Thursday, November 12, 2015

Saddened, Disappointed... And Really Angry!

In the last hour of this Veterans Day holiday I write with a heavy heart.  Veterans Day is usually not a day of celebration for me, but rather one of somber contemplation about the sacrifice my friends and relatives made for our country.  I'm usually more than a little melancholy on this holiday and spend a good part of this day contemplating my military service a half-century ago and the fine men I served with during the Vietnam Conflict.  Many of my flight school classmates did tours in that country and more than a few didn't return, losing their lives in the steaming jungles and rice paddies of that country, leaving behind families and an unfulfilled future in the service of our country.

And, I usually contemplate my cousin, Gary, who migrated from his Ohio home while I was away in the Army to live with my parents and attend a junior college in California, to get a running start on his education.  When I returned home he still had six months to go to finish his two years, so he kept my bedroom and I got the couch until I got a job that eventually took me to Orange County.  When he returned home to Ohio he enrolled at Kent State University and was promptly drafted.  Did you see the movie "Platoon"?  Well, then you have an idea of how Gary's tour in Vietnam as a rifleman turned out.  He basically lived the life depicted by Charlie Sheen in that movie.  He made it home with three (3) Purple Hearts pinned to his uniform and with stories that would shake you to your core that he shared with very few.

I think of my uncles - two on my mother's side who served in the Army in World War II and my father's younger brother who served in the Navy.
I think of my friend, Joe Bell, who served as a pilot in the Navy during that war and of my friend, Sparks McClellan, who turns 94 later this month and also served as a Naval combat aviator, flying Hellcats off carriers in the Pacific.  I think of my ex-boss, Dwain Lengel, who flew Corsairs in both World War II and Korea.  These men were part of Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation" - those who saw their duty and did it, then returned home to help re-start our nation.

But this year I end this day very angry.  I'm angry with some of our elected leaders, who apparently have such a hard place in their hearts for organized labor - and such ignorant disregard for what military service means - that they officially ignored the county-wide celebration held at the Orange County Fair and Event Center today.  Although this event was widely publicized and, from all reports - like Bradley Zint's coverage in the Daily Pilot HERE - was very well attended, the only reference to this day by any "official" city source was a nice, brief piece by Dane Bora on the Costa Mesa Minute Monday.  And, the Costa Mesa Police Department, which has many men and women who serve in Reserve units, published a nice piece on its Facebook page which included a comment by Chief Rob Sharpnack.  I've reproduced it below.
I'm angry that there was no official pronouncement by any of our elected leaders about this holiday.  I suspect that was because they couldn't comment on it without observing the event across the street - the one sponsored by organized labor and veterans groups.  So deep is their apparent hatred of labor groups that it has clouded their official judgment.  Shame on them!  Nor was there any official pronouncement by our City Chief Executive Officer, Tom Hatch, that I could find.  He apparently has been muzzled by the council majority.

What kind of a City have they turned Costa Mesa into, when the veterans of our area are ignored on this day?  What kind of shallow, vindictive, mean-spirited men do we have leading this city that let their personal animus about organized labor prohibit them from acknowledging the men and women who proudly served our country in the military?  I get it that none of the members of the City Council, men or women, have seen military service, but for this kind of shunning of veterans is unconscionable!  It's my understanding that councilwomen Katrina Foley and Sandra Genis attended the event at the Fairgrounds - good for them!  However, there were no sightings reported of Mayor Steve Mensinger, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer nor councilman Gary Monahan, who was probably busy yanking beer taps at his pub.

And, the City of Costa Mesa missed a great recruitment opportunity, too!  It's my understanding that other law enforcement agencies had booths at the Fairgrounds, ready to provide information to potential law enforcement officers.

Tonight I am saddened and disgusted with the male members of our City Council.  Those of us who served this country - who willingly put our futures on hold and our lives on the line -  deserve better.  This heartless disregard for our veterans will not be forgotten.

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Blogger Joe said...

Riggy, Mensy, and Monahan are focused on their own projects and enrichment. The only thing they honor is the dollar. Your cancer analogy from the other day is wholly accurate. After these malignant cells are gone from the Costa Mesa political body, we will not forget those who have aided and abetted the destruction of this city.

My uncle came home from the Battle of the Bulge with German shrapnel in his body; it was still there when he died 50 years later. Costa Mesa will always have the shrapnel from this period of time, but like the Allies did in WW2, we will prevail.

And now a word from Mr. Churchill:

11/12/2015 07:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Xyn Bohemia said...

i thought of my dad who was a tail gunner in wwII. joined when he was 17 and was stationed at santa ana air base for a short time before being sent to england. he didn't talk about it for years. when he did open up he said he was terrified the whole time. had to shoot some planes down too. i think it took a part of his soul that he couldn't share with anyone.

as for the councilmen... they are just cowards.

11/12/2015 09:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...


Thanks for checking into this background. That breaks my heart - but their petty actions can never break our spirit. We will never let such smallness get in the way of our support of all veterans.

"November 11, 1918, the war was over for most of us, but it was not over and would never be over until life's end for the multitude it has broken in mind and body. To them our best endeavors are due."
-Lt. Col James A. Drain, Sr.
a founding member of the American Legion, 1919

11/12/2015 11:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

True patriots, dem guys...oh, wait, only when it serves their purpose. What a shame.

11/12/2015 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

They did not serve.
They did not honor those who did.

We need new leadership in 2016.

11/12/2015 10:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Heart for Costa Mesa said...

It was a wonderful event, and their loss for not attending. Seems like they will cut their noses off to spite their faces! If the council men had shown up it would have done a better job of rallying the "troops" then any amount of pontificating on the podium.

Lots of proud vets and grateful friends and well wishers were there (constituents, ya know) and there were all sorts of information and veterans aid booths.

11/12/2015 11:31:00 PM  

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