Posts tagged ‘Veterans’

October 27, 2012

Leaks, Lies, Libya…Lack of Leadership

by lewwaters

Please visit Special Operations Speaks and help this message get out.

Time is short to save our country.

October 24, 2012

Legendary Horse Whisperer Monty Roberts Helping Veterans

by lewwaters

There’s a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to its absolute peak and maximum. In the First World War, that condition was called shell shock. Then a whole generation went by and the Second World War came along and very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison Avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called operational exhaustion. Then of course, came the war in Viet Nam…, the very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. I’ll bet you if we’d of still been calling it shell shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time.” George Carlin – 1990 “Euphemisms”

Monty Roberts

George Carlin was well known for his biting humor and as in the words above, often injected social awareness. While I can’t say his words would have changed anything, he did show that society was finally coming to grips with the fact that they owed Veterans something, especially those suffering from PTSD and experiencing problems readjusting back into a peaceful civilian life.

Unlike when those of my generation and before returned from our wars, programs and treatments to help those Veterans are becoming more and more available. Knowing that when dealing with something like PTSD there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all,’ we are seeing several different approaches, all showing results to help the Veteran overcome their wartime trauma.

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September 27, 2012

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Fireworks

by lewwaters

For being such a young country, America is steeped in tradition and most Americans despise giving them up. Americans enjoy their traditions and celebration and at one time, stood up for them against any who would seek to destroy any of those.

Can you recall the outrage across America when there was a Baseball Strike and no games? Have you listened as we are told that eating hot dogs are bad for us? Would you stand for a ban on Mom’s Apple Pie?

No, like other Americans, you would strongly oppose any such banning of a favorite pass time for most Americans.

But curiously, another long held tradition has been slowly chipped away at and even outright banned in some regions and Americans remains silent, obediently falling in line and doing as they are told. Celebrating our Independence from Britain with our own fireworks is dying before our very eyes as municipalities and busybodies who don’t like them convince people they are better off giving up the long held tradition and allowing their elected leaders to show them such displays, provided you can handle the crowds or even get into whatever venue they are set off at.

Our own community has a long proud tradition of fireworks and at one time was used both for Independence Day and New Years, joining World Leaders from before America was founded in celebrating important events with fireworks.

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August 15, 2012

Veterans: Standing Up For the Troops and America

by lewwaters

The 2004 elections saw what can happen when retired Veterans band together to expose one of their own standing on a false image as a hero when they are anything but. We know them as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, later changed to the Swift boat Veterans and POWs for truth as a group of dedicated former Prisoners of war joined them to expose Massachusetts then junior Senator, John F’in Kerry, noted for bugging out of Vietnam after a brief time in country, fabricating as much as he could for a chest full of unearned medals to stand on for future political causes.

In spite of continual criticisms, attacks and demeaning coverage from the Jurassic Media and false allegations of being a Republican front group, the guys prevailed in exposing Kerry for the poseur he is and for his anti-military antics in the early 1970’s, including a lengthy so-called testimony before the Fulbright Commission where he lied through his teeth about our efforts in Vietnam, throwing Vietnam Veterans under the bus. Vietnam Veterans who returned the favor in 2004 by opposing his candidacy by as high as 80% of us.

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July 30, 2012

Clackamas Town Center Rethinks Banning American Flag

by lewwaters

To say people were shocked to hear that a major shopping Mall, Clackamas Town Center in Oregon, had informed the operator of a Kiddie Train that he must remove the American Flag he had placed on the train, due to it being “against policy” would be a gross understatement. To think that a local and popular shopping venue would jump on the bandwagon of anti-American flag hysteria was not only unthinkable, but caused a huge uproar in both Oregon and Southwest Washington, from where many drive the 20 miles or more to shop and dine at mall establishments.

A KATU-News Report posted on Sunday, July 29, 2012 told us that Thomas Phelps, manager of the children’s train at the mall, said he was “being forced to remove flags that he uses to decorate the train ride.” Phelps, a Vietnam Veteran, was told displaying the flag was “unapproved visuals.”

I am left to ponder just when did the flag of our nation that has proudly flown and carried into many battles fighting for freedom and liberty around the world become an “unapproved visual” in America?

