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Old 10-30-2000, 02:46 PM   #1
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Post "What Is A Vet?"

"What Is A Vet?"


Some veterans bear visible signs of their service... A missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.
Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She - or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being - a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot,
"THANK YOU"
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Old 10-30-2000, 02:57 PM   #2
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This is so beautiful... May I use it? Every year at Memorial Day I have participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial at Capitol Park, Sacramento CA. I have been very active in the POW-MIA arena. Last year I shared the history of the POW-MIA I had adopted whose remains were finally returned to his family. I delivered the Missing Man ceremony, with table and empty chair, cup, salt, lemon, etc. This next year I would like to do something different. May I use your words? thank you and God Bless...
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Old 10-30-2000, 03:12 PM   #3
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jriverwind...

Beautifully said. I am going to send this to my dad, who served in Okinawa during Vietnam. Thank you.
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Old 10-30-2000, 09:10 PM   #4
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Jriverwind,
I can hardly type for the tears.
That was so beautiful and so true.
I thank you so much fo myself and for my Daddy whose body was shattered and back broken in service of his country during WWII.
I know he never counted it to high a price.
Your words are so moving and heartfelt.
This is why I can't ever get through a Veterans honor dance without tears in my eyes. I am just so very, very thankful for all of them and so very, very proud to have been my Father's daughter.
Thank you again and THANK YOU to all Veterans from the bottom of my heart.
May blessings rain down on you always.
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Old 10-31-2000, 02:12 AM   #5
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What is a vet?

To me, keeping in mind many of my family served in Korea, why I do not know!

Native vets to me signed into a whotemans army, navy ir airforcc for a job or dicsipline and thye signed on to fight whitemens wars instead of staying home to fight the battles we still fight today of racism, prejudice, oppression and assimilation.
Even the conscripted Native vets made achoice to go fight someone elses battle that was and stil isn't ours.
Some even joined up so they could drink publically only to come back and not be allowed to drink in bars after whatever crisis they were in and to realize that some of then had signed away their Indian treaty status.
No. Vets carry no significance to me as they were and are people who made choices to support white causes instead of Indian causes. At home we pay little if any attention to vets at pow-wows or gatherings, instead it is elders, not olders we honor.
Here in BC they make a big deal out of them...I do not..it is very much the same in Canada as the good ole US of A, there they make a big deal out of evrything, in Canada they name a holiday after you.
To this day native veterans have not received any compensation for years served, now they are after the government in court for billions of dollars owing their families......and like the indians who stayed home and those who signed up and later came home lost, without status, the governemnt is still ignoring them..so I ask what did it do Indian people for them to go over there?

What is a vet?
As I said, they are people who went somewhere else to fight for white men a white mans war or conflict..and left their own behind!

Kahkakew
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Old 10-31-2000, 02:33 AM   #6
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I feel a little bit of both of the opions here in this topic. I to have many family members who have served in different conflicts overseas. They signed up for reasons unknown to me but very valid to them and believed it to be their duty to protect their families. For this I respect them with all my heart, but still I would not sign up myself nor encourage my own children to do so for the battles and people they would fight, would be dictated to them by entities without the same convictions or ethics they drew upon to make their decision to enlist. Still I can't justify disrespecting those who would risk their own lives for the good of others even if they don't truely understand why they are there. Instead, I will try to encourage all the youth I come in contact with to make fully informed decisions about such matters and if they should still chose to enlist, I will support them and encourage them to lay down their arms should they ever feel that their good intentions have been betrayed and their orders contradict their ethics and morals.
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Old 10-31-2000, 03:11 AM   #7
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Well, I can think of at least one conflict where every person had a need to fight and that was WWII. The Germans would have never stopped their 'cleansing' with just the Jewish race. Hitler viewed all races and all nations inferior to the 'Aryan Nation'., and frankly the Japanese were just as bad. They massacred islander and native of every nation they occupied. Do you really think either of these nations would have considered NDN's any differently?

