Monday, November 12, 2018

A Veteran's Day Apology



Hard as may be for you to believe, I am a US Army vet. I was a field artillery reservist for eight years. This was before all but two Reserve combat units were abolished. And for good reason. We sucked. I was a terrible soldier. But my proudest moment is when I was killed during a mock war in one of the many evaluations we failed. We were being tested by the 82d Airborne, and our monitor told me he really liked the way I died. In a slow southern drawl, he told me he'd be "honored" to have me in his unit. So I've got that going for me.

Before the Persian Gulf War broke out, I volunteered to join the many reservists who had also signed up. Initially, I was accepted. There was a going away party for me at the courthouse. Others took me to lunch. I was very popular.

I made it as far as battalion headquarters in Burlington. There I was told that there was a very good chance my unit would soon be activated. They needed me there because I was a Chief of Smoke. But they'd be "honored" to have me.

When I returned to the courthouse the following day, I was pretty much the laughing stock. I still hear about it. At my Reserve unit, I soon realized it had been pretty much gutted. All the young guys were gone. Some went on to become helicopter pilots and tank commanders. Every now and then, one would call or even drop in.

Some say I was passed over because I was too old. I prefer to think I was too good-looking.

Quite obviously, my experience in the military pales in comparison to those who served in combat, as did my father and daughter. Those are heroes. Unfortunately, some go astray when they return. We need to do a much better job of recognizing post traumatic stress syndrome and caring for combat veterans.

I was delighted to read SNL's Pete Davidson apology to disabled vet and Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw, who lost an eye on his third combat tour in Afghanistan. Davidson had mocked Crenshaw's eyepatch.

"Americans can forgive one another—we can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other," said Crenshaw.

Hope he's right.

He went on to say that Davidson's father was a firefighter who lost his life on 9/11.

"Never Forget."

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well said, Bernie. One of the best pieces I've ever read here.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I would hope there is no long lasting animosity.

Doc Rock said...

My wife, our older daughter, and I are all veterans. Our military service was honorable, fulfilling and something none of us regret. It is important for all Americans - especially those who have not served - to understand that those who wear the uniform may be asked to put their lives on the line at any moment. And give that reality the respect it deserves.

Anonymous said...

The best way to honor veterans is to stop this continuous state of war we have been in for the past twenty years. It only enriches wartime profiteers and kills Americans.

Beverly999 said...

Agreed. Is the US now the policeman of the world?

Anonymous said...

Crenshaw for President!

Anonymous said...

Nice story Bernie. Thank you for serving as well

Anonymous said...

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Armistice Day, now veterans day commemorates the end of the "Great War" to end all wars. It did not. Lessons not learned. The ceremonies sin Europe were very moving. I was saddened that President Trump did not attend many of the services nor did he go to the large American cemetery for services. I should not be surprised as he mocked John McCain's service. I really don';t understand the man. Given his wide support amongst veteran groups you would think he would be respectful.

Anonymous said...

Harmless joke that should not upset anyone. Somehow that was outrageous but no problems with the Trump insult of McCain. I tend to agree with the last poster.

Anonymous said...

It's because Trump is an asshole!!!

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

Thanks Bernie - I did not know that Davidson's father died on 9/11.

It is nice to see that two people who presumably have different political opinions can speak with civility even after one has insulted the other.

Here's hoping it's contagious and plenty of others model this same behavior.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your service Bernie !.You receive an A for trying !

Anonymous said...

I agree people should be able to be civil while disagreeing. I also do not believe it will get better as pundits for both parties continue to stoke the tribal fires. Also there was no insult in SNL it was a stupid joke, you can only be insulted if you feel you were insulted. That is part of the problem today everyone is so freakin sensitive. All snowflakes.