4th of July

A gentleman was advising us where to take my dogs, down in Las Vegas. I noticed that he was wearing a Vietnam Veteran pin on his hat, so I grabbed his hand to shake it. He thought that I was going to introduce myself, and told me his name. I said, “welcome home” and he just started tearing up, and mumbled something about today’s vets; I told him that he deserved recognition as well and told him to have a good day. I always worry that I’ve depressed them by reminding them of the past.

Anyways, welcome home to ALL veterans. Have a great holiday.

I’ve been in the middle of a move, hence the lack of content. I just had to share this.

Advertisements

Unknown Soldiers Remembered

The Unknown Soldiers. is one story after another about the individual service members, and their families, who have given their lives or limbs for a greater cause. The stories are painful to read, as each one brings tears to the eyes and a tidal wave of emotion. It is difficult to justify drowning in sorrow, when the spouses and family members of the fallen and wounded describe their determination to continue on, in the memory of their loved one.

These soldiers, marines, and airmen believed they were a part of something greater than themselves. They fought and died for their buddies, their families, and their country. Most people will never know why or how the military can bring out the desire to be an instrument of change. Politics is meaningless and irrelevant to those who have seen the true faces of oppression and death. Preventing the bad guys from oppressing and killing the innocent and helpless is a noble and just cause. People can call this jingoism or idealistic, but in the end, all things can be reduced to their most basic components. You can fight to protect others or you can talk about it, but if the bad guys are willing to die for their beliefs then words will not prevent anyone from dying, and you can only hide for so long before they come to force their beliefs on you.

I am thankful for their sacrifices, everyday. The broken minds and bodies of our wounded warriors must be given the full care and attention that we give the smallest child. They have thrown themselves in harm’s way, so that we can comfortably squabble over semantics. They will continue to do it, because that is what you do, when you know that someone has to stand up to the bad guys.

Social Media and the dangers of over-sharing

MOD Security Risks – Think before you Share – YouTube.

A British Public Service Announcement that is equally vital regardless of your location.

Think about what type of information you are passing on about your loved one, whether they are deployed or at home, to the public.

Everything you could want to know about the proper use of social media as a family member of a someone serving their country
http://www.defense.gov/socialmedia/education-and-training.aspx/

There is an old saying from WWII: Loose lips sink ships. It still applies.

h/t  Ghost of a Flea: the hoopiest frood, this side of the galaxy

Joe Bonham Project

Update: Apparently wordpress only allows specific video links when you aren’t paying them. So no more embedding, just links to the videos.

NYT video Drawing Warriors: Art as Documentation and Therapy for Wounded Vets

THE JOE BONHAM PROJECT represents the efforts of wartime illustrators to document the struggles of U.S. service personnel undergoing rehabilitation after traumatic front-line injury. Formed in early 2011 by Michael D. Fay, the Project takes its name from the central character in Johnny Got His Gun, Dalton Trumbo’s 1938 novel of a World War I soldier unable to communicate with the outside world due to the extent of his wounds. Scheduled to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, the exhibition will mark the silent sacrifices of American soldiers in the ensuing decade-long conflict.

The blog link has some gut-wrenching pieces on display. There is an emotional and visceral quality, in these sketches of wounded veterans, that isn’t inherent in photography. The illustrator in the video touches upon this effect, when he mentions the intimacy that a drawing creates. There is no relationship between the photographer and the subject, simply because it takes mere seconds to preserve an image. Illustration captures a memory, a personality, it spans time in a way that a photograph is simply incapable of conveying. I liked the fact that the artists (in the video) learn to see the soldiers as individuals, and they are drawn (no pun intended) into their lives and the circumstances that led them, both the artists and the soldiers, to this place. How often does the art world cross into the world of war, and how often do artists come face to face with broken bodies, faces hiding pain behind humor, and the only defensible position they have left, their pride?

Man’s Best Friend

Military Working Dogs

ADANA, Turkey – A retirement ceremony held March 23 in the 39th Security Forces Squadron guard mount

Photo by Senior Airman William O’Brien

room honored a hero who began his Air Force service shortly after birth.
A Belgian Malinois military working dog named Max, who arrived at Incirlik

in April 2002, retired because of deteriorating health conditions caused by age. Max moved in with his adopted owners, the Ball family, a few weeks ago while the squadron planned his formal retirement.

“He’s developing hip dysplasia due to age; that’s why we determined it’s time for him to go,” said Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Tomkiewicz, 39th Security Forces Squadron kennel master. “He wants to work, he’s got the mindset to, but his body just can’t hold up. So we did the disposition process, and it just worked out.”

