MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – He was repeatedly rejected by military recruiters and got into uniform at 16 after lying about his age. But Frank Buckles would later become the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I.
The family asks that donations be made to the National World War One Legacy Project. The project is managed by the nonprofit Survivor Quest and will educate students about Buckles and WWI through a documentary and traveling educational exhibition.
Filmmaker David DeJonge says he wanted to raise $1.2 million to complete a documentary about Frank Buckles and commission a bronze statue in honor of all World War I veterans.
By MISTY HIGGINS
For The State Journal
CHARLES TOWN During a screening of the documentary about his life, a 100-plus year-old Frank Woodruff Buckles is shown responding, in all his centenarian wisdom, to a question about the secret to his longevity.
“Well, when you think you’re gonna die – don’t,” said the Charles Town resident and last American veteran survivor of World War I.
The screening was part of a press conference Feb. 25 to announce the National World War I Legacy Project, a multi-tiered campaign to raise $1.2 million for the completion of David DeJonge’s documentary, “Pershing’s Last Patriot,” about the life of Buckles, as well as a bronze statue to honor him and more than 4 million of his comrades from that conflict.
…First, I’m interested to learn how this budget will chart a path forward to address the broken disability claims system. Staffing for compensation claims has tripled since the late 1990′s, numerous Information Technology tools have been utilized, and there have been different organizational models attempted. Nothing has worked. I want to know how this budget takes a new approach to this challenge.
Second, I’m interested in learning how this budget is prioritized to meet the needs of family caregivers of severely wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
The reaction to VA’s initial plan to implement the new Family Caregiver law has been negative. I will explore ways we might be able to refocus resources for this important initiative.
Third, I’d like to know what energy went into eliminating wasteful, redundant spending. The President’s bipartisan Deficit Reduction Commission suggested that every agency, VA included, step up to the plate.
I have to say, when I look at this budget and I see that it proposes a funding level for the Office of the Secretary that is 41% higher than 2009 levels; 50% higher for the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs; 96% higher for the Office of Policy and Planning; and 140% higher for the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs…it raises all kinds of red flags.
Finally, there are some curious new accounting mechanisms proposed in this budget. VA proposes that a portion of its 2012 medical care budget be classified as a ‘contingency fund.’
It also proposes that Congress appropriate money VA says it can save through management efficiencies so that it can then carry that money over into another fiscal year. These are new concepts that I’d like to get more detail on.
Mr. Secretary, we are all acutely aware of the fiscal and economic crisis our nation is in…debt of $14 Trillion, a deficit this year of $1.55 Trillion, unemployment hovering at just under ten percent.
We also are aware of the obligation we have to those who defend our freedoms every day. That is the privilege we all have in serving on this Committee. One measure of that obligation is how well we are addressing veterans’ needs through the programs and services administered by VA.
So, there is a balance that must be struck a balance that recognizes both the moral duty we have to care for those who served in uniform and the reality that funding for that care doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Let me borrow a quote from recent history that touches on the challenge we face in finding that balance
‘[T]he Committee’s members have kept in mind the fiscal limitations within which we must operate if we are to get Federal spending under control and thereby reduce the Federal deficit and debt. We believe that the Government can be fiscally responsible while still fulfilling its commitments to the most deserving among us – including our Nation’s veterans. We also are mindful that uncontrolled Federal spending threatens the long-term health of the Nation’s economy and, in turn, could adversely affect the provision of veterans’ benefits. Thus, we recognize that those who have worn the uniform in defense of the Nation seek, as we do, to protect the health of Nation’s economy.’
Now, I know some listening might think I’m quoting from a Tea Party Committee.
No, these were views expressed in a letter signed by every member, Democrat and Republican, of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs back in 1997, including the current Chairman of that Committee.
I recognize that times are different now than they were then. We are now fighting a war on terrorism that has placed demands on VA’s medical and benefits system, so our priorities must obviously reflect that basic fact.
But here is another difference, the deficit then was only $128 billion, today it’s over 10 times larger.
Moving forward, I sincerely hope every member of this Committee can work together to find common ground on the difficult choices ahead. Together, I truly believe we can meet our commitments to veterans while also being mindful of our fiscal stewardship of taxpayer dollars.”
