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November 11, 2003
Thank you, Veterans.
I have often thought that if those who start wars had to fight in them, we'd live in a much more peaceful world.
Today, I honor everyone who has served, or is currently serving in the armed forces. Thank you for your sacrifice.
Posted by wil at November 11, 2003 10:37 AM
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» Veteran's Day from Snowpoint
I used to be in the 82d Airborne Division and was part of the first Persian Gulf War, so Veteran's Day has special meaning for me, but never more so than this one. Today, soldiers from our armed forces are... [Read More]
Tracked on November 11, 2003 05:37 PM
» "...or taste my squirrly wrath!" from THOR's 3¢
I've got some really, really old blog notes from before I went on leave that I want to purge from the patern buffer, so I'm gonna blog 'em now. Mind you, they might me a little out of date, or... [Read More]
Tracked on December 12, 2003 09:15 PM
Very well put.
They make sacrifices most of us wouldn't be willing to make.
"if those who start wars had to fight in them, we'd live in a much more peaceful world."
That's exactly right. There are tons of blog posts today that (quite rightfully) express gratitude and admiration for the people who are sent abroad to risk their lives in the US Armed Forces.
I think, however, that it is also important today to note that while we offer our thanks, we can also be offering our political support to veterans. The Bush administration is continuing its campaign to cut benefits for veterans and their families. Check out this report from Army Times to learn more:
I don't mean to detract from the message of gratitude today, I jus think that standing up for veterans on the homefront is the least we can do for them in return for their service.
Wear your poppy with pride.
I prefer the original Armistice Day and what that represented.
Amen, Wil. I nearly forgot it was Veteran's Day - when I have to work, it's not REALLY a holiday, is it? This time, it is.
As a Viet Nam era veteran I must say that war is rarely a cut-and-dried "we wanted to start it, now you go fight it for us" situation.
War escalates from a starting point of misunderstanding, bad thoughts and deeds by a person or a small group, then through the blind following of a larger group of people who don't have enough sense or self-value to say 'no' to what they should sense is wrong, through those who react with anger rather than with understanding, and finally retaliaton for harm done to you bythese people.
And ignorance plays a large part in all this... the ignorance that leads individuals to believe that their countrymen will accept being subjegated forever by force. Ignorance that makes them believe that the rest of the world will just turn a blind eye to the suffering they cause.
The ignorance of those who allow hatred to turn themselves and others into murderers.
And the ignorance that makes them believe that they kill or rule by terror and death for some sort of religious glory and the approval of their god.
And, though I don't completely agree with the reasons why the United States gets into the middle of these things, it seems that it is usually a case of "someone has to do it" or these evils will continue to lead to torture and death of the innocent.
I don't blame those who go to war when it is in the cause of overall freedom, even if that freedom is not within our country, but I DO think that those who wage war against the weak and those who wage war for religious reasons are fools. Religions weren't created by gods; they were created by mere men... men whose interpretation of what they claim to be a god's word leads them to the harm of others.
Being a veteran, having "been there — done that" during a time of crisis gives you an odd perspective. You really don't what to go through that again, and you don't want others to have to go through it. You may not have seen the sense of it all when you were fighting, but most are left with a feeling deep inside, proud for what you have done for those back home. For some, it is too deep to bring to the surface.
Of those who go to war, some sacrifice their lives, some sacrifice their sanity, some sacrifice their souls. And most return home — worshiped as heros or booed as villians — but they come home. And they try to return to their lives.
Even for those who think that all war is evil, and hate all persons involved in the start of those wars, don't hold it against those who actually fight. This is an age of all volunteer military forces in the US. Those million or two who fight do so because they volunteered to serve and protect the other 250 million of us.
If you see a veteran today, thank them. If you know veteran, talk to them. Even if you disagree with what the reasons they did what they did, at least acknowledge to them that what they did, they did for their country.
Just give them a hug and say, "thanks."
I think we all agreed that Dubya and Saddham should have been put into a room and the one that comes out wins.
