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Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’

Flag of the United States on American astronau...

Flag of the United States on American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s space suit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having spent a good part of last week and this weekend listening to the news channels practically all day, the word radicalization kept popping up.  This is not a word we use in our everyday conversation and so its use stood out in broadcast.  Of course its use and application in this instance made it all the more prominent.

It got me thinking about another word that is used again and again in news broadcasts: Embedded.  You hear this word whenever the news is about a war or war zone.  It refers to a journalist or reporter who is traveling along with a platoon or regiment and he or she are embedded with the troops.

Interesting that these two words stand out to me and I am trying to think of some more words that have been co-opted into a use other than perhaps their original meaning and intent.  Sadly, these two words apply to our state of the world where terrorism, unrest, war and strife are often front page news.

I grew up in the 50’s and other than listening to war stories from my Dad, I don’t remember any new words creeping into our vernacular.  Well let me amend that by adding astronaut, cosmonaut, sputnik and muttnik were certainly words I had not encountered up to the point when the USSR and the USA  began to race to space.  

The next influx of terms and words that I remember coming into everyday use, came as a result of the Vietnam War.  Napalm, Agent Orange, guerilla warfare are just a few that come to mind (it was a long time ago).  Again the language of war!  So sad that it is under severe circumstances that the new words appear or the old ones take on a nuance, we’ve not acknowledged before.

Of course the technology of the late 70’s and 80’s and 90’s has brought us not only words but a whole new language.  Gigabytes, megabytes, micro chips, HTML, beta, VCR, CD, DVD, Tivo, hard drive, software, hardware, firewall, spam, and on and on.  I know a whole blog post could be created just with the language of technology – I could start with Hi-Fi !!

Other than the slang of youth, their own mis-use and/or decision to re-invent a meaning of a word (i.e. like, random, down, sick) and so on, I wonder what other words have come into our daily vernacular?  What words do you know or remember as taking on a new meaning or were or are being used on a much more regular basis?  PLEASE let us all know.  I just dashed this blog post off this morning without much aforethought and no research so would greatly appreciate reader input!!

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Book given to U.S. veterans in 1919 to help th...

Book given to U.S. veterans in 1919 to help them readjust to civilian life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or for that matter, the hundreds of thousands of U.S. Veterans we hail JUST for returning.  We salute the Veterans of all wars; today the oldest living veterans are from World War IIThe Big One, as my parents generation referred to the war that shaped and altered their lives.  That war brought about many changes in life as they knew it.  My father and his friends grew up in an America that was growing industrially and agriculturally and with an ever-expanding middle class. Most were raised by frugal parents (my grandparents) who remembered all too clearly the sufferings of the Great Depression.  However, their lives were not overshadowed by nuclear threat and they were the children of a people who were thrilled and excited to be in the United States and imbued their children with a love of their newly-adopted country.  And so their sons went to war.  Most of those remaining veterans are now in their 80’s.  My dad died a few years ago and I remember vividly how in the last ten to fifteen years, he spent hours reminiscing about his days aboard a destroyer, how scared he was in the Battle of Leyte, how he and his buddies got drunk in Hawaii and all got tattoos.  I never understood this almost-obsession with the war days.  His life was certainly more than the years he spent in the Navy, but as he got older, he just wanted to talk about the 1940’s.

We also honor the Veterans of the Korean War and the Vietnamese War today.  Those veterans are in my age group; I don’t know any in my present circle of friends so not sure if as we age, they’re going to spend hours discussing those days in Asia.  My brother served in Vietnam as a tail gunner on helicopters, a very hairy position.  He returned home in one piece, at least physically.  However, when they came home, there were no ticker tape parades, there was no big fanfare – I think the best they got was a chance for a VA mortgage.  In the end, although serving your country is always a noble deed, the war itself was not popular and many who were honorably discharged, returned home feeling dishonored.  BUT today, you too are celebrated for your service to our country.

Now we are winding down not one but two wars and our veterans are coming home and many not all in one piece. It is important that we support a government that welcomes these servicemen and women home, that we offer them continuing education and the opportunity to find decent jobs.  Hopefully we have elected a President who will honor these moral obligations and a Congress and Senate that will enact the necessary legislation to make it happen!

I always used to call my Dad on Veteran’s Day because I knew that call was as important to him as one on his birthday.  If you know a veteran, call him or her and thank them!

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