The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Day to Remember

I had a different post in mind for today but, yesterday, I remembered what today is. You would think I would have known without thinking, wouldn't you? After all, I am a veteran. I served... in that war few
, if any, talk about in any positive way: the Vietnam conflict. It was never an official war, though it killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen. Those who served got little positive recognition for that service. If your understanding of that conflict was drawn from movies, TV shows, and rumors, you might think all it accomplished was the debasing of America's reputation and producing boatloads of psychopaths with PTSD.

But I hadn't thought about my service in terms of being in a war. Few who served in those years actually saw combat. About 37% of all who served during the Vietnam era actually spent any time in an official combat zone according to this site and many of those who did never fired a shot or saw action up close. I was part of that 37%. I have had friends in both that 37% and the 63% who never got near combat.

I never fired a shot in combat because that wasn't my job. I was a crew member of a Navy destroyer and my primary duty was to hunt for submarines. I never found any. I strongly suspect the Viet Cong and the NVA (North Vietnam Army) never had any. I did spend part of my time as a "deck ape" (the affectionate term for a member of the non-rated seamen who made up what is called the "deck force") and stood watches in the forward gun mount but never a shot was fired during those watches.

The biggest danger I faced was from mishaps. When one of the big guns had a "hangfire" or a "preemie" and I happened to be nearby are examples. I should tell those stories, I suppose., but not today.

Today, I want to thank those who served in combat; those who faced the enemy on the ground, in the air, and on the water. I want to thank those who faced hostile fire, those who got wounded or killed and those who didn't... these are the ones who may, or may not, have gone there voluntarily but who faced real real danger from combat.

And I also want to thank the others; the ones who provided support to those in combat, who did all the jobs that need to be done to make sure equipment and material needed is there and in good condition, who transport the food and weapons and ammunition and all the supplies fighting forces need in order to do their jobs. The ones who stay stateside and process the requests; who load ships and planes with food, ammo, and parts for equipment.

When I was young, this wasn't called Veteran's Day. It was still called "Armistice Day." It wasn't until I was almost 8 years old that the name got changed. Armistice Day referred to the day the Armistice was signed by all the combatants of World War I took effect. On "the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour" in 1918. I don't believe there is anyone alive today who served in that war. And few that remember its end are alive.

If you see a sailor, a Marine, a soldier, or an airman... thank him or her.

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