Veterans Day today. A time for the nation to remember those men and women who have served and thank them for their service.
Officially, I am not a "veteran". I served in the Marine Reserves for eight years and was never deployed with my unit into a combat zone. I'm eligible to join the American Legion, but not the VFW.
But for most of the 90's I stayed physically fit, and stood ready both mentally and physically to do my duty should the call ever come. Three times we were put on alert. Once for a possible return to Iraq, one for a possible trip to Somalia, and one that was pretty hush-hush about a possible defense/invasion of a Northern section of a country over in Asia that has been split along the 38th Parallel for a while now. That was a fun little training rotation!
I have flown the American flag and the Marine Corps flag proudly for years. Long before it became fashionable again after 9/11. For the last four years, I've flown the American flag without lights at night. This, as you may or may not know, is a flag etiquette no-no. But I did it as a protest against a government that I felt was mishandling the wars it has involved itself in.
I was against the war in Iraq from the start, as I felt it was mostly a revenge thing and less a national security thing. I've felt, since 9/11, that we needed to go after the actual perpetrators of the event in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Bin Laden is still out there.
So I protested by flying the flag "in the dark", as that is how the American people and more importantly the American military have been kept in terms of strategies in the Iraq mess. I do agree that now that we are there, we need to do the job right. I believe that our next Commander in Chief will be able to get our troops home with honor, and in a better time frame than sometime in the next hundred years. I look forward to re-lighting my flag.
This Veterans Day I thank those still in uniform for their continued service and dedication to this great nation. I thank those enlisting today all the way back to Frank Buckles, the last surviving member of the American forces who fought in WW I. Each and every veteran has given this country the gift of sleeping securely in an unsure world. Each one has been willing to sacrifice, even unto death, so that this nation could survive and prosper. Each one, myself included, served knowing that they were willing to fight for the freedoms that we all hold so dear. Even the freedom to protest peacefully or blog viciously against the very government that leads the country.
So THANK YOU to all who have ever worn a uniform and been willing to protect our country.
God Bless our United States.