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thedrifter
12-21-06, 08:07 AM
Does the next generation value the sacrifice of war?

By Jack Valenti

There is a piece of sadness that the election failed to debate. It is the lamentable detachment by the young among us to freedom's history.

The press has reported that Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, his masterly recreation of courage and fidelity to duty and country exhibited by young Marines in the bloodiest battle of World War II, has gone largely unattended by the youngsters of this day.

Watching this movie, watching ordinary young men performing extraordinary feats of heroism, broke my heart. They put to hazard their own lives not to win medals, but because their country was in danger. Why, then, a casual indifference to this story by so many young people? Maybe it's because we have been so benumbed by war, particularly this Iraq war, and because so few youngsters have worn a uniform. A movie about a battle a half a century ago carries no umbilical connection to them. That's understandable. But it ought not to be.

Perhaps some parents might want to do what I did years ago. When my son was about 14, I took him to Omaha Beach and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France. We stood on the bluff above the beach in the same spot where Nazi troops had dug in. They had poured rifle, mortar and machine gunfire onto the U.S. troops clambering out of their landing crafts. They cut them down on the sand and in the water that seemed to still run red with the blood flowing so wantonly on that invasion day, June 6, 1944.

Remembering bravery

My son was struck with how close it was from the bluff to the beach. I said, "John it was very close, but remember those young boys never turned back, not one of them. They never turned back. They kept coming."

Then we walked a short distance to the American Cemetery. It is on land a grateful France granted to the United States for use in perpetuity. The Stars and Stripes flies over this cathedral of the dead. We turned our gaze to the grave markers, row upon row upon row, as far as the eye could see. There, I told my son, were buried 9,387 young men, many of whom were in between the ages of 18 and their early 20s, "just a few years older than you are right now," I said.

We walked among the markers laid out in serried ranks. I asked my son to read the inscriptions on those grave markers, the bland finalities of a young warrior's life - name, rank, outfit and the day he died - lives ended before they could be lived.

Debt of gratitude

Finally, I stopped and looked full face at my son. "John, I want you to know why I brought you here." He looked puzzled. I said, "I wanted you to understand that these boys, who never knew you, nonetheless gave you the greatest gift one human can give another. They gave you the gift of freedom. They bought and paid for that gift in blood and bravery. They made it possible for you and millions like you to never have to test your own courage to see how you would react when the dagger is at the nation's belly and death stares you right in the face. You owe them a debt you will never be able to repay."

My son seemed genuinely moved. We never spoke about this again until one day years later, he phoned me. "Dad, last night I saw Saving Private Ryan. You were right. They never turned back, not a one. They kept coming." His voice trembled as he spoke.

Somehow, my own voice cracked a bit with gratitude. My son remembered. May God grant that every boy and girl in this free and loving land never forget the gift of young boys so long ago, a gift given to generations of Americans who were yet to be born.

Jack Valenti flew 51 combat missions in World War II as a pilot commander of a B-25 twin-engine attack bomber with the 12th Air Force in Europe. He also is former chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Ellie

The1stSgt
12-21-06, 09:58 AM
It is my belief the average young, and many older, Americans have little or no patriotic spirit because they have no fear of our enemies taking over this country. There hasn't been an armed conflict on American soil since the Civil War (1865), and that was among ourselves.

Remember how Americans reacted to 9/11? For a few moments the average American felt threatened by an enemy and was focused and united in our "defense". Remember the flag waving, the open expressions about faith in God, the pro-military attitude, and a real spirit of patriotism seemed to apprear for a few months. Well, what's happen to it?

During WW II the threat of America becoming Japanese or German was very real. But, today the average American doesn't feel that "threat" at his front door. We got a little taste on 9/11, but only a taste. Americans have come to believe wars and conflicts are fought somewhere else. It's something we watch on TV while eating supper. We've been very effective at taking the fight to the enemy.

Because of the sacrifice of men and women like those depicted in the movie "Flags of Our Fathers", we, their offspring, have liberty and freedom and can sleep in peace tonight. However, this lliberty, freedom and security we love and fight for caused the "un-initiated" to have a lackadaisical un-patriotic attitude.

In short, "Reality is, when the sh!t is happening to you".

drumcorpssnare
12-21-06, 10:54 AM
The 1st Sgt.- You are absolutely right! Today's youth has no real concept of the price of freedom. Beginning with Vietnam, Americans have been 'watching the war, on TV.' Desert Storm happened so quickly, with such success and so few casualties, that the young feel "it's no big deal. The US can handle it." 9/11 woke us up, for a while. But overall, the "under 30" crowd isn't 'concerned' for our future.

I think that movies like "Gettysburg", "Saving Private Ryan", "Flags of Our Fathers" should be mandatory in high school American history classes...followed by a week of discussion, afterwords. Veterans should be encouraged to speak about 'the cost of Liberty' to students.

