Reflections Of Honor: Veterans Day 2009

This year, like every year before, we should be grateful for our nation’s veterans. Here is my post from last year, which pays tribute the veterans in my family. Take a moment today to honor the veterans in your family, as well as all of the brave men and women who have shaped our great nation.

unknownsoldier.jpgIn 1918, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the eleventh hour, the Allies and Germany signed the armistice that brought an end to the hostilities on the Western Front and marked the end of fighting in World War I. The war officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day to remember those who were killed during the war. People around the world took time out of their day, each November 11th, to recognize those members of their armed forces who died during the war. In 1938, Armistice Day was made an official U.S. holiday as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.” Years later, new legislation changed the name to Veterans Day and it became a day to remember all of the men and women who have served our nation in the Armed Forces, not just those who died.

Veterans Day is a day to thank and honor all of the men and women who have served in our nation’s military, during peacetime and war. It is a day to acknowledge that their contributions to our nation are appreciated and the sacrifices they made to serve their country did not go unnoticed.

Every Veterans Day I think about the men and women in my own family who served our nation proudly.

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Name Dropping Gets You Nowhere

CannonIn my final post about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “Rightwing Extremism” assessment, I made reference to something that was quoted in the report, and I want to make a few clarifications.

At the bottom of page five, the assessment reads,

Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to facilitate criminal activity and violence.

  • During the 1990s, rightwing extremist hostility toward government was fueled by the implementation of restrictive gun laws—such as the Brady Law that established a 5-day waiting period prior to purchasing a handgun and the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that limited the sale of various types of assault rifles—and federal law enforcement’s handling of the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

In short, the government wants you to think that the threat of recent gun control legislation will push many “rightwing extremists” over the edge creating a heightened level of extremist paranoia, weapon stockpiling, and hostility toward the goverment. They go a step further in their attempt to instill fear by referencing the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Many people remember the events that occurred at Waco but few people I have spoken too remember much about Ruby Ridge. Those who do remember it, usually can’t remember why they do, but they know something bad happened there.

Let’s take a look at the history of events which occurred at Ruby Ridge in August of 1992 and try to ascertain why our government would still be referencing the events there, 17 years after it happened.

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Twenty-Seven Potential Acts Of Violence

Blue GrosbeakWhen we think about the implications of Homeland Security, it’s important to remember that Americans are not the enemy.

As I wrap up my three-part series about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “assessment” on Rightwing Extremism (PDF), I want to point out several more references included in the report, and touch on some thoughts about the release of this report.

Let’s refresh our memory.

The title of the assessment is “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”. The targets of the assessment are radical and extremist groups as well as “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration”, and the government believes some of our fine men and women of the military could be extremists, or even potential terrorists. All of these items are mentioned before the end of page 3. It’s a nine page report.

Page three wraps up by blaming the current economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama as the catalysts for creating more extremist thoughts in our country.

Page four makes it clear that most statements by rightwing extremists have been rhetorical since the election and have stopped short of violent action. The assessment warns us (vaguely) that there were two incidents before the election, but law enforcement interceded. Isn’t it funny they can point to specifics like the shooting in Pittsburgh on April 4th and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, but when it comes to supporting their “imposition of fear”, they can’t state any specifics?

Apparently, the government feels that the “perceived government infringement on civil liberties” leads to domestic rightwing terrorists lashing out. Of course they have to cite an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors, yet, if you remember correctly in the paragraph above this one, they also stated that there has been no violent action.

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Americans Are Not The Enemy

Spring ColorsIn my previous post, I introduced you to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security assessment titled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” (PDF).

As you know from reading my first post, our government now considers “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration” to be rightwing extremists and possible domestic terrorists.

If you look at the top of page 3 of the assessment, you will read that our government also feels that the proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans would likely attract new members into the ranks of “rightwing extremist groups” and potentially spur some of those people into planning and training for violence against the government.

The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. “

The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Standing up for your rights under the Constitution is not extremist. Well, it hasn’t been, and shouldn’t be, but apparently the Obama administration and the Department of Homeland Security have something else in mind.

It’s unclear exactly how the Department of Homeland Security defines the term “extremist groups”. For all we know, they may consider anyone who refuses to relinquish their right to bear arms an extremist and if they live in the same town as others who have done the same, they may very well be a “group” of extremists.

The assessment places extraordinary emphasis on “proposed firearms restrictions” which is rather vague and left open to interpretation by the reader, but there is no doubt what the assessment is hinting at. There will come a day when all guns will be banned or the government will require you to report (on the federal level) each gun you own and the quantity of ammunition you are stockpiling (aka storing on the shelf for target practice).

Don’t worry though, they won’t stop there. If you’re a veteran who served your country faithfully, you need to watch your back too.

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Reflections Of Honor: Veterans Day 2008

unknownsoldier.jpgIn 1918, on the 11th day of the 11th month at the eleventh hour, the Allies and Germany signed the armistice that brought an end to the hostilities on the Western Front and marked the end of fighting in World War I. The war officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day to remember those who were killed during the war. People around the world took time out of their day, each November 11th, to recognize those members of their armed forces who died during the war. In 1938, Armistice Day was made an official U.S. holiday as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day’.” Years later, new legislation changed the name to Veterans Day and it became a day to remember all of the men and women who have served our nation in the Armed Forces, not just those who died.

Veterans Day is a day to thank and honor all of the men and women who have served in our nation’s military, during peacetime and war. It is a day to acknowledge that their contributions to our nation are appreciated and the sacrifices they made to serve their country did not go unnoticed.

Every Veterans Day I think about the men and women in my own family who served our nation proudly.

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