Re: Veterans Day

1

Yes


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 7:48 AM
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I thought you might have.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 7:51 AM
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Indeed. Went outside for the two-minute silence today. It wasn't a dead silence but all the buses pulled over and shut off their engines so you could hear the Westminster chimes at eleven o'clock.
Absent friends.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 7:52 AM
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All the Great War veterans are at last gone now, right?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 7:56 AM
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Was it on your To Do list?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 7:59 AM
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Yes. According to this, the last surviving veteran was Florence Green, a veteran of the Women's Royal Air Force, who died two years ago.

A 15 year old at armistice would be 110 now, so I doubt there's anyone else we don't know about.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:01 AM
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4. Yup. The last one was Florence Green, a mess steward in the WRAF who joined in September 1918 and died a couple of years ago. But a fairly tenuous connection to the war.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:02 AM
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The last one was Florence Green, a mess steward in the WRAF

They also serve who only stand and wait tables.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:05 AM
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Figured someone would have an issue with that. Harry Patch, died 2009, was the last who fought in the trenches.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:08 AM
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The 2 remaining WWII veterans in the US congress are leaving after this year.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:14 AM
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And wikipedia links to Charles Choules, but he was in the navy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:15 AM
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I remember when Harry Patch died; the Economist devoted three or four heartfelt (for the Economist) pages to him and his roughly-concurrently-deceased German counterpart.

It's so awesome that we and our representatives in the executive and legislative sectors have learned well the lessons of the Great War.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:15 AM
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When I was in HS a hale man of retirement age, showing up as a substitute teacher, could easily be a WWI vet. One regaled us with a story, might have been on Nov. 11, might have been some anniversary. We had family friends of great vitality who'd been there. Kind of a shock to realize how long they must have been gone.

WWII guys are old and frail, and Korean vets are old, and V-Era are pretty senior too. A once very common right of passage, even in the educated middle class, ceased to be so with the end of the draft. None of my neighbors, or the guys I ride bikes with, I reckon.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:18 AM
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rite


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:21 AM
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Idealist, who used to comment here, went to law school after twenty years in the Army -- immediately post Vietnam to the first Gulf War.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:26 AM
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15: I loved his sex-clueless story, the Major and the shower story. I always identify with stories like that. Linkedin has suggested him to me as a contact, probably because of here.

There are a few other volunteer-era examples, but not many that I ever registered. If we're lawyers we knew JAGs, and I imagine medical types had serving classmates too.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:40 AM
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The woman leaning on the Challenger with me was a JAG, and is still in the reserves. Just about to make Lt. Col., which she's very pleased about. And my best niece was recently medically separated from the Marines, with a probably permanent limp.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:47 AM
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A couple years ago I was out on Veterans Day, spotted an old man wearing a vets' hat, and I realized, jarringly, that he was surely a Vietnam veteran, not WW2 or Korea. When I was a kid, WW1 vets were only a bit older than my dad is now, and WW2 vets were as young as 15 years younger than my dad is now, and Vietnam vets were within 10 years of my dad's age at the time. Really hard to get my head around those guys fading away. The passing of the last Great War veterans really struck me - a massive part of history simply passing out of living memory.

I don't know which bothers me more, that the WW2 Memorial in DC is so shitty, or that they didn't get it built until they were mostly gone.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:48 AM
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17.last: sorry to hear that. Shame it's not a nephew then you could make jokes about how being in the Marines made him permanently limp.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:49 AM
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17: Does she have to be a historian now?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:54 AM
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She's back in school to be a physical therapist now -- the year she spent trying to figure out if her hips were fixable left her thinking "I could do that." She'll do okay.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 8:59 AM
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It's so awesome that we and our representatives in the executive and legislative sectors have learned well the lessons of the Great War.

This bit of sarcasm caused me physical pain.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:00 AM
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a probably permanent limp

They're all the rage, you know.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:02 AM
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It's easy to see now that I was right on the cusp of a massive change in social experience and expectation, although it wouldn't have been so obvious even a few years ago.

