Monday, November 11, 2013

All Vets Are Not Created Equal...

Veterans's Day, 2013...

I never served.

I didn't want to serve when I was of age.

Now in my 50's looking back, I think the experience would have been far better than I thought it would at the time.

Every year, we honor those fellow citizens who have served in our country's military. The accolades and praise are highly deserved for many. To volunteer to do a job where you are directly involved in high risk, high danger tasks isn't for everyone. When the job description includes avoid the bad guys trying to kill you in places most of us can't find on a map, it becomes a thing like no other.

To all the front line soldiers, infantry, engineers, etc. who are in harm's way on a constant basis, huge thanks to you guys. I don't quite subscribe to the overused phrase "they're fighting for our freedom" but that's more of a political issue. These guys/gals follow orders, do really hard/dangerous stuff and too often pay a high price for doing so. PTSD is at epidemic levels, far too many vets are seeing shamefully hard times upon discharge, too many families are paying the price for their loved ones serving the country. The issue of military suicides is beyond shameful and our leaders need to spare no expense at making these folks whole again. Period.

I can't however, in good conscience, group the folks I've just described with everyone in the military. Those folks who work in safe environments, often stateside in support positions, don't warrant the same recognition that the front liners and risk takers deserve. I've never been able to portion out the same respect for a sax player in the Air Force band as I do a sniper taking point in Iraq. Big, big difference to me.

I support everyone who works for our military and appreciate what they do. I reserve special and higher respect for those who went to work on a daily basis with a real fear that they may not live to see the next one. Again, putting all politics aside, these guys/gals are pretty admirable folks.

To say everyone in the military is a hero on days like today, I think does a real dis-service to the real heroes in uniform. To make this distinction shouldn't make one less a Patriot, either. Just a realist.

Happy Veterans Day!

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