May 22, 2015 — This Memorial Day weekend there will surely be TS owners/members on vacation, there will be OPC’s hustling the streets and there will be sales centers open for business, etc., while millions of people will be honoring our nation’s fallen warriors. Excluding our most recent Wars, all WWI Vets are gone, only a few WWII Vets are still living, as is also true of Vets from the Korean War, and the rank & file among the Vietnam War Vets is rapidly dwindling. In a few more years they’ll all be forever gone!
So Here’s The Scoop: Sadly, in our Nation of about 320 million people and among the many who will commemorate Memorial Day there is no shortage of wanna-be Vets who continue to falsely claim they, too, served – usually in combat. Not only are they all in violation of the “Stolen Valor Act 2005” signed into law by George W. Bush, they ought to be taken out to the woodshed for a whole lot of military style ass-whuppin’ by some active duty Armed Forces personnel and Vets who served with honor and distinction.
And for the record, with all due respect, of the small percentage of ‘Americans’ who ever devoted military service to our Nation their duty in uniform did not necessarily take place in or during hostile times (War) and/or combat areas of operation (aka: A/O’s). Nonetheless, they, too, are to all be respected and honored for their service.
Take, for example, the often-called “War to end all Wars”. During WWI the population of the USA was 103.3 million strong and from that bunch, both draftees and those who enlisted, there were only about 4.3 million (4.16% of the population) who served.
Then during WWII — often referred to as the “popular” war — from a national population in 1940 of about 132.2 million (source U.S. census bureau) roughly 12.2% were on “Active Duty” during those war years.
However, as during WWI, of those 16.1 Million in uniform during WWII the majority did not have a direct combat roll and served (e.g.) ‘Stateside’ or in some other region of the world, etc. Again, they are to be respected and honored for their service.
The same is true during the Korean War (1950 – 1953) – when there were about 5.7 Million on “Active Duty” representing 3.74% of the country’s population (152.3 million) and of those in the Services about 1.8 Million (or 1.2% of the U.S. population) ‘pulled-duty’ within the theater of operations in Korea.
Then came the next War when about 4.45% (9 million) of all ‘Americans’ (202.2 million) were on duty during the Vietnam War era, but only about 1.24% (2 ½ Million) of the U.S. population actually served in Vietnam with the actual percentage of U.S. combatants being a much smaller percentage of the total U.S. population.
The same basic percentages apply to our most recent Wars, too!
And, yes, there have always been civilians, both women and men, who served the Nation during all our wars like “Rosie the Riveter” of WWII fame. And there are all the families of those who ‘suited up’ who served the country as well – including grieving for many years the loss of their loved ones KIA (“Killed In Action”) as well as caring for their badly WIA (Wounded In Action) family members – often for the rest of their lives – when they returned home and became Vets.
But the vast majority of those fortunate enough to have ever lived in the United States did not serve one day – and that is fine. But all of us — especially those who’ve done really well in this Nation — need to honor not only those who served but the troops still listed as MIA (Missing in Action) from all our Wars, those who became wounded and those who died during combat operations or thereafter due to their wounds.
Take for example the true story of just one young warrior who had been in the U.S. Military for about 5 months. After training & a short leave back home with family and friends the combatant was shipped off to war and badly wounded during his first day in combat. And keep in mind, it didn’t matter the warrior’s gender, political affiliation, education level, national origin, age, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or race. etc. This was an American who answered the call to duty and country.
Terribly wounded and while the battle roared, the platoon’s medic low-crawled to aid the warrior, dragged the combatant away to relative safety and then performed life saving steps including applying tourniquets to what was left of the grunt’s four limbs as well as treating facial/head wounds. Then the soldier was evacuated to a rear field hospital where doctors, nurses & corpsmen continued the care.
The Docs at that hospital, desperately wanting to save the grunt’s life, quickly realized in their makeshift emergency room that they had only one option and that was immediate surgery and the amputation of what was left of all four limbs; and once in the OR (operating room), starting at the shoulders, they removed both arms and did the same with both legs near the hips.
When that operation was over the soldier now weighted about 70 lbs and was soon evacuated again. This time to a full military hospital far away from hostilities whose sole purpose was to provide highly skilled & specialized medical care for the war’s casualties and then, in time, the soldier might hopefully begin that very long and painful road back to some sort of recovery.
By the time this trooper made it to that hospital with other severely wounded troops who had also been evacuated, and while dazed from heavy doses of ‘meds’, IV’s, fitted with a colostomy bag, etc. and still in a state of shock one of the Docs softly asked the warrior lying on the gurney: “How ya doin’ soldier?” He responded only by saying:
“I’m okay Doc. All I need is a hamburger, a cold beer and to see my girlfriend.”
With a tender smile while carefully lifting the trooper up and onto another gurney for pre-op prep, DOC looked into his eyes and gently reassured the soldier: “Not to worry. We’re gonna get ya all squared away so ya can do just that.”
Shortly thereafter the 19-year-old infantryman was rushed to the operating room for more surgery but he’d never enjoy that hamburger, a cold beer or see his girlfriend because he, like so many others, didn’t ‘make it’.
That is just one true story, and from which war does not matter because in one form or another throughout all our wars real life-and-death stories such as this one — that the general public never sees or hears about — represents, in part, the enormous numbers & sacrifices all those in uniform endure serving the United States of America – I.E. You, me and everyone else!
So this Memorial weekend — maybe while at church or having fun and tossing back a couple cold-ones while enjoying that backyard B-B-Q with family and friends — also do your duty and remember what this ‘holiday’ really represents and who paid the bill.
And though there are too many examples from all the U.S. Services to list here today who exemplify ‘Memorial Day’, a good way to remember is to ponder the sacrifices represented by the quote on the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, VA:
“Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue”.
Another example is the motto of the Nation’s oldest continuously serving Army Division, formed during WWI, remembering all that the past, present and future Soldiers with the U.S. Army 1st Infantry Division (aka: ‘The Big Red One”) sacrifice serving us all:
“No Mission Too Difficult – No Sacrifice Too Great – Duty First!”
Or you might just want to remember part of a quote you read in your high school history book from a speech given by the 16th President of the USA – Abraham Lincoln – when he said at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania about 152 years ago on November 19th 1863.
“…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain…”
Good Luck Out There
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Contributing sometimes extravagant, bombastic, emotional, pompous or even pretentious writings about the timeshare industry, Scoop covers an array of industry related subjects each week including inside information, tips, scandals, interviews, forecasts as well as new (good or bad) products and services — and, of course, all the ‘Good’, the ‘Bad’ and the ‘Ugly’.