Tag Archive for 'military'

On Veteran’s Day, let’s recognize all who served

Veterans Day has its origins in Armistice Day, which was first acknowledged by President Wilson in 1919. The first anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles took place “in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” Congress made Armistice Day a national holiday on November 11, 1938.

Alvin King, a small business owner in Emporia, Kansas, had a problem with Armistice Day. Al was so moved by the death of his nephew, John E. Cooper, who was killed in the Battle of the Bulge, during World War II that he, along with the Emporia Chamber of Commerce, started a movement to rename and redefine Armistice Day as Veterans Day. His goal was to expand the recognition beyond those who served in WWI. The idea caught on and President Eisenhower made Veterans Day official in 1954.

But who should be recognized on Veterans Day? If you’re looking for the definition of a military veteran, good luck. There are several variations on that theme, since the veteran universe is primarily associated with financial benefits. Consequently, the government has a lot at stake in the official definition.

The most common technical definition of a veteran is someone who served on active duty for more than six months while assigned to a regular U.S. armed services unit. But at least on Veterans Day, the case should be made for a practical definition. Adam Smith may have provided the first one in 1776.

In his seminal book, “Wealth of Nations,” Smith described America’s “Minuteman” militia as those who “. . . turn from their primary citizen character into a standing army.” These were just private citizens, many of whom today we would classify as small business owners and employees.

Even though many don’t qualify for the technical definition of a veteran, past and present members of our modern militia – Reserves and National Guard – deserve to be recognized on Veterans Day. For generations, this group has made themselves available to a grateful nation, not knowing if they would ever deploy. Indeed, John Cooper’s military service began as a member of Company B, 137th Infantry, Kansas National Guard.

Allow me to enter this practical definition of a veteran into the record, from an anonymous author:  “A Veteran – whether active duty, retired, National Guard or Reserve – is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a check made payable on demand to The United States of America, for an amount up to and including their life.”

America has received, held and cashed this “check” from different kinds of patriots who prepared themselves to be called to protect and defend their country.

Write this on a rock…Happy Veterans Day to all who made themselves available to a grateful nation.

Jim Blasingame is author of the award-winning book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.

Freedom isn’t free

Photo courtesy of SmallBizTrends

Photo credit to SmallBizTrends.com

Contemplating the blessing of freedom, wherever it may be found, one prime truth is evident: Freedom is not free. And for those of us who are the beneficiaries of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, the only method of repayment — the only way we can ever be worthy of their sacrifice — is if we do all we can to maintain the freedom that has been paid for and given to us.

In honor of all of our veterans, past and present, I’d like to offer this poem written by Commander Kelly Strong, USCG (Ret.) in 1981 when he was a high school senior (JROTC cadet) at Homestead High School, Homestead, FL. It is a tribute to his father, a career marine who served two tours in Vietnam.

Freedom Isn’t Free

I watched the flag pass by one day.

It fluttered in the breeze.

A young Marine saluted it,

And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform

So young, so tall, so proud,

With hair cut square and eyes alert

He’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him

Had fallen through the years.

How many died on foreign soil?

How many mothers’ tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down?

How many died at sea?

How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?

No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of taps one night,

When everything was still

I listened to the bugler play

And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times

That taps had meant “Amen,”

When a flag had draped a coffin

Of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,

Of the mothers and the wives,

Of fathers, sons and husbands

With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard

At the bottom of the sea

Of unmarked graves in Arlington.

No, freedom isn’t free.

My friends, I pray that we never forget those who paid so dearly for our freedom.  Have a safe, happy and respectful Veterans Day.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

Poll Results: Should Congress pursue Select Committee investigations?

Question: Should Congress pursue Select Committee investigations into the Benghazi attacks and the IRS handling of conservative non-profits?

10% - Neither should be further investigated.
78% - Both should be further investigated.
5% - Yes to Benghazi, but not IRS.
8% - Yes to IRS, but not Benghazi.
Jim’s Comments:
Almost 8 of 10 of our audience responded that more investigating is needed to see whether the handling of these two events was politically motivated or just bad judgment and poor management. But while these two controversies, plus the Fast and Furious gun scandal, the Justice Dept. snooping on AP reporters, and the dysfunction and mismanagement of Obamacare have not found the kind of traction that polls show most Americans think is justified, there is an emerging scandal that may change all of this.

Recent revelations of how patients have been mistreated by the Department of Veterans Affair’s medical system has the potential to be a visceral controversy for Americans of all political leanings.

