November 11, 2016 — They are Veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. They served our nation not for glory, not for fame or special privilege. Whether their service was compulsory or they enlisted; they answered the call to arms, duty, honor, sacrifice and country. They obediently followed orders and from their 1st day in service they vowed to “…support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and that they would “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”
So Here’s The Scoop: Those promises and others are included in the oath civilians take beginning their 1st day of U.S. Military Service and those affirmations can ultimately have lethal consequences that do not discriminate because of age, race, religion, gender or political affiliation.
That oath is a time-honored tradition and pledge that arguably goes back in our nation some 240 years that began, in part, when 56 people representing an estimated colonial population of 2.5 million vowed in the last paragraph of the Declaration of Independence that they drafted to “…mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”
And that they surely did starting around 1776, and to this day those who wore the uniform and served our nation are, mostly, the ones who bore the brunt and the cost of service; they have always represented the smallest percentage of the total population, with the least to gain, the most to lose.
That loss includes their lives, their liberty, their limbs, their hands, their feet, their eyes, their hearing, their ability to earn a living, their capacity to be mobile, to procreate, to raise a family, to have grandchildren and the loss of their overall general well-being.
Today there are approximately 22 Million men and women living among us who are Veterans of the United States Armed Forces who served us all during WWII, Korea, and the Vietnam War as well as everything since including our nation’s ongoing wars.
Prior to WWII, there was WWI which is also known as “the great war” and/or “the war to end all wars”; many believed then, as many do today, that WWII was actually an extension of WWI, spanning about 30 years.
Just between those two (2) wars over 100 million people were wounded or killed and many of our Vets witnessed and experienced, often up front, close and personal the horrendous slaughter that included an estimated 50% civilian casualty rate within the multiple theaters of global warfare during that era.
Among all the U.S. troops who served and survived they ultimately became civilians once again and lived productive lives among us, often dealing as best as possible with the realities and horrors of war as a constant, often daily, reminder.
One such person who served during WWI was Frank Buckles, born Wood Buckles on February 1, 1901 in Bethany Missouri. Frank, a “Doughboy” was the last U.S. Army Veteran from WWI who passed on February 27, 2011 at age 110. Corporal Buckles was rightfully laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
The former corporal pulled duty in France during WWI, served two years in the U.S. Army and later, when World War II rolled around while he was working as a civilian in the Philippines, Frank was captured by the Japanese Army and then held as a prisoner for 3 very long, terrifying and grueling years.
I reference Frank because even though no person reading this week’s ‘Scoop’ ever met or heard of the former Corporal his service and sacrifice is representative of the millions of other forgotten warriors who served our nation.
That and the fact that other than 1 day each year that includes the traditional pomp and circumstance and other festivities on Veterans Day, a significant portion of the U.S. population seems to care more about watching those awful reality TV programs and other ridiculous shows like “Honey Boo Boo”, “The Walking Dead”, “The Bachelor” or “Dancing With The Stars”, etc. than they do about the U.S. Veterans.
That includes sporting events, too, such as the recent World Series when the Chicago Cubs won and an estimated 5 Million people hit the streets of the Windy City honoring themselves while celebrating their community and their teams players with parades, rallies, parties, BBQ’s, speeches and other such activities.
And that is fine but on this or any other Veterans Day there won’t be, collectively, 5 Million people across the ENTIRE nation who will take any time out of their busy-busy lives to honor our Vets such as visiting 1 of our nearly 140 National Cemeteries (and/or the State ones) where millions of our Vets are laid to rest.
Sure, there will be those who will pause to honor our Vets and there are those who, should the encounter a Vet say and honestly mean things like “thank you for your service”, etc. but other than the 22 million living Vets who, in their often private and deeply personal ways, will remember and honor all who served – the vast majority of the U.S. population won’t.
Sadly, most will not so much as appreciate or even acknowledge that “all gave some, some gave all” – and that the very freedom and prosperity many Americans and people of other countries continue to enjoy has and will continue to have an actual ‘price tag’ that someone else pays.
Good Luck Out There