Ever wanted to have a hero of your very own? Here’s your chance.

Military Working Dog Adoptions

and Finally:

The US War Dog Association

Make certain you have a lot of tissues handy. Stuff will keep getting in your eyes, and your allergies (whether you actually have them or not) will act up, something fierce.

and if you want to continue down this particular trail of tears:

War-Dogs

War Dog Memorial

NSFW due to overwhelmingly depressing material.

On that note: Always Spay and Neuter your pets. There are hundreds of private rescue organizations for every breed of domesticated animal out there.

Large database of rescue shelters

Petfinder.com

How to find low cost/no cost spay/neuter programs within your area.

http://www.aspca.org/Home/Pet-care/spayneuter

http://neuterspay.org/

Or just contact a local shelter or city animal control. They are usually more than willing to assist in finding the right animal for you, as well as point out programs that provide low cost veterinary assistance, if there are any within your area.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, as I have many years of experience in working with rescue animals and volunteering with non-profit shelters. I would love to assist, if you want help deciding what kind of animal is right for you, your family, and your lifestyle. There are literally millions of dogs and cats that are in shelters across the US, and most of them will be euthanized.

The One-Eyed Dog was a resident at a local animal control, when I got him back in 2002. I got a call from a local shelter that I worked with, and was told that he was scheduled for euthanasia in one hour. The facility was a half an hour away, and I got there just in time.

Book plug for an Iraqi Freedom veteran

Stryker: The Siege of Sadr City.

Stryker is a first-hand account of what happened in those streets during the final battle for Baghdad. It began as a confession, a letter to old friends, and an attempt to confront the things that I had experienced. My initial goal was to shed some light on what happened, the things I had to do, and why I’ll never be the same. As the project unfolded, however, it turned out that there was much more at stake than my own well-being…

The link is to his website, but it also automatically opens up his Kickstarter page, which actually has a concise description of what the book is about. So don’t have kittens if it opens up on you, even if it is a bit annoying. Turn on your j-script blocker, and it’ll go away.

H/T/ Bittersweetme

Scam Alert: Veteran Charity

IRS forms show charity’s money isn’t going to disabled vets – CNN.com.

CNN Highlights:

  • Tax records for the Disabled National Veterans Foundation show $55.9 million in donations
  • Almost none of that money has been provided to American veterans
  • It has also provided useless donations, including over 11,000 bags of M&Ms to one charity
  • The DNVF did not respond to repeated questions from CNN

This is another example of how charities scam good people who believe they are contributing to a worthy cause.

http://www.charitywatch.org/ is a good organization to find out the percentage of donations that are actually going directly to the people they are supposed to be helping. You can also go directly to the IRS website and do a 501c status verification of all non-profit organization. Just because it claims to be a 501c, doesn’t mean that they are officially recognized as such. Always be careful, and do your due diligence before giving your hard-earned money away. You may be better off calling your local VA office and asking if there is a way to directly support homeless veterans, or families who are in dire straits. This way, you know for certain exactly what the money is going to be used for.

The independent group CharityWatch gave the DVNF an “F” grade. More than 30 veterans charities were rated by the independent group by the amount they spend on fundraising compared to actual donations, and two-thirds were given either a D or F grade, according to CharityWatch president Daniel Borochoff.

“Up to $2 billion is raised in the name of veterans in this country and it’s so sad that a great deal of it’s wasted,” Borochoff said. “Hundreds of millions of dollars of our charitable dollars intended to help veterans is being squandered and wasted by opportunists and by individuals and companies who see it as a profit-making opportunity.”

This goes for every type of charity out there, regardless of how pious and sympathetic they may come across.

When approached by a CNN crew at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Disabled National Veterans president Precilla Wilkewitz rebuffed questions.

“Well, this is the Veterans of Foreign Wars and I really didn’t think you’d do something like this and we’ve agreed to talk to you … answer your questions,” she said, standing in the entranceway to her office.

Wilkewitz is the former national legislative liaison for the VFW, which is not directly tied to the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.

She said she would answer questions only in writing, but so far CNN has received no response.

Congratulations Precilla Wilkewitz! You are the latest winner of the Order of the Douchebag Award. I commend you on your singularly unethical behavior, as well as the bottomless pit of avarice that allows you to divert donations meant for homeless and wounded veterans. I look forward to numerous SEC and IRS investigations and the destruction of all that you have worked so hard to “achieve,” to include your personal assets and career options.

Meritorious Order of The Douchebag