Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Veterans Day...Freedom is Not Free!

Though I faithfully served in the US Air Force for five years, I hesitate to call myself a Veteran.  For some reason I respectfully reserve the word "Veteran" for those who actually were called to do the ugly work of war.   My own military experience in retrospect was more like a supervised half way house between childhood and adulthood.  I learned a trade, got some extended discipline, food, a roof over my head, freedom to do some adult things (mostly the unproductive adult kinds of things like figuring out how many "Blatz" beers you have to chug before you get sick) and got to see various parts of the US.  Going to the military was the perfect situation for me coming out of high school.

Luckily, the closest thing I got to defending the country was looking at vendor part catalogues trying to figure out if military computer components could be found cheaper at the Radio Shack down the street.  I fired no shots, except ones of tequilla at the airman's club on Friday and Saturday nights.  That is why I struggle to call myself a real Veteran.

The Veterans I call Veterans are the ones that have/are actually risking life and limb for us. 

I recently finished Sebastian Junger's awesome book simply entitled "War".  

I read it back to back in one day.  War describes the real life hell that our young men and women are currently experiencing in Afghanistan.  Heat, bugs, 120 pound back packs, people shooting at you 24 X 7 from areas you cannot shoot them back at, buried explosives, booby traps, chaos, mayhem, and death of friends and comrades.  The politics of it aside, our men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq are truly heros.

The second act of War's "Hell" is the description of what happens when these folks come home.  The struggles of the injured or for the families of the fatally injured is heart wrenching.  Most cannot afford the health care, psychiatric care or other strains on the finances that an injury or fatality can cause.  PTSD, lingering issues with physical injuries, inability to get assistance for hospital travel...the list goes on and on.  On top of the physical damage, shifting from living under maximum adrenaline for a full year to our regular life can cause these folks some real challenges as they reenter orbit.

Our Veterans deserve better.  Our Veterans deserve our support. 

I want to do something to help as many of our wounded Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan as I can.  By calling attention to the need and hoping to raise money for Freedom Is Not Free, I am hoping to make a few of our injured heroes' lives a bit better.  To donate to Freedom is Not Free in conjunction with my run, Click Here!

Think of all of the freedoms we all enjoy.  Even though you can look around and say "Yikes!  America is sure screwed up!", there are still hundreds of thousands of people trying to figure out ways to get here.  Freedom is the reason for this desire.  Freedom that gets paid for every day by our marines, soldiers, airman and seaman. 

Tomorrow, Veterans Day, please take a second and thank a Veteran!

No comments:

Post a Comment