Baseball91's Weblog

November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

“My father used to say that wars were made by men who had never been to war –men who did not know that once started, it never ends. The Great War ended with the Armistice in 1918, but my father lived another sixty years. And during all that time, the war never left his memory or his nightmares. Nor is it ever far from mine, because the violence my father brought home fell on me, shattering whatever small childish trust I may once have had in the simplicity of love. The violence of war does not end when peace is declared — often receding merely from public to private life.” –Ann Jones

On Remembrance Day, there is still a poignant remembering overseas of the cost to Europe. War had a way of bringing home the present day cost of risk appetites.

Social mood. Political campaigns. Financial fate. Markets go up and they go down, even in the age of austerity, as in the age of conspicuous consumption.  By understanding history, humanity has the power to change history…. war, and the way we live our lives.Armistice

We live in a world that has perverted the concept of remembering people. The media had a cheap story to fill the airwaves now on each September 11th and November 11th. In Europe they still called it Remembrance Day, where the people remembered the war dead and not the military. I was in London on this day in 2000. “Flanders Field.” Armistice Day was not a promotion for the armed services or to be used by the National Guard to recruit the mostly local youth, a lot like those pro football players and their fans in town who “root for laundry,” as Jerry Seinfeld reminds his audience. The living athletes of combat. Cannon fodder. The human cannon fodder, used too often in the name of nationalism. The “National Guard” that had been perverted by public policy to become an invading army in Iraq, and maybe one day in Afghanistan? Today was supposed to be a day about the individual people lost to war, not about the uniform worn. At the end of the Great War, in 1919, because of the missing bodies to bury, the November 11th observance was introduced, with a two minute silence. Unbearable mourning continued long after a war was over. Today was supposed to be a day about peace. About real people gone.

Reusse & Company this morning. How does an interview of Major General Larry Shellito of the Minnesota National Guard relate to November 11th and Armistice Day? A day about peace!. Armistice Day was about turning swords into plowshares. November 11th in Europe was Memorial Day, not for the military industrial complex, as Dwight Eisenhower called it, but about individuals compelled to go to war in the name of government and nationalism who died in service. And the people who went, that the world would one day be a better place.

The“National Guard” through public policy has been perverted and converted to become an invading army in Iraq and in Afghanistan. How had this happened? Why has the “National Guard” replaced the all volunteer army? Since September 11, 2001, the U .S. has deployed troops in 33 countries, according to Major General Larry Shellito. But why? And about the expense of all this? Was the Department of Defense any different than that recent vote on the affordable health care act which was not at all about health care but the cost of health care insurance? In paying for all of this health care,there is not much discussion at all about the real issue of health care. How many MRI machines were needed in a community? Without a discussion of preventative medicine, not unlike the missing discussion as to why local kids needed to be dispatched to 33 countries, in the last 8 years? And where was any discussion on all of this use of “The NATIONAL Guard?”

No one asked why. Elections have been spun to be one long drone of an argument between two sides. The two sides that had long ago quit communicating, in a world that was unable to find much in the way of meaning. If you thought that television and radio were sounding boards on the issues of the day, then your moderators had become nothing more than game show hosts.

In a current world without conscription, in a world of voluntary service, somehow the message was getting across about the glamour of swords. And now a word from the sponsors.

I am not sure why Major General Larry Shellito of the Minnesota National Guard was invited on Armistice Day of all days to be a guest. On morning radio, on Reusse and Company. I did not listen long to the remainder of the show. I don’t think there was a discussion of what happened when you take the young and place their lives in peril, in places where they are seen as the enemy, in some of the 33 places. Thirty-three places with what looked to the native-born as invading armies? An invitation was extended to the major general as a guest by the same guy who wrote today on his blog:

“Pro football players were merely mercenaries moving through a city for the purpose of collecting a large paycheck. There would be replaced by a different group of mercenaries in a few years, and the foolish fans would cheer for them for no reason other than the appearance of their jerseys.” So wrote Pat Reusse today.

In the civilian world, leadership has to be re-earned in each generation. By sons who followed fathers and grandfathers. In attempts to try to see the future through the past. My grandfather won a purple heart in World War I. He paid a price for his medal every day for the rest of his life. It was more than what combat had done to his hearing. The life expectancy of those leaders like Woodrow Wilson was always so much shorter than that of the young soldier.

“Be careful when you break horses that you don’t break their spirit too.”

If sons and daughters took the time to try to understand history, humanity had the power to change history. In Minnesota, people spent more time contemplating the NFL than they did the deployment since September 11, 2001 of U .S. troops in 33 countries. We thought more about the people there than we did about the dollars it had cost for them to be there, or the price when soldiers came back home more like the tanks and Humvees which came home with them. Just as not many folks were asking why this was done under the auspices of “The National Guard,” not many considered how we made young men and women to be just distant weapons of war. Again.

