I'm not really sure what spurred me to do this particular post today, but I feel strongly about it. Our POW/MIAs.
We talk about the military, as a country, and grandly profess to "support the troops". Or, you hear those saying,"I don't support what they do but I do support them." It's a hard pill to swallow sometimes and I don't know what to even say sometimes as I watch people say these words on tv or, listen to them as they take a sip of their Starbucks. I have never had the honor of serving our country in the military. I've often wished I had bucked what was expected of me and just joined. Don't get me wrong, I have no illusions of some battle somewhere where I'd be carrying the flag and such. I understand there is no romance in the death of soldiers. My statement comes from a deeper place; a sense of obligation that I owe something to those who have defended our nation in the past and a belief that we are still the greatest nation on this blue-green ball. My life now is that of a public servant. I do the best I can to take care of my fellow American. That's the biggest thing I think; folks that sign up to wear the flag on their shoulder tend to be sheepdogs caring for the rest. Our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen along with firefighters and cops(the real ones that get it).
College was an eye-opener for me. I was relieved of the bonds of working all the time in the family business, while not in school, and was told to go make good grades( 250 miles from home and a grant/loan-yeah!). All this while co-eds were walking down the main concourse in cutoffs. Right. I started off with a bang and discovered the joys of a good keg party, so on so forth.You get the picture; girls, beer, parties, the works. As I was walking to class one day I noticed a small table with some ROTC guys sitting around. They were selling POW bracelets. I asked about them and got the story. I was moved to be honest and bought one with my last ten bucks. It was a red aluminum bracelet with the name of a USAF pilot, from my home state, shot down over Vietnam. As they days wore on several people got to asking me about it and it made me want to know more about the guy I was honoring and the whole "POW thing". I researched more about it and it ended up have a fairly sobering effect on me. You have to know that the opening shots of Desert Storm were being fired and I wondered to myself if it was fair that I was having a good ol' time when there may be guys out there who never had hope of seeing the green grass of home again. I'm not going to lie and say I straightened myself up like a flag pole and graduated with a 4.0, but the thought of that guy on my wrist helped make me realize that I owed it to him to make the most of myself and make a difference. I've also tried to instill that ideal into my kids-make a difference. I can only hope I have.
I did a search before I wrote this and was unable to find a real count of how many Americans are really still out there; I do know this, it is too many. I'd like to think that the US government does all it can to rescue or find our men and women that are missing. Probably not; you hear of stories here and there. Who knows? Some of you that have served may know better than I. I'll say this-If there isn't some sort of group that only works on POW/MIA rescue then there damn well should be. It, along with veteran hospitals, benefits, and pay, should be a top priority. A "Black" group that kicks down doors and stomps guts till everyone is home. I guess that sounds a little too Tom Clancy, maybe...I don't know.
I started this soapbox speech off in one direction and ended up here. Sorry, I do that sometimes. I reckon the biggest thing I can say is this: Always remember and respect those who do something with little or no thought for themselves, namely our military. Men and women die everyday for something that may or may not be important to them, but they do it anyway. Then there are those who are somewhere, wishing to be home, just waiting. There aren't many things that make me teary-eyed, but the thought of that does. So...for those of you that are waiting somewhere-We have not forgotten, nor will we. May God Bless you and hold you in his hands till you come home. Thank you.