Happy Veterans Day!

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

For those of you who have the day off today due to it being Veterans Day, please don’t forget the reason for the holiday:

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919. In proclaiming the holiday, he said

“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”[2]

The United States Congress passed a concurrent resolution seven years later on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies.[2] A Congressional Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday: “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.”

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, Alabama, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama and annually until his death in 1985. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, determined Weeks as the “Father of Veterans Day.”

U.S. Representative Ed Rees from Emporia, Kansas, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower, also from Kansas, signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954.[3]

Congress amended this act on June 1, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with “Veterans,” and it has been known as Veterans Day since.[4][5]

The National Veterans Award, created in 1954, also started in Birmingham. Congressman Rees of Kansas was honored in Alabama as the first recipient of the award for his support offering legislation to make Veterans Day a federal holiday, which marked nine years of effort by Raymond Weeks. Weeks conceived the idea in 1945, petitioned Gen. Eisenhower in 1946, and led the first Veterans Day celebration in 1947 (keeping the official name Armistice Day until Veterans Day was legal in 1954).

Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11 of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978, it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11. While the legal holiday remains on November 11, if that date happens to be on a Saturday or Sunday, then organizations that formally observe the holiday will normally be closed on the adjacent Friday or Monday, respectively.

If you know a veteran, thank them. Hug them.  Treat them to dinner.  Donate to their favorite military charity.  These fine men and women put their lives on the line for us to protect our freedoms. Showing our thanks here at home is the least we can do.  And not just today, but every day.

God bless you to America’s finest!

What happens when you see American power as a problem?

**Posted by Phineas

'You're not welcome."

This is a problem?

Simple: You do whatever you can to make sure it won’t be a problem much longer.

While the president of the United States pitched his crumbling healthcare program like a late-night infomercial barker, the Army’s chief of staff made a shocking admission about national defense.

Gen. Ray Odierno told a Washington conference Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

And, he said, there currently are only two Army brigades rated combat-ready. That’s a total of between 7,000 to 10,000 troops and less than one-third what the combat veteran regards as necessary for proper national security.

“Right now,” Odierno said, “we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That’s it. Two.”

Odierno also revealed that troops shipping out to Afghanistan now are prepared only to train and assist Afghan troops, not to conduct combat operations themselves. But, of course, there’s no guarantee the Americans won’t find themselves in combat while accompanying Afghan soldiers.

All this to obey Obama administration orders to drastically cut the Army and military spending and meet cuts under sequestration. Since the Obama Pentagon began the troop draw-down two years ago under the president’s orders, more than 33,000 active duty soldiers have been cut.

Current plans call for additional reductions of 42,000 soldiers in the next 23 months to a total of 490,000, down from 570,000. Those cuts have been accelerated by two years under Pentagon orders and will involve involuntary separations of thousands.

Read the rest for Andrew’s take on what looks like a purge of the generals. Funny how it’s only the military that’s being held accountable…

There was a time, from FDR through LBJ, when American liberals saw American power as a good thing for the world. No more. Since the takeover of the Democratic Party by the New Left, beginning in the 1960s, progressives and their allies to their Left have seen American power as a source of the world’s problems, not a cure or a preventative. For the new liberal internationalists, decline is a choice.

We’re now seeing the results of that choice, and the world is being made more dangerous because of it.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

You can’t kill a Gurkha. You can only make him mad, which is a bad idea.

**Posted by Phineas

"Made for hunting Taliban"

“Made for hunting Taliban”

(Image via Wikipedia)

You’d think the Taliban would have learned from their last encounter with Her Majesty’s Nepalese soldiers, but, no, there’s always someone who thinks “this time, it will be different.”

And that, my friends, is the definition of madness:

Acting L/Cpl [Tuljung] Gurung, who serves with the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was on duty at Patrol Base Sparta, in Nahr-e Seraj, at 4am on March 22 when he spotted two Afghans running towards his sangar, or watchtower.

When he challenged them to stop, the insurgents opened fire with an AK47 assault rifle.

One of the rounds struck him on the helmet, knocking him to the ground. Groggily getting to his feet, he saw a grenade bounce into the tower.

Fearing it would explode, the married Gurkha picked it up and hurled it away a split-second before it detonated, the force of the blast throwing him to the floor.

But as the dust and debris settled, Acting L/Cpl Gurung came face-to-face with one of the Taliban who was climbing into the 3 metre high sangar.

