Friday, May 28, 2010
by Lew Waters
Viet Nam Veteran
I remember that day long ago when I decided to join the Military. I know you can’t remember that day, but I do. I hoped I might not have to travel half way around the world to fight in that war long ago.
You looked proud of me then, but I could see the fear in your eyes. I could feel the apprehension inside of me, fear of the unknown, Basic Training, maybe fighting. But I went because it was the right thing to do.
I remember feeling so proud to put on the uniform and having my photo taken during Basic Training and how in your letter you said I looked all grown up and how proud you were of me.
I remember completing Basic and being sent off for more training in the skill the Military would assign me and the day towards the end when my orders came, telling that I was being sent off to that far away land. I was going to war to help preserve someone else’s freedom and stand against those who would oppress others.
I came home for a short leave and asked you to marry me, but you said no, not at this time. We were too young and I would be gone too long, we should wait. I kissed you goodbye and hugged you, not wanting to let you go, but I did.
I remember the airplane landing and after being processed into this far away land, being sent off to the unit that would be my home for the next year. My fear did not subside, but I learned to hide it well, just as all the others did.
I remember that year as if it were yesterday, the horrors I saw, the sounds I heard, the acrid smells around me. But I was doing what must be done to preserve freedom, not only for those we fought for, but for you and those who would come along after us.
I came home and you were there to greet me with open arms. Your tears told me you had really missed me and now, it was you that couldn’t wait to be married to me, even though you knew I was to return as soon as my leave was finished.
I remember you in your white gown and me in my Dress Uniform, now sporting a few medals.
I remember our first kiss as man and wife and looking into your eyes, seeing how much you loved me and the fear of my returning to war seemed less than before.
Our time together as married was too short, but I had to return. I had a job to finish and finishing meant you would be protected in the years ahead as would any children we would have.
I remember your letter telling me I was going to be a ‘Daddy,’ and to be careful. I was so proud and wanted to be there to show you.
Another year would soon be up and I had been careful so I would return to you. I beamed with pride when I received your letter with the photo you sent of you holding our newborn child. It would only be weeks now and I would be back with you, a civilian again, my job and time served completed. I will have served my country with honor.
I remember hearing the rapid popping noise like firecrackers, but knew the sound of an AK-47. The sirens went off, things began exploding around me and I remember thinking how this can’t be happening, not now, I’m too short for this, I want to hold my child and my wife.
Something hit me, once, then twice, and then a third time and it burned. It knocked me down and I couldn’t get up, everything was blurry but became peaceful and quiet. Then it all went black.
I don’t know how they told you or how much you wept when they came to tell you what happened to me, but I saw you at my funeral, sitting there dressed in black and the tears streaming down your cheeks. You had our child with you and my parents where there, also weeping. I tried to wipe the tears off your cheek and tell you that I was okay, there was no more pain.
You cried as they handed you the folded flag and could barely stand as they lowered my casket into the ground.
I was pleased that you placed that flag in an oak case along with my medals and a photo of me. I was happy to see you find a new love and remarry and watched from afar as you had more children and your new husband accepted our child as his own.
I heard as you and your husband told our child about me and what I paid so that others could be free and I could see that he too was growing into a fine young man. I was very proud when he decided to don the uniform of the United States of America and even when he decided to make a career out of the Military.
I remember every Memorial Day when you and your new family came to the ceremony to pay respects to all of us up here. We were there behind the podium and spread out among the crowd that gathered. We all wanted to tell you that we loved you and that we could never forget you. You were the reason we sacrificed as we did and we would gladly do it again.
I remember how as children, we watched as every Memorial Day a parade was held. Aging Veterans marched proudly through the center of town. Some in wheelchairs, some hobbling along, but all proudly wearing the uniform they once wore daily.
The parades seem to be a thing of the past, though. Replaced by yearly ceremonies. I was troubled that the crowds every year became smaller and less people came. Backyard barbecues and merchant sales began taking over for people stopping by the Memorial in town where you all once came to pay your respects.
Then came that fateful day in 2001, September 11 to be exact, when airplanes were flown into buildings and many people died. We knew our numbers would be growing soon and prepared to greet new arrivals.
I watched as once again the numbers at Memorial Day ceremonies grew and we gathered there with you, happy to see faces we hadn’t seen in years.
I wasn’t prepared to greet our son, but he knew who I was right away even though he had never met me. We hugged long and hard, the hug I had wanted to give him so long ago.
We traveled together as once again; we saw you accepting a folded flag, this time for our son and you placed it alongside of mine.
We were together that day and every Memorial Day when you, along with his brothers and sisters came to the Veterans Memorial in town to hear the speeches and to say how much you missed us that first couple of years.
But, you weren’t there the last couple of years. What happened? Did we make you mad? Did the pain of remembering us become too great? Did you listen to those voices screaming out again about how wrong we were for going or believe them as they said we were the bad guys? We see you at home in your backyard. Grandchildren are there now, along with friends and neighbors and you are laughing, playing games, having fun. Our folded flags have gathered dust and are stored in a box.
Have we been forgotten?
There are so few of you that still come. We hear far too few words of thanks any more. We are happy that you can enjoy life and we miss being there with you, enjoying it too.
Our Memorials are being vandalized, stolen and neglected. Many have fallen into disrepair, so few stopping by today. Our Memorials are under assault and Courts are deciding to tear them down, falsely claiming them to be religious symbols and you aren’t speaking out.
We miss you and think of you every day. We know what the price of freedom is as we paid the high price and would gladly do it again.
We remember you. Don’t you remember us?
Posted by Lew Waters at 10:25 AM
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Just when I think today’s far leftist Democrats can’t get any more hypocritical, sure enough along comes one to show me they can.
It’s difficult to grasp that any Democrat, after 8 years of opportunism and exploitation of every thing imaginable while George W. Bush was president, would now cry about “opportunism or exploitation,” but that is exactly what Georgia State Senator Jason Carter, grandson of our now second worst president ever, Jimmy Carter, has done.
To not recall how the Democratic Party lined up to denigrate President Bush in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the War on Terror that they voted for, shortcomings at Walter Reed Hospital, the economy and housing bubble that burst, that they blocked efforts to reign in back in 2003 and so many more examples would truly require a “willing suspension of disbelief.”
Not a day went by that we did not read of some Democrat somewhere expressing outrage over matters they could have been helping in, but instead chose to exploit in their all out effort to seize complete control of the government.
Now, in the aftermath of the tragic accident in the Gulf of Mexico at the Deep Water Horizon Oil Platform and over a month of the damaged well leaking hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf and Obama’s inaction and inattention to the crisis, along comes Georgia State Senator Jason Carter complaining that pointing out the ineptness of the Obama’s administration’s meager efforts in helping curtail the leak is somehow “exploitation and opportunism.”
And of course, the junior Carter couldn’t help himself but to take a swipe at the Bush Administration in doing so. In a recent ABC News interview, the young Carter brayed,
“I think the Republicans who took so much heat when the Bush administration failed to respond appropriately to Katrina have decided to make this issue Obama's Katrina, and I don't think that the comparisons are apt, at all. I think that it's looking like a political opportunity for the Republicans, and they're jumping on it.”
Perhaps the junior Carter, claiming to be an attorney, doesn’t realize or know that thee is little more Bush could have legally done in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Completely ignoring that It is ludicrous to blame Bush for the fiasco that ensued, Carter followed the ever present Democrat Party platform of place blame on Bush, even though it has been proven over and over that Bush could have done little more than what he did.
So now, according to the junior Carter, its “political opportunity” to point out that in spite of this going on for over a month, the Obama administration should remain blameless.
Young Jason Carter continued,
“I don't think that President Obama can go plug the leak. I think that that's what has to happen first, and if BP, as they've said, can't do it on their own, then absolutely -- we have to step in and bring all of the resources that we can marshal to bear on the problem.”
But, Bush was supposed to prevent a hurricane?
Jason, it has been over a month. This is an unprecedented tragedy, nothing like this has happened before. Thousands of oil platforms drill and pump oil out of the Gulf of Mexico daily and no accident of this magnitude has happened before.
BP is doing what they can and paying as they go. What is the Obama administration and Democrats doing, besides whining it has nothing to do with you?
How about taking advantage of the accident now to quadruple oil taxes by his party? Does he not see real “political opportunism” in such a move in the aftermath of the accident?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says, “Taxpayers will not pick up the tab.”
Then we are told, Democrats “want to increase the current 8-cent-a-barrel tax on oil to make sure there is enough money available to respond to oil spills,” citing, “the government needs upfront money to respond to spills, as well as money to pay for cleanups when the responsible party is unable to pay, or is unknown.”
But, we were just told by Reid that we would not pick up the tab, were we not?
And, should they succeed in increasing the oil tax, who is it that will “pick up the tab” anyway? That’s right, you and I in the form of higher prices at the gas pump.
In an already severely repressed economy with unemployment soaring to record levels not seen in decades, along comes the Democrats, claiming to be there to “help the little guy,” prepared to stick it to the “little guy” once again.
But, Georgia State Senator Jason Carter, grandson of the now second worst president ever, can only see an opportunity to bash Republicans and add to his own political hypocrisy by ignoring the ineptness and inability of the current Democrat regime in every area other than bankrupting the taxpaying citizens of America.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Democrat!
Posted by Lew Waters at 9:27 AM
Sunday, May 23, 2010
"More than two dozen cases of locally-acquired dengue fever have hit the resort town of Key West, Fla., in the past nine months, officials from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said."
"The re-emergence of dengue in Florida as well as the threat posed to the U.S. from other emerging mosquito-borne arboviruses (e.g., chikungunya) emphasizes the necessity for strong vector-borne surveillance and mosquito control infrastructure to rapidly identify and control outbreaks of dengue or other mosquito-borne diseases," MMWR's editors wrote in a commentary accompanying the report.
It is endemic in the Western Hemisphere from Mexico southward. Most cases seen by U.S. physicians have involved travelers to such regions.
Due to the resurgence of such disease, primarily in Africa, many advocate lifting the restrictions placed on DDT use.
See also the NPR article Dengue Fever In Florida Portends A Growing Problem
Growing up in South Florida, I recall the trucks going up and down streets spraying insecticide. To us, they were fog trucks that we ran behind, hiding in the fog.
Nearing 62 years old I have no ill effects nor does anyone else I am in touch with that I grew up with.
DDT was the most effective weapon combating this and many other mosquito borne diseases, which are worse than possible ill effects of DDT.
Posted by Lew Waters at 11:26 PM
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
To what we owe this announced visit from the Westboro cretins, I don’t know. But they have announced their plans to be here to stage one of their hate-mongering protests outside of Heritage High School on June 1, approximately 2:15 PM to 2:45 PM.
Gay-bashing church plans picketing at Heritage High
They may call themselves a “church” and “Baptists,” but they are anything but. They have no known affiliation with any Baptist Association or Convention. Calling themselves “Independent Baptist,” following Primitive Baptist and Calvinist principles, not one mainstream Primitive Baptist group agrees with them, all rejecting their perversion of scripture. This small band of followers of Fred Phelps, comprised mostly of his family members, is no doubt the most hateful cult I can recall.
From his initial “God Hates Fags” to spread hate to Gays to his protesting at funerals of our fallen Troops, there is not an ounce of biblical love coming from these cold hearted hate mongers.
Besides dishonoring others in the community across America, they seem to desire to provoke angry responses so they can file lawsuits against people, some family members being attorneys.
As much as they pervert scripture to justify their hate, they pervert laws to protect their hate, as was seen when Albert Snyder, whose son, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in action in Iraq in 2006 was ordered to pay the hate group’s legal fees for an appeal they filed to reverse a multi-million dollar award stemming from their protesting outside Matthews funeral.
Dead Marine's father ordered to pay protesters' legal costs
I’ll reserve comment on the judge.
From the Columbian article we read,
May 28, the group plans to picket five Jewish synagogues and centers; a Catholic church; a Bible church; and the large New Hope Community Church near Clackamas, Ore.
Early June 1, the group will picket Portland’s Grant High School before the first bell, the website shows.
That same day, it will gather at Heritage from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m., chiefly “to picket the rebellious brats and lying teachers,”
The group’s attorney, Rebekah Phelps Davis, has faxed an announcement to Sheriff Garry Lucas and Cmdr. Chuck Atkins stating they plan to protest “peaceful and law-abiding manner” and requesting “police provide a safe environment, including a ‘dead zone’ to buffer the group from possible threats.”
Atkins says, “ it is our responsibility to let them do what they’re legally allowed to do. We take a neutral stance. As long as they don’t impede traffic, driveways, foot traffic, etc.”
If it were up to me, their “safe environment” would be supplied next to the sewage treatment facility down by the river.
It is unknown to me if there will be any organized opposition to their protest. Patriot Guard Riders, who have long placed themselves between the hate-group and families at funerals, must be invited by a family member or an official.
Such despicable hate as this group spreads must be stood up to somewhere in our legal system. They target not only Gays and funerals of our fallen Heroes, but Jews, Catholics and just about everybody outside of their hate filled group.
The very Bible they pervert says,
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
They too will one day stand before their maker and be judged for their actions.
The country must stop cowering from these hateful people, for as much as other hate-groups were largely marginalized for their hateful actions during the Civil Rights era; whatever legal measures are available must be taken to drown out this message of hate today.
Posted by Lew Waters at 10:42 AM
Friday, May 14, 2010
Vandals claiming to be who took it upon themselves to defy a recent United States Supreme Court ruling and remove the Mojave Veterans Memorial, erected in 1934, have sent an anonymous letter to the Barstow Desert Dispatch outlining their reasoning for committing the crime.
Anonymous letter explaining cross theft sent to Desert Dispatch
The validity of the claim is unknown, but there are indicators that this may indeed be the scumbags who planned and executed this desecration of a long-standing Veterans Memorial.
The vandals supply 15 points in their justification of this dishonorable act and I will reply to some below. You may see all 15 at the link above.
1. The cross in question was not vandalized. It was simply moved. This was done lovingly and with great care.
Removal is vandalizing, plain and simple. You do not have permission or the right to decide what Battle Weary Veterans from World War One may or may not erect to honor their fallen comrades. If, as you claim, you are a Veteran, shame on you for this egregious desecration of a Veterans Memorial and denial of others rights to remember fallen comrades as they see fit.
We fought for the rights of those we disagree with as well as those we agree with. That you decided to take in your hands to deem what rights others may have violates everything we all fought for.
5. The cross was erected illegally on public land in 1998 by a private individual named Henry Sandoz. Since then the government has actively worked to promote the continued existence of the cross, even as it excluded other monuments from differing religions. This favoritism and exclusion clearly violates the establishment clause of the US Constitution.
The Memorial was first erected in 1934 by a group of World War One Veterans led by Riley Bembry and who wanted to honor soldiers who had perished in the ‘war to end all wars.’ He and his fellow‘doughboys’chose a simple Latin cross that was typical of many Veteran Memorials at that time. Riley asked Henry Sandoz to watch over the Memorial some time before he died in 1984. Sandoz replaced the original wooden Memorial in the 1970’s and after it was vandalized, replaced it with one constructed out of 3 inch metal pipe filled with cement, the one you decided to steal, in 1996. The land in question was not a Federal Preserve when the Memorial was first erected.
A Memorial in the form of a Cross is not necessarily religious in nature or intended only for fallen of the Christian faith.
Would this vandal take it upon himself next to enter Arlington Cemetery and remove all of the crosses on the graves of other fallen Veterans because of inserted “establishment clause?”
War Memorials and the Constitution
No other monuments from differing religions have been excluded. That was a bogus trumped up claim made to justify the view of one man, Frank Buono, to have the Memorial destroyed.
6. Anthony Kennedy desecrated and marginalized the memory and sacrifice of all those non-Christians that died in WWI when he wrote: 'Here one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles — battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.' The irony and tragedy of that statement is unique.
No, Justice Kennedy’s word might have angered you, but the symbol of the cross in Memorials has transcended religious meaning long ago. As my friend and former ACLU attorney Rees Lloyd puts it,
“Symbols have meaning in collective life. People die for them. For instance, the Flag. The Cross manifestly has a religious aspect. But, equally manifestly, it conveys a secular meaning -- the meaning of selfless service and sacrifice for others, and is so understood. Universally, Beyond language barriers. In fact, there is not other symbol so universally recognized as representing selfless service and sacrifice for others, including the ultimate sacrifice of one's life. That is how it is understood at veterans memorials, and why it is the symbol so often chosen to honor the war dead.”
Missed, by the miscreant that took it upon himself to initiate this criminal act is that Supreme Court ruling was not about the cross itself, but was over the trade of the land the cross sits on for a larger parcel of land within the Preserve passed by congress earlier. Of that, Justice Kennedy said,
“The land transfer-statute embodies Congress’s legislative judgment that this dispute is best resolved through a framework and policy of accommodation for a symbol that, while challenged under the Establishment Clause has complex meaning beyond the expression of religious views.”
With that, these vandals did not enter public land to remove a symbol, but trespassed upon private land held by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to steal a symbol belonging to and revered by Veterans.
7. Justice Kennedy’s words in particular and others like them from the other Justices caused me to act.
No, your selfish, narrow-minded bigotry is what caused you to take it upon yourself to decide for upwards of 50 million Veterans what they may hold in honor.
9. Discrimination in any form is intolerable, as is hatred.
Except for your hatred of what others honor in memory of their fallen comrades as you decided to discriminate against them?
11. Despite what many people are saying, this act was definitively not anti-Christian. It was instead anti-discrimination. If this act was anti-Christian, the cross would not have been cared for so reverently. An anti-Christian response would have been to simply destroy the cross and leave the pieces in the desert.
No, it might not be “anti-Christian,” but your criminal act is definitely “anti-Veteran” and a dishonor to the very uniform you claim to have once worn and to the memory of those in whose memory the Memorial was erected.
13. If an appropriate and permanent non-sectarian memorial is placed at the site the cross will be immediately returned to Mr. Sandoz.
Your shameful crime will not go unpunished. You have taken it upon yourself to decide what others may do. You have set yourself up as the sole harbinger of what is right in defiance of the United States Supreme Court, Congress and more Veterans you care to know about.
You quote a great man, Abraham Lincoln to justify your crime against Patriotic Americans when you say, “To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men.”
Your crime is not justifiable in any sense. You are not a Patriot or honorable person. You are the very coward you mention, a coward who sneaks onto private land traded by Veterans to honor a Memorial erected by our Grandfathers under the cover of darkness.
You have not stood up and spoken your view; you stole the rights of others to their views from the middle of the desert.
Your crime is unredeemable. It is cowardly. It is despicable.
You should surrender yourself to the appropriate authorities and return the Memorial to where it has stood for 76 years.
Then, thank God that your penalty will be at the hands of the very judicial system you decided you have the right to defy and dishonor and not at the hands of so many pissed off Veterans.
Posted by Lew Waters at 10:39 PM
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Where the ACLU has failed, vandals have succeeded!
The Mojave Veterans Memorial, erected in 1934 in what is now a Federal Preserve, has been a target of destruction by the ACLU and others who have no respect for Veterans or our Memorials.
Erected by Veterans of World War One in the middle of the Mojave Desert, some 11 miles from the nearest highway, it became the target of Frank Buono, a retired National Park Service employee now residing in Portland, Oregon some 1100 miles away from the simple Memorial.
Making it all the way to the United States Supreme Court, after being encased in a plywood box for several years, the Memorial gained reprieve recently when the High Court ruled 5 to 4 to overturn a lower Court ruling mandating the Memorial be destroyed since it is in the form of a Cross.
As the case was returned to the District Courts, the ACLU has stated that it still plans to argue for the memorial to be torn down.
And now, someone has seen fit to dishonor America’s Veterans by taking it upon themselves to “cut the metal bolts that attached the symbol to a rock in the sprawling desert preserve” and remove the Memorial.
Linda Slater, National Park Service spokeswoman said, “Authorities had no immediate motive for the theft [and] possible suspects range from scrap metal scavengers to ‘people with an interest in the case’.”
We are told the US Justice Department is “looking into the case,” but given recent developments from them, I hold little hope they will look very far.
Clarence Hill, the national commander of the American Legion stated, “The American Legion expects whoever is responsible for this vile act to be brought to justice. While the memorial has been attacked, the fight will continue to ensure that Veterans Memorials will remain sacrosanct.”
Rees Lloyd, a former ACLU attorney and Director, Defense of Veterans Memorials Project of The American Legion Department of California says, “This is an outrage that must not go unredressed. Has our nation been so transformed that there are now those among us who would desecrate a Veterans Memorial by tearing down a cross which was established by veterans in 1934 in the remote Mojave Desert to honor the service and sacrifice of Veterans who have made our freedom possible, especially those who have given their lives?
Has the very soul America been so changed that this could even be contemplated by anyone in America?”
In a news release from Liberty Institute, VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr said, “This was a legal fight that a vandal just made personal to 50 million Veterans, Military personnel and their families. To think anyone can rationalize the desecration of a War Memorial is sickening, and for them to believe they won’t be apprehended is very naive.”
Tradewell, himself a combat wounded Vietnam Veteran continued, “The memorial will be rebuilt and the vandals will be caught and prosecuted in federal court, since the crime occurred on government property. We hope this horrible act will highlight the importance of resolving this case quickly so that the memorial and land can be transferred to the VFW so that the service and sacrifice of all American war dead will be properly recognized and honored, as originally intended by a group of World War I VFW members 76 years ago.”
Liberty Institute is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this heinous assault on America’s Veterans Memorials.
For more information or to leave a tip, please visit http://www.donttearmedown.com/
For whoever did this, we’re coming for you.
Posted by Lew Waters at 11:22 AM
Sunday, May 09, 2010
We have lost one of the most talented singer/actresses America has ever produced. Lena Horne passed away today at 92 years of age.
Legendary Singer Lena Horne Dies
A scene with Lena in one of my favorite movies, 1943's Cabin The Sky.
Rest in Peace, Lena, your velvety voice will be with us forever.
Posted by Lew Waters at 10:45 PM
Thursday, May 06, 2010
Read more at Students Kicked Off Campus for Wearing American Flag Tees
Ask yourselves, why such a fuss over Cinco De Mayo in America, but it is largely ignored in Mexico? If Mexico largely ignores the day, why are students in America chastised for displaying American Flag memorbelia on the 5th of May?
For those who felt offended at American students wearing Red, White & Blue clothing and honoring the American Flag, if you think what Mexico offers is better, please exercise your freedom to cross the southern border, legally or illegally, your choice, and help them create the Mexican Paradise you think exists there.
As a Veteran who went to war under that flag, I served alongside Mexican-Americans, Cubans who barely spoke English, Blacks, White, Indians, whatever ethnicity exists in America. We did not fly any other flag and we all fought under the same flag, the American Flag.
How dare any of you cry "it's disrespectful" to display any variant of the American Flag inside of America, just because it is the 5th of May and you think it is a day to honor in Mexico.
Enjoy the 5th of May and whatever created celebrations you desire on May 5, but do not decide America ceases to exist on that day.
If America offends you that much, maybe you are living in the wrong country.
Posted by Lew Waters at 3:38 PM
Sunday, May 02, 2010
America’s Veterans had cause to rejoice this past Wednesday, April 28, 2010 as a divided US Supreme Court found for us in the long ongoing Mojave Cross case, where one disgruntled man deemed it offensive to his senses to know there was a cross erected in 1934 by World War One Veterans to honor their fallen comrades 11 miles from the nearest highway.
Lower courts ruled in favor of the ACLU and the cross has been hidden in a plywood box for some time now. Now, by a 5 to 4 decision, the simple white cross can be freed and displayed for any who desire to venture far into the Mojave Desert to see it.
We need to be vigilant as you will notice; I said it was a 5 to 4 decision. We barely won it and rest assured, anti-Veteran forces will not stop in their quest to deny us the use of such a symbol in honoring our fallen brothers and sisters.
You may download and read the 71 pages of opinion HERE if you wish.
As to the cross being solely a religious symbol, my friend Rees Lloyd, himself a former ACLU attorney who now fights for Veterans causes explained the symbolism of the Cross in veterans Memorials thusly,
“Symbols have meaning in collective life. People die for them. For instance, the Flag. The Cross manifestly has a religious aspect. But, equally manifestly, it conveys a secular meaning -- the meaning of selfless service and sacrifice for others, and is so understood, universally, beyond language barriers. In fact, there is not other symbol so universally recognized as representing selfless service and sacrifice for others, including the ultimate sacrifice of one's life. That is how it is understood at veterans memorials, and why it is the symbol so often chosen to honor the war dead.”
“The Cross, too, has acquired a secular meaning--the meaning of goodness, of self-sacrifice for others. Tear down the Cross and you are left with the absence of any symbol adequate to honor the serve and sacrifice of veterans.”
As you can see, a Cross used to honor Veterans has far more symbolism attached to it than merely religious.
Congressman Jerry Lewis (R.Ca) added his praise by saying,
“Congress has repeatedly voted overwhelmingly to protect the Mojave Cross as a memorial to veterans and those who have died to defend our nation, never intending it to be preserved as a religious symbol. I am gratified that the Supreme Court has upheld the right and authority of Congress to seek these solutions in memory of our veterans.”
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor agreed with retiring Justice John Paul Stevens who spoke in dissent,
“The government has good reason for honoring all those who have rendered heroic public service regardless of creed, but it should avoid endorsement of a particular religious view in doing so.”
Clearly these 4 just don’t get that we don’t choose symbols based solely upon a religious view. Would they adopt the same attitude if the American Red Cross were challenged on their chosen symbol and force them become something like the American Red Box?
This should also be an eye-opener to us all as with Stevens retiring and left-leaning Obama desiring to stack the court with liberals who only fall back on our constitution should they be able to distort a section to deny us of another liberty, we could have lost this case just as easily and knowing the ACLU, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see some other challenge mounted to finish the destruction of one of our Memorials.
The ACLU has been accused of desiring to destroy crosses used as headstones in National Veterans cemeteries and they continue to deny that allegation.
With the over 10 year battle to destroy this simple Memorial out in the middle of the desert, I’m not too sure I trust that denial.
Posted by Lew Waters at 9:57 PM
I guess it was inevitable with the dire situation of the economy and realization that Obamacare would end costing considerable more than expected, that fraudulent PTSD claims would cross someone’s mind. And as always, Veterans Healthcare falls under the microscope.
MSNBC posted a story by the Associated Press, Tide of new PTSD cases raises fears of fraud that contains the sudden realization, “Some veterans have learned to game the system to get disability payments,”
After years of pandering to Veterans and Veterans Groups who were outraged during the Bush administration at efforts to review PTSD claims for fraud, Democrats, now that they have control and have ruined the economy for generations to come, suddenly realize such fraud is a real possibility? Or, do they think such fraud could only happen once they have all responsibility in their soiled hands?
Either way you look at it, such fraud is not new. Veterans, like any group of people, have a small number that seek ways to game the system. Many have been found to have never even served in the Military, much less a combat zone, as was outlined in several pages of the 1998 book, “Stolen Valor” by B.G. Burkett & Glenna Whitley.
During the Bush years, the Veterans Administration announced it would be conducting a review of some 72,000 PTSD claims after a random sampling of 2,100 claims found about 25% “lacked adequate proof of a service-related stressor.”
Two questions were raised by Veterans advocate Larry Scott at the time. “How can a claim be awarded if the veteran doesn’t meet the standards set for that claim?” And, “If the VA didn’t note the documents, how could the PTSD claim have been awarded?”
Larry, who was an enlisted man serving as a “Broadcast Journalist at AFKN HQ, Seoul, Korea and AFN Lajes Field, The Azores, Portugal and a stateside tour as a Broadcast Journalism Instructor at the Defense Information School” and who claims “VA compensation for a service-connected disability” receives VA Healthcare from the same facility as I do, located in very left-leaning Portland, Oregon. In my visits there I have been treated with everything from pity to disdain for having served in Viet Nam.
My first visit, for a vesting physical a few years ago, I was asked a few questions such as, did I ever see blood? Did I ever see wounded soldiers of either side? Was I ever subjected to rocket or mortar attack? Was I ever sexually harassed? Do I suddenly become angry? Do I jump at sudden unexpected noises?
From those questions and a few others, I was told that I too displayed symptoms of PTSD, although I have yet to pursue any compensation. But, that was what it took. No documentation, no dates, no specifics, just answer yes to those few questions and bingo, you got it.
No one even asked for me to sign an SF 180 to review my Military records to see if I was even in Viet Nam, it was just accepted by my say so.
That, Larry, is how a claim could be made without the Veteran actually meeting such standards.
As I have said many times before, PTSD is a very real condition and can be very debilitating, leading too many to suicide if not treated. It is not a laughing matter nor is it something to be taken lightly or marginalized.
But neither is fraud. Fraudulent claims divert much needed resources and funds away from those truly in need to someone seeking easy money. That is wrong. And, as far as I am concerned, such fraud is criminal.
In 2005, thanks to the efforts of Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and then excessively junior Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), those filing fraudulent claims gained a reprieve as an amendment was inserted into the Fiscal Year 2006 VA budget which would stop this review.
Murray crowed about the effort stating, “Veterans should not be punished for mistakes the VA has made, and that's what my amendment ensures.”
I fail to grasp how someone filing a fraudulent claim with the Veterans Administration is somehow the VA’s mistake.
Now, here we are, 5 years later, still engaged in a war that must be fought and was long over due when we entered it, Trillions of dollars deeper in National debt, an economy in shambles with raging unemployment and still we hear, “Some claims are built on a foundation of fake documents; in other cases, the right medals — plus a gift for storytelling — secure unearned benefits.”
Ms. Murray, Barack, I await your magic wand approach to just make this one go away as you did before. I wait your boasting of how you protected fraudulent filers of PTSD claims in 2010 as you did in 2005.
Just remember, now that you control all the purse strings, every case of fraud is not only wasted tax dollars going to someone undeserving of such care, it denies a truly deserving Veteran in real need of much needed care.
Posted by Lew Waters at 5:11 PM