Tag Archives: service

75th Anniversary WW II

Seventy-five years ago, the Second World War ended.

That was my parent’s war. The Greatest Generation’s war. At that time, every American was, in one way or another, invested in it. It was a very different time with very different values.

In a small gesture, I’ve been watching Band of Brothers–the story of one company of the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army during World War II. The first time I saw any of this series was at the Pat Tillman USO in Afghanistan. I didn’t see much of it, as I was waiting for transportation to a FOB (forward operating base) or something. Nevertheless, the small exposure piqued my interest. Years later, my family gave me the set of DVDs.

The movie portrays the essence of the soldiers’ experiences. if not every precise detail. The movie is too intense for some, so the first time I watched it was with my son, Adam, when everybody else was away on a trip. Even for me, it was intense–as well it should be.

Today, when people view the history of warfare, some say, “I don’t get it, what was in it for them?” They’re right they don’t get it,” and it’s sad that they have passed through this life without  experiencing honor, courage, commitment, and camaraderie.

Community Service

Socrates Courtesy Wikimedia

Socrates
Courtesy Wikimedia

Yesterday, the American Diabetic Association’s Tour de Cure bicycle race was held in our area. This is a fundraiser for diabetes research and rides can choose a ten-mile, thirty-mile, sixty-five mile, or one-hundred mile course, with people donating to support their efforts. Local ham radio operators provide communications from each of the seven rest stops with the race coordinators at the start/finish lines. When I lived in Wyoming, the local hams provided similar service during Frontier Days.

Some people enjoy providing service to their friends and neighbors; some belong to an organization that encourages (and if necessary shames) its members into serving the community. Churches often provide the tipping point for people who wouldn’t go out on their own. Many high schools require a certain amount of community service in order to graduate. I believe that organizations provide the social network and support to help those who are comfortable being part of a group, but are not comfortable acting as an individual. Members of the Local Club (whatever it is) are more likely to adopt a road and clean it than the same people as individuals.

I know every generation worries about the state of their children. Supposedly, Plato credited Socrates with the following quotation:

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they allow disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children now are tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

However, in Socrates’s time young men and women couldn’t cocoon in their bedrooms with smartphones and video games.

Veterans’ Day

The shooting stopped during the “Great War; the War to End All Wars” on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. The armistice was commemorated by Armistice Day.

Thus was born the date that would eventually be known as Veterans’ Day.

There are about 21.5 million veterans in a nation of 312 million people. Of Americans 18 years or older, about 12 – 13% are veterans. Counting all Americans, slightly less than 7% are veterans. As we lose the veterans of the Second World War, the percentage of veterans will drop significantly.

Of the currently seated Congress, 28 of 100 Senators are Veterans, as are 92 of the 438 members of the House of Representatives.

Presidents in my lifetime who served in the military:

Harry Truman (D) Army

Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) Army

John F. Kennedy (D) Navy

Lyndon B. Johnson (D) Navy

Richard Nixon (R) Navy

Gerald Ford (R) Navy

Jimmy Carter (D) Navy

Ronald Reagan (R) Army (Air Corps)

George HW Bush (R) Navy

George W Bush (R) Air National Guard

The military uniform is often referred to as “the cloth of our country.” If you are one who has worn the uniform, “On behalf of a grateful nation,” thank you.

All gave some.  Some gave all.