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Old 01-21-2015, 04:23 PM   #41
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Just a note of thanks to Marin & dwhatty. Although I'm not a Civil War buff, I've read a considerable amount of material on it. Your references to Raphael Semmes piqued my interest. I can't say that I ever recall hearing about his (and the Alabama's) exploits. I'm about halfway through Fox' book on Semmes (Wolf of the Deep) - amazing story! I usually come to TF for "how to fix it" and "how to avoid problems" - this was an unexpected bonus. Thanks again, gents.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:12 PM   #42
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I am entitled to fly the National Ensign, Yacht club burgee, racing association burgee, commodore burgee, and Blue Gavel burgee. Don't do it as that's way to much flappin' goin' on.
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Old 01-21-2015, 11:42 PM   #43
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I admit I don't have much patience for silly stuff. It's a flag for Christ's sake. A piece of cloth (these days most likely made in China) with a design on it.
For those of us who served in the military, it's more than "silly stuff." It represents what we fought & died for. To see it flown in its proper place and handled with respect just reinforces our love of country. No, it wasn't and isn't a "silly" tradition, but rather it is a symbol of what this country used to be. It's so sad to see those that didn't serve, treat the flag with no clue of what it stands for.
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Old 01-22-2015, 12:20 AM   #44
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Even as one unqualified to serve, I respect the flag.


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Old 01-22-2015, 12:25 AM   #45
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[QUOTE=markpierce;300896]Even as one unqualified to serve, I respect the flag.

I know you do Mark! I'm sorry if I offended you.
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:20 AM   #46
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For those of us who served in the military, it's more than "silly stuff." It represents what we fought & died for.
Interestingly enough, during the course of my several years of interviewing well over a hundred WWII PT vets for the book I've been working on, a couple of the questions I always asked them was why they had joined up and, once they were in a combat theatre carrying out missions, if the reasons they joined up were still something they thought about. The answers really surprised me, particularly as I had grown up in a very military-oriented state (Hawaii) and had, along with all the rest of the state's high-school sophomore and junior boys, been in ROTC, which in Hawaii was almost like being in the military, at least for a few hours every week.

The PT vets, all of whom were in their late teens or very early 20s when they joined the Navy, said the number one reason they joined was because their buddies were joining. It was a peer pressure sort of thing Another reason given was that it "just seemed to be the thing to do." Some of them from more rural areas said it represented a way to get out of where they lived. Some said it sounded exciting. Nowhere in my interview transcripts did any of them say they joined to protect America or fight for democracy or any of the patriotic reasons so often given in the movies.

So, next question. When they were in the combat theatres, and particularly when they were seeing action on a mission, what did they think about? The answer was almost always the same. I'm paraphrasing, but it was, "The only thing I thought or cared about was staying alive and keeping my fellow crew members alive."

I would then ask them if they thought about the bigger purpose, the fight to preserve freedom, the country, and so forth. Almost every one of them said no. Not while they were actually in the war. The patriotic reasons, they said, came much later, when they were much older and were far removed from the recent memories of what they'd been through.

I found this fairly fascinating as I'd been brought up hearing all the patriotic stuff about fighting in WWII. As a result of these interviews, the real attitude, as described by the PT crewmen, has become a major factor in the story I'm writing.

As it turns out, I got the same kinds of answers from the many B-29 crewmen I interviewed when I produced and directed a half-hour documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of that plane.

And when I've interviewed Viet Nam vets for various projects, the answers were ever farther removed from patriotic platitudes and sayings. The Viet Nam guys I've talked to, particularly the ground soldiers who saw action in the DMZ and other "hot" areas, said they hadn't wanted to go to Viet Nam at all, while they were there they were more pissed off at America for sending them there than any thoughts of defending freedom and stuff, and that the ONLY thing that made it tolerable--- this was from some of the DMZ vets I talked to--- was the knowledge that all the other guys they were with were every bit as miserable and wet and fed up as they were. Misery loves company, they told me, and in Viet Nam, it had plenty of company.

They did their jobs because for the most part they were honorable men and saw it as a moral duty to themselves to see a job through. But they weren't doing them because of any slogans or flags or patriotic speeches.

I've never talked to anyone (in this depth) who served in Korea, so I have no picture about how the soldiers felt about things over there. My guess it was the same but I have no actual statements to back that up.

So it seems all the patriotic stuff about freedom and democracy and the flag and whatnot really didn't mean much to the guys actually fighting the war(s). Not at the time, anyway. Much later, sure.

So after hearing all this over the course of a lot of years it's pretty hard for me to get all worked up about the American flag. It's just a symbol. It's a symbol of something great, no question. But I regard it as no more than a logo, and not a particularly well designed one at that from a graphics design standpoint.

So we don't fly it (usually) on our boat, because it says nothing about what I feel is the true value of living in this country and the value this country brings to the world. It's just a colored rectangle of cloth, more likely than not these days made in China. I'm far more interested in actions than I am in symbols. What the PT and B-29 guys did was amazing. I doubt anyone in the US today could even begin to take on what these guys did, let alone persevere and win. But they didn't do it because of a flag, they did it because of the kind of character each one of them possessed.
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:43 AM   #47
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...

So we don't fly it (usually) on our boat, because it says nothing about what I feel is the true value of living in this country and the value this country brings to the world. It's just a colored rectangle of cloth, more likely than not these days made in China. I'm far more interested in actions than I am in symbols. What the PT and B-29 guys did was amazing. I doubt anyone in the US today could even begin to take on what these guys did, let alone persevere and win. But they didn't do it because of a flag, they did it because of the kind of character each one of them possessed.
Nevertheless, the flag represents the nation and its values. I'm proud to display it, and you are free not to fly it.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:17 AM   #48
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Just wow.
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:56 AM   #49
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I think a "lot" of today's guys do just fine and can and certainly do what "others" did.....

