Whether today means watching parades, reading a good book, following some football or something else entirely, most of us will enjoy a huge meal in the company of people about whom we care a great deal. Sometime during the day we might even reflect upon some things for which we are thankful.
This uniquely American holiday is steeped in religious overtones. This year the date even coincides with the beginning of Chanukah, an event none of us has seen before or will again. But, there are plenty of events around the day which require no religiosity at all.
Being grateful for what we have is healthy for us. Thanking people for what they do for us is polite. Seeing the good around us is a choice we can all make.
This year I choose to see what is good. And there is plenty of good in my neighborhood, my town, even around my country. I am grateful for all of it, especially when I realize that too often I focus on things which are not. Today I am looking at what makes me happy and what feeds my soul and plan to do more of it tomorrow and the day after that.
Is it too early to make a New Year’s resolution?
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
This is the day we honor those who served in our military forces. It doesn’t matter how we served, where or when, all veterans are honored for the part we played in the defense of this country.
Honor comes in all shapes and sizes, and from many sources. Whether it is with a parade, a free meal, a quiet day, or being at work, may each and every veteran enjoy this day.
Something has been bothering me for a few days that has had me scratching my head, pondering the meaning of life, and some other stuff as well. Some of it may even have some intellectual depth, but if so, it is entirely by accident. Or maybe not. Maybe it comes from one of those shared memory things from past lives, previous generations, or something else for which we mere mortals have thoroughly inadequate explanation.
A fellow poster of comments at another milblog recently made the statement “everyone lies.” Is that really a commonly held belief? Is it even true, or true in many communities, now? It was not true in the world in which I was raised and it is not now true in the world in which I live. Of course, some people do lie with a good degree of regularity. Some people even lie when it would be easier to tell the truth. Lies are something we expect from some segments of society, but has lying really become something which is so cavalierly accepted?
It was a chilly, damp morning. By the time I got there about 8:20 am, someone had already removed and stacked the barriers from around the World War Two Memorial. Lots of people, 500 to 1000 or so(I’m a little out of practice estimating crowd size, and this one was pretty spread out), were already there with more arriving every minute. Motor cycles everywhere.
After strolling around the WWII Memorial, I headed toward the Wall. It was quiet along the way, and I discovered what portends to be my symbol of this entire shutdown fiasco – the public restroom near Constitution Gardens had the lights turned on but the doors were locked. OK – perhaps we could save some money by not allowing folks to flush the toilets or wash their hands, but with the lights on?
After catching a glimpse of the Wall, and seeing that someone had removed the barriers to it also, I headed back to the WWII Memorial. The crowd size had at least tripled with more folks pouring in. People were milling around. Some wore an indication of prior service in the form of a ball cap or a T shirt. Others wore an old article of uniform. Some signs, but mostly just ordinary Americans showing a patriotic desire to restore our open air memorials to free passage and exploration.
But they did. I am in Arlington VA, getting ready to attend whatever it is that is going on at the Mall tomorrow. Mostly, I am going to see with my own eyes what the bracken frack is being done to the War Memorials and to confirm that they are indeed closed.
A few veterans and some of our friends are meeting up at 9 am near the World War Two Memorial. We shall see how it goes. My plan is just to take a good look around. But there will be a Leatherman multi-tool in my pocket. You know, in case I get a hang nail, or something.
Once again DC has managed to expose, whether by accident or design, a huge irony in our current method of governance. We are today seeing the juxtaposition of groups of people congregating on the Mall representing concurrently the best and the worst of how we operate here in the United States. There are dozens of union thugs, illegal aliens, furloughed government employees, and assorted lefties demanding amnesty for untold millions of people who could not be bothered to enter this country by legal means. Not far from them are groups of ordinary Americans and tourists from around the world facing barricades around Memorials to the very people who fought and died for the freedom to assemble, to petition our government for redress, and to express the many divergent views which we citizens hold.
For those unfamiliar with the geography of this significant piece of American real estate lovingly called the Mall, think of an approximately 4 block by 28 block lawn bisected by cross streets with museums and open spaces along the sides of the park, with the US Capitol on the east and the Lincoln Memorial on the west, facing each other. The Potomac River is behind the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Monument is a few blocks east of the Lincoln Memorial with the Reflecting Pool between them. The War Memorials surround the Reflecting Pool. There are sidewalks, paths, and more open spaces around them.
