U.S. military leaders are among thousands who have joined in a tribute to World War II’s Doolittle Raiders, the World War II airmen whose daring bombing attack on Japan helped boost American morale.
A flyover by five B-25 bombers helped cap a Saturday memorial service in which a wreath was placed at the Doolittle Raider monument outside the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton in southwest Ohio.
Three of the four surviving Raiders plan a final ceremonial toast to fallen comrades Saturday evening. The fourth couldn’t travel because of health issues.
Commander James “Jimmy” Doolittle commanded the daring mission credited with throwing the Japanese off balance after a string of military successes.
Today, it’s another Independence Day. I’ll bring my flag to the fireworks in my town tonight and wave it. I’ll stand for the presentation of the colors and our national anthem.
I’m a proud, loyal American. Of course I love my country; I was born here and I live here. But I’ve been more and more disturbed of late by the militarism and now outright jingoism that has spread almost everywhere, not only amongst my conservative friends, but on Facebook, public officials and everywhere.
A visitor to America can be forgiven for thinking that not only do we have three national anthems, but our veterans have three holidays: Veteran’s Day (the original Armistice Day, “the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month…”), Memorial Day and now Independence Day.
I know many conservatives who say “Freedom is not Free”. Of those, I can count on one hand those that have actually served their country in uniform. A few of those have actually “seen the elephant” (they were in or witnessed combat) and one of those, a dear colleague, was a former prisoner of war.
Those that saw the elephant don’t talk a lot about their experiences; I don’t pry. They also don’t make a great deal about their service.
The 4th of July has become an opportunity for the jingoists to be loud about the flag and the military. Freedom is not Free. Love it or Leave it. If You Don’t Like It, Move.
(The “right to leave” becomes in short order, the duty to leave or the obligation to leave. That has worked out well in history.)
I am a fifty-year old guy with multiple disabilities, a proud and loyal American who nevertheless never could have served. I don’t hate our soldiers, how could I? But I have come to hate the insinuation that perhaps because I have not served, I am less of a citizen. And I should give my due and my vote to those who have served.
If it were really a matter of supporting our troops, Democrats and Republicans would be fighting each other over who could make the largest appropriations to the VA and our soldiers’ medical needs. They would fight to see who could help the personnel budget more, and they would be fighting mad that there are troops needing food stamps.
But instead, our soldiers are great props upon pedestals that we make for them today. So many of my Facebook friends would like a military dictatorship in America; the fantasies of such are all over the net. If one thinks I hate our soldiers now, just wait until they get mixed up into politics. Especially local politics. Believe you me, the wingnuts would love the idea of military government until the day they have to live under it.
I’m hoping for a future where I can love my country without having to salute for it.
The Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law, reports that 650,000 same-sex couples live in the United States and about 13 percent of those relationships include a veteran. The institute said it’s unknown how many of those estimated 85,000 relationships involve marriages. A dozen states and the District of Columbia allow gay marriage.
Same-sex spouses of military veterans now will be able to get help with college tuition and can be buried in a national cemetery. They also can get a monthly indemnity payment that compensates them for the death of the veteran. Meanwhile, veterans receive enhanced disability compensation for their injuries if they’re married, generally amounting to several thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime.
But under the Defense of Marriage Act and the law covering Veterans Administration benefits, such extra assistance was unavailable to veterans who were part of a same-sex marriage. That all changed with the Supreme Court ruling Wednesday.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., has introduced legislation that would liberalize the definition of spouse to include anyone whose marriage is considered valid in the state where it occurred.
After the court’s decision, Shaheen wrote letters to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki saying she hoped policies that “discriminate against loving, same-sex couples will no longer be enforced.”
“The sooner people can access benefits that should be available to them, the better for them and their families,” she said.
Testifying last month at a Senate hearing, the VA said it supported exempting the department from the Defense of Marriage Act, and that it supported the Shaheen bill.
In case anyone is wondering what these couples are potentially missing out on…
The financial gain from the Supreme Court’s decision could be significant for some veterans. For example, a veteran considered 100 percent disabled gets VA compensation amounting to $2,816 a month. A similarly disabled veteran with a spouse gets $2,973 — a difference of nearly $1,900 annually. In another example, a spouse of a veteran who died as a result of injuries or illness incurred while on active duty is eligible to receive at least $1,195 a month in indemnity compensation.
Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans can transfer to their spouse or children their unused educational benefits. The VA will pay the in-state tuition rates and fees for veterans attending public schools and up to $17,500 for veterans attending private schools.
Waaah, we all thought, Tammy Duckworth will not have Joe Walsh to kick around with her awesome robot feet anymore. But it turns out that is quite all right! Tammy Duckworth is finding new asses to kick EVERY DAY! Take, for instance, this “disabled” “veteran,” who used his “disabled” “veteran” status to get SO MANY MILLIONS of IRS contracts! And what was his disability? A football injury from prep school. Oh dear.
