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Finale

April 15, 2009

So I am well aware that over this semester I have been slacking on these blogs and that technically they were due last night but im banking on the fact that you havent checked mine yet.

I guess for the finale were supposed to write about our overall thoughts on the class and the who idea of blogging. I think that the idea of doing a blog for a class is a new change however I do not consider myself computer savvy therefore looking at everyone elses blogs, i get embaressed by how uncool mine is. I still dont know how to do anything but insert links and we have people imbedding videos into the blog.

For the class as a whole, I feel I leared quite a bit which is surprising because critical thinking is not my forte. I had a hard time making it through almost all of the books and the deep ideas and connections that everyone made were often unssen by me. I guess I would consider myself more of a concrete thinker?

This semester, my favorite book we read was Maus. It was my first graphic novel and I thought it really helped me to envision what the author was talking about, a problem which I have when reading books like the Vonneguts’ Slaughterhouse Five.

Going through everyone elses blogs and reading what they said was a lot of fun. Definatly more fun than writing my own blogss I like to see how others think and see the immense differences of their styles compared to mine. Overall, for as dark of a class as this is, I would recommend it to some of my friends who would be able to handle to reading workload.

As a professor, you were great. You seem to really have a passion that shows in your speaking. Thanks for the semester!

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April 15, 2009

I hope that everyone knows of the horrors that people endured while imprisoned in German extermination camps during the Nazi reign in World War II. Weve read about it many times during this course and have seen a film about it.

I also hope that people know that we Americans, during World War II also had our own types of camps with foreign only prisoners. These camps were not full of death however they did contain many harsh, hard living situations. Jews nor Gypsies were not the peope imprisoned though, the people who spent night and day in these internment camps were Japanese. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor the government rounded up many Japanese, men, women, and children, and placed them behind bars.

The book titles Night by Elie Wilson is a memoir (kind of) of a boy living in a Nazi concentration camp. We hear him nararrate his life from the time before his homeland of Hungaria was occumpied, through the invasion, and through his capture and delivery to Birkenau and then Auschwitz.

The horrors that everyday life had for Elizer are unimaginable. The narrations written in the book make you hate the Nazis, however the point of this blog is emaine that we American’s did close to the same thing to the Japanese. Millblogging.com  is a blog that military members, old and new, can write in for the world to see. While going through this I found a blog by a man with the name Ernie Helms. He is an ex Army man who’s father fought in World War II. His piece titles One in the Same talks about the stories his father told him about the Japanese camps. He went to say that although he loves America, as his father often said, he thinks that our creation of camps for the Japanese crossed the same lines that the creation of camps by the Germans crossed.

He mentioned how the Japanese were not being systematically killed but they did have far below average and comfordable living conditons. I asked myself are we both one in the same? I came up with the answer no, our prisoners were kept alive, we werent working to exterminate a whole populations. However I wish I would have learned more about this before coming to college.

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April 15, 2009

Last week in class we watched Tom Cruise’s Movie Born on the Fourth of July in which he is a Vietnam Veteran who undergoes major life changes after serving in the war, getting injured and spending time in the military hospital, then coming home. He ends up at the hospital because while in the war zone he was shot multiple times. Previous to this there was a powerful scene where Tom’s character is in the same war zone, and a fire fight ensues. He notices that many of the people killed in the village were civilians, women and children. This same scene shows Tom become disoriented when he become a pawn in a large fight, he is able to escape over a hill where is loses sight due to the sun and accidently shoots and kills a fellow soldier.

The next scene shows Tom going to his commanding officer talking to him about the event and what he feels he did. The commanding officer said he did nothing of the sort and that he needed to forget about it. This reminds me of the NFL player Pat Tillman whom left his cushy career to fight in Afghanistan. After some time it was found out that he was killed by friendly fire.

The point of this post though is to examine military hospitals. Since we didnt get to watch the entire movie, when I got home that night I went and looked it up on IMDB.com. There is a portion I came to user comments about the movie and after searching through them I came across a particular post

“The most accurate part of the movie is the poor state of affairs that existed in the VA hospitals at that time. It certainly was not unusual for Vietnam combat vets to lay in their vomit/crap because of the low number of medical personnel available. I was wounded twice, and spent my time seeing this. During one of my stays in the VA hospital in Memphis, TN, I remember visiting the quadriplegic ward. Many of those guys were so grateful just to be moved around so they could have a different view.”

This is ridiculous, these people are fighting for our country. These people are why we are safe. We couldn’t even staff hospitals to take care of these men and women whom were injured so men who weren’t there could put food on their plates?

Searching though the RSS feed I came across a twitter that contained the site letterstosoldiers.org. The point of this is for people to send in letters and mail and care packages and they are delivered to people whom are injured in hospitals. These are people whom are fighting in this most current war. I feel organizations such as this are very important to the moral of soldiers and it reminded me of why my Fraternity does for soldiers during Christmas Time. We run an event called “Trees for the Troops” in which we let people write nice letters and we mail them overseas to people.

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April 14, 2009

Carnage of the Mind is a blog by a registered nurse named Clara Hart. In her blog she talks about how she was working at a hospitle and came across a man whom had Post Traumatic Stress Disorcer (PTSD), a disorder that is common for soldiers whom have seen first hand the brutal acts of war. This man, who’s name we never find out fought back in the Vietnam war and was still suffering from its effects. I know this to be true because I had a teacher in high school once have a flash back while still in the classroom. He was walking inbetween some desks when a book fell and hit the ground making a large booming noise. The teahcer immediatly hit the group and covered himself and stayed there for a minute or two until he realised where he was. The rest of the class period he was very sweaty and kept apologizing to us.

