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Veterans Day 2012

Sunday, November 11 is Veterans Day. Monday is when the holiday will be observed with bank closings and no postal delivery.

Here is an excellent set of facts about veterans in America from the United States Census Bureau.  The Census reports that there were 21.5 million veterans in the United States as of 2011. Click the link for a statistical profile of America’s veterans.

Here is how the Census Bureau describes Veterans Day—

“Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day honors military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.”

Here is the link to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. 

Above you see a picture of where a portion of my father’s ashes are kept at the Rhode Island Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island. Tony was a combat veteran of the Korean War.

While regretfully I have not yet been able to visit this cemetery, there is apparently a nice walking trail that you can explore at the cemetery that is maintained in part by the University of Rhode Island. URI is where my father attended college.

Here is what my father wrote some years ago about war—

“One thing that I learned is that the young men who fought in our wars should never be forgotten…Another fact I learned…is that millions may serve but far fewer fight. So, in reality, for many who have served, war is a glory-and-gory myth that feeds on its own legends and publicity.…Another truth I learned is that civilians are combatants in war–embattled victims perpetually on a losing side….That brings us to the biggest deception: The need to be ready defend our freedom if we are to keep it. Those who say that freedom has a price are absolutely right, and wrong: International conflict today is beyond ideology. The only freedom American and Russian leaders offer their  people today is the freedom to kill ourselves in the name of freedom.  This is not freedom, but allegiance to a suicidal death culture….Today, we are servile to our masters, mistaking economic well-being for true freedom, which is the freedom to live hopefully and not to die needlessly.” 

A good thing we could do for our veterans is to respect them and treat them well while they are still with us.

Another good thing we could do is to stop uncritically venerating everything military—especially since so few are willing to serve in our all-volunteer forces and we are not at heart sincere as a nation in saying we respect those who serve—and work towards a culture of peace and true respect for human life.

November 11, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Veteran Suicides A Major Problem—Before We Kill You With Neglect, We Tell You How Much We Care

Opinion columnist Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times recently wrote about suicides of  American veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here is some of what Mr. Kristof said—

“HERE’S a window into a tragedy within the American military: For every soldier killed on the battlefield this year, about 25 veterans are dying by their own hands. An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began. These unnoticed killing fields are places like New Middletown, Ohio, where Cheryl DeBow raised two sons, Michael and Ryan Yurchison, and saw them depart for Iraq. Michael, then 22, signed up soon after the 9/11 attacks. Then Michael was discharged, DeBow picked him up at the airport — and was staggered. “When he got off the plane and I picked him up, it was like he was an empty shell,” she told me. “His body was shaking.” Michael began drinking and abusing drugs, his mother says, and he terrified her by buying the same kind of gun he had carried in Iraq. “He said he slept with his gun over there, and he needed it here,” she recalls. Then Ryan returned home in 2007, and he too began to show signs of severe strain. He couldn’t sleep, abused drugs and alcohol, and suffered extreme jitters….Michael and Ryan, like so many other veterans, sought help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Eric Shinseki, the secretary of veterans affairs, declined to speak to me, but the most common view among those I interviewed was that the V.A. has improved but still doesn’t do nearly enough about the suicide problem…Likewise, neither Michael nor Ryan received much help from V.A. hospitals. In early 2010, Ryan began to talk more about suicide, and DeBow rushed him to emergency rooms and pleaded with the V.A. for help. She says she was told that an inpatient treatment program had a six-month waiting list. (The V.A. says it has no record of a request for hospitalization for Ryan. While Ryan was waiting for a spot in the addiction program, in May 2010, he died of a drug overdose. It was listed as an accidental death, but family and friends are convinced it was suicide. The heartbreak of Ryan’s death added to his brother’s despair, but DeBow says Michael is now making slow progress. “He is able to get out of bed most mornings,” she told me. “That is a huge improvement…..”

Note that President Obama’s Veteran’s Secretary would not talk to Mr. Kristof.

It is no surprise that this is how we treat veterans in the United States.

The whole war in Iraq was based on a lie.

We did not give our troops the equipment they needed when fighting in Iraq.

We killed many thousands of Iraqi civilians to make clear our contempt for life.

We sent wounded veterans to Walter Reed where many of them got lousy care.

And now we let our soldiers kill themselves while Mr. Obama’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs won’t talk to the supposed liberal apologists at The New York Times.

Here is what my late father, Tony Aquino , a Korean War combat veteran, wrote about our wars and about the Cold War —

“One thing that I learned is that the young men who fought in our wars should never be forgotten…Another fact I learned…is that millions may serve but far fewer fight. So, in reality, for many who have served, war is a glory-and-gory myth that feeds on its own legends and publicity. …Another truth I learned is that civilians are combatants in war–embattled victims perpetually on a losing side….That brings us to the biggest deception: The need to be ready defend our freedom if we are to keep it. Those who say that freedom has a price are absolutely right, and wrong: International conflict today is beyond ideology. The only freedom American and Russian leaders offer their freedom today is the freedom to kill ourselves in the name of freedom.  This is not freedom, but allegiance to a suicidal death culture….Today, we are servile to our masters, mistaking economic well-being for true freedom, which is the freedom to live hopefully and not to die needlessly.”