I too honor those that have or are now in the armed forces; I know it is not much but I hoist the flag at home in their honor.
I honor the veterans and the service they gave. However, I feel deep sorrow that so many died, were wounded, captured or tortured based on lies and deceit by our President and his Administration. I could go on, but you all know what I mean.
Amen to Wills comments. Lets wish everyone overseas in the armed services a safe and soon return. A lot of people just go "Oh, its veterans day". Its not just another "holiday", it honors those who have died serving our country and those who have selflessly signed up to defend our country. They signed up not for the glory, and they sure as hell didnt sign up for the money, they signed up because they wanted to protect our way of life and serve their fellow man. Often, too many people forget that. So, take a moment today, and go out of your way to thank a veteran. Right now, my best friend of nearly 20 years is over in Baghdad with the 82nd airborne. I'll tell you what, ive never been more proud of him in all my life.
Also, find out how to get involved on how you can help those soldiers overseas. My company just put together a large care package that was sent over, yours should do the same. The comforts of home obviously arent that accessible over there. Stuff like powdered drink mixes, baby wipes, candy, snacks, etc go a long way over there to help boost morale. The way i figure it, its the least we can do.
Thats my two cents.
Tom Hudson, your post is very insightful. Two years ago, I was in a college writing class where we were asked to write something about Veteran's Day. What I wrote was basically how freedom must have a different meaning to those who have fought for it, a meaning that I'll never know since I plan on remaining a civilian. ;) I was asked to read what I wrote to the class. Everyone was pretty quiet, and someone actually said something like "Wow!" afterward. I was surprised, since I figured pretty much everyone would be thinking the same thing. I guess not. Apathy is pretty popular these days, it seems. Your post reminded of a quote from some general, not sure who right now, but it was something like "We shouldn't grieve those who have died in war, but rather thank god that such men lived."
I'd also like to say to Wil that it took some guts to leave comments open on this post. I really hope he doesn't have to start his own virtual war against blog trolls. ;)
I tend to agree with Wil's views on war. My reason? It's mentioned in here:
...from Canada, thanks for redeeming my faith in America. (though it's Rememberance Day here, same difference)
My grandfather (who was on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day) always told me that if another war came up, he would help me and my brother (and sister, if necessary) draft dodge. He believed no one should ever have to experience what he had.
Thank you very much Wil.
I'm currently active duty with the USAF; and I'm a member of my base's Honour Guard contingent. We perform final military honours for deceased active duty, retirees, as well as all veretans. We also present, post, and retire the colours at ceremonies where such dignification would be appropriate.
In the past several days and especially yesterday and today, we have been overwhelmed with requests for details in honour of Veteran's Day. Before I came into the military, and especially before I became a mamber of out HG; I never held such days and their meanings in high respect; but now that I see the people themselves for whom this day was meant to recognize, it has a whole world full of meaning to me now.
I really appreciate it when a non-military person, whom I hold in high regard and respect such as yourself, holds true the importance of events/days like this.
Again, thank you Wil Wheaton.
Having just lost a friend in Iraq, this Veteran's Day seems more poignant to me. I have taken it as a time to reflect and be thankful that there are people in this country that are willing to give the last full measure of devotion. I pray that each one of them remains safe and that they are able to come home to their loved ones.
Ever since I was little, this day ment more and more to me every year. My Dad was a peace keeper a little over ten years ago and it's a scary thought of your dad going away and not coming back. I can only imgine what the family in WW1 and WW2 felt because they were actually fighting, my dad wasn't.
Thanks you to everyone from my dad.
Jen W. Halifax, NS, Canada
"And at the going down of the sun, we will remember them."
It really touches me when you write things as simple and as meaningful as this, Wil. I showed my father, who is a Vietnam Veteran.
Thank you for taking time out to say thank you.
Thanks for your message. I served in VietNam in 1970-1971. God bless you!
