Category Archives: veterans

In Memoriam of a Patriot and One who served – R. Lee Ermey

My most humble apologies for the lateness of this post; I was out of town over the weekend, having been unexpectedly called away, and was unable to put anything here on The Takedown when the news broke of R. Lee Ermey’s unexpected death.

R. Lee Ermey died this past Sunday from complications of pneumonia. He was 74. Known to most as “The Gunny,” he was a patriot and a veteran, having served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam conflict. He was an avid supporter of Toys for Tots, as well – that alone makes him an ace in MY book. Most remember him from his role as the sadistic drill instructor in “Full Metal Jacket,” but I remember him most fondly from his roles in such shows as Mail CallLock N’ Load, and Gunny Time.

He believed in our country, right AND wrong, and believed that despite its faults, it was still the greatest country in the world – and I agree with him. This quote, taken from a tribute to him found here, says it best, I believe:

“Most actors in Hollywood seem preoccupied with fitting a mold, of being liked. Ermey seemed to simply be R. Lee Ermey, and if anyone didn’t like it, tough. At the same time, though, it doesn’t seem like he went out of his way to offend, either. He simply was.”

Semper Fi, Gunny. May you have been ready when your time came, and found peace with God when you stepped into eternity.

In honor of him, I present this video of a GEICO commercial with the Gunny as a therapist – one that makes me laugh every time I see it. God bless, my friends.

GEICO Therapist

August 6, 1945

On this date in 1945, a B-29 named the Enola Gay dropped the first of two atomic bombs used to end World War II. Since that time there has been endless agonizing over everything from how “inhuman” it was to use those bombs (somehow, those who experienced the Rape of Nanking, lived through the Bataan Death March or saw/learned of the atrocities committed on Japanese prisoners of war and others might disagree with you, but I digress) to how we didn’t “really” need to use them because “Japan was already beaten,” or how many people were killed by the bombs (the over 200,000 killed by conventional bombing might have something to say about that as well – the ones never spoken of in history, as a general rule; analogous to the 4+ million non-Jews killed by Hitler and his ilk, or the 30+ million people killed by Stalin prior to his becoming part of the Allies)

This article, written in 1946 for The Atlantic, was a real eye opener for me. I hope it is for you, too. Even at that time, people were saying many of the same things we hear now – and I believe the author, through his information, does an excellent job of proving those arguments fallacious.

Thank you, Colonel Paul Tibbets and crew of the Enola Gay for being willing to put your personal feelings aside and do what you felt would bring the quickest end to the war and save the most lives on both sides. I, for one, will not sit in the comfort and freedom that you, and others like you, bought for me some 70+ years later and criticize you.

Had the Atomic Bomb Not Been Used

God bless today, my friends.

Veteran’s Day. May we never forget that truly, “Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

At the end of what became known as “The Battle of Britain,” Sir Winston Churchill uttered the following words:
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Although he was speaking specifically of those brave men and women who gave their lives as the Battle of Britain raged, I believe that those words apply equally to all those who have given their lives to ensure the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy here in the United States.

May we never forget their sacrifices, hardships, and what they gave and endured so that we could be free – not just today, but EVERY day.

its-the-veteran

God bless you today, my friends – and thank God for our Veterans!

 

Moral Equivalence just before Memorial Day. How “convenient.”

You know, it takes a lot for me to put a politically themed post on my blog. I tend to avoid them like the plague, namely because like many other subjects, politics can be a highly charged, highly emotional thing. However in this instance, I believe it is warranted.

Memorial Day in the United States is a day in which we remember those who have paid the highest price – the giving of their lives – to secure the freedoms that we enjoy in our country. To many, it’s just another day. To far more, it’s a day to remember, and appreciate what we have, and why we have it. For that reason, if no other, it makes the timing of our current President’s trip to Japan; his “apology tour,” as many are describing it, quite suspect. He made it a point to speak at length about the “horrors” experienced by the people of Hiroshima, and how terrible it was for the nuclear bombs to be used. In his remarks, although he may not have been foolish enough to have said it outright, he equated Allied forces with Axis forces in a statement of moral equivalence.

Strangely enough, he failed to remember a lot of other horrors; horrors done BY Imperial Japan during the course of the war and the unimaginable suffering it inflicted on the people to whom it was done. He also failed to mention the reason why the US ultimately used the bombs on the Japanese empire; the attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew us in, and their government’s refusal to surrender. He also forgot to mention the millions of lives, on BOTH sides, that were estimated to have been saved by their usage.

I guess when it doesn’t “fit the narrative,” it’s not important, but I digress. The article follows:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/05/27/war-crimes-imperial-japan-lesson-moral-equivalence-mr-obama/

Whatever you may think of the website in question, its veracity or anything else, please read the linked article and remember that these are not things you’ll hear a lot of, if anything, in our age of apology, revising history, and flat out ignoring what the realities of history. Remember it the next time you see a WW 2 movie in which the only bad guys are Nazis – because, well, the Nazis are safe and no one will be “offended” if you portray them as bad. Above all, remember that moral equivalency, a great many times, is a refuge for the lazy; for those who aren’t able or willing to stand and say, “No. What was done was right and just at the time, given what had gone before. You sowed the wind, and reaped the whirlwind.” It also is lazy in that it isn’t equally applied, all the time. Outage over the usage of atomic bombs, but zero over the 300,000 to 1,000,000 estimated killed in the sustained bombings of Japan prior to their usage. As mentioned before, zero outrage over the atrocities committed against others BY Japan.

