Armed Forces Day was created in 1949 to honor those in uniform. It’s an opportunity for the nation to express it’s gratitude to the proud Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marine and Coast Guardsmen for protecting the freedoms many take for granted. It’s also a time to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Those of use who have worn the uniform understand the struggles and sacrifices that military service require. In the background and on the side lines are the military families who have family members who have served or are on active duty now. Every time I see a video clip of a of military member paying a ‘surprise visit’ to an unsuspecting family member, it bring back fond memories.
Normally there are two days the that the nation pays honor to the veterans – Memorial Day and Veterans Day. A handshake or acknowledge goes a long way. I usually wear two caps. One is U.S. Air Force and the other is U.S. Army because it’s part of my story. One was planned the other came by happenstance. They both provided purpose, structure and discipline that took me to new levels.
I joined the Air Force to escape the assembly line in Detroit MI. It just happen to be during the Vietnam War. While I was not shipped off to South East Asia to become engaged in the heat of battle, I was sent to Libya North Africa during the forced Air Base closure by Col. Muammar Gadhafi who had deposed Libya’s King Idris. The Base Commander, Col. Daniel “Chappie” James, held his ground and made sure there was no major incident.
I went to a Germany that was divided and visited the border that separated the country. It was a sight that I will always remember – miles and miles of razor sharp fences topped with barbed wire, guard towers manned by soldiers with binoculars and automatic weapons and land mined kill zones. The city of Berlin was separated by its wall. The Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of Germany unification.
While attend college under the GI Bill, I saw a sign that called to me. It said the more you look, the better it looks. It was a sign for the R.O.T.C. (Reserve Officer Training Corps) program. Coming from a early experience in the factory producing cars and having survived a few years of military service I looked at it as another opportunity to explore the world again and gain a world of experience. Enlisted military members get to see the world but Officers have a more money to spend.
On the practical side I would rather hire a military veteran with leadership skills who performed in a challenging position than a kid just out of grad school with no real work experience. People with real world experience beat class room experience every time. Plus they have good people skills – follow orders and give orders and see things through no matter what.