Things to read...

If time is short, I'd suggest reading at LEAST The Prologue and Legend of The Pinto Bean Posts!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some say freedom was won....

In basic training way back when I was just a wee little private, we used to sing cadences. Most of them centered around our women, and how some guy named Jody was having the time of his life. The rest were usually about blood, guts, glory, and hips big as battleships. One that I particularly had the refrain of:

"Some say freedom is free, but I tend to disagree. Some say freedom is won, through the barrel of a gun."

Now, I realize a number of people in these United States completely disagree with this idea, and as much as I'd love to think the world is sunshine, gummi-bears, and rosebushes, I know it's not. The sad fact is the Gummi-bears have gone on strike after decades of being offered only in basic colors. The sun is angry for being blamed for skin cancer, drought, famine, global warming, polar bear depopulation, and generally just being a hotheaded kinda guy. And finally rosebushes are protesting that early February massacre they are forced to endure every year. Point being, the world is not perfect as it is.

Today we take a moment to remember why we live the way we do. As this past week has shown, like it or not, people will have their say. People who may never contribute one iota to society have just as much of a say as those who gave all. This is because someone came before you, and made sure it was so. Centuries ago, when the British ruled the colonies, somebody was willing to step forward and say "I will go." Less than a century ago as the world watched in Europe, somebody else came forward and proclaimed "I will go." Again at mid century an American stood up and said "send me." Through Korea and Southeast asia, American's stood up and said "I too will go." Now at the beginning of another century, Americans are still standing up and saying "I'm ready." In almost every case, the enemy was not at the gates, yet still we went.

These men and women who stood ready, who stand ready, and who wait their turn all do it for their own reasons. Be they noble, monetary, or patriotic, still they stand. They go when asked, whether they agree or not. When they return, they may or may not even know why they went. They may not return. The price paid to them for following this call? It might be glory, it might be money, it might be a wheelchair, it may never be paid. The purchase made? That goes to us all.

The purchase was your right to continue living the way you do. Some people may feel we shouldn't be involved wherever we are. They may be right, they may be wrong. Because our military IS involved, we will never know "what would have been." We will never know if maybe a small nuclear attack was thwarted in some desolate cave in Afghanistan. We'll never know if some key player in a major biological warfare lab was taken down in Iraq. All we'll know is what we see now, and what we think it means. I often tell people to remember, we don't have all the information. CNN and Fox news don't have all the information. Whether we deploy or not is a decision made by people who DO have all the information, or at least have as much as they can get at the time. The sad fact is, those who deploy are the ones who bear the burden of circumstance. We can only hope they were used to further the greater good.

As most of you know, I'm a 2nd year medical student missing an arm and a whole lot of other stuff wrong you can't see. What many people don't know was that I COULD have not gone. I could have stayed here, joined the med school class that's now ahead of me, and maybe be better off for it. At the least, I'd still have a hand provided something else didn't happen. I'd still be in the military, working towards being a doc, and I doubt anyone would have faulted me for it. However, when the call came, I didn't. I stood up and said "I can go."

Today, take a moment just to say thank you to some vet. Whether they went or not, say thanks. Even if you despise the military, remember that it is their willingness to go that allows you to keep on despising them. Also remember, today is just the day we "officially" remember our vets. Remember that their job is not one day a year.

Finally.... to ETSU's NPR radio station 89.5 WETS, who decided at 12:07 today to play some good anti-military music, I'd appreciate it if you return my calls. While I do not expect you to play nationalistic music or anything, have a little respect.

"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

-George Orwell


pjamas said...

Excellent post Daniel. You are getting quite good at this :)

hrngnman@hotmail said...

AMEN BROTHER!!!! I cleared my afternoon today to attend my son's gradeschool Veterans Day program. In a town of 1500 citizens we had 6 WWII veterans, 4 Korean War, 10 Vietnam, and the rest of us were Persian Gulf 1, 2 or Bosnia... Hell of a turn out for a small community! I'm just glad I was born and raised in the Midwest!!!!
Keep up the good work man!!!

Anonymous said...

Another amazing post from an amazing Vet. Thank you!

Andrea said...

If I was there in person instead of sitting here in the airport waiting on my next flight I would give you a great big hug. Unfortunately this long distance THANK YOU will have to do for now. I know it won't be free, but maybe we can go to Applebees when I get back. :)

Chevy Rose said...

Thank you, Daniel. Your service and sacrifice is appreciated every day.
by and by; good post.

Bag Blog said...

I am amazed that there are people who just don't get it - who think that although they live in the land of the free, no one fought for to make us free or keeps our freedoms safe. Of course, they are probably the same people who think there was a big bang and the universe happened.

munchkin #2 said...

I am late in reading this but, I wanted to sat thank you for your sacrifice. Any time I see an enlisted man I make a point to say thank you for your service. I often wish I could have enlisted but due to medical issues was unable.
Again, Thanks to you and all the thousands of men and women willing to stand in the gap and protect us. We are undeserving of your sacrifices but I am truly grateful.

Angel said...

Thanks for being you.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your service Daniel and to all of those that went before you; will go after you and are now 'standing in the gap'.

Grateful American

alexa said...

[this may be a double post due to tech diffs; plz omit if not]
So some fools at a self-important radio station with a giant chip on its shoulder decided to be apeholes for Veteran's Day? Why am I not surprised. Sorely disappointed and certainly pissed, but, sadly, not surprised.
I know I speak for a gazillion others who do care about you, gobs: We do not take lightly the sacrifices you've endured for us. We will never forget. We will be forever grateful. Forever.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a week late on this HOWEVER: my USA Reserve spouse was asked to be the keynote speaker at a SUNY (State University New York) institution's Vet's Day event. His topic: "How to Thank a Vet". Here are a few of the highlights:

*live an honorable life.
*volunteer with an organization that improves the quality of life of our citizens.
*mentor a child/young adult - share your knowledge and experience with up and coming generations.
*VOTE as often as the opportunity arises - participate in the American experience! If you don't vote, don't b**ch (my comment, not his :-)
*Communicate with your elected officials via email, mail, or in person - on all levels of government - village,town,state and federal. YOU are the part of the Constitution that refers to "By the People, For the People."
*Write letters to the editor, assemble with others whenever you please, worship the higher being of your choice, know your rights and responsibilities under the law. (See: Bill of Rights)

He received a standing ovation. Vets in attendance - some ambulatory, some not - took time after his speech to thank him for his words. To a man/woman, they agreed that his suggestions were absolutely the way to "thank a Vet."

Thank you, Daniel. I'm following my spouses advice (this ONE time *grin*) and doing all of the above. I honor you and all "my" vets.

Long-time RN said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Daniel.

We appreciate your service and all the best in your studies.

Necromancer said...

Hope you are having a fine Thanksgiving holiday and a break from med school.

Some old USMC guy

A Veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve -
is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made
payable to "The United States of America", for an amount of "up to
and including my life."

That is honor, and there are way too many people in this country who
no longer understand it.

-- Author Unknown

"For those who have fought for it, freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know."

Semper Fi!