It is time for our usual Veteran’s Day visit and there are many things happening in this great Republic that you fought so hard to guarantee. I trust you are resting well among your fellow veterans in that special place in heaven reserved for those who have given their lives so that we may continue to live in the greatest country on this planet. America has come to recognize that a veteran’s contribution may be a few short years or a lifetime, and is worthy of acknowledgement on this special day. I know full well your preference for brevity in the delivery of a briefing, so, sir, let’s get to it.
This morning, while enjoying breakfast courtesy of a local eatery, I noticed what seemed like a dramatic increase in the number of female veterans in the crowd. Women are increasingly involved in military roles that were, just a few years ago, reserved for the masculine gender. They are serving in line combat roles, and are doing exceedingly well, to include flying some of America’s latest fighter jets. Although not directly related to a military role, your grand-daughter is doing an excellent job as a Highway Patrol officer, something unheard of in your day! I am confident these ladies would meet your very exacting expectations.
This year has seen new highs in patriotism as well as new lows. We have elected a President who is doing precisely what we wanted him to do, but he has not engendered universal support, as a result of his style and public demeanor. He is a tremendous advocate for military strength, thus serving notice to the rest of the world that America will not be bullied. I suspect you would not be a fan of his blustery style, as I recall clearly your preference for moving in closely and quietly guaranteeing to your adversaries their total destruction in an encounter. I believe your advice to me was that talk is no substitute for action, and that too much talk was usually counter-productive. As you know sir, the past Administration was all talk, something you loathed. In keeping with your philosophy of quickly closing with an adversary and dominating them, the essence of your favorite sport, football, I have unsettling news. The game is in decline. The game, as we know it, is facing two obstacles. First, we are now discovering that participants in this grand sport are destroying the parts of their brains that control behavior and emotion. The NFL has long covered up the destructive aspects of repetitive head injury, and many folks who are in a position to influence the future of the game are rethinking their positions. Secondly, Colonel, there is this business of kneeling during the National Anthem, allegedly protesting some great social injustice. The participants in this disrespectful ritual argue that it is a response to police brutality, or a comment made by a team owner, black oppression and racial inequality. Before you ask, sir, I too have no idea what the relationship is between respect for the flag and National Anthem and these perceived social issues. It is good that you and I are spared from the spectacle of you tearing through the stands, climbing onto the field and attempting to beat the hell out of one of these morons with his own helmet that he is using as a chair during the Anthem. I remember your position on such matters, which was simply “death before dishonor”. Eternity is a long time, sir, probably not enough time to figure this stuff out.
The state of our military, today, is excellent. I can report with absolute certainty that our armed services are populated with exemplary folks. They fight hard and clearly understand the stakes involved in a stint in one of our services. They, like us, trust our national leadership to carefully consider the mission at hand. Through a better education than we enjoyed in our generations, they understand that history has a way of redefining the merit of our action in a conflict. Exceptions, of course, exist to my blanket endorsement of the folks in our military. A soldier deserted his post in combat, attempted to collaborate with the enemy, and was rescued from his predicament after the enemy turned on him. He subsequently pled guilty to desertion and was then freed with no confinement. The Army is now deliberating as to whether he should receive back pay for the time he was AWOL. No sir, I do not have any idea what in the hell is going on. I know, it is the death before dishonor thing again. You should also know that a veteran sniper is in hot water for allegedly peeing on the corpse of an enemy combatant that he just shot to death on the battlefield. Some General, somewhere, says this was disrespectful to the dead combatant, as if shooting him dead was respectful in some way! I am smiling too, sir….”
Today, Colonel, many people will visit the cemetery where you rest among your troops. I will be there sometime next summer to visit and again reflect upon our relatively short time together. Meanwhile, thank you for your leadership and unmatched patriotism.
Today, dad, is your day.