"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A Tribute To Our Veterans

Today we pay tribute to our country’s military veterans for whom we owe so much. It is with great pride and thanks that we remember the members of our own families who served and sacrificed for this country’s freedom and the life we enjoy today.

To my Great-Great Grand Father who fought to preserve the Union and gave his life at the Battle of Gettysburg – we are forever in your debt.

To my Grand Father, the World War I soldier, who fought in the Second Battle of Marne and the Battle of Meuse-Argonne that brought victory to the Allies – your sacrifices and love for our country will never be forgotten.

To our Fathers, a pilot, two soldiers and a sailor, who bravely fought the land, sea and air battles of World War II – words can never truly express our gratitude for protecting our country, preserving our freedom and making possible all that we have today.

To our Brothers who served in the Army and the Marines, you answered your country’s call to duty with honor in Vietnam. You quietly put away your Purple Hearts and Silver Star, but your valor and devotion to our country will always be remembered with our deepest thanks and greatest admiration.

To our Sons, serving in the Army, Navy and the Marines - you fought them over there to protect us here and freed 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are so proud of your accomplishments and your commitment to our country. We are so very humbled by your selflessness - you are our heroes.

To our Uncles, Cousins and In-Laws who have served in the U.S. Military here at home and around the world, during peace and conflict - World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq - thank you your patriotism and all that you have done for peace.

To every man and woman who wears and has worn the uniform of the U.S. Military – thank you for our freedom, for defending us and for making the world a better place.


At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very nice posting.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger Trochilus said...

Several years ago, by chance really, I stood outside a store and watched a little Veteran's Day Parade go by in a small town here in New Jersey. It was mostly fire engines and rescue squad vehicles.

A young woman with two small children was standing there as well. Just as a little pleasantry, I think I asked one or both of the kids if they liked the parade. My Dad would have called that "asking a yes question," as the kids’ enthusiasm over the fire engines was pretty obvious.

Their mother turned and smiled, and she asked me a question I didn’t quite expect.

"Were you in the military?"

"Yes," I said. "I was drafted and I served in the Army."

She pressed a little. "Were you ever overseas?"

"Yes, I spent a little over a year in Southeast Asia," I think I recall saying.

"In Viet-Nam?" she asked.


And then she did something that I have simply never, ever forgotten in the 10 or more years. She very sincerely said, "Well thank you for your service to our country."

Wow! That unleashed a flood of emotion in me that she could not possibly have imagined, because I instantly knew that no one, not one single person had ever said that to me in the more than two decades since I had left the service. Even back in the mid-1990’s, people just didn’t say things like that, at least not the people I knew. A generation of people my age, with mixed reactions to that unpopular war, had left an unresolved strain in how we all interacted during and afterward. Thanking people for their service? That was out of the question.

And the emotion I felt certainly wasn’t about me, it was that I recognized right then that it was probably true for the vast majority of people who had served in that unpopular war, many of them with tasks far more dangerous and demanding than mine. For heaven’s sake, I didn’t have a tough or really dangerous job in Viet-Nam. Most people in support positions didn’t, at least not most of the time.

So, I could only imagine what that comment would have meant to a grunt, or any of the other guys whose combat-related roles regularly put them in harm’s way, fellows like then-Sergeant and now Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, who spent a year or so as a combat engineer, building and repairing bridges throughout the countryside. Those were tough jobs!

But as to that that little parade years ago, all I know is that I will never forget that moment. I was embarrassed because tears immediately flooded my eyes, and so I smiled and thanked her and excused myself. Needless to say, that token of kindness and appreciation will always remain with me.

Just so you know, your post has not gone unappreciated either. I thank you, and Waldo and the Sorn would thank you, as would Mike, I am sure, and "Doc." And Bob, and Chuck, would too, just to name a few. And so would Dennis, or "D," as he was known. Like some of the others above, D was a medic then, and he was the bravest man I ever met. Many people owe their lives to D’s uncommon valor. I am honored just to have known them all.