I found out not long after Tony’s death last year, that after he got home from Korea he would wake up from nightmares and would break dishes around the house. Tony never got over fighting in that war.

And for what? For a war that is not officially over to this day? So red-baiters at home could score political points? To defend Jim Crow?

Of course our leaders are often killers. They kill time and time again, and they do so with the enthusiastic complicity of so many of our fellow citizens. Millions of Americans are sick and crazed with a love for violence.

The expression of great care for a group of people in our country is often a kiss of death.

No matter if it is children or our veterans, you can bet that we are in good part neglecting–or worse–those we say we value most.

Both at home and abroad, let this nation be most defined most of all by our love of violence and by our contempt for those who serve.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Houston Parade For Iraq Veterans On Saturday, April 7—You Can Go And Still Not Forget That The War Was A Lie

There will be parade in Houston on Saturday, April 7 to honor those who served in Iraq.

Here are details of this parade

“The parade, sponsored by the City of Houston in partnership with the Astros 2012 opening weekend festivities, will step off from the corner of Texas and San Jacinto at 4 p.m. and then proceed east on Texas to Crawford and then north (left) on Crawford to Congress, ending at Minute Maid Park.”

I will attend this parade.

You can honor our veterans without forgetting the fact that War in Iraq was based on lies,  and that more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians died in this war.

My dad, who saw combat in Korea, was always clear to me that he viewed himself as just an unlucky guy fighting a bunch of other unlucky guys.

He saw combat veterans, and civilians killed in a war, as people for the most part being harmed and used by others who did not have to bear the cost of what was taking place.

In any case, I hope to have some pictures of the parade up on the blog within a few days.

April 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Certificate For Honorably Discharged Veterans—War Based On Lies

Above is the certificate I got a few weeks back from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs noting the death of my father in March of 2011.

My father–Anthony S. Aquino–-was a combat veteran of the Korean War.

Family members of honorably discharged veterans can get this certificate. It is signed by the President.

My dad would have been glad that this certificate was signed by Barack Obama and not George W. Bush.

Tony viewed G. W. Bush as little more than a murderer for sending troops to fight and die in Iraq based on lies.

Dad was of the opinion that President Bush’s twin daughters should go and fight in Iraq.

I’m putting his views a bit more nicely than dad often did.

It is everyday people who fight our wars, while politicians and war profiteering corporations gain.

Also, many civilians die in our wars. Though our nation often lacks the moral character to discuss that fact.

The Coldest Winter—America and the Korean War by David Halberstam is a well-regarded account of the Korean War.

Cultures of War—Pearl Harbor/Hiroshima/9/11/Iraq by John Dower is about how militaristic cultures bungle and bluster their way into endless conflict.

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Today Is Veteran’s Day—Honor Our Veterans And All Who Suffer From War

Today is Veteran’s Day.

Above is the Navy bugler who played taps at my father’s funeral service last July In Rhode Island.

My father, a Korean War combat veteran, had his ashes scattered at sea.

On Veteran’s Day, we should recall our veterans here in America, and all people who have suffered needlessly from war around the globe.

I know my father said on a number of occasions he was not angry at the Chinese and North Korean troops he fought against. He said he had no problem with any Chinese or North Korean people.

Let’s work for peace at home and abroad.

Let’s treat our veterans with respect, and let’s make sure they have what they need when they return from service.

November 11, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Iraq War Ending—How Will We Treat Our Veterans?

President Obama is bringing the troops home from Iraq.

How will we greet and regard our troops when they return?

Will they get a parade and good lifetime benefits?

Or will we ignore our Iraq veterans? Will we soon find them on the unemployment lines? Or find many of them homeless?

We know already that people view days such as Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day as days to go out and shop, or to do anything but remember our veterans.

The Iraq War was based on a lie. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11.

Politicians on both sides of the political aisle approved of the Iraq War

There have been more than 100,000 civilian deaths in the Iraq War. 

My father was a combat veteran of the Korean War.

Here is what my father once wrote about war and about the Cold War—

“One thing that I learned is that the young men who fought in our wars should never be forgotten…Another fact I learned…is that millions may serve but far fewer fight. So, in reality, for many who have served, war is a glory-and-gory myth that feeds on its own legends and publicity. …Another truth I learned is that civilians are combatants in war–embattled victims perpetually on a losing side….That brings us to the biggest deception: The need to be ready defend our freedom if we are to keep it. Those who say that freedom has a price are absolutely right, and wrong: International conflict today is beyond ideology. The only freedom American and Russian leaders offer their freedom today is the freedom to kill ourselves in the name of freedom.  This is not freedom, but allegiance to a suicidal death culture….Today, we are servile to our masters, mistaking economic well-being for true freedom, which is the freedom to live hopefully and not to die needlessly.” 

