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Old 05-31-2010, 08:16 PM   #16
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In retrospect, the thread title should probably have tipped me off. Yes, ok so it's apparently Memorial Day in the US, and I can appreciate that. Still and all, most of the opening comments seemed to be referencing the big one, the second world war.

Another thing about that war: there was never going to be a 'nazi world'. Hitler lost the war the minute he marched on Russia. America's involvement in that war (entirely legitimate and necessary imo, unlike Vietnam or nearly anything since) occured for reasons rather more complex than this.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:47 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Kieran McConville View Post
In retrospect, the thread title should probably have tipped me off. Yes, ok so it's apparently Memorial Day in the US, and I can appreciate that. Still and all, most of the opening comments seemed to be referencing the big one, the second world war.

Another thing about that war: there was never going to be a 'nazi world'. Hitler lost the war the minute he marched on Russia. America's involvement in that war (entirely legitimate and necessary imo, unlike Vietnam or nearly anything since) occured for reasons rather more complex than this.

I did post this as an American. Memorial Day is an American Holiday. I am aware that young men from other Allied countries fought to defeat the Nazis.

I agree that Hitler made a big mistake taking on Russia, but if the Americans had not joined the Allies, Hitler may have had only the Eastern front to contend with.
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:36 PM   #18
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I'm raising my drink to my late Grandpa Sid who served in the VII Corps and fought in France and Germany, including crossing the Rhine and "liberating" the Nordhausen concentration camp (used "" because there was not much left to liberate). After he died, my mom got all of his war things from my grandma and Kinkos helped us make a book that included all his letters, maps, and photos from the war. My mom probably spent a year figuring out where all the photos were taken and who the other people were.

For me, WWII comes to mind first only because that is where my closest relative served. Regardless of my political convictions and how I feel about certain wars and offensive strikes I have the highest respect for all the veterans and active members of our military, even those that serve and protect us here at home.
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:08 PM   #19
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i think we need a better Memorial Day thread that doesn't include a quote form a hack song written by a hack songwriter to drum up support for the first Gulf War.
Not that either of us really give a shit but that song is older than that.
I don't know why it was written but it's at least as old as 1985.

As for a better song to honor American soldiers...?

I was going to post Neil Diamond's America as a corny joke.
But then I realized that I actually like Neil Diamond. Not so much that song.

Here's a non-political song about a Vietnam soldier, written by his son.
Vietnam is often overlooked by a lot of the Lee Greenwood crowd.

YouTube - Alice In Chains-Rooster

WW2, old Vera Lynn song, done by the Man.

YouTube - Johnny Cash - We'll Meet Again
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:48 PM   #20
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Not that either of us really give a shit but that song is older than that.
I don't know why it was written but it's at least as old as 1985.

we're both sort of right:

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"God Bless the USA" is an American patriotic country song written by country musician Lee Greenwood. The first Greenwood album it appears on is 1984's You've Got a Good Love Comin'. It reached number 7 on the country charts when originally released in 1984, and was played at the 1984 Republican National Convention with President Ronald Reagan and first lady Nancy Reagan in attendance, but the song gained greater prominence during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991, as a way of boosting morale.

God Bless the USA - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

just, you know, FWIW.

and i found this striking:

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A music video was released for this song in 1984, depicting Greenwood as a farmer who loses the family farm.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:02 PM   #21
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but the working assumption in the thread was that it was the US alone who liberated Europe. it's quite understandable that non-Americans, and many Americans, find this attitude irritating, no matter the holiday.

i also object to the blanket assumption that every dead American solider died to protect "my" "liberties" -- not many of my liberties were at stake in Iraq or Vietnam.

instead of welding a political message -- like that ghastly song quoted in the OP -- to the bravery of people willing to face the abject horror of battle, let's just appreciate their sacrifice and bravery, no matter the conflict.
this.

there have been plenty of men on both sides of my family who've served in the armed forces, but luckily no casualties. but i certainly remember those who did die while serving.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:10 PM   #22
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It's still a crappy song.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:19 PM   #23
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It's still a crappy song.

This thread was not about a crappy (your opinion) song,

but about men and women who fought for freedom.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:27 PM   #24
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See my post agreeing with Irvine about just that thing.
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:36 AM   #25
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This thread was not about a crappy (your opinion) song,

but about men and women who fought for their country.


how about that?

often, their country asked them to do wonderful things. sometimes, their country asked them to pursue goals and missions that were not wonderful things.

but the constant is the bravery of the men and the women who are given a goal and do their best to accomplish that goal, often risking their own lives to do so.
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Old 06-01-2010, 11:15 AM   #26
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20,000 flags

YouTube - Flags Flying on 2010 Memorial Day Weekend on Boston Commons
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:15 AM   #27
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by Andrew Bacevich, May 28 (The Daily Beast)
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Riders on Boston subways and trolleys are accustomed to seeing placards that advertise research being conducted at the city’s many teaching hospitals. One that recently caught my eye, announcing an experimental “behavioral treatment,” posed this question to potential subjects: “Are you in the US military or a veteran disturbed by terrible things you have experienced?” Just below the question, someone had scrawled this riposte in blue ink: “Thank God for these Men and Women. USA all the way.”