Reading this blog I felt bad for the man. He seemed to still hold close to himself the idea that men shouldnt cry or really show emotion. Although he did admit to speaking with a specialist.

I laid my hand on his shoulder and asked him if he was talking with anyone.

“Absolutely!” came his quick response. “But ya know, it’s hard.  It’s embarrassing for an old guy like me to lose it and bawl like a baby.”

“You realize that’s what it takes to heal, don’t you?” I asked him.”

Of our readings so far this semester, this made me think of Tim O’Briens book The Things They Carried which talked about various aspects of the Vietnam war. Specifically the chapter “The Man I Killed” stuck out to me. The images in that chapter made me squeamish and I was only reading it, I can almost guarantee the man in the blod saw or participated in the same events. Its really sad that people had to see these things.

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April 14, 2009

In wars of the past, the ways that soldiers were able to communitcate to the homefront was limited by technology. In World War I soldiers only had the ability to write and receive handwritten letters. The time it took for the letters to be delivered back home or to the soldier from home took a long time. During the second World War soldiers and those on the home front had available to them was handwritten or typed letters and vmail which was a form of condensded letter writing which made it easier and mroe convenient for those who brought to letters to and from the war front.

Soldiers of today now have the ability to email, blog, or use a computer to get ahold of loved ones. However convenient it may be though, personally I think that no real emotion can be shown by typing or emailing. Its more personal to have a note hand written. Since You Went Away World War II Letters from American Women on the Home Front by Judy Litoff and David Smith shows mailings back and forth (in most cases) between men and women during World War II.

When reading military blogs from sites like Millblogging.com and The Sandbox we can see what life is like for those individuals who are overseas fighting for the freedom of all humans. Life over there is hard and this is a way for them to release. I really like the idea of sites like these being set up for soldiers, I think in the long run we may see less side effects dealing with behavior because of it.

A blog that I found particularly sad was one recently added to millblogging.com was one of several soldiers whom were killed in a suicide attack. One of their fellow brothers in arms wrote about it. Here is an except “PV2 Bryce E. Gautier a Combat Medic who was based in Mosul, Iraq, was killed by a suicide bomber last week.  He was one of five soldiers killed when the Suicide attack occurred.  Bryce regularly wrote on his MySpace blog where he shared his military experience with friends and family.”

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April 14, 2009

I am sure we all know directly or through a friend someone who has been in the military and specifically seen combat. Experiences are always the same im guessing, though the war/fight/conflict changes. One way that a specific friend of mine who spent a year and a half in Iraq deals with his emotions is to write. He writes about his experiences, he writes about the letters he got from those he knows and those he had never met, while he was deployed.

Since You Went Away World War II Letters from American Women on the Home Front by Jusy Litoff and David Smith is a compilation of letters sent from women to their sons, lovers, husbands, ect, and in some cases their replies. While searching through the RSS feeder I came across an article and a blog which reminded me of this book. Experience WWI in ‘Real Time’ is a article from the Christian Science Monitor newspaper. It deals with a man whom back in 2006 found his grandfathers written experiences of WWI. These experiences can be read at WWI: Experiences of an English Soldier. It seems that his memoirs are in the form of letters he sent to two specific people, Jack and Kate. In his letters he discusses his everyday doings and it seem’s that Harry was a cook. Many of his letters reflect this and talk about his cooking.

Unfortunatly we do not get to see any of the letters that Jake and Kate sent Harry while he was overseas during WWI. I can only imagine though what they would say. They were both close to him as he signed his letters to them, speaking of love. After reading the original article, we come to find out that the authors blog is a giant story in itself. He periodically posts the letters and doesnt reveal much about Harry other than what you read. In fact, we dont even know if Harry survived WWI, the answer will come at a later date.

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April 14, 2009

For todays class, we had to have read A Long Way Gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier which is a book by Ishmael Beah. In this book we learn that Beah was a child soldier and had to see things that no one should, at such a young age. Child soldiers are not common in our parts of the world, so I find it particularly hard to understand. While reading the book I felt grief for the people involved.

While searching on the RSS I came across an article about the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group, who utilizes child soldiers. The article Sri Lanka’s Tigers Deny War Crimes came up. It comes from the Arab network Al Jazeera and discusses their actions. They are a rebel group fighting for their land in a war torn country. I learned a great deal about this group in me CJ 450 Terrorism class with Dr. Jonathon White a few years back. Many films, such as Blood Diamond and Lord of War, show references to children fighting in their countries conflicts.

The Tamil Tigers are like the rebel groups of Sierra Leone in the way they use children to fight. They give them drugs and alcohol in order to make them feel invincible. They brain wash them into thinking the same. Although it is known that the Tigers use children to fight, they always deny the claims. According to the articles authors, over six thousand childen have been abducted and used to fight since 2002. I feel for what Ishmael and these children go through, I only wish the world would stop this constant battle we are in.

Ishmael’s story is a sad one. The things he went through and saw, I wish that for no person. However it does have what I would describe a happy ending. He survived and made something out of his life. When everything seemed to be working to bring him down, he rose up like a phoenix out of the ashes.