As an Army veteran, I have tremendous respect for the men and women who serve our country, and those who have served. They put their lives on hold, and on the line, to do a job few of us can imagine, for very little pay, and all too often, no thanks from their fellow citizens.
I saw a quote a while back, that sums it up better than I can: “A veteran – whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve – is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The ‘United States of America’ for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'” (Author unknown).
During my time in uniform, I heard a lot of stories about military people being harassed by protestors when they returned stateside, but I never experienced that, except on one occasion.
I was home on leave and waiting to be assigned to my next duty station, when my dad and uncle took me to their VFW post to show me off. All of the fellows there were friendly and welcoming, except for one jerk, a drunk sitting at the bar. He started running me down and said my little excuse for a war was nothing compared to World War II, and then he threw his beer on me. I was shocked and didn’t know how to react, and several men had to get between him and my dad before blood was shed. It was an ugly scene, and I didn’t set foot inside a VFW post for the next 20 years, though today I am a proud member of that fine organization.
What I did experience on my return home was total indifference. My high school friends, and even many of my family members, didn’t even seem to know that I had been gone, or that young men were fighting and dying on the other side of the world. And except for a couple of guys who wanted to hear blood and guts stories, nobody wanted to hear about it.
Today we seem to have a greater appreciation for our present and past military members, and I think that is a wonderful thing. Whenever I see someone in uniform, I always take the time to thank them for their service, and when I meet a veteran, I always thank them and tell them “Welcome home.” It may be a little thing to some, but I know how much it can mean.
To that end I have launched a new website to honor our present and past military men and women, at www.honoraveteran.com. It is a place where you can recognize and honor the veterans you know. There is no charge to submit the stories of your veteran friends and family members, or your own information. We fund the website totaly from the ad limks on it. Though we have just a few profiles on the website now, I hope we see it grow quickly.
Please check it out, share the stories of the veterans you know and love, and tell your friends about it, if you will. It may be a little thing right now, but it means a lot to me to let my brothers and sisters who served know that they are appreciated.
And if you are a veteran, thank you for your service, and welcome home.
Thought For The Day – Failure is success if we learn from it.