As a child of the 70’s, as someone who grew up in a liberal enclave, I’m glad to see our armed forces getting the respect they deserve.

I remember all too well how soldiers were treated back in the day. At best, aliens amongst us. At worst, pariahs. Baby killers. This despite that the draft meant that many if not most of our soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors were compelled to serve.

You might think that our all-volunteer armed services would make things worse. It’s just the opposite. When we thank veterans for their service, we know that they chose to serve. That adds a layer of respect.

Some of that has to do with the media. We can see our fighting forces at work. And should more often (YouTube has plenty of fighting videos.) It also reflects 9/11. Unlike Vietnam, our current foreign military adventures are tied to a heinous act of aggression against Americans here at home.

Yes, there’ve been incidents that’ve brought shame to our troops. But in the main, we’ve got a front row seat to the unparalleled professionalism and honor that characterizes our modern Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guardsmen.

Returning veterans deserve our emotional, practical and financial support. I try to live up to that obligation in any way I can.

Like smoking cigars from Southern Draw, a veteran-owned and operated company. While they make a truly excellent stick at an entirely reasonable price, there are better cigars. And there are better places to be than Iraq and Afghanistan.

Do you support vets? How?

85 Responses to Question of the Day: Do You Support Veterans?

  1. I try to buy my gear from veteran owned or veteran operated companies. (Sellers or manufacturers.) Just got a new kevlar from Hard Head Veterans. https://www.hardheadveterans.com/

    I do have to say, I got some outstanding customer service from these guys. When their Large / X-Large helmet didn’t quite fit my head due to the suspension system they were using at the time, they sent me a band new H-Nape style suspension system to replace it free of charge.

    As an added bonus, their helmets are quite competitively priced comparing to other manufacturers out there.

    • Unless they advocate for pointless wars, mass immigration, gun grabbing, etc, then yes. I do not worship a uniform.

  2. It depends on the individual.

    As far as I’m concerned, John McCain is a fraud, traitor and human piece of excrement who deserves no respect, and a traitors death.

    • I think McCain deserves respect for what he did and what he went through as a Pilot. I don’t think much of him as a congress critter… obviously someone does. I try to keep the two separate.

      • You mean crashing more planes than would ever be tolerated for anyone but a muck-muck’s brat? Multiple accounts & records of drunken behavior while on the clock? GHW Bush is the *legitimate* version of what McCain has always purported to be, even he too is a total lost-cause politically who harmed gun rights as much as any Democrat. But I still have respect for his service record. Like much of ‘Nam, McCain’s record looks worse the closer you examine it. He earns no points for merely surviving the torture his captors never meant to kill him with. That makes him a victim, not a hero.

  3. Okay am I the only one that feels uncomfortable when someone tells me “thank you for your service”? I appreciate that these folks are so kind but it just makes me feel uneasy. All I did was a job. Nothing special.

    • I’m there with you. I got paid, and quite well at that. I think that sentiment is far better directed at people who left body parts in places none of us would prefer to have even been.

      • A good friend of mines son left a leg in Iraq.
        He is an outstanding young man. I smile on the outsid, and cry inside when I see him.

      • I second that.

        For me personally there was no more humbling and moving experience that to see a grown man find a name he’d been looking for and completely break down at The Wall in D.C.. I’m not religious in any sense of the word but I couldn’t help but feel that this guy didn’t just leave an arm or a leg in Vietnam but rather he left a fairly large chunk of his soul over there.

        • There are some places I can’t visit. The Vietnam Memorial and Arlington are among them.

        • It took me three trips to D.C. before I could go to the VietNam Memorial. And there are still sections I won’t read.

      • I’m with you. I served. But never in combat. Between wars. Forward Observer. My Father was in Korea, he was too young for WWII. My Grandfather in a Great War combat veteran. He ETA’d in 1919. I have a certificate from the White House office of the Pres seal and all condolences for my family on the death of my Grandfather. Only bad thing about it is it was signed by Johnson. Too bad he didn’t wait 6 months then Nixon would have.

        Mother’s father was in the Navy in WWII had 2 cousins in Viet Nam. Seems my family while not a Military family overall has seen its share. Dad’s Step sister was a Nurse in WWII.

