It's imperative to look up to and learn from army veterans; only then can we truly understand the sacrifices made by men and women in uniform.
It’s been 50 years since I shipped off to Vietnam. And yet, there is still an anger that sits deep in the recesses of my psyche. I do my best to keep it there, with mixed success.
The LGBT+ community has had a long history with the military. Unfortunately, most of it has been while serving in the closet due to America’s puritanical laws. Even though there has been a ban on serving for along time in the past, many LGBT+ people joined up anyway. Even though the Stonewall Riots ushered in the gay rights movement, equality was still far down the road. It still didn’t stop anyone from serving.
She had lived a rich and full life, hectic and crazy busy as it was, in the Navy. It seemed she was always in demand by senior leadership in her specialty as an interpreter and communications specialist. Only a handful of people in the Navy could speak the number of languages she knew fluently. There were even fewer who had the skills in the Navy and its allies' various communication systems. In short, she was a spook and a highly trained one at that.
The Colours of the fall are so beautiful, but November has me feeling heavy and sad for the fallen and those who are still falling. I am also falling... but if I fall, those who love me will suffer and life for them will never ever have the same colours and they almost surely may also fall... Therefore, I still have a purpose here and I do want to stay alive, but why is death always so close to me and always looming over me?
A Fallen Soldier Olivia Crowe She jolted upright in a cold sweat. On high alert from the gruesome flashbacks, all she could hear was rapid machine guns and screams. Her nose was assaulted with a memory of gunpowder and iron seemed to be filling the air. She looked around frantically and after a moment she realized she wasn't on the battlefield. It had been three weeks since she was given her honorable discharge. After five years of service it seemed like her life was back to the beginning. Five years she had known everything she needed to do with her life. Where to be and when. Now she was lost. Her life seemed over. She wasn’t able to start her intern year for residency until the therapist her corporal assigned had her cleared for practice. So here she was. Twenty-three and trapped in the house her mother left her. No family in Seattle anymore and no friends since she grew up in Atlanta. Looking at the clock she sighed. Three in the morning and with no hope to fall asleep again she rolls out of her bed. Into the kitchen to start coffee she gently pats her dog. A two year old retired military dog named Atlas. He was retired at the same time she was. His handler had been shot down in an ambush in Iraq. They were going to put Atlas down after he had been brought in with a shattered leg and a bullet wound. Everyone told her that he wasn’t worth saving but she saw a kindred spirit in him. He had seen and survived the drums of war. He helped her recover in the rehab facility and she put in the request to take him home with her. Her impeccable record allowed approval of her request immediately then it seemed her and Atlas were on their way home. They settled into what has become their routine very quickly. She would have a therapy session at seven but before then she decides to start breakfast.
"You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning." I look up from the grave which sat right underneath a big beautiful willow tree, seeing my sister walking toward me and stopping not even three feet away. She looks at me and then down at the grave.
My adventures at RAF Cosford in early 1970 continue with anoither excerpt from my biography 'Do or do not". 404 entry were a smaller group, and seemed to be a lot more amicable which suited me as 217 had a few unsavoury characters. Military life is designed to be uncomfortable in order to mould you in the image they want you to be, and that includes marching you up and down a parade ground many hours a week, insisting that your boots and brasses are shiny, uniform razor sharply pressed and your hair short and neat with NO whiskers showing through. At least once a week you’d be on your hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom, corridors and polishing the wooden floors of the billet. Every morning you had to make your bedding into a specific exhibition that the billet corporal would inspect, and you would be personally checked on parade by Sgt Geraghty who enjoyed such little comments as “Did you use a mirror when you shaved this morning lad?”, “Yes Sergeant”, “Well next time use a razor it’s sharper”, and the classic from behind “Is your hair hurting you Davies?” “No sergeant”, “Well it should be I’m bloody standing on it”. Being honest these guys were chicken feed compared to the US Boot Camp Drill Sergeants, but my 16 year old mind didn’t enjoy it so much as I wanted to concentrate on the subjects.
For over a decade, I've had a seemingly uncharacteristic passion for war history and remembrance, especially during the Remembrance Day/Veterans Day season. You wouldn't exactly think a foul-mouthed, opinionated, and sometimes downright difficult woman would be one for so passionately and seriously observing respect and silence for past and present military personnel, and yet here we are. In large part, this passion is due to growing up in the strange little rural Alberta town I grew up in; home to the world's largest horse and rider statue, sports teams appropriately all called "The Broncs", some redneck overt racism, and a teacher with the most passion for respect for our troops I think I've ever met, Mr. Labrie.
United Kingdom: People across the British Isles, because of Coronavirus pandemic precautions, will see a scaled back Remembrance Sunday.
Last week, here in the UK, I saw a social media post that sarcastically anticipated the onset of poppy-themed face coverings in the UK, as if such things were something to sneer at. And, even though I understand the various issues the writer has with poppies, I found it quite a condescending and deeply ignorant statement, if I'm honest, and an example of the yearly culture war that goes on every year, centred on the wearing of poppies/not wearing of poppies/colour of poppy warn/attitude to war etc.
Our music is only one tool being used in this great and amazing thrill ride that we have been given to accomplish and what a privilege it is to be doing what we do. Meeting so many wonderful people who change our lives in this process. I tell everyone, we are on a Journey! When I Look back on everything that happens and see what has been accomplished and happened and if we have not enjoyed and Learned from all the Ups and Downs of Life which we use to Help others along the Way, of what Worth is It? And what have we really accomplished and what do any of the awards or accolades really mean anyway? They have no significance they are empty. This is why we will never no matter how far we end up going forget those who stood with us long before we held any of those. For those are the ones you know will stand the test of time. I am sure you know those people in your life, maybe they are a teacher who took an interest in you when nobody else did. Or it could have been a Sunday School teacher who was there who had time for you because your parents both had to work so many hours to make ends meet. I come from a blue collar family so I know what a hard days work is like and everything I have.
My arm says twenty-two in roman numerals, a number that has changed the lives of many but only a few understand. When I was seventeen I joined the Army. It seemed like the thing to do for a girl who had so admired her grandfather’s history and felt that her life was headed in no particular direction. Lost, like a child in the forest waiting for someone to come and tell them which way to go, but life doesn’t tell you which direction to turn to or where you will end up. My ultimate hope was that I would eventually be a helicopter pilot just like my grandpa so that I could make a difference in people’s lives. After all, what path could be more clear than one that had already been paved? Little did I know, the people I would meet along the way would be the ones to make a difference in my life, and the places that I would end up, would take me far from the path that had been laid out. I only spent three and a half years on active duty, a long time for people who cannot fathom joining the military, but a short time for those who have never known life another way. Like more people than you would think, I never deployed. Deployments were not happening all the time when I was in and the only one I could have gone on happened shortly after I had a major emergency surgery which made it so that I was unable to go. I served my time stateside as a mechanic. My journey started in South Carolina where I went through basic training and while I was there, I learned that I could do things that seemed impossible. Next, I ended up in Virginia where I learned how to be a mechanic and where I watched so many people give up and take the cheap way out of the promise they had made to their country and their buddies. After that I moved to Colorado where I learned how to be a part of a more permanent team and where I experienced one of the greatest losses of my life. Finally, a bit broken and a bit begrudgingly, I ended up in Texas where I met my first Twenty-Two.