Veterans Day

It’s here again. Thanks, all you servicemen, current and former.

Google at least sort of recognized it this year, though they had to give it their PC twist by having the female in uniform standing out front saluting, even though men make up ~85% of the US military.

My kid’s school is starting a new tradition, the “wall of honor,” giving a small paper “brick” for each relative the student has who has worn the uniform. It was interesting looking them over, and seeing a number of name clusters where it’s obviously a family tradition. It also makes you realize how small a percentage it represents.

Looking at my own history, I served in the Army Reserve.
My dad and his brother both served in the Army (drafted in the 50s).
My brother-in-law and another uncle on my mom’s side were career AF.
My grandfather served in the cavalry in the 30s, and the Coast Guard in WW II.
A great uncle served. Another great (great?) uncle was even in the Spanish-American War. A great aunt was in the WAAC in WW II. Considering how few people I know anything about in my family history, an awful lot of them spent at least one enlistment in uniform. No spectacular war stories, just a lot of “been there, done that, did my part, moved on.”

Again, thanks to all those who have done their part in serving this great nation.


4 thoughts on “Veterans Day

  1. My great great grandfather fought for Napoleon. My great grandfather fought in the Civil War (Union). My father fought in WWII.

  2. My Great-grandfather was in the Union Cavalry in the Civil War, and was wounded, which in those days gave you a pension. My Mother’s father was in the Austrian Army and fought the Italians in WW1. ALL my uncles (both sides) served in WW2 except the one who was too old and married, and the two youngest who served in the Korean War. My Dad’s uncle was career USN in the 30’s. We have pictures of this dapper man in Hong Kong, Yokohama, Honolulu, and (I think) Sidney, and pictures he took while passing under the Golden Gate Bridge while it was under construction. He was in Naples when his cruiser was hit by the Fritz-X missile, almost sank, and had to be towed to the US for repairs.
    My Father missed going to the South Pacific in July 1942 because (after volunteering for the Navy and being rejected for color-blindness) he caught pneumonia and then appendicitis (or the other way around, I can’t remember) in Gulfport Mississippi in July. When he recovered, they sent him to Trinidad where he built barracks for the people building the Waller Army airfield there for the Air Transport Command that ferried airplanes across the South Atlantic. Some female relative of his, I forget her name, and even her relationship to my Dad, thought that he had somehow unfairly “lucked out” and not served enough, as her father, son, or brother did, who apparently was closer to the shooting.
    And while I’m not sure, I think every adult I came into contact with growing up had some military service. As they pass on I am always surprised at this part of their lives that never came up in conversation but which helped them become the men they were.
    Of my generation, I have one cousin who enlisted in the Navy and flunked out. I went the college route, but no service. I can’t help but think of a line from the 1939 Four Feathers, “First time there isn’t a Wilson in the military, and look at the mess we’re in. I’m too old and the boy’s too young.” I really hope things don’t get so bad the draft has to be brought back.

    • I’m of two minds about the draft. I think that with the right culture behind it, Universal Military Service might be a Good Thing. With the wrong culture, it’s little more than slavery. For where we are at, I think all volunteer is fine.
      What I’d like to see is doing away with universal suffrage, and replace it with a variety of ways to earn the right to vote, including a successful term of military service, working regularly enough that you pay net taxes for a period of at least six continuous (or ten non-contiguous) years, and perhaps another half-dozen ways of proving your value to the nation. No measurable value, no vote.

      • If a culture of service exists, no draft is required. If a draft is required, it means that the culture, or the support for the war in question, is absent.
        If by “universal service” you mean service voluntarily entered into by the vast majority of the people, I have no objection. But in fact it never means that. It always means “service” forced from most of the people (but not those with the right kind of connections, wealth, or political pull), without their consent and under threat of imprisonment. That is involuntary servitude, nothing less, and is explicitly and plainly prohibited by the 13th Amendment no matter how any court may distort the plain English text to pretend otherwise.
        Note also that “universal service” is a modern euphemism for a form of draft that goes beyond military service, for the entertainment of politicians who hate military service but love the notion of forcing others to work for their own pet projects.
        It’s a bit like the common misleading justification for regulations, claiming that they are good for the parties being regulated. Those claims are always barefaced lies; if they were true, no regulation would be needed. The fact that regulation (force inflicted by government) is needed clearly proves that the benefit of the parties regulated is not a goal.

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