Memorial Day 2016

Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Department of Defense

Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Department of Defense

Remember those that gave all.

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PopeyeI’m not a fan of tattoos. That’s why I don’t have any. But, neither am I a fan of stopping others from getting tattoos. I know plenty of people with them.

Once, most of the people I knew with tattoos were military, or ex-military, mostly Navy or ex-Navy. Later, a number of people sporting tattoos included people who got drunk in or near Savannah one weekend. That’s because you had to go to Savannah, Richmond Hill, or Hinesville (Ft. Stewart) to get a tattoo. Unless you were in Reidsville, but Georgia State Prison wasn’t normally a place you left after just one weekend.

But, in recent years, tattoos are sprouting up all over the place. And now, the Army is reacting to that. The oldest branch of the U.S. military is looking to ban some tattoos from being visible:

Under the new policy, new recruits will not be allowed to have tattoos that show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline, (Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond) Chandler told troops. Current soldiers may be grandfathered in, but all soldiers will still be barred from having any tattoos that are racist, sexist or extremist.

Once the rules are implemented, soldiers will sit down with their unit leaders and “self identify” each tattoo. Soldiers will be required to pay for the removal of any tattoo that violates the policy, Chandler said.

I’m still not a fan of tattoos, but I kinda have a problem with the new Army policy. It goes against history. At least, Georgia History.

Let me tell you a story. Back in the early 1940s, the governor of Georgia — I heard it was Ellis Arnall, but it could have been Eugene Talmadge — was meeting with a bunch of soldiers before they headed off to war, either in the Europe or Pacific campaigns in World War II. One of the soldiers spoke up and asked him why 18 years old was old enough to go fight in a war, but not old enough to vote for the people that send him off to war. The governor told him, “You’re right. We’ll do something about that.”

By the end of 1943, Georgia had become the first state to allow 18 year olds to vote. In 1955, Kentucky did the same. The rest of the U.S. joined in 1971 with the passage of the 26th Amendment.

Here’s another story. In the 1970s and 80s, when states were starting to raise the drinking age to 21, Georgia put in an exception for active duty military. That exception no longer exists — the state does allow parents to give alcohol to minors in their own home, but that’s the only exception (O.C.G.A. § 3-3-23) — but, as you can see, where I come from, we have a history of allowing things specially for or because of the military.

This new Army policy is counter to that, and I don’t like it. And I don’t want the Navy, Marine, or Air Force to follow suit.

Of course, in my time in the military, a lot of soldiers had tattoos, but none were tramp stamps. Well, not many.

What’s your take on this?

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A soldier serving today in the U.S. Army.

In addition to today being Flag Day, there’s another anniversary today. It’s the anniversary of the founding of the Continental Army, which was the United States Army before there was a United States.

238 years ago, on June 14, 1775, the Continental Army was formed. That rag-tag group of citizen soldiers beat the odds and the British, and the United States of America was the result.

Some of us at IMAO had the privilege to serve our country in uniform, in different branches of the service.

Some of you reading this had the same privilege. We thank you all.

Today, we especially recognize and thank those that served in our first branch of the military, the United States Army.

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Memorial Day 2013

Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Department of Defense
Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Department of Defense

Remember those that gave all for you.

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Memorial Day 2012

Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Department of Defense
Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo by Department of Defense

Remember those that gave all for you.

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Stuffing the Stockings

IMAO reader WyoScotch recently brought to my attention a project going on in the Lexington, NC area. The full story hehind it is here, but here’s a summary:

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit was recently deployed off the African coast for a longer-than-normal period of time. Because of the expense, there’s no money in the unit’s budget for some of the usual Christmas activities, so their families have started a project to ensure they get something at Christmastime. And, because of the logistics, they’ve got to make this happen by next Monday, the 14th.

It seems a worthwhile project to me, so I’m going to help. If you think it’s something you want to help with, you can find more details on how to help on their Facebook page.

Here’s more about it, with a “how-to” and suggestions:
Continue reading ‘Stuffing the Stockings’ »

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Flag Day … and then some

On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress adopted the United States flag. We now know this day as Flag Day.

Our country’s flag has flown proudly since Revolutionary War. During this country’s expansion across the continent, the flag flew. As the nation was torn apart by a civil war less than 90 years after its founding, the flag flew. During this country’s defense of liberty in the two world wars, the flag flew. When man broke free of the earth and landed on the moon, the flag flew. When the rebuilding began after Islamic terrorists attacked this nation, the flag flew. When the people of Iraq were released from over 20 years of Saddam Hussein’s oppression, the flag flew. And, despite those without our own country that seek to bring this country down, the flag still flies.

Traditionally, the president issues a proclamation observing Flag Day, although the current occupant of the White House hasn’t seen fit to do that this year; the last Flag Day proclamation on the White House’s Website is from 2008.

Despite the lack of recognition by the White House, we’re encouraging you to show proper respect and allegiance to the flag of the United States, in accordance with the proper rules of etiquette.

The flag represents this great nation. Fly it proudly.

Oh, yes, one other thing. Two years before the flag was adopted, the Continental Army, forerunner of today’s United States Army, was formed. That means today is the 235th birthday of the Army. If you see a soldier today, thank him. If you know a former soldier, thank him, too. I know he’d appreciate it.

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Veteran’s Day 2008

Today is Veteran’s Day.

It began as Armistice Day, noting the the end of the first world war, November 11, 1918.

In the 1950s, it was expanded to become a day to honor all U. S. veterans.

This country has been honored by the service of many, many men and women over the years, serving in the uniforms of our country.

We should honor them, remembering all those that served, especially those that gave their lives in that service.

As a veteran, I’m honored to have worn my country’s uniform.

As a citizen, I want to honor those that are wearing that uniform today.

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