Tag: Veterans Day

Thanks to Mesa and the East Valley Veterans Parade Association


solo flightThe East Valley Veterans Parade Association and the City of Mesa refused to fail, honoring our veterans with a great parade, 11 November 2020. It was a reverse parade this year, with the parade entries positioned along a half-mile stretch of Center Street, in the northbound lane. Mesa Police Department controlled the whole area and controlled the release of cars out of several public parking staging areas at the top of the parade route. It took from 11:00 am, when the first car entered the parade route, until 2:50 pm, when the last vehicle exited the parade route, for all the cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks to drive the parade. Join me for a pictorial review of the parade, with a few remarks to keep us on the parade route.

Many of the parade audience became parade participants, as they decorated their vehicles with flags, streamers, and hand painted banners thanking veterans. There were enough kids and dogs to overcome any cute emergency. There was even a World War II veteran riding in the passenger seat of his son or grandson’s car, just there to see the parade and be part of the event.

Model A

Quote of the Day: Patton and Veterans


“All through your Army careers, you men have bitched about what you call ‘chicken [expletive] drilling.’ That, like everything else in this Army, has a definite purpose. That purpose is alertness. Alertness must be bred into every soldier. I don’t give a [expletive] for a man who’s not always on his toes. You men are veterans or you wouldn’t be here. You are ready for what’s to come.” — George S. Patton, Jr., Speech to the Third Army, 05 JUN 1944.

George S. Patton got a birthday present on his thirty-third birthday as the Germans signed an armistice to end The Great War or as that [expletive] Wilson called it, “The War to End All War.” But less than twenty-five years later, war had come again, and Patton and his men were pressing forward into Europe.

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Veterans Day, celebrated each year on November 11th, was first celebrated on this same date in 1919, under the name of Armistice Day. The holiday was named in remembrance of the temporary ceasefire that brought about the unofficial end to World War I when, the year before, the Allied forces entered into an armistice with […]

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My dad was a WWII submarine combat veteran. The Submarine Service had an impressive history during WWII. The United States Navy Submarine Service lost 52 submarines, 374 officers and 3,131 enlisted men during World War II. These personnel losses represented 16% of the officer and 13% of the enlisted operational personnel. This loss rate was the […]

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My Veterans Day Tee Shirt


I have this tee shirt I wear every Veterans Day. It says “Navy Veteran” on the front, and it has the Seal of the Department of the Navy on the back. Normally, I only wear it at home, because I don’t think I deserve free meals for my service (if I went out for lunch), given so many before me never knew they were eating their last meal. Yeah, there’s Memorial Day for them, but it still doesn’t feel right for me on Veterans Day.

Still, we were driving back from our latest cruise today (maybe a future post), so I wore the tee in public. When we stopped for food or gas (or just to stretch), I got a few “Thank you for your service” and handshakes from people. I also gave out a few myself, as other veterans were traveling too. The strangest part of driving home today was when we were on the bypass around Statesboro, Georgia this afternoon. There I was—a Navy Veteran, wearing a Navy Veteran tee shirt, on Veterans Day, driving on Veterans Memorial Parkway. How cool—or surprising—is that?

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I heard a story about something called “Deep Equity” and decided to research. I have a couple of pet peeves. They involve the hearts and minds of children. My peeves extend to drag queens in full regalia reading to children at libraries. I’m ok with anyone reading. I love books. I loved story time as […]

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Three Presidential Actions Not Much Noted


Thursday, November 7, 2019, brought three significant actions by President Trump: two Proclamations and one award ceremony. They all addressed service, freedom, and gratitude.

Presidential Message on the National Day for the Victims of Communism, 2019

On this National Day for the Victims of Communism, we remember the more than 100 million people who have died as a result of communist oppression. Today, we renew our commitment to helping secure for all people a future of peace and prosperity founded on the core tenets of democracy—liberty, justice, and a deep respect for the value of every human life.

Those Who Serve


I originally wrote this while in Iraq, on March 23, 2005. I have lightly edited it for this post.

The DVD was in, I had seen Star Gate many times, and was bored enough to have the voiceover of the director and someone else while watching the show. The two men were talking to each other, and to their unseen audience. They were talking about those who risk their lives in the military to keep the country safe. They both expressed the obligatory platitudes, the nice things you’re supposed to say about those in the military. There was nothing to indicate insincerity; they seemed genuinely in admiration of people who march toward the sound of cannon.

But then they ruined it by showing a complete misunderstanding of what they were admiring. After saying how wonderful these men were, they then denigrated themselves and confessed that they could never do such a thing, and they laughed, each at the other, pointing out that it’s a good thing they weren’t in the military, for the sake of the military.

“I Cry Over Tootsie Rolls”


One of my church sisters shared this story today. It’s well past Veterans’ Day now, but poignant story all the same. The Korean War is called “The Forgotten War,” and it’s easy to forget just how vital it was. Here’s a part of her mother’s story.

