November 11, 2008, - 9:27 am

On Veteran’s Day, Some Thoughts; The Saintly Missing In America Project

By Debbie Schlussel
Today is Veteran’s Day. Recognize and remember all of those, living and dead, who serve or served our country as members of the military. Their contributions are immeasurable. Because of them, I am able to freely write as I wish on this site, and you are able to freely read it. It’s trite but true: Freedom isn’t free.
Since I come from a family of military men, I remember my two favorite veterans–my late father, H.L. Schlussel, MD, who was a Captain in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and my late great-uncle Maurice J. Schlussel, MD, a career Army man who became the Army’s chief medical officer over the Pacific after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II and became one of the highest ranking Jews in the U.S. military at the time of his career. I went to visit their graves, yesterday, and again today. (In Judaism, we leave rocks or stones on their headstones as a sign that we visited the dead.)

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Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke, Jr., Iraq War Vet, Hugs Pearl Harbor Survivor/WWII Vet Houston James (Graunke Lost a Leg, Hand, and Eye Defusing a Bomb in Iraq)

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Wounded American Soldier Salutes President Reagan’s Casket

You’ve seen them here before, but above are my two favorite pictures that I think well document why Veteran’s Day deserves, at the very least, some pause and reflection on the invaluable contributions veterans have made to the establishment and continued existence of this great country. Strangely and sadly, I saw neither hint nor whisper of Veteran’s Day in today’s Wall Street Journal. Wall Street is free because our soldiers serve. The free market exists because our soldiers protect it.
Also, if you are a veteran, did you ever wonder what happened to your fellow soldiers and their families? There’s a new online networking site for veterans, MyVetwork (it’s like MySpace or Facebook). Read more about MyVetwork. Other Veteran’s Day items of interest:
* Abraham Lincoln promised to care for “him who has borne the battle, and his widow and his orphan.”
Read “America Keeps Lincoln’s Promise to Veterans“.
* With today’s technology, veterans who would have died remain alive and in pain. Read “For Some Military Families, a Long Good-bye“.
**** Touching MUST READING: “Bikers Ensure Veterans Not Forgotten“–What happens to our military veterans who die and have no-one to remember them?
An excerpt:

In World War II, Samuel Mazur was a tail gunner on a B-17 bomber that flew over Europe.
Three decades later, he died of cancer–with no family at his side –at a Veterans Administration hospital in Vermont. His cremated remains were sent to a funeral home, where they were placed on a shelf and forgotten.
“He had an interesting life,” said Euclid Farnham, who knew him. “He really did not have anyone.”
Until last week.
On Friday, Mazur got full military honors and was laid to rest along with three other forgotten veterans as part of the Missing in America Project, a volunteer organization that seeks to identify and honor the unclaimed remains of American veterans.
There was no family, but there were dozens of leather-clad, motorcycle-riding veterans and an honor guard at the Vermont Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery.
“The recognition of their service transcends their death, and in places like this cemetery, we will continue to devote ourselves to their cause,” retired U.S. Army colonel Joseph Krawczyk said during the ceremony.
In two years, the group’s volunteers have visited 592 funeral homes, found 6,327 sets of unclaimed remains, identified 491 of them as belonging to veterans and interred 325, said Bruce Turner, the Vermont coordinator.

G-d Bless these bikers and the lonely veterans they remember and honor.
Donate to the Missing in America Project.

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5 Responses

God save America…and we will still defend our Constitution.
US Air Force Veteran.

Sharps Rifle on November 11, 2008 at 1:18 pm

Thanks Vets for making America worth living. We can never forget that our place in this world is because of the Veterans who have sacrificed. Other nations as well should be thankful of our Vets because I couldn’t imagine a world without America’s place in history.

californiascreaming on November 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm

Those pics are so touching-I have the top one as a bookmark someplace. I love them both, and to all our vets a big THANK YOU

mindy1 on November 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm

I agree, there was not a lot of coverage of it being Veteran’s Day. I had to go to a social protest event for one of my classes and I decided to go to a Veteran’s Parade. There was not a lot of supporters there, which was very disheartening. However, all the Veteran’s marched strong and proud. I really enjoyed those pictures as well, thank you for sharing them.

gamegrl23 on November 11, 2008 at 5:50 pm

Debbie – I am the mother of Staff Sgt. Graunke. I appreciate that you have chosen to remember our men and woman in the service. Mark and Mr. James have remained friends and attend several functions together. The brotherhood of all who serve is unshakable. No matter the age or the specific service. Please, let’s all remember daily the sacrifices that are being made for us. I hope that President Obama can restablish the United States as a place where honorable things can be achieved and through that our troops can be honored as well. Thanks for your support. God Bless our troops and God Bless America.
Maggie Brown – Lewisville, Texas

Maggie Brown on February 9, 2009 at 4:34 pm

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