George Bush offered Americans the freedom to die in Iraq. That was all he offered. He did not offer the truth or any sense of honor, decency, or purpose.

Does America have the national character to treat our returning veterans with respect?

Here is a timeline of the Iraq War from Reuters.

October 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 6 Comments

Obituary For Anthony S. Aquino

Below is the obituary for my father. It ran in the Cincinnati Enquirer two days ago. I appreciate the kind comments that were made here at the blog and elsewhere at the time of my father’s death last month. There is no need to for anyone to repeat those comments. I just wish to offer a more complete account of Tony Aquino’s life. ( Above–Tommy Dorsey. Tony saw Tommy Dorsey and his band perform in Providence in the 1940’s)

Aquino, Anthony Samuel. 80, of Cincinnati, OH, died peacefully March 12, 2011, after a short illness. An award-winning journalist, he was born in Providence, RI, a son of the late Samuel and Mary Grace (Ferraiuolo) Aquino. During his newspaper career, he worked variously as a reporter and copy editor for The Call, Woonsocket, RI, The Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin, The Worcester (MA) Telegram & The Evening Gazette, and the Pawtuxet Valley Daily Times (RI). He began his career as an editorial assistant with The Reporter Magazine in New York City. He won a first place, general news award, from the New England Associated Press Managing Editors Association while working for The Call. As a freelance writer, he had numerous op ed pieces published in The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cincinnati Post and The Washington Post. His career included seven years as a senior writer and editor of alumni publications at Xavier University in Cincinnati and creative director at Goldsmith Tregar Company, a Providence advertising agency. He also had his own advertising and public relations company, Communications Plus, in Providence. A Korean War veteran, he served in the U.S. Army for three years and received the Korean Service Medal with three Bronze Battle Stars. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve for two years. He attended LaSalle Academy in Providence and the University of Rhode Island. Survivors include three sons, Peter D. Aquino of Coventry, John G. (Nadja Wackerling) Aquino of Chicago, and Neil A. (Laura Goldberg) Aquino of Houston; two grandchildren, Melita and Thomas Aquino of Chicago; special friend Carol (Huested) Aquino of Cincinnati; a sister, Mary Dacey of Coventry, RI; a brother, Thomas Aquino of Providence; and several nieces and nephews. Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Anna J. Minicucci and Annette Andreoli of Rhode Island. A memorial service will be held this summer in Rhode Island. Memorial donations may be made to WOBO-FM, PO Box 338, Owensville, OH 45160; Prospect House, Inc., 682 Hawthorne Ave., Cincinnati, 45205; United Way of Greater Cincinnati, 2400 Reading Road, Cincinnati, 45202, or a veterans’ organization of choice. J.C. Battle & Sons serving the family.

( Below–Rocky Marciano. Tony saw Mr. Marciano fight in the 1940’s)

April 5, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Anthony S. Aquino

Anthony S. Aquino lived September 20, 1930-March 12, 2011.

Tony was a third-generation Italian, a Rhode Islander, a combat veteran of the Korean War who saved many lives as a medic in that war, a committed liberal, a reader of books and newspapers, an award winning reporter, and my father.

Just like the boats and ships in Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, Tony would want for me and for all of us to stay the course.

So that is what we will do.

At the top of this post is a picture of Narragansett Bay at Providence, Rhode Island. This is a scene Tony would have known well.

March 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 11 Comments

Have Republicans Taken Over North Korea?—It Is Obama’s Fault

North Korea has lobbed shells at South Korea.

Two South Korean marines were killed and many houses were destroyed.

(Above–North Korean soldiers peering into South Korea. Like you and I, these troops in the picture are people in a world they did not create.)

This took place on Yeonpyeong Island. This is not the first conflict between the two Koreas over this island.

President Obama has said that the United States will help defend South Korea if that is what is required.

With all this trouble, I found myself wondering if Mitch McConnell and John Boehner had taken over North Korea.

We already know the Republican Party wants the economy to fail as long as President Obama might get the credit for things going better.

We also see with the START Treaty that Republicans will undermine our foreign policy  for no other reason but to offer up opposition.

A New Korean War could be used to go after President Obama in many ways—

* President Obama could be blamed for failing to keep the peace.

* When focusing on war strategy, the President could be attacked for not working on job creation.

* The need to fund the New Korean War could be used as a pretense to further gut the social safety net.

* Munitions blasted into the air during the war could be blamed for climate change— Though even better for this purpose would be an exchange of nuclear weapons.

