Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Thank A Veteran

by Richard

Today, in America, we celebrate Veteran’s Day. This is the day we set aside to honor those of our fellow countrymen and women who have served time as part of our armed forces.

What with the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, as well as in various hotspots around the globe, we’ve owe more than ever to those past and present members of the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard and National Guard.

While we’re celebrating all of those who served today, I’d like to set aside a couple of minutes to talk about those who gave even more. Thanks to advances in battlefield medical technology, we’re seeing more soldiers returning alive but seriously wounded from service abroad.

Which gives us the opportunity to help them. Just quickly google assistance and veteran and you’ll find plenty of organizations dedicated to helping our troops. I’d like to highlight a couple here to which you might want to donate.

Fisher House is an organization dedicated to providing “comfort homes,” built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful times – during the hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease, or injury.

The Wounded Warrior Project provides a number of services to the returning wounded and their families, including benefits counseling, caregiver retreats, family support and peer mentoring.

The USO is a nonprofit, congressionally chartered private organization that provides innumerable services to our troops, either on active duty or on leave. In addition to the well-known entertainments the organization puts on overseas, the USO does things as simple and powerful as welcoming home troops who arrive in airports all over the country, something my father-in-law (himself a veteran of the Marines) does almost every week.

Take some time and provide some support, dudes. If you can’t get out and do the work yourself, you can easily donate some money to help out these and other worthy organizations.

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Shooting The Dove

by Richard

Today marks the ninth anniversary of the day when terrorists used airplanes as weapons, destroying the World Trade Center, damaging the Pentagon, killing passengers, firefighters, cops and just normal folks. Around 3,000 people lost their lives in the attack and its aftermath.

For a brief, shining moment, we stood tall as Americans and tried to live up to our vision of ourselves as a country, as exceptional people and an exceptional nation.

Then, of course, it all went to hell. Torture. Unnecessary war. Spying on our own people. Basically a repudiation of everything we’re supposed to believe in.

Now, to mark this anniversary, the leaders of a church in my beloved town of Gainesville, FL, (and, no, I’m not going to name them nor provide them any linkage) are going to spit on our traditions, our heritage and our highest aspirations. Today, they’re going to show not the best of America, but the worst. They’re going to burn copies of the Koran, the holy book of the Islamic faith.

(update: As I write this Friday night, I’ve learned that they might not be doing the burning on Saturday. That’s good news. Still, the stupid stands. I think what follows does have relevance, no matter what happens.)

Thereby confirming my belief that there’s not a scintilla of difference in their ideologies between what they’re doing and what the terrorists who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001 believed.

We are better than this, dudes. We need to win this conflict of ideologies not by stooping to the level of our attackers, but by being better than they are. By showing the world, by showing their followers that we are better, our ideals are better, our ways of doing things are better.

Burning the Koran? That’s just stupid, reactionary garbage.

The pastor who’s leading the book burning (and, make no mistake, that’s just what this is) said he’s going to keep on doing this, despite pleas from the leadership of the American armed forces that this will only make the lives of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq worse. No, the pastor says, he’s going to do it because our constitution says he can.

(update: or maybe not. He’s been waffling on the subject. It was on. It was off. It was suspended. Whatever. He’s still a jerk.)

And, yes, our constitution says he can. That’s true. I wouldn’t ever try to forcibly stop him from exercising his constitutional rights. However, there’s a big difference between can and should.

I’m not saying this guy is flat-out a bigoted, ignorant America-hater just because I’m afraid of what the backlash will be for his stupid stunt. No, I’m saying it because it will accomplish nothing. Absolutely nothing. Except to make him and is idiot followers feel better about themselves since, of course, they have no concept of a healthy self-image that can deal people believing something different than what they believe in. Even my 17-year-old gets it. We were talking about this and Sarcasmo said, “This guy is just basically saying neener, neener, neener.”

Burning the Koran will not make one potential terrorist rethink his or her position. It does absolutely nothing. Except disgrace our American ideals.

Nice way to commemorate our honored dead there, fella. That pastory guy? He’s no dude. He’s a jerk. And I’m done with him.

Sorry for the rant there, dudes. Sometimes things just need to be said.

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Remembering

by Richard

Today is Memorial Day here in the United States. It’s a day we set aside to honor those members of the military who died during their service.

And also barbecue. But mostly the remembrance.

The holiday was first enacted to honor the Union war dead following the American Civil War, but was expanded to include all members of the military following World War I.

Especially with what’s going on in Afghanistan and Iraq these days, why not take a little time away from the grill today and head out to your local Memorial Day parade or gathering? It’s a good idea to show how much we appreciate all those who gave their lives to make sure we could still make an ass of ourselves in public.

Not one of the most well-known freedoms, but one which I’ve been known to indulge in quite often so I appreciate it.

In all seriousness, a big thank  you to every single member of the armed forces who’s out there right now, putting themselves in harms way. You dudes and dudettes are much appreciated.

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