      • This x100. I served 7 years in the Coast Guard and I feel so uncomfortable every time someone thanks me for my service. I’m proud of it and enjoyed my time but I joined for my own reasons. I never saw war and never lost a body part.

        • “I’m proud of it and enjoyed my time but I joined for my own reasons.”

          Just as those thanking you, do it for their “own reasons”.

          For some it is a compulsory response that has been ingrained within them by authority figures from a young age, such as parents that have a genuine appreciation for servicemen.

          While it may be perceived as disingenuous, then allow this inquiry: If such a encomium isn’t welcomed, would being spat upon be preferable?

          Now the obligatory: Thank you for your service.

    • I had served 16 years in the NG and Reserve as a 19A/C retiring as an O4. I have nothing but respect for those who had gone overseas and fought for our country. I never was called overseas. I thank those who served.
      I served in peacetime, but will always thank the veteran for his service. Yes it’s a job, but it still deserves thanks and appreciation.

    • I used to be a little bothered by it, since I served in the period between the end of Viet Nam and the beginning of Desert Storm, but I considered that the people who said it were being sincere, so I got over it.

      Now when I get the comment I reply simply, “Thank you. I enjoyed it for the most part.”

    • My immediate reaction is “I didn’t do it for you” but my wife reminded me that it is just a general feeling thing, almost a platitude now. It does make me uncomfortable. I almost want to fuck with them and say I spent four years in the brig…just to see the reaction.

    • Your not the only one. I once asked a guy why he was thanking me, I told him I was just doing my job to the best of my ability. He just got a deer in the headlights look and said thank you again and walked off.

      I appreciated the gesture, but thanking someone just because it’s expected or common practice never struck me as sincere.

      • Justin, thank you. I have for some time fought with myself over NOT thanking vets for their service. I never could pin down what made ME feel uncomfortable in doing it. You have opened my eyes to something I had noticed about myself before, but never put together with this situation. My “go to” voice is sarcastic and therefore I never feel like I sound sincere when thanking someone, even when I am truly sincere. (This really wreaks havoc, and creates a destructive loop in my head, when gift-giving time comes and I have to force myself to thank someone for something.) So, to all vets out there, please accept my sincere “Thank you for your service” even if I can’t say it to your faces.

      • “I once asked a guy why he was thanking me, I told him I was just doing my job to the best of my ability.”

        Posit this inquiry: If an individual during Vietnam were a draft dodger, does he deserve praise for his actions, or perhaps scorn? What about the individual that didn’t shirk his “responsibilities” to country and countrymen?

        If the first individual does indeed deserve praise for his “courageous” actions in abandoning his nation to avoid being caught up in what was perceived to be an unjust cause(Vietnam), then it might be justified in ostracizing the latter for fulfilling his obligation and participating in the unjust cause(Vietnam).

        However, if the former individual is deserving of scorn and being shamed, for what could be viewed as a “cowardly” act, then does not the second deserve praise for nothing more than fulfilling an “expectation”?

        What of voluntary service one might ask, does somebody joining of their own volition deserve gratitude from those that didn’t? Personally, this one believes that they indeed do. Why? Because, if not for the courageous/naive/foolish(choose the appropriate adjective) volunteer recruits that join everyday, Esoteric Inanity might be conscripted in their stead.

        • If an individual dodged the draft rather than go to Vietnam I don’t think there is anything praise worthy about their actions. My only experience with Vietnam is speaking to some of the men who were there. I’ve seen a man go from smiling to looking like he was reliving some personal hell that I have no way of ever understanding in the blink of an eye.

          My primary experience was around 9/11. I was active duty from 99 until 03 and prior to September 10 2001 I could count the number of times someone had thanked my for my service on one hand, after that I lost count.

          My MOS was data and I was in a non-deployable unit so there was little to no chance I would be sent overseas. There were augmentation billets open for comms/data and I volunteered for every one I was even remotely qualified for but I never was selected. For me it always felt like I was being thanked for a service I didn’t provide.

          I lost friends at the Pentagon and over in the sandbox, some came home with injuries that they will never recover from, some took their own lives after they got back, I am incredibly proud to have served my country and would do it over again in a heartbeat, but they are the ones who deserve to be thanked and honored.
          I sat at a desk and made sure people got their email and that the internet worked so Major Schmuckatelli could find ways to proxy porn past my net filters.

