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Foot soldiers and foot lockers - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
Foot soldiers and foot lockers
It's Veterans Day here- perhaps known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day where you are.  Since the pre-dawn posts started in the wee smalls at the kids' place last night, my Facebook newsfeed has been full of memories of men (mostly, sorry)- the fathers and grandfathers of current friends who served in war (mostly, even sorrier) or in peacetime in service and protection.

I don't have any of those pictures.  Closest I come is an old foot locker, which moved with me twelve times in ten years, then made the move to its likely final resting spot in our cellar.  I can't even say for certain it was my father's, although the alternatives are limited: Sandy's husband did serve in the US Army after coming over from France as a kid, and one of my uncles might've been in the Big One, but likely it was Dad's. He was a veteran, but stateside, and never in harm's way beyond perhaps cutting his finger on a beer can in the PX.  He got a flag at his funeral, but no honor guard or other trappings (as Jean-Pierre did when he passed a few years ago, just shy of his 70th birthday).

He spoke almost nothing of those experiences, and I never even got to consider having them myself- I'm lifetime 4-F, on account of losing a kidney as a kid, and I just missed the cutoff for Selective Service registration after that libturd Jimmy Carter reimposed it in 1980.  For most of my childhood and college years, military service got way little notice by anyone other than those in the service itself. The antiwar sentiments of the 60s still dominated, and shows like M*A*S*H, while showing the (often based on real-life) dedication and courage of those in service, also made much, and much fun, of the (also often based on real-life) bureaucracy and stupidity of the Military Industrial Complex in which they served.

Then came 9/11, and the first real call to arms my generation ever faced. Many answered it- all voluntarily- and many of those answered with their lives.  But by now, that service was no longer a universally shared experience. The nation was no longer led  and influenced by veterans of actual wartime service like Carter, Ford and, yes, even Nixon- but by Reagan (a play-soldier actor), Clinton (a draft dodger),  Bush-Cheney (a team of chicken hawks who, at best, kept the skies over Texas safe from Charlie during Vietnam), and their head cheerleader Rush Limbaugh (who got away with dodging the Vietnam draft because of zits on his ass).  None of this last bunch- and none of the current occupants of that GOP clown car careening toward November 2016- ever knew what it was to save the last man on the battlefield, or sacrifice time and freedom and even life if needed.  No problem sending other peoples' kids to do it, though.

We've lost something in this country other than the lives and health of many who served- we've lost the uniting and bonding experience that comes with serving your country in a mandatory way.  Many nations have universal service requirements, either for all their citizens or all their men.  Not even the squawkiest of chicken hawks has ever proposed that for this nation- arguably because of the cost, but more likely because they don't want their own Fortunate Sons and Daughters having to share a latrine or even an AmericaCorps dorm room with some peon for a year or two.  Maybe such an obligation could be tied to a Bernie-style plan to reduce or eliminate the cost of a college education. Maybe that common experience would make us less polarized and more empathetic to each other, in a way that hasn't been seen since the Greatest Generation all came home together and did more to rebuild and change their own country than any before or since.

And maybe pigs will fly before anyone in the current political class will permit that to happen.
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glenmarshall From: glenmarshall Date: November 11th, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
My question of the day: Is it just U.S. veterans, plus our allies, or everyone's veterans?

Having successfully evaded the draft in the 60s, and finally getting a reasonably high lottery number, I respect those who were unsuccessful in those efforts. I also respect those who enlisted. I do not necessarily respect the causes they fought in.

I got a sobering perspective last year when I toured the monuments, graveyards, and battlefields on WW I & II. There is a WW I German graveyard where ~40,000 are buried. (See http://www.greatwar.co.uk/ypres-salient/cemetery-langemark.htm) Although all other nations' grave tending is paid by their respective governments, this one is not. It is paid for by private donations.

Edited at 2015-11-11 05:48 pm (UTC)
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