Posts Tagged ‘Veteran’

Pearl Harbor Day…

December 7, 2009 2 comments

Battleship Row, Pearl Harbor Hawaii, December 7th, 1941

As a Navy Veteran and somewhat of a World War II buff, I take a few minutes every December 7th to remember what happened in 1941 and to reflect on what those servicemen who died that day, and those who served during the rest of WWII, gave to us.  They have been called ‘the Greatest Generation’, and I would agree.  Tens of millions of people served, both at home and abroad, in the military, the USO, arms plants, and countless other activities, and were glad to do so.  As I have read and seen in interviews, it was expected of this generation that you would serve, and unless you were unable to there was dishonor and disrespect in not doing so.  There doesn’t seem to be that feeling of want or obligation to serve our country today, whether it be in the military or in some other capacity, for all of the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy.

Today, I think a lot of Americans look at the military as a necessary evil, the campaigns we are involved in as useless, and the men and women who serve as just everyday people with an unsavory ‘job’.  But what I see is a proud and necessary force that protects and defends our freedom and interests around the world, and people who take years out of their lives to make our lives easier and safer.  I’m not saying I agree with every conflict we get involved with.  What I am saying is that the people in the military generally have no say in the matter and do what their country asks of them, no matter how difficult it is or where in the world it takes them, even if it means their lives are in danger.

I think that Americans want peace and view the world through rose colored glasses.  Having been around the world, I know that not everyone has the high opinion of the United States that we who live here do.  There are lots of people, and countries, that would love to see the U.S. in shambles.

Before World War I, Americans had no desire to get involved in ‘Europe’s’ problems, they didn’t directly involve us.  Let them figure it out themselves, we said.  But eventually our sense of goodness and obligation to the world took hold and we provided the manpower and equipment to tip the scales to victory and bring peace.  As Europe suffered through the first two years of WWII and Asia was being overrun, we again said that it didn’t involve us, let them figure it out, we don’t belong.  But after being attacked we again provided the manpower and equipment to tip the scales and after 4 years, the world was at peace again.  Prior to September 11th, we had the same military isolationist attitude, and I’m afraid we have it again now.  And before all of these events, we had allowed our military to become smaller and weaker due to our desire to not be involved and our optimistic view of the world.

As good and just nation, and the most powerful both militarily and economically, I believe we have an obligation to the world to help defend and protect the freedom of those who are unable to do it for themselves.  I would like to think that this will be our place in history, not as a conquesting nation like the Roman Empire, British Empire, and Germany did at the height of their power, but as a nation that used it’s power for the betterment of the world.

So on this day, please thank the veterans who have served to defend our amazing way of life, reflect on what your what your freedom means to you and the opportunity it brings, and what the military of the United States means to the freedom and security of the world.

Thanks for reading…

Categories: Life Tags: ,

Veteran’s Day, Auto style…

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Yesterday, November 16th, marked the observance of Veteran’s Day for the UAW.  We all know that Veteran’s Day was actually last Wednesday, the 11th, but inconveniently it did not coincide with the weekend before the opening of Michigan rifle deer hunting season, November 15th, so it had to moved on the organization’s calendar.

Hunting is grand tradition here in Michigan, with our plentiful wildlife, forests, lakes, and streams.  In fact, one of the most famous and nutty hunters in the world (and a fine artist), Ted Nugent is from and lives in Michigan.  I want to state here that I have nothing against hunting, and have done it myself.  It is a great way to become one with nature and enjoy the breathtaking scenery we have here in Michigan.  But as a U.S. Navy Veteran, I take issue with the holiday, meant to be a day of remembrance of those that have served and those that have died in the defense of our country, being reduced to a free vacation day during hunting season.

I can imagine a time in the UAW’s youth, when they rightfully fought for the day off to honor those auto employees who had bravely fought in some of the greatest conflicts our nation has ever known, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam.  Some of the Veterans volunteered their service, some where asked by our government, but all served to make our country and this world a better and safer place.

But as years went on and our memory of these conflicts faded, as it always seems to do in the U.S., I can see the Michigan based UAW members (who have always made up the majority of membership) noticing this day off so close to, but not quite in, hunting season.  I can see them beginning to wonder if maybe, just possibly, could it be ‘observed’ a little closer to the 15th, so that they could take advantage of the day to get a little extra hunting in?  I assume the UAW leaders, being elected officials, thought it wiser to take the ‘suggestion’ to the bargaining table than to push back on their membership. And I can see the Big 3 thinking it was easier to move a day off already on the calendar than to say no and risk a strike.

So now we have another UAW ‘holiday’, perceived by the general taxpaying public as useless, and the loss of a real day of remembrance for Veterans.  It’s this type of abuse that made 99% of taxpayers (100% of non-UAW members) opposed to giving loans to the auto industry.  If the U.S. based auto companies hope to change public opinion of their products, the public opinion of the UAW needs to change as well.  I’m not blaming the UAW for all negative opinion, there were some horribly designed vehicles with abysmal quality produced for many years.  But we’re all in this together, everyone has to change.  For me, a great way to start changing this perception is to do away with obvious gimme’s, like free days off during hunting season…

Categories: Rants... Tags: , , , ,