* Both North Korea and South Korea are in Asia. Since many Muslims live in Asia and since Obama is a Muslim, the New Korean War would be the fault of Muslims like Obama.

* And, of course, a New Korean War would show that this is the right time for tax cuts. The fact that the sun rises in the morning is also a reason for tax cuts.

The Republican party is very clever to take over North Korea. They will no doubt be able to cause a lot of trouble for President Obama while running North Korea.

Beyond hassling Mr. Obama, it has been more than 7 years since Republicans lied to start a war. I’m certain they feel it is time to start a new war under false pretenses.

Here is some basic history of the Korean War. A well-reviewed book on the Korean War is David Halberstam’s The Coldest Winter.

Here are facts and  history about North Korea from the BBC.

Here are facts and history about South Korea from the BBC.

File:Warkorea American Soldiers.jpg

(Above–American troops in the Korean War. The killing goes on and on in this part of the world. My father was a medic in the Korean War. I’m certain he saved many lives.)

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial Day History & Links

In 2011, Memorial Day is Monday, May 30.

Here is some history on the origins of Memorial Day and, also, links appropriate for Memorial Day

( We’ve been fighting wars for a long time. Above is an engraving by Amos Doolittle of  the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775.)

Here is a brief explanation of the origins of Memorial Day—

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated. Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

Here is a much more detailed explanation.

The American death toll in Afghanistan recently passed 1000. Here are pictures of each of the dead along with their ages and hometowns.

(This representation of a disagreement between Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison is a reminder that sometimes U.S. troops were called upon to do harm to the native population. Tecumseh died in the War of 1812.)

Here is a list of minor and major wars in American history.

Here are numbers of American dead and wounded in our wars.

Here is the article that broke the story of mistreatment of veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. We say we care about our veterans, but that does not always appear to be the case.

Here is the Veterans of Foreign Wars home page.

Here is Iraq Body Count. This organization counts the number of Iraqis killed in the Iraq War. All people have equal value.

( Both a strong military and a strong resistance against going to war are important aspects of democracy. )

Here is the activist group Peace Action.

Here is a list of Medal of Honor winners for great bravery in American wars.

Here is information on women in American wars.

Here is the National Association of Black Veterans.

(Henry Hulbert, below, was a winner of the Medal of Honor in WW I.)

Here is information on the Revolutionary War.

Here is information on the War of 1812.

Here is information about the Civil War. (Photo below is of dead Union soldier.)

Here is information on World War I.

Here is information on World War II.

Here is information about the Korean War.

Here is information on the Vietnam War.

Here is information about the War in Iraq.

Here in an article from Salon about possible American war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

War crimes take place in all wars and are committed by all sides. It is not a contradiction to acknowledge this fact and still respect the great majority who served honorably. At the same time, it is disrespectful to the concepts of democracy and human rights to ignore these facts.

The National World War II Memorial in Washington is excellent to visit.

As is the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington.

And the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

I called my father from the Korean War Memorial and asked him about the historical accuracy of how the troops were sculpted. He said based on my descriptions, it was an accurate portrayal. ( Photo below)

I’ve been able to visit Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu. Many of our dead from wars in the Pacific are buried here. This is one of the most important and impressive locations you can visit in Honolulu.

I’ve also visited Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

I once toured the Normandy American Cemetery and Monument near Omaha Beach in France.

Below is Arlington National Cemetery. I was fortunate to once visit Arlington on Memorial Day weekend and see the American flags at each gravestone.

Without people willing to die to protect the freedom of others, I would not be able to express my views in this blog post.  Without such people, none of us would be able to enjoy the day-to-day freedoms we often take for granted.

May 21, 2008 Posted by | History | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Armistice Day/Veterans Day Links

Here are some Veterans Day links. Veterans Day was initially Armistice Day and was meant to observe the end of World War I. ( The photo is of people celebrating the end of World War I in Toronto in 1918.)

Here is a history of Veterans Day from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Here is a link to a good web history of WW I. 

Here is a link to Fighting Different Wars: Experience, Memory, and the First World War In Britain written by Janet Watson. Janet is an associate professor of history at the University of Connecticut and a friend.

Here is a link to the many poets of World War One.  

Here is a link to Arlington National Cemetery.

Here is a link to information about the Korean War. My father fought in the Korean War.

Here is a link to Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Here is a link to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. This is an amazing place in Honolulu. Well worth a visit.  

Here is a link to Fort Rosencrans National Cemetery in San Diego. I visited this cemetery earlier this year.

Here is a link to a directory of peace and nonviolence organizations.

Here is a link to Antiwar.com detailing the numbers of Americans and Iraqis who have died in the Iraq War.

Without our veterans we would not be free. This should be recalled not just on Veterans Day but on all days.

November 11, 2007 Posted by | Books, History | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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