The U.S. military represents the best of our youth.

Jun 5, 2008 by

I am always upset when I read or hear someone denigrate the quality of the American serviceperson. I have read and heard people say that serving in the U.S. military is only for losers or those who can’t get a real job. Facts and my own experience say otherwise. In a recent article written by General William S. Wallace, Commanding General of TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command) General Wallace states that only 28 percent of the 17 to 24 year-old population qualifies to wear a military uniform. The other 72 percent fail to meet minimum standards on education, character and health. I seriously doubt that similar statistics apply for the private sector. So you tell me where the best of our youth are employed. I say it is with the U.S. military. Who but the military has programs to encourage educational achievement? WIth programs like JROTC and the National Defense Cadet Corps (NDCC) the U.S. military is striving to provide an environment where the youth of America can learn leadership, responsibility, critical thinking and many other skills that will serve them both in the military and throughout their lives.

From my personal experience of working with both the Navy and the Army for over 30 years I can state that nowhere in the private sector have I met men and women of any higher character, dedication, and moral conviction than in the U.S. military. The day I retired from civil service at Fort Monroe, Virginia, headquarters of TRADOC, was the proudest day of my life. Not only did I receive the Department of the Army’s Commander’s Award for Civilian Service but I also received a U.S. flag that had been flown over Fort Monroe. Fort Monroe has been an active post since 1823 and has a proud history. What Fortune 500 company treats its retirees as well?

So the next time you hear or read someone not giving the men and women of the U.S. military the respect they are due, take the time to correct them. It is the least you can do for everything they have done for you and our country. If my words are not eloquent enough to convey to you how outstanding these men and women are then maybe this video taken during a ceremony at Arlington Cemetary will be.

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Veterans Day – Honoring all who served

Nov 11, 2007 by

Vets DayI am dusting off my old Army uniform and getting ready to head to church. There will be a special service there honoring those who have served and are serving in our Armed Forces. As a Vietnam veteran I still remember the greeting I received when I returned from serving in Vietnam, or rather the lack of greeting I received. No one thanked me for my service, no one shook my hand in the airport and thanked me for serving my country. Today colleges and universities disband ROTC programs and refuse to allow recruiters on campus. But today is nothing like it was when I served. Then there were massive anti-war demonstrations and men and women in uniform were cursed and called baby killers. There were no yellow ribbons around trees, no rallies supporting the troops. Today, despite the war in Iraq, our service members for the most part are treated with the respect and thanks they deserve. I recently traveled with a Korean War veteran and he wore a ball cap proudly proclaiming the fact. Several times people in the airports and on the streets stopped him and shook his hand and thanked him. I wonder how that must feel. I will never know as it never happened to me. So when you go out today I hope you will attend a Veterans Day service and honor those men and women who have served our country and sacrificed so much. And if you get the chance to stop a veteran and shake their hand, don’t pass that chance up.

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