Category Archives: News

NCOs are GOD!

This is my first official self-written post on Old War Dogs and I have to explain something: I am not an Old War Dog.

I am old, yes. Not ancient at 57, but no longer a young pup, by any means.

I am a dog, yes, according to my wife and friends, at times.

But as for the war part, well, all you have to do is check out my profile and you will see that the only piece of fruit salad up there is the National Defense Service Medal, or what we used to call the “I was alive in ’65” medal. I often joke to people that I am the ultimate Vietnam draft dodger: I sat out the war at West Point and when I graduated, Vietnam was winding down and I never got tapped to go.

It was therefore an honor (and I shouldn’t be surprised at the welcoming attitude of my brothers in arms, but I always am) to be invited to become an Old War Dog. I see that I am not the only former officer on the blog list, but I was first turned on to Old War Dogs by the great Russ Vaughn, as well as through the kindness of Bill Faith, two old NCOs. I note that most of the Old War Dogs are former NCOs, so I thought that as my first act of duty, I needed to expound on one of life’s trueisms: NCOs are GOD!

I don’t mean to be blasphemous in that assertion. I am sure that the Good Lord will be honored that I attribute some of his omnipotence to NCOs. They are good company.

As I note in my bio, I grew up in the Army, where I was taught such common courtesies as answering the phone in our quarters with, “Briscoe residence, Shane speaking.” I was also taught, through observation of my Father and his interactions and just watching what went on on Army Posts around the world, that NCOs rule! I learned that lesson anew when, as a freshly minted Second Lieutenant just out of West Point, I was introduced to my first Platoon Sergeant, Heywood E. Smith, at Ft. Carson, Colorado, in the fall of 1971.

“You’re in luck,” I was told by the outgoing Platoon Leader. “You have the best Platoon Sergeant in the United States Army.”

Shortcut to Victory in War on Terror

Here’s a little quiz:  Which countries, in order of importance, need to change if we are to win the War on Terror?  Here is my list, in descending order:

  1. Iran–The number one terrorist regime in the world, bent on getting nuclear weapons, with proxy armies int he form of Hezbollah and Hamas, led by one of the criminals who engineered the U.S. hostage crisi, an unrepentant anti-Jewish, anti-American Nazi.
  2. Saudi Arabia–They are not our friends.  Saudi is the ideological capital of Islamofascism.  Even the Saudi Ambassador to the United States supports bigoted, hateful, anti-Western Saudi textbooks, which are the bibles of extremism in the Muslim world.  The Royal Family needs to be deposed and replaced with a benevolent dictator, for starters, like the Shah of Iran, and then with democracy.  Wahhabism (the most rabidly radical Islamic sect) needs to be wiped off the face of the planet.
  3. North Korea–Nukes or not, eventually, we will have to take them down.  But North Korea can wait.  For now, we have to take care of the more immediate problems (1 and 2, above).  If we are able to do this, there is a good possibility–not great, but good–that North Korea will see the handwriting on the wall and pull a Khadaffi.
  4. Syria–That fascist state will collapse of its own weight once Iran falls.  Or, we and the Israelis can take them out; their choice.  Assad and his military leaders need to change or die.

There is a host of other countries to deal with, one way or another:  Pakistan; Somalia; Palestine (not really a country, and it, too, will collapse once its sponsors are eliminated).  But the Big Four, the nexus of the Axis of Evil are the main ones.  (And if you don’t believe it; note that Iranians were present to witness North Korea’s provocative missile tests.)  If we change the Big Four, the War on Terror is shortened from decades to only a few years of mopping up.

In overreaching, the Iranians and their proxy armies have presented us with a golden opportunity.  We need to join the Israelis and take the war all the way to Tehran.  We won’t have another chance like this again.

One Good Lesson We Can Learn from the French

The French are easy to make fun of, especially these days when they can’t even work up the courage to defend Paras from marauding Muslim teenagers, much less a Nazi blitzkrieg.

Like many Americans since the French betrayed us over the War in Iraq, I won’t visit their miserable little country and I no longer buy French products. No wine, no cheese, no… well, they really don’t have much to offer besides those two items, which is another sign of French irrelevance.

But there is one thing the French do deserve credit for, and we ought to emulate them in this regard: shaving the heads of collaborators.

After World War II, the French went about collecting all the women (I’m not sure about the men, but knowing the French, they probably were too afraid to tackle a man–even a fellow Frenchman–so they concentrated on the girls instead) who slept with or otherwise collaborated with their German occupiers (wait a minute… didn’t all French women sleep with the Nazis?). The French vigilante squads probably roughed up the collaborators a bit. Then they shaved their heads as a mark of shame.

