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April 21, 2006
Fran's LegionsBy Greyhawk
WASHINGTON, April 20 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The leader of the world's largest veterans organization expressed deep concern over the soon-to-be evicted restaurant that provides free steak dinners to severely wounded troops receiving care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center every Friday night.
For more than two and a half years, the owners of Fran O'Brien's Stadium Steakhouse have been serving up steak dinners and libation to troops severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's truly a shame these Friday night outings for our wounded heroes will come to an end at Fran O'Brien's," said American Legion National Commander Thomas L. Bock who supports the dinners.
"I can tell you first-hand after talking with the troops that this weekly event is truly therapeutic in their healing and recovery process," Bock said.
The owners along with the legion of combat veterans and other volunteers who make these evenings possible are to be greatly commended," Bock said. "The American Legion takes great pride in recognizing Hal and Marty for their generosity and hospitality toward military personnel injured during service in the war on terror."
Last year, The American Legion presented the restaurant owners with a plaque in appreciation for their efforts on behalf of our nation's wounded heroes. The Legion has helped fund the endeavor and senior staff volunteers assist the wounded troops with veterans benefits and employment needs just to name a few.
The restaurant has also become a Friday night haven for veterans of previous wars, where the newly injured share their stories with fellow comrades from other generations.
"It's a healing process for many, especially my generation who didn't feel as welcomed home upon returning from service during Vietnam," Bock said, "and I will be saddened to have it end with the closing of Fran O'Brien's."
"The owners selflessly demonstrate week in and week out that feeding troops and their family members is far more important than any bottom line," he said.
"It is The American Legion's understanding the Capital Hilton management has made a 'business decision' not to renew a renewable lease," Bock said. "It is my sincere hope that not every 'business decision' is based on the bottom line or perception that the hotel doesn't want severely wounded troops on its premises each week," he added.
According the Koster, negotiations broke down after repeated requests by the owners for the hotel to install a wheel-chair lift or elevator so injured troops would have access to the restaurant which is not handicap accessible.
Bock said there's still time to reach an agreement between the Capital Hilton management team and Fran O'Brien's.
"It's not May 1st yet," Bock said. "We'll lend our support any way we can, even if it means having to help raise money for an elevator."
Founded in 1919, the 2.7 million-member American Legion is the nation's preeminent service organization for veterans of the U.S. armed forces, including active duty, National Guard and Reserves, and their families. A powerful voice for veterans in Washington, The American Legion drafted the original GI Bill and was instrumental in establishing the agency that today is the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.
Posted by Greyhawk / April 21, 2006 4:28 PM | Permalink
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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