Agreed on that one Wil. Both my grandfathers were in the war. Side note: got my autographed copy of DB, that makes 3 copies of the book now total :P
In honor of all veterans:
"Men sleep peacefully in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
I thought it damned ironic seeing Bush today on the Hallowed ground at Arlington, belching his usual patriotic spiel as American Soldiers continue to die in Iraq, while Haliburton makes millions, and Bush has attended not a single funeral of the young men and women he sent to die. I actually posted two articles on my Blog today. It really pisses me off!
I recently acquired The HBO miniseries by Hanks and Spielberg, “Band of Brothers”.
Back then, during WWI, I suppose it was much clearer why this country went to war. I found myself sobbing like a baby last night when I cam across the scene from the episode, “Why We Fight” – where a small group of American soldiers come across a concentration camp recently abandoned by the defeated German soldiers who ran it. They had no idea what they were looking at. Thousands of suffering civilian POW; Jews.
Anyhow, the truth is, I felt ashamed for every time I ever might have overlooked a veteran.
This morning at a doctor’s office, I saw an elderly tall man with beaming bright blue eyes. He was wearing an old brown leather jacket with an old Army dress uniform hat. On the hat it had references to WWI and WWII as well as some years referencing from that era. I felt proud at that moment to be in the presence of such greatness. These guys truly knew how to fight back in the day and these guys saw some of the most horrific scenes NONE of us reading BLOGS today from the comforts of our homes could possibly imagine. I pointed him out to my daughter and told her to always be proud of such a sight for their sacrifice.
For me, today, this is not about a political view; it’s about those who have flown into the heart of harm’s way time and time again so that you and I can make little clickity clackity sounds on our computers –- among other reasons. ;)
Please see this movie for a perspective.
Thanks for posting this BLOG today, Wil.
Thanks, Wil. As a former member of the 82d Airborne and a vet of Persian Gulf War I, I thank you for your kind words.
I'm proud of being an American (to some degree), and I'm glad that I can say thank you a few times a year to those who really make it work. Not everybody gets what we get, and it's the armed forces that protect us from a lot of... stuff. Well put!
happy veteran's day... :p
As so many people have said before me, thank you so much for posting that. i totally agree. I am English, and I was talking to my friend in America who told me that Veteran's Day is a national holiday, and they get the day off school, but they don't do a great deal to actually remember those who fought and died for us to be able to live in freedom, whereas over here, we do not get the day off school/work etc, but at 11.00 am, the nation holds a 2 minute silence, specifically for rememberance. I found that slightly odd. Again, as so many people have said, Rememberance Day has become more and more meaningful to me as I get older, and today, i found myself realising that I totally take my freedom for granted. I have no idea what it is like to live through a war, or anything like it, and as I watched the Veterans Parade I really appreciated what all those men and women had done for me, and the rest of the nation.
So, to all those who have served in any form of combat....I THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART.
And thank you again wil,
Thank God for the leaders and soldiers willing to wage war in defense of freedom. Amen.
I agree. That's the problem with most Democrats -- especially Bill Clinton. He was willing to lead our soliders into death while evading military service himself. It still breaks my heart to think of the totally unnecesary deaths of those solidars in Somila.
At least the Republicans, on the other hand, generally have served. Bush Sr. saw military action, including being shot down. Rumsfield was in the Navy from '54-'57. At least the understand what it means to send our troops off to war & are willing to make the difficult decision when no other choices are available.
Anyway, God Bless & our thanks to every Veteran!
Words can not express the things that those people do, for this country.
Thanks for the simple and elegant reminder, Wil.
The NY Times on-line OpEd page today (Tuesday) had a collection of the final missives from some of the veterans recently killed in action in the Iraqi War.
They were the voices of our family and of our neighbors and fellow citizens. I'm eternally grateful that people choose to serve their country in this way, and we have taken one modest step away from the violence created by forcing people to participate in the military service. It's staggering to think that the most capable military the world has ever seen is staffed entirely by volunteers.
I just want them all to be able to come home soon -- whole in body, mind, and spirit.
