Honoring Our Veterans

© James Pyles

My family and I were over at my wife’s niece’s place today (where these photos were taken) helping her move stuff out of storage, out of her garage, and into a shed and workshop behind her house.

My Dad and son both served in the military, and this being Veteran’s Day, I thought I should say something about that. I read a commentary yesterday that said relative to racism, sexism, and many other things, America was never, ever “great” or even good, so saying “Make America Great Again” doesn’t make a lot of sense to that activist.

That may well be, but there’s a reason why so many people around the world, both historically, and to this day, gravitate to the United States (seemingly) more than any other nation on Earth.

It’s why I’ll never “take the knee” but rather will stand up for the ideals our flag represents. As long as we keep striving for the goals of liberty and justice, then we will never truly fail, even if a lot of naysayers on social and news media would have us believe otherwise.


© James Pyles

Thank you for your service, Vets.


© James Pyles

16 thoughts on “Honoring Our Veterans

    • Your linked article was interesting, Marleen, but was there some specific insight you found worthwhile in it? Your notation about the numbers of military and civilian casualties is also uncommented. Everyone dies, though certainly at a faster rate in the course of warfare, and usually in unpleasant ways and circumstances; and a great many more died in WW2 and subsequent conflicts during the past century. Hence it seems to me that a worthy question to consider is whether these people died in the pursuit of righteousness. If war is to be justified by recognizing its attempt to right some wrong, thereby honoring those who spent their precious existence doing so, then this should be a feature of their remembrance. Even if a given effort was unsuccessful, one must try to identify some element of it that was worth the attempt, and forgive the ones who defended erroneous goals especially when they had little choice but to fulfill their required service.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. In Marleen’s linked article, French president Macron suggested that doing away with nationalism would be somehow beneficial toward ending war. I am convinced he is quite wrong. We presently see demonstrations in the middle east that have nothing to do with nationalism or borders, but rather they are organized as gangs of terroristic thugs following some ideology and armed with as much equipment as they can afford. It’s not the pursuit of national goals and wellbeing that is problematic. It might be better to recognize where someone is bent on the contrary goal of eliminating the wellbeing of someone else.


    • True, PL; people die. James started a thread on this 11th day of the month of November to honor veterans on a day called Veterans Day. Did you ask him why we should do that? I shared a quote about people who died in WWI to add to his effort. Also, it can be fairly easy for Americans to forget the commemoration is based on the end of that world war. This year is the hundredth anniversary of the end of that war.


      I enjoyed these pictures, yesterday, of Armistice Day remembrance.


      • No, Marleen, I didn’t ask James why we should honor veterans; and I thought my first response here offered a bit of its own answer to such a question. But if nothing else, I think we should honor those who placed themselves selflessly into harm’s way to protect others who were somehow more vulnerable. Even those who fought or served in support roles only because they were conscripted involuntarily most often acquitted themselves honorably; and their sacrifice is also worthy of honorable remembrance.

        One may well ponder the whys and wherefores of the various conflicts in which so many have died during the past century, along with the numerous associated mistakes, misjudgments, errors, atrocities, horrors, injustices, and the like that have occurred or that have been committed deliberately. One may recall also President Abraham Lincoln’s words after the American Civil War expressing the hope that those who died on those battlefields did not die in vain. One may observe that our species still has much to learn about preventing a selfish few from dragging many others into the fields of death or bringing death into their very homes and places of worship.

        I sometimes focus a special appreciation on an outcome of the First World War that was by no means one of its primary goals. That outcome was the conquest and dissolution of the Islamic Turkish Ottoman Empire. The subsequent plans for administration of its territories by enlightened Europeans at the San Remo conference of 1920, which included the implementation of Lord Balfour’s 2Nov1917 declaration about establishing “a national home for the Jewish people” in “Palestine”, enabled the restoration of Jewish sovereignty and liberty in its ancient homeland as the modern democratic state of Israel. At the same time, Arabs across the middle east were enabled to form more than a half-dozen Arab states, including the eastern four-fifths of the “Palestine” region as the kingdom of Jordan, in pursuit of their own national self-determination. My impression, though, is that they are less appreciative of the events by which they were granted their nations than Jews are of those events and the nation of Israel.

        I once discovered, in the basement of my grandmother’s house, a very rusty old pistol, along with remnants of a gas mask. It was explained to me that they had been carried by my grandfather in the First World War. I don’t recall being told any details about where he actually served, and I doubt very highly that he ever had any inkling that he among myriad others had contributed indirectly in some small measure to the establishment of Israel. But, for me, this was a personalized reminder about the incalculable value of his contribution, and a reason to honor veterans of this war that ended a century ago — just as I might honor another relative, a great-grandfather who served in the American Civil War, or my father who served in WW2. I suppose I might even honor myself for my own service with the IDF c.1985 in the first Lebanon War, and others who served with me there. I can’t say that I accomplished any mighty deeds. Thankfully, I neither wounded anyone nor received any myself, and I suffer no nightmares or PTSD. Perhaps all the more, then, I appreciate those whose service and its aftermath was not so uneventful.

        So I don’t ask why we should honor veterans. I believe my own experience with people I have known holds that answer.

        Liked by 1 person

      • On Memorial Day, we commemorate our honored dead. On Veteran’s Day, we honor those who have served our nation in the military. It’s okay to commemorate the service of these men and women without watering down that observance or distracting from what they’ve sacrificed.


    • Unless I overlooked something, what I quoted was the first direct reference in the article to World War One (for someone reading it who doesn’t know what Armistice Day, remembrance in that contexct, etc., is about. Perhaps the following words further on in said article will make the two of you happer?

      Quote: On Saturday Mr Macron and Mrs Merkel visited the town of Compiègne, north of Paris. They signed a book of remembrance in a railway carriage identical to the one in which the 1918 Armistice was sealed.