Here on a 30 x 36 inch piece of cardboard was the distilled essence of the present-day relationship between the American people and their military. In the eyes of citizens, the American soldier has a dual identity: as hero but also as victim.
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From the perspective of the American people, the principal attribute of this relationship is that it entails no real obligations or responsibilities. Face it: It costs us nothing yet enables us to feel good about ourselves. In an unmerited act of self-forgiveness, we thereby expunge the sin of the Vietnam era when opposition to an unpopular war found at least some Americans venting their unhappiness on the soldiers sent to fight it. The homeward-bound GI spat upon by spoiled and impudent student activists may be an urban legend, but the fiction persists and has long since trumped reality.

...From the perspective of those who engineer America’s wars, the principal attribute of this relationship is that it obviates any need for accountability. For nearly a decade now, popular willingness to “support the troops” has provided unlimited drawing rights on the United States Treasury. ...For politicians sending soldiers into battle, generals presiding over long, drawn-out, inconclusive campaigns, and contractors reaping large profits as a consequence, this war-comes-first mentality is exceedingly agreeable. One wonders how many of those serving in the ranks are taken in by this fraud. The relationship between American people and their military—we love you; do whatever you want—seems to work for everyone. Everyone, that is, except soldiers themselves. They face the prospect of war without foreseeable end.

Americans once believed war to be a great evil. Whenever possible, war was to be avoided. When circumstances made war unavoidable, Americans wanted peace swiftly restored. Present-day Americans, few of them directly affected by events in Iraq or Afghanistan, find war tolerable. They accept it. Since 9/11, war has become normalcy. Peace has become an entirely theoretical construct. A report of GIs getting shot at, maimed, or killed is no longer something the average American gets exercised about.
Rest assured that no such reports will interfere with plans for the long weekend that Memorial Day makes possible.
by Don Gomez, May 29 (The Daily Beast)
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Like many Americans, I grew up without really understanding the meaning behind Memorial Day. I associated the holiday with barbecues, a day off from school, and sleepy Sunday afternoon movies about submarines and Generals. Even when I was fighting in Iraq, or jumping out of airplanes with the 82nd Airborne Division, it still seemed like an old holiday for old men. As a war veteran, I eventually came to understand the meaning, but I still figured it wouldn’t become my holiday until I was retired and gray.

Ten years of war has changed that. For the quiet few who have shouldered these wars, Memorial Day is no longer an abstract holiday honoring a faceless mass of heroes from a history textbook. It’s a list of names of people you know, reluctantly accumulated and growing ever longer. It’s a reminder of the awkward long-distance phone call to tell a friend that his old squad leader and mentor was killed in an IED blast in Afghanistan. It’s the swirl of emotions felt when informed that a friend was just killed in Iraq, leaving behind a young wife and children. It is the unavoidable sinking feeling, deep in the stomach, of "Why me? Why am I okay?" When once I may have thought of Memorial Day veterans as old men in wheelchairs, I now think of the young blonde soldier at Walter Reed, painfully fixing her prosthetic leg to her knee for her morning physical training session. I think of my friends who struggle daily with their wartime experience and the challenges they face in transitioning from combat to civilian life. I'm reminded of those who died by their own hands long after they returned from the Middle East, victims of a war that would not leave them.
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While the country will mark this holiday with barbecues, beer, and mattress sales, veterans of past wars--World War 2, Korea, Vietnam--will honor their fallen at cemeteries and small gatherings. And we veterans of a new generation will visit Facebook pages forever frozen in time--living digital memorials that burst with activity long after that last status update from Anbar or Helmand. Most of us will just look, but some of us will write a short note or post an old joke, fully knowing the intended recipient will never read it. For those of us still fighting, mission requirements allow only short ceremonies, hastily organized in dusty camps in Iraq and Afghanistan to remember the recent dead, before strapping on body armor and heading out on patrol yet again.

After ten years at war, Memorial Day should be marked differently than it is today. We shouldn’t be thinking about fallen soldiers once a year when they’re dying almost daily.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:33 AM   #28
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To flip it to the other WWII theatre, I think most Australians were then/are still very appreciative of US efforts in the Pacific. (And Winston Churchill can get fucked.)
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:16 PM   #29
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:01 PM   #30
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To flip it to the other WWII theatre, I think most Australians were then/are still very appreciative of US efforts in the Pacific.
I wonder sometimes about the differences in how WWII is covered from one affected country to the next, which parts schools emphasize most versus which parts they rush over or ignore. A few years ago I was one of the instructors for a team-taught history seminar on displaced persons in WWII. I was covering Asia and found that in general I didn't have to fill in all that much background for the students on Asia's wartime history and geography, and as expected the prof covering Western Europe didn't have to spend too much time on background either, but the guy covering the Eastern Front, wow, he sure had his work cut out for him. Many if not most of the students were completely unfamiliar with Eastern European historical geography ("What's Prussia?" "What's Transylvania?" "What's a Tatar?"), did not know there were resistance movements, were unaware of slave labor deportations except to concentration camps, couldn't name any major battles besides Stalingrad, had no idea what the Yalta Conference was about if they'd even heard of it, and even with regard to the Holocaust they had no real sense of deportations as a strategic process whose progress one could trace on a map. I do remember the Eastern Front getting extremely short shrift in my high school history classes as well (effectively, "Now to the east are the Commies and we're not going to worry too much about them, except to tell you what a bad man Stalin was"), but up until then I'd kinda figured that since the end of the Cold War things had perhaps changed somewhat and more attention was being paid to the specifics of Eastern Europe's experience of the War.
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