I wasn't going to post anything as this venue can be a really strange
place to be. But after watching the morning news and watching the
vets speak about the day's ceremonies I felt like I needed to get
typing. So few understand the importance of Veterans Day and what it
I live (and grew up in) a military based city, and at one time we had
five (yes, five) military bases that honored our fair city with their
presence. This close up look at the system and its people no doubt
color my perception as I have now lived here for 40+ years.
Military service is considered to this day an honor here, and those
past their terribly confusing collegial years understand that the
sacrifice made by so many transcends petty politics and party
squabbling, and the current presidential policies. In fact, it is the
sacrifice of others that make all the squabbling, disagreement, etc.
There are plenty of vets here that have returned after training to
settle in, and we honor them and their predecessors all during the
year, not just once a year. Old timers have set up outreach programs
for younger soldiers, and it is never unusual to see soldiers in their
fatigues anywhere at anytime.
My next door neighbor received two purple hearts and a bronze star at
Monte Cassino. LOML's recently passed father received the DSC for his
actions at the same place, along with other accolades and personal
letters from commanding officers for his service and bravery on that
One of the guys that subcontracts from me is a wounded door gunner
from a Huey that fights his spinal injury hard almost every day. A
fellow contractor that I partner with on occasion has long scars up
and down one arm and down his back from his time in Korea. In ten
years, he has never even hinted at what happened to him other than to
say he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The forklift driver
at the lumberyard I buy from has so many skin grafts on his arms and
chest he looks like a checkerboard from burns received in Desert
Shield. One of my closest friend's Dad was at Pearl Harbor, and was
there literally watching while the base was bombed. He witnessed the
bombing and sinking of the battleships, the destruction the bases and
the deaths of thousands of soldiers and civilians.
Military life is never far from us here, and I am glad of it. I think
it helps us remember that there is strife and conflict outside of our
normal mundane lives, and that those folks play(ed) a necessary and
profoundly important role in the security and safety of our country.
Soldiers have protected us and our way of life since the inception of
this country. They have also protected the lives and beliefs of
others, most of the time in far away places, out of touch with family
and loved ones, missing birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and all
manner of other things that are taken for granted by many of us.
It is important to note too, that the fine men and women in the
service now are all volunteers. That's a helluva thing: to volunteer
your life for the service of others.
This is an important day, one to recognize the sacrifice for soldiers
past and present, and to preserve a sense of deeply felt appreciation
for those living and dead.
I didn't write this out to start yet another thread debating/attacking
the direction of The United States, its policies, it politicians, or
its way of life. I am sick of that. This was a commentary on my
personal beliefs that happen to be shared by many around me. Snide
remarks, witty retorts, and cute sound bites are NOT welcome.
And this day has nothing to do with that type of dialogue, other than
the fact it was made possible by a veteran. So I say if you see a vet
wearing his hat with the service pins on it, or a younger soldier in
his fatigues, make their day: shake their hand and thank them for a
job well done.