Monday, November 11, 2019

TheList 5141 Veteran's Day

The List 5141 Veteran's Day 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.



This day in Naval History

November 11

1861 Thaddeus Lowe conducts an aerial observation of Confederate positions from balloon boat G.W. Parke Custis. This observation paves the way for the Navys present effective use of the air as an element of sea power.

1870 The Navy expedition to explore the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Southern Mexico, commanded by Capt. Robert W. Shufeldt, enters the Coatzacoalcos River to begin a survey for a possible inter-oceanic canal. Support is provided by the gunboat Kansas and the screw tug Mayflower.

1918 Fighting ceases on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when an armistice is signed between Germany and the Allied nations, regarding this day as the end of World War I. In Nov. 1919, President Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

1920 Lenah S. Higbee becomes the first woman to be awarded the Navy Cross for her service as a nurse in World War I. Named in her honor, USS Higbee (DD 806) is commissioned in 1945 and is the first U.S. Navy combat ship to bear the name of a female member of U.S. Navy service.

1943 Task Force 38 and Task Group 50.3 attack Japanese shipping at Rabaul, where the Japanese destroyer Suzunami is sunk and damage is inflicted to enemy destroyers Naganami, Urakaze, and Wakatsuki. This raid is the first use of SB2C Curtiss Helldivers i

1966 Gemini 12 is launched with former aviator Edwin Buzz Aldrin and Cmdr. James A. Lovell, Jr., the command pilot. The mission lasts three days, 22 hours, and 34 minutes and includes 59 orbits at an altitude of 162.7 nautical miles. Recovery is done by HS-11 helicopter from USS Wasp (CVS 18).

1981 USS Ohio (SSBN 726) is commissioned.

2017 The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), USS Nimitz (CVN 68), and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) strike groups conducted a three-carrier strike force exercise in the Western Pacific. The strike force worked together in international waters in order to demonstrate the U.S. Navy's unique capability to operate multiple carrier strike groups as a single, coordinated combat-ready force.

Veteran's Day

In the early morning hours of November 11, 1918, representatives of France, Britain, and Germany met in a railroad car near Compi├Ęgne, France, to sign an armistice ending World War I, or the Great War, as it was known at that time. The cease-fire took effect at 11:00 a.m. that day—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Up and down the trenches, after four long years of the most horrific fighting the world had yet known, the guns fell silent. "The roar stopped like a motor car hitting a wall," one U.S. soldier wrote to his family. Soldiers on both sides slowly climbed out of the earthworks. Some danced; some cheered; some cried for joy; some stood numbed. The Great War had left some 9 million soldiers dead and another 21 million wounded. No one knows how many millions of civilians died. Much of Europe lay in ruins. But finally, with the armistice, it was "all quiet on the Western Front."

For many years November 11 was known as Armistice Day to honor those who fought in World War I. In 1954 Congress changed the name to Veterans Day to recognize all American veterans.

Every November 11 at 11:00 a.m., the nation pays tribute to its war dead with the laying of a presidential wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, D.C.

But Veterans Day honors more than the dead. Memorial Day, observed in May, is for remembering soldiers who lost their lives in the service of their country. Veterans Day is set aside to honor and thank all who have served in the U.S. armed forces—particularly our 23 million living veterans.


To all our fellow veterans ... past and present ... Thanks for serving ...

and thanks to the wives and families that stood firmly behind them.

A veteran - whether active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve -is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."

That is honor, and...There are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.


Three important days that we celebrate and the meaning of each


I located this in the List archives and thought it was still very important to share with you all

Thanks to Dave Lovelady "Micro" for sharing this speech he gave last year 2013. It really does sum up what this day is all about.

Veterans Day in Easton 2013

Thank you Mayor Willey. And thank you also to LCDR Hammond, Petty Officer Gardner, Cadet LT Remaniak, and the cadets of the Easton High School NJROTC for putting together this program, with the support of the American Legion Posts 70 and 77, VFW Post 5118, the town of Easton, and the Easton Downtown Partnership. We veterans greatly appreciate all your hard work and contributions.

