veterans

Carla Lewis, a 44-year-old trans woman in Tennessee who served in the U.S. military, shared this photo on her Facebook recently. The photo says it all. (via the Huffington Post)

[Image: A selfie of a woman with short blonde hair and a serious look on her face. She’s wearing a military-green shirt that says “Transgender Veteran: I fought for your right to hate me” with the trans symbol inside a pink triangle.]

RIP to all the young black and brown kids, who were specifically targeted by recruiters because they knew there weren’t many other options. RIP to all the poor high schoolers who joined for a regular paycheck and a supposedly “honorable” job. RIP to all the brown folks who found themselves in another country killing people who looked just like them. RIP to all the black and brown kids who joined for a chance to further their education, who never saw their dreams realized. #Hate it!

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After Trumps’s announcement, 8-year-old Sofia was scared the army would take her away. Some military veterans responded in a beautiful way

“She ran to me with a look of absolute fear on her face,” Melissa told Upworthy. It was the first time that it really drove home to me that we’re in a dangerous place right now.

Melissa told Upworthy she is incredibly moved by the show of support for her daughter.“I have probably received close to 500 messages from various people in our military, from just people,”

“Christians, atheists, Jews, every walk of life, every stage, have reached out to Sofia and I with overwhelming support and love.”

Sofia now knows there’s an army of her fellow Americans who have her back.

Peek’s message came through loud and clear: No matter what Donald Trump says that makes Muslim-Americans feel unsafe and unwanted, there are men and women in America’s armed forces who won’t stand for it.


Trump is starting to sound a lot like Hitler, the greatest terrorist that ever existed. What’s next? Concentration camps for Muslims? Far out man, leave us alone.

Hats off to the amazing veterans for their message!  #Love it!

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Finding Adventure After Service with Veteran @dcwriley

For more of Daniel’s adventures, follow @dcwriley on Instagram.

Daniel Riley (@dcwriley) doesn’t feel disabled — at least not when he’s running a marathon, surfing, skydiving, skiing or riding a mountain bike. But Daniel is a double amputee; he lost both legs as a 25-year-old Marine, in a bomb blast in Afghanistan. He had served one tour in Iraq when he volunteered to go to Helmand province to join one of the infantry units that had lost troops as combat intensified.

“The guys in my squad and platoon were professionals,” Daniel says. “I served with some of the hardest and toughest men on the planet. And on the morning of December 16, 2010, that professionalism saved my life.”

In the wake of more than 20 surgeries, sports — and the freedom of being outdoors and active — became a critical part of Daniel’s recovery. “Waking up in a hospital bed and looking down at bandaged bloody stumps, it was easy to say my life was over. However, trying — even when failing miserably — all these sports has led me to do more than I had ever done with legs.”

Now a 30-year-old college student in Colorado, Daniel reflects on coming home from war. “My generation of veterans struggles with being heard. I deployed to combat twice, but that’s not unique. I have many friends who served two, three — and even seven deployments. I sustained life-altering wounds, but again I’m not unique and others have sustained worse. None of this was done for fame and glory, and we would do it all over again. All we ask is that you don’t forget about us.”

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Don’t Take Away Veteran’s Freeeedooooom!!! — The Battle of Athens, 1946.

McKinn County, Tennessee was certainly a very corrupt county back in the 1940’s.  Essentially the county was controlled by two men, Paul Cantrell and Pat Mansfield.  Paul Cantrell was a fatcat bigwig born into money who used his wealth and influence to become sheriff in 1936.  In 1942 he was elected to state senate, and groomed his deputy Pat Mansfield to become sheriff.  A 1941 law reduced the number of voting precincts from 23 to 12, and the number of justices of the peace from 14 to 7.  With his influence, Cantrell was able to tweek the law so that voting precincts that contained his main opposition were eliminated, and he then proceeded to pack remaining offices with his supporters.  Finally, it was quite clear that Cantrell often resorted to voting fraud. Due to voter complaints he was investigated three times by the Federal Government, however he was able to get away scot free due to his connections within the Roosevelt Administration. Records later revealed that Federal investigators had found numerous abuses, but no action had been taken.

