Thursday, November 20, 2014

The doors to Janus' temple

Via Wikipedia: the doors (briefly) closed
Numa, an early king (Rex) of Rome in the days long before the Republic, had built a temple to the god Janus.  Janus had two faces, one looking forward and one looking backwards, and so was revered as the god of boundaries and transitions.

There was a curious custom in ancient Rome: when Rome was at war, the doors to the temple were left open; when at peace, the doors were shut.  As you can imagine with as martial a people as the Romans, the doors were not oftn shut.  In fact, the chronicles tell us that Numa's successor Tulius Hostilius went to war with a neighboring city and the dors remained open for 400 years.  They were closed in 235 B.C. after the first war with Carthage, but were only shut for eight years.  They were then open until shut (twice) by the emperor Augustus.

So when was the last time that our American Republic shut its figurative doors of the temple?  We look a lot like Rome:
You probably know that one has to serve on active duty in the American military for twenty years in order to retire with a pension.

But do you know the last year that you could have joined the armed forces and had a career wholly in peacetime?

Very interesting analysis, including just how long (officially) we have been at war.  The gates swing wide, and stay that way.


ASM826 said...

1921? I don't think so. We were involved in Haiti and Central America all through those years. It might not have been a declared war but it was as much a war as anything we've been involved in lately.

drjim said...

And I'm sure that many of those who joined in '21 and retired came back in '41.

Comrade Misfit said...

I did not know that about the temple to Janus.

Divemedic said...

Don't forget the unrest in China during 1922-27. There were Marines fighting there, and even required Naval gunfire support.
There was also the case of the Bonus Army coming under attack from MacArthur in 1932. Although, I guess you can't call using the army to attack your own veterans because they are homeless and demanding the benefits they were promised as war.
As also mentioned, the US occupied Haiti from 1915-1934, and the Dominican Republic from 1916-1924.
This nation has never had a 20 year period in which the military was not engaged in some sort of combat.

Anonymous said...

No where near as bad as that. MOST of the armed forces for the past 30 years have not been involved in combat in any sense of the term, other than collecting combat pay due to locality.

Even still, there are a lot of right sleeves here in the pentagon with no patches.