Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day Reflections - A Most Unusual Military

Most of the Veteran's Day stories today predictably weave in the recent tragedy at Fort Hood. For my part, I'm glad the murderer's plan backfired - although he killed 13 people, the shootings inadvertently showed just how special the armed forces of the United States are.

We now know the shooter was an Army Major, but more importantly, he was a devout Muslim of Palestinian descent. His very presence in the U.S. military gives the lie to the charges of imperialism or racism that are levelled against it (usually by thugs or terrorists who are blind to their own racism). Can you imagine the shooter rising to such a high rank in the North Korean army? In the Iranian army?

There are other, happier stories emphasizing this disconnect. Hung Ba Le left Vietnam when he was five years old, one of the countless "boat people" fleeing the Communists. He came back to Vietnam in another boat - this time a U.S. Navy destroyer with a crew of 300. In the 34 years since he left, he had become a Commander in the U.S. Navy.

For all the men and women serving America in this most unusual military, thank you for keeping us safe.

From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother


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