One of these days, we are going to get serious about the War on Terror. One of these days, we are going to start kicking ass and taking names, fighting with a ruthlessness that only comes from the gut when you realize that your entire civilization and way of life–as well as your life itself and your mortal remains–are at risk. I fear that such a day will come, but sadly, only after another 9/11 occurs. We just didn’t seem to get it the first time, but the day a nuclear, chemical or biological weapon goes off in a U.S. city and thousands, or tens of thousands, or even millions of our fellow citizens are murdered, we’ll surely get the message that it is time to take the gloves off. Then woe betide the terrorists and their allies.

I don’t want to see another 9/11 happen. But then, that is what separates me from the Democrats, the Bush-haters and, oh, yes, the French. I would rather go for it now, kill all the terrorists and their supporters and sympathizers today, torture captured terrorists into revealing everything there is to know about their operations before dispatching them to their just reward, where 71 virgins who all look like Helen Thomas are eagerly awaiting their arrival. But I am afraid there will be another 9/11.

After the gloves do come off and we realize we are in a fight to the death with one of the most vile, evil adversaries we have ever faced, public opinion should have shifted enough so that we might be ready to deal with our own collaborators, French style.

It will be time to start shaving heads, only Americans will do the men as well as the women. First, we can start with the Dixie Chicks, then Linda Ronstadt, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Howard Dean, Cindy Sheehan, Dan Rather, Mary Mapes, John Kerry, Jimmy Carter, editors of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and other so-called mainstream media personalities… and the list goes on. I would spare Helen Thomas, only because I don’t think the world just couldn’t take her any uglier. As for Michael Moore, I’d give the special treatment, shaving his head even… at neck level, Muslim style.

Many of these American-hating fifth columnists have already seen their livelihoods dry up and their reputations turn sour as people react to their treasonous ways. Good. That’s a start. But when the real day of reckoning comes, there needs to be a badge of shame for all the world to see, and shaved heads really fit the bill.

The day is coming. Until then, my fellow patriots, keep your clippers handy.

Semper I

Semper I is an old Marine Corps term applied to those selfish careerists who place their own success ahead of their men and the  wellbeing of  the Corps. Congressman John Murtha is a living example of that disgraceful term.

A bugle blows in Arlington,Lilting notes fill still sad air,An eagle’s tears a globe fall on,Trail an anchor with despair, For a man we’d wish had not to die, Brave youth among the best, A Marine, he lived for Semper Fi, And with Semper Fi he’ll rest.

So sadly is the contrast,Between those who talk and fight; Fat Pols for whom their war’s past, But now can’t see the light, Accusing brave young fighting men, Of crimes they can’t defend,Disgraceful fat old congressmen, Who’ve lost the will to win.

Yes there we see the difference,Between those who fight to win, And a congressman with no sense, Who’s committed grievous sin;He’s turned against his Corps, And no one knows quite why,Except he loves himself much more: Classic case of Semper I.

Semper Fi to all Marines everywhere from an old paratrooper who holds Murtha in as much contempt as you do.

Russ Vaughn
327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

[Webmaster’s note 2006.07.18.23:30:  Murtha portrait added, courtesy of Click it to see their post, where they have a larger version.  Now’s a perfect time to visit]

What next?

My astute co-contributors have clearly defined several closely related parts of a larger problem.  Steve’s take is here. And Gene offers a positive solution here.  Others, here and elsewhere,  have offered even more perspective and possible solutions.

But, while the first step in solving a problem is to correctly identify it, I think there are still some pieces missing before we can be certain we have.

A clear Declaration of War would be a first step, but War against what?  One of the flaws in The Global War on Terror has been noted by the liberal/left; terrorism is an act, not a government.

I’m all for a pre-emptive strategy, I support the use of carefully targeted Nukes. North Korea’s launch site(s), Iran’s military and nuclear facilities, and a few more similar targets, but the list is, frankly, short.

And, for the record, I could care less about international reaction.

But even if we followed that path, we’re still left with the billions (externally) and millions (internally) that do not want  the U.S. to survive in any form most of us would recognize.

Those tactics won’t work in London or Dearborn anyway.

One real problem, and one only WE can solve, is that we, collectively, have no identity any more. I’m not certain we ever did! But that point is a bit off topic unless we address the politicians.