Nothing here that hasn’t been said before. Just change a few names.
What isn’t being said is that throwing good money after bad has never “fixed” anything.
“We will continue to wisely (ROFLMAO) use the funds that Congress appropriates for us to further improve the quality of life for Veterans and their families through the efficiency of our operations.”
“The department has created “a portfolio of initiatives” to improve the quality of VA care while making it easier for patients to access services. Primary care providers will put more emphasis upon disease prevention and healthy living. New technology – securing e-mails, social networking and telehealth – will be harnessed to meet the evolving needs of patients.”
“Reaffirmed his commitment to “break the back of the backlog” of claims from Veterans for disability compensation and pensions. VA’s goal is to provide Veterans with decisions on their claims within 125 days at a 98 percent accuracy rate by 2015.”
“Homelessness is both a housing and a health care issue. Our 2012 budget plan supports a comprehensive approach to eliminating Veterans’ homelessness by making key investments in homeless and mental health programs.”
VA will seek nearly $3.2 billion for the new fiscal year to operate and maintain its information technology (IT).
“IT is the key to bringing VA into the 21st century.” “It allows for the efficient delivery of health care and benefits.”
Nearly $590 million in major construction is included within next year’s budget request.
“This reflects the department’s continued commitment to provide quality health care and benefits through improving its facilities to be modern, safe and secure for Veterans.”
And we can thank the “educators” represented by all those protesting losing their golden goose.
“We didn’t realize what it was.”
That is un-frickin-believable!
I can’t tell you how tired I am of all the BS being spewed in this country as “The Truth” and people believing they can do whatever they damn well please, no matter who they disrespect in “fighting for the cause”.
The saddest part is that we have let these braindead idiots get away with it for far too long.
The comments on the video are very telling also. There is a terrible cancer in this country and only by standing up to it for as long as it takes will it be eradicated.
No wonder our young people don’t know squat about what this country was founded on or the price that was paid so they could camp out in a state’s Capitol building and not be put in some dark cell somewhere having terrible things done to them.
If these kids are examples of our educational system, we need to throw it out and start all over with the basics, such as, how to read – and comprehend what was read, how to write and how to think critically.
It’s hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the ground assault of Desert Storm began, or that 57 years have passed since the war in Vietnam began, or that 61 years have passed since the war in Korea began.
Many of the specific memories and details of those days-and of subsequent days after our soldiers had advanced – have faded, some memories have remained very clear. Among them are the character, the personalities, and the faces of the Soldiers you served with.
Like American Soldiers of every generation, those with whom you served were a great and diverse mixture of young people-from every part of our great country and from every culture, ethnicity, and economic background. But their differences did not define them. What defined them, was their willingness to serve, their dedication, and the way they put their hearts and souls into every assigned task-no different than the young men and women serving today, and over the past decade, in Iraq and Afghanistan. All of them personify the four simple promises of the Soldier’s Creed:
Ø I will always place the mission first.
Ø I will never accept defeat.
Ø I will never quit.
Ø I will never leave a fallen comrade.
Many of you never thought of the day you’d be a Veteran, or of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
That’s why we must double our efforts to care for Veterans, their families, and their caregivers-of every generation.
Whether it was 20, 40 or 50 years ago, is a long time. But the Soldiers with whom you were privileged to serve with, part of the more than 22 million Veterans who have kept this country free and safe, remain foremost in my memory. It is an honor to serve them, and to seek better care, services, and benefits for every generation of our Nation’s Veterans.
We desperately need more volunteers to join the Veterans-For-Change advocacy group on yahoo, help us send out letters and E-Mails to the members of Congress and let them know they need to take swift and immediate action to help our Veterans and their families.
We expect no less than the best care possible in the best facilities provided by the VA with top notch medical staff, and for benefits and claims to be processed quickly and efficiently.
When Columbia student and former Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Maschek was heckled during a school forum discussing ROTC on campus, it struck a nerve with New York Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli. Castelli, a veteran himself, was angry that a young man who was shot 11 times in a firefight in northern Iraq in February 2008 was shown a lack of respect by his fellow students.
A college professor and Vietnam War veteran, Castelli wrote a letter to Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger and CC’d, among others, American Legion Department of New York Commander V. James Troiola. The letter was shared with National Commander Jimmie L. Foster, who praised Castelli.