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July 5, 2012

Cruise-in Fundraiser for the Clark County Veterans Therapeutic Court

by lewwaters

The itsy-bitsy spider Climbed up the water spout Down came the rain And washed the spider out
Out came the sun And dried up all the rain And the itsy-bitsy spider Climbed up the spout again

As we get older and our children have grown and began families of their own, we tend to forget little things we heard from our parents to teach us how to handle our own adulthood. We use them for our own small children, but once they are grown and gone, little lullaby’s like above seem to slip from our minds.

Perhaps you’re wondering just what a children’s lullaby has to do with the Clark County Veterans Court Board or feel lullaby’s have no place in dealing with troubled Veterans, but this one does.

It provides a very simple message to all of us, “don’t give up.”

Those few Veterans experiencing trouble readjusting and the community both need to remember to never give up on each other. Veterans, don’t give up on yourselves either.

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July 4, 2012

The Shame of America, Homeless Veterans

by lewwaters

Once again, we celebrate our Independence from Britain over 200 years ago. We will enjoy backyard barbecues, community picnics, fireworks displays or just a pleasant time enjoying friends and family, many people receiving the day off from work. We’ll hear speeches and thanks given out for why we are a free country, those few throughout our history who have stood in the fire to fight for and protect our freedoms.

Tomorrow, everything will return to normal, though. Forgotten by all too many will be the fleeting words of praise given to Veterans of all past wars as people return to business as usual and Veterans will be shoved off into the back corners of people’s minds until the next time a holiday rolls around and some politician feels they need to score a few points.

All too many really don’t care very much about the sacrifices of our Veterans and this can be readily seen in politicians and our media, who sees Veterans as little more than props to score points against an opponent or to sell newspapers or build ratings by flashy reports.

We claim deep respect and admiration for our Veterans and Military and many individuals actually do hold deep respect for them. But, all too many do not. To many we are little more than tools to promote their agenda. To others, we are damaged and something to be fearful of, afraid we may “go off” at any time.

I covered part of this years ago in the posts Veterans, Warriors and Heroes, not Victims and America’s Veterans, A Better Breed.

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July 1, 2012

Liz Pike, Ready to Restore Washington State

by lewwaters

The 18th Legislative District has been a strong Republican district for a long time. It is noted for electing strong conservative Republicans like Joe Zarelli, Ann Rivers and Ed Orcutt.

The recent redistricting saw Democrats licking their chops in hopes they might gain a foothold with Orcutt being districted out. Enter Liz Pike, a long time Republican who wants to see the 18th remain in the GOP’s hands and is facing two before unheard of Democrats, David Shehorn, retired computer systems worker and Ryan Gompertz, barely out of High School and studying history and economics at UW.

Neither Democrat has any political experience to speak of other than volunteer work with the party.

Liz Pike, on the other hand, comes with the experience of running for and winning an election to serve the community on the Camas City Council, as well as owning her own small business, Pike Advertising Agency.

She currently serves as Political Affairs Director for the Building Industry Association of Clark County as well and true to her roots growing up on a Clark County Dairy Farm, operates Shangri-La Farm, a small scale sustainable farm in Fern Prairie. She also was a volunteer co-organizer for the Washougal Farmers’ Market as well as an avid promoter of the “buy local, slow food” movement and more.

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June 28, 2012

The Columbian Perpetuates the Myth of the “Deranged Veteran”

by lewwaters

Once again, as we approach another Independence Day celebration, we see the usual slate of fireworks haters writing letters to the editor, speaking before city council demanding the long held tradition of citizens using fireworks to celebrate the day be banned within the city.

As I have previously noted, such a ban is ill-advised and unenforceable, but that doesn’t stop the haters from trumping up their yearly hyperbole of Battle Zone, Armageddon and what have you.

That we are currently in a compromise worked out with the haters a few years ago is of no consequence to them as they now demand yet another compromise, a tactic of incremental compromises until they get their way and the responsible citizens lose their tradition.

As also noted before, responsible users are who will lose out, those few pinheads who opt to buy illegal firework already banned will just continue to buy them from the Indian Reservations, setting them off at will, ban or no ban.

