Tag Archives: Cuba

The Medal of Honor from 1871-1917: The Military Honor America Couldn’t Seem To Give Away Fast Enough

“No, seriously, you have to stop printing these like Thin Mints.  What’s it gonna take, an actual major war to make you chill?”

~Smedley Butler, trying to turn down a Medal of Honor in the early 20th century

medal of honor

We’re going to start this one off with a disclaimer—any claims we make regarding the Medal of Honor is a reflection of how politicians and military leaders handed out the honor before we really had any intense modern wars under our belt.  Our servicemen that fought in the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, or the many other excursions where they have put their lives on the line for their brothers and for their country have paid dearly for our benefit, and every single recipient of the Medal of Honor can, at worst, be called a hero (at best they can be called “basically Batman, if Batman could get free beer and deserved gratitude sex whenever they want”).

Even when we make fun of the skirmishes that resulted in Medals of honor being handed out during the time period of 1869 (when we had kind of forgotten what the Civil War was like) to 1917 (when we started World War I and realized, holy shit, this shit is super intense), we’re acknowledging that the soldiers who were awarded did show valor and a love of this country.  They just happened to get an award that was handed out to pretty much anyone who asked for it up until recently.  Let’s put it this way—Congress gave out 1522 Medal of Honors in the Civil War, of which 32 were posthumous.  Now, the American Civil War was a bloody and bitterly fought war, but when you consider the fact that we awarded only 464 during the entirety of World War II (266 posthumously by the way), or that we’ve only given out 16 (7 of which were to fallen soldiers) of these awards in the Afghanistan and Iraqi War combined, you can see how we’ve increasingly made the honor harder and harder to get.  The Congressional Medal of Honor, as we know it know, is the most prestigious and rare award for those who have gone above and beyond their duty to keep freedom within these borders—for those of you with a loose idea of what military action generally means, this is the award a soldier gets when doing something so brave and so intense that, if you saw it in a movie, you’d respond, “Oh, come on, the director’s really taking some liberties with this battle to make it seem more exciting.”

So currently, yes, the Medal of Honor is given out only in the most extraordinary and harrowing cases , but during the time period between the end of the Civil War and start of World War I?  Well, at that point it was more…

The Medal of Honor from 1871-1917: The Military Honor America Couldn’t Seem To Give Away Fast Enough

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The Informative American: CUBA! COMMUNISTS! CAPITALIZED LETTERS! (Originally Published June, 1959)

“This Fidel Castro character won’t last.  That beard is far too absurd.”

~U.S. Politics in the 1950’s

It’s remarkable to think about how things used to put us on edge in the past when they seem pretty innocuous right now.  Similar to looking back at fads you partook in as a child (pogs, anyone?) when you look at what the nation feared years ago, and compare it to how we view them now, it all seems pretty silly.  The most relevant example we as a staff can think of would have to do with the fervor surrounding Fidel Castro and Cuba.

Yes, we get it, having a communist power so close to America during the Cold War’s perpetual game of nuclear chicken was probably very terrifying at the time.  But we’re talking about a man who America unsuccessfully tried to poison the beard of who now is considered such an afterthought that most of you reading this aren’t sure if he’s alive (he is) or if he’s still in power (he is not).

Of course, our stacks of archives from the 1950s remembers everything, and we have no shame about pointing out how incorrect our views were in the 1950’s.  So that is why we present you today with…

The Informative American:  CUBA!  COMMUNISTS!  CAPITALIZED LETTERS!  (Originally Published June, 1959)

 

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America Fun Fact of the Day 11/20- November 20th in American History

“I can’t even think straight I just want to eat Turkey.”

~AFFotd Editor-in-Chief Johnny Roosevelt

Look at that little spot on the map.  the 24th.  Turkey day.  Goddamn it we’re so excited.  Do you know we have someone on staff whose only job is to kill turkeys the week of Thanksgiving?  We only need like, 5 of them to feed the office.  And we pay him $40,000 to do that.  And that’s after he’s explicitly told us he’d do it for free.  We didn’t care.  We wanted to pay him to kill birds for a week.  That’s our right, goddamn it.  It’s our right.

Anyway, here’s what happened today in the past.

Today in American History (America Version)

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America’s Ugliest Vice-Presidents Part 1: #10-6

“Well, uh, that Biden fella is goofy looking and, uh, I believe we should make him the Vice President.”

~President Barack Obama

American Presidents run the gauntlet from “Ugly as sin” to “Your wife would bone him, let’s be honest” as far as physical attractiveness goes.  But, to be President of the world’s greatest nation that only gets better when you remove the letter “e” from its name, you have to have a pretty large, healthy ego.  So, for most Amrrican Presidents, there have been terrifying looking monster serving as their Vice-President.  The more you think about it, the more sense it makes- much like a Bride giving her Maids of Honor ugly dresses to wear, the President wants the Vice-President to be there to make them look good.  As much as her politics, rhetoric, and speeches were incredibly divisive and damaging to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, what really doomed him from the start was that he decided to choose a running mate who makes you feel sort of funny when you see how she looks in a bikini with a gun.  Meanwhile, an old man and a MILF were running against a young man and the puppet from Jeff Dunham’s stand up ventriloquist bits.

Young man with a puppet running mate win every time.

It’s American to be an ugly Vice-President, and honestly, there are so few instances of non-monster-like vice presidents that those that don’t look like a child of Mothra end up having an easy ticket into the White House.  Plus, we’re pretty sure that the only reason Teddy Roosevelt was a Vice-President before becoming President was that he threatened to shoot McKinley if he wasn’t made VP before pointing at his nose and saying, “That’s called foreshadowing, asshole.”

So as the representatives of the pulse of this fine nation, AFFotD is primed to run down a list of the 10 ugliest American Vice-Presidents.  Because even if they achieved more power than we ever can hope to come close to, we can take solace in the fact that no one remembers their names, and they were goofy looking.  Like, really goofy looking.

[editor’s note- though it’s an easy target most people can recognize, we are not putting Dick Cheney on this list, mainly because our research staff found a picture from his High School Yearbook, and the majority of our female staffers said, “Holy shit, I’d actually bang that guy.”]

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