“The American Legion praises Assemblyman Castelli for standing up for former Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Maschek and all veterans currently enrolled in colleges throughout the country,” Foster said. “His letter hit on every pertinent point. Our veterans deserve to be treated, at the very least, with the same respect as any of their fellow students.”
The following is Castelli’s letter:
Dear President Bollinger:
I read with dismay in the New York Post, in the article dated February 20th, 2011, of the treatment received by an Iraqi War veteran and Purple Heart recipient.
As a champion of diversity, I would expect that you could convey to your students the fact that they do not need to honor the war to respect and honor our warriors. The treatment of this young veteran who was wounded eleven times in the service of his country is abhorrent, to say the least.
Having been a College Professor for the past thirteen years in several colleges, and the Chair of one department, I fully recognize the desire to allow our students to be heard and their right to legitimate dissent in a free society.
However, as a Vietnam Veteran who also suffered the abuse of an insensitive, but thankfully small segment of our society upon my return from war in 1969, I am acutely aware of this abuse and the need for it to cease and desist immediately.
To think that students in an Ivy League school who purport to be intelligent, insightful, and open-minded, would treat a wounded veteran with such disdain, is nothing short of disgraceful. As the Ranking Member of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee in the New York State Assembly, I believe you should devote some of your sensitivity training to the treatment of our nation’s veterans.
Whether Columbia chooses to allow an ROTC program on its campus or not, is not the point. What is the point, is that members of our military who served their country and risked their lives on all our behalf, should be treated with the same dignity and respect that your institution demands for any diverse member of our population.
I respectfully request that you open up a dialogue with your students and convey to them that sensitivity about diversity should be extended to all Americans, most especially those heroic enough to risk their lives in the service of this great nation.
ROBERT J. CASTELLI
Member of the Assembly
It’s about time someone in an official position publicly stood up for our Military for other than a photo op.
A long time coming.
And imagine that. He’s a Vet himself…and a Vietnam Vet at that.
(graphic from: Project Global Generation – A Childrens web based global education initiative idea. I wonder if Columbia has ever heard of them…?)
My apologies for being late to the party on the issue I am about to discuss (and my dearth of posts lately) I was taking the Indiana Bar Exam. More on that later.
Nonetheless, by now you have no doubt heard about Army Staff Sergeant, Purple Heart recipient and Columbia University Freshman Anthony Maschek and his “welcome” at a Columbia University hearing on the potential return of ROTC to the campus from the New York Post:
This paragraph from Mothax’s post reminds me of the time I bumped into one of the (very progressive) fathers of a fellow High School band member of my daughter’s when Devon was in the last phase of Basic Training.
“The second time was right after I returned from deployment and an article appeared in the school newspaper talking about how the first year of law school “will be the toughest year of your life.” Um, it didn’t rank in the top 5, much less the toughest. Reading and thinking isn’t as vexatious as some might want to believe. Sure, I missed some sleep during exam time, and I ate a bit more macaroni and cheese than was perhaps strictly necessary for my health. But, I slept in a bed, ate 3 meals a day usually, watched my Red Sox almost every night in class, and no one tried to kill me.”
We were still living in California at the time and I hadn’t seen him since our kids’ graduation. His daughter went off to college to major in music, I believe, and had joined the school’s marching band. She’s a sweet kid and very talented. A good fit for her. Well, I had asked her Dad how she was faring at school and he went on and on about how hard the workload was and how tired she was, what with studying and band practice, with little time for socializing. He then asked me what college Devon had chosen and I replied, “The US Army, Ft Leonard Wood”. He looked blankly at me and I then said, Yeah, Devon is pretty tired herself, what with PT at 5 am after fireguard duty all night and then marching miles and all that. Not much energy left for socializing even if she was allowed.” And I smiled. He sputtered a bit and said something not too insulting – he’s a nice guy. (For a progressive.)
Which is why I do my Blog Talk Radio Show, Support Our troops – in Word and Deed every week ~ there’s so much disconnect in this country between the Military and the civilian world, even after 9 years of war.
