In Honor of Veterans Day 2011

Veteran's Day
Veteran’s Day

The further away I’ve gotten from my active duty days, the more important Veteran’s Day has become.  As of today I’ve been retired off active duty for 15 years and Veteran’s Day has become the day I consider “my” holiday, as well as “the” holiday for my fellow veterans and those still serving.

While I was on active duty, the Navy was just my job and I honestly didn’t think much about why I was serving, or look further ahead than my next assignment.  I spent a lot of my time bitching and complaining about the work, the officers, the stupidity of everyday Navy life, etc., etc.  I know, those of you who know me are shocked…

It wasn’t until after I left active duty that Veteran’s Day began to mean something to me. As my active duty days receded in the past, the importance of Veteran’s Day grew. Currently, I’m fortunate enough to have a job with a firm that offers two floating holidays each year, so I always take Veteran’s Day as one of my personal holidays.

This brings me to share a YouTube Video with my many readers (more than 3).  During our recent trip back to China, Winnie and I brought back DVD sets of the four great Chinese novels, produced by CCTV as mini-series.  These copies were “multi-language” editions, which means they included English sub-titles so I could actually sort of understand what was happening.  We’re just now working our way through the last drama “Romance of the Three Kingdoms.”  The other three are “Journey to the West,” “A Dream of Red Mansions,” and “Outlaws of the Marsh.”  Although I consider “Journey to the West” my favorite of the four (Monkey King is my hero) I think “Outlaws of the Marsh” to be the more poignant.

“Outlaws of the Marsh” tells of how a group of 108 outlaws gathered at Liangshan Marsh to form a “people’s army,” later granted amnesty by the government and as amends are sent on campaigns to suppress foreign invaders and rebel forces.  Most of the drama is composed of back stories of the 108 outlaws, showing that most of them were honorable men (and three women) who became outlaws through the actions of corrupt government officials or dishonorable nobles of their time. The original stories date back over 1000 years.  The drama has a sad ending that I’m not going to reveal here, other than it seems to be the typical endings for warriors everywhere.

I will say that the main themes of the drama are honor, loyalty to fellow warriors, love of country, and a warrior’s fight for justice for all people.  As such, I think this drama best exemplifies what I feel about the years I served on active duty.

So, for a small Veteran’s Day treat, I’m presenting a YouTube Video which gives the English and Chinese names of all 108 heroes, accompanied by the excellent theme music from the CCTV mini-series.  What makes this movie so poignant for me is the thought that the fight for justice for all people is about as old as the human race, and we still don’t get it.  I guess, if the human race ever did get it, there’d be no more grey-haired veterans sitting around swapping stories about the good old days in the < name the service branch they fought in >.

So to all my fellow veterans, and to those still serving, have a great Veteran’s Day.  We’ve earned one day a year for ourselves.

The Outlaws of the Marsh

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