Veterans, Ladies and Gentlemen: November 11th is Veterans Day. In 1918, a cease fire was called to end World War I at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. In 1938, November 11th was declared a legal holiday, named Armistice Day, to honor the veterans of World War I. In 1954, President Eisenhower issued a Proclamation stating: "In the intervening years, the United States has been involved in two other great military conflicts, adding millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this nation. In order to expand the significance of that commemoration and in order that a grateful nation might pay appropriate homage to veterans of all its wars who have contributed so much to the preservation of this Nation, the Congress has … changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day…."

So, that's why we're here this evening—to pay appropriate homage to veterans of all our wars.

But please bear with me a moment—if you're a veteran of Vietnam, please raise your hand. You may not have heard it before, but "Welcome Home." Contrary to what most people have been told, the only battle we ever lost was here at home.

It's interesting that 93% of the people in the United States are not veterans. So, it may behoove us to explain to them—and remind ourselves—what veterans are all about. I like the following definition, which was written by an unknown author:

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life."

I've noted over the past few years that a great many veterans that did not stay in the military for a career still strongly identify with the branch of service that they were in for such a short period. They participate in veterans organizations. They may be at an advanced age, yet they still wear a ball cap or have a personalized license plate or sticker on their car that identifies their branch of service. On one day each year, they are suddenly dedicated football fans, rooting on their favorite, on the day of the Army-Navy Game (Beat Army). They haven't been in uniform for sixty years, but they still identify with that service. Why is that? What was so special about just a couple of years out of a full life of work, family, hobbies, trials and tribulations?

Perhaps I can explain some of that.

Every veteran went through boot camp or the equivalent. It wasn't fun for anyone, but we're proud of having done it. They made us do things that none of us would choose to do, given a choice. In the doing, we discovered we could do things that we wouldn't have believed possible and wouldn't have ever tried to do, left to our own devices. We climbed ropes, scaled walls, held our breaths, ran, jumped, crawled, swam, and marched. We were humbled. We learned what teamwork meant and what it could achieve, if we just worked together and didn't care who got the credit. And we learned what pride was really all about. We learned what it was like to have something worthy of pride, and each time we accomplished something else, that pride increased. Pride in something bigger than ourselves.

When we went home on leave the first time, we found that our friends were still doing the same things, and we had, perhaps, outgrown them. We were different. And we were better for it.

Then, for many of us, came the day we trained for. We went into combat. We learned what it was like to have someone try to kill you. Make no mistake, that is a profound moment. But, more important, we learned how we reacted to that. Many of us learned to run toward the sound of gunfire, rather than away.

You know, many of us have been privileged to witness acts of heroism, but I've never known anyone that thought he was a hero. He was just doing his duty. He did what his buddies expected him to do—counted on him to do. He couldn't possibly let them down. Even if it cost him his life.

During lengthy deployments, occasionally someone would have a family crisis and went home on emergency leave, yet they couldn't wait to get back to the action. Not because they were irrational but because that was where their duty lay; that was where a squadron mate was taking up the slack while he was gone; that was where he was supposed to be, and he felt guilty being away, enjoying a few days of "normal" life, even in the midst of a family crisis, while his buddies might be getting wounded or captured or worse. He needed to be there. It was his duty.

Were we scared in combat? Yes, of course. But not terrified into inaction. Not frozen at the controls. Doing our duty.

That is reason for pride. And that lasts the rest of your life. It is something that no one can possibly know until they've been through it. You cannot possibly know how you will react when the chips are down until the chips are down.

Veterans know something about themselves that very few others know about themselves. That knowledge makes life more precious and, most often, is reason, even in the toughest of times, to fall back on that justifiable pride and say, "I know what I'm made of." No one can take that away.

We veterans may feel that we love our country more than others do because we've seen the countries of our enemies. And we never want to be like them. We've seen our buddies die doing their duty in service to our nation, and we will not permit that to be in vain. We are serious about patriotism, respecting the flag, honoring our National Anthem, protecting our rights and the Constitution. We took an oath, "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". And that oath didn't have an expiration date.

There are veterans, and then there are warriors. I'm reminded of a story a friend of mine, another fighter pilot, tells. I'll preface it with saying that fighter pilots are known for ample self-confidence, and we have a tendency to be, shall we say, colorful. We're hard chargers, indestructible; we work hard, and we play hard. As Adolf Galland of the German Luftwaffe said, "Only the spirit of attack, born in a brave heart, will bring success to any fighter aircraft, no matter how highly developed it may be." My friend says that some of the fighter pilots in the air wing got into some trouble and were called before the air wing commander, who was quite upset. The commander said, "I don't know what to do with you guys. If I had my way, I'd put all fighter pilots on an island far from land. That island would have steep cliffs and only one pier where a boat could be landed, but that pier would be blocked by a huge sheet of glass. At the edge of the glass would be a sign and a hammer. The sign would read, 'In case of war, break glass.'"