But looking back, in my long-time salaried position, every male lawyer senior to me was a veteran, and every one junior to me was not.

I have long-time friends who are veterans, but I very seldom meet a new one. I meet lots of people my own age, but none like that.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:05 AM
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It's so awesome that we and our representatives in the executive and legislative sectors have learned well the lessons of the Great War.

The main lesson of the Great War was "if you try to go to war with half the world, including the largest country, the largest economy, the largest navy, and the largest army in the world, you will lose and suffer" and I'd say we've learned that pretty well. Even the Germans learned it, admittedly after a revision class.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:07 AM
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I missed Vietnam by being a few years older than the boomers and being on NIH grants but I knew/know many vets from 1, 2, K, and V. One reservist friend and contemporary was called back for the Gulf war to protect some Kuwaiti monuments but that's about it other than a few post-Vietnam peacetime enlistees jump-starting their climb in economic status.

There's almost a complete break between the civilian and military experiences these days. That will become more evident when the TV news shows the tanks heading for the White House and Capitol.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:08 AM
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I meet younger veterans in the bars. They are guys who signed up after 9/11/


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:08 AM
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I can never remember what year that was.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:15 AM
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Just think monolith.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:16 AM
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25: I don't think that's the main lesson of the Great War, though it's surely one of them. I think "war fought on a grand scale in an industrial age will probably spin out of control and thus is unlikely to be as edifying as we once might have hoped" is probably the real takeaway, an insight that anyone paying attention to the US Civil War should have gleaned.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:17 AM
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Plus: mustard gas isn't a condiment.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:17 AM
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26.2: the UK even more so, for two reasons:
our armed forces are small and getting smaller and the reserves have always been small;
and recruitment, especially to the army, is very class-based; officers, in particular combat-arms officers (who make up the bulk of senior officers) are from the upper classes, and other ranks, in particular combat-arms ORs, are from the lower fringes of the working class. The Navy and the RAF may be a bit more classless but the Army is still a collection of blokes called Kevin and Wayne commanded by a collection of blokes called Rupert. (Slang for an officer is in fact a 'rupert', as Pratchett fans will know.) So the rest of the civilian public - all the ranks of the class structure between the top and the bottom - is pretty unlikely to know anyone currently serving, though their fathers and grandfathers may have been in during the National Service years. (Also we ditched conscription earlier than you lot did, in 1960.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:19 AM
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30: I kind of think we've learned that one pretty well too. Again, the Germans and the Russians were slow learners, but not as slow as the Vietnamese, who fought one costly insurgency against the Japanese, rolled straight on through to an even more disastrously costly insurgency against the French, paused briefly, and began a third still more disastrously costly insurgency against the Americans - more or less defining the thing about how insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:22 AM
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idp is right. When I was a kid, everybody's grandfather was a Great War vet. Now I'm put to it to think of anybody I know who fought in round two. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. My father (WWII) remarked after the Falklands War that as soon as people started coming to power who hadn't fought in that conflict, they started with the military silly buggers. Initially it was the dictators, then the "democratic" leaders joined in.

Vietnam was a little different in that Johnson and Nixon probably honestly thought, however wrongly, that they were fighting Korea II.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:23 AM
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We recently visited some friends and it turned out that one of their fathers, who was there, and is in his nineties, had been part of the D-Day invasion. He must be one of just a handful left.

My wife's cousin served; another cousin's husband is still in. But in my own life, I knew of just one guy in my high school class of almost 800 who joined up.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:25 AM
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I kind of think we've learned that one pretty well too.

I suppose it depends, as usual, on what you mean by "we".


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:25 AM
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an insight that anyone paying attention to the US Civil War should have gleaned.

Maybe if there were a picture book...


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:28 AM
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33. And yet if the Japanese, French and Americans had left the Vietnamese alone, they wouldn't have fought any of them.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:29 AM
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My father (WWII) remarked after the Falklands War that as soon as people started coming to power who hadn't fought in that conflict, they started with the military silly buggers.

