My maternal family has been here in North America since the colonial days of Virginia. I have no proof of service in the Revolution but have no reason to assume otherwise. This lineage produced soldiers who fought in the Civil War. My maternal grandfather was a lieutenant in a company based in Jackson Missouri during the 1st World War. My paternal lines are represented in both theaters of operation during WW II. Service included North Africa, Italy, and aboard the U.S.S. Pensacola (CL-24) at Iwo Jima. My favorite maternal cousin served in the Air Force during the Cold War. Unable to accept the appointment I secured to the U.S.N.A., or to the U.S.M.A., I spent time studying military history from the most basic level as a medic with the 1st Bde, 1st Inf. The direct service line ends with me.
As with any soldier, all who have served are my brothers, bound in a manner that cannot be explained to those who didn’t make the journey.
On the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour, you are not forgotten.
Below is my response to the shallow and self-serving public affairs release circulated by our Congressional Representative:
Excerpted from E-mail sent by Congressman D Phillip Roe, TN 1st District.
“Honoring Our Veterans
“On November 11th, our nation will observe Veterans Day. On this day, let us recall its historical significance and focus our attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
It is my highest duty and privilege to ensure the veterans of the First District of Tennessee are taken care of. As a fellow veteran, I honor the devotion, service and legacy our veterans have instilled on our culture, even as many often regard their own military service with modesty and humility…”
…“We should be proud of our brave servicemembers who are sacrificing daily to stop our enemies in their tracks. It is essential that we support the strategies and policies put forth by our own commanders on the ground.
This Veterans Day, let us remember that we must honor and care for those who so bravely fought for our freedom. Let us honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Let us also remember all of the men and women who are currently deployed and who are in harm’s way. They are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.”
The entire message can be read at
419 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
fax: (202) 225-5714
P.O. Box 1728
Kingsport, TN 37662
The War in Afghanistan was aimed at forcing the then-ruling Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden to the U.S. justice system. In order that he might be tried for the attacks of 11 September 2001. This was justifiable and might have been successful if the American units at Tora Bora had been allowed to pursue and capture bin Laden rather than being forced to stand down while he escaped into Pakistan. That was a political decision, however, and our military forces have always and correctly been under control by our civilian government.
After Tora Bora, there was no further justification for our troops remaining in Afghanistan.
There was absolutely no justification for the U.S. to engage in a war with Iraq. All the reasons offered by the Bush administration proved false. We have spent billions of dollars on an unfunded war, allowed war profiteering by Halliburton, Blackwater/Xe and other corporations, expended the lives of thousands of our troops, and the well-being of tens of thousands in a war that should never have been allowed by Congress.
The Iraqi war has harmed our economy, as has the Afghani war.
We are not going to establish a western democracy in Iraq. We are not going to establish a western democracy in Afghanistan. We will not displace the Taliban or the Shia religious powers in Iraq.
Rather than issuing hollow pronouncements to remind your constituents that you exist, please do something for the troops and for our veterans that matters instead of just delivering another speech.
The troops are leaving Iraq. Make no effort to delay that exit. There is not and will not be any justification to extending anyone’s Iraqi tour by one hour.
The “surge in Afghanistan is scheduled to end. With its end should come the withdrawal of all our troops in Afghanistan. They are currently engaged in a bloody war with no defined victory or end point. They will not be able to change the future of Afghanistan. They have no reason to remain there to be killed or maimed by snipers and ambushes.
The future of Iraq and of Afghanistan lies in the hands of the citizens of those nations. If they want a different government, they will decide and they will win or lose it. We, as a nation, have no cause to interfere in their internal affairs, their religious civil wars, or their cultural future any more than Mexico has to interfere in ours.
You, your GOP buddies and Teavangelist backers need to understand that soldiers need jobs to come home to. Those jobs won’t come from the private sector, just as they didn’t after WWI, WWII, Vietnam or the Gulf War. Jobs for men and women leaving the service will have to come from the government. So will the housing needed to keep them from being homeless, the services necessary to help them recover from the PTSD due to multiple tours, lost friends, and family, and the shock of combat and civilian life separated only by days in transit.
You want to support our troops, bring them home, alive, intact, now!