Tuesday, November 11, 2014

11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month

Quite. 

Perhaps not so much a 4th of July feel this year, if you don't mind.

Try not to get Memorial Day and Veterans Day too confused, but if you do, I will try not to be a snot and will let it pass. It is the thought that counts.

Well, that is my request. A few other things to consider that will make this day better. For some reason, since I left active duty and have been invited to attend and participate in a few events, many of them have been a bit off centerline. 

Three things I just want to put out there in a $.02 way:

1. Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen is not a patriotic song. It does no honor to play it for any event where those who served are present, especially from Vietnam. Ignore the tune, just read the lyrics.
2. Let us be humble if we want to be. Most of us had very humble times in the service, from our perspective. We know what some of those we served with did, and if we prefer, let us talk a bit about it among ourselves. Thank you for your kind words and recognition, but don't try to make what I did much more than it was.
3. Don't look at us with such a drab and concern-trollish face, and if you bring up the topic of PTSD or any of the crap outlined by B.G. Burkett's book, Stolen Valor, I will just walk away from you. We've got this, you don't need to. Just keep your Wounded Warrior Project pity party commercial victim pimping attitude to yourself as well. Please do that on your own time.

Remember as well that those of us who served who wear the uniform or the mini-medals on the coat on events this day do so because we are proud of those we served with, and in a way are reminding people that there are veterans all around you, even if you don't know it. Nothing more, nothing less. Some will pass on the chance to wear the uniform or the mini-medals at events, and that is OK too.

When today is over, and if you are in a position to employ people in your business, give the veteran a second look. Just one example; I spoke with three tradesmen recently, a plumber, and electrician and a HVAC guy. They all own their own companies. They were complaining about how hard it was for them to find employees to expand their businesses this year. I asked them if they considered reaching out to the local military bases, as there are a lot of people leaving the service that have the baseline skills to do that, not to mention the work ethic.

They both just stared at me and blinked. I then talked about ET/AT, HT, EN, etc. They had no idea.

Nothing bad on their part - they just had no idea.

Those are a few things that I wanted to get off my chest as I go in to my 5th post-retirement November 11th. YMMD.

What we do here really doesn't get the right meaning of the day. The Commonwealth nations do. The Mother Country especially. Of all the events and remembrances, I do believe they have it at just the right tone. 

Again this month, I go back to the installation of the poppies at The Tower of London this year.



It is sublime, yet exact. As it should be.

I don't bring poetry in to this blog as much as I would like to, but from the Tower of London's site, the poem from which the title of the art this Remembrance/Veterans Day comes from.

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

The blood swept lands and seas of red,
Where angels dare to tread.
As God cried a tear of pain as the angels fell,
Again and again.
As the tears of mine fell to the ground
To sleep with the flowers of red
As any be dead
My children see and work through fields of my
Own with corn and wheat,
Blessed by love so far from pain of my resting
Fields so far from my love.
It be time to put my hand up and end this pain
Of living hell. to see the people around me
Fall someone angel as the mist falls around
And the rain so thick with black thunder I hear
Over the clouds, to sleep forever and kiss
The flower of my people gone before time
To sleep and cry no more
I put my hand up and see the land of red,
This is my time to go over,
I may not come back
So sleep, kiss the boys for me
And, of course.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
- John Stuart Mill

1 comment:

Casey Deech said...

A day (or three) late and a few $$'s ... Just to note your 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month poem: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red reminded me that when Paul Philippoteaux painted the Battle of Gettysburg cyclorama in 1884 he was influenced by his life in France and Belgium
(Revolution of 1830) he painted poppies into much of the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama's foreground.