Tag: Honor

Celebrating Veterans on Their Day

 

I teach fourth grade…for 24 years now, in a couple of different states. I like them. And every year I’ve taught a lesson about Veterans Day. We learn all about the history of this day, how the name was changed from Armistice Day, and how the date was moved around a bit but now is, again, November 11th. Then, each student creates a timeline on a graph I start for them to show the list of wars that America has been involved in since that “War to End All Wars” finished up in 1918.

The culminating activity for this day is making cards for veterans. I have a selection of symbols of each of the military branches, stickers with patriotic symbols, and stickers of hearts and stars. But on the inside, they are to write a little note to thank a veteran for serving our country.

Honoring Vietnam Veterans

 

I attended a ceremony today to honor our neighborhood’s Vietnam Veterans at our war memorial.  It began with the singing of our National Anthem.  The speaker then described his incredulous experience and how he was drafted. He had just graduated high school and was a brand new immigrant here in the United States! He said he didn’t think as an immigrant that he could be drafted, but he was. He was very young and ill-prepared for life, let alone war, and it seemed surreal until his low number meant he was being called up, and it became a reality.

The next thing he knew, he was heading to Vietnam. He looked around and remembered thinking how many would make it back. Six of his team were killed upon arrival. He didn’t know anything about war, or chemical weapons and was scared to death. However, he was one of the lucky ones who made it through and came home. He said they were told at the end of the war on the flight home that the president said they were all being treated to a free steak dinner. Not one soldier took the offer.

[Member Post]

 

In recent months, I’ve taken a keen interest in the comments section of The American Conservative, an idiosyncratic publication which, despite its name, seems to be read mostly by Michael Moore aficionados. Scroll down on any TAC article, and you’ll find an army of self-described left-wing commenters, all of whom claim to dislike wokeness . . . and […]

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Group Writing: Do You Believe in ‘If’ Anymore?

 

One of the reasons I like the occasional music posts on Ricochet is that I’ve spent most of my life quite disconnected from whatever was going on in the contemporary entertainment world, and the posts give me a window into what I might have missed (and whether or not I’m glad I did). Although we moved to the United States only a couple of months before The Beatles took the “Ed Sullivan Show” by storm, I never owned a Beatles album. And while The Rolling Stones were hot during my years at British boarding school, we weren’t allowed to listen to them; Mick Jagger’s hips and lips being (in the opinion of the good ladies running The Abbey School) a bridge too far, even for the radio.

Prior to that, my experience ran to the blue wind-up gramophone in Nigeria and the 78, 45, and 33RPM records we’d either brought with us from England or borrowed from the Officers’ Club, and programs such as Desert Island Discs on the BBC World Service. After that, with a few notable exceptions when I would, in a transgressive mood, listen to Jeff Christie on KQV, the most youth-oriented local AM station (he later resumed his birth name and achieved some measure of fame as Rush Limbaugh), I left the music scene to others, and largely ignored it myself.

Thus, in the ’60s and ’70s, what did manage to seep into my musical gestalt was mostly the stuff my mother listened to or played on the gramophone–a world largely comprised of male crooners and peppy young women singing cheerful and upbeat songs. Almost all of them were British, and you’ve probably heard of them rarely, if at all. Men like Val Doonican. Matt Munro (best known for the title song of the movie Born Free), Des O’Connor, Frankie Vaughan. Women like Alma Cogan, Cilla Black Clodagh Rodgers, and Sandie Shaw. (Sometimes, when Mum was in a jazz sort of mood, Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine.)

Doodads and Army Duds [Updated with a fun puzzle!]

 

I had long thought the doodads festooning veteran organizational caps to be a bit silly and something of the past. This Veterans Day, I took another look and came to a different conclusion. Looking at veterans’ uniforms in a parade and watching the pudgy weasel almost popping out of his blue Army Service Uniform in Congress, I discovered two things.

The first realization was of a linkage between military and veteran customs. Look at any military member’s uniform and you will see a shorthand career biography. If you take the time to look up the various ribbons, badges, insignia, patches, crests and whatnot, you get a glimpse into where they served and some tokens of what they did.*

It should be no surprise that veterans would carry over the military habit of visible tokens on their uniform. On closer examination, those “funny” caps have been serving the same function as a uniform jacket. Since the cap is the whole of a veterans organization uniform, that is where various tokens of a veteran’s service are displayed. 

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

 

A breeze softly blows across the plaza, as if the souls of those who perished are passing by. The white marble sarcophagus displays the Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor, reminding us that warfare ultimately strives to achieve all of them.

Several years ago we had the opportunity to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the changing of the guard. The uniformed relief commander appeared and announced that those present remain silent and standing; in some ways, the stated request seemed redundant, as people seemed to be called to do both out of a solemn respect. When we were there, I was struck by the silence and stillness, as the sentinels slowly and gracefully moved through this timeless ritual. We seemed to walk with them, as their actions demonstrated their deep respect for the fallen and for their families.

I also realized today that there are those who might describe the ritual as robotic; however, that description couldn’t be further from the truth. I would call it a profound demonstration of a walking meditation, as each sentinel, impeccably dressed, proceeded through this ritual. Each second, each step, each movement resonated with the deep respect and honor these soldiers were demonstrating to those who were lost in battle. Although you may find the video moving, there is nothing like being in the presence of this sacred ritual.

