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Why do we celebrate a Veterans Day?

What is now Veterans Day grew out of the Armistice that ended combat in what was then called The Great War and which we refer to as World War I.  The Armistice between Germany and our allies declared that all combat would cease at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (in 1918) or November 11 at 11:00 am, 99 years ago.

In 1919, President Wilson made Armistice Day an official day where, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice.…”

Between then and now:

Congress, in 1926 and again in 1938 passed resolutions making the day a legal holiday: “….. dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.”  By 1954, President Eisenhower signed Public Law 380 which changed the name to “Veterans Day” and the purpose to “…honor American Veterans of all wars.”   

In 1968, Public Law 90-363 moved the official observance to the nearest Monday to November 11 so that public employees could celebrate with a three day weekend.  Beginning in 1978, Public Law 94-97 returned the celebration of Veterans Day to the actual date, November 11, regardless of the day of the week upon which it falls.  It also was intended to focus on “the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Who is a Veteran?

Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.”  A veteran is further defined by federal law, moral code and military service as Any person who served for Any length of time in Any military service branch.”  In other words, any person who has served in the military should be considered a Veteran.

In general, Veterans are not looking to be put on a pedestal but all Veterans that I know do like being recognized and appreciated for having served.  Why not call a Veteran friend and let him or her know that you respect the service and sacrifice that he or she has made?

Happy Veterans Day!






Ten years ago yesterday, Steve Jobs took to the stage in San Francisco and introduced the iPhone.  The world has changed dramatically since and because of that introduction.  Here is a link to the video of the full introduction:

Save this video for when you have a little over an hour and would otherwise watch a movie.    It is as good a documentary movie as you will watch.

Apple misses Steve Jobs.  Who knows what other changes the world would have seen had he lived to envision those changes?

I’m writing this on Election Day, November 8th.  It seems appropriate to give thanks every day to veterans of military service.  Somehow, it seems even more appropriate when a nation is free to elect its leaders as we are today.  Like the bumper sticker reads “If you Voted today, Thank a Veteran.”


hillary-clinton-shocked-600x400“Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”  – from the statement released by FBI Director James Comey on July 5, 2016

I am amazed at the fact that Mr. Comey has chosen not to file any charges against Hillary Clinton.  I guess I am naive and don’t understand that corruption must be the rule, not the exception in Washington, D.C.  Maybe if I can find the answers to a few questions, that will help me understand.

Here are some questions about Hillary Clinton that I would love to have answered by supporters of Mrs. Clinton:

  1. Would Mrs. Clinton, today, pass a background check to allow her to have access to classified materials given that she has proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in her past handling of secret government communications?
  2. Would any U.S. Citizen, today, pass a background check to allow access to classified materials given that citizen had proven to have been careless, at least, and intentionally lawless, at most, in his or her past handling of secret government communications?
  3. Is it possible that Mrs. Clinton has so little understanding of modern communications that she was totally unaware of the security risks that she was creating by having multiple communications systems outside of the government systems?
  4. Should a person who is so totally unaware of modern communications and who is unwilling to accept the recommendations of experts on how to handle such communications be allowed to hold high public office?
  5. Is it believable to you that Mr. Clinton’s meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Phoenix was a chance meeting and that they spoke only of golf, grand children and travel plans?
  6. Shortly after her meeting with Bill Clinton in Phoenix, Attorney General Lynch stated that she would accept the recommendations of career prosecutors and federal agents concerning whether to bring charges against Mrs. Clinton in the email investigation. Do you believe that Attorney General Lynch knew that the FBI would not recommend that charges be filed against Mrs. Clinton?  If so, do you believe that she knew that before the Phoenix meeting with Bill Clinton?
  7. Do you believe that Mrs. Clinton obstructed a federal investigation when she delayed for months in delivering emails to the FBI?  If not, why do you think she was so slow?  Why do you think she had her emails screened by attorneys working for her and withheld many of them saying they were personal?
  8. Do you understand how Mrs. Clinton turned a $1,000 account into $100,000 in the cattle futures market in less than a year?
  9. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton has the moral character to hold the position of trust and power that is the Presidency of the United States?
  10. Can you list Mrs. Clinton’s highly touted “qualifications” to be President?
  11. Do you believe Mrs. Clinton is beholden to more or fewer special interests than Mr. Trump?
  12. Have you read to the end any speech or article given/written by Mr. Trump or is your opinion of him formed exclusively from viewing videos and hearing/reading sound bites about him or his actions?

Each year, the Memorial Day Weekend is very important to our wine sales.  We have a big open house, garden, and vineyard and do wine tasting for about 100 people a day for each of the three days.  We sometimes lose the importance of Memorial Day.  To help us remember, below are a couple of things sent to me by a friend with whom I was honored to serve in the Air Force in the late 60s and early 70s.

A five minute tribute.

Memorial Day

I’m not an English Major.  I don’t spell well (but I get better the more that I read).  I don’t even write particularly well.  I’m not a linguist, definitely not a semanticist.

I do, however, observe, and listen better than some.

First a quick story, then on to the pet peeves.