In this day and age especially, no matter what our problems are at home we must keep an eye on the world cause we are a lot closer than we have ever been before on this planet. Just look at the medium we are on currently if you disagree with me. We are discussing issues with people we never would have been able to just a few years ago. We all come from different areas of North America, not the USA or Canada, or even our own neck of the woods, but North America as a whole.

Now as for Jriverwinds post, I have to agree. As an exsoldier I can tell you, it takes everyone including those at home for us to get back alive. All vets; guard, reserve and active play a part and deserve a thanks. We ask for no more.
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Old 10-31-2000, 07:10 PM   #8
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so kahkakew, what your saying is that all the fight or wars were because of whites. if so then you are not as educated as you think you might be. some wars deal with asian and orientials starting them.

but as a vet myself i respect your opinion because that is why i joined so that people, and yes people like you even, can have their opinions and be able to voice them. i'll even respect someone that burns a flag.

i may not have agreed with some of the things that i was told to do but i still did them. i may not ofliked the people that were in charge but i still did what they asked. and that reason was so that my children and yours could have a better world to live in.

keith
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Old 11-01-2000, 01:25 AM   #9
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Enlisting into any armed forces is the same as becoming a cop or police man, working for DIA or BIA, it goes against our basic life values to impose non-native attitudes and lifestyles on your own kind.
It is the same as voting, that alone constitues one giving in and be nothing more than a tar paper indian or in many cases an off white paper injun. Only indian on paper.
Standing behind indian morals means living in manner that upholds our beliefs in fighting for our unceded land, inherent rites and absolute sovereignity. Taking up arms for a country that is what less than 300 years old in my band and tribe shows one has allegiance to the white government and its assimilatoive laws towards indians, much like becoming a cop, enforcing white laws on your own kind. This makes you white in my eyes.
I can see where so many army brats here are less than half indian so these attitudes and lifestyles are probobly not instilled as thye are more white than native..but in a Fullbloods case, it is truly sad to swear allegiances to a white oppressive union which has nothing but hate in its souls for indian people.
I asked my uncle why he enlisted..simply he said he needed work, grub and wanted to get the heck out of the rez so he could drink in public and be treated like a whiteman for awhile.
He was injured seriously in Korea and upon his return home he received no compensation, no recognition or thanx and most of all lost his treaty status and ability to drink in public taverns..he could not even vote if he wanted too...typical, many of you know so little of what life was not that long ago, and it had nothing to do with whitey saving our little indian asses over in Europe, if anything it was just a distraction for them from trying to assimilate what indian was left, especially in parts of the states.

People make choices based on needs, often it was theirs instead of their peoples needs that were being met...divide and conquer still alive and well.
The veterans I respect are the chiefs and councillors and tribal members, spiritual people who took arms, office and took stands for our rights and land and treaties. They did this for our childrens children. They are the veterans I repsect as their accomplishments were done in our way, for our people and many expected nothing in return. You should all be ashamed of yourselves but come to think of it it isn't your fault you were raised this way...thank the governments you were so proud to fight and die for...thye had your best interests in mind out in the battlefield....NOT!

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Old 11-01-2000, 09:38 AM   #10
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I agree that many joined for a "need" and thats need is what Im going to talk about.