 I cry over tootsie rolls…

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Several years ago I had a small gathering of family and friends, and part of our reasons for coming together was to have a brief discussion on why we loved this country. My husband and I were the hosts, and my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, another couple who were friends of ours, and my aunt and uncle attended. […]

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Quote of the Day: Two Little Words


Few things exercise the Ricochetti more than a spirited discussion of the woeful state of public education in the United States today, unless it’s despairing angst (is there any other kind?) over the direction of the country in general, the state of mind of its youth, or the general lack of gratitude for anyone or anything shown by anybody under the age of [pick a target demographic, probably based on your own state of middling-to-advanced geezerhood]. Sometimes, it seems that there’s nothing we like better than a good, and dreary, moan about the state of things.

So, just to be contrary, and with the recognition that, perhaps I’m a lone voice crying in the wilderness (wouldn’t be the first time, and probably not the last), or that, perhaps, my family has been lucky to have tapped into the one-and-only decent public school system in the country (unlikely that, I can’t help thinking), I’d like to shower today’s quote of the day on a little institution in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania: “Thank you,” Charles W. Longer Elementary School (the school appears to have been named after a local educator who served for many years as the superintendent of the district. Thank you, Charles W. Longer, himself.)

Our most recent occasion for showing appreciation occurred yesterday when Mr. She and I made the trek of about 130 miles Northeast from Chez She to Hollidaysburg (home of the Slinky), the county seat of Blair County, PA. The first thing I was grateful for when I got there, was that it wasn’t 38 degrees, blustery, and pouring with rain, inside the auditorium. Thank you. One of the worst drives of my life. Ever. But totally worth it, although by the time we got inside, the two of us were shivering and resembled nothing so much as two drowned rats. (The drive home was worse, though. Over three hours.)

Starvation Cheap


“We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us.” — George Orwell

In fact, it’s probably a misattribution, but Orwell said something similar in spirit when commenting favorably on a verse from Kipling’s poem “Tommy”:

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep

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Today, my wife and I drove to St. Augustine, Florida for the night, on our way to Fort Lauderdale for the National Review post-election cruise. As we took the bypass around Statesboro, Georgia, I noticed that we were on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway.  Then I looked at the dashboard clock: 11:11 AM.  I was caught off guard […]

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In his speech last night, President-Elect Donald Trump thanked the veterans who supported him. Hillary Clinton also thanked her veterans, but she was talking about her campaign workers. Thank the Lord she will never be Commander-in-Chief, and thank veterans by supporting VFW or another worthy group in the week of the eleventh day of the […]

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Aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Taney


u045901My father, who died in his seventies back in 1996, served during most of the Second World War aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Taney, now one of the half dozen ships preserved as floating museums in Baltimore Harbor. I only asked him about the War a few times. He just didn’t like to talk about it. He told a few funny stories readily enough — once when the Taney was in port in San Diego, he and a shipmate hopped from the deck onto the dock, then strolled off to spend the day enjoying themselves, but when they returned that evening they found that the tide had come in, lifting the deck far above their heads, and the only way they could get back aboard was by hauling themselves up the ratlines. But talk about combat? The warfare part of the War? All I ever got out of him was a story about Okinawa.

He was on deck one day as an American plane approached a nearby aircraft carrier, preparing to land. Although the Navy issued its pilots frequent new approach patterns, my father explained — they had to make it impossible for the Japanese to use captured American aircraft to stage kamikaze attacks — and this pilot was using the wrong pattern. How my father knew this, I can no longer recall — were all the ships able to listen in to a single radio frequency? — but he described a long several minutes as the entire American fleet seemed to freeze, silent, as the aircraft carrier signaled to the pilot again and again to correct his approach … and finally shot him down. “We never learned what had happened,” my father said, “but you couldn’t get the idea out of your mind that it was one of our guys who just got confused. It made us all sick to our stomachs.”

Taney37_1940_1One story, and that was about it.

The Best Movie for Today


Best_Years_of_Our_Lives_01_barThere’s no shortage of great war movies, but great films about veterans are a rarer breed. About three or four years ago, I was listening to the Ricochet podcast when Rob recommended The Best Years of Our Lives. I knew of it — “That’s the one with the guy who lost his hands, right?” — but had never seen it. I threw it on my Netflix queue and forgot about it for a few weeks before I decided to give it a whirl.

In short, the movie is a damn miracle; even more so, I’d say, than Casablanca. It went into production less than a year after VJ Day and follows three veterans as they attempt to return to — and, indeed, remake — their civilian lives. Each of their stories could suffice as a character study, but interweaving them as this film does gives one a sense of both how shared the existence of pain and trauma pain was, as well as how very much it varied in its particulars.

The acting and direction are first rate throughout. Dana Andrews, in particular, is excellent as a former bombardier who realizes that the war — for all its horror — may well be the high-point of his life, and sure beats working as a soda jerk and returning every night to a wife who’s clearly lost all interest in him. Myrna Loy’s performance is also remarkable and seems to, at least in a little way, to be a bit of a commentary on The Thin Man series’s attitude toward drink.