SEGMENT – VETERANS DAY (00:00)
As a Veteran, I love Veterans Day, but… I refer it’s original incarnation, Armistice Day. In my view, it’s possible to celebrate Veterans, but not forget the real reason that November 11th is remembered by every Allied nation in the World. It’s why the VFW hands out poppies. It’s why we pause at 11am. And for those of us who served at any point in our nations history, it’s a reminder of how fragile things really are; to appreciate them each and every day.
On the 11th of November, 1918, the Armistice, which had been signed at 5am, was set to go into effect at 11am. World War I, at least the fighting part of it, was six hours from its end. But for reasons only he knew, Marshal Foch of France, the Supreme Allied Commander, refused a German request to have the fighting stopped immediately. He stuck to the 11am hour as the time, and so over the next six hours, 11,000 more men were killed and wounded. All unnecessary, in an unnecessary war, fought for unnecessary reasons that have left us fighting many of the same conflicts a century later.
And while we celebrate Veterans day, most of the rest of the world holds Remembrance Day. A day when we remember the fallen and the hope for the future…
SEGMENT – DONNA BRAZILE’S IMPENDING DOOM (32:22)
A few years back, some phony ex-Congressman wrote a book about how Congress was corrupt and it made it so mad that he… he… well.. he wrote a book abut it. Because that’s what you do when you want to be mad about something of which you have been a part for a long time, reaping the benefits until one day, you find yourself on the “outs.” Then you write a book “exposing” the corruption and shenanigans so that you can get all new friends on the other side who will shower you with praise and benefits. I’ll give Donna Brazile this much, at least she put her own name on the book, unlike Congressman X.
On the other hand, there’s no way in heaven or hell that she didn’t know about this stuff until after the fact…
SEGMENT – WE “FORGOT…” (44:00)
The USAF announced this week that it “failed” to report the Texas church shooters Court martial conviction on domestic abuse and assault charges – for which he spent a year in the brig – to the national database that tracks such things and keeps weapons out of the hands of people who are bad. The question, of course, is “Why not?”
We may never know that answer. And while the Air Force may never be able to tell us who screwed up, I’m reasonably certain that whoever was the person who was supposed to do it, knows.
Meanwhile there is a new debate on just why these attacks happen. Is it as simple as mental illness? Is it a “spiritual crises?’ Or is it something else?
SEGMENT – PVT HENRY GUNTHER (54:35)
On the 11th of November, 1918, the Armistice, which had been signed at 5am, was set to go into effect at 11am. World War I, at least the fighting part of it, was literally one minute from its end. But for reasons only he knew, Marshal Foch of France, the Supreme Allied Commander, refused a German request to have the fighting stopped immediately. He stuck to the 11am hour as the time, and so over the next six hours, 11,000 more men were killed and wounded. All unnecessary, in an unnecessary war fught for unnecessary reasons that have left us fighting many of the same conflicts a century later.
Private Henry Gunther was a American of German descent (his Grandparents were German immigrants) who hadn’t really wanted to be in the war. He never volunteered, but when he was drafted in September of 1917, he went. He worked his way up to Sergeant, and then got busted back down to Private for being a bit loose with his words in a letter back home. Now, with just one minute left in the War, he decided that he had one last chance to prove to his Unit and his Country that he wasn’t a failure…
There’s two things about Memorial Day. First, it honors the fallen. Second, it reminds the living that they have to press on and fulfill the destiny and mission of those who are left behind.
So when one is trying to compress ten plus years of Navy experience into just a few, say three to five, minutes, how does one communicate what that time meant and how it changed a life and a person forever? From learning what to worry about aboard a submarine to why painting bilges actually matters, is there some way to show what it all meant?
The truth is that we look at things differently at 52 years old than we did at 22 years of age. Eyes don’t work as well, limbs don’t move as well, concentration fades and even beltlines seem tighter.
But for all of that, the lessons of those days stick with us in ways that surprise, even after so many years. We mourn the losses, but at noon we raise the flag to full mast.
And we go on in the knowledge that there is a purpose and meaning that transcends the ability to put into words.
For as long as there has been a United States, we have always asked the youngest generation to serve us in the Armed Forces. There are valid reasons for this, but the one effect that I find amazing is that it makes a 28 year old man, seem like the ancient mariner. But as Veterans age, and the ravages of time begin their inevitable work, there comes a point where the promises made by the Nation to support them and provide benefits to them become the reminder of that service, so long ago.
And yet, with 345,0000 employees, the Department of Veterans Affairs seems monolithic and impenetrable to many Veterans.
Yesterday, after a year of gathering data and having the knee surgery, Dave went to Oakland to the Disabled American Veterans Service office to start the process of a making VA claim. There he learned some lessons about the process as a whole…