an unfortunate truth today, however, that too many Americans know too little of such devotion and sacrifice.
This week, we observe Veterans Day, first designated Armistice Day marking the end of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Supreme Allied Commander of World War II, signed legislation formally changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
The highest percentage of constitutionally conservative Americans is found among our veterans, active duty military and their families. Uniformed service personnel are required by law to honor their oaths "to Support and Defend" our Constitution, but there is no such legal mandate for elected officials, too many of whom disregard their oaths their first day in office.
Rarely has the contrast between those who support Liberty with blood and life and those who want to destroy it been so striking. For eight long years, the Left and its MSM propaganda machine assailed our Patriots in uniform, and the cost as measured by military morale has been heavy.
But a year ago this week, there was a new dawn for Patriots in uniform, as a Commander in Chief— one who honors their service and sacrifice — was elected.
If I might digress, antithetically, this week also marks the centennial of the rise of socialism/communism and what would become a reign of murderous terror over hundreds of millions of civilians. Despite the historical record, there are still plenty of socialism deniers in Congress. Untangling eight years of the most invasive socialist policies in our nation's history will take more than one election cycle, but our course has been temporarily reset.
Two years ago this week, I wrote about the life and death of the most influential veteran in my life — my father. He was an exceptional example of his "Greatest Generation," having served in WWII as a Naval Aviator, and he was always vigilant in his commitment "to Support and Defend" Liberty to the day he departed. It was with his encouragement more than 20 years ago that we launched The Patriot Post.
Of the many interests we shared in his later years, one was our family's history, particularly those frontier men and women who settled in the mountains of what is now East Tennessee prior to the Revolutionary War.
Allow me to relate a short story about one of many 18th century grassroots American veterans…
Among our long line of hardheaded Appalachian ancestors is an early Patriot militia colonel, George Gillespie (1730-1794). In 1772, he arrived in the wild and largely uninhabited area of what was then Western North Carolina, and over the next four years constructed Fort Gillespie at the mouth of Big Limestone River on the Nolichucky River. In October of 1780, during the Revolutionary War, he and his brother and sons, joined others to form a gauntlet against British tyranny at the Battle of Kings Mountain on the North and South Carolina border.
Early in 1780, the British shifted their war strategy to the south in an effort to retain the Carolina and Virginia colonies — the breadbasket for the other colonies. General Lord Charles Cornwallis sent British regulars to invade South and North Carolina, and his officers were instructed to force pledges of Tory support from settlers.
In early September of 1780, Cornwallis's campaign henchman, the infamously brutal Scotsman, Major Patrick Ferguson, sent word to Appalachian settlers along the border of western North Carolina that he would "lay waste to their country with fire and sword" if they did not pledge their loyalty to the British. He grossly underestimated the courage and resolve of these fiercely independent mountain folks.
After receiving Ferguson's "fire and sword" message, Patriot militia leaders Isaac Shelby and John Sevier met and determined they would not wait on Ferguson and his legions to arrive and execute his threat. On September 25th, more than 600 volunteers, the "Overmountain Men," mustered at Sycamore Shoals near present-day Elizabethton, Tennessee — Col. Gillespie a leader among them. They set out east across the mountains intent on taking the battle to the British. As they marched toward Ferguson's position, they were joined by 360 additional mountain militiamen.
