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Offline cruizng

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My wife ( the more liberal human in the house) sent me this article and thought it was an interesting perspective. Also as frame of reference her practice husband was Army Intelligence so she has that experience that colors her views at times also. 

I personally think that we that are non Vets or have limited exposure to the military struggle in how to support both past and active military personnel. Definitely 9/11 shaped things but I think it goes back further than that based on how old you are. Being 60 I vividly remember the stain on the USA with the god awful treatment of the Vietnam Vets. It was an absolute national tragedy in my opinion. So I think the current climate is probably us trying to not let that happen again but most likely not very good at it because we can't relate to what would be truly impactful as an expression of gratitude for your service.

I am definitely in the Peace through Strength camp. The dismal 8 years of apologetic Obama also need to be erased. I don't know Mad Dog Mattis but anyone that says this ""Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they?re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact." has to be a National Treasure and someone I want at the tip of the spear.

I remember the pride of Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf "Shock and Awe'. Contrast the TV coverage of that vs. the TV coverage of War during Vietnam. Vietnam was the first time war was really brought into our living rooms via TV. Now with the internet it is everywhere.

Personally I think we struggle today to keep symbols that many of us hold dear relevant when they are attacked on a daily basis. The Flag, Anthems, Statues, The Constitution, Bill of Rights, Memorials, etc... Talking to my kids that are 20 and below they have been assaulted on a regular basis from Liberal anti American anti God points of view. It is a battle to not let them win.

So from my point of view I don't see it as a glorification of a weapon/s of death. I see it as peace through strength. I truly hope we never have to use them. I would wish we never have to deploy anywhere. But there is evil everywhere. Both home and abroad. I think we have to be very selective in what we do and normally those decisions are way above my pay grade.


Article here, Text below that.
http://www.wbur.org/onlyagame/2018/07/20/military-sports-astore-francona

While researching my book ?The Heritage,? I was struck by the enormous effect the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have had on sports ? how they look, how they?re packaged and how they?re sold. Before 9/11, giant flags and flyovers were reserved for the Super Bowl. Today, they are commonplace. Even the players wear camouflage jerseys. The military is omnipresent. And it?s by design.

The public accepts this as supporting the troops, but one group of individuals ? the veterans themselves ? is more skeptical. One voice stood out: William Astore's.

"They bring out a humongous flag," he says. "Military jets fly overhead, sometimes it?s a B-2 stealth bomber, sometimes it?s fighter jets."
Military flyovers have become more common since 9/11. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Military flyovers have become more common since 9/11. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Bill Astore is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who writes about the increased militarization of sports ? and its perils ? on Bracing Views, his personal blog, as well as the website Tom Dispatch.

"I think, at first, there?s a sort of thrilling feeling," Astore says. "I?m like all the other fans: a big plane goes overhead ? ?Wow!? That's kind of awe inspiring. But at the same time, to me, it?s not something that I see should be flying over a sports stadium before a baseball game or a football game. You know, these are weapons of death. They may be required, but they certainly shouldn't be celebrated and applauded."

Astore grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts, the bare-knuckle town of famed boxers Rocky Marciano and Marvelous Marvin Hagler. He?s an avid Red Sox fan, and when he watches sports, he sees the perpetual selling of war, and something very cynical: patriotism for sale, with troops as bait.

The MLB All-Star Game in Washington, D.C., this week was so awash in ceremony, it conjured thoughts of an old joke with a new twist: ?I went to a military parade and a baseball game broke out.?

"I think our military has made a conscious decision, and that decision was, as much as possible, to work with strong forces within our society," Astore says. "I think our military made a choice to work with the sporting world ? and vice versa. I think that's something that's in response to 9/11."

Before 9/11, an American flag the size of a football field was unheard of.
Many NFL teams have incorporated extensive patriotic displays in their pregame routines. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Many NFL teams have incorporated extensive patriotic displays in their pregame routines. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

"What I remember from going to games is: I remember the national anthem, a conventional-sized American flag, and that?s all I remember," Astore says. "And I have to say that I thought that was enough.