In 1961 when our family moved to Hawaii, I found myself in a High School Hawaiiana course to learn something about the beautiful new state in which I now lived.  I learned a bit of Pidgen English (“Hey bruh, neva spock you long time.  Where you stay be?” which loosely translated means “Hey, man.  I haven’t seen you in a long time.  Where have you been?”).  I also learned some history of the Islands.  But, what stood out was local customs and colloquialisms.  I remember being told that anyone who was born and raised in the Islands invariably said “yousta to” instead of “used to.”  Fast forward to 2004 when we moved from California to Oregon.  We learned that “Spendy” meant expensive, that a “motorsickle” was a motorcycle, and a “rig” was your truck.

So what does all this have to do with Pet Peeves?  I don’t like what I observe to be “lazy English.”  Here’s a  list.  It is only a scratch of the surface of a much deeper and most distressing change in our language.  Please add yours.

  1.  “then” (time or order relationship) and “than” (referring to a comparison) are two different words with different meanings.  I find lazy people only use the word “then” regardless of the meaning.
  2. Similarly, “there (place),” “their (possessive of they),” and “they’re contraction of they are)” are three different words with three very different meanings/uses.I find lazy people only use “there.”
  3. “Irregardless” is the ultimate double negative used by lazy people to mean “regardless.”   It is not a word and it also seems strange that lazy people would add to a word rather than condense or shorten.
  4. “Exspecially”  which is related to “Expresso.”  Like “irregardless” neither is a word.  Now if you “especially” like strong coffee drinks, “espresso” may be for you.
  5. “Affect” is the verb while “Effect” is the noun.
  6. Lots of lazy folk say “I could care less” which means that you do care.  Try “I couldn’t care less” which actually means that you don’t care.


I first posted this 5 years ago but with a different video.

Please watch this video.  Then remember that the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have sacrificed have done what was asked of them by their country.  We should honor their service, not give them lip service.

Each year at Memorial Day we honor the lives and sacrifices of members of our Military Services who have passed on. On Veteran’s Day, we honor the lives and sacrifices of those who are still with us who have served in our armed forces.  I always wonder why we can get the emotion up to honor an overpaid athlete or entertainer and yet when we see a soldier, sailor, airman or marine in uniform, we often look the other way.

I have always appreciated the slogan depicted below.  This Veteran’s Day, why not make a point to say thank you to a veteran of the Coast Guard or Merchant Marines, or Air Force, Army, Marines or Navy?

To me, two of the most significant words in the language are Responsibility and Respect.  Veteran’s Day is a good time  to show Respect for those who have taken Responsibility for Protecting our Freedoms and have sacrificed on our behalf.

Memorial Day is a time to remember the sacrifices made by those who have helped preserve our freedoms and our way of life.  The video below is of a 91 year old Veteran of World War II remembering and being thankful for his friends, lost in the war.  We should all be so lucid at whatever age, let alone at 91 years of age.

Thank you Jerry and a hat tip to Jim who sent me this video.

Happy Memorial Day.

As a graduate of the Air Force Academy, the following is especially poignant to me.  I have great respect for the graduates from West Point, the Air Force Academy and Annapolis.  This graduate of West Point gives an excellent perspective regarding our veterans.

Thank a Veteran on Veteran’s Day, November 11. Each and every one deserves it.

Thank You

Thank You

I remember the day I found out I got into West Point.  My Mom actually

showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out

of class.

She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my

admission letter.  She wasn’t crying because it had been her dream for

me to go there.  She was crying because she knew how hard I’d worked to

get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an

infantry officer.

I was going to get that opportunity.  That same day two of my teachers

took me aside and essentially told me the following: “David, you’re a smart guy.

You don’t have to join the military.  You should go to college, instead.”

I could easily write a theme defending West Point and the military as I

did that day, explaining that United States Military Academy is an

elite institution, that separate from that, it is actually statistically much

harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that

serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least

consider for a host of reasons, but I won’t.

What I will say is that when a 16 year-old kid is being told that

attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a

dangerous disconnect in America, and entirely too many Americans have

no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.

In World War II, 11.2% of the nation’s population served for four (4)


During the Vietnam era, 4.3% of the nation’s population served in

twelve (12) years.

Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War

on Terror.

These are unbelievable statistics.  Over time, fewer and fewer people

have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting


Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10%

veterans with only one person having a child in the military.  Taxes

did not increase to pay for the war.  War bonds were not sold.  Gas was

not regulated.  In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice

nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless they have chosen to out  of

the goodness of their hearts.

The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their

families.  The volunteers.  The people who swore an oath to defend this

nation.  You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on.

You’ve lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme

conditions, years apart from kids you’ll never get back, and beaten

your body in a way that even professional athletes don’t understand.

Then you come home to a nation that doesn’t understand.  They don’t

understand suffering.  They don’t understand sacrifice.  They don’t

understand why we fight for them.  They don’t understand that bad

people exist.  They look at you like you’re a machine – like something

is wrong with you.  You are the misguided one – not them.

When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political

science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan

because YOU WERE THERE and can’t understand the macro issues they

gathered from books, because of your bias.

You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at

that.  Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and

your pay, while they ask you to do more.  But, the amazing thing about

you is that you all know this.  You know your country will never pay

back what you’ve given up.  You know that the populace at large will

never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.

Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than

normal for having worn the uniform.  But you do it anyway.

You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775

YOU SERVED.  Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many

to so few.” -Winston Churchill

Thank you to the 11.2% and 4.3% who have served and thanks to the

0.45% who continue to serve our Nation.


– This was first attributed to General David Petraeus, West Point Class of ’74.  According to the comment send by my Academy Roommate, the actual author was Nick Palmisciano, co owner of Ranger Up, a very interesting web page.

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