As a college student eternally trapped in classes, activities and the like (a situation we call being stuck in "the Bubble"), I don't always take the time out to thank people, or to give credit where credit is due, and your post and everyone's comments afterwards made me think long and hard about the things, the people and the values I hold dear.
I had an internship a year ago organizing a huge community festival. The local VFW (a veterans group) was very involved, and the group's leader was a man who just made my summer! His name was Bud, and he was a WWII vet. He had lost two fingers in the war (far less than some of his friends) and old age and poor health were slowing him down more and more. But Bud was never without a smile, and he took little 20-year-old me under his wing and made me feel like a princess.
But what struck me the most was the love Bud had for his community and his country. At the flag ceremony of the festival, Bud was crying while standing at perfect attention.
Bud would never tell you the horrible things he had seen, nor complain about the time he lost overseas. He never asked for anything back, nor whined about his lost fingers. He just smiled every day and reminded me to keep my country and my values close to my heart - and I have. I hope that when I am older I have a spirit even remotely close to Bud's.
Thanks for making me think of him. =)
Thank you for noticing. Cheers, and thanks for your thoughts today
Nice to see some recognition for our Veterans beyond the typical media garbage on the 6 o'clock news. I actually noticed on my way home from work tonight how it seems a shame that this holiday appears to be fading away in the minds of America. More people go to work, more stores stay open, schools stay open, and fewer parades take place. A damn shame we've become so greedy that we can't even pay some respect to men and women who served in wars for causes they may or may not have even stood for. Is it me or are the 'little' voices getting louder?
If you really want to thank the veterans, give them stock in Haliburton. After all, that's what they're over there fighting for.
And keep in mind, today's army is all-volunteer. They wanted the money, they wanted the benefits. They agreed to kill for money; whoever the government chose, for whatever reaso the government chose.
The last honorable war was WWII. The current batch is nothing but mercenaries.
FNR_Thomas: While you're here badmouthing veterans, don't forget to include all the immigrants who vowed to "bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law" and "defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
At least there are a few true patriots like yourself remaining.
Well said. Accountability is scarce in our world.
FNR_Thomas: While I refuse to get into a debate in Wil's comments section, I wish you had a different view on veterans. WWII vet or not, they still sacrifice/d a lot to do what their country asked of them, whether what was being asked was "right" or not.
I'm sorry you feel the way you do.
Yes the kids who are fighting in Iraq chose to be in the military. Maybe they couldn't afford college, you moron. That doesn't mean they thought they'd ever have to kill or die to make Bush's buddies some money.
My father fought in Nam. He was drafted. He missed my birth among other things. He watched his friends die in a bug infested jungle. Until you've done the equivalent you are in no position to judge him harshly for his actions.
I don't believe in the imperialism that has gone on in the name of freedom fighting, but I heartily believe in the basic goodness and sacrifice of the men and women who are willing to fight and die for their country.
That is such a true statement. And a very sad thing is that many young people who are in Iraq now are there because of the poor economy here. They only joined for the money and/or to get the armed forces to pay for school.
I hope they get to return home soon.
If it wasn't for those men and women who are willing to lay their lives down for what they believe in, you and I wouldn't have the right to talk about them.
God Bless the USA and all the men and women who fight to keep us free!
You know it's guys like 'FNR_Thomas' who IF he ever had the balls to even join a military branch to begin with, it's tools like this guy that the front line would send out ahead to get popped by the enemy's snipers in order to determine where the hottest spots were on the battlefield -- this would be about all 'fnr' would be good for.
Sorry for getting pulled into this worm's troll, Wil -- I just found this particular posting worthy of protecting and defending against knuckleheads such as this. Seem to me to be the point to your post -- sorry if it offends.
[i am now turning my back to my 19" viewsonic and pulling down my big man pants and offering up a big 'ol BA to good 'ol tool boy himself, 'f*cking nasty retard', AKA: 'fnr'! I should have first trimmed my butt hairs! Again, sorry to offend.]
