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Musings of a veteran on Veteran's Day

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posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 08:00 PM
It strikes me as odd, that people who haven't experienced military culture (what important authors have called "the warrior culture") can't seem to allow for, or readily concede that they cannot relate to, an experience that most veteran's share.

I say this because I often find myself inwardly ashamed that I entertained an inner posture of 'suffering' the notions presented by armchair warriors, political patriots, and zealots who, invariably, won't be making the sacrifices involved with the hostilities they are often eager to endorse. This is an inward matter, mind you. I long ago realized that many, if not most, of those who never served are, at least on the face of the matter, as deserving of common courtesy and respect as I would want myself. So I usually don't engage them..., because they are likely not to see, or sense, that they are speaking out of an ignorance they have never really addressed. Such people don't like to be wrong, and even more so when it becomes clear in front of others.

Many people commonly react as if they were being excluded when a veteran reaches the point of "you wouldn't understand" in a conversation.

There is no shame in not having served. In some of our lives, having served has been a burden. Some resent the warmth they are expected to express for someone they don't know, don't agree with, or who served in a war they rejected. Most know they will rarely be celebrated, and even then – only in the most superficial way. Veterans often mistakenly think upon their return to civilian life, that anyone would be eager to hire a vet; after all we are well trained, fairly disciplined, understand the important of results, and are usually not given to problematic behavior. We are low maintenance, right?

But in the world where we are expected to seamlessly assimilate, there appears something superfluous to the military experience; something which lacks the honor, the code, the commitment to success. Some call it the “shark eat shark”, “it’s always gonna be this way”, “if you want it bad enough… you’ll do what it takes” world.

Many simply cannot understand the fact that we put ourselves into a regimented way of life, maintained a standard of professionalism, and learned to actually be responsible, rather than be theoretically responsible for something. We accepted a different code; one that showed us what men and women are capable of doing when we set our petty personal selves aside for a greater ideal.

All military life isn't as alien as some would think it. It isn't just being told what to do, where to go, when to get up. It isn't about glamor; it's not about the imposition of who you are on anyone; it isn’t about belonging to a special club of people.

It’s about having a common standard; you will support yours and they will support you – period. Things like petty favoritism, vindictive actions; ignorant biases cannot long thrive in the “warrior culture,” there simply isn’t enough room in the code to support it. The ‘job’ must get done.

Many veterans know what I know. We understand that the level of commitment and trust required to do what we do (or did) is not the stuff of everyday life. Some are proud of it, have embraced it, and are willing to do something when they see a vet (especially one they know) in need; or facing trials that each of them eventually face. Others bear it like a mark of martyrdom, some spend their lives trying to eradicate the memories, or become mentally dysmorphic (trying to reinvent a person that never was)..., one devoid of the experiences which make us feel different from the smiling office drones, unsympathetic leaders, and functionaries whose role it is to “make with the pretty words…,”

I had always wondered at the fact that my father was so reticent to discuss his combat experiences in Guam, and Okinawa during World War II, and then the Korean “police action." Unlike me, he wasn't one to wax on and on about his past. Perhaps because he knew then, what I am only now learning; no one really cares. And it is really no one’s fault that this is so.

It is ultimately irrelevant, what veterans have gone through. No one has time to consider the past in these days of information overload. Since the days after the wars of my father, we have become a people consumed with the glamor of a new culture invented by others.

Most veterans become the kind of people who can’t fear sudden change. Most have endured the most intense changes a person can experience. Our tendency in the military was to call a spade a spade, or refuse to say anything. This civilian world seems intent on insisting that we must “speak” pretty ideas, and notions, “rah rah!” even when we don’t see or feel the ‘magic’ imagery they craft for us. We must coddle, in the civilian world, the sentiments and emotions of those who lead us; while in the military code, those would unprofessional and embarrassing things.

When I see two people who trust each other, I welcome the idea of being included. Veterans, most especially those who work together, trust each other – because of the code.

I am glad I am a veteran. I didn’t waste twelve years of my life to be told it doesn’t matter, and I refuse the idea that I should not have it on a resume because it does not translate to any value in today’s world. Even if I never amount to much in this new TV world of ours…, I am a vet… I did something that mattered, because someone had to.

And I know that no soldier, marine, airmen, or sailor sacrificed any less than I. They deserve any help I can muster. Sadly, all I can do is write… and plainly not all too well.

