Friday, November 11, 2016

This Veteran's Day...

I enlisted in the Army the day after I turned 17 back in 72.  I signed up as an 11D, Armored Reconnaissance Scout and I went on to serve in Germany, Saudi, Germany again, Seattle, Spokane, Ft. Lewis, Ft. Knox, Ft. Benjamin Harrison and finally at Oakland Army Base.

I served in the 3rd, 9th, and 104th Divisions; 11th Armored Cav and Military Traffic Management Command.

I spent time as a Scout 11D, a Grunt and Weapons Instructor 11B, an SMP cadet 09R, an infantry company XO 11A, reclassed (hearing loss) into paper pusher Adjutant General/Command Adjutant/Chief of Base Administration 42A and served as a Force Modernization officer, now 50A.

Serving in the military taught me a lot, cost me a lot both in family and physically; and now the parts falling off... the poor hearing, the knees that have to be replaced because they sound like .22 caliber rifles going off in the morning, the broken bones that have sorta healed, the hands that don't work nearly as well, the arthritis from the pounding...  the ankles more scar tissue than ligament, the TBI... are directly attributable to all that.  I'm classified as a veteran with service connected disability, but I've never filed for a pension because I don't believe I deserve one...  But those who do should GET one and not have to wait for years to make that happen.

I saw a lot, hurt a lot, froze a lot and fried a lot.  So have most other combat arms veterans.  I spent 6 years and 3 months overseas.  I missed a lot of what happened in our country.

There are many, many more who did so much more, sacrificed so much more, bled so much more, hurt so much more.

And some.... thousands... millions over time... have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of this country.

This is a day to remember the service of all who loved their country enough to wear its uniform: most because they wanted too, some because a grateful draft board required them to.

It's a day to ponder how weak we've become; how few actually care enough to make the sacrifice, and how fortunate we are to be Americans.

All who served, including those who've gone completely off the rails politically, deserve the thanks of a nation who promised much in return but delivered far too little when the time came.

Take a moment and think about that.  On this day, some (most?) restaurants give veterans free meals, but they're really not worth the wait and they actually use this just to increase their business... so I never bother.  Other types of businesses do things today as well.

Meanwhile, we're dying while we wait for medical appointments.

I appreciate the discounts available to those who have served at, say, Lowes and Home Deport.  It has saved me a great deal over the past few years in repairing flood damage at my home, for example.

But I appreciate my country even more.  I hope, with the recent changing of the guard, that the president who professed so much love for Veterans will actually fulfill Obama's long-since-abandoned promise to actually fix the VA system...

When the ignorant and the faux victims claim they're being "oppressed," particularly jocks who make 20 million dollars a year, whine about "oppression," I'm struck by how NONE of them know what oppression is.  How they've never seen it.  How money doesn't give them a clue.

I love my country.  And in the end, that's why I served her.

To all who served, even as a fellow Veteran, you have my thanks and my appreciation EVERY day... not just Veteran's Day.

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