Monday, November 12, 2018

Veterans Day 2018

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Yesterday was Veterans Day, and today is the legal observance of Veterans Day. And two days is a good start, but we still need another 363 days a year to appropriately show appreciation for those who have served.

These are the men and women who have given us everything...a gift which they have all paid dearly for, with the price too often being their very lives.

Sadly, we still have a long way to go in correcting the failures of various VA programs, and the totally unacceptable problems of homeless veterans in our nation's streets and a heartbreaking plague of suicides. There should be no higher governmental priority than doing right by these men and women, whatever the cost.

But it's important to note that, despite these very real problems, Veterans Day is still primarily one of celebration. A day in which we can recognize, and give thanks for, the courage, integrity, leadership, and patriotism of those who have given military service. You are the best of us.


griz said...


This Veteran says "Thank you" for the kind words.
And it was a honor to serve this nation. I guess have been lucky, as I have had good experiences with the VA. They have kept me alive, so far this long.
Take care, be safe.
God bless.
Griz - Alaska

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your kind word from this 30+ years navy vet. Keep up the great work, I look forward to Stilton's Place and thoroughly enjoy it./

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

"Thank you" seems so inadequate, but it's the best I can do...

Geoff King said...

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
- George S. Patton -

REM1875 said...

Thank You
To all who supported us even when it was not popular ......A heart felt thank you.........

Anonymous said...

John F. Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

My favorite saying applies:
"Your actions speak so loud I can't hear a word you are saying"

If we will not stand up for our values and principles, then we have no values or principles.

YOU are the person that can help this country ring with freedom and Liberty, or you can stand by and watch her fall. What kind of country do you want your children to live in?

Thanks to all who have served, May God Bless you
and the United States of America!

MSG Grumpy

Fred Ciampi said...

And I am very thankful for the reaction of folks now ... quite different from the '60s when I got out of the corps. Of course now I live in Appalachia and it sure ain't San Francisco where I lived then. Semper Fi to one and all and God Bless America.

Judi King said...

Sincere thanks and blessings to all who have served.
And, at Geoff....loved the Patton quote.

OC said...

It was my honor......

Emmentaler Limburger said...

Never forget. We'll never forget what you have given to our country. Your youth.
Never forget. We'll never forget what you have given to our country. Your innocence.
Never forget. We'll never forget what you offered, and many have given to our country. Your very lives.
Never forget. Please never forget that, though there are those among us who don't get it; those who don't understand what a heroism goes into what you do or have done: never forget the respect we have for you.

God bless you all.

To all who bemoan the conditions many of our veterans live in whilst our government lavishes luxury upon the idle, the immigrant, and the convicted criminal: you can still help. Please give to organizations that help our veterans - but please also do your research: there are several who spend very, very little - if any - on the veterans they claim to aid. Donations to the following organizations are known to go to actually helping veterans:

• The Purple Heart
• The Veterans of Foreign Wars
• The American Legion Housing for Homeless Veterans Program
• AMVETS National Service Foundation
• Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust
• The Gary Sinise Foundation

There are others. A good source for information regarding veterans' aid charities can be had here:

Redleger said...

Never Forget

Thanks Stilt

TrickyRicky said...

I find it hard to believe that it has "only" been a hundred years since it went all quiet on the western front. My great uncle, for whom I am named died in that war. My dad fought in the Pacific theater of the second world war. I have many friends and acquaintances who were in Vietnam and the middle eastern actions of this century.

It has also been a century since Woodrow Wilson and the unfortunate birth of progressive thought in this country. I know that I am preaching to the choir at this website, but unless we can turn this thing around, we may see the end of the American experiment within our lifetimes. Do not let our veterans' sacrifices be in vain. As President Reagan noted "freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction."

Igor said...

"I got the "baby killer" welcome when I returned. Glad to see that today's vets are receiving a bit better."
Yeah, I kinda kept a low profile even though I got out in '76.
Baby killers, my shiny white himey...

All you Vets, thanks for your service, even if you weren't at the tip of the spear!

John the Econ said...

Within all of the engineered social chaos that took place in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, one instance of grossly ignorant stupidity stands out in my mind; a local high school student who had walked out of class, proclaiming on camera what a "raw deal" his generation got.


For generations and until only a couple of years before I was old enough to be drafted, upon leaving high school most 18-year-olds could expect a notice from the Federal government informing them of a time and place that they must report to before a few months of training and then being sent away thousands of miles to places unfamiliar, but certainly more "raw" than the comfortable life that almost all other Americans take for granted.

Today, our far more professional fighting force does so voluntarily, so these kids who think they got the "raw" deal in life don't have to. In one sense, this is great; a force of people willing and motivated to do a hard job is certainly more efficient and productive than one made largely of conscripts. On the other hand, we now have generations of kids who have no clue as to the sacrifices being made by other people they don't know that is required to keep a country as free and comfortable as our has been.

