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Armistice Day November 11, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

When growing up, my dad’s older sister called today Armistice Day, the original origin of Veteran’s Day was to honor those killed in World War I. It grew quickly into honoring all war death and then all who had served in the military. In our house it was not a big deal. My dad was in the Army for much of my youth, so it was a day where we went to see a parade where he work (whatever “Fort” he was stationed at at that time). Memorial Day was a bigger event, I think because it was in late spring or early summer weather. The bases often had more elaborate events. When at Fort Ord, there was a mock invasion with landing craft, tanks, mortars, and for a kid of elementary school age in the era before the Vietnam War got a blackeye, that was very cool.

In our house, we were ingrained to respect military people. Not nly was my dad one, but so were most of his friends. One days like today, we’d see Sergeant So-and-so in full dress uniform with all the insignia, patches, and medals. We knew early on what a Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze or Silver Star were. We knew about the Congressional Medal of Honor – one of the books I got back then for a borthday or Christmas was was stories of CMOH winners. They were more important than officers with the leafy clusters or birds or stars.

If I meet someone today who is in the military, they get that same respect. I know what sacrifices just being in the armed forces is and how it changes family and personal responsibilities and behaviors. Ironically, at times I hear some conservatives claiming the ground of patriotism, as if being liberal means a person cannot understand loyalty and faith in one’s country and its principles, as if duty, honor, and country were only felt by the right wing, My dad was a moderate conservative, a populist who grew up in a bigoted Jim Crow South and knew that his fellow soldiers were rated on their sense of duty, bravery, and discipline beyond any differences in skin color or heritage.

Veteran’s Day, to me, is about remembering those who forsake or forsook personal status to do something for everyone’s good.



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