November 11

Thank you to the veterans. What we really need is to help improve social services for veterans and their families; but take a moment to think about what they have done for us all.

Also: on the day of World War I’s armistice, with next year the 100th anniversary of the start of WW I, take a moment to think about a world without war.

Also, not to say that we don’t acknowledge veterans, but it takes all of us to help each other; so I thought that this was an interesting article by vet Alex Horton on The Atlantic, including how he considered the perspective of World War II veterans (who transformed culture even if it took 60 years to have a memorial for their war; sometimes it’s not about the public acknowledgement – you can have history for that – but it’s about what you do):

I once talked to a World War II veteran about the experience of attending college after coming home, and asked if it was jarring to sit next to those who never served. I wondered if veterans huddled together under the umbrella of mutual understanding and thought less of civilians who never shouldered a rifle. His answer was surprising. They were proud of their time in uniform, he said, but for many, the war interrupted their lives, and education was a return to normalcy. Instead of a victory lap, they were more interested in getting back on track.

Perhaps the fact that many Iraq and Afghanistan veterans I’ve talked to take precisely the opposite view is due, in part, to current civilian attitudes. I call it the pedestal problem.

Horton further notes:

That’s the problem with viewing something on a pedestal: you can only see one side at a time, and rarely at depth. It produces extremes—the valiant hero or the downtrodden, unstable veteran.

Thank you for your service. But we’re looking for someone else.

The view from the pedestal has warped the perspective many veterans hold when they leave the service. We call ourselves warriors and worship the Spartan ethos, but don’t always appreciate that our society is detached from our conflicts the way Sparta never was. [….]

The place to begin is to understand ourselves [as veterans] — and what we need to begin defining success after we leave the service. In addition, our society should be less concerned with freebie giveaways and boilerplate op-eds on Veterans Day, and more concerned about how to provide opportunities for our veterans to flourish after their service.” (emphasis added)

Worth a read.

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, here are ways to help.

A lot of food for thought on this day.

(cross-posted at

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