Well, I'm back from my 4th duties!

Hello to all my favorite folks!!!! Well ,I have my 4th duties and Honor Guard assignments all caught up & over with. Still need to mow the lawn but it is raining right now @ 0533 in the morning. Had a wonderfull time and have some killer photos if someone smarter at this than me at doing it wants to post them. As I heard thru the drums in the forest that all of you had been so great & good while I was gone I thought I would post my weekly column from the local paper and allow it to tell you all about my 4th!...Dan

Veterans honored in best Heritage Festival program yet
By Daniel Siler
Veterans Columnist

It was as perfect of a day as anyone could have asked for here in the mountains. The sky was an absolutely beautiful Carolina blue, with just a hint of a breeze.

Graham County resident and World War II, 82nd Airborne Division, veteran Arvil Webster and wife Marie stood alongside the 82nd Division Operations Sergeant Major Curtis Regan and his wife Shelley next to a lowered American flag, while Zelerie Rose took their picture.

Yes, it was the Fourth of July in Graham County, and a perfectly executed veterans program by members of The Combined American Legion Post 192 & VFW Post 8635 Special Military Honor Guard was about to begin. This was one of the finest programs we have performed yet!

And also , before the day was over, it was one of the proudest and most honored events our band of brother veterans has taken part in, in my eyes. A day for veterans to honor veterans.

Rodney Nelson, a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm sang the National Anthem and Tom Livingston directed the firing squad.

Raising the colors was especially meaningful this year, as Sgt. Maj. Regan took over and gave us our commands. Everything was like clockwork. I felt honored and proud as I took my part.

For those who weren’t there, the introduction of our guest and co-marshall had special meaning to it and a historical touch. As the majority of those taking part were veterans from the Vietnam and Cold War eras.

Some 63 years ago, our co-marshall, Arvil Webster would exit the door of the C-47 Transport he was in, sometime after midnight on July 11th, and enter the annals of 82nd Airborne history in Gela, Sicily. The jump eventually saw the loss of 318 members of the 504th Parachute Infantry and 23 C-47's to friendly fire.

As Arvil will tell you, it isn’t any fun having tracer rounds going between your legs.

I did not know this until I met the Sgt. Maj., but America’s most highly-decorated soldier, Audie Murphy was turned down by the 82nd because he was too short. The 82nd is the last airborne division in existence, with 15,000 troopers.

In the 82nd, everyone from the lowest private to the highest general has to jump once a month, that’s cooks, clerks, doctors, nurses – everybody. They are deployable on two-hour notice, and are wheels up within 18 hours. Sgt. Maj. Regan explained that unlike any other unit in the Army, their method of departure flies away at 800 feet above ground at 200 miles per hour, so there is no way to return to the safety of friendly lines.

I had the honor to assist Sgt. Major Regan and Arvil Webster in retiring the old, worn and tattered colors.

Afterward, I do believe the entire crowd came by to shake our hands or say, “Job well done.” To make retiring the colors even more meaningful, veterans like Robert Parks, an 82nd veteran from Andrews and James Smith from Fontanna, came to help us.

As we were preparing for the parade, I walked up the street and found Sheriff Bob DeBruhl ,an Operation Desert Storm veteran, who was to lead the parade – my father, John Siler with him.

Dad was an armed guard radioman in the Navy during World War II. When I got to the line up, I found my old friend Sgt. Harold Phillips, a Vietnam War, Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran with the Sergeant Major. Harold had World War II death march survivor Wayne Carringer in his Humvee.

So, all in all, the fourth turned out to be a great day!
Especially for this county’s veterans. Thank you to the organizers, and thank you to the fine folks of Graham County, who showed their support for us on this day.

As Sgt. Maj. Regan leaves to go to Afghanistan Friday morning, I would ask you to remember him and to remember all of our troops there and in Iraq.
We are in a situation there we simply cannot cut and run from, so remember to support all of them.


Cut and run?

You're buying the right wing bullshit, Dan.

When wise people see situations that have no possibility of a workable outcome, they get themselves out of those situations as quickly as possible. The problem is, there are no wise people running the US these days.

We're in Iraq for two reasons and two reasons only: Bush's pathetic ego and Dich Cheney's war profiteering. And they only thing we're going to get from staying longer is more disabled veterans who need your help.

Words have meaning.

Hey Dan,
Good to see you back, but disappointed to see you using Republican phraseology that is designed to make Democrats such as yourself look like cowards. Those very words are used nightly on the news to describe the Democratic Party as cowards. You're a Democrat, right?

How long do you think we should stay in Iraq? Do you know we are building three large permanent bases there? The kind of bases we built in Germany and Japan after WWII? The problem being that the Iraqi's don't want us there as an occupying force and they are, as Bush constantly reminds us, "a sovereign, democratic nation".

I'll tell you who cut and run, the Republican leadership, from Afghanistan. Our country deserves to have 500,000 troops in Afghanisntan fighting the Taliban (can you believe the f**king Taliban is still in power?) and capturing the butcher of 9/11 - Osama bin Laden. Republicans are immoral. They chose a war for oil and lied about their reasons when we could have captured the man who killed over 3000 of our innocent men, women, children, and babies. Babies. Don't forget the daycare in the World Trade Center. osama bin Laden slaughtered our babies and Bush let's him walk to fight for permanent bases in Iraq.

