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May 2, 2017

The soldier is not so sacred as he once was.

The journalist and the judge have taken his place.
The actors sneer from their theaters. The politicians gobble their free food and babble of peace. Musicians sing shrilly of flowers in gun barrels and doves everywhere. But the soldier still stands where he must. The borders have shrunk. The old victories have been exchanged for diplomatic defeats. From the old strongholds come missiles and rockets. And children hide in bomb shelters waiting for the worst to pass. This is the doing of the journalist and the judge, the politician and the actor, the lions of literature who send autographed copies of their books to imprisoned terrorists and the grandchildren of great men who hire themselves on in service to the enemy. Sultan Knish: Who Can Count the Dust of Jacob

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 2, 2017 8:53 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

"The temple of duty is desecrated..."

Well said. It reminds me that soldiers don't wear the uniform expecting some great return on their service. Much the contrary, the balance tips far to the service side, and the rewards are thin.

I got 3 veteran's discounts in town last week. I never asked for a single one.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at May 2, 2017 9:27 AM

The next person that tells me, "Thank you for your service to our country!", gets one of these ()()()() right in the head.

I have heard that more in the past year than in the previous 39 put together. It loses it's significance when it's been dragged through the gutter by people that don't know what they're talking about. Enough of the hollow platitudes already.

I didn't do it for you, I did it for me.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 2, 2017 6:14 PM

I'm with you, ghost. I liked the reception I got at SFO coming back from Vietnam better than this thank you crap we hear everywhere today. At least the SFO reception was genuine.

Posted by: billH at May 3, 2017 7:21 AM

Bill! That's a hell of a statement.

Non-veterans don't understand how it puts you on the spot to be singled out. Yep. Lots of the thank yous are disingenuous or delivered crappily. Some are well meant, though.

I enjoy talking to war veterans (I'm not one). I ask them questions, listen mostly, and watch their eyes. I've drawn out more cool stories than I can relate.

I served with a lot of Vietnam veterans, and I mean fresh out of Vietnam, as I joined in 1975. Also some Korean War and WW II vets. Some Nam-era vets were suffering memories of having manned riots in LA and elsewhere. Because I was in armor and infantry units, every Nam vet was an infantry guy or some kind of combat vet. I had a roommate at Benning who would wake up screaming. He was a point man in the buck seventy third. He also taught me mortar gunnery inside out and upside down. He knew shit that the army doesn't teach you, but that only comes from hundreds of hours on the job.

Anyway. That was a long time ago! I look around today, and can't figure out what's going on. That's why I have to read here! It gives me a place to gripe, and an ounce of hope.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at May 4, 2017 6:26 AM

Back in the early 80's I had an old architect associate that was in his late 80's and he had been an officer (captain I think) in the Great War and had been in charge of an intelligence company in China of all places that focused on map reading.

He'd get bored and drop in my office in the middle of the day and I'd drop everything and go sit with him for an hour or 2 and I'd encourage wartime memories out of him. He was still very spry, drove his own car, but his memory was fading on the edges. It was always a great pleasure to converse with him and it was like a peak into an era I had not known. I have always gotten along better with people older than me than younger than me. I guess I'd rather learn than teach.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 4, 2017 9:59 AM

Cool stuff, Ghostie. China was as foreign as it gets from that era. A good movie on that was Sand Pebbles, although a bit lefty. It shows that when you were stationed in China, pre-WW Two, you were a long f-ing way from home. My Great Granddad, whose name is my own middle name, was there in the Boxer Rebellion.

I had dinner in Albuquerque last year with a group of associates, and it turned out all 6 (or were we 7?) had dads in combat in WW II. One's dad was OSS in China, which was some real shit. Training nationalists whose undercurrent was to shut out the Maoists whose main theme was how to cash-in on post war opportunities. Talk about intrigue!

Posted by: Casey Klahn at May 4, 2017 10:22 AM

Ya know, when you find out about stuff *back then* and contrast it to the mamby stuff that's going on today you start to get an idea about how superficial everything has become.

I'm glad you mentioned Sand Pebbles. Just a couple nights ago I caught the last couple minutes of *Tom Horn* on the tube, a flik I have never watched from end to end, just parts here and there, and I told my wife we need to get that one from amazon and add it to our library. I looked it up and ordered it and was suggested that I might like Sand Pebbles. I have never seen that in it's entirety neither, just bits and pieces, so I ordered it as well.

Tom Horn starred Steve McQueen and is supposed to be true.

Posted by: ghostsniper at May 4, 2017 7:17 PM

I'll look at that one. SM was one of the last actors Hollywood featured who was a man.

I got another veteran discount yesterday. Again, unsolicited. Then I found out May is some kind of national veteran's recognition or whatever. Just sit back, and take the ballwashing, like we used to say in the army.

Sand Pebbles: outstanding movie in the old school way. Nothing to compare it to comes to mind.

Posted by: Casey Klahn at May 5, 2017 6:46 AM

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