Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Veterans Day 2009
The streets are a little more empty as Jacksonville finds itself facing a gloomy, cloudy Federal Holiday. No students walking to school, half of the workers making the commute. Of course, I have to be at work. Not that I really care; The failed tropical depression, "Ida" has made the skies iron gray.
I am amazed everyday that so many people I meet have never served in our Armed Forces. Didn't even consider it.
"That's for the poor people... Maybe people who have no opportunity".
One nice gent, a glass repair business owner, came in yesterday and mentioned that Veterans Day was upon us.
"Oh yes it is!" I said, "And here at this office we have a genuine actual veteran!"
David, (The business owner) asks, "Who is it?"
The immediate thought in my mind was 'Is this guy actually thinking that this is all I have ever done in life, selling insurance???'
Quickly, I recovered. This guy just thinks that being in the Service is for other people, not for people you actually know and do business with.
We have about two thousand customers, and more than a few of them have served. We have at least two (that I know of) former POW's who spent a year of their youth incarcerated by the Germans in WWII. They walk a little stooped and a limp is apparent from proud pain endured. The hearing aid gives a loud squeal, testifying to the damage from exposure to loud noises of machinery, or weapons.
Some are Korea and Vietnam Vets who don't bring attention to themselves. They had enough mistreatment by their peers back in the 50's and 60's.
But we know each other as having served; Small Code words, here and there. Using the phonetic alphabet when giving and receiving vehicle identification numbers.
Some wear loud t-shirts, jackets and hats, proud of their service. Others you might see the blue ID card just inside the wallet when they make the insurance premium payment.
We know who we are.
Now that I have been out for just over ten years, I am just a regular citizen and I even feel like I am telling a "Tall Tale" or a fib when I remember that I used to serve. I guess that's why the Glass dude did not believe me when I mentioned casually that I had served for twenty years, but my only claim to the Veteran Brotherhood was that I had a couple of pieces of cloth that indicated that I was in an area where people received imminent danger pay.
Sounds pretty weak to me, too. Especially when we have young friends and customers who are deploying on their third tour in the Middle East, or some other place that the "Imminent Danger Pay" is earned, daily. In places where buying the farm is not a joke, but a fact indicated by a family who receives a Servicemembers SGLI (Servicemembers Government Life Insurance) payout, which can easily pay off a family's home.
Let us all remember the real heroes who served before and today's heroes who return to do the dirty work that needs to be done.
I was going to say something melancholy but I won't. My service can be summed up as follows; I just had as good a time as I could.
I prefer to remember when these pictures were new.
Thanks to everyone who served, and will serve.
Crew of Barco Sin Vela II
I surfed over to this, and I feel physically ill.
Jerks like this trivialize the service of better men and women, and this sort of idiocy make me feel like a poseur about my own military service time. All this fool had to do was join and spend a couple years in uniform. But that takes too much time.