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April 14, 2005
Open PostBy Greyhawk
A million stories in the 'sphere,
Posted by Greyhawk / April 14, 2005 11:14 PM | Permalink
Basically, your paycheck is going to get smaller. We don't yet know it for certain -- the latest numbers could be just a fluke -- but it looks as if most Americans working at ordinary jobs may be in for... Read More
Wow, this sure does look promising. One thing from seeing the CSPAN "Conversations with U.S. Soldiers Wounded in Iraq" told me was that medical technology with prosthetic arms and hands was behind technology for prosthetic legs due to the focus on le... Read More
Tom De Lay is the Democrats' whipping boy this week. He's getting beaten about he head and shoulders over junketeering or some such thing. But he has nicely captured my position on borders and immigration. From an interview in the... Read More
In case you forgot (or maybe you just don't see much of this sort of thing in the American press), our Coalition partners are chasing after the bad guys in Iraq. Read More
My wife constantly asks me to do one of these and since it will provide ammunition for those who consider me deranged to mess with me I have obliged. Read More
This AP article talks about rises in school violence perpetrated by parents. The shooting last week of a Texas high school football coach -- allegedly by a player's father -- was just the latest and most extreme example of the... Read More
The Word Unheard out of Lebanon is that Hizballah has resumed flying Iranian-made drones over Israel. On one had, this is sparking concern in Israel. Hizballah/Iranian drones flying over Israeli cities does not exactly inspire a sense of security... Read More
I thought it was very reassuring at the time, and it prompted to speculate on an idea that I'd like to revisit--the idea of a military academy, to leave as a continual gift to the Iraqi people. Quote: In order to keep Iraq strong, I think that th... Read More
In an unprecedented and utterly stunning (although many would say necessary) move, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has been removed from office by powers contained in a little known naval doctrine entitled Read More
Captain's Quarters The Afghans want us to stay, The Krygyz want us to stay, the Azeri and Georgians want us to stay. 3 bucks'll get you 2 the Germans would complain loudly were we to even hint at leaving. Remember... Read More
Donna B. at Pajama Pundits picks up on my previous post (Finding Common Ground with Kerry) and provides a very good analysis of Kerry's bill S. 460. ... I greatly appreciate the seriousness with which Donna considered my previous post and look forwar... Read More
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
The Mudville Gazette is the on-line voice of an American warrior and his wife who stands by him. They prefer to see peaceful change render force of arms unnecessary. Until that day they stand fast with those who struggle for freedom, strike for reason, and pray for a better tomorrow.
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