Perhaps it is a sign to me now..., I take comfort that I have experienced the path my father tread, and emerged alive afterwards, just as he did.

What I have seen and experienced defies recounting. What I learned was that when people truly relinquish their personal baggage to live up to a task, as is the code in the military, we can achieve the impossible.

Perhaps it is about mutual trust; trust in a code that serves you as much it you serve it.

If you serve it completely, it will serve you completely – every time and without fail.

Next time you feel like bashing stupid veterans for being ‘complicit’ in a war…. think twice. That is not how it works…, and rightly so. Or it wouldn’t work at all.
edit on 10-11-2013 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 08:13 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

Great post maxmars, thank you for your service. I got back from Vietnam and only heard # from most. It was 40 years later at a rodeo when for the first time I was thanked for my service there. Brought me to tears. A really good emotional release. I think I was carrying bags that I didn't even know about. All better now.

Thanks for the post.

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 08:20 PM
Semper Fi is all I can say, you hit the nail on the head. My grandpa was in the army in WW II , my dad was in nam in the army. But my brother and I joined the Marines. What is funny though, all the people that get a paid day off for veterans day, I would say only 10% of them served in the military, everyone I know that served has to work.

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 08:42 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

I highly respect anyone who has served in the military, it takes a lot of courage be a solider and do the kinds of things they have done or are willing to do, to protect the freedoms of those that take them for granite.

It really sickens me when I see someone putting down veterans because they don't agree with what the politicians put our soldiers in and through, as if the soldiers are all jumping for joy about going on deployment, away from their familes, knowing there is a chance that they may not come back, and even those not in combat theatres have to make a lot of sacrifice.

I've always been willing to lend an ear to any veteran who is willing to tell his or her story and respect the choice of those that choose not to, whether they served during WW2 or just got back from deployment yesterday. Too you and to all veterans, thank you for your service. You are not forgotten.
edit on 10-11-2013 by kx12x because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 10 2013 @ 09:30 PM
I don't respond to posters here that insult the military, I ignore them.

I didn't go to Iraq and Afghanistan because I was a puppet for someone. I went to both wars for one reason only, to make sure I could help the men assigned together got back safe. I don't care about politicians, parades, thank you's (public or private), medals, or bravado. I loved the men I served with and will never forget the men I lost.

I had the privilege to fight along side true heroes.

RIP John McMillen
RIP Max Sacks

posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 01:33 AM
1st off I thank all for their service.

2nd, this makes the second time that I've read this and am moved by this in a way I had not considered. And so I thank you for making me ponder in a way that I can not even put into words.

This has been in a sense an emotional brain-opener (as opposed to an eye-opener).

posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 04:52 AM
Thank you OP for saying that which so many of us feel and yet can not say as eloquently as you have here..

Semper Fi

posted on Nov, 11 2013 @ 05:03 AM
I've always known you had a way with words Max and this is proof.
You captured the greater essence and ideal of what it means to serve and how the rest of the world that never joined reacts to those who did.
With gratitude to those who fell in the line of duty.
Beautifully written.

posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 05:19 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

The vast majority of what you wrote really brings home the point you are making. BUT, you have one line in that brilliant work that is absolute crap. That one line is dog poo! It does not belong, it is wrong. If I could, I would excise it with a vengeance!

Sadly, all I can do is write… and plainly not all too well.

Absolute CRAP!

Well done!


posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 05:57 PM
reply to post by pheonix358

You're very kind.

Thank you, for saying so, and don't get me wrong, I am very pleased that the message reached anyone at all. I generally write mostly for myself... self-deprecation appears to be some kind of defect in me. Perhaps my subconscious is a closet narcissist... looking for affirmation and praise. But I really find little comfort in it... consciously speaking... so ... there you have it. It's a weird sort of quirk I guess... I always want to do better than I have. If I were a great writer, what I wrote might change something... but it doesn't... so it can't be all that good...

posted on Nov, 12 2013 @ 06:22 PM
reply to post by Maxmars

Change takes time. The only affect I look for is to change my little corner of the world where I can. One mind at a time is fine. Actions speak louder than words and yet the pen IS mightier than the sword.

Perhaps you need to realize that you never know how many your words reach. One mind here, another there. Those minds change others, perhaps not yet, perhaps an attitude change in their children that flows through the generations.

IMHO it is not necessarily the great orations that change us, it is the resultant change in the individual minds that flows forward on the winds of time.

One mind at a time.

Keep writing, get it out there.


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