November 11th has always been a special day for me. As a kid growing up in the city, I looked forward to the yearly parades. But it also holds some personal significance as well; On my first deployment, November 11th was also the first time I was in a serious, lengthy and sustained firefight and I have vivid memories of what it took to survive. On a more positive note, November 11th 2019 was also the day my wife and newborn son were able to come home after his birth this past weekend.
This week I am going to be focusing on veterans and veteran issues, and also strict military history. One of the great things about being a one man show on a shoestring budget, is that I can do whatever I want, write about whatever I want and then move on if it’s not quite up to par. It might not be the best policy to put my ideas and thoughts on the internet for everyone to see, but I think combat veterans need to contribute to the conversation. Whether the conversation is politics, economics, history or the future of our country, we put enough skin in the game to have our voice heard.
Some kid had his law school paid for by his parents, then went to work for his uncle’s business and we should listen to him and put him in congress and not these gentlemen?
I’ve been lucky to land on my feet with a great family and a great job. It wasn’t always like that though; I remember working long 12-16 hour shifts in a factory for a few years wondering if this is what my life would be. It paid the bills and it was honest work so I was happy to do it. Even then, I had constant reminders of friends who succumbed to suicide, homelessness or were just broken by the war.
I like having Veterans Day once a year. Some of us left for the Army and fell in love with the war; I know if we had more than one day dedicated to Veterans I would fall into a trap of thinking about all the old times, never focusing on the moment. We have been conditioned to feel shamed, and that the only role we can have in society is as a cautionary tale, a victim.
Really though, it’s modern society’s daydream that we live in a peaceful world and war, one of the oldest institutions of mankind, can be exported and compartmentalized comfortably. The horrors of war can never be snuffed out, but instead of society collectively remembering the carnage, it lives on in the mind of isolated vets. Once you realize your combat experiences connect you to the fraternity of arms, experiences that span millennia, you will no longer look at your untimely reminders as a burden, but as a memory of when we were truly lions.
There’s still plenty of battles to fight though! We must take the same vigor we had as young fighting men, assaulting the hill, breaking ourselves on the enemy’s fortifications and apply it to our daily lives. If you’re a Soldier or a veteran, hold your head up high and be proud of what you’ve done.