With a failing education system on the rez and off how are we supposed to send our kids to college? You might say why? you know why Kahkakew because you are a college graduate also, Why did you go? Are you applying your skills to your people or to white people or a little of both?
Many of us joined to be able to afford to go to college so we can come back home and improve things on the rez. But then your getting a white mans education arent you?
another things to take into consideration is how many of uis joined at the behest of our elders. You know what is coming Kahkakew, Im sure your people have the same "stories" of what is to come. IN that event we want "trained" soldiers, much like having white educated ndn's to fight those wars, we need to have trained soldiers to fight the battles to come. If you do not know hot to fight the modern battles you will lose, look what happened to the British with their archaic line formation battle formations..decimated when hit with guerilla warfare. Who do I want on my side? a rez dog ndn who can fire a rifle 2 times then not know what to do when it jams, while being advanced upon by a trained infantry squadron? or a rez dog that cant handle combat stress cause all he or she knows is how to hunt deer and not men.
There is place in our society, within our people, for everyone. Why so many changes lately within our communities? cause we got off the rez and learned the "white way" so our people could survive. Future battles will be "white mans battles" dont you think it would be good to know how the enemy fights so you can fight back?
And what of the native people who were forced to fight? they had no choice so they went. I have relations who hadrly speak english yet they went to Nam and came back, they were prepared and sent to war.
We had a "commitment" that had to be fulfilled. I dont want to use the words prophecy or any new age terms, but we fulfilled our part, this next generation and on will be the ones who will defend the people with rifles and tactics, they are the ones being trained now.
As far as Im concerned, I dont care what flag flies over this "country" this will always be the land of my grandfathers and grandmothers and to defend it, if the battles is brought here, and the people I will give up my life. That is the our way.
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Old 11-01-2000, 11:36 AM   #11
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kahkakew,
while i to observe your right to print your views, at the same time i have never been so inflamed and disgusted by anything i have ever read!! you pay NO attention to those to whome you ow your verry life! how disrespectfull!!! and frome what i gather of you, i take it fool blood native, i have read on other pages of the ties of relitives in the native culture, you dishonor those in your family who gave years of there life defending you. i do not understand how you can do such a thing and still consider yourself a good person!!

and incedently, jriverwind, that poem was one of the most beautifull things i have ever read, and with your permisison, i would like to give a copy to my grandfather, a navy WWII and Korea vet.

[This message has been edited by nik harvey (edited November 01, 2000).]
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Old 11-01-2000, 11:56 PM   #12
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jriverwind:
thank you, as my 17 year old son prepares to join the Army reserve, with the plan of active duty when he graduates, you have given me a new sense of respect for his decision. (with a tear in my eye) http://www.powwows.com/ubb/smile.gif
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Old 11-02-2000, 12:17 AM   #13
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bbv,
well tell him to have the best time while he is in cause it'll be hard but rewarding for him and he should be able to make alot of friends. tell him there are people out there that thank him for his discision adn wish him the best of luck in it.


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Old 11-02-2000, 12:21 AM   #14
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to everyone:
the webmaster has asked that if you have a problem with someone that you atteack the subject not the person. there opinions are their's and their's alone. you may not like that person's opinion but you need to respect it. please do not take your feelings out on the other person.

thank you,
keith
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Old 11-02-2000, 09:31 AM   #15
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It's the funniest thing ... fights are only fights when they involve more than one person ... otherwise, they're pretty much only a temper tantrum on one person's part.

I can think of a really good reason why anyone would have elected to go to war in the last half of the last century ... radioactivity is not racially selective. Since the inception of the atom bomb, the politics of other countries has placed threats on us, especially when one of the other super powers got involved. Today, with some third-world nations possessing that technology, it is even more of a threat.

Of course, if one doesn't mind the possibility of glowing in the dark, then I could also see how one would not feel the importance of defending this country/continent.

Personally, I'm extremely thankful for those who went and fought and kept us as free as we all are despite the adversities we DO have.

