“… Shall Not Perish From The Earth.”

    My late father was a veteran of the US Army during the Korean War.  My late father-in-law was a veteran of the US Army during the Second World War. Each of them was extraordinarily lucky and didn’t have to face combat.  I came of age during the Vietnam War and was able to avoid the draft.  I now regret that I didn’t do what I should have, and pay my dues for being a citizen of
the finest nation on the planet.

I never did properly thank either of them for what they did.  But today, in public, I wish to state for the record –

Thank you, David Bell and Emeric Pausic, for your service to our
country.  May you rest in peace, and in the knowledge that you are remembered fondly (in part) for how you put our country before yourselves.

And I would like to extend my warmest greetings and thanks to all our other veterans (Hi, Mike P.! and Mike L., Doug, Philli, and Martin!) and current servicemembers on this special date. Regardless of our personal political beliefs, or our opinions about the `correctness´ of the conflict at hand, these men and women daily put their lives on the line “between their loved homes and the war’s desolation” — for all the rest of us.  We should remember Lincoln’s timeless words:

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

Warmest Greetings on this Veterans’ Day.

2 Responses to ““… Shall Not Perish From The Earth.””

  1. marsimbel says:

    An English professor wrote these words on the chalkboard and asked his students to punctuate it correctly:
    “A woman without her man is nothing”
    All the men wrote: “A woman, without her man, is nothing.”
    The women wrote: “A woman: without her, man is nothing.”

    Just as this illustrates the power of punctuation, so also we must be careful of prepositions. I would join you in applauding those who have been or are in service *to* our country, whether they wear navy blue, olive drab, scrubs, smocks, overalls, hardhats, wingtips or jeans. That service could be individual achievement or part of a group effort; it could be heroic in the face of lethal adversity or the mundane, routine maintenance of an essential institution. It embodies the enrichment of all, both currently and for generations to come.
    It should never be confused with being in the service *of* our country. This term is a euphemism for the subjugation of the working class to the will of the privileged elite to carry out missions of social/political/economic domination. Often, the enlistee on a two or three year hitch won’t be aware of the difference, s/he is there for the benefits, the adventure, the escape from a reality more painful than battle. Their contribution is noble as well, but the motives of those who employ them is not.
    It’s far too easy to raise the flag and get misty-eyed in patriotic sentiment, whether or not you’ve worn the uniform. Celebrate the veteran, yes, but *never, never, never* glorify war.
    Martin Bell
    Ohio Army Nat’l Guard, 1980-1990

  2. admin says:

    marsimbel says:

    <blockquote>It’s far too easy to raise the flag and get misty-eyed in patriotic sentiment, whether or not you’ve worn the uniform. Celebrate the veteran, yes, but *never, never, never* glorify war.</blockquote>

    AMEN! Sherman said it best: “War Is Hell.” We should choose to fight (both as individuals and together as a nation) <em>only</em> when <i>every</i> other alternative has been exhausted, or dramatically worse than the pain and cost of fighting.

    I only meant to give my praise and thanks to those who had listened to that “still, small voice” in their hearts (or even that big, brassy voice in their wallets) and chose to give service *to* our country. Without those willing to serve, and willing to potentially offer their all, the rest of us would be slaves or dead.