Not Forgotten: Honoring Our Veterans

Veterans    Veterans2

The time: September, 1966. I was on a bus with a bunch of other guys being taken an hour or two away from home to be evaluated for fitness for the military. The Vietnam war was going hot and heavy, and I feel confident only a few of the fellows on that bus actually wanted to be there.

I sure didn’t.

I was supposed to be attending my first day of classes at Frostburg State College (now University), but how was I supposed to know I’d needed to inform my draft board that my recent graduation from junior college hadn’t ended my education?

The whole idea of my being drafted was ridiculous, anyhow. Not only am I truly colorblind—the examining physicians didn’t believe me—I’d  been excused from participating in contact sports in phys. ed. ever since my encephalitis in the eighth grade. Because I was taking thyroid medicine, they held me over till the next day to have that tested.

All in all, it was a very scary time in my life. Especially since I passed when I shouldn’t have. Fortunately, my parents straightened things out with the draft board and I resumed my education as planned.

Many of the male teacher ed. students in my classes were simply taking  advantage of the fact that teachers were exempt from the draft. That was understandable, I thought at the time, although I honestly wanted to teach. But I was thankful for thoses who went to Vietnam instead of me.

The war ended. Eventually. We lost. Or at least we didn’t win.

But the Vietnam war was so unpopular with the American people that we failed to welcome our surviving veterans home with open arms. Or paid very much respect to those who came home in coffins. Too many Americans treated the veterans with contempt, not appreciation. As if going to war in Vietnam was their idea. Tales of the way we “honored” our veterans are horrific and inexcusable.

Now we’re fighting wars overseas that are probably just as unpopular. But at least the American people aren’t holding our military responsible for our being there. They’re placing the blame largely on presidents past and present. And the federal government in general.

Understandable. Especially since the government has failed to provide adequate funding for various military expenses, including decent pay. And what kind of medical care are our veterans coming home to?

I think America cares about her veterans. More than our government leaders seem to. Thank goodness for businesses like the two depicted at the top of this page who either offer discounts to veterans or show other kinds of support.

Memorial Day is not meant to commemorate all veterans—Veterans Day does that—but those who died in service to our country. Often in places we disapproved of their being in.

A singer/songwriter friend of ours, Michelle Lockey, wrote a song called “Not Forgotten.” Although she wrote it to memorialize the victims of 9/11, she also meant it for our veterans. I would recommend watching this video of her singing it.

She’s given me permission to share the lyrics (I’ve shortened some of the repeated parts):

Freedom’s not a game.
There was a price to pay.
Didn’t know where you were going,
But you kept on marching.
And for those who lost their lives
Shines an eternal light
Brighter than the stars,
As big as our dreams.

You will not be forgotten;
You will not be ignored.
The sacrifice you made will never die in vain.
Oh, no.
You will not be forgotten.

You forged out a path
And never looked back.
You’re the champions we needed,
The heroes to keep us moving.

Oh, you will not be forgotten;
You will not be ignored.
The sacrifice you made will never die in vain.
Oh, no.
You will not be forgotten.

I wouldn’t have made a good soldier, but I would’ve done my best. And who knows? I might have died trying. So might any of you. But thanks to the ones who did, we didn’t have to.

Won’t you join me in praying for our military—thanking God for those who gave their lives and for those who didn’t have to and asking His blessings on both our active and inactive military?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

~*~

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

 

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8 thoughts on “Not Forgotten: Honoring Our Veterans

  1. Great point about Memorial Day not being for honoring Veterans. I have to admit, that’s always bugged me, and waters down the meaning of Memorial Day. 🙂

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  2. Roger, you would have made a lot better soldier than you think you would have. The main thing is that you were willing to go. Thanks again for your kind and heartfelt thoughts. Blessings.

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  3. Actual soldiers do not make policy or pick wars. They just stand at attention and do their duty. It’s a hell of a life.
    I was in the army. I volunteered. I had it easy as a 71Q. The designation means I was an information specialist or Army journalist. And I worked on the army newspaper on the Presidio of California, right next to the Golden Gate bridge. The place no longer exists as a fort. I think it’s a park now. It was a park then, really. 300 soldiers who manned the fort and adjoining it was and large Army hospital (LAMC) with 2000 nurses. It was a wonderful duty. Plus, it was peacetime: 1978-1991.
    Really, all through history there are the grunts who fight the wars and the politicians who pick them. It’s really not fair. The grunts fight, sweat, are wounded or die. Never hear tell of a politician who died in a war.
    Those who die in war kind of deserve special attention because they are usually the young. They will miss out on all the joy of having families, seeing their kids grow up, having a wife, working and enjoying life. It’s not fair. But it’s our reality.
    I am against war. I am against killing. But mostly I am against politicians who send other people’s kids off to war.
    I had a few friends who have died in these middle eastern wars. It is a bad thing. I don’t think any leader of any country that engages in war will be going to heaven. They will all burn forever in hell.

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  4. Tom, I had no idea you’d been in the army. That certainly gives you a perspective I’ll never have. Thank you for sharing that.

    Although I’m against war and against killing, I think sometimes it’s unavoidable. But I’m not qualified to say what justifies it other than self defense. Very good point about politicians who send other people’s kids off to war.

    I don’t want anyone in particular to burn forever in hell, though I could name quite a few people who tempt me to want them there. I’m glad I’m not God.

    If I think of more to say about your comments, I’ll be back another day. As usual, your comments are extremely well written and thought-provoking. Thank you again for sharing.

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  5. I did not wish that those who send other peoples kids off to die in war will go to hell. They just will. I do not wish anyone to go there. It’s a fact that some folks will. I point it out as a warning. No decent farmer or school marm or fisherman starts wars. Politicians who lust for power or money do it quite easily. It’s a fearsome profession, politics. To be in politics and come out with your hands unstained by some abominable sin is like pushing a camel through an eye of a needle…

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