Monday, February 28, 2011

Last WWI Vet dies at 110

The last WWI veteran, Frank W. Buckles died on Sunday at the age of 110. He was one of 5 million Americans that had served in World War I between 1917 and 1918. Apparently his death was of natural causes. Mr. Buckles died at his West Virginia farm.

World War I veterans had received little notoriety until there were only a handful left. Then the nation took notice of the last remaining veterans of this first Great War.

Frank Buckles lied about his age and enlisted in the Army when he was 16 on August 14, 1917. He was sent to France. Back then, service members had serial numbers. His was No. 15577. Frank was assigned as a rear-echelon ambulance driver and saw the horrors of war first hand.

Believe it or not, he eventually was caught up in World War II. After his enlistment, he worked on commercial ships around the world. Unfortunately, he was on a ship in Manila in 1941. That's when the Japanese invaded. He was a prisoner until the military raided and freed him.

In 1953, he bought a cattle farm in West Virginia.


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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Army asked to end sponsorship of NASCAR

UPDATE: The bill referred to below has been voted down.

The military has had a ten year sponsor relationship with NASCAR. Right now, the Army is the only one that spends money as a sponsor. A total of $7 million a year.

In this day of budget cuts and deficits, anything like this will get scrutiny. That $7 million is taxpayer money. It's also part of the Army's budget.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., wants to pull the plug on this venture. She and other Democrats wish to defund any military sponsorship of motorsports. The Army spent about $5 million more in 2009 than they do now on NASCAR. They also spent $5 million on drag racing sponsorships.

But look carefully at this. This is money that was budgeted for advertising. If it's still in the budget, it will be spent on various other ads. Like in magazines and television shows, like sports. Is it okay for the Pentagon to fund a television show? Or a football broadcast? There's not much difference. All that's different, is deciding which one is more effective advertising.

NASCAR seems like a good fit for the Army. The area of the country it fits with is probably more congenial with military service. So, why not go where more potential young men (and woman) are?

Let's not forget being a goodwill ambassador as well. Showing up to family events and seeing an Army sponsorship certainly fits well. Remember, this is advertising money.

It seems as if people living in certain parts of the country are willing to keep the military out. Many universities have banned ROTC programs. Okay, let's trade. No NASCAR sponsorship in return all colleges and universities get ROTC programs.

Military service is a just and decent occupation with the ultimate service. Why should we not be encouraging people to join our military? Why should our military not be included in events that seem a good fit?

Remember, if the $7 million is in the ad budget, it will get spent sponsoring something elsewhere. Nothing wrong with NASCAR.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Anthem Flub Commentary

Christina Aguilera flubbed the lines of the National Anthem. So, what's the big deal? She's human, right? The song is difficult to sing, so we've heard. And nobody really cares, right? She did her best, so leave her alone.

Here's the problem. Christina Aguilera is 30 years old. She's not a nervous child. This is the same singer who thinks nothing of singing provocatively. And she most certainly is a professional. There is no excuse for her to flub the lines. There's this little thing called, "practice." Did she not practice? Did she not really care about singing the song correctly? That's what it sounds like. That her and her fans just shrug their shoulders and say, "So what?"

What makes this even more glaring, is the fact that this Super Bowl in Dallas did it utmost to be super-patriotic. Even reading the Declaration of Independence. Even honoring U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, the newest Medal of Honor winner.

Whether you think the song stinks or is the greatest, no matter. Our national anthem deserves respect. We can have the freedom to play a game like football, and call the players heroes. When in reality, our military members are the heroes. They deserve respect. Our flag and song, both deserve respect for what they stand for. And that should be the final word.

Our national anthem deserves to be sung, correctly. Many have done it before, no problem.