Saturday, May 17, 2008

Armed Forces Day

Today, Saturday, May 17, is Armed Forces Day. It's a good day to thank a veteran:

A Veteran - whether active duty, retired, National Guard, or someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a check payable to "The United States of America" for an amount of "up to and including my life".

That is an honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

— Author Unknown courtesy of BlackFive

And don't let anyone pretend our soldiers are barbarians, Nazis, or whatever else. Look at what our soldiers have actually done.
Then there was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break one of the French engineers came back into the room saying 'Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?'

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: 'Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships. We have gone there to help people. What has France done?

As this suggests, America's performance in the last hundred years or so has been due to a combination of the American fighting man and American government policy. Here's a good summary of how the two have played out (courtesy of Mullings):
In February [of 2003] Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared on MTV to discuss the US position with regard to our becoming an imperial power. A viewer in Norway asked why Europeans consider the US to be the "Satan of contemporary politics." Here's a portion of what the Secretary said:
Far from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II.

And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? Did we say, "Okay, we defeated Germany. Now Germany belongs to us? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us"? No. What did we do? We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul.

And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead.

And that is the kind of nation we are.

We all should be grateful for what the U.S. military has done, especially throughout the last century. And we should express that to our fighting men, past and present.

It's Armed Forces Day. Thank a veteran.

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