As much as I’d like to blame the congresscritters in D.C., they are only a symptom.

So I’m left asking ‘What Next’?

I willing to get off my ass and do something, helping dump Murtha, for example. But there are many more where he came from.

An armed revolt sounds interesting, but it would allow those on the sidelines (Islamists, anti-American illegal immigrants, etc.) to pick up the pieces at their leisure.

I’m armed, with a vote and a gun, give me target. I don’t have enough ammo to ‘spray and pray’ and only one vote.

Taps for a Warrior

Frederick M. Burr, USA, retired, passed away today at 2:55 p.m. Mountain Time at age 91. He was my father-in-law.

He became acquainted with the Army while traveling as a very young man when he visited an uncle who was on Gen. MacArthur’s staff in the Philippines. When World War II broke out, he joined Patton’s Army, serving as a sergeant on the staff of his Regimental Combat Team Commander in Europe. After the war, he became a Warrant Officer in Military Intelligence; in that capacity, he served in Vietnam, bracketed in his wartime tour by two stepsons, also in the Army.

He later served with the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, in the early 1970s. CW4 Burr interviewed returning POWs from Vietnam and continued to serve in the Army until he was well-past retirement age, having been granted special dispensation due to his intelligence skills and knowledge.

When he did retire, he held the distinction of being the oldest, longest serving Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army. After retiring from the Army, he remained active in military and veterans affairs and national security organizations and even accomplished something he never had time for as a younger man–he finished college.

A couple of years ago, Fred joined my wife and my Father (along with a friend and my brother) on a trip to Washington, D.C., to see the new World War II Memorial. It was a gift my wife and I gave both our Dads, since both were World War II-Korea-Vietnam Veterans. We also visited the memorials from those two wars. For the occasion, we outfitted both Dads in caps conveying their triple-war service, and it was great to watch all their fellow veterans, young and old, as well as active duty personnel and civilians, come up to thank them for their service.

Fred was a proud man, an old school gentleman and as loyal an American patriot as anyone who ever lived. He lived a good, long life and will be fondly remembered by his large family and many friends. The nation and all of us who live in freedom, owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.

I salute you, Fred. It was an honor to be your son-in law. Rest in peace. You’ve certainly earned it.

Bill Faith – “Aim High” My Friend

*** Update Sunday January 18, 2009 ***

I should have added this link to Michelle Malkin’s article.

Also to Uncle Jimbo’s post at BlackFive.

Here are a whole bunch more:

The Rude News

Illusion or reality


Another Voice

Confedrate Yankee

The Radio Patriot

Brutally Honest

Bookworm Room


Also, Bill’s sister has requested donations be made to Soldier’s Angels in lieu of flowers.

Finally, I am unable to approve any comments left for Bill at other posts.  Some of you already have posted elsewhere.  If you wish to leave a comment for Bill please do so at this article, for which I am able to approve comments for.  Thank You.


It is with a saddened heart that I just heard from another Old War Dog, Zero Ponsdorf, that Michelle Malkin reported the death of Old War Dog founder and webmaster Bill Faith.  I missed a couple of opportunities this year as I traveled through Southern Illinois, to stop and meet Bill in person.  This is a mistake I will regret for the rest of my life.

Through an electronic introduction from another Old War Dog, Jim Bartimus, I was introduced to Bill in July of 2005.  It was then that Bill extended the invitation to join the Old War Dogs Blog, and it was the first type of anything in my adult lifetime I had ever joined.

Bill could be cantankerous at times, often causing a bit of dissent among the ranks.  But, I know that Bill’s life centered around two things: Old War Dogs and his Grandson.  His Blogging and love of America, I can speak to.  His abundant love for his daughter and grandson I will leave for others.

Many years later, Bill and I discovered that I had preceded him into the Air Force by a mere week back in the summer of 1970, and that most of our time at Lackland AFB and afterward at Sheppard AFB, had overlapped.  That’s where the similarity ended.  Bill went on to serve in Vietnam, while I defended America from the frozen moonscapes of Alaska.  I think it was our same age, military branch, and the fact that we were both Illinoisans, that caused Bill to always favor my writing and give it a little boost in the Blog position each day.  In fact I was often embarrassed by the favoritism.

Others, such as Russ Vaughn, JD Pendry, George “Rurik” Mellinger, William “1st Cav” Page and Zero Ponsdorf knew Bill longer and perhaps better than I, although most of us have been strangers to Old War Dogs for a couple of years now.

