I'm not normally one for congratulations and celebration. Honestly it all feels a bit forced to me most times. Writing that out, it feels kind of sad. Maybe I should reflect on that. Damnit, got sidetracked for a bit there. That's not the point right now.
Happy Veteran's day y'all. Fun fact, did you know that according to an article published in 2018, based off of 2017 Pentagon data (yeah that's the most recent data I could find 😂), only 29% of the American population is qualified to serve in the military. These statistics are based off of multiple different qualification areas such as legal history, medical history, education history, physical state, etc. If we transcribe those numbers to today's census data, that means only 95,990,000 out 331,000,000 people in this country are qualified to put on a uniform and serve our nation. Out of that 29%, less than 1% of the population actually have the desire to heed the call.
I'll be honest, you 1% are some crazy bastards and I love you like my own family. Because we are that. FAMILY! Regardless of your Branch: Devil Dogs (USMC), Squids (USN), Grunts (Army), Chair Force (USAF) (seriously, I still love you guys too), Quasi-military (USCG) or, for some weird reason now, Space Force (cue Steve Carrell) and regardless of when/how long you served you are some true heroes.
There is a reason that number willing to serve is so low. This life is indeed a crazy one; a rollercoaster cart on which the tracks were drawn by a two year old drinking a Mountain Dew and listening to speed metal. It is an emotionally and physically demanding lifestyle that never stops churning and burning. But some of us, maybe the more masochistic ones, wouldn't have it any other way, we thrive on the chaos.
So, that being said, if I tried to thank everyone individually, this post would rival the lord of the rings in character count and page length but please know if I served with you in ANY capacity, I'm thankful for your service and I love you dearly.
For the specifics, I would first like to thank my father for his service. I've asked him (and he's told me) multiple times what his MOS (job) was but it's so far outdated now that Moses was also proficient in those skills. I can never retain what he did. Regardless, he served faithfully for 24 years, slogging us all over the Continental United States and Europe. He served in an Army which has since changed so drastically that I would never understand his specific struggles. We, as a family and nation, are forever grateful for your service.
My brother spent four years in the gloomy, rainy hell that is Joint Base Lewis-McChord as a 92Y (Unit Supply Specialist), then followed that time with 16 years in the U.S. Army Reserve. Though he was a "part-time" patriot (😉) he still burned as bright as he possibly could to complete his missions during his active weekends (and sometimes outside of those time constraints). We, as a family and nation, are forever grateful for your service.
My Grandfather on my Mother's side served faithfully for, I believe, 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. I don't know much about his service specifically but I know he also heeded the call. Grandpa Durham passed in 2014 but he, as well as his service to this country, will never be forgotten, We, as a family and nation, are forever grateful for your service.
I'm 100% sure I'm missing family on here. I'm not the best at keeping up with my extended so I'm not sure who else served but the same applies: We, as a family and nation, are forever grateful for your service.
Lastly, although it's not specifically the point of today, I think we would all be right in thanking the families for their conjointed service. My wife has been with me for 14 years of this journey thus far. My son has only know life as a "military brat" for 11 years and my daughter for 7 years. This life is not easy on them at all. The kids didn't necessarily choose to live this life, as I didn't choose it 39 years ago, but it's a burden they carry. The spouses, however, have willingly, and without prior knowledge of the chaos involved, voluntarily stepped into this world. My wife and I, as we accrued children along the way, have moved a total of seven times in 14 years, this last move was across an ocean. There is a significant amount of chaos and upheaval involved in moving all of your worldly goods and family members regardless of how far it may be. A good bit of those times, the logistics involved fall on the spouses. It is a nerve wracking, sometimes upsetting, stressful and (you guessed it) chaotic life and without our families, us married Soldiers would be nothing.
Happy Veterans Day Family. You're always in my heart,
"#ThisWellDefend!" "#SemperFidelis" "#SemperFortis" "#AimHigh" "#SemperParatus" "#SemperSupra"