Memorial Day Parade
Chicago Memorial Day parade (Bigstock)
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By Steve Sanetti

Our industry has always prided itself in supporting our veterans and we will never let them down because they have never let us down.

I just got back from a meeting of my Virginia Military Institute class of 1971 50th (!) anniversary committee, and like at all reunions, the stories flew left and right. Back then, commissioning into one of the branches of our armed services upon graduation was mandatory, so virtually everyone in our class served in some capacity.

The Vietnam war was beginning to wind down, so only some of my Brother Rats served there. A few lost their lives there. And we remembered those who have gone, with laughter and tears for their friendship, their service, their sacrifice and the lives that they gave up in the defense of our nation.

And so it has been with every generation of Americans.  Whether a young soldier, sailor, Marine, airman, or guardsman served because they were drafted or volunteered in times of peace or war, we have been so very fortunate that they answered the call.

On Veterans Day in particular, we pause to remember them. Fortunately, it has become the norm to almost reflexively thank a veteran for their service. This was most assuredly not the case when we completed our terms of service in the early 1970’s, which was so ironic in that conflicted time when the massive unpopularity of the war was piled upon those who had suffered the most because it was their lot to fight in it.

I think in subsequent years we have all come to realize how massively unfair and shameful it was to treat our veterans that way.

Our industry has always prided itself in supporting our veterans, both during their service by providing them the best equipment we can produce, and afterward with programs to help them bear the sometimes overwhelming mental health burdens that many carry with them after the fight. We will never let them down because they have never let us down. And the lessons we learned in leadership, compassion and love of country will stay with all veterans for the rest of their lives.

So I think that every day should be a celebration of our veterans, especially now that an all-volunteer military means that only a small portion of our population truly knows what it means to have served. It means a lot. Keep thanking them. They appreciate it more than you know.

Many thanks,

Steve Sanetti
VMI ‘71
CPT USAR 1st Cavalry Division 1975-78


Steve Sanetti is the Chief Executive Officer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association.

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    • And I tip my hat to you, good Sir.
      Also, many thanks to all of the vets who may read this and to those who comment here.

      Out of curiosity, whT would be that one gun, the gun of a lifetime?

      • I’m giving serious consideration to buying myself a Browning Citori in 12 or some other decent o/u. It’s time to retire my mossberg. I just retired my 23 yo 4runner and bought a near new rav4. I have a few more years of adventures left in me. I hope.

        • Rusty. It was a rusty toyota. I was sitting there with mud and water coming over the hood and hitting the windshield and thinking to myself ‘self, is this any way for a senior citizen to behave? What if I break a hip?’

          I decided it was time for a newer, lower mileage, less off road capable vehicle. Because I’ve watched me do some really stupid shit in the more capable 4runner. Besides, I’m pretty sure the tranny was going to take a dump. And I didn’t want to spend the money or time fixing a 23yo vehicle.

          And the rav4 is still a toyota. With a lot more miles ahead of it.

        • The Rav should serve you well. My pop last year bought the Honda version of that, the CR-V…

  1. Ever notice that the Marine Corp is the only service that officially capitalizes the title of the individual Marine? There’s a reason for that. There are no small “m” Marines. 😉

    Semper Fi.

  2. For myself. 21 years, 10 months, 9 days, on active duty US Army. To my brothers and sisters who are no longer with us.
    Rest in peace.
    And to my brothers and sisters who are still serving.
    Be careful out there.

    It’s truly amazing that so many continue to volunteer and serve in war time.

  3. In WW2, less than 39% of servicemen and women were volunteers. Over 61% were drafted. The greatest generation was absolutely great in many ways, but not in volunteering.

    2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam. 25% of total forces were draftees. The bulk were volunteers.

    Over 88% of Vietnam era military were Caucasian and 86.8% of the dead were white. Despite the fiction that Americans have been fed, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam at a time when the percentage of blacks of military age was 13.5% of the total population.

    Vietnam veterans have enjoyed lower unemployment rates than the same non-vet age groups. and personal income exceeding that of the non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent. Homelessness and drug use is the same for Vietnam vets and non-vets.

    Too many Americas treated Vietnam veterans shamelessly. This is to be expected. Cowards always criticize the brave.

    • I can still see/remember the protesters when dads ship would come in and my family was there to greet him.
      (Dad was career navy from 1950-1976.
      RIP BTCM.)

    • To be fair, in WWII, the u.s government used drafts to control the number of recruits it could absorb effectively, going so far to turn away large number of volunteers early on and drafting those same individuals when the space was available, or when people stopped volunteering as the war dragged.

  4. Trump’s heroism in ‘Nam, coupled with the fact he’s a morally upstanding self made man, make him worthy of our collective awe, deference and respect! MAGA for 1000 years!!!

    • President Trump loves the veterans!

      Well, just the ones who didn’t get captured.

      Besides, ‘raising funds for veterans’ is a great scam, until he got caught:

      “A New York judge has ruled that President Trump must pay $2 million in damages to settle claims that the Trump Foundation misused funds. The money will go to a group of charities, and the foundation is in the process of dissolving.

      The case is tied to a televised fundraiser for veterans held by Trump in Iowa when he was running for president in January 2016. Trump had said the funds raised would be distributed to charities. But according to court documents, the Trump Foundation improperly used $2.82 million it received from that fundraiser.”

      He used $10,000 of the funds for a beautiful 6 foot portrait of himself, now there’s service to one’s country!

      He used another $25,000 as a pay off to the Florida Attorney General to keep Florida out of the Trump university fraud lawsuit, which he settled for $25 million.

      And everybody says it must be of some kind of record, five draft deferments!

        • This. He’s exposed the insanity of the left and now a NY billionaire white guy has bought the socialists platform and this will result in its destruction.

          Trump has done more than enough service for his country. And he’s going to serve at least 4 more years.

  5. It was the Vietnam vets who stood up for my generation of veterans. VFW’s led the way to make sure we were treated better than they were. They could have been bitter, but they were better than that.

    Thank you Vietnam vets for treating us like your brother’s.

  6. Helped blow things up. Two holidays need more pizzaz, Independance day and veterans day, with out those we probably wouldnt have the rest

  7. I’m a 100% disabled veteran service connections and can’t afford to buy a new weapon. I wish they would help me with their company to get a new weapon


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