November 11, 2011
To mark Veterans Day this year, the PBS program Need to Know (see pbs.org) had a special report entitled "Coming home: The enduring sacrifice." It focused on the plight of military veterans struggling to cope with a bleak economy. Some of them are even homeless, or dependent upon relatives for shelter. Unemployment among war vets runs 12.1% nationwide, compared to 9% overall. There is a report about the reasons for this at www.washingtonpost.com. The biggest reason cited by prospective employers was uncertainty about the veterans' jobs skills. Whatever the cause, it would seem to be a matter of widespread consensus that Congress pass the necessary laws to make sure that current and past armed forces personnel get the proper training and counseling they need to transition to the civilian labor force. Those who have sacrificed years of their lives for the sake of their country deserve nothing less. There is no excuse for stalling on this issue.
Tomorrow there will be a Veterans Day parade in Staunton, which I plan to attend.
When Jacqueline and I were visiting Arlington National Cemetery in September, I was startled to come across a large tombstone with the Clem family name on it. It turns out that it marks the final resting place of John Joseph Klem, a hero of the Civil War. After repeated attempts to volunteer at nine years of age, he was finally accepted by the 22nd Michigan (Regiment), where he served as an unofficial drummer boy. He went on to perform feats of bravery and heroism at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, gaining fame as "Johnny Clem, the drummer boy." He changed his name to John Lincoln Clem in honor of the president. After the war, he stayed in the Army and eventually became commissioned as an officer and rose to the rank of general before retiring in 1915. See the New York Times. Hat tip to Connie.
[See the updated Military photo gallery page, including additional views of World War II aircraft I took in October 2009.]