This very fortunate veteran unfurled the flag and installed it on the side of the garage for Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2013.
It’s the very least we can do to honor the service our men and women in the military render to our country.
My military service was the product of many of my decisions as a young man: pure luck or happenstance. With no money and mediocre high school grades, I joined the Air Force and signed up for aircraft electronics training.
It was 1957. The draft was still in effect, which, for any younger readers meant that able-bodied males were required to register and serve in the military for two years. A requirement I’m convinced should still be the in effect today, although I would modify the program to allow alternatives to military service (for example the Peace Corps, Volunteers In Service to America, and other similar programs). Wouldn’t it be good for our country if everybody served for a year or two?
I referred to myself as a “fortunate” veteran in my first sentence. Fortunate because I learned so much and because I served between Korea and Viet Nam and never saw or heard a shot fired or a bomb explode in anger during my Air Force years.
The nearest I came to any conflict was the so-called Lebanon Crises of 1958 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1958_Lebanon_crisis).
Students at ALS (Army Language School, now the DLI, Defense Language Institute) in Monterey, California, I among them, along with the entire U.S. military, had passes cancelled and were placed on alert by President Eisenhower. Seems the Lebanese Muslims and Christians were at each others’ throats, an omen of wars and terrorism to come.
Why I wound up at ALS and not in the aircraft electronics training I signed up for is a story for another time, but the next day classes were cancelled and we were bussed over to nearby Ft. Ord for remedial firearms training. Scared most of us, but not the few who wanted in on the action. A few days later the U.S. Marines were keeping the peace, at least for a while, in the Mideast.
As I write this I’m flashing back to a news story of the time that reported Nikita Krushchev, the boss man in the then U.S.S.R (Soviet Union) had threatened the use of nuclear weapons against countries that interfered with events in Lebanon. Another reason we were scared.
I call myself a veteran and am proud of having served, even if only for a portion of the Cold War.
Veterans of the shooting wars, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan: you have my admiration, respect, and gratitude for your service.