Read more at wonkette.com
WATCH THE VIDEO!
“…It goes by different names — Burn Pit disease, Gulf War 2 Syndrome, Iraq and Afghanistan War Lung Injury, Post-Deployment Illness — but what veterans and contract workers who have it, and the small cadre of physician-scientists dedicated to understanding and treating it, agree on is that, like Gulf War Illness, its cause is wartime toxic exposure. An inhalational injury, it attacks the airways and lungs first, and then can wound most every other organ and system. “Burn pits were constant,” Paul Rieckhoff, director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said, and most everyone was exposed to them “sometime during their deployment.” In 2009, the military admitted that as many as 360,000 veterans may have suffered traumatic brain injury, an, in turn, established programs for research and treatment. But about the systemic disease of our recent wars, the brass is admitting — and doing — almost nothing.
Thousands of sick veterans trace their illness to the burn pits, which the military as well as their contractors KBR and Halliburton used — instead of closed incinerators — to process garbage on US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq. Acres wide and hundreds of feet deep, the open furnaces burned day and night, morphing solid human waste, body parts, blood specimens, plastic water bottles, Styrofoam plates, Humvees, computers and more into black fumes and ash that covered the sky and ground.”
For men and women who have fought in the country’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, death behind the wheel is becoming another lethal aftereffect of combat.
After they leave military service, veterans of the two wars have a 75 percent higher rate of fatal motor vehicle accidents than do civilians. Troops still in uniform have a higher risk of crashing their cars in the months immediately after returning from deployment than in the months immediately before. People who have had multiple tours in combat zones are at highest risk for traffic accidents.
The phenomenon has been revealed by various pieces of evidence — research as well as observations of service members, veterans and counselors.
The most common explanation is that troops bring back driving habits that were lifesaving in war zones but are dangerous on America’s roads. They include racing through intersections, straddling lanes, swerving on bridges and, for some, not wearing seat belts because they hinder a rapid escape.
That’s probably not the whole story, however. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suffered by thousands of veterans, increases aggressive driving. Drunken driving and thrill-seeking also are more common after combat, according to a few studies and the testimony of many veterans.
Do you want a purple band-aid, Mark?
‘It’s hard,’ Sanford said Wednesday of his decision to run, in an interview with the Charleston, S.C., station WCBD-TV. ‘I’m scared to death in human terms. I mean, as I say, I’m a wounded warrior. I’m going to step out as best I can and try and advance ideas that I’ve long believed in. But it’s not without fear and trepidation because you know you’re going to get hit, and you’re going to get hit hard.’
It’s getting ugly out there. Video from KATC Houston:Man Pulls Gun Over Obama Bumper Sticker Fight
Those of us who served in Vietnam have fond memories of the traveling cover bands, usually very good, and their female dancers and singers, also very good and sexy. I saw a quote earlier that although we are now old, at least we got to see the great music groups. I’d include these show people who brought fun into our horny lives in Vietnam.
Cinammon Stillwell is an accomplished reporter. Her mother made this documentary about the entertainers who visited us wherever we were in Vietnam. It is one of a kind, something that to my knowledge has not been documented before. The film does not have an embed, so you have to go to this site to watch it. I know that us Vietnam vets will, and I think others out there will enjoy it and learn something different than many misconceptions.
RIP, Pablo Gutierrez
SILVER CITY, N.M. — Pablo Gutierrez, a lifelong Grant County resident who survived the infamous Bataan Death March during World War II and was among the last surviving members of his New Mexico National Guard unit who made it through the war, has died.
Gutierrez was 93 and died at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City on Dec. 17 after developing respiratory complications and pneumonia, daughter Rosemary Gutierrez said Sunday.
Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., issued a statement calling Gutierrez a true American hero and real family man.
“I am grateful for his service to our country, and for the mark he left on his community.” Pearce said. “The Gutierrez family is in my prayers.”
Born Jan. 25, 1919, in Santa Rita, Gutierrez was in a New Mexico National Guard unit sent to the Philippines in 1941. A Guard history says only half the 1,800 men survived the 1942 battle against the invading Japanese, the Death March after the American surrender and 40 months of captivity. The Death March was a forced six-day march by Japanese captors of 12,000 Americans and more than 66,000 Filipino prisoners across the Bataan peninsula. Thousands died in the march. Some were killed by captors impatient with their progress while others died from a lack of food, water and medical treatment.
Among his military decorations was the Purple Heart.
Gutierrez would not talk about his war experiences, his daughter said, although he regularly attended a Memorial Day service at the Fort Bayard National Cemetery, where he’ll be buried Friday. A small group of Grant County survivors attended the events, although all but Gutierrez had died in recent years. He was hospitalized during this year’s event, but insisted on attending, so doctors arranged for an ambulance to take him.
“He didn’t really like to talk about everything that he went through,” his daughter said. “There’s other people out there that would tell all the stories, but he was a real quiet man about the torture he went through on the Death March.