        • Justin, modesty and pragmatism alone are admirable traits. The current nature of this country often glamorizes heroics to the extent of deligitimizing those that contributed but were not seen as being outstanding. Due to this it is understandable, that many of the fine men and women working support roles behind the scenes, have been minimized at times. Thusly, they feel as though their role may have been unimportant, especially compared with those that gave all.

          However, did they not devote a portion of their life in service to country and countrymen? Where they not also willing to put their life on the line should it be required? Did they not also agonize and grieve over their fallen comrades?

          After all, many of these “average” men and women showed up to work day after day to fulfill their obligation. This alone is praise worthy, especially when taken into context that a failure of such support roles could mean lethal consequences for others. No doubt that such realizations lingered like the sword of Damocles above their heads.

          Sometimes it is the average man or woman that has the most difficult time reconciling their roles. Heroes merely have to be larger than life, while those behind the scenes have a much more convoluted and arduous task of discreetly fitting in.

          Does this make them any less “Heroic”? Perhaps it does in the modern paradigm. However, it does not make them any less commendable for what they have done, or the ideals that they honor.

    • I can understand the discomfort.
      When you are thanked it is coming from a place of blind respect.

      You may have had the best time of your life, But maybe you are suffering from visible and/or invisible scars.

      Even if you never saw combat or served in a time when combat was unlikely, It was still possible and it was possible that you may be forced to give life or limb or even mental health because you chose to join the forces.

      In my opinion it doesn’t matter if you made that decision in a time of youthful blindness, stupidity or if you were well aware of the potential consequences, you deserve the respect you get shown.

    • I don’t like it when people thank me for “my service” but long ago I concluded that they are sincere or at least mean no harm. So, rather than make an issue of it, I simply reply “You’re welcome.” When I don’t add anything to that, we just go on to the next topic – which is where I wanted to go anyway.

      (I’m a Vietnam era veteran, enlistment hitch from early ’69 to late ’71, honorable discharge as E5, just for the record. My overseas duty was Korea.)

      • Most non-mil people only say such things because it makes them feel good about themselves; hate to be all Ayn Rand about it, but it’s the truth. So the kind thing is to say “you’re welcome” even if you dislike the flattery. It’s very much the same kind of reflexive interaction you see between various ‘aggrieved’ liberal groups, only with ex-military there is actually a significant chance they *actually* sacrificed something selflessly or *actually* suffered unduly for their fellow man. Same guilt trip drives the whole needless vet’s benefits culture (be it cheap movie tickets or healthcare for illness not related to service or college tuition or even charities that prioritize vets over others even if their circumstance has nothing to do with their service). I personally see it as a life choice, no different from joining the priesthood or the military industrial complex or cattle ranching, that carries with it risks & rewards that were weighed by the people making the decision up front. Unless they were lied to (and I do have much sympathy in that case, e.g. medical experimentation, toxic chemical exposure, reckless/needlessly dangerous tactics/missions, payment shenanigans) I see it as their personal decision to follow a particular carrier path, justified by what they see as the rewards offered in exchange. If they made a mistake, they made a mistake. If they reap big rewards, more power to them. They don’t need my pity any more than I need theirs.

        Oh, and thank you for your service (I feel obligated as a civilian to nod my head in your general direction, so I do 😉 )

    • I second your sentiment. I don’t want thanks. I just want to be accepted. That is rather difficult when most of the NOVA population are anti-Americans who can’t think for themselves. They normally say thanks for your service and then tell me how broke soldiers are. They don’t really mean thank you. They actually mean don’t piss on the lawn.

      • I spent the first ten years after 32 months in Vietnam in absolute misery because I didn’t dare even admit I had been in the service let alone in Vietnam. I was even shamed publicly by the Post Commander in an American Legion post monthly meeting for trying to join when I came home.

        This screwed me up intensely for decades because I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong. Now when somebody says ‘thank you for your service’ I am thinking to myself “where were you when I desperately needed help decompressing?”

        If you don’t think this still isn’t going on, go talk to those American Legion Riders (all VN vets) who were just refused service at a Dave and Busters for refusing to take off their American Legion Vests. You know, the ones with a Bald Eagle, a POW flag and the American flag patches sewn on.

