Maybe you’ve seen the video I did for Veteran’s Day? That video was published in a good number of venues. I got a lot of thanks from friends and former service buddies. I even reconnected with a few former service buddies – which was fun.
It’s probably not politically correct to tell you that I actually got a little fatigued from all the thank you’s.
It’s an interesting reality: I am glad that people remember veterans on Veterans Day, but in general, I find myself wishing there would be fewer thanks and back slapping – and more action during the rest of the year.
I want to see people reaching out to help one another; setting up business structures that give back as much as they profit; and individuals brave enough, and aware enough, to stand up against selfish and power grab politics.
Maybe I ask for too much, but on Veterans Day and on Memorial Day, I am reminded: that I and my fellow service members were “asked” by this country to be prepared to give our last full measure of devotion for some knucklehead’s politics – politics that most of us – even most of those who thought they knew what was going on – weren’t really aware of.
We each do what we do – and did what we did – for our own reasons, but I can tell you from personal experience, that putting pen to paper to sign a “until-death-do-us-part” contract, lacing up boots, patching holes in people’s chests, and pushing live rounds down range on a daily basis means getting up close and personal with perspective.
We were each prepared to do unspeakable things. By “prepared,” I mean by others until we eventually accepted what our role would be – and that morality isn’t exactly what we thought it was. Many nights of staring up from a rack, sleep deprived and alone, give warriors time to think about Why.
In the end, we didn’t have to look farther than the rack next to us to come up with a pretty good Why. It was clear then. He is me.
I can’t believe I’m the only veteran who thinks to himself: Don’t just raise the flag, thank me and be done. Learn from me. Understand the Why that allows us to make the ultimate sacrifice. Apply that understanding to life.
That would make our service and sacrifice count.
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