Veterans Day, 2019

Today’s classic Arlo & Janis comic strip is from Veterans Day, 2009, 10 years ago. For the record, Frank Buckles died in February, 2011. He was 110 years old. Now, we are living in a different era. There are many World War II veterans still living, but a 16-year-old who enlisted in 1945 would be 90 years old this year. My Uncle Kermit, my father’s youngest brother, died not long ago. He was the last of three brothers to pass away and a veteran of World War II and of the Korean War. Uncle Kermit was not a career man. He re-enlisted for Korea, and he once told me that my father, who possessed five battle stars from the European theater, threatened to kill him at the time. As it happened, Uncle Kermit survived both wars and my father’s displeasure to live a long and good life. For his funeral, the family requested a military detail, as was the old veteran’s due. After the service, my cousins and I thanked the young men who were there to represent the services, and we chatted with them briefly, but they were hurrying to their next appointment. Funerals such as my uncle’s were their regular assignment, and they told us they stayed very busy. 

20 thoughts on “Veterans Day, 2019”

  1. Thanks JJ, your Veterans Days comics are always touching, respectful and thought provoking. Your sequence the week of November 11, 1996 still chokes me up and may be your finest work.

  2. My Grandpa joined the Army at the very end of WW 1 and was discharged fairly soon afterward. It did allow him to go to Texas, where he picked up some interesting sayings. He died in 1970, so that was nearly 50 years ago. My Dad was born in 1922 but stayed on the farm. He told me that he wanted to go, but his Dad insisted that he stay to help him out. My Dad wanted to go in order to learn more about electronics and eventually he left farming to go to school and worked for a radio station for 30 years.

    Veterans should be thanked as they were willing to sacrifice it all. They certainly deserved the GI bill and the opportunity to learn a trade. The best way to “Thank” them is to support them in civilian life. For those who came home with PTSD, they must be provided the very best of care.

  3. Trucker [from yesterday evening]. Nice to be able to depend on some natural phenomena, if the undependable natural weather doesn’t interfere.
    Have you tried minima of Algol? Naked eye, easily visible from all N latitudes, predictable to the minute, but distinguishable for about 2 hr. Sky & Telescope publishes data every issue. Fairly easy to show other people.

  4. Jackie tells me that posts on Facebook seem to show much confusion among the general public about which groups are honored by and on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Armed Forces Day. Then there’s the UK’s Remembrance Day (Armistice Day), as well. We should be happy all those groups are being remembered in some way, I suppose.

    The Eufaula Veterans Day Parade is scheduled for downtown at 1300 hours. The forecast is for about 32 degrees with 20 mph winds from the north. Jackie allowed as how they might have to cancel it due to the weather. I allowed that if they did, any veterans of the Korean War’s Battle of Chosin Reservoir would surely get a chuckle out of that.

  5. Last night, totally by accident, I found a photo of my Dad on one of my computers. In the photo, he was raking leaves. My Mom made it on November 11, 2002, almost two years before he passed away in August of 2004.
    My best friend’s mom (I considered her my “third Granny”) passed away on November 11, 2004.
    When my Dad’s younger brother was an infant, he fell seriously ill with what was believed to be the Spanish flu, and he was not expected to survive. Their country doctor came by to check on him one day and announced that “his fever has broken”, and that he would likely live.* At that moment, the family was amazed to hear all the church bells in the area begin to peal. That was in November of 1918, and word of the Armistice had just reached their community.
    *He did, and he lived to serve in the US Army in Europe in WWII.

  6. For more than a decade, ROTC cadets at the University of Virginia have held a 24-hour vigil each Veterans Day that concludes with a 21-gun salute to those who’ve served. This year, however, the university’s president announced that the tradition will not be observed. Because “gun violence”. Apparently there was concern that some students might be “triggered” (no pun intended) by hearing loud noises on campus…even though that has not seemed to be an issue the past ten years. A “solution” in search of a problem, perhaps?

    • According to the local ABC news affiliate WHSV, the annual ceremony “marks the conclusion of a 24-hour vigil by ROTC cadets and has included the 21-gun salute for more than a decade,” but the decision to nix the salute was made by the provost’s office in conjunction with the colonel of UVA’s ROTC program. This makes it sound like the University President did not make the decision, but went along with it. I find it hard to believe that the ROTC leader would cancel it without pressure from school admin though.

    • Perhaps the tradition needs to be more widely publicized, both the reason for it and its timing. Keep in mind that today’s college students have been unwilling participants in “active shooter drills” since they were in kindergarten. Even when you’re the adult in the room and you know they’re drills, they can be disconcerting – I can believe that hearing gunshots when you don’t expect them would be unnerving to say the least.

  7. emb: I’ll have to add Algol a try tonight if the sky cooperates. The fact that it’s so wonderfully predictable and a naked-eye experience means I need to add it to my list of crowd pleasers. This time of year I have, because I only have a 102 mm refractor, been showing folks the Orion nebula and the Pleiades. And, of course, the brighter planets and the moon.

    Ghost: I do believe Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave.

  8. Side,
    I served under several BSU presidents, & picked up info on other presidents and CEOs at Cornell, U Mich., & other colleges and seminaries, a local hospital, & certain businesses. Oh, and some school principals, abbesses, bishops, archbishops, and other presiding clergy & “religious,” plus “leaders” in the US military, particularly USAF. Your 21-gun salute canceller seems about average.
    There are more extreme examples, both ways, among our republic’s forty-some, but we’d best not go there.

  9. It is fitting that Armistice Day falls on Veteran’s Day this year. that is a day
    that should not have been “Monderized” – It is a significant date.
    When I was a kid there were still Civil War Veterans living.
    When I was in the Army there were still a couple of men that served in WWI in our Battalion.

  10. Veteran’s Day has not been “Mondernized.” “Armistice Day” is the older name of Veteran’s Day. 2-3 decades ago, Fed. Govt. or some such suggested making the day fall on a particular Monday [2nd in Nov.?] but that was denounced as a Commie conspiracy. Don’t remember if it actually happened for 1 year, but the critics won, and it’s safely been 11 Nov. ever since, the actual date the armistice was signed.
    Memorial Day became the last Mon. in May w/o much protest, & Lincoln’s & Washington’s birthdays merged to become “Presidents’ Day” [the Mon. btw 12 & 22 Feb?]. Darwin’s Birthday remains 12 Feb. He and Lincoln were born on that date in the same year, 1809. Many biologists celebrate; search /Darwin Day.
    “Big 0” birthdays are big because we are pentadactyl.

  11. I read today that there are about 330,000+ WWII Veterans living today. My almost 93 year old father is one of them. I celebrated Veterans Day with my dad at a Veterans Day Parade and Service in my small Eastern NC hometown that included a 97 year old Veteran who landed at Normandy. My 1969-73 Service paled in comparison to what my father’s generation willingly did for the world and us personally. Over 16.2 Million Veterans are living today in the United States or approximately just over 4% of the population. The WWII Veterans represent about 2% of living Veterans. God Bless Them All!

  12. Perhaps of interest to naval veterans: I recently found that has quite a few cruise books available to peruse page-by-page. Such was news to me. In one, I found my cousin (as captain, later, vice admiral) and also my minister (as ensign, before he entered the ministry). They seem to run 100-150 pages of mainly photos with captions.

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