Lacking room to aim his rifle, the soldier drew his 18inch kukri and tenaciously took on the insurgent in hand-to-hand combat.

During the fight, the pair plunged to the ground outside the base. In a life-or-death struggle, Acting L/Cpl Gurung continued to lash out with the blade.

He said: ‘He was quite a bit bigger than me. I just hit him in the hand, body, I just started to hit him.

‘I just thought, “I don’t want to die. If I am alive I can save my colleagues”.

‘I thought, “Before he does something I have to do something”. I was like a madman.’

Faced with his ferocity, the Taliban turned and fled. Acting L/Cpl Gurung’s citation said he had displayed the ‘highest levels of gallantry and courage’.

When you look in the dictionary under “badass,” you’ll find a picture of a Gurkha.

For his courage and loyalty, Lance Corporal Gurung was awarded the Military Cross, Britain’s third-highest medal. I’d say his comrades owe him a round or two in the pub, too.

RELATED: The Gurkha who took on 40 train robbers, armed only with his kukri knife.

via Craigé

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Shutdown follies: Priests threatened with arrest for ministering to military

**Posted by Phineas

Jeez, first they threaten to arrest 90-year old WW II  veterans for visiting their own monument, now they’re going after priests who dare to hold services during the shutdown:

In a stunning development, some military priests are facing arrest if they celebrate mass or practice their faith on military bases during the federal government shutdown.

“With the government shutdown, many [government service] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” wrote John Schlageter, the general counsel for the Archdiocese for the Military Services USA, in an op-ed this week. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”

Kansas representative and Army veteran Mike Pompeo (R) is righteously angry:

“The constitutional rights of those who put their lives on the line for this nation do not end with a government slowdown,” Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, a graduate of West Point and an Army veteran, said in a Friday statement. ”It is completely irresponsible for the president to turn his back on every American’s First Amendment rights by furloughing military contract clergy.”

Added Pompeo: “The President’s strategy during the slowdown, just as during the sequestration, is to create as much pain as possible. However, this action crosses a constitutional line of obstructing every U.S. service member’s ability to practice his or her religion.”

I’m not sure I agree with Pompeo’s 1st amendment argument; if there are Catholic churches near the bases, the soldiers can simply be given leave time. Also, while unusual, it is possible to hold a limited service without a priest present. Confession and absolution would be dicier, I imagine, and I’d can’t imagine they’d dare try to arrest a priest there to perform the Anointing of the Sick. But, at a minimum, Catholic personnel are probably feeling a bit picked on. (The article doesn’t say if the same restrictions are being applied to ministers and rabbis.)

But, as with the fiasco over the veterans and access to monuments, you have to ask what is going through the heads of people in the administration who gave this order. The optics are awful enough when the government, in effect, says “Your spiritual well-being is non-essential,” but to say no even to priests who offer to work for free? Really? The Republicans should send Team Unicorn a thank-you card; the campaign commercials on this would be just brutal.

All they need now to complete this is for Harry Reid to issue another one of his caring, empathetic, milk-of-human-kindness statements.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Unreal: Park Service threatens to arrest WWII vets who try to visit their memorial

**Posted by Phineas

'You're not welcome."

“Unwelcome.”

So, you’ve heard the story today about the group of World War II veterans who had to break through barriers deliberately placed there by the Obama administration as part of its game-playing over the Democrat-forced government shutdown. It’s bad enough that they were deliberately inconveniencing 80-90 year old men who honorably served their country. I thought that was pretty low. And I was right, but I didn’t think they could sink any lower.

Well, they did. A group of veterans scheduled for an Honor Flight next week have been threatened with arrest if they try to visit the memorial that was erected in their honor:

Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio has a trip scheduled to depart from Toledo next Wednesday, October 9.

“We will make the call this Friday to determine if the flight is still a go, or if we will have to re-schedule,” Armstrong explains.

He says they are considering going ahead with the trip even if the government is still on shutdown, but when he called the parks service, he was told they would face arrest.

Armstrong says, “I said, are you kidding me? You’re going to arrest a 90/91-year-old veteran from seeing his memorial? If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be there. She said, ‘That’s correct sir.'”

When he asked for her name, he says she did not give it to him and then promptly hung up the phone.