That conundrum of what to do with warriors in peacetime isn't anything new. For at least a couple of hundred years, the slang term for a British soldier has been "Tommy Atkins" or just "Tommy." No one seems certain of the origin, but that's what they're called. In 1892, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled "Tommy." Here are some excerpts;

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";

But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play…

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";

But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the troopship's on the tide…

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"

But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll…

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",

But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind…

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"

But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

I've been places with signs in the windows saying, "Dogs and sailors keep out!" Yet, today, we see yellow ribbon stickers on cars saying "We Support Our Troops," but, all too often, the support stops there. I maintain that what the troops want, more than anything else, is for us to believe in what they're doing. If they're going to risk their lives, it better be for something worthwhile. And, as long as they're in harm's way, we need to believe that what they're doing is worth us cashing that blank check they left behind.

As I mentioned, there are veterans and there are warriors. We veterans have been in the company of warriors, and we've treasured it. In 2006, Stephen Pressfield wrote a book about Alexander the Great called The Afghan Campaign. In it, he quotes a Macedonian requiem:

In the company of warriors, I have no need to explain myself.

In the company of warriors, everybody understands.

In the company of warriors, I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not.

Or strike that pose, however well-intentioned, that is expected by those who have not known me under arms.

In the company of warriors all my crimes are forgiven.

I am safe.

I am known.

I am home.

In the company of warriors.

We veterans have ties to warriors throughout history. We understand them. We have a bond. Most people don't know the story behind the most famous such connection. It actually occurred in the year 1415. King Henry V of England took an Army to modern-day France to take possession of land that England claimed. At a famous battle in a muddy, plowed field near Agincourt on October 25th, a holiday known as St. Crispin's Day, King Henry, leading an army estimated to be outnumbered five-to-one soundly defeated the French. The French lost thousands of men; the English lost 112.

In the hours before the battle, Henry was asked about waiting to try to get more men rather than fight against such odds. Knowing that reinforcements couldn't reach them in time, he knew he needed to inspire his men. As recorded in 1599 by Shakespeare, King Henry said:

The fewer men, the greater share of honour…

But if it be a sin to covet honour,

I am the most offending soul alive.

Even though they were already desperately short of men, he said that, if anyone didn't have the stomach to fight, he wanted them to leave. In fact, he would give them permission to leave and pay for their passage home because:

We would not die in that man's company…

Then he said:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd …

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,

And say "These wounds I had on Crispian's day."

Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,

But he'll remember, with advantages,

What feats he did that day…

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remembered-

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition;

And gentlemen in England now-a-bed

Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

So, that is a tiny glimpse of what it means to be a veteran.

To my brothers: thank you for your service, and thank you for honoring all of us with your friendship, your sacrifice, your citizenship, and your presence here tonight.


Thanks to GM and Dutch

I'm going out on a limb here, but bear with me. Memorial Day and Veterans Day always involve reflexive tributes to those who "defended our freedom." But there's a b-i-g difference between freedom and security. Absent Britain long ago, no foreign enemy has possessed the ability to deprive us of our freedom. The Soviets could've destroyed us but they couldn't conquer us. And In the world wars the enemy couldn't even get here.

Only Americans can deprive Americans of their freedom(s), and frequently it appears that some of them are succeeding. But here's the thing: generations of Americans have left these shores bound for places some of them never heard of, risking and often losing their lives TO RETURN FREEDOM TO CONQUERED NATIONS WHO HAD LOST IT. That is a magnificent testament to the character of the American nation, and IMO it does not get one tiny smidgen of the recognition it deserves, hence this post.

A heartfelt salute to those who served over the centuries, in war or in peace, and often both.


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.


Thanks to Lauree

A tribute to those who are serving or have served


A tribute to Vietnam veterans at

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.


Thanks to the Bear from his post a year ago




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…

No comments:

Post a Comment

Featured Post

THE MYSTERIOUS PHONE CALL Jack Blanchard's Column February 13, 2021

        Thousands of readers around the world ...