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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Armed Forces Anniversary Again

I have managed to live long enough to accumulate a great number of important anniversaries, though I am probably habitually remiss in observing most of them in ways that most people would consider appropriate. But today, 15 Feb, marks one event that always stands out in my mind and that I never fail to remember, because it quite unceremoniously and even rudely grabbed whatever had been the horns of my life till then and turned my doings in another and very different direction, where for a long time I scarcely knew what to think. For it was exactly 60 years ago today that, along with several other guys of my age and color and bearing documents attesting to an agreement that we had all made with the U.S. government a day or two earlier, we boarded a train in Union Station in D.C. and took a long, leisurely ride in a cold, cloudy day straight north to a strange place where none of us had ever been before but would now spend the next three or four months in a ragged, intense, definitely absurd, and sometimes desperate state. Namely, we were to start undergoing military basic training at a former Navy but converted to Air Force base alongside Lake Geneva in the Finger Lakes district of western New York state, after which we would spend the rest of at least four years serving in the U.S. Air Force in whichever capacity that that service found appropriate for our particular D.C.-reared aptitudes.

I know I have said all this before on this site, probably many times, and maybe even every year without one miss. But, as my dear mother liked to say, never mind. I'll just say it again, because it bears repeating, at least to my thinking, which is in that same bemused, quirky, and casual state that it bore that long ago day when I was just 20 and I heard the first of many utterances of that supreme motto of that cold, blustery, and unbelievably inhospitable place: "You will shape up or ship out!"


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