Blue Lives Lost

 

This year, 137 American police officers lost their lives. A member of the emergency communications center in the Boone County Sheriff’s Office in Indiana suggested to the sheriff a special project to honor all of them. As a result, they set up a Christmas tree with 137 blue ornaments, each with the name, rank and end of watch date of one of the officers who died. Included in that group was Deputy Jacob Pickett from Boone County.

Officers from Boone County spent a weekend writing the names of those officers on the bulbs. Joni Scott, Chaplain of the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, commented:

That’s a life. That’s a life that matters. That’s a chair that’s empty. That’s a car that’s not being driven. That is an incredible hero that’s no longer walking our streets, so it meant something.

[Member Post]

 

Memorial Day, for some, is nothing more than an excuse to have a picnic and get drunk. It is the unofficial beginning of summer and it is a three day weekend (woo hoo!). Somewhere in the last few decades it became passé to honor the fallen heroes of war. Sure, people will go to parades, […]

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Where Honor and Christian Values Intersect

 

I’ve been surprised a lot of things over the past couple of years. Surprised at the outcome of the 2016 election. Pleasantly surprised at how conservative the Trump administration has been in a variety of ways. However, I think what has surprised me the most has been the reaction to these developments.

The left’s reaction is understandable, even if it is out of all proportion to reality. After all, they were beaten unexpectedly, which humiliated them. Within their reaction is also an element of existential panic — rarely does a single party control so many of the levers of power in the government. Think “2009 in reverse.”

[Member Post]

 

Since Mom went Home to be with Jesus, there have been a few well-intentioned people tell me that I need to start dating; put myself out there and find someone. Every time I field the comment, my eyes roll so far back in my head I can see the inside of my empty skull. “Not […]

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Vietnam Veterans

 

(I wrote this story at least 30 years ago. It tells about an incident our family witnessed, and today, according to the Inter-Webs, it is Vietnam Veterans Day. This is entitled “The Honor Guard.”)

It was a time when the unpredictable psycho in a TV drama was always a Vietnam veteran. The Memorial Wall in Washington DC was still new, and still controversial. But some veterans who’d visited The Wall realized that it was also a place of healing, and they knew that others who might never get to the nation’s capital needed the chance to rub their fingers over the names, and see for themselves that the loved ones were not forgotten. A group formed, and they commissioned a 1/3 sized, fiberglass replica of the granite monument. It traveled from town to town, at the request of civic organizations, and when the panels were set up in their V shapes, and the ropes arranged to form a trail leading the public into the area for reverent viewing, people came. By the hundreds, they came, and I did, too.

[Member Post]

 

I’m having a problem with a novel I’m reading, in which the protagonist kills, I would even say murders, a lot of essentially innocent people in pursuit of our country’s strategic aims. Now, I am about the farthest thing from a pacifist imaginable. I once posted online that there is an effective solution to terrorism, which […]

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To Trump or Not To Trump

 

That is the question.

My father spent three years in the North Atlantic, as he put it, “successfully avoiding the German Navy.” That’s about as detailed as he ever got about his wartime experiences. If you’re of a certain age, you knew dozens of men like that. Some felt like they didn’t do enough, others felt like they did too much. 

[Member Post]

 

Episode 02 – Gary Johnson, Aleppo, Book Review, Chicago homicides, and Honoring Parents September 11, 2016 Next on Thinking It Through with Jerome Danner, I try to think through the issue with Gov. Gary Johnson not knowing the name Aleppo (in Syria), the horrible homicide rate in Chicago, and understanding what it is to honor our […]

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[Member Post]

 

Many elements are necessary for the stability and prosperity of a society. For Christians and Jews, the most basic requirements of behavior are codified in the ten Commandments established directly by God Himself. Among them is a standard agreeable even to atheists yet perhaps poorly understood: “Honor thy father and mother.” What does it mean? […]

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[Member Post]

 

I am forever amazed at the near pathological support people swear to their political champions and causes.  While all candidates have their ardent supporters, there are a select few that come to mind that really seem to overachieve in that regard.  For example, over the last several election cycles, I’ve marveled at the “true believers” […]

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I’m a Victim and That Makes Me Better Than You

 

CampusLast year, George Will got into a heap of trouble for a column in which he wrote that colleges and universities are learning that “when they say campus victimizations are ubiquitous … and that when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privileges, victims proliferate.”

It wasn’t a particularly great column by the author’s standards: It was a little unfocused and too easily allowed for ungenerous readings that implied Will was downplaying sexual assault. (It would almost certainly have fared better had it been published after the exposure of the Rolling Stone/University of Virginia hoax). The resulting outrage was enough to get Will disinvited from a speaking gig at Scripps College, a women’s college in Claremont, California. Will’s position gets some support, however, from a new paper by sociologists Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning, summarized at length by Jonathan Haidt at his The Righteous Mind blog.

The study posits that the West is in the process of a third major cultural shift. In brief, it argues that we began as an honor-based society characterized by a low tolerance for slights and a strong preference for seeking personal redress (think of the characters of the Iliad or duelists in the early American Republic). Over the past few centuries, we’ve shifted to a culture based more on personal dignity, which encouraged people to shrug off all but the worst slights as being beneath their notice and to appeal to third-party authorities for redress of the most intolerable wrongs.