Would I Serve Again

Sadly, those of us who have served our country and experienced the explicitness–and the lack there of–of fear, pain, and endless yearning for those we love to return home, have also borne the brunt of neglect and despair caused by leaders who have failed–and continue to fail–at executing the promises they made to us as elected government officials. When we stepped forward and raised our right hands while swearing allegiance to our country, we did so bearing no thoughts of deceit. To the man, we considered ourselves to be exceptional men and women in an exceptional army.

As a nineteen year old, I was wrapped in our American flag. I boasted–without a smidgen of shame–that we were the best trained, best clothed, and best fed troops in the history of the world. Our doctors, nurses, and front line medical corpsmen were without equals. Our driving force for being an American was just that: being an American. Our military leaders told us they had our backs, and they never failed.

Memorial Day 2014 has come and gone.

As I gathered with many other veterans to express our thanks to all those who served the American cause before us, the overriding question asked was, “Would I do it over again?”

I feel, even though a fellow veteran raised the question, that my answer at this stage of my life’s tenure is completely innocuous. If I could turn the clock back to that day long ago, when my buddies might have been the ones in search of the answer about reliving my life’s trip, then–without question–they would have replied, “Sign me up.”

“Never in hell! Why would I start again in harm’s way, especially when the only ones who give a real damn are my own family and friends? Get a real life for yourself, shithead, or go get your ass shot off by a guy in a beard who’s never attended a baseball, basketball, or football game in their lives!

Asking me a would-I-do-it-all-over-again kind of question today was followed by the sort of an answer I didn’t like coming from me. Or maybe, what I offer as a reply makes more sense then when I was a nineteen year old soldier sharing my cares and fears with a couple of tent buddies.

Yes, I’ll volunteer to serve you
But only if those who accept my service
Agree to serve along side
Promises made to me by countrymen
Are promises by which to abide.

One Comment

  1. Beautifully written and well said, da Harv! Thank you for continuing to share your acts of service.

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