Thankfully they do it for whatever reason...but the only one's that I know that are bitter are the one's that feel forgotten...by some part of this nation.....

For most I know....while they may not get worked up about the flag....none I know know have much time for those that disrespect it.

Always better to not display it...than to display it disrespectfully. Like the expression..."if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"....
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:28 AM   #50
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I think a "lot" of today's guys do just fine and can and certainly do what "others" did.....

Thankfully they do it for whatever reason...but the only one's that I know that are bitter are the one's that feel forgotten...by some part of this nation.....

For most I know....while they may not get worked up about the flag....none I know know have much time for those that disrespect it.

Always better to not display it...than to display it disrespectfully. Like the expression..."if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all"....
Pretty much sums up this veteran's thoughts.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:35 PM   #51
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I'm about halfway through Fox' book on Semmes (Wolf of the Deep) - amazing story!
Well, I am a Civil War buff but I had never heard of this book until you brought it up here. I just downloaded it to my Kindle and will read it as soon as I've finished the book I'm reading now. Thanks much for bringing it to my attention.

One of the characters (a motor mac) in the book I'm currently working on is nicknamed "Rafe" because his family's last name is Semmes and he likes to think that he's related to Capt. Rafael Semmes of the Alabama.
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Old 01-22-2015, 03:57 PM   #52
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Well, I am a Civil War buff but I had never heard of this book until you brought it up here. I just downloaded it to my Kindle and will read it as soon as I've finished the book I'm reading now. Thanks much for bringing it to my attention.

One of the characters (a motor mac) in the book I'm currently working on is nicknamed "Rafe" because his family's last name is Semmes and he likes to think that he's related to Capt. Rafael Semmes of the Alabama.
Me too! I just downloaded the book to my Nook. I'll get to that next after I finish "America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System", by Steven Brill. I'm only part way into it, but man, this is a longer running and bigger problem than I knew.

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Old 01-22-2015, 04:30 PM   #53
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Well said Mr Codger2 and vets don't take your hat off to render honors leave it on and hand salute, you have earned that right.
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:06 PM   #54
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My experience tells me that troops do not fight or simply put up with garrison BS for God, Mom, and apple pie. It is the small unit bond, formed at the squad and platoon level (not the Brigade and the Division) that pushes performance - protect my comrades; if I don't do it, one of my buds will have to - in other words, take care of your own. Similar on small Navy units - submarines, patrol boats; Specwar squadrons. I don't have any experience on large warships, but I'm told the same comradery generally applies at department and lower organizational levels.

Of course, the Air Force is the smartest service (from this former raghat's perspective) - they send the officers out to fight.

As to the quality of the troops today, I think they'll stand up to any standard of the prior generations. Every conflict is different in a myriad of ways - objectives, weapons, draft/no draft, on and on. The current guys showed up, did their duty, and the majority returned and got on with their life. As one of my college profs, a twice shot down WWII B24 bombardier, liked to say "The Big War was the one where they shot at you!"
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:12 PM   #55
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My experience tells me that troops do not fight or simply put up with garrison BS for God, Mom, and apple pie. It is the small unit bond, formed at the squad and platoon level (not the Brigade and the Division) that pushes performance - protect my comrades; if I don't do it, one of my buds will have to - in other words, take care of your own.
One of the B-29 crewmen who appeared in my documentary about the plane put it very well during the interview I did with him and the surviving members of his crew during the B-29 50th anniversary celebration event here in Seattle:

"We became just like a family.... rather rapidly."

Quote:
As to the quality of the troops today, I think they'll stand up to any standard of the prior generations.
I'm not so sure. We are around them a fair amount in the course of our work, and while I think they do a terrific job under the circumstances they face today, I'm not sure how they would fare in the face of an equally large, equally determined adversary such as were faced in both theatres in WWII and Korea. Today's "wars" are pretty one-sided in terms of numbers, technology, and weaponry. It's us with our aircraft carriers and fighters and bombers and helicopters and drones and the cool new stuff we are always filming vs. guys with Toyota pickups with a gun on the back, IUDs, and individuals scuttling around in civilian areas with grenade launchers and automatic weapons.

If our military had to face a concerted onslaught from the Chinese or Russian military--- which I don't think will ever happen--- I am not so sure I'd place my bet on America to win unless the conflict went nuclear in which case the outcome would be more who would survive rather than who would win. I'd probably put my money on Tierra del Fuego.....

I think there is very good reason for the WWII generation being labeled "The Greatest Generation." They fought the war successfully and then they turned the US into the most powerful nation in terms of the military, the economy, and productivity the planet had seen to date. That status is rapidly slipping away now, for a whole lot of reasons, and is why I am convinced that the US' best days are behind it.

The country won't disappear or course, but like all nations before it from Egypt to Rome to France to England, our turn has come and is now going, and it's someone else's turn to assume the top spot. The easy choice is China, but I'm not convinced they're going to ascend to the top spot.

No, I think the US peaked in terms of its people and its position in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. I don't think the population of the US from the boomers on down through the millennials and the ones that are going to come after, are capable of repeating that performance. Of course they won't realize this--- every generation believes that what they are experiencing is the new normal. But looking at the whole timeline, I'm convinced the US is headed off to join Europe in the category of "once was" as the mantle of national success continues its westward journey.

I feel very, very priviledged to have gotten to know some of the members of the Greatest Generation and had the opportunity to hear--- and preserve in writing and on film and tape--- some of their philosophies, achievements, and most of all, their attitude toward life.
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