Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. And Coast Guard. I guess I didn’t realize that the Coast Guard was formally included with this group, but they are. In fact, on their web page (http://www.uscg.mil/), they keep repeating over and over that they ARE, indeed, the fifth branch of the armed forces. While we’re at “peace” they act on their own, but while we’re at “war”, they function as a specialized service for the Navy. I never knew that.
The Coast Guard (affectionately known as “Coasties”) set up shop in 1790 and was the only floating safety net we had as a young nation. I think the world was still flat back then. However, their duty to protect was overshadowed when that crazy Navy came along just eight years later. The Coast Guard has had to deal with this Navy bully for the past 200+ years, but they’ve yet to back down. Coasties protect us at all times: halting the flow of illegal drugs, aliens, and contraband into the United States through maritime routes; (b) preventing illegal fishing; and (c) suppressing violations of federal law in the maritime arena. I just had this crazy vision of Osama bin Laden doing some illegal fishing… I hope the Coast Guard catches him. This coup would catapult the Coast Guard into the superstardom of Homeland Security and maybe, just maybe, finally earn them the respect they deserve.
I could never be in the Armed Forces. There are several reasons: a) I’m too old; b) I have a legitimate medical issue; c) I don’t LOVE guns (but am an excellent shot); d) I hate sand; and e) I could NEVER keep a secret. Oh, I can keep little secrets, but those that are classified as supersize top secret, forget it. I’d be bursting to tell someone. A dear friend of mine was a big deal in the Navy a while back. He took me aboard a ship and showed me around. I was dying to receive some classified information, but, of course, he denied me. Mostly because he knows me and realizes I have no capacity to keep a secret, but also because he was just doing his job. He wasn’t supposed to tell so he didn’t. Silly rule follower. Secrets are to be divulged. And I’m not going to tell anyone. Well, maybe that creepy hairy guy that I’m out doing some illegal fishing with. Just kidding.
Also, while I was poking around on the Coast Guard’s web site, I found that one can actually BUY a lighthouse! The US Coast Guard and the US Lighthouse Service merged in 1939 (the year thatÂ The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind were released). There are even some lighthouses for sale! My Ohio friends will be glad to know that one is available in their fine state. Click here for details: https://extportal.pbs.gsa.gov:443/ResourceCenter/PRHomePage/loadProperty.do?propId=6978
And did you know that the Statue of Liberty is considered to be a lighthouse? I didn’t know this, either. I’m finding that I’m pretty dumb when it comes to basic knowledge of my country. That’s a true blue shame. But I do know that Ohio has 88 counties (thank you, Mr. Smith – eighth grade Ohio History teacher). And it is clear that my knowledge of Ohio having 88 counties serves some purpose. It’s yet to be determined but I know it will come in handy someday. Maybe it’ll be the million dollar question on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”? If I win, I’m buying that lighthouse.
If you know a “Coastie”, call ’em up and thank them for their service. And tell them that Osama is out looking for Chilean Seabass.
More tomorrow. 🙂