Header Image (book)


Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day 2016

(For politics, please scroll down to the posts below this one)

Review the history behind and the meaning of this day HERE.

Thank a veteran today.  But only if you mean the words.  Empty words are more demeaning than keeping silent.

Pause at the eleventh hour of the eleventh month to remember those who served and those who are still serving our nation.


  1. WW I was a horrible meat grinder. Generals using 18th and 19th century tactics with 20th century technology, resulting in mass slaughter.

    Stanley Kubrick's "Paths of Glory" captures it pretty well.

    1. The poetry of war out Rupert Brooke and his contemporaries captures it even better.

  2. In some parts of the world today, November 11, is still known as Remembrance Day. And World War I is something that should be remembered since it led directly to its follow-up World War II.

    The Twentieth Century the bloodiest century in the history of the planet ... yet. And yet seems that there are a lot of empty headed loons expressing disappointment at the Presidential loss of Hillary Clinton and her rabid war-mongering rhetoric that became part of her political platform, blaming Russia and Vladmir Putin for interfering in the American political campaign which just about wrapped up. As if there has been no American involvement in political in the Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Iraq to name a few recent adventures.

  3. I am free because of the sacrifices of our brave men and women at arms! Anyone who cannot understand that basic fact and be thankful should just leave.

    We are blessed and I will always owe our Military my thanks and my love. Words cannot express this enough. honor our veterans because they sure as hell honored us with our sacrifices!!

    1. Joseph,
      I am free because of the sacrifices of our brave men and women at arms!

      The sorry truth is that many in school today (Grades K-12) have zero idea as to the validity of your statement. Neither do many know the meaning of Veterans Day or Memorial Day.

      These young people are losing their American heritage.

  4. It always amazes me when I think of just the few events during WWI that not acted upon, or pursued differently, old have changed the course of the 20th century. A friend of the family just got to meet a Veteran who was at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 41, and later participated in the Normandy landings on 6 June '44. Powerful memories he must have.

    1. My friend Nate turns 100 next month.
      He was at Pearl, Normandy and Bastogne.
      I didn’t know anyone else did both theaters like that.

    2. I met a Pearl Harbor survivor last Friday at a big Veteran's Day event at my daughter's school. There were also eight WW II vets. It was quite a ceremony (we have so many Veteran's Day events in this town, that they are spread out over a week).

    3. Ed,
      Yet, Nate came back out of harm's way. Amazing!

  5. If the Lusitania had pursued a different course maybe a lot of American lives would not have been sacrificed, since the prevailing mood of the American public at the time was not to get involved in the conflagration "over there".

    Even Colonel House checked his watch at the time the Lusitania was expected to be entering an known danger zone.

    Unfortunately, even Pearl Harbor was an expected event not communicated to those in harms way, curiously, or not.

    1. Waylon,
      What was the Lusitania doing in those sea lanes in the first place? I always wondered about that.

    2. AOW, as far as I know it was registered as a British liner which had been converted to a merchant marine vessel during WWI. It was travelling from New York to Liverpool when it was sunk in May of 1915.

      It was the "incident" that moved the American public to support the American war effort of newly re-elected Woodrow Wilson, who was elected on the theme that he was the President that "kept your boys out of the war".

      It was know to the British military leaders the exact time and route that she was taking on this ill-fated journey—specifically, Winston Churchill was well aware of this (and others such as Colonel House, Wilson's own "alter-ego").

    3. "On 7 May 1915 Lusitania was nearing the end of her 202nd crossing, bound for Liverpool from New York, and was scheduled to dock at the Prince's Landing Stage later that afternoon. Aboard her were 1,266 passengers and a crew of 696, which combined totaled to 1,962 people.[57] She was running parallel to the south coast of Ireland, and was roughly 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale when the liner crossed in front of U-20 at 14:10. Because of the liner's great speed, some believe the intersection of the German U-boat and the liner to be coincidence, as U-20 could hardly have caught the fast vessel otherwise. However, there are discrepancies concerning the speed of Lusitania, as it had been reported travelling not near its full speed. Walther Schwieger, the commanding officer of the U-boat, gave the order to fire one torpedo, which struck Lusitania on the starboard bow, just beneath the wheelhouse. Moments later, a second explosion erupted from within Lusitania's hull where the torpedo had struck, and the ship began to founder much more rapidly, with a prominent list to starboard.[58][f] ...

      The sinking caused an international outcry, especially in Britain and across the British Empire, as well as in the United States, considering that 128 of 139 U.S. citizens aboard the ship lost their lives.[60] On 8 May, Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, a German spokesman and a former German Colonial Secretary, published a statement in which he said that because Lusitania "carried contraband of war" and also because she "was classed as an auxiliary cruiser," Germany had a right to destroy her regardless of any passengers aboard. Dernburg claimed warnings given by the German Embassy before the sailing plus the 18 February note declaring the existence of "war zones" relieved Germany of any responsibility for the deaths of the American citizens aboard. He referred to the ammunition and military goods declared on Lusitania's manifest and said that "vessels of that kind" could be seized and destroyed under the Hague rules.[g][61] Lusitania was indeed officially listed as an auxiliary war ship,[62] and her cargo had included an estimated 4,200,000 rounds of rifle cartridges, 1,250 empty shell cases, and 18 cases of non-explosive fuses, which was openly listed as such in her cargo manifest.[63][64] The day after the sinking, The New York Times published full details of the ship's military cargo.[65] Assistant Manager of the Cunard Line, Herman Winter, denied the charge that she carried munitions, but admitted that she was carrying small-arms ammunition, and that she had been carrying such ammunition for years.[63] The fact that Lusitania had been carrying shells and cartridges was not made known to the British public at the time.[66]"

    4. My father (b. 1911) told me over and over again that the Lusitania was carrying arms and that her destruction was used an excuse to draw the support of Americans into WW1.