Think about this for a moment: these men and their buddies crossed the Atlantic to fight their way from Morocco to Italy. They stormed the beaches of Normandy, liberated France, and and invaded Germany to grind the Nazis into the dirt. They crossed the Pacific and fought the Japanese island by bloody island and in some of the greatest naval battles of human history, and stood ready to invade Japan, itself. They, along with our British and Russian allies, saved the world. Let me repeat that.

They. Saved. The. World.

They did more good in those three years of war than Barack Obama, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi will ever do — in their lives.

And now they’re threatened with arrest if they dare to roll their wheelchairs onto the grounds of their memorial?

Someone needs some sense slapped into them.

Moe Lane at Red State:

…the WWII Memorial does not have a permanent security presence, which means that there is actually no valid, ethical reason why the Obama administration could presume to shut it down for the public. Not that the administration actually needs one. So they proactively locked down a previously-open national monument, and then presumed to tell the men whose sacrifice it honored that those men were not welcome at that place.

Never forget this moment. This is how Barack Obama acts, when challenged or resisted. He acts ugly, and mean-spirited, and shabby.

In other words, once a punk, always a punk.

“Disgusted” doesn’t half-cover how I feel right now.

via Stephen Hayes

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

How low can they go? Obama admin. blocked WWII vets from visiting their own memorial

**Posted by Phineas

"First they stormed Normandy, then their own memorial"

“First they stormed Normandy, then their own memorial”

Pretty danged low, apparently.

When I first read about a group of WWII veterans having to push past barriers in order to visit the World War II memorial, closed supposedly as part of the Democrat shutdown of the government, I figured it was one of those snafus one hears all too often about when the subject of bureaucracy comes up. Annoying, infuriating, and disrespectful toward our veterans, but still unintentional.

What a naive fool I am.

According to Representative Steven Palazzo (R-MS), whose special projects these Honor Flights have been, he contacted the Park Service, the Interior Department, the Capitol Police, and even the White House to get access for these veterans to a memorial built to honor them.

They all said “no:”

“We got the heads up that they will be barricaded and specifically asked for an exception for these heroes,” Palazzo told TheDC. “We were denied and told, ‘It’s a government shutdown, what do you expect?’ when we contacted the liaison for the White House.”

Palazzo’s office was in touch with the heads of the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior and the Capitol Police. He says all these officials rejected his request to allow the veterans, many of whom are octogenarians and some of whom are in poor health, to attend.

Palazzo, a Gulf War Marine veteran who has participated in all five of the Honor Flights, blames the White House for making it harder on veterans and playing politics. “At first I thought it was a huge bureaucratic oversight,” Palazzo told The Daily Caller, “but having talked with the officials I can’t help but think this was politically motivated. Honor Flights, which bring WWII veterans to the nation’s memorials, are planned a year in advance and cost anywhere between $80,000 to $100,000. How low can you get with playing politics over our nation’s veterans?”

In Chicago on the Potomac, you can get very, very low.

What a disgrace.

via McKay Coppins

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

WWII veterans push through #HarryReidsShutdown barricade to visit WWII memorial

Probably one of the most awesome stories you’ll read … EVER.  First heard about it on Leo Shane III’s Twitter feed. Here’s his full story – via Stars and Stripes:

WASHINGTON — Wheelchair-bound elderly veterans pushed aside barricades to tour the World War II Memorial Tuesday morning, in defiance of the government shutdown which closed all of the memorials in the nation’s capital.

The four bus loads of veterans — visiting from Mississippi as part of a once-in-a-lifetime Honor Flight tour — ignored National Park Police instructions not to enter the site as lawmakers and tourists cheered them on.

“We didn’t come this far not to get in,” one veteran proclaimed.

The scene was both emotional and comical at once. After it was clear they had lost control of the situation, Park Police officials stood aside, telling press that they had “asked for guidance on how to respond” to the breach of security.

As 80-something veterans slowly walked around the massive war memorial, Park Police stood quietly to the side, advising other tourists that the site was technically still closed. But they made no moves to stop the wishes of the war heroes.

Also cool is how some members of Congress helped our Greatest Generation with their plan to not let the barricades deter them:

As Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, distracted a Park Police representative, other lawmakers and their staff helped topple the metal fences. A bagpiper on hand for the event led the men past the crowd and into the heart of the memorial, attracting a large, applauding crowd.

Love it!!  This is just the kind of news we need after weeks of back and forth yelling and bickering over something easily resolvable if the Senate would simply stop playing politics. God bless our veterans!

