Veterans Day Salute

The Blue Jacket (sailor) facing the USS Wisconsin on  the Norfolk Waterfront

The Blue Jacket (sailor) facing the USS Wisconsin on the Norfolk Waterfront

The USS Wisconsin

The USS Wisconsin

It’s a cool, clear, peaceful morning on our hill overlooking the bay. From my desk I can see the neighbor’s cat slinking around our front yard ducking behind rocks and shrubs like a commando. Neighbors with dogs are heading toward the trail at the edge of the hill smiling. The blissful life we live here on the hill is due in part to the men and woman that are doing what our nation requires but what we prefer our children not do, become sailors and soldiers.

Up here we prefer our children follow in the family business, pursue a trade, go to college, become teachers, doctors, lawyers, even politicians if they must but not sailors and soldiers. The hill represents the majority of Americans, citizens who have never served in the military. Of course we want a strong, intelligent, well trained and equipped military to rescue us when hurricanes destroy our cities and leave us in the hands of thugs or to rescue Americans in foreign lands from torture or death. But we don’t want to get too close to the men in uniform that perform those services. We prefer our daughters marry a boy from the hill and as for hiring them, well, they studied at military schools, not colleges. We on the hill have a different point of view, we are antiwar. But if military actions lower gas prices, stabilize world markets and keeps our retirement plans on track we aren’t going to complain. In fact we probably won’t even make the connection.

GITMO Training - USS Yellowstone

GITMO Training – USS Yellowstone

It’s not surprising the US military draws most of its recruits from the part of society that probably would never have gone to college. But amazingly those recruits not only learn how to function efficiently in an ambush but also learn to master advance skills in medicine, engineering, technology, security and all other trades necessary to run a modern high tech community. In a nutshell they are much smarter than many people think and the media sometimes portrays. And if you asked a soldier about war he would probably say he was antiwar also.

Most days we reap the benefits of our military without giving the men and women much thought. But we should realize that when we call upon them to rescue our loved ones or the people of other countries we are tearing them from the arms of their loved ones here in America. So only after much contemplation and exhausting other reasonable options should we put these brave, capable, dedicated and precious few Americans in harms way.

To those from all branches, past and present, thank you for your service and thanks to your families for the sacrifices they made. And to those that are returning to civilian life, welcome home.

Categories: Travel, Writing

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12 replies

  1. As you indicated, we tend to keep service members at arms length in our everyday lives. At least we honor them for their patriotic service on Veterans Day. I remember, growing up through the Viet Nam era, it was not always so. Shame on us civilians for blaming the soldiers rather than our political leaders back then for how soldiers were treated upon their return home .

    We are better at honoring people for their military service these days, but as a country we do not do enough to care for those wounded or scarred by their war experiences. We forget all to quickly about the sacrifices our veterans have made. Thank you for reminding us with your story how much our military members do for us. Too often they perform a thankless job.
    – Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the comments. I think we are doing better recognizing our veterans for their service and as a country we do have short memories. Last Veterans/Armistice Day I was in Scotland talking to some locals as they laid crosses at the base of the Sir Walter Scott monument. Even the young kids seemed well informed about their veterans and their contributions and everyone wore poppies. It was interesting to see how another country thinks and feels about its veterans. Another good reason to travel I guess. Cheers!

  2. Hi Tom, You got that right . Thanks .

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Tom;

    Thanks to you and to all of us who served. Your comments are well said.
    – Art

  4. Thanks for this thought-provoking essay, Brick, and for the gentle reminder of how valuable our veterans are.

  5. I work with several ex-servicemen in a small company. It’s easy to see the good impact that service had on their lives. We had a lunch to honor them on Veteran’s Day. I also have a good friend who suffered from numerous illnesses that he brought back from Viet Nam. Much easier to see that impact, but it was hard to make the connection. It was even harder for the VA health care system to make that connection. He is finally getting the help that he needs. Thanks for writing this. These are the things we need to understand.

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