On October 1st, Ferguson was in North Carolina's Broad River area, where he issued another warning to local militia that they best join him or they would be "pissed upon by a set of mongrels."
On October 6th, Patriot militia determined that Ferguson and his 1,100 men of the 71st Foot, were just east of them, making camp at Kings Pinnacle. To catch up with Ferguson, the Patriot militia put 900 men on horseback. By sunrise on October 7th, they were just 15 miles from Kings Mountain. By mid-afternoon, they confronted Ferguson's Loyalists. As the Patriots began their attack, British Captain Abraham de Peyster exclaimed to Ferguson, "These things are ominous — these are the damned yelling boys!"
The Loyalist forces suffered heavy casualties in the first hour of battle. Soon thereafter the invincible Ferguson, noted for wearing a brightly colored red shirt, which made him a distinct target on horseback even at some distance, was wounded as he rode along his lines. Falling from his mount, his foot lodged in the stirrup, and he was dragged by his horse into the militia lines, where he received seven additional musket rounds. 
In 65 minutes, the battle was over. The British suffered 244 dead, 163 wounded and 668 taken prisoner, while the Patriot militia suffered 29 dead and 58 wounded.
The Redcoats' defeat at Kings Mountain was, arguably, a significant turning point in the Revolutionary War. Our ancestor, Col. Gillespie, went on to fight with Gen. Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox), providing his own mount and arms. He then served under George Washington at Yorktown, until Cornwallis and his British army surrendered in October of 1781.
Sidebar: Col. Gillespie's great grandson, Gen. George Lewis Gillespie of Kingsport, Tennessee, graduated second in his Class of 1862 at West Point and received the Medal of Honor for valorous actions during the War Between the States. He later redesigned the modern Medal of Honor (its current form), which was first awarded for actions around Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1862. As was the case with several of our kinfolk in East Tennessee, brothers fought brothers over divided loyalties. Gen. Gillespie's brother, John, fought with the 43rd Tennessee Infantry in 1863. His wife provides our family lineage to Sam Houston, Governor of Tennessee before leading battles in Texas where he would become the first president of the Texas Republic in 1841 and then governor of the State of Texas in 1859.
These Patriots are much more than our family ancestors — their legacy belongs to all Patriot defenders of Liberty today! They are the founding spirit for The Patriot Post, extending Liberty to the next generation from our home in the foothills of the Great State of Tennessee.
This Veterans Day, join us as we honor generations of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen who have carried forward the banner of Liberty since the first shots at Lexington and Concord.
Of such Patriots, Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, "My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast. But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements. … Duty, honor, country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."
It is worth remembering the words of Army Veteran Charles M. Province: "It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."
There are, and have always been, pathetic souls who know nothing of our history or the spirit of American Patriotism. These include today's wealthy celebrity "NFL Kneelers," protesting our national flag, and, by extension, all who have sacrificed under it, so that these self-absorbed celebs may demonstrate their abject ignorance.
That notwithstanding, it is with eternal thanks that we honor all those generations of military Patriots who have served our nation.
On this Veterans Day, and every day of the year, may God bless our men and women in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen who have stood and continue to stand in harm's way. For their steadfast devotion to duty, honor and country, we, the American people, offer them and their families our humble gratitude and heartfelt thanks.
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." —John 15:12-14
Thanks to AL