We have seen warnings for years of scaring pets, burning down homes, injuries to children and more hype, even though the newspaper of record, the Columbian has reported the last two years in a row that incidents from fireworks have shown a decrease each year respectively.

But that isn’t good enough for the haters who continue to demand a full ban, many being recent transplants from other regions that came here to escape those regions and now strive to recreate the very region they fled.

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June 28, 2012

Supreme Court Dishonors Veterans: Upholds Stolen Valor Act as Unconstitutional

by lewwaters

As if the Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare as constitutional, mandating America citizens be forced to purchase health insurance, they slapped the honor of Veterans who have fought for and defended the freedoms and liberties of American citizens since our founding.

In yet another stunningly surprise ruling, the court ruled in a 6 to 3 decision that “the government does not have the power to punish people for making false claims regarding military service or honors.”

The government has the right to force Americans to purchase expensive health insurance or be fined, but cannot prosecute those who lie and steal the valor of honorable Veterans by falsely claiming receiving Medals of Valor awarded to Heroes for conspicuous gallantry in battle?

Free speech advocates are praising the decision, but since when does free speech give anyone a right to steal the valor of true Heroes?

We have long acknowledged that free speech has its limits, such as yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.

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June 11, 2012

Here Come The Fireworks Grabbers

by lewwaters

Here we go again, the regular hype associated with Independence Day from those who hate seeing people enjoy themselves with fireworks. To be sure, fireworks are loud and can be dangerous, if improperly handled and we have seen no shortage of pinheads over the years acting irresponsibly.

Fortunately, the pinheads have been decreasing as noted in past Columbian articles Fireworks posed fewer problems for officials in 2010 and Fourth of July fallout fairly minimal in 2011.

But that isn’t good enough as there are those who want a total and complete ban on any sort of fireworks, even the so-called “Safe and Sane” fireworks which, let’s face it, are boring as all hell and not enjoyable.

I find it quite odd that there are those who stand strongly on personal freedoms and the second amendment rights of all Americans, yet they join in the call to ban those same people from enjoying their long held freedom to celebrate our 4th of July Independence Day with fireworks, if they so choose.

How they go from “my cold, dead hands” when it comes to their gun ownership to telling others they must not celebrate our Independence Day as it was intended is beyond me.

John Adams, who was to become our second President of the newly formed Republic, wrote to his wife on July 3, 1776, “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. . . . It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, and Illuminations (fireworks) from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

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April 19, 2012

4th of July and Fireworks: Patriots, Fun Seekers and Pinheads

by lewwaters

The annual 4th of July celebration of our Independence from Britain will be here in just over 2 months. Along with that will come the fireworks set off by the city, along with the sales of private fireworks that will be set off all around the county. People of all sorts, fun seekers from all over Clark County and Portland, Patriots hoping to honor the birth of our nation and undoubtedly the pinheads who don’t have a lick of common sense in the use of simple fireworks will be hitting the various fireworks stands spending obscene amounts of money to purchase them.

The purchases also give the city and county a revenue boost from the sales.

Along with that will come the usual Letters to the Editor condemning private fireworks, complaining about the noise, lack of courtesy of the pinheads who don’t have the sense to use them, effects on Veterans, animals, children, the elderly, what have you, the complaints will flow just as they have for years.

The Vancouver City Council held a workshop on March 5, 2012 where the discussion centered on, “considering further restrictions on sales and use days, eliminating sales of aerial and other more dangerous fireworks, or a possible multiyear phase-out to a total ban,” moving the city closer to Portland, Oregon’s limitations to the use of only “safe and sane” fireworks, if not an outright ban.

City council members are receiving letters and emails urging bans on our use of fireworks, much like was posted in the Columbian’s All Politics is Local last year, as seen here and here.

Each article is met with those opposing further restrictions and bans in the comments underneath.

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April 14, 2012

Joe Galloway & Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, 2012 Salute To Vietnam Veterans

by lewwaters

Speeches made by Joe Galloway (We Were Soldiers) & Gen. Anthony C. Zinni (USMC Ret.) at the March 8, 2012 Salute to Vietnam Veterans held in San Francisco.