"You know, after 9/11, there were so many people that I saw who broke out the flags and put them on their cars and had a spontaneous reaction to a feeling that we, as Americans, needed to come together. And that felt good."

In the years following 9/11, professional sports took a healing gesture and transformed it into a way to make money. In 2015, Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake released the report ?Tackling Paid Patriotism,? which criticized the deceptive, taxpayer-funded contracts between the Pentagon and virtually every pro sports league. In 2012, the New York Army National Guard paid the Buffalo Bills $250,000 to conduct on-field re-enlistment ceremonies. In 2014, the Georgia National Guard paid the Atlanta Falcons $114,000 to sing the national anthem. In 2015, the Air Force paid NASCAR $1.5 million in part for veterans to shake hands with racing legend Richard Petty. Your tax dollars. At work.

"I hate to say it, but I wasn't completely surprised," Astore says. "But I was disgusted by it. Patriotic displays, they mean a lot more to me when they're spontaneous. But to learn that these had been paid for ? that corporate teams, teams owned by billionaires, basically, were collecting money from the military. Paid for, obviously, by you and me, by the American taxpayer. Well, it was sad."
"Tackling Paid Patriotism" shed light on the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent by the military on patriotic displays at sporting events.
"Tackling Paid Patriotism" shed light on the millions of taxpayer dollars being spent by the military on patriotic displays at sporting events.

American flags are the ultimate Good Housekeeping seal. And thanking veterans for their service disconnects the public from what has been nearly two decades of war. The ballpark ceremony obscures the realities of war and, by focusing on soldiers, inoculates the government from antiwar criticism. Astore tells me it?s a form of emotional manipulation.

"Under the Bush-Cheney administration, we weren?t even able to see the caskets of dead soldiers," Astore says. "The cost of war ? that very ugly face of war ? was being kept from us.

"And the only time we see it, sometimes, is when they bring out a wounded soldier, for example. And maybe he or she has lost two or three limbs, but they?re brought out into an NFL stadium or an MLB baseball game. And the impression that you get is, 'Everything?s OK, see?' But we don?t see this person struggling to get around at home. And maybe being depressed because they?ve suffered this horrible wound in war."

Nick Francona grew up in baseball. His last name is a dead giveaway. His grandfather, Tito Francona, played 15 years in the big leagues and was teammates with Hank Aaron in the 1960s. His father, Terry, played 10 years in the majors, and, famously, managed the 2004 Red Sox to their first World Series in 86 years.

Nick took a different path.

"I was in my freshman year at Penn," Nick says. "A friend of mine that I played travel baseball with, he had enlisted after high school and was an infantry Marine. And he was in Iraq during my freshman year in college. And it used to keep me up at night. And it would bother me a lot where I would kind of sit there and be, like, 'Man, I?m playing a lot of online poker, going to econ classes, and going out to bars and, like, we have a war going on.' I felt like I was missing out and not contributing or not doing my part."

    ?I remember the national anthem, a conventional-sized American flag, and that?s all. And I thought that was enough.? Bill Astore

Nick joined the Marines, becoming a scout sniper platoon commander in Afghanistan.

"I remember my mom, at one point, wanted me to ? she was, like, ?Well, you can pick any of the jobs. Why don?t you be a comptroller or a finance-type of officer?? " Nick recalls. "I'm like, ?Mom, no one watches a Marine commercial and is, like, I really want to do the accounting for them.' "

Almost immediately, Nick felt the commercial effects of post-9/11 sports. In May 2010, even before he was deployed overseas, he was being sold as a hero. It felt inauthentic.

