Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009: Applebee’s and Rudyard Kipling

As Marines, we get a full two-day boost of testosterone and nostalgia each November - the Marine Corps birthday is November 10th, and Veterans’s Day is November 11th (and, as one version of the saying goes, there are no ex-Marines, only Marines no longer on active duty). Having already been pleased this past summer that all veterans can get 10% every purchase at Lowe’s EVERY DAY (unlike the holiday-only veteran’s discount at Home Depot), I was - belatedly, too late to take advantage of it - pleased to learn Applebee’s is giving all veterans and active duty military personnel a free choice of six of their basic entrees.

I could have had one of my semi-annual steaks today. If I knew where there was an Applebees around here. No where here in the city for sure, maybe our in the ‘burbs. Funny thing is, as much this may cost them, I don’t see that they’re being too strict about it. The official details state that their standards of “Identification” are pretty loose:
Applebee’s Veteran’s Discount Identification Requirement

“Photograph in uniform?” Does she qualify? I wonder if they report how many vets took them off on this offer.

I probably read less than five poems a year, and most of those are random stuff in the New Yorker just remind myself that I hate that crap. But this morning, I pulled my Rudyard Kipling book down and re-read Tommy, his testament to the two-faced attitude towards men in uniform under the British Empire. A representative stanza of the whole thing is:
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?"
But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.
The official - I guess its official - web site for Kipling has some great information about this poem. One interesting tidbit is that the newsletter of the Veteran’s Law Section of the Federal Bar is called Tommy after this poem. The web page also includes both a similar sentiment in verse that preceded Kipling’s take on treatment of members of the military:
In times of war, and not before,
God and the soldier men adore;
When the war is o’er and all things righted,
The Lord’s forgot and the soldier slighted.
And part of a modern update:
O then we're just like 'eroes from the army's glorious past.
Yes, it's "God go with you, Tommy," when the trip might be your last.
They pays us skivvy wages, never mind we're sitting ducks,
When clerks what's pushing pens at 'ome don't know their flippin' luck.
"Ah, yes" sez they "but think of all the travel to be 'ad."
Pull the other one. Does Cooks do 'olidays in Baghdad?
It's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, know your place,"
But it's "Tommy, take the front seat," when there's terrorists to chase.
Amen. Of course in legal education, the professors don’t advocate chasing down the terrorist: they would prefer that the a lawsuit be brought against the Taliban in the International Court of Justice under the 1971 United Nation Convention on Aviation Sabotage. (And some day, I swear, I will find that listserv posting where this was urged.) What’s the corporate agent for the service of process for the Taliban? How would the U.S. go about requesting the execution of a summary judgement after they don’t show up?

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