Saturday, June 7, 2014

Update --Stuff: Weekend and Stolen

Well, shoot.and, you did know I meant Belmont, right?

This would be hysterical if it weren't so darn true.

Stolen from Facebook.

Happy Preakness Day!  Thirty-six years ago, on June 10th, Pepper and I watched Affirmed win the last Triple Crown in our hotel room on our 2-day honeymoon. It'd be nice to have another Triple to celebrate on our anniversary on Monday! Geaux, Chrome!

On an athletic note of the human variety, Pepper and Grandkid #1 rode in a bicycle race this morning benefiting CARTI (Central Arkansas Radiation Therapy Institute). They opted for the "half-century" length -- fifty miles.  This was #1's first time to do that distance and Pepper said he did pretty well, with just a little whining.  I'm proud of them -- and glad the torrential rains held off until the afternoon! Numbers 2 and 3, plus The Son, joined them at the finish.

Annnnnnd, Mysti is back in heat. It's nutzo time again at Moogie's Manor.  *sigh*  The pups have also appropriated Moogie's new fountain as their outdoor water source. *heavy sigh*  What are ya gonna do?

See you after Post time!

Friday, June 6, 2014

D-Day, H-Hour, Plus Seventy Years

This iconic photograph is enlarged so that it fills the entire entryway of the National WWII Museum's "Beaches" gallery. The men aboard the Higgins boat appear life-size as they wade ashore in Normandy.  It is so very moving.

Back in the 1940s, my father-in-law lied about his age so he could join the Army Air Corps and help save the world. He was sixteen years of age. A red-headed spitfire. He wound up in the mountains of the China-Burma-India theater with a bunch of gurkhas who were fond of posting severed heads atop poles in the ground. He was responsible for placing transponders that guided Allied planes as they flew over "The Hump."  As incoming fire hit his locations, he and the Gurkhas learned that holes aren't just for transponders, and the deeper the better.  He learned how to sneak into nearby British officers' tents, "borrow" their gin, take a swig or two before soaking his jungle-rot-plagued feet in it, pour it back into the bottle, and return it to its rightful owners. He wasn't particularly fond of the British. Or the Finns, for that matter. He suffered from occasional bouts of malaria that he originally contracted in Burma the remainder of his life. Needless to say, the man he became was a direct product of his WWII experiences -- he was one of the most brilliant men I've ever encountered, usually jovial and loving, but sometimes quite callous, and often ruled by the principles of self-preservation.  Little surprise there.  He did, however, help save the world.  Thank God and Grandpa.

My mother told me stories about the Home Front in small-town mid-America.  Her family saved the rendered fat from the little bit of meat they could buy to donate to the munitions industry. There were ration books, limiting the amounts of food, gasoline, and clothing that civilians could purchase so that our fighting men could have first dibs on limited resources. She peeled the tin foil from the wax paper that wrapped chewing gum and took it to the metal drive at the library. School children wrapped rolls of bandages from worn-out cloth to be shipped overseas.  Everyone from children to grandparents had skin in the game; everyone sacrificed in one manner or another. Sadly, that is not the case today. The White House even seems to float above the fray.

My father was barely 15 when the Allies landed in Normandy seventy years ago today.  A few weeks ago I asked him to email me his memories of D-Day.  I'd never heard him talk about it much.  Now I understand why -- I guess we take today's 24-hour newscycle for granted.  Here's what he sent me:

Don’t remember much, the news was pretty  well shut down in those days.. Only had radio, the papers put out what they called ‘EXTRAS, READ ALL ABOUT IT’ and Newsreels at the movie theaters.. I recall hearing on the radio ‘ the invasion of fortress Europe has begun’ on the coast of France, but it was much later when we got any details.. The gov’t had a slogan ‘loose lips sink ships’ and they clamped down on most info…Any bad news was pretty well omitted..

Loose lips sink ships.

A few weeks ago, the Obama administration outed a CIA operative in Afghanistan, placing his very life in jeopardy, then, in essence, said, "Oops."  Shortly thereafter, our Commander in Chief unleashed on the world  five of the worst terrorists known as our Veterans suffer and die without care from the VA.

We need you again today, Boys of Pointe Du Hoc.  On the beaches of the Potomac.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Query: Does Military Service "Qualify" One For Elective Office?

And, the answer is a resounding, "Of course."

This mid-term election cycle is getting rather heated. Several candidates here in Arkansas are putting much advertising emphasis on their military credentials. One criticism that always seems to rise to the forefront on social media is, "How does he/she think that military service qualifies someone to be in _____________?" (Congress, the Senate, the Governor's Mansion, City Hall, Justice of the Peace, whatever, fill-in-the-blank). I'm here today to address that question.

These days, many people are unfortunate enough never to have had a close connection to the military. That is indeed a shame -- for them.

War is never a happy thing but Mankind has not evolved nearly far enough to turn its collective cheek to antagonism and aggression, so there will be war in this world. There will be skirmishes. There will be evil people who seek to do harm to, or to subjugate, their neighbors. Mankind is not ready to demilitarize. And as long as there is war, there must be Warriors.

There will be natural disasters.

The Military trains its service members -- its Warriors in whichever uniform -- (and their families) in much more than a specific skill set. It teaches Discipline. Honor. Leadership. Respect. Sacrifice for the greater good. Love of Country. Problem identification. Problem solving. Moderation. Devotion. Teamwork. Tongue-biting, when necessary. How to Strategize, as opposed to how to Plan. But, Planning is taught, too. Healthy habits. How to encourage and cheer the accomplishments of Brothers and Sisters.  How to set an example, and to train those who will be tomorrow's leaders and trainers. How to keep going when keeping going is out of the question.

How to live with pain and loss.

(The Military also instructs how to use massive numbers of acronyms ad nauseum, but that's not necessarily always a positive. It probably helps on Capitol Hill, however.)

So, you tell me. How does serving in the military not qualify one to engage in elective public service?

So, be forewarned, Mr. and Ms. Naysayer -- henceforth, picking on one's pride in having honorably served these United States will not even be acknowledged as viable criticism of someone's candidacy. And, hopefully, those of you who have no connection to the Military now understand a small portion of the traits we more fortunate sons and daughters immediately recognize and associate with someone who has worn the uniform.

You may now open your eyes.