Thursday, November 11, 2021

A Veterans Day Salute

 I served in the U.S. Navy immediately following the end of the Vietnam War (I worked in the Intelligence Community). Most of those I served with were U.S. Marines. While I didn't see combat, I served with many who did. I heard their stories like it was only just last year because it was. I listen to their regrets and hopes. I read their "Dear John" letters and saw the photos of newborns they had yet to meet and I sat with them as they poured their hearts out. I served with some of the greatest men and women anywhere. I also served with some serious assholes. 

While in service, I was permanently injured due negligence and compounded by  incompetence and ego, but it opened up a hereto unknown world as to how the military treated the injured. I went through medical boards, comprised of senior officers, which were about as verbally and emotionally abusive as it gets as you sit there silently in pain and not knowing what, if anything, the future held for you. 

I saw appointed military lawyers (JAGs) and senior officers humiliate the injured and barter away their lives away with no more care than ordering a pizza. I worked very hard to help those I could get justice, and continued to do so after I got out for many years. I suppose that made me an "undesirable" in the eyes of some, but not to those I was able to help get medical treatment or disability. 

But this is Veterans Day. For all those who served or are currently serving, I salute each and everyone of you. Even the assholes. I'm proud to call you brothers and sisters in arms. Each passing year makes you ever more dear. For those who will serve in the future, our nation is in your hands. Protect it well. Keep it safe. I hope that you may never have to fire a shot in anger, but if you do, do it in the name of freedom and with the knowledge that you are part of our nation's best. 

Lastly, we should take a moment to remember all those who served before us. If we should say anyone's name out of respect, it is surely theirs.We stand on your shoulders and your accomplishments.We owe each and everyone of you a debt that can never repay. Thus, we remember you and your bravery, your courage, and your honor. Thank you.    

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