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Veteran Engineers

11/11/2007 5:03 PM

It's Veteran Day here in The States. It makes me wonder how many of you out there in world wide CR4 are veterans, and if you have any engineering/military anecdotes on this day that we remember those who served.

It's a different world now, from when I served in the paratroopers in the first half of the 80's. But it brings to mind a situation I found myself in about 10 years ago. I was working in Detroit, Michigan in the auto industry. One of my peers turned out to be a recent immigrant from Russia ... Anatoli. Besides engineering, we had another thing in common. We were both Veterans in our respective countries. And as it turns out, we had both served as infantry during the same period of time. He during the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan, and I during America's Grenada mission and various other incidences. Anatoli and I became quite close. We came to realize that if we had met during the Cold War, we would have been something just short of sworn enemies. He was as versed in how to inflict as much damage against capitalistic pig American soldiers, as I was against soldiers of the evil Soviet Empire.

But a decade later, the only battles and shots that we exchanged were of two kinds; who could pound more shots of vodka during lunch breaks we never made it back to work from, and shooting pool during those same lunch breaks. He always won the former ... I, the latter.

How times change. How bout you Veteraneers out there?

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#1

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/11/2007 7:01 PM

Armistice Day or Remembrance Day over here. I turned on the radio to listen to the 2 minutes silence. (Sounds daft, but it really does mean something - as Big Ben strikes the hour, there's a cannon salute - then the silence, then another at 2 minutes past). I try every year. I'm wearing a Poppy right now.

I'm lucky enough to have escaped any kind of conflict-related service (nearest I got was a scrap in the Cub Scouts), 'though I have lost relatives serving.

Can't really say much more - except I do recognise what people have done to help keep my life as (relatively) easy as it is.

Thanks.

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#2

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/12/2007 5:00 AM

<But a decade later, the only battles and shots that we exchanged were of two kinds; who could pound more shots of vodka during lunch breaks we never made it back to work from, and shooting pool during those same lunch breaks. He always won the former ... I, the latter.>

What a relief.

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#3

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/13/2007 11:01 AM

Your story about Anatoli points to the fact that men and women around the globe are very similar in their hopes and desires, and that left to themselves without the input of those who are politically motivated, wars and war-mongering would probably cease.


I am not a Vet, but I appreciate the sacrifices many have made for our freedoms.

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#4

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/13/2007 2:14 PM

In my short stint in the manufacturing industry I have met many veterans. Myself, after serving in Iraq will forever be changed.

It is one thing to work with other engineers but when you find a veteran engineer there seems to be a connection on a different level.

I don't have any good stories but I want to say Thanks to all the veterans out there.

Thanks

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/13/2007 3:01 PM

Cheers to that!

And my thank you to you, my friend.

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#6

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/14/2007 8:20 PM

My father fought his way across Germany as a young man. Some redneck in Fort Lauderdale once said to me he didn't think gays ought to be in the military. I said, "My Dad was Gay, and I think he killed more people than you."

Norman Mailer Died, and James Jones has been long dead.

Once my father knocked me across the room before he was awake because mom asked me to wake him up. I think I was set up. I've never held that against him since even then I knew he was on a battlefield when he hit me.

Warriors fight out of love, and soldiers fight out of fear.

It gets mixed up sometimes.

WWI was the War to End War, and then there was the League of Nations and WWII.

I cried when I finished reading my father's War Journal. His friends were killed by his side and he wondered why.

I was educated enough to know that when you fight to kill, or really hurt someone, it is a best thing for strangers, or those you love.

I have my father to than, his friends, and Norman Mailer and James Jones to thank for what I know about it, along with some fights of my own.

In the end, I think of Absolam Absolam by William Faulkner, and that the greatest tragedy is to fight for an incorrect ideal.

The Bridge Building done by Americans and other engineers during WWII seems forgotten as engineering and equipment for the National Guard. My Grandfather was the Design Team Chief for the Norden Bombsite. One of the more important letters of all time was the letter from Einstein to Roosevelt suggesting the making of a bomb.

I think now Einstein would write another letter of war against the threat to working class people of Weapons of Mass Destruction, though only Wild Bill Donovan, would be good to take up the sort of War we are in.

Now adays everybody is supposed to know spycraft. Stalin would be happy.

WWI, Poppies, Flanders Field, the War to end All Wars, and we have Veterans Day.

They really tried and believed and gave their all. It is something to feel and think about with awe and reverance and respect for all who do the bidding of their nation within the confusions and lust for meaning and equality before they understand more than the myths.

Only we who let them be sent out under our name, our flag must make sure that their love is not in vain, and honor is to them who fight for our mistakes out of love for the fools and the wise, we all are.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/16/2007 3:10 PM

For what it's worth...

In the 43 years since I became a vet, I've worked every damn Veteran's Day, while many others who are not vets, got a holiday. Wazzup??

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#8

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/17/2007 9:16 AM

I enlisted at 16 years of age for Vietnam. I volunteered and served during Gulf II.

I had a small job to do on veterans day for a fellow vet. It's not noticed anymore.

I don't mention it, people don't want to know. But I would do it again, no hesitation.

Good luck, James

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Veteran Engineers

11/17/2007 5:00 PM

A lot of people out here are grateful for whatever has been done in service.

It should never be forgotten.

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