Maybe it would open a few eyes. We can only hope...

drumcorpssnare:usmc:

SkilletsUSMC
12-21-06, 12:33 PM
This subject hits kinda close to home for me. Before we dismiss an entire generation of young men, let us remember that some of my friends have bought and paid for our our freedom the hard way. Lets not forget that there are still young americans signing up durring a time of war. It may not be WW2 troop levels but there are still lots of kids comming in to get some in the GWOT. I am one of them.

Before 9/11 I had a huge american flag presented in my living room. I loved the United States and what it, and our constitution stood for. At the time of the attacks I was 24 Years old. I wanted so baddly to sign up and go kill some terrorists. After thinking about it I couldnt picture a war between a rag tag group of muslim asshats and the worlds strongest miltary lasting long enough for me to make it through Boot, SOI, and a work-up, so I figured I would miss out... I was earning $23-$35 an hour as a carpenter so I had a legitimate career that I would only walk away from if American NEEDED me.

Then came Iraq. I was against the idea of the Iraq invasion form a political(I am a republican and I could smell disaster) and logistical standpoint. But once the Boys crossed the LOD I was behind it 100% Yet again I knew we would crush the Iraqi military in less time than it would take for me to attend a poolie meeting, and again I was right. After that, we started to hear the new buzz words "sunni triangle", and "fallujah"... Thats when I knew America needed me.

There is a large contingent of patriotic people in this country. Some of them may suprise you. I met a guy who was a dred-locked surfer and probably a hard core weed smoker too, who wanted to hear stories about what is going on in Iraq. Every time I told him a story about us "getting" some insurgents he would light up with excitement. He was very supportive of our troops and agreed with me that some Americans have no idea what they are asking for with an iraqi pull-out. I never would have pegged him for one of the good guys, but he definately was.

And then there is one of my best buddies sons Jackson and Ashton. They are convinced that they will grow up to be Marines just like uncle skillets. When ever you ask one of them what the american flag means, they reply "it means we are safe"

There ARE problems in this country. I believe that this war on terror will become a war within us. But know that there are still alot of people that are on "our" side.

drumcorpssnare
12-21-06, 12:49 PM
Skillets- Nothin' but respect for those who are currently serving, and/or supportive of the American way. Just too many who are apathetic; and expect someone else to 'take care of everything.'
drumcorpssnare:usmc:

SkilletsUSMC
12-21-06, 01:01 PM
Skillets- Nothin' but respect for those who are currently serving, and/or supportive of the American way. Just too many who are apathetic; and expect someone else to 'take care of everything.'
drumcorpssnare:usmc:

Yep... I agree. However read my last line and you'll see what Im talking about.

Sgt Leprechaun
12-21-06, 03:04 PM
In regard to our current 'greatest generation', read this:

We were One, Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines in Fallujah.

A damn fine book, I highly recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/We-Were-One-Shoulder-Fallujah/dp/0306814692/sr=1-1/qid=1166731397/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-0972402-5632641?ie=UTF8&s=books

SkilletsUSMC
12-21-06, 03:24 PM
In regard to our current 'greatest generation', read this:

We were One, Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines in Fallujah.

A damn fine book, I highly recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/We-Were-One-Shoulder-Fallujah/dp/0306814692/sr=1-1/qid=1166731397/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-0972402-5632641?ie=UTF8&s=books

Im Oscar Mike to barnes and noble right now...

Sgt Leprechaun
12-21-06, 03:32 PM
Slow down...Amazon's got it cheaper LOL...

But, I'm tellin ya "No *hit", it's a grunts eye view, well written.

SkilletsUSMC
12-21-06, 03:35 PM
Slow down...Amazon's got it cheaper LOL...

But, I'm tellin ya "No *hit", it's a grunts eye view, well written.

Negative... I have duty tonight... Worth the extra cash

Sgt Leprechaun
12-21-06, 03:47 PM
Ha! Understood. You'll go through it in a night. And it'll grab yer heart and squeeze, I assure you.

I've read as many books as I could get my hands on about the Marines in this war, this one is one of the best at the small unit level.

You might also try the Bing West book on Fallujah, gives a great overview, as well as some grunts eye action.

SkilletsUSMC
12-21-06, 06:33 PM
Ha! Understood. You'll go through it in a night. And it'll grab yer heart and squeeze, I assure you.

I've read as many books as I could get my hands on about the Marines in this war, this one is one of the best at the small unit level.

You might also try the Bing West book on Fallujah, gives a great overview, as well as some grunts eye action.

I already read No True Glory:D

I have a brand new copy of "we were one" Ill see if i can knock it out tonight.

SkilletsUSMC
12-22-06, 12:38 PM
I already read No True Glory:D

I have a brand new copy of "we were one" Ill see if i can knock it out tonight.

7 1/2 hours front to back... VERY GOOD BOOK! The best book about Iraq so far.