Cantrell set up a system in which his deputies were paid based on the number of arrests, citations, and incarcerations they made.  As a result, the deputies set up a racket in which they would arrest numerous people, often with trumped up charges or for minor offenses.  They would even stop and board buses traveling through the county, ticketing or arresting passengers for offenses real or imagined. They especially liked to raid busses on long trips, as they could arrest the sleepy passengers, exhausted from their journey, and book them for public drunkenness. Eventually, the McKinn County Sheriffs department were arresting 115 people per weekend. In the meantime illegal prostitution, gambling, liquor, and organized crime thrived as they bribed the deputies to leave them alone.

In 1946, after serving a brief stint in the state senate, Cantrell ran for Sheriff again.  He set up Pat Mansfield to take his place in the state senate.  For Cantrell the election should have been an easy win, were it not for 3,000 battle hardened veterans who were returning from World War II. The vets found themselves victims of Cantrell’s policing scheme, who saw the returning servicemen as more income for their scheme. McKinn County veterans had not gone overseas to fight fascism, only to have it take hold in their own hometowns. In response the veterans formed the GI Non-Partisan League, running a decorated combat veteran named Knox Henry in opposition to Cantrell. Their goal was to end Cantrell’s control over the county, institute honest elections, and clean up county government.

Election day came on August 1st, 1946.  Cantrell called in 200 deputies from other counties to patrol the county.  Many were stationed at the voting place itself, where they intimidated and harassed voters.  A black man was even shot and wounded by a deputy when voting.  When the elections were over, the deputies did the unexpected, rather than turning the ballet box over to county officials for counting, they seized the ballot box and locked it away in their jail in the town of Athens, barricading the jail with 55 armed deputies.  To the people of McKinn County, it was clear that shenanigans were afoot. For the veterans, this was the straw that broke the camels back.

Hundreds of veterans took up arms, either their own personal firearms or weapons from a local National Guard Armory, and surrounded the jail, demanding the deputies surrender the ballot box.  A gunfight ensued leading to several injuries but no deaths.  When the veterans blew the jail door with dynamite, the deputies surrendered.  The ballots were counted, and the GI Non-Partisan League had swept the election.  Cantrell and Pat Mansfield resigned, as did most officials who had been appointed by both.  While the GI Non-Partisan league passed some reforms, such as a $5,000 salary cap, unfortunately the movement was just a short term fad, and politics as usual returned within a few years.

My day at the VA was absolute hell and here’s a quick rant about their policies...

I know a lot of y'all watch The Daily Show or are at least aware of it. Months ago before Stewart left the show he covered a lot of the VA’s fuckery. The lost records, the backlog, the months and years it takes to process shit, etc. One of the things he covered was the ABSOLUTE NONSENSE policy about “if you’re within 40 miles of the nearest VA facility as the crow flies the VA won’t send/cover you seeing a civilian for any issue”

This included, for example, a veteran who had to make a 3 hour drive for chemotherapy because TECHNICALLY he had a VA clinic within 40 miles… but that VA clinic didn’t have chemo. So because he has A BUILDING, doesn’t matter WHICH, the VA won’t cover his chemotherapy closer to home at a non-VA facility.

Jon Stewart making this policy public made the VA update one big thing… the “as the crow flies” shit. Because they were figuring 40 miles in, like, a direct path and roads don’t work like that.

Great, ONE good update.

Just so y'all know, all the REST of that shit? STILL APPLIES.

The clinic within 40 miles of me doesn’t have physical therapy. The hospital over 40 miles away DOES. If I need physical therapy, the VA will not cover me doing it closer to home because the clinic that DOESN’T OFFER THAT SERVICE is close to me.

*sighs*

I wish I had… I don’t know. Reach? Political influence? A more powerful voice? I wish I could spread this like wildfire, get politicians to listen to actual veterans instead of just using us as talking points while supporting policies that fuck us over. I feel frustrated and helpless. I’ll say this, the actual DOCTORS? The nurses, and other healthcare people inside the VA? Are just as frustrated and they KNOW it’s bullshit but their hands are tied.

We’re tired. Veterans are so… tired. I want to fight this, make a stand. But I also don’t want to be a goddamn target. I’m in daily pain and adding the inevitable harassment of a veteran making a stand, much less a young female veteran who wasn’t in “long enough” for some other shitty vets and pro-military-hoorah people to count as a “real” vet (fuck me for getting hurt early on, right? Totally my fault there)

Yeah. So there’s that. Fun times. Fun fucking times.