It would be possible to take an aerial photograph today of one group of Americans and their rowdy friends making demands that our borders be more open while other Americans are facing barricades which had to be erected to prevent them from entering open air Memorials to themselves and others who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms. You would think that among those freedoms would be the right for them, and all the rest of us, to be able to move about as freely as their age and infirmities will allow.
We need a new headline. The usual “Crazy Vet with a Scary Gun” may still be somewhat effective, but has become too predictable. It has been used so often, and not always accurately, that it is simply boring. If the media wants to keep our attention perhaps they should work in some new material above the fold. Here are a few suggestions, in no particular order, and they do need to be fact checked.
“1.6 US Military Veterans Committed No Crimes Yesterday”
“No Owner of a Legally Acquired Gun Committed a Crime in any of the 58 States Today”
“Another Rape Prevented by Legally Owned and Operated Handgun”
“Armed Bank Teller Foils Robbery”
“Background Checks Prevented the Transfer of 12 Weapons at Gun Show”
So, Alex, could I buy an “O,” please? It looks a lot like a zero, the statistical significance of how many legally acquired guns commit illegal acts in this country each day.
Every year the reflections on this day occur. Sometimes they are overwhelming. But this year something occurred within me that may have been there all along but only now came to consciousness.
As a small manner of honor for those lost and those for whom lives will never be the same, many of us tune in to watch or attend memorials on this date each year. It is a way for us to connect with each other and join in fleeting moments of coming together as a country. For at least a few minutes we each remember that there is a commonality among us which on other days we may struggle to imagine.
This year I saw and realized the honesty of the resolve on those faces of the collected masses gathered to commemorate the horrible events of this date. Behind the grief I finally became aware of the depth of both thought and feeling in those faces. On other days I often doubt that there are enough of us left with the resolve to survive as a country to make it happen. On this day, there is no doubt in what is reflected in the faces of those most aggrieved by the cowards who struck us on 9-11-2001. There is a strength reflected in those faces, enough to see us through whatever is coming next.
In other words, there is still hope for our future.
Really? Have you lost your mind, Senator McCain?
Let’s assume for a moment that indeed the words literally mean the same thing. So what?
We have all seen pictures of young males screaming “Allahu Akhbar” with raised weapons in the air. Sometimes they are celebrating the deaths of Americans. Other pictures show the celebration of civilian deaths around the world at the hands of terrorists. The specific circumstances differ, but we associate the words with the celebration of death, mostly of innocents.
Since you say the words mean the same thing, Senator McCain, will you please show us the pictures of Christians dragging dead people through the streets screaming “Thank God!” as an epithet? Maybe you have pictures of American Christians roaming their cities screaming “Thank God” when Hussein was executed. Surely you have some pictures of Christian suicide bombers screaming “Thank God” just before blowing themselves up and destroying life and property around them. Or pictures of hordes of armed Christians anywhere celebrating death with the words “Thank God.”
Until you show us that Christians use the words “Thank God” in the same way that others use the words “Allahu Akhbar” your saying that they mean the same thing is just silly. Our elected leaders saying silly things is not really a good national defensive posture.
Veterans being targets of hate is nothing new, but it has been taken recently to new levels. Two incidents, one in a suburban Chicago nursing home and one in a Spokane parking lot, resulted in the deaths of World War II veterans in what can only be described in the most horrifying of terms. That one veteran died at the hands of the police and the other at the hands of teenaged punks demonstrates the depth and breadth of societal deterioration into near anarchy. And the situation seems to not be improving.
The Illinois State Police are investigating the circumstances of John Wrana’s death in Park Forest. His crime appears to be refusing to go willingly to a medical procedure from which he had a 50/50 chance of not regaining consciousness. Someone somewhere decided that his refusal was unreasonable, a decision for which he ended up not only being tazed by a SWAT team but gut shot with a beanbag. The beanbag caused the internal bleeding which killed him.
Two street hoods have been identified, one arraigned, in Spokane for the death of Delbert Belton. He died as a result of their beating him and leaving him dying in a parking lot. His only crime seems to be that of being old and having the unmitigated gall to venture out in public to meet friends to shoot pool. It has been reported that the two thugs later went to his residence to commit additional crimes. They must have felt entitled to what he had and decided that he should no longer be allowed to enjoy his own stuff in his own home.