"They were having Marine Week in Boston, and it was a pretty big deal," Nick says. "They had wanted me to throw out the first pitch at Fenway during one of the games. It would?ve been a good story of having the manager?s son being a Marine and throwing out a first pitch at Fenway. But I was horribly uncomfortable with that and didn't think I had done anything to deserve that and gave them a firm pass on that one."
This Memorial Day, the Red Sox unfurled an American flag over the Green Monster. (Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
This Memorial Day, the Red Sox unfurled an American flag over the Green Monster. (Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

After he left the service, Nick worked in baseball for the Angels, Dodgers and Mets. Ostensibly, he was a liaison to veterans. But what was being sold to the public as patriotism felt like commercialism. What Astore wrote outside of the game, Francona felt working within it. Camo jerseys. Corporate sponsorship of service, without the authenticity of service. The veterans felt like props.

"And, I mean, if you look at kind of the tone of what Memorial Day has become about, it?s pretty gross," Nick says. "Even on the teams? official Twitter accounts ? a flame emoji for, like, 'Look how hot these camo hats are.' And it's, like, 'Really, guys? That's the plan?' I mean, you can imagine how some of these Gold Star families reacted to that. They were not remotely amused.

"I might have asked the question 100 times and said, 'OK, if you?re selling a $40 hat, how much of this is going to charity, and where is it going?' I think it?s fair to say, if you?re an average fan watching Major League Baseball, you?re going to be, like, ?Man, these guys are really supportive of the military.? "

This support, Nick says, does not exist within MLB. According to the league?s figures, only 10 of the league?s 5,000 employees are veterans.

"That's genuinely difficult to accomplish," Nick says. "Like, if your goal was to hire as few veterans as possible, that's pretty impressive. I?m almost certain that there?s more than 10. But they?ve really gone out of their way to avoid being able to even identify the veterans. I?ve been arguing that for 10 years. Like, 'Figure out who they are, so we can support each other and link up and try to address some of these issues.' And they patently refused to be involved in that."

Working with the Mets, one moment defined his frustrations. He created a Memorial Day program where he matched players with Gold Star families from similar backgrounds. The players recorded videos that told the stories of the fallen.

Players, he says, were emotional learning the stories of the dead soldiers from America?s wars. They wore bracelets naming soldiers they were matched with. It was authentic and personal, appropriately respectful of a day commemorating sacrifice.

"So I?m on the flight back, and I get an email from someone with the Mets asking, like, 'Oh, great job. Now we need to get all the families to sign these waivers, to waive the rights as licensees for the bracelets that these guys wore.' And I?m, like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, were not ... like, absolutely not.'

"They referred to them as 'license holders.' The families. And I'm, like, 'I think you mean parent of dead Marine or soldier.' Patently offensive. And there was no way I was going to have them sign that and refused to do so. I wanted to know exactly whose bright idea this was and was going to give them a piece of my mind. And that ended it pretty quickly. And the next day was my last day there.

"They called me in and said, ?You?ve done a great job here, really had a huge impact. You?ve also had a big impact on the veteran stuff with Major League Baseball, but your comments aren?t compatible with having a career in baseball. So we're going to have to part ways.? "

The Mets fired him. Nick Francona is now out of baseball.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway joined his team in wearing black wristbands on Memorial Day to honor fallen soldiers. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Mets manager Mickey Callaway joined his team in wearing black wristbands on Memorial Day to honor fallen soldiers. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

"I?m certainly not happy about not working in baseball. It was my dream job, and I was good at it. And the people that fired me, ironically, told me I was very good at it. It sucks. Even thinking about it, I wouldn?t go back and say, 'I wish I had just compromised my principles a little more so I could succeed here.' Like, if that?s the price of success, I?ll find something else. I think it?s sad. And I think it speaks volumes about the state of Major League Baseball."

Recruiting is a main reason the military is embedded in sports. In an interview for my book, I told three-star General Russel Honore I didn?t want the Army recruiting my son while he watched the Red Sox. His response? ?You better hold on to them, if you don?t want them in the Army. We?re gonna recruit the hell out of them. That?s how we man the force.?