Veterans' Day is Sunday, November 11

An excerpt from the Department of Veterans Affairs--"While those who died are also remembered, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime," officials write. "In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served - not only those who died - have sacrificed and done their duty."

     Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg-or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's alloy forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.  So, what is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.
He is the bar room loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She-or he-is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another-or didn't come back AT ALL.
He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat-but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.
He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.
He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.
He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb of the Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket-palsied now and aggravatingly slow-who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.
He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being-a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.
He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.
So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say 'Thank You'. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Submitted by Lauree McKeown:

A tribute to those who are serving or have served https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkkzNa2nlZI

Submitted by Patty Krause:

The "other veterans" are the families of those who have served.  I invite you to read this article and appreciate what military families have to go through during periods of global conflict. This article really struck a chord with me as this was pretty much how things went during the Vietnam era. All the military wives knew what "The Knock" meant. My heart aches for loved ones who have had to answer to "The Knock"'. http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/08/09/sanderlin.afghan.deaths/index.html

Submitted by Mike Bolier:

May I Salute You? by Patricia  Salwei
     I approached the entrance to Ft Belvoir's medical facility last year as an old veteran puttered towards me. Easily over 80 years old, stooped and slow, I barely gave him a second glance because on his heels was a full bird colonel.
     As they approached, I rendered a sharp salute and barked, "Good morning,Sir!" Because they were heel to toe, I began my salute as the old veteran was about two paces from me.  He immediately came to life!
     Transformed by my greeting, he rose to his full height, returned my salute with pride, and exclaimed, "Good morning captain!" I was startled, but the full bird behind him was flabbergasted. The colonel stopped mid-salute, smiled at me and quietly moved on.
     As I entered the clinic, the utter beauty of the encounter preoccupied me.  What prompted the old man to assume that I was saluting him? Perhaps he just thought, "It's about time!" After all, doesn't a WWII vet outrank us all?
     I turned my attention to the waiting room taking a moment to survey the veterans there. Service people rushed around, loudspeakers blared, the bell for the prescription window kept ringing. It was a whir of activity and the older veterans sat quietly on the outside seemingly out of step, patiently waiting to be seen.  Nobody was seeing.
     My old friend stayed on my mind. I began to pay attention to the military's attitude towards its veterans. Predominately, I witnessed indifference:
     Impatient soldiers and airmen plowing over little old ladies at the commissary; I noticed  my own agitation as an older couple cornered me at the Officer's Club and began reminiscing about their tour in Germany.
     To our disgrace, I have also witnessed disdain: At Ramstein AB terminal, an airman was condescending and borderline cruel with a deaf veteran flying Space A; An ancient woman wearing a WACS button was shoved aside by a cadet at the Women's Memorial dedication in D.C.; A member of the Color Guard turned away in disgust from a drunk Vietnam vet trying to talk to him before the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Vietnam Wall.
     Have you been to a ceremony at the Wall lately? How about a Veteran's Day Parade in a small town?   The crowds are growing faint.  Why do we expect the general public to care if we don't? We are getting comfortable again.
     Not many of us around that have been forced to consider making the ultimate sacrifice. Roughly 60% of today's active duty Air Force did not even participate in Desert Storm. I always lament about the public's disregard for the military. I do not count all the days I stayed in bed instead of going to a ceremony or parade. It was my day to be honored and I deserved to sleep in.
     It's just like a 28-year-old, whose weapon was "Microsoft PowerPoint Slide Presentation" during the last conflict, to complain about recognition.
     Sometimes I wonder who is going to come to our parades in 20 years; will anybody look me up in the Women's Memorial Registry? The answer lies in the present.  We will be honored as we honor those who have gone before us.
     The next generation is watching. It is not my intention to minimize the selfless service of our modern military; my comrades are the greatest people I know (and frankly should be treated better).  But, lately I'm wondering if the public's attitude towards the military isn't just a reflection of the active duty military's  attitude towards its own veterans. It's time to ask - do we regard them, do we consider them at all? How does our attitude change when the hero is no longer wearing a uniform? I was proud to wear my uniform. Can I admit that I thought I was cool? There is no denying that there is something about our profession, combined with youth, that feeds the ego a little.
     We have all seen a young pilot strut into the Officer's Club with his flight suit on.  He matters; he takes on the room; he knows he can take on the world.  But, one day he will leave his jet for a desk, and eventually he will have to hang up that flight suit. A super hero hanging up his cape.
     How will we measure his value then? He will no longer look like a pilot, an officer, a colonel. He'll just look like an old man coming out of the clinic with his prescription. But, is he less of a hero? Will anybody remember or care about all the months he spent away from his newborn daughter while making peace a possibility in the Balkans? Probably not. Our society has a short memory. Maybe it is not for the protected to understand.  Rather, it is my hope that when a young lieutenant walks by him they will each see themselves reflected in the other - one's future, the other's past. In that moment, perhaps, the lieutenant will also see the hero, now disguised as an old man, and thank him.
     The truth is there are heroes in disguise everywhere.  I use to wonder why people would want to chat with me when I was in uniform - telling me about their four years as a radio operator in Korea.  So what?  I wasn't impressed relative to my own experiences. Now I understand that they were telling me because nobody else cared. Proud of their service, no matter how limited, and still in love with our country, they were trying to stay connected.  Their stories were code for:  "I understand and appreciate you, can you appreciate me?"  The answer is 'yes'.
     I separated from the Air Force in February.  I'm out of the club. Still, I want you to know that I'll attend the parades, visit the memorials, and honor you.  All this while my kids and your kids are watching.  Then, maybe, someday when I'm an old woman riding the metro, a young airman will take a moment of her time to listen to one of my war stories.   I, in turn, will soak in her beauty and strength, and remember.
     Today as I reflect on my adventures in the Air Force, I'm thinking of that ancient warrior I collided with at Ft Belvoir.   I'm wondering where he is, if he's still alive, if it's too late to thank him. I want to start a campaign in his honor - Salute a veteran. What a great world this would be if all our elderly veterans wore recognition pins, and we would salute them even if we were out of uniform and saw them coming out of a 7-11.
     Yes, this started out as a misunderstanding on my part. But, now I get it. That day was the first time in my life that I really understood what it meant to salute someone.  Dear Veteran, I recognize and hail you!  I do understand what I have and what you have given to make it possible. So I'm wondering if we meet on the street again - may I salute you?