Joe Galloway

Gen. Zinni

Be proud of your service. We owe no one an apology for our serving!

Welcome Home, Brothers & Sisters.

June 8, 2011

Delta Airlines Gives Themselves a Blackeye

by lewwaters

The soldiers will be reimbursed, but Delta needs to do more than just say sorry.

December 25, 2010

A Soldier’s Christmas Poem

by lewwaters

For all who have served or are currently serving, especially those who might be far from home, or have missed having holidays with their families.

Have tissues on hand.

As Christmas draws to a close, please remember those far from home and their families.

July 6, 2010

“I Fought for You!”

by lewwaters

Our men and women serving in the Military sacrifice much so we may have the freedoms we enjoy today and some take for granted. May we never forget those who “Fought for Us!”

February 28, 2010

Memorial Service Held For Canada’s Last World War One Veteran

by lewwaters

John Babcock, Canada’s last soldier from World War I died in Spokane, Washington this week at the age of 109. He had lived in Spokane since 1932.

“He captured the spirit of adventure. Jack was a part of that generation who went forward with great courage,” said Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of the defense staff for Canadian Forces.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper added, “John Babcock was Canada’s last living link to the Great War, which in so many ways marked our coming of age as a nation.”

Expressing sorrow at the passing of generation of Canadian soldiers, Harper added, “Canada mourns the passing of the generation that asserted our independence on the world stage and established our international reputation as an unwavering champion of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

Read more HERE

As mentioned in the article, there is one North American World War One Veteran remaining, Frank Woodruff Buckles, 109, of West Virginia.

May 24, 2009

What Demons Lurk Within John Laird?

by lewwaters

John LairdIn his weekly tirade, Columbian Editorial Page Editor John Laird makes an attempt at a Memorial Day tribute, sans the usual anti-Republican vitriol.

For veterans, some demons never die

Laird does pay a touching tribute to his now deceased older brother, also a fellow Viet Nam Veteran. But, he also seems to display the usual misunderstanding the general public has towards not only Viet Nam Veterans, but also Veterans in general.

Much of this I discussed a while ago in another post, Veterans, Warriors and Heroes, not Victims.

Laird discusses how his brother came home and would not talk about the war, much like many others. I do not presume to speak for his brother, but as a Viet Nam Veteran myself, do have some knowledge of this matter.

Many of us would not discuss it for a variety of reasons, some because we felt no one wanted to listen. We also saw the portrayal of us in the media, TV, movies and often in person and it was not who we were and we did not wish to be associated with that misrepresentation.

Apparently forgotten by Laird is that we are so far the only returning Veterans to face the scorn of the nation, spit at and largely demonized, until they decided we were merely hapless victims of Republican Politicians, ignoring that it was Democrat Politicians who deeply involved us in that war in the first place.

Some had memories too harsh to recall and tried to bury them, as in every other war.

Most tried to simply blend back in and resume their lives before Viet Nam, hiding from the scorn the nation threw our way. Laird’s brother undoubtedly fell into one of these and chose to remain silent.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones in that regard as I chose to remain in the U.S. Army after Viet Nam and was not subjected to as much public vitriol as did many others, having served in Germany until after our involvement in Viet Nam ended in 1973.

Somewhere in all this, John formed in his mind a middle ground between our fallen we memorialize on Memorial Day and all Veterans we honor on Veterans Day. A group of “military veterans who survived combat but whose lives are shortened by the lingering, horrific impacts of fighting in defense of America.

I suspect his attempt is sincere, but misguided as he says, “All across Clark County, there are people whose lives have been physically, emotionally or psychologically wounded by war. Their scars are visible as well as hidden, intermittent and incessant, diagnosed and treated but also self-suppressed and festering.

Why does he not include those who are also proud of their service and defense of America? Does it ever occur to him that his own constant drone against the Bush administrations prosecution of this war contributes to Veterans “self-suppressed and festering” emotional wounds?