If this kid was the least bit educated, he'd be eternally grateful for that, and would know better than to proclaim himself, someone who has never personally endured real threat of personal harm or tragedy much less hunger or even prolonged physical discomfort or inconvenience as a victim.

I for one consider myself blessed that I came of age during a relatively peaceful era where my country didn't need me to serve, because previous generations and a current one has and is doing so on my behalf.

Happy Veterans Day.

james daily said...

We should all be thankful that the young are willing to make this sacrifice. However, I am very upset with the politicians that disparage the veterans and especially with the skinny funding for those to whom really need psychological help. It is a disgrace that the House and Senate will not spend the moneys on veterans rather than the illegals. It is a disgrace that there seems to be no program to re assimilate these warriors into society but are left to muddle out returning to society. Lastly, you hit on the greatest of sins in their letting our vets commit suicide and homelessness. Yes, many are drug addicts bringing home this sickness from the middle east where they became addicted probably from the stress of risking their lives for nothing in a thankless, unwinnable conflict that has been going on 2000 years. They need our help.

Anonymous said...

Stilton, Thank-you for what you do. The many thoughts for us veterans are greatly appreciated. I am a daily reader and fully agree with your concepts and writings. Again,. Many Thanks,
Gib Foulke, SMSgt, USAF (Retired)

Gee M said...

Tucker Carlson's daughter was verbally assaulted at a private Country Club...his college boy son threw a glass of wine in the creep's face, and told the Bozo to leave...which he did.

Now...Creepy Porn Lawyer is representing the guy and it get's worse from there...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Griz Alaska- Glad you've had good VA experiences. I know that there are a lot of good medical providers in the system, and it's largely in the bureaucracies that things are sometimes messed up. And say, I've got a nephew who's an air traffic controller up in Alaska! From the pictures he takes (he's quite a good photographer), it looks like you've got a beautiful state to live in!

@Anonymous- My Uncle was a Navy man, as was my grandfather, so I've always had a special fondness that branch of the service. I'm so glad you enjoy this blog. One of the great joys it provides is giving me the chance to meet and communicate with people like you.

@M. Mitchell Marmel- "Thank you" does seem inadequate, but it's a start. On occasions such as this, I not only don't know what to say, but feel that I'm not even worthy of commenting after a lifetime on the sidelines. But hopefully sincerity makes up for my lack of eloquence.

@Geoff King- Amen to that.

@REM1875- "Even when it was not popular..." Those are sad and complicated words, but the sentiment you express is exactly right.

@MSG Grumpy- Wonderfully put. "Values and principles" are what make a difference - not protesting outside a celebrity's home. And in the "values and principles" race, none of us can be on the sidelines.

@Fred Ciampi- When I go to the grocery story these days, I see older men (usually) wearing caps showing their military service - and I almost universally see others go out of their way to thank them for their service (I thank them, too). It can't erase those ugly times back in the 60's...but it's real and welcome progress.

@Judi King- Hard to go wrong with a Patton quote.

@OC- "Honor" has multiple meanings in this case - all good.

@Emmentaler Limburger- Wonderful words, and we can all do well to spend time reflecting on them. Regarding giving to help our vets, I think it's a great thing to do - but sadly, it IS important to make sure the charity of your choice isn't just lining its own pockets. Personally, I give to the Gary Sinise Foundation regularly, as well as Operation Gratitude (which sends morale-boosting gift boxes to those in active service).

@anthony arrigo- My very real pleasure.

@Gpa J- I was a liberal idiot in those days, but I never - never - lacked respect for those who served in Vietnam. They were my friends and contemporaries, performing heroically and patriotically. The misuse of those troops by our politicians is another matter entirely.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@TrickyRicky- Very, very well put.

@Igor- So sorry you ever had to hear that BS. I only hope that America learned something from that ugly period of disrespect, though I sometimes doubt it.

@John the Econ- Great points. I had student deferments during the Vietnam war, and was quite possibly 4F to boot. I can't say that I was eager to serve - I was, in fact, scared spitless. I take no pride in saying that, but I feel that I need to be absolutely candid as a matter of simple respect to those who did serve, and courageously.

I worry about the kids you describe, who have grown up utterly out of touch with reality. These are the kids who think they're suffering PTSD because Hillary Effing Clinton couldn't quite steal the election she paid for. Snowflakes, indeed - and God help us if we ever need to look to them for the bravery shown by so many generations preceding theirs.

At the very least, I'd like to see them educated enough in Real Life to feel and show gratitude for the sacrifices others have made on their behalf. A good dose of humility might actually help them eventually turn into real citizens.

