It's Alright Ma, I'm Only Bleeding: Military Service Falling Into Disfavor... Again!

Back in the late '60s and '70s, those of us who served in the military were looked on by many with suspicion, and by some with outright hostility and hatred. Some called us 'Baby Killers' and murderers. Out crime? Serving in the United States Military during the time of the Vietnam War.  The war had fallen out of favor with the public. Protests tied up the streets of big cities and the seats of power. Sit-ins were held on college campuses across this great nation. People burned flags and draft cards, and chants of "Hell no, we won't go!" were heard nightly on the news. Through it all, the servicemen and women kept their dignity and, in most cases, their cools. One thought ran through our minds: There is a price to paid for the freedoms that all the protestors enjoy, and that price has been paid by every member of the Armed Services, no matter what branch. Some paid much a much higher price than others, in blood and lives. Still, the name calling and the protests continued. 

 The Vietnam War ended in '74. There were no parades, no welcome homes. No one met us at the airports and commended us for a  'Job Well Done', or thanked us for our service; but it was OK, because all we wanted to do was get on with our lives and put the ugliness behind us. Many of us did. Many of us went on to successfully raise families and, in turn, see them start families of their own. For some, however, there were ghosts that haunted them throughout the decades. They saw the inside of mental institutions, and when the President closed them in the mid'80s, they saw shelters, drug addiction and madness. The call it PTSD now. Whatever you call it, it is an illness suffered by many veterans who could not put the horrors that they had seen behind them. 

 In the mid '80s, something happened. America started to feel guilty for the way that they had treated the war veterans. There were many 'Welcome Home' parades and events across the country. It was supposed to be an apology to the veteran for the shoddy way that they had been treated. It was a little late, but not unappreciated.

 When the new Volunteer military went off to war during Operation Desert Storm in '91, the public enthusiastically supported them and called them heroes. Groups would meet returning troops at  airports to thank them. They were saluted at Major league sports games, and recognized by the host's of the late night talk shows. They were saluted and toasted everywhere they went. It was as it should be for men and women who volunteered to go to war and keep their fellow citizens safe. It was a touching thing for this old Marine to observe. They are, after all, my brothers and sisters in arms, and I support them with all of my heart.

  When we were attacked on September 11, 2001, there were no shortages of those who volunteered to help bring down the enemy. When President Bush called for the brave men and women to step up and track down these terrorists, the brave men and women volunteers did, and off to war they went. Off to Afghanistan and Iraq they went. They toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq and were cheered. The President declared "Mission accomplished!" and the public loved the spectacle. In Afghanistan, they chased the Taliban from power and into the mountains. The US public loved it.
  But then, the wars dragged on. Stories of US troops humiliating the POW's started to unnerve the public. Congress jumped on the opportunity to rant and rave and called for hearings. Meanwhile, people still welcomed the heroes home

  Lately, however, there have been disturbing rumblings from both sides of the political spectrum. The fact that the military was now using drones to kill the enemy disturbed many.. as if someone actually piloting a plane in the air was any less fatal than the drones. The American Military's support was not as strong as it had been. They are still recognized at ball games and some are still met at airports, but not as much. Then, the Bradley Manning affair hit. Here we have an active duty soldier who took classified and secret documents and released them to Wiki leaks. This, dear reader, is treason. Yet there are those who, while enjoying the freedom of speech and all the freedoms in this country, there are those who call him a 'Hero' and a 'Whistle Blower.'  He is neither. He is a traitor. He took an oath when he joined the military. He comes under the jurisdiction of the military courts, and the Uniform Code Of Military Justice. 

  Yesterday, he was found guilty of most of the charges and sentenced to 30 years of hard labor. Reading the reaction from some cut me to the quick. Some called the military "Blood thirsty". The military personnel are again starting to be called 'killers and murderers'... by both sides of the political spectrum. There are people building arsenals to go up against our own military to overthrow the government.

  It angers me and breaks my heart to hear citizens of the United States, who enjoy the many freedoms that enable them to call protest and call names without fear of reprisal, call for civil war and the downfall of the government and the military because of talk of the NSA listening to their phone calls. Whether this is a fact or not has not even been determined.  It angers me to see the brave men and women who act to protect this country, cursed and called names. This is history repeating itself. To those who think Manning is a hero, remember this: Those that want to destroy the US, and you with it, loved the secrets that this traitor released. The military needs secrets to keep you safe. 

  I want to say this to all would who like to see the military fall, and to those who would tear down this government. Most of you have never seen war up front and close, as I have, and I am telling you that these men and women are brave and they are putting there life on the line so that you won't have to lose yours. I hope that you never have to see a country torn by civil war. I hope that there will never come a time when anarchy reigns in the street of every town an village, because that will mean that you have gotten your wish, and the military will have been reigned in and rendered ineffectual. Then, you will wish that there was someone to protect you. 

 To all those who served and still serve, no matter what your political affiliation, I say "Semper FIdelis, comrades, and thank you for your continuing service." One day, I hope that wars are abolished. Until that day, I thank the forces that control fate for the United States Military men and women. And although I am a man of peace, I recognize the need for our military

Footnote: I tried to proof read this. However, I feel so strongly about this, that I probably missed several mistakes. Take it as a sign of my passion about this. Also, I have been called a Communist and a Liberal recently. Let's see what other names people who don't like my views can think of.

Comments

  1. This made me think back years ago to a soldier from New Rochelle who returned home from Vietnam; for a couple of weeks, he walked up and down Main Street in full uniform.

    From what I remember, some wise ass standing in front of the old Woolworth's made some pretty hurtful remarks one Thursday night. I know you remember how Main Street was always busy with people shopping that one night of the week. After that incident, that guy was still around but never appeared in his uniform again.

    I realize now that he, like so many others who returned home from the war just wanted some validation, some thanks. They got nothing but a disgusted response from self-righteous protesters who were incapable then, and even now, of understanding what our servicemen endured in country.

    Thank God I wasn't part of that despicable group of narrow-minded thinkers. I had a friend who returned from Khe Sanh and met at the airport with a big "Welcome Home"; he told me that day to make sure I always greeted any Vet I encountered the same way. I've never forgotten.

    Right now, the disgust I'm feeling over Bradley Manning is intense. Reading about how he might be eligible for parole in just ten years sickens me, as I'm sure it does you. Then, compounding his atrocious actions, he now wants our government to provide him with hormone therapy for his gender-identity crisis, with an attorney who will challenge the legal systems in a fight for Manning's "rights".

    I don't know what the answers are, John. Like anything, when the planets are in perfect alignment and most people are in agreement on a topic, there is little debate, especially where our military is concerned. But, how quickly the tables turn, when sources such as the media, stir public opinion with their biased opinions of our country and those who stand in its defense.

    Welcome Home to you, my friend!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Patty. You know me pretty well by now. Always sticking up for the underdog and downtrodden. What makes this country great, to me, is that no matter what party a person supports, we are all allowed to vote as we please, and say just about anything that we please, because this nation, despite the occasional misstep is founded in freedom. The Military makes sure that these freedoms are protected from those on the outside who would destroy us. When I see the military denigrated and treated with such hatred and derision, it just makes me so damned angry. One little lady on the left today said that we need a revolution and anarchy in the streets. Can you imagine? Someone who, I'm positive has never seen the results of fighting in the streets and the chaos of anarchy, calling for a revolution. There is way too much of this today.. but, I digress. Thank you, my dear, sweet friend for your friendship and your support. I will always honor it and treasure your friendship.
      John

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