      Dad lived through that era, and I trust his interpretations of that era.

    5. I'd say your Dad was right, AOW.

  6. My origian Tribute to my Great Uncle Lloyd at his passing in 2008:

    The numbers of WW II Veterans are dwindling and we just lost another one. My Uncle Lloyd passed on last Sunday. He fought in France and Italy, and later in the Pacific Theater. He never told any war stories, but he could go on about the fun times he had at stateside bases before going over and after returning.

    He came back a decorated hero. He also came back "shell shocked" my grandma told me, but he pressed on like a true soldier. He married his sweetheart, raised two fine children with her, retired from his factory job after 30 years, and became a beloved uncle and grandpa to many, including me.

    His claim to fame was his ability to calm a crying baby and charm any child. He was a friendly card sharp and an avid Cardinals fan.

    He lost his hearing and his sight in his last years. We think he lost his memory too. But he could still tell tales of an 18 year old boy breaking horses and fleecing his fellow soldiers in barracks poker games. His final years brought declining health and mobility, but he never lost his kind and gentle nature. Quiet in his own darkening world, he would still respond immediately when a child entered his presence, embracing her and setting her on his knee.

    The picture I have in my mind is from the last time I saw him, my children at his feet. This gentle man, eyes unseeing but still alert, holding my hand, voice reduced to a whisper, and there behind him the black and white picture of the brave soldier of 65 years ago.

    God bless you Uncle Lloyd. And God bless all who have sacrificed for this nation. May you rest in The Lord's peace. You've earned it.

    1. Nice tribute to your relative, Silverfiddle.

      I had several uncles who volunteered and enlisted for service WWII.
      Those wars cut a terrible swath through humanity and as time has passed with more information available we also learn that the accepted narrative of all that happened is not quite as perfect as the reality it omits or excludes.

      That is to take nothing away from those that were willing to step forward to make the greatest sacrifice, they were the best of men in terrible times for all of mankind.

      But wee need to know the whole story, not just the manufactured and sanitized version spooned up for the masses.

    2. SF,
      Beautiful tribute!

      He never told any war stories

      The same with my Uncle Bill, who served on the front lines. He came back permanently disabled. Never a word of complaint from him.

      Uncle Bill had volunteered to serve on the front lines because he was a young man with a family and was hoping that he might, by volunteering, save the life of a family man.

    3. My Great Uncle Hank fought under General Patton and was wounded bad enough at the end of the battle that he got sent to a hospital, where he met my Aunt who was a nurse (a Belgian).

      Uncle Hank and I would walk through the woods with our .22's, on the lookout for squirrels, and he would tell me stories of that battle. He said they were all more scared of the buzz bombs or freezing to death than they were of being killed by a German soldier.

      Unlike my Uncle Lloyd, Uncle Hank seemed to be able to whistle right past it, although he never reveled in his status as a vet. Other than our walks in the woods, I never heard him talk about it.

      My Uncle Hank was also one of the few men I know of who served under General George S. Patton yet never claimed to have met him (such stories are legion, and knowing Patton's love of getting down into the dirty details, most are probably true, if not somewhat embroidered).

      I thank God those depression-era and WW II elders were around as I was growing up in my little farm town. I learned a lot from them.

    4. WONDERFUL tribute...What courage, what dignity, what a man.
      Today our young men are cowering with therapy dogs because they had to hear the name TRUMP.

      We need a LOT more like your dear, sweet, courageous uncle again. So nice to read this tribute...wonderful piece.

    5. A friend of mine was a chopper pilot in 'Nam.
      He never talked about his experiences to anyone.
      PTSD all his life.
      One day we were walking through Frankenmuth and he just opened up. Amazing stories. Movie stuff. His wife was amazed. He felt he could talk to me, a fellow vet, and it was so quiet and peaceful.
      There was a movie made in 1948 about the Bulge, called "Battleground". some scenes were lifted for "Band of Brothers". Mayer (MGM) told Dore Schary nobody wanted a war story so soon after the war.
      Veterans took their families to the movie to show them what they couldn't talk about.
      My dad and I watched it on TV. He was there. The only time he talked about the war was then or watching "Combat".

  7. It will come as no surprise that I'll remain skeptical as to Trump's leadership with regards to military affairs, until he actually guides policy on that front. But I hope he at least takes Reagan's words to heart, from 1985:

    We endanger the peace and confuse all issues when we obscure the truth; when we refuse to name an act for what it is; when we refuse to see the obvious and seek safety in Almighty. Peace is only maintained and won by those who have clear eyes and brave minds.

    War has been a televised spectator sport for so long, that society's connection with it has largely been intangible and fleeting. Thankfully, there are still some Patriots left who remember and honor.

  8. On this Veterans Day let's hope that recent election results portend a positive change for the treatment or our Veterans! I think that it will happen.

    1. AND for the treatment of our country, right? Good point, JB.

  9. AOW, a friend put on a wonderful Veteran's Day luncheon today where she interspersed events and food courses with remembrances to honor veterans. We are all reminded how we have free speech and all of our rights because of VETERANS. Even if they never served in a war, they always serve as the thin line that stops jealous foreign powers from thinking twice about taking our stuff.


We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective