Posted tagged ‘patriotism’

Memorial Day 2017

May 29, 2017

vietnam mem

I graduated from college in 1966, just as U.S. combat troops were being deployed in Vietnam. It was perhaps our most unpopular war, and like many young men, I was opposed to the war … giving the world the odd sight of a grey Volvo with a peace sticker parking in the lot of one of our nation’s largest defense contractors. Back then, our military was largely based on the draft, something that I was able to avoid because of my job. Was that fair? Maybe not but I am sure I was a better as a designer of submarine equipment than I ever would have been as a soldier. It was perhaps a low point in our history with conservatives shouting, My country right or wrong, and protestors chanting, Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids have you killed today? It seemed to be a war fought without a real will to win. I had a friend who served and returned with tales of being sent out on Search and Destroy missions, only to call in air support having found the enemy and find none was available. Students protesting the war were shot by soldiers at Kent State University and returning soldiers were harassed by anti-war protesters in airports. (more…)

Last Flight Home

March 9, 2017

american airlinesToday I am flying home from a business trip to Huntsville, Alabama. Only Monday, I posted Nothing To Do But Write from the DFW airport, complaining about business travel, particularly by air.    The business went well, in spite of missed or late flights, missing visit requests, and endless meetings. We were up early to catch a flight to Dallas today on a regional jet, meaning a plane with even smaller seats than usual. I’m tired, my back is sore, and now I’m crammed into the exit row with two other broad shouldered guys.  There’s not room for the three of us to sit back, a situation in which the passenger on the aisle usually loses. That would be Older Eyes, leaning into the aisle.

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Monday Smiles – Memorial Day 2015

May 25, 2015

This is has become my traditional Memorial Day Post.  I think it captures the spirit intended for the holiday.

I have traveled the political spectrum from fairly far left to fairly far right and back toward the middle in my seventy years.   But as I traveled that broad spectrum, I think I’ve always been a patriot in the sense that I love my country dearly and believe for any faults it may have, it is unique in the world.   When I was protesting the war and voting for George McGovern, I believed My Country Right or Wrong, but not America – Love It or Leave It or America, Fix It or &%$* It.  Every Memorial Day, I get to think back on my decision to seek a deferment from the draft based upon my employment in the defense industry, a decision that might lead some to question my claim of patriotism.   I won’t deny that my motivation wasn’t entirely selfless but I’d offer that some of the systems I helped develop for keeping track of Soviet submarines during the dark days of the Cold War contributed substantially to our National Defense.  Just watch The Hunt for Red October.  Still, sometimes I feel a little guilt that others served in my place.   At seventy, I simultaneously abhor the realities of war (brought to us in gruesome detail by modern media) and resign myself to its necessity in what is, more than ever, a dangerous world.   Some of our military excursions have been essential, others have turned out to be unwise.  Both fall at the feet of our leaders and those of us that elect them. (more…)

Veterans Day

November 11, 2014

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Monday Smiles – Memorial Day 2014

May 26, 2014

This is a repost of my 2011 Memorial Day post.  I think it captures my feelings on this Memorial Day perfectly.

I have traveled the political spectrum from fairly far left to fairly far right and back toward the middle in my seventy years.   But as I traveled that broad spectrum, I think I’ve always been a patriot in the sense that I love my country dearly and believe for any faults it may have, it is unique in the world.   When I was protesting the war and voting for George McGovern, I believed My Country Right or Wrong, but not America – Love It or Leave It or America, Fix It or &%$* It.  Every Memorial Day, I get to think back on my decision to seek a deferment from the draft based upon my employment in the defense industry, a decision that might lead some to question my claim of patriotism.   I won’t deny that my motivation wasn’t entirely selfless but I’d offer that some of the systems I helped develop for keeping track of Soviet submarines during the dark days of the Cold War contributed substantially to our National Defense.  Just watch The Hunt for Red October.  Still, sometimes I feel a little guilt that others served in my place.   At seventy, I simultaneously abhor the realities of war (brought to us in gruesome detail by modern media) and resign myself to its necessity in what is, more than ever, a dangerous world.   Some of our military excursions have been essential, others have turned out to be unwise.  Both fall at the feet of our leaders and those of us that elect them. (more…)

Taxing

April 5, 2014

taxes1When this posts … at least if you are one of the first few readers of the day … I will be in my accountant’s office going through the paperwork he needs to do my 2013 taxes.  Bob has been my accountant since I formed my own consulting company back in 1999 and paying quarterly estimated taxes brought the possibility of the IRS’s punitive underpayment penalties.  Bob is an excellent accountant … he’s saved my britches on several occasions when peculiar situations turned up in my tax records and he’s advised me well on business tax matters … and he’s a very nice man.  None-the-less, the week leading up to my meeting with him is my least favorite times of the year because with my income varying from year to year, I’m always uncertain how much I’ll owe.  No, I won’t be getting any money back … I’m not in the business of giving Uncle Sam no-interest loans.  I pay the amount that Bob tells me will avoid penalties and nothing more. (more…)

Remembrance

September 11, 2013

9_11On the morning or September 11, 2001, I was on the bike trail along the Santa Ana River, finishing up a 20 mile bike ride.  The cell phone in my pocket rang, so I pulled to the side of the trail.  The caller ID said it was my business partner, Paul.   Do you know what’s going on in New York City? he said.   Of course, I didn’t.   He told me that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center and that it appeared it was a deliberate act.   He described the collapse of one of the Towers.  My mind didn’t quite grasp that phrase … collapse of one of the Towers … until I saw it on the news later in the morning.   As we finished talking, I looked down at the odometer on my bike.  It read 666.   If you are of certain religious persuasions, you believe that is the devil’s number.  I’m not so persuaded but it was still chilling.  At home later, I watched in horror as the sight of the planes crashing into the buildings was repeated over and over … and witnessed the impossible sight of two of the world’s tallest buildings collapsing like card-houses.   I saw tragedy and heroism in the streets of New York … and I saw Palestinians celebrating in the streets of the Middle East.  I watched an unreasoned fear sweep though our citizenry and within weeks would feel some of that fear as I flew to and from Washington D.C. on business.  My view of the world was changed in those days and not necessarily for the better. (more…)