A couple of years ago, Bill had entrusted the “keys” to the Old War Dogs Site with me and Russ Vaughn.  I haven’t been in contact with Russ for some time, and I’m not sure how to proceed.  Old War Dogs and Small Town Veteran were 100% Bill Faith.  There is a part of me that says we should keep OWD going as a tribute to Bill, yet another that says it would only be a cheap imitation.  As mentioned before, Russ and JD and perhaps a few others will have more to say on the topic.

In closing, I simply want to say that Bill was a patriot, a loving father and grandfather, and a clear voice for veteran’s causes throughout the blogosphere.  And for me personally, he was a friend and fellow Old War Dog.  I will miss him.

Mike Connelly
The Gray Dog

Classy Cussing for Disgraced Democrats

An example of just how difficult it is to be a woman in politics these days surfaced late this week when the Democrat Attack Machine, known here as the American Terrorist Media, ATM, went after Patti Blagojevich, wife of the embattled Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich.

Aside from the rampant misogynism that also launched the attacks on Hillary Clinton, and the ongoing character assassination on Sarah Palin, the reasoning behind the attacks on Mrs. Blagojevich is that she swears!

The government has wiretapped tape recordings of her husband allegedly trying to sell Barack Obama’s now vacant Illinois Senate seat to the highest bidder, and in the background a woman who allegedly is Patti Blagojevich is yelling obscenities. How dare she?

What gives with this woman? Swearing!?

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. Back in the 60s one of the premier identity factors for the new, liberal, liberated, feminist-type woman was taking the shackles off their mouths, and cursing word-for-word, obscenity-for-obscenity with the guys. And not just any guys, because most educated and refined guys didn’t use four letter words and related curses, especially in the presence of women.

No, the sign of the liberated woman was using the worst type of gutter language in the presence of anyone, anywhere, to show that aged social conventions were no longer in vogue. But obviously times have changed and it no longer is a sign of the ultimate feminist to stand toe to toe with any man in the room and swear him under the table.

Considering that no one has claimed she has Tourette’s Syndrome, Patti Blagojevich apparently didn’t get the memo. Or maybe she was a journalist in a previous incarnation and is just trying to conserve words and get her point across in as few as possible. Interesting isn’t it that the only time a Democratic woman’s use of the King’s English becomes an issue is when the ATM decides she is no longer a useful tool for the prevailing political agenda.

Terrorist Attacks in Mumbai, India Reveal Tactical Shift in War on Terror; Look To Scottish History to Solve Afghanistan, Pakistan Dilemma

The death toll is still climbing in Mumbai, India where Islamo-fascist terrorists struck Wednesday, targeting American and British citizens, Jews and police. News reports say the carnage and chaos were well planned, and the targets were pre-selected.

Among the dead in the initial moments of the assault were police officials who would have been in a position to direct a coordinated counter-assault. As a result the terrorists roamed freely, killing, taking hostages, and digging in for a protracted battle.

The attacks in India point out tragically just how simple it is to turn normal life into unthinkable horror. And they underscore the extent to which free societies must exert themselves if they are to deliver a death blow to terrorism.

Although security officials believe the attackers were members of an extreme Islamo-fascist organization based in Pakistan, and presumably had terrorist dollars and organizational capabilities backing them up, their weaponry was mostly small arms, grenades, and assault rifles. Mumbai, formerly Bombay, sits on the shore of the Arabian Sea and the attackers arrived aboard motorized rubber rafts.

Depending on the point of origin and the route taken, it is about 600-800 nautical miles from the shore of Pakistan to the water’s edge in Mumbai, far too long and uncertain for a voyage entirely by motorized rafts. Thus, Indian security officials surmise that the rafts were launched from a larger ship.

But even arranging for sea transportation is not that difficult in areas of the world where pirates roam. In short, although there was significant pre-planning and intelligence gathering to launch the assault on Mumbai, the level of organization necessary to do it was not that complicated.

With US forces victorious in Iraq, and the Iraqi parliament approving an agreement outlining responsibility for its own security, it is obvious that worldwide terrorist organizations are looking for softer targets. They also need some form of “victory” to draw attention away from their overwhelming losses in Iraq.

As the assault continued into its third day, international news organizations reported on the possible identity of the attackers.

Foremost among the organizations blamed was Lashkar-e-Taiba – which in the depth of hypocrisy means Army of the Righteous. Attempts were made to shift the blame to a heretofore unheard of domestic (Indian) terror group, calling itself Deccan Mujahideen, but evidence indicates that the attacks originated with Pakistan/Afghanistan based “traditional” terrorists.