Im exausted from duty... must sleep Thanks for the book sugestion

gwladgarwr
12-22-06, 02:20 PM
In regard to our current 'greatest generation', read this:

We were One, Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines in Fallujah.

A damn fine book, I highly recommend.

http://www.amazon.com/We-Were-One-Shoulder-Fallujah/dp/0306814692/sr=1-1/qid=1166731397/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/103-0972402-5632641?ie=UTF8&s=books

Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly

Military historian O'Donnell (Into the Rising Sun) embedded himself in the 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 1st Marine Regiment. His book describes its training and deployment to Iraq in 2004, where the platoon patrolled, fended off guerrilla attacks and finally "fought bravely and died in the Iraq War's fiercest battle" in Fallujah. Most of the book is a detailed, blow-by-blow description of the brutal street fighting, during which nearly the entire unit became casualties. As the author portrays them, these Marines were heroes and warriors with only macho flaws, such as heavy drinking or practical joking, while their enemies are simply terrorists. Maintaining that our troops fight because they love America and their buddies, but their opponents fight because they are drug-addled, suicidal maniacs, the author forgets what every military buff knows: one cannot be a great warrior without a worthy opponent. Like many embedded reporters, O'Donnell appears to have fallen in love with his subjects, adding to the growing genre of worshipful, jingoistic battle narratives about Iraq. Though these Marines fought with great courage and the details of their battle make gripping reading, the author's uncritical cheerleading reduces their accomplishment to fantasy heroics. (Nov.)
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Why is it that a first-hand account of what our men and women do to keep us free is constantly torn down and minimized by some self-styled intellectuals in the publishing world who make a living in a profession in a country that is protected and guaranteed by the very men and women depicted in the book?

I'm very, very tired of people who benefit from the sacrifices of our Marines and who have no idea how or why they do benefit. Since they have no direct role in ensuring that we remain free, they seem perfectly justified in reducing our armed forces as being nothing more than "Rambo". The rage I have for such selfish, sneering bunch of takers just cannot be put into words.

FistFu68
12-22-06, 02:38 PM
:usmc: EVERY~GENERATION HAS IT'S CROSS,TO BARE!WHAT IT ALL COME'S DOWN TOO IS THIS.WHEN THE CHIT HIT'S THE FAN,THERE ARE(ONLY TWO KIND'S) OF PEOPLE. THOSE WHO RUN,AND THOSE WHO STAND AND FIGHT!:iwo: SEMPER~FIDELIS

SkilletsUSMC
12-22-06, 06:29 PM
Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly

Military historian O'Donnell (Into the Rising Sun) embedded himself in the 1st Platoon of Lima Company, 1st Marine Regiment. His book describes its training and deployment to Iraq in 2004, where the platoon patrolled, fended off guerrilla attacks and finally "fought bravely and died in the Iraq War's fiercest battle" in Fallujah. Most of the book is a detailed, blow-by-blow description of the brutal street fighting, during which nearly the entire unit became casualties. As the author portrays them, these Marines were heroes and warriors with only macho flaws, such as heavy drinking or practical joking, while their enemies are simply terrorists. Maintaining that our troops fight because they love America and their buddies, but their opponents fight because they are drug-addled, suicidal maniacs, the author forgets what every military buff knows: one cannot be a great warrior without a worthy opponent. Like many embedded reporters, O'Donnell appears to have fallen in love with his subjects, adding to the growing genre of worshipful, jingoistic battle narratives about Iraq. Though these Marines fought with great courage and the details of their battle make gripping reading, the author's uncritical cheerleading reduces their accomplishment to fantasy heroics. (Nov.)
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Why is it that a first-hand account of what our men and women do to keep us free is constantly torn down and minimized by some self-styled intellectuals in the publishing world who make a living in a profession in a country that is protected and guaranteed by the very men and women depicted in the book?

I'm very, very tired of people who benefit from the sacrifices of our Marines and who have no idea how or why they do benefit. Since they have no direct role in ensuring that we remain free, they seem perfectly justified in reducing our armed forces as being nothing more than "Rambo". The rage I have for such selfish, sneering bunch of takers just cannot be put into words.

Does anybody else see the US becoming so polarized that it kicks of a Civil war??? Im starting to think it will.:confused:

3077India
12-22-06, 06:50 PM
If the Commander-in-Chief were to tell the USMC to allow Marines my age, back in I'd be at the nearest recruiter's office telling him to sign me up.:marine:

Sgt Leprechaun
12-25-06, 10:49 AM
FYI, "Publishers weekly" is a noted left wing rag. No doubt if the tables were turned and this story were of the 'freedom fighting' terrorists vs the Marines, they would have given it high marks.

I never listen to so called professional book reviewers anyway, since 90 percent of em couldn't lead a patrol outta the head with a map and a maglite.