        • “where were you when I desperately needed help decompressing?”
          They were being assholes, and working under wrong impressions, not unlike that fraction of soliders who *were* engaged in questionable operations at the behest of their leadership. It happens, sadly, and Vietnam vets are hardly the first group of honorable Americans to be demonized through no fault of their own. WWII vets would have likely seen the same, had FDR not been arresting hostile press reporters left & right for five straight years.

        • Both grand fathers served, my dad served. ARMY 67-69. Never talked about it until i left for the Navy. He always says its so much better now. He dosent go into details but from what i have heard from my uncles he had simaliar experiances. He never even celebrated veterans day until later on.

      • To be fair, there are an awful lot of ex-mil (won’t even say ‘vets’) that are looking for handouts, same as any other group of people, and for the most part, they get them. Considering the vast majority of military are simply doing their jobs same as any equivalent civilian only without the freedom to choose where to live (many civvies don’t really get that either), the benefits they enjoy upon honorable discharge are incredible compared to anything I’d get after leaving some random corporation. And all because the desk jockey or janitor or grunt or officer cultivates an image he’s as holy as Audie Murphy (and a whole lot of self-serving civilians reciprocate so they can feel good about themselves for ‘honoring’ someone).

    • I don’t mind it. I always say “Thank you!” back, and sometimes I say “Thank you, I love doing it!” I want them to know that I love my (now part-time) job of being a leader of dedicated infantry combat killers, whether they thank me or not. I appreciate the support and generally think little more of it.

  4. Now I want a stogie….
    Nice thing about veterans? They usually don’t NEED support ( but it is appreciated! ). Befriend them, employ them, thank them,buy their products if they’re any good… but for the most part you can count on them to be quite self-sufficient.
    Thanx to every one of you.

    • Before any of you jump in and decry the lack of resources for the few vets who really do need help… of course we need to support them and vote out any politician who acts otherwise.
      So did we mean support in a moral sense, or support in a financial, medical or psychiatric sense?

  5. As the son and dad of navy and marines who are now a written part of navy history, I wholly support our service members.
    If I’m in line with a service member in uniform, I pick up their tab.
    I thank them when I see them, and, like pwrserge said above, I prefer to do business with veteran owned companies.

    Oorah!

  6. Of course, generally speaking. Like any other group of people, there are some that give the whole a bad name, however that is an individual basis. I come from a family of vets, however they never expected any special treatment or entitlements.

    I had a conversation with a lady I was on a date with the other week and she vomited out the tired argument that service members chose their path and know what the risks were when they signed up. She then went on to talk about how unfair it was that vets get all these perks that regular people don’t get, just because of some job they signed up for. Of course one could say that about nearly every career/job there is. She never could really provide a valid rebuttal to my question to her, which was why hadn’t she signed up then? Needless to say, the night kind of went downhill from there.

    I work in HR for a medium-sized company, and a lot of the recruiting, screening and interviewing of potential hires goes through me. There are some great organizations and job boards out there that I am involved with that connect me with vets seeking work. Hire Heroes USA, Hire a Veteran Project, Warriors to Work (via WWP) are all great.

    • “Of course one could say that about nearly every career/job there is.”
      Do go on about the free college tuition us corporate dregs enjoy, or free lifetime healthcare (even if it’s crappy), or cheap tickets to movie theaters, or I could go on ad infinitum. You could *maybe* say this about federal government jobs, since they do enjoy a good 30% pay boost in benefits alone vs. the private sector. Heck, I can’t even get a pension any more…but servicemen do last I checked. My beef with ex-military comes when they approach with outstretched palms for even more, crying about how little they are paid/etc when the reality is the vast majority are doing the same mundane jobs they could do stateside, but with better pay, better accommodations (usually), better medical care, free training/education in a skill or trade oftentimes, and then get to return to civilian life with the enormous advantages I mentioned earlier in addition to higher social standing. If you did your job well, that is most honorable; but it is not *special* and that is where many vets (and especially veterans’ advocates) go off the reservation. Being scarred for life & unable to return to mere civilian standing is a separate issue from service as far as I’m concerned, and should be treated as a problem to be avoided rather than intrinsic to the proposition of service. Reaping predictable bad consequences because of a life choice (talking your wife leaving you while on deployment here, not getting shot) is something people outside of the service must contend with also.

