Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Back Pages: Thankful

My Back Pages: Thankful: Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of them all. It's a time when most of my family gather's at my home for a good, old fashioned Thanksgivi...

Thankful

  Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday of them all. It's a time when most of my family gather's at my home for a good, old fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. It makes me stop for a while and think about the things that I am thankful for. Granted, the past few years have been difficult. The economy crashed a few years ago, and shows just a few signs of improving. Most of the manufacturing jobs have gone overseas, thanks to free trade agreements and  the exploitation of the underpaid workforce in the third world by corporations. There seems to be a general malais in the world at large that seems to be very hard to shake off. 
 Times, indeed, are hard. Still, I have many things that I am thankful for. I am thankful for my parents, who raised me with a good sense of morality and a decent work ethic that served me well for all the years that I was able to work. I am thankful for finding a good, steady career in Telephone work that enabled me to raise my family under decent conditions and provided me with healthcare and a good wage for my entire career. I am thankful to the United States Marine Corps for taking a self centered boy and turning him into a fully functioning man in just four short years. I am also grateful for the Corps for showing me how others live and what they need to do to survive in countries that do not have  functioning Democracy like we have her in  the United States. I am thankful for being born here, in the USA and being able to know a level of freedom only dreamed about by others. I am thankful for having a mind that is inquisitive and passionate. It gives me the ability to question things that are put before me and it also gives me compassion and empathy for those who are in pain or are struggling with something. After all, if we don't care about, and try to help, each other, who will? Without the ability to help and care for each other, our society would be doomed to end up on the ash heap of history. I am grateful and thankful for my family. I am glad that they continue to succeed in these difficult times. I am thankful for my wife, Sheryl. She is my second marriage. They say that second marriages fail more frequently than first marriages. I guess that could be true, if you do not continue to work at it and try to mend the leaks in your bonds when they spring up. We've managed to weather all the storms and are sailing on into the sunset together. I am thankful that I have lived to see all of this wondrous technology that has now gotten us to the point where we have made the first tentative steps to meeting and interacting with each other across the globe, without the aid of diplomats or leaders who tend to skew things to their view of them. Maybe one day, we will all understand and respect each other. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but maybe in my grandchildren's lifetime.
 Finally, I am thankful for being able to reconnect with the many friends that I had in my childhood and young adulthood. What a marvelous thing this Internet is. How wonderful is this facebook? I am so happy that I found you all: Tony, Bernie, Jo, Pam, Don, Bob, Fred, Jerry... the list goes on and on. It makes me feel young again. Thank you all for accepting me back  into your lives after all these years. And to all of my new friends across this country and across the globe, I am so thankful to have touched all of you, and been touched in return. I love you all. 
 Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Back Pages: Marine Corps Birthday - Veterans Day, 2011

My Back Pages: Marine Corps Birthday - Veterans Day, 2011: Every year, during the second week of November, I get very reflective and tend to keep a little bit to myself. It's Veteran's week. This we...

Marine Corps Birthday - Veterans Day, 2011

Every year, during the second week of November, I get very reflective and tend to keep a little bit to myself.  It's Veteran's week. This week contains the Marine Corps Birthday, and Veterans Day. You won't find the week designated on any calendar, or noted in any article anywhere but here. The individual days are noted and honored; but, to me, the entire week should be dedicated to the remembrance of all those who have served and sacrificed so that we all can continue to enjoy the freedoms that we have; not only in this country, but in many countries around the world. Many have paid the ultimate price so that we can continue to argue right and left over the direction of this ship of state. It didn't matter what they were. Democrat, Republican, Leftest, Rightest, they were all united in one belief, that an individual should be free to state their  beliefs without fear of repercussion from any governmental body. I can remember back when I was in the Marine Corps, we had men and women from every walk of life, with every form of belief, all serving one ideal: that freedom should continue to reign over this country and that it was up to all of us to protect and defend it.
 It is no different today. Our troops, Marines, Navy, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard, are all fighting to protect us from being destroyed by enemies that hate everything that the United States stands for. Freedom of Speech, Freedom to practice any religion that we wish, or practice none at all, if that is what we believe. We still have the right to bear arms. We still have freedom of the press, all of these things thanks to the sacrifices of those who have given a part, or all, of their lives to a military service. It makes me sad......, no, it makes me ANGRY, when I hear or see people called vile names and having their patriotism challenged because of their political or religious beliefs. These are the things that I felt it was my duty to help protect and defend. I have also been called a few choice names. I have been told, because I am a lifelong member of a labor union, that I am a left leaning pinko. This by someone who never spent a second in service to this great nation. But I digress, and my experiences aside, we must remember what these men and women fought and died for. 
 So, I am asking everyone who reads this to take a few minutes to day to reflect on those souls who have in the past put their lives on the line in defense of all of us; and I am asking also that you remember and continue to support all the brave men and women who now put themselves in harms way because they believe that they can, by their sacrifices, help to make the world a better, safer place for all people. There is no greater service than what they continue to give.
 Semper Fi!
 John Zaffino  Cpl., USMC 1966 - 1970 Active Duty, 1970 -     Once a Marine...