And so much ignorance of what our Troops are actually doing around the world. Clue…it’s not all kicking in doors and shooting and bombing. In fact I’m thinking of adding another night of airtime to get out more news of our Heroes in ACUs. The media doesn’t seem too interested unless the story is about the Military screwing up, or being victims and broken. That’s so small a part of the big picture that it only shows, for those who pay attention, their biased agenda.
Which is why I also plan on visiting the Congressmen and -women in DC soon to talk to them about our Military and Veterans, from a MilMom’s point of view. I just want to add my voice to the voices they hear all the time. Lord knows, too many of those voices are not Military or Vet-friendly. And too many Legislators seem to get their news from the NYT and the LAT and CNN. (roll of eyes)
More on these plans later.
If we don’t defend our men and women in uniform ~ who will?
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2011 – Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, will appoint an investigator to determine the facts of issues raised in a Rolling Stone magazine article that appeared today.
The article alleges that Army Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV used information operations officers in an attempt to influence distinguished visitors to his command, NATO Military Training Mission Afghanistan.
Caldwell’s command is responsible for training Afghan soldiers and police. Afghan and NATO plans call for Afghan security forces to take over lead responsibility for security in their nation by the end of 2014.
The investigation “is not focused on any particular person other than determining the facts and circumstances that were raised in that story,” said Pentagon spokesman Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan.
The article alleges an information operations team was ordered to prepare dossiers on visiting distinguished visitors, including senators, congressional representatives and senior military officers.
Citing the pending investigation, Lapan would not comment on the specifics of the article, but speaking generally, he said, violations would depend on the circumstances.
“On the face of it, it doesn’t have to be [a violation],” he said. “It’s the actions, not just the assignment.”
What is being done with information and how it is used determines if there is a violation, the colonel said. This would be the same no matter who compiled the information, he explained, be it a public affairs officer, a protocol specialist, a legislative affairs officer or an information operations officer.
The investigation will determine what actions took place and if any of them were inappropriate or illegal, Lapan said.
This article in Rolling Stone is by the same Hastings who wrote the article that gave Obama the perfect excuse to get rid of General McChrystal.
So now, a General’s time and quite a bit of money will be wasted on investigating the ignorant and spurious “he said/she said” accusations in this article against Lt. Gen. Caldwell. All because some I-want-another-prize-and-more-fame-idiot doesn’t like the Military.
How about sticking to rockstar gossip, RS. At least that’s not potentially lethal to our Troops. Or hadn’t you thought about that…
Camel dung has more integrity than these people.
For a good look at the difference between “psyops” and IO go to WOTN’s post here.
Reinvigorated by the idealism and fighting spirit on display right now in America’s heartland, the movement for “hope and change” has a rare, second chance. It can renew itself and become again a national force with which to be reckoned.
Over the next hours and days, all who love this country need to do everything possible to spread the “spirit of Madison” (not the president) to all 50 states. This does not mean we need to occupy 50 state capitol buildings; things elsewhere are not yet that dire. (But we hope they will be!!) But this weekend, the best of America should rally on the steps of every statehouse in the union. (So sorry. The best of America is over in the Middle east, dodging bullets and IEDs.)
Calling all students, teachers, union members, workers, patriots, public servants, unemployed folks, progressives, and people of conscience:
In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack. (You mean the Progressive dream there, don’t ya?) Instead of creating jobs, Republicans are giving tax breaks to corporations and the very rich, and then cutting funding for education, police, emergency response and vital human services. (Ummm, no. For one thing the Republicans, ie, the government, does not “create” jobs. And what about all that shared sacrifice? Oh, I see, you only believe in sharing the wealth. Well, okay. You first!) The right to organize is on the chopping block. (It is? How so? Oh, right. Obama and his cronies are trying to shut down dissenting voices. What? That’s not what you mean? You don’t read much,do you?) The American Dream is slipping out of reach for more and more Americans, (Damn right it is. And we can thank all those Progressive Dems and RINOs for that.) and we have to fight back. (Go ahead. Take your best shot. There are more of us than you think there is. And we just got started. Nov 2 really shook y’all up, didn’t it?)
