Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day Salute

As you may have noticed elsewhere in this blog, I proudly served this great nation in the United States Navy for over 23 years. While I am justifiably proud of my service, I wish to recognize a more deserving group of Active Duty Personnel and Veterans and those are our former and present Combat Veterans. They are the individuals, men and women who have gone in harm's way to defend our freedoms. Some have lost limbs, vision, hearing and yes, even their lives. They are the true heroes that deserve to be honored on Veteran's Day.

My intent is NOT to lessen the impact of all of the veteran's, like myself, who have served honorably, albeit quietly in the back ground performing often thankless tasks that allow the Combat Veteran's to do their jobs and not have to worry about logistics, supplies and the myriad support functions necessary to be a fully effective fighting force on the field of battle.

ALL military personnel make some truly unbelievable sacrifices in order to serve this country. While I was serving at my first overseas duty station, my take home pay was less than $200 per month, my rent was $125 per month plus utilities and I had to carry 5 gallon jugs of water to my off-base apartment because the "running water" in the apartment was untreated brackish water that was unsafe to drink. In the end, I had roughly $50 to spend on groceries and essentials. Money for fun??? I don't remember much of that. ALL MILITARY PERSONNEL have made sacrifices not unlike mine in the course of their service.

And while I am offering salutes, we should also salute the FAMILIES of the active duty and reserve military personnel for their sacrifices. Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching the tears stream down the faces of the little children who can't understand why Mommy or Daddy are leaving. The wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. They all sacrifice for this country when their loved ones are deployed. The spouses, who raise the kids ALONE, maintain the household ALONE, and wait faithfully ALONE for their military member to return deserve our THANKS and PRAISE for theirs is the most thankless job of all.

While trying to wax eloquent for this post, I decided to use the words of one of our statesmen. These words were spoken by Senator Zell Miller, Democrat from Georgia:

"Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more of the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And our soldiers don't just see freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home. It has been said truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. [cheers] It is the soldier, not the poet who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag. [cheers] No one should dare to even think about being the commander in chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home. [cheers] But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking, America is the problem, not the solution. They don't believe there's any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy. It is not their patriotism, it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter’s pacifism would lead to peace; they were wrong. They claimed Reagan’s defense buildup would lead to war; they were wrong. "

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