Thoughts on Veteran's Day
I joined the United States Marine Corps right after my first semester of college. Book learning was never a strength of mine.
As a veteran serving two tours to Afghanistan between 2008-2012 Veteran's Day to me is to honor all those who came before me. Without the brave who served prior, in my view, there would be no military for me to serve. I don’t view it as a day to honor myself or even consider the day to be about me. I don’t know if there are others that feel the same as I do but the family environment and brotherhood leaves very little to self recognition.
I don’t want you to misunderstand. I am very proud to have served my country, but I, like many others signed up, are not looking for recognition. We simply wanted to be apart of something bigger and serve a purpose. My best friend’s dad growing up served in the Marine Corps and was a big influence on my decision to serve. A veteran and proud Marine who fought for this great nation. Brings me back to my belief that Veterans Day is for him, not me. All those before who have worn the uniform and protected the freedoms we continue to enjoy and take for granted at times.
I am not sure what other veteran stances are on Veteran's Day. It may be similar to myself where every generation of vets look to the one before. I can tell you I don’t know of anyone personally who signed up for self recognition. It’s the wrong line of work if you’re looking for a pat on the back.
People who know me and my service record often thank me on Veteran's Day. I am very appreciative of the kind words but also to me I don’t feel as I deserve it. My outlook has changed a bit over the years though. The “Thank you” I am getting isn’t just to me. It's to everyone who served, I just happen to be the one standing there that it was directed toward. I don’t believe there is any one veteran out there that doesn’t think of the brothers and sisters they served with when they receive a thank you from whomever it comes.
I'll end with this because this is a question that I get asked more often than I expected. Today's world has changed. There are people out there who burn the American flag in protest. People who disagree with what our military does, people kneeling during our national anthem. So the question I get asked is “What do you think of all these people doing and saying these awful things?” My answer is I don’t expect anyone to look at the American flag the same way I do. I don’t expect anyone to have the same views on the military or our traditions. I don’t agree with people who protest by burning our flag or disrespecting our national anthem, but I can go to sleep at night knowing that they are free to do those things without fear of a tyrannical government because of veterans. One day I'd like to think they’ll realize that and if they don’t, well at the end of the day we’re all still free.
Thank you to all who have served!
Also, check out the latest episode of our podcast to hear more about my deployment.