The Fourth of July is also the birthday of every American Patriot; it is also “your” birthday each year. When the opportunity presents itself, I encourage you to thank a Veteran for their service, and wish them a Happy Second Birthday on annual celebration of the “The Birth of The Nation”. The vast majority of Veterans are respectful, hard-working, family oriented, and unassuming true American Patriots; for over 236 years Veterans have been an important part of the fabric that is the foundation of the Republic. At one point in their life, a Veteran wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America” for an amount “up to and including their life.” We all know of military personnel who have given the last full measure of devotion to the Republic; and as you know, others have been seriously wounded and will be suffering with those disabling injuries for the remainder of their lives. If more members of Congress were as dedicated to protecting and defending the US Constitution and to watching out for the welfare of the Republic as American Veterans have sworn to do, the Republic probably wouldn’t be in the very serious financial difficulty it finds itself in today because of the irresponsible out of control spending by Congress.
Americans Just Don't Understand Their Military
The originator of the email forwarding this discussion called it an excellent piece of work, to which I add an Amen. Unfortunately, as happens too often, it arrives without credit to its author. What a damned shame.
They know what it means to serve: Acceptance
into West Point, or any military academy, is far from
easy to earn. Unfortunately, far too many Americans
don't comprehend what drives young men and women
to seek admission, or to enter the military under any
officer or enlisted program.
Americans don't understand what it means to serve
I remember the day I found out I got into West Point. My mom actually showed up in the hallway of my high school and waited for me to get out of class. She was bawling her eyes out and apologizing that she had opened up my admission letter. She wasn't crying because it had been her dream for me to go there. She was crying because she knew how hard I'd worked to get in, how much I wanted to attend, and how much I wanted to be an infantry officer. I was going to get that opportunity.
That same day, two of my teachers took me aside and essentially told me the following: Nick, you're a smart guy. You don't have to join the military. You should go to college, instead.
I could easily write a tome defending West Point and the military as I did that day, explaining that USMA is an elite institution, that separate from that it is actually statistically much harder to enlist in the military than it is to get admitted to college, that serving the nation is a challenge that all able-bodied men should at least consider for a host of reasons, but I won't.
What I will say is that when a 16-year-old kid is being told that attending West Point is going to be bad for his future then there is a dangerous disconnect in America , and entirely too many Americans have no idea what kind of burdens our military is bearing.
In World War II, 11.2% of the nation served in four years.
In Vietnam , 4.3% served in 12 years.
Since 2001, only 0.45% of our population has served in the Global War onTerror.
These are unbelievable statistics.
Over time, fewer and fewer people have shouldered more and more of the burden and it is only getting worse.
Our troops were sent to war in Iraq by a Congress consisting of 10% veterans with only one person having a child in the military.
Taxes did not increase to pay for the war.
War bonds were not sold.
Gas was not regulated. In fact, the average citizen was asked to sacrifice nothing, and has sacrificed nothing unless he has chosen to out of the goodness of his heart.
The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation.
You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You've lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you'll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don't understand.
Then you come home to a nation that doesn't understand.
They don't understand suffering.
They don't understand sacrifice.
They don’t understand why we fight for them.
They don't understand that bad people exist.
They look at you like you're a machine - like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one -- not them.
When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers who discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can't understand the macro issues they gathered from books because of your bias.
You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that.
Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more.
But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you've given up.
You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.
Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway.
You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775 -
YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.
"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few." – Winston Churchill