Iraq is unwinnable, it's Vietnam in 1967 and hopefully America will not send 50,000 more kids to die before we leave.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I cant beleive.....

this out of the 2 of you! Any one who read that would know by my closeing statement I was talking about Afghanistan! But as for everything else, No, I have more God given sense than to by into Right Wing Crap.As for Iraq, we wont expend 58,448 (in case you are looking for the correct number of names that are on the wall,I know,2 of those are from my family) before we are out of Iraq. In the event you are old enough to remember Vietnam then you would know we cut & run there after 12 years of political crap. What helicopters & F-4 Phantoms we didnt give or sell to the Vietnameese & Thai for $10 a peice were to be pushed off the decks of carriers into a watery grave. I just feel it is wrong to completely leave Iraq without fully compensateing ourself for our losses. But as for buying into crap, Your right, I bought into the crap that is pileing up around here and that is one part of life I dont need!

Sorry you feel that way Dan.

My objection was to the phrase 'cut and run' which is full-fledged right wing talking point.

It was clear you were talking about Afghanistan . . . and the truth is, we've already blown it there as well. We are mired down in Afghanistan just like the Russians were. Yes we may be able to get OBL, and we should, but that's not going to alter the reality on the ground there. We're creating more problems than we're solving because we didn't handle it right in the first place. We had moral authority to go after OBL and we screwed that up so badly that now we're chasing our tails there with no clear military mission.

You can be pissed off at me and BlueNC all you want, Dan, but we're not the fucking problem. Neither is the military. The problem is the coward asshole in the White House. That's where the crap is piling up.

Vietnam sucked big time and we should have learned a lesson from it. But we didn't. We didn't learn not to start wars we can't win.

Sorry Anglico! True Words, True Words!!!!....I gotta take..

my meds. havent been able to sleep much more then 2-4 hours at most at night for 2 weeks now. And yes GeoW Bushwacker does need to disserpear into the night somewhere, Just ant figured it all out how he can disseaper best! Sorry about ranting Brother! I owe you better than that! Well, Im off to take my prozac, Clonzapam and some other VA wonder drug for PTSD. This dont have nothing to do with the issue at hand other than me makeing crazy statements. But the VA cant tell me how & it is why I cant sleep, How do you quit wakeing up 10-12 times a night hearing someone screaming for help? Reckon our Pal Robert could help us on this one> I mean ,he is the M.D.! It is just my bad time of year when this all happens and the 4th may of intensifiey it some. I do appericate you Ang, Yor a damn good Bro!

Not an MD, sorry.

Just a lowly Ph.D.

Just to recap Dan, I don't mind folks having the opinion that we should stay longer, I don't agree with it, but it's your opinion. My only problem is that the Republicans call us cut-and-run democrats to try and make us seem like cowards. Right now, reading what you just wrote in that comment, I'm more pissed off at their "cut-and-run" crap than ever. How dare they call people such as yourself a coward when you live what you live and those a-holes had their Daddies keep them out of the war.

They are a disgrace to everyone that ever wore a uniform.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

Robert, Thank you my Brother.......

I guess I could have thought and used better termonology! You have always tried to teach me better and this is one time I should have listened to what you have tried so hard to teach me!

**( That strange sound you hear in the background is me banging my head up against the wall WHILE SAYING ,"I knew better than to do that!"!)**

Just like Anglico & Lance you are a Brother I can count on till the end , A friend always and you know without me putting it in print, You have always been someone whose advice & opionin I have always counted on and RESPECTED!

And if any of these Anonymous folks have a problem with that, then they are always WELCOME to come up here to the Western Mountians and discuss their problem with that statement or anything I have said to honor my friendship with You, Lance & Anglico.

HOWEVER, Before they come up here, I would remind them that I am a half-crazed DEMOCRATIC Vet who ocasionally suffers from bouts of PTSD. I still have the K-9 I had when I worked in Law Enforcement that usually sits on the front porch, some chickens and 1 Attack Canada Goose, who ,when it lowers it's head you better watch out! My rooster has 2&1/2 spurs and I usually keep a loaded Louisville Slugger at each door Locked & Loaded. And that dont even come close to what the wife & son are capible of when they get "Pissed".

My friends are the most important thing in the world to me next to my family. And in the case of you,Lance & Ang, "Hell yes, I would give the shirt off my back to ya if you needed it!" Like I say, I was threw away and then adopted, and always wanted a family. And like I told Lance ,I cant explain it, why I found you guys here and why I keep on comming back each day becuase the bond that exist's between the 4 of us go's far beyond Politics, canadates & issues. I guess Im just a soldier who is getting soft in old age!

But it might pay off to take a course in creative writeing! And In the event I offended anyone else with my poor choice of words at the end of the story, I most Sincerely,Respectfully and Honorable Apologize to you all!.......Dan