  7. It is ill advised to treat a group as large this as one to blanket support or scorn. Focus on the individuals. Sure, if they were promised certain benefits for signing up then by all means make good on the deal but to blindly “support our troops” or line up to spit on them as they get off the plane is empty headed nonsense.

    • Exactly. Or to treat all of them as poor, pitiable wounded wild animals as seems to be increasingly the case today (which I suppose is progress from treating them as rabid wild animals post-Vietnam)

  8. I’m in the same boat as serge on this one. If I can find something that’s equal quality to what I can get elsewhere I’ll buy it from a veteran owned company when possible. In some cases I’m willing to shell out a bit more in that circumstance.

    That said, I have no patience for the “professional” veteran group that’s out there.

    • A legitimate military career is a fairly respectable resume “benchmark” after all, so why not go with someone who’s allegedly been vetted (bad pun not intended)? The real question is would you value veteran status even when the company is *not* equal to the competition, or if it is only nominally owned by veterans. As a guy who works in a field that cares about such things, it’s astounding how many machine shops are “women owned” by the wife of the guy who is the head machinist/designer/operator/obvious boss of things, and the same goes to “minority owned” and “veteran owned” as well. There is tremendous incentive to get the extra moolah from the label, even to the point of hiring less competent employees because of their veteran status since that gets you –you guessed it– another valuable label as a contractor. Vets are supposed to be tougher than their fellow soft civvies, so they shouldn’t need to enjoy false advantages because of a job they held, but stand on their own competence & accomplishment.

  9. All things being equal or close to equal, I would happily support a veteran owned/operated business.

    As it turns out, I don’t seem to cross paths with any veterans in any capacity.

    • I would guess you run into more than you know… they’re simply too humble to make an issue of their service (see my self-sufficient comment above)

  10. While I support our armed forces and anyone who ever signed a blank check to the American people for any cost up to and including their lives 1000%. I don’t think I would call all of the current or recent military actions a response to ” heinous act of aggression against Americans”

    We have been using our armed forces in place of actual statesmanship and good foreign policy, which is a disservice to the men and women who have served and continue to serve with honor.

    Our armed forces are a shield and a sword to defend the American people and American interests on a whole not so Halliburton can charge the tax payers to fix a country we likely never should have invaded in the first place. Force regime change on countries that have no interest in bettering themselves just so someone can build a natural gas pipeline or someone talks about selling oil in something other than US dollars.

    I’m incredibly proud and honored to have served my country but I have no illusions that my government and those in power have always spent the lives of my brothers and sisters wisely.

    Respectfully Submitted

    • And respectfully taken. Now how does this: “We have been using our armed forces in place of actual statesmanship and good foreign policy” have anything to do with how you treat or think about the troops?

      • To use a tool analogy it’s like seeing a fine blade being used to pry open a paint can lid or other job that the it was never meant for. You can still look at the blade and appreciate it’s quality and craftsmanship but lament that it is being used in ways it was never designed for and will likely damage the blade if taken to the extreme.

        If anything It makes me appreciate other veterans and those still serving more and makes me want to fight harder to make sure we are used appropriately.

        • …and at some point, that once fine blade becomes a rusty hunk of scrap metal unsuited for anything. Misuse of the military forces isn’t good for them, it isn’t good for our foreign policy, and it isn’t good for the tax-payer.

  11. I try to support the Military whenever possible. Our company donates proceeds to Wounded Warrior and we employee a couple of veterans and active military guys. My son, 7, wants to be in the Military when he’s older and bought a couple of Army guys ice cream the other day at Chic-fil-a with his own allowance. It was a very cool moment.

    • You might want to do some research on the Wounded Warrior Project. Sometimes all is not as it seems.

  12. I have to say that I was draft age during Viet Nam and missed being drafted due to a motorcycle accident followed by a high lottery number. I witnessed the crap those poor guys had to put up with when they got home and it sickened me.

    Now, when I get the “Thank you”, or see it sincerely passed to some other vet or service member, it kind of chokes me up. Every time.

  13. There are a few things we can do to honor our veterans:
    1) Show up for the Veterans’ Day Parade in your town.
    2) Fight like hell to preserve the Republic, and Constitution that defines it, from those on our own soil who actively seek to destroy both.