People keep saying this, but I am really not sure it's true. I mean, Hitler, obviously - four years in the trenches didn't stop him from wanting a second go. Mussolini, too. Even if you exclude those outliers, I don't feel that being a retired military officer makes you less likely to support aggressive military actions, though I'd be interested to see evidence to the contrary.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:29 AM
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Not one person from my high school class joined, but there were only 16 of us. Bunches of people from the classes above and below my class did join. I think there were two from the class below me and two from the class above me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:31 AM
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39 is great news for John McCain.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:31 AM
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41: well, quite, John McCain too.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:32 AM
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Jammies' cousin served several tours, but most of the vets I know are attending Heebie U on the GI bill.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:33 AM
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Speaking of the civil war, has everyone seen the video where the Texas Tech students can't answer "who won the civil war?"? This state is an embarrassment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:34 AM
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I mean, I think that if you had to draw up a list of occasions where the UK or the US was playing military silly buggers, and looked at who was in charge at the time and whether they had been in combat, you wouldn't see much correlation. For every George W Bush there's an Anthony Eden.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:35 AM
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44: Maybe the students think the result is still pending.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:36 AM
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44: young people are, as a rule, pretty dumb -- especially when it comes to history. And dumb young people are really dumb. Seriously, it has nothing to do with Texas.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:39 AM
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Isn't saying 44.last a violation of your contract?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:40 AM
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46: "it's too early to tell" would have been a great answer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:41 AM
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Texas Tech students can't answer "who won the civil war?"?

One would hope the question was originally posed with more specificity. Otherwise the question is indeterminate, in which case, if anything could be said to be a 'correct' answer, surely "I don't know" would qualify.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:42 AM
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"Who won the civil war" is exactly how it was asked. So, technically, "the Communists" would have been a correct answer.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:43 AM
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WRT WWI, I recall someone taking issue with the "technological" explanation for the massive casualties. They pointed out that both the Franco-Prussian war and the 1866 Austro-Prussian war were, on a lives per month basis, as deadly as WWI. He (I think it was a he) argued that the real difference with WWI was that everyone chose to just keep on going and going, whereas the earlier 2 wars ended in a few months.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:44 AM
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One kid answers "the confederates?". Several kids say things like "can you give me more information so I know what you're asking about?"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:45 AM
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I'm on my phone, otherwise I'd link.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:45 AM
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52: Isn't technology what let them keep going for more than a few months?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:46 AM
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Several kids say things like "can you give me more information so I know what you're asking about?"

This is a flawless response.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:46 AM
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47: I know this in math - fractions are conceptually hard to lots of college kids, etc - but it's startling elsewhere.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:46 AM
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My grandfather, who died a couple years ago, was a WWII vet, but he and the family never talked all that much about it that I remember. When he died there was some story about how he got a medal for shooting down a V1 in England with a rifle or something- he was on an antiaircraft battery but it jammed and he fired by hand to save a populated area from being hit. I've never been able to verify how true that is, I guess it seems unlikely.
No one else in my family even though the generation before me were almost all boomers. My uncle went to Canada during Vietnam. My dad was in law school.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:46 AM
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44: Wow. Bit confused that they buzzed the woman who said "America." Asking them about celebrity trivia at the end was just mean.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:47 AM
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At that age, I'm pretty sure I answered "who won the civil war?" by first asking "which one?"


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:48 AM
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How many people correctly answered the question and therefore didn't make it on film?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:49 AM
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I did wonder 61, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:50 AM
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I mean, "the civil war" most referred to in the news recently is probably the one in Syria. That's probably what I would have assumed the questioner was referring to (although I would have been confused about why which specific civil war I was being asked about wasn't specified).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:50 AM
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I suspect the only thing that made the American Civil War less costly in lives per month, if indeed it was, would be machine gun technology. All the rest was in place, more or less. Naval technology was far more advanced by 1914 of course, but naval casualties were marginal in the greater scheme of things.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:50 AM
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Urple, if you have these concerns about ambiguity after watching the video, I'll be surprised.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:51 AM
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I do wonder how they would have responded to "The Roundheads."

57: This is depressing as hell. We were just doing user testing for our mathematics software at for-profit university central and it was just heartbreaking how much trouble the adult, going-back-to-college students had with simple math.

64: No chemical weapons yet, right? And I thought there were late-19th-century improvements to rifle technology. And trench warfare was mostly a thing of the end of the war, right? It would have been worse if the generals had realized they need it early on.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:54 AM
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By considering them Right but Repulsive?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:59 AM
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Chemical weapons didn't kill that many soldiers in WW1, though. Less than 1% of the total deaths. The killers of men, as in every war since, were disease and explosive bombardment.

Isn't technology what let them keep going for more than a few months?

The US Civil War kept going for more than a few months too. What let WW1 keep going for more than a few months was inability of either side to win decisively or accept a negotiated peace.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:00 AM
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What shocked me is that the kids couldn't say who "we" won our independence from. Mexico! I mean, come on, have William B. Travis and Davy Crockett really been forgotten?

I suppose, though, someone in Lubbock could make an argument for the Comanches.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:02 AM
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64: the best number for kia in the Civil War is now 750,000-800,000. So, 750k/49 months = ~15,000 kia per month. I'm not current on the WWI literature, so I'm going to stick with the usual number for kia: 10 million combatants. So, 10,000,000/51 months = ~200,000 kia per month.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:04 AM
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LB's kids would fit right in at Texas Tech.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:07 AM
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(I hope 10 million is the right number. That's what's rattling around my brain, but it could be off, in either direction, by as much as 10 million, so great an expert on the history of ww1 am I.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:07 AM
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On the other hand, WW1 deaths as a fraction of population were about 1.5% to 1.8%, while for the American Civil War, it was around 2.0%. 1860s America only had 31 million people.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:08 AM
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but it could be off, in either direction, by as much as 10 million,

As a complete non-expert, I'm going to confidently disagree with this, and say that I am sure that your estimate is less than 10 million high.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:09 AM
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72, Excluding civilians, I think it's about right. I'm more interested in comparing casualties as a %age of total combatants.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:16 AM
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The parade began passing below my office about thirty minutes ago and has something like three more hours to run. Thanks for your service, veterans, but enough with the bagpipes already.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:20 AM
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OK, according to that impeccable source, wikipedia, the claim about earlier wars being as deadly doesn't seem to hold up. The Franco-Prussian war comes out to ~44,000 killed or wounded per month, while every estimate I can find for WWI is at least several times that.

44,000 per month is still pretty bad, though.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:20 AM
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French dead alone in WWI were about a thousand a day. I wonder how long NATO would have stayed in Iraq if they'd been taking that kind of hit.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:27 AM
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52 et al. When was barbed wire first used in combination with trench warfare? Doesn't sound like that was "in place" during the American Civil War or the Franco-Prussian War. Also, the artillery available in WW1 was much more lethal than that available 30-50 years earlier.

And of course the machine gun has been mentioned. Precursors existed even during the American Civil War, but they weren't "perfected" until much later ("We have the Maxim Gun and they do not").

I think they kept going out of the inertia of "sunk costs" in men and materiel. Even so, by the time the US entered the war both sides were exhausted and near collapse both on the battlefield and (in the German case) at home.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:27 AM
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Did anyone else know that Gene Hackman wrote Western novels?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:29 AM
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78. And German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian casualties were higher.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:30 AM
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When was barbed wire first used in combination with trench warfare?

The Russian-Japanese war, I think - which was pretty much a trailer for how the Great War a decade later would look (artillery, trenches, banzai charges into machinegun fire), but which no one seemed to learn from very much.

The Civil War had, presumably, chevaux-de-frises, as indeed did the Napoleonic War.

IIRC per combatant per day the Normandy campaign was deadlier than the Somme, but there were fewer troops involved and it didn't last as long.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:39 AM
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And German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian casualties were higher.

Whenever I hear someone talk about how the Great War was uniquely awful on account of the static front and trench warfare, I want to remind them of the war in the East, where fluid fronts and dynamic war of maneuver were equally ghastly.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:45 AM
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83: I know you mean well, but I grow dangerously weary of the "As you know, Bob, the Second World War was really Stalin's war, because blah blah casualties blah blah Leningrad blah blah" thing that the Atlantic, Slate, the Nation, etc., etc., are so wont to abuse. Maybe if Stalin hadn't pitched in with the Krauts at first the war would have been shorter for everybody.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:58 AM
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84. But KR is talking about the First World War, in which the Russian Empire lost about 2 million killed and Austria Hungary one and a half. Stalin was probably in gaol at the time.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:01 AM
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81,83: I dipped into A Mad Catastrophe in the bookstore recently. The author clearly despises the Habsburgs and is annoyed at the hazy nostalgia that sometimes surrounds them.

Austria tends to be forgotten after the outbreak of the war, but their dead/wounded as a % of population was larger than Britain's and about equal to France and Germany.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:01 AM
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So, going back to Heebie's original question, the answer is basically no*

I know National Service ended in 1960, but didn't many continental countries keep it somewhat longer? I don't know about the Netherlands, for instance, still engaged in a low-intensity conflict in New Guinea into the 60s and with NATO commitments. Martin Wisse would know.

Actually, the class of people I'd most likely encounter with military training would be Israelis. Or Russians.

*I'm imagining my obituary.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:02 AM
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The whole thing is mostly their fault, so that seems the least they could do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:02 AM
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88 to 86.2.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:02 AM
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Stalin was probably in gaol at the time.

Exile, but yeah.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:08 AM
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87: You don't encounter Koreans?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:10 AM
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85: Yeah, but still.

Sorry, hair trigger for journal-of-opinion clichés lately.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:12 AM
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The Civil War had, presumably, chevaux-de-frises, as indeed did the Napoleonic War.

It did.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:12 AM
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Austria tends to be forgotten after the outbreak of the war, but their dead/wounded as a % of population was larger than Britain's and about equal to France and Germany.

Perhaps not surprising, considering they fought major campaigns simultaneously on three or four fronts, depending on how you want to define it.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:13 AM
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I know National Service ended in 1960, but didn't many continental countries keep it somewhat longer?

Most of them kept it until pretty recently. The Netherlands phased it out in the mid-90s, France, Italy, Spain and Germany more recently than that, Norway still has it. (Northern Ireland never had it, actually. Not even during the Second World War.)

See here for a list:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription#Countries_with_and_without_mandatory_military_service


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:15 AM
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Very broadly speaking, in Europe our generation was the last to be conscripted; in the US, our fathers' generation; in the UK, our grandparents' generation.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:18 AM
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You don't encounter Koreans?

I do, actually, and men of my age or thereabouts who are actual immigrants are very likely to have served. That would be several people on my block. But I've never spoken to them about this, nor about much else, even though our kids went to school together. Most in my neighborhood belong to a church that absorbs a lot of their time and attention. I know tons of Korean-Americans but none of them serve any more than the rest of their cohort do.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:18 AM
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98

As do Denmark and Finland and, more significantly, Russia.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:19 AM
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99

Sober Koreans don't seem to be very chatty.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:20 AM
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100

98 > 95.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:20 AM
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I've told the story about how my MIL was supposed to join a group of young folks -- she was almost 15 -- digging trenches and other such things in the early spring of '45. She thought she'd overslept and missed the truck to take her to the worksite, and only many years later learned that her father had gone down the night before to the local office (Army? Party?) and told them to get fucked. He'd already lost both sons -- teenaged draftees -- and was himself 100% disabled from WWI.

Wife talks to MIL every week, and, lately, it's a lot more about the war years than anything more recent.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:29 AM
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I talked to my dad on the phone this morning. (Vietnam vet.) He had eaten breakfast for free at McDonald's. He was planning to get free lunch at Olive Garden, catch a free movie, and then get free dinner at Applebee's on the way home.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:39 AM
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103

Your MIL is German? French? Russian?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:40 AM
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There was a really excellent band called Cheval de Frise.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:42 AM
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The Russian-Japanese war, I think - which was pretty much a trailer for how the Great War a decade later would look (artillery, trenches, banzai charges into machinegun fire), but which no one seemed to learn from very much.

Funny how Khalkin Gol was similarly a preview of the sort of combat that would be seen on the Eastern Front in WW2.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:45 AM
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103 -- German: they voted to rejoin Germany when she was 5, after 17 years under French mandate. Another story she likes to tell these days is about sneaking food to relatives a short ways over the border in Lothringen immediately after WWII.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:46 AM
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105: Not too surprising, considering that Zhukov, one of the main Soviet commanders at Khalkin Gol, was later in charge of the Red Army during much of WWII.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:49 AM
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(a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J301EnXhSkw">This is why I use that name for that place.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:49 AM
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109

Oops


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:50 AM
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107: Oh, sure (and I intentionally phrased it as such to highlight that--I was originally going to say WW2 mobile combat in general, but I'm not sure if that's fair). My point being that combat between Russia and Japan in, from a European perspective, the middle of nowhere tends to get ignored at everyone else's peril.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 11:54 AM
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93. The American Civil War also had a sort of prototype barbed wire, which was ordinary telegraph wire strung between trees. It would seem to be something that might scare or stop a horse but wouldn't be much use against infantry.

110. No kidding. They saw everything but didn't learn much. They did, though, learn about entrenchment and used it in WW1 immediately anywhere the German advance was stopped.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:06 PM
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(And looking further, I see that I'm completely mistaken about that: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saarlodris)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:09 PM
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113

Shit. I may as well do some work.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:10 PM
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114

Veterans eat free at the following restaurants- dear god, are we trying to kill them all? (I also like how Hooters makes them buy a drink to get the "free" food)
Applebee's: A choice of seven different meals on the house (beverages and gratuity not included).
Bob Evans: Free all-you-can-eat hotcakes.
California Pizza Kitchen: A free entrée from special menu.
Cheeseburger in Paradise: Free All American Burger and fries.
Chili's: Free meals from a special menu.
Denny's: Free build-your-own Grand Slam Breakfast from 5 a.m. to noon.
Friendly's: Free Big Two Do breakfast or free All American Burger meal for lunch or dinner.
Golden Corral: A "thank you" dinner and fundraiser will take place on Monday, November 17, and veterans and active-duty military are welcomed to a free buffet and beverage from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Handel's Ice Cream: Free single-scoop ice cream cone.
Hooters: Free entrée (up to $10.99 value) with any drink purchase.
IHOP: Free order of Red, White, and Blue pancakes anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Krispy Kreme: Free small coffee and a donut.
LaMars Donuts: Free 12 oz. coffee and a donut.
Olive Garden: Free entrée from special menu.
On the Border: Free "create your own combo" meal.
Shoney's: Free All American Burger.
Starbucks: Veterans and active military and their spouses each get a free tall coffee.
TGI Fridays: Free lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Texas Roadhouse: Free lunch from special menu.
Tim Hortons: Free donut, anytime during the day.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:15 PM
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114: Wow! They should post that list at military recruiting offices.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:19 PM
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OT: Not from the back of a yellowing, dusty paperback in the SFF section of a used bookstore in a charming college town: "In the Middle Ages, wrestling was practiced as both pastime and self-defense by every level of society - nobles, townsman, and peasants alike - and was regarded as the foundation of all other martial arts. And no medieval wrestler's name looms as large as that of the Jewish master Ott, 'wrestler to the noble Princes of Austria', whose treatise is included in over a dozen fencing manuscripts."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:19 PM
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114: I'm presuming they don't want to see discharge papers, so that it's on the honor system. So far I'm not tempted by these kind offers, but it wouldn't bother me if someone were to fake it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:25 PM
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I snuck out on my lunch break and decorated the gym for the Veterans Day service and put out food for the veterans who were coming to it and the students who'd invited them, though most of it got eaten by other family members. The patriotic strawberries and blueberries were a bigger hit than the cookies, which sort of surprised me. But then I used being back at work as my excuse for getting back to work before having to deal with my unwillingness to say the Pledge etc. during the actual assembly. I hope what I said to the veterans and relatives was sufficiently respectful and so forth, though the part that got the most response was that I appreciated their attendance and that they're sharing their experiences with the students, even if the students may be more impressed with getting a cookie during the school day, which prompted several of the oldest in the fanciest uniforms to immediately agree that this would have been their response too. Anyway, done with the most-dreaded job of my presidency, except the part where I have to go back after work and clean it all up.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:29 PM
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118: Sounds like you did great! A tough assignment for a pacifist!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:33 PM
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I don't hate individual veterans or anything, but I'm deeply uncomfortable with how this gets celebrated and haven't known how to be part of it, and have also generally been stressed and busy and not into my school obligations lately. I'm also not thrilled that "you are in our thoughts and prayers!" is something a very sweet kindergartner is reading during the assembly at a public fucking school. But it's done!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:38 PM
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I also don't like that there were recruiters at the back-to-school day, which I suspect is not happening at the swankier schools other commenters' kids attend. Basically it's just more worry about how poor people get taken advantage of, but offering some of them cookies and cheerful platitudes from small children is not the part that bothers me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:41 PM
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114 + Thorn's school event are part of plan to associate joining military with free food. I suppose that's usually correct and often is an important selling point.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:44 PM
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Speaking of surviving vets, the results of this study on people in 1992 at age 50 estimating their chances of being alive at 75 is rather interesting. although in isolation, this bit reads a bit oddly:

But what the Brookings researchers note, with some degree of alarm, is the big gap in most cohorts between their expected and actual lifespans. "Individuals do not fully understand the longevity risk they face," write authors Benjamin Harris and Katharine G. Abraham.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:44 PM
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122- A good selling point for grad school too.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:53 PM
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124: I don't remember any free food!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:54 PM
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They'd better appreciate the longevity risk they face were they forced to read this thread, and realize what they look like to younger generations.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 12:59 PM
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118: Can you make the kids, at least, help you clean up?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:09 PM
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I could make MY kids do it, but it'll be faster to just do it myself. They didn't go to the reception because we didn't send in any pictures of veterans in the family or invite any veterans to the assembly.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:11 PM
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You can tell who at our office has a PhD or at least spent a lot of time in a graduate program, because they all have an uncanny sense for free food. If I see multiple of them sneaking out in the general direction of the kitchen, I get up and follow, no questions asked.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:11 PM
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129: TWYRCL has that power, to an uncanny extent: she has wandered blocks out of a planned route without explanation, only to stumble upon a Grand Opening Free Sandwiches/Tea/Doughnut/Pie event.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:14 PM
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I want to hear a National Geographic narration on the phenomenon in 129/130.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:15 PM
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Doughnut Pie would be pretty good.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:16 PM
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130: She lives up to her name!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:42 PM
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Veterans can also enter a raffle for a free week's vacation at Unitarian family camp.

I don't like it. How come teachers don't get a raffle? Or foster parents?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:43 PM
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Would doughnut pie be doughnut batter in a pastry case or stewed fruit with a topping of doughnut batter? The latter is possible, the former insane.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 1:46 PM
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Both my grandfathers served in WWII. My paternal grandfather spent a chunk of it driving around the North African desert in a jeep, with a couple of Sikhs, dragging for German field telephone lines, and cutting them. Then a further chunk fighting up through Italy. So, at the sharp end. He was a professional soldier, though, and a senior non-comm by WWII. He'd spent 15 or more years before WWII doing his bit for colonial oppression.

My maternal grandfather, who is still alive but now 100, was in the RAF. He spent a bit of time on anti-aircraft guns, and barrage balloons, I believe, but spent much of the war in Orkney, as a mechanic. I think, probably, the closest he came to being shot at [rather than bombed] was in Palestine, from the Irgun, et al.

I've said before, I think I'm the first generation in my family not to have been in the military. On my mum's side, my great-grandfather fought in the Boer war. On my dad's side, his grandfathers [dead decades before he was born] fought in the trenches. My Dad was in the same regiment as my grandfather, etc.

