Posts Tagged "military"

Memorial Day | For Many, the Scars Run Deep

Dear Kid,

Memorial Day To those who serve...thank you.

Memorial Day | To those who serve…thank you.

Today is Memorial Day.

Ostensibly, it is a day to honor those who died while serving our country in the military. I think it needs to be much more than that.

Yes, we need to remember and thank those who died in service to our country. We also need to thank those who served and did not die. Very few return from war the way they left. For many, the scars run deep.

We need to remember and thank those who sent family to serve in the military. The loneliness, the uncertainty, the fear. For many, the scars run deep.

We need to remember and thank those who support our military. The medical professionals, the journalists, the counselors. For many, the scars run deep.

We need to remember and thank those in our country who value the freedoms our military fights for. Those who argue and persuade and celebrate the diversity and differences of opinion that make us a great country. Those who work to help heal the scars of divisiveness and horror. Those who work to bring us closer to the world that We, The People, know can be created.

In remembering, we look forward. In honoring the past, we make room for the future.

Let us never forget so that we will never repeat.

Love, Mom

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National Armed Forces Day and the Future

Dear Kid,

Today is National Armed Forces Day. (It’s also National Waiters and Waitresses Day which I suppose in some instances is like being in battle, but since the worst that will happen in a restaurant is a chocolate stain, I’m going to focus on Armed Forces Day.)

Sometime in the past (after History was born but before the current millennium), there were Days in the US set aside to recognize the different branches of the military. President Harry S. Truman (who really had no middle name—just an initial) established a single holiday “for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.”The land of the free and the home of the brave.

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day.

Today is a day of graduation parties, of finishing high school and looking ahead to the next chapter.

For those going to college, congratulations, study hard, and read DearKidLoveMom. For those going into the work force, congratulations, work hard, and read DearKidLoveMom. For those going into the military or an ROTC program, congratulations, serve proudly, and thank you for your service. And read DearKidLoveMom.

To all those who have served or who are currently serving, we thank you.

Love, Mom

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Women, Army Ranger School, and the Military

Dear Kid,

I assume by now you’ve heard that 2 women are graduating from Army Ranger school. And you probably know that the Army Ranger school is HARD—as in only 94 of the 381 men who started the class finished.

Army Ranger School is the Army’s premier combat leadership course, teaching Ranger students how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead Soldiers during small unit combat operations.

Amazingly, people are still talking about how men and women are different and therefore women can’t do certain jobs in the military.

For the record, these people are twits.

I could be glib and point out the obvious: that overcoming fatigue, hunger, and stress is the definition of early motherhood, so OF COURSE women can do it. But I’m too mad to be glib.

Let’s be clear. Yes, men and women are different. Tall men are different than short men. Men who grew up in a metropolitan setting are different than those who grew up in a rural area. Men who grew up next door to each other are different.

Different isn’t bad and different isn’t the issue.

Actually different is good, but it still isn’t the issue.

The issue is: Can a person perform a given role and is the role correctly defined for current situations?

There’s been a lot of talk about whether the ability to carry heavy equipment should really be a requirement for being an elite combatant given the type of enemies we’re fighting these days.

Not being a military expert, I have no idea. But it’s a question worth considering.

There should be talk about whether doing it “the way it’s been done before” is the best way.

For the moment, these two women have proven they can do what the men can do, the way the men do it. And they should be given all the opportunities men who accomplished the same thing are being given.

To those women we say Brava! And Congratulations.

You go, Ladies.

Love, Mom

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December 13, 2003: Saddam Found in Spider Hole and Captured

Dear Kid,

Attack spider. DearKidLoveMom.comEleven years ago, international politics was not at the top of your list of interests. If memory serves, it was nowhere on your list of interests. Yet some things seem to stick in our communal memory no matter how old we are.

On December 13, 2003, the American military (go Team!) executed Operation Red Dawn which sounds like a movie title because the operation was named after the Patrick Swayze movie Red Dawn. [Extra points if you can name the best Patrick Swayze movie ever. There is a correct answer.]

Operation Red Dawn was conducted in the Iraqi town of ad-Dawr (near Tikrit) by the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division with Special Forces from Task Force 121—an elite and covert joint special operations team. They were assigned the mission of capturing or killing Saddam Hussein.

The team searched two sites based intelligence that Hussein was in the area. No Saddam. But being the kind of soldiers they are (namely American) they continued searching nearby suspicious looking spots and found Hussein in a “spider hole.”

A “spider hole” is military talk for a highly camouflaged, one-person foxhole which is generally shoulder deep. Spider holes are used as observation posts or (as in this case) hiding spots.

A military historian I’ve never heard of says the term spider hole was first used in the Civil War. However, according to William Safire (who knows pretty much everything about our American language) the term was first used during the Vietnam War where one of the characteristics of holes was a large clay pot big enough for a crouching man. The clay pot protected the person from spiders and snakes. Guess who I’m going to assume is correct?

This particular spider hole was pretty darn big (big enough for an evil terrorist to lie down at the bottom). Saddam (the evil terrorist) did not resist capture (apparently the sacrifice yourself for the cause thing was for Other People not him). Instead, El Brave-o presumably said, “I am Saddam Hussein, President of Iraq, and I want to negotiate.”

I am quite sure my thoughts are by no means the rudest on the planet, but I’m quite sure they aren’t the kindest either.

Love, Mom

The Best Patrick Swayze move ever is Dirty Dancing. Duh.

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