We call for emergency rallies in front of every statehouse this Saturday at noon to stand in solidarity (Oh, using a Marxist word. How precious. And archaic.) with the people of Wisconsin. Demand an end to the attacks on workers’ rights (Whee! Another Marxist phrase! Yep, that’ll do it!) and public services (oh, you mean all those “freebees” that hard working people pay for?) across the country. Demand investment, (Oooh! An Obama word. That’ll fool them!) to create decent jobs for the millions of people who desperately want to work. (Again, since you seem slow and just don’t seem to get this part: the government does not create jobs!) And demand that the rich and powerful pay their fair share. (Where the hell do you think all the taxes to pay for all your “freebees” have been coming from? Certainly not those you believe you are fighting for. They get paid by the Taxpayers. You know, all those “rich and powerful”. Who create jobs.)
The 60′s are back!
They were hoping. My, how they were hoping!
They’ve been itching for this. All those potlucks spent drinking wine, smoking weed and telling all their stories about the good ol’ days – their glory days of planning and plotting and marching for REvolution!!
Man, you should have been there. We took on The Man!
All those balding men with those little ponytails in back. And the “wise” womyn in their counter-culture outfits. Getting all hepped up and talking about oppression and social justice and righting the wrongs, man.
Blow the dust off your little Red Book and get out your Che’ t-shirts (or handbag if you’ve gotten into fashion).
Bring your guitars and drums. Write some more protest songs. Make up some chants.
Raise your fist high up in the air!
Time to march! Time to (once again) take on the Evil Capitalist Bourgeoisie.
HELL NO! WE WON’T GLOW!!
Whoa. Nevermind. Flashback.
Ahem… To continue…
Like a broken record, needle stuck in one groove and playing the same thing over and over and over again.
Some people just never got over the 60′s.
And they have brought newer generations into the fold.
Now, the anti-war protests during the Bush years never really got off the ground, as hard as Code Pink, SDS and the ANSWER tried. Just wasn’t the same, even though John Kerry tried.
The community organizer who became president has launched a massive pre-reelection year campaign to assemble and train an army of new community organizers to carry Obama’s “movement forward for years to come.”
Strengthening “our democracy” presumably has something to do with reelecting the revered leader in 2012.
However, the Organizing for America recruiting message says nothing about politics or election campaigns and strangely talks in military terms of “a grassroots program that aims to put boots on the ground and help foster a new generation of leaders — not just to help win elections but to strengthen our democracy in communities across the country.”
A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”
“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members. …
This is not Capuano’s first brush with violent rhetoric. Last month Capuano said, “Politicians, I think are too bland today. I don’t know what they believe in. Nothing wrong with throwing a coffee cup at someone if you’re doing it for human rights.”
I guess some people just need to be pissed off about something all the time and at the same time, to feel as if their life has meaning. So, what’s a pissed off, feeling useless, safe, comfortable person to do?
“We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.”
– Adolf Hitler
(1889-1945) German Nazi Dictator
Source: Hitler’s speech on May 1, 1927. Cited in: Toland, John (1992). Adolf Hitler. Anchor Books. pp. 224-225. ISBN 0385037244.
“If our generation happens to be too weak to establish Socialism over the earth, we will hand the spotless banner down to our children. The struggle which is in the offing transcends by far the importance of individuals, factions and parties. It is the struggle for the future of all mankind. It will be severe, it will be lengthy. Whoever seeks physical comfort and spiritual calm let him step aside. In time of reaction it is more convenient to lean on the bureaucracy than on the truth. But all those for whom the word ‘Socialism’ is not a hollow sound but the content of their moral life – forward! Neither threats nor persecutions nor violations can stop us! Be it even over our bleaching bones the future will triumph! We will blaze the trail for it. It will conquer! Under all the severe blows of fate, I shall be happy as in the best days of my youth; because, my friends, the highest human happiness is not the exploitation of the present but the preparation of the future.”
– Leon Trotsky
[Lev Davidovich Bronstein] (1879-1940) Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist
Source: I Stake My Life
“You have read and heard that communist theory — the science of communism created in the main by Marx, this doctrine of Marxism — has ceased to be the work of a single socialist of the nineteenth century, even though he was a genius, and that it has become the doctrine of millions and tens of millions of proletarians all over the world, who are applying it in their struggle against capitalism.”
– Vladmir Lenin
Source: Tasks of the Youth Leagues