As I woke up this morning to Veterans Day the very first message on my phone came from one of my best friends in the world and a fellow firefighter in the neighboring town. It is nice to wake up to a good friend saying Thank You!!! I wasn’t expecting it, nor would I expect it from anyone but it is very awesome to see the people thanking Veterans all day in all formats of media.
With that being said, I have to come to terms with some more of my personal trigger points since I had my TBI. First and the utmost foremost is a person not removing their hat to the National Anthem. Second and almost as bad is a singer that call themselves a professional butchering the hell out of the song of the United States.
This is two of many that I may talk about as this post progresses but as you all should know by now I just shoot from the hip. As it comes into my mind I let it out. What happens to these Veterans the rest of the year. As men barely out of boyhood they are sent to a foreign land to fight for their lives and the lives of people that they have never met and alot of times really dont want them to be there. We in turn send these young men home with battle scars both physical and mental that can never be healed. They come home in a box draped with the flag of our country only to be placed in another aircraft below to be taken to their final resting places. They leave behind families and friends and children. As far as the country is concerned its ok because on November 11th of each year we pay tribute to them. That is BULLSHIT!!!!
We need to think about these men and women every day of the year and tell them how much they are appreciated. Do you really think that these old timers where their campaign hats around because they think they are cool. They wear them so people know that that they are proud to have served at times of war. A few months or so ago I saw an older gentleman and his wife in a local pizza shop and he was wearing a Korean Vet ball cap. I asked him as he was getting ready to place his order what he thought looked good on the menu. I told him that I noticed the Korea hat and shook his hand and told him “Thank You and your family for your service.” He told me what he was ordering and I looked at the cashier and pointed to myself. I then walked out the door only to re enter the back door. He did not know it but I work at that pizza place as a part time job. I told the cashier when she came to the back that his lunch was on me. When the man and his wife went to pay the bill and he was told that the guy who shook his hand paid his bill that his smile was ear to ear and he almost had a tear in his eye. It was a very small gesture that cost less than 1/4 tank of gas. The nice thing is that on that day, that man knew that someone did not forget and that made me feel amazing!!!!!!!!
18th Field Artillery Brigade SSI (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Back on topic, I think back to my days in the Army jumping out of planes and playing on the Ft. Bragg Rugby team. Our time in the field we used to laugh hard and work harder. We had our great times and seen the best of people as well as had our hard times and seen the worst of people. We had a mechanic that decided going down to a local restaurant in Fayetteville and open fire on the patrons was a good idea. He paid with his life.
As a 20 year old I remember standing in formation being told that we were going to war as the barracks was being surrounded by razor wire. SSG Campbell our medic was talking about drinking water and how many men we were going up against. It was a million man Army and he said many times that if you don’t do like you are told and supposed to do, “You gonna die”. I still remember those words coming from his mouth and thinking of my wife and family back home. Fortunately 7 months later the war was over and our Batallion came home.
The US Army was a great place to become a man and I have no regrets about my time there.
I think alot about TBI’s and the military. After hearing the NFL players come out and talk about concussions and the devastating impact that they have on them later in life. I jumped out of airplanes alot of times in my life, some with good landings some not so much. I have had my bell rung on the Rugby pitch as well. As a firefighter I have been hit on the head many times as well. Then there was the day of my injury. Fortunately none of these have had lasting effects except for the loss of taste and smell and hearing deficit in my left ear. I hate to admit it but I am a middle aged man and I would not want to admit if I had any other ill effects from this.
My point to this is what about all of our troops in what they think is the prime of their life that face the same feelings of being teased or frowned upon for admitting that they have a problem. Anybody that is reading this and thinks that it does not happen has a lot to learn. The world of man in a place where they are broken down and built back up to the specifications of our military need to know that they have a place to land when they need it. These men and women are trained to be ready to go to war and kill at a moments notice but turn it off with the flick of a switch. This is not an easy thing to accomplish. I know this because I have served in combat and I have served as a firefighter where the switch has to be turned off after a very bad day at work when they happen. Where is that landing place for these young soldiers? I know that there are things in place but they have to be willing to use it and it is still within the control of the gov’t. The last thing that a person wants to do is go to the people that pay them and they are dedicated to and say “I am concerned.”
On a final note, what kind of employer takes Veterans Day away from their employees and replaces it with black Friday. That just makes me sick. Trust me when I say I know of at least one
Just my thoughts for what they are worth. Thank you to all that srve or have served, and know that I think about this every day not just Nov 11th.
- History of Veterans’ Day (houstonrecruiterspot.wordpress.com)