Jim Golby Profile picture
May 27, 2018 22 tweets 9 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
<Thread> #MemorialDay is my least favorite day of the year, and it has been for at least 14 years. I want it to be a day where I honor the lives of the brothers & sisters I’ve lost by celebrating with my friends & family, but I’m not there yet. And I’m not sure I ever will be. 1/
Im working on it. I know that every last one of them would want me, and all of us, to live & celebrate life & make the most of every fleeting minute we have with our friends and families. And they’d want us to be happy this weekend. 2/
But I never am happy on Memorial Day. I feel loss & pain & guilt & shame. I think about my brothers & sisters the whole weekend, and so often throughout the year. I wish they were still here with us. I miss them every day, but especially this weekend. 3/
Every year as a kid, my folks took me to a Memorial Day service at our local cemetery. The ceremonies were solemn, but the symbolism made it almost feel like a celebration. I didn’t, and I couldn’t, understand why the WWII & Korean & Vietnam vets choked back tears. I can now. 4/
I haven’t been to a Memorial Day service since my 1st deployment. I’m embarrassed about that, but I’ve felt the way my soul breaks every time the first shots of the 21-gun salute rip through the air at a funeral. I know I can’t keep it together. Maybe next year. Maybe not. 5/
But I don’t think any of my friends would care about whether I spent my morning at a memorial service. And I know that every last one of them would give me shit for mourning their loss & for crying. And sometimes imaging the things they’d say makes me laugh & smile. 6/
Yet I also still mourn & cry. A lot. Usually when no one can see. Because it’s still hard for me to understand why it was them & not me, and to know what their deaths were for. 7/
With time, though, I’m beginning to realize that the story of what their lives was for isn’t something that’s finished. It’s still being written, and it’s up to us to write it with our own lives every day. 8/
My former boss, @Martin_Dempsey , has spoken eloquently about how we can’t undo the past, but we can #MakeItMatter

If you haven’t heard him talk about this, you should now at the link below. 9/

LTG(Ret) @MarkHertling , who I think also worked for Dempsey, carries out a similar tradition. He calls us to #GoSilent (& does himself) and he remembers those he served with who sacrificed their lives while he commits to #MakeItMatter through his future actions 10/
All of us will #MakeItMatter in our own ways & some of us will #GoSilent, but I’ve got some thoughts I’d like to share about how we can honor the lives and sacrifices of the friends I’ve lost. About how we can #MakeItMatter

I’m speaking for myself, but I think they’d agree. 11/
If you’re a vet or service member struggling with PTSD, anxiety, or depression or other #MentalHealth issues this weekend or anytime, you’re not the only one. I’ve struggled w/ depression & I’ve thought about suicide. So has @iAmTheWarax & many others 12/

Even if you’re not a vet, you might be struggling with loss, pain, or mental health issues. You might have lost someone too. The most powerful msg I’ve heard on loss/grief was when my former boss @JoeBiden talked to families of the fallen (@TAPSorg) 13/

Please reach out if you’re struggling. I wish I’d done so sooner than I did. If you don’t know who to talk to, my DMs are open.

We honor no one by giving up on our own lives. Some of its magic, some of its tragic, but its worth living & fighting. 14/

But @Susan_Hennessey says here, Making It Matter isn’t just about #MemorialDayWeekend or about us. It’s about our future commitments. 15/
So no matter what your views are or whether you support/oppose recent wars, participate in our democracy. Be informed. Exercise your free speech. Honor service members’ sacrifices by ensuring that every sacrifice we ask current/future service members to make is worth it. 16/
If you’re a civilian & you want to thank someone for their service this weekend, that’s ok but know it’s hard for some of us. Don’t be flippant. Ask questions & be willing to listen but know we might not be ready to talk. 17/
If you’re a vet or you’ve lost someone, don’t rant about how it’s inappropriate to say Happy Memorial Day or milsplain the difference between Memorial Day & Veterans’ Day. Be grateful for the support we have & share stories about your friends if you can. 18/
Talking about the brothers & sisters you’ve lost can be hard. It’s tough for me in some cases because I genuinely loved some of the friends I lost. It’s hard in others because a few of the people I lost could be real assholes & the last convo I had with one of them was shit. 19/
But one of the blessings I have is that every time I think about those I’ve lost (even the a-holes) is that I picture them smiling. In fact, the one time I had to personally eulogize one of my soldiers, I spent most of the time talking about his smile. It was so contagious. 20/
I know that every last one of them would want us to have a Happy Memorial Day. They’d want us to BBQ or go to the beach & celebrate their lives & their sacrifices with our friends & families. And just because I’m not ready to do that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. 21/
But you should also find time to reflect. To think about their sacrifices. To think about how you can, and how you will, #MakeItMatter

I’m pretty sure that would make the brothers & sisters I’ve lost happy, even on Memorial Day weekend. 22/22

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More from @jimgolby

Sep 7, 2018
<Thread> There's a lot going on so I missed this yesterday, but the media is reporting GEN (Ret) Jack Keane is under consideration to replace Secretary Mattis if/when he departs.

