This was originally posted in '09. I wanted to post something for the holiday, and my thoughts kept going back to what was in this post, so here it is, one more time...
I was doing some thinking about Memorial Day, and what bugs me about it lately, besides the tendency of the general public to turn the weekend into mindless frivolity and gluttony.
I did 20.5 years in the Air Force as a cop. My service was, in some eyes, mediocre at best. I thought I did pretty well to survive that long and not end up in the correctional facilities where I worked some of the time. I had my good moments, had a few "atta boys," and some really bad moments that I thought I wouldn't make it through. As tedious as the job was, we did it to the best of our ability. As abused as we, sometimes rightly, thought we were, especially compared to the desk jockeys who only handled a rifle every 3 years, we still knew that the price of not doing our jobs was too horrible to contemplate.
I wasn't a hero. I did what I was told, went where they told me to go, and did more than my share of bitching about it.
When someone comes up to me and thanks me for my service, especially this time of year, I feel embarrassed and try to change the subject.
On Memorial Day, my thoughts aren't on my term of service.
When I stuff my body into my uniform once a year, I do it for my brothers in arms that didn't make it to 20.
That's what it's all about.
I'll take my thanks on Veteran's Day.