Nagi

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Old 11-02-2000, 08:02 PM   #16
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jriverwind, thank you for remembering, from a Viet Nam veteran. There have been many times during the last 30 years that I've wondered if my flying helicopters over the jungles made any difference at all. Maybe all veterans feel this way sometimes. And, it helps to read a heartfelt "thank you" - maybe someone actually remembers...
Bayou "Warrior 14"
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Old 11-02-2000, 09:01 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bayou:
jriverwind, thank you for remembering, from a Viet Nam veteran. There have been many times during the last 30 years that I've wondered if my flying helicopters over the jungles made any difference at all. Maybe all veterans feel this way sometimes. And, it helps to read a heartfelt "thank you" - maybe someone actually remembers...
Bayou "Warrior 14"
I remember and I thank you, I lost many of the boys I grew up with in that Hell hole of a jungle. I also did volunteer work in a VA hospital when I was in High School. I saw first hand the ravages that particular bit of fightinng did in all it's forms. Somedays I had to force myself to go and witness the suffering of body and spirit inflicted on our Vets and fight back the tears of frustration and sorrow. I did this to honor my Father and as I was proud of him I am also proud of you. I am honored by what you did for my country and me. My Grandfather told me that "Honor was the the warrior in your heart that never slept." You did your duty with honor and I thank you again. I was taught to respect Veterans by my elders and I listened to their greater wisdom.
Blessings.
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Old 11-04-2000, 05:24 PM   #18
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I recently read James Alexander Thom's book "Pather in the Sky". In the Author's Notes at the close of the book, pg 684, he relates a conversation between a white and a Shawnee veteran of the Veit Nam era. It goes as follows:
" How can you go and fight a war for a country that's treated your people the way it has?"
The Shawnee smiled and wagged his head slowly. He put his fist against the white man's knee, chuckled, and said, "You palesfaces still can't understand that this is our country, can you?"

I hadn't thought about this until I read Thom's authors notes. It seems to me that some of the veterans fought to preserve their homeland, regardless of the quality/fairness of the presently ruling government. A country isn't only the government, it is where your loved ones are, where you will return and be welcomed by them even if no one else welcomes you.

It is home. Thank you, veterens, for being willing to fight a battle to protect the land of my birth. A land with many problems, inadequacies and embalances, an imperfect place that is still home.


[This message has been edited by catlady (edited November 04, 2000).]
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Old 11-04-2000, 11:43 PM   #19
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This discussion reminds me of a story my grandmom tells me of my grandfather.When they met my grandfather told my grandmom his job and that they would be moving around bases alot. My grandmom was fine with this and also my grandfathers job, till one day she went to see him while he was working!
My grandfather was a drill sargeant for the U.S. Marines! This is back during WWII. My grandmom seen how my grandfather treated these men and she got so mad at him. She told him not to holler at those men or slap them or such thing. My grandfather told her," Polly, I hope my treatment to them is the worse thing these boys will have to deal with once they leave here."
My grandfather didn't get the chance to fight in the war. All he could do was prepare these men knowing that some wouldn't be coming back. I was taught to be thankfull for what you have and to respect the freedom I have today. Our elders did what they felt they had to do in order for us to be here today. Before any single one of us judges these desicions try to put yourself in their shoes.
Thank you to all the fighters,all the warriors, all the educators, and all the people who supported those ones.

This is also a thank you to all the War Mothers out there for making the ultimate sacrifice. As a mother myself of a beautifull son, I can only faintly imagine your pain and your pride.
Thank you to all the mothers out there, all the wives, the sisters, the daughters, and the lovers!
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Old 11-07-2000, 04:14 AM   #20
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Herein this province there is so much fuss made over a "Vet", even when they areno more than 30 years old..it is quite humourous as Elders at home say do not call on me as an Elder until I am at least 60 and even so it is my elders the ones who are in their 80's and 90's that should be called on..here these vets get into everything, feather pickups, grand entries, whistle blowing, food offerings, they sutre milk it for al it is worth..why, because thye have found aniche where they can soak up the attention and fame based on a questionable title.
My great uncle who survived Korea and returned severely wounded never accepts invites to dance as a vet or particpate in feather pick ups or grand entriesa s a vet as he is an Indian first then an elder as he puts it..4 years out of his life do not make him special so that people have to bend over backwards to kiss his???, most of the supposed Vets I have met are arogant and pushy because they pit their life on the line for a bunch of non NDN's, what is so great about that?
Great enough to have a holiday named after them.....typical. The vets I will be praying for next week are the ones who fought for Indian Inherent rites, our land here and our sacred and ancestral items which have been stolen and abused.
I pay homage to them every day!

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