Friday, November 11, 2005

Veteran's Day 2005

First order of business: It's the last day of the Valour-IT Project campaign to collect funds in the "friendly competition" between service barnches. It is by no means the end of the doantions that are needed for this worthwhile project. The collection campaign was a great vehicle to get the competitive jiuces flowing for all involved. Please consider regularly donation to the cause. Thanks for the donantions, and if you're inclined to give (or give more), please go to Mudville Gazette and donate for Team Air Force! Today's Topic: An easy way to send a note of thanks to the troops is here. Please consider taking advantage of the opportunity to say it. This day is a day to honor those who have served and are serving. Many others can speak to the subject far more eloqunetly than I, but I took a moment this morning to consider what is different about this day, this year. It is part of a continuing trend to show respect and offer thanks to former and persent military members. This trend began about 15 years ago with Desert Shield/Desert Storm. That's a good think, which occurred close to 20 years after we extracted ourselves militarily from the Vietnam War. I graduated from high school and had no draft hanging over my head. I came of age the first year this occured, yet I enetered the profession, and stayed a total of 24 years. Veteran's Days were not the same back then. It was still a time when many in society only occasionally acknowledged your service. It's different now. I was too young to serve in Vietnam, and spent my years training against the Soviet Bloc threat, for the "big one," where the realistic threat of global thermonuclear warfare wasn't out of the question. I came how after we "won" by making the enemy spend themselves out of the picture. I enjoy finding and talking to veterans. The ones from WWII as pretty much at peace with how they were treated then, and now. I can't really say much about the Korean War veterans, for I have not had the chance to sit down and talk with any of them. Certainly those who were still wearing butter bars when I retired, and are now coming into their own as the leaders of large units, have been shown honor and respect worthy of their sacrifice. Vietnam veterans still seem to be that group held off to the side in this entire equation. When I was out a few weeks ago doing a pick up, I ran into a man with a tree trimming service. We got talking and he had spent a tour in Vietnam with Special Forces. We talked some of the details with that, but then he told me about his return to the "The World." Not a pretty sight. While he stated it matter of factly, you could feel the undercurrent of emotional distress, and see the pain in his eyes. A wound not healed, yet he acknowledged how much better it has become in these following years. As he finished his cigarette, I watched him unconsciously field strip the butt. I commented "old habits die hard." At that point, he realized what he had done, then smiled and said "we did that so the enemy wouldn't find us." I knew that, but for a man with one enlistment, it was confirmation to me that he had been one of the men who stood up to face off against the surrogate enemy of the NVA and VC in those tenuous years. If you know a Vietnam Vet, I'd ask you make a special effort to thank them today, in what ever way you can. While what's done is done, a well delivered "Thank You" today will help offset the ones not received. I think I'll dig out Wayne's card and give him a call today.

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