Letters: An Inevitable Conversation

Japayuki: A Novel

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veteran's Day? Armistist Day? Remembrance Day? Why Not: Everyday!

Veteran's Day is one of those observances that are, well, awkward. One the one hand, America wants to show it's appreciation for all the men and women who have served in military uniform; while on the other hand, America denies all those men and women who have served in military uniform the post care and benefits they have been promised.
There are about 50 thousand homeless veterans in this country on any given day. Their medical care is a disgrace, and compensation a joke.

I especially enjoy watching all those hypocritical politicians (who believe the military is intened to serve and protect the one percent), smile and shake the hands of lame, disfigured, and burned Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Airmen. Many feel they have to lie about their own service, I guess out of self-pity and/or embarrassment.

My personal favorite story? Why my own of course! I remember writing to President Obama, I believe it more of a rant, but I was asking why the Social Security Administration did not consider military disabilities when one applys. He did not respond. At least not directly. He only referred me to the Veterans Crisis Line. You can imagine my surprise when one evening the phone rings and it's a Crisis Line attendee, asking me if I was okay. On questioning the caller, she explained, "Uh, you did write the President, didn't you? I dismissed the concerned woman, by asking her to please clear her line and make it available for a veteran who truly needed it.

But back to Veteran's Day, because I believe it's every American's responsibility to defend and protect our Constitution, yet so many just sit back and let others risk life and limb, sanity on the lines. I acknowledge those who served with me; I acknowledge those who served before me and all those who are serving now, and will in the years to come. For all in a uniform, whether that uniform is on their backs, or in their closets, thank you for your service. The sacrifice you made, stepping up to the demands of service is appreciated.

The best military character ever created for a movie was Colonel Jessup. Because while it's true, many Americans, politicians included (some of them are actually American citizens, you know), can't handle the truth about what's happening "over there" right now, and what's headed for your shores as you read this short. And just has the Colonel said, deep down within you all, while some of you detest us, while some of you feel we are not worth the post service investment, while some of you consider what we do as disgusting and vile, "you want us on that line, you need us on that line,"

Yes, I'm a proud veteran, but as the mantra is defiantly uttered, once a Marine, always a Marine. A person doesn't sign up to defend and protect the Constitution for four years, six years, or 30 years, they sign up to do so for life. So, even today, I'm ready to take my place back on that line in fulfillment of my oath, whether the enemy if foreign or domestic, whether that line is in another country, or in my own back yard.

As for the rest? If you are benefiting from the service of these men and women (yes, that's all of you), then just enjoy your liberties (while you can), and live your life. I'll leave you with another mantra of sorts, applicable to all walks of life and professions:

"Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way."

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