"I appreciate the general's honesty," Astore says. "It's refreshing, in a way. But I just think that?s the wrong way to recruit.

"I lived in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for nine years. Of course, that's the home of the Little League World Series. And one year, an Air Force van showed up. So kids, little leaguers, could come and go into this van and play video games. And the Air Force thought this was a great idea for recruitment. And I thought to myself, 'This is completely inappropriate.'

"I mean the Little League World Series should be for children. They're not even teenagers yet. And for baseball, yeah. It should not be an opportunity for any military service to show up and try to recruit youngsters.

"When I was interested in the military in high school, I went to see my civilian guidance counselor. There wasn't a Marine recruiter challenging me to a pull-up contest. So I see these kinds of things as a gradual process of the militarization of our society. And I just see it as something that we, as a democracy, should be guarding against."

Where do sports go from here? I asked one baseball executive, who told me his sport promotes the military not out of patriotism but out of fear ? the fear of being called unpatriotic. Nearly 20 years after 9/11, Bill Astore believes these rituals have served their purpose.

"We sing 'God Bless America' during the seventh-inning stretch, because, well, that's what we do now," Astore says. "We have a huge flag and military flyovers because that's what we do. We celebrate a military person after the fourth inning because that's what we do. And we've come to expect it.

"I think we as Americans need to come together and recognize that all of this needs to be ratcheted back, that we need to return to a simpler time ? when you played the national anthem, you respected our country and then you play ball. And you just enjoy the game the way it was meant to be enjoyed."

This segment aired on July 21, 2018.
Mike
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Offline moto123

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Interesting read.  Doesn't surprise me that sports organizations would be primarily concerned with money.  Everything is a business and everyone has an angle.

Offline Flyin6

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There are many aspects of any event such as these that were mentioned

Where the author saw the "Misuse" of DOD aircraft flying over sports arenas costing tax payers millions, if looking at the flyover from strictly that point of view, he would be correct.

But some office in the man-power section of the pentagon can point to the number of volunteers that a demonstration like that produces. He can juxtapose that against the cost of say advertising on TV and in a skinny second show a positive up tick from flying a B2 or a Chinook towing a massive flag in front of people.

So from an advertising aspect the military gets to show themselves off in front of our citizens (A morale booster) all the while welling up the sense of national pride that eventually settles into the bedrock of patriotism of some young man or woman and maybe actually was the catalyst that started someone down a path that someday places them at the very point where they might save this nation.

Patriotism is a big deal. Real Americans have it, we respect it, look for it, and are drawn to it. So of course marketing peeps are gonna try to move in close for the shot with seal team 6 in the background, as if, "those are my buds" And only a fool would blame them for using that to get a guy like me to show for a reds game. But don't you think the military kinda likes to make a bit of noise overhead thousands of people who love and support us?

The effect is one that the military person stores away as well, and maybe pulls out on some cold dark night four miles north of nowhere, Afghanistan while he silently waits for the T-ban to show themselves. Its either things like that or that horse crap the hippies handed our warriors when they came home after a tour in Vietnam. That was shameful and despicable, and many of us are simply not going to forgive them, but I digress

There is nothing wrong with ten thousand square foot US Flags being paraded by marching bands. I'd say that is Americana. And on a more useful note, think of the rule of vacuums. It states that if you take something well established away, eventually something else will come in to fill the void. So what, you remove the US Flag, and in two years have what? Some gay rainbow banner held up by some male freaks in hotpants? ME...I'd opt for the big ole American flag!
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Offline cruizng

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Thanks for the feedback Don.  :likebutton:
Mike
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Offline Flyin6

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Thanks for the feedback Don.  :likebutton:
You're welcome!
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Offline cj7ox

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I agree with all Big D stated above. I'll add:

I think the commercialization testified to by Nick Francona, is despicable. Period.