If the initial scrutiny of the VA produces evidence of wrong-doing, a kind of scandal critical mass will be achieved that will effectively cause the following to occur:

  1. A comprehensive investigation will be demanded by voters and politicians of both parties.
  2. Members of the president’s party will distance themselves from him.
  3. Comprehensive coverage of this issue will be conducted by the national new media, unlike what has been seen for the other controversies.
  4. The more the press covers the VA scandal, the more they will uncover new revelations of the other scandals.

To be fair, news about the ineptitude and mismanagement of the VA is a decades old scandal that is, in my opinion, our National Shame. But it will be ironic if the VA scandal ultimately results in fresh media sunlight being shined on the other scandals that, according to our audience, should be investigated more thoroughly.

The irony of politic scandals at critical mass

In our poll last week we asked, “Should Congress pursue Select Committee investigations into the Benghazi attacks and the IRS handling of conservative non-profits?”

Almost 8 of 10 of our audience responded that more investigating is needed to see whether the handling of these two events was politically motivated or just bad judgment and poor management. But while these two controversies, plus the Fast and Furious gun scandal, the Justice Dept. snooping on AP reporters, and the dysfunction and mismanagement of Obamacare have not found the kind of traction that polls show most Americans think is justified, there is an emerging scandal that may change all of this.

Recent revelations of how patients have been mistreated by the Department of Veterans Affair’s medical system has the potential to be a visceral controversy for Americans of all political leanings.

If the initial scrutiny of the VA produces evidence of wrong-doing, a kind of scandal critical mass will be achieved that will effectively cause the following to occur:

  1. A comprehensive investigation will be demanded by voters and politicians of both parties.
  2. Members of the president’s party will distance themselves from him.
  3. Comprehensive coverage of this issue will be conducted by the national new media, unlike what has been seen for the other controversies.
  4. The more the press covers the VA scandal, the more they will uncover new revelations of the other scandals.

To be fair, news about the ineptitude and mismanagement of the VA is a decades old scandal that is, in my opinion, our National Shame. But it will be ironic if the VA scandal ultimately results in fresh media sunlight being shined on the other scandals that, according to our audience, should be investigated more thoroughly.

Thanks for being part of my community. I’ll see you on the radio and the Internet.

Remember America’s militia this Memorial Day

Reasonable people disagree on the origins of Memorial Day, but most accept that the practice of decorating the graves of Americans who died in military service began in earnest during the Civil War.

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, Commander of the Army of the Republic, made Memorial Day official with General Order No. 11, which stated in part, “… the 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country …” And other than Congress making Memorial Day a national holiday on the last Monday in May, America has since honored its fallen heroes from all conflicts pretty much as General Logan ordered.

When America issued its first call to arms before we had a professional army, it went to the militia, which was identified as “all able-bodied men.”  Called “Minutemen” because they could be ready to fight on a minute’s notice, they were primarily shopkeepers, craftsmen, farmers, etc. Today we call them small business owners.

From as far away as Scotland, America’s Minutemen were impressive. Writing about the colonies’ quest for independence in “The Wealth of Nations,” Adam Smith predicted America would prevail thanks to its militia which, “…turns from its primary citizen character into a standing army.”

Early in the 20th century, state militias became the National Guard and the National Defense Act created the Reserves. In every war or conflict since, America has deployed these latter-day Minutemen (and women) alongside regular forces, where they represented a proportional number of casualties.

On this Memorial Day, as we honor all who paid the ultimate price in service to this country, let’s also remember the long tradition of America’s militia, including small business owners and employees, who served courageously on behalf of a grateful nation. It’s hard enough leaving family to march into harm’s way, but the degree of difficulty of that commitment is compounded for volunteers who also disconnect from businesses and full-time careers.

Contemplating the blessing of freedom wherever it may be found, there is one prime truth: Freedom is not free. As beneficiaries of those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, our only method of repayment-the only way we can ever be worthy of their sacrifice-is to do all we can to maintain the freedom that they paid for and gave to us.

Write this on a rock … God bless those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, including past and present Minutemen.

Video: Redefining the Title “Military Veteran”

In this week's video I talk about the evolving definition of a veteran.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!




Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed: Temporary failure in name resolution in /var/www/wordpress/wp-includes/class-snoopy.php on line 1142

Warning: fsockopen() [function.fsockopen]: unable to connect to twitter.com:80 (Unknown error) in /var/www/wordpress/wp-includes/class-snoopy.php on line 1142