I Am the American Sailor
     Hear my voice America! Though I speak through the mist of 200-years, my shout for freedom will echo through liberty's halls for many centuries to come. Hear me speak, for my words are of truth and justice, and the rights of man. For those ideals I have spilled my blood upon the world's troubled waters. Listen well, for my time is eternal.....yours is but a moment. I am the spirit of heroes past and future.
     I am the American Sailor. I was born upon the icy shores at Plymouth, rocked upon the waves of the Atlantic, and nursed in the wilderness of Virginia. I cut my teeth on New England codfish, and I was clothed in southern cotton. I built muscle at the halyards of New Bedford whalers, and I gained my sea legs high atop the mizzen's of Yankee Clipper Ships.
     Yes, I am the American Sailor, one of the greatest seamen the world has ever known. The sea is my home and my words are tempered by the sound of paddle wheels on the Mississippi and the song of whales off Greenland's barren shore. My eyes have grown dim from the glare of sunshine on blue water, and my heart is full of star-strewn nights under the Southern Cross. My hands are raw from winter storms while sailing down around the Horn, and they are blistered from the heat of cannon broadsides while defending our nation. I am the American Sailor, and I have seen the sunset of a thousand distant, lonely lands.
     I am the American Sailor. It was I who stood tall beside John Paul Jones as he shouted, "I have not yet begun to fight!" I fought upon Lake Erie with Perry, and I rode with Stephen Decatur into Tripoli Harbor to burn the Philadelphia. I met Guerrriere aboard Constitution, and I was lashed to the mast with Admiral Farragut at Mobile Bay. I have heard the clang of Confederate shot against the sides of the Monitor. I have suffered the cold with Perry at the North Pole, and I responded when Dewey said, "You may fire when ready, Gridley," at Manila Bay. It was I who transported supplies through submarine infested waters when our soldier's were called "over there." I was there as Admiral Byrd crossed the South Pole. It was I who went down with the USS ARIZONA at Pearl Harbor, who supported our troops at Inchon, and patrolled dark deadly waters on the Mekong Delta.
     I am the American Sailor, and I wear many faces. I am a pilot soaring across God's blue canopy and I am a Seabee atop a dusty bulldozer in the South Pacific. I am a Corpsman nursing the wounded in the jungle, and I am the torpedoman in the nautilus deep beneath the North Pole. I am hard and I am strong. But it was my eyes that filled with tears when my brother went down with the Thresher, and it my heart that rejoiced when Commander Shepherd rocketed into orbit above the Earth. It was I who languished in a Viet Cong prison camp, and it was I who walked upon the moon.
     It was I who saved the USS STARK and the USS SAMUEL B. ROBERTS in the mine infested waters of the Persian Gulf. It was I who pulled my brothers from the smoke filled compartments of the USS BONEFISH and wept when my shipmates died on the USS IOWA and USS WHITE PLAINS. When called again, I was there, on the tip of the spear for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
     I am the American Sailor. I am woman, I am man, I am white and black, yellow, red and brown. I am Jew, Muslim, Christian and Buddhist. I am Irish, Filipino, African, French, Chinese, and Indian. And my standard is the outstretched hand of liberty. Today, I serve around the world; on land, in the air, on and under the seas. I serve proudly, at peace once again. But I was called again right after September 11, 2001, a different war this time, against fanatical terrorists who attacked out beloved country, killing several thousand innocent civilians. But, fear not, for I have spread the mantle of my nation over the oceans of the world, and I will guard her forever.
     I am her heritage and yours. I am the American sailor!

Submitted by Skip Leonard:

A tribute to Vietnam veterans at https://www.youtube.com/embed/aVeBtnfAxP8

Welcome home, Vietnam veterans
     As we honor the fine men and some greatly appreciated women who served in Vietnam on this Veterans' Day, it may be time to reassess the conventional wisdom that led Congress in 1973 to betray their sacrifice and caused generations since to believe the Vietnam War was a "senseless" and "unwinnable" war. Put simply, we need to revisit the debates that so divided and traumatized this country four decades ago.
     The protesters got it wrong.  I was more than a little amused earlier this year when PBS ran a rather one-sided view of the events by Ken Burns.  Many who protested do not want to visit both sides of the debate.  This is in reality a common theme among prominent anti-Vietnam activists.
     In 2000, we sought to "recycle" the old constitutional and international law debates about the war in connection with a conference at the University of Virginia Law School on the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, and we were turned down by at least a dozen of the top scholars who once had vehemently opposed the war.
     Arthur Schlesinger Jr., for example, responded to our invitation with a brief handwritten note: "I never said the war was illegal. I said it was stupid!" (Of course he did, repeatedly, say the war was unconstitutional.) Like many of the anti-Vietnam leaders of decades ago, he had no stomach to revisit the debate. For anyone who has kept up with events in - and modern scholarship about - the war, the reticence of the Schlesingers and Haydens to debate is more than understandable. After the war ended in 1975, Hanoi, through both its public statements and its actions, repeatedly has undermined the mythology upon which the protests were founded.
     For example, in the May 1984 issue of Vietnam Courier, Hanoi bragged about the once "absolute secret" decision on May 19, 1959, to open the Ho Chi Minh Trail and secretly start pouring countless tons of supplies, weapons and troops into South Vietnam for the purpose of overthrowing its government by armed force. That was more than five years before the U.S. responded seriously with U.S. forces. The biggest differences between our actions in Korea in 1950 and Vietnam 15 years later were that the communist armed aggression was covert and Hanoi ran a truly brilliant political-warfare campaign to mislead the American people into believing our cause was dishonorable.
     A central element in anti-Vietnam rhetoric was that our South Vietnamese allies were violating "human rights." When the protesters got their way, tens of millions of innocent people were consigned to Stalinist tyranny, and millions of others were murdered or died as a direct result of the policies of the new regimes. In Cambodia alone, the Yale Cambodian Genocide Program estimated that more than 20 percent of the entire population was killed in three short years after communist "liberation."
     Was Vietnam "winnable"?  Perhaps the greatest myth of the entire war was that it was "unwinnable."  To the contrary, as many scholars and experts have long recognized, by 1971 or 1972, the war was essentially won in South Vietnam, and by December 1972, Hanoi's will was broken in the North. The 1968 Tet Offensive, portrayed by most of the media as a great communist victory, in reality was a disastrous blunder that even the North Vietnamese defense minister, Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap, admitted was a major communist defeat. It cost the communists virtually the entire Viet Cong infrastructure and most of their guerrilla forces: An estimated 14 communist soldiers died for each American or South Vietnamese soldier killed during the offensive. Thereafter, almost all of the major fighting had to be done by North Vietnamese regulars.
     When Congress in August 1964 - by a combined vote of 504-2 (a 99.6 percent margin) - enacted a law authorizing the president to use military force in Southeast Asia, it did not even mention "South Vietnam" but rather authorized the use of armed force to defend any "protocol state" of the 1955 SEATO treaty requesting assistance. Those protocol states were [South] Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Thus, when U.S. forces were ordered into Cambodia in 1970 to attack North Vietnamese and Viet Cong sanctuaries, that action was fully consistent with the congressional authorization.