And count me also as deeply grateful for the intelligence, dedication and mission of this generation of troops, all of whom volunteered to try and root out brutal thugs and regimes whose ever fractious and disjointed movement is nevertheless united in the goal of seeking unthinkable means to subject their own people and the rest of civilization to widespread ruin.

Let us remember who the enemy is.

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous Patrick Thompson said...

This is nice. Thank you.

And I thank my country for their leadership last Tuesday in recognizing not only was the current administration tragically mis-managing the war, at a horrific price in human and monetary terms, but insultingly disrespecting our military, our soldiers, and all of our safety.

My grandfather fought bravely in WWII. My father, yes the one who help shape in to the proud Democrat I am today, enlisted and served admirably, if not always proudly, in Viet Nam. My president? My Vice President?

We learned much in Viet Nam. From the importance of having the utmost respect and appreciation for those fighting for our country, to the new guiding, enlightened principles like the Powell Doctrine.

Our president and vice president, and by extension their party, sadly undermined these hard fought learnings during the last 4 years.

We were gratified to see them held somewhat accountable last week for what they have done to the great institution of the US military, and I suspect this view is shared by many of our brave soldiers and respected veterans.

Thank you.

Patrick Thompson

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Dino P. Crocetti said...

Boy, people like you never miss an opportunity to inject your socialist rhetoric into places where it doesn't belong do you, Patrick?

Yes Patrick, perhaps during your father's and your grandfather's era, being a Democrat actually stood for something. They bravely served their country and I am just as grateful to them as I am to my Grandfather and my Late Great Uncle who both faught in Korea. They were Democrats when Democrats actually loved their country unlike the Democrats of today who have done nothing but tell the American people that our troops have been fighting "George Bush's War of Convenience" for the last two years." You should be ashamed and embarassed that Terrorists around the globe are celebrating your victory.

Our troops are not politicians and whether you like the fact that we're in Iraq or not, giving up would be a disaster and they recognize that fact better than any of us.

It's because of people who think like you that Ronald Reagan left your party.

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Patrick Thompson said...

I am a Democrat and I lOVE my country.

This tired old rhetoric about Democrats hating our country and our military and Republican loving it is shameful. Positively insulting.

Please stop insulting our military. Please stop disrespecting OUR country.

And how many military veterans are now members of the US congress and Democrats?

Thank you.

Patrick Thompson

PS. I am not only not a socialist, I am a rabid capitalist and perhpas even corporatist. A very successful one I might add. And accordingly, pay a TON of taxes, about which I am also quite proud.

The ground has shifted beneath this crowd's feet so dramatically I actually feel a little sorry for you. These obsolete, ancient stereo-types about liberals and concervatives, Republicans and Democrats, loving our country and hating our country are all you have left to cling to. Sad.

At 9:11 PM, Blogger Enlighten said...

Hi Patrick,

Not sure who you were addressing your comments to on this post or if you were just generally expressing your thoughts to New Jersey residents you typically disagree with when it comes to politics.

You wrote:"Please stop insulting our military. Please stop disrespecting OUR country.” Who did you have in mind with that comment? Given the nonpartisan nature of our post we hope you weren’t directing your comment at us.

We are happy to hear you are successful and are paying TONS of taxes. We hope you aren’t in TONS of debt as are many so- called “rich” folks in New Jersey. We are tax poor and live accordingly.

You wrote:“I am not only not a socialist, I am a rabid capitalist and perhaps even corporatist.” You may be a bit confused with the definitions of socialist, capitalist and corporatist. A corporatist is someone who believes in “organizing the whole of society into corporate entities subordinate to the state. According to the theory, employers and employees would be organized into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and largely controlling the people and activities within their jurisdiction.” Corporatism is really just a form of socialism – the fascist Mussolini tied it in Italy for example. We doubt you're a corporatist.

