Jay Beeler

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. Locally the 20th Annual Long Beach Veterans Day Parade will honor veterans and provide a “salute to all those who served” on Saturday at 10 a.m., beginning at Atlantic Avenue and Harding Street.

There are 21.8 million veterans of the U.S. armed forces as of 2014, according to the Census Bureau and approximately 10 percent are women. To put that in context there are 319.2 million Americans, according to the bureau.

So that means less than seven percent of the population served in the armed forces. My stint was in the early 1960s in the U.S. Air Force as an ICBM electronics analyst, stationed in Montana and North Dakota putting Minuteman Missiles in their silos for the first time. Sometimes it involved removing/replacing the nuclear warhead and guidance/control section when the launch command facility detected a system error within the 150-missile network.

The job required a top secret crypto clearance, so I won’t go into any further details so that I won’t have to kill you.

Even though this was during the Vietnam War, I never considered myself to be a veteran since my service was within the continental United States and it was a stepping stone toward college degrees and a pilot’s license using the GI Bill of Rights. Given the acrimony toward the military and the war effort in the 1960s, many veterans did not boast about their service activity.

Fast forward 50 years and I am somewhat hesitant to be recognized along with those who engaged in combat duty. However there is an organization called Veterans Advantage that – for a small, annual membership fee – offers discounts on travel, prescriptions, freebies on Veterans Day, etc. that proved valuable the last time we traveled to the east coast, saving a few hundred George Washingtons. Under these circumstances I’ll gladly proclaim to be a “penny-pinching” veteran.

On the other hand I’ve discovered that there are dozens of restaurants – especially the fast-food variety – that will give you a senior-citizen discount of ten percent or similar benefit – just for asking. (My personal favorites are 10 percent off at KFC and Taco Bell’s free soft drinks). Then there are many discounts if you belong to the Auto Club of Southern California, AARP, an alumni association, are a student or teacher or nurse or peace officer ... the list is endless if you Google “places that offer discounts to [insert your affiliation here].”

Even in the newspaper business we offer discounts: first-time advertiser, frequent advertiser, etc. The bottom line is that you can score significant savings by using coupons or by simply asking “Do you offer any discounts or freebies?” In many cases the answer will be “yes,” unless you ask at a bank.


One of our letter writers in this edition disputes our position in opposition to the Styrofoam ban. My position is that the government does a very poor job of educating the public on the environmental problems caused by plastic bags and Styrofoam, deciding to rid us of these conveniences. They are doing a good job of educating the public on the dangers of smoking and cigarette filter disposal, yielding a large decline in this area.

Now politicians want to ban guns in light of recent mass killings when common sense tells you that “guns don’t kill people ... people kill people.” I’m okay with banning automatic weapons, which have no useful purpose other than to kill people, as long as SWAT officers and special military forces have them in their tool box. It only takes one bullet to stop a mass murderer in his tracks; more legally armed civilians will bring an end to this madness – along with a more targeted effort in the area of mental health diagnosis and treatment.


Over the last few months we’ve been engaged in a fascinating public relations project for Don Temple Storage relating to its founding nearly 50 years ago. One of the major components is to research and write about Don, widely recognized as a pioneer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, sportsman and humanitarian that I had the privilege to know and work with. He passed away in March 2013 at the age of 85 and was a veteran during WWII, having served in the U.S. Merchant Marines and during the Korean War in the U.S. Navy.

Even though we have already accumulated a large amount of photos, documents and short stories about Don, we’d like to hear from you if there’s something that you care to share for publication purposes. So please, within the next few weeks, email me at or call me at (562) 597-9000. Thanks.


Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. For example:

  • Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you ... but it’s still on my list.
  • Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  • We never really grow up – we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • In filling out an application, where it says, “In case of emergency, notify...” I answered “a doctor.”


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