     Like the Tet Offensive, the Cambodian incursion was, in military terms, a tremendous U.S. and South Vietnamese success. It ended serious communist military activity in most of the Mekong Delta. Put simply, American forces were not defeated on the battlefields of Vietnam. Indeed, we won every major battle. But in May 1973, misinformed and angry congressional liberals snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by making it unlawful for the president to expend any Treasury funds on combat operations "in or over or from off the shores of North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia." When North Vietnam's Premier Pham Van Dong learned of that, he remarked: "The Americans won't come back now even if we offered them candy," and Hanoi sent virtually its entire army behind columns of Soviet-made tanks to conquer its neighbors. By then, U.S. combat forces had been withdrawn, and they deserve none of the blame for the ultimate defeat. That was the work of Congress.
     It was a necessary war.  But there is still the issue of why we went to Vietnam in the first place, and was it really necessary? And as we pause to give thanks (finally) to those who served - two-thirds of whom were volunteers - I submit that the answer to that question is a resounding "Yes!"
     After the Korean War, President Eisenhower cut back military manpower and served notice on Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev that future communist aggression would result in massive retaliation - threatening to use our nuclear arsenal to keep the peace in the event of another Korea. It worked with Moscow - at least until the Soviets developed their own deliverable nuclear force and the question became whether America would risk nuclear attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., in order to preserve Saigon.
     "Comrade Mao" in China was not so easily deterred, and he argued that while in appearance the "imperialists" were indeed very fierce, in reality it was the "people" who were powerful. By using "people's warfare" (aka "wars of national liberation") the communists could send in trainers with money and weapons and promote internal revolutions around the Third World in which guerrillas would live, eat and work among the people. Nuclear bombs would be useless in countering this unconventional and asymmetric warfare, and "armed struggle" could continue despite American nuclear power.
     Vietnam became the "test case" of whether America's counterinsurgency tactics could defeat Mao's strategy of people's warfare. As Chinese Communist Party Vice Chairman Lin Biao observed in his 1965 pamphlet "Long Live the Victory of People's Wars," Vietnam was a "testing ground," and once America was defeated there, "The people in other parts of the world will see still more clearly that U.S. imperialism can be defeated, and that what the Vietnamese people can do, they can do, too."
     Cuba's Che Guevara echoed this sentiment, declaring as early as Nov. 20, 1963, that the Vietnam battlefield "is most important for the future of all America," and "the victorious end of this battle will also spell the end of North American imperialism."
     Keep in mind that in 1965, China was providing advisers, money and weapons for guerrilla movements in South Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and as far away as Mozambique in Africa. Thailand and Indonesia were vulnerable political and economic "basket cases" then and easily might have fallen to communist forces had the United States simply walked away from its solemn promise to defend the non-communist countries of former French Indochina. By staying the course, we bought time for Thailand and Indonesia (two very important countries) to become stronger - and during the war, China went through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and turned inward. By the time Congress actually threw in the towel, China was no longer actively exporting revolution.
     No one can be certain what might have happened had we abandoned our promises earlier. But it is not difficult to envision a rather alarming scenario in which an American withdrawal would have been followed by communist military victories in neighboring countries and even by non-communist groups throughout the Third World turning to China, Cuba and other communist states for assistance in gaining political power.
     Non-communist Third World leaders might well have concluded America was an unreliable ally and sought to cut the best deal possible with their communist opponents. The Free World might soon have found itself facing a dozen or more "Vietnams" in Asia, Africa and Latin America - left with the choice of watching them fall one by one or responding with nuclear weapons.
     The story would not likely have had a happy ending for America or the cause of human freedom around the globe.
     So if you encounter a Vietnam veteran today, at the Mall or elsewhere, take a moment to say, "Welcome home," and, "Thanks for your service." It is an expression of gratitude that is long overdue.