Govt shutdown

Not for WWII veterans they aren’t! Click the link for more pictures.
(Photo via Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

 

(Video) You really ought to go home

**Posted by Phineas

An interesting edition of Afterburner. Bill Whittle talks about a recent incident in which an American F-22 suggested that the pilot of an Iranian fighter “ought to go home” and then ties it to two well-known politicians who, themselves, should to do the same:

That Obama canceled the F-22 should surprise no one; cutting military spending regardless of strategic needs is par for the course for someone of his political stripe, someone who believes that American power causes problems in the world. It’s who he is.

But John McCain? It’s sad to say about someone whose service to his country was genuinely admirable, but, as also demonstrated by his uncritical enthusiasm for intervening in Libya and Syria, his reasons for ending the F-22 program show that whatever judgment he may have possessed is gone, and he himself has descended into a vain, old fool.

You really ought to go home, Senator.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The day we almost nuked North Carolina

**Posted by Phineas

nuclear-explosion

Well, this is reassuring: In 1961, a nuclear-armed B-52 breaks up over Goldsboro, North Carolina, and in the process releases two 4-megaton H-bombs, one of which nearly detonated:

The accident happened when a B-52 bomber got into trouble, having embarked from Seymour Johnson Air Force base in Goldsboro for a routine flight along the East Coast. As it went into a tailspin, the hydrogen bombs it was carrying became separated. One fell into a field near Faro, North Carolina, its parachute draped in the branches of a tree; the other plummeted into a meadow off Big Daddy’s Road.

Jones found that of the four safety mechanisms in the Faro bomb, designed to prevent unintended detonation, three failed to operate properly. When the bomb hit the ground, a firing signal was sent to the nuclear core of the device, and it was only that final, highly vulnerable switch that averted calamity. “The MK 39 Mod 2 bomb did not possess adequate safety for the airborne alert role in the B-52,” Jones concludes.

I’d say that’s an understatement, wouldn’t you?

According to the writer of the original report on the incident, Parker Jones, there were over 700 “significant incidents” between 1950 and 1968.

Sleep well!

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The Washington Navy Yard murder rampage: Prayers for the victims, their families

My apologies for not posting this sooner.  Had a crammed full day today.  Via the NYT:

WASHINGTON — At least 13 people, including one gunman, were killed, and the police were looking for other potential suspects, in a shooting Monday morning at a naval office building not far from Capitol Hill and the White House, police officials said.

One police officer was in surgery after being shot in an exchange of fire with a gunman, said Chief Cathy L. Lanier of the Metropolitan Police Department. The shootings took place at the Washington Navy Yard, in the southeast part of the city.

Senior law enforcement officials identified the gunman as Aaron Alexis, 34. He was identified through his fingerprints.

According to the Navy, Mr. Alexis enlisted as a full-time reservist in May 2007 and left the service in January 2011. He served as an aviation electrician, and the highest rank he achieved was mate third class. From February 2008 to January 2011, he was assigned to Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 46, in Fort Worth.

The Navy said Mr. Alexis had been awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

Shortly after 4 p.m., the F.B.I. released a “Seeking Information” bulletin asking for the public’s help in learning more about Mr. Alexis. The bulletin, which had two photographs of Mr. Alexis, said he was 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighed 190 pounds and was born in Queens.

Valerie Parlave, the assistant director of the Washington field office of the F.B.I., urged members of the public to look at pictures of Mr. Alexis on the F.B.I. Web site and to call with any information they might have about him.

“No piece of information is too small,” she said. “We are looking to learn everything we can about his recent movements, his contacts and his associates. We ask the public to look at the photos of the deceased shooter.”

Three weapons were found on the gunman: an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a semiautomatic pistol, an official said.

“It’s hard to carry that many guns, so there is some thinking that he may have taken some of them from security or whoever else he shot,” the official said.

When loved ones join the military, you expect that if they are injured or killed it will be in the line of action and from the enemy, not deliberately from a fellow soldier, and certainly not on US soil.  While the predictable left and some of their allies in the mainstream media are busy trying to find a link between the now-dead gunman and a Sean Hannity book, please keep the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers tonight.   Their pain must be unbearable. May God surround them and provide them with a measure of comfort in the agonizing days, weeks, and months ahead.

Photo via Reuters

September 16, 2013: Police block off the M Street, SE,
as they respond to the shooting.
(Photo via Reuters)