Although the terrorists claimed to be citizens of India, analyses of tape recordings between the attackers and the media indicated they were speaking with Pakistani accents.

Lashkar-e-Taiba reportedly originated in Kunar, Afghanistan, on the border with Pakistan, adjacent to the wild and Taliban/Al Qaeda friendly Tribal Areas. Regardless of which splinter group actually did the shooting, it is obvious that with Al Qaeda defeated in Iraq, there is a shift in emphasis to targets closer to its last remaining stronghold on the Afghan/Pakistan border.

Herein lies the reference to Scotland. One of the saddest chapters in Scottish history is the brutal end of the clan system by which the Scottish Highlands were emptied of inhabitants, their way of life, the homes, their language, and their culture.

Scotland and England ceased to be separate countries beginning with the Union of the Crowns in 1603 – which actually placed a Scottish king on the throne of England – and their Parliaments united in 1707. Nonetheless, there was still animosity between and within both countries, based to a large degree on religious issues as well as politics and nationalism. Catholicism was favored by some, opposed by others, and wars were fought and monarchs toppled over the question of whether Scotland would accept Catholicism as its state religion.

(To this day the National Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, although it is not considered the “state” church.)

This animosity, and efforts to restore a Scottish monarch, led ultimately to the Battle of Culloden in 1746, in which the pro-government forces (backed by England) brutally defeated the outnumbered and significantly outgunned Scottish Jacobites. The loss on the battlefield was only the beginning, and the real impact came in the following years during the Highland Clearances, more than a century of unchecked brutality.

During this time land speculators from England, backed by the English Army, invaded traditional Scottish Clan lands, threw the inhabitants out of their homes and communities, shot many, hanged many, and forced others to the coasts where they lived in abject penury. Tens of thousands were forced onto ships heading anywhere else in the world.

To accomplish this the Highland Scots were ordered to disarm, a violation of which brought instant death. To facilitate the army’s access to the highland clans, many located in inaccessible areas where they had thrived for centuries, the English built roads and bridges to enhance the movement of troops.

But one of the most effective tactics used by the English in the Highland Clearances was not the brutality, which often has the affect of uniting the afflicted, but the practice of separating the clan chiefs from the clans.

The English did this by inviting the highest and most powerful chieftains to London, where they were assimilated into the English society. Their children, especially those born in England, were educated in English schools, taught English customs and within one generation any attachment to the Highlands was removed from their collective consciousness.

Today, if you travel north along Scotland’s east coast, and then inland from the town of Helmsdale, to the lands once populated by the most northern clans you will find … next to nothing.

If you go to the Helmsdale home page on the Internet you will find references to the emptiness of the land between the coast and the next inland settlement. Where the clans once thrived, now there are only scattered domiciles, and little to remind travellers of what once existed there.

I am not advocating using these tactics on the inhabitants of the Tribal Areas on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I don’t advocate ripping people away from their homes, their families and their heritage.

But if the leaders of those tribes are going to conspire with extremists seeking world domination, then I do advocate separating the head from the body. One way or another, the leaders of these vicious attacks have to be separated from the people they are recruiting for their dirty work.

The Highland Clearances are a historical blot on the history of England, and a devastating era in Scottish history. But, from the standpoint of English rulers who wanted to ensure that they were never again threatened with invasion from the wild clansman of the Scottish Highlands, they were devastatingly effective.

The attacks in Mumbai have shown that no one in the free world is safe from terrorist attacks, launched by zealots who use murder, torture and mayhem as a means of imposing their will on everyone else.

But if free world forces can figure out a way to achieve the same level of effectiveness as the Highland Clearance, separating the head from the body and redirecting the energies of those doing the fighting – without brutalizing innocent civilians – there may still be some hope for the human race.

Somewhere a Veteran is Hungry on Thanksgiving

Michelle Malkin ran an article on her blog the other day about the National Park Police hassling a Vietnam veteran for handing out Buddy Poppies on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The veteran, John Miska, served in Vietnam and is active to say the least in his Veterans of Foreign Wars Post in Arlington, VA. But the park police say that because he accepts donations from some people who take a poppy, even if he doesn’t ask for them, he is thus a panhandler, and that makes him a lawbreaker.

You can read the entire article at Michelle’s blog here:

I’m certain I met John on one of my many trips to DC in the past few years and there is a good reason why I remember the encounter.

