Edgar Allan Poe, Bea Arthur, Jimi Hendrix and Other Weird Military Veterans

Oh hey it’s Veterans Day, America’s most ambiguously celebrated federal holiday. Everyone (mostly) professes to love “the troops,” especially if it’s not too close to a news cycle about the troops urinating on the war dead or burning Korans or having sexytime with a lady biographer. But lots of people are bummed out by what the troops are expected to do, which is fight in imperial wars to secure oil supplies for people who won’t use the subway or get a Prius. What to do? Luckily, the day is almost over, so there’s nothing really “to do” except enjoy this video jukebox of surprising famous/infamous military veterans, such as teevee’s Bea Arthur, and horror’s Edgar Allan Poe, and 101st Airborne Veteran Jimi Hendrix!

Bea Arthur was so proud of her service in the U.S. Marines that she denied it for the rest of her life. Go, Maude!

Germany’s Marlene Dietrich hated the Nazis so much that she toured World War II battle zones to cheer up the Allied troops. “The Kraut” received the U.S. Medal of Honor in 1947 and was a member of the shadowy American spy operation Project Musac, which broadcast (wait for it!) musical propaganda. Still, when the war was over she used her American military connections to get her family safely out of post-war Germany; they had operated a movie theater during the war for the Nazis who ran the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.


Did you ever doubt Robert Duvall actually served in the Army?

Edgar Allan Poe, the “John McCain of his time,” used family connections to get out of actual military service and into West Point, where he impressed his fellow cadets with his funny poems. Then, he did an early “Kickstarter campaign” and raised $170 from the cadets to publish a book of his poems, called Poems. Later, he was buried alive or something. Just listen to Christopher Walken reading this, it’s the best way to remember our veterans. Halloween is rescheduled, for tonight. (Was Christopher Walken in the military? Probably, based on Pulp Fiction, anyway.)