Lest we forget
November 11, 2010 3:13 PM   Subscribe

"A pious, peaceful man, York had fought his country's enemy only after great deliberation and had to be convinced that war was sometimes necessary."1 On this day let us remember Sergeant York.
1 Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism By Michael E. Birdwell.
posted by unliteral (14 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The surest way to make war inevitable is to believe that it is 'sometimes necessary.'
posted by wadefranklin at 3:25 PM on November 11, 2010 [4 favorites]

this pleases me.
posted by ms.jones at 3:26 PM on November 11, 2010

Birdwell! My mentor & historian friend.
posted by ms.jones at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

During World War II he urged the internment of aliens, particularly the Japanese who "whether native or foreign born, all look alike and we can't take any chances." In the late 1940s he called for toughness in dealing with Russia and did not hesitate to recommend using the atomic bomb in a first strike: "If they can't find anyone else to push the button, I will."
posted by Joe Beese at 3:30 PM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]

TOTALLY off topic, but

"I mean, there are two Darren Stevens, right? Dick York and Dick Sargeant. Shyeah, right, as if we wouldn't notice. Oh, hold on! Dick York, Dick Sergeant, Sergeant York... Wow, that's weird."
posted by trialex at 3:45 PM on November 11, 2010 [5 favorites]

Right, Joe Beese. Next you'll tell me that the Trail of Tears was so-named because Pecos Bill spanked the injun chief so hard he cried all the way across the desert, and that Paul Bunyan advocated the systematic slaughter of American wild buffalo for fun.
posted by jabberjaw at 3:55 PM on November 11, 2010

Sorry, my favorite veteran will always be Stubby the Military Dog.
posted by cog_nate at 4:39 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Of course, some of later those statements should be tempered by the fact that he had significant health problems by that point, including multiple strokes.

"in 1948 he had a stroke. More strokes and another case of pneumonia followed, and he was confined to bed from 1954, further handicapped by failing eyesight."
posted by jedicus at 5:00 PM on November 11, 2010

The surest way to make war inevitable is to believe that it is 'sometimes necessary.'

Likewise, the surest way to make war necessary is to believe that it isn't inevitable...
posted by vorfeed at 5:32 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have nothing to add other than that by strange coincidence, I currently find myself at the historic Yorktowne Hotel in York, PA for the first time in my life, and this is the first post I saw.

As you were.
posted by muckster at 5:33 PM on November 11, 2010

Sorry, my favorite veteran will always be Stubby the Military Dog

No love for Wojtek?
posted by shinybaum at 6:20 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I hope you folks don't mind a slight derail but I'd like to share a little "war" story with you, since it's Veteran's Day and whatnot.

I was in the army during the Gulf War, positioned somewhere up in the middle of Iraq. We had taken in a few POWs who were starving to death and had been eating soap and whatever else that was kinda food-like to ease the pain in their stomachs. When the "war" was officially over the occupying forces left with great haste leaving behind tons of consumable, not accounted for material...mostly food.

Not knowing how long we would be in the field doing push-pull support, we loaded up our shitty deuce and a halfs with cases of MREs and some little canned things, "luncheables" to support ourselves. As we headed south toward Saudi Arabia we found thousands of Iraqi troops walking and staggering along the roads headed north towards their homes. Their supply lines had been devastated weeks prior to the start of the actual war...they were all starving too, just like our POWs had been.

So you know what happens next. We couldn't stop, we were in a huge-ass convoy, but we dumped over all of our cargo. We tried to keep a kind of flow so that everyone on the road could get a meal. Someone even mentioned that it might not be cool that the "luncheables" had ham in them. I figured, fuck it, ham is better than starving. In just a few hours our trucks were empty and thousands had been fed.

I hope somebody enjoys that little story.

/end crazy Vet guy
posted by snsranch at 6:29 PM on November 11, 2010 [16 favorites]

my uncle was P.O.W. ww2. we would go to a service every Veterans day when he lived by me. Half my family is in the military and ms. clav has 3 members deployed. but it is about the dead. Uncle and i both liked movies and would watch one every vets day. 'full metal jacket' (he loved). 'strangelove'. some capra and one year the last was ' SGT. York' with Gary, 'hes the commie' Cooper. We just burst out laughing at times. I cant judge that since he is gone.
If, ya know, I know he would remember this.

"yaz gots ta figh Ale-von, its yer gawt givn dudy"
posted by clavdivs at 7:25 PM on November 11, 2010

Gotta say, Birdwell is a kick-ass guy and amazing historian.
posted by komara at 9:16 PM on November 11, 2010

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