  14. I do what I can. My son is a vet but he sure doesn’t need my help. I give $ to a wheelchair bound Vietnam vet at my church. No I’m not happy with our Asian adventures of the last 68 years. I repect those who served…

    • *Respect* –I like that. Implies a whole lot more than the verbs “honor” or “support” when it comes to ex-military. Respect is earned, honor is given out of custom, and support is all too frequently extorted (misplaced guilt)

  15. I am a Physical Therapist and I do home health. I treat people of all ages and issues. Some are veterans and I have to work in conjunction with the VA. Which is a huge headache. Also, Many of my patients have family members who are veterans. I bought flowers for all my vets on Veterans Day. But I also try to honor them by being their advocate to help them get the care they need. I have had a few veterans of WW 2 and I honor them by hearing their stories and trying to honor and defend the ideals they fought for.

    • I’m not a clinician, but I work in a healthcare industry you’re probably familiar with(home medical equipment). My company doesn’t bid on VA contracts, so I have no personal experience with them, but it’s fairly often that I deal with veterans who had the option of getting their equipment for free through the VA, but got fed up with the process and decided to pay their deductible/coinsurance and go through us instead.

  16. Most vets I know, especially combat arms guys from the Army and Marines, are soft-spoken, hard working folks who don’t want to be treated differently from anyone else at all. I support veteran owned and operated businesses because it usually means my money is going to American jobs.

  17. I have worked as a Chapter Service Officer for the Disabled American Veterans for some time now, helping disabled vets file their paperwork for school, disability ratings, as well as helping the widows and children of deceased veterans who died due to their service connected disability. Some of the biggest obstacles I run into is 1. Veterans believe that the VA is their friend and will do everything they can for them. 2. The lack of knowledge of the benefits they have earned. I am strictly a volunteer with no pay or reimbursement involved, and prefer it that way. No paycheck means I have no boss setting rules and regulations other than what is stated in the charter. Its been a very rewarding journey so far, and since I just moved to Wyoming, I am looking to find either a local chapter or to work from my home. Not a whole lot of people in the state-less than 600,000, but I am sure there are veterans here who could use a hand.

  18. I am a vet – 1st Cav. I donate to the DAV -Disabled American Veterans, and I am a Benefactor member of the NRA – because my oath to protect and defend the Constitution has no expiration date. And to all of my fellow vets of any era who signed the blank check – thank you..

  19. I just try to treat vets like I would treat anyone else. Most vets I’ve known and met in passing don’t seem comfortable with the “vet” label being what defines them. Some are a bit more forward and open about their service, and I try to be as equally respectful of those who’ve turned their military service into something that translates to the civilian side. Others just want to put their time in the military as far in the rear view mirror as possible, and I try to be respectful of that as well.
    The vast majority of vets just want to be treated with civility and respect. If they’ve not given me any reason to treat them otherwise, that’s exactly what I do.
    As to “supporting” veterans, I don’t necessarily go out of my way to do so. But the things I like to spend my money on, a lot of vet-owned companies make products that particularly appeal to me, and I’m more likely to “support” a vet-owned business than not, just on that basis alone.

  20. I usually try to honor vets on an individual basis rather than a blanket “thanks for your service”. If time allows I’ll try to learn a little bit about their service, especially those I see with ball caps that indicate a ship or unit or if I find out that they have been close to combat. (and even if they haven’t been in combat; those who support are just as valuable to the effort)

    What I WILL NOT DO is to give a vet a free pass to crap on the Constitution, like McCain, Mark Kelly and John Glenn have done. Just remember that Benedict Arnold was one of the best generals that our early nation had; look at what he did with it. NO FREE PASS if you crap on your oath.

    • Make no mistake, Daesh would gladly march to the Atlantic and cross it, and place you under sharia if they could. That may seem like a joke right now, but give it 20 more years of the world ignoring them. Not likley anymore since Trump won, but Daesh is a global enemy just as much as the Nazis were.

    • That’s a *very* ignorant, and incorrect view. Plenty of honor in all conflicts, and plenty of dishonor even in WWII. Probably more than in any subsequent war, actually (unlike Germany/Europe, Korea/Vietnam/Iraq/Afghanistan didn’t really have much to be stolen or looted in the aftermath most times, and the scale of graft & corruption between officials & industry were incalculable during WWII)

    • Hitler was dead but Stalin was very much alive and at the head of a massive army. Mao rose in China soon after.

