Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day: Living Courage, Dying For Honor: Celebrating Vietnam War USMC GSGT Charles "Chuck" Perkins

From Denny:  Today is more than just that long needed holiday vacation with the family, fun backyard barbecues and country music festivals.  It's one of those few days of the year that Americans come together to remember the fallen in our too many wars over the past few centuries of our young country.  

Some of those wars were justified for the greater good to bring back world peace.  Other wars spilled precious blood for nothing more than the Pentagon leaders' selfish need for personal glory and the just plain money-grubbing greed of business people:  otherwise known as war profiteers.  

Profiteers and War and Bad Politics

FYI, for those who don't remember or don't know:  The Vietnam War was a proxy war between the U. S. and Russia.  Russia backed North Vietnam and the U. S. backed South Vietnam.

"Feeding the Beast" of Russia with American Money

Profiteers are still with us today, not just the Vietnam War era.  Take a look at how our current day Pentagon is busy "feeding the military beast" of Russia.  The latest nonsense is giving away half a billion dollars to the Russians in exchange for Russian rocket engines that you know Putin will sabotage.  Come on, really?  Putin is supposed to be under sanctions, and, yet, our Pentagon and Congress find a way to feed his ailing economy another $500 million???  The sanctions won't work as long as the Pentagon, Congress and Wall Street cockroach around them...

Military Sacrifice Shower Curtain

"No sacrifice is ever left behind or forgotten - thank you." - denny lyon

"Feeding the Beast" of China with American Money for Decades

Speaking of feeding another military beast:  President Obama's ridiculous TPP trade agreement is playing right into the military ambitions of China.  China is creating quite the military build-up, unprecedented in decades.  China has declared they "want to own the oceans."  China is already attempting to obstruct and exact tolls for the world's $50 billion (estimates up to $5 trillion) shipping lane in the South China Sea, causing quite a stir and political tensions in the region.  Of course, the U. S. is running warships to cruise the stupidity, warning the Chinese of aggressive intentions carried out result in serious consequences.

Wall Street and the Devastating TPP Trade Agreement

Yet, to please Wall Street and other profiteers, President Obama and others in Congress shaft the American worker in order to put more money into China's economy?  For the past 30 years, while the American worker got short shrift from both political parties in Washington, China has benefited and built up their economy utilizing our money from shoddy goods sold in America.  

Russia and China: Massive Military Build-Up

Yet, our politicians and the Pentagon leaders continue to ignore this massive military build-up in China and  Russia at the world's and America's peril.  They are too busy padding their resumes and stuffing their personal wallets with bribes from defense industry lobbyists and kickbacks from defense industry contractors, ignoring national security - and integrity.  In the past few years we have already witnessed how China and Russia are flexing those military muscles.  Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed the country, planning to move westward into other European countries until NATO said, "Do so at your own ruin, Putin!"

Military Sacrifice Mug

"No sacrifice is ever left behind or forgotten - thank you" - denny lyon

Where is America's Best Leadership?

Yet, here we are again, decades later after the Vietnam War ended, fighting the same stupid problems that lead to needless wars.  It's all because of a lack of real leadership at the top of our country and military and business sectors.  Are we doomed to repeat bad history, giving the blood of our soldiers instead of creating an alternative solution had our leaders possessed the vision, the honor, the integrity?  

Too many Americans have died in war.  Too many Americans have returned from war only to find it difficult to integrate back into this fast-paced but socially disconnected culture.  The Vietnam War created the largest number of military veterans who became homeless.  It took the Pentagon 40 years and a lot of public pressure to finally start trying to house these men.  

Don't even get me started on the military rape epidemic and the Pentagon's lousy attitude and lack of leadership to do anything serious about it.  Again, it's about a total lack of quality leadership at the top.  

That's why it's losing the quality leaders like USMC GSGT Charles Perkins matters so very much.  Every day, today, we lose 22 military veterans to suicide.  Where is the leadership?  I guarantee that if Chuck Perkins were living today he would not be standing on the sidelines or wringing his hands, whining how the problem is too big to tackle and win like the current Pentagon leadership gives as their flimsy excuse for sitting down on the job.

USMC GSGT Chuck Perkins and his wife are buried in San Bernardino County, California

USMC GSGT Charles "Chuck" Perkins (22 Sept 1934 - 17 May 1968)
Unit:  K CO 3 BN 26 MARS 3 MAR DIV

Who is Charles "Chuck" Perkins?  He was my uncle who died in South Vietnam (Military Region 1 - Quang Tri).  The family story goes that he was taking back some stupid hill they had taken a few days before but had been ordered to retreat after that victory, giving up the real estate for which blood had been spilled.  Then, in the infinite wisdom of the usual Pentagon suspects, Chuck had been ordered to retake that same hill.  

Everyone knew it was a suicide mission.  He took it anyway.  And, yes, he died.  And for what?  Bad leadership is just the beginning of that sad story, a bad leadership exposed and laid bare butt naked in today's Pentagon generation by POW Bowe Bergdahl who will end up crucified to hide the Pentagon leaders' gross  incompetence.  But Chuck was "a good soldier" and a by-the-book Marine.  He went in with his eyes wide open and did it in spite of the dire consequences.

Chuck was New York City, the Bronx, born and bred.  I never knew him but my older cousins did for they lived in the area.  They practically worshiped the ground he walked upon.  Chuck was a natural leader and it showed in everything he did and every person he beheld in life.  His life may have been 33 years short but it was not without purpose, honor or meaning.  I wrote this poem with him in mind as well as the thousands of our other fallen in America:  The Heart Remembers.

Chuck Perkins and Patricia Clancy on their wedding day, c. 1957

2016 Election

For the past six months I've done something most journalists would not have the courage to do:  I temporarily paused writing on this and my other blogs.  Why?  To observe, OK, scrutinize this very unusual presidential race that the whole world is worried about the outcome.  It was time for a seriously deep think, not speaking or writing, just listening. (I also decided to move our house and office to larger digs while I was at it.  Might as well be productive while I'm deep thinking.)

The candidates have had six months to make their cases to me, a voter, because that's how I look at things, not like the typical media outlet journalist told how to slant their news stories.  Sorry, fellow media, you know it's the hard truth.  So many of you are capable of damn good writing but lack the courage to follow the whole truth and for honorable reasons.  (Notable stellar exception:  ProPublica.) Instead, you squander your time in this life protecting your jobs and padding your bank accounts rather than making your lives count for better.  Hopefully, you will wake up en masse and do a world of good all at once.

The REAL Meaning of Memorial Day and How You Can Count

What has all this got to do with Memorial Day and USMC GSGT Chuck Perkins who died so long ago in 1968 in a foreign war?  Plenty.  When you live your lives without an emphasis upon honor you stall in life, never growing and certainly never challenging yourself to new heights.  USMC  GSGT Chuck Perkins did more in his short 33 years than many of today's generations of Americans who waste their opportunity in this life by keeping their heads down, texting on their phones, refusing to get engaged with other people, with Life itself.  That's just existing; it isn't truly living.  

Quit sitting on the sidelines, people, and get out and face the hurricane force head winds like Chuck Perkins.  Screw up your courage and actually live by pursuing Honor, Courage, and, most of all, Truth.

It's Marines like USMC GSGT Chuck Perkins who died to make your life a better and safer place.  So, what are you going to do with this gift bought with the blood of your fellow Americans?

Military Sacrifice Laptop Skins

"No sacrifice is ever left behind or forgotten - thank you." - denny lyon

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