I'm not a sociologist, but I want to talk a little bit about norms. 1/

Others have covered the ground on why the norm of not having retired generals or admirals serve as SecDef is important. @ahfdc, for example, says even having a really good retired general serve as SecDef can threaten civilian control of the military: 2/

@charlie_simpson argues that retired generals & admirals (& Secretary Mattis in particular) hate management & administration so they rarely make good bureaucrats: 3/
Read 27 tweets
Aug 19, 2018
<thread> Most people have been focused on the question of whether it was a good idea for ADM (Ret) McRaven to violate a civ-mil norm by writing a letter criticizing the President, but Ken raises a good point about whether it will make an impact. I think that’s unlikely. 1/
I’ve done research related to whether endorsements from retired generals & admirals influence elections. The short answer is they probably don’t, and there’s little reason to think McRaven’s letter will either - but it’s not clear-cut. 2/
In the aggregate, the study we did for @CNASdc showed no aggregate effects of endorsements by retired officers in advance of the 2012 election. 3/
Read 18 tweets
Aug 6, 2018
After three days in Budapest, I am struck by just how palpable the legacies of the wars of the 20th century - WWI, WWII, and the Cold War - still are in Hungary. And I was reminded of the very real threats, both internal & external, facing our Allies today. 1/
100 years later, there are constant reminders of the humiliation Hungary suffered at the end of WWI. As a result of the Treaty of Trianon, the pre-war Kingdom of Hungary lost more than 2/3 of its territory & almost a third of ethnic Hungarians were left outside the new state. 2/
You also get a sense of the lost greatness of Hungary in its breathtaking memorials and architecture, such as the magnificent Hungarian Parliament building. 3/
Read 27 tweets
Aug 3, 2018
<Thread> This @TaskandPurpose article by Emma Moore from @CNASdc makes a really important point about the civil-military gaps. It is this: people simply don’t understand how much diversity there is our armed forces. 1/
In @KoriSchake and Sec Mattis’s book, @lindsaypcohn Peter Feaver & I noted that fewer people know someone who has served in the military, and that this trend is likely to continue. 2/
But we didn’t emphasize a related, but nuanced point - it is not just that fewer people know someone who has served, it is also that even those who know someone who has served, know fewer people who have served. 3/
Read 19 tweets
Jul 27, 2018
European Vacation Day 1/16

Brussels, Belgium to Alsfeld, Germany

440 km in 4.5 hrs

Audiobook = The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

Whininess level = 3/10

Gelato stops = 1

Lunar eclipses = 1

Tight alleys = ALL OF THEM

Beers = 2

Kids I wanna throttle = 1

Alsfeld is charming
Day 2/16

Asfeldt to Prague

450 km, 5 hrs

A-book: Vanderbeekers👍

Music: The Academic, Greatest Showman

Audi wagons passing us = 56

Snakes = 1

Time figuring out metro = 45 mins

Chipped teeth = 1

Gelato = 1

Whininess level = 7/10

Wine = 1 btl

Kids I wanna throttle = 2
Driving Tour, Day 3/16


Restaurants delivering food via train = 1

Synagogues = 3

Beatles references = 7

Times my wife cried = 5

Cracked toenails = 1

Broken couches = 1

Sibling fights = 9,746

Whininess level = 9/10

Beers = 4

Wine = 1 btl

Kids I wanna throttle = 3
Read 16 tweets
Jul 13, 2018
I'm going to make a point about the civ-mil gap and the AVF, but bear with me for a few tweets.

In grad school I learned that 1 of the most durable findings in behavioral political science is that when people don't know the answer to a survey question, they just make one up. 1/
Comedians like Jimmy Kimmel & shows like The Daily Show exploit this all the time for laughs. See, for example, this clip on #SpaceForce: 2/
That’s why it was so surpring when Peter Feaver @lindsaypcohn & I found in “Warriors and Citizens” that a large/growing portion of the public refused to answer survey questions when asked about service members or the military. cc: @KoriSchake 3/
Read 14 tweets

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