      Since 1945 we have lived in a world that has been held at check by the military. Whether you believe it or not your freedom was fought for every day of that time.

      And I served at a time that Richard Nixon was being forced from office. It’s my firm belief that if we had not stood down Nixon would have been in the oval office til he died of old age.

      Because you’re too near sighted and ignorant of the world around you doesn’t mean that your freedom wasn’t being defended everyday.

  21. I don’t really support “veterans” as a blanket group. I know some, miss some, and wish others left limbs in the desert. So is life.

  22. “the draft meant that many if not most of our soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors were compelled to serve.”

    This is one of the facts that everybody knows. However, it’s incorrect.

    Actually, the percentage of draftees was higher in WW2 than during the Vietnam War, and the percentage of volunteers was higher in the Vietnam era than during WW2.

    http://history-world.org/vietnam_war_statistics.htm

    About 2/3 of the men who served during Vietnam were volunteers. In WW2, about 2/3 of the men who served were drafted.

    http://www.vhfcn.org/stat.html

    • This is the often forgotten fact about the whole “honor the troops,” “support the troops” thing; historically, whatever befell a soldier *wasn’t their fault at all* because they were drafted regardless of their will and sent into highly-dangerous combat often with near-certain death. *That* was the sacrifice honored and praised by those left behind, or especially those unable to contribute. Heck, even WWI, which was all volunteers, existed in a time of unimaginable social pressure for young men to enlist.

      But today, the military is entirely professional; there hasn’t been a draft in decades. And for good or for ill, that means that everyone involved is involved by choice. It’s a shame when something bad happens, and a tragedy when something really bad happens that cannot be recovered from, but barring the unusual these things are not unexpected outcomes of a life in service, which was willingly entered into by the serviceman. And largely as a response to the new professional (i.e. valuable & long-lived) serviceman, job safety is higher than ever, and less sacrifice is asked than ever (comparing wartime to wartime, peacetime to peacetime), and more compensation given than ever. The reverence by civilians was due to the sacrifice –far too often the ultimate sacrifice– that was an unavoidable part of service. When it becomes no more dangerous than policework and pays much better, it’s unrealistic to think it should be as deserving of ‘support’ by the civilian community –and that’s a very good thing!

  23. Years ago during the lead-up to the Iraq War I worked with two different Army reservists, both full time college students. They couldn’t have been more different. One was your typical college liberal who had taken one too many sociology classes, and he was about as opposed to the war as anyone could be, and in fact had gone to a protest or two. He wasn’t what you would call patriotic, and he only enlisted to help pay for college. The other guy was his polar opposite, proud conservative, very pro-war, and very anti-anyone anti-war. Within days of each other they both got word that they would probably(Definitely? It was years ago) be going. Their reactions could also not have been more different, and to this day it makes me sick when I think about it. The liberal? He was saying “This sucks, but hey, I knew what I signed up for.” The conservative? Suddenly he had a whole host of medical issues that he had never mentioned before. I don’t remember all the details anymore, but I know there was a lingering back injury that was flaring up and something about migraines. It was pretty clear what was happening. He had just gotten engaged, he was in his last year of college, and going to war was fucking up his plans(maybe he was also scared, I don’t know). I left that job and moved away while this was going on, so I have no idea what happened to either of them. I know plenty of veterans, including my best friend who fought in Iraq, but for some reason those two guys are the ones I think about whenever I hear this question. Maybe to me they represent my problem with it. Certainly serving in the military deserves my respect, and they’ve earned whatever benefits that entitles them to, but I feel like we have a tendency to lump them all in together as if being a veteran is their only defining characteristic. You’re a veteran? Cool. Thank you for your service. Now what else defines you?

  24. Naturally, I support veterans. After all, I are one and 100% disabled as a result.

    Glad to see that troops today get more respect than we did in the 1960s.

    An all volunteer force is great but I believe we need a backup force, trained and ready to go. I believe it should be a national requirement. Our volunteer forces are getting pretty ragged from the constant deployments and the drawdowns of the Obama era.

  25. Thanks! I enjoy a good cigar on a regular basis and am heading fast to their website to check them out.

  26. I don’t think that to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America
    is beyond any soldier or citizens ability.

