Yesterday, June 30th 32 years ago I was on my way to Basic Training. Still in reception center on July 4th, we were forced to stand in the rain to watch lousy fireworks.
We were given two tickets. 1 for a can of soda and 1 for a snack size bag of chips.
My first meal in the Army included half cooked rice. All I could think of was, "I signed up for 5 years of this?"
They gave me uniforms and boots, but insisted I buy my own exercise clothes and running shoes... and pay for the haircuts THEY mandated I have. That's a pretty big cut into a $632 a month wage (before taxes.)
Yet, it was the best choice of my life. I met wonderful people who I am still friends with today... went to places most will never see. Found an amazing wife and started an amazing family.
To me, all the hard times were worth it... and believe me, we've had mostly hard times since the beginning.
Don't thank me for my service. It was my duty and honor.
Don't tell me "I tried to join, but..." but you didn't and you will not co-opt the service of others because you say you wanted to serve. You couldn't, or wouldn't, and that's fine. We don't care nor do we care to hear about it. You did, or you didn't.
Despite serving in wartime, I was fortunate to not lose any close friends then... but the war took several later... some by disability, others from the ranks of "22 a Day"... still more are fighting a war that they left years ago. Myself included.
In 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed... our founding fathers, merchants, farmers, craftsmen, and military officers not only put their names on the line, but their lives and lives of their families for something they believed in.
That is what July 4th celebrates. Their sacrifice and courage. What they did was a rebellion or civil war. All of our patriots were nothing more than traitors to the king of England.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”
Happy Independence Day! It's not a BBQ, BEER FEST, firework day, or even just a day off. It's a day to remember those good men put their lives, businesses, and families on the line to make our piece of the world a better place.
With our remembrance we need to realize that this war is still going on. We must stay involved in politics and vote our hearts.
We can NEVER take a break, assuming our elected officials will actually represent us without oversight. It is OUR duty to oversee and hold them to their promises... and punish them when they fail.