John was distributing the Buddy Poppies, which are little paper imitation flowers that that VFW uses to remind people of the blood shed in war. On that particular day I was looking to see how many people were wearing VFW or American Legion garb. We were standing up to the pro-terrorist coalition ANSWER, and there were damn few representatives from the major veterans organizations standing with the thousands of veterans who took it personally that the pro-terrorism crowd wanted to deface our memorials.

So when I saw a guy wearing a VFW hat and offering the poppies I took note. I also am the Buddy Poppy chairman for my local VFW post and organize our annual vigils in my town on the weekend before Memorial Day. My community, unlike the National Park Police, has an abundance of generous people who appreciate and support veterans and we thus are able to help the less fortunate among us – which is the sole purpose of the Buddy Poppy program in the first place.

The poppies harken back to World War I and specifically the poem On Flanders Fields, which talks of the horror of war and the need to remember veterans who fought in those far off battles.

I guess all that is lost in the government bureaucracies that are running our country right down the sewer.

But, John has friends like Michelle Malkin and she isn’t one to let an issue like this go unchallenged.

From her blog: Now the Charlottesville-based Rutherford Institute has stepped in and filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the National Park Police.

John Miska enjoys volunteering and spends most of his time helping injured veterans and distributing “Buddy Poppies.”

“They’re handed out as a remembrance of veterans’ sacrifice. The poppies are red, representing the blood the soldiers shed and it’s a reminder and it gives people pause to think,” said Miska.

“People see me standing there and they approach me and ask ‘may I have a Poppy’ and I give them a Poppy. If people are moved to offer a donation we accept the donations,” said Miska.

According to president of the Rutherford Institute Miska hasn’t done anything wrong, he has only expressed his First Amendment rights.

“People occasionally give him money. There’s a statute, it’s a D.C. law, that says you can’t aggressively solicit money, but he doesn’t do any of that. We feel it’s a violation of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which guarantees you the right to assemble or guarantees you the right to free speech to hand out Buddy Poppies,” said John Whitehead, President, Rutherford Institute.

Miska says this experience isn’t going to stop him from his mission and that it will only encourage him to do more.

“I took an oath to the constitution to preserve, protect and defend and I feel if you don’t stand up for you rights you will lose those rights,” said Miska.

I took the same oath as John and I feel the same way. And as I normally do on Thanksgiving I would like to call your attention to the fact that millions of American servicemen and women are not at home today. Many are in combat zones, facing enemies who not only don’t celebrate our national holiday, they would spit on it if they had the chance.

These defenders of our country, our freedoms and our way of life are not here to speak out for themselves so it is up to people like John Miska to do it for them.

Think for a moment if you will, that right now there is a soldier standing a lonely watch in a desert outpost. He might be thinking of turkey, but even if he gets it, he won’t really be able to enjoy it as he would at home.

Elsewhere a Marine is pulling his field jacket closer as he braces against a bitter mountain wind, looking for signs that terrorists are about to launch an attack. He is keeping one eye on the sky, hoping a resupply helicopter will be coming to his area, possibly loaded with hot meals for the grunts.

Across the world American sailors are standing watch on vast oceans, while airmen are refueling patrol aircraft in distant and lonely airfields, and coast guardsmen are intercepting drug runners, terrorists, or saving the lives of those in peril.

Right here in America, veterans who have served their country honorably are hoping for a crumb, or a warm place to spend the night, not even daring to think of sitting down to a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. Except those who have found John Miska or been found by him.

He helps organize dinners at his VFW post, and makes certain that wounded hospitalized vets are not forgotten. That’s a big, big job but Miska does it, and only asks that he not be hassled.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Somewhere today a veteran will go hungry because there aren’t enough John Miska’s in this world. But somewhere else a veteran will have an opportunity for a meal and a few hours away from the cares and woes of daily life, thanks to people like John.

Do you think the Park Police bureaucrats who don’t understand the meaning of Buddy Poppies could take a few minutes to look them up on the Internet and for just once try to lighten up? Maybe at the same time, if it isn’t too taxing mentally, they could reflect on the fact that 93 percent of all living Americans are free to live their lives because a mere 7 percent have served in the military – going all the way back to WWII and earlier.

If that 7 percent hadn’t sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice to this very minute, the bureaucrats who are stuffing themselves today just might understand the true meaning of hunger and want.

Maybe, for a change, they could go to John Miska’s VFW post and help serve meals to deserving veterans this holiday season. Maybe they could accompany him to a hospital when he visits the wounded and disabled.

Maybe then they would get an idea of the real meaning of Thanksgiving.