  27. I was honored to call an older English gentleman my friend. He served in WW2 in North Africa and on the island of Crete and was captured when the Germans invaded that island. He spent almost three years as a prisoner of war. He remained in the army after the war to retire as a senior NCO with over 25 years of service. My English friend sent me pictures of their yearly veteran’s ceremonies. Every vet put on a blazer, wore his regimental tie and beret, and pinned his decorations to his jacket. They made their way to the local veteran’s memorial and laid a wreath in memory of their absent comrades. Then they retired to the local pub and lifted a glass to honor those who had gone on to report to a higher power.

    We Americans don’t wear our ribbons. They may be on the wall in a shadow box, faded by time and the memories of governments that don’t even exist today. We don’t wear ties except for weddings and funerals and berets are only worn by Frenchmen.

    So what do we wear? Baseball caps – that great American invention. We mark our caps with our heritage – the Big Red One, the First Marines, the US Air Force. The navy men wear blue caps with the names of proud ships – USS Enterprise, USS New Jersey, USS Newport News. Civilians don’t know a CVA from a CA or a BB from an FFG, but the old men know.

    The old men see fire and rain and Thuds and Phantoms in the hazy sky. They hear that distinctive rotor beat of the Hueys. They see long grey ships silhouetted against the horizon and remember the days when they were dirty and tired and hungry. They remember playing rock and roll out to the tree line in 7.62 NATO time They remember the cats throwing Skyhawks into the air. plane after plane, and doing it all again the next day and the day after that.
    They were bored and tired and sometimes frightened, these old men who wear the hats. They came home to a country that didn’t understand and really didn’t care what they had done. Today they fight the diseases and the ghosts of those far off days.

    The old men in hats shake hands when they meet. They ask “Where were you? What did you do?” and they sometimes say “I was there too”. Mostly they understand. For that minute in the middle of WalMart they’re nineteen again and tired and scared. Then they thank God that they made it home and they remember those who didn’t.
    And the old men get into their cars and go about their business. Sometimes they wake in the middle of the night and hear the AK rounds crack over their heads or the GQ alarm sounding. Its okay – they’re just old men and soon they’ll be gone..

    • The distinctive sound of a huey. Heard one just the other day here in the bay area. Was inside with no sight line out. But I knew it. I went out and there it was.

      I hate fucking helicopters.

  28. The vets and servicemen I know are an amazing group. I know they aren’t all, but it doesn’t diminish what I feel is an act of great service.

    I don’t support them nearly as much as I should. Still figuring that one out.

  29. I ARE a veteran ! lol
    OK, whenever I can, I’ll pick up the bill for a service member when they least expect it.
    Police and Fire Fighters too.

  30. Depends. Those guys that got a college degree and go into the military just to get a nice paycheck while chilling in DC don’t get my respect nor do the people that basically get a paid vacation in Germany.

    The ones that are actually risking their lives though, I’ll give them a head nod when I see them.

  31. From one Vietnam Vets Point of view, being a kid from the wrong side of the tracks I learned to stand up for my self early, Enter the Vietnam conflict, only the silver spoon boys got to go to College and pick up deferments, to me the riots were a bunch of spoiled rich kids being cowards about serving their country, also in my area all the draft board members kids got deferments! or the rich dudes parents bought their way out. Fast forward the draft dodgers were getting all the good jobs, while the injured vet had to fight for his very existence, name calling, hiring prejudice (only good for pulling triggers) GI bill was earned, but begrudged in application especially Medical!
    Had unemployment benefits for 6 months, food stamps and end of the line medical in contrast to what our Political Hacks paid the refugees, Free money along with free housing, free Medical, free College Education, no Taxes for 5 years etc.
    Helicopters bring on anxiety like you wouldn’t believe, Fireworks mortars, crump, crump! Large crowds are an anathema!
    Being a Vet, Hell ya I see a young vet I wish him Welcome home Buddy thanks for your service, pay for their coffee, My adopted son spent 2 tours in Iraq, my Grand son same! but you notice it’s still the hard scrabble kids that are joining while all the rest reap the benefits of our choice, then they get screwed by the Government. that said I’d do it again. Hey you old Jarhead, Swabby, Air Farce, and Mud doggie, See ya on the other side!

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