Friday, November 11, 2011
It's Veterans Day
GO SPARTANS? First, my gratitude and congratulations to all veterans. This is your day, and we should all feel honored to have you living among us.
Anything different this year that's worthy of special remark? Yes. A couple of things. The date: it's 11/11/11, which constitutes a natural numerical tribute to the original Veterans Day, called Armistice Day and set on November 11 because the armistice ending World War I was concluded at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Sadly, I believe we have no more surviving veterans of that war. The time set aside to remember them is now Memorial Day.
The other thing is the basketball game that will be played between UNC and Michigan State on the flight deck of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson this evening. I confess to having mixed feelings about this event and am curious how others feel.
On the one hand I understand it's a great opportunity for the navy to show off one of its crown jewels in prime time, and I'm sure active service military personnel around the world will get a morale boost from the game.
On the other hand I've got some nagging doubts I probably shouldn't mention. But I will. The video clip shows the impressive and no doubt hugely expensive effort that's gone into making a flight deck into a basketball stadium, and I can't watch it without remembering the dire Drudge headline in which Leon Panetta declares that the U.S. military will become "a shell" of itself if the president's "supercommittee" can't agree on other ways to reduce budget deficits. So is this ostentatious one-off sporting event the right message to be sending the nation at this moment in time? I don't know. Especially given that some of the cuts being discussed involve serious reductions in veterans benefits.
Another question no one wants to raise. Is this whole show underway because our commander-in-chief loves college basketball? He's definitely going to be there (though I thought he was bound for Bali to get as far away from the supercommittee as possible). To the best of my knowledge he hasn't yet attended the regularly scheduled Army-Navy football game (played in an arena that doesn't have to be built from scratch), though I guess he will this year since it'll be his last chance before the 2012 election. And, you know.
Please forgive my skepticism. I know it's unworthy of the day. But I sometimes wonder if he is too.
What do you think?