Archive for the ‘Veterans’ category

What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?’ asks WWII vet

October 23, 2009

The answer to that poignant question, according to 86-year-old veteran Philip Spooner is “freedom and equality.  These are the values that give America a great nation, one worth dying for.” Spooner, who describes himself as a “lifetime” Republican, potato farmer, active chaplain member of the VFW, husband, father and Meals on Wheels volunteer would seem to be an unlikely spokesperson for Maine’s Marriage Equality Law. But surprising as it may seem, Spooner stepped up to the microphone on April 22 during hearings on Maine’s law and spoke out movingly in favor of the right of gays and lesbians to marry. He said that he did not fight in World War II so one of his four sons could be treated like a second class citizen.

Here’s the part of Spooner’s speech that garnered uproarious applause (

“I am here today because of a conversation I had last June when I was voting,” Spooner says. “A woman at my polling place asked me, “Do you believe in equal, equality for gay and lesbian people?’ I was pretty surprised to be asked a question like that. It made no sense to me. Finally I asked her, ‘What do you think our boys fought for at Omaha Beach?’ I haven’t seen much, so much blood and guts, so much suffering, much sacrifice. For what? For freedom and equality. These are the values that give America a great nation, one worth dying for.” (more…)


$1 million a minute!

December 4, 2007

I’m talking about the national debt here …

Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It’s expanding by about $1.4 billion a day — or nearly $1 million a minute.

And just what are we getting for this out of control spending?

It’s not going to fund Homeland Security for one thing. We’re seeing a key component of the Homeland Security budget being sliced by more than 50 per cent in 2009. Said one usual supporter of the Bush administration:

After learning of Bush administration plans to slash counterterrorism funding for police, firefighters and rescue departments across the country by more than half next year, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said the president should not expect his support on major votes in the future. (more…)

Flags of our fathers …

November 20, 2007

The recent banning of antiwar veterans from Veterans’ Day events in Long Beach, CA and the arrest of others in Boston raises questions about the role veterans play in our society after they return home. Most never don their military uniforms again but some wear them proudly at events such as Veterans’ Day parades. Both of these options are politically acceptable in this country.

However antiwar vets face a different reaction, particularly from those blowhards who never served their country in uniform and never faced the harsh reality of combat. Chickenhawks is a well-deserved title for these guys.

Vets, no matter how valorous and decorated, who protest war and want their voices heard at public events are attacked and called “phony soliders” and “unpatriotic”.

The recent discussions in Long Beach and Boston over whether Veterans’ day events can exclude some veteran groups because of their political views made me pause and think about what Veterans’ Day is all about. It was originally created at the end of WWI as a Armistice Day to celebrate a long-awaited peace. The focus was on the cessation of bloodshed and violence amidst hope for lasting peace. People literally danced in the streets in cities around the world.

Somehow this celebration of peace has morphed into a celebration of war. It has become a triumph of militarism that has taken a 180-degree turn from its original meaning. (more…)

Message to veteran groups from parade organizers: STFU

November 11, 2007

Conventional wisdom is that the men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line in combat are fighting for “our freedom” and the “American way of life”. That means that they are fighting for constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech, assembly, religion and the rest of the Bill of Rights — at least in theory.

One would think that veterans, of all people, would be entitled to have their right to freedom of speech respected. But that is not the case in Long Beach,CA, for veterans who want to express their views about the Iraq war in a Veterans’ Day parade.

According to an article by Kelly Puente in the Press-Telegram three veterans groups will not be permitted to march in the 11th Annual Long Beach Veterans’ Parade this year because they are “too political” because of their opposition to the Iraq war. Many members of these groups are combat veterans and family members of those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. The three groups denied a place in the parade are Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War. (more…)