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July 22, 2005

How do you know you live in an Army town?

Or any military town, really? And of late - this includes "Guard and Reserve Towns." In comparison to non-military towns...

1. More people per capita keep an eye on news of the world than in other places.

2. Kids know a lot of those countries their peers have never heard of or couldn't find on a map... because they've either lived there, visited, or Mom and/or Dad has.

3. They are more aware of national politics.

4. They are more aware of international politics.

5. But you make a mistake if you make assumptions about *their* politics.

6. While they look like any other kids in dress and sound like them in speech... if you bother to *listen* to them... they knowledgeably talk about things many adults are clueless about.

7. Yeah, there's the pawn shops, the surplus stores, and all that other stuff. But it's always the people that strike me. Not better, not worse... but if you *listen*... they are different.

Junction City, Kansas, is an Army town. Right outside the gates of Fort Riley, and Junction has been an Army town for a long time. There is a house on post called "Custer House." Because it was his. There is a long standing joke (undeserved, but when has *that* stopped us?) when dealing with the Installation Staff as a commander... "Yeah, the last thing Custer said before he rode out for Little Big Horn was, "Don't change anything until I get back!" And boy do they follow orders!" The first Territorial Capitol building of the Kansas Territory is on Fort Riley. While it has been home to many storied Regiments and Divisions, it is most closely identified with the 1st Infantry Divsion, which, unless the BRAC panel changes things, will be reassembling all it's component units at Fort Riley again. Well, except for those deployed to the Rock Pile, Sandbox, or wherever...

So, what are some of the visual cues?

When you have a parade, and there is a Junior ROTC unit in it.

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In your park, you have the Civil War Memorial... but you also have the other war memorials... including more recent ones.

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With an emphasis on Regular divisions, not Guard and Reserve Divisions (no disrespect, they bleed as red, but their towns, especially now that the geographic areas they draw from are so large, aren't the same).

But perhaps the biggest sign you are in an Army town right now is that they have Memorial Parks like these...

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With lots of stuff like this...

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And full of markers like this - with the names of people who weren't orginally *from here*...

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And yet, your local artists community is far more likely to produce something like this:

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Than they are something like this...

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More about that, can be found here.

Hat tip to Larry K, reader of the Castle, provider of Kewl Pics®, proud resident of Junction City, Kansas, Happy Husband® of Brenda, and the prouder father of a Coast Guardsman.

John | Permalink | Comments (8) | Spirit of America
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