Tag Archive | "military"

It’s Not My Job!

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How many times has each of us uttered the phrase, “It’s not my job; let someone else do it”?  Upon closer inspection, this is more than an expression.  It is a mindset in which we assume that everything can be fixed, provided someone else takes up the slack.  At the end of World War II, the phrase, “Do It Yourself” was coined, thereby creating a whole new industry.  People who normally paid others to repair things purchased tools and how-to books in order to save the costs once associated with the labor of professionals.


The “Do It Yourself” craze eclipsed small projects and took on larger ones, such as additions to houses.  Some money was saved, but some was also expended because there were certain jobs that could only be managed by well-trained tradesmen such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. For the even tougher jobs, lawyers and doctors were called upon and paid for their services.


The point of all of this is that general public will take a stab at the easy jobs, but we take for granted that someone else will tackle the harder jobs, for a price.  And now we arrive at the crux of this article: our volunteer military forces.


How many Americans wake up in the morning and ponder the state and fate of our military?  Isn’t it more a matter of, “I wonder which team won last night” or “I think I need an oil change” or “What’s for breakfast?”.  Although we are well aware that our armed forces are putting themselves in harm’s way in the world’s hot spots, we choose to push them to the back of our minds, because such thoughts may spoil our day.


In the past, America has had a regular Army and Navy comprised of volunteers.  However, during World War II, the number of volunteers was insufficient, thereby compelling our government to institute the draft.  The draft mandated that all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45 register for military service.


Over the years, our volunteer military has grown to encompass professional soldiers, supported by the National Guard and bolstered by weaponry of an increasingly technologically advanced nature.  This combination has produced the best fighting force in the world.


Down through the ages, America has always depended upon the citizen soldier.  During the Revolutionary War, it was the Minutemen who dropped their plows and picked up their guns to defend our emerging nation. In World War I, it was the American Doughboy who went “Over There” and promised not to come back “’til it’s over.”  In World War II and Korea, it was the GI’s who broke the back of the Axis powers and saved the world from tyranny.


Vietnam was a different type of conflict.  In this war, the only men who were not drafted were Conscientious Objectors, some of whom fled the U.S.  Many young men enrolled in college to receive a deferment from the draft.  Those who did not serve received amnesty when the war came to an end.  On that day, it should be noted, the number of male students attending college dropped dramatically.


Aside from our everyday problems, including healthcare, illegal immigration, economic woes, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the flooding in Tennessee, and the government takeover of the private sector, we confront growing problems in our military.  Multiple tours of duty, the rules of war changing in favor of the enemy, and the court marshalling of Navy Seals for brutalizing the enemy number among these issues.  I wonder what General George Patton would have said about these newfound constraints upon our military?


During World War II, nearly every family in this country had one or more of their loved one in the armed services.  The entire nation supported those armed services.  Prayers and positive thoughts were offered up for them, and our infantry, airmen, and sailors were not taken for granted; rather, they were revered.  The final cost of that war was that 400,000 men were killed in action and 78,000 went missing or were wounded.


When it comes to the tough job of defending our way of life, the American public has taken our military for granted.  By and large, we no longer consider the fact that there by the grace of God and our volunteer military go our sons and daughters — who may have been drafted into service if not for those who enter the military voluntarily. Given the carefree lifestyle we live, it is very easy to take certain things for granted in America. But it was not always so easy. People sacrificed and died protecting our freedoms and our very way of life.


To the rest of the world, America is the Promised Land: a land of the free with opportunities to enjoy a better life.  As citizens, we have to stop taking things for granted and follow in the footsteps of the people who made this country great.


It’s time for every American to accept the responsibility of keeping America free and strong for our troops.  When those troops return home to the land of the brave, from their monumental tasks overseas, we should welcome them and express gratitude for their sacrifices. To paraphrase the immortal words of President John F. Kennedy, our voluntary troops honor the concept of asking not of what your country can do for you, but asking what you can do for your country.  Our troops go far beyond the asking.  They are valiant enough to actually do something to protect our freedoms. 

The Last Monday in May

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memorial-day

For many Americans, Memorial Day is celebrated as the unofficial beginning of the summer season.  For others, it has a much deeper meaning and is not celebrated so much as commemorated

 

At the conclusion of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln instituted Decoration Day to honor the Union soldiers who had died during the conflict.  Over the next several years, many communities in both the North and the South designated days to honor their Civil War dead.

 

In 1868, General John A. Logan, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans’ organization, issued a proclamation that Decoration Day be observed nationwide.  In 1882, the alternate name, Memorial Day, was first used, although the designation was not commonly used until after World War II and did not become the official name of the holiday until 1967.  Although traditionally observed on May 30th, the Memorial Day holiday was changed to the last Monday in May by Congress in 1968.

 

Each year across America and other parts of the world, Americans who paid the supreme sacrifice are honored by a grateful nation.  Many Americans display the flag of our country in the towns and cities across the land.  American flags and wreaths are placed at the gravesites of fallen heroes in Arlington National Cemetery and cemeteries across the United States and other places in the world.

 

The mournful sound of “Taps” echoes around the world,

 

Day is done,
Gone the sun
From the lakes
From the hills,

 

From the sky
All is well,
Safely rest
God is nigh

 

Fading light
Dims the sight
And a star
Gems the sky,

 

Gleaning bright
From afar,
Drawing nigh
Falls the night.

 

Thanks and praise,
For our days
Neath the sun.
Neath the stars.

 

Neath the sky.
As we go,
Then we know,
God is nigh.

 

As the bugle calls die amongst the echoes, many of us who wore the uniform defending our country pause to remember our fallen comrades and relive a time in our lives when we were a part of history.  Still others, friends and family of those who died in our nation’s service – whether that service had been in Europe, Asia, North Africa, or the Middle East – remember their loved ones and the sacrifices they made to preserve freedom and our way of life.

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