I honor the service of the men and women of the armed forces. And I am sickened by those who insist that patriotism is in the spirit of only one political view or party, or that one cannot oppose the actions and decisions of those that command our armed forces without opposing our soldiers themselves. It is one of the most perverted, cynical, and duplicitous political acts of our time to call those who wish our brothers, sisters, spouses, and parents were out of harm's way "unpatriotic."
"And keep in mind, today's army is all-volunteer. They wanted the money, they wanted the benefits. They agreed to kill for money; whoever the government chose, for whatever reaso the government chose.
The last honorable war was WWII. The current batch is nothing but mercenaries."
Thank-you for pointing that out FNR. Just a couple comments:
The current batch of "mercenaries" are men and women who are willing to go out into the world and lay down their lives for losers like you. They join the service, not for the glory or for the money, but because of a sense of duty to their country and their fellow citizen. If these people were only looking for money - they joined the wrong organization! I know of many soldiers who are forced to use local Food Banks just to feed their families.
These are honourable men and women who understand that to provide a free society where people like you can say whatever they want, some blood must be spilled. These are soldiers who leave their families and all they hold dear to go and fight or stop other people from fighting.
The only reason you are free to shoot your mouth off is that soldiers are willing to die for your right to do so. So say what you like FNR, my husband and his forefathers have ensured that right.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
A very proud Canadian Military Wife
You are welcome.
I do animation now and MCSE stuff, but up until 1991 I was defending the world from Communism in the U.S. Navy.
I figure I won.
Wil, I just wanted to let you know about a website that is sending Air Conditioners and other stuff to our troops. It's www.operationac.com. They have an Adopt a Soldier program to pair you up with a soldier or group of soldiers so you can send them some gifts to make Christmas a little happier. Check it out.
"The last honorable war was WWII."
That's the thing about wars these days. You never know if it'll be regarded as just and heroic or vile and destructive. The modern professional soldier doesn't get the option of deciding to join or not join based on the morality of a given conflict, because today wars are "come as you are" events.
The soldier puts his or her faith in the government to do the right thing and put them in harm's way only for a cause that is worthwhile. So ultimately the soldier is placing his faith in all of the rest of us to do the right thing by voting and electing legislators who will not squander American lives for no good purpose.
It's easy to call modern soldiers mercenaries, but maybe it's time to look in the mirror and see what you've done lately to help this country act with honor on the world scene. Any argument you can give me in favor of not voting is a cop out. Vote, exercise your rights, and give the men and women of the military the right kind of civilian leadership.
Put faith in your country. That's what veterans did.
I stil say 'fnr' is a tool.
i was in the military. i didnt view it as a sacrifice. i think the military did a lot for me...a lot more than spending the same amount of time in college would have. to look on people in the military as a bunch of saints that serve their country is to miss the point. we are all just regular guys and girls that hade their own reasons for joining just like most of you had your own reasons for going to college or, like FNR, clown college.
veterans rock. the people that stay back and support them rock. the people that dont support them have every right not to...that's America.
A previous entry stated, "My grandfather (who was on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day) always told me that if another war came up, he would help me and my brother (and sister, if necessary) draft dodge."
Can you imagine where we'd be today if that was the prevailing feeling? We'd all be under the rule of a truly horrible and cruel political system (Hitler and Japan would have taken over the world). While a person may have valid complaints with our current political structure, any problems it has pales in comparison to the Nazi way of thinking. It takes people who see more than themselves as important (draft dodging), willing to give their lives so that we may all live with the freedom to say what we want, work doing what we want, and worship God (or not) in the way that we want to.
Whether a person decided to get in the military to get college paid for, learn discipline, or through patriotism, the reality is, being in the military is putting your life on the line in protection of our country and democracy, and for that, I truly appreciate and honor those men and women that have done so. Thank you to those in the military today and thanks to all of those in our past that have been willing to risk (and lose) their lives so that I can live this wonderful life.
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