As to the recruiters setting up outside of sporting events, this is understandable. The U.S. military is the largest organization of professional athletes in this country. Think about it. We are required to maintain a level of fitness, and perform physically strenuous activities under stressful conditions that most pro sports players are unable to. And we are expected to be able to do for 20 years! It makes sense that we start with recruits who are already athletic, especially in todays age of millennial softness. Schools today don't have much focus on fitness. Most students spend more time on their buts in front of game consoles than outside playing/doing physical things. Recruiting athletic kids means less time getting them into physical condition for the military, and less injuries during training. It's a no brainer.

For the most part, I have rejected professional sports. I don't follow them, and don't buy their products. I made this choice for a number of reasons, one of which being that I don't agree with someone getting paid multi millions for playing a game while Servicemen, First Responders, and Teachers are making just above poverty line wages. I think our cultural priorities are skewed when we value entertainment more than service.

I'm uncomfortable when people thank me for my service, but appreciate it when the offering is sincere. I didn't sign up for thanks. It was my calling. Yes, I've deployed. I'm preparing to deploy again in a few months. I do this because I feel it is important to do my part in defending our great nation. I am honoring the sacrifices made by all those who have served before, whose sacrifices made it possible for me to enjoy the freedoms we have. That said, I'd rather be made uncomfortable by being thanked, than spit upon.

I feel like I've been rambling a bit, but I hope these random thoughts give some insight into my point of view.
~Sean M. Davis

?The citizens of a free state ought to consist of those only who bear arms.? ~Aristotle

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Offline KensAuto

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Not to sidetrack the thread, but...
Thank you Sean. Whether you want it or not, you, and the others, deserve at least that much...and I'm pretty sure every one of the civies on this board feel the same.
I also appreciate how humble most of our servicemen/women are, and that includes you.
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Offline cruizng

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Sean,

Thanks for the feedback and comments. Stay safe on your next deployment.

Ditto what Ken says as well..
Mike
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Offline Flyin6

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Sean,

Didn't know you were deploying again.

Let us know when so we can keep you in our prayers. You and the men you will be commanding...
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Offline TexasRedNeck

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Sean, be safe and God speed.

One thing mentioned in the article about charitable endeavors;  how much goes to charity.  I?m fortunate enough to direct funds for my company for some charitable purposes and if 76% or more of the funds raised don?t make it to the end cause, it never gets off the ground with me.  The Scott McIntosh memorial event benefiting Folds of Honor is upwards of 96-98% due to all the food , beverage and other items being donated.

That separates a lot of organizations.  A good site to use to vett  charitable giving is www.charitynavigator.org.


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Offline Flyin6

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Re: Curious what our site Vets and Active Military think about this article?
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2018, 10:05:35 AM »
Sean, be safe and God speed.

One thing mentioned in the article about charitable endeavors;  how much goes to charity.  I?m fortunate enough to direct funds for my company for some charitable purposes and if 76% or more of the funds raised don?t make it to the end cause, it never gets off the ground with me.  The Scott McIntosh memorial event benefiting Folds of Honor is upwards of 96-98% due to all the food , beverage and other items being donated.

That separates a lot of organizations.  A good site to use to vett  charitable giving is www.charitynavigator.org.


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We are fortunate to have men such as you at the helm directing these resources to good use and not squandered or worse

Good job Tex!
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Offline cj7ox

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Re: Curious what our site Vets and Active Military think about this article?
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2018, 04:37:49 PM »
Sean,

Didn't know you were deploying again.

Let us know when so we can keep you in our prayers. You and the men you will be commanding...

It'll be the end of the year. I'm the Command IG for an Expeditionary Sustainment Command, so I only get to "command" the other three Joes in my shop.  :grin:

We'll be supporting Soldiers in at least 9 different countries throughout CENTCOM, so I'll probably be quite the "combat tourist". Should be a fun and interesting tour making sure Soldiers are getting taken care of. Nate's already contacted me and made me promise to give y'all my address once I get on the ground in KW.
~Sean M. Davis

?The citizens of a free state ought to consist of those only who bear arms.? ~Aristotle

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