Arlo’s Veterans Day

This is something I made sure to rescue from the old site: after the first time I posted the 1996 sequence with Arlo’s father, somebody asked me to re-post it every year.

Unfortunately all your comments are gone.


arlo 11-16-96

From 2003:

aj6 2003

From 1985:



  1. As far as I know, none of my immediate relatives served overseas. My dad was too young for the Korean war, and was out of the navy before Vietnam started. However, I remember getting some insight into WWII from an old high school gym teacher who served in the Pacific. The most vivid detail was when somebody (most likely me) asked him whether he had killed anyone, and he held up three fingers. He went into a little detail after that (which I’ve long since forgotten), but when he held up those fingers, I got the impression that he felt very much like Arlo’s father in the sequence above.

  2. It’s not surprising that Arlo’s dad has a cat. As I recall, Ludwig’s name has something to do with experiences Jimmy Johnson’s father had in WWII and I think a cat they had when JJ was a kid.

    Like Kilby, my family has mostly missed armed conflicts, always being too young or too old. My father came within a few hours of going to Viet Nam. He was in the Naval Reserve and had been out of work for several months. He was going to put in his activation papers and probably would have served as a medic with a Marine unit. But he got a job offer while on the way to the reserve station. My mother had to call him there and tell him not to do it.

  3. Even if we had someone who was wizard enough to distill the comments from the old thread out of the Wayback Machine, it probably would involve too much effort to import them into the new template. Therefore, it seems proper to strike a word from the old quote: in this case, “bis repetita non placent“.

  4. Thanks for sharing this, Bill. It was a deliberate act to remember; that’s more than I can say for most people. But then, what do I know? “War is good business. Invest your sons.”

  5. Lately, when i think about the fourth comic. it’s been resonating with me in another way:

    I am the child of a (Class of ’39) refugee. If my father’s family hadn’t won what amounted to another sort of lottery, I wouldn’t be here. My brothers wouldn’t be here, and my sons, nieces and nephews wouldn’t be here.

    And I know I’m far from alone

  6. My father was in the Air Force during the Korean conflict. He helped keep Thule Greenland safe from the Commie Menace. I was a bit too young for Vietnam, in fact I was of the first that never had to register for the draft.

  7. I remember sitting in the tv lounge at college, watching the lottery and thinking, “Now I’m going to find out if my brother is going to die in Vietnam.” I felt so guilty when I realized he wasn’t, because I cheered.

  8. You are, of course, correct, Andrea. And I apologize. I was using the slogan as it existed during the Vietnam War. But daughters died then, as well.

  9. 2003 resonates for me. I was one of the lucky ones to win the lottery too. I was 127 and they stopped at 95. Don’t ever tell me I’m not lucky.

  10. I’m glad to see this here. That series of strips says so very much. I find it a relief from what seems to a glamorization of war that has been going on for the last 15 or 16 years.

  11. I think I mentioned in a recent post that Robert’s grandfather was in Mexico in WWI under General Pershing. His dad was in WWII in India.

    As far as I know,neither of my grandfathers was in WWI. Dad was on the young end for WWII and was in some sort of special engineering training program when the war ended. I have been researching what seems to be the program online, but it seems to end a year or so too early, so it may be the wrong one. He was sent to Fordham University (in the Bronx). The same program existed in other places and Mel Brooks was sent to VMI under what seems to be the same program (they brag about it on the tour of VMI which is how I know about it. So dad went a camp in North Carolina for basic training and then was sent back to NYC for this program.

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