See the pattern?

To our current President I’ll say this: must be nice to stand some, what, 70 years after the end of WW 2, in the comfort and security given to you by those who had the courage to do what you, in all probability would never have been able to do, and criticize them in order to make yourself look good, isn’t it?

This is one of the very few times you’ll probably ever “see” me be angry on this blog. I won’t apologize for it, but I do hope I haven’t driven anyone away. Please – feel free to not read the blog posting or article if you feel so inclined.

God bless today, my friends, and let’s all remember those who died so that we may be free.

 

A great gift from a friend, and a good cause!

This past Sunday I was invited to join some friends of mine for a get together at their home. When I arrived I was approached by the one hosting the get together, a great-hearted friend who presented me with the item shown in the picture below:

IMAG0151

The item is a scarf, emblazoned with the words “To Honor And Empower” in the center and the logo of The Wounded Warrior Project on either end. It had been given to him and he, knowing not only my fondness for wearing a scarf (I have a replica of the scarf worn by Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor, which was knitted for me by my wife, the witty little knitter!) but also my love of, and support for our troops and veterans, passed it on to me. To say I was touched was an understatement, and I have worn it, proudly, since then.

Besides being a source of encouragement at a time when I truly needed it as well as a fine gift from a caring friend, it also prompted me to put out information about this group and to encourage any and all who can to consider being a part of it and supporting it. Their website is located here: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/ and if you are anything like me, I believe you will be astounded at not only the work that is being done but the work that is planned and the myriad of ways that we, all of us can help. (Among other things, you can make a one time or monthly donation, as well as be a part of their ongoing events, spreading the word about their group, and a number of other things)

I don’t know about you, but to me it seems like the least we can do for those who have put themselves on the line to protect the freedoms we enjoy.

PS: If you do a simple Google search about the group, you will (as with most subjects today) find that there are about as many opinions on them as grains of sand on the seashore. Whether it’s this group, the Red Cross, the Disabled American Veterans, or any other charitable organization, it seems to be the same, incidentally. Some people claim that they are completely anti-gun and that they want to take your gun rights away. Others claim that they spend very little on Vets and put most of the money in their pockets. Others claim that they can do no wrong. To that end, I say this – DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH; MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND. Don’t let me, or anyone else, decide anything FOR you. Engage your own critical thinking skills, decide on the veracity of the information you are reading, and then make your own call. All I would say is that if you don’t help this group, find one that you CAN help – our Veterans and active duty personnel deserve at least that much, in my opinion.

God bless today, my friends.

“…thank a Veteran!”

I was watching an episode of the series Life is Worth Living by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen this morning (it’s amazing to me how many things he spoke of during the 50’s that are still as applicable to society, today) and during the course of his lecture he spoke of the soldiers of a nation and how it is they who ensure the freedoms for the country that they serve. It reminded me of a coffee mug that I own, proudly, purchased from one of our local Cracker Barrel restaurant/stores. It is enameled and has pictures of American soldiers from the Revolution onward and, beneath it, has the following caption:

“It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.”

It then ends with the following, in large letters – “If you love your freedom, thank a Veteran!” An interesting side note is that the original poem that this is taken from ends with these words, which I wish had been included on the mug as well:

“It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag,
So the protester can burn the flag.”

That resonated with me, this morning, as I thought of the freedoms which I and so many enjoy here in the USA, and how little we all may (myself included, far too often!) forget to appreciate the actions of those who have sacrificed to secure and protect those freedoms for us. All too often, I fear, the opposition to this idea runs along the lines of an English professor I had in college, whose favorite pastime seemed to be trying to nail students in his class who disagreed with him. Upon hearing that I considered myself to be a patriotic person, he countered (in a very silky voice) with, “Oh, so you agree with everything our country does?” My response was, in a flat tone, “I said I was a patriot, sir – not a fool.” The class laughed at him, which he didn’t like, but it exposed his thinking for what it was – very limited. It was an either or, to him – either “My country, right or wrong,” or “My country, ALWAYS wrong.”

I reject both views, incidentally. To me, it is “My country, right AND wrong – but MY country.” 

Do I agree with everything our country does or has done? Of course not. Our country is made of people, and people make mistakes and sometimes egregious ones. However, the freedom that I have to NOT like those things comes from the work and sacrifice of our veterans, and that’s something that, in my opinion, no one should forget or forget to appreciate. They are the ones who give those who will take all the benefits of our country while doing nothing to support it the ability to do so. They are the ones who give, as the poem says, even the protester the right to burn the same flag that they are buried under. They are the ones who support those who complain endlessly about how “unfair” our country is while conveniently ignoring the benefits that have allowed them to become multi-millionaires through that same system.

Whatever any one of us may think of our government, our President, or any other member of our elected bodies, let’s remember one thing – it is the Veteran who has given us the right to be able to express that, and who continues to secure that right against those who would seek to take it from us. They deserve our thanks, our gratitude, and our respect.

From the bottom of my heart, they have mine.

God bless, today, my friend!