Perhaps he is attempting to hide his own guilt towards his brother, as he also says how he stopped asking when John never accepted invitations to go fishing. Perhaps John’s brother would have taken those quiet moments to openly discuss pent up emotions with John and since John turned down the invitations, just clammed up like many others, feeling no one wanted to listen to us.

Most disconcerting is when he states, “Millions of veterans still fight demons they could not jettison back in the war zones.

All sorts of people fight demons lurking within them. Crime victims, abuse victims, guilt ridden and nearly every category you can imagine can imbed those “demons” deep within ones mind.

John’s choice of “Millions of veterans” is all too reminiscent of the words of failed presidential candidate, John ‘F’in Kerry in 1971 when he said, “The country doesn’t know it yet, but it has created a monster, a monster in the form of millions of men who have been taught to deal and to trade in violence…..

No John, we Veterans are just ordinary citizens who had to perform extraordinary tasks because of our belief that America should remain free and are willing to fight to retain that freedom.

This brings us back to John Laird and just what demons is he fighting? Considering his own weekly vitriol expressed towards Republicans and conservative causes and values, just what drives him if not also his own demons?

Guilt over is brother? Perhaps feelings of shortcomings for not having stood up as his brother did? Whatever they may be only he knows, but they show in his writing and expressions of misgivings towards those he disagrees with.

Perhaps what is really needed is a middle space for newspaper editors who don’t understand themselves why they hate opposing views so deeply.

November 9, 2008

Is This How The Columbian Honors Veterans?

by lewwaters

Army Medics

Army Medics

Yesterday saw our annual Veterans Day Parade through Officer’s Row. A rainy day, umbrellas rivaled flags as the parade made its way through Officer’s Row past those who braved the weather to give Honors to our nations Veterans.

Tom Voght presents us with a very uplifting account of how the estate of Frank and JoAnne Lough has given the Vancouver National Historic Reserve Trust over $1 Million to help “fund the annual Celebrate Freedom Veterans Day Parade and support educational programs at the Pearson Air Museum.”

Vancouver will benefit for many years from their final act of such generosity.

Moving ahead, today’s Columbian also sports a headline of Salute To Service, highlighting an 84 year-old World War Two Veteran Medic who rode in yesterday’s parade.

Isolde Raftery tells us that former Pfc Richard Mathews “vivid memories of wartime France haven’t faded in 44 years,” before letting us know the all-important quip of, “[he] won’t divulge how much Cognac he drank when he was a young medic.”

After enlightening us with Mr. Matthews 5 mile hike to Normandy and on to Cologne, Germany, trading K and C rations Chocolate along the way, Raftery again reminds us that “perhaps,” Mr. Mathews traded for “a half barrel of Cognac as well.”

While I wasn’t present for the “interview,” surely Raftery must know that Military Medics during War perform other duties than to imbibe Cognac.

As a Veteran myself, I too consumed probably more alcohol than I should have, if back at Base Camp after duty hours. Never during duty hours or if standing Perimeter Guard. Mr. Mathews says pretty much the same, that “he tipped back his canteen cup after duty only.”

Perhaps Raftery attempted to give a light-hearted view of Mr. Mathews Service, which undoubtedly included many cases of at least helping to save the lives of our Brave Warriors, either on the Battlefield or even if at a Tent Hospital in the rear.

Army Medics are at the front in saving the lives of our Fighting People, they are the first responders to battle and many a Veteran owes their life to them. Even veterans who weren’t Combat Troops and who were in “the rear with the gear,” depended on Medics for treatment that doctors could not always get to right away or were of a more minor variety.

Have we become so desensitized to our veterans that we now see focusing on how much Cognac one might have consumed during a war as a “Salute to Service?”

Do we not see that it was these Brave people, back then and even today, that are placed between our enemies and us in order to protect America so we don’t have to face what they and citizens of countries ruled by despots do?

From this Veteran to Mr. Mathews, thank you, sir. Thank you for being one of those who gave me a safe country to grow up in. Thank you for all the freedoms and liberties I have enjoyed over the past 60 years. Thank you for the possibility that it might have been you that helped save my own fathers life during WW2, otherwise I wouldn’t have even been born to enjoy the greatest freedoms and liberties known to mankind.

To all Veterans, Thank You, Welcome Home.