There was a cost to all of the voluntary.  In a world of voluntary and involuntary thrift, with personal savings and public policy focused on taxing, in a world where voluntary service could fast become involuntary, as government officials induced borrowing rather than pay now these out of pocket expense. The single greatest risk as the equilibrium between asset classes remains a seismic shift in currency markets.  What was this defense policy doing to the U.S. dollar? When a currency holds a nation together, and “the economy — perhaps society at large — assumes more, not less, risk as a function of the path of our attempted fix,” writes Todd Harrison. A Congressman from Tennessee cited Albert Einstein’s belief, in a joint hearing chaired by Senator Kent Konrad from North Dakota, that the greatest power on earth was not atomic energy but compound interest, in this case as a threat to the future of America.

Counting the cost. On Remembrance Day, there is a perversion to discuss the engines of financing as much as there is to discuss the success of recruitment as Major General Larry Shellito of the Minnesota National Guard was asked to do. In a nation mostly that just no longer discusses war.

On Remembrance Day, there is still a poignant remembering overseas of the cost of war.  War is not over when it’s over. Whereas the poignant part of the remembering is invisibly felt in the streets of London, in the United States, Armistice Day was commercialized and politicized, used mostly as a photo opportunity by a politician hoping to remain an elected official for an entire career. No one sees the irony in the blare in speeches about peace with armed forces in 33 nations contrasted against the silence of the Armistice. Calling it Veterans Day without any apostrophe — note the Veterans Day Sales, exploited so much like Christmas — Armistice Day is no longer really remembered as a commemoration of the War To End All Wars, and all the sequels.

About these real people gone: Except in a Europe, which continues to manifest the loss of one generation, of its best and brightest, the purchase price of war, for past wars, is reflected in every future.  While watching the scenes this week at the Brandenburg Gate, did you see the difference in the caliber of leaders four generations later, wondering if Europe had ever recovered from the void of the War to End All War, in counting the compound cost  … of all of the missing. And the crime in all of this was seen in the grave-robbers, who controlled the media in a Totalitarian system, as Remembrance Day about the missing people from the past was embezzled to this perverted honoring of living Veterans who had survived somehow a war — any war — living with the memory of the war trauma brought home, in the shameful silence of what they had witnessed. Of the war dead.

It must have seemed really heroic to fight in The War To End All Wars. In a world with so much an appetite for great war.


Religion Blogs

The War dead: in stories of war and disrupted lives, a human like to see some of the evidence of goodness, afterwards. On Judgment Day, the performance review was about spreading true goodness in disrupted lives, in a disrupted world. With Seas of Red. The irony, with all of this knowledge about war, with all this new knowledge about the world receding from public to private lives, is how few still know after war. After one-and-a-half million people died at just the Battle of the Somme, there is the magnifying problem still over the coming TO KNOW, by humans who liked to see some of the evidence of goodness, after battles of war recede. Post-war, there is mostly the missing goodness beyond good intention, while dealing with the froth of lost innocence by another generation.

Religion Blogs

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2 Comments »

  1. Remembrance Sunday comes in the wake of Kristallnacht, on the calendar. Faith was something you didn’t talk about, because it was more a response, more an action. Like Kristallnacht had been. For most Americans, faith is just not something that you do… until maybe you lost something, because you tried to keep it a separate part of your life. Faith was mostly just for me, if you came from and tried to assimilate to the public school system, or the secular world? So we remember the war dead, because war was so much like faith as something you didn’t talk about, and there was a dysfunction that came from this all which once had led to Kristallnacht, on the calendar. War which is an assault on defenseless innocent people overwhelmed by governments which disgraced its own people and the forgotten ideals of its people that they oh so publicly professed, with vows to uphold the constitution.

    And so the Silence to pay tribute to the to service personnel who fell dead during conflicts, as part of the annual Remembrance Sunday service which was meant to be secular to include fragmented people with their fragmented belief, sometime shared. Yes the Silence, so much like the echo of silence all over the Philippines this morning where three times the number of people were dead from a typhoon — Typhoon Haiyan — as had died on September 11th, and there was an indifference from most of the world as there had once been in the days after Kristallnacht.

    Comment by baseball91 — November 10, 2013 @ 5:07 PM | Reply

  2. “Each year at remembrance services those words “we will remember them” … Rather than an act of remembrance of the dead, of their sacrifice, and the horrible loss of life, it has become a celebration of the virtues of war, of valour rather than courage, service to country before sacrifice to fellow man, martial honour before love, justice or peace.” — writes Simon Bolton-Gabrielsen, Nov 10, 2015

    Comment by baseball91 — November 11, 2015 @ 5:05 AM | Reply


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