Submitted by Mark Logan:

     Here's a story that occurred just before Christmas 2014 ~ The idea started near Christmas 2013, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3. The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains.
     Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them. He owns three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard.
     One car, the elegant Pennsylvania, carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D.C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.  He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators, around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland . "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett.  "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."
     Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:
     No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.
     No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op."
     And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax.
     The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.
     Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited.
     Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D.C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.
     Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train track to the football stadium for the game.
     A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.
     And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:
From Woolrich, stadium blankets.
From Wal-Mart, digital cameras.
From Nikon, field glasses.
From GEAR, down jackets.
     There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.
     The Marines declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.
     Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."
     At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood. Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda. "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."
     The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.
     "One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."
     It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air." Maybe it is hope.
     As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."
     God bless the Levins.  And bless our troops!!

To all veterans, current service members, and those who supported them in many vocations, and their families, please accept my sincere gratitude,
November 10, 2018
 Bear Taylor

The stilled guns of November, 1918; of August, 1945; of July, 1953; and soon, we pray, of 1968. Fifty years ago on this day an armistice was declared in the Great War. A quarter of a century later, the world was in the throes of a greater war. Then less than a decade after that, forces of the United Nations were battling in Korea; Americans are still on guard there. And now there is the half-pause in South Vietnam.
On Veterans Day above all others in this so-called modern civilization, the men who run the governments of the world and the people who put them in command of their lives ought to ponder the alternatives: discussion, conciliation, peace versus war, destruction and death. It sounds so simple, yet in this killing century beastiality always has broken the stillness of the guns.
The supreme obligation to the veterans of these wars and to their children and their children's children is for the nations no longer to lift up swords against nations. The Biblical injunction must be followed, in this age a more desperate necessity than ever before. The day must come, as Victor Hugo wrote, "when a cannon will be exhibited in public museums, just as instruments of torture is now, and people will be astonished how such a thing could ever have been."… End quote…
VETERANS DAY 2018… Humble Host notes that contrary to the prayers of the New York Times Editorial Staff on 11 November 1968 that the "half-pause in South Vietnam" would lead to "stilled guns" in Southeast Asia, the fighting raged on, and on. On Veterans Day 1968–50 years ago– about 28,000 American men had been killed in combat in the quagmire called Vietnam. Before the half-pause for peace talks in Paris became a retreat from Vietnam five years later, another 30,000 brave warriors would pay the last full-measure fighting for their country in a land 10,000-miles from home. The Presidential promise of no American boys fighting another land-war in Asia had been shattered. Just as the Presidential promise that no American boys would be fighting in Europe fifty years before; and the Presidential promise twenty-five years after that, as Hitler marched into Poland in 1939.
Promises made, promises broken. And the resultant lessons paid for in the blood of the brave in those wars go ignored by one generation after another. "Only the dead have seen the end of war," wrote Plato. What Plato did not say was: "Those who are ready to fight a war, have the best chance to deter war and a much better chance to fight a short war, if deterrence fails."
With the experience of surviving the "Killing Century," and the lessons of those experiences and World History 101, one can only marvel at how our nation has fumbled it's way into another quagmire more muddy than Vietnam, and has spent 17 of the 18 years of the 21st Century fighting a land war where there are no vital national interests. In fact, Afghanistan is where powerful nations go to die. And, of course, countless American warriors perish in the pursuit of wars with little or no cause. And the wars go on even when they are lost, in a fruitless attempt to avoid the unavoidable–the conclusion that the war was both fought and lost in vain.
Today, as you remember the fallen in our wars– "Lest we forget"– Humble Host suggests three actions. First, take a tour of the American Battle Monuments and the cemeteries of the warriors who remain on the battlefields where they fell. …Start the tour at…
Second, contact the White House and remind our President that he too made a promise two years ago that he would end American interest and commitment to the quagmire of 17 years of national embarrassment and misspent blood and treasure. End the American participation in the endless and hopeless case of peace among the tribal interests of that ungovernable land mass. While you are at it, remind the President that his first responsibility is the future and safety of the United States, and the surest way to fumble America into a war with a world power is to be unprepared to deter our enemies from challenging our readiness and will to fight. You might want to ask the President what he meant when he said this weekend that he "will never forgive President Obama for what he did to our military posture and readiness." The implication is obvious– we are unprepared to fight and win. That is an invitation for our enemies to try us out.  The President and the Congress regularly boast about our "Greatest military in the world, greater than at any time in the past." If that was true, then President Obama must have been doing a good job during his eight years as Commander-in-Chief. President Trump can't have it both ways. A one year, modest increase in Defense spending is a drop-in-the-bucket considering the lengthy lists of unfunded requirements our services have identified for funding by Congress, and our demonstrated readiness and deferred modernization. With the economy booming the all-volunteer force is an increasing problem. The sum of the force level, readiness, modernization and personnel problems should be of major concern to every American, "globalists" included. Contact the President at
Finally, spend a few minutes surfing the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency web site. Check out the Vietnam-Era Statistical Report. As of 12 October 2018 we are still missing 1,592 warriors in Southeast Asia as a consequence of the Vietnam war fought fifty years ago. That's 1,592 of our mates who remain where they fell and nobody knows where that may be. Gone… Who will remember those American fighting men on this Veterans Day? They never even got the opportunity to be veterans. Here's what you can do to remember a few of them.
While you are on the DPAA site, find the names of the missing from your home state. Jot down a few names. Go to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund site and punch in the names of the missing from your home state… Take advantage of "Leaving a Remembrance" that the VVMF has created for "remembering the fallen" from our war… That is what Veterans Day is for, and every day…
This range of suggestions for keeping your mind on the subject is an excellent way to avoid watching NFL kneelers… just a thought…
Lest we forget…    Bear…
Tomorrow: COMMANDO HUNT and ROLLING THUNDER REMEMBERED… A summary of the air war in Vietnam for the period 1-11 November 1968, the first of weekly posts reporting the eight air campaigns under the COMMANDO HUNT umbrella conducted between the 1 November 1968 end of ROLLING THUNDER and LINEBACKER operations Christmas 1972 and in the Spring of 1973… "The truck war" continues with road cuts and truck parks the targets in lieu of the bridges and SAM sites in the Panhandle of Route Packs I and II… The same guns will be there: we move the bombing, they move the guns… fight's on… COMMANDO HUNT I coming up…

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