Again, because of where I grew up, lots of people I know were in the military. Of my immediate high school circle, I think only two joined up. One RAF, one Navy. But lots of people in our wider circle of friends were in the military.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 2:29 PM
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135: I was thinking something like a pecan/fruit pie with sliced bits of doughnut on top, instead of pecans/that lattice thing.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 2:49 PM
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Grad school left me with a slight aversion to free food. Free food? Is someone going to corral me about results or paper drafts? Will there be people snipping at each other? No thanks, I make enough money that free food isn't a sufficient bribe for my time.

The skill in 130 sounds charming, though.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 3:05 PM
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You aren't allowed to just take the food and leave?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 3:21 PM
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This was as I was standing in line for food or stacking food on my plate.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 3:26 PM
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There was a line? That might be why everybody was mad at me.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 3:29 PM
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We had cake (several, actually) at work for vets (and the rest of us). It was good: chocolate cake, vanilla cake, mixed icings.

We don't get Veterans' Day as a holiday. I suspect most vets would appreciate that more than cake, nice as it was.

My father was in the Marines. His unit was cut from the Iwo Jima invasion (with an assignment to be first on the beach) at the last minute, but if the war had continued he probably would have been there for the landings on Kyushu, scheduled for October, 1945. In our timeline, he never saw combat.

My FIL had just finished AAC navigator school when the war ended. He never saw combat.

One grandfather was in France during WW1, but only saw the after-effects of the air war: crashes on the airfields, burned pilots, and more. His diary has several pages ripped out from that period. The other grandfather was never in the military; I think his father's considerable political pull kept him out.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 5:26 PM
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If this is enough decoration to make people happy, I think I may be able to pull off running everything for the school after all! The principal had gotten everything put away by the time I got back there after work, which even made me a little weepy. I'm so glad today is over and relieved that the people involved were happy.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 6:19 PM
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There's a geographical as well as a class element to this issue. I know lots of veterans, including some middle-class educated professionals my age and younger.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:13 PM
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I also don't like that there were recruiters at the back-to-school day, which I suspect is not happening at the swankier schools other commenters' kids attend.

It's probably a good option for the boys though. If I was poor and had sons who were bright and physically capable I would definitely tell them to take a look at it.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 9:25 PM
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Just got home from the Joan Baez concert. She sang Where Have All the Flowers Gone among others. Imagine. Our climate clearly shocked her -- it's 8F right now, with a fair breeze blowing.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:18 PM
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She should come to Alaska. It's 38F now in Anchorage. Tomorrow I'm flying to Kodiak, where it's even warmer.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:31 PM
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It's getting a bit chilly here but man MT and WY are really going to take it in the frozen shorts.

http://www.weather.com/maps/maptype/currentweatherusnational/uscurrenttemperatures_large.html


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 11-11-14 10:48 PM
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145: I know you're right, and I suspect we get some points on the mandated "college and career readiness scores" (which the state requires we meet at the K-2 level too, not just saying "Our kids are not career-ready because you won't allow them to get a job for another 10 years, dudes!") But I still find it more than a little depressing. As I say that, it reminds me that if they're going to be there, I should invite my friends who do admissions at the community college to attend to. Why not?

And I know that recruiters hit up all the schools to one extent or another. I still remember the HS friend who told us he had something he wanted to tell us and we all smiled so politely because come on, dear, we've known for ages you were gay and instead it was that he'd been accepted at West Point. Many of my classmates married and/or procreated with guys in the military, though I'm not aware of any who joined up themselves. One had a brother killed in combat fairly early in the Afghanistan invasion. I don't say anything critical of the military establishment on facebook because it would be personally hurtful to a lot of them and I think the system hurts them plenty already without my additions.

I really liked this NPR piece on "moral injury" among those who return from war and think it's very applicable to children in foster care who've grown up normalizing what went on in their homes and often feel responsibility for that.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 11-12-14 4:43 AM
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