Not sure what you mean by “the ground has shifted beneath this crowd's feet so dramatically I actually feel a little sorry for you”? Nothings changed for the Enlighten group of bloggers. We still have the same President, Senators, representatives in the House, Governor, representatives in the state legislature; the same political party controls our Boards of Chosen Freeholders and town councils. Not one bit of change.

If you are referring to control of the House and Senate by Democrats, no dramatic shift there. They are Americans, remember? As long as our representatives are chosen in free and fair elections, we’re happy. We may not always agree with the choices others make, but we are thankful we live in a democratic republic.

If you are referring to a possible change in economic policy due to the Socialist, Bernie Sanders, being elected to the Senate and caucusing with Democrats, we certainly would have preferred otherwise. But that’s not really much of a change, most of the left-wing senate Democrats are socialists. We’ll wait and see what Democrats propose as it relates to the economy, spending and taxes. Heck, even Democrats in the House are making noises about changing the AMT.

If you’re talking foreign affairs, we were encouraged to see Joe Lieberman defeat Ned Lamont. Lieberman, a strong backer of the Global War on Terror and our mission in Iraq is also key to the Democrats’ control of the Senate We suppose if Democrats came up with something Lieberman felt was seriously against our country’s interests he could flip and give control back to Republicans. Again, we’ll wait and see what Democrats propose.

We really have little interest in so-called social issues, but it is interesting Junior was elected to the Senate in Pennsylvania – one prolifer for another, go figure.

We sleep well at night because it still takes a majority to pass any law. A slim majority may be Democrats, but thankfully a majority of congressional Democrats aren’t leftists.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Patrick Thompson said...

Enlighten - firstly, yes, I did misuse the term corporatist - thank you for the clarification.

Secondly, my remarks were primarily a reply to the posting by Dino calling me a socialist, and as a Democrat, a hater of my country. Dino - I'm not sure whether "terrorists around the globe" are celebrating the Democratic victory, but it does appear as if much of the civilized world is pleased with the result and displeased with the current administration's leadership, but again, this is about our country, so we can leave that for another day.

Thirdly, although I admit proudly that I pay "tons of taxes", to clarify, I am in no way implying that I am rich by any set of standards, but do consider myself quite fortunate for the opportunities I have to support my family and build a future, and acknowledge NJ affords these opportunities disproportionately in comparison to many other parts of the US. Yes we pay more taxes, but it's difficult to argue the opportunity to earn a living and potentially build wealth, is exceptional here in the NJ. And your are also right to assume I have debt along with my good fortune, but this has far more to do with personal decisions and personal discipline, than it does with how much I pay in taxes. I am fairly certain that I would still spend more than I make in these years of my life (small children, etc) if I paid less in taxes. I take personal accountability for that. I choose not to blame the boogeyman of taxation.

Finally, relative to the ground "shifting beneath your (collective) feet" comment, it seems perhaps you and I agree based on your ensuing paragraphs? Democratic does not mean socialist, nor anti military, nor anti-war, nor anti-life, nor anti-corporation, nor even leftist.

And most importantly, it does not mean anti-fiscal-responsibility. Which is perhaps why I am even here. I subbornly seem to believe that being "Fiscally Conservative", as I know you and those here proudly are, must really mean being "Fiscally Responsible" not simply "Anti-Taxation".

We are not, as a nation, demonstrating fiscal responsibility. This transcends how much tax we are paying. Although I'm sure you agree with the current administration's tax policies, I can not believe you feel they are managing our money and many of our other interests very effectively?

And yes, on this issue, there is ample blame to go around. On both sides of the aisle.

Patrick Thompson

At 6:48 PM, Blogger Trochilus said...


Congratulations on managing to provocatively inject partisanship into a thread on a sincere post that was merely intended, on Veteran's Day, to honor those who have served their country in time of war.

And, further cudos for having managed to then turn the discussion into a rambling series of hedges, corrections and explanations of your most fascinating political views.

May I humbly recommend an apt title for your inevitable autobiography?

"Meanwhile, Getting Back to Me . . ."

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