      Earlier [Trump] visited a cemetery in Suresnes in western Paris, saying he had gone there “to pay tribute to brave Americans” who died in the war.


  2. You, PL, said (while missing the point of the question you answered, or purposely ignoring it): So I don’t ask why we should honor veterans.

    But you question why I would dare speak of WWI and an international remembrance.

    And death.

    As if I were questioning.

    And even though I wasn’t making an argument.

    Ad hominem
    Ad hominem, short for argumentum ad hominem, is a fallacious argumentative strategy whereby genuine discussion of the topic at hand is avoided by instead attacking the character, motive, or other attribute of the person making the argument, or persons associated with the argument, rather than attacking the substance of the argument itself. The terms ad mulierem and ad feminam have been used specifically when the person receiving the criticism is female.



    • You weren’t being attacked or criticized, Marleen. I did pose questions to engage you in conversation. I did not ask why you would “dare” speak of WW1, nor did I suggest that you shouldn’t. I wasn’t challenging anything you said when I asked for clarification about why you chose to say it. I did challenge a point in the first article you linked, but that was directed at the French president’s statement and not at any of yours.


      • Your notation about the numbers of military and civilian casualties is also uncommented. Everyone dies……

        But you go on.

        Everyone dies, though certainly at a faster rate in the course of warfare, and usually in unpleasant ways and circumstances; and a great many more died in WW2 and subsequent conflicts during the past century. Hence it seems to me that a worthy question to consider is ……

        I was simply remembering.

        James said: …. It’s okay to commemorate the service of these men and women without watering down that observance or distracting from what they’ve sacrificed.


  3. Since the topic has already been “watered down” with an apparent affinity for nationalism — a watering down that James likes — I will say that I didn’t find those remarks in the article particularly outstanding (rather than fairly vanilla). We are all very much in favor of our nations but not nationalism.

    Just before the piece that I originally quoted is the folowing:

    …… he [Macron, because international figures including the President of the United States {a matter of fact that may make it sound okay enough to those who worship him} were in France] described it [nationalism] as a “betrayal of patriotism” [it’s not the same thing].

    “By saying ‘our interests first and never mind the others’ you stamp out the most precious thing a nation has – its moral values,” he said.

    Events are taking place worldwide.

    I very much recommend the second link I added to see how many celebrate.

    Then later in the article (at the first link):


    “Ruining this hope with a fascination for withdrawal, violence or domination would be a mistake for which future generations would rightly find us responsible,” he said.

    The service ended with the bugle call that was played at 11:00 on 11 November 1918 to signal the end of hostilities.

    I don’t find that controversial enough to have questioned the reason for my citing the article with a statistic very much fitting to the day. It was one of those days that respectful dignitaries often visit tombs of unknown soldiers. And Europeans and friends like to walk down the street basking in the goal of peace.


    • http://historyofthepledge.com/flagsalute.html


      Following World War I, attempts were made to provide for not only a standard salute but also a uniform national flag code. At the second of two flag conferences held in Washington, DC, in 1923 and 1924, it was agreed… that “All civilians should stand with ‘the right hand over the heart,’ and then at the words ‘to the Flag’ the right hand should be ‘extended, palm upward, toward the Flag.’ At the close of the Pledge the hand was to be dropped to the side.” This virtually duplicated the salute specified in the 1892 program developed by Upham and Bellamy. However, it was conceded that civilian adults could merely stand at attention, men removing their hats, to show respect during the Pledge. Military personnel were still to salute with the right hand to the forehead.

      But by 1935, people were pointing out the embarrassing similarity between the German “Heil Hitler” salute to the Führer (arm extended, palm down) and the common raised arm salute to the flag during the Pledge (arm extended, palm up), a form that continued in use well into the United States’ entry into World War II. Over the next few years—despite objections by the United States Flag Association and the Daughters of the American Revolution, despite even an official congressional codification of flag rules and etiquette adopted in June 1942 that included the raised arm salute prescribed in 1924—many groups and school districts began eliminating the extended arm portion of the salute.


      [First demonstrated in public schools on a Columbus Day]

      At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks, hands to the side, face the Flag. Another signal is given; every pupil gives the flag the military salute — right hand lifted, palm downward, to align with the forehead and close to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly, “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands; one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is extended gracefully, palm upward, toward the Flag, and remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation; whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side.

      — From The Youth’s Companion, 65 (1892): 446–447.

      {The pictures I have seen do not involve the palm being up, but down and stretched toward the flag.}

      Quote: In order to prevent further confusion or controversy, the United States Congress instituted the hand-over-the-heart gesture as the salute to be rendered by civilians during the Pledge of Allegiance in the United States, instead of the Bellamy salute.[4] This was done when Congress amended the Flag Code on December 22, 1942.[5][6]


  4. https://www.latimes.com/visuals/photography/la-me-fw-archves-los-angeles-celebrates-end-of-world-war-i-20181030-htmlstory.html
    Nov. 11, 1918: A copy of the Los Angeles Times is read by members of a crowd celebrating the end of World War I. (Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

    One hundred years ago, on Nov. 11, 1918, a special edition of the Los Angeles Times proclaimed on Page One:


    World War Ends as Germany Signs Armistice!
    [Extraordinary Service Bulletins by the Associated Press.]

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, (Monday)—The world war will end this morning at 6 o’Clock, Washington time, 11 o’clock Paris time. The armistice was signed by the German representatives at midnight. This announcement was made by the State Department at 2:50 o’Clock this morning.

    The announcement was made verbally by an official of the State Department in this form: “The armistice has been signed. It was signed at 4 o’Clock a.m. Paris time and hostilities will cease at 11 o’Clock this morning, Paris time.”….



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