@James Daily- ABSOLUTELY. I understand San Francisco's streets being clogged with needles and human feces, but I can NOT understand the unwillingness of the government to provide suitable psychological, medical, and physical care for our vets living and dying on the streets. There is more than enough budgetary pork to cut to fully fund the kind of programs we need to have. I hope Trump turns his attention to that, and soon.

@Gib Foulke, SMSgt, USAF (Retired)- I'm honored to have you here on this site, sir!

@Gee M- Avenatti (I'm not sure if that's how his name is spelled, but I don't care enough to look it up) is getting to be more of a pain in the rear end than is amusing anymore. I'd like to see him face some heavy legal problems of his own for submitting falsified testimony about Kavanaugh, as well as the many millions of dollars he owes to various people. He's the type of lawyer who makes ambulance-chasing accident attorneys who name themselves after power tools on bus-side ads actually look good.

On the other hand, if this a**hole runs for president, imagine the slime he'll throw at his opposing democrats. That might almost be worth seeing. And if he gets sideways with Hillary...? Well, accidents happen.

Joseph ET said...

The VA does a pretty good job for the most part. They have some handicaps such as too few employees, too many Vets and too many employees that are in go slow mode because they don't care or most likely burned out dealing with the system. My honorable Discharge was in 1967. I was in Artillery at first then a Helicopter crew chief.
I did okay with the VA as far as my college benefit, until I completed my two year college and started at a four year college across the state of California.

And then trying to get a small disability claim for hearing loss and of course tinnitus. These are minor things compared to what many of my brothers have to deal with, but the system is the same. I fought for years, I got hearing aids in 2010 but all the time they gave me a 0% disability rating for that and it's still 0%. They didn't recognize tinnitus for a long time so that was always denied. A coworker told me in 2006 they were recognizing tinnitus, I applied again and received a 10% rating. Of course that's for the whole tinnitus thing. One ear or two ears it's all the same.

It's always a battle to get anything from the VA because it has an adversarial posture, that treats Vets like we are malingerers!

My opinion is they require their Doctors to 'soft peddle' our injuries to save money.

There's never been a program to assimilate the warriors back into society. At least I've not heard of one. It's just, thank you warrior, you may go home now. Oh, by the way, don't blow things up or kill anymore, okay?

I still love America!

John25mm said...

I have a sticker on the back of my truck that I believe sums it up. "If you want to thank a service member be someone worthy of fighting for."

I just retired effective 1 Oct of this year after 21 years of active service and 33 years total. It has been a privilege to have served this country.

One thing I am truly grateful for is the wonderful Soldiers I served with. There are some great young service members out there that are replacing old farts like me and I do believe the service will be a better place because of them. They have smarts along with honor and for the most part a true understanding of what they are doing and the full meaning of their service.

John Fernau MSG (RET)

Pete (Detroit) said...

First of all, thank you all.
I had a Grandfather in WWI, several uncles in II, various cousins, a brother, and Ex SIL in various places at various times since.
The Family has been blessed that they all came home in one piece, and more or less mentally Ok...

OC said...

Emmentaler Limburger, might I also suggest Pin-Ups for Vets. Among other things they donate money for rehab equipment at various VA homes.

Rod said...

I'm not a veteran; I was able to stay in good (difficult) engineering university in the hot Viet Nam era long enough for lottery to take effectthen got by that. I did not want to enlist but neither would I have run away if forced to or if drafted. Both Granddad on Mothers side and my Father are veterans. G-dad was shot 3 times in Meuse Argonne which ended WW1 & survived. Dad was in trucking company in Alaska in WW2 & enjoyed every day.

I think I did do something for the nation however. Got out of school & went directly onto the Trans Alaska pipeline project for four years. That project helped secure USA against loss of foreign oil supply; does anyone remember the Arab Oil Embargo? Alyeska plus some common sense by leaders effectively put an end to that USA oil shortage BS. As a bonus in Alaska... I was able to get Mom & Dad back up to review with him & for her see where all he had been back in the 40's before the Alaska Highway was first completed. They helped supply that effort as well as taking supplies on up via the Pioneer Road and river floodplains. That was not getting shot at; but it was not easy duty either. I think it also counted that I tried to be a good working "ambassador" from USA when working overseas.

I have best friend & dive buddy who in Viet Nam was a Captain in Special Forces. He says VA is a drag to get into; but once in they've taken very could care of him. And back in my home town, a vet is setting up another site to breed, raise, train & assign highly trained service dogs to impacted veterans and people with autism. Our church funded a service dog for a middle east vet with PTSD. They are not inexpensive: $5900 for a two year program to get the dog. There are a lot of nice people out there trying to help.

Pete (Detroit) said...

Rod, kid brother and fam 'raised' a 'therapy bred' puppy as a trainee, she failed the finals (too allergic, or some shit) and now have a lovely (smallish) black lab, who id VERY loving and kind. Sad for the needy therapy person who didn't get her, but how nice for them!